Blondie, Club Nouveau, CSNY, David + David, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Kim Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Police, Rush, Simon & Garfunkel, Steely Dan, Steve Perry, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Beatles, The Forum, Willie Dixon, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sometimes people make me feel old. For example, I was in a writing lab the other day. I had a disc player with me and was jamming to Journey’s “Escape,” circa early 1980s. The gentleman sitting next to me asked what I was playing. When I told him, he had this blank stare as if I had mentioned something from an era unknown to him.
This kind of blew me away. I grew up listening to Steve Perry wail and tried to imitate him. It’s not the easiest thing to do as this man made his voice dance on top of the rain clouds. That someone might not know Journey is a shock to me. It would be like someone today not having a clue about Hootie and the Blowfish.
So, I’ve decided to make a primer of sorts for those people who like good music but don’t know what to get (I recommend going to a used CD store, it’s cheaper than most). These are the first albums I would replace if my discs were stolen as the entire albums are worth the listen.
- Journey “Escape” — This was Journey’s first album after the departure of keyboardist/singer Gregg Rollie. Steve Perry steps to the forefront with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain providing the foundation. This album features classics like “Who’s Crying Now” and “Open Arms,” and it also has one of my favorites, “Mother, Father.”
- Beatles “White Album” — I never liked the Beatles until I heard this album courtesy of a doctor. It features “Back in the USSR,” “Yer Birthday Blues,” “Revolution” and “Blackbird.”
- David + David “Boomtown” — You might not of heard of this one. The only song to get radio airplay was “Welcome to the Boomtown.” Other excellent songs include “River’s Gonna Rise” and “Being Alone Together.”
- Rush “2112” — One of the best concept albums made. It features the “2112 Overture,” “A Passage to Bangkok” and “Something for Nothing.” Also, it has “Tears,” the prettiest song Rush ever recorded.
- Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” — The first Grammy show I ever watched had Fleetwood Mac constantly on stage for this album. It features “The Chain,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop” and “Dreams.”
- Police “Synchronicity” — The last of this group’s studio albums, this brought us “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and “Syncrhonicity II.” I like Sting’s solo work, but they messed up a great thing when the Police disbanded.
- Led Zeppelin “IV” — Yes, Robert Plant could sing. This album features “Stairway to Heaven,” “Black Dog,” “Misty Mountain Hop” and “When the Levee Breaks.” This album was involved in the backmasking scandal of the mid-80s where subversive lyrics were supposedly heard if you listened to the record backward.
- Metallica “Master of Puppets” — I did not appreciate this album for a few years. But looking back, it’s awesome. But there’s something about Metallica that just gets to you. “Sanitarium,” “Battery,” “Leper Messiah” and “Orion” are the jewels on this album.
- Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” — I know that some Floyd Fans would pick other discs, but I think this is the best. It features “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Welcome to the Machine,” “Have a Cigar” and the title cut. It’s one of my favorite all-time albums.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan- “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” — No one could play the blues with the feeling of Stevie Ray. He smokes this album with “Tin Pan Alley,” “Voodoo Chile” and the title cut. We miss ya Stevie Ray.
- Kim Mitchell “Akimbo Alogo” — You’re not likely to find this album in a CD or vinyl format. The only airplay this album received was for the song “Go for Soda.” But this album jams with “All We Are,” “Called Off” and “Lager and Ale.”
- Club Nouveau “Life Love & Pain” — This album was a hit with a remake of “Lean on Me,” but the songs “Why You Treat Me So Bad” and “Promises, Promises” are more indicative of the talent of this band.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- “Requiem Mass” — The version I have of this work is the 200th anniversary recording in Vienna. There is not a more haunting work known to me. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful mass ever composed. It’s even more impressive because it was never finished.
You may have noticed there are not any greatest hits albums on this list. But there are a few compilations that are worth your money; i.e. “Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits,” “A Decade of Steely Dan,” “The Best of Blondie,” Willie Dixon’s “I Am the Blues,” Madonna’s “The Immaculate Collection” and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “So Far.”
Questions, comments, observations and general gripes will be taken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Later daze.
This article first appeared in the UALR Forum in 1996.