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My favorite things

All right, Chris over at The Collector started this, so you can blame him.

He put together a post of his "favorite things," from each decade, starting with the 1950s. But he kept those "favorite things" to cards, movies and songs.

Good idea, I thought. I think I'd like to do that.

A couple of problems though.

First, I've already done the decade favorite things thing with baseball cards. Granted, they were just Topps cards, but I did it pretty recently and there's no need to repeat myself. So, to get around that, I thought I'd show my second favorite year of cards for each decade, or, in some cases, an alternative favorite (you'll see what I mean later).

Next problem: movies.

I'm not a movie freak like much of America. I have no desire to sit on my butt for 2-to-3 hours, staring at the screen on a regular basis if nobody's hitting a baseball. That's kept my movie-viewing down so much that I perpetually stun people with my lack of knowledge about movies (I've never seen The Godfather or its spin-offs, Avatar, any of the Lord of the Rings movies, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, most of the post-1990s superhero movies, or the back half of the Star Wars releases). But I will press on with my minimal knowledge.

Finally, music. How the hell do you pick a favorite out of that?

This is nearly impossible and I knew I couldn't do it. My favorite listens change all the time, all you have to do is know how often I swap out the songs on my phone. But I let my phone decide how I'd pick a favorite -- or rather a favorite right now. Only songs in my phone will be up for debate.

OK, here are my favorite things ... as of this point ... and half of them will change tomorrow.


Second favorite set: 1959 Topps is my second favorite behind 1956 Topps. As I've said here often, there is no set that sums up the decade better than '59 Topps. The colors, the design, everything is splendidly '50s. And that's why I like it.

Favorite movie: I don't have one. I don't think I've ever watched more than a few minutes of any '50s movie. I'm not that interested to get into the history of movies, or at least the history of 60-year-old movies.

Favorite song: "Be-Bop-A-Lula" - Gene Vincent

Probably not really my favorite '50s song, but I don't know what that would be. I know that I've always liked "Be-Bop-A-Lula," far more than many more famous '50s rock-a-billy songs. It's catchy as hell. So that's good enough.


Favorite set: This actually is my favorite '60s set, not my second-favorite. When I selected the best Topps set of each decade on that earlier post, I went with 1965 Topps just because I thought it represented the decade the best. But I enjoy the 1967 set more.

Favorite movie: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"

Again, I haven't viewed many '60s movies. The ones that have left a mark were favorites of my dad's, stuff like "The Pink Panther" and this one. Dad was such a fan of this movie that my brother and I went in on a big retrospective video package boxed set thing one Christmas. He got a kick out of it. A couple of weeks ago, after my dad's passing, I was cleaning up around the house and found the movie stored under the guest bed. Yes, I heard the music.

Favorite song: "Conquistador" - Procol Harum

Although I enjoy '60s music a lot, there isn't much of it on my phone. The music is just old enough that it doesn't blend well with the other music on the playlist. However, there are a few that are too perfect. "Help Me Rhonda" and Tyrone Davis' "Can I Change My Mind" are two of them. And, by far, one that will never leave my phone is "Conquistador". Epic. (Think I linked to the '72 version but either is dandy).


Second favorite set: Somewhere several lengths behind 1975 Topps is the '72 set. It is, without a doubt part of my childhood, the way hand-me-downs from older siblings is part of many people's childhood. These were the cards the older kids collected. They sure looked cool.

Favorite movie: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

The '70s was my childhood. So part of me really wanted to put "Escape To Witch Mountain" here. Many of the '70s movies that made the biggest impression on me -- "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Bad News Bears," "The Muppet Movie" -- are kid friendly. Later in the decade, I got into "Star Wars," and older kid stuff. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" may not hold up all that well, but it left a big impression on me and its messages remain true. "This is a lot different from Star Wars," I thought.

Favorite song: "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" - Alan Parsons Project

Holy crap, picking a favorite song out of the '70s, are you out of your mind? Where does anybody start? I had that problem. My instinct was to go with Boston's "More Than a Feeling," but instead I chose one of the two '70s songs that I will never get tired of no matter how many times I hear them (this is a rare, rare, positive song trait). One is Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown," and the other is APP's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You".


Second-favorite set: Hey! We've finally broken free from Topps' rule! Looking at Topps' '80s sets, there isn't much that stands out after 1983. So I went with my favorite Donruss set, which is from 1984. It just barely edges out another 1984 set, from Fleer.

Favorite movie: "After Hours"

The '80s was prime movie viewing time for me. I watched movies as often as people do now. I saw all the big pictures and many of the small ones, too. One of the smaller ones was Martin Scorsese's "After Hours," which is a classic paranoia flick. I gravitate toward protagonists who are outsiders. I gravitate toward dark humor. The fact that this movie takes place entirely after most people have gone to sleep makes it even better. Plus, Teri Garr!

Favorite song: "It's My Life" - Talk Talk

OK, I could give you a favorite '80s song for every day of the year. Among the songs on my playlist, about 75 percent is '80s music. I know just about everything about '80s songs that you could know -- and not in any ironic way that later generations know them ("Guardians of the Galaxy," etc.). The '80s were beautiful when it comes to music. So, right now my favorite is Talk Talk's "It's My Life". It's awesome. Tomorrow it might be Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait". That's awesome, too.


Favorite set: No "second-favorite" in this decade either. I've completed exactly one present-day Upper Deck set. It's from 1993. It's the best set, of any card company, of the decade.

Favorite movie: "Boogie Nights"

By the '90s, I started to lose interest in movies somewhat. The big blockbusters that everyone raved about just didn't do it for me. (The real turning point was when "A Few Good Men" came out and everyone thought it was wonderful. I watched it and thought I was watching dialogue from a made-for-TV movie). Movies for me must feature developed characters, real story-telling and be as melancholy as hell for me to make them my favorite. Who knew a movie about a bunch of '70s porn misfits could tackle all that?

Favorite song: "Summertime" - The Sundays

Again, a lot to choose from in the '90s, although it got it a little depressing with all the grunge and gangsterism. "Summertime" is probably not my actual favorite song of the '90s but it is summertime right now outside my window, and I love the free and breezy sound, and Harriet Wheeler has the most soothing voice in the history of time.


Favorite set: I picked 2003 Topps for my decade's best in the previous post. Obviously some of the non-flagship sets were better, none moreso than the first Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set I ever saw, which is from 2004. Sometimes Fan Favorites did quirky things like this, adding a notable person, who really nobody knew as a player. I can appreciate that.

Favorite movie: "Lost In Translation"

Another aching movie about alienation and the struggle to relate. It speaks to me so much (I even wrote a post about it). It took me a long time to find this movie as I spent most of the decade watching stuff like "Little Nemo" and "Kung Fu Panda," because that's what you do as a young parent.

Favorite song: "Why Do You Love Me" - Garbage

We were slowly getting away from everything I enjoyed in music in the first decade of the 2000s, but there were still several songs that kept me interested. Much of Garbage's conflict-ridden "Bleed Like Me" album met my approval. I think "Why Do You Love Me" might be the best song sung by a female-led band ever. I haven't thought about that too carefully but that's what I think when I hear it.


Second-favorite set: Until 2015 Topps came along, 2013 Topps was my absolute favorite. Love that space-age sea turtle.

Favorite movie: "Moneyball"

I just don't watch many movies these days. Out of the dozen or so times I've sat inside a theater in the last decade, this was the best.

Favorite song: "Great Day" - The Sounds

The state of popular music the last decade or more is depressing. There's good stuff around but you gotta search and I have no time to search anymore. Last year I found an album released in 2013 by the Swedish band "The Sounds," a band I knew well back near the turn of the century. I came across a song called "Great Day," which I don't think was ever released as a single. It hit me solid in the forehead. Just a crushing song for modern days that touches on yearning, despair and hope. And, yes, Maja, I will dance with you. Easily my favorite song of the last five years.

Holy heck, that was a lot of work.


Old Cards said…
1959 and 1967 Topps are hard to beat as just good pure baseball card enjoyment. I am with you on movies. Watching made up stories with people acting like they are someone else and mouthing words somebody else wrote. One of life's big disappointments is finding out the actor/actress is nothing like the character he or she portrayed that you really liked.
BaseSetCalling said…
1959 has all the elements. Name. Position. Team. Team logo. Signature. And a classy signature at that. And - Color. I will never be able to collect 1959 and even traded away my only card from the set, to a blogger trying to build it. I just wish Topps, who has re-run it three times now I think, would take a stab at it, or their other vintage classic designs, with a nice warm Analog approach to it. The 21st century Digital versions always turn me off.

I was getting worried till the final image appeared. Coltrane's take on the song in one of my Favorite Things.
Steve Gierman said…
You should give some 50s movies a shot. You're missing some classic Disney, Hitchcock and Brando to name a few.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Hehehe. I could do cards and movies. Not sure I could do songs.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Actually, what the hey, here goes. I could go back to the 1930s if I didn't have to include music…

1950s: 1953 Bowman; Billy Wilder, Some Like it Hot; Richie Valens, La Bamba
1960s: 1965 Topps; Akira Kurosawa, Yojimbo; Beatles, Dear Prudence
1970s: 1972 Topps; George Roy Hill, The Sting; Pink Floyd, Welcome to the Machine
1980s: 1988 Score; Miyazaki Hayao, Kiki's Delivery Service; Violent Femmes, Add It Up
1990s: 1991 Topps; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Delicatessen; Radiohead, Airbag
2000s: 2008 Upper Deck; Hou Hsiao-hsien, Three Times; Shakria, La Tortura
2010s: 2015 Topps; Tomm Moore, Song of the Sea; Ibeyo, River
Adam said…
I think I'm gonna have to jump on this bandwagon now. Also, I'll definitely check out some of those songs and artists you mentioned. I'm always on the lookout for more good music.
Chris said…
I’m kind of surprised you took a shot at this since you had so recently posted about your favorite (Topps) sets of each decade and narrowing down the music to one song per decade is understandably difficult. Hopefully this post will inspire other bloggers to share their lists and hear new tunes. I definitely need more Sounds songs on my playlist.
Matt said…
This will be tough. Like you said, music tastes are constantly changing and it's hard to narrow down just one from a decade. For me however, movies will hold that same problem. I'm going to have to think about this one for awhile...
Billy Kingsley said…
I had actually listened to Be-Bop-A-Lula on the way to the Tuesday night car show just before you posted this.

I've never seen The good, the bad and the ugly but I have the theme song in my playlist.
Doc Samson said…
Mr. Owl, I'm beginning to think you and I were separated at birth. Especially your memories of Garbage's Bleed Like Me. It sent a shiver down my spine!
I'm also a huge fan of the 1959 Topps set and feel it's incredibly underrated. I was pleased to see it recreated in last year's Topps Archives.
Fuji said…
This BBA proved to be much more challenging than I originally anticipated. Like you... I don't really watch many movies. Well I did in the 80's and 90's, but I haven't since I started teaching. As for music... it's so hard to nail down a favorite. A lot of my music interests depends on my mood. I'll still end up doing this... but I'm gonna break it down into smaller, more manageable posts.

P.S. Whatever happened to Teri Garr? I totally forgot about her, but seeing her name in this post sure brought back memories.

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