This is part nine 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 – the one that’s made them the most money in sales – 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.
Paul Morris, Music Director, HTZ-FM, St. Catharines, ON
Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run feels like you’re listening to a movie. The way the first song “Thunder Road” rises like the dawn of day and the album closing with the gang fight at midnight in “Jungleland” .
The lyrics are like paintings: “The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays”….” or “Barefoot girl sittin’ on the hood of Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain.” The album is full of car imagery and somehow the only place I can really listen to it now is in the car on a long drive with windows rolled down and volume way-up. “Backstreets” still takes my breath away….no it makes me weep… especially Bruce’s (best ever) vocal in the 3rd verse. With Clarence Clemons gone, it’s really tough listening to that epic sax solo in Jungleland. The album is about escape and freedom and as a young man growing up to this album, I could feel that urge. Although I was nothing like the characters in the songs, I somehow could see myself in all of them. “Born To Run” was our wedding song because of the promise the song makes at the end: “Someday girl, I don’t know when; We’re gonna get to that place; Where we really want go and we’ll walk in the sun”. My fiancé thought I was nuts when I first suggested it…until I sang her that last part.
Torrence Glenn, BET.com, Director, OnTV/Gospel/Specials
Keep The Faith, Faith Evans
Faith Evans has always been one of my favorite artists of all time but there’s an energy on this particular album that’s indescribable. It’s r&b in parts, jazz in parts and even gospel/inspirational in others. And there are moments in songs where she hits all of those at once. It’s an instant mood changer without trying too hard and her voice is therapy. It seems as if she doesn’t want to stop singing on every song. The tracks all fade with her still belting to the top of her lungs or her emoting like only she knows how to. And because of that, as you listen, you never want the songs to end either.
Malvin Massey, Jr., General Manager, WUMR U92 FM, Memphis, TN
Domination, Cannonball Adderley with the Oliver Nelson Orchestra
I joined the band in Jr. High School and picked the alto sax as my instrument. My first band Director was Mr. Herbert Thomas who was a really great music teacher, and a jazz trumpet player. Whenever he had to leave the classroom during class, he always put on a cool jazz album and told us to keep quiet and listen. This was just about the time that Cannonball had released the orchestrated “Domination” and I just could not hear it enough. When it came time for me to leave Jr. High for High School, Mr. Thomas let me have the album and told me to listen to it and practice with it and maybe I would be able to play like Cannonball one day. What a great gift from a cool guy that I admired. I cherished that album all through school. I had to do four years in the Air Force and left my album at home with instruction for everyone to leave it alone. After I got home and got back into the swing of things – going to school, gigging and being in the music scene – I made a crucial mistake, I loaned my album to a trusted friend for a party. Before I could get it back, he said that his apartment was robbed and all the music was stolen. I was furious at him, hurt, broken hearted, and mad at myself. I immediately began to try and get another copy. To my horror I found that the album was out of print, and through some legal problems with the label that recorded the original, there was no plan to re-issue it. I searched record stores, had friends looking all over the country, I just could not get my hands on another copy. Years passed, but I was always looking for a copy of that “Domination”, and asking around for it. A fellow saxophonist and friend, Dr. Bill Hurd, had a copy that was worn and pretty well scratched, but he recorded it to a cassette for me. At least I had something to listen to and was grateful for that. I became a jazz dj, and one morning on my weekend show, I apologized to my audience for doing it, but I just had to play “Introduction to a Samba” even though it sounded kind of rough. I got a call from a really cool listener who not only had a copy of the album, but because he had just converted all his albums to cd, he donated his vintage, well protected, in perfect shape album to the station. I was totally thrilled. I finally had access to my favorite album again. But there is a twist to the story here. Not a year after that wonderful donation, “Domination” by Cannonball Adderley with the Oliver Nelson Orchestra was released on cd. Now I have the cd, the album, and my precious cassette, neither of which I will ever loan to anyone.
Timothy Maxwell, Publisher of The Noise, Music New England
25 O’Clock, The Dukes Of Stratosphear
The Dukes are an XTC alias, and the production on it is so colorful it keeps me entertained even after listening to it for years. When I was in the band MAX in the mid-’90s we’d cover some of the tunes.
Sloane Spence, Host,syndicated weekly radio program, Country Fried Rock
So Much Younger Then bootleg, R.E.M.
I bought at Fantasyland Records in Atlanta, Georgia. It was $12.50 around 1983 when I bought it. Although I now have a digital version of it, this record means a ton to me. On the day R.E.M. announced their retirement, I played it all afternoon (although, once Bill Berry left, they were never really R.E.M. to me any more). R.E.M.’s Chronic Town EP blew my little tween mind, and I saved all my babysitting money to buy albums, especially those prized bootlegs and imports, from my favorite record store. I recently visited Fantasyland’s new-to-me location and thanked the owner for letting me spend all my free time as a kid in there. When I interview bands on Country Fried Rock, I want to find out who tweaked their knobs up to 11, and what led back from those bands’ interests and what is newly inspiring them. I mostly listen to emerging music — I’m not really a nostalgic person — but So Much Younger Then led me into a whole new world.