One consequence of not having LP album covers any more is that I find myself unable to recite the lyrics of many of my favourite songs which date from after the demise of the vinyl LP. This is a direct consequence of not having the lyrics printed on the inside sleeve, as was so often the case back in the seventies and early eighties. Sometimes, I do not even remember the names of the tracks, but just know where they are. And that is a consequence of the dreaded skip button. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of advantages to the CD and the MP3/M4a, especially where domestic space is at a premium. But to my mind, if I cannot make space for one of the greatest loves of my life, in my living space as well as in my heart, then I feel I would be lacking something.
On we go.
Charles Martel’s 660-641
660. Supertramp – “Asylum” (Crime of the Century)
Finest moment of Supertramp’s breakthrough album, this song conveys the oppressive feel, at times bordering on panic, of life in an asylum.
659. Led Zeppelin – “The Rover” (Physical Graffiti)
A solid rocker with a distinctive riff, Led Zeppelin show they can still get back to their roots with this number.
658. The Sandkings – “Rain” (7” Single)
The band take their name from a George R.R. Martin short story. This was originally released on their own Long Beach label and was the only release of theirs to feature the original vocalist Andy Parton.
657. Beethoven, Ludwig van – “Shepherd’s Song” (Symphony No. 6)
A very evocative and warming movement from Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, all about the joys and pleasures of rural life.
656. Cole, Lloyd & the Commotions – “Patience” (Rattlesnakes)
From an album full of great imagery and vivid characters comes this gem. How many of us can apply to someone we know the lines –
“I don’t believe that she’s happy
‘Til she sees that I’m in distress.”
655. Secret Shine – “Café Crash” (All of the Stars)
Bristol shoegaze band who reformed in 2005. This album was released in 2008. The song develops wonderfully and seems to slide effortlessly to a conclusion with a very evocative melody.
654. Meat Loaf – “You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth” (Bat out of Hell)
For some utterly inexplicable reason which I can only ascribe to hipsters wanting to seem cool, this album comes in for a lot of criticism these days. But Jim Steinman wrote some wonderful songs and Mr. Loaf was perfect at delivering them. If this list were 2000 instead of 1000 there is a chance that every song on the album would gain a place.
653. Placebo – “Without You I’m Nothing” (Without You I’m Nothing)
For a threesome, this band sure make a lot of noise. Brian Molko’s distinctive voice fits perfectly with the growing power this track displays.
652. Alcest – “Solar Song” (Écailles de Lune)
The sheer simplicity of that repeated three note motif played on the guitar which runs throughout the track is haunting and powerful and makes this the stand out track on Alcest’s second album.
651. The Beat – “Tears of a Clown” (Just Can’t Stop It)
The Beat manage a top ranking take on this classic from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles as part of the ska revival in the UK known as 2Tone.
650. Franklin, Aretha – “Respect” (I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You)
Aretha Franklin was not called the Queen of Soul for nothing. While Otis Redding’s original comes across as a cry for recognition, Aretha flat out issues demands for the respect she feels she deserves.
649. Bauhaus – “Dark Entries” (In the Flat Field)
This was some way to introduce your first album! “Dark Entries” shudders and growls its way across your consciousness like some sort of feral spirit seeking to burn the memory of it into your mind.
648. Pop, Iggy – “The Passenger” (Lust for Life)
Apparently drawn from a Jim Morrison poem, this has a distinctive rolling riff. Depicting the life of the musical outcast, David Bowie sings backing vocals on the track.
647. Led Zeppelin – “That’s the Way” (Led Zeppelin III)
Gentle acoustic ballad from Led Zeppelin’s most misunderstood album. Like many of the quieter, more reflective songs on the album, this one grows on you.
646. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax (Sex Mix)” (12” Single)
The best of the many versions of this single put out. Frankie Goes to Hollywood thrived on controversy and this song walked straight into a radio ban which actually masked what is a fine dance number from the mid-eighties.
645. Morrison, Van – “Have I Told You Lately” (Avalon Sunset)
A quiet and gentle love song, one of those musical moments which has a special significance for me which others may not understand.
644. Thin Lizzy – “Emerald” (Jailbreak)
Thin Lizzy’s patriotic song – about one of the many devastations inflicted upon Ireland by the English and one of the band’s most powerful performances with a fine duelling guitar solo.
643. The Kinks – “The Village Green Preservation Society” (The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society)
Having been banned from the States because at least one British invasion band had to be banned for something, the Kinks released this quintessentially English themed album which caricatured overseas images of what England was like. Initially the album flopped but is now recognised as a masterpiece.
642. Sarstedt, Peter – “Where Do You Go to My Lovely” (7” Single)
Allegedly written (though he denied it) about Sophia Loren, this song is about a beautiful Neapolitan celebrity who the singer knew as a child, and knows all her secrets. Sarstedt recorded the whole thing in a mock Maurice Chevalier voice.
641. The Auteurs – “American Guitars” (New Wave)
The album is almost a concept album about various aspects of the performing arts. This song grinds along and should be listened to by every band of teenage kids practicing in basements and garages to remind them that, whatever they may think of themselves, it is not their judgement which counts in the end.