Listening to music in days of yore

This is floating around facebook, and it dates me a little, like I need help in that department. Well, dear reader, there used to be a thing called record stores, not just the music department at Target, sometimes two to three per mall. Back when Tower Records was a destination, you could really lose yourself in the realm of album covers and what not. I still pile up lots of tunes, I or otherwise, but it isn’t the same. This little exercise came through a friend of mine from our mutual days in college radio. He has a couple of years on me, but it is funny about shared experiences. There were certain albums that everybody had. The Cd era eroded this a little. The Itunes era squashed it for good.

“Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.” It’s funny because these are a few that transcend the medium, meaning I’m a sap and bought em on cd.

1) Rumours – Everybody we knew had it. It was like it got slipped through everybody’s mail slot, standard suburban issue. It’s timing seem to signal the beginning of a little musical maturation.

2) Tattoo You- another one that everybody had. It was the last Stones album to matter, despite the fact they keep churning them out.

3) Tommy (first the movie, then the original album) – Elton John’s version of Pinball Wizard showed the waye to the Who, and another favorite was born.

4) Who’s Next – the album that started me on the Who for serious.

5) Quadrophenia – This one took me the longest to get into, but it remains my favorite.

6) Born to Run – the title song defines that period of my life, giving rise to life-long Bruce fanaticism. Yeah, I got a ticket for his show in Toronto

7) The Wild the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle – “Rosie” introduced us but it became the deepest Boss listen and shows an E Street Band side that I wish would pop up more often.

8) Sgt. Pepper’s – probably the first album I listened to end-to-end, Come back to it periodically ever since.

9) Abbey Road – I remember running the side 2 opus periodically on my college radio show, one of those pieces of music that everybody agrees to its awesomeness. The Golden Slumbers medley always makes me turn the volume up.

10) Dark Side of the Moon – Almost an afterthought now, but another one everybody had and it is just great enough that periodic revisits can be a revelation. Watching a concert on VH-1 recently made me listen to the cd as whole and remember that aside from all the Billboard Chart topping notes, it is a damn fine record.

11) All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes – makes me wish Pete Townshend would record more.

12) My Ever Changing Moods – The Style Council: defines a college period for me. Under-rated, and made me a big fan of everything Paul Weller (the Jam) attempts. I loved tracing this into understanding the Jam and all the genres Mr. Weller incorporated in the Council

13) The Joshua Tree – my first great album on CD.

14) Achtung Baby – The follow-up is probably the last album I would play from beginning to end on that turntable thingy.

15) The River – Rare double album that actually merits a double album — still have the mental picture of my Mom standing in line at National Record Mart in Eastern Hills looking for Bruce tickets for me.

16) Hotel California — Title song made me want to learn how to play guitar

17) Moondance: Van Morrison, I’m not a fan of the title song, but the record as a whole grabs your soul like everything matters. It helps that Van gives a damn through the whole thing.

18) The Last Waltz: The Band did more than just back up Bob Dylan, they could play a little bit of anything from Blues to Country to Rock and do it with enough panache that you had to be impressed..

19) Give the People What they Want: Given when it showed up, it was a great primer on the Kinks and got them back into the limelight a little bit.

20) Kiss Alive I: as Dave Marsh once said, “It’s great, f**k you!” (Not my original sentiment, but I can’t improve on that)

21) Physical Graffiti – nothing like listening to Led Zep, in this case through a beat up tape deck in my high-school media center.

22) Led Zeppelin IV – Still don’t know what a “bushel in the hedgerow” means, still don’t care. It’s a great record.

23) Tug of War – McCartney’s work after John died was moving and some of the best stuff he ever did.

24) Live Bullet – kicked off the concert going years in earnest with this perpetually stuck in the tape deck.

25) Darkness on the Edge of Town — Found a copy about a week after seeing Bruce for the first time, pretty sure there is a 12 step program for people like me.

No clash or ramones, because I’d find out about those later. Looking at the list, I guess I’m an audio dork, but there was something liberating about putting the big old KOSS headphones and dreaming.


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