Most Influential Albums
There are those albums that influenced the world. There are others that influenced all (most) of music. And there are others that influenced me. Here are some of the top albums that influenced me (in some kind of chronological order).
This was the album I cut my rock-n-roll teeth on. My friend Andy copied it for me (on a K-mart cassette tape, no less, the ones that were as bright blue as my gym shoes) and it made middle school great. I still remember feeling (not just hearing) the first song: I lost myself in a familiar song/I closed my eyes and I slipped away... I could always relate to that.
Led Zeppelin IV
Black Dog? Rock and Roll? Stairway? I copied those from Andy's dad's reel to reel (and copied them backwards - you could "hear" the backmasking, and, of course, we memorized the first (last?) few lines of Black Dog backwards. "ooh, moo, mom soitemoo, ooh, moo, da bis ya mom yay hey"
The Smiths The Queen is Dead
My brother bought this one while we were on vacation in Canada right before my freshman year of high school. Besides the fact that the cassette (yes, I said "cassette") was black, the music was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. Morrissey's dark and doleful lyrics accompanied by Johnny Marr's jangly guitars...
I wore this cassette out. Literally. All for three chords, simple lyrics, and buzzsaw style that weren't played on the radio. This cassette (and the abovementioned Smiths one) made me realize that there was a whole world of music out there that wasn't being played on the radio in Kokomo, Indiana.
The Church Of Skins and Heart
This was the album of lyrics I wanted to write when I grew up.
The Jesus and Mary Chain Darklands
Must everything be dark and brooding? For me in 1987-1990, yes. This, the Smiths' one above, and the next listing would pretty well sum up high school for me.
The Cure Standing on a Beach: The Singles (and Unavailable B-sides)
The funny thing about this one is though I could probably still sing most of the words of the A-sides, I almost never listened to the "unavailable" B-sides. I don't know how many times I listened to this one through high school.
Metallica Master of Puppets
Another cassette I wore out. I listened to four songs from it before every high school soccer game. Battery, Master of Puppets, Orion, and Damage Inc. In that order. Yes, I would flip the cassette after the second song and skip four songs. Though it was Creeping Death from Ride the Lightning that accompanied my first encounter with drug use (I got a ride to school from someone who was listening to this song and he brought a bong up from beside his seat and starting hitting it; I was sure that we were going to crash and die and that I would be accused of smoking up, too). I was also quite fond of ...And Justice For All but I didn't nearly listen to it like I did Master of Puppets.
Billy Bragg Back to Basics
Though it was another album which introduced me to Billy Bragg's music, this was the one I nearly wore out. I loved hearing his lyrics. And the song "Walk Away Renee" (though it wasn't on this particular album) started with the great line "She said it was just a figment of speech/And I said 'You mean figure' /And she said 'No, figment.' Because she could never imagine it happening. But it did" and the song ended with "And then one day it happened/She cut her hair and I stopped loving her." I ate up that unrequited love stuff.
The Prayer Chain Shawl
I already knew that Christians could rock, but this took it to a new level. I saw the Prayer Chain live in some bar in Chicago, and they were amazing. Not only did they rock, but there was some thought behind their lyrics (come on, I loved Stryper, but their lyrics weren't all that imaginative for the most part). I think Big Wheel was the first song that I learned on my bass (besides some Camper Van Beethoven songs). Amazing songs
The Allman Brothers Band The Fillmore Concerts
If you know me, you know I spent an entire Spring in college with my friend Drew listening to "You Don't Love Me" (19 minutes and 25 seconds later, you still don't love me). This was my introduction to all things bluesy (and to the slide guitar).
More to come later....