Crowd shot masthead ApologetiX Logo Keith Haynie plays bassBill Hubauer plays lead guitarJ. Jackson sings leadJimmy Vegas Tanner plays drums
as of May 30, 2023

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02.23.23Influential Albums: 1017-1023
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02.20.23New Single:'65 & '88
02.17.23Serious Prayer Request from Wichita KS
02.17.23Influential Albums: 1010-1016
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02.11.23How Did J. Meet His Wife?
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02.11.23The Numbers Behind the Songs on This Single
02.11.23Influential Albums: 1003-1009
02.10.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.10.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week

Influential Albums: 842-848
Fri., Sep. 2. 2022 8:20pm 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'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.

842. Greatest Hits - Dolly Parton
There are quite a few Dolly Parton compilations out there — she's had well over a hundred songs hit the country charts — but this album covers the period when the singer-songwriter-actress crossed over into mainstream pop (1977-83), and that was the first I'd ever heard of her. Believe it or not, Dolly had 42 Top 40 country hits before finally hitting the pop Top 40 with "Here You Come Again" in '77 (#3 pop, #2 adult contemporary). That song was very popular in the Jackson household at the time. My mom liked it, my sister Kris liked it, and I liked it (although I was less likely to admit it back then), and it became her seventh of 25 #1 country hits. I also enjoyed the follow-up single, "Two Doors Down" (#19 pop, #12 AC), which reached the country charts as the flip side of "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" (#1 country). Dolly finally got her first #1 pop hit in 1981 with the irresistible "9 to 5," and her second chart-topper followed in '83 with "Islands in the Stream," a duet with Kenny Rogers that hit #1 on the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts. Released in 1982, Greatest Hits features all five of those songs among its 12 tracks ("Islands in the Stream" was added to later editions), plus a few other #1 country hits, "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You," "I Will Always Love You," and "But You Know I Love You." As some of you know already, "I Will Always Love You" was a #1 country hit twice for Dolly (two different versions ('74 and '82) before Whitney Houston's cover version topped the pop chart for 14 weeks in '92 and '93. Dolly even had another top 20 hit with it as a duet with Vince Gill in '95 (#15). Her first seven Top 10 country hits were duets with the established country star Porter Wagoner, who'd already had a dozen Top 10 country hits by then. They had 15 country Top 10 hits together overall. The first time I ever heard of Porter Wagoner was the day I met him. I was working as an intern reporter for the Indiana Gazette newspaper, and my editor assigned me to do an interview with Wagoner, who was in town for a concert. Back then, we didn't have the internet and I didn't know any country music historians, so I scrambled to find any biographical info I could get on him beforehand. It all turned out OK; he was nice to me, and I still have the news clipping of the story ApologetiX spoofed "Islands in the Stream" in 2015.

843. Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye - Marvin Gaye
Notice the deliberate, specific wording in the title of this 1983 compilation: Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye. The operative word is "Motown." That's because the album doesn't include his last big hit, "Sexual Healing," which was on Columbia Records. It doesn't contain "Every Great Hit," either ... two of my favorites were missing: "I'll Be Doggone" (#8 pop, #1 R&B) and "Ain't That Peculiar" (#8 pop, #1 R&B). Motown rectified that problem later and upped the track total from 15 to 17. That would seem to be perfect, since Marvin had 17 Top 10 hits on Motown, but for some reason they chose to omit his first Top 10 hit, "Pride and Joy" (#10 pop, #2 R&B), and include "Distant Lover" (#28 pop, #12 R&B). But who am I to quibble? Marvin was one of a handful of artists to have at least one song peak at every slot in the Top 10. The last position he needed was #3, and that's where his final Top 10 hit, "Sexual Healing," went. It also topped the R&B chart for 10 weeks, the longest reign of his 13 #1 R&B hits. His biggest hit overall was "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which stayed at #1 for seven weeks on both the pop and R&B charts in 1968-69. I bought a reissue 45 of that single as a young teenager. Gladys Knight & The Pips had already achieved success with that tune (#2 pop, #1 R&B) in '67, but Marvin's was actually recorded before theirs. Of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1970 cover version was very popular, too ... on album-rock stations (especially with DJs who needed an 11-minute break). Each of those versions is very different, but I enjoy 'em all. Marvin had too many Top 10 hits to list here, so I'll just mention the others that reached the Top 5: "Let's Get It On" (#1 pop, #1 R&B), "Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)" (#1 pop, #1 R&B), "What's Going On" (#2 pop, #1 R&B), "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" (#4 pop, #1 R&B), "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (#4 pop, #1 R&B), and "Your Precious Love" (#5 pop, #2 R&B). That last one was a duet with Tammi Terrell, as were three other of his Top 10 hits: "You're All I Need to Get By" (#7 pop, #1 R&B), "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (#8 pop, #1 R&B), and "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" (#10 pop, #2 R&B). Released less than six months before his untimely death, Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye only reached #80 on the Billboard 200 but eventually sold a million copies, making it his biggest-selling album on Motown and his second-biggest overall. His previous LP, Midnight Love, which contained the aforementioned "Sexual Healing," sold three million.

844. The Best - Billy Preston
I think I first heard the name Billy Preston in 1979, when radio stations started playing his duet with Stevie Wonder's ex-wife Syreeta Wright, "With You I'm Born Again" (#4 pop, #2 adult contemporary). I had no idea the man was a rock and roll legend. He had befriended The Beatles back in 1962 and was the only artist ever to be listed with them as a co-performer on one of their singles after '64. Their chart-topping '69 single "Get Back" was credited to "The Beatles with Billy Preston." He also played organ on two songs ("Something" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)") on my favorite Beatles album, Abbey Road, which was released later that same year. Furthermore, he toured with The Rolling Stones as their main keyboardist from 1973-77 and played on five of their albums from 1971-76, including two of their very best, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street. During that time, he notched two #1 singles of his own: "Will It Go Round in Circles" (which, ironically, succeeded back-to-back singles by ex-Beatles at #1 — Paul McCartney's "My Love" and George Harrison's "Give Me Love") and "Nothing from Nothing." He also had big hits with three killer instrumentals: "Outa-Space" (#2 Billboard, #1 Cash Box, #1 Record World), "Space Race" (#4), and "Struttin'" (#22). Released in 1982, The Best had all of those solo hits except for "With You I'm Born Again." Other notable tracks included "You're So Unique" (#48), "Slaughter" (#50), "That's the Way God Planned It" (#62), "I Wrote a Simple Song" (#77), and his funky solo version of "Get Back" (#86) from the ill-fated Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. Moreover, it included the original version of "You Are So Beautiful," a song he wrote that Joe Cocker took to #5 in 1975. Preston's recording even has a second verse; Cocker just repeated the first verse. ApologetiX spoofed "Get Back" in 2012 and "Nothing from Nothing" in 2019. Some of you may also remember Billy Preston's voice on this commercial for Coast Soap — I know I do:

845. Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 - Paul Anka
And now we come to Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka, one of the most underrated artists of the rock era. Released in 1960, Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 stayed on the Billboard album chart for 140 weeks and got as high as #4. Five of the tracks on it went to #4 or higher: "Diana" (#1), "Lonely Boy" (#1), "Puppy Love" (#2), "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" (#2), and "It's Time to Cry" (#4). The Big 15 also included "You are My Destiny" (#7), "Crazy Love" (#15), and "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings" (#15). Fans had to wait for Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 Vol. 2 in '61 to get "My Home Town" (#8). "Dance On Little Girl" (#10), "Summer's Gone" (#11), "Tonight, My Love, Tonight" (#13), "Let the Bells Keep Ringing" (#16), and "The Story of My Love" (#16). Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 Vol. 3 finally arrived in '62, but it had no Top 20 hits — the highest charting single on it, "Kissin' on the Phone," went to #35 — because by that time he had switched from ABC-Paramount to RCA Victor, where he released three more Top 20 hits in '62: "Love Me Warm and Tender" (#12), "A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine" (#13), and "Eso Beso (That Kiss!)" (#19). Anka wouldn't reach the upper half of the Top 40 again until the mid-'70s, and by that time he was on yet another label, United Artists. But he had quite a career resurgence in '74-75: "You're Having My Baby" (#1), "Times of Your Life" (#7), "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" (#7), "I Don't Like to Sleep Alone" (#8), and "(I Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love" (#15). Four out of five of those were duets with Odia Coates. What may be even more impressive than those 21 Top 20 hits is the fact that Anka wrote 18 of them himself, including all but one of his Top 10 hits, "Times of Your Life," which became the final Top 20 hit of his career. That one started out as a jingle he sang for a Kodak commercial and wound up becoming his only #1 adult contemporary hit. Anka also wrote the theme to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Tom Jones' biggest hit, "She's a Lady" (#2), plus the lyrics to the tune many consider to be Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way" (#27 pop, #2 AC). On top of that, Donny Osmond covered "Puppy Love" and had great success with it (#3 U.S., #1 U.K.) and The Lettermen's remake of "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" did all right, too (#44 pop, #8 AC). People who don't consider Paul Anka to be pop-music royalty ought to be consider his pop-music royalties.

846. Wings Over America - Wings
I wanted this one badly and would salivate over it in stores, but it cost a pretty penny, and my pennies weren't pretty enough. A triple live album, Wings Over America was released in December 1976, just in time for Christmas shoppers, and they took it the whole way to #1. McCartney was the man that year; "Silly Love Songs" had just topped the charts for five weeks in May, June, and July, and its follow-up, "Let 'Em In" was almost as successful (#1 Cash Box, #1 Billboard adult contemporary, #3 Billboard pop for four weeks in August and September). The 28 tracks on Wings Over America included five Beatles songs; one Moody Blues (Denny Laine's previous band) tune, "Go Now"; and one Simon & Garfunkel cover, "Richard Cory." There were also 23 Wings (and solo McCartney) songs. If the math doesn't seem to work out, that's because the first three Wings songs were done as a medley, "Venus and Mars/RockShow/Jet." Decades later, I bought the CD version of Wings Over America for ApX guitarist Tom Milnes, but I never had my own copy. Growing up, I had to settle for watching the documentary film of that tour, Wings Over the World (that was the name of both the documentary and the tour), which aired on television in late '79. I stumbled upon it by accident and couldn't believe my good fortune. I stayed glued to the tube. Of course, the live version of "Maybe I'm Amazed" was released as a single and became a Top 10 hit in '77, so I'd already gotten to hear that part of the show tons of times. Furthermore, I had many other McCartney/Wings albums and 45's with which to comfort myself. I also bought and read the paperback book Paul McCartney: Beatle with Wings in '78.

847. Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits - Johnny Horton
Here's another artist I discovered through television infomercials when I was in high school. Country singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny Horton had three huge historical hits from 1959-60: "The Battle of New Orleans" (#1 pop for six weeks, #1 country for 10 weeks), "Sink the Bismarck" (#3 pop, #6 country), and "North to Alaska" (#4 pop, #1 country for five weeks). Unfortunately, he died in a car crash at age 35 on November 15, 1960. In a weird twist of fate, his wife, Billie Jean, had been the widow of fellow country music star Hank Williams, who also died in automobile ... although not from a crash but from what appears to have been heart failure combined with drug and alcohol abuse. Hank died on January 1, 1953 (at age 29), and Johnny married Billie Jean on September 26, 1953. They were still married seven years later at the time of his death. Although those were Horton's only Top 40 pop hits, he had 14 Top 40 country hits, including six more that hit the county Top 10: "I'm a One-Woman Man" (#7), "All Grown Up" (#8), "Honky-Tonk Man" (#9), "The Woman I Need" (#9), "Sleepy-Eyed John" (#9), and "Johnny Reb" (#10). I think the TV record had all of those songs, but I was just looking for "The Battle of New Orleans," "Sink the Bismarck," and "North to Alaska." I finally found them in college on Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits. Released in February '61, just three months after Horton's death, it went to #8 and sold a million copies.

848. The Best of Sam Cooke - Sam Cooke
Smooth soul singer Sam Cooke was just 33 years old at the time of his tragic death in December 1964, but by then he had already accumulated 26 Top 40 hits and would have three more in the months that followed. Seventeen of them went to the Top 20. Of those, the biggest were "You Send Me" (#1), "Chain Gang" (#2), "Shake" (#7), "Twistin' the Night Away" (#9), and "Another Saturday Night" (#10). His influence on other artists can be seen by how many of them had hits covering his hits, such as "Another Saturday Night" (#6 for Cat Stevens); "Cupid" (#17 for Cooke, #4 for The Spinners); "Only Sixteen" (#28 for Cooke, #6 for Dr. Hook); "Bring It On Home to Me" (#13 for Cooke, #32 for The Animals); "Wonderful World" (#12 for Cooke, #4 for Herman's Hermits, and #17 for Art Garfunkel with James Taylor & Paul Simon); and "Having a Party" (#17 for Cooke, #36 for Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood). Furthermore, "Chain Gang" obviously influenced "Back on the Chain Gang," a #5 hit for The Pretenders, as evidenced not just by the title but by the sound effects and "ooh ah" parts in the choruses of both songs. Cooke's classic penultimate hit, "A Change Is Gonna Come" (#31), has been covered by many others, too. None of the remakes made it to the Top 40, but a couple artists had mid-range success with it: The Fifth Dimension (#60) and Adam Lambert (#56). The Best of Sam Cooke came out in '62, so it just featured material from 1957-62 ... but it had the two songs I was looking for in college as a collector of #1 and #2 hits, "You Send Me" and "Chain Gang." The Best of Sam Cooke Volume II was released posthumously in '65, and I later acquired digital versions of some songs from that, too.

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.