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10.02.23This Week's News Bulletin
10.02.23New Single: 1987 & 2001
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09.29.23Influential Albums: 1234-1240
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09.23.23Influential Albums: 1227-1233
09.23.23Prayers for Jeff Jennings
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09.22.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
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09.14.23Influential Albums: 1220-1226
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09.14.23Clues for 2023 Single #19
09.10.23This Week's News Bulletin
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09.07.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
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09.04.23This Week's News Bulletin
08.31.23Influential Albums: 1206-1212
08.31.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Wk
08.31.23Prayers for ApX Fan's Son
08.31.23Clues for 2023 Single #18
08.30.23Septuagint CD Added to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Etc.
08.28.23ApologetiX Needs Help & Prayers
08.24.23Encouragement from 14 States + Canada & Hungary
08.24.23Influential Albums: 1192-1198
08.24.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
08.23.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
08.20.23This Week's News Bulletin
08.20.23New Single: '77 & '84
08.20.23New CD BOGO Ends Wednesday
08.18.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
08.18.23Influential Albums: 1192-1198
08.17.23Clues for 2023 Single #17
08.14.23This Week's News Bulletin
08.10.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
08.10.23Influential Albums: 1185-1191
08.09.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
08.07.23This Week's News Bulletin
08.06.23New Single: '72 & '90
08.03.23A Second Powerful Testimony from Tennessee
08.03.23Influential Albums: 1178-1184
08.03.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
08.03.23Clues for 2023 Single #16
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07.28.23All About Our Upcoming CD, Septuagint
07.28.23Influential Albums 1171-1177
07.28.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
07.28.23Powerful Testimony from a Fan in Tennessee
07.27.23The Stories Behind The Songs on This Single
07.27.23ApX at Big Midwest Christian Rock Festival (Sort Of)
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07.23.23New Single: '81 & '95
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07.20.23Influential Albums 1164-1170
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07.19.23Tom M. is a Grandpa Again
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07.13.23The Stories Behind The Songs on This Single
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07.08.23Influential Albums 1150-1156
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07.01.23Influential Albums 1143-1149
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07.01.23The Stories Behind The Songs on This Single
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06.27.23New Single: Hall of Fame Hits
06.24.23New ApX Albums Now on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Etc.
06.24.23New Rich Mannion Original Music Video
06.23.23Influential Albums 1136-1142
06.23.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.15.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
06.15.23Influential Albums 1129-1135
06.15.23The Stories Behind The Songs on This Single
06.15.23Bittersweet Note from an ApologetiX Fan in Las Vegas
06.15.23ApX Fan Has Stage 3 Cancer But Encourages Us
06.12.23This Week's News Bulletin
06.11.23New Single: Two of a Kind from 1980
06.09.23Mannionversary: Five Years of Rich Blessings
06.08.23Influential Albums 1122-1128

Influential Albums: 645-651
Sat., Feb. 19. 2022 5:16pm 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.

645. Heartland - Michael Stanley Band
I first heard about The Michael Stanley Band (MSB) while I was in high school, thanks to a radio commercial for their sixth album, Heartland (1980). The commercial touted them as Cleveland's best-kept secret, played snippets of several selections, and then said, "Sorry, Cleveland," implying that the band would soon achieve much-deserved national success. Unfortunately, they only ever managed two Top 40 hits — neither of which hit the Top 30 — but the first and bigger of the two, "He Can't Love You" (#33), did come from this album. That song featured scorching saxophone-playing by Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and became an even bigger hit in Canada (#10). I loved it and bought the 45. I was also a huge fan of the follow-up single, "Lover" (#68) — another track with The Big Man on sax — and "Falling in Love Again" (#64), which came out about four months later as the first single from their next LP, North Coast. Those are three of my favorite songs from the early 80's. Other popular selections from Heartland include "All I Ever Wanted," "I'll Never Need Anyone More (Than I Need You Tonight)," and "Working Again." I never owned a Michael Stanley Band album, but a couple of my college pals did, and I had access to double-deck cassette recorders, if you get what I'm trying to say. MSB had their second Top 40 hit, "My Town" (#39), while we were sophomores.

646. Black Bear Road - C.W. McCall
My childhood friend Jeff Henry owned this record, doing his small part to take it to #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Not surprisingly, it was the biggest-selling LP of C.W. McCall's career, largely thanks to the trucker anthem "Convoy," which started a nationwide C.B. radio craze among the general populace and topped both the pop and country charts in the winter of 1975-76. Boy, did I love that song. I knew all the lyrics back then, and I still do. Like many other kids my age, I owned a school notebook with a fancy cover that had a bunch of C.B. terms plastered on the front. While we're here, I should mention a second C.B. novelty song I liked that hit the charts three weeks later, "White Knight" by Cledus Maggard and The Citizens Band (#19). Fun and funny stuff! However, lest you think C.W. McCall (a.k.a. Bill Fries) was a one-hit wonder, he did have another Top 40 hit (barely) with a different novelty song, "Wolf Creek Pass" (#40), which actually hit the charts 10 months before "Convoy." Although "Wolf Creek Pass" isn't on the similarly named Black Bear Road LP, the album's opening track, "Black Bear Road," is quite amusing, too. "Long Lonesome Road" is pretty catchy as well. McCall had nine songs that hit the Top 40 on the country chart. His second-biggest country hit, "Roses for Mama," went to #2 in the fall of 1977. One of my teachers at the time loved that song and brought into class to play for us. But it wasn't until the 2010's the I discovered that McCall had actually released a sequel to "Convoy." That song, "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck," came out a full year after the original and just missed the Hot 100, bubbling under at #101, although it does get its own Wikipedia entry. In a bit of understatement, Wiki says, "This track was not as popular as its predecessor." It did make the U.S. and Canadian country Top 40, though ... just barely, peaking at #40 on both charts. One of the old ApologetiX bus drivers first made me aware of "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck," and it's an entertaining tune, picking up the story where "Convoy" left off. Speaking of sequels, about 10 years after "Convoy," McCall (now back to being Bill Fries) was elected mayor of a small town in Colorado (Ouray CO), where he served two full terms, from 1986-92. At the time of this writing, he is still alive at age 93.

647. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan Bob Dylan
I'd enjoyed Dylan's first and third albums so much, I had to get his second. Released in 1963, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan contains four of his best-loved and most-covered songs: "Blowin' in the Wind" (which I already had on Greatest Hits); "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" (which I already had on Greatest Hits Volume II); and "Masters of War," which I'd read about but had never heard before. Others tracks I really liked included "Oxford Town," "Bob Dylan's Dream," "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance," "I Shall Be Free," and "Girl from North Country" (a song he would reprise as a duet with Johnny Cash six years later). Peter, Paul & Mary had Top 10 hits with "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," and they did a nice job with both of them, although I prefer Bob's versions on each. That's not the way I feel about all of his songs, mind you. With all that being said, I really got a kick out of The Wonder Who's (a.k.a. The Four Seasons') version of "Don't Think Twice" (#12) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjlMcMHNzpk and Leon Russell's version of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AyGCizRPgs

648. Trio and Error - Trio
The group Trio was a German trio ... duh (or, should I say, "duh duh duh"?) ... specializing in electronic rock that was every bit as low-tech as the cover art for their 1983 album Trio and Error. And we loved them for it. I first read about Trio in Rolling Stone magazine, and my college friend Dave Johnstone bought Trio and Error and let us record it. The most notable track was "Da Da Da (I Don't Love You, You Don't Love Me, Aha Aha Aha)," which had hit #2 in the U.K. and West Germany and #3 in Canada the previous year. It didn't hit the U.S. pop or rock chart, but it went to #33 on the dance chart. "Da Da Da" went to #1 in Austria, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland, and became a Top hit in 18 countries, selling about 13 million copies worldwide. Trio and Error also contained a couple other songs that hit the Top 10 in West Germany: Anna (#3) and "Boom Boom" (#7). I played "Da Da Da" and "Boom Boom" a lot during my college years. "Da Da Da" made a bit of a comeback in 1997 when it was used in a popular Volkswagen commercial you may recall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmQvOT1Sxkg.

649. Private Eyes - Daryl Hall & John Oates
As I mentioned a while back on this list, Darryl Hall & John Oates were the opening act at the first big rock concert I ever attended in Pittsburgh, during my senior year in high school. It was October 16, 1981, and they were touring to support this album, which had just come out a month and a half earlier. The headliner was ELO, which is kind of ironic, since the biggest U.S. hit ELO ever had went to #4, and Darryl and John already had two #1 hits by then. In fact, three weeks after the concert, "Private Eyes" would become their third. I can't remember if I ever owned this record myself, but at least one of my college roommates did. It was the second Hall & Oates LP in a row (after Voices, which I definitely owned) to spawn four Top 40 hits. It was also their only one to feature two #1 records. The aforementioned title track and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" both topped the charts, and only one song kept them from doing so back to back — a little tune by Olivia Newton-John called "Physical," which occupied the pinnacle position for 10 weeks. The other Top 40 hits on the Private Eyes album were "Did It in a Minute" (#9) and "Your Imagination" (#33), which my roommate Kevin played a bit on one of his mixtapes during our freshman year at IUP. ApologetiX spoofed "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" as part of our 80's medley, "Octagon but Not Forgotten," in 2011.

650. Eddie Money - Eddie Money
Released in December 1977, Eddie Money's self-titled debut LP produced three singles in 1978: "Baby Hold On" (#11), "Two Tickets to Paradise" (#22), and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (#72), a cover of The Miracles' 1962 Top 10 hit. I heard the first two songs a ton on the radio. Although the album only went to #37 on the Billboard 200, it sold two million copies. In January 1979, he released "Maybe I'm a Fool," the first single from his second album, Life for the Taking. "Maybe I'm a Fool," peaked at #22, just like "Two Tickets to Paradise." Another song from that album, "Gimme Some Water," got significant airplay on our local rock station. His third album, Playing for Keeps (1980), did not include any hits, but his fourth album, No Control (1982), had two: "Think I'm in Love" (#16 pop, #1 rock) and "Shakin'" (#63 pop, #9 rock). And those were the first-half highlights of Eddy's career. One of my later entries will give you play-by-play from the second half, including details about the time when I got to meet Eddie myself. ApologetiX spoofed "Two Tickets to Paradise" in 2015.

651. A Single Man - Elton John
The fact that he wasn't wearing his crazy glasses (or any glasses) on the cover should have tipped us off that things were going to be very different. Elton John's 12th studio LP, A Single Man, was his first without Bernie Taupin contributing lyrics (Gary Osborne filled that role instead) and Gus Dudgeon producing (Clive Franks and Elton co-produced it). Even longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone only appeared on one song (bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson had been dismissed three years earlier). Released in October 1978, A Single Man was also the album where the artist formerly known as Captain Fantastic began singing in a lower register. I had it on picture disc. I love Bernie's lyrics as much as Elton's music, and I think Gus' production is a major reason why the Rocket Man's earlier albums were so out of this world, so I didn't really get into this record that much. With that having been said, I liked the first single, "Part Time Love" (#22), a lot when it came out. Incidentally, that's the aforementioned track Davey Johnstone played (and sang) on. The second single, "Song for Guy," only bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100 at #110, although it hit #37 on the adult contemporary chart. However, it was huge in England, where it went to #4. Written entirely by Elton, "Song for Guy" is primarily an instrumental ... the only lyrics are "Life isn't everything," although those words are repeated multiple times. It was dedicated to Guy Burchett, a 17-year-old messenger boy who worked for Elton but died in a motorcycle accident the day the music was composed. Another track, "Return to Paradise," was a minor hit (#49) in the Netherlands, but nowhere else. Three other tunes well worth a listen are "Georgia," "Shine on Through," and "I Don't Care." The 1998 reissue of A Single Man also included Elton's non-album Top 40 single from earlier in '78, "Ego" (#34). His first Top 40 single after A Single Man, "Mama Can't Buy You Love," went all the way to #9 in June '79, putting him back in the Top 10 for the first time in three years.

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.