Thursday, March 19, 2009

20 Albums That Changed My Life, Part 1

One of my Facebook friends, who hosts a radio show here in Boston and is somewhat of a musicologist, tagged me recently with this note:
Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you're over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazu, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others, including moi. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it! >:) ha-ha-ha-haaaaa.....

Another Facebook/Twitter friend then inspired me to turn it into a blog post. So I took my original list, already posted on Facebook, added some commentary and 5 additional albums. I also decided to do a few at a time. Otherwise, this was never going to see the light of day! These were never in any order of importance, as I consider each of them equally important.

1) Revolver - The Beatles
This was the very first Beatles record I bought, as a teenager, and it did, indeed, change my life. Over the years, I have probably listened to "Sgt. Pepper" more often, but "Revolver" had a profound impact on my early development as a musician. I must single out "Love You To" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" for setting me on the road toward an appreciation for musical experimentation and non-western sounds.

2) Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick
My first Cheap Trick album was "In Color," their second album, which is much more polished and squarely in the power-pop vein. Of course, I then bought their eponymous debut thinking it would be more of the same. It was not, and in fact, it blew my mind! This record is equal parts punk, hard rock, and power-pop, and there is even a ballad! Even though the production is less refined, the Cheap Trick songcraft is already fully-formed, and the lyrics display Rick Nielsen at his sardonic best!

3) Now - The Tubes
This is another example of a band who drew me in through their more commercial work, in this case "Completion Backward Principle." Once I discovered "Now," which is probably their least accessible and most eclectic effort ever, it opened a door musically to avenues I have continued to explore to this day. From their collaborations with Captain Beefheart ("My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains") to the proto-New Wave of "Cathy's Clone" to their cover of band member Mingo Lewis' fusion classic "God-Bird-Change." This one has everything, which fits my weird eclectic musical tastes. However, the label suits probably had no idea what to do with it, and neither did radio!
At the time, the Tubes had 9 members, and almost all of them were contributing songwriters. Their more commercial efforts were helmed by producers who had a strong musical personality, specifically Al Kooper, David Foster, and Todd Rundgren. I think I love this album because it is an example of how the band sounded when they were given free rein!

More to come!
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