Influential Albums: 561-567
Sat., Nov. 27. 2021 12:22am 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. Rather than listing the albums in order of preference or excellence, I'd 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.
561. ChangesTwoBowie - David Bowie
Released in 1981, ChangesTwoBowie was a nice follow-up to the 1976 compilation ChangesBowie, but it could have been so much better. I was immensely bummed that it didn't contain my favorite Bowie song, "Heroes," or "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)." I also wish it had "TVC 15." All three of those songs came out between 1976-80, so they would have fit in nicely. However, ChangesTwo Bowie did have these four favorites of mine: "Aladdin Sane (1913–1938–197?)," "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Starman," and "Fashion." It also had "Ashes to Ashes," Bowie's '80 sequel to "Space Oddity," continuing the story of Major Tom. "Ashes to Ashes" went to #1 in the U.K. but only went to #101 on the Billboard Hot 100. Personally, I preferred Peter Schilling's
'84 sequel "Major Tom (Coming Home)," which went to #14 in the states but only went to #42 in the U.K. Maybe that's part of the reason why Bowie later released a song called "I'm Afraid of Americans."
562. The Sting: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Marvin Hamlisch
I liked Sting songs many years before I got into The Police. My family had the sheet music for "The Entertainer." I couldn't read a lick of it, but I still spent many hours at the piano in our living room, figuring out the notes. Even though it was written in 1902, "The Entertainer" became a huge hit in 1974, going all the way to #3 on the pop chart and #1 on the adult contemporary chart. We owned the 45, too, and I played the flip side, "Solace," a lot as well. The Sting had been released on Christmas Day 1973. The music made me want to see the movie, but it was PG, and I was only nine at the time. I wouldn't have understood what was going on anyway, but I finally got to see it years later. Anyway, the soundtrack album went #1 for five weeks, starting in early May '74, and "The Entertainer" peaked on the pop chart that same month. The movie won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. As recently as 2018, it was ranked 20th all-time on the list of highest-grossing films in the United States, when adjusted for ticket-price inflation.
563. Greatest Hits - Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
If you think Kenny Rogers' Top 40 career began with 1977's "Lucille," then you missed the first act of the show. Rogers had seven Top 40 hits with The First Edition between 1968-70, including the psychedelic smash "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" (#5) and the country classic "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (#6). Other favorites of mine were "Reuben James" (#26) and "Something's Burning" (#11). They were all on this album, which I'm guessing I borrowed from the IUP library. For the record, the other Top 40 hits were "But You Know I Love You" (#19), "Tell It All Brother" (#17), and "Heed the Call" (#33).
564. Toto IV - Toto
Released in April 1982, Toto IV went to #4 (of course) on the album chart and garnered six Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. It sold about five million copies worldwide, including three million in the United States. This is another album I bought for somebody else, not myself, although I did have the #1 hit "Africa" and the #2 hit "Rosanna." Toto IV also contained two other Top 40 hits, "I Won't Hold You Back" (#10) and "Make Believe" (#30). My first exposure to Toto was through their first two singles, "Hold the Line" (#5) and "I'll Supply the Love" (#45), from their eponymous debut album, released in 1978. ApologetiX has spoofed both "Rosanna" and "Hold the Line," but my favorite Toto single was actually "99," an oft-forgotten #26 hit from their second album, Hydra. In 2018, Toto lead guitarist Steve Lukather published a book called The Gospel According to Luke. It isn't a biblical book (far from it), but it is one of the most interesting and refreshingly candid rock autobiographies I have ever read.
565. Aretha's Gold - Aretha Franklin
I bought this one as a discount 8-track, and it gave me problems from the outset, but what a great collection! Released in 1969, Aretha's Gold featured nine Top 10 hits and two others that hit the Top 20 — all released between 1967 and 1968. The biggest hit was "Respect," which went to #1. The second-biggest was the equally awesome "Chain of Fools," which went to #2. In fact, the hits on Aretha's Gold covered almost every position on the Top 10 without repeating: "Baby I Love You" (#4), (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" (#5), "The House That Jack Built" (#6), "Think" (#7), "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like) (#8), and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (#9), and I Say a Little Prayer (#10). She also had a #11 hit in 1970 with "Don't Play That Song." Aretha finally got the elusive #3 hit in 1973 with "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)." In addition to that, she'd rack up an another seven Top 10 hits, reaching all of the following positions a second time: #1-3, 5-7, and 9.
566. Greatest Hits - Tony Orlando & Dawn
This was another failed experiment on my part. I knew it was risky to buy a used 8-track at a flea market. But you gotta love Tony Orlando. And if you don't ... he still loves you. Released in June 1975, Greatest Hits featured five Top 10 hits: "Knock Three Times" (#1), "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" (#1), "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose (#3), "Candida (#4), and "Steppin' Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight)" (#7). It also contained the lesser-known Top 40 hits "Look in My Eyes Pretty Woman" (#11), "Who's in the Strawberry Patch with Sally (#27), "Summer Sand" (#33), and "What Are You Doing Sunday" (#39). Unfortunately, it did not include the group's third and final #1 hit, "He Don't Love You," which went to #1 for three weeks in May 1975.
567. Bachman-Turner Overdrive II - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
I think I got my copy of this from my brother-in-law Dan. Released in December 1973, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II went to #4 on the album chart and featured two of the band's signature songs, "Takin' Care of Business" (#12) and "Let It Ride" (#23). ApologetiX has spoofed both of those tunes, and believe it or not, I wrote both parodies (and our spoof of their 1974 #1 hit "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet") years before our resident BTO fan, Keith Haynie, even joined the band. But it's largely thanks to Keith that I recognize other songs on this album like "Tramp" and "Welcome Home." He played a ton of BTO in the band van, bus, and RVs over the years. I like this album's opening track "Blown," too, which features lead vocals by Randy Bachman's brother Tim. My first memory of "Takin' Care of Business" involves some of the other boys in my fourth-grade class singing a spoof called "Takin' Care of Toilets." Ah, kids and potty humor.
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.