Influential Albums: 428-434
Fri., Jul. 16. 2021 3:07pm 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. Rather than listing the albums in order of preference or excellence, I've been listing them in chronological order of when they influenced me, as best as I recall. We were well into 1987, and you'll start seeing a lot of Christian albums once we get to 1988.
However, in May 2021, I realized that I'd neglected to include many influential albums along the way, so I've been catching up on those for a while before we get to that momentous moment in '88 when my life and musical trajectory was forever changed. You'll still see plenty of secular albums after that, but music was never the same for me after.
428. Frontiers – Journey
This album was released in February 1983 and got a lot of airplay during the second semester of my freshman year in college. One of the two hall counselors on our floor, Billy Oakley, played it to death and wasn't shy about sharing it. I can't tell if that's Megamind or The Boss Baby inside the space helmet on the cover. Frontiers featured four singles that hit the Top 25: "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" (#8), "Faithfully" (#12), "After the Fall" (#23"), and "Send Her My Love" (#23). But it could have been so much better. The album was about ready for duplication when they replaced two of the tracks, "Ask the Lonely" and "Only the Young," at the last minute, eventually using them for movie soundtracks. Those are two of my all-time favorite Journey songs, and I like them better than any of the hits on Frontiers. They did eventually include them as bonus tracks on the 2006 CD reissue. That being said, I did sing "Separate Ways" in a band during the summer of '83, and ApologetiX wound up spoofing both that song and "Faithfully." Furthermore, as a guy who was on the road touring a lot for many years, I can definitely identify with the sentiments of "Faithfully." Also in the summer of '83, Journey lead singer Steve Perry released "Oh Sherry," a #3 hit I really like. The band's follow-up to this album, Raised on Radio, wasn't released until 1986. You won't find it on this list, but I did buy and review the first single, "Be Good to Yourself," for my college newspaper. I bought the second single, "Suzanne," but only because it had "Ask the Lonely" on the flip side, and I was desperate to get it. Ironically, I didn't buy the third single, "Girl Can't Help It" (although I taped it), and that was the one I really liked. To add to the irony, around the same time, I did buy a copy of the similarly titled, old Little Richard single, "The Girl Can't Help It."
429. Sound Magazine – The Partridge Family
The Partridge Family's third album came out in August 1971. Like its predecessors, Sound Magazine hit the Top 10, but peaked at #9. Fans were already jumping off the bus. Although Keith and his lip-syncing siblings would release five more studio albums after this one, it would be my last ride, too. But what a sweet ride it was! Sound Magazine starts off with a potent one-two punch: the rockin' "One Night Stand" and the beautiful "Brown Eyes." Then there's "Echo Valley 2-6809," a tearjerker I used to think was called "Echo Valley Choo Choo 809." Perhaps you figured the Fam would run out of rain songs after the double-dose on their previous platter ("She'd Rather Have the Rain" and "Umbrella Man"). Au contraire! This album's fifth track, "Rainmaker," is one of its finest, as are "Twenty-four Hours a Day" and "I'm On My Way Back Home." But I saved the best for last, "I Woke Up in Love This Morning." Of course, if the singer hadn't been teen idol David Cassidy, girls might have been a little creeped out by the line, "Hello, girl, yes it's five o'clock, I know, but you just listen: There's something that I've got to let you know. Yes, it's you, you're this pillow that I'm huggin' and I'm kissin'." But somehow David pulled it off, and the single made it up to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #9 on the Cashbox and Record World charts. The last secular band I was in, Nice Piranha, practiced once in Smithton PA, the small town where Shirley Jones grew up.
430. K-Tel's The Rock Album – Various Artists
K-Tel was primarily known for their discount-priced compilations of recent pop songs, but, in 1980, they put out this collection of 14 rock songs by groups like Foreigner, Boston, Styx, Journey, Kansas, Toto, ELO, etc. Half were from 1979, and the other were from 1974-78. ApologetiX keyboardist Bill Hubauer and I remembered The Rock Album fondly from high school. I even bought him an old copy I found at a yard sale in Michigan, and he used to have the cover hanging up in his basement. Anyway, at one point, Bill and I noticed that ApologetiX had unintentionally spoofed a lot of songs that were on it. I'm guessing it must have been after our Recovery CD, which had four of them. By that time, we'd already done parodies of three others on previous releases. We'd go on to do four more, for a grand total of 11 songs. Of the remaining three songs on The Rock Album, only one probably has a remote chance of us spoofing it. The other two songs are too obscure, although the artists were popular enough. In fact, we've spoofed one of those artists twice already. For a complete track listing and more info, go to https://hercsktelalbums.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-rock-album-1980.html
431. K-Tel's Southern Fried Rock – Various Artists
Another K-Tel compilation from 1980, Southern Fried Rock was a companion piece to The Rock Album but focused on Southern rock artists (hence the title), and it made me more aware of the genre. ApologetiX has spoofed five of its 15 songs (although one was only on an early, out-of-print ApX cassette), but I'd like to do more. Of the tunes we haven't already done, my favorites are "If You Wanna Get to Heaven" by Ozark Mountain Daredevils (I used to sing that one in my last secular band), "Amie" by Pure Prairie League (I sang that one, too), "Train Train" by Blackfoot, "Jim Dandy" by Black Oak Arkansas, and "There Goes Another Love Song" by The Outlaws. But I like all of them. For a complete listing of the content, go to: https://www.discogs.com/Various-Southern-Fried-Rock/release/1986236
432. Heavy Metal - Original Soundtrack
I never owned this double-album (hey, man, those things were expensive), but I did own a couple of the singles released from it (and had some songs from it on tape). I also saw the movie multiple times in the theater in the summer of '81 (right before I my senior year in high school), so I heard all the songs. And the ones I liked, I liked a lot: "Heavy Metal" by Sammy Hagar, "Heavy Metal (Takin' a Ride)" by Don Felder, "Reach Out" by Cheap Trick, "Workin' in a Coal Mine" by Devo, and "Open Arms" by Journey. Other notable tracks included "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" by Blue Öyster Cult, "Queen Bee" by Grand Funk Railroad," and "Mob Rules" by Black Sabbath.
433. Golden Greats - Gary Lewis and the Playboys
This was another album I got from my brother-in-law Dan. The oldest son of comedian Jerry Lewis, Gary Lewis (and his band) notched seven Top 10 hits in 1965 and '66, and Golden Greats includes all of them. Which kind of makes you wonder how they were later able to put out another LP called More Golden Greats. Actually, that album features the five Top 40 hits Gary and the boys had after this one, including three that hit the Top 20. But Golden Greats had the biggies: "This Diamond Ring" (#1), "Save Your Heart for Me" (#2), "Count Me In" (#2), "She's Just My Style" (#3), "Everybody Loves a Clown" (#4), "Green Grass" (#8), and "Sure Gonna Miss Her" (#9). It also features the bizarre "Time Stands Still," a tongue-in-cheek, lounge-act type of song with a second half that sounds like Gary is imitating his famous father.
434. Invisible Touch – Genesis
I was worried that if I didn't put a Genesis album on here, you'd think I didn't like 'em. Not the case! I didn't own the Invisible Touch LP, but I purchased all five of its singles, which all hit the Top Five: "Invisible Touch" (#1), "Throwing It All Away" (#4), "In Too Deep" (#3), "Land of Confusion" (#4), and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" (#3). Of those, my favorites were "Throwing it All Away" and "Invisible Touch," although "Land of Confusion" was the one ApologetiX ended up spoofing. We leaned more toward the remake by Disturbed, but their version sounds remarkably like the Genesis original. We've also spoofed two other Genesis songs: "Abacab" and "That's All." My first radio exposure to Genesis was their first Top 40 hit, "Follow You, Follow Me," in 1978. I liked that one a lot. Two years later, my brother-in-law Bob bought the Duke album, which featured "Misunderstanding" and my all-time favorite Genesis tune, "Turn It on Again." Other Genesis gems for me included the aforementioned "Abacab," plus "Paperlate" and "Home by the Sea."
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 '88. However, I hope you'll see (as I do) how God's hand was at work behind the scenes from the start, preparing me for the work I believe He intended for me to do.