Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars

July 4, 1970, until August 6, 1988, Casey Kasem hosted the American Top 40 on the radio. Through many of those years, Harry would listen to the four hour long program. Each week he would document in spiral notebooks what place each song was at within the chart. He would also note how many places up or down a song would travel. On mornings that we would have to be somewhere, Harry would somehow talk my dad into listening and writing in the notebooks when he wasn't able to. Somewhere within my parents house are these notebooks filled with AT40 history. 

This documentation of The AT40 started Harry’s lifelong Harry’s Top Ten Album Lists of the Year that he would make. These were his top ten favorite albums of the year. He would send out his Harry's Top Ten every late December to me, our mom, his friend Jason and maybe a small handful of others he was close to. Harry would consciously not buy any albums late in the year as to not take a chance to have to make changes to his top ten that he would work on all year. 

He could recall every Top Ten for as long as he made them without looking at anything. While going through some of his school notebooks for his last degree, I would find randomly in the middle of class notes, lists. Lists of a draft of his Top Ten at the time, lists of how many times certain artists had made an appearance in his Top Ten. 

There wasn't a Harry’s 2019 Ten Ten Albums this December. Something that normally I would receive and scan over, but probably didn't take enough notice of like maybe I should have. But when it stops, you miss it. 

I cannot rightly put together what I think would have been his Top Ten for 2019, as it was a rough 5 months for him, though there may be an incomplete 2019 list hidden in a notebook that I haven’t found yet. 

I can though, share his top ten all time favorite albums, which yes, was written in many notebooks over the years of course.

  1. The Microphones - Mount Eerie
  2. Peter Gabriel - Passion
  3. Pink Floyd - The Final Cut
  4. Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones
  5. Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
  6. The Dirty Projectors - The Getty Address
  7. Lou Reed - Magic And Loss
  8. Tom Waits - The Black Rider
  9. Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
  10. Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel #3


  1. Yay! Jeff posted again! I find I think of Harry/Jerry the most when I hear some new music and think "I wonder if Harry would like this?"
    Thank you for posting again, I check this page regularly for anything new.
    I hope things are going well for you, or as well as they can be.

    -Doug who used to be in Oakland, but is now in the mountains

    1. They're going. I'm just glad that some people are still here.
      My writing is no where near what his ever was, so I'm sure I will not hold some peoples attention.
      But if anything good has come out of this, it's that he has made me want to try and write better. And with me trying to connect to him more, has gotten me to reading a lot more than I ever did before.
      I have kind of stepped away from any new music really, since that was one of our things. I have been attempting to try and do some more music though. Things like this kind of put somethings into perspective and that you shouldn't put things off.

  2. He sure did love music and was so deeply knowledgeable about it. Music often had a prominent place in his writings, I recall.

    1. He loved music and he loved books, but its strange how he treated each of those differently. He hadn't made any top ten book lists, though he probably went through more books than he did albums in a year. I do have a list of books that has his favorite book of that year for a few years. Maybe I'll put that here at some point also. I need to go through his notebooks more, but it's still too soon. Still too fresh in my mind.

  3. Strong list, of course. Thank you for posting x

    1. Thank you for sticking around :)
      I will compile all his top ten lists at some point and share them.
      He was about the only person that I was close to that looked at music similar the way that I do, but I'm guess that I am a product of Harry. I'm certain he molded me in ways that I don't realize. It's odd not having that.

  4. His handwriting seems to be rather similar to mine.

    1. Maybe I can get you to read some of his notebooks that I have a hard time trying reading because of his handwriting in some places :)

  5. Oh yes! still checking for posts. I think of Harry/Jerry often and send good thoughts your way. I know the healing is a long process. I still get teary when I see my father's handwriting and he's been gone for 8 years. The heartache is the price of loving deeply. Take care.

  6. Harry turned me on to stuff I'd never heard of before, though I agree with a couple on that list. I was forever googling words and names in his writings so I could understand the perspective - open another window, keep that train of thought - and his stories wound one up so tightly in them . Smart guy your Brother, Jeff. I hope you and your parents are working your way through his death; especially you. How's the music gig going for you, these days?
    Kindest Regards,
    bj in CO

    1. Yeah, he was pretty good with finding new things. I am still finding new authors, musicians and such that he liked but never really talked about.
      Things are going. Life felt like it got put on-hold a year ago at this time, and now this year, the whole world in on hold.


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