Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The 15 most significant albums in my life

So, I got this idea from my big blog buddy Elisabeth. Except I first did it on Facebook.

Has anyone else noticed how bloggy things are happening on Facebook? All of the sudden it's all tags and memes. Well, at least I prefer that to inane quizzes.

Anyway, I like this list concept because it's not a list of "My Favorite Albums." There's a big difference between favorite and significant.

So, with no further ado, minimum linkage, and in order at least for the first seven or so:

1. Schoolboys in Disgrace by The Kinks:

This is anything but the best Kinks album. In fact, many would argue it's one of the worst. But it's the first one I owned and the one that really got me interested in the Kinks as purveyors of more than singles. The rest is history: my history.

2. My Aim is True by Elvis Costello:

I saw the future of British rock and roll and his name was Declan McManus. I also saw his first US tour at the Waldorf in San Francisco. His part of the concert lasted 28 minutes.

3. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen:

I saw the future of American rock and roll and his concerts lasted four hours.

4. Reckoning by REM:

When I was teaching in the USA and wondering whatever I was going to listen to, other than Bruce Springsteen, now that New Wave was dying out, one of the people tagged in this article suggested I try REM. I took his suggestion.

5. Meet the Beatles:

Because my mom brought it home on vinyl and I'll always remember how it looked sitting in our living room. Plus it has a song from the Music Man on it, which is pretty cool.

6. Squeezing Out Sparks by Graham Parker:

Well, it's the only autographed album I own because I went to a record-signing and met Graham Parker. And it's just so bloody brilliant.

7. Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan:

OK, I admit, this is here because it's my favorite Dylan album. So by definition, it's significant.

8. Singles Going Steady by The Buzzcocks:

Maybe it's not cool to include greatest hits albums, but I think this is about all one really needs of the Buzzcocks. Call it distilled genius.

9. Face to Face by The Kinks:

Or the one where I became konvinced that The Kinks were, and always will be, better than the Beatles.

10. Live at the Roxy by Michel Polnareff:

It's a family affair.

11. Straight Up by Badfinger:

At one point, Badfinger was my number two group. Given their tragic history (two suicides), now I just feel sad when I listen to them, especially to the song "Name of the Game" by Pete Ham (1947-1975) which is on this album.

12. Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne:

The beauty of song.

13. Parallel Lines by Blondie:

Pure pop for now guys and gals, in all its glory.

14. Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads:

Because it doesn't.

15. Le Fou Chantant en Public by Charles Trenet:

Recorded in 1987, this fabulous concert by the then 74-year-old Trenet is a gem. I'll always regret not seeing him in concert in the early 90s, when I had two opportunities to do so. But I take some comfort in the fact that apparently he was a totally odious person in real life.

I would love to read anybody else's lists, but especially Randall's, Holly's, Joe's, spacedlaw's, and one from the guy who is playing an all-Kinks show on WCBN-FM as I write.


spacedlaw said...

I think we could go safely with 15 titles from Richard Wagner. That is the stuff I grew upon.

Betty C. said...

I think that's a cheap way to get out of it! But rather amusing...

spacedlaw said...

But true! Okay, so I might throw in a little Don Giovanni and a Carmen in. But most of my significant music (the music that shaped me)is from Wagnerian operas. There was also quite a lot of Xenakis or Stockhausen at some point but I refused to let that influence me.

Randal Graves said...

Hmm, when I think of 'albums,' I think of rock and roll. I'm afraid if I ponder classical pieces, my brain will explode.

I'm glad you have the courage of your convictions to state the truth, that the Kinks are better than the Beatles, which is, of course, akin to blasphemy among 99% of the population. ;-)

Holly A Hughes said...

Oooh, great idea -- now I gotta go work on mine. Believe it or not we have NONE in common -- I'd do Hard Day's Night and the White Album for the Beatles, Everybody's in Show Biz for the Kinks, This Year's Model for Elvis, and More Songs About Buildings and Food for the Talking Heads. And I WOULD NOT have Bruce Springsteen on there (but I'll admit I've never seen him live). Wait, we do have one in common: Squeezing Out Sparks -- love me some Graham Parker. (I saw him live last fall and he's just as devilish as ever). That's pretty durn close to a perfect album, isn't it?

Betty C. said...

Yes, Holly, I agree that Squeezing Out Sparks is a nearly perfect album...except I could do without Saturday Night is Dead.

I don't think it's surprising not to have albums in common -- just having groups in common is a sign of similar tastes. It so much depends on when and how we discovered what. "Schoolboys" wouldn't even make my Top Ten of Kinks albums, but it still is the one that passes the "significant to me" test.

Can't wait to see your list!

Betty C. said...

Oh, Randall, if you only knew -- I have a major post in me somewhere that proves that "Waterloo Sunset" is a vastly superior song to "Yesterday," including computer-generated text analysis....but I haven't gotten around to writing it yet.

rockandrollguru said...

I'm not sure I could pin down my 15 most significant bands, much less albums :-)

Betty C. said...

Oh and Randall, I don't think classical counts -- aren't those more "recordings?" Check your federal law on that.

Joe, I'm sure if you can write a book, you can do this. But I can understand if the book is a priority!

Betty C. said...

And Holly, I was just listening to "Sparks" and I think I could do without "Waiting for the UFOs" too. But it's still a masterpiece.

Jess said...

Love this idea! What an interesting way to get to know someone :)

Jess said...

:) I was making one at the time you commented, actually.
It's up whenever you want to take a look.

okjimm said...

I stumbled here from Randal's blog.

I really like your list much better than his.....I don't know how a nice boy like him can like all that death-metal shit.

again... nice list!

Betty C. said...

okjimm, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I know this list isn't about better musical taste, but I'm glad to have confirmation that mine is superior to Randal's, tehe...

However I'd trade my musical taste for his writing ability any day!

okjimm said...

Gees,Betty,that sounds like a deal wit da devil, knowing his taste in some music;)

Randal Graves said...

I see I need to post more about death metal, just for you okjimm. ;-)