15 in 15
my first thought is that such things are just as much a computer virus as the software kind, in that they eat up time and resources for little to no productive purpose. perhaps this one isn't malicious or damaging to anything but ones immediate productivity, but on the good side, it does provide plenty of opportunity for reflection. my second thought is that such musical lists are always an opportunity to become confused between what is true, and what we might want the rest of the world to believe is true about us.
take a for instance: a lot of people seem to like and respect bob dylan. i own blonde on blonde, among many other dylan records, and have always liked it. such a coincidence might reflect better on me to those people than the coincident fact that i also own queen's a night at the opera, (it was the first album i ever bought for myself), and let's just say, as much as so many folks think of freddie mercury and the boys, the public perception of the "critical acclaim" isn't quite the same between the two. to be clear: my list contains queen's a night at the opera, and doesn't contain any bob dylan whatsoever. it's not because i don't like bob dylan, it's because the question was about me and what has stuck with me, and i have to say i have never ever for even a nanosecond stopped being completely in love with a night at the opera. (see there? see what you made me do? i just had to start itunes so i could cue up the intro to "death on two legs"--and, to be further clear, part of the reason i love my mp3's of a night at the opera so much is that i ripped 'em straight from the turntable, not via the cold digital versions they've sold since, and it still contains every pop and skip i knew and know by heart, along with the best approximation of how great it sounds straight from the vinyl that's not straight from the vinyl, and there's nothing like it). that's sticking with.
so where was i?
of course, there are some albums that pass both the "stick with" test, as well as carry the sort of critical approval and relative obscurity that makes it utterly convenient to include them. (ramones, no "the", for example). these are even better picks for those wanting to appear as a non-poser, because nobody can accuse you of pandering to the general public perception, cuz they didn't really make a dent in that. (ramones topped at 111 on billboard--i looked it up). in this category i could also include warren zevon's warren zevon--that didn't even pretend to show up on billboard, selling only 80,000 copies. (i looked that up, too).
once you're on that "honest" roll, that eschews your beatles and stones and eric clapton records, (face it--that guy ain't all that), you can go straight for the records that you know by heart from end to end, where the end of any song on the radio gets you humming the start of the next one in a way that today's ipod kids and their shuffle play just can't comprehend. anyone ever heard of doctor buzzard's original savannah band? i can go even more obscure than that! populuxe, into an american evening... (ellipsis included).
of course, the third rail becomes big chart-topping artists who have slid from their pinnacles of public appreciation to a sort of limbo status, where everyone has heard of them, they're just not quite sure whether or not they should admit to liking them so much anymore. into this box i'd have to toss linda rondstadt (heart like a wheel) and jackson browne (jackson browne, NOT "saturate before using", even though everybody mistakes that because of the album cover). all i'd have to say to folks concerned about either of those picks is that you'd have to listen to heart like a wheel and jackson browne and get back to me whether or not you're concerned anymore. masterpieces, both, and jesse davis' guitar solo on "doctor my eyes" is exhibit A as far as i'm concerned. (songwriters covered on heart like a wheel include clint ballard, paul anka, anna mcgarrigle, phil everly, lowell george, james taylor and hank williams, yo, though the favorite of the collection for me is the one by paul craft (who?) called "keep me from blowing away", which is the first song i ever taught myself from end to end on a guitar).
add B52's, elvis costello, donald fagen, bodeans and james hunter, and you're rolling. toss in ac/dc and rancid, and you're REALLY rolling. start the list with little feat's little feat, and you're there.
but i'll close by going deep in every single conceivable direction to say just five words yet again: doctor buzzard's original savannah band.