October 26, 2011

"The Steve Jobs' iPod Autopsy: Apple Innovator Stuck in the '60s."

Says Spin:
"His iPod selections were those of a kid from the '70s with his heart in the '60s"...

In fact, loaded on his iPod were a total of 21 Dylan albums, including all six volumes of the singer's bootleg series, but no studio recordings more recent than 1989's Oh Mercy, Isaacson writes. The artists appearing next most frequently on Jobs' iPod were the Beatles, with songs from seven of their albums, followed by the Rolling Stones, with six albums. Others making the cut: Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Buffalo Springfield, Don McLean, Donovan, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, John Mellencamp, and Simon and Garfunkel, plus the Monkees' "I'm a Believer" and Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs' "Wooly Bully."
What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?

83 comments:

ndspinelli said...

The Monkees?? There's no accounting for taste.

caplight said...

I have eleven albums by Billy Vera and the Beaters. No shame there.

Coketown said...

What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?

I have a last.fm account, so my listening habits are public record--even if interest isn't very high (for now). I guess it would be interesting to see what conclusions were drawn from people analyzing my taste in music.

"Metal thrashing homosexual with a soft spot for non-German film composers." Huh.

brian said...

Not a song or artist on that list to be embarrassed about.

edutcher said...

Sam the Sham?

My God.

brian said...

Not a song or artist on that list to be embarrassed about.

/sarc

Anga2010 said...

Not if I were dead.

Pogo said...

If my iPod content became widely known, the universe would cease to exist.

Except for Rufus Wainwright's version of "Hallelujah", which would play on.

Ann Althouse said...

I have the Monkees in my iTunes. He only had "I'm a Believer." I challenge you to explain why that isn't a great recording.

That said, I only have one Monkees tune in my 'Tunes: "I Wanna Be Free." Because, I wanna be free.

Free to love the Monkees and the '60s and anything else I damn well please.

YoungHegelian said...

My motley collection would probably get me pegged as a multiple personality disorder with a heaping helping of J.S. Bach.

The technology of any MP3 player drives the choices, too, especially for classical content.

It's really tough to listen to Mahler's 2nd with teeny-tiny earplugs.

WV: urnest -- see "Importance of being, The"

TTTTTTT said...

What iPod?

madAsHell said...

The Monkees??

Are you still upset because your Mommy wouldn't buy you the official Monkees lunch pail??

Coketown said...

I'm curious to learn from others of Jobs's generation: what was listening to music in the 70's like for teenagers? Did it fit well with the common stereotype: teens secretly buying taboo records, sneaking them home, then listening to them on the family record player with headphones?

Maybe that explains Jobs's fascination with portable music. "Wouldn't it be great if you could listen to all this music, like, anywhere you wanted? All by yourself? For hours and hours and hours? Without parents breathing down your neck?" But Sony got there first with the Walkman. Darn.

cubanbob said...

"What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?"

Is that the new better wear decent underwear just in case you are in an accident moms used to warn their kids about?

Freeman Hunt said...

What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?

No. Apparently it only happens when you're dead. I hope to be over embarrassment at that time.

If it happened while alive, yes. But only because of the music I listened to while running, which I would hardly call music at all.

Coketown said...

If it happened while alive, yes. But only because of the music I listened to while running, which I would hardly call music at all.

Details!!!

Seven Machos said...

My iPod is awesome. Interestingly, though, I just spent some time with a very successful entrepreneur and his musical tastes were just absurdly bland.

I guess that if you are great at business, it's time consuming and you don't have time to have awesome, properly obscure musical tastes. And those aloof assholes who work behind the counter at record stores (all six of them, these days) -- they are no doubt abysmal at business.

27183 said...

Yeah, my iPod has way too many editions of Weapons of Ass Destruction.

SteveR said...

Coketown That stereotype is not close in any way to my own experience (graduated High School 1975)

A. Shmendrik said...

ZZTop, Benny Carter, Louis Armstrong, Bill Haley & The Comets, Buddy Rich, The Crusaders,... not a hint of embarrassment.

Pogo said...

It was already established that Jobs didn't really care much what others thought about him. That likely went double for his taste in music, fashion, etc.

YoungHegelian said...

@Coketown,

Early admit to college in '74, and it wasn't my experience either.

Took over family stereo, had headphones, but there was no taboo about it. My parents thought my rock music was trash, but there was no secrecy involved. Even with weird stuff like Zappa & the Mothers.

But I think back that my dad used to read my National Lampoons and still didn't disown me ---- ai-yi-yi!

traditionalguy said...

Jobs must have swapped iPods with me the last time I sent it in to Apple for a repair.

The Crack Emcee said...

What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?

Only if that was my playlist.

ALH said...

There is nothing wrong with Barry Manilow, dammit. Nothing at all.

SteveOrr said...

I'd like to say Mmmmbop is one of my guilty pleasures but I just don't feel the least bit guilty about it.

Curious George said...

I guess the only thing out of the norm would be Tom Jones. But the dude has some pipes.

MadisonMan said...

I don't have an iPod.

If I did, it'd have disco on it. And Barbara Cook.

MathMom said...

I have The Count of Monte Cristo and War and Peace, a Monk episode and the first episode of Due South. That is all. I don't like iPods very much.

Palladian said...

"What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?"

Why be embarrassed? I'll even splash them all over the Althouse blog myself! [link to a 72-page PDF file containing a nice list of all the albums on my iPod].

Go ahead, find something embarrassing in there!

Smilin' Jack said...

No Joan Baez? Guess they didn't part on good terms....

Psychedelic George said...

"You're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place — then it won't make a damn."

Kesey (as quoted by Tom Wolfe)

phx said...

I keep about the same. More Dylan than anything. The only ones I don't have that are named are Buffalo Springfield (never liked that song), Don McLean and The Monkees.
I keep a lot of C&W and country blues though.
I'm pretty much cooler than Steve Jobs though.
Now what would be fun to see is his Top 40 Most Influential Songs.

Crimso said...

If I had an iPod, and if its contents were splattered all over the internet for people to peruse, and if anyone cared (and why would they?), no I wouldn't be embarrassed. I would be delighted in the looks of befuddlement that people would have. "The Fugs, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, who the fuck are these people?"

ALH said...

Palladian -
Tiny Tim might be considered embarrassing to some...but compared to my ipod, you are lookin' good!

Amartel said...

Hellno. Who cares what the dorks at Spin think anyway?
Spin exists to push sales for the recording industry. That's why they look down their nose at the "8track era" and promote "keeping up with the face [!?] of music" and not being "stuck" in a past era. You already bought that music!

Patrick said...

Years ago, I pretty much gave up being embarrassed by the music I listen to (and most other things, as well). I like what I like, and, like Honey Badger, I don't give a shit.

Mark in Spokane said...

Ah, the Monkees..."What am I doing hangin' round, I should be on that train and gone..."

The Crack Emcee said...

I've currently got 19,580 songs on my computer, including everybody mentioned on Jobs' iPod. But it also includes Agent Orange, Bad Brains, Miles Davis, Add N To (X), Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force, Albert King, Eric B. and Rakim, Fatboy Slim, Laibach, Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel, The Meters, DJ Smash, Daniel Dax, The Fucking 69 Corp, Johann Sebastian Bach, Charlie Pride, and many, many more. I've even got what many would call NewAge music.

I always regard it as sad when I don't see variety in someone's music collection because it says so much about the person. Either they're stuck in the '60s, or they don't like blacks (or Rap), or are limited in some other way that says they're not fully accessing life in full, but willingly putting a filter between themselves and what it has to offer.

Jobs, in many ways, was a sad figure - and, in the end, he knew it. He was betrayed by his culture more than anything else - a hippie/feminist culture determined to destroy a better vision of a man.

And they did it.

His was simply no way to die.

IggyRules said...

K-Tel Presents The Sounds of the 60s. More Apple marketing - the whole Bio is pretty suspect.

cassandra lite said...

I would give a year of life to know that "They're Coming To Take Me Away" was in the mix.

cassandra lite said...

Would we laugh at Glenn Gould for seeing that his iPod was crammed with Bach but had zero Chopin, who was a century younger?

Pastafarian said...

Palladian -- I was surprised to see some overlap between our collections, but...Sheila E?

Also interesting: The omissions. You have Led Zeppelin IV, except for Four Sticks. It wasn't worth the memory it would take up, just to keep the album complete? What's wrong with Four Sticks?

E.M. Davis said...

I have a very eclectic mix. Everything from Florence & The Machine to WU LYF to Prince to Danielson to Van Halen to The Kinks to Yann Tiersen to Girl Talk to U2 to Jay-Z & Kanye to Archie Bell & The Drells to Iggy Pop to The Cure to Percy Faith.

E.M. Davis said...

Oh, forgot George Jones, too.

Mr. D said...

Crack has the right idea -- genres are meant to be mixed and matched. I love shuffling the music, because how else would you hear "Stomp" by the Brothers Johnson and "Osage Stomp" by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys back to back?

dogzilla said...

@Mark in Spokane, good choice. I loved Michael Nesmith's music then, and I still do.

@cassandra lite and @cubanbob, you both made me LOL!

Steve Jobs's selections reads a lot like my own iPod, though I may have more Motown.

The only way I know anything about post-1989 music is from commercials. I don't have children or grandchildren and I really don't care whether I'm trendy or not. I enjoy a wide range of music from several centuries and genres. My iPod, my business.

Come to think of it "Wooly Bully" might make chores or a few minutes of daily workouts go by even more quickly. Heh--I'm heading over to download it now.

Roy Lofquist said...

Musical preferences have far more to do with emotional states than most realize. For the most part people prefer the music of their youth - when they were healthy, happy and optimistic.

We all have our emotional ups and downs. Music gets associated with those periods and can lead to seemingly eclectic tastes. They are eclectic - unique.

Freeman Hunt said...

If it happened while alive, yes. But only because of the music I listened to while running, which I would hardly call music at all.

Details!!!


I am not naturally sports competitive. So to continue running, I need music to nip at my amygdala. Really stupid music to activate that inner reptilian brain.

Freeman Hunt said...

Under normal conditions, I prefer music without words. Lyrics are almost always horrible. Horrible!

My husband is the exact opposite. He doesn't notice lyrics at all. All he notices is feel, cinematic potential.

Shanna said...

Really stupid music to activate that inner reptilian brain.

Yeah, I mostly try to keep my mp3 player full of uptempo stuff, because I only listen when I'm working out.

Pastafarian said...

OK, first person to guess Freeman Hunt's favorite running song wins a cookie. My try: Wynona's Big Brown Beaver, by Primus.

Pastafarian said...

Shanna, my wife does that too -- she runs to dance-disco stuff like Lady Gaga. But then, she likes that stuff. Freeman describing it as stupid, and seeming reluctant to give a title, that makes me wonder.

Rammstein maybe? No, I'll stick with Primus. Final answer.

Freeman Hunt said...

Primus? Okay, nothing that stupid.

David said...

No Do-wop? Steve, I'm disappointed. I thought you hung with the innovators.

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucius said...

@Freeman Hunt: If, as I suspect, we're talking about some kind of aggressive metal, you'll know best how to serve your jog and keep your secrets.

But if, as is possible, you've made the devil's deal with dance music, I'll suggest Kaskade. Brisk-tempoed, fat-bottomed vocal house, with a lot of breathy vocalists pining in reasonably well-considered (sometimes poetic, even!) lyrics.

Additionally, there's the odd satisfaction that he's a practicing Mormon.

Yes: I am so cool, I listen to Mormon techno. Shhh!

William said...

This shows my age. Years ago I was jogging in Central Park. They had a concert going on in Sheep Meadow. The band was playing the 1812 Overture, the noisy part. It really helped me pick up my pace. I thought that it was just great and that, if I were the Hapsburg Emperor, I would have the band play every night when I was jogging. A year or two later, Sony came out with the Walkman. The first tape I bought for it was the 1812 Overture. It felt very luxurious and exhilirating to listen to it while running. I don't know if the Walkman was a life changing event, but it sure made jogging more fun..... Nothing against the Ipod, but the Walkman was the quantum jump.....It doesn't matter what is on your Ipod. What counts is what you actually play. After a few plays of 1812, I started jogging to the Rolling Stones.

Kevin Walsh said...

Give him a break. He was 56. I'm 54 and mine breaks down like this: 50s: 259; 60s: 2665; 70s: 1990; 80s: 1282; 90s: 749; 00's: 866. You like what you like.

forgotten-ny.com

EDH said...

Crimso said...
...I would be delighted in the looks of befuddlement that people would have. "The Fugs, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, who the fuck are these people?"

Gentle Giant. First band I ever saw in concert, summer 1975, Boston Garden, open for Peter Framption [pre-Comes Alive] and Steppenwolf. I was 14.

Still don't own an iPod, but I have given them as gifts.

Robin said...

Mine would have Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys Greatest Hits.

EDH said...

Since I was tripping down memory lane, I figured I would Google that triple bill...

Torrent details (incomplete aud, 35years ago, maybe new to circulation? with samples)

On August 16, 1975, Boston Garden hosted a cool triple header on a hot summer night: Gentle Giant, Steppenwolf, and Peter Frampton. This recording includes most of the 1st and 3rd sets of it. the venue had no air conditioning, one of the main reasons it was torn down in 1995... the recording isn't the greatest (it is from 1975 at one of the worst sounding venues in the whole USA but it hosted some great concerts and this was one)... I was there (unfortunately without a recorder, or I'd have the Steppenwolf too.) I don't think any of this show has ever been posted before. samples are in comments. I hope this brings you giant pleasures. Ian a night at Boston Garden Boston, Mass.

(Steppenwolf was the second band to play in this show, after Gentle Giant and before Peter Frampton.)


Buzz! Sorry, wrong! Steppenwolf headlined and played third.

Palladian said...

"Palladian -- I was surprised to see some overlap between our collections, but...Sheila E?"

I have a friend who's obsessed with Prince's front groups. You may also notice the presence of several Vanity 6 tracks in my library...

I have quite a few things in my library that I actually dislike, such as quite a few Mozart compositions, Peaches, a compilation I made called "Worst Songs Ever", etc. It's useful to keep reference samples of bad things sometimes.

Also interesting: The omissions. You have Led Zeppelin IV, except for Four Sticks. It wasn't worth the memory it would take up, just to keep the album complete? What's wrong with Four Sticks?"

Nothing at all. But my Led Zeppelin collection dates from my high school days, and back then I had Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl and cassette tape. The only Led Zeppelin CDs I own are from the 1990 boxed set, and that boxed set didn't include "Four Sticks". All my digital Led Zeppelin is from that collection, and I don't listen to Led Zeppelin enough to justify filling the lacunae. I have quite a bit of music in my library for nostalgic purposes; things I liked when I was younger that I retain for trips down memory lane, such as They Might Be Giants, The Cure &c.

Balfegor said...

What if your iPod contents were splattered across the headlines? Would you be embarrassed?

Probably not, although I haven't updated my iPod in five or six years (I usually use my phone or other MP3 players instead). Reasons are: A) I'm not a public figure, so no one would care, and B) my music selections are so completely in line with what everyone who knows me would expect that there's really nothing to be embarrassed about -- it is 99% gloomy classical music, with a few traditional-style Korean, Japanese, and Chinese pieces, and one or two bits of modern soundtrack music from movies or TV shows.

The only exceptions, I suppose, could be 1) my self-recordings of my bar review course outlines, 2) a few recordings of poems I was memorizing, and 3) some silly Japanese radio dramas. But none of that is terribly embarrassing, frankly. Well, maybe 3) is.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gbarto said...

Hmm, my top 25 has multiple songs by Katie Melua, Lady Gaga, Dengue Fever, Mylene Farmer (French) and Kamilla (Uzbek). Also have 4 or 5 recordings of various Bach compositions, and of Shostakovich's first violin concerto. Only two John Lennon songs - Watching the Wheels and Whatever gets you through the night - and no Beatles, and I can only offer a shrug for Everybody wants to rule the world and Axel F. Anybody who looks at my playlists is baffled, but I think Mr. D is right: One of the joys of being able to put so much music on an iPod and let it shuffle away is that you can have curious and unusual listening experiences all the time and hear songs together that you just wouldn't if listening to the radio.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

This probably isn't going to surprise anyone, but, I don't own an iPod. I have a radio in the house, and another one in the shop.

Robert Cook said...

I wouldn't be ashamed at all: not only do I have good (and eclectic) taste, I long ago outgrew the idea that one's tastes in music was an indicator of how "cool" or "uncool" one was.

As it happens, I also have a few selections by The Monkees in my iTunes library, as well as a variety of music encompassing The Carpenters, Fred Astaire, the Butthole Surfers, Captain Beefheart, Sex Pistols, Stooges, Hendrix, James Brown, Pere Ubu, Pee Wee Russell (old jazz clarinetist), John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Art Pepper, to the noisiest of abstract free jazz musicians, and much else besides.

One likes what one likes and there's no apologizing for it.

Crimso said...

Sorely jealous of you, EDH. I never saw them. But listening to their studio work, and then listening to their live recordings (as well as the few YouTube offerings, some of which have been removed), it is obvious why they once recorded a song titled "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It." You'd swear 5 guys couldn't possibly recreate those songs live. Other bands that I'd think couldn't play their studio stuff live but absolutely do include Rush and Phish (who are perhaps the most talented group of musicians I've ever seen live, though I've only seen them about 25 times).

gerry said...

If I'm dead, I can't be embarrassed.

Tank said...

Embarrassed? Nah.

My tastes run pretty similar to lots of other people in their late 50's, and overlap Jobs'. Maybe I have more blues stuff than most.

Why be embarrassed? It's like being embarrassed about having brown hair. It is what it is.

Shanna said...

Peaches

The presidents of the united states of america's peaches? I actually have several songs from that album on my mp3 player (It's not an ipod).

They might be giants is making kids music now. My nephews have three albums, courtesy of aunt shanna. I think I have two or three of the kids songs on my mp3 player now. I'm kind of in love with one 'the sun is a mass of incandescent gas...'

Firehand said...

There's a FM station in Fort Worth that's run by a high school; the kids do all the programming(under supervision), choose the music, etc. It plays all 70's and some early 80's music.

I don't think they'd be too bothered by this.

Widmerpool said...

I think the trick is to get an Ipod with small storage capacity which forces you to rotate selections. My Touch 8gb has:

Ahmad Jamal - At The Pershing

Albert King - Live Wire/Blues Power

Bill Evans - How My Heart Sings, Moonbeams,Portrait in Jazz, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Waltz For Debby

Bobby Timmons - Trio In Person

Deep Blue ORgan Trio - Wonderful!

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care

John Lee Hooker - Best

John Scofield - Hand Jive

Kenny Barron - Live at Bradley's

Nina Simone - Best

Paul Weller - Best

Stones - Best

Wynton Kelly - Someday My Prince Will Come

brian said...

Defending Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Wooly Bully has a fun vocal and great horns. It dominated the charts in 1965 and is just a great party feel song. They sounded like they were having fun. If you don't have a few one hit wonders on your ipod you are too "cool" for me.

Rich B said...

What, no ? and the Mysterians or the Swinging Medallions?

Freeman Hunt said...

My MP3 player, by the way, is not an iPod. It's a little $20 thing I bought on Amazon.

Crunchy Frog said...

My iTunes (and BB Torch) is about half Christian rock, and half combination of metal/prog/classic rock.

Sacred: Disciple, Third Day, Thousand Foot Krutch, MercyMe, Red, TobyMac, Chris Tomlin, etc.

Secular: Pink Floyd, Rush, Led Zep, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard...

Oh, and some Garth Brooks thrown in for variety.

wv: bachraku - when Burt commits ritual suicide

TMink said...

My iPod only has fabulous music on it. I mean, it is MY iPod, why would I waste space with bad music?

Ok, that Monkees song "The Day We Fall in Love" sucks, but it sucks in a good, amusing way, so the net effect is good.

I think most of us have unfailing belief in the fantastic quality of the music on our iPod.

Trey

TMink said...

Widmerpool, I take the opposite strategy. I have the big 160 gig classic so I have everything and can be surprised when a song I forgot about comes up.

Trey

Freeman Hunt said...

Most of the stuff on my MP3 player is speech, not music.

Bryan Townsend said...

If I had an iPod, 95% of the contents would be Shostakovich, Beethoven and Bach. The other 5% would be the Beatles and Bob Dylan.

So, except for the inexplicable lack of S, B and B, Steve's iPod sounds perfectly normal.

traditionalguy said...

I gave my old iPod away once because a friend's grand children were fascinated by it, so I gave it to them.

yes, some songs needed to be deleted first.

Especially there was an album on it from early days of iTunes downloading, by Watermelon Slim. Believe me that was a vulgar bunch of songs. I cannot understand how I ever wanted it in the first place.