Influential Albums

I listen to music a lot. The first thing I do when getting my computer on, whether at home or at work, is to turn on iTunes and get music playing. I cannot work in silence. So when I was nominated on Facebook to post about my favourite/most influential 10 albums, I really struggled. In the end, I could not do it. Instead, here’s a blog of 20 albums – with 5 from more recent years (as they’ve been influential in their own way, but with less time to do so than the others which I have grown up with). The albums are presented in alphabetical order with little, or no accompanying text (at least to start off with – I may revisit this post and update in due course).

Actually – Pet Shop Boys. Could have gone with Please also, but in the end chose Actually. Another album I listened to again & again… and still do. Though my favourite singles by them come from other albums. See also my book reviews of Pet Shop Boy books – Literally and Versus America
Blast – Holly Johnson. Probably doesn’t get the recognition it’s due. Got some great tunes on it. See my post about the Blast Twitter Listening Party.
Count Three and Pray – Berlin. Never understood why this album didn’t sell. This is in my top 5 albums of all time. Berlin – Official Band is a group I’d love to see again (was supposed to around 2019/2020 but the concert got cancelled). Berlin supported Frankie Goes To Hollywood in 1987 – an amazing evening.
Faith – George Michael. Great mixture of songs.
Here’s to Future Days – Thompson Twins. Could have chosen Into the Gap. Loved all the additional remixes.
Joyride – Roxette. Could easily have chosen Look Sharp! My second favourite group. Love all of their stuff and have recently been going through the individual and other group work by Per and Marie.
Kick – INXS. One of my favourite albums of my high school years.
Live Magic – Queen. One of the few live albums which really works. Main memory of this is singing along to it (anyone who’s heard me sing will know how dreadful that would be),.. whilst out on a walk at a campsite in France. The looks of the other campers said it all!
Liverpool – Frankie Goes To Hollywood.  In the 1980s it was all about Liverpool. I supported the team. Loved the city. Would probably have gone to uni there hadn’t been for what happened at high school. As for this album, I was a bit disappointed by it at the time. Now, I’d easily rate it in my top 10 – taken me time to appreciate some of the lyrics.
Maybe Tomorrow – Rebecca. This was one of two albums a Japanese friend gave to me during my first term at high school. It’s still one I listen to a lot. And a couple of the tracks are still amongst those I regularly murder at karaoke, with one probably being my favourite Japanese song.
Now II – Various Artists. Until 1984 I didn’t really listen to music. I had a couple of albums (I seem to remember Olivia Newton John and John Denver… which is particularly ironic given the team I ended up supporting from 1989). I had some singles (topic for another post one day maybe), but that was it. Then I go this album – on tape. Tape 1 was great. Hated almost of all of Tape 2. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_That%27s_What_I_Call_Music_II_(UK_series)) Never listened to Tape 2. Until the Summer of 1984 on holiday I decided to try it. I heard of (rather than really listened to the song) “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I was aware of Frankie. But the whole T-shirt thing, etc had largely passed me by – as pop music largely had. Until this summer. I was hooked. It’s amazing the tape lasted the summer as I’d rewind the tape as soon as the song had finished (or flip it over and listen to “Pipes of Peace” if the batteries were starting to struggle). As soon as we got back from holiday I rushed out to the shops and got all the various versions of “Relax” & “Two Tribes”.
Reckless – Bryan Adams. Seen him in concert three times. Loved this album.
Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi. Another great rock album. Seen them in concert a couple of times – including the last ever concert at the old Wembley stadium.
True Blue – Madonna. Loved this album. Madonna at Wembley stadium in 1987 was amazing too. Have done a drawing based on the cover – wonder if it still exists.
Welcome to the PleasureDome – Frankie Goes To Hollywood. By favourite album – as written about in another blog post.

Newer Albums

Electric – Pet Shop Boys. Although many of my favourite more recent tracks by the Pet Shop Boys comes from other albums (e.g. “Integral” on the album Fundamental, or “Hell”), this is the one I have listened to most thanks to seeing them in concert.
Europa – Holly Johnson. Great return to form from Holly Johnson. Extra bonus of having a signed copy. The concert in 2014 was amazing too. Some brilliant songs and lyrics.
Transcendance – Berlin. I nearly went with their other recent album Animal, but this one is much more powerful with clever lyrics. Didn’t blow me away at first – but really grew on me.
Science Fiction – Tom Bailey. Was so happy when Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins started making new material. Doesn’t disappoint.
432-1 – Nasher. A great album from Nasher (Brian Nash). If you’re on Twitter you should be following Nasher and reading his wonderful posts with his views on life and current affairs. The powerful lyrics and soulful tunes are a delight. Although the content means that it’s not for playing in front of the family. If you buy it, get the physical one; the presentation from the box to the design of the CD is beautiful and you’ll get a personalised message too. Also see my more detailed review at 432-1: Open The Vein by Nasher – Essential Listening for Contemporary Britain (and beyond)

At some point I may do blogs about my favourite singles, movies, TV programmes and books.

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