One of the greatest and most consistent-sounding rock albums ever recorded. ’Nuff said.
The first CD I ever got. A fantastic album, and it features “In My Life,” which was my wedding song.
This is really tied with RUBBER SOUL, as I love both albums pretty much equally.
4. EMPTY GLASS by Pete Townshend (1980).
Pete’s solo masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned.
I’d waited for this aborted Beach Boys album since I first read about its supposed forthcoming release in 1988. Sixteen years later, it finally came out, not by the Beach Boys as originally planned, but great nonetheless. I couldn’t stop playing it for months (much to my wife’s chagrin).
I first bought this album early in my sophomore year of college, shortly after becoming a Who fan, and I soon found myself torn between it and TOMMY. In recent years, I’ve given QUADROPHENIA the edge because it’s more down to earth and reaches me on a more emotional level.
7. CROSBY, STILLS & NASH by . . . well, you know (1969).
A fantastic debut and their strongest work together. True, their second album had Neil Young on it, but I prefer this one as a complete listening experience.
I bought this album because Paul McCartney raved about it. He was right.
9. RUMOURS by Fleetwood Mac (1977).
Some really great soul-baring, gut-wrenching songs about lost love and the anger and bitterness that follows.
Their most solid, consistent album, in my opinion—and I like the quirky stuff on it (“Miss Gradenko,” “Mother”) as much as the commercial stuff that became hits. I have my buddy Nick to thank for getting me into these guys—thanks, Nick!!!!
This was Billy’s “Beatles” album, and in my opinion, he’s never topped it.
12. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (Original Soundtrack) by John Williams (1980).
One of Williams’s greatest film scores, and certainly the best work he did for the Star Wars series. There’s tight continuity with the music from the original film, and his individual themes for Darth Vader, Yoda, and Han and Leia’s blossoming romance are simply perfect.
A great solo debut. I wish his subsequent releases were as uniformly strong as this one.
A complete and satisfying listening experience from beginning to end that really transports you to another place. I used to love going to see the laser light show version at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City—the last time went to see it it was one of my first dates with my wife. (Incidentally, it totally works when you play the whole album against the first half of The Wizard of Oz!)
Critically lambasted upon its release, this has gotten much deserved reappraisal in recent years and is now recognized as one of Paul’s finest solo efforts. “The Back Seat of My Car” is one of my all-time favorite McCartney songs, as is “Too Many People,” which subtly but pointedly criticizes John and Yoko, who, in my opinion, had it coming.
SUNFLOWER by The Beach Boys (1970).
A tragically underrated album that ranks right up there with PET SOUNDS as one of their best. Dennis Wilson should have thrived as a major creative force in the band after this album, and had it not been a major sales flop, perhaps Brian Wilson would not have fallen quite as far as he did after its release. The only real weakness of the album is the sequencing of the songs—which, in this age of iTunes and CD burning, is easily addressed.
I now open the floor to all comments and inevitable criticisms . . . !
© All text copyright Glenn Greenberg, 2013.