The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 26
Fri., Nov. 6. 2020 5:32pm EST
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:
176. All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes – Pete Townshend
I bought this album because I'd heard an awesome new Pete Townshend song in 1982 called "Dance It Away." Surely it had to be on his new album, right? Nope. But that's OK — there were plenty of tracks here that I really enjoyed, including "Stop Hurting People," "Slit Skirts," "Somebody Saved Me," "Uniforms," "Face Dances, Pt. 2," "Communication," "Stardom in Action," and "North Country Girl." Ironically, "Dance It Away" eventually made it onto the reissue edition of this album in 2006.
177. The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
This is the final entry from my pre-college period. My old friend Chris Marsh turned me on to this one in 1982. Emerson, Lake & Palmer only ever had one Top 40 hit, "From the Beginning." In true prog-rock style, it wasn't included on the original 1980 edition, although they put it on the 1994 edition. My favorite tracks were "Hoedown," "Lucky Man," "Karl Evil 9, First Impression, Pt. 2," "Fanfare for the Common Man," "Still … You Turn Me On," and "Tiger in a Spotlight."
178. What Do You Want from Live - The Tubes
I liked The Tubes' 1981 album, The Completion Backward Principal, so much that I took a flyer on the discount 8-track version of this live double album, which was recorded in London in 1977. It was the first thing I played on my stereo when I moved into my dorm freshman year in college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) — before my roommate was around — and that was the first time I ever listened to it. The Tubes sounded quite different in 1977 before producer David Foster sanitized their sound, but I was very entertained by their performances and their shticks between the songs. It sounded like fun … but not fun for the whole family … if you know what I mean.
179. It's Hard – The Who
This is the first album I remember buying as a freshman in college. I was so excited that there was a new Who release, even though I was only mildly enthusiastic about the lead single, "Athena." Just one song really captured my fancy when I played it through the first time — "Eminence Front." That became the second single, though it only reached #68. Roger Daltrey has said he thinks that was the only song on the album worthy of being released, which is really saying something, since he didn't even sing lead vocals on it. "I've Known No War" and "Cry if You Want" are probably the two other songs I like best.
180. Business as Usual – Men at Work
Oh boy, did these guys take our dorm by storm. Two #1 pop hits — "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under"— both of which ApologetiX has spoofed. It's crazy to think that heavy-duty rock stations were even playing Men at Work back then: "Down Under" was also a #1 mainstream rock hit, with "Be Good Johnny" going to #3 and "Underground" going to #20. I think the whole album is great, but I especially like "I Can See It in Your Eyes." I bought this album for my girlfriend at the time, but didn't appreciate it till we had broken up.
181. A Flock of Seagulls – A Flock of Seagulls
During freshman year, these guys were all the rage. We loved the name, we loved the hair, and we loved the hit. Actually, there were two hits on that album. Everybody knows "I Ran" — ApologetiX has even spoofed it — but "Space Age Love Song" was pretty good, too. That was freshman year. But sophomore year was when two of my roommates, Kevin "Kebo" Johnson and Joe "Flick" Flickinger played this album to death, especially side one. Two other favorites from that side were "You Can't Run" and "Messages." And I was a big fan of "Wishing (If I had a Photograph of You)," the lead single from their next album. I bought the 45 soon after it came out.
182. Combat Rock – The Clash
My old high-school classmate and bandmate Gerard Dominick first turned me on to "Should I Stay or Should I Go." I also loved "Rock the Casbah" and bought the 45. Of course, I already owned London Calling, as discussed earlier on this list. Aside from those two hits, I didn't enjoy this album nearly as much, but I did like "Know Your Rights" and "Car Jamming." ApologetiX spoofed "Should I Stay or Should I Go" in 2003.
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).