Influential Albums: 351-364
Fri., May. 7. 2021 7:31pm EDT
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.
351. The Lost Boys – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
While Lance and I were in New York, I saw a poster with the tagline: "Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire." And that's what got me interested in seeing the movie The Lost Boys. We picked up another one of our old housemates, Mikey, in Chambersburg PA, and went to visit our old friend Allison Faulk in Philadelphia. I think that's where I saw the actual film. I loved it and bought the soundtrack after I got home. For the sake of reliving the movie, the songs that really got me going were "Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys)" by Lou Gramm and "Cry Little Sister (Theme from The Lost Boys)" by Gerard McMann. Echo & the Bunnymen did a pretty good job covering The Doors' "People Are Strange" and Roger Daltrey did an OK job with Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." But the two songs I liked the best were (and still are) "Good Times" by INXS and Jimmy Barnes (what a jam!) and "I Still Believe" by Tim Capello. I couldn't discern the words to "I Still Believe" (originally done by The Call) all that well in Capello's version, but about seven months later, I'd buy an album by another artist who covered that tune with vocals that were much clearer, and it would become a favorite all over again for different reasons.
352. Wings at the Speed of Sound - Wings
During the summer of 1987, I bought a ton of Elton and Dylan albums. To keep this list from getting boring, I'm going to take some older albums I forgot to mention earlier on this list and insert them periodically to create some space between all the entries for Mr. Dwight and Mr. Zimmerman. I bought a used copy of this album in college, and it should have appeared much earlier on this list. Back in the 70's, I'd purchased the two singles on 45, "Silly Love Songs" (#1) and "Let 'em In" (#3). I also enjoyed their B-sides, "Cook of the House" (Linda sings it) and "Beware My Love," and they're both included on this album. Other songs that have stood the test of time in my memory are "She's My Baby," "Wino Junko," and "The Note You Never Wrote" (well, at least it had a great title). With all that having been said, there's a reason I forgot to put this album on my list till now; I didn't think it was anywhere near as good as the two albums that preceded it, Band on the Run and Venus and Mars.
353. Camelot - Original Soundtrack
Here's one from my childhood that I forgot to include. My sisters Kris and Gayle were both in their high-school production of Camelot, so I heard the movie soundtrack a lot. My mom and dad also loved this musical, so we owned not only this album but also another record that featured instrumental versions of songs from the show. This tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table has plenty of humor behind the armor, notably "I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight" and "Take Me to the Fair" — my two favorites — along with "C'est Moi" and "What do the Simple Folk Do?" But the ballads are the ones that won the awards and the acclaim, including "Camelot/The Wedding Ceremony," "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood," "If I Ever I Should Leave You – Love Montage," "How to Handle a Woman," and "I Loved You Once in Silence."
354. Up to Date – The Partridge Family
Yes, this is the third time I've put a Partridge Family album on this list, and it's not the last, either. Just because you may not have appreciated The Partridge Family doesn't mean I'm going to throw them under the bus! In fact, believe it or not, ApologetiX has a fan named David Cassidy and another named Danny Partridge. So there! Released in February 1971, Up to Date was my favorite faux family's second set of songs. I'm pretty sure my cousins the Paceks owned it, although I taped it from some other source years later. This awesome LP kicks off with two of my all-time favorite Partridge cuts, "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "You Are Always on My Mind." It follows that up with "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted," a #6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 but a #1 hit on the two other industry charts, Cash Box and Record World. Additional highlights for me were "That'll Be the Day" (a different song than the one you know by Buddy Holly and Linda Ronstadt) and the next-to-the-last songs on each side, "Umbrella Man" and "She'd Rather Have the Rain." Hey, if she'd rather have the rain, I guess it was a good thing he was an umbrella man. As you can see from the cover, they still had the original Chris when this album came out. Yes, long before Spinal Tap, The Partridge Family also endured multiple drummers. But their first drummer, the brunette Chris Partridge, didn't die; he was just mysteriously replaced in the second season by a blond Chris Partridge. And nobody in his family even seemed to notice! Ah, drummers; they never get the respect they deserve. Hmm ... I wonder if Darrin Stephens on "Bewitched" was a drummer, too?
355. Tea for the Tillerman/Teaser and the Firecat - Cat Stevens
My sister Gayle owned both of these albums (released in 1970 and '71), and they blur into one big double-album for me. I was fascinated by the titles and the interesting paintings on the front covers (and the back cover of Teaser and the Firecat). I mainly remember the biggest hits: "Wild World," "Moonshadow," "Morning Has Broken," and "Peace Train," but, man, what memories! I also distinctly recall "Where Do the Children Play?" Other popular songs from these albums included "Father and Son," "Hard Headed Woman," "How Can I Tell You," and "The Wind." While I was writing this entry, I went to iTunes and listened to the 90-second segments of each track. There's not a bad tune on either album, and it's like taking a time machine straight back to the early 1970's. Great stuff. Cat had two other Top 10 hits a few years later, in 1974, "Another Saturday Night" (a cover of an old Sam Cooke song) and "Oh Very Young." I knew "Another Saturday Night," and I remember Gayle talking about it at the time, but I didn't discover "Oh Very Young," until college, when my friend Rich Cade made me aware of it.
356. Elton John – Elton John
I don't like Elton's eponymous LP quite as much as the string of releases that would follow (some EJ fans may cry "Sacrilege!"), but it's got a lot of great stuff on it, and I can see why critics took to him from the start. I already knew and liked "Your Song" and "Border Song" from Greatest Hits. Actually, I had bought "Border Song" on a single at the local Spee-D Mart in Greensburg years before I bought Greatest Hits, but I thought the hit was the flip side, "Bad Side of the Moon," which I preferred at the time. Don't ask me why a convenience store had a bunch of repackaged old 45s for sale. "Bad Side of the Moon" wasn't on the original album in 1970 or the cassette I bought in 1987, but it has appeared as a bonus track on subsequent reissues since the mid-90's. My favorite tracks are the rockers, "Take Me to the Pilot" and "The Cage." I also liked "Sixty Years On" and "The King Must Die." It's easy to imagine The Rolling Stones doing "No Shoestrings on Louise," and it's hard to imagine listeners not getting a little verklempt when Elton gets to the end of "The Greatest Discovery."
357. Bringing It All Back Home – Bob Dylan
This is the album where Dylan went electric, a sad development for some folk-music lovers … and for some rock-music lovers, too, I suppose. Well, actually, Bringing It All Back Home has an electric side and acoustic side, but rather than easing his folkie fans into the electric, the Bobster put the electric stuff on side one. It came out in 1965, but I bought it in 1987. The album starts with the song that first turned me on to Dylan seven or eight years earlier, "Subterranean Homesick Blues." I had that and "Mr. Tambourine Man" on Greatest Hits. I also already had "She Belongs to Me," "Maggie's Farm," and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" on Greatest Hits Volume II. But there was plenty of great stuff I'd never heard before: "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," "Outlaw Blues," "On the Road Again," "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," "Gates of Eden," and "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)." Yes, I liked 'em all. You may not like his voice, but if you like my lyrics, you can thank Uncle Bob for some of that. ApologetiX spoofed "Subterranean" in 1992 and 2005.
358. Los Cochinos – Cheech & Chong
Since I'm tying up some loose sends on my list, here's another one I missed. This 1973 stoner-comedy classic made the rounds in my circle of friends probably sometime around '78. None of us were into drugs, but we were into subversive comedy. Apparently, we weren't the only ones; Los Cochinos went to #2 on the Billboard album charts. My favorite tracks included "Sargent Stadanko," "Up His Nose," "Pedro & Man at the Drive-Inn," "Evelyn Woodhead Speed Reading Course," "Don't Bug Me," "Cheborneck," and, of course, "Basketball Jones featuring Tyrone Shoelaces" and the intro that went with it. I played their previous album, Big Bambu (which also went to #2), a bit at the time, too. Some Cheech & Chong skits even became Top 40 hits: "Basketball Jones" (#15), "Sister Mary Elephant" (#24), and "Earache My Eye" (#9). A later single that just missed the Top 40 became one of the first 45's I ever purchased: "Bloat On," a parody of "Float On" by The Floaters, in the fall of '77. I didn't even know it was a parody, but any record that began with belching was bound to warm the cockles of my 13-year-old heart. The Floaters went to #2; Cheech & Chong went to #41. My friend Brad Immel later let me listen to and tape their '75 single "(How I Spent My Summer Vacation) Or a Day at The Beach with Pedro & Man" (Parts I and II)," which went to #54. I loved that one, too. But all good things must come to an end. In 1981, I persuaded my sister Gayle to go with me to see Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams at our local movie theater. What a mess. However, I enjoyed Cheech's later work in the movies Oliver & Company, The Lion King, Spy Kids, Cars, Coco, and Beverly Hills Chihuhua. :)
359. Gold & Platinum – Lynyrd Skynyrd
It's hard to determine where this album should appear on my list. I distinctly remember seeing it on the album racks when it first came out in December 1979, at Music City, the new record store that had move into the outskirts of my neighborhood. I was interested but didn't buy it till many years later (double albums always seemed like they cost a fortune back then), but the songs on Gold & Platinum have had so many influences on me. ApologetiX has spoofed five of its 16 tracks: "I Know a Little" (1994), "Free Bird" (2001), "Sweet Home Alabama" (2003), "Gimme Three Steps" (2013), and "What's Your Name" (2016). We've also done "Call Me the Breeze" (2018), which somehow didn't make it onto this collection. But I was singing Skynyrd in a band a decade before I took the stage with ApologetiX; "Gimme Three Steps" was one of four songs I sang in my first public appearance as a lead singer in a rock band, with Terminal in February 1982. Eric Pensenstadler, the videographer who did the ApologetiX DVD Samson Comes Alive (filmed in 2005, released in 2006), was also the video technician for Lynyrd Skynyrd from 2003-05. In case you're wondering, Gold & Platinum went gold in March 1980 and platinum in August 1980.
360. Back to the Egg – Wings
I think I picked up this album in college, although I bought its lead single, the Top 20 hit "Getting Closer" (backed with "Spin It On"), in June 1979 when the album came out. I was bummed that it didn't include Paul's Top 10 single from two and a half months earlier, "Goodnight Tonight," but I already had that one on 45 anyway. Back to the Egg was more of a rocker than the two albums that preceded it, Wings at the Speed of Sound and London Town; therefore, it was easier to take seriously. The second single, "Arrow Through Me" was funky (in a good way) and brings back great memories of the summer of '79. It only went to #29, but our local pop station played it a fair amount. That single's flip side, "Old Siam, Sir," was a U.K. Top 40 hit and is also included on this album. Perhaps the most interesting songs on Back to the Egg were "Rockestra Theme" and "So Glad to See You Hear," both credited to Rockestra, an all-star supergroup McCartney assembled featuring such notable musicians as Pink Floyd's David Gilmour; The Who's Pete Townshend and Kenney Jones; Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and John Paul Jones; and many, many others. And let's give McCartney's longtime wingman/Wingsman Denny Laine his props: "Again and Again and Again" is one of the better tracks on this album.
361. South Pacific – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
If you like Led Zeppelin III, you may owe a debt of gratitude to this album. I'll explain later. This soundtrack to the 1958 film version of the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was another record my sister Kris played when I was growing up. Its most famous song is probably "Some Enchanted Evening," which Andrew Lloyd Webber has called "the greatest song ever written for a musical." But there are many other classics, including "Younger Than Springtime" and "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy." Of course, I was snot-nosed little boy at the time, so I favored the upbeat and funny songs like "Honey Bun," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," and "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame." I also remember "Cock-Eyed Optimist," "Happy Talk," "Dites-Moi," "Bloody Mary," and "My Girl Back Home," although I never knew the title for it back then. Now don't think me crazy, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant got the idea (even it was subliminally) for the war cries in "Immigrant Song" from "Bali Ha'i."
362. Greatest Hits – James Taylor
As I mentioned much earlier on this list, in July 1978, my sister Gayle and I made a deal: If she bought me The Beatles' eponymous "White Album" for my birthday on July 2, I'd buy her James Taylor's "white album" (a.k.a. Greatest Hits) for her birthday on July 28. I still think I got the better end of the deal, but these 12 Taylor tunes are terrific. My favorites are "Something in the Way She Moves," "Carolina in My Mind," "Country Road," "Sweet Baby James," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," "Mexico," and "Steamroller." The two biggest hits on the album were "You've Got a Friend" (#1) and "Fire and Rain" (#3) and, of course, they're great, too. I've written parodies of both, although ApologetiX has only recorded the first, and I don't anticipate us doing the other.
363. Stranger in Town – Bob Seger
This album was my introduction to Bob Seger in 1978. Stranger in Town launched four singles, and they all made the Top 40, which was no mean feat back then. Each charted lower than the one before it (#4, #12, #13, and #28), but the final single, "Old Time Rock & Roll," would eventually outshine the others. That's the song that caused me to borrow it from my friend Jeff Henry. I knew the first and third singles, "Still the Same" and "We've Got Tonight," but I had never heard the second, "Hollywood Nights." That became my favorite of the four. A fifth song from Stranger in Town, "Feel Like a Number," eventually was released as a single (albeit a live version) in 1981 and went to #48. ApologetiX has spoofed "Still the Same" and "Old Time Rock & Roll."
364. K-Tel's Star Power – Various Artists
This is another album Jeff Henry bought in 1978. It featured 18 songs, including the #1 hits "Star Wars Title Theme" by Meco (which I already owned on 45), "Boogie Fever" by The Sylvers (an "oldie" from '76) and "Undercover Angel" by Alan O'Day, one of my personal favorites, although this young teenager was totally oblivious to what was going on in that song. It also contained the #2 hit "Float On" by The Floaters, which I referenced not too long ago on this list in my entry about Cheech & Chong. Other highlights I didn't have elsewhere included "Just Remember I Love You" by Firefall, "Heaven on the 7th Floor" by Paul Nicholas, "It's Sad to Belong" by England Dan & John Ford Coley, "I Go Crazy" by Paul Davis, "Isn't It Time" by The Babys, "Help Is on Its Way" by Little River Band, "On and On" by Stephen Bishop, "Cold as Ice" by Foreigner, "Christine Sixteen" by Kiss, and "Angel in Your Arms" by Hot. Plus selections by Bay City Rollers, Brick, Peter Brown, and David Soul (of Starsky and Hutch).
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. We are well into 1987 now, so you'll start seeing more Christian albums here soon enough. However, before that, I'm also going to catch up on a bunch of albums I forgot earlier.