Saturday, April 28, 2007

Time Actually Tested

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".


  1. Anonymous8:55 pm

    Could there ever be a fixed list of favourite albums?

    I've found that a lot of late 70's and most 80's music never gets an airing at home these days. I used to see Graham Parker loads, saw Costello live every night, have all of their albums up to a point - but very rarely play them. I can't tell you why, though. They just don't carry the, I dunno, 'depth' that things that were exciting to me as a 15 year old in the mid-60's still do, yet 'This Year's Model' was never off the car stereo for about a year at the time of release. I can't play it now.

    But 'Aftermath' still works. 'Don'tcha Bother Me' still grooves.
    'It's Too Late To Stop' is in the pile today.

    I was at the Lyceum Marley gig. Strongest memory apart after the music and open roof was trying to ensure my ticket wasn't nicked on the way in.

    Your list still stands. Number one choice could still be number one today. Some poor buggers must have picked a few then-fashionable equivalents of Franz Fernidand that haven't lasted the course.

    Anyway, you now know where to look for albums that really changed your life, I'm sure. (Just don't do it in The Word).

    But the power of the list is something that none of us can resist, even after two decades. (Unless it's one of Nick Hornby's. Thanks for putting the record straight about him and Tony Parsons).

  2. Are you sure the Marley gig like , the sex pistols at 100 club and Beatles at the cavern wasn't held at Wembley stadium. The only number larger than the number of attendees at these gigs is people who claim to be ex members of SAS.

  3. Didn't see the Beatles at the Cavern or the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club. But Bob Marley was on for two nights. I went on the Thursday and it was very warm.

  4. Amazing, I feel the same way about Beatles for Sale. I'm now humming, "If I were you, I'd realize . . . ", I still listen to "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" in my head. It is probably one of the greatest Beatles songs most people don't recognize today.

  5. Anonymous12:04 pm

    Is it just me, or has a post about a Drivetime CD disappeared down the highway?

  6. I'll Follow The Sun: choon
    *nods sagely*