(On My Recommended Albums through the Decades)
I usually write a year-ender article for my music column in Filipino Journal, in which I would feature the significant album releases for the year that was ending or that had just ended. However, instead of this, I decided to make a definitive list of my favorite albums from every decade beginning with the 1960s. When I say “favorite,” this means that I have listened to these albums for so many times (and now occasionally enjoys) since having discovered them and on a non-skip manner. Most especially, these albums encapsulate the kind of music that I really like and which largely influences my being also a songwriter—well-orchestrated music that features lush melodies, instruments, and vocal harmonies and challenging song structures and usually poetic or literary-oriented lyrics. Also, take note that these are proper studio albums and none among them is a best-of compilation. I have cited also my top three songs for each of the albums.
Let’s start with the 1960s, the decade when good ol’ Rock n’ Roll further rocked, rolled, rebelled, and rippled into various interesting Rock subgenres. I was not born yet when these albums were released (I was born in 1971), but the fondness of my family for music inevitably introduced me to all these albums as early as my ’70s childhood days.
The Ventures – Walk Don’t Run (1960)
(“Walk, Don’t Run,” “Caravan,” “Sleepwalk”)
The Cascades – Rhythm of the Rain (1963)
(“The Last Leaf,” “My First Day Alone,” “Rhythm of the Rain”)
The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)
(“Turn! Turn! Turn! [To Everything There Is a Season],” “The World Turns All Around Her,” “Wait and See”)
The Zombies – Begin Here (1965)
(“The Way I Feel Inside,” “She’s Not There,” “I Don’t Want to Know”)
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
(“Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “I Know There’s an Answer”)
The Hollies – For Certain Because (1966)
(“Pay You Back with Interest,” “Clown,” “Crusader”)
The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
(“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!,” “A Day in the Life”)
David Bowie – David Bowie (1967)
(“Uncle Arthur,” “Rubber Band,” “Maid of Bond Street”)
The Left Banke – Walk Away Renée / Pretty Ballerina (1967)
(“Barterers and Their Wives,” “I’ve Got Something on My Mind,” “Shadows Breaking over My Head”)
Love – Forever Changes (1967)
(“Alone Again Or,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale,” “You Set the Scene”)
The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed (1967)
(“The Day Begins,” “The Morning,” “The Afternoon”)
Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
(“See Emily Play,” “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk,” “The Gnome”)
Genesis – From Genesis to Revelation (1969)
(“In the Wilderness,” “The Conqueror,” “In Limbo”)
Listening to these albums never fail to lift my spirits and to inspire my creative mind. And remember, these are only 13 albums released in the 1960s that have become personal favorites. Many equally great bands and albums had to be shortlisted. Just like parents to their children, choosing favorites is inevitable. After all, there’s nothing wrong with this as long as there is also remarkable love for the others.
What are you waiting for? Find a way to get copies of these albums and prepare your ears for a journey back in the 1960s.