A stroke of genius?

Apple has added a “Genius” selection to its newest version of iTunes, largely similar to Amazon’s recommendations (though years later), designed to drive you to the Apple store and buy music that’s similar to or related to what’s already in your library. Fair enough, and you never know what you might discover, so I’m cool with it. It also offers you the ability to build a playlist from a single song in your library — it’ll pick out songs that, based on only Apple knows what, somehow relate to the song you’ve chosen and build a new playlist. Might be interesting, might be odd.

So I picked the song that is pretty much the only song I’ve been playing lately, Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” from “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” just to see what the “Genius” recommended. Here’s the playlist it came up with:

  • Heart Full of Soul (sitar version) The Yardbirds — okay, interesting.
  • Border Song Elton John — Hmm, must be because it’s the ’70s.
  • I Saw Her Again The Mamas and the Papas — lotsa vocals? Is that the connection?
  • Look Through Any Window The Hollies — No clue.
  • World Turning Fleetwood Mac — I barely even knew this song, and it’s kinda like the Peter Green style, so, yes, okay.
  • With a Little Help from my Friends Joe Cocker — well, duh.
  • Celluloid Heroes The Kinks — wha?
  • I Can’t Explain The Who — double wha??
  • Out of Time The Rolling Stones — something just a little more funky.
  • Pleasant Valley Sunday The Monkees — total WTF.
  • Born Under a Bad Sign Cream — okay, yes.
  • What Is Life George Harrison — Definitely. Very similar sound.
  • The Letter Joe Cocker — Can’t go wrong picking songs from the same album.
  • Roll Over Beethoven ELO — One I would never have picked to go with “Delta Lady,” but you know what? It works.
  • Country Road James Taylor — Now the Genius is just screwing with me.
  • San Franciscan Nights Eric Burdon & The Animals — sorta.
  • Spill The Wine Eric Burdon & War — well, of course.
  • Every Picture Tells A Story Rod Stewart — Definitely, the connection between Stewart and Cocker is clear.
  • Polk Salad Annie Tony Joe White — in fairness, this song is always a great WTF. But a great one.
  • Kicks Paul Revere & The Raiders — Hmmm. Well, an interesting choice.
  • It’s All Over Now The Rolling Stones — yeah, kinda, yeah.
  • Ride My See-Saw The Moody Blues — A natural follower to the Stones, it turns out.
  • Carrie Anne The Hollies — um, no.
  • Guinevere Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — yes, but: this can NEVER be the last song on a playlist. Way too down. What is the Genius thinking?

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