Still going. Maybe ten at a time was a mistake. But I'll be done by Labor Day, I promise. This run reads a little like a playlist from KKZX, Spokane's ONLY Classic Rock Station, but there's a reason it's called "classic," OK?
#40 - The Faces - Long Player
The best band that nobody in America seems to remember. Rod Stewart and Ronnie Lane were en fuego back when these guys were churning out music in the early 70s, and they were legitimate rivals to the Rolling Stones as the "World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band." The songs are loose and muscular like the best classic rock tracks, and the lyrics read (and are delivered) like a bunch of drunken scoundrels tearing it up all night. Favorite Song = "Had Me a Real Good Time"
#39 - The Who - Who's Next
When this showed up on someone elses list I commented that this album was too big for an arena. It's too big for this planet! There should be a picture of this album next to the word "anthemic" in the dictionary. It roars with power and can crush you with it's gale-force winds. I like it. Favorite Song = "Baba O'Riley"
#38 - Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet
You'll find ample evidence on this list where I fall the in the Rolling Stones vs. Beatles argument. In fact, the blend of blues and country, sneering and prancing, decadence and virtuosity they pioneered is pretty much the blueprint of what I love about rock and roll. You can hear them rejecting all the psychadelic experimentation and glossy pop imagery to embrace the guts of rock, which is why their music remains so timeless to me. Favorite Song = "No Expectations"
#37 - AC/DC - Back in Black
Ah, AC/DC. How I love thee. So many memories. Fish-tailing around suburban Spokane in my buddies Buick, listening to "You Shook Me All Night Long" and stealing traffic cones. Air-guitaring to "Shake a Leg" in my college apartment. Pumping two dollars worth of quarters into the jukebox at The Bulldog and selecting "Shoot to Thrill" 5 consecutive times. Nowadays Brian Johnson sounds like he coughed out his voice-box, set it on fire, sawed it back and forth over a cheese-grater, then reinstered it, but back then he still had fresh pipes. The only knock on this album? No Bon. Favorite Song = "You Shook Me All Night Long" (like you can really pick against that one)
#36 - Wilco - Being There
To this day, still my favorite Wilco album. This utterly changed my perception of what alt-country could be, while still holding onto it's roots in folk, americana, and a few power chords. "Monday" rocks, "Someone Else's Song" is beautiful, and the rest of the album keeps getting better the more you explore it. It's eclecticism is what I like about it; despite the different directions it works well when you listen straight through, which--unlike most music--I still do. Favorite Song = "I Got You (At the End of the Century)"
#35 - Bob Marley - Exodus
Where do you start with Bob Marley? The guy took a unique kind of music from a small Caribbean island and turned it into a world-wide cultural force. And if you've been reading this blog for a while you know how much I love Jamaica, mon. This album is less political and more relaxed than some of his other ones, and some of the best known songs ("Jamming", "Three Little Birds", "One Love/People Get Ready") are on near continuous loops in every stoner's smokey apartment. If you have the urge to get something besides Legend, this is where you should go first. Favorite Song = "Three Little Birds"
#34 - The Police - Synchronicity
It's not perfect--it contains perhaps the worst song ever, "Mother." But everything else on here is top-notch. I never got tired of the big singles, which completely dominated one summer of my life, but I also really like the other tracks, like "Walking in Your Footsteps" and "Miss Gradenko." My love/hate relationship with Sting aside, the Police were freakin' awesome. Favorite Song = "King of Pain"
#33 - Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swingin' Lovers
I had a girlfriend a few years back that was crazy, I'm talking bat-shit, get-these-spiders-off-of-me crazy, too. Her musical tastes were limited to two things: Foetus and Frank Sinatra. If there's anything good that came out of that relationship, aside from a renewed appreciation for people who don't cut themselves, it's my abiding love for Ol' Blue Eyes. No longer do I throw him in that category of "music my parents listened to." When you've loved and lost like Frank has, then you know what life’s about. No one can sing the subtext of a song the way he can. And no one...I repeat, no one...had a better voice and phrasing. Say any different and I'm gonna ring-a-ding-ding your lousy puss. Favorite Song = "I've Got You Under My Skin"
#32 - Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed
Remember The Big Chill. I hated that movie. Stupid Baby Boomers...so freakin' self-congratulatory. Get on with retirement, for god sake, so those of us who realize that Woodstock was just a damn concert can have your jobs! But I digress. One of the jokes of the movie was the funeral at the beginning, in which the deceased (played stiffly by Kevin Costner) requests that "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is played instead of the normal funeral dirge. Even that couldn't take away the grandeur of that track. The Stones continue to explore the themes they did at #38, but with a little more of a hard-rocking edge. And (spoiler alert) their best work was still ahead of them. Favorite Song = "You Got the Silver"
#31 - Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass
With all due respect to Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and their descendents, you need look no further than The Jayhawks for the best of modern alt-country. Before Mark Olsen left the band, he and Gary Louris used to sing harmonies that would take your breath away. This is perfect country-rock, plain and simple...alternately rocking and touching. Favorite Song = "I'd Run Away"