“Michael Guerrero challenged me to post 1000 albums that influenced my musical tastes. One album cover per day for a thousand days.”

A few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, I took to Facebook like many others for what remained of a social life. I’ve always been a sucker for those circulating challenges that dare you to “list ten albums” of assorted distinctions. When my old college-radio friend Mike Guerrero and I realized we might never get to hear music in face-to-face public space again, we hijacked a ten album challenge and committed ourselves to keeping it going daily for as long as we could. A hundred seemed too finite, too feasible by the standards of our respective music collections, so we aimed for a thousand. And so a daily exercise in music writing began, at first a few sentences written with the other in mind, but soon shaping up into a generic style: 1-2 stand-alone paragraphs, with three album tracks posted in the comments.   

At the beginning, we agreed the order we posted in wouldn’t reflect any ranking. Over time a few other informal norms emerged, like not posting the same recording artist again any sooner than 200 days. More contentious was the preclusion norm: if one of us posted a particular album, that precluded the other from posting it. Mike would later insist this was never a hard-and-fast rule, and ultimately I had to poach liberally from his list if I was to make it to the end. Even then, quite a few personally influential albums slipped by me that way: There’s A Riot Going On, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, Singles Going Steady, Duty Now For The Future, Frank’s Wild Years, The Noise Made By People, etc.

Mike and I paused the 1000 day album challenge a couple of times when the weight of world events (i.e., Black Lives Matter) made posting about music on Facebook feel meaningless or disrespectful. I don’t suppose anything had significantly changed when we resumed again, but music — and, now, sharing our thoughts about music — remained a lifeboat while the pandemic continued to turn the world upside down.

For me, the 1000 day album challenge became a way to tell personal stories: about when and with whom I encountered a particular record, how my aesthetics and identity developed through certain albums, and so on. The challenge shaped up into a kind of memoir, sequenced in random order, toggling unpredictably between explicit autobiography and implicit background. The challenge took up three years, long enough for history to intrude on my story. A couple of my own Facebook friends died over its course, so I dedicate this to my fellow metal dad Steve Gutterman, and my college-radio friend Eric J. Lawrence — rest in peace. So did a number of musicians whose albums I posted, but after Eddie Van Halen (#88) I gave up trying to commemorate their passing on the same day.   

Here are 1000 albums that influenced my musical tastes:

1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250
251-300 301-350 351-400 401-450 451-500
501-550 551-600 601-650 651-700 701-750
751-800 801-850 851-900 901-950 951-1000

Sadly, I don’t have an alphabetical index to everything I posted. To search for a particular artist or album, enter the name in this blog’s search window (top right); if you get a result on a page titled “1000 day album challenge,” scroll down to find that name on the list. For easier navigation within the Facebook platform, try clicking on the album cover image (to view it within my feed’s photos) and scrolling left or right. You’re also welcome to follow or friend-request me on Facebook.