“Best Album” – such a subjective topic! “Commercially Successful”? Acknowledged in the music community as ‘their best album’? Well, I think I liked Pink Floyd a whole lot better before “Dark Side…” got so damned omnipresent! Noting squashes “underground credibility” more than commercial success! “DSOTM” remains a very popular album over the decades – but it’s not “my favorite album” by PF.
My favorite Zappa album (my #1 “Perfect Collection” album”) “We’re Only In It For The Money” is referred to as a “Fan Favorite” – but it’s far from being acknowledged as his “best album” – something like the Rolling Stone guide (or a Japanese music magazine list) seems to only ever ‘get’ “Freak Out” or “Apostrophe’”. In my case, “WOIIFTM” hit me at exactly at the precise moment that my psyche was being developed – forever cementing it in top position. Luckily, Zappa never got so popular that much anything of hbis got ‘spoiled’ for me by commercial over-exposure – with the possible exception of the “Valley Girl” 45.
Who hasn’t gone for an artist whose records weren’t readily available in the US? If you’ve ever bought an “Import” LP / 7” / 12” / CD Single / CD – you’re in the club!
Seems like nobody ever discusses ‘ranking’ anymore. I have posted those glorious lists from Japanese magazines, all of whom still seem pre-occupied with “The Top 100” titles of all-time. Rolling Stone magazine made their “Top 500 Songs of All-Time” – I think Bob Dylan placed at #1 with “Like A Rolling Stone” – obvious choice for that mag, eh? And, of course, if it had been a British publication, the top tune would’ve been “What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye.
Poor old Marvin Gaye – I don’t know anything of his to have a favorite or not of! I definitely went in search of his SA-CD; I knew I needed to find “It Takes Two”, his duet with Kim Weston. I bought his 2CD Motown “Anthology”. But like Sam Cooke, I think I can appreciate Marvin (and Sam) as having made a few classic singles / songs – only.
I have a long history of “finishing” with bands – usually coinciding with their gaining popularity: Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd etc. Damn it, I wanted my “Progressive Rock” to remain “Underground”! Give me European music! Faust! Magma! Il Balletto Di Bronzo! But I always stayed true to my L.A. / Zappa roots – I got interested in The Coasters (via Zappa), and I even love their hits!
Often, I would ride a new wave band until I got to see them play live. Maybe it was a case of ‘familiarity kills’ for me? In which case, I will stick to the records that turned me on to an artist, invariably never something regarded as ‘their best work’ – so, for me the issue becomes “What is my position to this music?”, instead of a ‘public perception’ – “What is their best work?”. I don’t listen to anything new anymore, so nothing gets ‘spoiled’ these days – if you’re not particularly listening to the machine. My R&B 45’s still sound great to me!