Influential ALBUMS of my youth

Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)

We walked to Woolco.

This is the first ALBUM I bought. My second choice (that I couldn’t afford) was The Beatles.

Previously I had only purchased 45 singles.

Though Rockin’ Ronnie no longer recalls this episode, I’m quite sure he telephoned me in 1974. I rode my bicycle over to his place in Lakeview where he played me Queen II.

It was a revelation.

… “Side White” and “Side Black” (instead of the conventional sides “A” and “B”), with corresponding photos of the band dressed in white or in black on either side of the record’s label face. …

I’ve been a big Queen fan ever since.

The Scottish band Nazareth got BIG in Canada before the States.

They were my first LIVE concert. It might have been the Loud ‘n’ Proud tour. Or possibly the earlier Razamanaz tour.

In High School we listened to both those albums a lot. For a short time.

I lost faith later thinking they had gone too commercial. Sold out. 

Most of the music I like best was introduced to me by friends, especially Ron and Kate.

One exception was The Eagles. For some reason I considered them my discovery. I kept insisting High School friends pay attention.

Their fantastic debut album was Eagles (1972).  But it was Desperado (1973) that I loved best.  Every track superb.

  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Doolin-Dalton
  • Twenty-One

I graduated High School 1975 age-16 and took a gap year. We saved money to tour Europe spring 1976 in an orange VW van.

Leaving Canada my favourite album was The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. (1973)

Springstein wasn’t all that famous yet.

Jon Landau saw Bruce playing Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Harvard Square Theater on May 9th, 1974 and declared him the future of Rock and Roll. But it took Born to Run, released August 25, 1975, before he got really famous.

By the time we got back from Europe, Springstein was arguably the #1 recording artist in the world.

To this day, I love all early Springstein.

I had a punk era. Clash. Sex Pistols. Patti Smith. But I’m thinking it was Television that was most important to me. I recall playing Marquee Moon (1977) full volume in my parent’s back yard. No doubt the neighbours hated it.

Though you’ve probably never heard of this album, critics raved. In Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003), it ranked 128th.

During University we spent a lot of time listening to LIVE punk at the Calgarian Hotel.  My favourite local band – The Slits.

Another influential album for me during my University days was the first Violent Femmes album.

Most of the tracks were written when the songwriter, Gordon Gano, was 18 years old and still in high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Add It Up“, “Blister in the Sun“. Powerful raw songs as relevant today as they ever were.

Billie Jo Campbell, a 3-year-old, was walking down a street in California when  her mother was approached and offered $100 for taking this photograph.

I could include Leonard Cohen on this list. But even more important to me was Stan Rogers.

I don’t recall owning any of Stan’s albums. By that time in my life everything was Cassette mixed tapes

… therefore I’ll add The Very Best of Stan Rogers (2011) .

Stan died in a fire aboard Air Canada Flight 797 on the ground at the Greater Cincinnati Airport at the age of 33.  Tragic.

I listened to Stan most after his death.

When traveling people would ask me to recommend Canadian music.  I consistently recommended Stan Rogers and The Tragically Hip, quintessential Great White North music.

At Altadore Gym Club in the 1970s and 80s we listened to a LOT of Stones and Led Zeppelin. Best album?

Perhaps Led Zeppelin IV.

There are many, many more influential bands of course.

Talking Heads, James Taylor, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, B-52’s, …

Like most people my age, I felt popular music got worse in the 1980s.

I listened to less and less. Bought very few CDs.

At some point I gave up on music entirely. Today I listen exclusively to audio books and podcasts.








One thought on “Influential ALBUMS of my youth

  1. Pingback: B-52’s Vegas Residency 2023 – Rick McCharles

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