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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.