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Albums going steady

July 16, 2008

Over at The Gaping Silence, Phil Edwards picks up the challenge of listing "a favorite album for every year of your life." I'm definitely game for this game, though, like Phil and for precisely the same reason, I'm going to begin the list a few years after the year I was born. There are two restrictions: only one album per year (painful!) and no repeats of artists. Here goes:

1965: The Beatles, Rubber Soul
1966: The Yardbirds, Over Under Sideways Down (aka Roger the Engineer)
1967: The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico
1968: Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
1969, The Stooges, The Stooges
1970: The Grateful Dead, American Beauty
1971: The Faces, A Nod Is as Good as a Wink … to a Blind Horse
1972: The Rolling Stones. Exile on Main Street
1973: Mott the Hoople, Mott
1974: Roxy Music, Country Life
1975: Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night
1976: David Bowie, Station to Station
1977: The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
1978: Wire, Pink Flag
1979: The Undertones, The Undertones
1980: X, Los Angeles
1981: Squeeze, East Side Story
1982: Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights
1983: REM, Murmur
1984: The Replacements, Let It Be
1985: Husker Du, New Day Rising
1986: Elvis Costello, King of America
1987: The Smiths, Strangeways Here We Come
1988: John Hiatt, Slow Turning
1989: De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
1990: Lou Reed and John Cale, Songs for Drella
1991: Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend
1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
1993: Cracker, Kerosene Hat
1994: Guided by Voices, Bee Thousand
1995: Oasis, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
1996: Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
1997: Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind
1998: Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue
1999: Supergrass, Supergrass
2000: Badly Drawn Boy, The Hour of Bewilderbeast
2001: The Strokes, Is This It
2002: Beck, Sea Change
2003: Kings of Leon, Youth and Young Manhood
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral
2005: Sufjan Stevens, Come on Feel the Illinoise
2006: Cat Power, The Greatest
2007: The Thrills, Teenager
2008: My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges

Note for precisionists: Pink Flag came out in UK in late 77, but I think the US release was in 78, which allows me to sneak it in. If I'm wrong, let me know.



Nice list. I'm particularly glad to see you know Songs for Drella... an under-appreciated classic. I'd have to say that the overlap with '67 Velvet Underground turn is a bit iffy, though, given the personnel and the subject matter...


Posted by: Phil Gilbert [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 09:42 AM

Yeah, I know, but 1990 and 2007 were the toughest slots for me to fill. I only put The Thrills' Teenager (a mediocre album) in for 2007 because I couldn't fit So Much for the City in 2003. Still, since I'm making up the rules, I think it's ok to allow solo artists in even if they appear elsewhere as members of a band.

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 10:01 AM

1970: The Grateful Dead, American Beauty?

Yes, 1970 was a low point in rock music, but what about:
John Cale, Vintage Violence
Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys
Neil Young, After the Goldrush
T. Rex, T. Rex
The Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One
Van Morrison, Moondance
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III
Velvet Underground, Loaded (disqualified by previous listing?)
The Stooges, Fun House (disqualified by previous listing?)
and, finally, Iron Butterfly, Metamorphosis?

I seem to recall falling asleep at a Grateful Dead concert...

Posted by: Timothy Swan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 02:17 PM

Oh, and 1976? The Ramones - The Ramones

Need I say more?

Posted by: Timothy Swan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 02:20 PM

I'm pretty sure that Pink Flag was released in 1976 and Chairs Missing was 1978.

Posted by: Timothy Swan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 02:22 PM

I'm not a Dead fan, but American Beauty is a very good record.

Cale, Young, Morrison, Velvets and Stooges appear elsewhere. Of the others, the only one I actually owned was Lola, which I remember being so-so. (I seem to have lost that album somewhere along the way.)

I debated The Ramones, but I've listened to Station to Station a lot more.

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 04:46 PM

By the way, Tim, I also threw in the Dead because I knew it would irritate you.

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2008 04:50 PM

I just had to do it: http://www.timswan.com/music/


Posted by: Timothy Swan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 03:04 AM

Tim, You took a different tack than I did. You listed the records that were your actual favorites in each year. I just listed favorite records based on their release year. (No, I wasn't listening to the Velvets when I was eight; I was listening to Top 40 countdowns.) I may try your method as well, though it would be pretty boring, as the 70s would be all Stones and Lou Reed (until the Pistols arrived). Nick

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 07:00 AM

You're right, I listed my favorite album from each year, trying to remember what I was actually listening to. The first few years were pretty much 100% Beatles and Dylan, as that's what my mom was listening to at the time. I dropped The Beatles, but Dylan remained up to now as a pretty consistent factor.

As I said, there were some pretty hard choices that were reluctantly dropped: Blood on the Tracks, Horses, Marquee Moon, Ziggy Stardust, The Undertones, Nevermind...

If I listed my favorite album by release date I could (largely) just copy and paste your list. That would be pretty boring, too.

Posted by: Timothy Swan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 10:46 AM

No Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic and Katy Lied, just to mention early gems, must surely rate somewhere!


Posted by: alan [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 12:13 PM

For Guitar Heros:
1968 Cream Wheels of Fire
1976: Nils Lofgren Cry Tough
1978: Leo Kottke Burnt Lips
1987: Phil Keaggy The Wind and the Wheat

Posted by: Linuxguru1968 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 05:24 PM

I can't believe I missed Astral Weeks. I might actually go back and change mine (I like the obscurity value of the Family album, but, well, it's Astral Weeks we're talking about.)

Near misses: Mott was the first full-price LP I ever bought, and would have made it into the list if 1973 hadn't been such a good year. Station to Station would have been there, too, if I weren't on a folk kick at the moment. New Day Rising is a pretty good choice, too.

Not with you on Pink Flag, though. It's good, but Chairs Missing is better - and it's a much more 1978 album.

Posted by: Phil [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2008 07:41 PM

Nice list. As I don't listen much, I will start preparing this kind of list for my daughter starting from 2006 as she loves listening to songs and is a Beatles aficionado.

Posted by: sachxn [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2008 04:18 AM

I must've missed something. I thought it was "a favorite album for every year of your life," and there were only "two restrictions: only one album per year (painful!) and no repeats of artists." The person that prompted Phil to participate likewise simply describes the meme as "Pick an album for every year of your life."

This description by no means limits you to albums *released* that year, only to your favorite album of a given year.

Opening the options up like this also shows more about the person. Many people either run behind the au courant music of a given year, or are simply lost in the past or a particular genre. If throughout the nineties someone's favorite albums are all jazz from the fifties, that tells you more about the person than learning what their favorite album was that happened to be released that year.

Also, not to impugn anyone's honor, but many of us did not know what albums were released while we were toddlers, so we're unlikely to have new releases as favorites ;-)

Posted by: alexfiles [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2008 03:16 PM

Would have sneaked in Joy Division and a few Brit new wave bands during the early 80's on the list - probably even U2 (War or Unforgettable Fire) but I'm ok with the choices.

This would have made a good segment in the movie, High Fidelity!

Groove on Nick.


Posted by: friarminor [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2008 08:48 PM

Alan, Pretzel Logic was one of the earlier albums that I bought. I enjoyed it, but Steely Dan never really meant much to me.

Phil, I don't have a strong memory of Chairs Missing (another of the records that I seem to have lost along the way), but Pink Flag staggered me. You're probably right, though, which means I need to find a copy of Chairs Missing.

Alexfiles, Feel free to take whatever approach you want.

Alain, I tried to get Unknown Pleasures in, but couldn't pull it off. (I saw Joy Division in London, opening for the Buzzcocks, in late 1979, by the way). As for U2: no thanks.

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2008 09:28 PM

Great list but no London Calling by the Clash? No Death Cab?


Posted by: Brian Mackay [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 24, 2008 01:50 PM

1974 Roxy Music, great choice, might have to change mine.

2002 Beck "Sea Change" I have only recently discovered, so there's air of freshness and excitement around it. Great album, but not sure if it will become 2002's greatest.

Posted by: ijonas [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 22, 2008 03:16 AM

Nick: You and I are fated to spend our lives disagreeing. Missing the Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East (or Eat a Peach or Brothers and Sisters) is a massive chink in your musical armor...

All the best,


Posted by: George Colony [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2008 04:00 PM

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