I feel the need to do two top ten lists. I have an "all-time classics" list, which is full of albums that, well, the best way to explain it is that they make lists like this all the time for a reason.
The second list is everything post-1990, and is not necissarily what I deem to be the greatest musical acheivements, but just what I like the best.
Part I) My "all-time classic" favourites (in alphabetical order):
The Beach Boys: Endless Summer
Technically not a "Best of". It is a compilation, and includes "Good Vibrations", "Wouldn't it be Nice?", "California Girls" and "All Summer Long". Yes, it's kind of lame to go with a compilation, but it's also kind of lame to put Pet Sounds on a top 10 albums list of all time.
The Beatles:Rubber Soul
Somewhere betwenbeing a borderline boy-band, and popularizing the work of Frank Zappa, the Beatles recorded an ablum that is not only ahead of its time, but stands the test of time. I always compare this album to the White Stripe's White Blood Cells, and if I had to pick a genre I would call it "quirky-pop". "Norweigen Wood", "Drive My Car" are particularly addictive, and "In My Life" is always a favourite.
The Clash: London Calling
Why yes I did just jump from The Beatles to The Clash. Thank you for noticing. The only majorly addictive Clash song this album is missing is "Rock the Casbah", but hey it's still solid listening. "London Calling, Jimmy Jazz", "Rudie Can't Fail" and "Lover's Rock" rock my world, in a very anti-rock kind of way. Never let it be said that I don't like punk music.
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Ten points to anyone who can tell me what TV character has this as their favourite album. Actually, I feel a little badly that I have to go and grab this album to determine a highlights list ("Move", "Moon Dreams" for sure). I confess it has been a while as I've been off the jazz lately. I wonder what else I've been off of lately that would be lessening my interest in jazz
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
I have a terrible confession. I used to hate this album. I loathed it. I would complain everytime my Dad put it on in the car. I also used to think that I would like to be an astronaut, that Step by Step was a good TV show and that I would marry Ben Affleck. What can I say? Live and learn, I now think pretty much the opposite on every point, thus: I LOVE this album. So much so that I would like to marry it. Don't even know where to start on highlights... "Idiot
Wind", "Tangled Up in Blue", "Shelter from the Storm", "Jack of Hearts"... it just goes on from there.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced?
Not that I have to explain many of these, but least of all this one. Although I don't know if I can ever really fully enjoy the song "Hey Joe" for some reason or another. Though I must thank Scott eternally for bringing its context to my attention. Among the tracks of greatness, "Purple Haze", "Foxey Lady", sigh and yes "Hey Joe".
Janis Joplin w Big Brother and the Holding Company:
Rosanne: We didn't have enough women musicians like that. Thank god for Janis.
Jackie: Oh yeah (sings) "I learned the truth at seventeen"
Rosanne: Not Janis Ian you idiot! Janis Joplin.
That exchange just always amused me a lot. I do like "At Seventeen" but it takes a lot in my books for anyone male or female to compete with Janis Joplin, and in particular "Summertime", "Ball and Chain" and one of my alltime favourites "Piece of my Heart". I want to be her. Less the Southern Comfort.
Joe: Do we have a song?
Me: Yeah "Moondance".
Joe: Oh yeah, but every Van Morrison couple has that as their song.
Me: I thought that was "Brown Eyed Girl".
Joe: Every REAL Van Morrison couple.
I later settled on "Wouldn't it be Nice?", but for a while I enjoyed the most melancholically sexy music imaginable. How was I sad and turned on at the same time? I have no idea, but I still kind of think of a chilly october night in Peterborough everytime I hear it this album. That, and driving through Pennsylvania. "Moondance", "And it Stoned Me" (which I was told at age 10 was not about biblical stoning) and "Crazy Love" are favourites.
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
I hear that if you start this album playing at the exact same time that the MGM credits start rolling and listen to the album straight through, while watching "Gone With the Wind" high, that "Gone With the Wind" is a much better movie. Frankly my dear Scarlett you'll enjoy "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", "Wish You Were Here" and "Welcome to the Machine" (a definite Radiohead precursor).
The Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
Despite the superior album art of Remain in Light, the unbeatableness of an ablum that includes "Psycho Killer", "Heaven" and "This Must Be the Place" goes unquestioned in my books. This album also makes it look as though I didn't overlook the eighties entirely, despite the fact that the songs were mostly recorded in the seventies.