One of the benefits of housekeeping is finding those treasures from yesteryear, dusting them off, and enjoying them again. And so, it goes, as I’ve been dusting off my old compact discs, I have found several of those long since forgotten favorites and thus the second of the “More Favorites” series, Albums. The first in the series was Comedy Movies.
The Cult “Electric”
1987 saw the release of The Cult’s third album “Electric.” Their second album, “Love” was a much more mellow, goth, and psychedelic work, but with this album and producer Rick Rubin – having worked at that point, as I recall, most recently with the Beastie Boys – their sound became much more hard rock and driving, very similar to AC/DC.
Some of the best tracks on the album: “Love Removal Machine,” “Wild Flower,” and “Peace Dog.”
I personally recall having seen The Cult live opening for Billy Idol as they toured in support of this album.
“Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits”
It seems a little lame to call this collection Dylan’s Greatest Hits – there have been so many along the way, and quite frankly his influence on culture goes way beyond record charts – but this was my first introduction to Dylan and his music.
My parents weren’t baby boomers and were more interested in the music of the 1950’s. It wasn’t until I began investigating music on my own that I found this accessible collection. I first heard “Mr. Tambourine Man” as a Byrds song, but quickly became far more enamored by the Dylan version. “I Want You” and “Like a Rolling Stone” were also fast favorites, but my all time favorite from this collection was “The Times Are A Changin’.” Even 20+ years after it’s release, that song captivated me as a young man. It’s still a great song.
Bruce Springsteen “Born To Run”
It was a sad day of reckoning when I realized this album was now well over 30 years old, until I realized that I was already 10 years old when I “discovered” it. I had just started driving, had my first car, and quickly fell in love with the imagery of the title track. I wanted so much for my little Volkswagen to be one of those “hemi powered drones” with chrome wheels and fuel injection. Sadly, it was only a Volkswagen with an indeterminate number of miles, no brakes, and no much in the way of sex-appeal.
Grateful Dead “In the Dark”
This was their first album I had ever paid attention to, as I had never really been exposed to their previous work. The first edition featured the faces on the album right side up, only to be turned upside down in later editions. As with so many other listeners, it opened up the door for me to go back and check out their earlier work, “Shakedown Street,” and the compilation “Working Man’s Dead” come to mind. While a lot of purists found this album overly commercial and watered down, I found it to be more accessible. And for a young man, never having been exposed to the music, that was what I needed.
Metallica “Master of Puppets”
In the summer of 1987, this record was the soundtrack of my life. There was not an adventure, not a time out without the driving riffs of this album. Not one throw away song on it. The entirety of the album spoke to this young man, the raw power of the record just drove right through you. It was like nothing else I had ever heard – complex, yet raw.
The title track, “Master of Puppets,” cautions against drug use; “Battery” speaking to unabashed anger. Summer nights, the stereo in my friend’s Camaro at full volume, and “Master of Puppets.”
Roger Waters “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking”
What an album cover. The original LP release didn’t have that black bar obscuring the female hitchhikers’ rear, and for a young man it was quite the curiosity. I remember getting a copy of the album without any idea who Roger Waters was, probably without ever having heard a Pink Floyd song, but, man, that album art.
Turns out, it was a great album. I was too young to appreciate the content of the lyrics in their totality, but the music was killer, particularly when listened to in headphones. It was originally written as a Pink Floyd album, but Waters recorded it as a solo record after leaving the band. As I look back, I can appreciate the protagonists’ dream of “His sensible family sedan metamorphosis into a metallic green Lamborghini.”