Crowd shot masthead ApologetiX Logo Keith Haynie plays bassBill Hubauer plays lead guitarJ. Jackson sings leadJimmy Vegas Tanner plays drums
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04.12.24Influential Albums: 1430-1436
04.12.24Get Multiple Downloads for One Donation
04.12.24Over 1650 Tracks for $100
04.12.24USBs Include New CD & Latest Single
04.12.24This Week's Bible-Reading
04.12.24Unchained Medley CD Added to iTunes, Spotify, Etc.
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04.08.24This Week's News Bulletin
04.08.24How to Get the ApX Library, USBs, Multiple Downloads
04.08.24This Week's News Builletin
04.05.24Five Months Till the Big ApologetiX Show
04.05.24New Story
04.05.24Influential Albums: 1423-1429
04.05.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
04.05.24ApX Fan Needs Lung Transplant or a Miracle
04.03.24This Week's News Bulletin
04.01.24New Single: Two-Hit Wonders
03.29.24Bible-Reading Ends Tuesday, Starts Again Wednesday
03.29.24Rock the Bible Finishes Up
03.29.24Easter Season Playlist 2024
03.29.24Influential Albums: 1416-1422
03.28.24New CD BOGO Ends Sunday Night
03.28.24Clues for 2024 Single #7
03.25.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.22.24Influential Albums: 1409-1415
03.22.24This Week's Bible-Reading
03.22.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
03.20.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.20.24New Single: Top-Five Hits by Four-Man Bands
03.16.24Influential Albums: 1402-1408
03.16.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
03.12.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.09.24Influential Albums: 1395-1401
03.09.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
03.09.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
03.05.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.03.24New Single: '74 Solo Smashes
03.01.24A Serious Problem We're Trying to Address
02.29.24All About Our Next CD
02.29.24Influential Albums: 1388-1394
02.29.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.29.24Clues for 2024 Single #5
02.25.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.22.24Get Ready for Our Next CD
02.22.24Influential Albums: 1381-1387
02.22.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.22.24Wayne Is Retiring, What's Next for Him and Us?
02.22.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.19.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.19.24New Single: Billy & The Beach
02.16.24Influential Albums: 1374-1380
02.16.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.16.24Remembering ApX Friend Paul "Doc" Nigh (1956-2024)
02.16.24Clues for 2024 Single #4
02.10.24Influential Albums: 1367-1373
02.10.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.10.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.06.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.06.24New Single: '74 & '83
02.03.24ApX Lead Singer/Lyricist Shares His Testimony 36 Years Later
02.03.24Influential Albums: 1360-1366
02.03.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.03.24Latest CD Added to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Etc.
02.02.24Clues for 2024 Single #3
01.29.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.26.24Influential Albums: 1353-1359
01.26.24How to Get the ApX Library, USBs, Multiple Downloads
01.26.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
01.26.24Flashback: J.'s Vision for ApologetiX in 2014
01.26.24J.'s Vision for ApologetiX in 2024
01.26.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
01.24.24Checking in With ApX Alum Drummer Fred Behanna
01.22.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.22.24New Single: '70s #1 Hits That Remade '60s Top 10 Hits
01.19.24Influential Albums: 1346-1352
01.19.24Encouraging Message from Longtime Fan in Oklahoma
01.19.24This Week's Bible-Reading & Rock Thru the Bible
01.15.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.12.24Influential Albums: 1339-1346
01.12.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
01.12.24Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
01.12.24New Testament Reading Started Wednesday
01.11.24New Worship Songs Available from ApX Alum Bill Rieger
01.08.24New Single: '81 & '83
01.08.24New CD BOGO Ends Sunday
01.08.24New USB Thumb Drives on the Way
01.05.24Clues for 2024 Single #1
01.05.24Influential Albums: 1332-1338
01.05.24Have You Heard About the Other Music City Miracle?
01.05.24This Week's Bible Reading & Rock Thru the Bible
12.29.23Influential Albums: 1325-1331
12.29.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
12.28.232023: A Record-Breaking Record-Making Year
12.28.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
12.26.23This Week's News Bulletin
12.26.23New Single: 1974 & 2008
12.23.23Influential Albums: 1318-1324
12.23.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
12.23.23ApologetiX Updated Christmas Playlist
12.18.23This Week's News Bulletin

Influential Albums: 1374-1380
Fri., Feb. 16. 2024 6:39pm 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.

Note: Just because an album appears on this list doesn't mean I give it a blanket endorsement. Many of the secular albums on this list are mainly there because they wound up being spoofed by ApologetiX.

1374. Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972-1980 - Steely Dan
I owned Steely Dan's Aja and Greatest Hits LPs in high school, but this collection was the one that really got me interested in listening to all of the songs on their earlier albums and not just the hits. Released on November 14, 2000, Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972-1980 was a two-CD retrospective featuring 33 songs total — four to five selections each from their first seven LPs, plus "Here at the Western World" from Greatest Hits and "FM (No Static at All)" from the FM movie soundtrack. In comparison, Greatest Hits had only 17 tracks from their first six LPs and the previously unreleased "Here at the Western World." In fact, the only track from Greatest Hits not on Showbiz Kids was their cover of Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-oo. Showbiz Kids also had six Steely Dan staples that were often on the radio but weren't on Greatest Hits — "Dirty Work" (not released as a single), "Don't Take Me Alive," (not released as a single), "Deacon Blues" (#19 pop), "Hey Nineteen" (#10 pop), "Time Out of Mind" (#22), and the aforementioned "FM (No Static at All)" (#22 pop). Some of my favorite deep cuts on Showbiz Kids included "Only a Fool Would Say That," "The Boston Rag," "Any Major Dude Will Tell You," and "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)." I've covered Steely Dan's first, second, third, sixth, and seventh albums earlier on this list — no need to rehash all of those tunes. I'll get to my favorites from their fourth and fifth later, so I won't delve into them here, either. ApologetiX has spoofed four songs on Showbiz Kids: "Reelin' in the Years" (#11 pop), "Josie" (#26 pop), "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" (#4 pop), and "Do It Again" (#6 pop). I also eventually purchased the books Steely Dan: The Complete Guide to Their Music (2004) and Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years (2008), both by Brian Sweet. The second one was a biography, and I enjoyed it so much that I later bought a copy for ApX keyboardist Bill Hubauer.

1375. Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits - John Mellencamp
A while back, I wrote about the 1997 John Mellencamp collection The Best That I Could Do: 1978-1988 and said, "We'd have to wait until 2004 for a comprehensive career-spanning compilation." Well, this is what we were waiting for. Released on October 19, 2004, Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits featured 37 tracks on two CDs, including every single one of his 22 Top 40 hits, including four from 1978-88 that weren't on the previous collection — "This Time" (#27 pop), "Hand to Hold On To" (#19 pop), "Rain on the Scarecrow" (#21 pop), and "Rumbleseat" (#28 pop) — plus all four others that hit the Top 50. But as big as Mellencamp became on the pop charts, he was even more successful on the mainstream rock chart, where he had 43 Top 40 hits overall, including 23 Top 10 hits. Seven of those went to #1 on that chart ("Hurts So Good," "Lonely Ol' Night," "Paper in Fire," "Cherry Bomb," "Get a Leg Up," "Again Tonight," and "What If I Came Knocking"); four others went to #2 ("Crumblin' Down," "Small Town," "Pop Singer," and "Human Wheels"); and five more went to #3: ("Jack & Diane," "Pink Houses," "The Real Life," "Check It Out," and "Now More Than Ever"). Every one of those songs can be found on Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits, except for "The Real Life," possibly because it never hit the Hot 100. There were also two brand-new songs, "Walk Tall" (#25 adult contemporary) and "Thank You." Although neither was a pop hit, both were good tunes. I've already mentioned my "must have" Mellencamp cuts on American Fool, Uh-Huh, Scarecrow, and The Lonesome Jubilee in specific entries for those albums, so I'll focus on the later ones I especially like on Words & Music. "Martha Say" (#8 mainstream), "I'm Not Running Anymore" (#37 mainstream, #22 AC), "When Jesus Left Birmingham" (#35 mainstream), "Wild Night" (#3 pop, #17 mainstream, #1 AC for 8 weeks, #1 Canada for three weeks), and "Just Another Day" (#46 pop, #13 mainstream, #13 adult Top 40, #1 Canada for two weeks) would all be in my top five. The next level would include "Jackie Brown" (#48 pop, #20 mainstream, #31 adult contemporary), "Human Wheels" (#48 pop, #2 mainstream, #40 AC), "What if I Came Knocking" (#1 mainstream), "Now More Than Ever" (#3 mainstream), "Love and Happiness" (#5 mainstream), and "Again Tonight (#36 pop, #1 mainstream). I confess that "Get a Leg Up" (#14 pop, #1 mainstream) would've been way up there, but somebody needs to do something about those lyrics before I can sing along. In case you're wondering, I do have a parody idea, although I don't know if we'll ever record it. Mellencamp really impressed me with the way his words and music progressed and matured as his career went on. Unfortunately, the tracks on this anthology are not presented in anything close to chronological order, so I reorganized them as such on my personal playlist. I also read the biography Born in a Small Town: John Mellencamp by Heather Johnson soon after it came out in November 2007. At least two other biographies have followed — Mellencamp: American Troubadour by David Masciotra, in 2015, and Mellencamp by Paul Rees, in 2021 — but I haven't read either ... yet. Words and Music went to #13 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. It even came with a bonus DVD with videos for five of his finest songs: "Crumblin' Down" (#9 pop, #2 mainstream), "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." (#2 pop, #6 mainstream, #36 AC), "Rain on the Scarecrow" (#21 pop, #16 mainstream), "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" (#14 pop, #10 mainstream, #4 AT40, #1 Canadian for five weeks), and a live version of "Check It Out" (#14 pop, #3 mainstream).

1376. New and Used Hits: The Best of ApologetiX Vol. 1 & 2 - ApologetiX
As ApologetiX approached the end of 2004, it was a time for retrospection and celebration. I'll discuss the retrospection first and then give the reasons for celebration. Released in November 2004, New and Used Hits: The Best of ApologetiX Vol. 1 & 2 was our first greatest hits collection and our first double album. There were 40 tracks in all, including seven parodies that had never been on CD before, and 33 others representing our previous eight LPs from Radical History Tour (1994) through Adam Up (2003) plus our Have Yourself a Parody Little Christmas EP. We deliberately skipped Isn't Wasn't Ain't (1993), which had yet to be released in CD format at the time. Of those remaining 33, seven of the tracks were newly recorded live versions. We wanted to give people a sense of the ApologetiX concert experience, and we felt the live recordings improved upon what we'd done in the studio on those particular parodies. Our goal has always been to make each album better than the one before, yet we wanted this collection to cover the entire span of the band's career to that point. We also wanted to show the scope of styles we'd spoofed, including rock, pop, alternative, metal, rap, new wave, progressive, oldies, Latin, adult contemporary, country, disco, etc. Furthermore, it's always been very important to us to reach out to multiple generations, so the era of music covered on New and Used Hits stretched from the 1950s to the 2000s, with no artist or group spoofed more than once. We opened with the brand-new material, then gradually worked our way back from our most-recent projects to our oldest, inserting the "live" tracks in the sections that contained songs from the album on which the studio versions originally appeared. New and Used Hits won the Best CD Award in Christianity Today's 2005 Reader's Choice Awards, and ApologetiX placed second (after Skillet) in the Best Band category. New and Used Hits also hit #1 on the National Christian Newest Rock Album Chart in the American Christian Music Journal (December 2004) and #1 on the National Christian Modern/Alternative Album Chart, in the American Christian Music Journal (December 2004). What's more, one of the new tracks on New and Used Hits, "JC's Mom," hit #1 on the Christian Alternative/Modern Single in the American Christian Music Journal (January 2005). Then came the icing on the cake: ApologetiX won the 2004 Favorite Indie Artist award in the CCM Magazine Reader's Choice Awards, officially announced in February 2005. CCM had been around for over 25 years at the time and was regarded as the premier publication covering contemporary Christian music. All of those accolades seem just as unbelievable to me now as they did then. As Ephesians 3:20 says, the Lord "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."

1377. Cocky - Kid Rock
Released on November 20, 2001, Cocky was Kid Rock's first album of all-new material since his multi-platinum fourth studio LP, Devil Without a Cause. In between, his record label kept interest alive with a 2000 compilation called The History of Rock, which featured re-recorded and remixed songs from his second and third LPs, plus demos and unreleased tracks. It went to #2 and sold two million copies. In contrast, the all-new Cocky only went to #3 but sold five million copies. The difference maker was a massive crossover duet, "Picture" (#4 pop, #21 country, #2 adult Top 40 for five weeks). The album version featured rock/pop singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow on female vocals whereas the single version featured country singer-songwriter Allison Moorer. However, the majority of radio stations played the version with Crow. That tune was a slow-burner and didn't peak on the pop charts until April 2003. Two other cuts hit the mainstream rock Top 20, "Forever" (#18 mainstream, #21 alternative) and "Lonely Road of Faith" (#15 mainstream). Later in 2003, I bought the "clean" version of Cocky, which retitled the record's other charting cut as "You Never Met a White Boy Quite Like Me" (#32 mainstream). I first heard "Forever" in a Coors Beer commercial in 2002. ApologetiX put out a parody of "Picture" in 2005. Kid Rock had one more huge crossover hit in 2008, the infectious "All Summer Long" (#23 pop, #17 mainstream, #4 country, #2 adult Top 40, #1 U.K., #1 Australia), which samples Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London." ApologetiX didn't attempt to cover that one, but we did do parodies of "Sweet Home Alabama" in 2003 and "Werewolves of London" in 2016.

1378. Vault Collection, Vol. I-5 - Bob Rivers
As I've stated before, much of the material Bob Rivers produces is not for the easily offended. Consequently, I've never sat around listening to his CDs for long periods of time, but I still appreciate his talent for writing and producing parodies. I'm not certain how many volumes he released in his Vault Collection — at least seven from what I can tell — but I had the first five. Rather than go over each CD in detail, I'll just mention the spoofs that really stuck with me from the lot. Vol. I: "So Crappy Together" ("Happy Together" by The Turtles) and "All My Songs Are Spoken" ("Everything Is Broken" by Bob Dylan). Vol. II: "Kosovo" ("Kokomo" by The Beach Boys). Vol. III: "This Ain't No Barney" ("Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads) and "I Can't Drive (I'm 65)" ("I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar). Vol. IV: "Dumped" ("Jump by Van Halen). Vol. V: "Ally McBeal" (Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan) and "Cheeseburger With Parasites" ("Cheeseburger in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffet). To further explain, "This Ain't No Barney" was about Jurassic Park and contained the following chorus: "This ain't no Barney, this ain't Dino, Spielberg ain't foolin' around." Meanwhile, "Dumped" was about David Lee Roth's extremely temporary reunion with Van Halen in 1996. Of course, he came back to Van Halen for a third stint from 2007-2020.

1379. Morning Songs: The Worst of John & Denny, Volumes 1 and 2 - John & Denny
The guys in ApologetiX met John Owens and Denny Brownlee (a.k.a. John & Denny) when they were morning-show hosts on the Family Life Network in upstate New York. I'm guessing the first time was at one of our concerts at the Kingdom Bound festivals, but we did other events together. They were nice, funny guys and gave us two CDs of their own material, Morning Songs 1 and Morning Songs 2 (both subtitled The Worst of John & Denny), which included some clever parodies. Our favorite of these was "The Pastor Song," a parody of the theme from Mission Impossible. Wait a minute ... wasn't that an instrumental? Not after these guys got done with it. It's corny, but so are a lot of other parodies out there. You can check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdJhDK6iow4. Another amusing one is "We Didn't Say Your Town Right," about the perils of pronunciation when your radio audience lives in Western and Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania: https://soundcloud.com/denny-brownlee/we-didnt-say-your-town-right

1380. Assorted Albums - Shlock Rock
Although I didn't find out about them until the early 2000s, the American-Israeli rock band Shlock Rock got their start in 1986 and were still releasing CDs as recently as 2023. Led by New York native Lenny Solomon, they specialize in Jewish-themed parodies. According to the band's website, Lenny took his fist accordion lesson in 1969 and continued doing so for 10 years ("Weird Al" Yankovic took his first accordion lesson in '66). I was intrigued, so I bought six of their CDs: Sgt. Shlocker's Magical History Tour (1991), Greatest Hits: The Early Years 1986-1990 (1997), Meets the Prophets (1999), Bring Back That Shabbos Feeling! (1993), Woodshlock (1995), and God Sent Us Email (2001). That last one was their most recent release at the time and contained the first Shlock Rock song I ever heard, "It's Not a Matter of Sight," a parody of "Another Saturday Night," made famous by Sam Cooke and Cat Stevens. You can hear it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4NS_TvIjVc