5-16-12 Chris Moore’s List
King Crimson / Robert Fripp born 1946, Singer / Songwriter Jonathan Richman born 1951; Cat Food.
Its really hard to do “top x” lists because there’s so much great stuff out there and my taste changes over time and swings wildly with my interest, but here’s a list to start. Top 20 albums, in no particular order.
1. Quadrophenia by The Who
This was one of the first albums I ever bought, and it remains one of my favorites. Quadrophenia combined sensitive and tuneful songwriting with a power, energy and a sonic attack that remains virtually unmatched even after nearly 40 years.
2. The Complete Live at Leeds by The Who
The next best thing to being there, this live album may well be the best live album ever. As a kid, I remember feeling ripped off after buying the original EP, since it only contained 6 tracks. It wasn’t until the 1995 CD release that I really began to love this album. Play it loud!
3. Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned
The Damned remains one of my favorite bands of all time, and this is their best album. As much as I liked Brian James on guitar, his loss and Captain Sensible switching to guitar really made the Damned a great band. A little bit psychedelic, a little dark pop, and with punk energy provided by Sensible’s amazing guitar work and the great Rat Scabies on drums, MGE lets every member of the band shine.
4. Damned Damned Damned by The Damned
An incredible first album. These guys were talented right out of the gate, unlike many of their contemporaries. Hearing this album for the first time was a revelation for me. Fast, frantic and really fun, Damned Damned Damned deserves to be listed right alongside “Never Mind the Bollacks” as one of the seminal English punk albums.
5. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
This album is a favorite with just about everyone. Rather than repeat endless superlatives, I’ll just say my favorite thing about this near perfect album is the way that it takes the listener on a musical journey so evocative that you can almost see it.
6. Revolver by The Beatles
Every member of the Beatles shines on this album, but Lennon’s contributions really stand out. I had to include it here, particularly because of my affection for “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
7. Never Mind The Bollocks by The Sex Pistols
This album is rightly hailed as the hallmark for British punk. It remains a vital record even heard against the nearly 40 years of punk music it helped spawn. Although the Sex Pistols can seem merely rather snotty these days, its hard to convey how caustic and revolutionary this record seemed in the 1970s. Maybe you had to be there.
8. London Calling by The Clash
Smart, melodic, punk-ska-pop music for budding revolutionaries and teens of every age, this album really defined what The Clash were all about.
9. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Like many of my contemporaries, as a teen, I spent hours listening to this album through headphones. I think it is better than “Dark Side of the Moon” even though the two seem inexorably linked to me. WYWH is warmer and more emotionally satisfying, while retaining Floyd’s polished and dynamic audio sensibilities.
10. Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division
I didn’t discover Joy Division until after they were already gone. Dark, dreaming, punchy, and full of Manchester urban grit, this album doesn’t get the respect accorded to the more polished “Closer” but I enjoy it more.
11. In the Flat Field by Bauhaus
Its easy to dismiss Bauhaus albums as self indulgent, pretentious goth art rock. You say that like it’s a bad thing… Theatrical? Definitely. Over the top? Perhaps. I think of Bauhaus as King Crimson’s evil little brother. This first album is their best and worthy of more than one listen.
12. Los Angeles by X
X is mine. They belong to me and all the other kids who grew up bored and desperate in Southern California in the 70s and early 80s. You’re lucky I let you listen to them. Sure, there were other great bands. You couldn’t spit at an L.A. show without hitting one; The Blasters, The Dickies, The Plugz, The Minutemen, The Germs, The Zeros, Fear, Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, Red Kross, The Motels, The Weirdos. The Go-Gos even made it big. But X is the real deal. They are my Los Angeles.
13. Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd
This cat’s something I can’t explain… A great, great psychedelic album. Syd Barrett’s best work. Break out those headphones again.
14. Rum Sodomy & the Lash by The Pogues
I find the Pogues’ blend of punk & traditional Irish music irresistible. Joyous, sorrowful, rebellious and just plain fun. Drinking music you can dance to. Or sing to. Or fight to. Pogue Mahone!
15. Let it Bleed by The Rolling Stones
My favorite Stones album. Gimme Shelter gives me the chills every time. Boozy and bluesey, Keith Richard’s guitar is outstanding throughout.
16. Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones
My favorite Stones album. Except for the other ones that are also my favorite, like the one noted above, “Beggar’s Banquet” and “Exile on Main Street.” The hits are great, but “Moonlight Mile” is a gem.
17. Strange Times by The Chameleons
Emotional and magical, I always thought The Chameleons should have been huge. Maybe their songs were too personal or too dramatic for mass consumption. I was lucky enough to see them play live once. This is a great post-punk-pop album.
18. Raw Power by The Stooges
The Stooges are a force of nature here. Raw, demonic energy and controlled menace. Simply one of the greatest rock albums ever.
19. Rocket to Russia by The Ramones
Just pure fun, “Rocket to Russia” has all the things that made the Ramones so great; short, melodic, catchy songs played fast and loud. Break out your leather jacket and give it a spin. You know you wanna.
20. Kink Kronicles by The Kinks
I love the Kinks. This compilation album of late 1960s songs isn’t exactly a greatest hits, but it has a lot of great songs on its 4 albums. Anglophobes need not apply.
RK: Only thing on Chris’ list I don’t know is the album by The Chameleons.