The other day I was walking around the hardware store where I work when the song “As” by Stevie Wonder came over the radio. I smiled because I remember playing that over and over on the cassette player. I think I played that whole recording so much I wore out the cassettes.
That got me wondering what other albums made such in impact on me that I might have worn them out, also. This is my list, in no particular order. You can tell that it dates me rather well, but this is my list, not yours! However, if you’d like to tell me about some of the albums you wore out and why, I’d like to hear about it.
1. Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder. It is hard to put into words the sheer brilliance of Stevie Wonder. Many consider this album his finest work, and I would have to agree.
2. Paris – Supertramp. One of the best live albums I ever heard. The lyrics and astounding chord patterns still amaze me. I found it interesting to learn this was Princess Diana’s favorite group.
3. That’s the Way of the World – Earth, Wind and Fire. Maurice White, Philip Bailey, the Phoenix Horns. Enough said.
4. Graceland – Paul Simon. This was the album I listened to walking on the beach while wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I’m still trying to figure out why a girl would have diamonds on the soles of her shoes.
5. Joshua Tree – U2. The song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” spoke volumes to me when I was contemplating going into the monastery. I figure if a successful Bono could make that statement, so could I.
6. Close to the Edge – Yes. “And You And I” remains one of my all-time favorite songs.
7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John. This album came out when I was in Junior High and simply astounded me. That one person could write so many different songs for one album was beyond my comprehension. I bought the songbook and learned to play “Funeral For A Friend” on the piano.
8. Secret Story – Pat Metheny. I listened to this album over and over after the break-up of a relationship. It seems Pat wrote most of this album after a break up. The haunting song “The Truth Will Always Be” still moves me.
9. The Koln Concert – Keith Jarrett. The best-selling solo album in jazz history and the all-time best-selling piano album. Recorded before a live audience, this is a completely improvised recording. I’m still trying to figure out how he does some of the things he does on the piano.
10. Hymns to the Silence – Van Morrison. Van was anything but silent in this very personal and spiritual album. “Take me back, take me way back….”