Yesterday I started to share with you my ‘top ten favourite albums’ list. The LPs that have had a profound influence on my musical tastes. You can read that post here.
Let’s continue from where we left off…
FAVE ALBUMS #6: Love Over Gold, Dire Straits
Of all the albums ever produced, you could argue that Love Over Gold, by Dire Straits, isn’t particularly good value for money.
It was – according to Wikipedia – the band’s fourth studio album. So one imagines that by this point in their collective careers they were a little jaded, due a break, and yet contractually obliged to bring out another LP… or pay huge financial penalties.
And so we have this. An album with just five tracks. And the last track on side 2 – “It Never Rains” – is just terrible. By the band’s high standards, you could say it’s “dire”.
But track five aside, every other song on the album is a jaw dropping classic. “Telegraph Road”, “Private Investigations”, “Industrial Disease”, and “Love Over Gold”… each of these songs have, at various times of my life, made me wept. They’re that good.
FAVE ALBUMS #7: The Soul Cages, Sting
Growing up, the artist who had the most influence on my musical tastes was, without a doubt, Sting.
Right up until the moment he decided to nuke his career by releasing an album of Gregorian ‘classics’ played on a lute, every album was, in my humble unschooled opinion, fabulous.
Apart from one.
Gregorian Rubbish aside, the Soul Cages was arguably Sting’s least successful album, commercially speaking. Written following the death of his father, the album is haunting and wonderful and magical.
I’ve often wished that Sting had blown a few of his millions by turning it into an art-house, animated, feature length movie, or something similar. But then, maybe that would have been too painful? That aside, I personally believe this album isn’t just fabulous, it’s a work of art that has me sobbing my heart out, each and every time I listen to it.
FAVE ALBUMS #8: Kate Bush
Okay, I’m cheating. Slightly.
When I started compiling this list I knew there had to be a Kate Bush LP in there somewhere, but the problem is, there are so many REALLY good Kate Bush albums to pick from. Especially when Kate’s career has several distinct “phases”.
For instance, obviously her early work is amazing, but when Hounds of Love was released in 1985 Kate had clearly entered a new era in her music prowess. Side 1 contains three stonking 80s classics (“Running Up That Hill”, “Hounds of Love” and “Cloudbusting”) whilst Side 2 is like an entirely different album full of haunting, strange pieces of music, sound effects and “satanic” chanting. It’s awesome.
But then a few years later Kate followed that album with The Sensual World which was also brilliant. (I can’t listen to “This Woman’s Work” without wanting to weep.)
And then in 2005, she released Aerial. Which is different again…
So basically I can’t choose just one Kate Bush album. I just can’t. So shoot me.
FAVE ALBUM #9: Up, Peter Gabriel
Something very interesting happened to Peter Gabriel’s career in the early 80s. Up until 1982 he was releasing an album every two years, three of which were called Peter Gabriel. And then suddenly he stopped, and four years later he released So.
So was an amazing LP. “Red Rain”, “Sledge Hammer”, “Don’t Give Up”, “In Your Eyes”, “Big Time” and my personal fave “Mercy Street”
Six years after So came Us. Another fabulous album. Different. Kind of a throw back to his earlier stuff. But still fabulous.
A decade after Us came Up. I listened to it once, then threw it in a drawer. Ten years I’d waited for another Peter Gabriel album, but it wasn’t the album I’d hoped for. I was disappointed.
And then my wife died.
If I ever write an autobiography I suspect that’ll be the title. My wife died. Suddenly, one Saturday morning, and my world turned upside down.
Whilst sorting through our collective belongings I came across this album and listened to it again. And finally I got it. Here was an album written by a man who had lost his wife, and was struggling to cope. Tormented by guilt and all manner of demons, he had taken his feelings and set them to music.
Thank you Peter Gabriel. You helped get me through one of the toughest times of my life.
FAVE ALBUM #10: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams (BBC Radio)
Far back in the midst of times, long before the advent of Spotify, Downloads, iPods, CDs – back when men were real men, women were real women, and little blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL little blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri – the BBC used to put out some of its more popular radio shows on vinyl.
And so it was that a skinny ten-year-old lad from Essex, England, came to discover The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy when his mother thought it might be “something he might like”.
Little did she know the profound effect this would have on his life, and how many years later – now a man of fifty something years – he would toil long into the night creating his own works of fiction that he hoped the BBC might deem worthy for broadcast on BBC 167 (an internet-only download service available on Nokia phones sold in Bratislava).
Sadly, just before he could complete his fourth novel (the book that was FINALLY going to propel him into the limelight, or at the very least close to it) the planet Earth was destroyed by a Vogon Construction Fleet to make way for a brand new Hyperspacial Bypass.
This blog, is the story of that man, and those books.
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?
[Find out more]
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…
[Find out more]
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