Five years is a long time when you think about it, but it sure doesn’t feel like that long. Normally my yearly journals are a disguised way to feature and save the past year's statistics for the future. This year I’m cutting that part short and I’ll instead mainly talk about what my membership here at last.fm has meant to me musically. But first some statistics: I have scrobbled 106,190 tracks over the past five years. This is 16,137 scrobbled tracks more than last year. It’s also roughly a 1000 more than last year's numbers but that’s understandable considering that I spent five months in Austria where there I had little time to listen to music. Earlier this year I crossed the magic 100,000 scrobbles mark with Led Zeppelin
’s song Thank You
. Led Zeppelin is also on top my charts with a total of 20,474 scrobbles which is 2582 more than last year.
My music taste and the artists that I was listening to when I first joined last.fm five years ago wasn’t very diverse. I was mainly listening to artists that in some way was connected with The Yardbirds
; e.g. Led Zeppelin, Cream
and Eric Clapton
. I had just started at a university in September 2006 and I think it was thanks to better broadband in my new apartment that lead to that my music taste started to be more eclectic.
I think the semi-bootleg Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page
was the first recording that I got my hands on and I remember thinking how good the live arrangement of I’m a Man
was. Looking back I also realise how little I actually knew about the music that I was listening to at the time. My collection of live recordings, mainly by Led Zeppelin, started to grow. This can be seen by looking at the charts where a live version of White Summer
by Led Zeppelin lies high in the charts. It’s also thanks to some of my favourite live recordings that I started to listen to their albums. For example a recording of Derek and the Dominos from the Electric Factory in 1970, which contains superb versions of Why Does Love Got to Be Sad
and Let it Rain. These two made it clear how good the band was and this inspired me enough to buy the Layla And Assorted Love Songs
Another advantage with high speed Internet was that I was easily able to get my hands on a number of game soundtracks which I had listened to when I was younger. Grim Fandango, The Gone Jackals
album Bone to Pick which is featured in Full Throttle and perhaps most importantly the OST to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. The latter featured some very interesting acoustic guitar oriented songs, which I at the time had no idea who was playing. It turned out to be Django Reinhardt
. This finding did one way or another (in combination with the other music I was listening to) lead to that I started to listen to guitarists such as Joscho Stephan
, José Feliciano
, Bert Jansch
) and Davy Graham
Last.fm had back in 2006 a free radio station where you were able to listen to music that was similar to the artist that you had in your own library. I remember listening to a live version of Hey Joe by Roy Buchanan
and being amazed of how good he was and Gustav Holst
and his amazing The Planets Suite. A suite which I later realised that Jimmy Page
had used portions of in the lengthy Dazed and Confused medley. There are more examples but my memory of what I found that way is a bit fuzzy. I have since upgraded the (now premium accounts only) radio station with Spotify and Grooveshark which offers free music streaming services.
The radio station and the other streaming services have however not been the only source for new music. I’ve been in contact with a few other last.fm members over the years, which have been giving me music suggestions and trading music in one form or another. I started to listen to Tinariwen this way but most notably The Brian Jonestown Massacre
which Av4lanche after some tough convincing managed to sell in to me. I did similarly manage to introduce the amazing Roy Harper
(along with some other artists) to him.
The university studies also brought a few new additions to my music library. A friend of mine was (and still is) very into the band Dark Tranquillity
which I also started to listen to along with some other heavy metal bands in the same vein. Another more bizarre find was the Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté
whom I in a way found thanks to a guest lecture by an English teacher from Gambia. He talked lengthy about the instrument and what it stood for in his country. It turned out that Toumani had recorded one album together with Ali Farka Touré
whom I knew of from before. That album has along with the follow-up, which was released two years later, become two of my favourite records.
I don’t know how the next five years will be like but I sure hope that there will be more of these strange contacts with music in the future. Until next year...