Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

Listening to an entire album, eight or ten songs in a row from beginning to end and getting up in the middle to flip it over, is almost as anachronistic as the mix tape. If you haven’t done it in awhile, I highly recommend it, if only on CD (skipping the flipping part). In addition to hearing things in the order they were intended to be heard, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and make you feel good about yourself. Guaranteed. The first track on the first side should be an introduction of sorts and should set the stage for what is to come. Here are my Top Five.

1. Rocks Off, Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones

Recorded in 1971 in the basement of NĂȘlcotte, Keith Richards’ villa in the south of France, “Rocks Off” immediately lets you know that you have not embarked upon child’s play and that this is serious business. Enter at your own risk. Ragged and rough, it comes complete with a psychedelic bridge, and provides a wholly decadent, sleazy and glorious opening to one of my all time favorite albums. The Robert Frank video here is an added bonus.

2. Come Together, Abbey Road, The Beatles

“Abbey Road” was the last Beatles’ album, although “Let it Be” was the last one released. Books have been written on the infighting taking place in the band and the reasons for it when this album was recorded in 1969. How fitting that the opening track (the genesis of which was written by Lennon for Timothy Leary’s gubernatorial campaign in California) was about coming together when the band was falling apart. Great song to open the The Beatles’ closing triumph.

3. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Crosby Stills and Nash, Crosby Stills and Nash

Double winner here as this is the also the first cut on the first side of the first album by Crosby Stills and Nash. What a beginning. Makes you want to pick up an acoustic guitar and play along. Makes you want to learn to play if you don’t already. The song structure is certainly not your parents’ rock and roll, let alone that it is over 7 minutes long. What makes this a splendid introduction to a fine album is that it alerts to you to the the classically drawn harmonies which are to come and then very much became this band’s signature.

4. London Calling, London Calling, The Clash

“London Calling”, the song and the album, are musically literate punk manifestos. The song is one big hook, big, brash, and bold, with a reggae bass line rhythm welded to Joe Strummer’s frantic guitar. Damn I miss this band.

5. Whole Lotta Love, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin

There is this moment in “It Might Get Loud”, a documentary about Jimmy Page, Edge and Jack White, when the three have come together in what appears to be a warehouse to make music. Jimmy is playing the opening riff to “Whole Lotta Love” with Edge and Jack watching and listening. The looks of the two of them sitting at the foot of the master while listening to him playing one of rock’s all time great riffs are pure schoolboy awe. Worth the price of admission if you haven’t seen the film. A fine opening to what is my most listened to Led Zeppelin album.