Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday #Clay5 - Childhood Albums

The following #Clay5 consists of albums that I listened to incessantly as a child. There were typically enjoyed on the floor with my father or in a chair wearing headphones. They are a big part of the music I like now and no doubt shaped my taste as I grew up. The albums were also vinyl, and the ritual of taking the record out of its sleeve and carefully placing the needle on the groove gave me immense pleasure. I still like these albums a lot, and whenever I listen to them, I'm a kid again. I have managed to 'inherit' these vinyl masterpieces over the years.

1. QUEEN A Night At The Opera (1975)
Sure, this is the album with 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on it, but it's so much more than that one song.  As the opening piano riff of 'Death on Two Legs' starts to fade in you are suddenly assaulted with the sound of ominous guitars. It was one of the first times I can remember being scared by music. That fear subsided quickly as the catchy song began and stormed my music castle. I love this album still and the way it leaps from style to style has been attempted often, and seldom successful. 'The Prophet's Song', which opens the second side, is my favourite Queen song and the way it segues into 'Love of my Life' is just magical. 

Futuristic motorcycle rider; the motorcycle has jet exhaust. A bat-like figure on the tower of a building.

2. MEAT LOAF Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
"On a hot summer night, will you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?" He he he...I didn't know what that little exchange was all about as a kid, but I liked the interplay. Similarly, I had no idea what 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' was chronicling either. I have fond memories of singing along to 'You Took the Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Nights)' with my dad, who would point to me when it was time to sing the back-up bit: "Looove you!". The title track, featuring that awesome 'motorcycle guitar solo' by producer Todd Rundgren, is just rock pomp at its finest.

3. BILLY JOEL Glass Houses (1980)
I loved the opening of this album: the sound of breaking glass. I found it quite exciting as a kid, and the first track 'You May Be Right' was a big fave of mine. I also loved 'It's Still Rock and Roll to Me' and 'All For Leyna', the latter still one of my massive favourites. As with the Meat Loaf album, some of sexual references were lost on me in songs like 'Sometimes a Fantasy'. It's one of his best efforts and the memories it evokes are timeless.

4. JON ENGLISH It's All A Game (1974)
I just recently dug this gem of an album out again for a few spins. It's such a wonderful record, with English's vocals full of passion and grit. His version of Bob Seger's 'Turn the Page' is wonderfully emotive and powerful. There's not a bad song here, and my love of tracks like 'Just The Way I Am' and 'Hail All Hail to the Revolution (12 Bore)' has not waned. It's only now that I've realised that 'He Could Have Been a Dancer' is about a couple who are dealing with the aftermath of an abortion. It belongs with such classics as 'Choir Girl' and 'Brick'.

5. HENRY MANCINI Pure Gold (1967)
This one actually belonged to my Grandpa. One of the things my sister and I loved to do when visiting or staying over at 'Nanna & Pa's' place was put on this album and dance around the room to such wonderful pieces as 'Baby Elephant Walk', 'The Pink Panther Theme' and 'Peter Gunn'. I still have much fondness for them, but I've now grown to love 'Moon River' and 'Days of Wine and Roses' as well.

Honourable Mentions:
BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath (1970)
KISS Dynasty (1979)
DEEP PURPLE Made in Japan (1972)
MICHAEL JACKSON Thriller (1982)

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