Famous or Obscure — Music That Shaped Your Life

Every Tuesday is Vinyl Night at my local micro-brewery in Bernalillo. Stuart brings in some refurbished portable stereo equipment and we play vinyl records or at least music that was originally released on vinyl…sometimes we stretch the rules but that’s how it is supposed to work. We have been walking a modern jazz tightrope for a few weeks but we have gone through surfer music, The Who, The Doors, and a couple weeks of old blues records. Last week we staggered into a more eclectic vein of music…Joe Cocker, Donovan, Mark Knopfler and a few others. Last night we landed on Leon Redbone…followed by Asleep at the Wheel. A lot of this music brings back old memories. We trade stories and memories as the music plays.

Someone asked an interesting question: What if you were under hospice care and the doctor told you that you had time for only one more record or CD…what would you choose? A couple people chose Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. I can see that. I chose the Abraxas album by Santana…I want to go out dancing, I guess. What would you pick?

That question reminded me of another question of a while back that turned into a more detailed exercise. The question: What were the 20-25 music albums or singles that helped shape your life? I had to think about it for a while. I came up with a list of music…some famous and some pretty obscure. I’m sure this list changes over time as my mood or remembrances change but here is what I came up with at the time and it is still pretty much my list…

I put in several “Best of…” because the actual album name escapes me or there are too many to list. This is not a ranked list – no numbers allowed.

  • Peter and the Wolf (composed by Sergei Prokofiev) Technically not an album but it fits in this category. I WAS Peter as a little kid.
  • Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (Simon & Garfunkel) Hello Darkness, my old friend…
  • Introducing the Beatles — well, of course. The 1st US Beatles album.
  • In the Wind (Peter, Paul & Mary) – Blowing in the Wind was my high school senior class song…we had already lost a guy (Bernie) in Viet Nam and would lose a few more.
  • Elton John (by Elton John) I remember the first time I heard it on the radio…like it was yesterday.
  • The Mamas & the Papas (1966) (the Mamas & the Papas) Big sound and clear voices…almost any of their albums. Largely overlooked now.
  • Shankar, Menuhin, Rampal – Improvisations-East Meets West, vol 3 (Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal and Ravi Shankar) – I still listen to it after so many years…sitar, flute and violin.
  • Feliciano! (Jose Feliciano) — I saw him in concert just about a month ago, 41 years after my first Feliciano concert.
  • Close to the Edge (Yes)   You can lose yourself in this.
  • Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the Beatles). I actually studied this in a college English lit class.
  • In Search of the Lost Chord (Moody Blues) Almost any Moody Blues but this one in particular.
  • Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton (too many Clapton albums to list them all)
  • Common Ground (Paul Winter Consort) You have to hear it to understand…can’t explain it.
  • Woodstock (1st soundtrack album) You had to be there…Dang, I missed it.
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye – single) …college party music
  • Abbey Road (the Beatles) Parting was such sweet sorrow. This was really the end – the last Beatles recording sessions.
  • Led Zeppelin II (Led Zeppelin) The guy downstairs in my college dorm played this loud and constantly and his stereo was against the heat radiator and the whole building reverberated with Led Zeppelin.
  • The Best of The Doors (The Doors ) – only because it has all the songs from various albums that I remember.   – Also see Led Zeppelin, above…same guy.
  • Songs You Know By Heart (Jimmy Buffett) Parrot Heads arise!
  • Graceland (Paul Simon) Sound track for a few road trips.
  • Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 (James Taylor) Sweet Baby James…
  • Songs in the Key of Life (Stevie Wonder) I always liked “As” as a perfect love song. Just as kindness knows no shame/Know through all your joy and pain/That I’ll be loving you always.
  • Beethoven: Triple Concerto & Choral Fantasy (Itzak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim) I’ve written about this before…I can hear it now in my head.
  • Dire Straits (Dire Straits) Recalls a certain time – still like Mark Knopfler
  • Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone (Yo Yo Ma) The very definition of “sublime”. I’m a fool for YoY o Ma…I can’t help it.
  • Abraxas (Santana) Yeah…I’ll go out with that one.

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