August 30, 2016

I’m not a fan of top ten lists in general because in the end they don’t mean anything. Not to mention the fact that they’re so very subjective. So when The Great White Shank promises to deliver on commenter Jim P’s request from my post a few days ago, you ought to know what my top ten list really means. It’s not the top ten greatest albums of all time. It’s not the ten best albums of all time. It’s not even the top ten most popular albums of all time. It’s just a top ten list of albums that have had the greatest impact on me over my six decades here on earth.

And that’s not even correct, either. After all, were I were to include the ten albums that influenced me the most over my life I would then have to at least consider including albums that my mom and dad would play on the stereo while they cleaned the house each Saturday. Albums like the soundtrack to South Pacific. Or Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass’s !!Going Places!! – the first album I can remember actually listening to and trying to differentiate between trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. Or Frank Sinatra Sings for Only The Lonely – a classic album in every sense of the word. Or folk albums by the Chad Mitchell Trio and The New Christy Minstrels. I can remember being over at my Auntie Marge’s house and hearing her listen to Jackie Gleason records, with their dreamy, exotic orchestral arrangements. While none of these albums or artists hit my top ten, they were instrumental (no pun intended!) in cultivating the ear for music that I have today.

So my top ten list might be considered, then, the answer to the question: what ten albums would you insist on having if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island in the South Pacific? Now you’d be getting a little closer to the soul of what makes The Great White Shank tick, at least musically. Some of these albums, no doubt, intersect with the greatest albums of the rock era as chosen by folks like Rolling Stone and Billboard and such – after all, the greatest stuff is still the greatest stuff. But you’ll notice albums missing from my list that reflect some unwritten rules I have when it comes to popular music that contradicts popular wisdom – for example, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band might be perhaps the most overrated album of all time, and Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run right next to it. (Actually, the same holds true for just about all of “The Boss’s records.) And with apologies to fellow Goodboy “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin, anything by the Grateful Dead. And, while one or two of their songs might warrant a perking of the ear, don’t look for anything from the likes of Taylor Swift or Katie Perry, either.

So before I reveal my top ten, here are some albums I consider falling just outside that magical number, and not in any particular order:

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory

Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On

Enya, A Day Without Rain

Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street

Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks

Frank Sinatra, The Capitol Years

Elvis Presley, He Touched Me

The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd.

The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night

The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

Are you ready to get on with it? OK then, as the late, great, Marvin Gaye would croon, let’s get it on.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:12 | Comments (2)
  1. Your top 4 could easily be my top four..I’d have to put Leonard Cohen in there, Van Morrison and The Eagles.

    Comment by Jana — August 30, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

  2. Actually, there were two Eagles albums I should have added to my “not top ten but freakin’ great” list: “Hotel California” and “On The Border”. Both just totally awesome albums. Probably could have added Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and The Beatles so-called ‘White Album’ as well.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — August 30, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

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