… the sounds of my teens and twenties
Some things have been such a large part of your growing up that to come across them in later life can take you right back to the past in a flash. Music is one of those; far from being just a background sound, music was often the main reason for a social gathering. Those albums that you played so much they wore out? The ones you could sing along to in their entirety? Or the ones that were always by the record player in any friend’s house you went to visit? These are mine…………….
They are not necessarily my favourite albums of all time or the ones that I would put in a list of the best albums. They define an era for me; the time from when I first started to appreciate and get lost in music up to the time when I became an adult (in my late twenties – though that is still a moot point!)
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:The Beatles 1967 I went on two French exchange trips as a teenager; both times the French kids I stayed with were complete Anglophiles and Beatles fans. We listened to all the Beatles albums over and over and I was set to work transcribing the lyrics.
- Strange Days:The Doors 1967 I loved Jim Morrison’s good looks and growly vocals and thought I was so grown up and sophisticated listening to this edgy music! This is the only album in this selection that I have in my collection today.
- Made in Japan:Deep Purple 1972 Double live album from the British heavy rockers. My older brother introduced me to Purple and I still like to listen to them now (at full volume of course) when I’m cleaning the house. Ian Gillan’s vocals still sound incredible.
- Transformer:Lou Reed 1972 I loved the pared down quality of this album – it was the antithesis of a lot of the overblown rock I usually listened to. Lou Reed sang about things in America beyond my imaginings – total escapism.
- Dark Side of The Moon:Pink Floyd 1972 Great sleeve art of course. This album gave us the fantastic “Eclipse” used to great effect at the climax of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics 2012. 741 consecutive weeks in the British chart.
- 461 Ocean Boulevard:Eric Clapton 1974 Easy listening blues rock from EC in his heyday. One of Britain’s greatest guitarists. For a long time not a “cool” musician, but these are classic timeless tracks.
- A Night At The Opera:Queen 1975 Having blasted into my conscience with a staggering performance of Seven Seas of Rhye on Top Of The Pops in 1974, Queen became firm faves of mine with this album which I listened to constantly in my bedroom as a teenager.
- Physical Graffiti:Led Zeppelin 1975 You may have guessed that I like rock music, and LedZep were the masters. This double album didn’t hold back on sheer exuberance and pomposity.
- Born To Run:Bruce Springsteen 1975 I didn’t really get into this album until some years later when I left home and moved in with a bunch of former Uni students. My musical horizons quickly broadened and The Boss was always being played. I loved his raw energy and emotion.
- Run With The Pack:Bad Company 1976 Born from Free, one of my favourite bands, Bad Company had the best singer in rock, Paul Rodgers, and I still love to hear his voice. This was one of my driving albums (see Rumours).
- Rumours:Fleetwood Mac 1977 An album of great singles. I had this on cassette in my very first car and it got played to death. Now I always associate it with driving.
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars:David Bowie 1977 This guy fascinated me with his image and later with the way he had a completely new look whenever he brought out a new album. On the back of the sleeve were the words TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME – always a good sign!
- Time Loves A Hero:Little Feat 1977 A brilliant mixture of blues, rock’n’roll, country, boogie and funk. This was music for any and every occasion. In the early 80s we had probably half a dozen Little Feat albums – I loved them all for their humour and energy, but this was my favourite.
- Kaya:Bob Marley and The Wailers 1978 Everyone loved Bob Marley and they still do today. He is as popular amongst the teens at the school where I work as he was when I was a teenager. This was laid back lover’s rock, perfect for late night sessions in smoky lounges.
- Remain In Light:Talking Heads 1980 In my opinion one of the best bands of all time. I loved the eccentricity of David Byrne and the fact that the bass player was a woman (Tina Weymouth, who went on to found the wonderful TomTomClub with husband Chris Frantz, also of Talking Heads). A hugely inventive and original album.
- Arc Of A Diver:Steve Winwood 1980 Solo offering from former Traffic/Spencer Davis Group singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Winwood. Every song is beautifully crafted and takes me right back to being 20; a great age to be.
- Sinsemilla:Black Uhuru 1980 Reggae was massive in my circle. I named my kittens Sly and Robbie after the drummer and bassist in this great band; their human counterparts were giants of the alternative music scene.
- You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess:Yello 1983 And now for something completely different! This band were quirky, nerdy Swiss musicians Dieter Meyer, Boris Blank and Carlos Peron. Their music was a mixture of Electronica, innovative sampling and croony vocals. Loved it!
- Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records:Chumbawumba 1986 AnarchoPunk collective Chumbawumba hailed from Burnley and their lyrical subject matter included animal rights, class struggle and feminism which I was becoming interested in at the time.
- The Queen Is Dead:The Smiths 1986 Fronted by controversial (still in 2013) but charismatic frontman Morrissey, the Smiths sang about real upbringings in real dingy towns over brilliant guitar tracks.