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04.15.24This Week's News Bulletin
04.15.24Over 1650 Tracks for $100
04.15.24Get Multiple Downloads for One Donation
04.15.24New Single: '74 & '78
04.12.24Influential Albums: 1430-1436
04.12.24USBs Include New CD & Latest Single
04.12.24This Week's Bible-Reading
04.12.24Unchained Medley CD Added to iTunes, Spotify, Etc.
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04.12.24Clues for 2024 Single #8
04.08.24This Week's News Bulletin
04.08.24How to Get the ApX Library, USBs, Multiple Downloads
04.08.24This Week's News Builletin
04.05.24Five Months Till the Big ApologetiX Show
04.05.24Influential Albums: 1423-1429
04.05.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
04.05.24ApX Fan Needs Lung Transplant or a Miracle
04.03.24This Week's News Bulletin
04.01.24New Single: Two-Hit Wonders
03.29.24Bible-Reading Ends Tuesday, Starts Again Wednesday
03.29.24Rock the Bible Finishes Up
03.29.24Easter Season Playlist 2024
03.29.24Influential Albums: 1416-1422
03.28.24New CD BOGO Ends Sunday Night
03.28.24Clues for 2024 Single #7
03.25.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.22.24Influential Albums: 1409-1415
03.22.24This Week's Bible-Reading
03.22.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
03.20.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.20.24New Single: Top-Five Hits by Four-Man Bands
03.16.24Influential Albums: 1402-1408
03.16.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
03.12.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.09.24Influential Albums: 1395-1401
03.09.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
03.09.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
03.05.24This Week's News Bulletin
03.03.24New Single: '74 Solo Smashes
03.01.24A Serious Problem We're Trying to Address
02.29.24All About Our Next CD
02.29.24Influential Albums: 1388-1394
02.29.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.29.24Clues for 2024 Single #5
02.25.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.22.24Get Ready for Our Next CD
02.22.24Influential Albums: 1381-1387
02.22.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.22.24Wayne Is Retiring, What's Next for Him and Us?
02.22.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.19.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.19.24New Single: Billy & The Beach
02.16.24Influential Albums: 1374-1380
02.16.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.16.24Remembering ApX Friend Paul "Doc" Nigh (1956-2024)
02.16.24Clues for 2024 Single #4
02.10.24Influential Albums: 1367-1373
02.10.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.10.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
02.06.24This Week's News Bulletin
02.06.24New Single: '74 & '83
02.03.24ApX Lead Singer/Lyricist Shares His Testimony 36 Years Later
02.03.24Influential Albums: 1360-1366
02.03.24This Week's Bible Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
02.03.24Latest CD Added to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Etc.
02.02.24Clues for 2024 Single #3
01.29.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.26.24Influential Albums: 1353-1359
01.26.24How to Get the ApX Library, USBs, Multiple Downloads
01.26.24This Week's Bible-Reading and Rock Thru the Bible
01.26.24Flashback: J.'s Vision for ApologetiX in 2014
01.26.24J.'s Vision for ApologetiX in 2024
01.26.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
01.24.24Checking in With ApX Alum Drummer Fred Behanna
01.22.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.22.24New Single: '70s #1 Hits That Remade '60s Top 10 Hits
01.19.24Influential Albums: 1346-1352
01.19.24Encouraging Message from Longtime Fan in Oklahoma
01.19.24This Week's Bible-Reading & Rock Thru the Bible
01.15.24This Week's News Bulletin
01.12.24Influential Albums: 1339-1346
01.12.24The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
01.12.24Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
01.12.24New Testament Reading Started Wednesday
01.11.24New Worship Songs Available from ApX Alum Bill Rieger
01.08.24New Single: '81 & '83
01.08.24New CD BOGO Ends Sunday
01.08.24New USB Thumb Drives on the Way
01.05.24Clues for 2024 Single #1
01.05.24Influential Albums: 1332-1338
01.05.24Have You Heard About the Other Music City Miracle?
01.05.24This Week's Bible Reading & Rock Thru the Bible
12.29.23Influential Albums: 1325-1331
12.29.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week
12.28.232023: A Record-Breaking Record-Making Year
12.28.23The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
12.26.23This Week's News Bulletin
12.26.23New Single: 1974 & 2008
12.23.23Influential Albums: 1318-1324
12.23.23Rock Thru the Bible with ApX This Week

Influential Albums: 1353-1359
Fri., Jan. 26. 2024 3:04pm EST

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.

1353. Exit 0 - Steve Earle & The Dukes
Released May 18, 1987, Exit 0 was the second studio LP by alternative-country singer-songwriter Steve Earle. It reached #90 on the Billboard 200. I'd read about Earle before, but this was the first of his music I'd heard, even though he'd had a Top 10 country hit in '86 with "Guitar Town" (#7). A friend from Bible study named Dan Szafranski gave me the a homemade cassette copy of Exit 0 in 1989, I think. I particularly liked the opening number, "Nowhere Road" (#20 country). The second-most memorable song for me was the second track, "Sweet Little '66" (#37 country). As it turns out, those were the two singles, so the record company apparently knew what they were doing. "Nowhere Road" is still a favorite of mine, as is the fascinating story song "Copperhead Road" (#10 mainstream rock), the title track on his next CD, which came out in '88 and marked the beginning of Earle incorporating hard rock into his music. That's two for the Road. Exit 0 reached #90 on the Billboard 200.

1354. Music from the Motion Picture Ocean's Eleven - Various Artists
The original Ocean's 11 — starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Angie Dickinson — came out in 1960, with a special premiere in Las Vegas (appropriate, considering the setting of the film) on August 3, 1960, a week before its distribution nationwide. The subtly retitled remake, Ocean's Eleven — starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, and a star-studded supporting cast — was released on December 7, 2001. I don't think it had a special early showing in Vegas, but I do know Lisa and I went to see it in Paducah KY on December 22 along with Lisa's old co-worker and friend Heather (for whom our daughter Heather is named). We all loved it, and I eventually bought the DVD for Lisa. Later, she bought the soundtrack for me, because I was really taken with an instrumental near the end of the movie. The song was called "69 Police" by David Holmes, and it's still a favorite of mine. Holmes did 12 of the 21 tracks on this album. Although they're instrumentals, many of them contain bits of dialogue from the film. Other notable artists featured included Percy Faith & Orchestra, Quincy Jones, Perry Como, Arthur Lyman, and Elvis Presley. His song, "A Little Less Conversation," which only went to #69 when it originally came out in 1968, would be remixed after appearing in this movie. The new version, released in June 2002, become an international hit, although it doesn't appear on the Music from the Motion Picture Ocean's Eleven LP. We'll get to the album it does appear on with our next entry.

1355. Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits - Elvis Presley
In November 2000, Apple/Parlophone/Capitol put out 1, a compilation of all 27 Beatles singles that had hit #1 on the U.S. and/or U.K. charts. It topped Billboard 200 for eight weeks and sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Consequently, two years later, RCA did a similar thing with 30 of Elvis Presley's U.S. and/or U.K. #1 hits. Adding to the impetus was the fact that Elvis had just scored a posthumous U.K. #1 hit (for four weeks) with a remix of his 1968 single, "A Little Less Conversation." The new version was put together by Dutch musician Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a. Junkie XL) and was credited to "Elvis vs. JXL" and included as a bonus 31st track. Released on September 24, 2002, Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits topped the Billboard 200 for three weeks and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. For some reason, it was missing one of Presley's 18 U.S. #1 Billboard pop singles — "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You." But, as Meat Loaf could have told us, "17 out of 18 ain't bad." Of the other 14 selections, 11 were #1 U.K. singles: "One Night" (#4 U.S. pop), "(Now and Then) There's a Fool Such as I" (#2 U.S. pop), "Wooden Heart" (not released as a U.S. single), "Marie's the Name (His Latest Flame)," (#4 U.S. pop), "Can't Help Falling in Love" (#2 U.S. pop), "She's Not You" (#5 U.S. pop), "(You're the) Devil in Disguise" (#3 U.S. pop), "Crying in the Chapel" (#3 U.S. pop), "The Wonder of You" (#9 U.S. pop), "Way Down" (#18 U.S. pop), and "A Little Less Conversation (JXL Remix)" (#50 U.S. pop). The remaining three were singles that hit #1 on the U.S. Cash Box pop chart, but came up short on the Billboard pop chart: "Return to Sender" (#2 Billboard), "In the Ghetto" (#3 Billboard) and "Burning Love" (#2 Billboard). When the smoke cleared, the "A Little Less Conversation" remix had hit #1 in over 20 countries. Alas, the best it could do here in the States was reach #26 on the U.S. adult Top 40 chart. Nevertheless, that song and "Way Down" were enough to get me to buy Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits. They're both great tunes. I'd previously owned all the other songs, but the iTunes store wouldn't open until April 28, 2003, and even then, there were only 200,000 tracks available, so if you wanted new tunes (legally, at least) in 2002, you had to buy them on CD.

1356. Let It Be ... Naked - The Beatles
For years, I'd been hearing how Paul McCartney loathed the way Phil Spector had produced (or over-produced) The Beatles' Let It Be LP, most notably "The Long and Winding Road" (adding orchestration and ... shudder ... female backing vocals). After all, the project was originally intended to be a return to the group's roots, without all the bells and whistles, let alone string sections and choirs. Consequently, I was intrigued when Apple Records announced that we'd finally get to hear a stripped-down, un-Spectorized version of the entire project, spearheaded by McCartney himself (although it was produced and mixed by Paul Hicks, Guy Massey, and Allan Rouse). Released November 17, 2003, Let It Be... Naked kind of disappointed me, though. It sounded a little sterile. Maybe I'm biased, because the original Let It Be was the first Beatles record I ever heard (a leftover from my oldest sister), and I'd played it so many times in the basement as a young teenager. It was like a favorite movie, where you know all the dialogue and like to quote it. And that was one of the problems with Let It Be... Naked; it ditched all the comments (many of which were quite amusing) from John Lennon that preceded or followed a number of the tracks on the original release. For example, I'd always liked the original LP version of "Get Back" (because of the funny things Lennon said at the beginning and end) and the single version (because of the cool outro section). The version on Let It Be... Naked had neither, which was kind of a worst-of-both-worlds scenario for me. Without John's talking and occasional ditties (Silly Songs with Lennon?), the endings struck me as abrupt, and the whole thing seemed ... dare I say ... naked. That's rather ironic, since Lennon was the Beatle who had posed naked with Yoko on the front and back of their Two Virgins LP all those years ago. Because Let It Be... Naked sometimes used alternate takes, there was slightly different vocal phrasing in some places. The most jarring of which occurred in "The Long and Winding Road," where Paul sang "anyway, you'll always know" instead of "anyway, you'll never know." For all the fuss that had been made about Spector wrecking that song, I have to say that I preferred his mix, although the unvarnished one does have some pretty moments. Let It Be... Naked also got rid of the brief songs "Dig It" (0:50) and "Maggie Mae" (0:40) and replaced them with an alternate take of the non-album track "Don't Let Me Down," which had been the B-side of the "Get Back" single. Having said all that, when I listened to the entire Naked LP again while writing this entry, I liked it, and there were a few songs I thought might actually be better than the original mix: "Two of Us," "The One After 909," and "I Me Mine." Other observations: "For You Blue" was decent (more acoustic guitars). "I've Got a Feeling" was interesting, though maybe not as powerful. "Across the Universe" had a cool ending, but I missed the choir. I prefer the original album version of the title track but the Naked version highlights just how good the Fab Four were at doing their own backing vocals. Let It Be... Naked went to #5 on the Billboard 200, but only sold 1.2 million copies in the United States. Still, I suppose that's not too bad for a re-release of an old album by a group that had disbanded 33 years earlier.

1357. White Blood Cells - The White Stripes
Jack White (vocals, guitar, piano, bass) and his wife, Meg White (drums, percussion, vocals), formed The White Stripes in 1997. Jack was born John Anthony Gillis, but took Meg's surname when they married. Despite a divorce in 2000, they continued as a group until 2011. White Blood Cells was the Detroit-based duo's third LP overall and their first to hit the Billboard 200. Released on July 3, 2001, it yielded three Top 30 singles in the U.K., none of which hit the U.S. Hot 100, although two of them hit the U.S. alternative Top 20: "Hotel Yorba" (#26 U.K.), "Fell in Love with a Girl" (#121 U.S. pop, #12 alternative, #21 U.K.), and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground) (#19 alternative, #25 U.K.). I instantly fell in love with "Fell in Love With a Girl." I also adore another cut from the album, "We Are Gonna Be Friends," which was famously featured in the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite. That film quickly became a favorite in the ApologetiX band van and in my own household. Sometimes punky, sometimes folksy, sometimes rocky, White Blood Cells was consistently quirky ... and I mean that in a good way. The three singles were wise choices, but I also enjoy "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman," "Little Room," "The Same Boy You've Always Known," "I Think I Smell a Rat," and "This Protector." White Blood Cells reached #61 on the Billboard 200 and sold a million copies in the United States. The 2003 follow-up LP, Elephant, went to #6 and sold over two million, thanks in no small part to the single "Seven Nation Army" (#76 pop, #1 alternative, #12 mainstream, #7 U.K.), which has become an arena anthem at sporting events around the globe. I started writing a spoof of that tune in the winter of 2003-04 but wasn't satisfied enough with the results to carry on. I'd love to see actor-comedian-musician Jack Black (who is in a rock duo of his own, Tenacious D) team up with Jack White for a cover version of Three Dog Night's "Black and White." Maybe they could become the Black and White Stripes, since there's already a band called Zebra.

1358. A Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay
British rock band Coldplay released their second LP, A Rush of Blood to the Head, on August 26, 2002. That was my introduction to the group, although their previous album, Parachutes, had also been successful, reaching #51 on the Billboard 200, with the hit single "Yellow" (#48 pop, #11 adult Top 40, #6 alternative). With two babies born between May 2002 and October 2003, I just didn't have time to keep up with all the new music out there. I really dug the sound of the first single from A Rush of Blood to the Head, "In My Place" (#117 pop, #22 A40, #17 alternative). My initial exposure was when I heard it used as bumper music on a sports radio program, The Dan Patrick Show. It took a while before I found out the song's title and who performed it. Two other singles followed — "Clocks" (#29 pop, #4 A40, #9 alternative) and "The Scientist" (#34 A40, #18 alternative). All three songs are great, but "Clocks" is my favorite. Maybe if I'd been listening to the radio more at the time, I'd have grown tired of it, but I just think the music is wonderful. Same goes for "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face," "Daylight," "Warning Sign," "A Whisper," and "Amsterdam." Coldplay reminded me of a lot of U2 — just a little mellower. It probably had a lot to do with the similarities between lead singer/pianist Chris Martin's voice and Bono's. Perhaps it was also because the songs sounded important, whether you knew the words or not. A Rush of Blood to the Head sold close to five million copies in the United States, where it hit #5 on the Billboard 200. It had even greater chart success elsewhere, reaching #1 in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and eight other countries. Coldplay's next four studio albums would reach #1 in the States, but this one remains the band's biggest seller. They've had two #1 U.S. pop hits, "Viva La Vida" in 2008 and "My Universe" (with South Korean boy band BTS) in 2021. Amazingly, that song became the first single ever by a British group to enter the Hot 100 at #1. You know The Beatles and The Rolling Stones came from over there, too, right? Well, that stat is a little misleading, because no singles debuted at #1 until 1995 ("You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson). By August 2023, 69 had done so. It's not that those songs are more popular than those released prior to '95; there are just better and faster ways of tracking sales and airplay (and streaming) now.

1359. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water - Limp Bizkit
Released on October 17, 2000, Limp Bizkit's third LP sold six million copies in the United States alone, including over 400,000 that day and over a million that week ... the fastest-selling (largest first-week sales debut) rock album ever ... and still the only rock album in the all-time top 20. The much-maligned rap-metal band formed in Jacksonville FL in 1994 and attracted quite a few detractors over the years, but this was their second consecutive LP to top the Billboard 200 and their first to hit #1 on the U.K. The original title for this project was Limpdependence Day with a planned released date of July 4. Too bad that didn't work out. I bought a copy — a so-called "clean" version (although they could have cleaned a little better) — in 2001 when ApologetiX was considering candidates for our Keep the Change CD. We wound up spoofing a track from the group's previous LP, but there were two songs on this one that really caught my ear: "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" (#1 U.K.) and "My Way" (#75 pop, #4 mainstream, #3 alternative). A different version of the first song — "Rollin' (Urban Assault Vehicle)" featuring DMX, Redman & Method Man — was released as a single in the States (#65 pop, #10 mainstream rock, #4 alternative). It was done in a hip-hop style, whereas the U.K. hit was straight-ahead rock. I vastly prefer the latter, but both were included among the 15 tracks. The other charting cuts were "Take a Look Around" (#115 pop, #15 mainstream rock, #8 alternative), which originally came out in July 2000 as part of the soundtrack for Mission: Impossible 2; "My Generation" (#33 mainstream, #18 alternative); and "Boiler" (#30 mainstream). Unlike many critics, I do think Limp Bizkit has musical and lyrical talent. Unfortunately, they seem to have an affection for certain words I'd rather not hear ... and a tendency to use them with shocking frequency.