I kept An interesting new game: List 10 albums that influenced you as a teen. Only one album per artist.
- News of the World – Queen
- …And Justice For All… – Metallica
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond) – Soundtrack
- No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne
- II – Boyz II Men
- Smash – The Offspring
- The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert – various artists
- The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
- The Chronic – Dr. Dre
- Innuendo – Queen
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A recent FaceBook posting has people posting the albums from their teens. this is difficult for me, as for the longest time my main source of music was from whatever I could get from either MTV or the radio. This made things a little interesting: Because I’d record the award shows and special concerts off of TV, I actually prefer recordings of live shows over studio albums, and i had the idea of a mixtape down long before I was aware that it was a thing.
A friend of mine, in posting his response, gave his reason and links in his comments, while other friends who are musicians have done their own takes and comments. Before he did this, I had started adding my reasons as a side note, but I liked how he went in depth with his responses (not to mention how different his were from many of my other friends.) His only problem: The length of the combined list was equal to that of a decent blog, but WAY TOO LONG for a FB post.
In keeping with the spirit of the idea, I put mine on my blog. It’s also, however, why I opened with the original posting. What’s below is a more in-depth understanding of my responses.
- News of the World – Queen – My mom had a few albums growing up that we’d get to listen to as kids. The ones I remember most from that time are “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Richie and this album, and the nights during the summer when mom would play these and others on her record player. This album’s cover scared the hell out of me as a kid, but the songs stayed with me – especially later when Queen rereleased “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the “Wayne’s World” movie and soundtrack, and I’d rediscover a favorite band. Without this album and those fond memories, I doubt I’d even have much interest in music.
- …And Justice For All… – Metallica – One of the neighbor kids I grew up with, Tim, had a heavy influence on my musical taste, hooking me on classic bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as well as the hair metal bands of the time. He had given me his copy of this cassette after he replaced it with a bought copy. (He had copied it from someone else, and did the lettering in the style at that time.) This would be one of those albums I rarely tired of, listening to it on my radio at night (to the disappointment and frustration of my grandparents. This album, and especially “One,” made me a (currently) lifelong fan, and one of my first real “choices” that wasn’t easily accepted.
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond) – Soundtrack – It might be hard to believe, but I had some “special” courses growing up. These courses were the result of the problems with how I was dealing with my family growing up, and while there were some disadvantages to this (the biggest being the loss of at least one elective every semester,) it allowed for a couple of advantages, the biggest of which was to go on a field trip to see a musical in Chicago. At this time of this particular trip my mother and her boyfriend were living together separate of my sister and I, and my father had contacted me to tell me lies about my mom, thus influencing my decision to avoid performing and music.
The musical in question was this. I heard they were doing it in school that year, and felt it’d be fun to be a part of, so I decided to try out, eventually auditioning for the part of Potiphar. I didn’t get the part, but the teacher encouraged me to come back to audition for the choir. The rest is history.
- No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne – Remember those special classes I mentioned before? they also helped me have a “job” in the couple of years before I was of legal working age, going to a 5 hr, 4 day a week summer job that was supposed to train us on job opportunities, money math and how to find work. This included some field trips, one of which was downtown. That particular day one of the local radio stations was giving away free swag, and while we were waiting on a part of that I ended up getting a copy of this CD – which would be my first CD.
- II – Boyz II Men – This is probably my oddest mention given where my interest in music would drift to, but it also points to a consistency in the music I enjoy: I can have fun with it. When I was first singing with the choir I was also singing along with the music I enjoyed on the radio and at dances and such, trying to learn some of the stuff I thought would help me learn and adapt to this “new” choir thing. I already liked “Motownphilly” and “End of the Road,” but I used to listen to this album some nights before and during my sleep.
- Smash – The Offspring – While “Dookie” was my first introduction to modern punk, this was the first “punk” CD/tape I owned, and one of the first few albums I could listen all of the way through. It might be funny picturing my fat ass on a bike screaming the middle verses to “Bad Habit” before I could drive, but it never stopped me.
- The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert – various artists – While the last two may be odd, this one may be debatable, as it’s technically NOT an album, but a concert video. I had recorded this off concert off of MTV when it aired, and copied my favorite songs (most of this concert) to cassete. What makes this significant, however, were the acts: Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard and Guns ‘N’ Roses opened the show, performing sets of only a few songs, before Queen and friends took the stage. This was my first REAL introduction to David Bowie, thanks to them not only doing “Under Pressure” but “All the Young Dudes” and “Heroes;” My first exposure to Spinal Tap; My first real appreciation for George Michael and Elton John; and the heaviest link to my addiction with Queen, one of the first bands I heavily followed. For my early teenage years, even the age of punk, grunge, alternative, and rap, this was Heaven.
- The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails – While I could easily blame Eli for my introduction to this band, MTV was what exposed me to this gem, thanks to the songs “Closer” and “Hurt.” Like “Smash” and many of the other aggressive things I was listening to, it resonated with a lot of the emotions I was dealing with at the time. It was also noteworthy for being one of the first albums with a song – “Ruiner” – to open my imagination – where I can imagine my own videos for songs, something I’d be able to do later with full albums.
- The Chronic – Dr. Dre – I’ve been familiar with Rap for a long time, thanks Run D.M.C., Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy. This was one of the first “Rap” CD’s I owned, and like many of the tapes and CD’s I owned, got a lot of playtime for it. One of the few reasons it’s on this list, however, is because it’s something I STILL listen to occasionally – like more than a few CD’s, this hit the right nerves and emotions, and unlike some Rap songs, most of what’s on this album is understandable – something some of today’s rappers simply don’t have.
- Innuendo – Queen – Back when I started getting interested in Queen a math teacher had given me a copy of this album. Like “Justice” did for Metallica, this helped me sink into Queen, blending many of the elements that influenced my music choices then into one album of classical, classic rock, and powerful lyrics.
One thing you may have noticed: Most of these listings came out before I graduated and had a heavy influence on those years. There were a couple of reasons for this.
First, right around the time of graduation and the start of college was a transition to the music I listen to now and was most heavily influenced by as an adult. The problem with this time – at least for this writing – was remembering when exactly I listened to what, as it fell on the edge of my teenage years. Rather than try to guess this, I chose to play it safe and look at it as “everything up to the end of High School.”
Second, that limitation also follows the limitations I had back in that time: where I was copying tapes and CD’s from the library (or checking them out for extended periods,) and where, while I liked bands like Green Day, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, I can’t be sure what I owned at that time. I had MANY singles, which meant B-Sides and such, but not so many albums, due to what I could afford.