Dan Wilson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic, solo artist)

Okay Darren, here are my picks! I’m sure if I thought about it more I’d only come up with a bunch more bonus picks, so I’m sticking to these.

Joni Mitchell’s Hejira album. If it were one song I’d say “Hejira” — there’s something so heartbreaking about Jaco Pastorius’ bass melodies intertwining with Joni’s lyrics. And the song is about love, travel, the temporary fixes of modern life, and the quest for something lasting. What more could you ask for in a song?

The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” single (from Magical Mystery Tour). Kinda sad to waste a pick on a single, but on the other side I guess is “Strawberry Fields Forever,” so I don’t feel so bad. “Penny Lane” is my favorite Beatles song by far and I love the music and lyrics equally. I can’t believe I’m not saying that about a Lennon song, but there it is.

Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart’s K.545 piano sonata (from Mozart 2 Sonatas). This sonata is like peace and joy folded together into the world’s most profound dessert.

Radiohead’s OK Computer, in particular “Let Down.” When this album came out I listened to it every day for about a month. I’ve calmed down to about once a month but it’s still one of my favorite things to do with an hour.

Cat Stevens’ “Moonshadow” (from Teaser and the Firecat). What is this song about? Why is he threatened by all these terrible fates? And how can he stay calm about them? And what is a moonshadow? It’s nearly as nonsensical as “The Ocean,” and it’s just as great.

Okay, i’m taking a 6th pick.

Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album. If I ever need to cheer myself up, I listen to “The Ocean.” Never fails.

Hugo Burnham (drummer, Gang of Four)

The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed. One of the first albums I ever bought; defines the Stones’ best era — dangerous, druggy, sexy, confident, stunning drumming throughout…I ripped off/messed around with that “Monkey Man” riff for so much Gang of Four stuff.

David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. With the amazing drum riff opening “Five Years” at the top and all through it…this record changed my life…musically, personally.

Gang of Four’s Entertainment. There’s never a feeling that can match “…jesus — we did it. Wow.” [Check out “At Home He’s a Tourist.”]

The Who’s Quadrophenia. We skived off school one afternoon, went up to catch the 5:15 out of Waterloo to Brighton (…though I think it was actually 5:17)…and lay on the beach listening to it all on a crappy old mono cassette player. It roared like a lion all the way through. SO much better than Tommy. [Check out “The Real Me.”]

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Green River. The first band I ever saw live, and felt was my own…not shared with my brother. Went with our Dad and him to their first ever UK show. Great. [Check out “The Night Time Is the Right Time.”]

Sixth pick (sorry)

Free’s Fire and Water. They were so young, they were so elemental, they defined ‘less is more’…not a beat or note too many. Simon Kirke…BIG influence on my style, too. [Check out “Fire And Water.”]