15 Albums That Changed My Life – Part 1

I’m a huge music fan.  I don’t know about you, but when I hear certain songs / albums, I can magically be taken back to a specific time and place in my life.  I’m an especially big fan of song lyrics (which you’ll see plain as day as you continue to read).

This list originally came from a Facebook post where one of your friends would tag you and you’d have to chime in.  I ran across it the other day and realized that my list really hadn’t changed much in the last couple of years since I wrote this so I figured I’d add it here with some additional thoughts.

Here was the original “question” that was posed:

“Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you that 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. Go to the tab marked Notes in your profile, and when you finish, tag 15 (or more) including me. Make sure to copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Tag you’re it! Only Rule ~ 1 album per band.”

So here’s the first part of my list.  I’d originally intended this to be all one post, but I’m a bit long winded when describing these songs so I decided to break it down.  Parts 2 and Part 3 are forthcoming.  Here goes…

OU812 - Van Halen (1988)OU812 – Van Halen

Ironically, this isn’t even my favorite Van Halen album.  That distinction goes to 5150.  However, I put OU812 on thist list as it truly was “life changing”.  This was the first CD that I purchased with my own money.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I went into Bernie Schulman’s in Solon and bought this and Def Lepard’s Hysteria on the same evening.  I then proceeded to wear out that CD as I listened to it so often. I’ve often said that the Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen is the best lineup the band ever had. I point to this album as one prime example.  “When It’s Love” and “Cabo Wabo” are two that I’ll listen to time and time again.

Indigo Girls - Indigo GirlsIndigo Girls – Indigo Girls

I get my balls busted all the time for liking the Indigo Girls but I simply don’t care.  This album is phenomenal.  In fact, it may be the non-Greatest Hits album that I’ve listened to straight through more than any other.  The first time I heard this album I was at a friend’s house in high school for New Year’s Eve.  Rather than paying attention to the card game or Dick Clark’s TV program, I was enthralled by the tunes I was hearing. Simply amazing.  Of particular note here are a couple tunes that members of R.E.M. performed on, my favorite being “Kid Fears”.  Hearing Michael Stipe’s clear voice come in here toward the end of the song gives me goose bumps every time.

Greatest Hits – James TaylorGreatest Hits – James Taylor

I tried hard to not have a “greatest hits” album on this list but I just couldn’t leave this one off.  I became a fan of James Taylor the summer between 8th grade and high school and I was instantly hooked.  There’s only one song on this album that I don’t absolutely love (“Steamroller” for those interested) but it also contains probably my all time favorite “ballad” in “Something In the Way She Moves“.  This song is so moving to me that there will be a day when I’ve got a verse from it tattooed on my inner arm.  Probably the most mellow album on this list but if I had to try and put this list in an order this one would be near the top.

New Jersey – Bon JoviNew Jersey – Bon Jovi

Proof that I’m a child of the 80’s this one can still be found in heavy rotation on my iPod (or at least several songs).  It holds the record for the hard rock album that spawned the most top 10 singles with five: “Bad Medicine”, “I’ll Be There For You”, “Born To Be My Baby”, “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “Living In Sin”.  In addition to that, my all time favorite Bon Jovi tune comes from this album, an unreleased song about life long friendship called “Blood On Blood”.

Thick As A Brick – Jethro TullThick As A Brick – Jethro Tull

One album… one song… 43 minutes long.  Many people wouldn’t really know Jethro Tull if it wasn’t for the fact that they won the 1988 Grammy for Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance over the heavily favored Metallica’s And Justice For All.  While they probably shouldn’t have won that award they do have some amazing work and “Thick As A Brick” is at the top of that list.  I was introduced to this song one summer in Bloomington when I was taking a History of Rock and Roll class.  I heard it once and was hooked.   If you don’t have 43 minutes to invest (which I highly suggest you should) there are 3 and 7 minute versions that capture much of the greatness that the longer version delivers.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

What do you think of my list?  I absolutely love these types of discussions and hearing what others think not only of my list but what they’d put on their list!

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