This is part 47 of an ongoing series where the kind folk of the music business reveal their favourite album of all time.
Ask people in the music industry the seemingly simple and straightforward question, “What is your favourite album of all time?” and you’ll find that it’s not always easy. After all, my industry peers listen to hundreds of albums a month – thousands of songs during that time. Because the question isn’t the best album of all time or the one that’s made them the most money in sales, or the most clicked-on review, but the one release they personally can’t live without, that one title they have two copies of in several formats, in case one breaks. It’s also about that album that for them has the best back stories and the one that has the most meaning in their lives.
Chris Phillips, Editor in Chief, Backstreets
Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run is Springsteen’s perfect rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece, and Nebraska is damn near perfect too, all the more so for being such a bold left turm at that point in his career. But Tunnel of Love is where my heart is. Some of the best writing about adult relationships outside of country music or Raymond Carver, a buoyant and brutal 12-faceted examination of love and marriage, loaded with thrills and chills. It floored me when I was 16 and it came out, and it still does, for different reasons, almost 30 years later.
Dick McGrane, “McGrane In The Morning”, Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1
The Greatest Live Show On Earth, Jerry Lee Lewis
From Smash Records in 1964, this album was recorded at the time Jerry was still reeling from the cousin wedding stuff, out of this came as close to a hit as he got in those days, his live version of “High Heeled Sneakers”. The Killer was always a great live performer and this album came as close to capturing that feeling as you can on record.
Eddie Trunk, Editor, EddieTrunk.com
Strangers In The Night, UFO
My all time favorite music is melodic hard rock with great vocals. UFO epitomizes that. Brilliant playing, amazing singing, power but yet melody. Strangers is the band at the peak of their live powers, their definitive lineup, and a great cross section of their best material up to that point supercharged with incredible performances. And it’s a rare live album that is really live!
Peter Hodgson, I Heart Guitar
1.Outside, David Bowie
This is probably the least likely ‘my first Bowie album’ story ever, but this record came into my life when I read an interview with David Bowie about this record in a newspaper (remember those?). Thanks to that interview I became obsessed with this record before I’d even heard a note from it. Here was Bowie playing characters – male, female, adult, child, good, bad – and employing all sorts of wild compositional ideas thanks to Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. The paper happened to have a giveaway of a few copies of the album, and I was lucky enough to win one. I whipped out the booklet and pressed play.
And then my life changed.
The album was simultaneously dark and playful, expressive and intellectual. It was packed with incredible guitar playing from Reeves Gabrels, whose solo in “A Small Plot Of Land” pretty much busted my brain with its abstractness, and instantly shook me out of my Steve Vai/James Hetfield Impersonator phase. But most importantly of all it made me want to dig through Bowie’s back catalog, which led to me meeting a young lady in an internet chat room who shared my same Bowie obsession. Flash forward and we have a 9-year-old who also loves Bowie. And none of this would have happened if I hadn’t read that interview and won that album. So aside from being a brilliant musical statement that stands on its own two feet, it also has a huge significance for me because it quite literally changed my life.
David Menconi, author/critic, The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
There’s a Riot Goin’ On, Sly & the Family Stone
I have been listening to this record regularly for more than four decades now, without feeling I’ve ever gotten anywhere close to the bottom of it. “Riot” is like an answer record to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” but far more powerful — and for all the crude sonics, it still sounds like it could have come out yesterday.