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  • John Scott

10 Essential Albums That Make Life Pure Joy

People are taking to social media to share lists of the albums or songs which influenced them in some way. I wrote on a friend's profile that normally I wouldn't consider it, but in a way these lists can be a great tool for music discovery by others. There have been so many millions of great songs put out for the world. We haven't heard all the ones we love yet.

Some of these have influenced our band. Some of these are personal classics. None are obscure but just in case you missed it...

Rockpile album cover

10. Rockpile, "Seconds of Pleasure"

If there was ever a band most befitting the term supergroup, this is it. Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe,

Billy Bremer and Terry Williams.

Roots rock and roll at royalty level. Priceless.

London Calling cover

9. The Clash, "London Calling"

One of my first bands played "Brand New Cadillac" from this record. On my list of massive regrets was never having the chance to see them live. This album is a multi-genre journey to the land of awesomeness.

"The only band that matters" was a phrase a record executive came up with, but it rings with truth.

8. Cheap Trick, "In Color"

I feel a little conflicted over loving this album more than almost any other. The guys didn't like the way it was produced, feeling the production values were not raw enough. But Rick Neilsen is my guitar hero and my reason for starting our first band. If I can talk dad's impala into playing "Hello There" to start our shows I might die from a case of power-pop happiness.

NWA album cover

7. NWA, "Straight Outta Compton"

One of my students at my university, an aspiring

rapper, told me her goal of her songs is to make

white people nervous. "No offense," she said.

None taken. When I heard this record for the first time

I was introduced to a life I had zero experience with,

not a shred of familiarity with. Bold truths are told

on this record. It woke me up. It'll shake you, too.

XTC English Settlement Cover

6. XTC, "English Settlement"

A masterpiece. From the thundering "No Thugs in Our House" to the tender "Runaways" to the chaotic "It's Nearly Africa," it's a lush, complex and classic collection. A life highlight of mine was once sitting in a Dallas studio with Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, recording them performing acoustic versions of a few songs. It's a bootleg no one else on Earth owns.

EWF album cover

5. Earth, Wind & Fire, "That's the Way of the World"

I'm calling this as the best album they ever

recorded. It's a delicious combination of rock, jazz, R&B and soul. The live version of "Reasons' is one of my all-time favorite songs, but the version on this record is still strong. A beautiful record which is still in rotation on my home turntable.

Foo Fighters cover

4. Foo Fighters, "The Colour and the Shape"

dad's impala loves Dave Grohl. We call him our patron saint. The guy is absolutely badass. Has anyone ever had more fun living a life than this guy? This is a proper

rock record, plain and simple. If you hate this, you hate

all that is good and right in the world.

Radiohead album cover

3. Radiohead, "Hail to the Thief"

The first word which comes to mind is...underrated.

Radiohead has served up many a gem, and their "OK Computer" is normally on these kinds of lists, but I'm throwing some deserved shine on this one. Rollicking guitar meets despair and anger meets subtle delicate melodies on this goldmine of an album.

Kings of Leon album cover

2. Kings of Leon, "Only by the Night"

One of the dumbest things I have ever done was decide to go get a couple more beers instead of watching this band warm up U2 at the then-HP Center in San Jose. These boys write soaring anthems, garage-rock smashers and intricate melodies.


1. The Jam, "All Mod Cons"

This might be one of those bands you think you've heard about but might not be able to name a song they've done. I put them on my list of one of the ten best bands of all time. Ferocious punk rock combined with Beatle-esque guitar riffs and British invasion flavor. I own everything they've ever recorded.


And because these lists could easily be 500 artists long...

Honorable mention to most anything from Sam Cooke, Kendrick Lamar, Rolling Stones, Metallica, REM, James Brown, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Prince, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Pearl Jam, Husker Du and X.

What does your list look like?

#Tenalbums #JohnScott

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