THE PARTY SOUNDTRACK, VOL. 1
Joshua Alan Terry

Any successful party demands quality music. It is one of the essentials, high up on the list with good food, good people, and a cardboard cutout of Richard Simmons. But while food and people are integral to success, nothing has the power to set the tone of your event quite like its soundtrack.

So, inspired by the iTunes Essentials collection and the Kiefer Sutherland hit TV show "24", here is Josh's Recommended Party Soundtrack #1, organized and sequenced hour-by-hour through the extent of your event.

I was initially tempted to call this the "Ultimate Party Collection", but with hundreds of thousands of songs to choose from, it's a bit of a stretch to narrow the list to seven and a half hours worth of material, if it's possible at all. Therefore, the following list becomes "Recommended Party Soundtrack #1", allowing for the possibility of a "#2" or "#3", depending on my long-term interest in the project.

Enjoy.

PHASE ONE: 7PM-8PM WARM-UP

It's 7:15 and there are a grand total of three people at your house, and two of them thought the party started at 6. But you know no one shows up to a party on time, and you are undeterred. The following hour's worth of material will warm up your growing crowd, keeping them upbeat and interested enough to wait for the bulk of your guests to arrive. Some Motown and a few fun selections from the 70's and 80's should set the right tone.

1. "Get Ready", The Temptations

2. "Take On Me", a-ha

3. "Stuck In The Middle With You", Stealer's Wheel

4. "(Come 'round Here) I'm the One You Need", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

5. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", The Temptations

6. "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)", The Four Tops

7. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", Stevie Wonder

8. "(Reach Out) I'll Be There", The Four Tops

9. "I Want You Back", The Jackson Five

10. "Cruel Summer", Bananarama

11. "Stop! (The Love You Save)", The Jackson Five

12. "Don't You (Forget About Me)", Simple Minds

13. "Saturday Night", Bay City Rollers

14. "Stayin' Alive", Bee Gees

15. "Come On Eileen", Dexy's Midnight Runners & Kevin Rowland

16. "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love", The Blues Brothers

17. "A Little Less Conversation", Elvis Presley

18. "Let's Work Together", Canned Heat

19. "Turn On Your Love Light", Bobby Bland

20. "Joy To The World", Three Dog Night

 

PHASE TWO: 8PM-9PM EL BACHOLERO

An hour in, people are starting to show up. Now it's time to get serious. Nothing will set the tone for a unique evening more than walking in the front door and hearing "Mais Que Nada" on full volume. Then you greet them in a smoking jacket and tinted sunglasses, and they at once realize this is an event that combines sophistication and quirkiness. Or they just think you're insane and leave immediately. You didn't want people like that at your party anyway. Kick back and enjoy the ultimate bachelor pad collection while the party starts to hit its stride.

1. "Mais Que Nada", Brasil '66 & Sergio Mendes

2. "Soul Bossa Nova", Quincy Jones & Quincy Jones & His Orchestra

3. "Quiet Village", Martin Denny

4. "Run Joe", Louis Jordan

5. "Solamente Una Vez", Trio Los Panchos

6. "Papa Loves Mambo", Perry Como

7. "Lujon", Henry Mancini

8. "Help Yourself", Tom Jones

9. "Summer's Cake", John Swihart

10. "Jump in the Line", Harry Belafonte

11. "All the World is Green", Tom Waits

12. "Mucha Muchacha", Esquivel & Esquivel and His Orchestra

13. "L'Appuntamento", Ornella Vanoni

14. "Baby Don't Go", Henry Mancini

15. "Take Five", Dave Brubek

16. "Bus Rider", John Swihart

17. "Our Day Will Come", Ruby and the Romantics

18. "Nap Store Video", John Swihart

19. "Even More Horns", Henry Mancini

20. "The Girl from Ipanema", Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto & Stan Getz

 

PHASE THREE: 9PM-10PM TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

Time to amp things up big time. Time for the toga music. By now most of your people have showed up, and the crowd is big enough and the energy is high enough to appreciate some classic foot-stomping gems. This is what "Wholly Bully" was written for. Just make sure the pad makes it through this hour in one piece.

1. "Jungle Boogie", Kool and the Gang

2. "Wholly Bully", Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

3. "Rocking the Casbah", The Clash

4. "Cool Jerk", The Capitols

5. "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", Manfred Mann

6. "Devil With the Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly", Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels

7. "Good Lovin'", The Rascals

8. "Comanche", The Revels

9. "Gimme Some Lovin'", The Spencer Davis Group

10. "Double Shot of My Baby's Love", The Swingin' Medallions

11. "Let's Dance", Chris Montez

12. "Pick Up the Pieces", Average White Band

13. "Walk Like an Egyptian", The Bangles

14. "Woo Hoo", The 5,6,7,8's

15. "Birthday", The Beatles

16. "Bo Diddley", Bo Diddley

17. "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (Pt. 1)", James Brown

18. "What I Like About You", The Romantics

19. "Pressure Drop", Specials

20. "I Want To Take You Higher", Sly & The Family Stone

21. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", Wang Chung

 

PHASE FOUR: 10PM-11PM IN THE HICK GROOVE

After an hour of intense music, it's time to downshift. The next hour is dedicated to a collection of fun hick songs--not modern country--but music that's good for hanging out and dancing if necessary. Think Creedence. The energy is still high, but you can have as much fun kicking back on the couch as you can on the floor.

1. "One More Saturday Night", The Grateful Dead

2. "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere", Neil Young

3. "Tumbling Dice", The Rolling Stones

4. "Sweet Home Alabama", Lynyrd Skynyrd

5. "Hard to Handle", The Black Crowes

6. "Bad Moon Risin'", Creedence Clearwater Revival

7. "Flowers on the Wall", The Statler Brothers

8. "Up on Cripple Creek", The Band

9. "Honky Tonk Women", The Rolling Stones

10. "Looking Out My Back Door", Creedence Clearwater Revival

11. "Ring of Fire", Johnny Cash

12. "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature", The Guess Who

13. "Casey Jones", The Grateful Dead

14. "Let It Bleed", The Rolling Stones

15. "The Man in Me", Bob Dylan

16. "The Midnight Special", Creedence Clearwater Revival

17. "The Weight", The Band

 

PHASE FIVE: 11PM-12AM MELLOW SOUL

Time for a mellow groove, courtesy of the best of 60's and 70's soul. By now you've got a few groups of people locked into casual conversation, and this is the soundtrack to back it with. It's romantic music, but not obligatory. You can still love Sam Cooke and Otis Redding even if you don't have any special person in mind.

1. "Stand By Me", Ben E. King

2. "Oh Girl", Chi-Lites

3. "Slip Away", Clarence Carter

4. "What's Going On", Marvin Gaye

5. "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'", The Four Tops

6. "Cupid", Sam Cooke

7. "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", The Delfonics

8. "Let's Stay Together", Al Green

9. "It's All Right", The Impressions

10. "Love Is A Hurtin' Thing", Lou Rawls

11. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", Marvin Gaye

12. "Soothe Me", Sam and Dave

13. "My Girl", The Temptations

14. "I Second That Emotion", Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

15. "Cry To Me", Solomon Burke

16. "(What a) Wonderful World", Sam Cooke

17. "My Cherie Amour", Stevie Wonder

18. "Bring it On Home to Me", Sam Cooke

19. "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", Aretha Franklin

20. "The Tracks of My Tears", Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

21. "Try a Little Tenderness", Otis Redding

22. "A Change is Gonna Come", Sam Cooke

 

PHASE SIX: 12AM-1AM WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?

By now most of your crowd has headed for home, or is in the process. For those that are left, these are the offbeat songs that take you off your guard, provoking a number of "what the heck is this?" comments. Tom Waits and Django Reinhardt are your biggies here. By the end of the hour, you should have driven away anyone that "just doesn't get it".

1. "Sweet Georgia Brown", Django Reinhardt

2. "Son of a Preacher Man", Dusty Springfield

3. "Drift Away", Dobie Gray

4. "Jamming", Bob Marley & The Wailers

5. "Crazy", Patsy Cline

6. "Small Time Blues", Pete Droge

7. "Let My Love Open The Door", Pete Townshend

8. "Don't Sleep In the Subway", Petula Clark

9. "Wish You Were Here", Pink Floyd

10. "Come Together", The Beatles

11. "Innocent When You Dream (78)", Tom Waits

12. "Crimson and Clover", Tommy James and the Shondells

13. "Mandy", Barry Manilow

14. "Another Day In Paradise", Phil Collins

15. "M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)", Tee Vee Toons

16. "Happiness is a Warm Gun", The Beatles

17. "I Am... I Said", Neil Diamond

 

PHASE SEVEN: 1AM-2AM LATE-NIGHT CONVERSATIONS

Here is where a good party becomes a memorable party. The only people left are either close friends or people that will soon become close friends. Conversation gets deeper, more personal, more meaningful. The topic itself isn't even all that important (I stayed at a party until 3AM talking "Seinfeld" one night, and had a blast doing it). What's important is who is there, and the fact that you're spending quality time with them. For conversations like this, you must have Nick Drake and Simon and Garfunkel.

1. "Homeward Bound", Simon and Garfunkel

2. "Pink Moon", Nick Drake

3. "Femme Fatale", The Velvet Underground

4. "Wild World", Cat Stevens

5. "America", Simon and Garfunkel

6. "Saturday Sun", Nick Drake

7. "After the Gold Rush", Neil Young

8. "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her", Simon and Garfunkel

9. "I Believe in You", Neil Young

10. "I Am a Rock", Simon and Garfunkel

11. "Sunday Morning", The Velvet Underground

12. "Northern Sky", Nick Drake

13. "The Only Living Boy In New York", Simon and Garfunkel

14. "The Fairest of the Seasons", Nico

15. "Bridge Over Troubled Water", Simon and Garfunkel

16. "These Days", Nico

17. "Kathy's Song", Simon and Garfunkel

18. "Father and Son", Cat Stevens

19. "The Boxer", Simon and Garfunkel

 

PHASE EIGHT: 2AM-2:30AM LATE-NIGHT DRIVE HOME

At last it's time to call it a night. If you didn't host, this is the half-hour's worth of music to drive home to. If you did host, this is either clean-up music, or the music you play as you give a ride home to the person that told their ride to leave without them so they could stay longer. The songs are contemplative and just a little bit "out there", a perfect mood to close a perfect night.

1. "The Sound of Silence", Simon and Garfunkel

2. "Fade Into You", Mazzy Star

3. "Wicked Game", Chris Isaak

4. "All the Young Dudes", Mott the Hoople

5. "One", U2

6. "Tiny Dancer", Elton John

7. "You Can't Always Get What You Want", The Rolling Stones

 

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