In this era of digital music, iTunes, and downloading individual songs, the craft of making entire albums often gets overlooked.
Yet back in the day — and sometimes even today — there’s nothing quite like an artist who, in a burst of creativity and connection, records an entire album that’s a) full of good songs; and b) highlighted by a great song (or two).
So here are my five favorite of all time. You’ll note that the list omits some bona fide classics, such as Led Zeppelin IV, Boston, Sticky Fingers, and even Viva La Vida.
But it’s my list and I’m sticking to it.
5. Tom Petty, Into The Great Wide Open. A much-underrated follow up to Full Moon Fever (which featured Free Fallin’), this makes my list because there’s no filler. Every song is good, a couple are very good (For All The Wrong Reasons), and Learning To Fly is one of my all timers.
4. Don Henley, The End Of The Innocence. An album that starts with the title song and ends with “The Heart Of the Matter”(see Blog title) is strong to the core. There are a couple of late 80s period pieces like “Little Tin God” and “If Dirt Were Dollars” that harken back to the PTL scandal and the Gary Hart-Donna Rice debacle respectively.
3. The Call, Reconciled. The best album by the best artist nobody knows. “I Still Believe” and “Everywhere I Go” brought me back to faith.
2. U2, The Joshua Tree. How can you improve on an album that starts off with “Where The Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”??
1. Hotel California, The Eagles. I guess I am holding on to 16 as long as I can. This was the signature album of my adolescence, and the title song plus “The Last Resort” lands this as my #1.