During many people’s lifetimes, they often come across certain albums of importance for many reasons. It could be an album that introduced them to a now favourite genre of music, something that opened their eyes or found inspirational or something that brings a deep emotional attachment.
Below I’ve listed some of the most important albums I’ve ever heard. I use the word ‘important’, because important doesn’t necessarily mean favourite, although most of the albums below are. I also hope that this list isn’t definitive. I hope along the way I’ll discover more music that will become very important to me.
In no particular order…
It was July 1996, 11 years old and at my school’s leaving disco. I think at least 3 times during the evening the Fugees version of ‘Killing Me Softly’ was played by the DJ. It went down incredibly well and I remember thinking how awesome it was. Apart from listening to Jason Donovan when I was 5 years old, I was never really into music that much. I didn’t listen to it a lot, which is surprising I guess for someone whose job is now Music. 6 months later at Christmas I got a CD player and this is one of the first album I got. I still have the CD to this day. So many incredible tracks, ‘Ready or Not’, ‘Killing Me Softly’, ‘How Many Mics’ and of course, the brilliant ‘Fu-Gee-La’. So many things make this album brilliant. The ‘story’, the production, performances, arrangements, instrumentation, the list goes on. I still listen to it sometimes and am still blown away by how an album that is approaching 20 years old, still feels so current.
I’ve blogged about this album before. I would describe it as one of the most amazing pieces of classical music I’ve ever heard. I first heard it when I was studying British composers such as Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten et al. I bought the CD and when I heard the third movement (Romanza), I was in love with it. The version I have is the Vernon Handley one. I think his interpretation of it is tremendous and is the one I go to the most. I’ve heard others, but none match up to this one.
In about 2000 to 2002, I was in a Jazz band, playing drums which although I hate Jazz, was quite fun. At heart though, we liked our rock and Andy – the keyboard player – introduced me to Supertramp. Most of what I heard was from the ‘Crime of the Century’ album and we covered the title track at a few gigs. What I love about this album is despite being a rock album, piano features heavily on it. Supertramp aren’t a million miles away from Pink Floyd, but I’ve always been more of a Supertramp fan. If I could form a band right now, it’d be along the lines of this.
Metallica – Metallica (The Black Album)
When I mentioned above about an important album not necessarily being a favourite, this is what I had in mind. I was in two minds about including this on the list, firstly because there are far better albums than this (the previous three albums) and secondly because of the fact that Metallica is less of a band these days and more of a business.
Nevertheless, it’s still an important album because it’s the one that got me into rock and metal music. When I was 12 years old I bought a 3/4 size classical guitar from Argos and learning at the time was pretty slow going. I went to some large social gathering months later and there was a guy on a full size acoustic guitar playing Nothing Else Matters. Although in hindsight it’s an incredibly cheesy song, it’s something that I wanted to learn as soon as possible. At the time, you couldn’t buy music online and I didn’t have enough money to buy the album, so all I had to listen to in those days were MIDI files I downloaded from the internet. Eventually I did buy the album and it was the album that turned me into a rocker. I have fond memories of being 13 or 14 and jamming along with an old school friend late at night, playing Metallica songs.
I’ve seen the Enigma Variations performed many times at the Royal Albert Hall and I never get bored of hearing it. I’m particularly fond of the British classical composers, Elgar being one of those. Whilst at University I’d sit and read the score whilst listening to the Enigma Variations. The recording I’ve listed above is a recent purchase, the LSO do a wonderful job as always of performing such a great piece of music.