In honor of National Vinyl Album Day, here is one man’s take on some of the most beloved albums of people in the 50 to 60-year-old range:
AC/DC Back in Black (1980) This album would be a great relief to AC/DC fans around the world. Any time you lose an iconic singer like Bon Scott, the likelihood of the continued success of the band is in serious jeopardy. Brian Johnson would do a very solid job of filling those huge shoes and keep AC/DC in the rock mainstream.
Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive (1976) A once and future back-up singer and former member of Humble Pie, Peter Frampton busted on to the global scene with his double live masterpiece. Baby I Love Your Way, Show Me The Way and his megahit Do You Feel Like We Do remain as popular today as they were back then.
Rush 2112 (1976) With sagging record sales and serious concerns from their A&R people, Rush brushed off the idea of a 3 minute, FM radio friendly “hit” and delivered a 20-minute fictional futuristic discovery of a guitar and the ancient ways of a society no longer relevant. Rush will always have their detractors, but it is hard to imagine being a teen in the 70s and not loving 2112.
Led Zeppelin II (1969) and Led Zeppelin IV (1971) It would be impossible to imagine life without Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker/Livin’ Lovin’ Maid, Ramble On, Thank You, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Going to California and When the Levee Breaks. When a song is literally played so much that people who love the song can get sick of it, you have much more than a song. Stairway to Heaven sits in a class by itself.
Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1972) Certainly a very British band, Pink Floyd still remains kind of a mystery to casual American rock-n-roll fans. But this timeless classic album may literally be on the charts until 2112 and it would surprise no one. Time, Us and Them and Money are used in everyday life in movies and advertisements and have become part of the fiber of multiple generations. Roger Waters and David Gilmour took next level thinking to the next level.
Earth Wind and Fire All ‘n All (1977) A crossover gem including hits like Serpentine Fire, Jupiter and Fantasy this album mixed pop with funk with dance music with soul. The clothes, the horns, the lyrics and the groove of Earth Wind and Fire put them very much in their own category of music and smashed many reservations about music one could dance to that was not disco music.
Frank Zappa Overnight Sensation (1973) Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were light years ahead of their time. It could be argued that “Rap” music and subsequently “Hip Hop” music may have come from Frank Zappa. Dinah-Moe Humm and Dirty Love shocked people and I am the Slime could be used today to describe television as it has evolved. Not the guy you’d invite to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, Frank Zappa was a voice of creativity unmatched to this day.
Allman Brothers Band Live at Filmore East (1971) Duane Allman at his best, this live album was pure rock and roll pleasure. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and Statesboro Blues are simply perfect rock anthems and a 23-minute version of Whippin’ Post was made for headphones that are turned up to 10 while sitting in a bean bag chair enjoying a cool buzz.
Lynyrd Skynyrd Gold and Platinum (1979) Literally way too many songs to even try to mention them all in this article. Sweet Home Alabama is a classic, as is Gimme Three Steps, Tuesday’s Gone, That Smell and Saturday Night Special. And then there is a song that gets requested at every concert regardless of musical genre. Everyone knows the answer to the age old question….”what song is it you wanna hear”? Personal note, Gold and Platinum also happened to be my weed cleaning double album from back in the day.
Rolling Stones Let it Bleed (1969) With classic songs like You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Midnight Rambler and Gimme Shelter, The Stones rocketed to their rightful place at the top of the musical hierarchy with this release. And it has been a musical oddity for them to remain so immensely popular from generation to generation. There is little question Mick and Keith will outlive us all.
Again, this is just one man’s opinion about some culture changing music. The list is vast and it changes from person to person and taste to taste. Hopefully this article helped to reconnect with a day gone by and a musical history that will live forever.