The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 19
Fri., Sep. 18. 2020 10:20am 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 are this week's entries:
127. Donovan's Greatest Hits - Donovan
I already knew "Sunshine Superman," "Mellow Yellow," and "Season of the Witch" when I bought this tape. And "Jennifer Juniper" is one of the first songs I ever remember liking as a wee little boy. Furthermore, I recognized "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" from a perfume commercial. But I was in for a real treat when I heard "Epistle to Dippy" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man." I was playing this cassette while washing the dishes one day, and my mom wanted me to shut it off, because she thought "Lalena" sounded like "a dirge." Can't blame her.
128. The Best of the Animals – The Animals
I found a copy of this at the Latrobe flea market. I knew The Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun" and Santa Esmerelda's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," but that was it. However, I'd read good things about The Animals, so I took a chance. I'm glad I did. My favorites here were "It's My Life," "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," "Gonna Send You Back to Walker" and "Bring It on Home to Me." This album came out in 1966, so it didn't include a lot of their later hits that I'd learn to love down the line like "Don't Bring Me Down," "San Franciscan Nights," "When I Was Young," "Monterey," and "Sky Pilot."
129. One for the Road – The Kinks
My classmate Michael Ranieri insisted that I borrow this live double-album. I knew a few Kinks songs already, but this record was a revelation. I became an instant Kinks fan and finally got to see them in concert myself a year and a half later (with then-unknown opening artist Bryan Adams), on January 19, 1982. It was the night before my big trigonometry test, and trig was already my worst subject. I thought, "Man, I should be studying, but I can't miss The Kinks! Besides, how often will I ever need trigonometry?" Well, I went to the concert and got a D on my test — and the only D I ever got in a class — but I haven't had to use trig since. However, I've had to use both The Kinks and Bryan Adams many times in ApologetiX, sometimes in the same show!
130. Zenyatta Mondatta – The Police
My friend Keith Cornell's dad brought this cassette home with him from a business trip he'd made to England. We played it a lot while working on a homemade haunted house in his garage in October 1980, and it really grew on us. We were shocked when "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" wound up hitting the Top 10 in January and April 1981, respectively. Before that, The Police's only U.S. Top-40 hit had been "Roxanne, which peaked at #32 in 1979. Now we had to share our band with the rest of the world. That's probably how fans felt in the U.K., too, where The Police had already amassed three #1 hits, plus two other songs that had gone to #2 and #6.
131. Greatest Hits – Queen
I bought this one as soon as it hit the record racks. I'd also bought The Game earlier that year. I'd liked plenty of Queen hits before that, but never enough to buy a whole album. However, I remember digging the song "Killer Queen" on the radio while visiting my friend Brian Laurich's house in '75. I remember another classmate, Mike Komarinski, telling me there was a new song called "Bohemian Rhapsody" that I absolutely had to hear in '76. I also remember being in the basement section of Troutman's department store in Greensburg when I first heard "We Will Rock You" in '77. And I remember being at Camelot Music at Westmoreland Mall the first time I heard "Bicycle Races" and "Don't Stop Me Now." So I guess it shouldn't be surprising that ApologetiX has already spoofed six songs on this album.
132. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
I still remember jamming to "Communication Breakdown" on WDVE in art class in high school. ApologetiX spoofed that song in 2014 and one other song from Zep's debut disc, "Good Times Bad Times," in 2002. But my favorite song on this album was and still is "Your Time is Gonna Come."
133. London Calling – The Clash
This is another one courtesy of Michael Ranieri. I had read a very favorable review of The Clash's Give 'em Enough Rope album in Time magazine the winter of '78-79, and somebody had spray-painted "I'm so bored with the USA" on a bridge in my hometown of Greensburg PA, but Michael was the first person I knew personally who was a fan of their music. After listening to London Calling, I became the second. I eventually bought my own copy. Who knew punk rock could be so catchy and diverse?
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).