This is from an old Facebook meme that was running around about 2 years ago. You know, list the albums that had a profound effect on you…blah, blah, blah. They might as well called this “shit you listened to in high school” list. I read once that you will always identify most with music from that time of your life. When I was in college, I thought that was crazy – but hey, Baby Boomers are still going to see the Rolling Stones being wheeled out on stage each year, and I have tickets to see Poison and Def Leppard this month. Yes, I am really writing this in 2012.
I had put this list on the back of my mind, until I read this blog about Appetite for Destruction being 25 years old. Are you kidding me? I remember listening to this while working the night shift at McDonalds in high school. That can’t be twenty…..five…..years….ago………oh, shit.
So I re-examined the list, and most of them still ring true. These are albums that had a profound effect on me. What is funny — is that my favorite album wasn’t on this list. The Refreshments Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy has been in my CD player since I bought it in 1996. And I’m still a Roger Clyne fan (the lead singer with his new band). A BIG Roger Clyne fan, in fact. So, I’m going to now make sure it is on the list, and give it proper credit. And at only 16 years old….sadly, it’s one of the newer albums here.
And how do I judge that these albums really had an effect on me? I think we cover at least one song by each of these artists/albums in HELLAgoodTIME. You know, my Best Fake Band Ever.
1. Jimmy Buffett – Fruitcakes. 1994. Ok, all apologies to the Church of Buffett, Orthodox, but Mr. Buffett has has some good albums since White Sportcoat and a Pink Crustacean. This one, in particular, came out when I was in college so the songs belongs to me, not some drunk aging hippy in a Hawaiian shirt.
2. Paul Simon – Graceland. 1986. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest, and most important albums of the 20th century. This brought some very cool African polyrhythms to everyone’s attention. I had never really heard anything like Ladysmith Black Mambazo until this album. They were also featured on the live Paul Simon the Concert in Central Park also (another favorite). **update: This album is also celebrating 25 years with an Anniversary Edition being released. On my Christmas wish list…
3. Beastie Boys – License to Ill. 1986. I never heard anything like this in 9th grade. I wore the tape out and had to buy another one. To this day, I still think I know every word on the album. I once heard someone compare the Beastie Boys to Elvis – and I think its true – without BB,it would have never been ok for white kids to like hip hop. Yes, Paul’s Boutique was better. Yes, the Beasties are still relevant. Yes, I bought Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 in 2011. But it was the first album that made the impact.
4. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies. 2002. I saw these guys at the Warped Tour in 2002. My jaw – literally – fell open. Punk rock Irish accordion???????? Banjo??? Penny whistle??? Awesome. I bought a T-shirt from one of the band members in their booth – and went home and got every song I could find off of Napster (back in the day). And to have biting political commentary as well, I try never to miss a show when they are in town. I’ve seen them several times, including once while 8 months pregnant (this might explain a lot about Lane…)
5. The Blues Brothers: Music from the Soundtrack. 1980. This soundtrack made the Blues cool and real to an 8 year old. Even better is the music from the movie that is not on the soundtrack. I don’t know if I would have been exposed to John Lee Hooker otherwise. **update** I just read an article on Matt “Guitar” Murphy. He lives in down in Kendall and still gigs once a month up here in Ft Lauderdale. He’s 80. Kick ass!
6. Bob Marley – Legend. 1984. Release posthumously after Bob’s death. Who doesn’t like this album? There is not one person on this planet that can put this in the CD player and still be in a bad mood. I got my first copy in college – I’ve lost/burned through several. Its a trooper.
7. Refreshments – Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy. 1996. Dear Roger: I love you. Seriously. You are talented and intelligent. You write well-crafted and smart songs. Oh yeah, and you make your own tequila. Can I just be you, please?
8. Lyle Lovett – Live in Texas. 1999. I had never heard or seen anything like Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. The band cooks, Lyle is a powerful songwriter. This one is always in rotation.
9. Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill. 1995. This came out when I moved to Florida and it was so empowering to hear angry chick music without lesbian overtones. The best blow job reference ever on the radio.
10. Tower of Power – Soul Vaccination: Live. 1999. Music that makes white people feel funky. So much better than their canned albums and all the greatest tunes. What is hip??
11. Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction. 1987. What can I say? This was the sound of high school.
12. RENT – Original Broadway Cast. 1996. If you want to know why Broadway tickets are so expensive, you can thank this show. Broadway in the early 90s sucked. It was all Cats and Phantom. This show has great – great – music and a message that us Gen X-ers could relate to. I saw the original broadway cast – Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Jesse L. Martin – in 1996 and had to wait for 2 months before the recording came out. I was/am such a geek, I actually went an bought it the morning it went on sale.
13. Grateful Dead – Without a Net. 1990. This is what the Dead sounded like when I saw them (quite a few times) in the late 80s and early 90s. Yes, I had a bit of a meltdown the day that Jerry died.
14. Violent Femmes – The Violent Femmes. 1983. I got a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy from someone when I was in middle school. It sounded so much different than what was popular at the time (think: Footloose Soundtrack). None of my friends had ever heard anything like it. They said Fuck a lot, and there’s a killer Marimba solo, what’s not to like?
15. Sublime – 40 oz. to Freedom. 1992. As someone who briefly played trombone (in marching band) in the 90s, I love ska. Present tense. No one seems to know this album, but it was Sublime’s first recording. I got a copy because of the cover of Scarlett Begonias (check out number 13 for the Grateful Dead influence), but who doesn’t love “Smoke Two Joints”. Hey, it was the 90s. **update: and yes, I’ve seen Sublime with Rome. And yes, I will see them again next month in Boca with the Dirty Heads (who’s album is RAPIDLY approaching being on this list).
16. Tony Orlando and Dawn – Greatest Hits. 1975. Ok, give me a break – I was 5. But I was so upset that CBS canceled the Tony Orlando and Dawn show that I “wrote” them a letter telling them to bring it back. I was so excited when Tony Orlando himself sent me a Greatest Hits album in the mail. Remember Shrinky Dinks? I loved my Tony Orlando album so much that I didn’t trace the pre-drawn Shrinky Dinks, I copied Tony and Dawn off of the album cover. I still have the Tony shrinky dink – I had one of the Dawns until we moved 2 years ago and she got lost…….BTW – I was IN MY THIRTIES when my Mom finally spilled the beans that she mailed me the album and letter from Tony. I was crushed, it was worse than finding out about Santa. I can probably still sing all the songs: “oh my darlin’ knock three times on the ceiling….” Come on, you know you want to sing along.