1. ALAN PARSONS PROJECT: TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION
(EDGAR ALLAN POE)
(EDGAR ALLAN POE)
For those of you who have never listened to this album, I challenge you to do so. This was the debut album by famed Abbey Road producer Alan Parsons, in collaboration with Eric Woolfson and an array of talented musicians and vocalists. Included in the lineup of musicians are several members of Ambrosia, as well several of Kate Bush's band members.
This album is based off of the works of Edgar Allan Poe and features some incredible songs adapted from his short stories and poems. Side 2 of this record consists mainly of a fully symphonic suite based off of the story, "The Fall of the House of Usher". This album has actually been released in two different forms... the original 1976 release, and a continuous mix version after the advent of the digital compact disc.
2. RUSH: 2112
What can I say about 2112? Nothing that you don't already know. This is probably the first Rush album that I really embraced, from start to finish. It also contains one of my favorite ballads of the 1970's, the melancholy "TEARS".
3. RETURN TO FOREVER: "ROMANTIC WARRIOR"
An album that I really didn't discover until two years ago, I consider this to be one of the greatest albums of all time. From a technical aspect, it should probably be number one, but because I have a deeper connection with the first two records, this one will sit at number 3. Chick Corea and Co. have successfully shown over the years that Jazz need not have any boundaries... and this record doesn't.
4. BOSTON: "BOSTON"
The only Boston album that I consider to be great from start to finish, this album is just that... great from start to finish. Featuring hits like "More Than a Feeling", "Foreplay/Longtime" and "Rock and Roll Band" this album STILL gets heavy rotation on AOR radio.
5. AL STEWART: "YEAR OF THE CAT"
The second album to feature Alan Parsons... this time with a Producer credit... this album features one of the greatest songs that the 70's had to offer... the title track, "Year of the Cat". Al Stewart has consistently crafted some of the greatest Pop songs, although in many cases I just consider them "musical stories". This record is no exception.
6. QUEEN: "A DAY AT THE RACES"
The follow up to "A Night at the Opera", this album continues on in style and sound. Featuring classics like, "Tie Your Mother Down" and "Somebody to Love", this album is yet another solid offering by this fantastic band.
7. AC/DC: "DIRTY DEEDS, DONE DIRT CHEAP"
Although this album didn't really surface in the United States until after the success of their 1980 album, BACK IN BLACK, for young rockers like myself, it was a wonderful step back into the earlier catalog of these Aussie rockers. Featuring the immortal "BIG BALLS", as well as the title track, this album satisfied our eager appetites as we awaited the follow-up album to our beloved "Back in Black".
8. STEVE MILLER BAND: "FLY LIKE AN EAGLE"
Most people from my generation were exposed to the Steve Miller Band via his first greatest hits compilation. It wasn't until later in life that we realized that a good chunk of that album came from this classic record. Combining traditional Blues elements with the Album Rock of the era, Miller created a masterpiece that contains some of the biggest songs of that decade.
9. JEAN MICHEL JARRE: "OXYGENE"
Although my first exposure to the art of Jean Michel Jarre was in the mid-80's, I quickly learned to appreciate Mr. Jarre's place in Pop culture. I give credit to Jean Michel Jarre and his peers, the German group Kraftwerk, for opening new doors with their strictly synthesized music. If it weren't for these groundbreaking artists, we probably would have never had 80's Electro-Pop bands like Depeche Mode, OMD, etc. Jean Michel Jarre continued to push boundaries with his creative style of music... including his legendary concert performances, where he would literally turn an entire downtown skyline into the backdrop of his concerts.
10: STEELY DAN: "THE ROYAL SCAM"