ItвЂ™s unlikely that Gutenberg in 1454 could have imagined what his invention would lead to: single-day sales of 15 million copies of a tale about the adventures of a teenage wizard, for instance.
If you havenвЂ™t been, go visit DCвЂ™s own amazing copy of this landmark tome featured in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress. The new interactive bible exhibit is amazing, allowing you to flip through a 550 year old book like you were house-sitting for Bill Gates. The rest of the LOC is pretty cool too.
1. вЂњMaroon BibleвЂќ вЂ“ Beulah
Discovered by Apples in Stereo genius Robert Schneider and signed to the Elephant Six label, this was the opening track on the debut album for these indie darlings. Alas, they proved the title of their documentary, A Good Band Is Easy to Kill, to be spot-on when they disbanded in 2005.
2. вЂњEveryday I Write the BookвЂќ вЂ“ Elvis Costello
CostelloвЂ™s first hit single in the US, this is not one of his own favorites despite its success. He once referred to it as вЂњa bad Smokey Robinson song.вЂќ We think Smokey wouldвЂ™ve been proud to pen вЂњChapter One, we didn't really get along, Chapter Two, I think I fell in love with you. You said you'd stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three, but you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six.вЂќ
3. вЂњTo the Ghosts Who Write History BooksвЂќ вЂ“ The Low Anthem
Beautiful song from a great debut album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, named after another landmark book creator. ItвЂ™s fair to say that Darwin might be thought of by some as the anti-Gutenberg.
4. вЂњBooks Of MosesвЂќ вЂ“ Tom Waits
Tom Waits covers Skip Spence? A throaty blues number more than does justice to the original, written by Spence, the ultimate Rock and Roll cautionary tale. He was instrumental in forming three legendary rock bands, introducing the founding members of The Doobie Brothers and sitting in on early sessions, helping to found Jefferson Airplane (along with DC natives Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady), and founding Moby Grape - before succumbing to mental illness which, according to those who knew him, was brought on by his hedonistic lifestyle).
5. вЂњOpen BookвЂќ вЂ“ CAKE
A fun song from SacramentoвЂ™s quirky quintet, known for clever lyrics and addictive bass lines. вЂњShe's writing, she's weaving, conceiving a plot. It quickens, it thickens. You can't put it down nowвЂ¦ You think sheвЂ™s an open book but you donвЂ™t know which page to turn to, do you?вЂќ
6. вЂњI Could Write a BookвЂќ вЂ“ Dinah Washington
Truly a classic American standard, from Rogers and HartвЂ™s Pal Joey, introduced by Gene Kelly and recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and countless others. Washington gives a trademark clean, fresh, straightforward rendition that really features her range and highlights the lyrics.
7. вЂњUlyssesвЂќ - Mason Jennings
A sweet song from a master songwriter that begins with a trek to procure a copy of the modernist classic by James Joyce, among other things. Is there anything better than a well written song about a well written book?
8. вЂњBook of DreamsвЂќ - Suzanne Vega
Upbeat and poppy, a nice change of pace from the poet who brought us pop tunes about the domestic abuse upstairs and the sound of our blood. When asked about the change, Vega replied вЂњI thought to myself вЂWhy for Chrissake can't you write a nice song about happy things?вЂ™"
9. вЂњThe Book of LoveвЂќ вЂ“ The Magnetic Fields
Magnetic Fields creator Stephin Merritt once praised a songwriter by saying she вЂњwrites heartbreaking melodies with words that make fun of heartbreaking melodies.вЂќ He hits the mark with this great song, which opens with the line вЂњThe book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thingвЂќ and goes on to claim вЂњThe book of love has music in it, in fact thatвЂ™s where music comes from. Some of it is just transcendental, some of it is just really dumb.вЂќ
10. вЂњI Write the BookвЂќ - Patty Griffin
This song first appeared on the six song вЂњindieвЂќ cassette that the unsigned Griffin sold at her early concerts. The early version, with its soft acoustic guitar, really highlights the beauty and strength of what may be the most amazing voice in modern music.
11. вЂњBook of PoemsвЂќ - Old 97s
Rhett Miller and pals rue lost opportunity and lack of conviction in one of the many great tracks from 2001вЂ™s Satellite Rides.
12. вЂњNeon BibleвЂќ вЂ“ Arcade Fire
WeвЂ™ll close with a song to please fans of this yearвЂ™s top selling book, Dan BrownвЂ™s The Lost Symbol, set right here in our own Washington, DC. Recorded in a former Masonic temple, the haunting lyrics, gentle strings, and steady bass drum give this the feel of a ritualistic chant that could jump right onto the soundtrack to the inevitable movie. Imagine Tom Hanks in a blindfold, being led into a stone cryptвЂ¦(The album cover is the image accompanying this list.)
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