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This is part 69 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 and 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.

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S. Victor Aaron, Something Else! Music Reviews
Kenny G, Duotones
The staggering saxophone prowess only suggested with stints in Barry White’s and Jeff Lorber’s groups come fully realized on Gorelick’s fourth long player. Combining the spirituality of John Coltrane and the emotional purity of Albert Ayler, the G-Man adds to this potent combination his defining, innovative pitch deviation method, widely lauded from celebrated musicians such as Pat Metheny. Behold the official video for his signature hit “Songbird” and you’ll find his bass player shaking his head in wonderment at G’s soaring soprano sax solo. I can’t help but do the same every time I listen to this record.

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Terry Bunch, Editor-In-Chief. Metal Life Magazine
King Diamond, Them
Already a fan of King Diamond’s work with Mercyful Fate and his previous solo albums, when “Them” came out, it had a profound effect on me. I had always enjoyed letting my imagination run wild and visualize the events described in the lyrics of heavy metal albums, but “Them” was different. Here was a complete story so vividly described that I could not stop listening. When the album finished, I felt like I had to remind myself to start breathing again. Compelled as if controlled by the very creatures described in the album, I had to listen to it again and again. Each time I have heard “Them,” I visualize more of the haunted house, grandma and “them.” To this day, when I play this album, I remember that day when I first heard it and how lucky I am that I get to continue to do so.

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Stacey McAdams/PollyWogg, WFRG-FM Utica/Rome, NY
Keith Urban, Be Here
It’s Urban’s best selling album that produced 3 #1 singles. It’s also the album with one of the most honest song’s of his career’ Tonight I Wanna Cry,’ despite only reaching #2 on the charts. I’ve been a Keith Urban fan before he hit it big and the man hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still humble, kind and willing to do whatever he can for his fans, all while battling his own demons. You have to respect a man who can admit his failures and be strong enough to do something about it.

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Todd McFliker, Senior Editor, SFL Music Magazine
Led Zeppelin, II
Recorded on the road, Led Zeppelin II is the Brits’ brilliant second release from 1969. The band begged, borrowed and stole from American legends, such as Otis Redding and Howlin’ Wolf, creating a sensation with their brash creations in a studio. Zeppelin’s explosive LP turned Platinum that’s recently been remastered established the 1970s and 80s long-hair heavy metal genre. From squeezing lemons out of the heartbreaking Delta Blues, to referencing classic British literature and inconceivable drum solos, Led Zeppelin II is the unrivaled champion of rock recordings.

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John Szuch, Founder, Deep Elm Records
Lights & Motion, Reanimation
One word: Epic. That’s the most succinct way to describe this stunning debut by cinematic post-rock powerhouse Lights & Motion. The band’s braintrust is a solo 24 year old self-taught Swedish multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, engineer, mixer and all around musical savant named Christoffer Franzen. He created and composed every song in real-time during late night insomnia sessions through accident and improvisation. All of the instruments are played live by a single person. It’s hard to believe when you hear it. It’s so inspiring and perfect for any occasion. This album is pure, sweeping, musically-animated emotion: modern yet classic, bold yet restrained, grandiose yet humble, storming yet tranquil…and I remain completely surrounded in the sincerity, the ecstasy, the illumination of it all. Every song is deeply intimate yet so massively majestic, culminating in a timeless album that is seemingly created from the same stuff dreams are made of. Undoubtedly one of the best and most important post-rock albums ever made. Mind = blown.

This is part 68 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 and 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.

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Tina Mica, On-Air Personality, KSWD, 100.3 The Sound
Boston, Boston
I’ve worn it out three times and still love listening to it on vinyl. To me, the Boston Debut album is full of enthusiasm! It’s in the lyrics, the vocals and instruments. The percussion, guitar riffs and Brad Delp’s vocals are full and rich. When I was a kid, I would come home from school, run to my room, lock myself in and blast the record. It would take me to different places in my mind. When I listen today, the album reminds me to live in the moment, celebrate life and to imagine the future.

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Stephanie Mueller, Promotions Coordinator & Music Director, CKQK-FM,Charlottetown, PEI
Hanson, Underneath
It came out in 2004 right before I graduated high school and it got me through some good times, bad times, and helped me grow as a person. I feel like I owe a lot to that band. Most of their albums helped get me through some really different experiences in my life. I think it helps that I was the same age as them, so their writing really spoke to where I was in my life as each new album came out. I own multiple copies of most of their albums, physical, digital, even a number of them on vinyl. The fact that they show their fans how important they are to them is really special, too.

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Jeff Strange, Program Director, 93.5 WKHY/ESPN 145- WASK-AM, Lafayette, IN
Van Halen, Fair Warning
From the opening two-hand tapping virtuosity of Mean Street to the rumbling synth line of “One Foot Out the Door”, this album never disappoints. After all of the band’s off-the-cuff, playful, sounding albums, “Fair Warning” was intense and angrier, with phenomenal playing from all members of the band. I felt like the disc captured Van Halen in peak form with tightness of the rhythm-section in songs like “Sinners Swing” and “Push Comes to Shove”, Edward’s masterful guitar work in “Fair Warning” and “Dirty Movies”, and Dave’s swagger in “Unchained and “So This Is Love?”, it captures all the things I loved about Van Halen. It’s was easily the most original and innovative album Van Halen released in my opinion.

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Steve Graham, The Power of a Whisper and Go Country
The Plastic Ono Band, Live Peace In Toronto 1969
Give Peace A Chance brings great memories of John and Ono being in Montreal recording the song in bed and inviting media to the event. Working at CKGM at the time it was an interesting time. I remember coming into the station for many years after that event and checking messages at reception and almost weekly there would be a message for our owner Geoff Stirling from John Lennon. “Give Peace a Chance” is just one of those songs that is just as relevant today as it was back then maybe more so in today’s world. The album wasn’t great but the song had such an impact on me and many others I am sure. In today’s world if we lived by this message maybe it would be a different world with a whole lot less violence.

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Staci Static, Assistant Program Director, WHHL-FM, St. Louis, Missouri
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
No matter how many times I hear this album I experience a range of emotions and I’m filled with beautiful memories of family and past loves.

This is part 67 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 and 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.

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R Dub!, Host, Sunday Night Slow Jams
A Tribe Called Quest, People’s Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm
I’m proud to say that I was a mega-fan of A Tribe Called Quest before liking A Tribe Called Quest was cool! I mean, literally, NO ONE I knew had even heard of them, and I used to be made fun of in Junior High for touting my love for ATCQ. My how things have changed! The album was a part of my childhood, and was the very first piece of music that got me interested in Hip-Hop, since I stumbled upon the video for “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” one morning before school, in 1989. My life was never the same.

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Michael Stanley, WNCX, Cleveland, Ohio
Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run
When the first side of your album starts with “Thunder Road” and your second side starts with “Born To Run”
and neither of those is even the best song on the album (that would be “Jungleland”, my favorite song of all time) then you know something pretty amazing has been accomplished. This album encompasses just about everything you need to know about rock n’ roll…hats off to all concerned!

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Jim Vorel, News Editor, Paste Magazine
Alela Diane, To Be Still
The vocals of Alela Diane are like a beautiful web of pristine, crystalline fibers. At times, it seems like they’ll simply have to crack, but there’s an underlying strength there, a sense of resolve and deep, endless sorrow. The Portland songstress has experimented with both bigger and smaller band sounds than on To Be Still, but her middle LP hits the best balance, with minimal strings backing up Diane’s otherworldly voice. Very few artists can send shivers down the spine of a listener with simply a well-placed “woah-oh,” but Diane does on nearly every song, especially on tracks such as “Age Old Blue,” a story dedicated to her sharecropping Scottish ancestors, who “worked the field on borrowed land above the ocean.” Every song is a vocal journey.

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Meredith Ochs, Talk Show Host, SiriusXM; Commentator for NPR’s All Sngs Considered
Big Star, Radio City
The first time I heard “Back of a Car” on Big Star’s Radio City, I was astounded. I played it over and over, about 20 times in a row. To steal a line from Brian Wilson, it felt like my teenage symphony to god. Back in the days when I obsessively searched for out-of-print vinyl, I bought every copy of Radio City that I found. I still have 3. I’m in love with every note, from Alex Chilton’s anguished vocals and ringing guitar to Jody Stephens’s rolling drum fills. John Fry’s production makes the music sound clear and huge – it puts the listener right in the studio. Even the William Eggleston photo on the cover – a bare lightbulb in a red room – pulls you in. That album was my portal into all kinds of music and art. It inspired me to write music and write about music. It still wrenches my heart every time I listen.

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Chris Hawkey, KFAN FM 100.3, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Son Volt, Trace
It has set the scene and/or been the soundtrack for many of my greatest adventures.

This is part 66 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 and 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.

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Melany Wynn Berger, MelanysGuydlines
Tesla, Five Man Acoustical Jam
I bleed rock n’ roll. Music is truly the soundtrack of our lives and I remember every concert I have been to, what song was playing in good times and bad. It has helped me through tough times and is always there for me when I need it. I shared many evenings with my sister who passed away listening to Tesla and the band has a truly special place in my heart. Every song reminds of her. Rock on.

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Seth Werkheiser, Skulltoaster
Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
I was about 11, and appreciated all sorts of music on MTV in the mid 80s. I started to really love hair-metal, but then Guns N Roses came into my world with ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and rattled my bones. A band like Poison, with CC Deville and his bright guitars and big smile – I really liked that stuff, but then I saw ‘Paradise City,’ with Slash and Duff “Rose” McKagan walking the streets of NYC, visiting Manny’s Music Store (RIP), and they weren’t smiling, and I loved that! And though I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch it, their live performance at The Ritz on MTV in 1988 blew me away, too (mom taped it for me). Again, their live performance was menacing, and that attitude made listening to ‘Appetite for Destruction’ that much more vital to me growing up. Having just turned 40 in May this album is still a part of my regular rotation.

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Jeff Weiss, Passion Of The Weiss blog
Outkast, ATLiens
Most rap albums are rooted in some mixture of the present and the past. ATLiens hovers over both—with one eye wired to the future. It explores catacomb thoughts at 3 a.m.: mortality, exclusion, spirituality, consequences, and the desire to transcend. It’s mournful and ethereal, but still street. It expanded what rappers could talk about and how it could sound. If OutKast were going to take the pulpit, they needed a church to preach in.

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Joseph Kyle, Editor, The Recoup
Tripping Daisy, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb
It’s a pity, what happened to Tripping Daisy’s third album, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb. Released in 1998, hot on the heels of the music industry massacre that was the Seagram-Polygram merger, the band was dropped the day the album was released. But the suits missed out one of the best albums of the decade. Sure, Dallas’ Tripping Daisy had built a reputation on their fun shows and cute psychedelic bubble-grunge songs like “I Got A Girl” and “My Umbrella.” Yet by 1997, they’d tired of that, and decided to get introspective and experimental, thanks in part to the addition of musical wunderkind Philip Karnats and the teenaged Bonham-rivaling Benjamin Curtis, who wonderfully enhanced the already brilliant minds of Tim DeLaughter and musical wizard Wes Berggren. Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb was a mature psychedelic masterpiece, one that didn’t require drugs or intoxication to appreciate. Aimed straight at the heart of the human heart, it’s an album full of grandiose ideas, powerful epics with extended instrumental jams, and its highlight, “Sonic Bloom,” is the greatest love song “alternative rock” ever produced, while “side two” (start at track nine) is the heartfelt journey of DeLaughter into the soul of love and recreated lovingly with a sound that lets you in and makes you feel what love and life and joy and happiness is supposed to feel like. Try listening to “Our Drive To The Sun,” “Waited A Light Year,” and “Human Contact” just once. You can’t do it; you’ll find yourself hitting repeat, and you’ll be all the better for it. Best of all, this head trip didn’t require intoxicants to fully appreciate—all you need is love, as some jerk said once. Too bad you didn’t get the chance to properly hear it; it’s a solid album that doesn’t demand you listen to it all in one sitting, because you’ll be doing it on your own volition…and then you’ll hit repeat, just to listen to see what you missed the first time around. Unfortunately, their luck wouldn’t improve, and sadly a year later, multi instrumentalist Berggren would pass away, leaving the promise of Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb to go unfulfilled. The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy would pick up the soft, progressive psych-pop banner and carry it on, while in 2000, DeLaughter returned with The Polyphonic Spree. As is proudly proclaimed at the beginning of the album in an unapologetically Texan accent, ‘Let’s do it!”

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Rashod Ollison, Blogger
Esther Phillips, From A Whisper To A Scream
It’s a slick and streetwise merger of urban soul circa the early ’70s and the jazz and blues that had long been part of Esther’s background. The album also is an ideal juxtaposition of Southern soul sensibilities and citified gloss. It’s so good, in fact, that when it lost to Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted and Black” at the 1972 Grammy Awards, the Queen of Soul gave her gleaming gramophone to Esther.

This is part 65 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 and 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.

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Steve Guggenheimer, B97, New Orleans, LA
Beck, Midnite Vultures
It’s the most sincere tongue-in-cheek genre tribute ever put to record. With “Midnite Vultures” Beck shows his obvious affection for the funky slow jams of the past generation while retaining the often-bizarre charm that he’s most well-known for. “Hollywood Freaks” shows Beck at his psychedelic souliest as he chirps out lyrics like “Automatic bazooty, Zero to Tutti Frutti” like those lines actually mean something. “Peaches And Cream” is a sexy slow jam from another dimension, revolving around its refrain of “OOOOOOOOH OOOOOH OOOOH Peaches and Cream, you make a garbage man scream,” and if “Get Real Paid” isn’t about robots having sex, it absolutely should be. Then of course there’s “Debra,” the album’s coda, which reads as the falsetto audio-diary of the world’s least suave Casanova. “I wanna get with you, only you…,” he wails before awkwardly amending the sentiment, “… and your sister, I think her name was Debra.” Beck has always been difficult to gentrify as an artist, but “Midnite Vultures” shows him at his soul-crooning, genre deconstructing, humorously self-deprecating best.

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Seth Werkheiser, Skulltoaster.com
Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
I was about 11, and appreciated all sorts of music on MTV in the mid 80s. I started to really love hair-metal, but then Guns N’ Roses came into my world with ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and rattled my bones. A band like Poison, with CC Deville and his bright guitars and big smile – I really liked that stuff, but then I saw ‘Paradise City,’ with Slash and Duff “Rose” McKagan walking the streets of NYC, visiting Manny’s Music Store (RIP), and they weren’t smiling, and I loved that! And though I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch it, their live performance at The Ritz on MTV in 1988 blew me away, too (mom taped it for me). Again, their live performance was menacing, and that attitude made listening to ‘Appetite for Destruction’ that much more vital to me growing up. Having just turned 40 in May this album is still a part of my regular rotation.

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Scott Wynn, WQMX FM, Akron, OH
Dave Mason, Let It Flow
Perfect combination combination of pop, rock, country, blues, folk. Great songs, great arrangement, wonderful harmonies…Just great.

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Rebecca Trachsel, Running With Music blog
Paul Simon, Graceland
When this album was released back in 1986 (I was 11), I would listen to it over and over and over again. Paul Simon’s honey-infused voice was and still remains one of the most unique in the industry. “You Can Call Me Al” was a classic gem, loved by all, especially when paired with the video of Simon and Chevy Chase, who was in his prime at the time. But, the rest of the album was mesmerizing and a big part of that was due to the music and voices of the South African singers that accompanied Simon on most of the songs. It was fresh, different, weird and beautiful. It’s one of the few albums that I can still listen to from start to finish repeatedly without skipping a song.

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Alain Lefebvre, Directeur de la programmation/Programs Director, CFOU 89,1 FM
The Beatles, The White Album
It simply is the most eclectic and rich album in history. I’ve been into it since my childhood and I still listen to it regularly.

This is part 64 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 and 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.

R-386066-1301223075.jpegChris Phillips, Editor in Chief, Backstreets
Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love
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 turn 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.

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Baron Lane, Twang Nation
Uncle Tupelo, No Depression
No Depression was my soundtrack for nearly 5 years while riding the subway and walking the streets of New York City, and it was pivotal in my decision to start my blog. Few bands are able to create a great album with their first release. Fewer still have spearhead an entire movement. Belleville, Illinois’ Uncle Tupelo fused punk heat, bluegrass dexterity and folk sincerity to become the textbook definition of alternative country.

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Marcus Hathcock, Executive Editor, NewReleaseToday.com
Lifehouse – No Name Face
I found this album, like many people, because of the song “Hanging By A Moment,” which was playing well at radio in the early 2000s. But that song was only the tip of the iceberg. From incredible, gut wrenching songs of doubt and discouragement like “Sick Cycle Carousel” and “Trying” to the incredibly powerful closer, “Everything,” which stayed underground until folks like Colton Dixon and some YouTubers brought it to the forefront–No Name Face was the best album of its time, and definitely still the best by Lifehouse with its original lineup and coming-of-age broodings. At a time when pop music quickly died out, this was a welcome alternative that touched the heart as much as it did the ears.

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Glen Casebeer, Editor-In-Chief, NorthWest Music Scene
Van Halen, Van Halen I
For me it has to be Van Halen’s self-titled debut. Not only was it was the first album I bought with my own money, it was quite a bit different from anything my ears were hearing at the time. I could make arguments for Dark Side of The Moon and probably a half dozen others, but VH’s first has always been one of the albums where I’d never dream of skipping over any tracks while listening to it.

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Jess Casebeer, Reviews Editor, NorthWest Music Scene
Vampire Weekend, Contra
Even if it may not be from that usual 1967-1999 grace period for “classic,” “game-changing” albums, I don’t want to even think about a world where Contra doesn’t exist. It’s simply a flawless, endlessly charming and creative pop record; likely the finest indie pop record we’ll ever see. Catchy without ever dumbing itself down, beautiful and romantic without ever resorting to cliché lovey-dovey piffle, eccentric without being annoying and trying too hard, Contra is an album I know I can put on for the millionth time and still come away from it still just as in love with it as my first listens through it, regardless of my mood. I wasn’t quite the same person after I first heard songs like the lovestruck “Horchata,” the loose and wild “Cousins,” and the heart-wrenching tearjerker “Taxi Cab.” Every song on Contra is great and worth sitting through, there’s no filler, and it never overstays its welcome at a tight ten tracks and 36 minutes. I can only hope future generations look back on Contra and have it change their lives for the better, as the record has with me.

This is part 63 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 and 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.

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Max Volume, Kozz Radio
David Bowie, Hunky Dory
I think a well balanced album has different textures. The Beatles achieved that on the “White Album.” Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam and many others always present an album with light and shade. Acoustic and Rock, with a touch of Blues. Nirvana could blow the roof off with “Breed”, then bring everyone close for a campfire song like “Polly.” All right, my answer? David Bowie’s “Hunky Dory.” This record has everything I love about music, and attached to it are some great teenage memories. even though I didn’t buy it new (it had been out for years) it was the record that changed my life.

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Matthew Guerrieri, writer and freelance critic for the Boston Globe, author of The First Four Notes: Beethoven’s Fifth and the Human Imagination, and intermittent blogger
Glenn Gould, Bach: The Goldberg Variations
In which old music became my gateway drug to musical modernisms of all kinds. Any time I hear something sharp, clear, and confrontational—serialism, minimalism, hard bop, punk rock—I can trace my love of it back to late nights with Gould, listening to him distill the weighty Bach tradition into a bracingly stiff, cool drink. His later, 1981 recording of the same piece, more ruminative, more pensive, ranks high in my favorites, too, but that first recording, the way it snaps the world into bright focus, is a perennial tonic: precision as rebellion.

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Michael Bourne, WBGO FM
The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out
I was crazy about opera first, and then Broadway musicals. I overheard two guys in my early 60’s high school chem class always talking about jazz. I finally asked them what record I should get, I wanted to hear this music. One of them said Time Out, I didn’t know it¹s one of the most iconic albums of jazz. Bought it at an A&P grocery store. First track, Blue Rondo a la Turk, is one of Brubeck¹s greatest hits. Third track, Take Five, is one of the greatest hits of jazz. But it was the track in between, Strange Meadowlark, that enraptured me. Brubeck’s piano prelude sounded beautiful as Ravel, and then the alto sax of Paul Desmond swooped in like a beautiful bird whirling into the sky. I played that track again and again, and the very next day I bought another album of the Brubeck Quartet, and then Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, The Modern Jazz Quartet, I became obsessed with jazz. I subscribed immediately to DownBeat magazine and by 1969 I was writing for DownBeat (still am.) While getting a PhD in Theatre from Indiana University, I was asked to fill in for the afternoon jazz jock on WFIU, an otherwise classical station. Four weeks became now 44 years as a jazz jock, the last 30+ years for WBGO, broadcasting from Newark around the world on wbgo.org. I even became friends with Dave Brubeck and his musical sons. I’m now creating a show of The Brubeck Songbook with singer Hilary Kole and the Brubeck Brothers Band. We’ll premiere the show at NJPAC in Newark this fall.

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Matthew Meadow, Editor In Chief, Your EDM
Chase & Status, No More Idols
If the question was “what is the best album of all time,” my answer would be different. But my favorite is… Chase & Status’s sophomore album No More Idols is the one I keep coming back to time and time again. I never get tired of it. It was the first of its kind to really blend dubstep, drum & bass, and hip hop vocalists in such a seamless fashion and it has completely withstood the test of time. Many of the artists on the 2011 album have gone on to have more promising careers – like Tinie Tempah and Dizzie Rascal – others have had their careers cut short (CeeLo Green). However, within those 15 tracks, the rise and fall of tempo and rhythm, the album is complete and without any noticeable wants. Heavy hitters like “Fool Yourself” are perfect as a climax to a show, engaging listeners in intense fervor and energy on the dancefloor. Others like “Time” are callbacks to Chase & Status’s worth as real musicians, and their success with their live show around the same era. I often judge an album by how many of its tracks I routinely skip. I don’t skip any on No More Idols. I routinely listen to it all the way through because I don’t believe there’s any other way to listen to it.

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Shane Button, Moose FM
Good Charlotte, The Young and The Hopeless; Green Day, American Idiot
For me, music can grab my attention in 1 of 2 ways; a lyrical connection or a musical connection. I have 2 albums that I would say are at the top of my favourites list, and 1 comes from each category. From the “lyrical” side of things, comes “The Young and the Hopeless” by Good Charlotte.The first time I discovered Good Charlotte was in grade 10. The song “The Anthem” came on MuchMusic and I was instantly hooked by the pop-punk feel. As I looked into the corresponding album, I found it spoke to me in a lyrical sense. As a kid in high school, I wasn’t in the “popular” crowd and Good Charlotte’s lyrics generally struck a cord with me or reminded me of somebody close to me. It became the first album/CD I purchased on my own and led me into their entire discography. Fast forward a few years and Green Day released American Idiot. As a musician myself I can appreciate a song/album based solely on the musical make up, whether the lyrics are sound or cheesy. I was hanging out in our school music room over lunch when a friend mentioned how great the album American Idiot was, so I checked it out. While the lyrics didn’t strike me as heavily and closely as Good Charlotte’s did, the music, talent and intricacy of their compositions caught my attention; specifically in their 2 separate 9 minute songs and how the different sections flow effortlessly into one another. I could listen to each of these albums on repeat for hours…if other people wouldn’t have a problem with that.

This is part 62 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 and 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.

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Joe Cassady, Mornings, 92.9 WLMI, Lansing, Michigan
Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority
There are familiar titles like “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Beginnings”. My favorite cut was “Questions 67 and 68”. I like this album a lot because it contains great Chicago music that wasn’t played to death on Top 40 Radio. I played it so much, I wore down two copies.

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Larry Crane, Tapeop
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
As a musician and producer/engineer I’ve learned tons from this album. How to completely change what a band is doing into a studio creation. How to play against open strings on a bass. How to put together a classic album cover.

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Larry Groce, Host & Artistic Director of NPR’s Mountain Stage
The Band, The Band
It was a close call between this one, The Band’s “Music from Big Pink”, and several Dylan and Beatles albums. I’ve been a fan of all three since their beginnings. When I was 17, I went to the September 25, 1965 concert in Dallas which I believe was one of the first with Dylan and The Band together. I chose “The Band” over the others because its songs are both northern and southern, they’re folk, rock, and country. They come from where Europe met Africa but they don’t exclude what was already here. Their lyric images get to the heart of some important parts of North American culture.

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Confusion, Pigeons & Planes
Nirvana, Unplugged in New York
I know, this isn’t even really a proper album. Whatever. When I think about albums that really mean something to me, this one always tops the list. It has nothing to do with the quality of the music and everything to do with the connection I felt with these 14 songs. I listened to this album non-stop during some important years of my life. I was an immature pre-teen, and I didn’t get into Nirvana until after Kurt Cobain was already dead. I didn’t get to experience the cultural impact of Nirvana in real-time, but for me, discovering that album came at the perfect moment in my life. I grew up with those songs, and I probably changed more as a person in those couple of years than any other period of my life. Unplugged in New York was the soundtrack to those years. I’d never argue that this is the best album of all time. Shit, it’s not even the best Nirvana album. But none of that really matters when you’re talking about favorites.

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Mase Brazelle, FMQB
The Clash, London Calling
Because they were the only band that mattered.

This is part 61 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 and 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.

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Luis Cardenas, Director of Programming, LATV
The Clash, London Calling
I belive it was released in 1979 or 1980 it marks the evolution or rock, The Clash been a punk band released that it could be the record that change music on the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s. Is goes from Punk to Ska to rockabilly hard rock. Reflexing song about drugs racial issues on society, gangs and politics. If you put this record to spin now at day still as fresh as the 1980.

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Lori Bosworth, Torontonicity.com
The Allman Brothers, Decade of Hits (1969-1979)
I love this album because it features Gregg Allman’s searing vocals and Duane Allman’s definitive slide guitar skills. Dickie Betts is amazing too. The group was overflowing with talent and definitely under-rated. I love the Allman Brothers because they are a hybrid of rock and blues, two of my favourite genres. I remember hearing “Whipping Post” on the radio for the first time and marvelling at Gregg Allman’s back phrasing of the lyric, “Tiiiiiied….to the whipping post,” and loved his interpretation. There was no doubt that he felt the lyrics in his soul.

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Jonathan Soroff, Columnist, The Improper Bostonian
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
I listened to it incessantly throughout my teenage years. Everything from the iconic album cover of the prism to the incredibly clever lyrics of songs like “Money” just spoke to me. Then, in my 20s, I was renting a beach house on Martha’s Vineyard with a group of friends. We ate mushrooms, turned off the lights and watched this epic lightning storm travel up Vineyard Sound while listening to it, and the music and the storm seemed to synch perfectly.

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Luke O’Neil, long time music journalist, currently a writer-at-large for Esquire
Elliott Smith, Either/Or
First off, this is a cruel trick to play on a music fan of any kind, never mind a music writer. There’s a reason why so many “Best __” lists proliferate, and that’s because settling on a clear cut winner when it comes to a favorite album or song or artist is a task that will never feel finalized. Were it a body of work as a whole, I’d have to go with The Smiths, and either the debut, or The Queen Is Dead, could certainly have been my single album choice here. But if you really, definitely, fine, ok I’ll do it, force me to choose my favorite album ever, the answer would be Either/Or by Elliott Smith. Ever since I first heard it, which must have been around 1997 or 98, shortly after it came out, while working at my college radio station — which was still a thing back then! — it’s an album I’ve gone back to time and again. The Either/Or here is of course a reference to Kierkegaard’s model of hedonism versus ethical responsibility, and that certainly accounts for much of the subject matter here: the grim nocturnal underbelly of the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles that Smith haunted in his formative years, the allure of the bottle and the needle, the hopefulness and hopelessness of love. But for me that titular choice represents the context in which I’m capable of receiving the album on any given listen. My wife and I have a sort of joke at home, whenever we come across one of us listening to Elliott Smith, the reaction is: uh oh. What’s wrong? And while wallowing in the sadness, the beautiful, fragile sadness of Smith’s music here is the more likely motivation for putting it on, on the other hand, there’s a sort of triumphant defiance in many of the songs that can be inspiring. That dichotomy is particularly on display on the final two songs, arguably the most well known, 2:45 and Say Yes. In the first, Smith has been attacked, beaten down, and left on his own. By Say Yes, there’s a light breaking through the shadows. He’s not alone for the first time in a while, and he’s practically exuberant, at least as far as he can be, relatively speaking. It’s further impossible to pick a favorite song on the record, Rose Parade is exceptionally vivid in its description of the busy street — “people passing by that all seem to be going the other way” — and Between the Bars is absolutely devastating. Angeles, meanwhile, is some of the most visceral guitar work, and another stunning lyric — “And be forever with my poison arms around you”, but it’s Ballad of Big Nothing that I always come back to. I remember seeing Smith play in Providence at Lupo’s in 98 or so for the first time, and when he played that song, I did, what in retrospect, seems like a normal reaction, but wasn’t something I’d ever done before at a show: I cried. I still do when I hear it sometimes almost twenty years later.

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Jessi Whitten, OpenAir Music Director/Assistant Program Director, Colorado Public Radio
The Postal Service, Give Up
This album makes my heart ache in that amazing way that forces you to remember that you have a heart. Give Up came out during those gloriously impressionable late teen years where music has the ability to fill every need. This record was my air, my food, and my friend for years and it still is when I’m feeling vulnerable or deserving enough to reach for it. It’s almost certainly my personal associations that make this disc so important. “Brand New Colony” gave me hope that I’d find or be my own great romance. I’ve never felt as free as the day I broke into my High School auditorium sound booth so I could blast “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” over the loud speakers and dance on the darkened stage. Ben Gibbard is basically ruined for me because every time he opens his mouth and these songs don’t come out, I can’t help but be a little disappointed.

This is part 60 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 and 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.

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Kelsey McKinney, Culture staff writer, Fusion
Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
There are albums we love because they meant something to the history of music, and those that brand themselves into our personal histories. The soundtrack to my lowest moments and greatest fears is Norah Jones’s 2002 Come Away With Me. That album is the sweet spot between singer-songwriter rock and pop. It’s light, airy, and refreshing yet doused with the stomach ache that comes when a heart breaks. I bought it on CD, ripped it to cassette for my beat up first car. It was the first album I put into my iTunes, and the first one I bought when the vinyl resurgence started. Sure it won an armload of Grammys, but what brings me back to it again and again is the darkness that hides behind Jones’s pristine, smooth as butter voice.

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Julie Stevens, Program Director, 95.3 KRTY, San Jose, CA
Garth Brooks, No Fences
This album was an absolute “game-changer” for country music. Up to this CD country music had a distinct and very polarizing sound. It was a VERY simple melody with a very simple message. Lots of people would tell you that’s what made country music so great. You could get lost in your thoughts listening to a song like “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, or “Hello Darlin” by Conway Twitty because neither the melody nor the lyrics required much thought. Enter Garth Brooks with the “No Fences” CD and EVERYTHING changed, not just for the country music industry, but for me personally. I had been working in the Country Music industry for 10 years so I was just beginning to see that country music would be my life career, when this CD landed on my desk and I knew KNEW that things were going to get really good for me. And that’s exactly what happened. Garth Brooks attracted more people to country music than all the country music artists before him, combined. And as a result, all of us that were on that ship saw our brands rise with him.

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Lorraine Carpenter, Editor in chief, Cult MTL
David Bowie, The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
As much as I love the Berlin albums, to me Ziggy Stardust is Bowie’s only truly perfect album. Even apart from the quality of the songs, the lyrics, Bowie’s vocals and Mick Ronson’s guitar work, this was also a groundbreaker for rock ‘n’ roll, with its conceptual central character — a half-naked bisexual alien who’s also a singer and musician down here on Earth — working so well that it confused fans and critics (and supposedly the man himself) about who Bowie really was.

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Liz K., Keysmash blog
Bush, Sixteen Stone
A boy stole this album from a Mainstream to give to me in middle school, and it was my real turning point from the country music my mom listened to, to the “alternative” music that would be my identity for the rest of my teenage years.

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Kevin Key, Afternoon Host, KQDS FM, Duluth, MN
Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
If Springsteen’s darker, edgier ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ is the darker, edgier ‘Empire Strikes Back’, the B2R is the upbeat, more joyous ‘Star Wars’ 1977. That movie was subtitled ‘A New Hope’, and that’s what ‘Run’ has always symbolized to me; hope. There’s an open road, we have each other, the motor’s runnin’ and all we need is a little faith. We can make it if we RUN!