My friend Andrew Careaga is inviting bloggers to share 10 life-changing albums. This is as good an excuse as any for breaking my recent near-silence here. So here are my 10 life-changing albums, in this particular order.
- A Night at the Opera - Queen
I know - Bohemian Rhapsody is probably over-rated, but this is an album of such range and power, it had an immediate and lasting effect on me when I first heard it, aged 12 I think. My friend Bratty had a stereo and we spent many happy hours annoying the neighbours (and his mum) with this one. Amazing stuff.
- Inflammable Material - Stiff Little Fingers
For me, this is punk at its finest, The Clash’s London Calling notwithstanding. There’s a savage anger to the music and lyrics that is overwhelming and absolutely compelling. Politically charged but absolutely not politically correct, Inflammable Material still moves me even after all these years. If you only have one punk album in your collection, make it this one. But don’t play it to your mum.
- Out of the Blue - Electric Light Orchestra
I realise that this is going to blow my punk credentials right out of the water, but at my age there’s no use pretending to have any street cred. OotB is pure pop, but with more than a nod to 70’s ‘prog rock’. Not every track is a classic, but a couple of duds is surely acceptable on a double album. My punk and metal mates were appalled by it, but it has stood the test of time. Jeff Lynne deserves more credit than he generally receives.
- Hymns to the Silence - Van Morrison
There is a spirituality about this album that drew me in the first time I heard it. Van Morrison is a genius. ‘Nuff said.
- Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
I had to put something by Pink Floyd here, and it was a toss up between this and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. This was the album that alerted my teenage self to the machinations of the music industry. You wouldn’t think we’d need reminding, but the success of Sandi Thom shows that the industry still has the power to pull the wool over our eyes.
5 more albums tomorrow…
* OK, “life-changing” might be putting it a bit strong. Call it exagerrating for effect.