I turned the big six zero yesterday and I have no idea how that happened. I am a quintessential baby boomer, a part of the Woodstock generation, flower power, and The Vietnam War. I saw Hendrix and the original Who live and bought Sgt. Peppers and the Pet Sounds album off the shelf at my local record store. My children and now my grandchildren find my record collecting obsession to be both odd and a little amusing but no one wants the collection after I’m gone. I find it a little depressing that musicians who have been a part of my life for decades are now passing away not from addictions or accidents but from natural causes.
I bought and paid for my first record album in 1964. I have been trying to think of which albums have spent the most time on my turntable or in my disc machine but that has proven to be an impossible task, so I have settled for the twelve that have received regular play during the past several years and are currently essential for me at sixty.
1) All Summer Long by The Beach Boys. This may actually be the album I have played the most during my lifetime. It was the sixth studio album by the Beach Boys and can be considered Brian Wilson’s first full sophisticated production epic. It is a concept album and a grand ode to summer. “I Get Around,” “All Summer Long,” “Little Honda,” “Girls On The Beach,” “Drive In” and “Don’t Back Down” are a part of the idyllic and endless summer of my youth and at sixty that’s not a bad place to visit every once in awhile.
2) Beatles 65 by The Beatles. I respect such Beatles releases as Sgt. Peppers, Rubber Soul, and Revolver but lately I have actually been listening to this album. Maybe simple is better. I am still enthralled every time I hear George Harrison’s guitar sound that opens “I Feel Fine.” The rest is smooth rock ‘n’ roll at its best. “I’m A Loser,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” “Baby’s In Black,” and “Honey Don’t” may not be the most creative music The Beatles ever produced but it is among the most listenable.
3) Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan. Dylan had gone electric and the resulting sound, textures, depth, and lyrics of this album have fascinated me for years. “Like A Rolling Stone” alone makes it a keeper. Rolling Stone Magazine would rank it as the greatest song of all time. When you add “Desolation Row,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry,” and more it all adds up to years of thoughtful listening.