There have been many good records, but most did not change the world of music. There have been some that did and here is my top 10. (Please feel free to argue and let me know your top 10. It is all subjective after all.) These either changed the direction of music or were the pinnacle of their genre. each record comes with a brief explanation which I will expand on later posts.
1. Tutti Frutti. (Little Richard)
There are many early rock and roll records that could claim to have laid the fundamentals for what was to follow. However Tutti Frutti is my choice for its sheer power and energy. Coupled with with the fact that this was a major hit for a black artist at a time when that was almost unheard of means that Tutti Frutti just has to be on my list.
2. Move It. (Cliff Richard)
Sir Cliff. This is widely acknowledged as one of the first rock and roll records made outside of the USA. No matter that S.C.R. was a pale shadow of Elvis, this record told the youth in Britain that we could play real rock and roll and make it ours. there are those that would argue for Rock Island Line by Lonnie Donegan but for my money this record deserves its place in history.
3. Revolver (The Beatles)
Revolver is perhaps the most contentious inclusion in this list. There is no Sgt Pepper, no White Album, in this list, this is The Beatles at their best. This is the pinnacle of good, catchy pop songs, never equalled and often copied. It is also the only Beatles album I own……
4. Trout Mask Replica (Captain Beefheart)
Suddenly it was alright to meld Blues and Jazz and shake them both up to produce something not of this world. It was also alright to use free form lyrics, stream of consciousness writing. It was alright to be an artist and to work in rock. With this album rock came of age.
5. Velvet Underground and Nico (VU & N)
The cliche is that not many people bought this album but everyone who did started a band. Well, I bought this album when it was released and did not start a band. The list of those that now claim this as a major influence makes the inclusion of this, flawed, magical album inevitable, and deserved.
6. Horses (Patti Smith)
1975 and music is boring. Born of a passion for Hendrix, The Who, and other rock acts from the 60’s Patti Smith launched herself on the album buying public with this stunning debut. the breadth of her vision and the execution of that vision is a sensation. Punk attitude with an artist’s honesty. Simply a must have album.
7. Thriller (Michael Jackson)
before Thriller most albums spawned one or two singles. After Thriller albums would be packed with possible singles. For better or worse this album changed the music industry for ever. (Personally, I think it was for the worse, and I hate this album).
8. King of the Delta Blues (Robert Johnson)
RJ was not the father of the blues as some claimed in the 60s, but he was a very close relative. The reason that this album has to be included in this list is not that it was unique when the tracks were recorded in 1937. The reason is that this album changed white music forever when it was released as a double album on CBS in 1967. It was the first time that most of us white kids had heard real, traditional blues. That so many of us still listen to it and that the music still speaks to the following generations proves how influential this record was, and is. It led directly to the revival of the fortunes of John Lee Hooker, Muddy waters and the rest. If ever a record changed the world of music it is this one.
9. Apache (The Shadows)
Love it or hate it (guess which camp I am in!) This record changed the face of music in the UK. Hank Marvin was voted the best guitar player in the NME for years. Strat rock in the UK was born and countless budding guitarists bought Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in a Day’……..
10. My Favourite Things (John Coltrane)
I had not heard this record for years. About 18 months ago I walked into the studio to prepare for my radio show. The proceeding programme was on and this was on. I was stunned at how good this still sounded. There is genius at work here. JC takes a small insignificant and mundane song and turns it into something sublime. This made improvisation not only acceptable it made it fundamental for any musician. If only more musicians were as good at it as JC.
Well, that is my list. What is yours?