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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!