MY TOP 10 ALBUMS
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
For the moment anyway…
I’ve never really been one for lists or polls. But a friend’s Facebook request back in April 2018 to ‘post, in no particular order, 10 all-time favourite albums. Albums that really made an impact and are still on my rotation list. Post one cover each day, no explanation...’ was a challenge I couldn’t resist. Many of you Facebookers may remember the popularity of this challenge?
So, below is the list of albums that I posted for 10 days in April last year. It was a difficult one that’s for sure – 20 of my favourite albums would have been a challenge - and I have to say that if asked to do the same list today I might even change change it up, a bit, well maybe.
Remember, no particular order, but I’ll use the opportunity of this blog post to maybe explain a little more as to why these gems made my top 10. Importantly they are all albums that I still go back to time and time again. Unsurprisingly a few of these have already featured in previous blog posts – I’ll include links to those stories where appropriate.
T.Rex – Electric Warrior
No surprises here then! Although, if I’m honest it could have been one of any number of T.Rex albums – The Slider, Dandy, the ‘Brown’ album, Tanx… I’m a massive Marc Bolan and T.Rex fan (just in case any of you reading this didn’t know!). I chose this because it was the album that started my life-long love of Marc and his music. From my previous blog post ‘Whatever happened to the teenage dream?’ …Electric Warrior was released just after my 9th birthday and I vividly remember my brother endlessly playing this masterpiece. I was immediately drawn to the iconic cover artwork and instantly fell in love with the music…
And that really sums up why this album is in my list. I own an original 1971 vinyl copy (no poster unfortunately) and it plays as perfectly today as the day it was released – if not better with the advance in hi-fi technology.
The Jam – In the City
Ah, the sound of an angry youth! I wrote a blog about this recently: ‘In the city there’s a thousand things I wanna say to you’… I won’t repeat the content of that blog here but if you’re interested give it a read. In summary, it’s my go-to album when life needs a good kick up the arse. In the City by The Jam wasn’t just a favourite album of my youth, it was the start of an obsession with the band and the mod culture they stood for.
The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus
It’s not the normal album you play to your parents as a 15-year-old in 1977. I’ll never forget their faces when the ‘break’ comes in ‘Ugly’ - those who have it will know what I mean! My parents were always open to finding out about new things so happily gave it a listen – needless to say, I don’t think they ever listened to it again!
This album was one of the highest selling albums of the UK punk era and featured the now iconic ‘Peaches’ single. I’d go on to collect the next few albums (No More Heroes, Black and White and ‘Live’) as well as seeing the band a couple of times in concert but interest waned a little with the departure of Hugh Cornwell. As a young bass player I was heavily influenced by Jean Jacques Burnel and would try and replicate his sound and iconic ‘Burnel bounce’ stance when playing in my new wave band ‘The Grind/Cardiac’ In 1977/8.
Eddi Reader – Eddi Reader
I love this album. It’s very special to me. I lost my sister to cancer in 1995. The year before, my family and her family went on holiday together and this was my holiday purchase. It’s a beautiful album that holds wonderful memories and Eddi’s voice is just sublime.
The track ‘Patience of Angels’ can still bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye – I love, love, love this album xxx.
In my last couple of years at school everybody was getting in to (yawn) Floyd, Genesis, Yes - I had my own take on ‘experimental rock’ and was introduced to this by my mate Andy’s brother Paul. Eno, Manzanera, Simon Phillips on drums... damn! And properly live too. Oh, and a Fender Bass headstock on the cover, I was hooked. For many years I just had this album on cassette, recorded at home from Paul’s vinyl. I later managed to get hold of a copy on CD and have played this album to within an inch of its digital life over time. One day I’ll hopefully come across an original vinyl copy for my collection.
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
Ah, Iggy! One of the coolest living music icons. I had to include a bit of Iggy in my all-time faves. It was a toss-up between this and The Stooges Funhouse. This has been consistently on my personal playlist since I got my first copy on vinyl in the late 70’s. I also have a CD version.
For me, this is possibly Iggy’s strongest period and his collaborations with Bowie at that time are evident on both this and his earlier album The Idiot. I’m still partial to a bit of out and out riotous tuneage from the Stooges though!
Weekend – La Variete
Never really heard much about this band either at the time of release (1982) or since. Signed to Rough Trade this was to be their only album release - I can remember to this day the evening my mate Martin came over to my house with this album tucked under his arm. It was really refreshing at the time - a perfect slice of laid-back indie pop. After splitting up in 1983, members Simon Booth and Larry Stabbins formed the more jazz orientated Working Week who also feature in my album collection.
La Variete is just perfect for cruising in the car on a summer’s day and this album remains a firm favourite of mine. Sadly, I only have this in CD format currently and continue to seek out an original 1982 vinyl version.
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
How could I not include something by The Smiths/Morrissey? Always one to divide opinion! It was so difficult deciding on which album to include in my list. Hatful of Hollow ran a very close second to this one, as did the wonderful live album ‘Rank’. Like all Smiths albums this one is packed full of so many great tunes. Still sounds fresh today. I’m still an avid fan of Morrissey and always eagerly await his latest album release. Sadly, I’ve not yet seen him live, but never say never!
XTC – White Music
I’ve said everything I need to say about this brilliant album in my recent blog post ‘Is this Pop?’ – give it a read. I remain flabbergasted at how many people have never heard of XTC, one of the most exciting and refreshing bands of their time. This album was bought as a reaction to seeing them on the Old Grey Whistle Test – my 15-year-old mind was blown! Black Sea was also a contender for favourite XTC album, but this was the one that just pipped it from a nostalgic perspective.
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
So, my final choice. I pondered long and hard over this one – having to choose just 10 albums was always going to be a struggle. This was my first Zep album (a 70’s re-issue but I’ve since acquired a ‘69 original with the red and purple label). Is it their best album? Probably not, but for me it was the first I owned and probably the one I go back to most when I need a Zep fix.
So, that’s it. My top 10 albums as published in the popular Facebook top 10 album challenge back in April 2018. What changes would I make to that list today? Only to make it longer I guess and then I could include, among others; Swoon by Prefab Sprout, Record by Tracey Thorn, Second Coming by The Stone Roses, American Idiot by Green Day, Wild Wood or Stanley Road by Paul Weller, Whatever People Say I am… by the Arctic Monkeys, Something Unto Nothing by S.U.N., Chickenfoot by Chickenfoot, Pelican West by Haircut 100 (yes, really, a guilty pleasure!), Madhouse 8 by Madhouse (Prince), Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy, anything by Nat King Cole… the list goes on.