Inspired by the many "my essential" and "influential" picks by artists for musicradar. I have decided to pick my own top 10 influential albums. These 10 are influential in different ways. But they all possess something that inspire me when I hear them. Enjoy...
Joe Satriani - Crystal Planet
Most people would say Surfing with the Alien, but for me this is the pinnacle of Satch's output. The perfect blend of technique with a real live band sound. I love the harmony in play when many of these songs are just one guitar, bass and drums.
Steve Vai - Alien Love Secrets
Another one a bit like Crystal Planet, where most people would choose Passion & Warfare. I have chosen this for similar reasons to Crystal Planet in that it really feels like a live band stripped back. I imagine that would please Vai as I believe that was the point of the album!
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
This one came from my Dad who, although being an old school disco DJ, got this from working for the Open University. He was working the desk on a lecture tour where they used the intro to the album version of Money for Nothing. I became quite obsessed with this track, as my school band mates would be able to testify to! For the first few years I didn't use a pick and preferred to use Knopfler's fingerstyle. No filler on this album all killer tunes.
Queen - Queen
When I was in school I discovered my Dad's record collection which included all the early Queen albums, and my love of this band began. It is really hard to pick one Queen album and I could have chosen literally any of them but I have gone with their début. For me, they were still an out and out rock band at this point. And while not as polished as their later records it has a more raw sound, much more akin to how, so I am told, they were live. Quite Zepplin'esque in places. Speaking of which....
Led Zepplin - IV
I discovered Zeppelin quite late on, as I was already in my early 20's. They were a band I knew of and had always meant to check out, so I went and bought the first four albums. My mind was blown! The songs just kept getting better, the grooves from that killer rhythm section, the vocals and of course Jimmy Page's guitar playing. I was fortunate enough to see JP and JPJ play with the Foo Fighters at Wembley stadium, but alas I couldn't get tickets for the one off show at the O2.
Various - Transformers The Movie OST
A slightly odd choice for most people, but for anyone who grew up in the 80's Transformers was a pretty big deal. And this movie, slightly strangely for a kids film, had a soundtrack full of 80's hair metal. This was probably my first real introduction to proper rock and metal. Hence why it appears on this list.
The Who - Whos Next
There isn't really much to say about this album. I had always liked "those" two songs but the album as a whole is a masterpiece. Bookended by the absolutely amazing Baba ' O Reilly and Won't Get Fooled Again. The creative use of early synthesizers, the drumming, the bass playing. It is nigh on perfect. In fact I think I might have to go listen to it right now.
Paul Simon - Graceland
Now an out of left field choice. This album introduced me to the song writing genius that is Paul Simon. I watched the famous "Classic Albums" documentary about it and was hooked. It fascinated me how he literally just jammed with all these different musicians and then made songs out of the jams afterwards. Not only that but he created great songs. The level of musicianship on this album is sublime, despite the political issues.
John Williams/London Symphony Orchestra - Star Wars OST
How could I leave this one off? I might be a rock guitar player, but this soundtrack has influenced me as much as anything else. The use of leitmotif, the memorable melodies and not forgetting some wonderful playing from the LSO. I was torn between this and Howard Shores LOTR soundtrack, but I have loved these movies for over 30 years, so had to pick Mr Williams
Meatloaf - Bat Out Of Hell
My final pick is this Jim Steinman's classic ode to to being a teenager. Another album where every song is great. I like how they have taken the "classic" rock n roll song from the 50's and put their own spin on it, through the filter of the preceding 20 years. I also like how the songs don't take themselves too seriously. And to top it off some amazing vocal performances from Mr Loaf.