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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Most Influential Albums of my High-School years

Fellow comedian Neil Thornton posted this list of the top ten most influential  albums of his high-school years, although he must have been a slow learner as his cover a 17 year period.  I've kept to the years 1970 to 1974 when I was at high-school. The top ten most influential albums of my high-school years (in year order, then alphabetic) are:

1970:

  • Jesus Christ, Superstar. Religion, but a questioning religion that put the protagonists in a more naturalistic contemporary place than the empty rituals of the established churches. I wonder how much the religious revival in the west in the late 70s and later came from this treatment.
  • Let It Be the twelfth and final studio album by the Beatles. I started seriously listening to pop music this year, they ended as I started.
  • Lola Versus Powerman, The Kinks. Even though I couldn't discuss it then I found LOLA inspirational. "Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
    It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
    Except for Lola. Lo lo lo lo Lola."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. They were the climax of the surreal skit trend in British broadcast comedy that began (for me) with the Goons and wouldn't rise to such levels again until collapse and a fresh start from Alternative Comedy in the 1980s.

1971:

  • Electric Warrior T-Rex - Bang a gong, get it on. Nothing deep, just loved their music. I was 13 and 2nd year high-school.

1972:

  • Transformer. Lou Reed. Holly came from Miami F-L-A, hitch hiked across the U-S-A, plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs then he was a she. -- I just typed that from memory, then checked. I had it word perfect but the punctuation needs correcting. This story of Holly Woodlawn (1946-2015) was another that resonated with me and another I could never express at that time.
  • Ziggy Stardust. David Bowie. It's hard to pick one David Bowie album from the 1970-1974 era, he was so influential. I picked this one because it was the medium of my coming to appreciate him as an artist.

1973:

  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Elton John. At the time it seemed he lived his life like a candle in the wind. Like Bowie it's difficult for me to pick a single album as most influential. Unlike Bowie I always saw him as an entertainer and in 1970 to 1974 he had hit after hit, album after album. In the end I picked this one for Bennie and the Jets, Candle in the wind , Funereal for a friend and the title track.
  • Solo Concert, Billy Connolly. I do stand-up because I saw Billy Connolly on stage. I saw Billy Connolly on stage because I heard him on vinyl. Without this album Billy Connoly would probably never have been the big star he became at the right time for me to be influenced by him.
  • The Rocky Horror Show, Original London Cast Recording. My person preference is for the slightly later Picture Show (RHPS) recording, but that's outside the time frame and without the original stage-show there may never have been a RHPS so I'm describing this as influential.

1974: Try as I might I can't think of anything from 1974 that I would regard as more influential than the above 10. Sure there were songs I liked, but looking back from 40 years later, nothing that registers strongly enough to bump one of the others off.

Thanks to Neil Thornton for the idea.