My homie on Facebook hit me with this one, so I figured I’d go ahead and complete the task.
Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you’re over 35) that had such a profound effect on you, that they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. Dig into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. “Best of” collections are excluded because that would be too easy.
Anyway, it’s hard as hard to limit this list to 15. But here goes…
1. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Car Wash… Mom and I would sing this song and alternate the parts “Hey, get your car washed today”… “Fill up and you don’t have to pay”… “Come on and give us a play”…”Do the wash, right away”… and then both sing “Car wash… talkin’ bout the car wash” together.
2. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston… I had a crazy crush crush on Whitney Houston and loved the song “Saving All My Love For You”. Next thing ya know she was on Silver Spoons singing it to Dexter. I was mad as hell when they censored “making love the whole night through” and changed it to “holding each other the whole night through” – for the show. You Give Good Love was another song I played relentlessly.
3. Thriller – Michael Jackson… this was my bike riding music… I would get on my Huffy dirt bike and ride with my Walkman down Rhode Island Ave from Peace Cross in Bladensburg to New York Avenue and back… I’d occasionally stop riding and rewind P.Y.T and Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ to the beginning cuz I used to get amped off of those joints.
4. It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back – Public Enemy… From Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos to Don’t Believe The Hype to Night of the Living Baseheads, I ran around quoting and hollering like Flavor Flav.
5. New Edition – New Edition… I was stingy as hell with this tape… I never let anyone borrow it… I took this tape to camp with me in the Blue Ridge Mountains and listening to I knew every word to Mr. Telephone Man, Cool It Now, My Secret, Kinda Girls We Like and Lost In Love.
6. Destiny – Jackson 5… Just imagine me singing “Don’t blame it on sunshine, Don’t blame it on moonlight, Don’t blame it on good times, Blame it on the boogie”, while in my bedroom pretending to be Dr. J as I dunked my Nerf basketball over on the basket hanging over the door. My other favorite song on that album was Shake Your Body. I’d be hollering “Let’s dance, Let’s shout, Shake you body down to the ground” while emulating Tony Dorsett running into the end zone for the Cowboys.
7. That’s the Way of the World – Earth, Wind & Fire… There were a lot of great songs on this album, but that’s not why I remember it. I reflect on it cuz when Ma played this one song, it used to scare me. I thought it was a woman crying. Wanna know what that song was??? It was Reasons. I’m sorry, but you couldn’t have told me back then that Philip Bailey wasn’t a woman singing a sad song. I used to go back in my room and turn the TV up loud so I wouldn’t have to hear that song. LOL.
8. Long Live The Kane – Big Daddy Kane… I had a Betamax in my bedroom and recorded the “Aint No Half Steppin” video off BET if I recall and played it nonstop… plus I bought the LP from Waxie Maxie’s… in fact, that LP is still in my basement.
9. Take Two – The Brothers of Washington D.C…. I’m sure you’re looking like “Who the (blank) are they???… this was an all men’s gospel group that my father was a part of in the late 70’s, early 80’s. I spent many, many years going to Friday night rehearsals and subsequent concerts at various churches across the country. They had 3 albums before my dad left the group, but on this second album I recall being around a great deal during the preparation. On this one they sang Lift Every Voice And Sing, Let Us Break Bread Together, Swing Down Sweet Chariot, This Little Light Of Mine, The Lord’s Prayer and a rack of other classics. It’s out of print, but lucked up and found the LP in a used record store recently for $3.
10. Let’s Do It Again Soundtrack – The Staple Singers… Loved the title song and played this album to death… you hear me!!!???
11. I’ve Got Love – Melba Moore… Just the recollection of mom singing songs from this album while cleaning the house on Sunday mornings, makes me smile.
12. Straight Outta Compton – NWA… I hated the police and this album didn’t exactly make me fond of law enforcement… but best believe that I could’ve gotten on stage and performed every song word for word and not missed a beat
13. Family Reunion – The O’Jays… I remember running around the house as a kid singing “I Love Music”
14. Inseparable – Natalie Cole… My mom played this album and sang it so much that I thought Natalie Cole was a friend of hers. I know what the album jacket looks like from front to back cuz when I tried to use it as a dust pan, I almost got killed.
15. Original Musiquarium I – Stevie Wonder… So many classic songs on this album. This is technically a compilation album, but the songs I like the most were new tracks “Do I Do”, “Ribbon in the Sky” and “That Girl”. My cousin used to play this tape so much in her Camaro in ’82 that I became addicted to Stevie’s music. I know there are a ton of Stevie albums that trump this one, but this one is where I first really became a fan of his music.
Ok, so I finally finished. A great deal of inspiration comes from my parents who both sang a lot back then. They provided me my own record player and from there I just fell in love with a lot of tunes I still love today. That’s all…
Peace & Love