Sunday, January 13, 2013

Piccadilly Weepers: Songs for National Geographic

In my other life, I'm a librarian at National Geographic. Today is the 125th anniversary of the Society's founding. While planning for this auspicious occasion, someone suggested that we compile a party mix of the kind of music that our founders would have listened to in 1888. However, this idea was eventually shelved because, whatever the merits of Brahms, Debussy, and Mahler, "party mix tape" is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear their work.

The Society's archivist, Renee, had a different idea. Why not create a soundtrack of modern pop songs inspired by our Founders' travels and accomplishments? So, Renee took a piece of paper and played a quick game of word association. These are the terms that came to mind when she thought of the explorers, geographers, military officers, inventors, geologists, conservationists, and journalists--accomplished men all--who formed National Geographic back in 1888:

Word cloud made with WordItOut

(Read more about the Society's founders here.) 

After that, I came up with a list of songs celebrating the experiences of our intrepid founders.

Elvis Costello: Beyond Belief

Liz Phair: Go West

Thomas Dolby: She Blinded Me With Science

Moth Conspiracy: Piccadilly Weepers

Also called "dundrearies," Piccadilly Weepers were long-flowing sideburns so popular among the Geographic's founders.

The Dirtbombs: Your Love Belongs Under a Rock

The Be Good Tanyas: The Littlest Birds

Andrew Bird: Lull

Uncle Tupelo: New Madrid

Michael Kiwanuka: Bones

Sonny Rollins: I'm an Old Cowhand

Bjork: It's Oh So Quiet

The Beatles: Back in the U.S.S.R.

Neko Case: This Tornado Loves You

Olivia Tremor Control: Define a Transparent Dream

Wire: Map Ref 41°N 93°W

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Maps

The Sweet: Alexander Graham Bell

Robyn Hitchcock: Bass

The Who: The Seeker

3Ds: Beautiful Things

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down: Geography

Michelle Shocked: Anchorage

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive