John Craig-Sharples has got in touch to say it's 20 years since the publication of Paul Gambaccini's Top 100 Albums book in which I listed my top ten at the time. "Twenty years on I was wondering if your top ten albums have stood the test of time, or what might have come along in the meantime to challenge them." John, you know how to appeal to a man's vanity. Here's the list:
1. I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight by Richard & Linda Thompson
Frankly I don't believe in these lists at all but this is still a masterpiece. I picked it for what it represents and I might well do the same again tomorrow.
2. Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen
It's a great pop record. Still.
3. Squeezing Out Sparks - Graham Parker
Probably haven't played this all the way through in twenty years but at least half of it's great.
4. Beatles For Sale - The Beatles
You've got to root for the one that nobody else does. "Beatles For Sale" was an average Beatles album which just goes to show how good their average was. This includes "No Reply" which has the greatest Beatles middle eight of all.
5. John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan
Haven't played this in a while but it plays in my head all the time, which is half the battle.
6. Live! - Bob Marley
Because I was there and it was the best gig I ever saw.
7. Aftermath - Rolling Stones
Still the coolest long player ever made. In mono.
8. It's Too Late To Stop Now - Van Morrison
See Bob Marley.
9. Get Happy!! - Elvis Costello
Haven't listened to it for ages.
10. The Last Waltz - The Band
Picked it because it's got lots of other artists on it.
What would I add? Gawd knows - there's just too many records and I've really stopped caring about long players – but Lucinda Williams's "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" for a start. And Randy Newman's "Good Old Boys". And "Hissing Of Summer Lawns".