When I lived in Ft. Lauderdale (this would have been the early 1980s), there was a local radio station with what they called “Twofer Tuesday,” where they played two songs by the same artist, followed by two more by a different artist, and so on throughout the day.

I enjoyed it. Of necessity it eliminated the one-hit wonders. As performed by the DJs on that station, it produced a nice mix of newer and older stuff—most of the twofers had a recent hit followed by an older hit by the same performer or group.

A few years back, I spent some time trying to make an iTunes playlist that would give me twofers, and finally came up with something that was sorta okay.

I did it in two steps:

First, I created a smart playlist for each artist that I wanted to hear twofers from. The basic playlists was “Artist contains artist-name,” “Rating is greater than 2 stars.” Then I limited it to 2 songs, selected by random. (That didn’t quite work—it gave me a single instance of the playlist. To fix that, I added a third rule “Last played is not in the last 2 days,” so that once I played a song it would drop out of the playlist and iTunes would give me a new song for next time.)

Second, I created a folder for all those playlists, and sorted that folder by Artist. Voila: A twofer playlist.

Except for the fact that it always plays my twofers in alphabetical order, it works great. (If you randomize it, it doesn’t group the two songs by the same artist together, which defeats the whole idea.)

Here’s the list I’m playing right now. (If you’re adequately OCD, you’ll notice that I won’t get my Alison Krauss’s played together, because the second one is credited as “Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, and Emmylou Harris,” so it’s sorting between Fleetwood Mac and Huey Lewis and the News. I’m okay with that.)

Lord Grenville    Year of the Cat    Al Stewart
On the Border    Year of the Cat    Al Stewart
Teardrops Will Kiss the Morning Dew    Two Highways    Alison Krauss
Hello City    Gordon    Barenaked Ladies
If I Had $1000000    Gordon    Barenaked Ladies
Paperback Writer    1    The Beatles
Hey Jude    1    The Beatles
The Stranger    The Stranger    Billy Joel
Only The Good Die Young    The Stranger    Billy Joel
Down On The Corner    Chronicle    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Someday Never Comes    Chronicle    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tulsa Time    Just One Night (CD1)    Eric Clapton
Rambling On My Mind    Just One Night (CD2)    Eric Clapton
Second Hand News    Rumours    Fleetwood Mac
Dreams    Rumours    Fleetwood Mac
Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby    O Brother, Where Art Thou?    Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, and Emmylou Harris
Whole Lotta Lovin’    Fore!    Huey Lewis And The News
Walking On A Thin Line    Sports    Huey Lewis And The News
Something In The Way She Moves    Best Of James Taylor    James Taylor
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight    Best Of James Taylor    James Taylor
Danger Danger    Folk is the New Black    Janis Ian
Passion Play    Restless Eyes    Janis Ian
The Town Crotch    Thing a Week I    Jonathan Coulton
Mr. Fancy Pants    Thing a Week V    Jonathan Coulton
Make You Feel My Love    Heart of Mine: Love Songs of Bob Dylan    Maria Muldaur
Midnight at the Oasis    Maria Muldaur    Maria Muldaur
The Nearness of You    Come Away With Me    Norah Jones
Those Sweet Words    Feels Like Home    Norah Jones