Top 101 albums that changed my life (PART 2)

Want to know where we started? Check out part one of my top 101 albums list.

Now we are moving on to the good stuff and we aren’t even halfway through yet. As we make our way through part two and the record collection grows, I guess you can say things are getting interesting.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the next set of albums that changed my life.

79. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

‘Give it away, give it away, give it away now…’ 

Who didn’t have this album? This band was also doing their own thing and thank the Music Gods because music in the late 80s was starting to sound worn out and prefabricated. Especially the predictable song structure of verse, chorus, bridge, and solo.

These guys, however, flipped conventional songwriting on its head and what resulted was four guys jammin’ in a studio (possibly on a whole lot of caffeine) grooving to sound, rhythm, and beats. 

Just the pure raw energy of ‘Suck my kiss’ and ‘Give it away’ are infectious grooves leaving you craving for more. ‘Breaking the girl’ is a nice ballad and ‘Mellowship slinky in B Major’ showcases the guitar style and genius of guitarist John Frusciante.

I am a big admirer of Frusciante and consider him to be an even better vocalist. His backing track on the outro chorus in ‘Under the Bridge’ is my case in point. 

Fun fact. Flea grew up in Murray Bridge before moving to California as a teenager. Probably for the best I’d say. And Chad Smith – not only are you Will Farrell’s doppelganger but you are pretty handy on the kit.

78. Faith No More – The Real Thing (1989)

This was the third studio album from San Francisco Rockers Faith No More and the first album to feature the unconventional Mike Patton (vocalist). It took MIke just 12 days to write the lyrics for the entire album. I knew from the minute I saw Mike rapping to a heavy metal sounding guitar riff on the music video ‘Epic’ that this was going to be something unique. And it was. 

Fun fact. Not long after the release of the album a rivalry started with the Californian band, Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP). Anthony Kiedis publicly stated Mike Patton had stolen his “style” in the ‘Epic’ video. Which is ridiculous, to say the least.

Maybe if Mike took his shirt off and put a sock over, well you know… then perhaps RHCP would have a reason to pipe up and acknowledge the tribute. Needless to say, the album is pure genius from start to finish. Yes ‘Epic’ is a great song but when you delve into the tracks you soon realise there is much more to this band than this massive hit.

I particularly like the opening track, ‘From out of Nowhere, and the classical guitar arrangements in ‘Zombie Eaters’. Then there’s my personal favourite, the hardcore metal song, ‘Surprise! You’re Dead!’. 

Included in the bonus tracks are the raw sounding ‘War Pigs’ which is lead guitarist Jim Martin giving a nod to the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. And the lyrically romantic juxtaposition of ‘Edge of the world’ makes you feel like you are sitting in a lobby cocktail lounge. 

FNM’s fusion of thrash metal, funk, hip hop, rap metal, and progressive rock was certainly different for the time and perhaps intentionally indicative of their dark sense of humour. Still to this day Faith No More sound like no other band except for Faith No More.

77. The Cure – Greatest Hits (2001)

I had quite the range of Cure albums but if I had to pick one then this would be it. Robert Smith only agreed to a Greatest Hits if he was able to choose the songs.

Where does one start trying to pick singles from a catalogue that up until that time had spanned 25 years?

Anyway, I think Smith got it right. One of the first songs I ever learned as a kid was ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (thanks to my year 9 music teacher Mr. Mabbs). ‘In Between Days’ was also a lot of fun. My brother and I did a cover of this at the Courthouse Hotel, Port Douglas.

It was on an open mic night in 2001 (gee whiz, I am starting to feel old). ‘Lullabye’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’ were also faves of mine, but heck… the entire album is grouse.

76. The Lemonheads – Best Of (1998)

Despite being well known for their cover of ‘Mrs. Robinson’ (Paul Simon), I have a much better connection to other songs. In particular, ‘The Outdoors Type’.

Fun story. I serenaded my now wife to this song (as I needed to explain that I had lied about my age on our dating site).

Generally speaking, I sing like a feral cat but somehow, in a romantic way, got my big secret across to her in the last verse (I’d lied about being…’). Regardless of my singing, we walked into our wedding reception to this song.

Other songs of interest are ‘Into Your Arms’, ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’, and ‘My Drug Buddy’. A cool album to throw on when you are doing the housework on a Saturday morning.

75. The Sundays – Static & Silence (1997)

The third and final studio album from this alternative English rock band and a favourite of mine to kick back to on a lazy afternoon or evening. Fairly chilled but that said is great background music from start to finish.

Those who watch ABC may remember their summer promo song, ‘Summertime’. I love playing this song.

It has a certain fun vibe that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. This folk-sounding album pairs well with a bottle of Sav Blanc.

74. Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick (1972)

“I really don’t mind if you sit this one out”. At least that’s how I feel when I’m talking about music with certain peeps.

This is the fifth studio album (out of a likely hundred) from these Scottish lads which contains a continuous piece of music that is split over two sides. It features compositions by lead vocalist Ian Anderson and is arranged with contributions from all band members.

Martin Barre is an exceptionally brilliant guitarist and Anderson is not too shabby on the flute either. This album has a variety of musical themes, time signature changes, and tempo shifts which is what I like.

Not so sure if I will ever be able to learn this song, however, the folky-progressive rock style has influenced my playing over the years.

73. Moriarty – Gee Whiz But This Is A Lonesome Town (2007)

I first heard about this French-American group when I purchased a French compilation CD, ‘So Frenchy So Chic – The Best Of French Sounds’ (2006). It featured the song ‘Jimmy‘ which is a catchy folk song.

I loved this tune so much that I used it for my mother’s 60th birthday photo montage. The album itself is a wonderful combination of stripped-down acoustic songs that have their roots in country, bluegrass, rock, and folk.

Quirky, original, and authentic just like their album cover. The band sound even better live (Adelaide Festival Centre).

72. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Greatest Hits (1985)

When it comes to the Blues, Stevie Ray Vaughan can do it all.

Sadly, this influential musician’s career was only short-lived spanning just seven years before dying in a freak helicopter crash. What’s the old saying, “Only the extremely talented die young”? 

I really got into Stevie’s guitar style back in the early 2000s and have since spent the best part of the last two decades trying to play like Stevie

This compilation has it all. It kicks off with a tribute to George Harrison’s ‘Tax Man’, followed by the slower tempo ‘Texas Flood’. Then there are my personal favourites, the classic Texas shuffle of ‘Pride & Joy’ which is a 12 bar blues in the key of E (although Stevie has tuned down half step to E♭). And the unforgettable riff of ‘Tight Rope’. This guy was a legend and I want his hat.

Fun Fact. Bowie saw Stevie playing in a club one night and immediately asked him if he would be interested in a studio gig. The result was Stevie playing on Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ album (1983).

71. Best of Bowie (2002)

I must admit Bowie didn’t really come into my life until I was an adult but better late than never right?. This compilation features hits singles from 1969-2002. One could argue it has more hits than a Big Bash T20 cricket final.

It wouldn’t be unusual to hear me play ‘Sorrow‘ around the campfire (It’s probably one of the few songs I remember the lyrics to when I’ve had a few beverages).

‘The Man Who Sold The World’ is another campfire fave. I am also very fond of ‘Under Pressure‘, ‘The Jean Genie‘, the cool-sounding guitar riff in ‘Rebel Rebel‘. Now I think of it, the whole album is just cool. Bowie, you were cool. RIP dude.

70. Neil Young – The Greatest Hits (2004)

Ever wondered what Neil Young was actually worth? Well, he just sold 50% of his publishing rights to Hipgnosis Songs Fund for around $150 million in early 2021. Now that is some serious pocket change for the old rocker.

Speaking of catalogue songs, this compilation of hits from 1969 to 1991 has it all. I was very partial to ‘Old Man‘. I loved playing that song on acoustic. I also liked ‘Needle and the Damage Done‘, and ‘Down by the River”… actually let’s just say the entire tracklisting. You can’t go wrong.

69. The Best of REM (1991) 

I finally got to see these guys in all their live glory at the Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival (2005). Believe me, when I say, I was not disappointed.

They played on the final night of the Easter weekend and certainly put on a show. I have been into this band ever since I was a teenager and learned how to play the song ‘Losing My Religion’ which hooked me into the rest of their stuff.

Peter Buck certainly has some great licks although I still can’t play ‘The End of the World as We Know It‘ (it’s a vocal thing). I do like to play ‘The One I Love’ which is kind of a love song but not really. ‘Talk About the Passion’ is another example of a cool Buck riff. 

This compilation covers most of the songs I liked and it’s a good one to throw on while sitting in the beer garden on a Saturday afternoon.

68. Michael Franti – Everyone Deserves the Music (2003)

The title track “Everyone deserves the music” says it all. This entire album is a testament to Michael Franti’s vision to harmonise the world into peace before we bomb the sh#t out of it.

He certainly was a stage presence and crowd favourite at the Blues & Roots Festival and had everyone dancing.

His song ‘Bomb the World Into Peace’ is a gentle reminder of the nuclear age we live in. My other personal favourite is the uplifting ‘Yes I Will’.

This album is a chilled-out mix of hip hop, and funk reggae fusion. So make yourself a Mai Tai (heavy on the Coruba rum of course) and kick back man.

67. The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

The enigmatic Nick Cave. Great in the studio and even better in concert. It took Australians a while to realise just how good he actually was. European shows would sell out in two minutes. 

I first heard Nick Cave on the very first Triple J Hottest 100. The radio station featured the ‘Ship Song‘ and I’ve been sailing around Nick Cave ever since. This compilation has all the goodies from 1983-1997  including; ‘Right Red Hand’, ‘Into My Arms’, ‘Do You Love Me?’, ‘Henry Lee’ (featuring PJ Harvey), and ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ (featuring Kylie Minogue).

The Bad Seeds included PJ Harvey, Warren Ellis (Dirty Three), and Mick Harvey who were all great musicians in their own right.

Since forming the Bad Seeds after the demise of his first band with Harvey, The Birthday Party, Nick Cave could be described as being progressive rock or more specifically, a gentle mix of post-punk, blues, and gothic rock.

Nick Cave is a national treasure and deserves to have his own museum named after him. Highlights. Thebarton Theatre live performance (2004).

66. The Jeff Healey Band – See The Light (1988)

The title is an obvious juxtaposition of Jeff’s vision impairment since birth. Despite not being able to see the light he could certainly hear it. This blues-rock debut put Healey on the map and we later saw him playing himself in the film Road House (featuring Patrick Swayze). 

I have always admired this man and the way he plays. This album is full of hidden gems, in particular, ‘Confidence Man’, and ‘Angel Eyes’. Want to know more? Do yourself a favour and watch the classic 1989 film Roadhouse.

65. Phil and Tommy Emmanuel – Terra Firma (1995)

When he wasn’t playing the saxophone, a good friend of mine (Ballagh) used to play the song ‘Rondo Ala Turca’ on his flute. This is what mused me into this album which features that same song.

I remember seeing Tommy Emmanuel playing ‘Guitar Boogie’ thinking “Wow. How good is this guy?”. That was until I saw his brother Phil playing at the Courthouse Hotel, Port Douglas (circa 2000).

Phil literally blew my mind and I was privy to see him play several times. I can also brag that I had to get my photo with Phil which hangs proudly in my Pool Room. 

In a nutshell, Phil could play anything and I truly believe he was and still is the best guitarist in Australia. Check out some of his pub gigs on Youtube (in particular, Phil Emmanuel & Pop Standen – KCs Bar and Grill – Airlie Beach). RIP Phil.

64. John Butler Trio – Sunrise Over Sea (2004)

‘Treat Yo Mama‘ and friends with a listen to this album. I saw John play several times and met him once or twice. Not only is he a gentleman but also a damn good musician/guitarist.

The thing about John, bassist Shannon Birchall, and percussionist Nicky Bomba, is that they could play in any setting. Albeit an arena (Big Day Out) or in a more intimate pub gig (Thebarton Theatre). Highlights include ‘Zebra’, ‘Peaches & Cream’, and ‘What you Want‘, although ‘Betterman‘ was the song that started the journey for me.

63. Oasis – What’s The Story Morning Glory ? (1995)

Ahh yes, the boys from Manchester ‘in it’. When the brothers Liam and Noel weren’t punching the crap out of each other they were writing and recording great music.

Especially for this second studio album which features eleven songs other than ‘Wonderwall‘. I’ve done a wrap-up on the best Oasis songs for those playing along at home.

62. Mr Bungle – Self Titled (1991)

Mr Bungle is the debut album and the start of many genre shifts from this experimental American rock band. Self-titled, this band ingeniously fuses a variety of music styles including Ska, circus music, alternative metal, free jazz, and funk.

Basically, a schizophrenic wall of sound that is definitely not for the faint-hearted. This album is certainly one of the greatest influential masterpieces of all time. It is an exposition of experimentation and originality and enables lead vocalist Mike Patton to reach beyond his creative potential both lyrically and vocally.

I have always been a fan of bassist Trevor Dunn and regard guitarist Trey Spruance as one of the most unique and authentic guitar players I have ever heard. His musical talents are endless and he’s capable of playing any style of music. Check out Mr Bungle ’The Wrath of the Easter Bunny’ – case in point.

61. Alice In Chains – Dirt (1992)

Oh the grunge era. Almost overnight bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and of course Alice In Chains had literally replaced the glam metal hair bands of the 80s. This album didn’t reach my ear until later on in life.

Most likely because the album focused on depression, pain, anger, anti-social behaviour, relationships, drug addiction, heroin, war, death… and a whole lot of other emotionally charged topics. I guess I was ready for them when I became semi-political in my mid-30s.

Great band. Great album. Full of great songs. Particularly like ‘Them Bones’, ‘The Rooster’, and ‘Would’.

60. Ben Harper – Fight For Your MInd (1995)

Roll one up and burn one down’. At least that is what Ben Harper had in mind when he wrote this album. Very chill but enjoyable. I was introduced to Harper in the early 2000s by my girlfriend at the time and have been a fan ever since. I just love that bass player.

Ben Harper and his band The Innocent Criminals fuse folk, rock, and reggae to create an interesting mix of politically charged songs such as, ‘Excuse me Mister’, ‘Oppression’, and ‘Ground On Down’. This album is probably best known for the song ‘Gold To Me’. Either way, throw the album on while you’re playing cards with friends. They will think you are cool.

Fun fact. Ben Harper expanded his fan base by touring endlessly with Dave Matthews Band. Have I mentioned Dave yet?

59. Dave Matthews Band – Listener Supported (1999)

Where does one start when one is referring to this band? I must have listened to this double CD compilation at least a thousand times before I finally got to see the band perform live in 2005.

I recommend this band to anyone. The band is extremely talented and the music moves you on a magical journey of discovery. 

Listener Supported - Wikipedia

Fun fact. You will never hear drummer Carter Beauford plays the same drum fill twice. When he plays live he prefers to go by the feel and energy of the crowd at the time. 

The very talented Dave Matthews has quite an unusual guitar style preferring to jam with his band. ‘Jimi Thing’ is a good example of this and probably my favourite song to play. ‘Crash Into Me’ was also a crowd favourite but hey, just play the entire album from start to finish and I assure you won’t be disappointed.

If there’s one song you do listen to, it’s gotta be ‘#41.‘ I recommend a ballsy shiraz for this track.

58. U2 – Rattle & Hum

I couldn’t decide between this album and “The Joshua Tree”. ‘Rattle & Hum’ won me over in the end as I fondly remember how I felt listening to ‘Desire’ for the first time as a 13-year-old kid.

Cool film clip, cool song, cool album. The Edge left his mark on this one. The album showcases the band’s many influences and I am particularly fond of B.B.King’s collaboration on ‘When Love Comes to Town’.

So, what do you think of my list so far? Now, it’s time to read PART 3.

One thought on “Top 101 albums that changed my life (PART 2)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *