There was a question on Quora asking for people’s top 5 rock albums. What an inane question! How can anyone pick just five? So I decided to do it anyway.
First, some guidelines. I am not going to get into the definition of what is “rock.” I hear this every year when an ABBA, Nina Simone, or Joan Baez enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nor will I address the “best” albums because “best” has become an increasingly elusive term for me.
I could have picked Blue by either Miles Davis or Joni Mitchell, Who’s Next, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, Abraxas by Santana, k.d. lang’s Ingenue, or approximately a zillion more, including at least three by Stevie Wonder.
I’m not selecting a greatest hits album; Sly and the Family Stone would otherwise be on the podium. There are no soundtracks, Broadway cast albums or compilations, so no The Harder They Come, Hamilton, or West Side Story. And if I do this in five years, three of these might be different.
I decided on three of these because they are so eclectic.
Spike – Elvis Costello, which I mentioned back in 2009 in my 25 most influential albums. The All Music review calls it “maddeningly diffuse.” Its diffuseness may be why I like it because I don’t find it maddening at all.
Revolver – The Beatles. I picked this one over other Beatles albums because I hate Run For Your Life (Rubber Soul). Abbey Road has Octopus’s Garden, which is too much in the Yellow Submarine vein. I may as well pick the album with Yellow Sub. It’s not my favorite song, but it fascinated me because the single, in the last verse, has “As we live a life of ease (a life of ease),” but the echo doesn’t happen on the album version I had.
The 2012 post has lots of bad links.
Still Crazy After All These Years – Paul Simon. As I noted here in 2016. “Inextricably tied to the Okie in my mind.”
Peter Gabriel (melt)- Peter Gabriel. I mentioned Gabriel in 2011 and 2020. In this post, also from 2020, I listed my favorite Gabriel songs, and the links still work! The ones from Melt have a 3 after the title because they are on the third eponymous PG album.