Thursday, July 30, 2015

Now Accepting Nominations for Best Album of All Time

Doug: So last week I was in the basement cleaning. I didn't care for what was on the radio, didn't have my Bluetooth speaker or any earbuds. So what was a fella to do? You guessed it (did you?) -- pop a cassette tape into the old boom box. And the one I chose? Maybe, just maybe, one of the greatest albums of all time. So that's where you come in. Argue with me, nominate your own, set some parameters... you know what we do around here. Just be sure to give us your rationale, which could be based on the number of hits, cultural significance or influence, or maybe it was just a favorite of yours at a key time in your life.

Doug: I was checking through the albums when my eyes settled on the Who's Who's Next. To be honest, I'd forgotten I had it. Let's be honest -- have any of you used your cassettes in the past 15 years or so? While records have made a comeback that I think is just great, I don't know if we'll have the same sort of nostalgia for cassettes (maybe for 8-tracks, though? Nah...). So without reading the back of the tape case, I inserted the tape into the machine and hit Play. "Baba O'Reilly". Awesome. Followed by "Bargain". Jeez -- did I have a greatest hits album in the wrong case? Nope. It's just that good. The cover and contents (courtesy of Wikipedia) is below.

Doug: So I'm thinking someone's going to sing the praises of... well, again, that's your job. We'll all be waiting patiently.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Pete Townshend, except "My Wife" by John Entwistle.
Side one
No. Title Lead vocal Length
1. "Baba O'Riley"   Roger Daltrey (verses) Townshend (bridge) 5:08
2. "Bargain"   Daltrey (verses) Townshend (bridge) 5:34
3. "Love Ain't for Keeping"   Daltrey 2:10
4. "My Wife"   Entwistle 3:41
5. "The Song Is Over"   Townshend (verses) Daltrey (chorus) 6:14
Side two
No. Title Lead vocal Length
6. "Getting in Tune"   Daltrey 4:50
7. "Going Mobile"   Townshend 3:42
8. "Behind Blue Eyes"   Daltrey 3:42
9. "Won't Get Fooled Again"   Daltrey 8:32


J.A. Morris said...


ColinBray said...

Out of Step by Minor Threat.

Personal importance, yes. Cultural importance, restricted. But to those who knew it, profound and lasting.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, Who's Next and Revolver are both good choices. At certain points in my life, I actually would have mentioned either of those if somebody asked me this question.
Otherwise, I'm finding it overwhelming to come up with a suitable choice, so I'll just say one of the first ones that came to mind as I was reading your post:
Abraxas by Santana (also one of the coolest album covers ever). Next week, my answer will probably be different...
By the way, if we expand the question to include non-rock genres, I'd be tempted to say A Love Supreme by John Coltrane.

Redartz said...

Good choices already; my first thought was also "Revolver" although "Rubber Soul" kept calling in the back of my mind. So many albums to consider, brain overloading....warning, warning...

Following Edo's example, I'll throw out one non-rock nominee: Michael Jackson's "Thriller". What a mammoth that was (and still is).

Redartz said...

Ah, a bit more detail : Revolver has such a powerful track list. Taxman, Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigby; like a countdown of iconic, influential Beatle tunes. And "Tomorrow Never Knows'- John's experimentation was really taking off here.
Incidentally, I mentioned "Rubber Soul" as many of the songs on that classic also show the band's expanding horizons and hint at future directions ("The Word", "Nowhere Man"). And that album dated from 1965; what a distance they had come from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" the previous year.

As for "Thriller", its track list speaks for itself. Several of the decacde's biggest hits are there, and my personal favorite: the title track. Zombies,aliens and Vincent Price; what a musical featurette! This album is a monument to 80's pop, and still sounds great today.

Vince and Siv said...

One album I always go back to is another Who one - Quadrophenia!

Dr. Oyola said...

Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life


Prince's Sign o' the Times


The Beatles' Revolver

J.A. Morris said...

All good choices, 'Out Of Step' is an excellent album, the only punk/hc mention I've seen so far. As for Who albums, I'd pick 'The Who Sell Out' over the ones previously mentioned.

Humanbelly said...

The "great" Beatles albums always kind of rotate (revolve) around which one holds the top position in my head & heart. Lately, I'd give the edge to Abbey Road, then probably a tie between the (American releases) Rubber Soul and Revolver, then Sgt. Pepper. But heck, just about every one of their albums has been my favorite at one point or another. I daresay a case could be made for the Red & Blue chronological hits compilations--.

But. . . I may still bend the rules a bit and give the title to Harry Nilsson by combining NILSSON SHMILSSON and SON OF SCHMILSSON into one fantastic double-album of delightful song after delightful song. . . and so utterly eclectic and specific to that artist's talents.

Ha! No Fleetwood Mac RUMOURS love out there? (Hey, don't come my way lookin' for it-- you'll be sadly disappointed!)


ps--gosh, how do we define "greatest", anyhow? Artistic merit? Popularity? Sales? Longevity? It's subjective and tricky. I mean, I would almost certainly be inclined to toss Bing Crosby's WHITE CHRISTMAS album into the discussion based on some of those criteria!

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, as far as punk goes, the best album of all time for me is a two-way tie between Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and Bedtime for Democracy, both by the Dead Kennedys.

Ewan said...

I've never been able to pick one favorite Beatles album, but agree with many of them being contenders. As more of a rocker, here is my short list:

Cream - Disraeli Gears
Zeppelin IV
Kiss Alive!
Van Halen - Fair Warning

If we are talking punk, I'd have to throw out either the first Bad Brains or Black Flag Damaged (though pre-Rollins is good stuff too).

For the Who, my personal favorite is Live at Leeds.

ColinBray said...

Re: Dead Kennedys, my personal favourite is 'In God We Trust' - their answer to the hardcore scene.

At the risk of this turning into the best punk LP of all time thread, honourable mentions to:

Milo Goes To College by The Descendants
Onwards and Upwards by Culture Shock
Christ: the Album by Crass
Damaged by Black Flag (agree, Ewan)
The Void/Faith split LP
Both Repeater and The Argument by Fugazi
Gauze/Lipcream/Outo split Japanese hardcore LP

Doug said...

HB, I'm listening to Rumoours as I type this. Fantastic album.

Led Zeppelin iV has been mentioned recently. I'd offer up Led Zeppelin II as well.

Thinking back to a guy I followed pretty strongly during my college years, John Mellencamp's Scarecrow album was a winner start to finish.

Redartz, I'd echo your suggestions of Thriller. It's still a great listen.

As to Christmas albums, a fave of mine is Elvis Presley's "If Every Day Was Like Christmas". His rendition of Merry Christmas Baby is worth any price of admission!


Doug said...

I meant to add the following in my previous comment:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been mentioned. That made me think of the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". And I don't see the draw. The hits are great, but as an entire album I just really cannot get through it. So to me, it's lasting greatness is in influencing the Beatles to craft "Pepper".


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, definitely agreed about Pet Sounds. I was never the biggest fan of the Beach Boys in any case, and I never understood the appeal of that particular album - as you said, most of it is a chore to listen to.
Trying my best to be "objective" and consider some albums that really could be considered the best of all time, besides Who's Next and Revolver, I came up with:
Exile on Main Street - Rolling Stones (a tour de force)
Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix Experience (ditto)
Physical Grafitti - Led Zeppelin
There's a Riot Goin' On - Sly & The Family Stone
Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy
Born to Run and/or The River - Bruce Springsteen
Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads

jeirich said...

So hard to pick just one. Revolver, Exile and Quadrophenia are all strong candidates, as is Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy.

Joni Mitchell's Blue is perfection.

The one I keep coming back to, though, is the Clash - London Calling.

Karen said...

Oddly enough, I re-listened to Pet Sounds after wathing the terrific documentary "The Wrecking Crew" the other day (highly recommended!), and while I can appreciate its lush production, I've never been able to look on it as a great album. As Edo and Doug said, some of the songs are wonderful but I don't hold it in high regard. Although Paul McCartney certainly did, but then again, Paul was stoned a lot.

I'll follow everyone else with Revolver, my absolute favorite Beatles album. I don't care much for the Pepper and later stuff. Revolver has a great mix of root rhythm and blues with more experimental stuff.

One can certainly argue the merits of Exile on Main Street but I'll take Sticky Fingers. It's got Moonlight Mile. Nuff said. But Let It Bleed is pretty damn good too. Between 1968-1971 the Stones could do no wrong.

I would vote for:

Iggy Pop -Lust for Life
AC/DC -Back in Black
Pink Floyd -Dark Side of the Moon (over-played, oh lord yes, but if you can stand to listen to it, it's pure genius)
Pretenders -The Pretenders
Prince -Sign of the Times
Led Zeppelin -Led Zeppelin
Matthew Sweet -Girlfriend
Ramones - Rocket to Russia

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, re: Dark Side of the Moon, agreed on all counts.
However, Back in Black? Sorry, but anything post-Bon Scott is just not AC/DC...

Doug said...

I don't know, Edo. I guess if you're a purist, and that's fine if you are.

Another commercially successful band with an equal body of work from two different lead singers would be Van Halen. While I prefer Dave's tenure, I like a lot of songs from the Sammy Hagar years. I mean, the rest of the band was the same...


Horace said...

The light of God was shining down on The Who when songs like "Baba O'Riley", "Bargain," "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" were written and recorded.

WHO'S NEXT isn't just a great album. It's alchemy.

Humanbelly said...

Since MeatLoaf/Steinman's BAT OUT OF HELL was conceived, in fact, as a loving (and brilliant) parody, I suppose that knocks it out of contention, yeah?

I guess that once we get past the sort of expected choices (THRILLER, KEY OF LIFE, BEATLES du jour, a couple of the WHO's best efforts, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, PET SOUNDS, etc) we do pretty quickly shift into "Hey, but what about--?" mode, where it's far more informed by our own individual tastes and choices and nostalgia, even. Which, heck, is what we're all about 'round here, eh?

Soooo, I'm going to be wildly self-indulgent and go even further astray from the unspoken convention that we're concerned solely with radio/album rock (since genre specificity wasn't included in the question) and say that the GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME may be a tie between:

a) The original Broadway recording of SWEENEY TODD. Which runs the listener through an absolute WRINGER by the time you get through the last blood-soaked, body-strewn sequence. It is the most in-love I've ever fallen with a recorded musical work upon hearing it for the very first time. You have to go off and re-introduce yourself to the real world afterward-- the world of the play is that ensnaring.

b) The Broadway recording of SPAMALOT. Every single song; every single moment, you find yourself going, "Oh, I LOVE this one-!"-- right through to the end. It really may be the most delightful recorded work ever. Just sayin'. . .

(Aaaaaaand I'll stop there in case this is simply too much artsy fol-de-rol for all my patient friends here.)

(Oh! But I'll jump back to the Christmas Album thread-!):

Which-- hey, may be a fine topic to hit once we're closer to the Holiday season? But I still wanted to toss some album love out to Vince Guaraldi Trio's CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. That lovely jewel has never stopped selling since it was first released. . .

HB (all over the map, baby!)

Ewan said...

Doug, when I think of the Van Halen post-Roth years, I think people associate Sammy with the big musical change, but honestly, Ed just stopped playing the same style of guitar that made him famous, much more into keyboards and polished song-writing. It's funny because Sammy back in his Montrose days was part of the band that set the blueprint for the type of rock we would later see from a young Van Halen, he's always been a heckuva rocker and great singer.

Of course, nobody quite like Diamond Dave in his prime either...

Doug said...

True, Ewan, true.

Hard to say if those evolutions would have happened with Dave as the front man.

So different sounds, but I can like both of them. Same for me with AC/DC.


Anonymous said...

I'll second Out of Step and throw in Operation Ivy's compilation c.d. I loved both hardcore and ska-punk (which could get old fast, admittedly), and those two albums defined and transcended both sub-genres. Op Ivy's songs were killer (and holy mother their bassist was fantastic) and I both wish they had done more and am glad they never got around to sucking.

In terms of "regular" punk, I can't get away from the Clash's London's Calling. It's packed with memorable songs that seem to shift genre with every track. It's a double album so there's bound to be filler, but it doesn't come until the last quarter of the album.

The albums that have remained favorites are Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and PJ Harvey's Rid of Me. The former is brilliant and beautiful, the latter is raw and spiteful. PJ Harvey is my favorite singer, her voice able to convey every possible emotion. If you like garage rock, check out Rid of Me.

Incidentally, my favorite Who album is Live at Leeds (expanded rerelease). It's so damn powerful.
- Mike Loughlin

The Prowler said...

Two Words:

Purple Rain..........

(yeah, it took my four words to type two words)

Anonymous said...

Wow. So many great choices. I think I could go on and on about this topic (but I won't). So just a few things:

The Who and the Beatles are 2 of my favorite groups. So, as others have said, my favorite changes depending on what I'm into at that time. So today I'm saying Quadrophenia and Abbey Road. But, as Mike L. says above that extended Leeds is awesome! Then there's Revolver...Rubber Soul (this is hard)...

No love for RUSH? That's actually my all time favorite band. 2112 and Hemispheres were IT for high school me.

Karen/Doug - have we done a best/favorite album bracketology?


BobC said...

RB: Labelle Chameleon, Rufus Ask Rufus or Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life.

Classic rock: Heart Dreamboat Annie, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, Bruce's Born to Run.

Post Punk: The Smiths Queen is Dead or Radiohead's

Recent (fairly): Silversun Pickups Carnavas, TV on the Radio

Graham said...

Hard to list just one, obviously, so I'll list a few......

Beatles - Abbey Road (the gold standard)
James Brown - Live at the Apollo (the best view of JB as a performer that you'll ever get)
Rockpile - Seconds of Pleasure (all killer, no filler from the first supergroup)
B.B. King - Live at the Regal (an album that even non-blues fans would like)
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life (He was at a level of creativity that few will ever achieve.....maybe to the point that he burned himself out)
Chuck Berry - The Great Twenty-Eight (greatest hits, I know, but Berry did mostly singles so I'm listing it :)).

Martinex1 said...

So many great've made me revisit some great bands and albums. The Pretenders, PJ Harvey, Minor Threat, Vince, yes!

And of course the Who suggestions from Who's Next to Quadrophenia, but I've always liked the Who By Numbers.

I liked some old 8 Tracks I had of Steely Dan's Aja and Supertramp's Breakfast in America. But I'd also recommend:

Mary's Danish's Circa.
Mind Science of the Mind's self titled album.
Stan Ridgway's Mosquitoes
The Stranglers' No More Heroes

Redartz said...

HB- great mention of Vince Gauraldi. Almost mentioned that myself...truly a perfect album.

What an incredible range of nominees! Must echo "Scarecrow" and "Aja", and "London Calling"...

Aaaaand, I'll toss in another: They Might Be Giants - "Flood". Inspired wonderful twistedness.

Humanbelly said...

Ooh, BREAKFAST IN AMERICA was on my short-list, too, MX1--- I just wasn't brave enough to say so! DREAMBOAT ANNIE is another great call, BobC. [BOBC! Old buddy! Great to see you pop up!]

HBWife, after thoughtful consideration, offers Jim Croce's PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORIES.

Hmm-- I'm utterly burnt out for LIFE on the Eagles. . . but does HOTEL CALIFORNIA have a place in the conversation?


david_b said...

Another vote for Revolver, but THE UK VERSION, not the US release. If you doubt, checkout the UK track listing.

Yes, Jim Croce's Photographs and Memories.., just a lush glorious album, great track order.

U2's Joshua Tree is certainly up there.

Stone's Sticky Fingers and Exile come to mind, but I consider Exile more a on-going claustrophobic 'stream of consciousness' than an actual 'Best Album' choice.

I'm currently in Seattle now waiting for Galacticon 4 to start this weekend. If you've checked out the FaceBook page, you'll quickly see a.. mess. Perhaps a topic suggestion down the line is 'fan-run cons' versus 'professional cons'. This certainly is the former and there's still big names cancelling and un-cancelling.., a lot of venom going on. Just heard an hour ago Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright cancelled. Oy.

Luckily I'm still scheduled to play my gig here for it Saturday night..., I think.

ColinBray said...

Re: Dead Kennedys, my personal favourite is 'In God We Trust' - their answer to the hardcore scene.

At the risk of this turning into the best punk LP of all time thread, honourable mentions to:

Milo Goes To College by The Descendants
Onwards and Upwards by Culture Shock
Christ: the Album by Crass
Damaged by Black Flag (agree, Ewan)
The Void/Faith split LP
Both Repeater and The Argument by Fugazi
Gauze/Lipcream/Outo split Japanese hardcore LP

Anonymous said...

Scratching a more personal itch, I'd add:
Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
All six studio albums and Absolutely Live by The Doors
Fragile - Yes
In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
A Different Kind of Tension - Buzzcocks
Sketches of Spain - Miles Davis

David, re: U2. They used to be one of my favorite bands from the mid- to late 80s, and I would have anybody asked me this question back then, Joshua Tree would certainly have been in my top 5. But now I find I just don't like them as much any more - although I'll acknowledge that Joshua Tree and Unforgettable Fire are still strong albums.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I just noticed your favorite Led Zep album was their first. I thought I was the only one! I can listen to How Many More Times all day...

Best Beatles album... Hmm, it's hard to argue against Revolver"s great songs, scope, & influence... My personal favorites are the White Album & Abby Road. The former is too sprawling, with some obvious filler (Savoy Truffle? Wild Honey Pie? Revolution 9, which gets the honor of Most Skippable Track in History) but when it hits it's amazing (While My Guitar..., Happiness is a Warm Gun, Dear Prudence, I'm So Tired, Julia). Abby Road is fantastic practically from start to finish, and what a finish it has! I don't know if it can match Revolver's musical evolution-in-action, though.

U2was my favorite band when I was a kid, until I discovered classic rock, alternative, and then punk and it's offshoots. While I lost interest in them after Achtung Baby, I think Joshua Tree definitely holds up.

My r&b knowledge is a bit weak but I'll second Songs in the Key of Life and add that Marvin Gaye's What's Goin On is a favorite.

- Mike Loughlin

Karen said...

David -I'm sorry to hear about the foul ups with Galacticon. I looked at the Facebook page and there certainly are a lot of unhappy folks. I hope things get straightened out and there are still some good guests appearing there -and you get to play! let us know how it goes buddy.

BobC said...

Hi HB! I pretty new to this blog but I really like it. It's nice to talk to people my own age with similar interests.I loved Heart back in the late 70's-early 80's and I still think Crazy on You is one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time. So is Mistral Wind off Dog and Butterfly.

OMIGOD--I forgot Talking Heads Remain in Light, and anything by Radiohead.

Redartz said...

BobC- must join you and HB in praise for Heart! "Dream of the Archer" is still a favorite...

Redartz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have moved more times than I care to admit, and have had to recreate my music collection often, which meant discarding artists I'd grown tired of, or who no longer were available. Not to mention that I am now old enough to have gone through several changes in how I access media! I have lived with bands, traveled with them, and been both a concert promoter and worked security. Needless to say, paring down to a "greatest of all time" or even a playlist for this week's run, is a daunting task. Strangely, though, I have one. Shawn Phillips' "Second Contribution" is flawless. No matter what my mood or taste of the moment it always works for me. And it's the only one I've had in every format ever.

BobC said...

I love Dream of the Archer, too.

ZIRGAR said...

1. Radiohead – Kid A
2. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
3. The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
4. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
5. Pixies - Doolittle
6. Faith No More - Angel Dust
7. Grant Lee Buffalo - Mighty Joe Moon
8. Monster Magnet – Powertrip
9. Roxy Music – Avalon
10. Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo habitual

My two cents...

Joseph said...

Though I'm very late to this thread, I want to give a big virtual hug to the BAB comments section more than ever before because you are all so awesome. I want few things more than to hang out with you all, listen to music (karen & doug can DJ), and read comics together, as this group clearly has the most impeccable of tastes.

Choosing "Best Album of All Time" is so hard - do I choose those that are objectively the best or my favorite? Favorite is more fun, so I'll do my best to list those closest to my heart:

1. The Who - Quadrophenia (all-time undisputed champ)
2. Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
3. Dinosaur Jr - Where You Been?
4. The Clash - London Calling
5. Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed/Beggars/Exile/Sticky Fingers (yes, i know i am cheating)
6. Rush - 2112
7. Sleater-Kinney - One Beat
8. Pixies - Surfer Rosa
9. Beatles - anything from Help through Let It Be (more cheating)
10. Led Zeppelin IV

(but how can I forget Nirvana's In Utero? Radiohead's OK Computer? Where's Pink Floyd? Black Sabbath? Arg! too many great albums!

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