I was just recalling how music, in particular certain albums, has influenced me during pivotal times in my life. Whether as a schoolboy – full of rebellion and attitude; or as a teenager frequenting the local dance halls looking for girls; or as a budding bassist/songwriter learning every lick from every 45-record I could get my hands on; or as a mature man experiencing life’s ever-changing triumphs and disappointments, certain albums and songs have come along to mark milestones, as it were, in my life. When I hear these recordings again today, I am instantly transported back to the time and place when those familiar melodies first seduced me – complete with all the emotions and feelings that I felt way back then. How many times has a song become consolation for a sad moment or a celebration for an occasion of joy? Music, like no other art form, has the power to embed itself into the fabric of our life story. For instance …
I remember, as a teenager, traveling with my parents to America for the first time. As a result of my father’s career in aviation engineering, we moved constantly between military air bases, and I often felt lonely being separated from my friends back in England. I would spend my time secluded in my room, listening over and over again to the pastoral magnificence of Genesis’ progressive rock masterpiece, “Selling England By The Pound”. This album, with its visions and atmospheres of ancient Albion, ignited my imagination and became my passport home to the green fields of Southern England. It became my confidante and good friend during lonely days and nights.
At a crucial crossroads for me in 1973, I remember hearing Elton John’s seminal double album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Every song on this epic work was a mini-movie unto itself. I was entranced by Bernie Taupin’s cinematic and literate lyrics. Not one track on this inspired work was filler material (a very rare phenomenon these days!). Not sure at the time whether I should pursue a career as a professional soccer player, a graphic design artist or as a – God forbid – musician, hearing this album made my mind up for me. So, I purchased my first serious guitar and set off for the Yellow Brick Road myself, hoping to become the romantic troubadour I secretly, deep down, longed to be.
Of course, any music by the Beatles holds fond memories for me, as I grew up in their heyday, with their songs. In particular, whenever I hear, “A Hard Days Night,” I’m whisked back to my school days and my first crush on a girl in my class: I recall trying to impress her by singing the song to her during a fateful lunch break (I hasten to report, she was infinitely more interested in the cookies and milk that she was devouring than she was in my passionate performance!).
Each one of us has our own personal musical soundtrack, so I thought it would be fun to share mine with you. Here are twenty albums that have hugely influenced and touched me:
|1.||A HARD DAYS NIGHT – The Beatles||11.||THE PRETENDER – Jackson Browne|
|2.||ABBEY ROAD – The Beatles||12.||WHAT’S GOING ON – Marvin Gaye|
|3.||FOX TROT – Genesis||13.||JOHNNY THE FOX – Thin Lizzy|
|4.||SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND – Genesis||14.||MUSIC OF MY MIND – Stevie Wonder|
|5.||GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD – Elton John||15.||CATCH A FIRE – Bob Marley & The Wailers|
|6.||SECURITY – Peter Gabriel||16.||THUNDER THUMBS & LIGHTENING LICKS – The Brothers Johnson|
|7.||I AM – Earth, Wind & Fire||17.||THE GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS – Tom Dolby|
|ZIGGY STARDUST – David Bowie||18.||SO – Peter Gabriel|
|9.||COURT AND SPARK – Joni Mitchell||19.||THE COLOUR OF SPRING – Talk Talk|
|10.||THE MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION – Parliament||20.||A WALK ACROSS THE ROOFTOPS – The Blue Nile|
In today’s rush of noise, speed and commotion, it’s somehow reassuring to re-visit the music of more innocent times, when a simple tune and mood stirred our deepest feelings, reached into our hearts and became our trusted companion; these remain emotional signposts for each of us throughout our journey.
“Come, said the muse
Sing me a song no poet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.”
- Walt Whitman
Thanks for stopping by.
P.S. I was recently made aware by a friend, of the desperate plight of the Yellowstone Buffalo. Please visit www.buffalofieldcampign.org to learn more and help.