Top Ten Album Influences

There is a thread making the rounds with my musical friends, stating the top 10 albums that had an impact on their music. Instead of spreading the posts out over time, I’d like to just summarize the top 10 here in a blog post.

Ahead of my list, I’d like to say there are several artists that had a profound influence on me and my music, like David Bowie, but it would be impossible for me to pick just one to list. Other artists are a little easier to zero in on which of their albums had the most profound influence.

And, as a common disclaimer in these sorts of lists, I am hesitant to narrow it down to just 10, because as I scribble the title, my mind and memory begin to take a walk down memory lane and there were so many side-paths and side-shows. What about Shriekback and Cabaret Voltaire, Blue Gene Tierney, Nino Rota, and on and on.

Here is the low-hanging fruit of my list. (Drum roll) In Chronological order of influence:

  1. “Sketches of Spain,” Miles Davis and Gil Evans
  2. “Rubber Soul,” the Beatles
  3. “The Big 3, Featuring Mama Cass,” The Big 3
  4. “The Zodiac,” Cosmic Sounds
  5. “Blue,” Joni Mitchell
  6. “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis,” Vaughn Williams, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields
  7. “Go,” Stomu Yamasta
  8. “Lark’s Tongues in Aspic,” King Crimson
  9. “Before and After Science,” Brian Eno
  10. “Big Science,” Laurie Anderson

I have been greatly influenced by other albums since the early 1980s, and I know this list .is concentrated on those Golden Eras but now, my reason for listening to music has more to do with songs rather than recordings. I imagine there is something to be said for CDs and albums and individual tracks and how it has shaped our feelings of being influenced.

I concentrate here on the days of deep listening, of an album as a whole, Side A, then Side B.