I don't have a myspace or facebook account, so this is where I will tell the world about my favorite music, even though I realize (unlike most teen-agers) that you could really give a crap.
Here are the rules. Original albums only - no compilations or greatest hits. This is somewhat unfair - like focusing on baseball players who have hit grand slam home runs while ignoring those who get a base hit almost every game. My apologies to Elton John, and The Eagles, and Bread, and Chicago, and The BeeGees, and so many others who have amassed a lifetime of wonderful hits that didn't clump together in one album. I'm leaving you folks behind - sorry.
I am however including my Glen Miller collection, because LP records did not exist before 1948. Who knows how he might have released his songs if he had the multimedia options we enjoy today. Besides, it's fantastic music!
I am, for the moment, skipping past classical music. That would bring in another 20 albums or more, and some day I may post that list; but for now let's focus on the modern era. Sound tracks are also omited, else I would surely include Sound of Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few.
The last rule - at most two albums per group. This is rarely a problem, except for a few stellar groups like the Beatles.
Since it is impossible to rank so many great and diverse albums, I simply put them in alphabetical order. Here goes.
Acoustix: Stars And Stripes Forever
Beatles: Sergeant Peppers, Revolver
Blackmore's Night: Ghost of a Rose
Claude Bolling: Suite for Flute & Jazz Piano Trio
Boston: More Than A Feeling
Carpenters: Ticket to Ride, A Song For You
Natalie Cole: Unforgetable
John Denver: I Want to Live
Dido: No Angel
Dixie Chicks: Home
ELO: New World Record, Discovery
Fleetwood Mac: Rumors
Dan Fogelberg: Innocent Age
Peter Gabriel: So
Genesis: Lamb Lies Down, Selling England
Amy Grant: Christmas Albums 1 And 2
Indigo Girls: Indigo Girls
Billy Jole: The Stranger
Kansas: Left Overture, Point of No Return
Carole King: Tapestry
Barry Manilow: Even Now
Glen Miller: In the Digital Mood
Moody Blues: Days of Future Past
Alan Parsons: Pyramid, Turn of a Friendly Card
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here
Queen: A Night at the Opera
Renaissance: Scheherazade, Song for all Seasons
Rush: Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures
Simon And Garfunkel: Bookends, Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Paul Simon: Graceland
Barbara Streisand: Guilty
Styx: Grand Illusion
Supertramp: Breakfast In America
James Tailor: JT
Yes: Fragile, Close to the Edge
There are of course other albums that I could easily swap for some of the above and feel just as good about the list. It's a fine line between 49 and 51.
So what's up with England? The most amazing music I've ever heard! 22.5 of my 50 albums, 45%, come from British groups, primarily progressive rock. (Guilty counts as half British thanks to Barry Gibb.) And if I really had to rank these 50 albums in order, those 23 albums would probably bubble up to the top 30. I've been listening to The Beatles, Yes, Genesis, and Renaissance for 35 years, and I still get goosebumps.
Although five decades of music are well represented here, there is an obvious emphasis on the 1970's. 30 of my 50 albums come from this decade, and most of the next 50, waiting in the wings, also come from the 70's's. This is, to my mind, the Cambrian Explosion of music. So many new forms, so many new ideas. I'd really say 1965 to 1982, but let's just call it the 70's. I am a bit snobbish about this, almost ready to say that music stopped in the 80's. Well that isn't quite true, as shown by the list above, but I honestly thing that 300 years from now you will hear, on the radio, popular music of that time, and music centered on the 1970's, and big band and classical, and not much else.
Send additions, comments, or flames here.