Guest Playlist: Alex Smith

Over the next few weeks, to mark the release of our volumes in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, we are featuring a series of guest playlists from friends, critics, and fellow music lovers. Given that both our books focus on New York in the 70s, we’ve asked contributors to curate lists along the lines of a loose theme: “favorite NYC records.” What constitutes a “NYC record” is left to their discretion.

This morning’s list comes from Alex Smith at Flaming Pablum, a Village blog with a 70s-80s East Village soul. He also contributes to The New York that Nobody Sings. Alex writes:

I was hugely enthused when Bryan first asked me to contribute to this, being that this stuff is right up my proverbial street. But then — I started to agonize. What exactly defines a “great NYC record”? Is it a sound? Subject matter? The personages involved? Moreover, since we were citing videos, should they be visually NYC-centric? My brain started filling with equally justifiable contenders for inclusion.

While there are scads of great examples of videos that feature New York City as their location (from “Cosmic Slop” by Parliament to “I’m Afraid of Americans” by David Bowie to “When I Get You Alone” by Thicke to “We Want the Airwaves” by the mighty Ramones, to name but a paltry few), I decided to simply cite songs that — to my mind — either singularly captured the New York experience and/or simply couldn’t have been recorded anywhere else. I know once I submit this, I’m going to bitterly lament excluding a whole bunch, but here goes….

Oh, and I’m cheating and going with ten. Sue me…

1. “Waiting for the Man” by the Velvet Underground

2. “New York Groove” by Ace Frehley

3. “Beat Bop” by Rammellzee & K-Rob

4. “All Twisted” by Kraut

5. “Forever” by Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul

6. “Steppin’ Out” by Joe Jackson

7. “I Love New York” by the Pop-O-Pies

8. “Rock Box” by Run-DMC

9. “We Gotta Know” by the Cro-Mags

10. “Shine On Elizabeth” by Cop Shoot Cop

What’s on your New York playlist?

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