Before You Die Albums

Over on the Songfacts Forums, we posed the question: What albums must you hear before you die?

The result is a mix of classic albums and hidden gems, all with a deep, personal connection to the folks who submitted them. This isn't a "best-of" list, but a collection of albums that have reached at least one member of our community on a deeper level. Here are those albums (in alphabetical order), and why they made it, as told by the members who chose them.
Action Figure Party - Action Figure Party
by Carl

I know, right. What is this, and what is it doing on my list of personal connection albums? Well, this was the first CD that was ever sent to me for free. Songfacts had been online for a year or so, getting a few hundred hits a day ("hits" was the measurement standard of the time), but like everything else on the web, was loudly ignored by record companies intent on clinging to their increasingly antiquated business models.

So when this somehow showed up, it meant that somebody out there at some record label was taking notice. And at a time when CDs cost $15 or so, it was a nice little freebie.

I listened to it probably 100 times, mostly in the background as it's filled with delicious grooves that stimulate something in my cortex. Apparently, Action Figure Party is a project organized by Greg Kurstin, who has played on albums by a variety of jazz, rock and pop luminaries. Appearing on the album are Flea, some members of No Doubt, and Sean Lennon.

Highlights:
"Action Figure Party"
"Clock Radio"
"The Clapper"


The Best Of Blue Note
by Bluesboy

This best-of was eye-opening in my appreciation of different genres. I grew up loving and playing show tunes and popular music in school, along with rock and eventually country-rock, then bluegrass and down the line fingerpickin' like Norman Blake, Doc Watson and Tony Rice.

Every track is Killer.

Highlights:
"Moanin'" - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
"Song For My Father" - Horace Silver
"Blues Walk" - Lou Donalson
"The Sindwinder" - Lee Morgan


Black Cherry - Goldfrapp
by Pinkstones

I love Goldfrapp. I listen to slightly bit more classic rock/oldies than contemporary groups, but they are definitely in the cadre of contemporary groups I'll sell to anyone, anywhere. It's sparse, minimalistic, yet very, very satisfying to the ear. Alison's voice is syrupy and thick in some spots, light and airy in others. It's not their first album, but it's their first huge commercial success. I got introduced to them back when I was in college, and I've been a huge devotee for 10 years now. Every time I listen to it, it reminds me of riding the train to class every day, and memories like that are precious.

Highlights:
"Crystalline Green"
"Train"
"Strict Machine"


Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan
by RockyRaccoon

This album means a lot to me. Bob Dylan is one of my absolute favorite artists and I think that this is him at his most honest and most pure. I've personally covered "Simple Twist Of Fate" and "Tangled Up In Blue" at plenty of shows and the rest of the album is something I can never get tired of. The absolute pure beauty of "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" and "Buckets Of Rain" is incredible. I never really liked the movie Jerry Maguire too much, it was ok, but when the credits started and "Shelter From The Storm" started playing, I don't know, it just felt perfect. Because everything about this album is perfect. It's beautiful, meaningful, and yet can still be fun. I will never stop listening to this album."

Highlights:
"Simple Twist Of Fate"
"You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"
"Shelter From The Storm"
"Buckets Of Rain"


Blow Your Face Out - The J. Geils Band
by Carl

This is the album that made me want to be a disc jockey. Leading into "Musta Got Lost," Peter Wolf does this rap about desperation in love, something I had yet to encounter but reckoned must be pretty bad (it was). By the time he was done talking up the song, I felt like I was in the congregation about to witness a miracle. Listening to it over and over, I wondered why disc jockeys didn't talk more about the songs, since a little story leading into it could make it so much better. When I finally landed on the radio, that was my thing: tell the stories behind the songs. This, of course, eventually led to Songfacts.

I later learned that Peter Wolf was a disc jockey on WBCN in Boston, where he called himself "The Wooffah Goofah." One of his little bits that I repeatedly stole was introducing another voice. At one point in his rap, he asks, "what's the name of that chick with the long hair?" and is answered by a band member: "Rapunzel." I liked having other folks in the studio for that purpose, but I never pulled it off like Peter.

Highlights:
"Musta Got Lost"
"Southside Shuffle"
"Houseparty"
"Detroit Breakdown"


Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
by Cyberjudge

This album has personal significance to me, as Mrs. Belle Simon, Paul's mom, was my 3rd grade teacher at P.S. 164 in 1970-71. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing that album, particularly "Cecilia," which was the hit that fall. The title track, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is still my favorite song of all time, and it stands up today, being covered by Clay Aiken, among others.

Highlights:
"Cecilia"
"Bridge Over Troubled Water"


Check Your Head - Beastie Boys
by Pinkstones

Okay, where to start. For one, I really, really, really love this band. They're so good, it's scary. This album is radically different from the predecessor, Paul's Boutique, which was radically different from its predecessor, Licensed To Ill (which I hate, but that's a different thread). They picked up their instruments again, as the band started out as a hardcore punk group in the early '80s, and they re-discovered their love for funk, '70s R&B, jazz fusion, and most importantly, live instrumentation. It shows the band's ability to be versatile, not just musically, but lyrically. There was a sea change with the group now, their earlier, more frat-boy hedonism being replaced by a slow march toward 30 and the need to grow up... without growing old.

The very first piece of music I ever bought with my own money was this cassette when it came out in 1992, and I still have it."

Highlights:
"Jimmy James"
"Gratitude"
"So What'cha Want"
"Something's Got To Give"
"Namaste"


The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
by Pinkstones

This album is very, very important to me for a number of reasons. One, it helped me through a very difficult time in my life several years ago. Two, it introduced to me to the band many, many years ago when I first became a fan. The lyrics have a very deep emotional resonance within you the listener, and the beauty about them is that with each passing year, they still stay as relevant as they were when Roger Waters first wrote them.

All of us go through periods of not understanding our place in this world, and part of what this album helps to do is not make you feel alone in that confusion. For that by itself, it's utterly invaluable.

Highlights:
"Time"
"Us and Them"
"Any Colour You Like"


Dog Problems - The Format
by Skuff

This album was the album of hope for me. We were moving out of the house where my father died into a better house, with a better future. It also was, after "Let's Face It," my first real taste of indie/alternative music."

Highlights:
"Time Bomb"
"She Doesn't Get It"
"The Compromise"


Emotionalism - The Avett Brothers
by RockyRaccoon

The Avett Brothers have evolved into one of my absolute favorite bands and this was the album that introduced me to them. I discovered this album my freshman year of college when I was a DJ for the school's radio station. The station operated mostly on indie music and, at the time, the indie-folk music trend hadn't exploded yet (Mumford & Sons were just starting out), so The Avett Brothers weren't as well known as they are now. I just happened to pop this album in the rotation and I heard "Die, Die, Die" and loved it. Since then, I've come back to this album a million times, I love it. It has some of the best songwriting I have ever heard on an album.

"The Ballad Of Love And Hate" is incredible storytelling, "The Weight Of Lies" and "Shame" are two of the most brutally, beautifully honest songs I've heard. This album just has so much to love. There's beauty and there's fun and it all blends together to make one of the best albums I've ever heard. This is my go to album in virtually any mood, happy or sad, this is the album I go to.

Highlights:
"Shame"
"The Weight Of Lies"
"The Ballad Of Love And Hate"
"Paranoia In B-Flat Major"
"Die, Die, Die"


Everything Under The Sun - Jukebox The Ghost
by Skuff

Time for some more happy personal stories! This album basically defined the summer of 2012 for me. (Notice how NONE of the albums' stories take place the same year the albums come out? Yeah, I'm weird like that) I first downloaded it to listen to in Wildwood for our Indoor Percussion trip, and while it was NOT the winning season we had in 2011, it was a whole lot more fun because we didn't have to stress about winning. I had a lot of fun that weekend and this album surely helped."

Highlights:
"Schizophrenia"
"The Stars"


Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty
by CanAm

I was having a particularly hard time in 1990. I was living in Toronto and I had just broken up with my girlfriend at the time and the company I was working for went out of business and I had no job prospects. So like any responsible person, I reacted by going to Hawaii with a friend and renting a small cabin on the north shore of Oahu.

We hadn't brought any tunes with us, so we went to a local music store and bought several albums. One of these was Full Moon Fever, an album recorded without the participation of all of the Heartbreakers.

I couldn't believe how good Petty's first "solo" effort was. From a cover of the Byrds' "Feel a Whole Lot Better" to "Runnin' Down A Dream," I was captivated. I listened to this album so many times during 10 days that I drove my friend almost to distraction. What really blew me away happened when I was about 9000 feet above the ocean in a glider. The pilot had a radio with him and one of the songs that was playing that day was "Free Fallin'." It just seemed SO appropriate under the circumstances. The scenery was extraordinary and the only sound other than the rushing of the wind was "Free Fallin'," which was essentially what we were doing.

I have always loved Petty's music, but I still feel this album is as good as anything he did with the Heartbreakers. My favorite song on the record is "A Face In The Crowd." I was gratified during a Tom Petty concert when he revealed that it was also one of his favorite songs.

I think I have seven songs from this album on my iPod playlists.

Highlights:
"A Face In The Crowd"
"Free Fallin'"


Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
by CanAm

Not only do I think this is the best double album ever made, I think it is one of the best albums ever made. This is the work of two brilliantly creative individuals at the height of their powers.

While songs like "Bennie And The Jets," "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" and "Candle In The Wind" are rock classics, there really isn't a clunker on this whole album.

I was just entering high school when this record was released. I was small, smart and (I must confess) a little nerdy so I was bullied quite a bit. I remember coming home after a difficult day at school and putting this on the stereo. I was just blown away by the quality of the music and the lyrics and it put my troubles in perspective.

I think my favorite track on the whole album is "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding." Normally, I eschew songs that exceed five minutes in length because they lack originality and tend to become repetitious. This song proves the exception to the rule. The song begins with an ethereal melancholy quality and ends up with a hard rocking flourish. I just adore this song.

All in all, this is one of my favorite albums and one I never tire of listening to.

Highlights:
"Bennie And The Jets"
"Candle In The Wind"
"Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"


Hot Tuna - Hot Tuna
by Bluesboy

The British Invasion brought covers of old blues and R&B American songs, leading us to explore the original artists. What was Blues and R&B all about?

This album is the first for offshoot of the Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Cassidy forming Hot Tuna. They've been friends and jammed together since jr. high. It shows in the way they play off each other. Acoustic fingerpickin' and electric bass. Add in reworkings of classic blues musicians Jelly Roll Morton, Rev. Gary Davis, Leroy Carr and traditionals and this album always sounds fresh with every listen.

Highlights:
"Hesitation Blues"
"Come Back Baby"
"Oh Lord, Search My Heart"


Jar of Flies - Alice In Chains
by Wyld Card

I discovered this album during the year of its initial release, and though I didn't have an immediate connection with it outside of enjoying the music, it grew on me as I was growing up. There were tough experiences throughout my teen years and early adult life, and as I would listen to this album, I related to the lyrics.

"Rotten Apple" and "Nutshell" display a dark, yet sensible emotion that can be translated into a sense of making changes to better the situation by taking a step forward and forgetting past mistakes and regrets. "No Excuses," the lead single, also deals with the same concept, while the tune itself is more upbeat and catchy in contrast to the rest of the album.

Overall, this album contains a message of dealing with consequences from past choices and losing connection with people who once mattered, then reflecting with isolating oneself from society, a symbolism of the set of circumstances that the album's audience deals with on a typical basis.

Highlights:
"No Excuses"
"Rotten Apple"
"I Stay Away"


The Kinks Present...Schoolboys In Disgrace - The Kinks
by Miamisammy

Perhaps the greatest (yet least heralded) of the rock operas. The first time I listened to this album in its entirety, it immediately became my favorite. It tells the story of a schoolboy who falls out of grace with the school headmaster after being caught in a compromising position with a female classmate.

The story is loosely based on the antics of Dave Davies, who garnered a reputation as being a ladies' man at a very young age.

You can tell by listening that Ray was hoping to turn it into a movie. And actually, just a few years back, this was discussed (but has not yet come to fruition), being produced and directed by none other than comedian/actor, Bobcat Goldthwait.

Give it a listen. One of the greatest albums of all time, by one of the greatest bands of all time."

Highlights:
"Headmaster" - which shows off Dave's true talent as a hard rock guitarist.
"Education" - a seven-minute re-telling of the history of education from the Caveman to the present day.
"No More Looking Back" - the man's remembrance after several years out of high school.


La Luna - Sara Brightman
by Pinkstones

Might be a bit odd to see a classical pop/opera vocalist in this list, but she has one of the most beautiful voices ever committed to record. The clarity and tone of her voice is second to none. You don't need to understand the lyrics to understand the emotion, and she's very good at bringing that emotion out.

The imagery for this album is also quite stunning, as is the live tour she did to support it. Crystal headpieces, lots of lace, lots of glitter and white light... a true diva moment. I've got all of her albums, each one carrying a different theme.

The predecessor to this album, Eden, nearly made the cut, but I like this one just a smidge bit more. If you can't fall in love with her voice after listening to this album, you never will. This album, much like all of her others, is really good at being a mood lightener. If you're feeling down about something, throw on some Sarah Brightman, and you'll feel better halfway through the record."

Highlights:
"Scarborough Fair"
"Whiter Shade of Pale"
"Gloomy Sunday"
"La Luna"


Leon Thomas In Berlin - Leon Thomas
by Bluesboy

"After the Beatles broke up, I started to branch out and listen to more jazz. When I heard Oliver Nelson's sweet alto sax on this recording, I pawned my oboe for an alto sax and wanted to replicate his amazing intonations.

Leon Thomas amazes me with his primeval vocalizations.

Highlights:
"The Creator Has A Master Plan"
"Echoes"
"Pharoah's Tune (The Journey)"


Let's Face It - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
by Skuff

This was one of the first "modern" albums my father introduced me to before his death when I was in the 5th grade and it instilled in me a love of ska, and alternative music in general, that has stayed with me to this very day

Highlights:
"Let's Face It"
"That Bug Bit Me"
"1-2-8"


M!ssundaztood - P!nk
by Wyld Card

This album, which blends pop with alternative-rock and R&B, came out during a time when I was transitioning through life as a young adult. While some of the songs are a bit tacky, lack depth and are aimed at a teenage female audience, some of the highlight songs have deep meaning that relate to the struggle many young adults face in their daily struggles.

"Family Portrait" discusses the topic of family issues while wanting a better life at home. The singing protagonist is hoping to mend the troubles at home into a more stable conditioning while labeling her parents as the antagonists. "Just Like a Pill" deals with rehabilitation from an addiction problem and finding clarity in an improved situation, by forgetting about the past and moving on with an independent lifestyle. "Don't Let Me Get Me" is about the angst of growing up from being a teen to early adulthood and about finding yourself for who you really are, instead of impressing others with an image of false identity and sense of pretentiousness.

Other notable tracks, "Dear Diary," "My Vietnam" and "Misery featuring Steven Tyler" reference self-struggles while remaining in isolation from society and getting to understand yourself better by developing an emotional connection with your own thoughts and feelings.

Highlights:
"Don't Let Me Get Me"
"Family Portrait"
"Just Like a Pill"


The Monitor - Titus Andronicus
by Skuff

I first discovered The Monitor in an article that mentioned it was a concept album about the Civil War (sort-of) and my interest, as a US History nerd, was piqued. I listened to it and many of my fears and worries were addressed by Patrick Stickles.

Highlights:
"A More Perfect Union"
"The Battle of Hampton Roads"


Operation: Mindcrime - Queensrÿche
by Wyld Card

This is my personal intelligibly written thesis on this concept album's statement and principles. My analysis is based and modified on my perception of the album's concept, regarding the theoretical beliefs and purposes used behind its approach. I find the main protagonist of the plot and his characteristics and thought process to relate to my own individuality, especially if confronted in the situation involving risk for survival.

When I originally bought this album, after reading an article about it in a metal magazine, I was uncertain of its storyline and to what extent the targeted purpose was. Since then I've studied, examined, comprehended, evaluated and reviewed its entire concept. To this day, I still find myself disorientated by unexplained questions with the illegitimate portions that lie beneath the main plot's surface.

Mindcrime focuses on an entire sequence that took on the state of mentality through five extensively arranged complexes in dealing with society's contemporary issues.

Enter our fellow hero Nikki, an appointed colleague assassin, who's expressive with his adapted knowledge, despite his idealistic self-indulgence and neurotic experiences. The opening portrays him being stabilized by a shielded psychiatric ward, reflecting in his more-or-less paranormal behavior. It then reveals him evoking his recent trial incidents, before the narrator opens the preliminary issue of legal corruption through the Republican Party and the commercialization behind the political revolution (mostly relevant to the Reagan-era in the White House), and his segregation with our aligned forces throughout the unwaged crisis throughout the early '80s. The narrative desires an improved proximity while holding the American threshold responsible.

The plot then begins to focus on the legislated apprehension of clinical studies and proposed psychiatric treatments in regards with undetermined adolescents, giving them an illicit exchange of their time for penalty. Known as "Operation: Mindcrime," this involves Nikki's encounter with one Dr. X. He's been mesmerized and then invoked on a mission to set forth and eliminate certain religious and legislative figures based on their differences in views for freedom, as it's presented that justice has come to terms with equality for prosperity, while neglecting poverty all together. He's confronted with subconscious-ness through his dependency, and now has a message to send forth to society, so he begins to lecture his deceived philosophy to crowds of dejected civilians. He implores people to assist him in his massive cerebral-ness for annihilation, but must face this degraded coalition alone.

At this point, the premise starts to thicken and mysteriously unfold with the arrival of Mary, formerly an adolescent whore from Times Square. The highly respected and prestigious, yet cautiously litigious Father William, who has promised her salvation, has taken her under his wing. Instead of the pledged chastity she was expecting, the Priest captivated Mary into her customary lewd conduct. "Spreading the Disease" corresponds with the topic of infidelity of the church, mostly involving confrontations with promiscuous nuns, as well as evangelist corruption and lucrative tasks, which was informed in the earlier chapter, composing of a few verses, despite the implication of this vision invoking on different such matters.

The Holy Father introduced Mary to Dr. X at the age of maturity. She instigates his services and requirements; he persuades her into seducing Nikki, who has turned morbid by relying on the church to assert him of his homicidal sins. This is the part of the storyline that I find particularly elusive; He orders Nikki to murder her in fear that she knows too much about his operation. After Nikki has set onward to the church, Mary finally meets her colleague and immediately falls in love with him, he's now declined to propose his mission, regardless of his compelling appointment, which is described all throughout the middle section of the investigation. While this portion of the album ("The Mission" through "Suite Sister Mary") envisions the most vivid image of the set, it still leaves the tactical focus obscured.

After uniting together in pre-matrimony, they decide to escape from Dr. X's immoral master plan, and set off to exchange vows and live freely together. He declares to murder Dr. X in as an indication of retribution, for the arrangement to demise Mary. He directly travels to Dr. X's furtive lair to abandon his tasks, and relinquishes himself from any more harm, only to contradict himself with his profound tranquilized dependency. A variably insignificant suggestion of medicinal neglect is explained here. Following the storyline, I have assumed that it be mescaline related, other sources have pointed it to be heroin induced, as told in the ninth track "The Needle Lies."

Her years of neglect and abuse have isolated her completely from contemplation; she began to develop diverse emotions towards him. Mary despised his utilization with drugs, as well as the fact that she was apprehensive towards his slaying of Father William, whom she had an unbreakable trust and bond with, when she found his corpse laid still in the church's sanctuary. Her compassion for Nikki still survived the devoted crimes he committed, as she was dependent on his love.

This is the second part of the story that I don't quite understand, and as your question asks "Who or What killed Mary," From what I have comprehended based on the commencing lyrics to "Electric Requiem," he finds her at the altar where they used to make passionate love, with a rosary wrapped around her slit throat. There are three possible suspects, Nikki, Dr. X, or suicide. Nikki can be excluded, as he is distraught by the circumstances. This leaves the other two as probabilities. Dr. X is more liable of the two, as the haunting tone echoes: "Even in death you still look sad," as if he's observing while unseen.

Nikki then sets out into the streets in a frantic matter, while shouting "Mary! Mary!" He progresses a severe case of psychosis-syndrome influenced by Mary's death. Unable to find justification, he renounces love entirely, as he no longer believes. He's left to drown in a puddle filled with sorrow and remorse that he reflects for his previous companion, while inquiring for balance in his own prospect. The vicinity of this conclusion adversely engages in the deals of fatal structure, at the same time as elude from mourning and regret.

Finally, the story is wrapped up, as it sets back to the very beginning where Nikki was secluded at the hospital before retracing what occurred. While summoning the events that provoked his lunacy, he looks at his own reflection in the truthful mirror, starring into the eyes of a stranger; he doesn't recognize himself anymore. He's trivialized by the entire episode, grieving for himself, trying to make amends to relieve the situation. The closing recalls passages from the preceding highlights throughout the album.

My notion is that this is the most adequate concept album, literary-wise. While a good deal of this story is based on the predicted concerns of George Orwell's legendary book 1984, it is innovative in its own right. It was once ruled that concept albums don't work in metal, this album not only confirmed that it is in fact possible, it went above and beyond. Operation: Mindcrime's assertion embarks upon nearly every subject that plagues mankind. The adaptation of the audio-novel is somewhat confusing as it doesn't entirely retrace the steps behind its main character or condition, giving it a third person perspective that informs of the establishing point to the predicament and leaves the listener to predict the aftermath. Despite its challenging assembly by legendary producer Peter Collins (Rush, Alice Cooper), the entire thought seemed to go unnoticed in America. Critics and fans alike didn't feel the modern phase was the acceptable premise for politics and religious convictions in glam rock.

Geoff Tate's attested 6-octave vocalized lyrics and the brilliance behind the guitars, as well as percussion, construct this material as unsurpassed talent in comparison to anything else released throughout this particular era.

Highlights:
"I Don't Believe In Love"
"Eyes of a Stranger"
"Suite Sister Mary"


Rockin' The Suburbs - Ben Folds
by RockyRaccoon

I discovered Ben Folds at a very difficult, transitional time in my life, and the album that I really latched onto was this one. It was the first Ben Folds album I listened to and it was the one I really connected with.

Some of the songs are really goofy, songs like "Not The Same," which is about a guy who takes a bunch of LSD, climbs a tree and comes down the next day a born-again Christian (which is based on a true story). Those songs along with a few others are really good songs, fun songs, but the songs that really hit me are some of the slower ones.

When I first heard "The Luckiest," I said to myself, "This is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard," and it ended up being the song I danced to for the first time as a married man with my wife at my wedding. It's become mine and my wife's "song." "Fred Jones Part 2" is a beautifully written, brutally honest story about an old man who gets laid off from a job he's put a lot of years into and gets no credit for it. It's beautiful, and the harmonies done by John McCrea (from Cake) really add depth to it. "Still Fighting It" is a song written to Folds' son right after he was born all about how parents have no idea what they're doing and how tough it is growing up (something I could really relate to at the time). It's one of my favorite albums and I absolutely love it."

Highlights:
"The Luckiest"
"Fred Jones, Part 2"
"Still Fighting It"
"Not The Same"
"Zak And Sara"


The Sad Thing Is...We Like It Here - Shaimus
by RockyRaccoon

I first learned about Shaimus from the video game Rock Band. Their song "Like A Fool" was a free song you could download and play, and from then on, I loved them. The entire reason their song was on Rock Band was because two of the members of the band actually worked for the video game company. Virtually no one has heard of them, which is awful, because they're fantastic. Some of the best indie rock I've ever heard.

This album has no bad tracks, every song is great. Once I got to know this band, I followed them constantly, from their appearance in the movie The Roommate, to personally interviewing them over the phone on a radio show I had in college. They're great guys and make great music. As of now, sadly, they've decided to part ways after three albums, but this album will always hold a special place in my heart. I actually have the physical CD signed by all four members of the band. I love this album.

Highlights:
"Like A Fool"
"Let Go"
"Turn The Other Way"


Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones
by Edna

I just don't know what I can add to what I already said about this album. It's been a milestone in my life. I was 15 when it was released. They talked about sex, drugs and rock and roll. And Mick Taylor with his magic guitar and Keith Richards with his nonchalance were driving my psychedelic dreams...

It's still a bunch of amazing songs that I listen to every day.

Highlights:
"Brown Sugar"
"Wild Horses"
"Dead Flowers"


Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World - Antonin Dvorák
by Bluesboy

I was a classically trained musician growing up, first on clarinet and then five years on oboe through jr. high and high school. This symphony really expanded my horizons for the appreciation of classical music.

I used to follow along and memorize the second movement English horn solo of "Going Home." My oboe teacher taught me how to make my own oboe reeds, along with my practice sessions.


Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
by Bluesboy

I was just blown away back in '83 when I first heard this album! WHO is this!?

Only Hendrix and Clapton commanded my attention just as much. Words can't describe his niche in music history.

Highlights:
"Pride and Joy"
"Texas Flood"
"Love Struck Baby"


Wolfmother - Wolfmother
by RockyRaccoon

Back when I was first discovering music on my own, I initially got into classic rock. Oddly enough, the band that introduced me to classic rock was Styx, but that's a different story. From that point, my reference for music was my dad typically, and I would ask him for suggestions of bands to check out. Ultimately I fell in love with classic rock and I was continuously going to other people (mostly my dad) for band suggestions.

Then, iTunes had a free download of the week that I decided to try out. That free song was "Dimension" by Wolfmother, off of this album. I was crazy about this song, and immediately went out and bought this album as soon as I could. I played it over and over again; I know the words to virtually every song. When I was first learning guitar, I learned virtually every guitar note on this album.

I loved the connection this album had to classic rock. It emulated it without ripping it off, it sounded incredible. This was the first album and the first band I got into on my own. I had found these guys, no one showed them to me. They were mine in a way. Because of that, I developed a very personal connection to Wolfmother. Sadly, after this album, Wolfmother broke up for the most part. Lead singer Andrew Stockdale released one more album under the same name with a whole new band and then he released a solo album (which is basically what the second Wolfmother album was anyways). They've been good albums, but nothing has matched the amazing sound of this album, and thus, this album has always been very special to me.

Highlights:
"Woman"
"Vagabond"
"Dimension"
"Where Eagles Have Been"


The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem
by Skuff

I heard about The Gaslight Anthem and checked The '59 Sound out and fell in love with the way Brian Fallon writes his music. This album and The Monitor helped me get through one of the most stressful years of school for me.

Highlights:
"Great Expectations"
"The '59 Sound"
"Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"
More Song Writing

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Wherefore Art Thou Romeo Lyric

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo LyricMusic Quiz

In this quiz, spot the artist who put Romeo into a song lyric.