ten albums

There was a thing on Fakebook where people shared a list of 10 classic albums that influenced their musical taste as they were growing up. No one asked me to play, so I’m putting my list here.

I grew up as a sheltered child, so I didn’t get to listen to rock music until I was about 13, and I didn’t get to buy my own music until I was 15. I didn’t start discovering my own tastes until after I started building a collection thanks to the Columbia House Record and Tape Club (kids: ask your parents). Once my membership had outlived its usefulness, my dog joined, and later my 80-year-old uncle joined and got 8 cassettes for a penny too.

Anyway, here are 10 albums bought from age 15 through 18 that have shaped my listening preferences since then. In no particular order:

  • Rush – Permanent Waves. My first Rush album was in the bargain bin at the store where I worked, and a co-worker recommended it to me. Best suggestion ever.
  • Genesis – Three Sides Live. Not my first Genesis album, but my most nostalgic one. Purchased in Australia, it was a gateway drug to their older music.
  • Phil Collins – Face Value. Purchased in my first order from Columbia House. I was initially confused which songs were Phil’s solo work and which songs belonged to Genesis.
  • Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms. I said I was sheltered; I once seriously asked a friend if Dire Straits were satanic, and they laughed at me. That made me hate church.
  • Peter Gabriel – So. At first I just liked the hits, but when I discovered Peter had once been with Genesis, I became interested in his older solo music.
  • Yes – Classic Yes. Another album which introduced me to the wonders of 70s progressive rock.
  • Miami Vice Soundtrack. I loved the TV show, and I memorized all the words to the Vice Rap (“The Mob, a full time job, known to extort and steal or rob!”)
  • Huey Lewis and the News – Fore! Maybe not the strongest album in the list, but Huey and the gang were the epitome of coolness.
  • U2 – The Joshua Tree. Once I played this repeatedly during a trip to Death Valley in an attempt to feel the music; it became a favorite afterward.
  • Van Halen – 1984. My introduction to hard rock, and what’s more rebellious than the smoking baby on the cover art?

Finally, number 11 with an asterisk goes to Porcupine Tree’s “Nil Recurring” EP, which has influenced everything I have listened to since I discovered them in 2007.

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