- THE PRETENDERS: LEARNING TO CRAWL: 1984: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: Between The Pretenders 2nd and 3rd albums they lost two members to drug overdoes- James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon- Farndon had been dismissed from the band before his death. A couple new members were recruited and in the fall of 1982 the brilliant singles “Back On The Chain Gang”/ “My City Was Gone” was released. I didn’t buy singles as a rule but with no album coming soon from The Pretenders I bought this one. Over a year later “Learning To Crawl” came out. ‘Back On The Chain Gang” had reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Middle Of The Road” would crack the Top 20, and a third single “Show Me” would be a minor hit. The album itself would make it to #5 on the Billboard Top 200. There were a number of big albums in that era- Prince “Purple Rain”, “Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA”. Madonna’s “Madonna” and The Police “Synchronicity” come to mind but I am certain the one that I have played the most over the past 35 years is this one. Not that it is the best of that bunch-but it is my favorite.
- PRINCE: PURPLE RAIN: 1984: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: Prince became a big hit with the release of his 1999 album and on of the Mount Rushmore of the 80’s singles “Little Red Corvette”, his follow up release was hit biggest album -which was hit sixth, I keep forgetting it was a soundtrack to the movie “Purple Rain.” It would sell 25 million copies worldwide and ride the top of the Billboard Top 200 album chart for nearly half a year consecutively -24 weeks. The album had two number 1’s “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Purple Rain” would just fall short of #1 peaking at #2, “I Would Die 4 U”- #8 and a 5th hit single “Take Me With U” #25. A chase when greatness and the tastes of the public matched. Prince was never more popular and he never released another album- before or after to match “Purple Rain.”
- THE BEATLES: LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL: 2016: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: The performances were from three concerts at The Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965. The original release of the album was 1977 and in 2016 to it was re-released with added tracks / remastered to coincide with Ron Howard’s Eight Days A Week documentary. The Beatles quit as a live band in the summer of 1966- unless you count of course the roof top concert near the end. This is a great document of Beatlemania. With bonus cuts added on there are seventeen songs on this CD. The album would reach #2 on the charts- not bad for a band who broke up 46 years earlier.
- BOXCAR WILLIE: KING OF THE ROAD: 1980: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Remember back in the late 70’s and early 80’s with the records by Slim Whitman and Zamfir were bring sold over the televison [I have Slim Whitman’s “All My Best” passed down from my grandfather who bought it} Boxcar Willie had left the U.S. Air Force in the mid-70’s- he was in his 40’s. One of his first appearances was on Chuck Barris.”Gong Show.” Boxcar Willie performed country songs and he became a minor country star with “King Of The Road”- his television album. He would become the 60th full time member of the Grand Ole Opry. “King Of The Road” would hit #5 on the UK Album chart. America’s Favorite Hobo to me sounds a little like Merle Haggard. The album is a pleasant listen -of Boxcar singing 20 country classics.