The 101 albums that changed my life (PART 5)

I admit this has been a rather enjoyable, somewhat cathartic experience. My journey on this nostalgic road trip down memory lane began with feelings of grandeur. Although as time wore on, I did feel a little Melancholy (and the infinite sadness) as I reflected on what was and what is.

Want to know where it all started? Check out part onepart twopart three, and part four of the top 101 albums of all time.

I am not saying ‘music is crap’ (Ben Lee) these days but the golden years of writing songs for an album are now the bye-gone era. We live in the age of streaming services and ‘throw away’ singles.

Social media platforms distribute and digital applications record. There’s no need to play the guitar when you can just download it. No need to be able to sing when you can auto-tune your vocal. No need to advertise for a drummer when you can use Garageband loops (what’s that joke… You only have to tell the drum machine once). And playing keyboards for a living is, undoubtedly, as null and void as being a bowling pinsetter. So I ask you… are bands now redundant? I really hope not. 

I would like to see musicians flourish. My hope is for the music industry to thrive once again. I want to be wowed back to the festivals and live performances that showcase the big acts and introduce us to the unfamiliar, next generation of homegrown talent. 

So…as we prepare to pull into the garage and turn down the volume on the car (so we don’t wake kids), consider the albums you have purchased over the years. Let me know in the comments section if you think the great bands and live performances are a thing of the past? What were your experiences with music?

“When The Music’s Over” (The Doors) it’s over… Or is it? 

“You can download a live performance, but you can’t download the experience”.

“As we wind on down the road” and into my top 20, now’s the time to reach for the top shelf and grab yourself a whiskey, cognac, or perhaps that bottle of Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz that you were saving for your daughter’s wedding. 

20. Nirvana – Nevermind

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” 

― Kurt Cobain

Swap your good guitar for a second-hand piece of cr@p, don’t wash your hair, wear clothes that look as though they belong in a dumpster and you are well on your way to being a grunge musician. Lyrically nonsensical but emotionally fuelled innuendos will suffice in this genre. Example. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

I love the story behind this song. Peeps took it as an anthem for youth to rebel. The reality was that Kurt Cobain could never afford to buy himself deodorant and would instead use his girlfriend’s which was a brand called Teen Spirit. His girlfriend wrote on the wall in their house, “Kurt smells like teen spirit”. Cobain was like, “wow, I found the name for this song I just wrote.”

So when I first heard this song I wasn’t sure what to think other than recognise the energy it created within me, which was immediate, powerful, and instinctual. Almost like an out-of-body experience. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that same rush again from any other song. Kurt gave me licence to look at myself and those around me in a non-judgemental way. Even though he was calling us out on being “stupid and contagious”.

On a deeper level, Kurt’s songwriting was actually well organised. Grohl stated in an interview he used to walk into the studio and drop down the drums to a finished song. Grohl learned a great deal from his friend Cobain who was able to write polished grunge-pop songs. When asked to describe what was so special about Cobain’s songwriting, Grohl offered, “I think that his simplicity, and the beautiful, direct language in his lyrics which I would consider poetry, his specific lens, his perspective on life: he was very open to writing about his own pain, which I think millions of people could relate to and connect with… it was just him.”

Kurt is the only singer that could sing the way he wants to sing and he doesn’t give a crap about how he sounds. Nirvana’s album Nevermind is over 30 years old! It’s still one of the most iconic albums ever made. It breaks my heart that Kurt didn’t know how much he and his music was loved by the world. ‘Nirvana’ is one of the few bands that sound better live than in a studio.

So what does this all mean to me? Well, back in the early 90s I was lucky enough to have an (idiot) stepbrother who lent me this album which BTW, I never returned because I was too busy learning to play the entire album. Lucky for me Kurt only knew one chord (The Power Chord) so many of the songs were easy to replicate and master.

Why was this album so popular? Cobain’s counter-culture approach to music made people feel like they didn’t have to be a Flash Gordon on the guitar or own a pair of leather pants. On the contrary, I felt I could reinvent the way I played by focusing on sound rather than technique. He made the guitar and vocals thing seem so easy; fluid, mellow & poignantly nostalgic. Kurt even influenced me to develop my voice, no matter how scary it is to others. He gave hope to all of us mediocre guitar players. In fact, I would later use Nirvana as a tool to teach my students how to play the guitar. Within their first two lessons, they were belting out a Nirvana track.

So let’s unpack a few of the tracks off this album…

‘Lithium’ – There’s something about this song that always makes me feel better not because it’s happy but because it’s miserable.

“I’m so happy ’cause today I found my friends
They’re in my head
I’m so ugly, that’s okay, ’cause so are you”.

‘Come As You Are’ – one of my favourite songs because the opening riff is just so recognizable. It has a dark and grungy beauty to it that is hauntingly encaptivating. 

‘In Bloom’ – I can’t help but admire the combination of simplicity and creativity in his solo for this song. It belies the much-touted notion that Kurt Cobain was not a great guitar player. Instead, I idolise the way he played the rhythm parts. Note the subtle little slides into each chord, in-between open string notes and the rhythmic pattern itself. His playing has such a unique feel and is extremely difficult to replicate or play live.

When I watch Nirvana now I can’t help but feel so strange to see Kurt look the way he did when I was a teenage fan. Everybody else (including myself) are middle-aged now, but Kurt is forever frozen in time. He’ll always be a 20-something, even as we grow old, become parents, grandparents, retirees, and live out the rest of our lives. I don’t know – there’s something profoundly moving about that. My best guess is, “Rock n’ Roll is here to stay/ It’s better to burn out than to fade away?” (Neil Young/Kurt Cobain suicide note).

19. ACDC – Back In Black (1980)

“Don’t worry, the 80s will be back in 60 years”. Anonymous

Imagine being an AC/DC fan in 1980. After headbanging endlessly to ‘Highway To Hell’ you now had to reluctantly accept the fact that the lead singer, Bon Scott, was now deceased. Then you hear that the band is making a new album with a relatively unknown singer. I guess you start praying that the new guy is going to be, at the very least, as good as Bon Scott. And then you listen to the album, (Back In Black) for the first time, only to realise, not only is Brian Johnson as good, he is better.

I’m quite certain I can recall listening to this album at just about every backyard barbecue I went to. And I went to a few. In fact, I am listening to it right now as I write this post. So let’s crack a tinnie and fire up the snags, shall we?

We will start with the opening track, ‘Hells Bells’. Apart from the cool riff and progression, this was recorded when Brian’s voice was not obviously blown all the way to hell and he could hit some crazy high notes. I mean, he hits a G# right before the chorus. It’s the 16th fret on the last string of a guitar if that helps to illustrate. Nowadays Brian would most likely need a butter menthol and a hot cup of lemon-honey tea to be able to pull that off live.

I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I’m comin’ on like a hurricane
My lightning’s flashing across the sky
You’re only young but you’re gonna die

Anyway, I told my kids to play this at my funeral. If they don’t I’m getting up and walking out. 

‘Back In Black’ – I don’t know what it is but this song makes me feel like a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Especially when I crunch out the main riff on the guitar.

‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ – Ahh yes my favourite intro and riff. Simple chord progression but again it’s all about the sound and the accompanying lyrics. I had to learn the solo of course (thanks to Marty on YouTube). A friend of mine jokingly said he was thinking of doing a cover (guitar/vocal) then he thought about it and realised who can confidently sing a song in Brian’s octave. That conversation gave me a whole new level of respect for Brian’s voice. I’ll stick to the solo.

Fun fact. My favourite uncle (Phil) tells the tale of how Bon Scott crashed a party at his place one night in Parafield Gardens, Adelaide. Scott had pulled up in a ute with speakers on the back, fresh from a gig with his then band, Paternity. I do believe he had a few whiskeys that night. RIP Bon! And thanks uncle for taking me to the Acca Dacca concert in Adelaide 2018! You rock!

18. Pearl Jam – Vs. (1993)

Expectations were high but they delivered, 

I saw these guys perform live a few times in the early days and I was never disappointed. Even when I saw them in Brisbane (1995) with then fill-in (now permanent) drummer Matt Cameron (Soundgarden).

Now I must confess I am a ​​Dave Abbruzzese fan. In my humble opinion, he was THE best drummer that Pearl Jam had. His punctuated urgency complemented Eddie Vedder’s ferocious vocal assaults. Abbruzzese exemplified the Grunge era’s fierce immediacy and he should have been included in the Hall of Fame induction.

Abbruzzese was the driving force during that early period, especially this album, and really contributed to the best songs they had written. And dare I say it, the music changed when he left. Now I have got that off my chest, I do appreciate Matt Cameron. But after all these years I’ve come to realise Matt Cameron should have been the drummer for Pearl jam and Dave Abruzzese for Soundgarden. Ok, so that settles that.

When I consider this band I quite often reflect on their live performances. In particular, ‘Dissident’. I guess it’s hard to ignore that guitarist Stone Gossard is jamming hard alongside Eddie who is singing a difficult song so flawlessly. It’s just as solid as the studio version, if not better. This song is a great example of how the “angst” filled, distorted roars are actually in tune with the song and meld into his normal singing so effortlessly. Yeah, some try to copy his deep baritone but they can’t actually “ sing” Eddie’s patented distorted screams like the way he does. It’s why he’s head and shoulders above the clones who followed later.

This album in general featured a much looser and rawer sound compared to the band’s debut album, Ten. Bassist Jeff Ament claimed, “When we made Vs. I remember thinking, ‘Man, I wish our first record sounded like this.’ I thought it was more direct, more powerful.” 

I agree to disagree. I think this album sounded the way it should have, just like Ten sounded as it was intended. This album showed growth both musically, and emotionally. You could imagine how this album developed in a more natural, band-oriented way through jamming and studio vibe. You can hear when the music prompts Vedder to change direction vocally.

Songs such as ‘Go’, and ‘Animal’ are good examples of having a natural rhythmic sense for lyrical timing.

‘Glorified G’ is another great track with a great riff. But hey, every song is well thought through both musically and lyrically. Nothing feels like it is out of place on this album.

Besides the heavier songs, the album features two acoustic ballads in ‘Daughter’ and ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’.  I love to play both these songs on guitar for various reasons, but mainly due to the chord structure, timing, and tunings. 

Vedder said that ‘Rearviewmirror’ was about being “in a car, leaving … a bad situation”. I can relate to that!

In regard to the final song, ‘Indifference’ Vedder claims, “it is about “[trying to] do something to make some other peoples’ lives better than they are, even if it means going through hell.”

For me, it is lyrically and musically poetic. I played this song many nights while I lay in solitude on my bed with the lights off. Possibly a tear in my eye as I whispered the lyrics…

I will hold the candle
Till it burns up my arm
Oh, I’ll keep taking’ punches
Until their will grows tired
Oh, I will stare the sun down
Until my eyes go blind
Hey, I won’t change direction
And I won’t change my mind
How much difference does it make?

Hell of an album! But sadly, never to be repeated.

17. Defryme – Pure KIller (1994)

These boys from Melbourne were on Molly’s (Meldrum) “Watch this band list.” In fact I saw them play their cover of L.L. Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ live on Hey Hey Saturday (1993). Molly had stated, “this band was doing things no one else was”. I remember thinking, Finally! Our very own Chili Peppers… well not entirely. What happened after the first album… I still have no idea. But it was a cranker! Every song is a powerhouse statement, even the ‘B Side’ rarities. Quinn Gardener Kain, if you are listening, can you please tour again.

History. Defryme was formed in Frankston, Victoria in February 1990. I believe their intention was to sound like American heavyweights Living Colour and had been inspired by the funk/metal track `Cult of Personality’. The band’s sound evolved into a full-frontal hard rock assault with the raw energy of polished, refined excellence and mayhem. Best described as funk metal, this band mixes Rage Against The Machine with Anthony Kiedis’ rap-style vocals. 

Their album Purekiller reached #4 on the Australian ARIA album charts in June 1994. 

The original line-up consisted of Quinn Gardener-Kane (vocals), Rob Dexter (guitar), Mike Richardson (bass), John Hall (drums). I am a huge fan of Rob Dexter’s guitar style and have been heavily influenced by the way he plays.

Without a doubt, these guys make my top 20 complete. I have never stopped listening to these Melbourne lads since their inception in the early 90s. I had all their single releases and I was lucky enough to witness these guys perform live in Adelaide (circa 1993). As I recall, I slapped hands with Quinn just before I stage-dived into a hungry pack of hyenas (headbangers). The show itself was a RADelaide moment in time.

OK, so the elephant in the room is asking what happened? I’ve been trying to find out ever since why they broke up at the peak of their success in 1994. Maybe I should request an exclusive BAL interview with Quinn? 

They had four charting singles in Australia, ‘God Inside A Man’ (#51), ‘Pure Killer’ (#70), their cover of L.L. Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ (#38), and ‘Sanity’ (#70). 

The band reformed in 2010 with the release of the single ‘Sup?’ and did a handful of shows (that I unfortunately missed). 

Defryme resurfaced again in 2014 with a string of live shows in Melbourne and Sydney performing the classic ’Purekiller’ album in its entirety. Damn, I missed that too.

Lucky I have Youtube so I can watch Defryme play a number of songs for “Guitar Gods LIVE @ Pony Music” – a series of Live in the Studio videos filmed for Guitar Gods and Masterpieces TV show. 

Enter the end of 2018 which sees a re-birth of DEFRYME (plus a couple of new members) and a re-energised passion for performance.

My favourite song,`Purekiller’ had been inspired by a serial killer operating in the Frankston area, its lyric arguing for the reintroduction of capital punishment. 

Oh wait, Quinn… you grew your hair back and did a live show at The Vineyard (2019). Damn I missed that show also. Just as well your video, ‘Purekiler’ is available on Youtube.

Let’s unpack some of the other tracks from the album.

‘God Inside A Man’ – God himself loved this song. Most notably are the Maori style drums and rhythm.

‘Therapy’ – I remember going to a backyard party in Victor Harbour and a cover band were playing this song. I guess that is the impact they had on budding young musos at the time. 

‘Sanity’ – A timeless ballad with hooks and lyrics that were original but engaging.

‘Yeah’ – Only these guys could write a song and get away with using just one word for the chorus!

‘Orange’ – Riff heaven. Just love the guitar sound. Very catchy chorus. Barely notice the keyboard arrangement but they are certainly there.

‘Wired’ – Funk metal at its best. I can’t believe this band is Australian.

‘Cry’ – This B side classic from the Purekiller single never left my CD player. I must dig this one back out of the garage as I can’t seem to find it on YouTube or anywhere for that matter (sad face emoji). 

These guys were massively underrated.

16. Music @ Work 

This hard-working band was introduced to me by a good (Canadian) friend in 2000. I remember him (Max) going on and on about how great these guys were, so I finally gave myself in and bought this album. The best 30 bucks I ever spent!

I have since listened to most of their albums and enjoy many of their songs; however, this album still remains my favourite. But first…

I have to start with Gord.

Gordon Edgar Downie CM was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian music and for his support of various social and environmental causes. He was also the esteemed lead singer and lyricist for the Tragically Hip, which he fronted from its formation in 1984 until his untimely death in 2017. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and popular artists in Canadian music history. 

Gord’s songwriting has been praised for frequently touching upon uniquely Canadian subjects not otherwise covered by mainstream rock groups.  I continue to enjoy deciphering the hidden messages and meaning behind a lot of his lyrics.

(Lyrics  Music @ Work)

Everything is bleak
It’s the middle of the night
You’re all alone and
The dummies might be right
You feel like a jerk
My music at work
My music at work
Avoid trends and cliches
Don’t try to be up to date
And when the sunlight gets the olive oil
Don’t hesitate
The night’s so long it hurts
My music at work
In a symbol too near or far
Or the anatomy of a stain
To determine where you are
In a sink full of ganges, I’d remain
No matter what you heard
My music at work
My music at work
My music at work

I always thought that this song had two meanings. The first is that Gord’s music is forever influencing and/or making us think about things we wouldn’t have thought about necessarily. As well as his words resonating throughout our conscious thoughts as we go through our day-to-day working lives. Almost like a daily reminder.

The second being that the music is the band’s work, and this could also be a recipe of sorts for how they develop their songs, “avoiding trends and cliches”, like so much pop culture, and making music to inspire, make people think, or simply leave people to ponder the deeper meanings.

So who are the Tragically Hip?

The Tragically Hip, often referred to simply as the Hip, were a Canadian rock band formed in Kingston, Ontario in 1984, consisting of five members – vocalist Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair, and drummer Johnny Fay. They released 13 studio albums, one live album, one EP, and over 50 singles over a 33-year career. Nine of their albums have reached No. 1 on the Canadian charts.

With that said, I am here to discuss this album – Music @ Work

It’s hard to define this album in terms of its musical roots, style, and influences. I couldn’t say by definition and pinpoint precisely what this album sounds like other than how it is received by each individual.

Some may think it’s rooted in blues-rock, others may say country, folk-rock, and some may even suggest psychedelic pop-rock. What matters is how this album makes you feel. And I always felt contemplative and uplifted.

The band were renowned for their live performances, they were tight and always sounded gold. I particularly like the lead breaks from guitarist Rob Baker. I have tapped into his style over the years and enjoy stripping songs back, removing the complexity and layering them with tone.

My only regret, I never got to see them perform live. I will mention the documentary film on Netflix, Long Time Running which profiles the band during their Man Machine Poem Tour (2016). The documentary followed the announcement of Gord Downie’s Brain Cancer diagnosis. A real tear-jerker but nevertheless encapsulates the bravery and modesty of this remarkable man.

RIP Gord Downie! Canada misses you. I miss you.

15. The Best of the Doors (1985)

“This is the end, Beautiful friend, This is the end, My only friend, the end.” (The Doors)

“What kind of rat bastard psychotic would play that song- right now, at this moment?”

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Break on through to the very best of The Doors music. An all American blues band with an all American icon, Jim Morrison (Mojo Rising) was as far away from “humping the American dream” (Thompson) as anyone could be. This 4 piece band from Los Angeles, California were destined for greatness. But it wasn’t until I watched the biographical musical film directed by Oliver Stone (The Doors, 1991) that I truly understood their music.

I distinctly remember walking out of the cinema and driving 40 minutes back home with my friend and neither of us had uttered a word the entire trip. We pulled up out the front of my home and muttered the word “Wow”. Since then I have been inspired by Robbie Krieger’s guitar playing. You only have to watch him play ‘Break On Through’ (2000) to understand how good he really is.

So I spent the next 30 years working out how to play the following songs; ‘Love Her Madly’, ‘Riders On The Storm’, ‘Roadhouse Blues’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, ‘The End’, ‘People Are Strange’, and even had crack at ‘LA Woman’. 

Musically the band was brilliant. Very talented. We tend to forget just how talented they were because the other three band members were so overshadowed by the enigmatic prescence of Jim Morrison. Case in point, keyboardist Ray Manzareck had to sing the entire setlist after Jim had passed out drunk on stage. Those who witnessed the event claimed, “you wouldn’t have known the difference.”

A shame Jim was never sober or never lived long enough to appreciate just how profound The Doors actually were.

14. Led Zeppelin –  Remasters (1990)

Gee Whiz Led Zep… where do I start? Those of you playing the home game have most likely spent the past couple of weeks abusing the shit out of me for not mentioning the Mighty Zeppelin so far in my top 101. Well, here they are. In my top 20. Now you will probably abuse me because I didn’t name a specific album – Led Zep 1,2,3,4.

Okay so I had all those but I also had their Remasters which I think is a wonderful tribute to the decade long success this band has had and the impact they have made on the global stage in terms of their influence. And besides, it gives me more great songs to talk about in this post.

So let’s talk about songs then shall we.

“You need cooling
Baby I’m not fooling
I’m gonna send ya
Back to schooling”

My ‘Whole Lotta Love’ with this band started at a very early age. In fact, I think I was just a foetus. Nevertheless, I was playing air guitar to this track well before I could even play a note on the guitar. A classic riff. Solo even more so.

I remember my year 9 guitar teacher (Mr Mabbs) trying to show me the main riff to ‘Black Dog’. In retrospect I think he may have been a little too optimistic, however, I eventually learned the entire song about ten years later. I wasn’t exactly, how you say, “a quick study”. Better late than never.

There was a period in my early thirties when I really discovered the blues and of course, I revisited the song ‘Rock N’ Roll’ (12bar blues progression in A). An interesting fact about this song is that the phrase “rock and roll” was also a euphemism among blues musicians for “sex.” As for the lyrical content, Plant dropped references to such classic songs as ‘The Stroll,’ ‘The Book of Love,’ and ‘Walking in the Moonlight’ within the track.

That was the ingenuity of Plant’s limitless vocabulary. ‘Rock and Roll’ has also been covered by Heart, Stevie Nicks, Van Halen, John Waite, and the Foo Fighters (who had Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on hand for their version) among others.

‘Misty Mountain Hop’ had the coolest intro riff. I just had to learn it.

And of course, every guitar store’s least favourite song – ‘Stairway To Heaven’. I was 21 when I finally learned to play this song properly on the guitar. I think it took me two weeks. I was unemployed at the time so I had nothing better to do. Glad I was productive because I still love playing it now. The final Am, G, F progression and solo are timeless. And of course the lyrics. “As they wind on down the road, their shadows taller than their souls…”. Arguably one of the greatest songs ever written, certainly in my top 3. Hmmm.. there’s a thought.

My only regret is that this album didn’t feature the songs ‘Livin’ Lovin Maid’ or ‘Thank You’, ‘Going to California’. I guess “you can’t always get what you want.”

I must also mention John Bohnam who in my humble opinion was the greatest Rock N Roll drummer of our time. An absolute legend and I can only hope to see a big-budget film that chronicles the success and history of the band sooner rather than never. Hope you can hear me Netflix, Amazon, and Co. And lest not forget John Paul Jones, who will always be remembered as the most underrated member of the band. Poor bastard. He is so talented.

A final shout out to Vince Contarino and the ZEP BOYS. This Adelaide cover band has been performing Zeppelin for a living since the mid-eighties and are the closest thing to seeing the real band. No one comes close to singing like Plant except you Vince!

13. Blind Melon – Blind Melon (1992)

Blind Melon is the debut studio album by American rock band with the same name and featured their breakthrough single No Rain. The guitar solo to this song still remains one of my favourites and is a pleasure to play on acoustic guitar and sing along with friends (or Lace).

The album’s musical style has been described as alternative, southern rock with a ’70s retro-rock feel. No one has intrigued me more than the vocal sound of Shannon Hoon who is described as having a high-pitched, scratchy vocal sound. Lyrically Shannon is a genius. Hoon sings emotionally driven lyrics about particular criticisms, reflections and experiences of his worldview.

I wonder, Change, and Holy Man are good examples. Meaningful with a slight sadness in his voice and the juxtaposition of a sense of optimism in the musical arrangements. Behind every great vocalist are the band members and in my humble opinion were very underrated as musicians. Guitarist and founding member Rogers Stevens has a style that I appeal to. He and bassist Brad Smith had been looking for a second guitar player when they were introduced to Christopher Thorn.

To use the Poker analogy, the final card was drummer Glen Graham who ultimately handed Capitol Records with a Royal Flush. I have always felt confident with this line up and if Shannon hadn’t died some two albums later, they would still be creating timeless music now. Despite the death of Hoon I am sure the band are still grateful they don’t have to pump gas for a living.

One of my favourite tracks to jam is ‘Tones of Home‘ which demonstrates how the two guitarists combined harmonically and rhythmically. I love this song and found out later that the lyrics were a collaborative effort.

I can’t not mention the cover art. The iconic photograph further inspired the concept of the ‘Bee Girl’ character in the band’s video for No Rain. The Bee Girl was drummer Glen Graham’s younger sister taken from a ‘long ago’ school play. I think this personification typifies the band’s intent to be busy as bees creating naturally sounding music that is unique and interesting.

Or perhaps given Hoon’s attraction to drugs, it could be a fitting metaphorical reference for visiting the ‘honey pot’ (albeit heroin).

Shannon’s legacy is not his addictive personality but what he has managed to accomplish within a short period of time. His daughter Nico Blue Hoon now proudly holds up her ‘dear ol’ Dad’s’ microphone and relives her father’s memory through his songs.

The 25 year old never knew her father and in fact, was born 1995 making her only 3 months old when he passed. She now embraces the memory of her father by continuing to sing his songs just as passionately if not more beautiful.

12. The Tea Party – The Edges of Twilight (1995)

The third album from this remarkable band features a range of instruments from all over the world. I could easily put this album into my top ten but hey, variety is key with any top 101 right?

Anyway, open tune your guitar to D and have fun playing along to Fire in the Head, The Bazaar, or my personal all-time favourite, Sister Awake (tuned to open C).

If you haven’t seen this band live or one of Jeff’s solo performances, then you really haven’t experienced the guitar/vocal prodigy that is Mr Jeff Martin. In the meantime, I shall continue to bow down in front of my photo featuring Jeff Martin and myself out the back of Hotel Metro, Melbourne (2009) and shout the words “I’m not worthy”.

11. GNR – Lies 

Released in 1988, the band’s second studio album was a backflip from the huge sounding Appetite. Most likely because the four new songs were all acoustic. Nevertheless, the album went on to sell five million copies in the US.

The four new songs included ‘Patience‘ (the only single released), ‘I used to love her’ (written about Axl’s dog), ‘You’re Crazy’, and the lyrically controversial ‘One in a Million’. Side A consists of the previously released EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide

Some would argue this album was probably thrown together for a quick cash up, however, the album proves to be more than that. When you unpack Slash’s guitar solos you soon realise there is much more under his hat than a big mop of black hair. In fact, the way he moved between the pentatonic and Mixolydian scales meant he was never chasing melodies. he was able to create some of the best acoustic riffs and solos I have ever heard to this day and I still enjoy jamming these songs with my buds. As part of my guitar therapy, I had to learn them all inside out!

So, what do you think of my list so far? Check out the final part, and top 10 of this countdown.

4 thoughts on “The 101 albums that changed my life (PART 5)

  1. I still can’t believe that Nirvana album is over 30 years old. It’s still so fresh in my mind. I guess the picture of the baby just glues to my brain. ACDC was a great band and gosh, our radios would be blasting away with their songs. We had a friend that at his funeral, he chose his songs and had them ready on a DVD to be played. As we sat down and they started the music, out blasted ACDC and they really cranked it up too. It was good as no tears flowed just laughter and smiles and that’s what he wanted. Led Zeppelin was in there also.

    Love The Doors also. Actually the 80s were a good year with bands and songs. 🙂

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Thank you for your comments. It literally has been a road trip down memory lane. I think in retrospect there was something more thoughtful about the process of putting on a record, CD, or DVD. Now days we throw on Spotify or YouTube and play whatever is in the mix.

    The bands you mention certainly hold a place in the soundtrack of my life. I am glad to hear you also have fond memories. It’s nice to be taken back to a time in your life and smile at what it was that you were doing or who you were with when you played that album. Nirvana certainly had an impact on me and even now I hear my kids influenced by these bands.

    Lace is apparently going to sing ‘About A Girl’ for me (aren’t you lace)… whoop whoop!

  3. Having worked in employment connected to the music industry I found this great nostalgia, super article especially as I was responsible for making sure the latest albums of those times were available for sales.

    1. Hi Gilli,

      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you and I have a similar nostalgic connection to the music industry – pre 2000s.

      I no doubt would have purchased a few of those albums from someone like yourself

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