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Best album made before 1980

Discussion in 'Music' started by rmszero, Apr 2, 2002.
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  1. RMSzero
    Assume you meet someone who has never heard any music before 1980, and wants to know what he's missed. What album would you play for him first? Classical/jazz/rock/whatever. Anything that's music is fair game.
  2. cajunchrist
    hello RMSzero:

    That's a very restrictive requirement, but it makes the question challenging. Which to play first?

    I'd have to say something by the Beatles. They more than any artists defined what pop music would become for the rock era. They have an immensley varied catalog, so it's hard to pin down one album. Sgt. Pepper's would be my recommendation.
  3. sd jones
    Also The Beatles, probably "Revolver" though. Pre-80's is easy...any Beatles, Cream, or Dylan LP would do. Wait, that's just rock, jazz is another story. More difficult would be post 1980...that would take some thought on my part.
  4. coolvij

    A Love Supreme by Trane

    It's the album that brought spirituality into jazz - and kept in accessible to most ears.....
  5. zowie
    Great topic!

    Cream, Dylan? Nah. The guy'd have heard plenty of similar stuff recorded after 1980 including by former members of Cream and by Dylan so what' s the point of that?

    The Beatles aren't a bad choice, but as with most important rock n roll, it's less important if it's not in its social context.

    The Coltrane suggestion is pretty good, although I think the jazz album I'd play first is Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy, and the next a major Ellington work.

    Another choice would be one of Sinatra's Capitol albums, hard to pick which one, maybe In the Wee Small Hours. (yes, he could have heard Frank after 1980 too, but that's not the same thing).

    I don't know if this is cheating, but for Rock 'n' Roll, I'd play one of the New World Records albums that came out in 1976 that compiles it's r & b and jump roots from the 40s- 50s.

    And maybe I'd play the West Side Story original broadway cast.
  6. coolvij
    zowie: Maybe the Sinatra-Basie album? It would seem to capture some history.....nice performance, too [​IMG]
  7. zowie

    Originally posted by coolvij
    zowie: Maybe the Sinatra-Basie album? It would seem to capture some history.....nice performance, too [​IMG]

    Yeah, all three Sinatra/Basie albums are great!
  8. coolvij

    I only have one! Thx for the info.... [​IMG]
  9. gloco
    Buddy Holly?
  10. slindeman
    Here are some good pre-80's genre introduction albums, ones I consider easy to get into:

    Classical - Beethoven's 5th symphony
    Vocal - Ella Fitzgerald Best of the Songbooks
    Jazz - Dave Brubeck Time Out
    World - Getz/Gilberto
    Pop/Rock - Beatles
    Electronic - Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express
    Soundtrack - Star Wars

    If I had to pick one it would be Beethoven.
  11. carlo
    If I met someone that deprived, I'd give them a hug and play the following three albums (yes, three, and no, they can't leave until they're all finished):

    Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
    a)It's social commentary.
    b)Pretty much life, and what goes along with it, on a douple LP (or CD) set.
    c)Pure musical genius.
    d)One of the top two or three most sampled albums ever.

    Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
    a)War, disillisionment, laughing out loud, love lost.
    b)Some of Bob's most honest, raw work.
    c)His stuff from the 80's on (and in a way, afterwards) doesn't compare.

    Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced? (over Electric Ladyland, tough call)
    a)The sound for a generation(s).
    b)Emotion, goosebumps, the feeling of a talent lost.

    I'm more inclined to play music that helped definie generations... not that Jazz and Classical hasn't done that, but for me personally, the above three albums opened my eyes to a lot of things.
  12. mbriant Administrator
    Something by Cat Stevens.

    Tommy, The Who.

    Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones
  13. Dee Formed
    Do I have to take into consideration that anyone who hasn't heard anything before 1980 might well not like a good chunk of any of these suggestions, which I think are mostly good?

    Due to the variety of styles I have to believe that the Beatles' White Album is probably the best choice. I'd give that the nod over the Stones' Exile On Main Street. What about some of the amazing box sets that chronicle the music of the past that have come out in recent years? There are plenty of R&B boxes, classic rock boxes, etc. I happen to prefer the label-based collections rather than the ones that chronicle individual bands or artists, and even more so in terms of answering a question like this.

    As for jazz, I think that there is a spiritual element to Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue, which came a few years before the admittedly more concept-like A Love Supreme. Much as I love ALS, I have fairly idiosyncratic tastes when it comes to jazz & while KOB would certainly be the first jazz recommendation I'd make, I'm afraid I'd have to give Blue Train the nod over ALS. I think ALS is best heard after absorbing Giant Steps & especially My Favorite Things. I believe that adds a context that masks some of the odder moments that are to be heard in ALS. I don't mind the moments I'm characterizing as odd, and they're not necessarily 'odd' to me personally, but I use that word because even to jazz fans who are big fans of most of the more common forms explored prior to the most-serious experimentation of the 1960s, there are moments that are counter in one way or another to the perceptions of many with regard to jazz music in general on that record.

    As for Frank Sinatra, I'd say Songs for Swingin' Lovers. Like my other choices, I know it's obvious. But sometimes obvious choices make sense, and are choices that are made for a reason. I think this is one of those records.

    But all this aside, I might just have to cast a vote for Iggy & The Stooges' Raw Power. For some reason, given the question, I'd put that record before any by my punk rock heroes of the 70s (& prior), and it might just be a strong #2 to my initial recommendation of the White Album, which I feel has to stand. And then there's Quadrophenia. And then there's the early Led Zep albums. And then there's the Beach Boys (Smile, a well-constructed boot version, that is, over Pet Sounds). And then there's the Velvet Underground. And then there's Elvis Presley. And Elvis Costello. And James Brown. And Wynonie Harris. And Louis Prima. And Tom Waits. And Howlin' Wolf. And Big Joe Turner. And Chet Baker. And the Ramones. And Big Star. And Ray Charles. And Dylan, of course. And Roxy Music. And Ellington. And Armstrong. And Bille Holiday. And and and.....
  14. BenG
    Trane Quartet - Live at the Village Vanguard 1961: Complete Recordings.
  15. Dusty Chalk Contributor
    My favourite albums of all time are pre-1980 -- two-way tie: Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here & Animals.

    Maybe not the best introduction to someone who was born in 1980 (yes, I've been through exactly this), but...come on! One album is just not enough! I couldn't reduce it down to just one...

    (I know I've posted the following story a hundred times, so feel free to read past. It's the one about the fictitious double-album.)

    For a while, they had most of the material for Animals written, before they released Wish You Were Here. They were considering trying to make it a double album. But time and commercial constraints made them release Wish You Were Here as a single album. (They had already wasted two years on an experiment in which all the music was made on "found items" -- rubber bands, etc. What resulted was two minutes worth of music, so the idea was scrapped.)

    So, if possible, I would list that double album as my favourite album of all time.

    But...it really doesn't make sense to me -- Wish You Were Here and Animals have two entirely different -- and, dare I say it, disparate -- themes, and I'm not sure I can imagine the album. So the idea may have also been scrapped for artistic reasons.
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