A Let Them Read Vinyl Exclusive: From the Mind of Alan Cross


In my day job at Speakers’ Spotlight I am an agent for intellectual talent, which means I have the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the world’s most fascinating people. One of those folks is Alan Cross. Yes, the Alan Cross, Canada’s most esteemed musicologist.

The last time we chatted, towards the end of the discussion I simply couldn’t help myself – I had to ask him what his favourite songs and albums of all time were. Can you blame me? Music lovers are freaks about ‘Top 5’ lists and such, so to me not asking him would be like having Roger Ebert across from you and neglecting to ask what his favourite movie is.

So below are a few odds & sods culled straight from the mind of Alan Cross. Everything I could remember anyway. See how they stack up against your own favourites.  Many thanks and enjoy!

Alan Cross’ Favourite Songs (in order)

  1. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
  2. London Calling – The Clash
  3. Resurrection – The Stone Roses
  4. Biko/Secret World (live) – Peter Gabriel
  5. Head Like a Hole – NIN

Favourite Albums (in order)

  1. Who’s Next
  2. The Stone Roses
  3. Pretty Hate Machine
  4. London Calling
  5. Kind of Blue (Miles Davis)

Some other tidbits…

Best interview was with Courtney Love in 1998 in Beverley Hills at the
Chateau Marmont, where she lunged across the table at him for mentioning Billy Corgan.

His greatest live music moment was in 1987: Roger Waters was touring
his Radio KAOS album and during the show played a few Pink Floyd
songs. His moment occurred during ‘Mother’ from The Wall.

He said my belief that while the greatest song of all time will always
change, Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen will always be the 2nd greatest
song ever recorded was ‘not wrong’.  I’d hoped for more than that but
I’ll take what I can get.

And finally I asked ‘Beatles or Rolling Stones?’

His answer: ‘Neither. The Who’.

2 responses to “A Let Them Read Vinyl Exclusive: From the Mind of Alan Cross

  • spencer

    Yes! I love how much of a Stone Roses fan he is. What an awesome album.

    As Whyskeletonwhy and I were just discussing, it’s interesting that Alan’s fav songs line up so closely with his album choices. Makes sense, but it’s not always the case. I definitely have some crossover – “Where the Streets Have No Name” & Joshua Tree for example. It’s hard to pick top 5 albums (Top 10 is a bit easier) but mine would be:

    1. Joshua Tree – U2
    2. IV – Zeppelin
    3. Graceland – Paul Simon
    4. Automatic – The Jesus and Mary Chain
    5. Disintegration – The Cure

    1. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
    2. Baba O’Riley – The Who
    3. Stairway to Heaven (BBC Sessions – live) – Zeppelin
    4. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
    5. Fresh Feeling – Eels

    So yeah, some crossover but not a ton.

    How about you?

  • whyskeltonwhy


    1) The End – The Doors
    2) Surfin’ Bird – The Trashmen
    3) In the Rain – The Wooden Glass
    4) Dogs – Pink Floyd
    5) Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck


    1) Dark Side of the Moon – Floyd
    2) Moon Safari – Air
    3) Abbey Road – Beatles
    4) The Who Sell Out – The Who
    5) Endless Summer – Beach Boys

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