Friday, February 06, 2009

Four Decades, Four Hundred Albums

I've been thinking about this list now for quite some time. I compiled the list from top album lists I had compiled going back years. I have listened to all of these albums and own most of them in either record, CD or MP3 format.

When this decade is done in 11 months I will update it and rename it Five Decades, Five Hundred Albums.


The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (1972)
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1986)
David Murray: Shakill's Warrior (1991)
The Grateful Dead: Live / Dead (1969)
Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1971)
The Clash: London Calling (1980)
The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
Derek & the Dominos: Layla (1970)
Bob Dylan/The Band: The Basement Tapes (1975)
Al Green: Call Me (1973)
Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
Freedy Johnston: Can You Fly (1992)
Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Moby: Play (1999)
Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (1988)
Iris DeMent: My Life (1994)
The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)
DeBarge: In a Special Way (1983)
Arto Lindsay: Mundo Civilizado (1997)
DJ Shadow: Endtroducing . . . DJ Shadow (1996)
The Band: Music From Big Pink (1968)
Television: Marquee Moon (1977)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1964)
The Mekons: Fear & Whiskey (1985)
The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (1978)
Tricky: Maxinquaye (1995)
X: Wild Gift (1981)
Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic (1974)
Ornette Coleman: Of Human Feelings (1982)
Prince: Sign 'O' the Times (1987)
Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)
Eno: Another Green World (1976)
Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music (1962)
L.L. Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
The Mekons: The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll (1989)
Franco & Rochereau: Omona Wapi (1985)
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced? (1967)
Fugees: The Score (1996)
Guitar Paradise of East Africa (1991)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Trust (1981)
Marshall Crenshaw: Field Day (1983)
Graham Parker & the Rumour: Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)
Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (1978)
Paul Simon: Paul Simon (1972)
Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1968)
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
Randy Newman: 12 Songs (1970)
The Robert Cray Band: Strong Persuader (1986)
Nirvana: In Utero (1993)
Joe Cocker: Joe Cocker! (1969)
Neil Young: Tonight's the Night (1975)
Mzwakhe Mbuli: Resistance Is Defence (1992)
Luna: Penthouse (1995)
Latin Playboys: Latin Playboys (1994)
King Sunny Adé and His African Beats: Juju Music (1982)
Jimmy Cliff et al.: The Harder They Come (1973)
Laurie Anderson: Strange Angels (1989)
Red Hot and Blue (1990)
Sly & the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)
Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves (1998)
Sonny Rollins: G-Man (1987)
Bob Dylan: Bringin' It All Back Home (1965)
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980)
The Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs (1999)
The New York Dolls: In Too Much Too Soon (1974)
The Beatles: Revolver (1966)
The Replacements: Let It Be (1984)
Amy Rigby: Diary of a Mod Housewife (1996)
Aretha Franklin: Who's Zoomin' Who? (1985)
Beastie Boys: Lisenced to Ill (1986)
Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)
Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out (1997)
The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue (1998)
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)
John Prine: In Spite of Ourselves (1999)
Culture: Two Sevens Clash (1987)
Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved A Man (1967)
Beck: Mellow Gold (1994)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Willy and the Poor Boys (1969)
Bob Dylan: Highway '61 Revisited (1966)
Archers of Loaf: Vee Vee (1995)
Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band: Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (1976)
English Beat: Wha'ppen? (1981)
Marshall Crenshaw: Marshall Crenshaw (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Out of Our Heads (1965)
Laurie Anderson: United States Live (1984)
Joni Mitchell: For the Roses (1972)
The Rolling Stones: Beggar's Banquet (1968)
James Blood Ulmer: Odyssey (1983)
Nirvana: Nevermind (1991)
Patti Smith: Horses (1975)
Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988)
The Wailers: Burnin' (1974)
Van Morrison: Moondance (1970)
Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997)
The Clash: The Clash (1979)
Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
Prince: Dirty Mind (1980)
PJ Harvey: Rid of Me (1993)
The New York Dolls: The New York Dolls (1973)
Neil Young: Freedom (1989)
L7: Bricks Are Heavy (1992)
Pixies: Bossanova (1990)
Bonnie Raitt: Give It Up (1972)
Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978)
Cornershop: When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997)
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
De La Soul: Buhloone Mindstate (1993)
Fluffy: Black Eye (1996)
Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel (1974)
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (1969)
Hüsker Dü: Flip Your Wig (1985)
James Carter: The Real Quietstorm (1995)
John Prine: Sweet Revenge (1973)
Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield (1966)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Dancer with Bruised Knees (1977)
George Clinton: Computer Games (1982)
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
Gang of Four: Solid Gold (1981)
Bonnie Raitt: Home Plate (1975)
Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Lou Reed: New Sensations (1984)
Lucinda Williams: Sweet Old World (1992)
Neil Young: After the Gold Rush (1970)
Old 97's: Fight Songs (1999)
Ornette Coleman: In All Languages (1987)
Otis Redding: Otis Blue (1965)
Linton Kwesi Johnson: Tings an' Times (1991)
Pere Ubu: Dub Housing (1979)
Ramones: Ramones (1976)
Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila: Songs for the Poor Man (1989)
Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (1984)
The Blasters: Non Fiction (1983)
The Pogues: Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1986)
The Who: Who's Next (1971)
Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
Bob Marley & the Wailers: Natty Dread (1975)
Pere Ubu: The Tenement Year (1988)
The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969)
The Rolling Stones: Flowers (1967)
Tom Robinson: Sector 27 (1980)
Bob Dylan: Under the Red Sky (1990)
English Beat: Special Beat Service (1982)
Graham Parker: Howlin Wind (1976)
James Brown: Sex Machine (1970)
Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Spinning Around the Sun (1993)
John Lennon: Imagine (1971)
Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (1974)
Liz Phair: Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998)
Los Lobos: How Will the Wolf Survive? (1984)
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland (1968)
Lou Reed: Legendary Hearts (1983)
Neil Young: Comes a Time (1978)
Paul Simon: Graceland (1986)
Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (1966)
Pavement: Wowee Zowee (1995)
Le Tigre: Le Tigre (1999)
Jungle Brothers: Done by the Forces of Nature (1989)
Pete Townshend: Empty Glass (1980)
Ramones: Rocket to Russia (1977)
Rosanne Cash: Interiors (1991)
Sonic Youth: Sister (1987)
The Sonny Sharrock Band: Highlife (1991)
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973)
The Beautiful South: Blue Is the Colour (1996)
The Clash: Sandinista! (1981)
The Replacements: Tim (1985)
Van Morrison: Into the Music (1979)
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique (1989)
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)
The Flying Burrito Brothers: Gilded Palace of Sin (1974)
The Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death (1997)
Heartbeat of Soweto (1988)
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo's Factory (1970)
Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding (1968)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: This Year’s Model (1978)
The Go-Betweens: Tallulah (1987)
George Clinton: You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish (1983)
Loudon Wainwright III: Career Moves (1993)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skeh-nerd (1973)
Ike & Tina Turner: River Deep Mountain High (1966)
Madonna: I'm Breathless (1990)
King Sunny Adé and His African Beats: Aura (1984)
The Beach Boys: Wild Honey (1967)
Hüsker Dü: Candy Apple Grey (1986)
Holy Modal Rounders: Too Much Fun (1999)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1972)
Nick Lowe: Labour of Lust (1979)
Ornette Coleman and Prime Time: Virgin Beauty (1988)
Parliament: Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (1977)
Pavement: Brighten the Corners (1997)
Peter Stampfel: You Must Remember This . . . (1995)
Professor Longhair: Crawfish Fiesta (1980)
R.E.M.: Out of Time (1991)
Randy Newman: Good Old Boys (1974)
Richard & Linda Thompson: Shoot Out the Lights (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Tattoo You (1981)
Scritti Politti: Cupid & Psyche ’85 (1985)
Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor (1996)
Sonic Youth: Dirty (1992)
Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
The Coup: Steal This Album (1998)
The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (1971)
Ambitious Lovers: Greed (1998)
Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
Aretha Franklin: Spirit in the Dark (1970)
Big Star: Radio City (1974)
Bonnie Raitt: Luck of the Draw (1991)
Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love (1987)
The Who: Tommy (1969)
De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Blood and Chocolate (1986)
Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac (1975)
The Byrds: Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove (1978)
Hole: Live Through This (1994)
James Carter: Conversin' With the Elders (1996)
Gang of Four: Entertainment! (1980)
John Prine: Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings (1995)
Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors (1977)
Michael Jackson: Off the Wall (1979)
Miles Davis: Agharta (1976)
P.M. Dawn: The Bliss Album . . . ? (1993)
Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain (1984)
R.E.M.: Murmur (1983)
Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Wise Guy (1982)
The Rolling Stones: Aftermath (1966)
Latin Playboys: Dose (1999)
PJ Harvey: Is This Desire? (1998)
Psychedelic Furs: Talk Talk Talk (1981)
Neil Young: Time Fades Away (1973)
Talking Heads: Little Creatures (1985)
The Roches: A Dove (1992)
Alberta Hunter: Amtrak Blues (1980)
Andy Fairweather Low: Spider Jiving (1974)
Arthur Blythe: Lenox Avenue Breakdown (1979)
Black Uhuru: Anthem (1984)
The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (1969)
The Chills: Submarine Bells (1990)
The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers--A Tribute Album (1997)
The Wailers: Catch a Fire (1972)
David Bowie: Station to Station (1976)
Donald Fagen: The Nightfly (1982)
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (1977)
Feelies: The Time for a Witness (1991)
Iris DeMent: The Way I Should (1996)
Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill (1985)
Black Uhuru: Red (1981)
John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Joy of Cooking: Joy of Cooking (1971)
Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Doppelganger (1983)
John Trudell: AKA Graffiti Man (1992)
M People: Elegant Slumming (1994)
Mary Lou Lord: Got No Shadow (1998)
PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love (1965)
Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison (1968)
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
Randy Newman: Bad Love (1999)
Steely Dan: Katy Lied (1975)
Steve Earle: Guitar Town (1986)
The Neville Brothers: Yellow Moon (1989)
Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (1975)
Aretha Franklin: Soul '69 (1969)
Archers of Loaf: Icky Mettle (1993)
Wire: Pink Flag (1978)
Steely Dan: Can't Buy a Thrill (1972)
Sly & Robbie: Rhythm Killers (1987)
Al Green: Livin' for You (1973)
Mahlathini & Mahotella Queens: Paris-Soweto (1988)
Burning Spear: Marcus Garvey (1976)
Camper Van Beethoven: Camper Van Beethoven (1986)
Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)
Folkways: A Vision Shared--A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly (1988)
Ice-T: O.G.: Original Gangster (1991)
John Lennon/Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy (1980)
Lou Reed: New York (1989)
Marvin Gaye: Midnight Love (1982)
Ornette Coleman: Dancing in Your Head (1977)
Mary J. Blige: Share My World (1997)
Pablo Moses: In the Future (1983)
Pet Shop Boys: Very (1993)
Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
Linton Kwesi Johnson: Making History (1984)
Los Lobos: Colossal Head (1996)
P.M. Dawn: Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here (1998)
Stevie Wonder: Talking Book (1972)
Sugar: File Under: Easy Listening (1994)
The B-52's: The B-52's (1979)
The Kinks: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
Sonic Youth: Goo (1990)
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy (1985)
Q-Tip: Amplified (1999)
The Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)
ABC: The Lexicon of Love (1982)
Al Green: The Belle Album (1977)
Aretha Franklin: A Rose Is Still a Rose (1998)
Arto Lindsay/Ambitious Lovers: Envy (1984)
Bob Dylan / The Band: Before the Flood (1974)
Chic: Real People (1980)
The Grateful Dead: Aoxomoxoa (1969)
Digable Planets: Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (1993)
Freedy Johnston: Never Home (1997)
Joe Ely: Honky Tonk Masquerade (1978)
Papa Wemba: Emotion (1995)
The Blasters: Hard Line (1985)
Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked (1988)
The Sonny Sharrock Band: Seize the Rainbow (1987)
Tom Verlaine: Dreamtime (1981)
Beats International: Let Them Eat Bingo (1990)
The Goats: Tricks of the Shade (1992)
Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura (1995)
The Vibrators: Pure Mania (1978)
The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970)
Graham Parker: Heat Treatment (1976)
John Prine: John Prine (1971)
Mississippi John Hurt: Last Sessions (1972)
Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers: Jonathan Sings! (1983)
Pere Ubu: Cloudland (1989)
P.M. Dawn: Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (1991)
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy: Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury (1992)
The Grateful Dead: Workingman's Dead (1970)
The Housemartins: The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death (1987)
The Blasters: The Blasters (1981)
The Who: Quadrophenia (1973)
Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston (1975)
Victoria Williams: Loose (1994)
Willie Nelson: Spirit (1996)
Bill Withers: Still Bill (1972)
Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind (1997)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: The McGarrigle Hour (1998)
Minutemen: 3-Way Tie for Last (1985)
Muddy Waters: Hard Again (1977)
Roxy Music: Siren (1975)
The Allman Brothers: Brothers and Sisters (1973)
Tom Verlaine: Tom Verlaine (1979)
The Roches: The Roches (1979)
They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants (1986)
Beck: Odelay (1996)
Bonnie Raitt: Bonnie Raitt (1971)
The Band: The Band (1969)
Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (1974)
Hurricane Zouk (1988)
John McLaughlin: Devotion (1970)
Keith Whitley: I Wonder Do You Think of Me (1989)
Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1976)
Mekons: Curse of the Mekons (1991)
Prince: 1999 (1982)
Public Image Ltd.: Second Edition (1980)
Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band: The Mountain (1999)
The Beautiful South: 0898 Beautiful South (1992)
Thomas Mapfumo: Ndangariro (1984)
Tom Verlaine: Flash Light (1987)
UB 40: Rat in the Kitchen (1986)
Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy (1978)
Al Green: Al Green Gets Next to You (1971)
X: More Fun in the New World (1983)
Belle and Sebastian: The Boy With the Arab Strap (1998)
John Prine: Common Sense (1975)
The Pretenders: The Pretenders (1979)
Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (1980)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Love Over and Over (1983)
Mother Earth: Make a Joyful Noise (1969)
Living Colour: Time's Up (1990)
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Second Helping (1974)
Michael Jackson: Thriller (1982)
The Robert Cray Band: I Was Warned (1992)
Van Morrison: His Band & the Street Choir (1970)
Willie Nelson: Stardust (1978)
Ani DiFranco: Dilate (1996)
Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman: Song X (1986)
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Rank and File: Sundown (1982)
The Pretenders: Learning to Crawl (1984)
The Go-Betweens: 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground (1969)
The Robert Cray Band: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1988)
Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues (1983)
The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers (1976)
The dB's: Like This (1984)
Pulp: Different Class (1996)
Patti Smith: Dream of Life (1988)
Pulnoc: City of Hysteria (1991)
Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (1972)
Richard Hell and the Voidoids: Blank Generation (1977)
The Housemartins: London 0, Hull 4 (1986)
The Insect Trust: Hoboken Saturday Night (1970)
Jimi Hendrix: The Cry of Love (1971)
Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis (1969)
Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones (1983)
B.B. King: Live in Cook County Jail (1971)
Ramones: Too Tough to Die (1984)
Otis Redding: Love Man (1969)
Carole King: Tapestry (1971)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Day The Music Died

He was only 22 years old when he stepped onto a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane that was going to take him and his fellow performers, J.P. Richardson and Ritchie Valens, to Fargo, North Dakota, to play their next gig on the Winter Dance Party Tour of 1959. Despite reports of a snow storm, all believed that the flight would be uneventful. The flight took off at 12:05 A.M., February 3. Several hours later, the wreckage was discovered by the plane’s owner some eight miles from the airport. All on board had perished in the crash, including the 22 year old whose name was Charles Hardin Holley – AKA Buddy Holly.

While relatively short in its length – just under two years - the career of Buddy Holly was exceptional. He was among the most gifted and influential singer/songwriters, not only of the 1950s, but of all time. Between August 1957 and August 1958 Holly and his band the Crickets charted seven top 40 hits, including “That’ll Be The Day,” “Maybe Baby,” “Oh Boy,” and “Peggy Sue.”

Holly was an innovator who wrote his own material and was among the first to exploit such advanced studio techniques as double-tracking. He pioneered and popularized the now-standard rock-band lineup of two guitars, bass and drums. In his final months, he even began experimenting with orchestration. Though Holly lacked the animal attraction of Elvis Presley, he nonetheless was an engaging, charismatic figure with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and vocal hiccup. His creative self-reliance and energetic, inspired craftsmanship predated the coming wave of rock and rollers in the '60s. Holly was a profound influence on the Beatles and Hollies (both of whom derived their names from his). Even the Rolling Stones had their first major British hit with Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” Had he lived, he would’ve been 72 years old, and undoubtedly would’ve been one of the few legends of the ‘50s who could’ve successfully transitioned into the ‘60s, perhaps even the ‘70s, such was the timeless nature of his music.

For my part what has impressed me most is how relevant Holly remains, even during periods and fads that pushed the musical envelope; i.e. the techno faze of the ‘80s. While so many of his contemporaries faded into the woodwork, Holly’s music endured, not because of its complexity and flamboyance; but because of its simplicity and unpretentiousness. It was vulnerable without being corny; catchy without being trendy; innocent without being naive. Check out Marshall Crenshaw, circa 1982 & ’83, for example. Few artists have survived so intact as Buddy Holly. Fifty years later, he sounds as fresh and as significant as he did the day he stepped onto that plane. That he was taken from us way too early was the ultimate injustice; that he would’ve made a significant contribution to rock and roll for years to come is obvious.

What he has left us with is an incredible, if somewhat short, catalogue of masterpieces; sadly, that will have to do. Rest in peace, Buddy!