There was a Facebook activity where people would post a photo of an album they liked for a ten day period. Each day, they would tag another person to also join the event, so in a short period of time, opening Facebook was an exercise in seeing people’s favorite albums. There were no explanations, just a photo of the album cover. For baby boomers, just another homespun activity to remember the good ol’ days.
In this video, I compiled a list of ten albums, and then post in one day. I had obtained the licensing for each piece, and then straight into practice sessions to apply my piano. Here is my list:
Vincent, Don McLean, album American Pie (1971). My favorite Don McLean song by far (American Pie smashed the charts, but can be nauseating tropes) , yet Vincent stands out as one of his greatest songwriting achievements.
21st Century Schizoid Man, King Crimson, album In The Court of the Crimson King (1969). This landmark album ushered in progressive rock, culminating in jazz influences throughout the album.
Dreamin’ Again. Jim Croce. From the album The Life & Times of Jim Croce (1973). Singer/Songwriter Jim Croce had several albums in the early 70s, and a slew of top-ten hits. Sadly, his life ended in September of ’73 in a plane crash in Louisiana. Dreamin’ Again has a wonderful melody, terrific songwriting by Croce.
Stage Fright, Bob Dylan and The Band. From the album Before the Flood (1974). A tour-de-force double-live album with Bob Dylan and The Band. Dylan was booed onstage by some at the Newport (R.I) folk festival in July 1965, when he appeared (along with The Band) and electrified his acoustic folk work. Stage Fright, written by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, is sung by bassist Rick Danko.
Sam Stone, John Prine self-titled album (1971). Singer/Songwriter John Prine had a unique way of depicting normal life, and in Sam Stone, smartly illustrates the return of a Vietnam-era soldier, who turned to heroin, unable to cope with with society.
Rocket Man, Elton John, Honkey Château (1971). Incredible amount of creativity from Elton John, along with his writing partner Bernie Taupin. Honkey Château was the first number one album in his career, and he had five more number one albums in the 70s.
Hymn to Freedom, Oscar Peterson Trio, Night Train (1964). Canadian-born jazz pianist Oscar Peterson wrote Hymn to Freedom in 1962, as a result of the Civil Rights movement occurring in the U.S. Peterson was masterful in his piano technique, and performed for over sixty years.
Blues for Baby and Me, Elton John, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player (1972). I find this John/Taupin piece to be quintessential of Elton John. The chorus is pure genius.
The Great Gates of Kiev, Pictures of an Exhibition, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1971). Recorded live in England, Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is rocked-up by ELP. Greg Lake’s lyrics provide a stunning visual for this final piece of Pictures at an Exhibition:
Come forth, from love’s fire
In the burning, all are [of our] yearning
For life to be
And in pain there will [must] be gain
In the burning all are [of our] yearning
For life to be
There’s no end to my life
No beginning to my death:
Death is life!
Honeysuckle Honey, Country Casanova, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen (1973). Commander Cody’s claim to fame was their only top-ten hit Hot Rod Lincoln, and I like their Tex-Mex, Country-Western mix of tunes in this album. Honeysuckle Honey is the perfect song for lazy summer afternoons.