Influential Albums: 1220-1226
Thu., Sep. 14. 2023 6:24pm 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.
1220. The Greatest Hits of The 80's: The Decade of Excess - Various Artists
Here's another collection I picked up along the way, and once again, I can't remember where or when I got it. It was released in 1994, but I'm guessing I got it in early 2000, because I think I used it to write parodies on one of my earliest trips to visit Lisa in Kentucky after we started dating. There were only 10 tracks, but ApologetiX went on to spoof nine of them. The only exception was "Don't Be Cruel" by Cheap Trick, although we did spoof the original by Elvis. In fact, we had a debate within the band as to which version we should cover. For the record, I like them both. The others on this album are: "Bette Davis Eyes" (Kim Carnes), "867-5309/Jenny" (Tommy Tutone), "La Bamba" (Los Lobos), "Maniac" (Michael Sembello), "Queen of Hearts" (Juice Newton), "Centerfold" (The J. Geils Band), "Karma Chameleon" (Culture Club), "Stray Cat Strut" (Stray Cats), and "Sunglasses at Night" (Corey Hart).
1221. Living in Oblivion: The 80's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 - Various Artists
I bought this compilation in the spring of 2000 at the mall in Paducah KY while waiting for Lisa, who worked in that town. Released in 1993, Living in Oblivion: The 80's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, has 19 tracks. The only one ApologetiX ever spoofed is the opener, "Mickey" by Toni Basil, but there are plenty of interesting tunes, including the Spanish version of "Mickey," which closes the album. My favorite cut is "Lay Your Hands on Me" by Thompson Twins. I'd liked it back when it came out in 1985 — while I was in college — but the lyrics took on a whole new meaning with 15 additional years of life behind me (including one particularly difficult one in 1999) and a Thompson (Lisa's maiden name) of my own: "This old life seemed much too long — little point in going on. I couldn't think of what to say — words just vanished in a haze. I was feeling cold and tired — yeah, kinda sad and uninspired — when it almost seemed too much — I see your face and sense the grace and feel the magic in your touch." Years later, I used "Lay Your Hands on Me" as Lisa's ringtone on my phone. Other songs I enjoyed on Living in Oblivion: The 80's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 were "Heart and Soul" (T'Pau), "Just Got Lucky" (Jo Boxers), "Running Up That Hill" (Kate Bush), "Never Ending Story" (Limahl), "Destination Unknown" (Missing Persons), and "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" by The Power Station. Honorable mention: "Living in a Box" by Living in a Box, which originally appeared on their album Living in a Box. Sadly, as far as I know, that band only released two albums. I would have loved for them to do a boxed set called Living in a Box in a Box. But at least we got Living in a Box on Living in Oblivion. There were five volumes in the Living in Oblivion series. For a complete track listing of Vol. 2, go to
1222. Poison's Greatest Hits: 1986-1996 - Poison
Released in November 1996, Poison's Greatest Hits: 1986-1996 featured 18 tracks, including all 12 of their Hot 100 hits, half of which made it into the Top 10: "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (#1), "Unskinny Bop" (#3), "Something to Believe In" (#4), "Nothin' but a Good Time" (#6), "Talk Dirty to Me" (#9), and "Your Mama Don't Dance" (#10). The other half all hit the Top 50: "Fallen Angel" (#12), "I Won't Forget You" (#13), "Life Goes On" (#35), "Ride the Wind" (#38), "I Want Action" (#50), and "Stand" (#50). That album inspired me to rewrite our 1992 parody of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." ApologetiX released the new version in 2000 but revamped it again in 2022. We later covered "Unskinny Bop" (2015), "Talk Dirty to Me" (2017), and "Nothin' but a Good Time" (2018), too. Back in '92, we also recorded and released a live version of "Your Mama Don't Dance" that combined the styles of Poison's version and Loggins & Messina's original. Poison's Greatest Hits: 1986-1996 sold over two million copies. I remember buying mine while driving to an ApologetiX concert in Green Bay WI on March 25, 2000. I had to meet the rest of the band there, because I was traveling from Mayfield KY, where I'd been visiting Lisa and her family. It was worth all those extra miles, because we got engaged that weekend ... speaking of "Something to Believe In" and "Nothin' but a Good Time."
1223. Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts - Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Before I bought this album in 2000, my Joan Jett purchases were limited to two 45s I got in the '80s — "I Love Rock 'N Roll" (#1 pop for seven weeks, #1 mainstream rock for five weeks) and "Light of Day" (#33 pop, #13 mainstream). But those were long gone by the time I picked up Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts; I'd ditched my collection of 45s back in '88 and never missed 'em much. However, I wanted to write a parody of "I Love Rock 'N Roll," so I figured I might as well get the rest of her hits along with it. Released in November 1997, Fit to Be Tied included the aforementioned tunes plus almost all of her other hits — "Bad Reputation" (#48 mainstream), "Crimson and Clover" (#7 pop, #6 rock), "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" (#20 pop, #21 rock), "Fake Friends" (#35 pop, #18 rock), "Everyday People" (#37 pop), "I Hate Myself for Loving You" (#8 pop, #20 rock), and "Little Liar" (#19 pop, #13 rock). Unfortunately, "I Hate Myself for Loving You" was an alternate version, "Little Liar" was live, and "Dirty Deeds" (#36 pop, #23 rock) was missing. An interesting non-hit on Fit to Be Tied was a cover of "Love Is All Around." When I first saw it on the track listing, I assumed it was a remake of the old Troggs hit, but it's actually Jett's rendition of the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. ApologetiX has released spoofs of "I Love Rock 'N Roll" three times — in 2000, 2004, and 2015. I sang the first two, and my daughter Janna sang the third. I remember getting the idea for that parody on the way to pick up Lisa at the Pittsburgh airport.
1224. Time Flies... The Best of Huey Lewis & The News - Huey Lewis & The News
Time Flies... The Best of Huey Lewis & The News came out in October 1996. If memory serves, I bought my copy in 2000 in hopes of doing a parody of "The Heart of Rock and Roll" (#6 pop, #5 mainstream rock). That still hasn't happened, but listening to this collection started me thinking about the possibilities for "I Want a New Drug" (#6 pop, #7 mainstream), which we eventually got to ... in 2019. By that time, ApologetiX had already spoofed "The Power of Love" (#1 pop, #1 mainstream, #6 adult contemporary) in 2011. This was the first Huey Lewis album to actually feature that song (it previously was only on the Back to the Future soundtrack), but our parody was inspired by a different various-artists compilation later on this list. Lewis had a dozen Top 10 pop hits in his career, although four of them are absent from Time Flies: "Jacob's Ladder" (#1 pop, #10 mainstream), "Hip to Be Square" (#3 pop, #1 mainstream), "Perfect World" (#3 pop, #5 mainstream), and "I Know What I Like" (#9). I particularly missed "Jacob's Ladder" and "Perfect World." Aside from the Top 10 hits I mentioned earlier, the others present and accounted for were: "Stuck with You" (#1 pop, #2 mainstream), "If This Is It" (#6 pop, #3 mainstream, #5 AC), "Doing It All for My Baby" (#6 pop, #2 AC), "Do You Believe in Love" (#7 pop, #12 mainstream), and "Heart and Soul" (#8 pop, #1 mainstream). A couple other popular Lewis songs that made the cut were "Workin' for a Livin' (#41 pop, #20 mainstream) and "Bad Is Bad," which never charted but used to get airplay on our local rock station. Time Flies included four new songs, but only one of them charted — "100 Years from Now" (#10 AC). Two other tracks making their first appearance on a Huey Lewis album were "Trouble in Paradise" (#11 mainstream) — a live recording previously only available on the We Are the World LP in 1985 — and "It's Alright" (#37 pop, #7 AC) from a compilation called People Get Ready: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield in 1993.
1225. Now That's What I Call Music! 3 - Various Artists
Music buyers today may find it hard to believe, but there was a time when there was a single-digit amount of volumes in the Now That's What I Call Music! series. Released in December 1999, Now 3 had plenty of pop hits from big stars like Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, but it had a much bigger variety of musical styles than you might expect. In fact, although this album billed itself as "18 Top Chart hits," the four songs I most associate with it all failed to hit the Top 40. I think I purchased it mainly to get "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz (#49 pop, #3 mainstream rock for eight weeks, #7 alternative) as a possible parody, since Karl liked Lenny's version (I preferred The Guess Who's original). However, these were the three tunes that kept me coming back: "Nookie" by Limp Bizkit (#80 pop, #7 mainstream rock, #3 alternative), "The Rockafeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim (#76 pop, #39 alternative, #2 dance singles), and "What's My Age Again?" (#58 pop, #19 mainstream rock, #2 alternative for 11 weeks). On an April 2000 road trip with Karl to a show ApologetiX was doing in Elizabethtown PA, I picked him up and had a portable CD player hidden under my seat and kept playing "Nookie" non-stop, partially because I wanted to annoy him but also because I thought it deserved serious consideration for parody. We eventually released a spoof of that tune in 2001. Now 3 went to #4 on the Billboard 200 and sold two million copies.
1226. Millennium - Backstreet Boys
Entering the Billboard 200 at #1 in May 1999, Millennium was the second studio LP released by Backstreet Boys in the United States. The five-man boy band had actually put out two studio albums internationally before that, but their self-titled first U.S. studio LP combined the best of them, selling over 14 million copies stateside with five Top 5 pop hits: "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" (#2), "As Long as You Love Me" (#4), "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" (#4), "I'll Never Break Your Heart" (#4), and "All I have to Give" (#5). None of the songs on Millennium hit the Top 5 on the pop chart, but it still logged 10 weeks total at the top of the album chart, selling over 15 million in the United States and over 24 million worldwide. Two of the singles hit #6 and dominated the adult contemporary charts: "I Want It That Way" (#6 pop, #1 AC for 10 weeks, #1 Radio & Records) and "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" (#6 pop, #2 AC). A couple other singles reached the Top 30: "Larger Than Life" (#25 pop, #35 AC) and "The One" (#30 pop, #15 AC). I bought Millennium for the sake of ApologetiX bassist Keith Haynie, believe it or not. Although Keith is our resident metalhead, I thought I'd heard him say that he liked "I Want It That Way." That seemed strange to me, but I decided to write a parody of it as a favor to him. After we released it in the fall of 2000, he told me that what he'd actually said was something like "I don't like any songs by these new boy bands (Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, etc.), but 'I Want It That Way' is the best of them." Whatever, Keith. He's wrong, by the way ... the best was actually "Larger Than Life." I love that tune.