25 Albums That Changed My Life

 

These 25 albums shaped my musical tastes for good or bad, and I have include my favourite track from each album for your listening pleasure, just click on the album above to download. I found it  hard to come up with this list and  I´m sure if you asked me tomorrow it would probably be a different set of albums,  hey if you asked me in two minutes I´m sure it would be different.

As you can see from these albums where my musical roots lye from the early seventies -influenced by an older brother with T.Rex, David Bowie and Mott The Hoople,  through to the early eighties when I was earning money and able to buy the records I loved records for the first time. So here they are in no particular order;

The Human League, Dare

I remember this album having such an effect on me on its release, I listened to it over and over on headphones and was lost in the way a pop record could sound so synthetic but also warm.This album was just perfect in every way, with classic singles The Sound Of The Crowd,  Open Your Heart, Love Action (I believe In) and the classic  Dont You Want Me -although I´d be happy never to hear this overplayed song again- I also love its darker tracks Do Or Die, I Am The Law, Darkness and the brilliant Seconds.Definitely an pop album which dreams are made of!

Track-The Things That Dreams Are Made Of

Blondie,Parallel Lines

Debbie Harry is one of my favourite female artists of all time and Parallel Lines is a fantastic pop fest which was produced by Mike Chapman one half of 70´s hit factory Chin/ Chapman who wrote hits for Sweet-Mud -Suzy Quatro and Smokie. The album included no less than four smash singles with two UK no 1´s, the dance hit Heart Of Glass and the sweet Sunday Girl. The album went on to sell 20million copies world wide.

Track -Fade Away And Radiate

Brian Eno, Here Come The Warm Jets

This was my first Eno album and along with Before and After Science and Another Green World are still my favourites. I would of loved to have seen Brian live when this album was released. This was his first solo album after leaving (or was he sacked?) Roxy Music.  There are so many tracks on here I love , Cindy Tells Me , Needles In The Camels Eye and On Some Faraway Beach. There is also the classic should have been single Baby´s On Fire which has been covered many times including T-Total featuring Marc Almond. I never tire of this album however many times i play it.

Track-Babys On Fire

Sweet, Give Us A Wink

Sweet at their hard rocking heaviest best and what the band should really be remembered for.The album has a fantastic production with an amazing sound which was recorded in Munich by the band themselves. The late great Mick Tucker´s  drum sound is amazing on this album. Brian’s voice on the album is fantastic, no more so than on the the classic single Action “Oh I was suicidal cause you was my Idol” and Brian was mine in 1976. Def Leppard had a hit with Action in the 90´s. The standout track for me is the slow brooding Healer which shows a completely different experimental  side to the band. Other highlights are 4th of July, Keep It In, Yesterdays Rain and the sleazy Cockroach. If you thought Sweet were just a pop band give this album a listen it may change you mind. The cut out sleeve was also fantastic as you could make it wink.

Track-Healer

Iggy Pop, The Idiot

I loved all Iggys´s work with Bowie, Raw Power was my first Iggy album which Bowie produced. The Idiot along with Lust For Life are  Iggy and David at their most creative . The Idiot includes the classic China Girl - much better than Bowie’s version- Nightclubbing which Grace Jones covered, Funtime also covered by Boy George and excellent Tiny Girls with a fantastic sax  piece. Iggy has a great voice I especially love it when he sings deep like on Sister Midnight. The album was produced by Tony Visconti and the album sleeve has more than a touch of Bowie´s  Heroes cover.

Track-Tiny Girls

Kraftwerk, The Man Machine

The first time I heard Autobahn I was intrigued, no guitars no drums how are they making these sounds. It wasn’t until a few years later when I heard Man Machine that I really fell in love with the band. I saw them on  tour in 1981 when the Model was re-released and made UK no 1. The album also includes the superb Neon Light-anyone remember buying th luminous 12inch ?- which was a hit in 1978. Kraftwerk the perfect electronic band  and this album still sounds timeless.

Track-Neon Lights

ABC, The Lexicon of Love

ABC released this perfect piece of romantic lush orchestrated pop which was produced by the legend that is Tevor Horn. With songs about heartache, breakups and bitterness Martin Fry and his gold lame suite  stole my heart and I fell head over heels with its beauty. When I play this album I have to do as a whole, just the odd track is never enough, from the opening strings to Show Me to the delicious Look Of Love Part 4. An album that has never aged.

Track-All Of My Heart

Ultravox, Systems Of Romance

This the original Ultravox-sorry Midge they were better with John- this is my favourite of  Ultravox mark 1 . It has a raw beauty which Ultravox Mark 2 glossed over. Highlights here includes Slow Motion, I love the part where John sings “hush can you feel the trees so far away” Just For A Moment is also a fantastic song with cold icy vocals from John. Other stand out tracks are Maximum Acceleration, Some Of Them, Blue Light and the classic Quiet Men which should have been a hit single, I remeber buying the cassette single where you had a empty side of the tape for you to record on, if I recall I taped John Foxx´s My Face from his flexi disc.

Track-Quiet Men

Lene Lovich, Stateless

I loved Lene from her first Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh! . Lucky Number is still a fab new wave single and this album is faultless. I bought this three times originally, red vinyl, black vinyl and picture disc. Lene also looks amazing and I saw her on tour at an old cinema at Lenton Abbey on a winters night were the roads were full of snow,  Lucky Number was at no 3 in the charts, she was amazing and I saw her a couple of years later and met her after the gig for an autograph, lovely lady.This album has some fab tunes on it and has my favourite verison of I Think Were Alone Now- someone please burn Tiffany’s version!- The albums highlights include Writing On The Wall, Telepathy, Home, her single Say When and the gorgeous Too Tender To Touch. A unique voice and a unique album.

Track-Home

Bronski Beat,The Age Of Consent

 

Smalltown Boy is one of the best coming out songs ever and I´m sure it helped many young men coming to terms with their sexuality in the early 80´s. Bronski Beat were a full on Gay synth band who produced this fantastic album which also incuded the other singles  Why a brilliant HI-RNG  number about discrimination and and the wonderful version of Gershwin’s Ain´t Necessarily So. Junk is also a favourite and see´s Jimmy adopting a lower vocal style. It is worth buying the re´ssue of this album as you get the remixed Hundreds and Thousands tagged on to it which includes the camp I Feel Love duet with Marc Almond and a fantastic remix of Heatwave.

Track-Smalltownboy

Foreigner, Foreigner

This was one of my guilty pleasures at school, everyone was into punk and it wasnt cool to like bands like Foreigner. I have fond memorys of this album and still really like the songs and Lou Grahams voice is fantastic. My favourite tracks are the singles Feels Like The First Time and Cold As Ice I also love Starrider and Headnocker , thereare some fab ballads too, The Damage Is Done, Woman Oh Woman and Fool For You Anyway.

Track-Fool For You Anyway

Deaf School, 2nd Honeymoon

My brother got me into this Liverpool Band when he lent me this album, I have loved them ever since. There was nothing like them at the time unusual songs and arrangements. Highlights on this their first album-they made three- include, Hi Jo Hi which would have a been a good single, they should have released more than one from the album, What A Way To End It All was the only single. Other fab tracks are Bigger Splash, Cocktails At 8 and Where´s The Weekend.  Also who could not love a band with a singer named Bette Bright. Their other two albums are Don’t Stop The World and English Boys Working Girls are both great albums. The band still do gigs now and then and have a couple of dates coming up, check out more here.

Track-What A Way To End It All

Soft Cell, Non Stop Erotic Cabaret

What an album and Marc is still making great music check out his new album just stunning. This the first Soft Cell album has so many excellent songs and the album boasts one of the all time classic 80´s singles in Tainted Love I still remember buying this from Hurts Yard in Nottingham.I´m sure many people bought the album just for the radio friendly Tainted Love and then  were subjected to the sleezy Sex Dwarf , Frustration and Seedy Films- such fun-I´m sure there were many shocked parents out there.The other singles from Non Stop Erotic Cabaret were Bed Sitter and the kitchen sink drama  Say Hello Wave Goodbye which are also timeless gems. Do you remember the video for Sex Dwarf! A classic album from a band who were at odds with all the glossy 80´s pop stars.  I only managed to catch the band live once in Manchester when they were touring the sadly overlooked Cruelty Without Beauty album , they were superb.

Track-Bedsitter

Marianne Faithfull, Broken English

I remember seeing the sleeve to this album long before I heard the album, loved it and then I heard Ballad Of Lucy Jorden single on the radio and was hooked straight away with Marianne´s voice. I then bought the album and was stunned at how good it was, brilliant songs and production. My favourite tracks are Broken English which has a brooding groove her cover of Lennons Working Class Hero, Why D´ya Do It? which I saw her perform live in Liverpool many years after the release of this album, love the way she spits out the lyrics with her raspy lived in voice-she means every word-. I have bought every album she has made since Broken English and can recommend all of them,  but his album may be her masterpiece. I also recomend her biography Faithful, what an amazing life.

Track-Broken English

Yazoo, Upstairs At Eric’s

 

Great synthpop Duo who sadly only made two albums both essential. This their first from ex Depeche Mode and future Erasure member Vince Clarke and the wonderful Alison Moyet has so many brilliant synth pop tunes. The best being the soulful Midnight, the dance tracks Didn’t I Bring Your Love Down, and Goodbye Seventies.My favourite song is the icy atmospheric Winter Kills, just breathtaking. In My Room is  also fantastic and the singles from the album Don’t Go and Only You-dam the Flying Pickets-make this a must have synth classic.  I´ve heard Alison is supposed to be recording another electronic album, I´m officially excited.

Track-Winter Kills

David Bowie “Heroes”

What can I say about David Bowie, he has been a constant in my life since the early seventies. It was so hard to pick just one record from his classic albums. The reason I picked Heroes was because it was the time I was buying his albums for the fisrt time as they came out, the first was Station To Station and then I bought his back catalogue and have bought everything he has made ever since. I often think Heroes gets short changed as Low seems to be held in higher esteem but I love Heroes. I remember having time off at school-pretending I was ill- so I wouldn’t miss his appearance on the Marc TV show where he premiered  the mighty title track. Wow was I blown away by his vocals. The year after this album 1978 was also my first Bowie concert at Bingly Hall in Safford, what a show, what an impression,my first big concert. My favourite songs on the album are Beauty And The Beast, Joe The Lion, Son´s Of The Silent Age, Blackout and The Secret Life Of Arabia, the instrumentals are also excellent especially Moss Garden and V2 Schneider. I also bought the album again with David singing Heroes in German and French, I used to practise singing the German version- not great lol.

 

Track-Sons Of The Silent Age

Devo, Q. Are We Not Men ?  A. We Are Devo

I first heard Devo on the John Peel show,  he played Joko Homo, the next day I went straight to Nottingham and bought the single on import as it hadn’t been released in the UK yet, if I remember rightly it was on their own label in a fold out sleeve. On the B-Side was the equally quirky Mongoloid. When the album was released I bought it on blue vinyl and in picture disc form- I was a sucker for picture disc´s, I had them all over a wall!. Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo was produced by Brian Eno and includes Devo classics  Uncontrollable Urge, Praying Hands and their cover of The Stones Satisfaction which must rate as one of the best cover versions of all time. Also favourite of mine include Come Back Jonee and Too Much Paranoia’s. They have just released their first album in years Something For Everyone and its a corker, one of my favourite albums this year.

Track-Mongoloid

Sparks, Kimono My House

I had this album as a Christmas present from a lady I used to babysit for up the road. I think that Christmas I received this and The Sweets Biggest Hits. This is far superior and still one of their best albums including the classics  This Town Aint Big Enough For The Both Of Us and Amateur Hour. They were so funny on Top Of The Pops. Other songs of note are Falling In Love With Myself, Thank God It´s Not Christmas and the mighty Equator. They went from glam rock to synth pop duo with ease and they still continue to make exciting music and if you get the chance to see them live do so, just excellent.

Track-Equator

Tears For Fears, The Hurting

I bought the 12inch white label of Mad World before I had see or heard anything by the band, it was playing in a record shop, I had to have it.I still love that song and many more here on their debut album. Songs From The Big Chair seems to be hailed as their best work but I prefer this one. Standout tracks include ,the title track The Hurting,Memories Fade the minimal Ideals As Opiates, of course the singles Mad World, Change-can you do Rolands dance?-  Suffer The Children which should have been a bigger hit and the perfect pop of Pale Shelter.

Track-Suffer The Children

Television, Marquee Moon

I first bought the 12inch single of Marquee Moon and was blown away by the guitar and vocals, I so love this song just perfect New Wave.  This album is perfect there is not a bad track on it, from the single to See No Eviiiiiil, Friction, Prove It all punchy songs. It also includes subtlety in the form of Torn Curtain and gorgeous Guiding Light. I still play this album I´m also a fan of the panned follow up Adventure, but hey how could you top an album this good.

Track-Torn Curtain

Mick Ronson, Play Dont Worry

 

Billy Porter used to be on the local radio staion all the time, one of those turntable hits,I loved it and it´s B-Side Seven Days -not on the original album . Play Don’t Worry was Mick´s second solo outiing after the glam  Slaughter On 10th Avenue. Mick was fantastic on this album with the beautiful This Is For You, Angel No 9 and Woman. My favourite track is the gorgeous Empty Bed (io me ne Andrei) a spanish song were Mick put his own lyrics to. I loved the glam images on the gatefold sleeve to.Not a perfect album but it should be in every glam fans collection.

Track-Empty Bed

 

The Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams are Made of This

I loved this period of the Euryhmics before they went too mainstream, this and The Garden are my favorite albums. Sweet Dreams has the brilliant Love Is A Stranger single -released twice and a bigger hit the second time around- and the title track Sweet Dreams having the memorable music video with the cows. Annie always looked stunning and I love her voice, I wish she would get back to some kind of electronic music. The album has many great songs  including, This Is The House, Somebody Told Me, Jennifer and the soulful  The City Never Sleeps.

Track-This Is The House

Gary Numan + Tubeway Army, Replicas

What can you say about Gary Numan, at first I thought he was just another Bowie wanna be but on further listening I got seduced by his synth tunes and became a firm fan. Replicas has so many great pop tunes , Me I Disconnect With You and You Are In My Vision would have made good singles. Down In The Park is still one of his best ever tunes also I´m Praying To The Aliens is fab. The album also has the classic Are Friends Electric? number 1 single. So Numan a Bowie clone, no this album is still sounds  fresh and original.

Track-Down In The Park

Ian Hunter, Ian Hunter

I have seen Ian live many times over the years and he has always delivered the goods, and now in his sixties he is still writing great tunes his latest Man Overboard is well worth a listen. I loved Mott The Hoople and was upset when they disbanded-I´d loved to have seen the reunion concerts- but some great albums came from the remaining members of Mott and then British Lions. Ian’s solo work has been an ongoing love of mine. This album started it all with “ello ello ello” the classic single Once Bitten Twice Shy his only solo top twenty hit. Highlight from the album include Who Do You Love, Lounge Lizard and the amazing Boy.This album is agood starting point if your a new fan, I also recomend All American Alien Boy, Your Never Alone With A Schizophrenic, Rant and Shrunken Heads.

Track-The Truth, The Truth, The Whole Truth

The Blue Nile, A Walk Across The Rooftops

Tinseltown In The Rain has to be one of the best singles ever released. I remember buying my first decent record deck A Rega player 3 around the time I bought this album and was really impressed by the vinyl the album was cut on. When this album was released I´d not heard anything which was so beautifully produced, the sound is amazing with such clarity and of course the songs are sublime. Highlights here include, Easter Parade and Automobile Noise the title track and Stay which was another single.I saw the Blue Nile live at the Derby Assembly Rooms on their Hats tour and can honestly say it is the only time I have been moved to tears by an artists voice ,raw emotion. I know they take forever to follow up each release but they are always worth the wait.

Track-Stay

10 Responses to “25 Albums That Changed My Life”

  1. Deiter says:

    Yo! Our top 25 albums are not so far apart!

    - I was in 8th grade when Ian Hunter’s first album came out and I was besotted. (For me, the first three on side 1 were about as good as r n r got.)
    - Heros (yes!)
    - Television (f**k yes!)
    - Kimono My House (Definitely, tho, I tended to favor Propaganda slightly.)
    - The Idiot (Wouldn’t have made it thru hi school w/o it! Tiny Girls indeed!)
    - Eno (Loved this and Fripps guitar, tho, a slight lean towards Taking Tiger Mountain)
    - I too was enchanted with Mick Ronson’s guitar, especially his work with Bowie & the Spiders. I remember feeling disappointed w/ his solo albums at the time but I’ve heard some of them recently & they seemed to’ve improved w/ time. (Love the track Slaughter on Tenth Ave)
    - Time hasn’t been kind to New Wave synth pop but at the time it seemed to describe the moment and Gary Numan had the coolest sound of the lot. (Depeche Mode had better songs but I avoided their records b/c their sounded too fawningly dance club-lite. I did buy Replicas, tho.
    - Devo, for one record, was one of the most interesting bands of their time. I had all of the original singles and saw them live pre-album many times. For me, the album was their glorious peak.
    - Tears for Fears: this album got a lot of play. I may’ve listened to it too many times. My wife, 12 yrs & a gen younger) loved them up til the end. I’m much too perfidious for that.
    - Marianne, of course, is great. I saw her a coupla yrs ago and she’s still great.
    - Deaf School: I had that album, I loved the whole music hall vibe thing.

    As someone who’s followed your blog for a while, please come check out my music blog and let me know what you think.
    http://jellyrollfortheearhole.blogspot.com

    Cheers, Deiter

    • adminmike says:

      Hi Deiter,
      Thankyou for taking the time to write, I really appreciate it, wow we do share many of the same albums, makes me think we are similar in age. I´m guessing that you are American, great to hear that Deaf School were known over there. I will check out your blog tonight and get back to you, cheers Mike

  2. Jack says:

    Great list and great words!

  3. I go to Wal-Mart for everything!

  4. Yeah nice set there – definitely some of my faves here as well. Funny to see that Foreigner in there though….!?
    But I guess we all have closet faves….!!

    • adminmike says:

      Yes I said it I like Foreigner,lol thanks for the comment Mikey

      • pateewack says:

        the 1st three albums from Foreigner are really good, so don’t worry!! The rest? Well, it basically boils down to this; if a band has to resort to recording sappy love ballads to reach a larger audience, neglecting fans of their early work in the process, then they lose any ounce of credibility they spent so much time building up in the process. And Lou Gramm could’ve sang for Menudo and STILL made them sound good!!!

  5. Stephen says:

    Great selection of albums there Mick, quite a few of them are in my vinyl collection too! I can still recall how much I was blown away when I first heard “Here Come the Warm Jets”, and you’re right – it’s still as good today.

    And how many will have heard Mick Ronsons album?? (also in my collection) love the “Times so short please woman wear your hair down for me” followed by that lovely guitar lick!

    Not sure if I’ve still got hold of 2nd Honeymoon, did I get it back from you??!! May have to check out iTunes for the download.

    Isn’t it great how the memories of these songs come flooding back, even when it’s thirty (OMG) or more years since I last heard some of them! So thanks for the little saunter down memory lane.

    Lots of love
    Steve x

    PS: you can catch up with me on the web link provided.

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