One of the things I enjoy doing at the end of each year is looking back on the music I have played, mostly from a number-crunching standpoint.
According to iTunes, out of 9,554 unique music tracks in my collection, the one I played most often in 2015 was “Always On My Mind” by Elvis Presley, as presented on the 1981 soundtrack This Is Elvis. I played the song 22 times.
This came as no surprise to me, for the track is my favorite recording of all time. Earlier this year, Sony’s Follow That Dream collectors label for Elvis fans released the soundtrack on CD for the first time. It was previously available only on vintage vinyl and cassette, neither of which I had backed up to iTunes.
This version of “Always On My Mind” is unique in that Elvis recorded it as part of a “mock” studio session with MGM cameras rolling in March 1972 for the Elvis On Tour documentary, one day after his actual master recording.
Though that film ultimately did not include the footage, portions of it later wound up in This Is Elvis almost a decade later. The This Is Elvis soundtrack version also includes instrumental overdubs created in 1981.
A “clean” version of the song without the posthumous overdubs is available on the CDs Elvis: The Great Performances and Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals, but I much prefer the This Is Elvis version.
I listened to 3,862 Elvis songs using iTunes or my iPods in 2015 (including duplicates). That is an average of almost 11 Elvis songs a day. I listened to 1,819 different Elvis tracks during the year, out of 3,981 unique Elvis recordings in my collection.
Out of 5,573 non-Elvis tracks in my collection, my most played piece in 2015 was Alexander Courage’s “Beyond The Pale/Main Title” (1965) from Star Trek‘s second pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” I played that one 21 times, so Elvis only narrowly edged out the competition.
Earlier this year, my wife gave me the 15-CD Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection from La-La Land Records for my 40th birthday.
In many ways, this set was the centerpiece of my music listening in 2015. It is a stunning collection that lives up to the many accolades bestowed upon it by folks more knowledgeable in this area than me.
If you are a fan of the original Star Trek and have room in your budget, I cannot recommend this premium set enough. Courage’s “Beyond The Pale/Main Title” might very well be my favorite track from the collection, if the numbers are to be believed. His work on the pilots and season 1 helped define the series.
Overall, I listened to 10,538 music tracks using iTunes or my iPods this year. That works out to almost 29 recordings a day. These counts, of course, exclude the additional time I spent listening to CDs and records. I love music and cannot imagine life without it.
I hope you have a healthy and rewarding 2016! Thank you for reading my little blog.