If you are on Facebook, as I assume most of you are, you may have seen this challenge circulating among your network of friends. I almost posted a list myself but would have felt the need to explain my choices and in doing so would have violated the spirit of the challenge. So I’m sort of doing an end around the rules and sharing a lengthy blog post with commentary on each of my selections. So here goes and in no particular order and ALL from my high school days. I should note that my tastes have changed or expanded since high school but I still love these albums.
Again, in no particular order with some honorable mentions thrown in at the end AND no repeating artists.
- Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow (1975). My big sister turned me on to this album when I was probably 12, and I played it endlessly for a number of years thereafter. “Diamond Dust” and “‘Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” are sublime tunes. It is a guitar masterpiece and perhaps Jeff Beck’s greatest achievement.
- Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced (1967). Well, I thought of myself as experienced as a teen but little did I know what the real world would be like away from my comfort zone of home. There was nothing like him then and nothing like him now although many bands were influenced by his other-worldly sound including the Beatles who owe him a huge debt.
- David Gilmour – David Gilmour (1978). This was his self-titled solo debut and what a debut. I loved Pink Floyd then and still do, but I spun this one on my turntable more than I did The Dark Side of the Moon, which was actually the only Floyd I owned until college, although I had heard and liked many of the others including Ummagumma with its mind-altering properties that simultaneously fascinated me and freaked me out.
- The Beatles – The White Album. (1968). It is not my favorite Beatles’ record which would have to go to Revolver, but it was the only one I owned as a teen. It does have some great tunes – “Dear Prudence”, “Blackbird”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, and is arguably one of the top 5 Beatles records of all-time. See my list of the Top 7 Beatles’ here.
- The Rolling Stones – Get Your Ya-Yas Out (1970). I had several other superb Stones records as a teenager, including Their Satanic Majesties Request, Goats Head Soup, and Tatoo You, but the one that stood out and that I played more than the others was the Ya-Yas record. This live album was like being in the crowd and featured some of the greatest tunes from their catalog like “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”
- Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974). I lived in a town with radio stations that never played older Genesis records, so I didn’t even become aware of the band until I heard “Follow You, Follow Me” on the radio from And Then There Were Three (1978). Over the course of my teen years, I bought every Genesis record available. And while I loved and still love Wind and Wuthering, Seconds Out and Foxtrot, The Lamb is their masterpiece and perhaps the greatest art rock piece that was ever written and incidentally the last studio Genesis record on which the great Peter Gabriel appeared.
- Joni Mitchell – The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). My dad owned Court and Spark (1974) which I liked a lot and so when Hissing was released, I bought it. This beautifully written and recorded album has stood the test of time.
- Stevie Wonder – Innervisions (1973). This was the second album I ever bought, and one of the best too. At the time, I was too young to understand the social significance of the album with its comments on the evils of racism in songs like “Living for the City”. I did feel something of Stevie’s soul on the record and it moved me like no other music. Almost every song on the album is a masterpiece which ranks it, in my opinion, as one of the best albums ever recorded.
- John McLaughlin – Electric Guitarist (1978). By this time, I had become interested in jazz-rock and latin fusion and was attracted to Santana’s music. I remember buying a copy of Guitar Player magazine with McLaughlin on the cover. I had never heard of McLaughlin but was fascinated by the cover article describing him as the world’s fastest guitarist. So I ran down to the local record store and bought Electric Guitarist, which featured a duet with Carlos Santana on the tune “Friendship.” This underrated record is a seminal example of fusion.
- Steely Dan – Aja (1977). This band surfaced on my radar with their smash hit, “Do It Again” from Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972). I would have been about 13 when Aja was released and remember hearing “Peg” on the radio. I bought the album just for “Peg” only to discover that all the other tunes on it were better. This is another slickly produced and beautifully sounding record that was never far from my turntable.
- Todd Rundgren –Todd (1974)
- Supertramp – Even in the Quietest Moments (1977)
- Earth Wind and Fire – That’s The Way of the World (1974)
- Crosby Stills Nash and Young –Deja Vu (1970)
- Fleetwood Mac – Bare Trees (1972)
- Elton John – Rock of the Westies (1975) the first album I ever bought.
- Yes – Yessongs (1973)
- The Who – Live at Leads (1973)
- Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left (1969)
- Heart – Dog and Butterfly (1978)
- Ronnie Montrose – Open Fire (1978)
You might be interested in some of my related posts from the past…or not.