#179 – Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin
If I & II were their blues album, III was their folk/acoustic album & IV was the Celtic album then Houses of the Holy is Led Zeppelin’s foray into psychedelic music as witnessed with tracks like “No Quarter”, “The Ocean” & “The Rain Song”. This was also the first Led Zeppelin album not to be self titled & is regarded by critics as one of their finest albums. It stands out as one of Jimmy Page’s finest performances & shows off Robert Plant’s writing style as it had progressed dramatically even since IV.
No Quarter – Led Zeppelin
The Ocean – Led Zeppelin
#178 – In Rainbows – Radiohead
Is it one of the best albums of 2007 or 2008? Let’s see it was released in 2007 for a pay-whatever-you-want price on the band’s website, but was released on CD in 2008 & was given the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2009. Regardless, In Rainbows is universally hailed as one Radiohead’s finest albums. It has what Thom Yorke called “Seduction songs & Yorke also said, “the lyrics are quite caustic-the idea of ‘before you’re comatose’ or whatever, drinking yourself into oblivion & getting fucked-up to forget…there is partly this elation. But there’s a much darker side.”
Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – Radiohead
House of Cards – Radiohead
#177 – Cheap Thrills – Big Brother & The Holding Company
Big Brother obtained a considerable amount of attention after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and had released their debut album soon after. By early 1968, they began work on what was the most eagerly anticipated record of the year. The album’s overall raw sound effectively captures the band’s energetic and lively concerts. The album was released in the summer of 1968, one year after their debut album, and reached number one on the Billboard charts in its eighth week in October. It kept the number one spot for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks while the single, “Piece of My Heart,” also became a huge hit. By the end of the year it was the most successful album of 1968, having sold nearly a million copies. The success was short-lived however, as Janis Joplin left the group for a solo career in December, 1968.
Piece of My Heart – Big Brother & the Holding Co.
Summertime – Big Brother & The Holding Co.
#176 – Dire Straits – Dire Straits
The debut album by Dire Straits introduced Mark Knopfler to an eager American audience searching for a new sound with the awful taste disco left in people’s mouths in 1978. With their bluesy, lounge sounds Dire Straits captivated audiences with such hits as “Down to the Waterline”, “Six Blade Knife” & their gigantic hit “Sultans of Swing”. Dire Straits played a more conventional style, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to audiences also weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David Knopfler requested that pub owners turn down their sound so that patrons could converse while the band played, an indication of their unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful, with their first album going multi-platinum globally.
Six Blade Knife – Dire Straits
Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
#175 – The Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest
The Low End Theory is the second album by A Tribe Called Quest & further showed the Jazz/Hip-Hop stylings of Tribe led by Q-Tip & Phife Dawg’s lyrics which were on a myriad of subjects including: date rape, violence in hip-hop, jazz & exploitation of musicians by promoters. They set the style for artists such as the Roots, Common & even Kanye West with their jazz samplings & heavy beats. When the album was first brought to the studio heads, they hated the album and thought it was not very good at all. People such as Barry Weiss (the former president of Jive, now the Chairman of the Zomba Label Group division of Sony Music) told them that it would be a commercial and critical failure. However due to the label’s faith in Q-Tip and the rest of the group, the album was released mostly unchanged and it has since achieved worldwide critical acclaim.
Jazz (We’ve Got) – A Tribe called Quest
Vibes & Stuff – A Tribe Called Quest
#174 – Heartbreaker – Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams’ debut album after he left Whiskeytown. When it starts off you notice the dramatic contrast to the work he did with Whiskeytown. Whiskeytown was much more country, mellow where as there is definitely more of a rock twinge to Heartbreaker. That isn’t to say however that the country influence still doesn’t filter through. “Winding Wheel” is a perfect example with the acoustic guitar & a banjo to go along with the brushes being used on the drums. “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)” was featured in the movie Old School & on Gap commercials as well.
Damn Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains) – Ryan Adams
Winding Wheel – Ryan Adams
#173 – The Last Waltz Soundtrack – The Band
The Last Waltz was the last time all five members of the band would share the same stage together. Richard Manuel would hang himself ten years later & they would never have a chance to gain the form they showed as Bob Dylan’s & Ronnie Hawkins backing band & then as an act all their own. Perhaps their best performance was their final one. Made as a film by none other than Martin Scorsese, The Last Waltz gathered some of the finest musicians around to bid farewell to an influential rock/blues band. Never before had Canada provided such brilliant musicians & dare I say hasn’t since.”It Makes No Difference” is perhaps one of the finest live recordings ever done. It is Rick Danko at his finest. His voice quivers just slightly as you feel the pain in this beautiful break-up song.
It Makes No Difference – The Band
The Weight – The Band w/ The Staple Singers
#172 – Louder Than Bombs – The Smiths
The album was released as the American counterpart to their recent British compilation The World Won’t Listen and consisted of all singles and nearly all B-sides that had not at that point been available in the States, either on single or album, with a few other tracks added. The title is borrowed from a line in Elizabeth Smart’s extended prose poem “By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept”.The album was intended to substitute for both The World Won’t Listen and their 1984 compilation Hatful of Hollow as these had not been released in the United States. This is why the non-single track “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” from Hatful of Hollow was included.
Ask – The Smiths
Panic – The Smiths
#171 – My Aim Is True -Elvis Costello
Costello (born Declan MacManus) had been performing in clubs and pubs in Liverpool and London since 1970 and had created some demo tapes, but he had had little success in obtaining a recording contract. When Stiff Records was founded in 1976, Costello submitted his demos there and found some interest. Costello called in sick to his day job (as a data-entry clerk) in order to rehearse and record the album with Clover, which was cut in a series of six four-hour sessions for about £1,000.
Costello stayed at his day job as the first two singles, “Less Than Zero” and “Alison”, were pre-released without much success. Finally, the label decided to release the album in the summer of 1977, and he was asked to quit his job and become a professional musician. Stiff Records would match his office wages and gave him a record advance of £150, an amp, and a tape recorder. Three weeks after its release, Costello was on the cover of a music paper. He described this situation as being “an overnight success after seven years.”
Alison – Elvis Costello
Watching the Detectives – Elvis Costello
#170 – Nashville Skyline – Bob Dylan
If John Wesley Harding was Bob Dylan dabbling in country music then Nashville Skyline was his complete immersion in the genre as he reinvented himself yet again. Previously a Folk revolutionary, Dylan grew tired of being seen as the epic protestor that people conceived him to be & wanted to try something new. “I wasn’t the toastmaster of any generation”, Dylan wrote, “and that notion needed to be pulled up by its roots.” Sometime during that session, country legend Johnny Cash stopped by to visit. A friend and label-mate of Dylan’s as well as an early supporter of his music, Cash had been recording next door with his own band. The two wound up recording a series of duets, covering Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” as well as Cash’s own “I Still Miss Someone.” None of these were deemed usable, but Cash returned the following day to record more duets.
Lay Lady Lay – Bob Dylan
Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You – Bob Dylan