1. “Put Your Finger in the Air,” Woody Guthrie, 1950
This was the first record that I owned. It always takes me back to a child’s simple delight, in following along with Woody’s commands.
2. “Heartbreak Hotel,” Elvis Presley, 1956
I remember the exact moment I heard it coming from a first-floor window while I was sitting on a stoop in the Bronx. I was totally transfixed by the lonely feeling of the recording and the effect that Elvis’ voice had on me. It was a born-again experience.
3. “That Lucky Old Sun,” Louis Armstrong, 1949
His early recorded version of this song is pretty hard to top. I remember when my father took me to see Armstrong at New York’s Roxy Theater. That helped make me a hardcore jazz fan.
4. “Maybe Tomorrow,” the Everly Brothers, 1958
This was the flip side of “Wake Up Little Susie,” but for me it was a Number One. It still gives me goose bumps when I hear it.