Ten Most Lasting Albums From Your Teen Years (per Tom)

I was born in ’56 so I’m limited to albums from ’69 to ’75.

So I’ll start with the end of the line…

1. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
“Thunder Road” is one of the greatest openers on any album… EVAH! “The screen door slams: Mary’s dress waves…”
And “Jungleland” is an equally great closer. “And they wind up wounded, not even dead.”
And everything in between is pretty damn good too.

2.Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones
Most critics rate Exile higher, but I’m a Sticky Fingers fan. Great rockers (“Brown Sugar”, “Bitch”), blues (“You Gotta Move”), ballads (“Wild Horses”) and one of the greatest jams (“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”). Mick Taylor on guitar and Bobby Keys on sax make significant contributions to compliment the original Stones band members.

3. Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Hits (“Green River”, “Bad Moon Rising”) and deep cuts (“Lodi”). Gotta love it!

4. Blue – Joni Mitchell
There’s been enough discussion about this album on this blog to fill a book! And maybe I have to hand in my man card to defend it again here and now. This album is effin awesome; Joni at her best. “I want to knit her a sweater and write her a love letter{ to thank her for the one she gave to us.

5. John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic
An outstanding mix of jazzy numbers like “Empty Pages” and “Glad” with British folk (“John Barleycorn…”). The musicianship is virtuoso and Steve Winwood is in superb voice.

6. Horses – Patti Smith
This album changed me! Everthing about it touched my soul. From the Mapplethorp cover photo to the cover of Gloria (“Jesus died for someone’s sins but not mine”) to the reggae influenced “Redondo Beach” and more. Tom Verlaine spooky guitar on “Break it Up” is amazing, as is the poetic orgasm of “Land.” It still holds up today.

7. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
In the 70s, Stevie Wonder put out a run of sequential, perfect albums that I’m not sure any artist could match — even my beloved Beatles.
Starting with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Songs in the Key of Life.
My favorite is Innervisions. It opens with the irresistibly funky “Too High” and skips through the guitar focused “Visions” and a few radio hits (“Living For the City”, “Higher Ground”, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”). Perfect!!!

8. Can’t But a Thrill – Steely Dan
I heard “Do it Again” on the radio and loved it. Next I heard “Reeling in the Years” and loved that too. They sounded so different to me that I was shocked to learn it was the same band. That ability to play in different genres motivated me to go out and buy Can’t Buy a Thrill. I wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the album and became a loyal Dan Fan.

9. Sail Away – Randy Newman
When my older brother was in college (and I in high school) he brought home a copy of Randy Newman Live. To me it sounded like a bootleg album although it really was an official Reprise release. A few months later I learned that Newman was performing at SUNY New Paltz which was jst 10 miles north of my hometown. I bought tickets and went to the show.
Soon after, Sail away found its way into my record collection. I loved the social commentary of “Sail Away” and “Political Science” and the children’s tale of “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear.”
Then there’s the timeless “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” So good!

10. Blood on the Tracks –
I was late to grasping the importance of Bob Dylan. Blood on the Tracks was my baptism and the launching point for my re-discovery of his earlier work.
The emotional impact of songs like “Shelter From the Storm”, “Tangled Up In Blue” and “Idiot Wind” was irresistible.
My ADD made it impossible to follow the entire story of the 9 minute “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.” I’m not sure I ever got there but I loved the challenge.

So there you go. Have at it!

11 thoughts on “Ten Most Lasting Albums From Your Teen Years (per Tom)

  1. another bunch of great discs. Heaven is in Your Mind was on the cusp of my list, and John Barleycorn is fantastic. And, i love Blue, but I when I am sad, Court and Spark is my solace. But crap, I was in my 20’s when all these bad boys came out. Scary.

  2. Argh. Another list straight from “Rolling Stone Record Guide.”

    Am I the only one who has often fallen in love for eternity with albums the critics ignored or trashed?

    And no fair that I wrote my list before comments were a thing.

  3. Steve, maybe you should start a thread of “albums I loved that the critics ignored or trashed.” That could be interesting.

  4. So many articles I write in my head that never materialize. I need a ghost writer to follow me around. (People say I should just start Twitting.)

    Very funny though, yesterday I looked up a bunch of your albums and mine in the old Record Guide. “Trashed” certainly describes many of mine. Geez, Dave Marsh hated Devo back then. Bet he wouldn’t say the same stuff today, since they’ve gotten some public respect and recognition over the years.

  5. I think you may be being a tad harsh here Steve. While it is true critics often blow off new or different because it bucks a trend, that does not take away from the fact that all the albums Tom mentioned are terrific pieces of music/songwriting/art.

    What is interesting to me circles around your comments about Steveland, Tom, for all the albums he produced consecutively is ridiculous. i never extrapolated the number to five, but I always had a cluster of performers that I thought released a troika of albums in a row that proved what superior artists they are/were.

    Included are:

    Beggars Banquet/Sticky Fingers/ Let it Bleed (add on Exile)
    Blue/Ladies of the Canyon/Court and Spark
    Revolver/Rubber Soul/Sgt Pepper
    Talking Book/Innervisions/Fullfillingness
    Bringing it All Back Home/Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde

    so, the same artists cross our lists despite the slight age gap. but, every song on every one of those albums is good. that is amazing.

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