This is part 11 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.
Joe Laber, Host, Hits 105.5FM, Sidney, Ohio
No Fences, Garth Brooks
I love it because the music is timeless and still very relevant today. Garth shook up the entire music world with that release! Plus he is one of, if not, the best live performers I have ever seen next to Prince & Toby Mac.
Andrea Morris is the woman behind AM to FM Promotions, an independent radio tracking company based out of Toronto.
Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen
I have three copies of it. Thunder Road is a song that changed my life. I was working in Jacksonville, NC at my first radio job and this kid from the north HATED the south. I wanted to pack it in and go home. I was listening to the Born to Run album and in the last line of Thunder Road, Bruce sings “It’s a town full of losers – I’m pulling out of here to WIN!!” I remember sitting up and saying YEAH! I am NOT quitting!! And I stuck it out, became music director at the station and my world opened up. Thanks Bruce!! Oh and I should mention I truly love every song on the Born To Run disc. I never get tired of hearing it!
Bill Newcott, Film and Travel Editor, AARP Media (AARP the Magazine, AARP Radio, AARP.org, AARP Broadcast)
A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, Harry Nilsson
I bought this album in a cutout bin in a record shop down the street from my Rutgers University dorm 1975, and I still have that vinyl, the cassette tape, and the CD (both the original release and the re-issue, which includes tracks that were not included in the ’75 pressing). No album I know better embodies the two-way continuum of popular music; the great give-and-take that bridges generations and genres. Nilsson, the Beatles’ favorite solo act whose previous album featured the lyric “You’re breakin’ my heart/your tearin’ it apart/so fuck you,” teamed up with Frank Sinatra’s favorite arranger, Gordon Jenkins, to record the rock era’s first (and best) survey of the Great American Song Book. Jenkins himself said Nilsson’s reading of his own “This is All I Ask” was the best he’d ever heard. I’ve played this album all my life, through all my ages—as a college kid, newlywed, young dad, middle-age crisis-dweller, and now contented late-career professional—and it becomes, in some uncanny way, a different record with each passing decade.
Jake Paine, Music Writer, HipHopDx.com
Hard To Earn, Gang Starr
The album is a place and time for the genre, as well as for me. As a big fan of similar artists in the ’90s, purchased the album from Columbia House based on recommendations and a growing interest in DJ Premier. The album changed my life, both as a man and as a fan of music. Guru’s wisdom and style motivated me to act, talk and react a certain way to situations. Premier’s drums and scratching gave me the rhythm and tempos to live my life. To this day, that album travels me back to my youth and to a simpler time in music and culture. ‘Hard To Earn’ is why I will never outgrow hip-hop.
Randy Turner, Program Director, 92.9 WBPM, Ulster County NY
For my birthday in 1977, one of my aunts (who had kids a bit older than I was) gave me a copy of the debut album from BOSTON. I was ten years old … I hadn’t yet found a style or genre of music that I really connected with … but … I … wore … out … that … cassette. It’s probably still buried in a closet at my parent’s house with no pressure pad and no ink on the shell so you can’t tell which is side A or B. Yeah, that kind of worn out!! Although my primary music passion became the imported ‘new wave’ coming largely from England but also many other regions of Europe (stuff that wasn’t getting played on American radio stations), there have been a few American rock bands which I’ve really enjoyed through the years. Boston’s 1976 debut is always a favorite because it’s really solid; the songs are strong, catchy and fun to sing. As I got older and developed a greater awareness for music – plus a greater understanding of the technical stuff which makes it all possible – I really appreciated how great it was. Then, I remember hearing it on CD for the first time and it was a whole new experience which made me love that album ever more. Timeless … rock solid … generally awesome. Their 2nd and 3rd albums were outstanding as well. Nobody is making albums like that anymore.