You are marooned on a desert island and are allowed to choose ONLY 10 albums to keep with you and play for what might be the rest of your life.
Here are the rules:
1: Choose only 10 albums, from any era, but they must have been available as an LP on vinyl at some time.
2: No boxed sets, but double/triple albums count as one selection.
I’ll kick it off with my own choice, in no particular order:
Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin)
My first album was Led Zeppelin II, which my parents bought me when I was 15, along with a Garrard SP25 Mk III turntable (Mum worked for Garrard on the assembly line in Swindon at the time). I used to use an old reel to reel tape deck with built-in amp as both amplifier and speaker. I still own that original LP and cherish both the music and the memory.
Blue (Joni Mitchell)
I fell in love with Joni Mitchell’s music when I was about 28 years old – a long time after Blue came out. Blue was the first album I really heard of Joni’s, and its raw emotion and sensitivity – as well as it’s peerless music and singing – still have the power to connect me to what she must have been feeling when she wrote tracks such as Blue and Little Green. Joni is an amazing artist, and several of her albums – notably The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, and Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter – might have made my top ten, but if I absolutely MUST choose just one of her albums, this would have to be it.
Abraxas came out (at least to my consciousness) when I was studying for my A levels at Swindon College, Regent Circus. I just love that rock/samba fusion with guitar work that is incredible for its soulfulness.
Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
I was living in North devon, and working at Nationwide in Barnstaple with Rosemary and Debbie when Rumours came out. Often at lunchtimes Rosie, Me, and Debbie would have a few drinks in the pub just up the street from our workplace – a dark, old, black-timbered place that was full of young people. This played constantly when it came out in 1976. I was 21 at the time, and really enjoying life. 1976 was a very hot summer, and with a bunch of really good friends I was out most nights of the week. This is just totally the soundtrack to those good times. It helps that the album doesn’t contain one duff track. This is in my top 3 albums of all time.
Selling England by the Pound (Genesis)
My then friend Sue introduced me to this Genesis album in 1973. I was 18 and had a huge crush on Sue, which she knew, and played me along, for sure, but it never did amount to anything. Sue was the year ahead of me at Swindon College, and I recall her dad owned a BMW 635 CSi – just the bees knees back then – anyway…this album stuck with me all these years. It opens with the track “Dancing Out With The Moonlit Knight” which starts: “Can you tell me where my country lies? Said the unifaun to his true love’s eyes. “It lies with me” says the Queen of Maybe, for her merchandise, he traded in his prize.” So obscure, so Peter Gabriel, so much better than anything Genesis did after he left, and anything HE did after he left, too. If you don’t know this album, give yourself a treat and listen to the whole thing beginning to end. Fabulous, truly “progressive” rock.
This album is sometimes panned by “music critics” for being disjointed – what Yes album isn’t? Who cares what music critics have to say, anyway? Thankfully most of this superb album was written before Rick Yawn Wakeman joined the band, (his own track stands out as slightly pompous and self-important). I can tolerate his playing, though, and it doesn’t spoil Fragile—it’s too good an album for that to happen. Favourite tracks? Southside of the Sky and Roundabout, of course.
The lyrics are utter nonsense for the most part, but who cares, when the musicianship, tunes and arrangements are this good? Fragile so reminds me of evenings listening to albums at my mate Rob’s home in Covingham, Swindon, together with friends Terry and Kev. Lights out, cider in hand, tripping out on the auditory experience and developing a lifelong love for Yes. Thanks, guys.
Revolver (The Beatles)
I stole this LP from my sister – it still has a Dymo label of her name permanently plastered over the side one label. My copy is a first pressing mono version, and as much as I love every Beatles album, this still reaches the peak, as far as I am concerned. I almost see this and Sgt. Pepper as a double album, and often play them back to back. Revolver reminds me of my sister every time I play it, and that makes me happy! This is in my top 3 all-time albums.
Meddle (Pink Floyd)
In spite of Dark Side of the Moon, for me, Meddle remains the greatest Pink Floyd album. “Fearless” is its strongest track, but honestly, they are all awesome – not least “Echoes,” which takes up the entire side two and manages never to sound boring. I must have played this LP thousands of times since I first heard it in 1971, aged 16, at my schoolmate Rob’s house (see also the entry for Fragile, by Yes). That was over 41 years ago at time of writing, and I enjoy Meddle even more now than I did back then. That’s saying something!
Wishbone Ash (Wishbone Ash)
This really kicked off my interest in progressive rock. The first album by Wishbone Ash, 1970. I first heard it at my high school’s “progressive music society” (truly), sitting around with a bunch of nerdy types listening to an album a week. Funnily, though, it reminds me most strongly of my then great friend Dave, a fellow Liverpudlian, who lived on the same housing estate as me (Covingham) at that time. Dave owned this and often played it when I was around at his house. He had a pugnacious boxer dog that terrified me, and had in fact bitten more than one person, and had even caught the postman by running headlong through a plate glass door, so my fear was not irrational! Dave went into the army, and we lost touch over the years, sadly. However, whenever I put this on I think of those times with my good mate Dave, and hope he is still doing well in life. This is in my top 3 albums.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)
(See main article on this). Memories of growing up in Covingham, Swindon, walks home from Nythe youth club and having a crush on my mate Acky’s sister. Only great tracks can be found on this classic Beatles album from 1967.
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