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The “Ten Albums in Ten Days” Challenge

July 20, 2018

So, I have just posted my final LPs on Facebook having been challenged by Allan Jones to nominate ten records from my youth that I still listen to today. That list in full:

  1. Even Serpents Shine – The Only Ones (1979)
  2. Radio City – Big Star (1974)
  3. Teenage Head – Flamin’ Groovies (1971)
  4. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones (1971)
  5. Let It Be – The Replacements (1984)
  6. Hunkydory – David Bowie (1971)
  7. Raw Power – Iggy and the Stooges (1972)
  8. Something / Anything ? – Todd Rundgren (1972)
  9. Roxy Music (1972)
  10. So Alone – Johnny Thunders (1978) / Hard Promises – Tom Petty & the Heartbeakers (1981)

I did not think too much about the selection otherwise we would have been into Hi Fidelity territory. What does this list say about me? Mainly that I was fourteen in 1971 and fifteen in 1972 and it shows – three quarters of these LPs were released in those two years, with only Tom Petty and the ‘Mats from the following decade. It is a very white and guitar-orientated selection, and not much has changed in the interim.

The songwriting is consistently strong throughout. And the artwork is striking, and works even when reduced to an iPhone-screen sized jpeg (Even Serpents Shine – not so much). And each record contains about 40 minutes of music – pre-CD notions of quality control were still in operation.

My teenage self would have been amazed that I would go on to see all of these acts live, and in some cases interview them, write about them and even DJ at their gigs.

What is missing are other equally great LPs that I only discovered in retrospect (Something Else, Sell Out, Back In The USA) as well as the teenage LPs that have not lasted so well (Family, Curved Air, Pink Fairies).

I also remember the people I with whom listened to this music – Jeremy Smith, Neil Parison, the Moritzes (RIP), Mark & Lee, Fred The Butcher, Brian, Mick Brophy. A lot of my listening was done alone in my suburban bedroom, gloomily contemplating a life that seemed to be going off the rails almost before it had got going. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the swagger, energy and exuberance of this music was one of the things that pulled me through. I am eternally grateful.

Lou Reed was right – my life was saved by rock’n’roll*

* other versions are available eg I was maimed by rock’n’roll (Jeff Tweedy)

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