Ok so recently there was a thing going around Facebook to show the ten albums that made the most impact on you, meant to be shared over ten days. Of course this is basically impossible so I decided to keep going. So here’s the first 20. I’ve written a little bit about why each album / track had a place in my life and included a playlist for you to listen to. Hope you enjoy it.
Rite Of Spring / Firebird – Stravinsky conducted Bernstein
This was the first piece of music I really connected with. We only had a crappy old record player and a few records, but I played this one over and over again and used to jump up and down on the bed to it when I was about 5 years old.
Take Five – Dave Brubeck
Brubeck was the guy who first got me into jazz. I wrote some music for a piano recital when I was 14 and some guy came up and asked me if I liked Brubeck. I guess those rhythms had a big influence.
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack Album – Various Artists
I was living in France when this came out, and my friends were desperate to buy the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, even though they couldn’t see the film. There was much surprise when the Bee Gees sounded rather high.
Discovery – Electric Light Orchestra
The first pop album I ever bought (I’m not including War Of The Worlds) and the first time I started wondering how it was all done and reading the sleeve notes of albums. What’s an engineer? And what the fuck is a mellotron?
The Golden Age Of Wireless – Thomas Dolby
This was one of the albums that got me into synths. Thomas Dolby really pushed the envelope with Windpower, and later got pretty funky with Hyperactive which I used to love.
Cupid And Psyche ’85 – Scritti Polliti
Talking of synths, this was one of the first albums that made me realise just how much could be done with synth arrangements. And I’ll never forget when I first heard all the massive sounding drum samples.
Them Or Us – Frank Zappa
I had listened to some Beefheart and then got turned on to this. This was the first Zappa album I ended up knowing inside out, and the production floored me. I had this on a double cassette tape and had it on repeat for months.
Remain In Light – Talking Heads
Talking Heads were having a real moment in the mid-80s. They were somehow able to have hits yet remain on a completely different planet to everyone else. Bowie was being pretty arty farty these days too.
I Am – Earth, Wind And Fire
IMHO one of the greatest albums for all manner of reasons, this whole album still amazes me to this day. I don’t think anyone is every gonna have their shit together this much ever again. Maurice White plus Massenburg heaven.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Although Pink Floyd were knocking out The Wall and doing side projects by the time I got into them, Wish You Were Here was always the Pink Floyd album that got me into them, even if you do like Dark Side Of The Moon better.
Hunky Dory – David Bowie
My most played Bowie album. Somehow it remains innocent and has some cracking songs on it, before he started chopping up lyrics on bits of paper and being more avant garde. You can hear a bit of it in Andy Warhol however.
Straight Out Of Compton – N.W.A.
Seriously, when I first heard this I nearly fell off my chair. Razor sharp rapping about shit going down, dope beats and all put together in such a tight package that it still sounds shit hot today. Proper hip-hop infused rap.
Bark At The Moon – Ozzy Osbourne
Probably the first time I ever wanted to drop everything and just play the guitar a lot. I’d not been a huge fan of heavy rock until I heard this, and then all I wanted to do was be Jake E Lee. That never happened.
Dare – Human League
Some of the most bizarre yet greatest pop songs came from Human League. This album was exceptional because Martin Rushent spent forever and a half making everything amazing. And nothing sounds like Love Action.
Master Of Puppet – Metallica
I was into these guys way before anyone else in my peer group. Everyone else was quite happy listening to rock about ripping bats heads off (nothing wrong with that of course). But when I first heard Battery I was like woah. Metal.
Lovesexy – Prince
Prince’s best album IMHO. What he manages to achieve in the first few songs on this album up to Alphabet Street is nothing short of breathtaking. Incredible arrangements. Superb production. Groovy as!
Welcome To The Pleasuredome – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Watching a bunch of gay nutters take over the charts was completely brilliant. And if I have to choose one album produced by Trevor Horn then it’s got to be this one for its sheer audacity. Not to mention banability.
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Of course the production is killer Quincy Jones stuff, but the songwriting is exceptional. One of those moments when I realised you could do both and that taste is paramount. And it introduced me to Quincy’s oeuvre.
Daft Punk – Homework
There was a lot of dance music going on on various label releases, but Daft Punk were one of the first acts to actually come up with a progressive (yet disco hat-tipping) album that could be listened to start to finish.
Back In Black – AC/DC
When you think of Mutt Lange you tend to think of megapop hits from the likes of Shania Twain and all that. But he was at the faders of one of the greatest rock albums of all time. According to him he didn’t have to do much; this is what the band actually sounded like and it was captured brilliantly.