Influential Albums: 1206-1212
Thu., Aug. 31. 2023 6:35pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the latest entries in the "albums that influenced me" series I started writing in May 2020.
Note: Just because an album appears on this list doesn't mean I give it a blanket endorsement. Many of the secular albums on this list are mainly there because they wound up being spoofed by ApologetiX.
1206. Totally '80s - Various Artists
I remember the first time I saw an '80s compilation. The year was 1994, and one of Karl's new housemates (I was married to my first wife by then) owned it. We were laughing at the thought that there was already nostalgia for the '80s so soon after they'd ended. It may even have been this particular album. Released in 1993, Totally '80s contained 40 songs, and ApologetiX has spoofed 25 of them. I can't remember with absolute certainty if I ever owned it myself, but I keep thinking I did, and if so, it was probably what I was listening to when I got the ideas for our parodies of "Rock This Town" (Stray Cats) and "867-5309/Jenny" (Tommy Tutone) and possibly "Jessie's Girl" (Rick Springfield). I had at least one recently purchased multi-cassette '80s compilation in my car that I listened to for parody ideas in the fall and winter of '99, and those are three songs that stick out in my memory from then, and they are all on Totally '80s along with 22 other songs we have now spoofed by a-ha, Billy Ocean, The Bangles, Men at Work, Robert Palmer, Culture Club, Tone Loc, Wang Chung, Naked Eyes, Kajagoogoo, The Romantics, The J. Geils Band, Thomas Dolby, Eddy Grant, Cutting Crew, Ray Parker Jr., Corey Hart, Mike + The Mechanics, John Parr, Juice Newton, Mr. Mister, and REO Speedwagon. This collection may have helped lay the groundwork for some of them, simply by bringing them to my memory. For a complete track listing, go to https://www.discogs.com/master/818121-Various-Totally-80s
1207. Monsters of Rock - Various Artists
I can't remember exactly when I bought this compilation, but it came out in June 1998. I think I had it by late '99 or early 2000. Monsters of Rock (which had nothing to do with the famous hard rock and heavy metal festival of the same name) included 16 tracks, and ApologetiX went on to spoof 11 of them: "Cum on Feel the Noize" (Quiet Riot), "Once Bitter Twice Shy" (Great White), "The Final Countdown" (Europe), "Round and Round" (Ratt), "Here I Go Again" (Whitesnake), "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (Poison), "We're Not Gonna Take It" (Twisted Sister), "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" (Judas Priest), "Hold On Loosely" (.38 Special), "Turn Up the Radio" (Autograph), and "Sister Christian" (Night Ranger). The only ones we haven't spoofed are "Poison" (Alice Cooper), "Cherry Pie" (Warrant), "Seventeen" (Winger), "Cult of Personality" (Living Colour), and "Nobody's Fool" (Cinderella), and I think we've considered just about all of those at one time or another, too. Who says hard rock can't be inspirational music?
1208. MTV - The First 1000 Years: New Wave - Various Artists
The title of this compilation is pretty funny ... especially when you consider that MTV seemed to shift its focus away from music after the first 10 years! The network officially launched in August 1981 and started airing its first "reality" program, The Real World, in May 1992. Be that as it may, MTV - The First 1000 Years: New Wave came out in November '99, and I bought a copy soon after. It featured 16 songs, including 10 that ApologetiX would eventually spoof: "Take on Me" (a-ha), "I Ran (So Far Away)" (A Flock of Seagulls), "I Melt with You" (Modern English), "She Blinded Me with Science" (Thomas Dolby), "Cars" (Gary Numan), "One Thing Leads to Another" (The Fixx), "Love Shack" (The B-52's), "You Might Think" (The Cars), "Things Can Only Get Better" (Howard Jones), and "Karma Chameleon" (Culture Club). I got the basic ideas for many of them while listening to MTV - The First 1000 Years: New Wave, although it seemed like it took 1000 years to finish writing and actually record some of them! One of the tunes on this collection that I really liked but we'll probably never spoof was "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths. Now that is one wild-sounding tune! It was used very effectively in Adam Sandler's '98 movie The Wedding Singer. For a complete list of the songs on MTV - The First 1000 Years: New Wave, go to
1209. 80's New Wave 1980-1987 Rock - Various Artists
I know I've been including a lot of compilations here, but in the winter of 1999-2000, I bought a bunch of '80s anthologies while seeking and writing material for our fifth CD. Of course, when I started that quest, we hadn't even put out our fourth CD yet, but it was already mixed and, and I was thinking ahead. Released in '98, 80's New Wave 1980-1987 Rock contained 14 tracks. They all were Top 10 pop hits with the exception of "Words" by Missing Persons (#42 pop, #60 mainstream rock). But I'd always loved that tune and almost every other new wave pop song from 1980-87. ApologetiX went on to spoof "Words" and eight songs total from this collection, including "Always Something There to Remind Me" (Naked Eyes), "Too Shy" (Kajagoogoo), "Who Can It Be Now" (Men at Work), "She Blinded Me with Science" (Thomas Dolby), "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" (Wang Chung), "Rock This Town" (The Stray Cats), and "Karma Chameleon" (Culture Club). A highlight among the songs we didn't spoof (or at least haven't spoofed yet) on 80's New Wave 1980-1987 Rock was the extended play version of "Our House" by Madness. I used to own the version from the 45 and the album (which clocked in at 3:20-21), but I fondly remembered the dance mix (which was about a minute and a half longer) from my visits to our local under-21 nightspot in the summer of '83. For a complete track listing, go to https://www.discogs.com/release/15257969-Various-80s-New-Wave-Rock
1210. Greatest - Duran Duran
I already wrote about each of the first four Duran Duran LPs quite some time ago on this list. They were definitely a guilty pleasure for me in college. Some of my housemates and I even dressed up as the band members for Halloween '84 at my suggestion. You might say our costumes were Taylor-made (your choice: John, Andy, or Roger). However, I lost track of Duran Duran after '87. Although I purchased "Notorious" (#2 pop), the first single from their fifth LP, that was as far as I went with them until I bought this "best of." Released in November 1998, Greatest featured 19 tracks, including all 15 of their U.S. Top 40 hits and my old early favorites "Girls on Film" (#5 U.K.) and "Planet Earth" (#12 U.K.) which hadn't charted in the States. I wasn't familiar with the group's later hits, so it was interesting to finally hear them, especially the three biggest ones: "Ordinary World" (#3 for three weeks), "I Don't Want Your Love" (#4), and "Come Undone" (#7). I was particularly fond of "Ordinary World," which also reached #1 on the Cashbox and Radio & Records charts. It's right up there among my all-time favorite Duran Duran hits and favorite '90s songs by any artist. And who could resist the album's most-recent track (released in '97), "Electric Barbarella" (#52)? ApologetiX spoofed "Hungry Like the Wolf" in 2011 and "A View to a Kill" in 2022.
1211. A Little Bit of Mambo - Lou Bega
Ah, musical moments and memories ... my cousin Amy's wedding sometime around Thanksgiving in 1999 ... not a place I was keen to be while pondering the unexpected (at least for me) demise of my own marriage. The big song at the reception? "Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of ...)" by Lou Bega, which was then in its second consecutive week at #3 — the place where it peaked — on the Billboard Hot 100. Let's just say I didn't feel like dancing. Little did I know what God had just around the corner for me. But first I needed to make it safely out of the year without being bitten by the Y2K millennium bug. Although I never would have dreamt it, by the same time in 2000, I'd be happily remarried ... and by the same time in 2001, ApologetiX would be ready to release a parody of "Mambo No. 5." Of course, to do that, I first had to purchase this album, which made it to #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold three million in the United States. It produced one other chart single, "Tricky Tricky" (#74), which would be Bega's final Hot 100 entry.
1212. Greatest Hits - Styx
I can't remember exactly when I bought this cassette — sometime in the second half of the '90s — but I distinctly remember listening to it on my way home from a youth-group event ApologetiX played in Ellwood City PA on January 7, 2000. Half of the 16 tracks were Top 10 singles: "Babe" (#1), "The Best of Times" (#3), "Mr. Roboto" (#3), "Show Me the Way" (#3), "Lady" (#6), "Don't Let It End" (#6), "Come Sail Away" (#8), and "Too Much Time on My Hands" (#9). Well, technically, the version of "Lady" was an all-new recording, "Lady '95." The original came out in 1972 on Wooden Nickel Records, but issues with distribution rights prevented its inclusion here. I prefer that one (it's one of my all-time favorites), although the new version did feature Tommy Shaw, who wasn't in the band back in '72. Released in August 1995, Greatest Hits only went to #138 but eventually sold two million copies. It also included rockers like "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" (#21) and "Miss America." I especially appreciated the selections from their first few albums, which I had never owned — songs like "Suite Madame Blue," "Lorelei" (#27), and "Crystal Ball" (#109 pop). I'd always liked "Lorelei" but had never owned the full-length version, because the previous recordings I possessed came from K-Tel and another cut-rate collection that faded the song out midway through the second verse! ApologetiX went on to spoof four of the tracks on Greatest Hits: "Renegade" (#16), "Come Sail Away," "Too Much Time on My Hands," and "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" (#29). But back to the concert in Ellwood City I mentioned at the beginning of this entry ... it's so poetic that I happened to play this tape afterward. You see, by the time I got home, it was January 8, 2000, the day God would introduce me to a lady who would show me the way to the best of times — a righteous babe from another state with the courage to come sail away to Pennsylvania — my own Miss America and the future Mrs. Jackson.