Day 67: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

Another day, another band of New Romantics from Chuck dating back to the early '80s. Kendall, meanwhile, is still keeping things country.

Depeche Mode and Dolly Parton don't have much in common, but since we explored New Wave's early roots yesterday, it's a good day to go in the other direction and explore the influences of Dolly Parton as she makes her second appearance on our countdown.

Dolly's influences reach back at least to the '40s with early female country stars like Rose Maddox blazing a trail that she would eventually follow. But none of those influences were bigger than Kitty Wells, the Queen of Country Music.

Kitty hit it big in 1952 with "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," and her earliest hits came well before the album era. Most of those early hits were collected in a 1963 double album collection titled The Kitty Wells Story. It's a great place to explore Wells' music, and its also your bonus pick of the day.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Depeche Mode

The Singles 81>85 (1998)

Why I Love It

It was tricky for me to choose betweenThe Singles>81-85 and The Singles>86-98. Both greatest hits compilations are fantastic and worth your time. I went with the former because I love hearing Depeche Mode finding its sound in the early stages of its career, although they released plenty more spectacular music after these great tunes. In fact, the new wave sound of the band quickly captured the music world's attention and led to the trio playing stadiums by the late 1980s. The music is full of hooks that do their job with aplomb. The 15-song compilation includes two previously unreleased tracks that hold their own with the hits. I have always loved Depeche Mode's unique sound and talent for writing great pop songs. It is another band that always transports me back to high school in my mind, which is one of the many true gifts of music.

Album Highlights

"Just Can't Get Enough," "People are People" and "Blasphemous Rumors"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

For the second day in a row, Chuck's got a British band that hit it big starting in the early '80s as part of New Wave's sub-genre of New Romantics. And I'll admit, I went into this in the same way that I approached Duran Duran - not being able to name more than a song or two yet recognizing almost everything on this hits collection. Another solid pick from Chuck's high school years.


Dolly Parton

Coat Of Many Colors (1971)

Why I Love It

Like some of the other hard-country albums I've introduced here, this one is part of the soundtrack from my childhood that still echoes through the years.

My dad had pretty much every Dolly Parton album from the '60s and '70s including this gem that featured the autobiographical title track. "Coat Of Many Colors" was one of Dolly's first signature songs, and while she would record a pile of them before she was done, this is still the one that sounds most authentic as it tells the story of a coat Dolly's mother made for her fashioned from old discarded rags and scraps of cloth. It's equal parts sadness and joy; it's hard not to feel Dolly tugging on your heartstrings with the image of a young girl - in this case, Dolly herself - so poor that she was wrapped in a colorful homemade coat only to be laughed at by her childhood friends. And, yet, her mature response warms the heart and shows that Dolly was destined to be a songwriter from the very beginning.

Album Highlights

"Coat Of Many Colors," "Traveling Man" and "My Blue Tears"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

I included a Dolly Parton greatest hits on my list earlier in the countdown, but she also put out some fantastic studio albums. This one is right up there with the best of them. Her signature biographical title track remains one of the greatest songs in her prolific career. I love everything about Dolly. Her incredible voice is only rivaled by her tremendous character. I could listen to her sing pretty much anything and enjoy it. She has consistently released great music, but I love this choice by Kendall to include one of her early works. It's hard to believe she has been recording music since before I was alive. Dolly is a treasure.

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