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My Five Favourite Albums

August 27, 2013

This was done in response to a blog post by the Prog Vicar, but I had some difficulty posting it, so here goes:

Well Simon – that is one tough challenge. And one that I can’t resist!

There are some obvious choices, but I will try to work this on a similar basis to you.

I’ll take them in chronological order:

1. Gerry Rafferty – Nightowl.

In my late teens, fed on chart music, I suddenly discovered a singer-songwriter of the highest quality. Baker Street was a huge hit (how was it not number 1? – chart positions became less important for me after). “City to City” would be an obvious choice. But Nightowl was a real pleasure for me – the opening track “Day’s gone down” was simply stunning. He wrote great songs, the melodies were exhilarating and he surrounded himself with musicians of the highest calibre. Perhaps he was the first one to help me see beyond the 3 minute pop song. I lost touch with his music until Rafferty died and then have since filled in my collection with more great songs.

Two bands then came along pretty much at once:

2. Genesis – The Lamb lies down on Broadway. A friend loaned this to me when I was at school as I was listening to “Duke” and “And then there were three” and I had not the foggiest clue what was going on. In my student days I explored their music more and bought “the Lamb”. This would be my number 1 of all time. It’s hard to explain. The music is wonderful. Gabriel draws you into a story, which takes some bizarre and macabre twists. I find myself still wondering what on earth it’s all about but thoroughly enjoying the ride.

3. Rush – Hemispheres.

Genesis and Rush were my first two live gigs of any note. The “Three Sides Live” tour and the “Moving Pictures” tour (twice). I think apart from losing touch with Rush for a few years in the ’90’s, these two bands have remained my 2favourite bands non stop. Rush can claim greater longevity though – still quality to this day – doing it their way. I remember buying this album when I was at Oxford University (for the weekend). Fans are divided on the side long title track, but I love it whenever I go back to it. I remember a friend reading “The Trees” in school assembly. The instrumental “La Villa Strangiato” is jaw dropping!

4. Neal Morse – Testimony. It is almost impossible to express how important this album was for me. I bought it after having my imagination captured by a review in the Christian music magazine “Crossrhythms”. Progressive rock caught my attention. That was the music I always loved. Neal Morse’s double album was epic in every sense. It opened my eyes to the fact that the sort of music I loved was still alive and well. I listened to the album every day for 2 months and could hear it in my head every morning when I awoke. It worked for me spiritually too. Nothing has had that impact. As a result of this album a whole world of music was opened up to me – talking me to discover Transatlantic, Flower Kings, Spock’s Beard, Camel and many more and to rediscover Marillion. My CD collection exploded again!

5. The Beatles – Abbey Road – released when I was 6. The Beatles were always there – from the day I was born when they were number 1. I dabbled with their music over the years, but it took me FORTY-EIGHT years to get it! And suddenly I got it. It was Abbey Road that unlocked the mystery for me, with its great songs, gorgeous melodies (“Because”)the proggy and totally silly at times Abbey Road Medley. It has all sent me scurrying off to fill in the catalogue. Yes I am now a Beatles completest and was worried that even my top 2 might be under threat. This came home to me watching a Paul McCartney live DVD where the last 15 songs were classic after classic. What a back catalogue. I knew the hits, but now I’m feasting.

Close run things that might have made it:

Queen Kate Bush Marillion Elbow Abba

or for the perfect pop album that never disappoints:

“Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac – including the only version of Songbird that anyone should listen to.


From → Rock Music

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