I'm spinning off Grant's latest rant here. For those of us with shorter memories, how about five records that have changed your life?

I'll start, because that's only fair. I found doing this that the records that fit in the "changed my life" category haven't necessarily been what I would consider the "best" records. At any rate, my list, in no particular order:

Billy Joel - '52nd Street'. The first record I ever really loved. It was released into the world one year after I was and, even though he's a piano player, for some reason he's holding a trumpet on the cover. I've recently started learning his piano parts for all these songs on guitar. Can't get much better than "Honesty is such a lonely word / everyone is so untrue."

Liz Phair - 'Exile in Guyville'. My memory of musical taste starts with Billy Joel, Elton John, and Paul Simon, and then sinks into a very long period of bubble gum pop before emerging with a little more integrity sometime in my teens with this record. I don't at all remember where I found it or who turned me onto it, but it was exactly opposite of everything else I'd been listening to and, by proxy of its sort-of-borrowed title, turned me on to the Stones. It also led me to believe that I could write songs--a delusion I hold to this day.

Ani DiFranco - 'Not a Pretty Girl'. This is not her best record, but it's the first one I heard the summer after I graduated high school. She was saying all the same stuff the Riot Grrls were saying, was playing guitar way better than them, and was doing it all in a much more poetic, thoughtful sort of way. I didn't throw away my Babes in Toyland and L7 records, but I definitely moved on. This is also the record that clued me into the Buffalo music scene, where I wound up living for a few years and where I still believe there is an endless supply great singer-songwriters that nobody will ever hear.

Woody Guthrie - 'The Asch Recordings Vol. 1-4'. Until that point, I never knew "This Land is Your Land" had so many verses and was so ballsy. It had always just been a stand-alone chorus we repeated over and over in grade school. I also hadn't known anything of the man behind that song, much less the fact that he was responsible for hundreds--if not thousands--of other songs that would blow my mind.

Townes Van Zandt - 'No Deeper Blue'. Again, this isn't his best record, but it's the first one I heard and it opened me up to the rest of his catalog, each entry of which has changed different parts of me. My friend Michael Meldrum, who knew what he was talking about and whose opinion I very much respected, insisted I go buy any TVZ record and wear it out. I liked the title of this one, so I spent a white-out winter in my apartment in Buffalo with it on heavy rotation.

...Okay, your turn. What five records have changed your life?

Tags: ani, billy, difranco, guthrie, joel, liz, phair, townes, van, woody, More…zandt, albums, alternative, americana, changed, country, forum, life, music, records, that, your

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Beatlemania (I think it was called With the Beatles in the UK) Released in Canada just before Christmas ... I didn't get to hear it until Christmas morning ... I sat spellbound listening to it over and over and over again. I was learning folkie guitar stuff but after that I rushed downtown to a pawn shop and found an old Hofner ... a year later I traded it in for a bottom of the line Gretsch (much later ... c.1980) I found the Rickenbacker 12 string of my dreams ... I was a member of several bands in the 60s (as a bass player) ... one of them beat a band in an audition ... a year later that other band (the Ugly Ducklings) opened for the Stones at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers) ... I had actually seen the Stones once before this came out ... songs like Route 66, Carol, Tell Me and Walking the Dog were just as inspirational as that first Beatles album had been.

CCR ... the one with Proud Mary on it. Loved Fogerty's accent ... woikin' toinin' boinin' etc.

Byrds / Sweetheart of the Rodeo ... one of my teachers in art college brought this in when it first came out and told us it was the Music of Tomorrow ... didn't really buy that at the time but now know he was the Prophet of the Age. Where are you, Alex McLeod???

Gram Parsons / Grievous Angel ... first heard c. 1978/9 ... led me back to the Flying Burritos, International Submarine Band, and that Sweetheart Byrds record ... and onwards to Uncle tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt, Emmylou Harris, Alejandro Escovedo, Tom Russell, Jason and the Scorchers, Steve Earle, etc, etc ... I guess this was actually my most moved by of the five. Though I still like the Byrds, Beatles and Stones ... and many others.

The only thing  missing here for me to feel right at home -- Buffalo Springfield, your choice of two but why not both?

You're leaning toward L.A. may as well fall right in.  At that point you add Sills and Young to your headliners and we get to dance to "Rok and Roll Woman".

Hmmmm, yeah, not the best albums, certainly, but...

Deanna Carter -- Did I Shave My Legs for This? On a Little Cassette tape. My mom's partner at the time gave it to me when I eight. It was the first collection of "grown up" music I really loved; from the random lyrics in the title song (for the longest time I thought "shattered dreams and a broken heart" was "shattered nails and a broken heart") to "Strawberry Wine," which still makes me teary-eyed with eight-year-old nostalgia. I dressed in blue jeans, cowboy boots, and white tee-shirts for a year because of the cover and joined 4-H.

Ani DiFranco -- Little Plastic Castle In Junior High I sat in my dark, messy bedroom and listened to it constantly, but repeating "Pulse" five times in a row when you're already zitty and depressed and hormonal does bad things to your brain.

Postal Service Well, I think each song was technically an album, until the Sub Pop release. But Gibbard's dreamy synthed-out tunes were the sound track for my "high school dropout" year (nope, never graduated), then moving to Seattle and early college. My then-boyfriend, now-husband and I listened to it nonstop while we road-tripped around the country for a year and Iron and Wine's cover of "Such Great Heights" was our wedding song.

Van Morrison -- Astral Weeks I actually read the Lester Bangs review first, then went out and bought the album. That review made me want to be a music journalist... damn Lester Bangs! It's all his fault I can barely buy food! Last year I told my mom about it, and she surprised me by saying it used to be her favorite album, and we listened to it all the time when I was a baby.

Lil Wayne Tha Carter III It's really recent, but I've fallen head over heels for
Wheezy F. -- not unlike a certain blond anchor with a botched haircut (she stroked his arm!). And he's turned me on to so much hip-hop (albeit all really mainstream stuff); Kanye, Biggie, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, Outkast...it's a new era.
Rachel, we'll need to discuss the hippity hop in near future! Kanye old or Kanye new? Which Wu-Tang and Outkast album(s)?
Katelyn! I'm completely at the mercy of PasteTunes; I have no money to actually buy albums right now, so I've been listening to old(er?) Kanye 'cause that's what there it; Late Registration, College Dropout, and Graduation. Hmmmm...Outkast; The Love Below. Wu Tang; Measly Billboards and Best Ofs... But most of all, The Carter III and Da Drought III, love, love, love 'em!
Suggestions? Being a very recently deflowered hip-hop virgin, I could sure use them...
My five?Well.Townes Van Zandt: Our Mother The Mountain, All Things Must Pass: George Harrison, er...Any of the Rick Ruben Johnny Cash albums, though the first I heard when a boy was Ring of Fire,
Buffy Sainte Marie: Golden Hour With (which I recently got on vynal and thus can play on my B and O record deck aquired from my mum and dad who bought it in the seventies and it still sounds as sweet.The Buena Vista Social Club.That would be a start.I'd put The Beatles but that goes without saying.
I read the Astral Weeks piece by Lester Bangs too and it made me...uh, Ok so I stole the cd from somewhere. But it was journalism that made me want to listen to something so bad that I had to hear it THAT DAY!

You gotta admit that if you're gong to let Lester Bangs reach out from the lake of flaming cough  syrup to direct your music buys you could do a whole lot worse than Van the Man.  "and magnificently we will flow into the mystic..." is an invitation I just can't turn down.

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper The first album I ever bought. It was released the day before my 7th birthday and I remember my mom buying it for me at a local drug store. I still have it.

Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All My brother returned from the Navy in the mid-70s. He brought Apostrophe home with him and, while I listened to it an awful lot, it was OSFA that really made me aware of the genius of FZ. It also steered me to many jazz albums.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Will The Circle Be Unbroken This album alone turned me on to about a dozen artists. Old bluegrass folks like Jimmy Martin. Old country folks like Roy Acuff. Doc Watson. Merle Travis. . . This album also directly led to my discovery of John Hartford (Steam-Powered Areo Plane) and David Grisman (Hot Dawg). Until I listened to this album, Country/Americana music was foreign to my ears.

Ry Cooder - Bop 'Til You Drop The first "digital" recording I ever purchased. Just a wonderful album that turned me on to a lot of rhythm & blues stuff. Also a lot of gospel and tex/mex sounds I had never heard before. My discovery of John Hiatt is also a directly traceable to Ry Cooder.

Wilco - AM Until I heard this CD, I had not really discovered any new music that excited me for years. While not the CD that Being There is, I still think it represents some of their best work. The discovery of this album led me to No Depression Magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Beach Boys- I think it was a greatest hits cassette. They were my first favorite band. The vibe they created on the song "In My Room" has stuck with me til this day. It fit's like a comfy robe.

The Talking Heads-Stop Making Sense- It is unavoidable to somehow be influenced by a record you have heard thousands of times whether you wanted to or not. I love the concept and performance of this album.

The Minutemen- Double Nickels on A Dime- I didn't learn of this record until i was about 20. About 5 years later than I wish I had. It's a priceless piece of American culture.

Little Walter-Juke-The jimmy h of harmonica. Anyone who gives a damn about the blues should listen to this guy. He electrified the harmonica! Inventing a new sound and style that set the bar for thousands of harmonica players to this day.

Roscoe Holcomb-An Untamed sense Of Control- It blew my mind to hear this man's voice through the speakers. I don't understand how he did it.

I have a hard time narrowing it down to Five albums. But these are some of the ones that will always stick.

I'm looking for my chair in your living room since I'll be there a while.  Let's kick off with Ry doing "Liltle Sister" then grab our copies by Elvis and Dwight, play them back to back to back, and take a shot of mescal everytime one of them sings "do what your big sister done".  Good times.

Way too hard to narrow it down, but for today, here's how it stands:

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - my first LP ever, given to me on my 10th birthday by my favorite aunt, complete with an orange, plastic portable record player w/an orange bubble top.

Led Zeppelin 4 - Got me through High School. 'Nuff said.

Joni Mitchell - Hejira - Got me through more heartbreaks than I care to remember

Whiskeytown - Stranger's Almanac - whole new world.

Tied: Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Drive By Truckers - Decoration Day -both masterpieces - I was reclaiming myself after birth and after death made life a musical void for a while.



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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.