I grew up in sort of a “throwback” home in Phoenix, Arizona. We did not have cable, video games or any of there other hottest technology entertainment gadgets. But my dad had a drum set and a record player, so I was naturally draw to music at a young age.
I started buying records not because they were cool, it was because they were cheap at the time. When I was about 9-years-old, I used to beg my mom to drive me to the local record store, Zia Records. I usually had about 10-to-15 bucks in my pocket from earning my allowance through chores. I could either buy one CD or I could by several vinyl records. The rest is history.
It was tough picking a few of my favorites from my collection, but I decided to pick the LPs that had the most impact on my musical tastes. I worked at a record store, both Zia Records and Eastside Records in Tempe, before graduating a pursuing a career in TV News. Throughout it all, records have always held a special place in my heart. Whether is a album you listened to with a girlfriend/boyfriend at the time, an LP someone gave you that expanded your horizons, or just a piece of wax you listen to over and over, there is just something cool about vinyl.
While my tastes are always changing, here’s my top 10 records that mean the most to me thus far, in no order:
– Bo Diddley – “Bo Diddley”
As a drummer, this album had a huge influence on me. It took me forever to find this Chess Records masterpiece, but I rarely go a month without listening to it at least once. It reminds me of a Saturday afternoon.
– Nick Lowe – “Pure Pop For Now People”
I had seen this record many times while hunting down LPs in records stores. But it took a dear friend to buy it for me to introduce me to the glories of pop rock. It’s not a rare record by any stretch, but it means a lot to me because of who gave it to me. Nick Lowe paved the way for many punk rockers after releasing this masterpiece.
– The Ronettes – “…Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes”
I probably spent way too much money on this record, but it’s the only original pressing I’ve seen in my time. There’s something so risqué about this LP. The song Be My Baby could easily be my favorite song of all time, but don’t hold me to that.
– Lee Hazlewood – “Trouble is a Lonesome Town”
Growing up, I hated country music. I just couldn’t relate to it. But then I heard this record and discovered what makes country music so special. It’s the storytelling. This whole album is a concept about a fictional town, yet each track explores a different character we all could relate to in our life. Lee Hazlewood also was the genius behind several popular songs…ever heard Boots by Nancy Sinatra? He wrote it.
-13th Floor Elevators – “The Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators”
Hailing from Austin, Texas, many credit the 13th Floor Elevators with creating the genre “Psychedelic Rock.” While I don’t have an original cover, I do have an original LP of this rarity. I can’t say I’ve ever heard an electric jug in a song featured quite like the Elevators did. You can just feel the pain in singer Roky Erickson’s voice in, You’re Gonna Miss Me.
-Buzzcocks – “Love Bites”
Shortly before moving from Arizona for my first job in TV, the record store owner of Eastside Records gave me this record. I loved this band, but didn’t have any of their stuff on vinyl. The Buzzcocks helped me get through that first winter in Oregon.
-Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath”
What’s funny about this pressing is that originally the record label spelled Ozzy Osbourne’s name as “Ossy.” I can remember cranking this record when I was younger and really driving my parents and sister nuts as I attempted to drum along with it.
-Wu-Tang Clan- “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”
It’s cool to see a lot of younger people into this record now. What I love about it, is the production. The samples are so loud and in your face. Every beat sounds like a bottle breaking against a table. This record helped me further get into hip-hop.
-Francoise Hardy – “The Yeh-Yeh Girl From Paris!”
I fell in love with Ms. Hardy long ago. Her records are sort of a pain to find. While record companies attempted to push this French singer into the mainstream, she never quite stuck. I actually found this original copy while digging for records in an old book store with a few friends. I had pealed through thousands of records without finding a thing. Then, right before I gave up, Ms. Hardy popped into my life. It was the score of the day.
Jackie Opel – “Cry Me a River”
It’s not the best reggae record and it might not even be my favorite reggae record, but this Jackie Opel classic paved the way for me getting into the genre. I grew up having an idea of what I thought reggae and Jamaican music was. But after hearing this, I had no idea there was a world beyond just Bob Marley. Listening to this gem, it makes you think poor Jackie recorded the entire thing weeping and on his knees. Passion for songwriting like that really struck a chord with me.