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The Vatican’s Desert Island Discs

What’s going on at the Vatican? Is Pope Benedict trying to be even more hip than John Paul II? On Sunday, its official newspaper published a list of the top 10 rock albums. Not surprisingly, none of the records on its list of Desert Island Discs is on my list. Even without that, the list seems odd, if not bizarre. Listed chronologically, the albums on the list are:

1. Revolver, the Beatles. Clearly, the Beatles are a logical choice for number one.

2. If I Could Only Remember My Name, David Crosby. WTF???

3. The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd. Can’t you just imagine the Pope spacing out to this?

4. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac. Hmm. You wouldn’t think the Vatican would look to Bill Clinton for music advice.

5. The Nightfly, Donald Fagen. WTF #2???

6. Thriller, Michael Jackson. Hate it myself but guess I can see why an album that sold that well might make the cut. Evidently, though, no one at the Vatican has seen the video for the title cut or else the Church’s view of zombies, the supernatural and the like has changed.

7. Graceland, Paul Simon. Not a fan yet still seems an odd choice for top 10.

8. Achtung Baby, U2. I imagine you gotta have an Irish band on a Catholic list.

9. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, Oasis. Have to admit I’ve never listened to it but I still find it a surprising choice. Maybe there was a heavy lobby by Irish priests.

10. Supernatural, Carlos Santana. Setting aside the title as being itself surprising, as a Santana fan I am somewhat offended that they would choose this — one of the most unSantana-like LPs of the Santana catalog.

I am even more put off by the fact Bob Dylan was excluded from the list. Although the authors of the article recognized his “great poetic vein,” they say, “His great fault is, however, giving the green light to generations of songwriters … that harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners, thinking that their tortured meanderings might interest somebody.”

Some of us recovering Catholics might find the term “tortured meanderings” more appropriate to things we heard in church or Catholic school.


Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”

Bob Dylan, title cut, Highway 61 Revisited

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