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The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 12
Thu., Jul. 30. 2020 11:35am EDT

J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.

Back in May, two friends asked me to share 10 albums that influenced me on Facebook. I narrowed it down to 365. I post the cover art for a different album every day with a brief explanation of how/why they influenced me. Fans have asked me to include them in the newsletter, too. Here's are this week's entries:

78. Get the Knack The Knack
Thank goodness my mom didn't hear some of these songs! One of my classmates, Bill Amatucci, had this album and told us about its racy lyrics. I already knew "My Sharona," "Good Girls Don't," and "That's What the Little Girls Do" from the radio, so I decided I would get the Knack, too, as part of my big batch o' Columbia cassettes. The songs I ended up liking the best the the first two tracks on side one — "Let Me Out" and "Your Number or Your Name." They made for a pretty potent power-pop one-two punch.

79. Best of the Doors The Doors
I finally found a Doors collection with "Love Her Madly" and "Riders on the Storm" and it arrived with the rest of my Columbia House bonanza-for-a-buck. But when I put it in my cassette player, I heard some unknown easy-listening group doing Burt Bacharach's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again." The shell of the actual cassette clearly said "Best of the Doors," and the first song was supposed to be "Who Do You Love," but they were singing, "What do you get when you fall in love?" I am not joking. I kept hoping Jim Morrison would come on when the music was over, but he never did. So I asked Columbia to send it to me again. Thankfully, they didn't snub me two times. Ironically, there is a song on this album called "Take It as It Comes."

80. At Budokan Cheap Trick
"Can you honestly tell me you forgot? Forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander or the charisma of Rick Nielsen? Kids' stuff? How 'bout the tunes? I want you to want me your mama's alright, your daddy's alright, they just seem a little bit weird " I can't say it better than Mike Damone of Ridgemont High. Please welcome Epic recording artists Cheap Trick courtesy of the Columbia House Record Club. I know that cover photo is over 40 years old, but I'm still concerned Robin is going to accidentally jab his eye with that mic. Then again, I've seldom had a mic that was too high for me.

81. A Wild and Crazy Guy Steve Martin
My friend Dave Rhodes got this one not too long after I got "Let's Get Small." I needed my own copy, so I threw it in with my original Columbia House 13. Two words: cat handcuffs. Two more: King Tut.

82. Pieces of Eight Styx
Here's the other Styx album I got to complete my 13 for $1 from Columbia House. Now it was time to start buying the albums required to fulfill my agreement. Sing for the day, pay for the next three years. I needed to become a blue-collar man to generate enough cash to afford those premium prices. A close friend of mine just ignored the bills Columbia sent him until they gave up, but I played by the rules. I've never been a renegade, and I'm OK with that. I mentioned my Robin Williams tape the other day; this one took me from Nanu Nanu to Aku-Aku.

83. 52nd Street Billy Joel
My local radio station 96 KX played this album to death not just the three big hit singles but also "Until the Night," "Stiletto," and "Half a Mile Away." And two of my buddies in the neighborhood owned it. I eventually had to buy a copy for myself. Why did I need my own copy if I heard the songs on the radio all the time and my friends already had it, you ask? Let me head you off at the pass: No, it didn't make me feel like a big shot. In all honesty uh I don't care what you say anymore, this is my list!

84. Discovery ELO
ApologetiX spoofed the title and cover of this album on our Recovery CD in 2009. We also spoofed its biggest hit, "Don't Bring Me Down." But there were others — "Shine a Little Love," "Confusion," and "Last Train to London" all made the U.S. Top 40, too. My favorite, "The Diary of Horace Wimp," was a Top 10 smash in England but wasn't released as a single here. ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy nicknamed the album "Disco Very." Remember Brad Garrett, who played Ray's older brother on "Everybody Loves Raymond"? He's the guy on the back cover dressed like a scary palace guard. Sounds like an urban legend, but Garrett has confirmed it as fact.

Note: The albums are not listed in order of preference or excellence, but in chronological order of when they influenced me. Also, just because the albums on my list influenced me back then doesn't mean I give them all a blanket endorsement now.

I started actively listening to music in the early 70's and didn't become a born-again Christian until early 1988, so it's going to be a while before we get to the Christian albums, but there will be many of those when the time comes (literally).