The “Classics” Playlist

by Gus Torrey


This little pet project of mine was crafted with one goal in mind: to unify. Now, what does such a broad goal entail? What does unity mean throughout one’s lifetime? Between one’s family? Across eras? Across artistry?

For me, this all started with my mom. Growing up in my house, one would never fail to experience the sweet sounds of music cascading from our speakers. Whether you were slicing pork tenderloin to Tom Petty, watching the birds fly by to the Doobie Brothers, or swimming to Steve Miller Band, you were always enjoying a unique auditory experience curated by my mom. As the years of my childhood flew by, others in my family began to adopt their own musical niches. My sister treated me to weekend seacliff drives set to the melodies of Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel. My aunt and uncle flew in from Boston to fill the room with Jimi Hendrix. My grandma ensured that Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” were played during every family visit to Lake Tahoe. Even I, originating as a film enthusiast, pulled from the soundtracks of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Quentin Tarantino’s various films to join in on the fun.

I’m sure you can already make some sense of the wide array of artists that touched parts of my life thus far. This is part of the reason why I’ve loved contributing to TCU eleven40seven. When all is accounted for, the journal really is a celebration of the wide pool of artistry in which we are able to dive. So – in general – if one is to curate a musical experience, why should there be limits imposed on mixing eras? Give me a little bit of Elvis Presley with TOTO any day.

And why should Elvis Presley and TOTO find a home on the same playlist? Because music is a timeless journey which continually feeds into itself, inspiring new artists and sounds alike. Even the King of Rock and Roll himself can attribute his work to the influences of R&B and gospel artists of decades past. Without Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, there is no Elvis Presley. 

This musical seamlessness which I describe is what allows my “Classics” project to stand on its own two feet. Because there is such unity within the evolution of music throughout the decades, the playlist can be allowed to function. If you listen close enough, you will quickly notice that I have pinpointed the uniform sound which bridges each of the 110 featured songs. There are no breaks and the transitions are minimally abrupt. Half of the 20th century is represented, as are the musical tastes spanning many of my family ties. The latter is of special note because even though distance may separate my family, music can unify. For me, this is especially true when it is bridged together in a cohesive, curated experience partly inspired by the joy my family has brought me throughout my life.

Below, I have organized my “Classics” playlist in somewhat of a vinyl format. Dividing albums into “sides” of a phonograph record used to serve a very specific purpose: to fit the entire album onto one physical copy. For our purposes in 2021, this was the best way to consolidate a 7.5 hour playlist on our website. I hope you enjoy it, as I most certainly enjoyed creating it.


Side A

1. Tusk – Fleetwood Mac

2. Twist and Shout – The Beatles

3. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

4. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

5. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5

6. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf

7. Burning Love – Elvis Presley

8. I’m a Believer – The Monkees

9. Our House – Madness

10. Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest

11. Take it Easy – Eagles

12. Stuck in the Middle With You – Stealers Wheel

13. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

14. Hotel California – Eagles

15. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

16. Layla – Derek & The Dominoes

17. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

18. Slow Ride – Foghat

19. Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty

20. Fly Like an Eagle – Steve Miller Band

21. Take the Money and Run – Steve Miller Band

22. Jungle Love – Steve Miller Band

23. Crocodile Rock – Elton John

24. Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

25. Hungry – Paul Revere & The Raiders

26. Black is Black – Los Bravos

27. Roxanne – The Police

Side B

28. Paint It, Black – The Rolling Stones

29. We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel

30. Magic – Pilot

31. Centerfold – The J. Geils Band

32. Time Has Come Today – The Chambers Brothers

33. One of These Nights – Eagles

34. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

35. More Than a Feeling – Boston

36. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

37. Gimme Three Steps – Lynyrd Skynyrd

38. Long Cool Woman – The Hollies

39. Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

40. Fire – Jimi Hendrix

41. My Sharona – The Knack

42. I’m Alright – Kenny Loggins

43. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival 

44. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce

45. Movin’ Out – Billy Joel

46. Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

47. Surrender – Cheap Trick

48. 867-5309 / Jenny – Tommy Tutone

49. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen

50. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield

51. Miss You – The Rolling Stones

52. Smooth – Santana, Rob Thomas

53. Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band

54. Carry on Wayward Son – Kansas

Side C

55. Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers

56. Free Ride – The Edgar Winter Group

57. Your Love – The Outfield

58. Hold the Line – TOTO

59. Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

60. Don’t Ask Me No Questions – Lynyrd Skynyrd

61. Go All the Way – Raspberries

62. Fox on the Run – Sweet

63. Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

64. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival

65. Good Thing – Paul Revere & The Raiders

66. Daydream Believer – The Monkees

67. The Longest Time – Billy Joel

68. Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra

69. Vienna – Billy Joel

70. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

71. “Cheers” Theme – Gary Portnoy

72. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

73. That’s All – Genesis

74. Give a Little Bit – Supertramp

75. Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede, Björn Skifs

76. O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps

77. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac

78. Come and Get Your Love – Redbone

79. Down Under – Men At Work

80. Come on Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

81. Rich Girl – Daryl Hall & John Oates

82. The Joker – Steve Miller Band

Side D

83. Escape – Rupert Holmes

84. Wham Bang Shang-A-Lang – Silver

85. Brandy – Looking Glass

86. Sister Golden Hair – America

87. Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits

88. Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne

89. Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac

90. Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan

91. Jolene – Dolly Parton

92. Listen to the Music – The Doobie Brothers

93. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

94. Killer Queen – Queen

95. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

96. Rocket Man – Elton John

97. Moonage Daydream – David Bowie

98. Tiny Dancer – Elton John

99. Runaway – Jefferson Starship

100. The Air That I Breathe – The Hollies

101. Piano Man – Billy Joel

102. Lake Shore Drive – Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah

103. Come a Little Bit Closer – Jay & The Americans

104. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas

105. Right Down the Line – Gerry Rafferty

106. You Don’t Know How it Feels – Tom Petty

107. The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

108. Black Water – The Doobie Brothers

109. American Pie – Don McLean

110. Baba O’Riley – The Who