I decided to do a mix of covers of a single artist, and went with my biggest collection first: The Beatles. I started with 842 songs, took out duplicates (studio/live) absurdly short or long ones and got down to a much more manageable 420 songs (for a playlist of just under 24 hours).
And then Prince passed away.
I became obsessed and spent several weeks assembling that mix first. This is my playlist of the best Prince covers (easy way out on order was chronological):

  1. Tavarius Polk – Crazy You
  2. Banditas – When You Were Mine
  3. LCD Soundsystem – Controversy
  4. Yacht – Annie Christian
  5. Stone Gossard – 1999
  6. AutreNV – Little Red Corvette
  7. Dump [James McNew] – How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
  8. Janelle Monae – Let’s Go Crazy
  9. Fanatic feat. Deborah Cox – Take Me With U
  10. Beyonc̩ РThe Beautiful Ones
  11. Foo Fighters – Darling Nikki
  12. Barenaked Ladies – When Doves Cry
  13. Chvrches – I Would Die 4 U
  14. Kelly Clarkson – Purple Rain
  15. Living Colour – 17 Days
  16. Beck – Raspberry Beret
  17. Local H – Pop Life
  18. Dixie Chicks – Nothing Compares 2 U
  19. B-Town Soul Cats – Kiss
  20. D’Angelo – Sometimes It Snows In April (with Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum)
  21. Muse – Sign O’ The Times
  22. Matt Nathanson – Starfish And Coffee
  23. Gary Numan – U Got The Look
  24. Hot Chip – If I Was Your Girlfriend
  25. Pamela Means – Strange Relationship
  26. The Afghan Whigs – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (feat. Steve Myers)
  27. Erykah Badu – The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker (with The Roots)
  28. The Smashing Pumpkins – The Cross (Sierra Swan vox)
  29. Alicia Keys – Adore
  30. John Wesley Harding – Cream
  31. Dave Matthews Band – Sexy MF
  32. Deverano – 7
  33. Sofian – The Truth (ft. Ole Staveteig)

And then I managed to whittle The Beatles covers down to 54 (one for each year since 1962). I also took out well known ones (like Aerosmith’s “Come Together” or Elton John’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or all of the I Am Sam soundtrack):

  1. Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen & The Rock Hall Jam Band – I Saw Her Standing There
  2. Redd Kross – It Won’t Be Long
  3. Semisonic – Till There Was You
  4. Sheryl Crow – A Hard Day’s Night
  5. Nanci Griffith – Things We Said Today
  6. Glen Phillips – I’ll Follow The Sun
  7. Extreme – Help!
  8. Elvis Costello – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  9. The Webb Sisters – I Need You
  10. Eddie From Ohio – Ticket To Ride
  11. Brandi Carlile – I’ve Just Seen A Face
  12. Elvis Presley – Yesterday
  13. Crooked Still – We Can Work It Out
  14. Electric Light Orchestra – Day Tripper
  15. The Donnas – Drive My Car
  16. Heather Nova – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  17. Dar Williams – You Won’t See Me
  18. Natalie Merchant – Nowhere Man
  19. Jim Boggia – Girl
  20. Lucy Kaplansky – I’m Looking Through You
  21. Dave Matthews – In My Life
  22. Eric Clapton – If I Needed Someone
  23. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Taxman
  24. Vertical Horizon – Eleanor Rigby
  25. Laurie MacAllister – I’m Only Sleeping
  26. David & Joe Gilmour – Here, There And Everywhere
  27. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – And Your Bird Can Sing
  28. Peter Mulvey – For No One (with Anita Suhanin)
  29. Jerry Garcia Band – I Want To Tell You
  30. Chicago – Got To Get You Into My Life
  31. Peter Gabriel – Strawberry Fields Forever
  32. Tori Amos – Penny Lane
  33. Steven Page with the Art of Time Ensemble – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  34. Train – With A Little Help From My Friends (with Sammy Hagar & Matt Nathanson)
  35. Jeff Beck – A Day In The Life
  36. Thea Gilmore – All You Need Is Love
  37. Alanis Morissette – Dear Prudence
  38. No Doubt – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  39. Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison And Prince – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  40. Phish – Rocky Raccoon
  41. Tony Furtado – I Will (with Alison Krauss)
  42. Soundgarden – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  43. Winterpills – Cry Baby Cry
  44. Pretenders – Don’t Let Me Down
  45. Prince – Come Together
  46. Brian May & Kerry Ellis – Something
  47. Billy Joel and Elton John – Here Comes The Sun
  48. Urban Voices Collective – Because
  49. Cheap Trick – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
  50. The Low Anthem – Her Majesty
  51. Bill Withers – Let It Be
  52. Rufus Wainwright, Sean Lennon and Moby – Across The Universe
  53. Elliott Smith – I Me Mine
  54. Pearl Jam – I’ve Got A Feeling


I’d only seen Heather Nova once before because I was in London the same time she was performing there in 2002. So when she came to Jammin’ Java on Saturday the 2nd I was pretty excited. She put on a great show with all the classics I wanted to hear (especially “Heart And Shoulder”). The next day I took Nina to a birthday party at JW Tumbles – I would have thought she was too big it now, but she loved playing there with her friends.

Heather Nova

Wednesday I went over to Mom’s as she and David were having a civil ceremony since Tom wasn’t certified to perform the ceremony in Virginia. We drove over to the celebrant’s house with her friend Mary and witnessed the deed, then Mom and David took us out to lunch at Villa Mozart. It was delicious, but I had to make up a big chunk of work later in the week.

Mary Nancy David Kerry

It never fails that there’s at least one show each spring that has me looking forward to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Thursday the 7th it was the lovely voiced Aoife O’Donovan with Anthony da Costa on guitar while Mark Erelli opened. Great night of music that had me looking forward to summer. Saturday I took Nina to the Reston book sale after her swimming lesson and she picked out a bunch of books. We thought about going over to Reston Founder’s Day at Lake Anne but it was windy and rainy. That night there was a price glitch at Amazon and many albums were marked down to free – I spent hours downloading over 200 free albums (late that night the prices reverted).


Sunday the 10th I headed to DC after breakfast to take the train to NYC for my 2nd solo trip since Nina came along. I got to the Seton Hotel in the afternoon – the one bad thing about it was the “shared bathroom” meant 2 bathrooms for the whole floor. I walked over to the Num Pang Sandwich Shop and got the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich (hit the spot), then read for a while before heading over to Radio City Music Hall.

David Gilmour

The reason for the trip was David Gilmour. The voice and guitar of Pink Floyd hadn’t toured the USA in 10 years and I figured it would be the last (last time we took a trip to Toronto). I bought a ticket for the Monday show at Madison Square Garden and figured going to the smaller venue would be even better. But I was wrong. I was way up front, but couldn’t see much of the visuals. Also the subwoofers were right there and the bass was too loud, never mind the asshat behind me that never stopped yelling out requests.

David Gilmour

The next morning I slept in, then headed over to Academy Records to shop. For lunch I went across the street to The Gander and had a delicious lunch of duck and charred cauliflower. I also went to Other Music to shop as well. I had a quick break back at the room (got a Shake Shack shake as they were next door to the hotel), then I picked up a “Killer Bee” pizza from B Side Pizza as I walked over to stand in line at the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. You’d have thought I learned my lesson from the first time we tried (and failed) to see the Daily Show, but it was a long line with only about 10 people behind me. When I made it in, I figured everything was fine, but when we got seated, the music stopped with 5 people to go (including me). The lady in charge offered to seat 3 of us on the edge and offered 2 VIP tickets as a consolation prize – luckily the first folks opted for VIP and I got to see the show. Good show and panel (frankly, one my favorite shows anyway) but weird to hear the unbleeped profanity.

Nightly Show

The reason I stopped for food was there was no time afterwards, just straight over to Madison Square Garden (well, time for a drink there before the show started). I was already enjoying the show more than the night before (amazing visuals, perfect sound, great performance)… and then I ran into Neil Gaiman in the bathroom line at intermission. He showed me a lovely picture of his new son, we talked about phones (he still has the BlackBerry). The rest of the show was great, but I kept chuckling to myself about the weird way the universe works. Vacation is the only time I can justify both starting and ending the day sitting at a bar. I was hungry by the time I got out of the subway at Grand Central, and stopped in at the Park Avenue Tavern. Unfortunately their kitchen had just closed so I had a Ludlow cocktail (with muddled cucumber) while I pondered my options. I settled on Scotty’s Diner down the block, where I could have two things I’d been craving: fried eggs (perfect) and carrot cake (meh). The next morning I stopped at Bagel Express for a bagel sandwich for me and a dozen to take home to Jill, then had a pleasant trip home in the rain. I started reading the Walking Dead comics when I left, got up to issue 80 by the time I got back.

David Gilmour

Wednesday the 13th Jill was a chaperone on Nina’s class trip to the National Zoo. Thursday Jill and I met at Lake Anne for the Lake Anne Brew House Pre-Opening Event (I was a KickStarter backer) and tried their new beverages (now we just need a brewpub at South Lakes). Friday Nina and had dinner at Cafesano with her BFF and his family (she can’t have the pizza anymore since they added an eggwash, but she ate some chicken skewers with her lentil soup).


Saturday Nina and I took the Metro to the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Nina loved the science fair – her favorites were the army VR (interactive helicopter mission) and building a neuron. She wasn’t impressed by They Might Be Giants – after 10 minutes asked where the giants were (and she really wanted a light up yo-yo).


Sunday Jill took Nina to Meadowlark Gardens in the morning while I did yardwork and went shopping. Later I took her to Toys “R” Us to get a yo-yo (it didn’t light up but she wanted one right then) before we were to meet Jill at the nearby Don Pablo’s for dinner – except they’d closed it (bye to my favorite queso). So we went to Plaza Azteca (and you can’t go wrong with table side guacamole when you have a picky eater).


Wednesday the 20th Mom came over to watch Nina and Jill and walked over to Red’s Table for a beer dinner with beers from Fair Winds Brewing (ironically I’d just filled my growler with their anniversary ale a couple days earlier). The first course featured the largest calamari I’d ever seen stuffed with sausage and Jill loved the spiced butter chicken, but the topper was the hazelnut cream doughnut topped with a rhubarb compote. Thursday the 21st Prince passed away, and it felt like that was the heaviest musical passing yet, as I spent weeks hunting down great performances and covers of his songs.


Mom’s wedding was on Saturday the 23rd. It was a small crowd of relatives, including my sister and my uncle. After the ceremony, we all went over to the Peking Gourmet Inn for lunch. I thought Nina might try the duck, but I was wrong – she settled for some chicken and broccoli without sauce. After a break, we came back in the evening so we could visit with my sister and her family, and brought over some Flippin’ Pizza and Bon Chon Chicken for dinner.

Nancy Tom David

We had the Norwoods over for brunch and playtime the next day. Later I went into DC and saw Generation Axe (Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme, Zakk Wylde from Ozzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Steve Vai) with my college buddy Eric. I wasn’t going to take pictures that night, but then Zakk Wylde decided to demonstrate shredding behind his head right next to me.

Zakk Wylde

Tuesday Jill took Nina into DC to see the Renwick Gallery and the Building Museum. Saturday the 30th I went to Scrawl Books for Independent Bookstore Day and got my Neil Gaiman coloring book after being 8th in line. They’re teeny tiny but have lots of books. Later, Nina’s school had International Day and Nina got to go to all the activities in the different rooms before the African drum concert at the end.


Two big accomplishments for Nina this month: she learned to write her name and learned to whistle.