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06.25.22Bible-Reading Update: Joshua 16-1 Samuel 9
06.25.22Prayers for Former ApX Soundman
06.24.22Get the ApX Complete Library or ApX USB Thumb Drives
06.24.22New USBs Include New CD and Latest Single
06.24.22Over 1475 Tracks for $100
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06.24.22Influential Albums: 772-778
06.24.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.24.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #11
06.21.22New Single: '75 & '79
06.18.22Clues for 2022 Single #11
06.18.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.18.22Influential Albums: 765-771
06.10.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #10
06.10.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.10.22Influential Albums: 758-764
06.06.22New Single: Theatrical Rockers
06.04.22Influential Albums: 751-757
06.04.22Darnell Cline Update & Prayer Request
06.04.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.03.22Clues for 2022 Single #10
05.27.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
05.27.22Encouraging Words from a Brand-New Fan
05.27.22Influential Albums: 744-750
05.27.22New CD BOGO Ends Memorial Day
05.27.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
05.27.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #9
05.23.22New Single: Two Rockers from '73
05.21.22Get Over 1450 Tracks for $100 This Week
05.21.22How to Get Multiple Singles or Our Complete Library
05.21.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
05.20.22Influential Albums: 737-743
05.14.22Influential Albums: 730-736
05.14.22ApX Top 15 x 2 from Lynchburg VA
05.14.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
05.14.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #8
05.14.22New Single: Late-70's Rock Classics
05.07.22Influential Albums: 723-729
05.07.22Update on ApX Alum Tom Milnes
05.07.222 Fans Will Match Donations Thru Next Saturday
05.07.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApologetiX, Wk. 3
05.07.22Clues for 2022 Single #8
05.02.22This Week's News Bulletin
04.30.22Encouraging Emails from Four Fans
04.29.22Influential Albums: 716-722
04.29.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApologetiX, Wk. 2
04.28.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #7
04.26.22New Single: '79 & '84
04.22.22Rock Thru the Bible with ApX: A New Bible-Study Tool
04.22.22Influential Albums: 709-715
04.19.22This Week's News Bulletin
04.14.22Influential Albums: 702-708
04.14.22ApX Easter Week Playlist
04.14.22The Story Behind on Our Upcoming CD
04.14.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #6
04.11.22New Single: 2 Gals Named Val
04.09.22Clues for 2022 Single #6
04.09.22ApX Top 11 from a Pastor in Illinois
04.09.22Influential Albums: 695-701
04.02.22NY Fan Will Match Donations Thru Next Saturday
04.02.22ApX Top 10+ from Erie PA
04.02.22New Health Update on ApX Guitarist Tom Tincha
04.02.22Influential Albums: 688-694
03.31.22The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #5
03.28.22New Single: 70's Rock Classics
03.26.22ApX Top 10 from Rockford IL
03.26.22ApologetiX Fan Club Now on Instagram
03.26.22Prayer Update on ApX Guitarist Tom Tincha
03.26.22Influential Albums: 681-687
03.21.22California Couple Will Match All Donations This Week
03.19.22ApX Top 10 from Toronto ON, Canada
03.18.22Influential Albums: 674-680
03.18.22New USBs: All the Music and Twice the Space
03.18.22The Stories Behind the Songs on 2022 Single #4
03.14.22New Single: Big-Time British Bands
03.12.22Influential Albums: 667-673
03.05.22We're Working to Improve Our Single Schedule
03.05.22Fan Will Match Donations Thru Next Saturday
03.05.22ApX Top 10 from Michigan
03.05.22Influential Albums: 659-666
02.28.22This Week's News Bulletin
02.26.22ApX Top 10 from Illinois
02.26.22Influential Albums: 652-658
02.26.22The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.25.22Health Update on ApX Guitarist Tom Tincha
02.25.22Post-Surgery Update on ApX Bassist Keith Haynie
02.22.22New Single: '74 & '88
02.19.22Influential Albums: 645-651
02.19.22An ApX Top 10 from Kenya
02.19.22Update on Richard "Kennedy" Sadowski
02.19.22More on Our Upcoming Single (and Others to Follow)
02.18.22Clues for 2022 Single #3
02.13.22Influential Albums: 638-644
02.13.22Health Updates on Tom Tincha & Keith Haynie
02.13.22Latest Prayer Request Updates on Three Friends
02.12.22The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.09.22New Single: 2 Fun Faves from the Early 90's
02.04.22Another ApX Top 10 from Dayton OH
02.03.22Influential Albums: 631-637

Influential Albums: 631-637
Thu., Feb. 3. 2022 5:34pm 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.

631. Fascination! - The Human League
And so the conversation turned to this EP, which came out in 1983. I didn't own it, but I did buy the 45s of the two U.S. Top 40 hits on it, "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" (#8) and "Mirror Man" (#30). I loved them then, and I love them still. I owned four Human League 45s in all, the others being their two U.S. #1 hits, "Don't You Want Me" (1982) and "Human" (1986). The group went on to have two more U.S. Top 40 hits — "Heart Like a Wheel" (#32 in 1990) and "Tell Me When" (#31 in 1995). That was nothing compared to the success they achieved in their native England, where they had 18 Top 40 hits, eight of which reached the Top 10. Curiously, though, they only had one #1 hit there, "Don't You Want Me," although "Fascination" and "Mirror Man" both went to #2. Many consider "Don't You Want Me" to be the start of the second British Invasion in the United States, blazing a trail for such other artists as Soft Cell, A Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Billy Idol, Kajagoogoo, Eurythmics, Wham! et al. ApologetiX has done parodies of songs by all of those artists, and we spoofed "Don't You Want Me" in 2020. I got my second-oldest daughter, Heather, to sing the female vocals. After all, although I can sing a variety of styles, I'm only human ... flesh and blood, a man.

632. Flashback - Chuck Berry
The first time I ever heard of Chuck Berry was when I saw his name in the songwriting credit for "Surfin' U.S.A." on a reissue 45 my friend Dave Rhodes had purchased. Chuck Berry? Isn't he the guy who hosts The Gong Show? No, that's Chuck Barris. But there is a connection between the two, which I will discuss at the end of this entry. After seeing credits for other Berry songs like "Rock and Roll Music" and "Roll Over Beethoven" on albums by The Beach Boys and The Beatles, we learned that he was one of the founding fathers of rock and roll. Eventually, Dave bought this double-album, which was released on Pickwick records in 1975. I think we were probably most interested in the song "Johnny B. Goode," but Chuck had 14 Top 40 hits between 1955 and 1972, including seven that reached the Top 10. Besides "Johnny B. Goode" (#8), there was "No Particular Place to Go" (#10), "Rock & Roll Music" (#8), "Maybelline" (#5), "School Day" (#3), "Sweet Little Sixteen" (#2), and "My Ding-A-Ling" (#1). Flashback had most of the biggies, but it didn't have "My Ding-A-Ling," so I bought that one on a reissue 45. The lyrics were juvenile, but so was I at the time. By the way, did you know that the group backing Berry on "My Ding-A-Ling" was The Average White Band, who went on to have a #1 hit of their own in 1975 with "Pick Up the Pieces"? A number of the songs on Flashback were remakes Berry did of his own material, but we didn't know the difference. Shortly thereafter, I would became a big fan of some remakes other artists did of his material, including "Carol" by The Rolling Stones, "Memphis" by Johnny Rivers, and "Back in the U.S.A." by Linda Ronstadt. As Bob Seger sang in 1976, "Well, all of Chuck's children are out there playing his licks." Speaking of which, "Johnny B. Goode" was one of the four songs I sang in my first live appearance ever singing rock and roll ... with my first secular band, Terminal, in 1982. I also sang his #27 hit "Reelin' and Rockin'" (which is on this album, too), in my last secular band, Nice Piranha, in 1987. ApologetiX has never spoofed any songs Berry sang, but we have spoofed "Surfin' USA." Although he didn't write that specific song, The Beach Boys used the melody from his song "Sweet Little Sixteen," and that's why he (eventually) got the songwriting credit. By the way, did you know that Chuck Berry and Chuck Barris died within days of each other? Berry died on March 18, 2017; Barris died on March 21, 2017.

633. Be Yourself Tonight - Eurythmics
Released in May 1985, Be Yourself Tonight was the fourth Eurythmics LP. Like their third, Touch, it became a Top 10 album, sold a million copies and spun off three Top 40 hits. I enjoyed plenty of Eurythmics songs, but I picked Be Yourself Tonight for this list, because I liked the hits on it more. For the record (and from the record), they were "Would I Lie to You" (#5 pop, #2 rock), "There Must Be an Angel Playing with My Heart" (#22), and their collaboration with Aretha Franklin, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" (#18). I also enjoyed the fourth single, "It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)," which only went to #78, although it hit #12 on the U.K. chart. Perhaps those songs would have done even better if Eurythmics had been able to peform at Live Aid that summer. Unfortunately for them, lead singer Annie Lennox was recovering from vocal fold nodules and was unable to tour at all in support of Be Yourself Tonight. I owned a couple 45's from other Eurythmics albums — "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (#1) from the album of the same name and "Missionary Man" (#14) from Revenge. I still recall how unsettling the video for "Sweet Dreams" was the first time I saw it. ApologetiX spoofed that song as part of our 80's medley in 2011.

634. Who's Zoomin' Who? - Aretha Franklin
The year after Private Dancer paved the way for Tina Turner's triumphant return, Aretha Franklin released her own comeback album, Who's Zoomin' Who? I've often wondered if the title is a deliberate play on words involving interrogative pronouns (i.e. "Whose, Whom, and Who"). Released in July 1985, it went to #13 on the album chart and sold a million copies. It was preceded a month earlier by its advance single, "Freeway of Love" (#3), prominently featuring saxophonist Clarence Clemmons, still riding the crest of his success with Bruce Springsteen. I actually preferred the next three singles: "Who's Zoomin' Who" (#7), "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" with the British duo Eurythmics (#18), and "Another Night" (#22). My favorite of the four was "Who's Zoomin' Who," which sounded structurally similar to Whitney Houston's equally inquisitive "How Will I Know?" a #1 hit from her debut album. Whitney's single came out just a little over two months after Aretha's, but Whitney's album was released over six months before Aretha's. Both were on Arista Records, overseen by Clive Davis. And Aretha was Whitney's godmother, whom she grew up calling "Auntie Ree." Furthermore, Narada Michael Walden was one of the songwriters on both songs. During my senior year in college, I made a cassette remix morphing the two tunes together into "How Will I Know Who's Zoomin' Who?" Hey, if you're working with an artist named Franklin, you might as well get inventive.

635. Points on the Curve - Wang Chung
Three words: Dance. Hall. Days. What a great song! I bought the 45, which was actually the second of three U.S. singles from Wang Chung's second album, Points on the Curve. The first single, "Don't Let Go," went to #38. The third, "Don't Be My Enemy," went to #86. "Dance Hall Days" went to #16 on July 7, 1984. I saw Wang Chung in concert 20 days later, when they opened for The Cars at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Back then, Wang Chung was a trio (they later became a duo), and I thought of them as a poor man's Police. I don't mean that as putdown; I loved The Police, and I liked Wang Chung. Their lead singer/guitarist, Jack Hues (Jeremy Ryder), reminded me of The Police's lead singer/bassist, Sting (Gordon Sumner). And both bands were formed in London. I'd first heard of Wang Chung in February 1984 at Backstreet Records in Indiana PA. I remember it vividly, because it was the same day I learned the new Queen single was called "Radio Ga Ga." You don't forget names like "Wang Chung" and "Radio Ga Ga" (I eventually bought that single, too). The following year, Wang Chung's song "Fire in the Twilight" was prominently featured in The Breakfast Club, my favorite movie in college. Later in '85, another Wang Chung movie song just missed the Top 40, "To Live and Die in L.A." (#41), the title track for the film of the same name. In fact, Wang Chung did the entire soundtrack and released it as their third album. Of course, most people remember the group for the monster hit they released in the fall of '86, "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (#2). Unfortunately, most people forget the fine follow-up single, "Let's Go," which was actually Wang Chung's second-biggest hit (#9). It's kind of ironic that they released "Let's Go" just three years after "Don't Let Go." Make up your minds, boys! I had "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" on a 45 and "Let's Go" on a various-artists compilation album. Both of those songs were on their fourth album, Mosaic, which also yielded a third Top 40 single, "Hypnotize Me" (#36). That song was from a movie, too — Innerspace — which came out a month after the single. ApologetiX released a spoof of "Dance Hall Days" in 2020.

636. Hard Promises - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Released in May 1981, Hard Promises was Tom Petty's fourth studio album. It starts out with one of my all-time favorite Petty songs, "The Waiting." I remember the first time I saw him perform it on Saturday Night Live. He started the song by himself, and it wasn't until he got to the lead that the full lights came on and the whole band kicked in. The waiting really was the hardest part, but the payoff was well worth it ... it was one of the most powerful musical moments I'd ever seen. Released as the first single from Hard Promises, "The Waiting" went to #19 on the pop charts but was #1 for six weeks on the rock chart. It was only the third song ever to reach #1 on that chart, which had just been instituted two months earlier. "The Waiting" also started a trend of sorts: Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (#2 for 10 weeks) came out in October '81, followed by The Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend" (#13) in December '81. The flip side of "The Waiting" was another great tune, "Nightwatchman," which went to #21 on the rock chart. The second single, "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)" only went to #79 on the Hot 100, but it reached #5 on the rock chart. Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks guest-starred on the track "Insider." It contains the line "Yes, and I've had to live with some hard promises," which is where the album title came from. Around the same time that track was recorded, Petty and the Heartbreakers also recorded "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" with her. In September '81, that song went to #3 on the pop charts and stayed there for six weeks. It also hit #2 on the rock chart. I remember before this album was released, Petty was outraged that MCA Records wanted to charge a dollar more than the usual list price of $8.98 for it as part of something they called "superstar pricing." In fact, he even considered calling the album Eight Ninety-Eight in defiance. I wonder if the cover shot of him in a record store has anything to do with that. In the end, the record label gave in, because even back then, Petty wouldn't back down.

637. The Visitors - ABBA
Abba's eighth LP, The Visitors, was released in November 1981. I remember seeing it in the store and being surprised they had a new one out so soon after Super Trouper, which had come out just 12 months before. I didn't hear any of the songs on the radio at the time, although "When All Is Said and Done" went to #27 on the pop chart (and #10 on the adult contemporary chart). The title track went to #63, and it's one of my favorite ABBA songs. A third single, "One of Us," bubbled under at #107 (and went to #33 on the adult contemporary chart), but it went to #3 on the U.K. pop chart. The album itself only went to #27 on the U.S. chart, but it became the group's fifth #1 U.K. album in a row. Two other tracks, "Slipping Through My Fingers" and "Soldiers" are also strong songs. The 1997 CD edition added more tracks, including two other songs from singles that were released in '82, "The Day Before You Came" and "Under Attack." Neither charted in the United States, but they hit #32 and #26 on the U.K. chart, and I like them both quite a bit. The 2012 deluxe edition includes those songs plus another great one called "I Am the City."

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.