The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 31
Fri., Dec. 11. 2020 1:28am 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 the entries for the past month:
211. Cargo – Men at Work
Ah, the much-anticipated follow-up to Business as Usual. The first single, "Overkill," had one of the highest chart debuts ever at the time, but it eventually stalled at #3. I think it has aged quite well, though. The second single, "It's a Mistake," went to #6. A third single, "Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive" was a little kiddie-ish for my tastes but still catchy. The song that got me to buy the album, "High Wire," was only a hit on the Mainstream Rock charts. In fact, impossible as it may seem now, all four of those relatively mellow songs hit the Mainstream Rock charts.
212. At Home with Their Greatest Hits – The Partridge Family
I bought a dilapidated cassette copy of this one at a flea market. Although I was almost a sophomore in college, it brought back some great childhood memories. The Partridge Family had seven Top 40 hits, and each one of them charted lower than the one before it (#1, #6, #9, #13, #20, #28, and #39). This 11-track album had the first six, including one of my all-time favorite songs, "I'll Meet You Halfway" (#9). Other standouts for me included "I Woke Up in Love This Morning" (#13) and two non-hits, "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" and "Brown Eyes."
213. The Pretenders – The Pretenders
The big hit on this one was "Brass in Pocket," which ApologetiX eventually spoofed in 2016. But I mainly bought it to get the studio versions of Pretenders songs I'd heard years earlier on Concerts for the People of Kampuchea — "The Wait," "Precious," and "Tattooed Love Boys." Other new songs I really got into were "The Phone Call," "Space Invader" and "Mystery Achievement." I bought a couple Pretenders singles before and after that, too, including these double-sided delights: "Back on the Chain Gang/My City Was Gone" and "Middle of the Road/2000 Miles."
214. The John Lennon Collection – John Lennon
I actually had put this album on my list randomly a while back and planned to post it tomorrow, but then I remembered the significance of December 8. Forty years ago today, my dad heard the news of John Lennon's murder announced on Monday Night Football, and he was the first one to tell me. I can't remember exactly when I bought this cassette, but it came out in November 1982, so I bet I picked it up over Christmas break. That means it should probably be about 30 spots earlier on this list. I'd heard Lennon's previous "best of," Shaved Fish, but that was released in 1975, long before the Double Fantasy album, so this one had a lot more hits. You know the biggies. But it was the non-hits "Jealous Guy," "Dear Yoko," and "Beautiful Boy" that kept me coming back. I did miss "Cold Turkey" from Shaved Fish, though. Thankfully, both collections included his now-forgotten first #1 solo hit, "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," with Elton John on backing vocals.
215. Led Zeppelin III – Led Zeppelin
Well, it's about time I got around to this one, innit? It's hard to believe an album that kicks off with "Immigrant Song" (which ApologetiX spoofed in 1994 and 2018) could have so many great acoustic tunes like "Tangerine," "That's the Way," and "Gallows Pole." Of course, there are plenty of other all-out rockers, too. Of those, I'm partial to "Celebration Day" and "Out on the Tiles." Yes, I'm aware it also has "Since I've Been Loving You." It should have included the B-side of "Immigrant Song," a wonderful little number called "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do." We used to do that in the last secular band I was in.
216. The Best of the Alan Parsons Project – Alan Parsons Project
I bought this album right after it came out — the first time I ever saw it in a store — in October 1983. It's not like I was the world's biggest Alan Parsons fan, but I liked enough of his/their hits that it seemed like a worthwhile "impulse buy." My favorite non-hits on this record were "Pyramania" (not to be confused with Def Leppard's Pyromania), "Pyschobabble," and "Can't Take It with You."
217. Pyromania – Def Leppard
I discovered Def Leppard in early '82, when the guys in my first rock band made me learn "Rock Brigade" and "Wasted," from Def Lep's debut album. This third album came out in late-January '83. It was the record that made me realize girls could like heavy metal, too. I found that out at a college party in the fall of 1983. And who could resist "Photograph," "Rock of Ages," "Foolin'," and "Too Late for Love"? Apparently, not many people, because Pyromania made it the whole way up to #2 on Billboard's album charts and sold 10 million copies in the United States. Gunter glieben glauten globen!
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).