I saw a post somewhere the other day where the person listed their five most influential albums. It was kind of cool, so I thought I'd do the same. And then I spent all week trying to figure out which five...
I think I can make this work though so here goes....
My top five influential albums (and why) in no particular order:
1. In Through The Out Door - Led Zeppelin
- In highschool, I'd heard of Led Zeppelin, sure. They did Stairway to Heaven and some other songs, but I didn't really know them. One of my friends, for whatever reason, was selling some CDs one day. He asked if I wanted to buy some and I did. This is the only album I remember getting from him and it was the first time I'd listened to a Zep album in full. And I was hooked. They are my most favourite band, and this was the first album of theirs I owned. I bought the rest very quickly after!
2. Pearl Jam - Ten
- Maybe it was the timing of this album in my life, but it hit. I can still sing along to almost all of the songs on this album and they're all great songs. "Jeremy" especially sticks out for me as the first time we ever really heard about violence in schools and unhappy children. I wish things had not changed so much since then. Great album, still makes me feel the same way I did when I first heard it.
3. Nevermind - Nirvana
- I have to put this one in here too. Similar timeline as Pearl Jam's in terms of changing the music scene. This was the first CD I went into a store to buy, which is one of the reasons it's influential to me. I'd bought tapes before and had records as a kid but not CDs, so it felt like a big deal. I remember listening to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and feeling connected to that anger, but not really knowing why. I'm not really a huge Nirvana fan, I'm not one who cried when Kurt Cobain died or anything, but I still get into these songs when I'm in the right mood. This, as an influential album was more about the feel of these songs and the fact that they had gotten into the "mainstream." Maybe we all really were angry after all and someone should listen to us...
4. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
- One of two albums I remember "borrowing" (ie. permanently taking because I still have them, shhh) from my brother (the other being Peter Gabriel's "So") I don't remember why I borrowed it, perhaps it had that same allure as Led Zeppelin of being a group I kind of knew of but didn't really? And, this album is still one of my go-tos for a lot of reasons. Pink Floyd is up there with Led Zeppelin in my "favourite" category. This is an album I'll often play when I need to settle myself or ground myself. (Played it one night at Burning Man when I was overwhelmed and wanted to just be in my own space and not hear other people's sound/music, and I was able to stop feeling overwhelmed and comforted by it.)
5. The Wall - Pink Floyd
- It's hard to have two albums by the same group on this list, but this particular (double) album is probably the one that I would have put at number one if I was doing these in order of importance. I love this album. All of it. The concept. The flow of it. The movie and art that goes with it. The messages I personally take out of it. The impact it had on the music industry at that time. Again, I know all the songs, all the lyrics. And I FEEL them. This album gets to me in deep ways, right down in the core. I'd heard "Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)" when I was a kid and sung along to it (because there were kids singing, fun!) without really understanding it and had been chastised by my parents who didn't think it was a very nice song (picking on teachers, I suppose) but didn't get to the whole album until I was much older. To be honest, I don't remember when I heard the whole album, or if I saw the movie first or heard the album first. Would I like this album as much if I hadn't seen the movie? Perhaps not. And yes, I own the movie, and appreciate it for many reasons. I think this album is genius and again, it's a go to for me when I'm in a particular mood.
So there you have it. Not necessarily my favourite songs (I couldn't tell you many of the songs on "Nevermind" for example) but albums that were influential in my life... to me. I'm sure there are others, and this list might change in a decade or two (or not) But yeah.
I wonder what I would have come up with if I'd gone with top ten!