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?