The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 10
Sat., Jul. 18. 2020 8:36am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Back in May, two friends asked me to share 10 albums that influenced 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 me. Fans have asked me to include them in the newsletter, too. Here's are this week's entries:
65. Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
A couple other kids in our neighborhood got into Led Zeppelin before I did. The first time I ever heard "Whole Lotta Love" on the radio, it frightened me and attracted me at the same time. Not too long after that, a music store (instruments and records) called Music City opened up in our neighborhood and had a prize drawing to celebrate their opening. Pat Henry, the younger brother of my friend Jeff Henry, won third prize, which was a free album. I walked to the store with him, so he could pick his prize. I remember his mom telling him before we left that he ought to get the new Barry Manilow album. He chose Led Zeppelin II. I got to borrow it later on. ApologetiX has spoofed five songs off of this album, so, yeah, you could say it was kind of influential.
66. Revolver - The Beatles
C'mon, you can't have Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper without having Revolver. I grew to appreciate this album more as I grew older. I think the songs I used to like the least are now some of the ones I like the most. I want to tell you my favorites — I'd love you to see what they are — but tomorrow never knows. Over the years, they've been here, there, and everywhere. I first heard of the existence of the Revolver album from a girl named Michelle on my eighth-grade bus. I'm sure she wouldn't remember, for no one seems to recall stuff like that but me, so it would be a classic case of he said/she said she said. BTW, I'm not making that girl's name up. It just dawned on me that some of you may think I was just inserting another Beatles reference there. I wasn't; "Michelle" is on Rubber Soul anyway.
67. Greatest Hits – The Monkees
Yeah, these guys weren't going away — even after the arrival of The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in my life — but it was nigh impossible to find anything by them in the store (their mid-80's comeback was still many years away). Then, one fateful day, I found this at Camelot Records in Westmoreland Mall. Finally, an album with "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Daydream Believer," and "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You." And a cool-sounding tune I'd never heard before called "Listen to the Band." My Monkees collection would take a giant step forward a few years later when I met somebody at my summer job who had four more of their original albums, but I'm not goin' down that rabbit trail … yet.
68. Elvis – Elvis Presley
This should be earlier on the list, but I forgot to include it, so I guess it's now or never, even it means my list is all shook up. In 1973, there was a TV commercial for this double-album, which contained 20 of Elvis Presley's biggest hits from 1956-62. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmMWEmUpMsI I thought the songs were really catchy. A year or two later, a lady named Martha Schaller, who lived on the outskirts of our neighborhood, invited me and some of my friends into her house to hear excerpts from this album. I remember going home that night and singing "Don't Be Cruel" in our kitchen, with a spoon as my microphone. My family was amused. I was already singing in the boys' choir, but that "performance" was my first taste of being a lead singer, and I liked it. Thank you, Martha … uh, thank you very much!
69. Imperial House 60 Juke Box Hits - Various Artists
I bought this collection of 50's and 60's songs for my Aunt Louise as Christmas gift, but we didn't visit her for quite some time, so I eventually opened it and kept it for myself. Aw, she'd already heard all those songs anyway! Years later, I would discover that many, if not all, of the tracks were re-recordings. I learned a valuable lesson: It's not enough for the album to say "original artists" – it also has to say "original recordings" or "original hits." Anyway, at least the songs were done by the artists who made them famous, so they sounded similar. What more could you expect from a brand-new triple-album that only cost $8.99? https://www.discogs.com/Various-60-Juke-Box-Hits/release/4515812
70. Listen to the Music: Best of the Doobie Brothers – The Doobie Brothers
In the winter of 1979-80, I made a life-changing commitment. There would be others down the road that were more important, of course. Anyway, I joined the Columbia House Record Club — 13 albums for $1. Never mind those nine albums you have to buy at upscale prices over the next three years. The next bunch of albums are from the initial 13. This was the one I was most looking forward to. The big hits were the ones that pulled me in, but the ones that kept me coming back were "South City Midnight Lady," "Without You," and "It Keeps You Runnin'."
71. Aja - Steely Dan
What a day it was when that first big package of Columbia House Record Club selections arrived at my home at last! I had selected Steely Dan's sixth album as one of my initial 13 for $1, and I'd do it again. Other discs from the Dan will show up many years later on this list, but I got the news about Aja early. Although my sisters Kris and Gayle were responsible for my listening to many albums earlier on this list, "Peg" and "Josie" led me to this one. ApologetiX spoofed "Josie" in 2016. Even if you don't recognize that one, you probably remember "Peg." If not, I'm sure it will come back to you.
Note: The albums are not listed in order of preference or excellence, but in chronological order of when they influenced me. 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).