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Influential Albums 1493–1499 

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.

1493. Billboard Top Hits: 1992 - Various Artists
Remember General Halftrack from the Beetle Bailey comic strip? Well, half of the tracks on Billboard Top Hits: 1992 made it all the way to #1, although obviously none were by The Beatles: "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot, "How Do You Talk To An Angel" by The Heights, "Jump" by Kris Kross, "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred, and "To Be With You" by Mr. Big. Although this compilation contained no #2 hits, the remaining five tracks each peaked at a different chart position between #3 and #7: "Masterpiece" by Atlantic Starr (#3), "Live and Learn" by Joe Public (#4), "Just Another Day" by Jon Secada (#5), "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do" by Tevin Campbell (#6), and "I Can't Dance" by Genesis (#7). We launched ApologetiX in '92, so I was a little preoccupied and didn't listen to mainstream radio much that year, but we did eventually spoof "To Be With You" in 2015 and "I'm Too Sexy" in 2022. 

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Influential Albums 1486-1492 

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.

1485. Rock On 1968 - Various Artists
The star of Rock On 1968 was Bobby Goldsboro, who opened and closed the album with two sad story songs (both…

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Influential Albums 1479–1485 

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.

1479. Something Special for Young Lovers – Ray Charles Singers
I first heard of The Ray Charles Singers in the opening line of "Life Is a Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)" by Reunion: "B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers." I assumed it had something to do with the legendary R&B/pop/country singer-pianist Ray Charles, a.k.a. "The Genius" and "Brother Ray." Wrong. His backing singers were called The Raelettes. The man who brought us "What'd I Say," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Hit the Road Jack," and "I Can't Stop Loving You" was born Ray Charles Robinson Sr. in September 1930. "The other Ray Charles," as he was sometimes called, entered this world as Charles Raymond Offenberg in September 1918. He created The Ray Charles Singers while leading the orchestra for The Perry Como Show. Their biggest hit was "Love Me With All Your Heart (Cuando Calienta El Sol)," which hit #3 on the pop chart and topped the adult contemporary chart for four weeks. That was in 1964, the same year The Beatles dominated the American charts. In fact, the week "Love Me With All of Your Heart" rose to #3, "Love Me Do" was at #4, on its way down from #1. The Ray Charles Singers followed up with "Al-Di-La" (#29 pop, #4 AC) and reached the Top 40 one more time with "One More Time" (#32 pop, #7 AC). Those were their Top 40 pop hits, but they amassed a dozen Top 40 adult contemporary hits. Released in 1964, Something Special for Young Lovers was the group's highest-charting by far, reaching #11 on the Billboard 200. The only hit it contained was "Love Me With All Your Heart." That album was followed up by Al-Di-La and Other Extra-Special Songs for Young Lovers (#45), Songs for Lonesome Lovers (#88), and Songs for Latin Lovers (#125). Notice a pattern there? Yes, both in the derivative titles and in the descending chart positions. The Ray Charles Singers would never had another charting LP. Anyway, I bought Something Special for Young Lovers in 2005, because I needed "Love Me With All Your Heart" for my #3 hits playlist. I was pleasantly surprised by the song; it's closer to Lawrence Welk than The Beatles but still has its charms.  

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Influential Albums 1472–1478 

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.

1472. Somewhere in England (Extra Tracks Original Recording Remastered) - George Harrison
George Harrison's proposed ninth studio LP, Somewhere in England, was originally submitted to Warner Brothers in September 1980, but the record label rejected it for not being commercial enough. They even made him come up with new cover art. Harrison eventually returned with four new tracks, including "Blood From a Clone," which was inspired by the initial album's rejection, and the record was released on June 1, 1981. In the interim, Harrison's Beatles bandmate John Lennon had been murdered by an assailant on December 8, 1980, and Harrison eulogized him in another one of the new tracks, "All Those Years Ago," which featured Ringo Starr on drums and Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, and Denny Laine on backing vocals. Released as the first single from Somewhere in England, it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Radio & Radio Records chart. The second single, "Teardrops," also reached #2 ... on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart, which is the equivalent of hitting #102. It did make it to #51 on the mainstream rock chart, while "All Those Years Ago" went to #6. Somewhere in England climbed to #11 on the Billboard 200 and #13 on the U.K. album chart. It was remastered and reissued with the original cover art in 2004, and I bought a copy of that in September 2005, because I needed "All Those Years Ago" for my playlist of #2 songs (although I used to own the 45 back in college). Harrison's next LP, Gone Troppo, came out in November '82 and became his first non-instrumental album to miss the top 20. It sputtered to #108, but George later proved he could do much better once he set his mind to it. 

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Influential Albums 1465–1471 

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.

1465. Best of Freda Payne: Ten Best Series - Freda Payne
Arguably the most famous Motown songwriting/producing team was Holland-Dozier-Holland — Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland — best known for writing many hits by The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, and others. After they left Motown to strike out on their own, the three formed two record labels — Hot Wax (in 1968) and Invictus (in 1969). The biggest hits on Hot Wax were by the R&B trio The Honey Cone, who had four Top 40 hits, most notably "Want Ads" (#1 pop, #1 R&B). Other artists with pop success on that label included 100 Proof (Aged in Soul), The Flaming Ember, and Laura Lee. Meanwhile, on Invictus, the two big artists were Chairmen of the Board, whom I mentioned in my previous entry, and a great female R&B singer by the name of Freda Payne. Like Chairmen of The Board, Payne is best remembered for a huge #3 pop hit from 1970, "Band of Gold" (#3 pop, #20 R&B). That single did even better on the charts of Billboard's rivals (#1 Record World, #2 Cash Box) and also topped the U.K. pop chart. Payne didn't have quite as many hits as Chairmen of the Board, but she did have three additional Top 15 R&B hits — two of which hit the pop Top 25 — "Bring the Boys Home" (#12 pop, #3 R&B), "Deeper and Deeper" (#24 pop, #9 R&B), and "Cherish What Is Dear to You (While It's Near to You)" (#44 pop, #11 R&B). They can all be found on The Best of Freda Payne (part of the Ten Best series), which also included "You Brought the Joy" (#52 pop, #21 R&B), "The Unhooked Generation" (#43 R&B) and "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right" (#75 R&B). Her only Hot 100 hit missing was "The Road We Didn't Take," which just barely sneaked onto that chart (it stalled at #100) and never made the R&B chart. From 1976-79, Payne was married to singer Gregory Abbott, who went on to have a #1 pop and R&B hit in 1987 with "Shake You Down." The couple had a son together, Gregory Abbott Jr., who was born in 1977.   

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Influential Albums 1458–1464 

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.

1458. I'm Breathless (Music From and Inspired by The Film Dick Tracy) - Madonna
I was a big fan of Dick Tracy as a kid. In fact, the first book I ever purchased with my own money was a big 1970 hard-cover anthology of his adventures in cartoon strips from 1931-51. Consequently, I was somewhat interested when the long-awaited Dick Tracy film finally came out in mid-June 1990. Warren Beatty starred as the titular detective, and one of his co-stars was Madonna, as the femme fatale Breathless Mahoney. The movie received mixed reviews from critics (and yours truly) but was the ninth highest-grossing film of America that year. Released several weeks in advance, on May 22, 1990, Madonna's I'm Breathless LP comprised jazz, swing, and pop songs, including a duet with Beatty ("Now I'm Following You," Parts I and II) and another with Mandy Patinkin ("What Can You Lose"), who played one of Tracy's celebrated foes, piano player 88 Keys. Three years earlier Patinkin had immortalized the role of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. A number of the tracks sound like they could have come from a stage musical, and famed Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim even wrote three of them: "Sooner or Later," "More," and "What Can You Lose." Tunes like "Cry Baby" and "I'm Going Bananas" also have a showtune feel, so it shouldn't be surprising that Madonna would go on to star in the cinematic version of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita in 1996. Two of the songs from I'm Breathlessbecame Top 10 hits for Madonna — "Vogue" (#1 U.S. and U.K.) and "Hanky Panky" (#10 U.S., #2 U.K.). The album itself reached #2 on the Billboard 200, selling three million copies in the United States and seven million worldwide.   

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