15 Albums

Did this in bits and pieces but finally done.  Nancy Slater, formerly of K-Rock for those in Kingston posted this on her MySpace blog.


“Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.”

“This was NOT easy. There have been so many albums that have come into my life over the years. Some only for a short while, but they still had a profound effect on how I listened to and enjoyed music. Below is a list of the ones I seem to return to again and again, or that for a brief moment in time served the purpose of just pure musical enjoyment.”

All right now my list.  I eliminated anything from Salt Water Music, since I’m smart enough not to go down that road.  I’d forget a CD, hurt someone’s feelings, get complaints…. so I’m going with older stuff.

This list is stuff I picked up in my college days or earlier.  Might not be the best I have but stuff I remember picking up.  Or some story behind it.

1. Lionel Ritchie, Can’t Slow Down

Got this on cassette tape when I was 5.  So cut me some slack.  It was the early 80’s and this one was all over the radio.  All Night Long is still catchy though.  I looked up the album and found out it only had 8 songs on it.  Really?

2. Stevie Wonder, In Square Circle

Picked up the new Stevie Wonder cassette [yep those things again] in 1985.  On the cover he’s sitting in front of a record.  Records were these things… oh nevermind.  Not the most memorable Stevie Wonder record, but I remember getting it.

3. Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms

Great album.  And one of the first things I ever got on CD.

Dire Straits is one of those bands that had more than one hit in the 80’s but they’re not one of the first ones you think of when the decade comes up.  But when you throw out their name people remember them.

And the title track has been used a lot on TV.  Miami Vice, Due South and West Wing.  I’ll go with Miami Vice, since they played almost the entire song in the scene.  And I just saw the episode again recently.


You’ll recognize 2 of the actors from different roles.  Bruce McGill from Animal House, and near the end is David Strathairn who was up for an Oscar for Good Night and Good luck.  Go figure.

4. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon

Nuff said.  It’s Dark Side of the Moon.  I can’t say anything new.  Except this piece of trivia if you don’t know.  How many weeks in a row was it on the U.S. Billboard top 200 charts?  591 consecutive weeks.

You’re thinking ‘that must be a few years’, yes it is.  12 years straight from 1976 to 1988.

5. Metallica, Black Album

Picked it up on cassette [last time that comes up] just for Enter Sandman.  One of the only times I picked up something for one song.  I really can’t name the other songs off the top of my head. LOL.

6. Nevermind, Nirvana

Someone online described this pretty well, one that killed off Hair Metal in one fell swoop.  True.

7. Pink Floyd, Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81

Got this in college in Ottawa and listened to it in one sitting.  HMV had the deluxe version for $25 soon after it came out. Always thought it was a mistake the staff did so I grabbed it up. The end of the most well known Pink Floyd lineup.

Richard Wright was fired from the band by Waters.  Reasons differ depending on who you talk to.  But Richard stuck around for this tour. Ironically, since he had a fixed salary he was the only member of the band who made money from the concerts.  The rest had to cover the cost overruns.

I always liked the live feel of this.  Most will go with the studio version.  But this has a link to my college days in Ottawa.  So this wins.

8. Blue Rodeo: Five Days in July, Nowhere to Here, Tremolo

I count this as one.  Because they were 3 albums in a row they put out and I got each soon after they came out.  They’re all linked in my head, even though they’re all different.

Nowhere to Here is underrated.  More rock than their other CD’s.  Tonne of people have Five Days in July which is more acoustic.  Tremolo is in between.  But the back to back on Tremolo of Brother André’s Heart and Frogs’ Lullaby is great.  Tracks you would never hear on radio.  Well I might play them but you know what I mean.

9. U2, Joshua Tree.

Big U2 fan, and I have a ticket for Skydome in September.  When it comes to picking one I have to go with Joshua Tree.  Sidenote, I still stick up for Pop.  Maybe because I bought it in Placentia when I was back in Newfounland one summer.  Buying a CD where you born does make it memorable.  But I liked how they went out on a limb with that disc.

But it has to be Joshua Tree.  Especially when you take in consideration the first 5 tracks on it.  This is a stellar lineup when you hit play.

Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With or Without You, Bullet the Blue Sky and Running to Stand Still.  Impressive.  Those 5 songs are still played on U2 tours to this day.

10. Peter Gabriel, So

Lots of great songs on here. For me Sledgehammer was one of my favorite songs of the 80’s.  When I went on my first driving lesson in the 90’s I turned on the radio and Sledgehammer was playing.  Cool, if a bit eerie.

Nancy pointed out In Your Eyes, which was a huge song.

“I don’t know too many gals my age that don’t instantly think of John Cusack holding that ghettoblaster above his head in Say Anything while blasting In Your Eyes by Gabriel.”

Great movie by the way.  Ending is well done.  Doesn’t wrap up everything in a neat tidy bow.   Which was how most 80’s movie ended.

11. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Picked this up in college along with the next one.  That PBS Jazz series was on and that got me to pick this up.  Another one that has had a lot written about it.  Amazing.

Once I listened to this, it made me picky about music for about a week. “that song is horrible” went through my head for a while when I heard most stuff on the radio. 🙂

12. Dave Brubeck, Take Five

This and Kind of Blue both came out in 1959.  Good year for Jazz. Picked this one since I always like ‘Take Five’ which has been used a lot over the years.  Movies, commercials, etc.  Other tracks you don’t hear used as often but they’re great.

13. Bruce Springsteen, 18 Tracks

Easy to go with other Springsteen albums.  But I’m going with a curveball.  Another college disc and it had The Fever and The Promise which hadn’t been released before.

And the original version of Born in the USA, from 1983.  Exact same lyrics, shows you how music can change what you think about a song.  People thought it was a patriotic song.  It’s about Vietnam vets and about a man’s brother who got killed overseas.  That’s not a rah-rah song by any means.


14. Stevie Ray Vaughan : Greatest Hits Volume 2.

Always liked SRV from radio airplay.  But picking this up I found Riveria Paradise, Lenny and his cover of Voodoo Child.  Got me more into SRV so that’s why it is on here.  I have the boxset with an 11 minute version of Voodoo Child from Carnegie Hall.  Great stuff but this is much easier to get a hold of.

15. This one is for reader comments.  Think of one you remember really well.

Thanks to Nancy Slater for writing her blog in the first place.  She just left the radio business after 17 years. Remember her on K-Rock when I moved back to Kingston.  Ahhh, the good ole days.


One of the first surprises with the internet I had in Kingston was finding out Nancy was also the music director of K-Rock.  I listened to the station more back then.  So kudos to Nancy, since I’m sure she was the reason. 🙂

From MySpace it looks like she’s back in Kingston. Which means I’m on the radio in Kingston and Nancy isn’t.  That is weird.

Feel free to give your album picks.  I’ll take the comments and put them together in a post later in the week.

And I’m done for the night after that long post.


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