Finally, I received a Facebook challenge that didn’t require me to eat a Tide Pod or dump a bucket of ice over my head or eat ice or dump a bucket of Tide Pods over my head. One of my nieces who will remain nameless to protect her anonymity challenged me to name 10 albums that influenced my musical tastes. Thanks a lot, Karen. I am supposed to offer 1 album a day over 10 days, but I fear that between my short attention span and memory loss, I won’t make it past 2 days. So, I am going to offer 6 albums a day for 2 days. I know what you’re thinking. Math? 6 x 2 = 12, not 10. Consider it coloring outside the lines and refusing to make hard decisions. Oh, I am also not supposed to comment on them. Well, that’s not happening. So, here are the first 6 in no particular order with full commentary.
Okay, so I lied. London Calling is the most influential album for me, hands down. The sprawling musical genres and styles contained within this masterful double album greatly expanded my musical horizon. It’s an album that still sounds fresh and timeless to me when I listen to it today. I regret I never saw The Clash in concert, but one of my bosses went to see them (I’m recalling at the Aragon Brawlroom maybe?) and was thrilled when they spat upon him. Good times.
Okay, now the rest will be in totally random order …
Alright, maybe I fibbed again. Dreamboat Annie was extremely influential as I fell in love with the Wilson sisters of Heart, the first ladies of rock, because of this album. I have since been inexorably drawn to female bands and bands with female vocalists. As for the album specifically, it showed me that great bands are the ones that can rock hard on tunes like “Crazy on You” but also perform beautiful songs like the title track.
I missed seeing Heart at Elmhurst College shortly after this album’s release as I was trying to avoid an ex-girlfriend who I knew would be at the concert in Hammerschmidt Chapel which was not a large concert venue. However, I did see Heart last summer with my wife who swore Ann Wilson was wearing orthopedic shoes. Hey, whatever it takes to keep rocking.
God, I love this album. I was a bit young to truly appreciate Beatlemania, but this Wings album was the gateway record to get me hooked on McCartney music, and from there I delved further into the whole Beatles catalog. I still can’t choose between Revolver or Rubber Soul as the best Beatles album. Released just 8 months apart, maybe they should have released a double album called Rubber Revolver. And why do I love Lennon’s “Glass Onion” so much now after so many years?
I took my oldest son to see McCartney in concert some years ago, and he was magnificent. McCartney, not my son, although he’s a good guy, too. I also got to see Wings guitarist Denny Laine a couple years ago when he blew through town for a show and told some great stories along with playing some wonderful tunes.
I learned to appreciate music that takes no prisoners from this album. Oh! My! God! Deep Purple’s 4th album just rocks. I got to see the Purps a few years ago and they still sounded great. In 2019, I got to see a solo concert by Glenn Hughes who joined Deep Purple for a few albums after Machine Head. I walked out when he refused to play any songs from Machine Head except “Smoke on the Water.”
Honorable Mentions in this album category go to Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith and Lights Out by UFO.
This album kicked-off the Buckingham/Nicks era of Fleetwood Mac, and for me, it is the epitome of a well-crafted pop album. More importantly, it exposed me to Fleetwood Mac as a band pre-Buckingham/Nicks. I absolutely fell in love with the songwriting of Bob Welch and the angelic voice of Christine McVie on albums like Mystery to Me, Bare Trees, and Heroes are Hard to Find.
I saw Fleetwood Mac in concert at Washington Park racetrack shortly after this album was released and just before it burned to the ground. The racetrack, not the album. Opening for the Mac was Jefferson Starship on their Red Octopus album tour with legend Grace Slick masterfully handling the vocals. I wish I remembered more of the show. Too drinky. I have also seen Lindsey Buckingham give a delightful solo concert in our local concert venue.
By the way, I loved By the Way by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was an album with a little shift in sound for the Pepps, and it got me hooked on their music, past, present (2002 at the time), and future. I always look forward to new music from them now. By the Way was music that got me out of my comfort zone musically at that time and opened my musical ears to appreciate different sounds. Sadly, I have never seen them in concert and may be too old without enough piercings or tattoos for admission to a show of theirs.
Tomorrow, Part 2