Monday, June 23, 2008

Influence

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” - Mark Twain

Okay, I’m not talking about that kind of influence.

Gradually Going TornadoZenyatta MondattaThe Stone RosesPretty Hate Machine
During an inebriated discussion at a party this weekend a group of us were listing five albums that influenced us. I took this strictly to mean albums that were different than anything I had heard before and focused the direction of my tastes afterwards. My list, in no particular order, was:
  • Bill Bruford - Gradually Going Tornado
  • The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta
  • The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
  • Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
And I had a fifth one that was pretty pivotal, but of course I can’t remember it now. I've looked over my collection and searched online and nothing’s ringing a bell. Ah well - I’ll add it when I finally remember it!

With sober hindsight, and if we relax the rules a wee bit, I believe my list could easily be expanded to add:
  • Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti
  • Tom Waits - Raindogs
  • Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love
  • The (English) Beat - Just Can’t Stop It
  • The Fixx - Reach The Beach
  • Joe Jackson - Night And Day
  • Wall Of Voodoo - Call Of The West (oooh, this might be that elusive number five I mentioned! I was sure I'd know right away but I’m not sure - I’ll look for a corroborative voice on that...)
  • They Might Be Giants - Flood
  • Skinny Puppy - VIVIsectVI
  • Peter Murphy - Love Hysteria
  • Cocteau Twins - Tiny Dynamine/Echoes In A Shallow Bay
  • Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
  • Moby - Play
It’s a long list, but these are all albums that sound like nothing I had heard before (I can’t pretend they’re all completely unique, but we’re talking about my own exposure, not the world’s), and for me they stand the test of time.

And if we expanded it still further, to include albums that were simply soaked up when I was a child (say, by the age of 10), and therefore were the beginning of my own personal musical journey, I would have to include:
  • Cat Stevens - Teaser And The Firecat
  • Willie Nelson - The Red-Headed Stranger
  • Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
  • Leon Redbone - On The Track
  • Rush - Caress Of Steel
What about you? What would your influential albums be?

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