So, you know when you’re on Facebook an one of your friends posts something along the lines of “my friend Janice challenged me to share my top one hundred favourite baked goods” and then for days and days there’s another sodding picture of a cream bun or a chocolate eclair or a home made Battenberg clogging up your news feed until you just can’t stand it any longer and you have to ‘snooze’ that ‘friend’. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.
Anyway, funny thing about lockdown, because not only has my consumption of all things social media gone through the roof (such that I am now routinely getting to the bottom of my Facebook ‘feed’ – who would have thought that was possible?), but I’ve also found myself taking an active interest in people’s lists of “twenty jigsaw puzzles I couldn’t live without” or “fifty sudoko grids that changed my life”
For instance, my ol’ mate Pat recently ‘challenged’ me to choose ten albums that have greatly influenced my taste in music, and had a profound impact on my life. Before I could stop myself, there I was, jotting down LPs that might make the cut.
These were the rules:
- Albums only.
- No particular order.
- No explanations or reviews necessary (yeah, right – like that’s going to happen!)
I was also *supposed* to nominate ten others to do the same (ugh!), but in these scary times I’ve got more than enough ‘rules’ to be going on with, thank you very much.
It was, however, an interesting exercise. So here, for your amusement, are two blog posts detailing those top ten albums, and why. Feel free to tell me about your favourite albums in the comments
FAVE ALBUM #1: Rubber Soul, by The Beatles
My mother introduced me to The Beatles the day John Lennon died. Up until that point I didn’t actually know who they were. And when I sat down to watch the film ‘Help’ (on the BBC, that night), I thought at first they were The Monkees, or a rip off version. Hey! I was twelve! Anyway… so started my love of The Beatles. I was, at the time, quite a fan of pop music, but the discovery of The Beatles helped me up my game. The very first album I ever bought was Rock and Rock Music Volume I. Followed quickly by Volume II. But of all my Beatles albums this was, and might still be, my favourite.
FAVE ALBUM #2: Nillson Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson.
My mother had exactly four records in her record collection when I was a kid; Rubber Soul (Beatles), We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday (Cliff Richard), And So This Is Christmas (John & Yoko), and a tape cassette of the album Nilsson Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson.
I’ve never really understood why my mother had such a diminutive music library – I’ve always assumed it was something to do with her love of Radio Four – but of the records she did have, Nilsson Schmilsson was, and still is, my favourite, instilling in me a love of Harry Nilsson.
I played that album to to death. Literally. When it finally got mangled in my cassette player I went out and bought a CD. For myself. My mother is yet to notice the theft.
(In recent years my mother has added to her collection having ‘downloaded’ from iTunes Give Me Sunshine (Morcambe and Wise) and She’s More Than A Woman (Billy Joel).
FAVE ALBUM #3: Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield
I’m not sure how I came across Tubular Bells (by Mike Oldfield). It’s one of those albums where each side is (almost) one long track.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something that made it into the (singles) charts, and therefore probably wasn’t played much on my beloved Radio One. Likewise, although the main theme was used in The Exorcist, I’ve never seen the film (and nor will I).
I have a sneaky suspicion it may have been the children’s TV show, Blue Peter that introduced me to Mike Oldfield. He re-recorded the theme tune, and I remember them making a big thing about that.
Anyway, bought the album I did, and for an extended period of my life I would come home from school – and later, work – and play this album (or the follow up, Tubular Bells II) all the way through, both sides.
And then one day I just stopped. And I haven’t listened to it since. Weird.
FAVE ALBUM #4: Faith, George Michael
I’ve never been a fan of “manufactured” pop, and I have a particular loathing of “the boy band”. Remember Kajagoogoo? Or Bros? Can we all just pretend that those particularly low points in musical history never actually happened?
My LEAST favourite boy band of all time was, of course, Wham! With the notable exception of “Everything She Wants” every song was awful, and I honestly can’t listen to “Last Christmas” without wanting to drill holes in my ears.
When Wham! finally split – and every girl in the land went into a collective mourning – I have to confess that I was secretly relieved.
Then, a few months later, a curious thing happened. George Micheal released his debut album and… it was good.
Like… really good.
Really really good.
And in that moment I realised something profound: Andrew Ridgeley had been holding George back.
What a terrible legacy.
After Faith I bought every single one of George’s albums.
I’m genuinely very sad that he’s no longer around. For me, there’s still a George shaped hole in the world of popular music.
FAVE ALBUM #5: Greatest Hits, Queen
I grew up in the seventies. This means that by the time I was saving my paper round money and walking into town every Saturday morning to buy records, Queen already had at least one Greatest Hits albums. This, however, is the one I bought.
In my head at least, I still own this album. By which I mean, if challenged, I could probably sing every single track of the album, in the correct order, without getting a single word wrong.
Come back tomorrow for five more albums, and feel free to tell me about your favourite albums in the comments below.
Wait… looking for a fun read (with absolutely no mention of lockdown)?
For one week only my three novels are just 99p each. That’s better than half price! But only until Friday 22nd May…
My Girlfriend’s Perfect Ex Boyfriend – A Laugh-Out-Loud Rom-Com
Meet Adrian Turner; Mountaineer, Secret Agent, Fireman… Ade would dearly like to be any of these things, though he’d trade them all to win the heart of Paige, who despite being Ade’s girlfriend for the past eighteen months, still seems to have one foot out of the door, and hasn’t quite committed to leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom. Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s working with her ex-boyfriend, Sebastian…
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The Truth About This Charming Man – A Crime Comedy
Meet William Lewis. All Will’s ever wanted in life, is to be an actor. That is, until he met Rachel – Beautiful. Beguiling. And married. To cut-throat venture capitalist Michael Richmond. So that’s the end of that. Or is it?
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The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl – A Very Funny Love Story
Jason Smith, 29, self-confessed ‘good guy’, is single. Finally. But now that he is, all the girls he’d happily give up one side of his bed for – like, for instance, his old school crush Melanie Jackson – are married, crazy, or in love with the office heart-throb. And then Jason stumbles on a fool-proof way to meet the kind of exciting, fun woman he’s always dreamed about…
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