As my formative years were the late sixties through to the mid seventies, it’s little surprise that most of my selections are from that period. Also, in the late sixties, for a time, my elder brother worked in a record shop and was constantly arriving home with something new for us hear. It was through him that I had my introduction to bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Blood, Sweat and Tears and many more. My sister, on the other hand, had a penchant for Motown, so we had a really eclectic mix of music emanating from the music room.
Anyway, on to the selection. In all honesty, it’s an impossible task to narrow ones choice down to such a small number and I’m sure what ever I select today will change, to some extent, if you ask me again tomorrow.
In no particular order:
My first selection.
This comes form the Beatles. I think the song-writing talents of Lennon and McCartney are largely indisputable and as much as I like their songs, I’ve always favoured the songs of George Harrison. It’s with this in mind that I’ve chosen Abbey Road. The two songs from Harrison are:
Here Comes The Sun
The album itself, released in 1969, was the bands last recorded album and of course features, probably, one of the most famous album covers ever.
Selection number two.
This takes us to a solo artist who, after ten yeas of silence, has just released a new single with an album to follow. You may know him as the Thin White Duke or perhaps Ziggy Stardust. This is, of course, David Bowie.
The album I’ve chosen is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. The main reason for this, is simply because I was there and part of it. I was even at the retirement concert at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973.
On to the third choice.
I’m not really not sure what to say about this band apart from, I wish I’d been there! I wish I could have been a ‘real’ Deadhead! Unfortunately, I’ve had to make do with their albums and videos. If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring, of course, to the Grateful Dead.
Picking a single album from this band is as hard as choosing one from the Beatles or the Rolling Stones but, in the end, I came down in favour of Workingman’s Dead. Released in 1970, it has some outstanding tracks and for me, the ‘stand-out’ track is Uncle John’s Band.
The early seventies brought us some great music and some great musicians, unfortunately, it also brought us some of the most untimely deaths of the music world. Within a few weeks of each other, we lost Jimmy Hendrix and the person whose albums I’ve chosen in the number four slot, Janis Joplin.
Janis Joplin simply has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard and the album I’ve chosen is I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! You can pick your own track, to me they’re all brilliant.
Moving on to my fifth choice.
We’re staying with solo artists and returning home to the UK. This artist has released a huge number of songs, including film scores and a tribute to a lost Princess. This is, of course, Reginald Dwight aka Elton John.
With songs like Bennie and the Jets, Candle in the Wind and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Elton was one of those artists that seemed to be playing everywhere one went. All of the songs listed above come from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which is a great album, however, I’ve chosen Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy. I love every track on this album and the cover is amazing and completely wacky.
On to the home straight and in at number six.
The artist I’ve chosen next rose to fame in the late sixties and early seventies, as part of a duo, and had success with several albums, including Bridge over Troubled Water. However, my introduction to their music came in 1968, after sneaking into the cinema to watch a film called The Graduate. That duo was Simon and Garfunkel.
For this selection, I chosen just one half of the duo, Paul Simon. I like a lot of Paul Simon’s albums, including, Still Crazy After All these Years and One Trick Pony, however, the album I’ve picked here, is Graceland.
I think, for a lot or people, Graceland was something really different and refreshing. It was certainly the first time I’d heard any of the South African rhythms featured on the album. On that back of this album, I went and bought albums by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Juluka. My favourite track from the album is ‘Homeless’.
Stepping out at number seven.
For a lot of people, the early eighties was all about New Wave and New Romanticism and it brought us some great music and some great bands, such as The Human League, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran etc. In fact, I went to see the original Ultravox in concert somewhere around 1980. It was the loudest concert I’ve ever been to! For me though, it was all about Electro/Jazz-Funk, Wigan Pier, The Haçienda, all-dayers, all-nighters and being a DJ.
I was never good enough to play at the places mentioned above but I was a regular at a few clubs in the South West and I had a two hour, Sunday afternoon show on a small pirate radio station.
Picking an album to represent this time of my life was surprisingly difficult as there are so many great artists to choose from. People like Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Level 42 and so on could easily have filled this spot. In the end I chose George Duke - Brazilian Love Affair.
Wading in at number eight.
No selection of mine could be complete without something from Roger, Nick, Richard, Syd and David. Collectively known as Pink Floyd. Once again, choosing a favourite album from this band is really hard, I could have easily gone with something live/experimental like Ummagumma or something more commercial like Dark Side of the Moon. In the end, however, I picked Wish You Were Here. I guess I chose this album over the others, simply because it’s what the band, mostly played, at the only concert of theirs I’ve been to.
The penultimate choice.
This next artist has a special place in my collection and like Pink Floyd, would probably feature no matter when you asked me. Van the Man has been around for a long time and has albums on many peoples favourite lists.
I’m going to deviate from the norm when choosing an album from Van Morrison. Whereas Moondance or Astral Weeks a are probably the choice of most people, I’m going to choose Hard Nose the Highway and the reason for that, simply because it contains a record that my wife and I danced to at our wedding (say ahhh!)
I started my selection with an album from the Beatles and I’m going to end with an album from my favourite of the ‘fab four’ George Harrison.
I personally think George had some great solo albums, for example, Brainwashed and Living in the Material World, however, there’s really only one album that, for me, is George Harrison and that’s All Things Must Pass.
I wish I’d been at Wooddstock!