Like I have stated previously, this exercise has been extremely fun. I have been pulling out old albums and CDs, going through the liner notes and playing the music. I would recommend this exercise for any lover of music. So, let’s get on with the next ten albums on my chart.
21. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973). Here it is, my ground zero into the rock world thanks to my uncle and aunt. This album exposed me not only to the pop genius of Elton John, while getting some side exposures to rock (“Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”), glam (“Benny and the Jets”) and surreal balladry (“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”). This was my first double album, and it set the bar extremely high for such an artistic endeavor.
22. KISS – Destroyer (1976). The battle for me was between Alive! and this one. On Destroyer, KISS discovered how to nearly make a concept album, though it’s not one. They used Pink Floydian sound effects while maintaining their hard rock/glam rock roots. This was their studio masterpiece. From here, it was on to prog rock (Rush), glam rock (Slade, T. Rex), metal (Sabbath, Judas Priest), power pop (Cheap Trick) and hard rock (AC/DC).
23. The Knack – Get the Knack (1979). Sure, The Clash referred to them as “that phoney Beatlemania” in the lyrics of “London Calling”. But to an American teenager, The Knack hit the gong signifying the beginning of the age of new wave, power pop and punk. C’mon people! Give these guys their due!
24. Madonna – Madonna (1983). To be honest, back in 1983, I thought I would be writing about Cyndi Lauper over Madonna. But through her shear will, Madonna became a pop music icon by bringing back disco music wrapped up in Eighties new wave. And, then she threw some sexual controversy and girl power into her music to make her a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
25. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Legend (1984). Marley invented reggae throughout the Seventies, but the American public had been slow to warm to this brand of music. And then, Legend was quietly dropped on an unsuspecting public, and it filled a need for warm, beautiful, exotic transcendent music. This album should be in EVERY home.
26. The Monkees – Greatest Hits (1995). To my generation, the Monkees’ TV show was our MTV, albeit with some cheesy humor. But, as we know now, their music was “A” level stuff and has been acknowledged as a power pop forerunner.
27. Van Morrison – The Best of Van Morrison (1990). I am a Johnny-come-lately to Van Morrison. Thank you Rod Stewart for covering Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately”, because his version made me seek out this CD and not Stewart’s. And, I got so much more out of this album than nearly any other. I discovered the genius of Morrison’s work, not just on this album, but throughout his catalog.
28. Pearl Jam – Ten (1991). I loved the whole grunge scene of the early Nineties. And, yes, Pearl Jam was the least grungy of the Seattle bands. But, at least Gen X-ers around the world got their own version of Led Zeppelin IV. See you in the RRHOF Pearl Jam!
29. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes (1979). In a pivotal year such as 1979, Tom Petty burst into my life thanks to a Christmas present from the former Kim & Lori Dunwiddie, my two “sisters” from down the street. This album literally got me through 1980 and part of 1981, until Petty released Hard Promises. Along with Springsteen, Petty opened my ears to the powerful working man’s singer, like Mellencamp, Seger and Adams.
30. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979). Yet another album from 1979, but who has not fell under the spell of this Floydian trip through your psyche. This album and the book Catcher in the Rye are must-haves for the teen-angst years. I know “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” was the hit, I’ll take my Floyd as “Comfortably Numb” and “Run like Hell”.
Now that was a major group of ten albums! Can’t wait to continue this tomorrow. So, in the words of the prophet Casey Kasem, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the sky.”