The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 8
Fri., Jul. 3. 2020 8:30am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Back in May, two friends asked me to share 10 albums that influenced/impacted me on Facebook. I narrowed it down to 365. I post the cover art for a different album every day with a brief explanation of how/why they influenced/impacted me. Fans have asked me to include them in the newsletter, too. Here's are this week's entries:
50. K-Tel's Music Machine – Various Artists
This album contained an incredible array of hits from 1976-77 … and, for some inexplicable reason, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" from 1973. Plus two posters — of Andy Gibb and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. All this and Robby the Robot, too! Reduced to only $3.99 at G.C. Murphy! And what's a K-Tel album without the infomercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpIsNdV60IA
51. Blast from Your Past - Ringo Starr
A Starrtlingly good collection from the Beatle voted least likely to succeed. Who says it don't come easy? Well, Ringo sang it, but he made it look easy. Oh my my! I read a book about 1973 recently that included a telegram John Lennon sent to Ringo when the Ringo album hit #2 on the charts and spawned three Top 5 songs, including two #1 hits. The telegram said, "Congratulations. How dare you? And please write me a hit song." Like the overwhelming majority of albums on this list, I used to own this but all I've got is a photograph …
52. Double Vision – Foreigner
This was another one from my friend Jeff Henry's collection. He let me borrow this cassette. I knew the hits off Foreigner's debut disc, but this was the first time I got familiar with an entire album by them. I bought their next record, Head Games, but this album was more influential for me (and more successful for them). It was a real spellbinder... or was it a headknocker ... or a starrider? Nah, those last two were on the previous album. ApologetiX has spoofed seven Foreigner songs, including a brand-new spoof we just released of the title track for this album.
53. Greatest Hits – The Byrds
I bought this album for myself right before Christmas 1978, and my parents bought me a new stereo for Christmas — a combination record player, AM-FM radio, cassette, and 8-track (as per my request). This was the first thing I put on the Turn! Turn! Turntable! I'd seen it in my brother-in-law Bob's collection, but I knew I'd probably feel a whole lot better if I had my own copy.
54. Let's Get Small – Steve Martin
I was tired of Grandma Kistner always getting me clothes for Christmas. When I found out my cousin Brian Patrick was getting cool things like Fonzie action figures, I took courage and took action … and requested this. My sister Gayle's friend Mike Danko had done the "let's get small" routine for us in our breakfast room, and I had to have it. I have quoted from this album countless times since. My renditions are always family friendly; I did get it from my grandmother, after all. Ironically, my favorite track on the record is "Grandmother's Song." That one is playable "as is," so I have it on an mp3 playlist for my kids. They love it.
55. Rock and Roll Music – The Beatles
I bought this double-album at Greengate Mall's National Record Mart one Sunday afternoon in January 1979 and immediately went down to my basement to play it. When I finally emerged hours later, my dad said, "You just missed one heck of a game." It was Super Bowl XIII — Steelers 35, Cowboys 31. That shows you where my priorities were back then. I started avidly following the Steelers the next season. I still like music more than sports, but not by quite so wide a margin … except when my team is losing by a wide margin.
56. Chicago IX – Chicago
I used to love looking at Chicago albums in the record store; the titles didn't show much imagination, but the covers sure did! When it came time to buy one, I chose Chicago V, because it came with two giant posters. But it came with only one big hit, "Saturday in the Park." The rest was too jazzy for 14-year-old Johnny Jackson. Johnny Hated Jazz. Enter Joe Zellner, who repaired my shattered dreams by trading me Chicago IX (their greatest hits) for Chicago V. What I got from Joe was one of those rare greatest hits albums where every song actually was a hit. BTW, many years later "Dialogue Pts. I and II" would become my favorite Chicago song. That was on Chicago V, not IX, so maybe I wasn't wrong to pick out that album way back when — just a little premature.
Note: For the early part of this list, I've tried to keep it as chronologically accurate as possible, so these aren't necessarily the most influential, but they were the first influential. Also, 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 1988, so it's going to be a while before we get to the Christian albums, but there will be many of those when the time comes (literally).