Wednesday, February 26, 2014

12 (ish) Albums That Have Stayed With Me Over the Years

There's a thing going around on facebook right now, not real widespread from what I can tell, but it goes like this:

What 12 albums have stayed with you throughout the years? Not the best albums, not the most popular albums, but one's that have stuck with you.

I saw this and thought it would be hard to come up with 12 because I like to pick and choose my tracks. Then when I started thinking about the albums, 12 wasn't enough. But I'm gonna play and keep it at 12ish.

In no particular order:

1. "Appetite for Destruction" - Guns 'N Roses
Easy choice here. An iconic album of the times. I first heard Paradise City on a trip to the Metroplex on ZRock. Bought the cassette before I left. Made everyone I knew listen to it. The responses were mostly "Meh." Three or four months later, Sweet Child O' Mine was released as a single. Suddenly everyone owned a copy of Appetite. I can still listen to it in its entirety to this day. One of the few albums that I can.

2. "Operation: Mindcrime" - Queensryche
A concept album in the vein of "The Wall" and  "Tommy". By far the best Queensryche ever produced. "Empire" was more commercially successful, but "Mindcrime" was by far the better album. Saw Queensryche on the Empire headlining tour in which they performed the "Mindcrime" album in its entirety. Great listen from start to finish.

3. "Eagles Live" - Eagles
I really don't think it's fair to include any greatest hits or compilation albums on this list, but with this one, I can't help it. It's just that good.

4. "Moving Pictures" and "Rush" - Rush
This is where the "ish" comes in. When I first heard Tom Sawyer, I had to get the album it was from. It was like nothing I had heard before. So I got "Moving Pictures". It also has Red Barchetta, YYZ and Limelight. How can you go wrong with that?
After hearing that, I immediately delved into Rush, and went back to the beginning, which was the self-titled first album. "Rush" included the iconic song Working Man, which led them to getting signed to a major label.

5. "Bat Out of Hell" - Meatloaf
"I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver-black phantom bike"
The opening lyric to Bat Out of Hell. How can you not like that? Not necessarily a concept album, it does tell a story. And sonically, it was way ahead of its time.

6. "High 'n' Dry" - Def Leppard
Okay, I could have easily put "Pyromania" here. "Pyromania" is a great album. But "High 'n' Dry" is more raw and has better songs. Lady Strange and Bringin' On the Heartbreak highlight the album.

7. "Skid Row" -Skid Row
The fist Skid Row album is pure unadulterated glam without apologies. And it's fantastic. 18 and Life, Youth Gone Wild, Big Guns, Sweet Little Sister, I Remember You, etc. Good stuff. After the first album, they kind of lost me. But that first one.........sweet.

9. "Pieces of Eight" - Styx
I know, "Paradise Theater" is more popular. But This album rocked. It included the classics like Renegade and Blue Collar Man, but also had the exquisite album tracks Queen of Spades and Great White Hope.

10. "Mean Streak" - Y&T
No, these guys are not Summertime Girls.Yes, that was their biggest hit, but not in all representative of what they were about. Dave Meniketti along with Cinderella's Tom Keifer are probably the best combo lead vocalist/lead guitarist of the generation. Midnight in Tokyo is one of the best songs never heard. The entire album rocks.

11. "Bella Donna" - Stevie Nicks
Stevie was always good in Fleetwood Mac. A lot of people may beat me up for including this one while excluding Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors". I couldn't argue, but this is all Stevie. From the Edge of Seventeen to the duets with Don Henley (Leather and Lace) and Tom Petty (Stop Dragging My Heart Around) this album is a no skip listen.

12. "Faster Pussycat" - Fatster Pussycat
Could be dismissed as 80's L.A. sleaze/glam rock. But really they were much more than that. The songs were actually good and really blues based. They went off the rails in later albums, but the debut from them is still very listenable after all these years. Some of the stuff from the '80's glam rock scene sound dated. This album holds up.

Honorable Mentions
I have ended the list at 12 as per the original stipulations, but there are more I feel deserve mention.

"Allied Forces" - Triumph
"Powerslave" - Iron Maiden
The first two Boston albums

Those are the one's I grew up with that I still listen to. I may next tackle the current albums I'm enthralled with.

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