A Century of Song

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A Century of Song
Box set by
ReleasedNovember 15, 2004 (2004-11-15)[1]
StudioEckhouse 2000, Evanston
GenreRock, chamber pop
ProducerLa Musique Populaire
La Musique Populaire chronology
Love Conquers Alda
A Century of Song

A Century of Song is a 6-CD box set by La Musique Populaire. As the title suggests, A Century of Song is a chronological overview of songs from the 20th century. Recorded from 1999 to 2003, the songs were originally available for download from their website[2] Eschewing the canonical choices that would define such a chronology, LMP recorded songs ranging from the Tin Pan Alley of the turn of the century, to rap, alternative rock and dance music at the century. As such, A Century of Songs covers a multitude of genres, including plunderphonics, krautrock, happy hardcore and country.

Reviews were generally positive, but some expressed bafflement at the selection of songs and the disparate styles used.

The songs were eventually collected in a six CD-R disc box set, limited to 100 editions worldwide.[2]

Reviews were generally positive, but some expressed bafflement at the selection of songs and the disparate styles used.


With the release of their EP Aunt Canada in 1996, LMP had attempted to expand their sound. Band members Ryan Bassler and Eric Haugen felt that, far from making their own Pet Sounds, they compromised their perfectionism with budgetary concerns, technical and personal limitation. Coupled with interpersonal conflicts and a simultaneous non-existent and hostile reception in their native Champaign, Illinois, LMP settled in Evanston, a suburb north of Chicago, in 1999. The move also parsed what was a 22-person pop orchestra to core members Bassler and Haugen. In their new recording space, which they called "Eckhouse 2000", they decided to shelve current projects for a new project.[3][4]

In a 2005 interview with Italian web magazine Indipop.it, Haugen said that A Century of Song was the band's attempt at "to explore a lot of different avenues of pop music and ultimately discover our own sound."[5] This was inspired from his and Bessler's interest in constructing personas, which they refer to as "fake authenticity", alongside new band names, recording locations, and imaginary personnel." Haugen lists song poem producer Rodd Keith as an inspiration to the project as the breadth, along with limited time, meant that "the aim was simply to make a finished recording as quickly as possible, and then move on to the next."[6]

Originally planned for a six-week recording schedule, it ended up taking 18 months.[4] Starting in 1999, LMP posted their progress as MP3s on their official website. After uploading the final song in 2001, they moved to other projects, which included EPs The New Body Language and Meeting Up and Making Friends, and their debut album Love Conquers Alda.[4] Because of fan demand however, LMP decided to release the sessions as a box set.[6]


As a chronology of music in the 20th century, LMP selected several songs that exemplified the time period. Songs such as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "She May Call You Up Tonight" were covered in a straightforward fashion, which critic Douglas Wolk calls it covers "done in the style of... LMP themselves."[7] However, the bulk of the album is made up of radical departures from their original forms, with songs of one genre transposed to another. "You'll Never Walk Alone" is composed as a sound collage, inspired by John Oswald, cutting in snippets of songs to form the lyrics.[6] Hits of '69" is a stylistic cover of the Stars on 45, as a pastiche of the form and as a medley of songs of that year.[8] An exception is "C' Howard's Gum Has the Power of Taste, an original song in the style of radio commercials of the fifties.[9]


When recording on A Century of Song ended in 2002, LMP planned on releasing the set in December of that year. Because of production delays, LMP decided to postpone the release to another date.[10] By November 2003, the box set was still delayed, but by March 2004, it was moved to April 20 of that year. The reason given was a break from recording and moving to another studio space in Chicago.[11][12][4] Eventually A Century of Song was finally released to online orders in November 2004.[13]

Each box set came with six CD-Rs; discs one through five contained the original project, and the sixth bonus materials, including outtakes, remixes, and other unreleased materials. They came with 132 pages of liner notes, both enclosed in hand-made plastic boxes.[1][2]


Professional ratings
Review scores

Critical reception of A Century of Song was positive, applauding LMP for their inventive covers of pop songs. Michaelangelo Matos of The Village Voice said that what LMP "lack in suavity and flair they make up for with sheer doggedness and idea mongering."[8] Douglas Wolk of Seattle Weekly had the same sentiment that, despite the lack of polish, "it sounds like everyone's having a great time."[7] Much of the negative criticism was levied at the nature of the box set's release, with Greg Adams of Allmusic stating that it was disappointing "that more people won't hear it."[14]

Track listing[edit]

Disc 1: 1900-1922
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."A Bird in a Gilded Cage (1900)"Arthur J. Lamb, Harry Von TilzerArthur J. Lamb, Harry Von Tilzer2:20
2."She's Getting Mo' Like the White Folks Every Day (1901)"George Walker, Bert WilliamsGeorge Walker, Bert Williams3:13
3."Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? (1902)"Hughie CannonHughie Cannon6:42
4."Sweet Adeline (1903)"Harry Armstrong, Richard Husch GerardHarry Armstrong, Richard Husch Gerard3:38
5."Humming Chorus (1904)"Giacomo PucciniGiacomo Puccini3:05
6."My Gal Sal (1905)"Paul DresserPaul Dresser2:28
7."You're a Grand Old Flag (1906)"George M. CohanGeorge M. Cohan2:46
8."ZIZ (1907)"Alfred FeltmanAlfred Feltman2:50
9."Shine On Harvest Moon (1908)"Nora Bayes, Jack NorworthNora Bayes, Jack Norworth2:52
10."By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1909)"Gus Edwards, Edward MaddenLillian Lorraine2:24
11."Come Josephine in My Flying Machine (1910)"Alfred Bryan, Fred FisherBlanche Ring3:07
12."Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911)"Irving BerlinCollins & Harlan2:51
13."Get On the Raft With Taft (1912)"Abe Holzmann, Harry D. KerrAbe Holzmann, Harry D. Kerr1:14
14."He'd Have to Get Under - Get Out and Get Under - to Fix Up His Automobile (1913)"Maurice Abrahams, Grant Clarke, Edgar LeslieAdele Ritchie2:50
15."St. Louis Blues (1914)"W. C. HandyW. C. Handy4:19
16."Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile (1915)"Felix Powell, George Henry PowellFelix Powell, George Henry Powell2:00
17."Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? (1916)"Sam M. Lewis, George W. Meyer, Joe YoungSam M. Lewis, George W. Meyer, Joe Young5:35
18."Tiger Rag (1917)"Harry DeCosta, Eddie Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Henry Ragas, Tony SbarbaroThe Original Dixieland Jazz Band1:44
19."K-K-K-Katy (1918)"Geoffrey O'HaraBilly Murray4:29
20."Alice Blue Gown (1919)"Joseph McCarthy, Harry TierneyEdith Day2:32
21."Look For the Silver Lining (1920)"Buddy DeSylva, Jerome KernMarilyn Miller3:38
22."Kitten On the Keys (1921)"Zez ConfreyZez Confrey1:54
23."I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (1922)"Armand J. PironArmand J. Piron2:16
Total length:1:10:47
Disc 2: 1923-1939
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."Charleston (1923)"James P. Johnson, Cecil MackJames P. Johnson, Cecil Mack4:11
2."Fascinating Rhythm (1924)"George Gershwin, Ira GershwinGeorge Gershwin, Ira Gershwin5:01
3."Sweet Georgia Brown (1925)"Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey, Maceo PinkardBen Bernie7:21
4."Baby Face (1926)"Harry Akst, Benny DavisHarry Akst, Benny Davis3:37
5."Ain't She Sweet? (1927)"Milton Ager, Jack YellenMilton Ager, Jack Yellen3:07
6."I'd Rather Be Dead and Buried in My Grave (1928)"Bob FullerBessie Smith3:47
7."Tiptoe Through the Tulips (1929)"Joe Burke, Al DubinNick Lucas3:45
8."Exactly Like You (1930)"Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHughGertrude Lawrence and Harry Richman4:33
9."I Found a Million Dollar Baby (1931)"Mort Dixon, Billy Rose, Harry WarrenFanny Brice10:53
10."Isn't it Romantic? (1932)"Lorenz Hart, Richard RodgersMaurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald4:19
11."Carioca (1933)"Edward Eliscu, Gus Kahn, Vincent YoumansMovita Castaneda, Alice Gentle, and Etta Moten3:20
12."Anything Goes (1934)"Cole PorterCole Porter3:40
13."Sunday Afternoon Music (1935)"Aaron CoplandAaron Copland2:00
14."At the Codfish Ball (1936)"Sidney Mitchell, Lew PollackShirley Temple5:01
15."Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (1937)"George Gershwin, Ira GershwinFred Astaire and Ginger Rogers3:26
16."Back in the Saddle Again (1938)"Gene Autry, Ray WhitleyGene Autry2:23
17."We'll Meet Again (1939)"Hughie Charles, Ross ParkerVera Lynn4:01
Total length:1:14:25
Disc 3: 1940-1959
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."You Are My Sunshine (1940)"Jimmie Davis, Charles MitchellJimmie Davis3:12
2."Chattanooga Choo-Choo (1941)"Mack Gordon, Harry WarrenGlenn Miller and His Orchestra3:46
3."Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1942)"Duke Ellington, Bob RussellDuke Ellington3:13
4."Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year (1943)"Frank LoesserDeanna Durbin7:22
5."Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (1944)"Ralph Blane, Hugh MartinJudy Garland4:47
6."You'll Never Walk Alone (1945)"Rodgers and HammersteinRodgers and Hammerstein1:51
7."La Vie En Rose (1946)"Louiguy, Marguerite Monnot, Édith PiafÉdith Piaf2:57
8."Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette) (1947)"Merle Travis, Tex WilliamsTex Williams3:29
9."Boogie Chillen (1948)"John Lee HookerJohn Lee Hooker2:18
10."Music! Music! Music! (1949)"Bernie Baum, Stephan WeissTeresa Brewer3:14
11."C. Howard's Gum Has the Power of Taste (1950)"Ryan Bassler, Eric Haugen 0:20
12."Unforgettable (1951)"Irving GordonNat King Cole3:31
13."The Family Who Prays (1952)"Charlie Louvin, Ira LouvinThe Louvin Brothers3:24
14."Siamese Cat Song (1953)"Sonny Burke, Peggy LeePeggy Lee3:42
15."Mr. Sandman (1954)"Pat BallardThe Chordettes2:20
16."Singin' the Blues (1955)"Melvin EndsleyMarty Robbins2:56
17."I Could Have Danced All Night (1956)"Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick LoeweJulie Andrews3:14
18."Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (1957)"James Faye "Roy" Hall, Dave "Curlee" WilliamsJerry Lee Lewis4:04
19."Yakety Yak (1958)"Jerry Leiber, Mike StollerThe Coasters2:26
20."So What (1959)"Miles DavisMiles Davis3:09
Total length:1:05:15
Disc 4: 1960-1981
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (1960)"Gerry Goffin, Carole KingThe Shirelles3:55
2."Hello Mary Lou (1961)"Cayet Mangiaracina, Gene PitneyRicky Nelson3:00
3."Cranberry Bog (1962)"Rose Marie McCoy & Beverly RossHayley Mills1:49
4."Dead Presidents (1963)"Willie Dixon, Billy "The Kid" EmersonLittle Walter3:33
5."Downtown (1964)"Tony HatchPetula Clark3:18
6."Do the Freddie (1965)"Lou Courtney, Dennis LambertFreddie and the Dreamers2:17
7."Here Comes My Baby (1966)"Cat StevensThe Tremeloes2:49
8."She May Call You Up Tonight (1967)"Michael Brown, Steve Martin CaroThe Left Banke2:10
9."Everyday People (1968)"Sly StoneSly and the Family Stone2:24
10."Hits of '69 (1969)"VariousVarious9:32
11."Are You Ready? (1970)"Charlie Allen, John HillPacific Gas & Electric4:33
12."Maria Bethânia (1971)"Caetano VelosoCaetano Veloso7:30
13."Theme From Deep Throat (1972)"UnknownUnknown3:08
14."Touch Me in the Morning (1973)"Michael Masser Ron MillerDiana Ross4:24
15."Good Times (1974)"Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Dave GrusinJim Gilstrap and Blinky Williams2:20
16."'39 (1975)"Brian MayQueen (band)4:05
17."Gonna Fly Now (1976)"Carol Connors, Bill Conti, Ayn RobbinsBill Conti2:47
18."Sound and Vision (1977)"David BowieDavid Bowie4:24
19."Hybrid Moments (1978)"Glenn DanzigThe Misfits2:12
20."You Can't Change That (1979)"Ray Parker Jr.Raydio2:58
21."Xanadu (1980)"Jeff LynneOlivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra3:30
22."Feelin' Good (1981)"Jill GallinaJill Gallina2:51
Total length:1:19:29
Disc 5: 1982-2001
No.TitleWriter(s)Original artistLength
1."Nobody (1982)"Kye Fleming, Dennis MorganSylvia4:38
2."Faithfully (1983)"Jonathan CainJourney2:57
3."I Want to Know What Love Is (1984)"Mick JonesForeigner5:33
4."We Built This City (1985)"Dennis Lambert, Martin Page, Bernie Taupin, Peter WolfStarship3:27
5."If You Leave (1986)"Martin Cooper, Paul Humphreys, Andy McCluskeyOrchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark2:18
6."Pop Goes the World (1987)"Ivan DoroschukMen Without Hats2:28
7."Children's Story (1988)"Slick RickSlick Rick3:58
8."Happy Birthday (1989)"Johnette NapolitanoConcrete Blonde2:05
9."Sadeness, Part I (1990)"Michael Cretu, Fabrice Cuitad, Frank PetersonEnigma4:39
10."Nothing Else Matters (1991)"James Hetfield, Lars UlrichMetallica6:42
11."Love U More (1992)"Paul Carnell, Lucia HolmSunscreem3:50
12."Lucas With the Lid Off (1993)"Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed, Lasse Jensen, Zany King, Lucas SeconLucas4:33
13."La Chica del Apartamento 512 (1994)"Samuel "Sammy" Morales, A.B. Quintanilla, Ricky VelaSelena2:51
14."Only Happy When it Rains (1995)"Duke Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker, Butch VigGarbage3:21
15."If It Makes You Happy (1996)"Sheryl Crow, Jeff TrottSheryl Crow4:58
16."Chan Chan (1997)"Compay SegundoBuena Vista Social Club4:22
17."Aquarius (1998)"Marcus Eoin, Michael SandisonBoards of Canada5:07
18."Unpretty (1999)"Dallas Austin, Tionne WatkinsTLC4:56
19."A Century of Song (2000)"Bassler, Haugen 3:23
20."Does Anyone Remember A Century of Song? (2001)"Bassler, Haugen 2:28
Total length:1:18:34
Disc 6: Holus-bolus
1."Back to A Century of Song (2002)"Bassler, Haugen1:38
2."Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? (Scratchbox Demo Edit)" 2:17
3."Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? (Edit)" 3:35
4."Sweet Adeline (Alternate Vocal Edit)" 1:23
5."You're a Grand Old Flag (Outtake Version Edit)" 1:32
6."ZIZ (First Section Uncut)" 1:47
7."ZIZ (Second Section Uncut)" 1:32
8."Charleston (Scratchbox Demo Edit)" 2:29
9."Sweet Georgia Brown (Edit)" 3:47
10."Sweet Georgia Brown (Bonus Beats)" 1:22
11."Ain't She Sweet (Edit)" 2:35
12."I'd Rather Be Dead and Buried in My Grave (Alternate Vocal)" 4:21
13."Tiptoe Through the Tulips (Scratchbox Demo)" 0:53
14."Anything Goes (Part 2)" 0:42
15."Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (First Vocal Take)" 0:35
16."Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Outtake Version)" 2:51
17."Music! Music! Music! (Jackass Track Edit)" 1:20
18."Twisted (1950 Outtake Edit)" 0:46
19."The Family Who Prays (Scratch Vocal Take)" 2:07
20."Mr. Sandman (Vocal Version)" 2:26
21."Hello Mary Lou (Duh Hey Mix)" 0:53
22."Theme From Deep Throat (Jackass Track Edit)" 0:43
23."Good Times (Original Mix)" 3:19
24."The Rose (1979 outtake)" 3:22
25."Xanadu (Vocal Session Montage)" 2:50
26."Xanadub" 3:35
27."Nobody (Original Mix Edit)" 0:45
28."We Built This City (Intro Vocals)" 0:18
29."We Built This City (Full Version)" 4:01
30."We Built This City (Farm Report)" 0:19
31."I Remember You (1989 Outtake)" 5:13
32."Unpretty (Edit)" 3:49
33."A Century of Song (Demo Edit)" 1:11
34."Does Anyone Remember A Century of Song? (Scratchbox Demo)" 2:38
35."Century Megamix" 7:55
Total length:1:20:49


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