Countdown rules + ambiguities

(all italics are attributable to Philip Random, from his notes)

It's all in the name. 

The Randophonic All Vinyl Countdown and Apocalypse
The 1,111 Greatest Records You Probably Haven't Heard

"All Vinyl" means nothing but recordings found on vinyl albums and/or 45s, which were in Philip Random's collection as of Aug-4-2000, the day he decided was his cut-off point.

Because if I haven't cared enough to own it in solid, analogue form by this fourth day of August, 2000, then I must submit that it probably doesn't matter to me that much.  Or maybe it's just eluded me … to which I must nod, take a big step back and bow to the gods and their manipulations.  Either way, it's a filter that I'm comfortable with.  This list is not definitive, but it is definitely something.

As for relevant recordings that never saw vinyl release, well let's just say that's a different argument, best left to others to wrestle to the floor. 

So there are no tracks in this countdown that originate from CD, or MP3 (or any other digital format), nor 8-Track tape ("because that's just a stupid medium"), nor cassette tape, ("because love 'em as I do, they're too damned hard to cue on the fly.")

But there are certain reel-to-reel (so-called) RANDO-edits of stuff whose source material was Mr. Random's vinyl.  Because yes, as a matter of fact, even the Beatles can be improved upon.  If not, then why bother continuing with the struggles of everyday life?

This is a countdown of "records" as opposed to "songs".  Which means you may find more than one version of the same song in here.  Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, for instance.  The big deal, planet-smashing hit recording from summer 1965 is not included on the countdown list because we're pretty sure you've heard it already.  But other relevant recordings of the song are included, because we're pretty sure you haven’t heard them.  

"Probably haven't heard" means there are no hits on this list, no chart-toppers, no inescapable big deal pop items already played lots on commercial radio and/or heard in commercials themselves, or in big deal movies or TV shows, or video games, or in any other way already exposed out there in the culture – familiar in a word.  So yes, blame Grand Theft Auto IV for exclusion of I Wanna Be Your Dog from the list.  

Which doesn't mean we can't link to it here. 

There are no records on the list released before summer 1965, none since summer 2000.  The summer 2000 part is easy.  That's when Philip Random compiled the list.  The summer 1965 part is easy too, though perhaps more controversial.

Because bluntly, that's when LSD hit the culture in a palpable way.  That's when the Apocalypse got interesting.  That's when the story I'm interested in kicked into gear.  If I had to nail a particular moment, I'd say, easy.  That snare shot at the beginning of Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone.  That was the sound of the door getting kicked wide open.  And then Dylan piled in, and everybody else, all of them laying down their finely-tuned fuck-yous to the everyday whitebread bullshit reality that was smothering the planet.  But it was that snare shot that started it all.  The exclamation point.  This is not my idea by the way.  I copped it from my old buddy Motron.  But he'd understand.

1,111 records actually means 1,000 records.  That was certainly Philip Random's intention when he compiled his list, except when we ran a statistical analysis on the data he left us, we discovered its margin of error was plus-or-minus 111.  So yes, the 111th record on the countdown list could in fact be Number One, and visa versa.

The list is necessarily riddled with inconsistency and ambiguity.  Indeed, Philip Random left us with more than one version of it (two and two-thirds to be precise).  Some of the records could not be found and thus will not be played.  Some notes simply could not be deciphered.  None of the totals on any of the lists actually add up.  Some interpretation has occurred.  Every one of these "rules" gets broken at least once.

There is no clear explanation anywhere in Philip Random's notes as to what the "Apocalypse" part of the countdown's official title is supposed to mean.  Not that he doesn't refer to it often.  In fact, you might say he over-addresses it to the point of obsession and obfuscation – it just keeps reflecting, refracting, illumining off in convolutionary spirals. 

Maybe I just really just like the word, the way it rolls off the tongue and speaks to the spirit of things.  The end of all things.  An unveiling of new things.  The world ends in a blinding flash of brilliant light.  You blink a few times.  Your eyes adjust.  You realize you're looking at a great white curtain.  The curtain parts, revealing … ?  I sometimes think I've lived my whole life in that moment of revealing.  Giddy shit but it's got to beat the Middle Ages.

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