527 Essential Albums in Alphabetical Order.

Below I have listed 527 absolutely essential albums.

Just because something does not appear in the list below does not automatically mean I do not like it. I have a collection of some thirty thousand albums. Cutting it down to 527 was immensely difficult. I’ve probably missed a few out that I love.

You won’t find any Gram Parsons, Queen, or Smiths in there though – because I don’t like them!

Everyone has their own taste.

This list is biased towards the 50s, 60s and 70s because that was when it was best – before the Big Labels sanitised it to death with production and playing safe!

Why not have a browse through and tell me what I’ve missed?


AC/DC Albert King Al Stewart
For those about to Rock Born under a bad sign Love Chronicles

Zero she flies

Angelic Upstarts Aretha Franklin Arlo Guthrie
Angel dust Respect Alice’s Restaurant
Arthur Alexander Arthur Brown Band
Greatest hits Fire Music from Big PinkThe Band
Beach Boys Beatles Bert Jansch
Pet Sounds White albumSrgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts-club BandLet it be

Please Please Me


With the

Abbey Road

Rubber Soul


A hard day’s night



Beatles for sale

It don’t bother meBert Jansch
Bessie Smith Big Bother & the Holding Company Big Mama Thornton
Blue spirit blues Cheap Thrills The original hound dog
Billy Boy Arnold Billy Bragg Black Sabbath
I wish you would Brewing up withMermaid AveBack to basics


We sold our soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Black Uhuru Blondie Blue Cheer
Liberation Denis Summertime Blues
Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bo Carter
Bringing it all back homeThe times they are a changingHighway 61 revisitedBlonde on BlondeAnother side of

Planet Waves



Blood on the tracks

Time out of mind


ExodusRastaman Vibration

Catch a fire






Banana in your fruit basket
Bonzo Dod Doo-Dah Band Bo Diddley Booker T & the MGs
A dog’s body Bo’s big 20Bo’s a gunslingerHey Bo DiddleyBo Diddley  Green Onions
Bruce Springsteen Buddy Guy Buddy Holly
The RiverDarkness at the edge of Town Damn Right I got the Blues Memorial AlbumMemorial Album Vol 2Chirping CricketsReminiscingThat’ll be the day


Buffalo Springsteen Buffy St Marie Byrds
Buffalo Springfield Native North American Indian Child – an Odyssey Notorious Byrd Brothers5th DimensionYounger than yesterdayMr Tambourine man 
Canned Heat Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band Carl Perkins
Boogie with Canned Heat Lick my decals offTrout Mask ReplicaSpotlight kidClear spotDrop out Boogie/Safe as Milk

Ice Cream for Crow

Doc at the Radar

Bat chain puller

Strictly Personal

Shiny Beast


Boppin’ Blue Suede Shoes
Chicken Shack Chuck Berry Clash
40 fiongers, freshly packed and ready to serve On StageMoreChuck BerryAfter school sessionIs on topOne dozen berries


London callingSandinistaCombat RockThe Clash
Cliff Richard & Shadows Coasters Country Joe & the Fish
Cliff Coasters Electric Music for the body & mindFeel like I’m fixin’ to die
Cowfish Cramps Cream
Aplacetofolkin A date with Elvis Disreali gearsWheels of fireGoodbye
Creedence Clearwater Revival Crosby Stills Nash & Young Crystals
Green River Four Way StreetDéjà vuCarry on Best of
Dale Hawkins David Crosby David Gray
Suzie Q If I could only remember my name White ladderA century ends 
Dead Kennedys Deep Purple Devo
Fresh fruitPlastic Surgery DisasterIn God we Trust inc.Give me convenience or give me death  Smoke on the water Q- Are we not men? A – We are Devo
Dick Dale Desmond Dekker Dire Straits
Surfers’ choice Isrealites Dire StraitsAlchemyMoney for Nothing
Doctor’s of Madness Dillinger Don & Dewey
Late night movies All night brainstorms Dillinger Jungle Hop
Donovan Dominoes Downliners Sect
Sunshine SupermanFairy taleSutrasCatch the WindOpen Road


Sixty Minute man Downliners Sect
Dr Feelgood Doors Dr John
Down at the jettyMalpracticeStupiditySneakin’ SuspicionBe Seeing you

Private practice


Strange daysAbsolutely liveDoorsMorrison HotelWaiting for the sun

Soft parade

LA Woman


Gris grisZu Zu ManAnutha Zone
Duster Bennett Drifters Eddie Cochran
Complete Blue Horizon Under the boardwalk Memorial album
Eddie Floyd Edgar Broughton Band Elmore James
Knock on Wood Wasa Wasa King of the slide guitar
Elvis Costello Eels Esquirita
Armed ForcesThis year’s modelGet happyMy aim is trueSpike

Punch the clock


Daisies of the galaxyMeet the EelsElectro-shock bluesWonderful Glorious  Believe me when I say Rock ‘n’ Roll is here to stay
Everly Brothers Elvis Presley Fall
The fabulous style of the Everly BrothersEverly Brothers Sun recordingsElvis PresleyElvisA date with Elvis Slates50,000 Fans can’t be wrongRebellious JukeboxHex Enduction Hour 
Family Fairport Convention Fela Kouti
Family entertainment What we did on our holidaysUnhalfbrickingLiege & Leaf Zombie
Fleetwood Mac Fats Domino Free
Fleetwood MacBlue Horizon SessionsMr WonderfulThen Play onLive in Boston  The Fat man sings Free StoryFire & WaterLive
Fugs Fred McDowell George Harrison
Belle of Avenue AIt crawled into my hand honestFugs first albumGolden filthFugs 2nd album


Shake ‘em on down All things must passLiving in the material world
George Thorogood Gang of Four Grateful Dead
Bad to the bone EntertainmentA brief History of the twentieth centurySongs for the freeReturn the gift  American BeautyBlues for AllahLive/Dead
Hank Williams Gil Scott Heron Hound Dog Taylor
40 greatest hits ReflectionsSmall talk at 125th and Lenox Natural boogie
Howlin’ Wolf Hawkwind Ian Dury
Moanin’ in the moonlightHowlin Wolf HawkwindX In Search of Space New boots & pantiesJuke Box DuryDo it yourself
Ian Siegal Huey ‘Piano’ Smith Incredible String Band
Meat & Potatoes Having a good time Wee Tam & the big HugeHangman’s beautiful daughterChanging HorsesI looked up 
Inex & Charlie Foxx Iggy Pop James Brown
Mocking Bird Raw PowerLust for life The wonderful world of James Brown
James Taylor Jackson C Frank Janis Joplin
Fire and rain Blues run the game I got dem old Kosmic blues againPearl
Jeff Beck James Varda Jerry Lee Lewis
Truth Hunger Great balls of fire
Jethro Tull Jefferson Airplane Jimmie Rodgers
This was Surrealistic pillowVolunteersAfter bathing at Baxter’sCrown of Creation  Best of
Jimmy Reed Jimi Hendrix Joan Baez
Bright Lights Big City Electric LadylandAxis bold as loveJimi Hendrix ExperienceLive at MontereyConcerts

Rainbow Bridge

Smash hits


Farewell Angelina
Joe Tex JJ Cale John Lee Hooker
Greatest hits NaturallyOkie I’m John Lee Hooker
John Lennon John Cooper Clarke Johnny Kidd & the Pirates
ImaginePlastic Ono BandShaved fish Snap Crackle and Pop Memorial album
John Renbourn John Mayall Juicy Lucy
Another Monday John Mayall plays John MayallBluesbreakers Lie back and enjoy it
Junior Kimborough Joni Mitchell Ken Nordine
Sad days lonely nights BlueLadies of the canyonBig yellow taxiSongs of a Prairie girlMingus


Son of Word Jazz
Kenny Brown Keith Cross & Peter Ross King Crimson
Going back to Mississippi Bored civilians The concise King Crimson
Kinks Killing Joke Last Poets
KinksKink Kontroversy Killing Joke The real rap
Larry Williams Kokomo Arnold Lee Dorsey
At his finest Bottleneck guitar Ride your pony
Leonard Cohen Led Zeppelin Lee Scratch Perry
I’m your manSongs from a roomLeonard CohenSongs of love and hateVarious positions

Songs from the road

Live in London


Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin 2Led Zeppelin 3Led Zeppelin 4Physical Graffitti Time boom and de devil dead
Linton Kwesi Johnson Leon Rosselson Lightnin’ Hopkins
Dread, Beat & BloodForces of victoryBass culture The world turned upside down Lightnin’ Strikes
Loudon Wainwright Little Richard Little Walter
School daysAlbum 2A live oneCharlie Poole Project  Here’s Little RichardLittle Richard vol 2 Little Walter
Lovin’ Spoonful Lou Reed Love
Greatest hits TransformerSally can’t dance Forever ChangesDa CapoLove
Marvin Gaye Malvina Reynolds Marianne Faithful
What’s going on? Sings the truth Broken English
Meters MC5 Merseybeat – This is Merseybeat
Cissy strut Kick out the jams Compilation
Miracles Michael Smith Mimi & Ricahard Farina
Cookin’ with the Miracles Mi Cy-aan Believe it Celebration for a grey day
Motorhead Mose Allison Mothers of Invention
No sleep til Hammersmith Original Jazz Classics We’re only in it for the moneyFreak outBongo furyHave I offended someone?Hot rats



Nice Muddy Waters Neil Young
Thoughts of Emmerlist Davjack Chess mastersHard againI’m Ready HarvestAmerican stars and barsComes a timeRust never sleepsZuma

Everybody knows this is nowhere


Living with war


Nico Nick Drake Nick Harper
Chelsea Girls Bryter Layter5 Leaves Left Light at the end of the kennelSeedSmithereensBlood songsMiracles for beginners



North Mississippi Allstars Nina Simone Nirvana
Do it like we used toShake hands with Shorty Young, gifted and black Smells like Teen SpiritIn uteroBleachIncesticideUnplugged in New York


Oasis Nuggets NWA
(What’s the story) Morning Glory? Compilation Straight outa Compton
Patti Smith Otis Redding Paramounts
EasterHorses BlueDictionary of soul Whiter shades of R&B
Phil Ochs Paul Simon Pebbles Vol.3 The Acid Gallery
A toast for those who are goneI ain’t marching anymoreIn concertGreatest hitsThere & Now – Live in Vancouver

Tape from California

The pleasures of the harbour

Paul Simon song bookGracelandThere goes Rhymin’ SimonStill crazy after all these years Compilation
Pogues Pink Floyd PJ Harvey
Rum, Sodomy & the LashIf I should fall from Grace with GodRed Roses for Me Wish you were herePiper at the gates of dawnDark side of the moonSaucer full of secretsThe Wall


Rid of meDry
Prince Buster Pretenders Pretty Things
Fabulous greatest hits Don’t get me wrong Get the picture
Pulp Professor Longhair Public Enemy
Different Class Rock ‘n’ Roll Gumbo It takes a nation of millions to hold us back
Randy Newman Quicksilver Messenger Service Ramones
Good ole boysLittle criminalsLonely at the top Happy Trails Leave home
Richard Hell Ray Charles Red Guitars
Blank Generation In person Slow to fade
Robert Johnson Ritchie Havens RL Burnside
King of the Delta blues singers Richard P Havens 1983Something else again Burnside on Burnside
Rory Gallagher Rolling Stones Ronettes
Live in Ireland Exile on MainstreetRolling StonesRolling Stones No. 2Get your Yay-Yas out40 Licks

Let it Bleed

Goats Head soup

Their Satanic Majesties Request

Beggar’s Banquet


Da Doo Ron Ron
Rufus Wainwright Roy Harper Roy Orbison
Poses StormcockHQLifemaskFlat Baroque and BerserkFolkjokeopus

Come out Fighting Ghenghis Smith

Flashes from the archives of oblivion


Live in Les Cousins

Unknown Soldier


Golden Days
Sam & Dave Ruts Ry Cooder
Soul man London Burning BorderlineChicken skin musicParadise & LunchGet Rhythm 
Screaming lord Sutch Sam Cooke Screaming Jay Hawkins
Jack the Ripper Portrait of a legend Cow fingers and Mosquito PiePortrait of a man
Shadows Searchers Sex Pistols
Greatest hits Pye Anthology Never mind the bollocks
Slim Harpo Simon & Garfunkel Smallfaces
Best of Book endsParsley Sage Rosemary & TimeBridge over troubled water Anthology
Sonny Boy Williamson 2 Snooks Eaglin Son House
Bring it on homeDown & out Blues Country boy Death letter blues
Squeeze Spencer Davis Spirit
Singles 45’s & UnderSqueeze I’m a man Spirit
Stephen Stills Status Quo Steel Pulse
Stephen StillsStephen Stills 2 12 Gold Bars Handsworth Revolution
Stiff Little Fingers Steppenwolf Steve Earle
Inflammable materialNobody’s Heroes Born to be wild Copperhead Road
Sun Rockabilly Stone Roses Stranglers
Compilation The Stone Roses Rattus norvegicus
Talking Heads Syd Barrett T2
Stop talkingSand in the vaseline BarrettThe Madcap Laughs It’ll all work out in Boomland
Tinariwen Taste Them
Water is life Best of Them
Tomorrow Tom Robinson Band Tommy Tucker
Tomorrow Power in the darkness Hi Heeled Sneakers
Townes Van Zandt Tom Waits Tone loc
Texas Troubador SwordfishTrombonesSmall change Loc-ed after dark
Undertones Tracy Chapman Traffic
Teenage kicks Tracy Chapman TrafficDear Mr Fantasy
Wayne/Jayne County Van Morrison Velvet Underground
Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleopatra Hard nose the highwayAstral weeksMoondance Velvet Underground with NicoVelvet UndergroundWhite heat- White light
Wilco White Stripes Who
Being there De StiljWhite blood cellsWhite Stripes Who’s nextLive at LeedsMeaty Beaty Big & BouncyMy GenerationTommy


Wreckless Eric Wilson Pickett Woody Guthrie
Whole Wide WorldGreatest Stiffs In the Midnight hour Dust Bowl BalladsColombia River Collection
Yardbirds ZZ Top  
Roger the engineerOver under sideways down Six Pack

Rock music has informed my life. It still does.

I have written a number of books on Rock Music and Roy Harper. If you want to find out more about them you should go to the books section and look up Rock Music there.

This is a list of my favourite Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae and Country artists so you can get an idea where I am coming from:

Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Bob Dylan, Nick Harper, Doors, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Country Joe and the Fish, Eels, R L Burnside, Woody Guthrie, Jake Bugg, Billy Bragg, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard, Cream, Tinariwen, Junior Kimbrough, Son House, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Traffic, Velvet Underground, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Bert Jansch, White Stripes, Stiff Little Fingers, Sex Pistols, PJ Harvey, Stone Roses, Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Stones, Who, Pretty Things, John Renbourn, Howlin’ Wolf, Free, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac (Blues), Band, Arthur Brown, Pogues, John Lennon, George Harrison, Lee Scratch Perry, Buddy Guy, T-Model Ford, Bob Marley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Larry Williams, Arthur Brown, Love, Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, Stephen Stills, Byrds, Fugs, Jerry Lee Lewis, Arthur Alexander, Stranglers, Clash, Tommy Tucker, Booker T & the MGs, Meters, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Joe Tex, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Cochran, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Bo Carter, Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, North Mississippi Allstars, Phil Ochs, Slim Harpo, Lonesome Sundown, Lazy Lester, Them, Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Ken Nordine, James Varda, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Devo, Ruts, Buzzcocks, Cramps, Jeff Beck, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Janis Joplin, Kinks, Fall, Everly Brothers, Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Tom Waits, Bessie Smith, Mose Allison, Loudon Wainwright, Chuck Berry, Gil Scott Heron, Elmore James, Gang of Four, Jimmie Rodgers, Doc Boggs, Billy Lee Riley, Doctors of Madness, Magic Band, Hawkwind, Deep Purple, Leonard Cohen, Incredible String Band, Ry Cooder, J J Cale, Townes Van Zandt, Red Guitars and a few thousand more………

What I detest is:

Muzac, cover bands, tribute bands, bland commercial over-produced rubbish, Pop, anything to do with Simon Cowell, Britain/America’s got talent, as well as Queen, Smiths, Gram Parsons, and Abba.

But Hey – everyone is different! I’ll respect your tastes! As long as we keep it real. It wouldn’t do for us all to like the same things, would it?

‘in search of Captain Beefheart’ and ‘intergalactic Rockstar – Starturn’ now available at Amazon.

Steve Froy thought I should say something about the various people I likeSo blame him!

Roy Harper

I first heard Roy Harper in 1967 when I was a mere lad of eighteen. I caught him in Les Cousins sandwiched between Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. I really like Bert & John but I felt an amazing affinity for Roy as soon as I heard him and Bert & John melted into insignificance. Listening to Roy was like looking in my own head. He was articulating my thoughts. I was smitten and I had to meet him. Well I did meet him and we’ve been friends ever since.

Roy is a highly creative person. He is a unique guitarist who carved out a totally new sound that is as far removed from acoustic Folk Music as you can get. He described himself as a one man Rock ‘n’ Roll band but he’s much more than that. What you get from Roy is a highly intelligent, inquisitive mind with a penchant for history and politics. Except Roy does not come at anything from the standard direction. He is not quirky; he is different. He is perceptive and applies his intelligence and unique perspective to everything he touches.

Roy is a poet who carves words into multi-layered epics full of insight and social observation in a way nobody else has ever done. His long songs are so full of vitriol, bile and barbs that some people find him hard to take. Roy is never easy listening. His love songs are achingly beautiful. His music is complex and incorporates jazz chords and changes. His voice can range from fierce to hauntingly beautiful. His musicianship is brilliant. When Roy is speaking there is usually something worth listening to. Everything about Roy engages the brain as well as the ears and heart. I enjoy listening to him talk and rant as much as play, although, sadly, many people don’t.

As far as I am concerned Roy is the full package. He has everything and is the greatest songwriter/singer to have come out of Britain. No one else comes close.

I have seen Roy play hundreds of times and never get bored. He should have been enormous but, like many other artists, always sabotaged his own career whenever he started heading for the big time.

It is a shame he can be such a cantankerous individual and piss people off!

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band

They are undoubtedly the most original and extraordinary Rock Band there has ever been. The music is so unique and complex that you can never get bored with it and yet it is accessible and rocks. The lyrics are poems which are like nothing you have ever heard. The poems and music blend to create something that is indescribably brilliant.

The drumming and bass drive the band and provide a base for the guitars to weave in and out of each other. At first hearing it appears discordant but it isn’t; once your ears have acclimatised you find that it is intricate and fluid. It is like bird flight or a human running full pelt down a hill; always on the cusp of crashing into disorder and yet holding it together to create something exceptional. I even love the way the saxophone wails and shrieks. It is like nothing else.

The sensibilities are ecologically founded, social concern and some politics.

There is a general weirdness to it because both the lyrics and music are so extraordinary. Nobody has heard anything quite like it.

Then there is Don’s voice which is the most powerful weapon in Rock Music. It can roar.

The musicianship has been fantastic throughout the bands many incarnations (with the exception of the mid 1970’s Tragic Band) and they all exude the Beefheart magic. This is true right up to the present day – the incredible Magic Band are still producing the sound and doing justice to the music even though Captain Beefheart is no longer with us. I still marvel at talents like Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Denny ‘Feelers Rebo’ Walley, Winged Eel Fingerling, Gary Lucas, Drumbo and the latest extraordinary Eric Klerks.

I first saw them in Middle Earth in 1968. I was at the fantastic Rainbow show in 1973 and they have been a favourite of mine throughout. I caught the Magic Band twice last week and I’m still knocked out by their power, skill and the brilliance and originality of their songs and lyrics.


94 thoughts on “Rock Music

  1. Few women = evidence of misogyny. No Bowie – you can’t be serious!! What’s Bored Civilians doing in there – it’s pap? What about Lorraine Ellison “Stay with Me”, Laura Nyro “New York Tendaberry”, Peggy Lee, Sugar Pie De Santo, Mary J. Blige. MeatLoaf “Bat out of Hell” – must be 1 of the greatest true rock albums ever. Ok you don’t like Queen but you must concede Freddie Mercury was 1 of the greatest rock singers and front men ever & Brian May is an outstanding guitarist.

  2. Aw come on!! With 537 there must be one that you like!
    Just because I tend to prefer the sound of male voices doesn’t make me misogynistic. Besides I’ve got quite a few females in there – Janis, Grace, Joan, Joni, Sandy, Big Mama ……… I never really liked Bowie – I thought he was pretentious (I did put a Bowie in though) and Meatloaf was too Pop for me. The ladies you mention are OK but don’t make my essential list. As for Queen – well I didn’t say they weren’t slick. I said I didn’t like them. Bored Civilians is in there because I liked it. Everyone to their own taste!
    I lived through it all, am a fanatic and have backed my judgement with sound reasoning. It’s all down to personal preference in the end. The fun is in hearing why someone thinks that an album is brilliant and indispensable. That’s worth thinking about. You never know – you might find stuff in there that you haven’t heard and give it a go and love it!
    Merry Solstice Bede – may your days get longer! Have a great New Year. All my love to you and yours from me and mine!

  3. I like most of the stuff in your list & even the stuff I feel indifferent about I can listen to is I had another 100 years left to live!! Bored Civilians is “pop”. The Beatles together were essentially “pop”. Where do you draw the line? To me it’s just music & lyrics – some good, some bad & some indifferent. Even the song you wrote “I’m somethingthing – buzzing?” is music although not to my taste. I just had another glance. Tina Turner’s not in there – unbelievable for one of the greatest rock singers & performers of all time.

    1. It’s all a matter of taste and interpretation. I think the fascination is to hear why someone else thinks that something is worthy. I like a lot of Pop and have included it. It’s impossible to classify which is why there’s Blues, Folk, Pop, Soul and R&B liberally scattered throughout. Some of the Beatles stuff was Pop and some wasn’t. It was all brilliant though. I think that it’s down to the sensibilities. I like Tina. She’s a great performer. Some of the stuff with Ike was seminal R&B. As a solo star she was a great performer with some great songs, a bit too mainstream and patchy for me. I’d consider putting her in though! There are always people popping into my head that I’ve missed out. The list you looked at was short of ten. The second half of the book may have a few others added in. I’ll throw some extras in to make up the weight!! Keep coming up with the suggestions and I’ll consider them!

  4. U2 – early albums were all rock & also contained much social comment, right up your Harper Street. Curtis Mayfield, Del Shannon, Muse, Spirit, Spiritualised, The Strypes, Joe Cocker. Choose 1 album per artist instead of flooding the biased list with your favorites

  5. Yeah. Unfortunately Bono gets on my nerves. I have those U2 albums but I never really got into them. Joe Cocker did a few really good interpretations and the Grease Band were good but still does not make my top 537 essentials. I liked Del Shannon but those others did not do it for me. Curtis Mayfield is a genius but I don’t play his stuff at all. He doesn’t appeal to my tastes.
    My tastes are extremely varied but very strong. I know when I like something and when I don’t. Hence you’ll see White Stripes but not Radiohead.
    I did consider limiting it to 1 album per person but that would have been a different book.
    What I was doing was my views on the top 537 essential albums and why. I’m not interested in who sold well or was popular or even if they were brilliant. Having spent a lifetime immersed in Rock Music I have my views on what is essential. They’re different to everyone elses. The interest is reading why I think the particular albums are so important. I know why I liked them or didn’t. My experience makes me an authority. I am discerning and idiosyncratic. My views have substance.

  6. What about the Moody Blues – “Days of Future Passed” (incl Nights in White Satin) and Yes “Relayer”? The Moody Blues were occasionally thought provoking, and Yes was rather “different”! Avante garde? Experimental? I’m not sure how to describe them but their music was complex in structure and therefore quite endearing once the “plot” was worked out! 🙂

    1. Yeah. The Moody Blues were good. I’ll add them in. I saw Yes a few times. They were good but not quite my cup of tea.
      I’ve just completed a book on a tribute to Rock Genius that I’m please with.
      I’m doing the Nick Harper Book at the moment but I will get on to the second half of the essential album soon. I love writing about why I think they’re great. It’s great having views on it isn’t it. That’s the fun. I’ll definitely add in the Moody Blues. That was a great album.
      Thanks for that and nice to hear from you. Best Wishes. Opher

      1. Moody Blues were a great pop band who rode the psychedelic wave from behind but didn’t believe any of it. I liked their music till I discovered the con, and now I cant listen. Pink Floyd were the real deal but the magnificent Moodies (thank you Jimmy) were just playing catch up.

      2. That is true. They were a bit phoney. But that first psychedelic album with the orchestration was still a great album. It was more Pop than Rock. Floyd were in a different class altogether.

  7. So I suppose Alan Parsons Project must have sounded like extreme pop to you? Yes, indeed, everyone is different. 🙂

    1. I quite liked the Alan Parson Project but I didn’t go nuts on them. You’re right – it wouldn’t do for everyone to like the same thing. Where’s the fun in that?

  8. Oh man, this list is just incredible! I’m listening to ‘Highway 61 Revisited as I write this and I feel validated by my love of different genres and styles of music. Whilst I a primarily a metalhead (and always will be! UP THE IRONS!), I’ve always tried to have an open ear.

    I was about 15 when I got my first guitar (an Argos classical ‘special’). I had a few basic lessons but found that repeatedly having to learn ‘Norwegian Wood’ drove me nuts. I had to go and find my own way. Understanding the instrument was my priority. I began to discover Blues because, for me at least, it seemed to be the natural direction. From it’s birth in the Delta to the English rebirth, then back to the hot Texas sound, this was where I needed to be. A friend told me that this was the best way to understand rock and metal guitar, too! “Learn the blues scales and speed ’em up!” was the mantra I was advised. It worked!

    Still, I was on a long road of discovery now. I had already fallen in love with John Lee Hooker, BB King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Green and countless others. Now it was time to move on and experiment. I wanted to understand what made acts like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Pink Floyd so special and so revered. I found something so magical in Dylan, Woody Guthrie, the Floyd, the Stones (not the Beatles, however. I guess most people would either be a Beatles or Stones fan?). My journey went on: Bruce Springsteen, John Martyn, Nick Drake (oh, how I love listening to ‘Five Leaves Left’), Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash. Creedence, Allman Brothers, Jonny WInters, Rory Gallagher, Charley Patton. From Blues to Country to Jazz and Folk, I tried to find every avenue and attempt to understand and appreciate the nuances of each style.

    For the longest time, however, it’s been Prog. Progressive Rock and it’s experimental nature drove me crazy! Like an audio trip that would never end! It was 1994 and Pink Floyd had just released ‘The Division Bell’. I remember being back in Ilford on a Saturday and using my pocket money to buy the cassette. A few days later, the family went across to Ireland for a holiday. I took that tape with me. To this day, that tape is in one piece! Countless times every day, I would play that album. On the drive to Pembroke. On the boat trip to Rosslare, across the Ring of Kerry and back home again. Packs of AA batteries drained, listening to this beautiful, immense experience. Once home, I DEMANDED that for Xmas my parents buy me ‘The Wall’ and ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. The rabbit-hole opened up and I never looked back. King Crimson, ELP, Goblin, The Nice and especially (but much later on) Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree.

    I’ve recently come back from a huge amount of time re-listening to every RUSH album and watching recordings of their live shows. Why Rush, you might ask? They are the only act that consistently give this warm, cozy feeling deep in my consciousness. Like a big mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. They elicit something so comforting and welcoming. For me, I doubt there will ever be a band that will hold such significance in my life.

    Opher. Your list has reminded me just why music is so important. It’s not just another art form, another avenue of expression. It is something central to the human condition. Those who listen to drivel, such as those you mention, will never understand it’s power and magnificence (although what’s wrong with The Smiths? 🙂 I’m no Indie-Shoegazer for sure, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Johnny Marr’s guitar work on those albums)

    I look around my man-cave. Amongst a vast collection of sci-fi and horror collectibles, books and comics; I am surrounded by my guitars and gear. Telecaster for Country. Strat and Les Paul for Blues. Classical for my Nick Drake moments, high-action acoustics for the Ry Cooder ones. Ibanez superstrats for going back to my first love of metal. A bass for my Geddy Lee passion. My mandolin and diddley-bow have a special place too. Whatever I listen to I want to play. My guitars are as diverse as my taste. That’s, for me, is where the magic of music lives.

    1. I see you are a kindred spirit. Music is the pulse of life. It is what gets me going. It has been the backdrop to the whole of my life, informing my ethos, philosophy and the way I live.
      As you can see I like a great variety but I don’t like it all. I like it raw and rocking and I like it moody and thought provoking.
      Highway 61 Revisited wasa revolutionary. That shook me and still does.
      Marr’s good but there’s something about the Smiths that I can’t get into. They don’t click. But what the hell. As long as we are passionate and are moved by it we don’t need the drivel, live in the drivel or become the drivel. Give me something that rocks any day!
      Thanks so much for your input. Nice to know there are people who care!

  9. Thanks Opher! Forgot to mention The Clash! Joe Strummer was (and still is) an idol for me. I’m obsessed with The Clash and The Mescaleros. Joe was the reason I wanted a Telecaster! It was his love of Woody Guthrie that made me want to seek Guthrie out for myself. For sure, he was never going to set the world alight as a player, but what that band did revolutionised Punk and Rock. The Pistol might have “invented” punk, but The Clash understood it’s true purpose and delivered the message with inventiveness and unbridled spirit.

  10. Hey Opher!

    My name is Lou Moss and I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now. I was wondering if you could give my debut single a shoutout? I just released a song called Needle’s Eye on iTunes, and I’m having trouble getting exposure.

    Thanks in advance, appreciate it!

    – Lou

      1. Like you, I’m really into ’60s and ’70s classic rock, so my song is a pretty gritty, slow-tempo guitar-heavy song. I also really like early Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the Head being my favorite) and so I think there’s some of that early Britpop era style in it too.

      2. For sure!
        That link will take you to my website where you can stream the song for free.

  11. Surprised but not amazed, no mention or fandom of Mark Knopfler? Saw him not long ago, and was reminded of his musicianship and songwriting abilities, fueled in part by his start as a writer/reporter (can’t remember which, but a Midlands paper). Many of his tunes are great stories, well told. Topically, he wrote great tunes about people from Henry Moore (In the Gallery, first dire straits LP) to McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc (Boom, Like That) and others, along with wonderful film soundtrack work. We did these lists many times on WB, this is another good one from you, cheers, eh?

    1. Cheers Jeff. Yes I am a fan of Mark Knopfler – but not massive. I love that guitar sound he created with Dire Straits, and, as you say, his song writing skills creating stories.

  12. Nice redo of your “favorites” table. Just outta the hospital (had a kidney infection that went sideways), came out to my library studio to play some guitar and drive my wife and neighbors crazy LOL). Don’t know really why, but got this urge, but all I could really play was an electric version of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark was the Night.” When all else fails, play Blues. 🙂 Last public playing outing was in a village taverna in the village near the farm we were staYing in in Italy. They had open mic nights, and “get that American up there and he’ll play some blues,” so finally did. like now, could only remember “Dark was the Night.” LOL Ah, music! Open D tune and go…

  13. Nope. haven’t put it up. My wife recorded it, but whole thing was lost when our “Europe” phone went over the side of a boat. It’s pinnacle material for Blues. I suppose a redo might be in order, but it was a neat little venue and perfect to perform it.

  14. Thanks for the encouragement, opher. Ask my wife re: phone. They wouldn’t stop the boat. Never ever take a “selfie” over the rail. LOL Lost Stone’s and Ric Well’s phone numbers, too. Major loss.

  15. Thanks. Still in touch with Stone via Linkedin. I could always get Linkedin to load when nothing else would. Great folks and country, Italy, but crappy and expensive connertivity

  16. With your nod to rap artists, are you familiar with “The Last Poets?” There’s a film about one of the members, bin Hassan. They were eyeopeners in ’67-8 along with Frank and MOI

      1. I believe “Scared of Revolution” is available on DVD. Worth a gander. Wow, full LP catalogue, eh? I shouldn’t be surprised. LOL I streamed it, BTW.

  17. Gee, here I am curating music for “the Big Project.” And rediscovered a favorite of mine, James Asher. Remarkable percussionist and recordist. Definitely world beat: Try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi4JFiqORAo, Shaman Drums is a good Asher introduction. “Send in the drums” is a fav of mine. As is “Seed in the Soil.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1c4hQ5EoD4&list=PL3A40854A8853C7B0 This music does have a desert context, and makes perfect musical sense listening to it in a desert environment. Had the pleasure of watching my cousin’s wife belly dance to Asher’s “Return to Eygpt’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBZApxfG7k4 on same trip to the Steppe area of this State (Washington State). Enjoy listening while reading opher’s World.

      1. Yup. It is “Big Didg.” Asher made didgeridoo a “prime instrument” in his work.

  18. Never thought of Asher as an editing soundtrack, but should try. A reminder to us as to how wonderfully faceted music is, eh?

  19. Wow, really? (Considers typing in time with Asher) I’ve been an Asher fan for a time, not necessarily “in time,” but love his beats. Will try that. Might try “Tigers of the Raj” or “Global” (both on Youtube).

  20. Well, Moody Blues music wasn’t SF acid rock, but the act and their crew were great to work with. For that alone will give them A+. Time for NYE drinking. LOL Let the Guinness flow!

  21. I trust everyone has recovered from NYE frolics and excess. Still having leftover vension and mushroom pie with home made cheesecake for desert accompanied with a good port. LOL Last night of “the Season.” But saddened to find out jazz guitarist John Ambercrombie passed away in 2017. Didn’t know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHsZ_-9442o

    1. That sounds quite idyllic Jeff. I piled on a few pounds and I haven’t even lost the pounds I put on the Christmas before!
      My resolution is to get fitter! I’ll have a determined effort in March!
      Ambercrombie dying passed me by too! So many great ones gone now!

  22. “Timeless” is an amazing piece, worthy of sunsets talked about here, although for so many reasons, it’s the soundtrack of the farm my wife and I had. Jack de Johnette on Drums and Jan hammer on keys, rounded out Ambercrombie’s trio.

      1. Not sure where or even if I should post this, but like you, opher, playing and making music has been an important part of my life. I got diagnosed with RA in my left hand and wrist. Started having trouble with hand an wrist while in Italy, having it get much worse over last couple of months. Doc says a good go at Occupational therapy and meds will slow it down, but realize it will get worse over time. It is harder to play guitar right now, having to “warm up” like for a foot race. Ah well, there it is. Didn’t want the music to stop.

      2. The perils of ageing. But persevere. Being able to play guitar is special.
        Just look at Cedell Davis – severely disabled and still manages to play.

  23. We’ll see what I can do with myself. Best I can hope for. A fellow musician went through the same thing, and can no longer play. Accidents in our youth can have consequences as we age. IF I’d just not laid the ride down to the left has echoed in my mind for 42 years, but there it is. I was lucky I survived.

    1. Yes. I guess we’re all lucky to survive. Things do catch up with us Jeff. It would be a great shame to not be able to play.

      1. I hope to able to play for awhile still. It can get painful after a few tunes even now, but “tolerable.” Trying a clip on whirlpool for hydrotherapy and it really helps, so we’ll see. Also thanks for pointer to Cedell Davis. Maybe some viewing will yield techniques.

      2. Cedell produces a sound that is very discordant – but as your ear adjusts it becomes mesmeric. Quite weird.
        I’d love to play Jeff but I’m useless. Keep going as long as you can. It’s a gift.

  24. I get “discord,” but love learning technique. I don’t buy “I’m useless” from you at all, opher. Hardly. Yes, my wife reminded me playing is a gift, and as a gift, it can be taken away. All I can do is to keep keeping on with playing until I can’t. Life needs to be full. TY for the thoughts, opher!

    1. Give it our best shot – maximise our talents – that’s all we can do. Oh – and enjoy it! Yes – a full life is a good life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate!

      1. Decided, all things considered, to play as much as I can with doors and windows wide open. A touch of entertainment for “the hood.” Actually had a couple walking by on the road break into applause after doing some Led Zeppelin cover a bit ago. Left hand still working as of now, but have had to discontinue some meds I was taking on doctor’s “advice” since it suppresses immune system. Ah well. Carry on.

      2. Carry on Carry on – The fortunes of fables are able to sing the song
        Now witness the quickness with which we get along
        To sing the blues you’ve got to live the dues and carry on

        Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all

  25. *grin* Carry on with a very loud set of intro chords to “Heartbreaker” usually gets people’s attention. Best of Spring to you and yours, opher, and all those that visit these pages. can still play those Zep chords. LOL Ya have to love “standards.”

    1. Jeff – magnificent. Play with heart. Heartbreaker is a great choice. Best of Spring to you Jeff! Keep striking those chords!

  26. Now, a live version of “The World’s shortest version of ‘the Wind Cries Mary:” 20 seconds long. Few bars of the intro, right into last few measures of very end. Easy to edit recorded, easy to play it seems. *smirk* Cheers, opher.

  27. A clip will be available soon. Will leave a pointer to it when uploaded. Will also heads up a great film about Frank Zappa, “Frank Zappa: Freak Out List” detailing the musical influence on Frank from that list of names on inside cover of “Freak Out.” Great interviews and period footage, much “unseen.”

    1. Tonight’s corona virus concert will start out with a little Robin Trower, appropriately “Bridge of Sighs.” If I can pry my wife away from supper, will have her record it. LOL hard being married to my sharpest critic at times when I just need a recordist.

      1. I’d love to hear that Jeff.
        I have the same problem – but I guess my live-in critic does make considerable improvements to my writing!

  28. I’ve never been able to “get better” for her quick enough, it seems. n LOL I suppose it would be different if I played bass, drum, and keyboards simultaneously, and she’d lighten up, but seems a solo guitar (electric, mind you) can be too much for her. more LOL Hasn’t stopped me over the years, but then again, at a point in my life lost my job in a radio newsroom, and came home to her to hear “No news is good news.” Got a better gig anyway, but you get the point.

    1. Yeah – Little Richard was a major guy – the best – an originator!! I’ve got a poster that he signed for me! I shall miss him!

      1. Very cool, opher…Little Richard signed stuff. His music will still inspire! But his loss has left me in a real Bridge of Sighs” state: “Sun don’t shine, the Moon won’t move the tides to wash me clean.”

      2. Cost me £25 Jeff. I had to pay the heavies at the door! But I got to shake his hand and have my poster signed to Opher. It was a rip-off but I am glad I had it done!

      1. Radiocascasdiastaff…..my favourite Chick Corea album was “Now he Sings, Now he Sobs” which was a vey influential album in its day plus anything by Return To Forever the later work including theFive Peace Band were great live I managed to catch 2 shows, but honestly anything he recorded was OK by me.
        His work with Miles Davis remains timeless and classic.

  29. Opher……I have probably maybe 75 to 80 % of your selections on cd or vinyl, but I’m more of a modern Jazz fan rather than Rock and I must heartily agree with you with regard to ABBA but in Australia you would be beaten to a pulp the whole population has some weird affection for that shit group, I remember whilst taking my little boy Thembi in his pusher at 1 year old about mile down the hill where we lived in 1976 to purchase fish and chips and only THREE houses out of about 60 were not playing ABBA on full volume on a local tv show called Countdown, they were the musical equivalent of SCABIES they were everywhere, they were one of the worst things to ever pollute popular culture but I could think of a few more but I’m not a controversial or confrontational person.

    1. Opher……its OK to say that you don’t like “JAZZ” but let me remind you about the history of this great river of music that we all take for granted day in day out that your statement Jazz is “not my thing ” All of todays music is all the bastard sons and daughters of that great TOTAL ORIGINAL MELTING POT CALLED JAZZ IN THE 20TH CENTURY” of black American music with the influence of European folk music and classical music, ALL rock and roll music descended directly in one straight line from 1940’s boogie, swing, add a little SWAGGER from the likes of Cab Calloway and what have you got Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard not the shit we were brought up with like Matt Monroe and THAT most appalling TWAT CLIFF the beast fucking himself up the own fucking arse RICHARDS that’s as bad as it gets [except for ABBA FUCKIN DOO]
      I would also like to remind you that your personal hero and friend Roy Harper and his his complete genius was founded on his fusion of folk music and Jazz, especially his use of space time and his direct influence by Miles Davis [ I know because I was there listening to him practising until his hands bled for his commitment to become who he was and is] he probably does not remember me or my name but I was there and heard a man play shite early on his Guitar and sang like shite learn to become a master guitarist and a real artist and certainly Miiles was one of his many muses.
      OPHER Mate sometimes you must except historical truth and acknowledge what a favour black people have done culturally for the whole world and I would recommend my current English black record of the month ” Sons of Kemet Black to the Future” nice one guys”

      1. Totally accepted John. I love Blues. I love a lot of black music – funk, soul, reggae and some jazz. Very prone to a bit of Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and Billie Holliday. I think that for me there is usually a strong poetic lyric that I attach to more than the actual music. I suppose that is why a lot of jazz doesn’t appeal. I do have a lot of Miles and Coletrane. One day, when I’ve matured, I’ll get into it a lot more!

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