This blog topic is set aside for conversations about the Timeline. All other song lists on the Alley are created, viewed, and discussed on the Playlists page. To discuss individual songs, click on that song's title in the Timeline.

Check out FAQ Timeline for detailed information about song selection, dating, and sequencing.

I've been compiling chronological playlists for four decades. Until 1998 I designed these little histories to fit cassette tapes. The challenge was to work within that constraint. For example, What's the best C-90 I could make of The Ray Charles Story? The iPod opened up new possibilities. Longer playlists are less about choosing the top tier and more about depth and detail.

Deeper coverage of time periods draws my attention directly into the experience of hearing the music as I did originally. Slowly scanning a series of songs that were on the radio in close succession transports me back to when this music was the soundtrack to my life.

I can re-live seventh grade, when I fell in love with rock & roll. Perusing the first three months of 1958, I distinctly remember walking with Bobby, Arthur, and Marty on a cold Saturday morning near a bowling alley where the strains of "Sweet Little Sixteen" permeated the air. We'd already learned how to sing "Get A Job" and "We Belong Together" pretty well by then and were just starting to learn the words to "Book of Love." Ka-ching!

I can re-live college freshman year, when the Beatles seemed to re-write all musical history in the first few months of 1964. For me, Beatlemania meant learning how to sing and play their songs on the guitar. My roommate had a great ear and had been taking guitar lessons for years. With his support, these were transformative days, accelerating my immersion in listening carefully, practicing for hours on end, and loving every minute of it!

And I can re-live my teaching experience in an inner-city junior high, when "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud" resounded through the halls from the first day of school on into November 1968. Before long we had a system going. My students brought their favorite 45s to school and lent them to me overnight. I made a mixtape out of them and played it in class while they worked on their math problems. Yes, I had to convince the principal that we were getting good academic results, but that was easy because we were!

Does the Timeline turn you into a time traveler? What do you like or dislike about the Timeline? Here is the place to discuss your thoughts about the Timeline concept, execution, sequencing, boundaries, commentaries, samples, and the like. If, instead, you'd like to discuss more specifically which songs are missing, please comment here.