The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Happy birthday to me: My 60-something favorite songs of all time as of today, playable and in no order

Randy Newman Old Man


Tobin Sprout To My Beloved Martha


Destroyer An Actor’s Revenge


Sebadoh Brand New Love


Pinback Talby


The Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat


Nina Simone Pirate Jenny


Wire Mr. Marx’s Table


The Quick Teacher’s Pet


Pink Floyd Lucifer Sam


Pavement Grounded


Cheap Trick Auf Wiedersehen


Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band Big Eyed Beans From Venus


Guided by Voices Redmen And Their Wives


Laura Nyro Gibsom Street


Sonic Youth Schizophrenia


Ramones I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement


Donovan Epistle to Dippy


Superchunk Untied


Eno The True Wheel


Airport 5 Stifled Man Casino


The Shangri-Las Past, Present And Future


Gram Parsons $1000 Wedding


David Ackles Midnight Carousel


Buffy Sainte-Marie My Country Tis of Thy People You’re Dying


The Rolling Stones We Love You


Spacemen 3 OD Catastrophe


The Jesus And Mary Chain Some Candy Talking


The Melvins Joan of Arc


The Dickies Fan Mail


Xiu Xiu Blacks


Family Voyage


New Pornographers Use It


Sparks Mickey Mouse


The Cramps Garbage Man


Neil Young Tired Eyes


Cat Power Nude as the News


Swervedriver Rave Down


Björk Hyperballad


Spirit Aren’t You Glad


The Left Banke She May Call You Up Tonight


ABBA Knowing Me, Knowing You


Magazine The Light Pours Out of Me


The Flaming Lips The Spiderbite Song


Jefferson Airplane Two Heads


Bow Wow Wow Chihuahua


Husker Du Divide And Conquer


Vår Pictures of Today/Victorial


Wall Of Voodoo Factory


Fleetwood Mac The Green Manalishi


The Fall Smile


Sebadoh As the World Dies, the Eyes of God Grow Bigger


Roy Wood & Electric Light Orchestra Look at Me Now


Incredible String Band Very Cellular Song


Dwight Twilley Looking for the Magic


The Flamin’ Groovies Slow Death


The Groundhogs Cherry Red


The Kinks Susannah’s Still Alive


Van Dyke Parks The All Golden


Fugazi Rend It


S.O.S. Band Just Be Good to Me


Chic My Feet Keep Dancing


Serge Lama Je suis malade




p.s. Hey. I invite you to have a virtual birthday party with me today by spinning at least some of my favorite songs and rocking out or staring melancholically into space or shaking your hips or weeping or whatever else the tunes inspire. That would be sweet. Thank you very much! ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Yeah, I decided to make them all b&w and up the creepy factor. I’m glad it worked. In ‘real life’ they’re all very wildly candy coloured. Movers for your big stuff, small stuff for you, yeah, makes sense. That’s how I moved too. Did you manage to fend off laziness and send the SCAB emails? The festival preparations are in high gear, too high gear. We have to finish and send a bunch of stuff by tomorrow morning: poster (almost finished), a bunch of stills, other stuff, and a trailer. Zac and I spent most of yesterday making a trailer. PGL is a very trailer-unfriendly kind of film, but we made a weird, very mysterious one that we like under the circumstances but that I have a stinking suspicion our producer and sales agents will think is way, way too uncommercial, but we will see. And so my birthday will largely get eaten up by festival preparations, but birthdays are best ignored, or at least mine, ha ha. How was Wednesday? Packing, I would imagine, and … ? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Actually, those two Disneyland attractions are dark rides, not fun houses. Fun houses are walk-through only. More like that place where ‘Lady from Shanghai’ ends up. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Ah, thanks for the corrected link. I will fully indulge. Everyone, if you like lists and/or if you’re interested in the musical workings of Mr. Steve Erickson’s mind, you can go here and find out what his 150 favorite all-time albums are. Might make a nice accompaniment to my birthday post today. Congrats on the warming over there. The last two Tim Buckley albums aren’t great. There are shadows of really good things here and there in them. But, yeah, compared to what came before. Ooh, how was ‘The Green Fog’? I’m happy because the sales agency that just signed on to ‘sell’ PGL to festivals and distributors also handles Lucretia Martel’s ‘Zama’, and they’re sending me link. That’s the film I’m the most excited to see right now, so, yeah, cool. Well, one of the many wonderful things about France is that Catherine Deneuve and the others can express an intelligent, nuanced opinion about that subject knowing it will inspire an intelligent nuanced discussion and that they won’t immediately be denounced as traitors by thought-phobic hysterics. It’s a different world over here. ** Sypha, Yes, that ‘Mr. Bean 4’, or the ‘4’ part of it, intrigued me as well, but I have yet to google around and try to find an answer. I hope for your sake that the temperatures are rocketing back up to your sweet spot. ** Jamie, Zippity-doo-dah, Speedy J. Me too. About the all embracing facades love. I didn’t google Lazarett, which I can’t believe I didn’t do, now that you mention it. Okay. Huh, Google tells me a Lazarett is a ‘Mobile Army Surgical Hospital’. So there we go. Oh my God, seriously? That’s what the hotel looked like?! That is truly amazing. I’m in love. Wow, I may have to vacation there. In the dead of some winter. When will you hear about your entry? The meeting yesterday was about PGL. As I told Dora, we’re scrambling to get a bunch of stuff ready way too quickly for the Rotterdam festival. It’s all good, but, yeah, a lot. Ha ha, I would love to have day like the one you wished me, (he said never having seen that video, but he can imagine). May your day be completely unlike the gig by the Scandinavian Mental band described in Pinback’s song ‘Talby’ (see: above). Nancy Drew and her best friend love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Getting lost is one of life’s great pleasures as long as it’s not regarding a street address you’re looking for when your phone’s GPS is on the blink (which happened to me yesterday). Like the new logo! The wild period of Tim Buckley (‘Lorca’ and ‘Starsailor’ especially) is really something. I like your idea for the title of the show. How has it gone down with the others? ** Misanthrope, Hi. Well, technically, fun houses aren’t scary. Haunted house attractions aren’t fun houses, for instance. Fun houses are those carnival-centric things with mirror mazes and moving floors and … you know, like an obstacle course in a festively decorated truck trailer. Have a really nice my birthday! ** Count Reeshard, Hi, Count! Very nice to see you! What a wonderful Tim Buckley recounting. I came to Buckley with ‘Goodbye and Hello’, and it was so fascinating to hear him go gradually radical and watch his old fans dwindle away and say he’d lost his mind and new fans from the more experimental wing gradually catch on, although obviously there weren’t enough of them to buy enough records to support his record company’s support. I haven’t read ‘Dream Brother’, but I will get it. Even though I’m not so interested in his son’s stuff. My great pleasure on the post, and your comment made it way more than very worth it. Have a lovely day. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Yeah, he was an amazing artist. Still not sufficiently appreciated, I don’t think. My fave is either ‘Starsailor’ or ‘Lorca’. I do have a soft spot for ‘Goodbye and Hello’ among his earlier work where you can hear the experimenting cooking inside the folk. Oh, man, those internet issues. I feel like you get internet issues a lot, no? Am I misremembering? Condolences. Unsettling news? Shit. Yeah, later this week, weekend, etc. should be good for me. Let me know when’s good for you, and let’s figure it out. ** Kyler, Thank you, buddy! ** Right. Go back to my/our soundtrack-based partying ways, if you wish. See you tomorrow.


  1. Beloved maestro, muchas felicidades H B DAY!!!! I will be totally free 4 months ici à Paris. We can meet when you want. Have a nice day!

  2. happy BD, dennis! lots of good stuff here that i know and love, and some stuff i need to check out. funny, i posted a video tonight on FB of me playing “garbage man” on a little suitcase turntable (with programmable disco lights on the inside of the lid!) i just bought for fun. have a fun day, even amid all your busyness. is that a word? ok, xoMK

  3. Happy birthday, Dennis! I hope it’s exquisite. Much love from NYC. Next time you’re around I’ll get you a drink (or pressed vegetable thing).


  4. Hope you have a great birthday, Dennis! Curious to see a couple changes in song picks for the same artists from your list in ‘Ugly Man’. Spotify-ed your list for any readers interested in listening that way:

    Have you heard Gram Parsons – ‘Another Side of This Life’? An early/lost recordings compilation. Really lovely stuff.

  5. Hi!

    Happy, happy birthday, Dennis!!

    Thank you for the awesome song collection/party!
    I did manage to fend off laziness and I sent all the SCAB e-mails I needed to! I’m proud of myself, haha.
    Uh… I really hope your producer and sales agent will see it your way – putting together a more commercial trailer would be kind of false maybe, if not downright impossible. At least that’s the idea I get based on what you’ve shared about ‘Permanent Green Light’ so far.
    My day has been the usual so far but I feel like I need to step out and do something different for a few hours now so I’ll meet a friend soon. Even writing this feels refreshing, haha.
    Did the festival preparations indeed eat up most of your day? Did you have at least a tiny celebration break?

  6. Hi Dennis — Happy Birthday! (the blog didn’t open several times, so I was so anxious, but finally!) I should think about what present I can make for you. What would be good for you…it’s really tough. In the mean time, best of luck and joy with the festival preparations!

  7. Happy birthday to you, lovely Dennis!
    Hope you’ve had a dandy day!
    You have the same birthday as two other folk that I know and I’m trying to work out if you’re all similar in some way. Capricorn, eh?
    What a great list of songs you’ve chosen. I was weirdly happy to see a Donovan song up there. I love some Donovan. Schizophrenia may be the perfect song, I think. Looking forward to listening to the few that I don’t know too. Thanks, birthday boy.
    Isn’t that hotel a beaut? Hannah’s mum kept warning us beforehand that it was a little faded in its glamour which just made me all the more excited. The walk we had on the beach in front of it was one of the most eerily beautiful scenes I’ve ever been in. The door to Hannah’s sister’s room came off in her hand!
    I’ll hear from the writing award folk in 4 – 6 weeks, apparently.
    How was your day? Hope you’re getting on top of all the film stuff for Rotterdam.
    Who was Nancy Drew’s friend? I remember a guy called Ned.
    May your day be as beautiful as the set in the second half of the ballet I went to see last night (they’d strung together hundreds of shiny multi-coloured baubles and draped them everywhere – so nice!).
    Plastic firework love,

  8. Amphibiouspeter

    January 10, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Hey DC hope you have a v hb!

    That is one sweet playlist, chuffed to see Randy Newman at the top – great choices for your birthday tracks.

    Sorry I’ve been pretty absent over Christmas and new year, I’ve checked in a couple of times but not written to you. Particularly loved the keys and the fun houses.

    I finally got my copy of mountainhead by new juche – about two thirds of the way through and beginning to patch together a bunch of the ideas he’s playing with. It really starts right from the beginning though, right?

    Right, take it easy, eat a ton of cake x

  9. David Ehrenstein

    January 10, 2018 at 3:36 pm


    And here’s a song for you I’ve alwaus loved.

    Surprised Jeff Buckley doesn’t float your boat but Chaque a Son Goo.

    Yes a good number of people have commented on Catherine Deneuve’s sanity vs. the “Me Too” hysteria, but that’s why she’s Catherine Deneuve.

    As for “Oprah in 20/20” Here’s the Campaign Song

  10. I hope you’re eating nachos or cold sesame noodles in celebration of your birthday!

    Especially considering your age, I can see how much your taste was impacted by ’90s indie rock. I don’t think my list of 150 favorite albums has nearly as much from that period, and I was 18 in 1990. People often think I’m older than I am because I’m such a big fan of the “acid-folk” scene, for instance. I love Nina Simone, but I would have chosen “Sinner Man” or one of her protest songs.

    A problem with that manifesto is that, as far as I know, it’s only been published in French so far and most of the English-language articles about it just quoted it selectively more or less disapprovingly. The Guardian engaged in some PC slut-shaming and pointed out that one woman who signed it used to be a porn star and that Catherine Denueve starred as a prostitute in BELLE DE JOUR.

    The screening of THE GREEN FOG I tried to attend last night got canceled because the projector broke down between the trailers and the feature! I got a pass to see it again tonight, as well as a pass to see one more film I want for free at the same theater. I hope things go smoothly this evening! I will post my thoughts on Facebook once I’ve seen it.

    The Jan-March 2018 Anthology Film Archives calendar arrived today. I am very happy, even though I had to spend 15 minutes lugging heavy boxes of it down to the theater’s basement. It contains my program notes for the Mehrdad Oskouei series and explicitly states that I curated it and wrote or edited all the notes. I took 2 copies of the calendar: one to keep in my kitchen alongside the other current movie calendars, and one for my permanent record to possibly show to future employers as proof that I have film programming experience. I can’t wait for Feb. 23 to roll around and this series to take place.

    There’s one very exciting series on the new Anthology calendar, called “Documentarian For a a Day.” It consists of documentaries by filmmakers who were mostly known for their fiction work. The highlights include a 35-minute film by Rossellini about Salvador Allende that I never knew existed, two films by Oshima, a program of early shorts by Resnais (none of these are secret, but NIGHT AND FOG is the only one I’ve seen), and Fassbinder’s THEATER IN TRANCE. Part two of the program will take place in the spring, and it will include an extensive selection of Rohmer’s educational films.

  11. happy b’day!

  12. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNIS!!! You’re a blessing! I hope you have many more years on this planet! xoxoxo

  13. Happy birthday Dennis! How in the hell did we (me and you) last so long? I remember being 45 years old, and thinking ‘no way will I reach 50!” After 50, I just shrug the years away. Now, I’m of the opinion the best work is done when someone is either middle-aged or old. Which of course, works in my favor. So I’m not being fair whatsoever. Still, it’s very impressive to see what you’re doing now, and very much living in the present with side glances to the past. The last ten or fifteen years have been major for you. Moving to Paris was a huge cultural shift. It’s great. Thanks for the inspiration, and a very happy birthday to you. l, tosh

  14. Hope you’re having an awesome birthday, Dennis!

    This is an impressively eclectic favorites list, as expected. Has it changed much since (say) 5 years ago? Choosing just one favorite out of Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy would be sooooo tough for me.

    Ryoji Ikeda was in town to perform supercodex yesterday. Definitely worth catching, though it was more relentless than I expected, and the space could have been set up better.


  15. Dennis, well, I said it on Facebook but I’ll say it again here… happy birthday!

    This reminds me that I really should go about making a “Top 100” songs list one day.

    As far as I’ve been able to figure out, the 4 in that Mr. Bean fun house attraction might be a reference to the fact that the fun house in question has 4 floors.

    Yeah, it has gotten a bit warmer out, but I’ve mostly stayed indoors… did go to the dentist yesterday and had 2 more cavities filled (I only have 2 left to do now), and afterwards went to the mall to get IT (which was just released on DVD yesterday). In theory I should probably be trying to get some writing done as well, but, uh… not so much so far, ha ha.

  16. Happy Birthday – I will celebrate with you by listening to Divide and Conquer several times in a row

  17. Happy birthday, what a fun post 👨🏼‍🍳👂🏼🍬🍭🎂

  18. Happy happy, Dennis! Totally rocking out with these. Our musical Venn diagrams overlap to an almost shocking degree. Hope you are having a good one. Be well my friend.


  19. Any mix where the Fall-song of choice is “Smile” is a great mix.

  20. Happy Birthday again BTW.

    A great collection of tunes.

    ‘A Very Cellular Song’ would be in my similar list.

    A song I’m constantly astounded by. Like, how the fuck did they make that!

    Have you heard the stories about ISB and Woodstock? There’s a bit about it here: http://www.woodstockstory.com/incrediblestringsband.html

    If i get a chance I might put all these tunes into a Spotify playlist.

  21. Dennis!

    Happy birthday!! 🎂🎉🎁

    How apropos, as the guest post I’m fastidiously working on for you is also a music-related thingy!

    I hope you have an awesome birthday!


  22. DC!

    Hell yes, and happiest birthday!

    Things are good over here. I put in my 30-days’ notice, and will no longer be teaching pretty soon. The job was causing my health to sharply decline. I’m going to take a few months to read, write, and be responsible re: Sator—then look for work.

    No snow in Santa Fe, New Mexico this winter, which is rare, but rare means expected now, plus the future is always already here. I hope things are exciting for you.


  23. Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Dennis!! All the best and more!!!
    (and I love the songs – you can imagine )

  24. Happy Birthday, Dennis! Lots of love xoxo

  25. Happy birthday, Mr. Cooper! So very many shared favorites here, thanks for these. (This ardent Mael-ophile is embarrassed at forgetting about “Mickey Mouse.”) Great to see VDP’s “The All Golden” included. I believe my 33 1/3 book about ‘Song Cycle’ is still the least selling title in the series, though fellow ‘D.C. Blog’ friend Tosh Berman’s encouraging words about my effort were echoed around the world by online booksellers. But that’s how life imitates art, I’d guess. All the same, I’m thinking you might like that little volume. Wishing you a most righteously debauched natal day, R.

  26. Happy Birthday!
    I’m older than you!
    I’m amazed at how many of these songs I not only know but really, really like–because my musical taste has never been . . . advanced. These days when I work I have on a whole mix of contemporary composers I paste in from Spotify. (One reason people like CMBYN so much is that the tone is set by John Adams music over the very pretty opening credits.)
    I hope you will run for president. I mean, why the fuck not.
    Keep up the good work, sonny.

  27. @ DC, Happy Birthday to you! Squashed tomatoes in stew, bread and butter down the gutter, happy birthday to you. We always sang that at school, was it anywhere else or just our Leeds primary?

    My own day wasn’t so great, last night I fell in the bathroom and cracked a rib (I think) so today I’ve been very sore. I have osteoporosis and feared the worst but went to bed hoping it would be better in the morning. Was still sore, went to A&E, was checked out and told to take painkillers until the bone heals in the next week or 2. I’ve had to cancel Friday’s driving lesson so it’s kind of a dead loss here. On a more positive note, I did write the text for the Yuck ‘n Yum Seattle callout so that will hopefully be online later in the week.

  28. hey big guy, you always get a preview of a particular age 3 weeks before me…how is it so far? I can hardly wait (and I’m being sarcastic). I happened to acquire 2 split-pea soups today on your birthday – I know, your favorite! So I’ll think of you when I slurp them in the next few days….hoping it’s been a great one. And a good year to come…K

    PS: reading IMPERIAL BEDROOMS now for the first time, which I happened to see at the library. Gosh, this guy (Bret) really writes well. I can’t read a lot of stuff in general, but I am totally riveted to the page.

  29. Here’s my review of Daniela Thomas’ VAZANTE: http://gaycitynews.nyc/original-sin-2/

    And Ziad Douieiri’s THE INSULT: http://gaycitynews.nyc/uncivil-society/

  30. Dennis, Happy Birthday (again; I left you a note on your FB wall too, as usual on this glorious day every year)! I did have a really nice your birthday.

    Okay, so this blew me away: “Some Candy Talking.” My absolute favorite JAMC song. However…where are The Doors? I jest. About The Doors, not the JAMC song.

    I always found fun houses, or the idea of them, creepy. I mean, the way the mirrors distort one’s form…that’s horrifying. Mirrors fucking everywhere? Ugh. I think of them more along the lines of Derek McCormack’s fun house in “The Show That Smells.”

    So the ultrasound results: everything looked fine…except…I have some small cysts on my kidneys. I looked them up, and it seems that those things are very common and usually just benign fluid sacs. The doc recommends I see nephrologist to follow up and make sure they’re not dangerous or whatever.

    Oh, and I have toothache. The dentist’s office called to reschedule my cleaning today, from 1/20 to 2/12. I told the woman that I had a toothache but that I’d wait until it got really bad before I come in. She said, “Okay.” WTF?

    But I’ll probably do that anyway. And it only hurts every infrequent now and again.

    This is weird. Monday night, I had my regular bout of every-4-months-or-so insomnia and slept about 2 hours. During those 2 hours, I dreamt that I came upon an accident on an exit ramp where a mother and her son were dead though they were moving. Suddenly, Trump’s there consoling people but he was a very short and plump red-haired woman.

  31. Happy birthday, Dennis! Hope it was a good day and you were feeling the love out there. Great, great round-up of tunes here. About half of them soundtracked my work day and the rest will tomorrow. Your taste is impeccable — there were a few tunes here that were new to me, the particular ones from Buffy St. Marie, David Ackles, Family, the Groundhogs. Are there particular Groundhogs albums you rate highly?

    Yeah, the internet issues around here are almost all tied to the idiot construction crew across the street that has accidentally (?) knocked over power poles twice and ripped down lines two other times. It’s maddening. Plus, the shitty houses they’re building are a total eyesore that make me dream of arson.

    This weekend would be ideal for Skype if that works for you? Let me know.

  32. Happy Birthday Sir. Love the list, my favorite Fugazi record .”my believe made the day great.” much love

  33. Good birthday my friend! I trail you in five….. almost four ( in forty or so minutes ) days. Cheers to another year of it!

  34. Dennis! A very, very happy birthday to you! Wishing you nothing but what you deserve in the coming year which is to say, wishing you all the best.

    Love, Bear

  35. Happy Birthday, Dennis!!xx If you catch this before the new post.

    Mega love from TokyoXX

  36. Happy birthday DC! Sorry I’m a bit late! x

    Just been rereading this from The Paris Review.

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