Whether you’ve asked for it or not, here it is…10 Albums that Changed My Life. I am thinking John Cusack in High Fidelity here – disheveled and nerdy and only important other nerds.
Why these ten? They either had a huge impact on me or motivating vocals that influenced a style and technique that I still use today.
So, as Prince said “Albums still matter.”, so please, when you’re done perusing my list, I would love to hear about those that matter to you.
10. Absolute Torch & Twang – KD Lang
KD Lang’s voice soars on this album. It is a marvel of strength and clarity – beautiful range. Given to me by a crazy, old roommate, I still consider this one of my favorite albums for "voice". I learned so much about control and range by imitating her style on every track over and over. I realized, I can do this!! I still put this album on when I want to use my “big voice” to sing loud and sing proud!! Thank you KD.
9. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy – Sarah McLachlan
In the early 1990s, women were really contributing as credited songwriters. Women like Sarah Mc Lachlan, Shawn Colvin, and Melissa Etheridge were continuing to pave the way as women who had a story to tell and it wasn’t always pretty. I was so taken with Sarah’s dark lyrics and imperfect characters. The dreamy melodies and orchestration gelled perfectly and summed up this period of my life. I memorized her every vocal nuance with Possession serving as the dark power anthem, “I’ll take your breath away”.
8. Dreamboat Annie – Heart
This was Heart’s debut album with rockers Crazy on You and Magic Man. I remember spending one weekend at my friend’s farm; waking up in a camper in the middle of a cow pasture. Dreamboat Annie played as I opened the camper door. I saw the early morning sun light cut through the mist as it rose from the fields – so magical and mysterious. Is this what it was like waking up at Woodstock? 😉
7. Hotel California – The Eagles
I got my copy of Hotel California when I was 12 years old. My Mom bought it for me, but I think that she really bought it for herself. The Eagles were huge. I played the album over and over. Their intricate harmonies and superb musicianship had a big effect on me, however I wasn’t aware of it then; I just knew it was good stuff.
6. Back to Basics – Christina Aguilera
This album is a vocal masterpiece, and as well, the concept and showmanship that went into it is a marvel to behold. The songs are heavy on soaring vocals, but at the same time offer quiet, heart- wrenching moments. I love Xtina and I don’t know why people give her so much shit. I found this album when I was trying to get back into to singing and performing after my thyroid cancer surgery. It gave me the power and a sense of what to do and how to do it. What a guide!
5. A Wild and Crazy Guy – Steve Martin
This is a comedy album. However, I love Steve Martin and for some reason he had a huge impact on me, much like Carol Burnett and Gilda Radner. Still does. I love his movies and when he was on SNL and I even saw him with Martin Short last summer. Alone in my room, over and over I would learn and recite his bits. And as a shy kid, it sort of empowered me. I can rattle off some of those comedy bits still to this day.
4. The Joshua Tree – U2
I have always said that U2 have been The Beatles of our time. Since I wasn’t old enough to be aware when The Beatles were making music, I always defer to U2. I would stick The Joshua Tree in my tape player get on my bike and ride down the W&OD trail until well after dark. The album always gave me a calm peacefulness with a sense that the music was pushing me forward. Like therapy for the day’s stress. They are the only band that can create such feeling within me still today.
3. Crimes of Passion – Pat Benatar
Again, big vocals here. I have always credited Pat Benatar for the reason I sing. Crimes of Passion was the album that made her a pioneer for women in rock. I had to go over to my best friend’s house to play it because she had the copy. I stood at the record player and (in someone else’s house, mind you) tried to imitate her powerful rock vocals. Luckily, I had some very understanding friends.
2. Led Zeppelin IV or Zoso – Led Zeppelin
Only eight tracks of rockin’ blues goodness, but in my opinion, this is the Led Zeppelin masterpiece. My core feelings about rock and roll still reside with this album. I was mesmerized with Jimmy Page’s guitar and when John Bonham died it all came to an unfortunate screeching halt. I’m still broken.
1. The Beatles – The Beatles
The White Album. I know, most people will choose Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road as the better albums. And yes, agreed. It is very hard. The Beatles stand in a category all their own. When I discovered the Beatles, all at once, my eyes opened, the world was suddenly in vivid color, lights were brighter and even food tasted better. I devoured every record and every song. I became obsessed and talked nothing but Beatles for months and months. Again, very understanding friends. As for the White Album, it is a brilliant hodge-podge of different songs and sounds ranging from almost childlike to rockin’ to nearly raunchy by 1968 standards. I listened for months on end and took the record to my friend’s houses and we listened, analyzed and discussed. That just doesn’t happen today. How can you not choose this album when While My Heart Gently Weeps, Dear Prudence and Hey Jude reside on it? A masterpiece that changed my life and deserves to be my #1.
My copy of The Beatles White Album is white vinyl!! My Aunt Debbie gave me this copy in 1979.She knew I loved The Beatles – God rest her soul.
Now, tell me some of the albums or songs that changed your life – recent or past