16 ALBUMS THAT WERE SIGNIFICANT TO ME

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1.) Its impossible for me to even think about my “favorite” albums. So off the top of my head I came up with 16 albums that were significant to me at different points in my life.

This one by the Union Gap was significant because it was the FIRST album I ever bought. 1968, age 12. I was always a sucker for a cornball unrequited love song. Even at age 12. And the Woman Woman single delivered. The rest of the album was just filler, cheesy cover songs. Though one song had a bit of an edge to it — You Better Sit Down Kids, originally by Sonny & Cher — which is about a parent trying to explain to the kids that Mom and Dad were about to get divorced.

The second album I bought was I’m Getting Closer to My Home by Grand Funk Railroad (everybody sing). Followed by the White Album by them Beatles. And then Led Zeppelin 3.

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.Eat_a_Peach_(James_Flournoy_Holmes_album_-_cover_art).jpg2.) This one — Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers — was significant to me because it was playing over and over at the first “pot party” I ever went to, age 16. Smoking pot from this big water pipe. And it was exciting and dangerous because I was taking that first outlaw step into the “world of drugs.” And i specifically remember grooving on the great guitar lick on One Way Out.

Later that summer (1973) me and my stoner buddies would go to see the Allman Brothers (and the Band and the Grateful Dead) at the Watkins Glenn rock festival. It was even bigger than Woodstock (at least in attendance). And we would go down in history as the Watkins Glenn Generation, man!!

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.220px-Trilogy_(Emerson,_Lake_&_Palmer_album_-_cover_art).jpg3.) This is another one I really got into when I was a 16 year old pothead. Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I used to get way stoned, man, and have all sorts of profound revelations listening to this one.

This album was the first time I made the connection: “Oh I get it. These guys are artists and they’re expressing their souls with concepts and shit.” Before that i just considered it rock’n’roll. It was like Art For Tots. Prog Rock as it was called back in the day. But we all just called it Stoner Rock.

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4.) This one, Red Rose Speedway, is probably not one of McCartney’s better albums (Paul himself said “I can’t stand it!”). And there’s an unfinished, half-ass quality to a lot of the songs. But there’s one song — Little Lamb Dragonfly — that got me where I lived. I was 17 and really falling in love for the first time. And wouldn’t you know it?? It done didn’t work out. So I played that heartbreak song about a thousand times in a row to try and assuage my sad-sack teenage heart.

I wanted this album so bad I actually tried to shoplift it from the local mall. And got busted. Talk about embarrassing. What a way to start a life of crime. Trying to shoplift a sappy Paul McCartney album. Sheesh.

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.5.) This was another favorite my senior year of high school (Class of 74 for those of you keeping score at home). Goat’s Head Soup. Probably not the Rolling Stones’ best album. But we used to like to get really stoned and drunk and drive around the streets of suburban New Jersey in my friend’s Ford Maverick and listen to the 8-track cassette of this album and scream out the lyrics “STAR FUCKER STAR FUCKER STAR FUCKER STAR FUCKER STAAAAAAR!!!” at the top of our teenage lungs. Rock’n’roll ya pukes. Plus. The tender ballad Angie.

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.Rundgren_wizard.png6.) This one — A Wizard A True Star — was one of my favorites when I turned into a budding 17 year old acidhead. It was like a psychedelic concept album. And when you listened to it on acid it had all sorts of cosmic ramifications. It was 1974 and it was like my own personal Sgt Pepper album 7 years too late. International Feel. Cosmic, man. I’m seeing tracers!

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.220px-MahavishnuOrchestraBirdsOfFirealbumcover.jpg7.) This was the last album I really got into my senior year in high school. Birds of Fire by John McGlaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I was starting to get arty and develop my spiritual seeker / spiritual cripple side. And this album filled the bill.

Its the only “jazz” album I ever really got into. But to me it was more like a heavy metal album if the heavy metal musicians happened to be really really brilliant musicians. Intense, man!

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.The-Moody-Blues-This-Is-The-Moody-Blues-MB-12-LP-Vinyl-Record-281317360598.jpg8.) In 1974 I spent my freshmen year going to this little college outside Cleveland. One weekend I hitch-hiked to Ohio State to visit a high school buddy of mine who was going to school there. On the ride home I got picked up by this old (he was in his late 20s) hippie acidhead from the ’60s generation.

By this point I had become fascinated with all things LSD. And was convinced it was the key to spiritual enlightenment, if I could only figure out how to use it. And this guy seemed to know the secret. As we passed a pipe full of pot back and forth, and I got more and more buzzed, he told me about his experiences as a ’60s acid dealer. He, too, thought that LSD was a powerful spiritual tool. “But the problem was I would get high but I would always come down. I wanted to BE high, not get high.”

And then he got busted for dealing acid and did serious time in the joint. “But then I discovered this guy Ram Dass. He had been Leary’s partner in the LSD research at Harvard. And then later found an Indian Guru who showed him the way. So I started meditating like 10 hours a day in my cell. By the time they released me from prison I almost didn’t want to leave. I was high as a kite.” And I was getting a major contact high just from listening to him.

As he dropped me off near my dorm he recommended I check out Ram Dass’s book Be Here Now. “And check out the music of the Moody Blues. They sing about real love.”

Well sir, the next day I did buy Be Here Now. And this double-album of the Moody Blue’s greatest hits, This is the Moody Blues. And spent many many nights listening to it in search of the lost chord.

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