There are so many great picks from Miles—Sketches of Spain, Seven Steps to Heaven, Tutu—but this is the one I’d take with me to a deserted island. I play it to relax, or to find that creative spark inside of me.
This kid has the pipes and the energy to move me in all kinds of ways. Whether he’s singing in French or English (which he didn’t speak at the time of recording this record), every song comes from his soul. When he sings, he’s filled with joy, and you can feel it.
Ray LaMontagne has a voice unlike any other singer out there, like it’s half breath, half vocalization. This album gives me all the feels, particularly Be Here Now, which pulls me into a whole other dimension of being. It’s not just a song: it’s a lesson on how to be.
I spent the summer of 1980 on a bus with fifty other teens, touring the western U.S. Long hours on the highway required entertaining diversions. When we grew tired of poker, Fran pulled out her guitar and we sang every song on this album. Carole King was our muse, our heart, and our soul, from Banff and Bozeman to Vegas and Sante Fe.
This is, in my opinion, Sir Elton’s greatest album. I loved it so much that I stole it from my mother. Then someone stole it from me. I don’t know who it was, but I don’t blame them a bit.
This was the music event of my generation: an album, a movie. I lost track of how many midnight screenings I attended with my friends. (It was a lot.) Though I didn’t think about it at the time, it’s rather ironic that a concept album about isolation and its repercussions created a community. Maybe that’s what it meant to do.
I’m not a fan of the Phil Collins years of Genesis (gimme Peter Gabriel), but this album is the exception. Hell, Dodo Lurker, alone, would put this record on my lists.
It’s impossible to pick my favorite Zep album; I love so many songs across all of them. But this one has Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and That’s the Way… and Since I’ve Been Loving You. So, that’s it.
Like Zep, there are too many great U2 albums to pick a favorite, but this one moves me in a way I can’t describe. It inspired me to visit Ireland, even if America was the inspiration for U2.
I don’t remember how I came across this album, but it was during a period of transition in my life. The nouveau flamenco music lightened my mental load considerably.
For a classical music lover like myself, this record gave me chills. Imagine pieces like Ave Maria, Gymnopedie, Moonlight Sonata and Adagio in G Minor reinterpreted for guitar. Yeah. Chills.
This album is touted as being “inspired by” Bach, but I think J.S. would be the one to be inspired by Yo-Yo Ma’s solo performance on his six suites.
This album was released a few months after I graduated university, and it became the soundtrack to my first few years as a grown-up. “Never Tear Us Apart” remains, IMHO, the greatest love song of my generation.
This album knocked me off my feet. The cover song was haunting in every way: lyrically, vocally, musically. Ophelia is/was all of us women. The album is filled with hope, gratitude, anger, sadness, love. And, it’s my most fervent hope that, when I die, someone eulogizes me as beautifully as she did Allen Ginsberg in King of May.
If I close my eyes, I’m there, at the Village Vanguard. Bill Evans’ first live recording was the last for his bassist, Scott LaFaro, who died eleven days later in a car accident at twenty-five. The songs on the record were written by Miles Davis, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Scott LaFaro. As much as I love Evans, I can’t help but wonder what LaFaro would have given us had he lived.
More to come.