Saturday, June 6, 2015

15 albums

H/T to Almost Batten, who recently posted a list of 15 albums she listens to that will always stick with her. (It's actually "15 albums in 15 minutes," because you're not supposed to spend too much time thinking or writing about it -- but of course, brevity has never been my strong suit, lol...!) I told her this was a timely topic for me, since I just went through my vinyl album collection before handing it over to Older Nephew -- not that we don't still have a sizeable CD collection too. ;) 

Here are mine (in no particular order):

(I thought about adding links &/or thumbnail cover images, but I didn't want this post to take forever, lol -- if you're interested, Google or YouTube are only a click away...!):  

The Best of Herman's Hermits, Vol. 2:  Christmas 1966, my sister & I received a fabulous gift:  a record player, with two albums to play on it: the soundtrack from Mary Poppins (which we had recently seen), and (I detect a theme here...) an album of Christmas carols by Julie Andrews. But it was the 60s, and my mother had already taken me to see the movie "Help!" starring the Beatles, followed by "Hold On!" starring Herman's Hermits, thus beginning my lifelong love affair with British Invasion bands & music.  :)  And a few weeks after Christmas, I got this album for my 6th birthday.  It included a poster of Herman (Peter Noone), which has sadly gone missing over the years. The cover is battered & the record is scratched, but it's one of the few albums that I didn't turn over to Older Nephew, even though I have a Herman's Hermits greatest hits CD that includes most of the same songs. Peter Noone occasionally plays concerts at the local casinos;  I am determined to get to one of them one of these days & get him to sign the album for me. :)

Groovin' (The Young Rascals):  Following the Herman's Hermits LP, this was probably the second rock album my sister & I owned, and it's still somewhere in the depths of my parents' basement, although I recently managed to snag a CD version. As I blogged at the time, all four original band members reunited a couple of years ago for the first time in more than 40 years, and I dragged dh to see them here in Toronto. It was a fabulous show -- despite all those years apart, they were still in fine form -- and I could still sing along.  Perhaps the original blue-eyed soul band.

The Beatles, 1962-66 and 1967-70:  Released in the mid-1970s, these two greatest hits compilations are commonly known as the Red Album & the Blue Album. I grew up listening to Beatles music, but they broke up when I was 9 years old.  These albums were released a few years later, as I was entering my teens ( = prime record buying years), and they were actually the first Beatles albums I owned. I think this also holds true for many of my contemporaries (unless they had older brothers & sisters with copies of "Rubber Soul" and "Sgt. Pepper").

Dreamboat Annie (Heart): I wrote about this album two summers ago as part of my review of Ann & Nancy Wilson's memoir, "Kicking and Dreaming."  To recap: I LOVED "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man," which received radio airplay, BEGGED for it and got it for Christmas or my birthday when I was about 15. I loved the wailing guitars, and loved being able to sing along with a female voice (for a change!).  I still love this album.

IV (Led Zeppelin):  I bought this album when I was in high school for one cut alone: "Stairway to Heaven" (of course), which was always, always the last song played at every high school dance I ever attended. If you heard the familiar strains of "Stairway to Heaven" starting, you knew the night was over. and if that cute guy you'd been eyeing hadn't asked you to dance yet, well, better luck next time. But while it was a little "heavier" than my usual musical fare at the time, I grew to appreciate some of the other songs on the album too. It was an iconic album of its time, and was probably in most of my friends' record collections.

Rumours (Fleetwood Mac): This album was huge -- HUGE! -- when I was entering high school. I bought it at the Bay for $4.99 while I was staying at my aunt's house in the city to attend a provincial high school science fair, and my aunt came into my bedroom to find her toddler son (now a successful chiropractor) sitting on the floor & giggling over the photos of a google-eyed, beareded Mick Fleetwood on the back cover. ;)  Hearing the lazy, druggy intro to "Dreams" immediately sends me back to the beach, laying in the sun tanning and listening to the song on my transistor radio.  And while I bow to Stevie Nicks and her charisma, my all-time favourite Fleetwood Mac song is actually "Songbird," which closes the side one -- just Christine McVie at the piano with her soaring, crystal-clear voice. Amazing.

Boston (Boston):  One of my favourite scrapbooking gurus/bloggers, Cathy Zielske, recently devoted an entire blog post to the marvel that is Boston's first album. I loved this album when it first came out and played it to death. I still play it often, especially when I'm housecleaning, and anytime one of its cuts comes on the radio, I turn the volume up & sing along. (I wrote about this album before, here, as a segue to a more ALI-related topic.) 

Living in the U.S.A. (Linda Ronstadt):  As I wrote in this review of her memoir a few years ago, I adore Linda Ronstadt, in all her many incarnations -- country, rock, pop standards -- and have owned quite a few of her albums. This one was, I think, the first. With a wide range of cover tunes by artists as varied as Chuck Berry, Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson and Warren Zevon, it showed off her amazing versatility.  The cover, showing Ronstadt in a pair of short-shorts, silk bomber jacket and roller skates, made her a sex symbol too. I am so sad that she can no longer sing because of Parkinson's disease -- but oh, what a legacy! 

Live at Budokan (Cheap Trick): I eventually had several Cheap Trick albums, but this was the first, and the most iconic, complete with hordes of shrieking Japanese girls in the background. I got to see them in concert a few times myself and while I don't think I ever screamed ;) I always enjoyed the show tremendously.

Breakfast in America (Supertramp):  Supertramp was a huge band during my teenage & college years, and this album was a smash hit, just as I was graduating from high school.  I took a trip to Ottawa in May that year, courtesy of the local Rotary Club, and whenever I hear these songs, I think of Ottawa and of driving around with my billet family's teenagers & their friends.  They couldn't understand why I wanted to go see the boring old Parliament Buildings instead of hanging out with them, lol.

The Cars (The Cars):  Another album I played to death and still love to sing along to. Probably the first "new wave" band I remember liking. Let the good times roll, indeed!

Rio (Duran Duran):  I was already in college when Duran Duran hit the bigtime, so I was a little beyond following them as teen idols. But the music was catchy, and those videos...!  I had both of their first two albums, and often played them in my dorm room as I was getting ready for parties. :) 

My Aim is True (Elvis Costello & the Attractions):  I actually first heard "Alison" in a cover version by Linda Ronstadt (see above). Eventually (having heard "Pump It Up" and "Radio Radio" played at various university socials (dances) and seen photos of this geeky looking guy with the King's name & a punk rock attitude) I decided to check out the original -- and I have been glad I did ever since then.

Darkness on the Edge of Town (Bruce Springsteen):  I had to get a Springsteen album in here, lol. It was hard to pick just one, but this was dh's favourite at the time we started going out, and it also included the first Springsteen song I remember hearing, when I was in high school (and still one of my favourites), "Prove it all Night." It also includes classics such as "Badlands" and "The Promised Land."

American Idiot (Green Day): I was in my 30s by the time Green Day came around, in the early 1990s. By then, my interest and ability to keep up with current music was fading :p -- but I came to like Green Day because their punky, hooky sound reminded me of some of the stuff I loved in high school and university. It was a refreshing jolt amid a lot of dance music and rap (which I loathe).  "American Idiot" blew me away -- the music, the concept, the messages, the attitude. I was glad to see them enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.

This was not as hard as I thought it would be ;) -- I could probably have written about more. What are some of the influential albums of your life?

1 comment:

  1. This is fun! I don't know if I could come up with 15 albums... I can't even remember the last full album that I purchased. Typically I just purchase individual songs on iTunes.