The Never-Ending Album Challenge: Week 42
Fri., Feb. 26. 2021 12:10am EST
289. Sandinista! – The Clash
I already had cassette recordings of "The Magnificent Seven" and "Somebody Got Murdered" courtesy of my old friend Michael Ranieri, but it was another Michael — my housemate Mike Brechbill — who opened my eyes and ears to the many other great songs on this triple-album. He was downstairs playing "Police in My Back" and "Washington Bullets" (he must have been on side four) and they sounded great. I would go on to discover other great tracks such as "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe," "Career Opportunities," "Hitsville UK," "The Call-Up," and "Charlie Don't Surf." I don't think this album is as consistently good as London Calling, but it might come close if they trimmed it down to a double like that one.
290. Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin
I awoke with a start. What was that noise? Was there a dinosaur downstairs? Turns out it was "In the Light," the ominous, brooding, thundering, first track on side three of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti. Mikey Brechbill had it cranked on his stereo for the whole house to hear, way too early for a college student on a Saturday morning. I'd never really gotten into that particular Zep album (Yeah, I know some people consider it their finest effort — I only knew a couple of the songs back then), but that got my attention. I recorded some of the songs from Mikey's record. My favorites were the opening tracks on each of the four sides — "Custard Pie," "Houses of the Holy," "In the Light," and "Night Flight" — although I Iiked plenty of others and eventually bought the CD for myself. ApologetiX went on to spoof "Kashmir" in 2007. Incidentally, "In the Light" was later used to great effect in the season-one finale of the TV show Mindhunter.
291. 20 Golden Greats (Buddy Holly Lives) – Buddy Holly
This is the third album in a row Mikey Brechbill (whom we also affectionately called "Monkey" and "our Mikey") inadvertently introduced me to — by blasting it throughout the dump the five of us called "home" senior year. I knew Buddy had influenced many musicians, and I'd heard some of his songs ("Peggy Sue," "That'll Be the Day," etc.), but I didn't realize how many other great tunes he had, many of which were covered by other artists on albums I owned or had on tape ("Not Fade Away" by The Stones, "Words of Love" by The Beatles, "Heartbeat" by The Knack, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" by Linda Ronstadt, etc.). Among the 20 included in this collection, I especially liked "Rave On," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Well All Right," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," and "Oh, Boy!" I went out and bought a similar anthology called A Rock and Roll Collection. It had 24 tracks, but was missing a few key songs — "Everyday," "True Love Ways," and "It's So Easy" — so I'd recommend this one. Buddy even made glasses cool for a while. Unfortunately, that time had already passed long before I had to get them in third grade.
292. Power Windows – Rush
I can't remember how I ended up with this cassette, which came out in the fall of 1985. The songs I already knew and liked from the radio were "The Big Money" and "The Manhattan Project," both of which hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. "Territories" is the other song that has really stuck with me through the years. "Mystic Rhythms" is pretty good, too. "The Big Money" almost became a Top 40 hit, stalling at #45. Alas, Rush only ever had one of those, "New World Man," a #21 hit in '82. Ironically, Rush lead singer Geddy Lee had his biggest U.S. hit with SCTV stars Bob & McKenzie — "Take Off," a #16 hit earlier in '82.
293. Baby Boomer Classics: Folk 60's - Various Artists
This collection contained a dozen folk hits from the 60's. My favorites were "Walk Right In" (The Rooftop Singers), "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (The Kingston Trio), "Green, Green" (The New Christy Minstrels), "You Were on My Mind" (We Five), and "I'll Never Find Another You" (The Seekers). But I enjoyed the other seven tunes, too. Play that folky music.
294. The Breakfast Club – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This movie came out during my junior year in college, but I didn't see it till senior year. Even though it was about high-school students, it had a profound impact on me. I watched it multiple times and wound up memorizing large portions of the dialogue. The opening track on the album, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds, had been a number-one hit in 1985 and was probably my favorite song of that entire year. "Fire in the Twilight" by Wang Chung was also released as a single from this album but didn't fare as well — it only went to #110! But it, and other songs on this album like "We Are Not Alone" by Karla DeVito and "Love Theme" by Keith Forsey, instantly took me back to the movie, like any good soundtrack should.
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).