Which four songs written as tributes to others would you enshrine on your Mt. Rushmore? Mine are listed chronologically; put your four in whatever order you like.
1.) Goodbye Porkpie Hat: The first recording I ever heard of Charles Mingus's moving blues tribute to the great alto saxophonist Lester Young was a solo guitar rendition by John McLaughlin. Not long after, Jeff Beck blew me away with his version. Then Joni Mitchell collaborated with Mingus just before he died - adding her lyrics to his tune - prompting me to seek out the Mingus prototype. Don't ask which version is my favorite; listen to all four to understand how a well written song - in hands these talented - simply can't miss.
2.) Shine On, You Crazy Diamond: With that stunning title, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, and David Gilmour aptly immortalized the short, sad musical career of Pink Floyd's first guitarist, Syd Barrett.
3.) Here Today: Although I could do without the strings, Paul McCartney's homage to John Lennon - when stripped to its essence - is a moving, necessary, and painful reminder of what the world lost in December, 1980. RIP, John; I miss you.
4.) Angel: Sarah McLachlan's vocal on this song - an epitaph for Jonathan Melvoin, keyboardist in the band Smashing Pumpkins - moves me to tears every time I hear it.
A new friend inspired this iteration of my Mt. Rushmore series. In her words, she was my "muse de jour." Without the consistent energy I derive from readers like her and many of you, some reflections from the bell curve would never coalesce. So, thanks to all my muses out there. And, be sure to tell me which tributes would make your Mt. Rushmore; you know how much I love finding good music.