Since he doesn’t blog anymore it was through his Facebook status update I was made aware of this idea. Here is the introduction as I initially saw it posted:
Rules of the Game: Copy this and post as your status update. List 12 albums that made a lasting impression on you, but only 1 per band/artist. Don’t take too long and don’t think too hard. Tag 12 friends to do the same, including me, so I can see what you listed. No compilations.
What I did was list the albums as per the rules (I did not take too long and didn’t think too hard about it) then I went back later on to write the bits about each album. Here they are in no particular order:
The Beatles – The Beatles
It was after John Lennon had been killed. I had liked the band, but was still in the “discovery” phase, in that I was still quite literally discovering the depth and breadth of their catalog. I received the album for my 14th birthday. Vinyl, of course, because it was 1981 after all. The photo mini posters and the massive double-sided poster with a collage on one side and the lyrics on the other were the icing on the musical cake. Yes, there are too many songs here, and that’s being generous with the definition. This was my first Beatles album, the one upon which I would build my collection. This is the album which started me on, in many ways, my path of musical fandom.
The Ramones – Pleasant Dreams
While Too Tough To Die is my favorite album, and I can’t remember which one was the first one I ever picked up, Pleasant Dreams is the album that has stuck with me because of the effort to find it. It was 1988 and my best friend and I at the time were in the midst of gathering the whole of the Ramones catalog. Between the two of us we had everything release up that year (including Ramones Mania), except for one which was hard to find. I was stationed in Monterey, California which was not known to have the largest selection of available music (one chain record store, one independent record store and one used record store) so it had taken the better part of a year for the two of us to find a copy of each album. I finally found the band’s 1981 release on cassette and we celebrated. I know it is by far not the best Ramones album, but the quest for us to compile a complete (up to that time) discography between the two of us is why this album in particular holds a special place in my heart.
Queen – A Kind Of Magic
Not the first Queen album I ever owned, but the one that had the most impact on me initially. I have discussed A Kind Of Magic before. For all the reasons mentioned before this album has stuck with me over the years. But also possibly because I kept having to replace it. I think it might be the one album I have purchased most often. I think I am on my 6th or 7th copy of the album.
DEVO – New Traditionalists
When talking about DEVO a while ago this was the second paragraph. My initial introduction to the band was a library copy of the 1981 LP New Traditionalists. Sure I had heard “Whip It” on the radio, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1982 that I heard a full album and was struck with just how different the sound was. I was still in the throws of my “classic rock” phase, and would be for quite some time, but that album stayed with me. Literally. I wound up paying the replacement fee rather than return it.
Bill Withers – Just As I Am
I grew up listening to this album. A lot. There are some absolute classic songs on here “Ain’t No Sunshine” being perhaps most notable. This album and What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye fueled my lasting love for soul music, or at least a particular type of soul music. Unfortunately all my Bill Withers is on vinyl. This is a man who deserves a massive overhaul and remastering of his catalog for rerelease.
Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters
I remember when I first heard about the debut album by the Foo Fighters. I was in Poland of all places. I had heard Dave Grohl was recording something after Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide. For some reason before leaving Seattle I had not heard much about the Foo Fighters project other than Dave Grohl had recorded everything himself. It wasn’t until I was in Europe that I first heard any songs and I was immediately struck by the songs, something that did not happen with Nirvana. There were posters advertising the album all over the place. I have seen the band twice and would see them again. And yes, I picked up the CD in Poland.
The Police – Ghost In The Machine
Before Synchronicity arrived The Police were still a big band. My best friend at the time just happened to live next door to me and had this album. He played it quite a bit during my sophomore year of high school and I wound up becoming a fan of The Police. This isn’t my favorite album by the band but it has stayed with me because it was the introduction I had to not just The Police but in many ways to music that was beyond my mother’s record collection.
Def Leppard – On Through The Night
While most of the world was introduced to Def Leppard through Pyromania, I was familiar with the band because my friend at the time (are you sensing a theme here) was from England and had this album. It was just a few months before we moved from California to Washington, and while I didn’t quite become the Def Leppard fan I would become (that would come with, you guessed it, Pyromania) I was at least aware of the band with On Through The Night so that album has always held a special place in my heart.
The Young Fresh Fellows – Topsy Turvy
I “discovered” The Young Fresh Fellows Labor Day weekend in 1989 at the Bumbershoot festival. I was blown away. The band had just released their album This One’s For The Ladies with new guitarist Kurt Bloch. I became a fan instantly. I devoured each release I could find, and it wasn’t long until I had a copy of the band’s 1985 sophomore effort, Topsy Turvy. This release, more than any other by the band, has remained with me and I keep going back to it.
Soul Asylum – Hang Time
Watching MTV in 1988, in particular the program “120 Minutes” and the video for “Sometime To Return” comes on. It’s not a particularly good video, but the song grabbed me. I picked up the album, and I was the only one in my group of friends that liked it. I simply could not understand it. This was some great “indie” style rock and roll with lyrics at times silly and other times poignant and highly intelligent. I still have yet to see Soul Asylum live despite being a fan and gathering up most of their albums. Still producing some thoughtful stuff, but I keep coming back to Hang Time.
Krafwerk – Autobahn
The introduction and set-up for why I was a passenger at the age of 9 or 10 in a car going from San Jose to San Francisco is too long for the space here. But that is when I heard something that was not like anything else I had ever heard. It would be many years later before I heard it again, but the memory of that day stuck with me and when I finally did get my own copy of the album I was not disappointed.
Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
Another album introduced to me by my best friend at the time. I still listen to it regularly. The word that seems to describe the album best, at least to me, is “haunting” ( even the up-tempo numbers). There is something about this release that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I don’t really want to analyze it much to be honest. I simply liked this one immediately on the first listen and my affection for it has not diminished over the last 30 years.