- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: THE RIVER: 1980: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A double album so far the only one of Springsteen’s career and it was also his first ever #1. One of my favorite Bruce albums-20 songs and he covers a lot of different styles. The first rock concert I ever attended was Bruce on The River Tour- a week before John Lennon was assassinated. The concert still ranks as one of my favorites. Some of the songs on the album were leftovers that didn’t fit on the Darkness On The Edge of Town album. My favorite is The River- a song I first heard at the No Nukes concert movie documentary a year earlier. The song knocked me out in the film and it was a long wait to hear it again- until the album came out. There was no internet to go to back in those days. A glaring error in that The River isn’t in the book 1001 albums to hear.
- WARREN ZEVON: MR. BAD EXAMPLE: 1991: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: An uneven Warren album- it has its moments though- Finishing Touches, Mr. Bad Example, Searching For A Heart and Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead are standouts. This has always seemed like a forgotten Warren album.
- JONI MITCHELL: WILD THINGS RUN FAST: 1982: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After a couple jazz influenced albums a return to pop. Joni was influenced by hearing The Police, The Talking Heads and Steely Dan on the radio. None of the songs here made the radio as far as I know-and the singles released didn’t chart- James Taylor and Lionel Richie sang back up on the album. The album did the typical Joni Mitchell #25. A good album.
- FRANK SINATRA: A MAN ALONE: 1969: 2 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The Chairman does an album of Rod McKuen songs- McKuen at the time was the ‘go to’ poet of the moment. Frank and McKuen met at a party and McKuen wrote some tunes for Frank. Some of this stuff just feels/sounds awkward coming out of Frank’s mouth. Of his two 1969 albums I will go with My Way.
- JOHN LENNON: IMAGINE: 1971: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of John’s best albums along with Plastic Ono Band- this is a more pleasant listen for the most part- Plastic Ono Band was the primal scream album. His most iconic song Imagine was of course the big song on this album. His attack at Paul- How Do You Sleep- is a great song but in listening to it again I kind of wish he would have just kept it to himself. Favorites include Crippled Inside, Jealous Guy, Gimme Some Truth, Oh Yoko. On the 1001 albums to hear list. A contender for the Mount Rushmore of ex-Beatles albums.
- PAUL MCCARTNEY: FLOWERS IN THE DIRT: 1989: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Paul gets with Elvis and writes some songs- some of them end up here. Decades later the demos with Elvis are released and you can’t help but wonder why didn’t he release that instead at the time? This is a good enough album as is but the demos are great. My Brave Face is one of my favorite Paul solo singles.
- PAUL SIMON: GRACELAND: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Simon’s most famous album- although I loved his previous album Hearts And Bones from 1983 it was considered a failure- and Graceland his big comeback. Inspired by a cassette tape he heard of South African music- he went to the sources of the music in South Africa and spent a couple weeks with musicians there. The album sold 16 million copies and won the Grammy for Best Album. One of the albums which popularized the World Music scene. Every song is outstanding and of course it is on the 1001 albums to hear list.