The Never-Ending Album Challenge: Week 37
Fri., Jan. 22. 2021 1:04pm EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the latest entries in the "albums that influenced me" series I started writing in May 2020. They are not listed in order of preference or excellence, but in chronological order of when they influenced me, as best as I can recall:
254. Repeat When Necessary – Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds released this album in June 1979, one day before his friend Nick Lowe released Labour of Lust, which included the #12 hit "Cruel to Be Kind." Both albums featured the same musical line-up: Edmunds, Lowe, Billy Bremner, and Terry Williams — the four members of Rockpile. I'd owned and enjoyed Rockpile's 1980 album, Seconds of Pleasure, so I figured this one was worth a shot when I found it in the used record bin of Backstreet Records at IUP. My favorite tracks: "Girls Talk" (written and later recorded by Elvis Costello), "Crawling from the Wreckage," "Creature from the Black Lagoon," "Home in My Hand," and "Goodbye Mr. Good Guy." Of course, I now have a special affinity for a track called "Sweet Little Lisa." Other items of interest "Queen of Hearts" (later made famous by Juice Newton), "Bad Is Bad" (later slowed down and made famous by Huey Lewis & the News), and "Take Me for a Little While" (later used to close an episode of The Sopranos).
255. An Innocent Man – Billy Joel
Released in August 1983, Billy's ninth album contained six Top 40 singles, which would come out over an 18-month span. The first single, "Tell Her About It," went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The others were "Uptown Girl" (#3), "An Innocent Man" (#10), "The Longest Time" (#14), "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (#27), and "Keepin' the Faith" (#18), although that last one was a remix. Four of those songs also went to #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts, and the other two went to #2 and #3. Considering how ubiquitous "Uptown Girl" was at the time, you'd think that it went to #1 on one of those charts, but that was not the case. However, it did spend five weeks at #3 on the Hot 100 and four weeks at #2 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. And five weeks at #1 in the United Kingdom.
256. Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
If I recall correctly, my old friend Lance Craig was the first person I knew who owned this album. I bought the single "Eyes Without a Face" in 1984, and ApologetiX spoofed the title track in 2014. The other two singles were "Flesh for Fantasy" and one of my favorites, "Catch My Fall," which only went to #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped the charts in my heart for at least a week or so. Rebel Yell had two Top 40 hits. "Eyes Without a Face" went all the way to #4, but you might be surprised to find that the other one was "Flesh for Fantasy" (#29). Famous as it may be, the title track only went to #46. It did, however, go to #9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.
257. Diver Down – Van Halen
I don't know where this album should fall on my list, because various tracks on it influenced me at various times. I wasn't a big fan of the first single, "(Oh) Pretty Woman," because I didn't think it compared favorably to Roy Orbison's original. But the second single — I loved what they did with Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street." As a Kinks fan, I thought "Where Have All the Good Times Gone" was kind of in between. The other big three for me were "Little Guitars," "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)," and "Happy Trails," which my kids love.
258. Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
I overlooked this Beatles record for years because it was half orchestral and featured just four previously unreleased Beatles songs. I already owned (and loved) "Hey Bulldog" on the Rock and Roll Music compilation, so that left only three I didn't already know. Thankfully, Tom Dellaquila made me aware that they were worth checking out. "All Together Now" is classic, catchy McCartney, but I was really surprised at how much I liked the George Harrison tracks, "It's Only a Northern Song" and "It's All Too Much." When I was growing up, I always thought the animation in the movie was very creative, so I played it for my two youngest kids in 2019. The storyline wasn't as great as I remembered, but my son loved the film and music and instantly became a Beatles fan.
259. Their 16 Greatest Hits – The Grass Roots
I first learned of The Grass Roots while looking through my brother-in-law Bob's record collection in the late 70's. I didn't know who they were and hadn't heard them on the radio, but I never asked him about them. Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued, and when I bought the first edition of The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits in 1982, I was amazed to learn they had 14 Top 40 hits! Tom Dellaquila brought me up to speed on them with this album. Although it claims to contain their 16 greatest hits, it does not include their final three Top 40 hits. But that wasn't a case of false advertising. The album was released in September 1971, and the last three hits weren't released till later that year and the next year. However, their five Top 15 hits are here — the ones you're most like to hear on oldies radio — "Midnight Confessions"(#5), "Let's Live for Today" (#8), "Sooner or Later" (#9), "I'd Wait a Million Years" (#15), and "Temptation Eyes" (#15).
260. All-Time Greatest Hits - Paul Revere & The Raiders Featuring Mark Lindsay
When Tom Dellaquila let me borrow this album, I was a little disappointed to discover it didn't include their 1971 #1 hit "Indian Reservation," but it does have all of their hits from 1965-70. I already knew and liked "Kicks" and "Just Like Me," but I had no idea how much other great music they'd put out. There are a dozen Top 40 hits on this 20-song double-album, including the Top 10 hits "Kicks," "Hungry," "Good Thing," and one of my personal favorites, "Him or Me – What's It Gonna Be?" It's all great stuff, though, especially "Don't Take It So Hard," "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon," "Cinderella Sunshine," "Steppin' Out," "The Great Airplane Strike," and "The Legend of Paul Revere."
Note: 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).