Back when I was younger, the most important things in my life included God, my family, my morals, teaching, running and playing basketball, reading and music. Now that life has taken a funny turn, the sports-related activities are gone. I used to think, and often said to potential distance runners for my track teams, that the third activity nearly everyone learns to do is to run. And, to be honest, I did take that running talent of mine for granted. The reality is, (1) if running were easy, then everyone would be doing it; and, (2) not everyone is blessed to have run as fast as I once did. Unfortunately, I never took the talent that God had given me seriously, which is unfortunate since it is gone from my life due to a stupid Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS). Now, I really try to focus on the other five things for life fulfillment, and it works most of the time. That’s why I cling to my music collection ever so tightly. I am attempting to reprogram my brain to use music to be the stress reliever that sports once were, and this blog is where I am attempting to replace teaching chemistry. Actually, some of my former students might prefer this blog with some accompanying music to my classes/labs of “Chlorophyll?!?! More like “Bore-o-phyll!”
Recently, I read another writer’s blog where he discussed the 50 most important albums to his life. From the gist of the blog, this writer most have been in his late-thirties to early-forties. Regardless, most of his picks really did not get me excite. So, I, being of inflated ego, have decided that I too need to share my choices of the 50 albums that have impacted my life the most. I am sure that those of you who know me, you will understand my choices, while others of you will scratch your heads. Oh well! It’s my story, and I’ll be sticking with it! (My apologies to the great Colin Quinn, formerly of ‘MTV’s Remote Control’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ Weekend Update.) Let’s begin the alphabetical listing for part 1 of a five part series. I have to draw this thing out as long as I can.
- AC/DC – Highway to Hell (1979). Not the first AC/DC album I owned (that honor goes to If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It), but it was the album that made me a fan for life, and set the stage for more hard rock and metal in my life throughout the 1980s.
- The Band – The Last Waltz (1978). I’ve stated it before, but this is the greatest going-away concert document ever!
- The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1965). Sure, I had heard most of the songs as a kid. But, when I heard the album for the first time in all of its glory, I knew I had just listened to one of the greatest and most mature statements ever made in pop music.
- The Beatles – Revolver (1966). Oh sure! Sgt. Pepper’s on EVERYONE’S list. Not mine! I like this one because it showed the diversity of each Beatles’ talent. There’s power pop (“Taxman”), there’s baroque pop (“Eleanor Rigby”), there’s freaky rock “Tomorrow Never Knows”), and there’s the song that was in our elementary songbook (“Yellow Submarine”). This album was the music of the future being heard right now.
- Big Star – #1 Record (1972). Sure, like everyone else from my generation, I did not hear this album until I was in a record store back in 1986. And, much like the others who hear it for the first time, realize they are listening to power pop greatness that was overlooked back with the album was released.
- Blondie – Parallel Lines (1978). I don’t think I have ever recovered that first listening session in my bedroom during the Spring of 1979. I was able to look backward to Blondie’s influences (Sixties girls groups, the Nuggets album from 1972) and forward (new wave, post-punk).
- Boston – Boston (1976). Sure, they opened the way for Styx, Foreigner, REO, Journey, et al, but they also inspired future alternative darlings such as Smashing Pumpkins.
- The Cars – The Cars (1978) – Power pop and new wave musics dressed up with an album oriented sound. Think about this, would we have ever heard Billy Squier, Saga, Planet P Project, Asia or Rick Springfield if it weren’t for the Cars.
- Cheap Trick – In Color (1977). See my previous blog entry about this album. It means the world to me!
- The Clash – London Calling (1979). This album was the sound of punk music growing up and getting ready to take over the world. I thought they were going to be the messiahs of rock music, but they really ended up playing John the Baptist to U2’s Messiah. Sorry about the religious metaphor! It’s only rock & sarcasm, and I like it, like it, like it! Yes, I do!
That’s it! The first ten albums are on the blog. Only four more blog entries for your entertainment! Peace!