Ten Records That Shaped My World
(Or Ten Things I Liked As A Kid That I Still Like For Whatever Reasons)

by Tommy Burton

I love music. I love records. I love rock and roll. Ever since I was a kid, I was drawn to it. I remember my mom doing seasonal work at the mall and I would go with her and spend hours in the record shop staring at album covers by different artists. Those big jackets were cooler than anything. I know that there are millions of other record-collecting nerds, like myself, out there with similar stories. I grew up on it. There are certain songs that just put me in a certain place and a certain time. I suppose it's the power of music. It's always been a place of solace for me. And I just grew up on it. I never robbed stores or stole from Wal-Mart. I never smoked cigarettes and drank as a youth (I don't drink as an adult). So, for all those detractors of rock music who say that it leads to the degeneration of young minds, I give a hearty, "Screw you." I think I turned out all right.

These are ten albums that I, more or less, grew up on. I've discovered many many great albums in the time since these. I can also say that there are better albums than these out there. But these are the ones I always go back to. Some are from my parents’ own collections. Others are ones I discovered on my own. I remember having a slightly-impressive collection of Kiss albums as a six-year-old. The teenagers on my block would all gather around my little phonograph player and air drum to "100,000 Years." I wonder what happened to all those guys. These are the ones, though, that I can always put on and remember every lyric and guitar lick. They range from childhood to early high school. I continued to grow and evolve as a collector and music lover since then, but these ten cover the bases. A little background: I was born in 1975, so these albums will certainly reflect growing up in that period. I will list them in order of release, as opposed to preference. It's just easier that way.

1. The Beatles: 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) I discovered this album on a family vacation during the summer of 1990. We were staying with some family friends, one of which had a sizable Beatles collection from her own childhood. In all fairness, I remember wearing out my dad's American copy of the Hey Jude album during the early 80s. That record was a perfect hodgepodge of early singles and later stuff like "Hey Jude." But this is where I rediscovered The Beatles and realized that they were the perfect pop band. For the longest time, I was a bigger fan of this later period and dismissed the early stuff. But the deeper I fell into the Fabs, the more I began to appreciate the entire body of work. The songs on this collection still hold a special place in my heart.

2. Wanted! The Outlaws: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, Tompall Glaser Another one from dad's collection. This defined country music for me, and to some degree, it still does. I can still sing along to every single song, too. I had no idea what the "outlaw movement" was or its importance to country music. I simply liked these songs. I also seem to remember this one coming out at get-togethers with family friends. Plus, it's got "Suspicious Minds" on it.

3. Bob Seger: Night Moves My mom ordered this cassette from a record club in the early 80s. It was a constant companion in the car on road trips. It was one of those albums that the whole family could agree on. "Come To Poppa" just flat out rocks. I still want to find out who "Sunspot Baby" is and I've always wanted to visit "Main Street." These songs are ingrained in the corners of my mind and play like a soundtrack to my early days of riding.

4. AC/DC: If You Want Blood You've Got It I got into AC/DC around the time of Who Made Who. They became one of my favorite bands at the time. This album drew me in because of the cover. It featured Angus Young stabbing himself with his SG guitar. The back sleeve had Angus lying face down with the neck of the guitar sticking out of his back. I remember being totally blown away by this record sleeve. And the fact that the record was called If You Want Blood. It was only after I got the album that I discovered that it was live LP. It became an instant favorite and I gave many private concerts in my bedroom playing Angus. Rock and roll through and through. Raw and powerful.

5. Kiss: Love Gun One of the very first albums I ever remember owning. I had two copies, for some reason. I liked Kiss because they were cartoon characters. The make up and the image. They were like rock and roll superheroes. Ace was always my favorite. I would also listen to this one and stare at the cover. It was slightly creepy, but cool at the same time. It was like a Kiss harem or something. I remember going several years without hearing this record and rediscovering it again in early college. I remembered every lyric.*

6. Cyndi Lauper: She's So Unusual I wrote my first screenplay based around hearing the song "All Through The Night." I had a crush on Cyndi. "Time After Time" is a beautiful song. I loved the way she held that note forever on "Money Changes Everything." Need I say more?

7. Prince And The Revolution: Purple Rain I think this album really defines pop music of the 80s for most of my generation (along with Thriller). It's like our own Pet Sounds or something. There wasn't a nine-year-old I knew that didn't know this record. And of course we didn't really know what "Darling Nikki" was doing with a magazine, but we knew it was dirty because Tipper Gore was shocked. Actually, all that came later. These were just a bunch of really grooving tunes to the kids on my block. And the movie just made it all the cooler. I remember me and my cousin thinking that if we had 100 bucks, the first thing we would have done was go to the mall and buy a purple "Prince" outfit and wear it to school. That's how cool Prince was to me.

8. The Time: Ice Cream Castle This is almost cheating because it's really part II of Purple Rain. Still, I discovered this album through my aunt, who was always ultra-cool when it came to music. It was way dirtier than anything on Purple Rain, I can tell you. There's only six songs, but I remember dancing to every upbeat one and using the slower ones to catch my breath.

9. Van Halen : 1984 The first time I saw the "Jump" video was on Friday Night Videos. I thought they were talking about "Junk." I thought David Lee Roth looked so cool because he was wearing these red bikini bottoms outside of his leather pants. And every time the camera would get a shot of Ed, he'd be smiling away and Dave would jump in front of him to hog the camera. Another where the cover was the coolest. I would just stare at that angel baby with the cigarettes. This one was a lot of fun for me. I remember having to correct another aunt of mine that the song was "Panama" and not "Ready To Run." I still never figured out where she got that.

10. Metallica: ...And Justice For All I approached Metallica late in junior high school with caution. This was supposed to be heavy metal music. Heavy. "One" had come out and was the toast of MTV. I picked up the tape on sale at the mall. I put it on and "Blackened" took off. These guys defined the next two years of my life. I saw them twice in concert and they were my favorite live act. I know they made better records, but this was the one. I learned all about what epic was from Metallica.

* This is where I'd like to publicly thank my parents for not putting me in a shell and letting me listen to whatever I wanted. When I heard the lyrics to "Plaster Caster" in college, I was shocked that they let me listen to this stuff when I was kid. I do not recommend this for every parent, but I assure you, I didn't eat babies or become a deviant in my juvenile years.

Copyright 15 Oct 2002 We Like Media.
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