I’ve been having a lot of fun on Facebook lately.
Something quite popular right now are certain types of lists where you note your top 10 picks of this and that…or…25 things about you etc.
I usually don’t have time for every query that comes my way but I did bite on two recent music polls that I deemed worthy of sharing here:
1. Your top 15 most influential albums: You know what I’m talking about…the ones you listened to over and over…usually in your adolescence.
2. 2. Your top 10 Christian albums: I actually started this poll after some friendly teasing that my top 15 list contained no Christian music.
These polls are inadequate because it is impossible for robust music fans to confine their favorites this tightly…but nevertheless…I welcome any and all commentary.
Top 15 Most Influential Albums
(In no particular order)
Led Zeppelin – II: Growing up in SoCal in the 70’s…Zep ruled the roost. I listened to all of their records incessantly but I remember playing this one with headphones…over and over…marveling at the tones smashing into my eardrums. John Paul Jones remains one of the most tasty rock bass players of all time.
Black Sabbath – Paranoid: What can I say….Sabbath! The fact that I went to a strict Seventh Day Adventist school made this even more delicious to listen to. Geezer Butler…another of my bass heroes.
Rod Stewart / Faces Live – Coast-to-Coast…Overtures and Beginners: Wow! They recorded this live in Anaheim. One of my very first concerts! This is sloppy British blues-rock at it’s very best. I loved the Faces! They are one of the main reasons I pursued music as a career. They always looked like they were having so much fun! Ron Wood is my ultimate rock hero. The little spike in my hair over all these years is a tribute to Woody.
Kiss – Alive: Say what you will about Kiss…this album probably unleashed more young air-guitarists worldwide than any other. I still love Gene!
The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band: I know it’s a bit cliché…but my older sister turned me onto the Beatles when I was 3 or 4. I think I was 6 when this record came out and it’s the first album I bought with my own money.
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: People forget how HUGE Elton was in the 70’s. This album came out when I was in junior high. Everyone owned it…and we all knew every word to all of these great songs.
Frank Zappa – Overnite Sensation: One of my older brothers (the biker) turned me onto Zappa. Twas my first foray into heavy musicianship…and twisted humor. This is probably the most “pop” of Zappa’s albums but the unbelievable playing of Frank and the Mothers is forever burned in my brain.
Aerosmith – Get Your Wings: A teenage angst favorite! I would come home after school and put this on with headphones. Seasons of wither…
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti: This is Zep’s meatiest release. I studied it religiously
Gipsy Kings – Love & Liberte: This record came later…when I was a touring musician. Before we could afford a tour bus…we would tour in a van & trailer. I used to drive what was known as the “butt shift”…2AM-6AM…and I would play this record in the middle of the night…every night. The guys in my band have probably heard this record more than they would have liked…but I love the Gipsy Kings!
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rastaman Vibration: My other older brother (the hippie) turned me onto this record in my freshman year of high school. Reggae had still not really hit the States yet. What amazes me about this record is the economy of sounds and the space between the instruments. Great heartfelt songs.
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,: This was a “dangerous” record in its day…which made it that much more attractive to me. More spiked-hair glory. I love Bowie in most all of his incarnations but if I had to pick one…this would be it.
ZZ Top – Deguello: This record blew my mind when it came out. A treasure chest of guitar tones. I saw this tour live. The thickest sounding trio I’ve ever heard!
The Rolling Stones – Some Girls: I am a massive Stones fan and could not pick just one record but this may be their best sounding one. Saw this tour at Anaheim Stadium in the summer of ’78. I was right down front…and Mick came right to the end of the platform and got right in my face. A classic memory!
Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf: One of the few records I’ve listened to over and over in the last few years. Something about their buzzy brand of retro metal that I love. Love that distorted bass. My guitar player tells me my ears are permanently damaged from cranking the blown speakers in the van at full volume. This could be why I love the sound of a distorted bass guitar so much.
Top 10 Christian Albums
(Not in order)
Phil Keaggy – Town To Town: This was the first Christian album I ever heard. I had no idea. All I knew prior were church hymns. This was a great introductory album for a musician.
Daniel Amos - Vox Humana: If I had to pick my all-time favorite Christian band…it would be DA. They never had production budgets to do them justice but they made some great brick albums out of straw and mud. Tim Chandler…another great bass player.
Terry Scott Taylor - Knowledge & Innocence: This is what all solo albums from bandleaders should sound like. Terry and Steve Taylor are the cleverest lyricists ever to grace this genre.
Stryper - Soldiers Under Command: I used to kick around the L.A. rock circuit with their prior bands…Roxx Regime and Stormer. Say what you will about Stryper...they are undeniably the most evangelically effective Christian band ever. Their bold stance cut through the dark L.A. rock scene like a sword.
Barren Cross - Atomic Arena: Our L.A peers and Enigma label mates. This is as fine a “White Metal” album as has ever been made.
Bride: Kinetic Faith: I’m pretty sure that this is Dale and Troy Thompson’s least favorite Bride Album. I think it was producer Steve Griffith’s attempt to take them in a “kinder, gentler” direction. More bluesy than metal. I like it!
DC Talk - Free At Last: We did a leg with them on this tour. Perhaps a bit bubblegum but undeniably great songs…and always a great live show.
Amy Grant – Lead me On: A near-perfect record from top to bottom. Great songs and production. This album stands up against any female pop record of all time…period.
Kevin Max - Stereotype Be: Even though I was the A&R guy on this record…and it was my duty to police every album on the roster…it will always be my pleasure to have been involved with this stellar record from the most misunderstood guy in Christian music. Kevin is a true artist. I wish more albums like this emerged from Christendom.
LoveWar – Soak Your Brain: Our Pakaderm label-mate Tim Bushong’s musical genius was never fully realized. These guys were as good as Kings X.
Bonus Pick: Ok…they never really aligned themselves as a Christian band…but “Gretchen Goes To Nebraska” by Kings X messed my head up permanently…in a good way!