I’m seeing a lot of posts from friends, family, and fellow authors listing ten albums that in some way influenced you in your teenage years. I decided to hop on the bandwagon and create my own list, and for this post I’m going a step further and explaining a bit about why I chose each particular album.
Barry Manilow — Manilow Magic. This was the first LP I ever bought. This one comes in right on the lower edge of my teenage years. I’ve loved Barry’s music since I first heard “I Write the Songs” somewhere around third or fourth grade, and this was my first foray into fandom.
Favorite Song: All the Time
Culture Club — Kissing to Be Clever. Oh, how naive I was when I bought this one! Boy George fascinated me. I had no knowledge of homosexuality, cross-dressing, or anything like that, so I thought he was just a weird dresser with a powerful voice. I took a lot of flak from my parents and from quite a few friends for enjoying Culture Club’s music.
Favorite Song: You Know I’m Not Crazy
Duran Duran — Rio. I bought myself this album with my birthday money when I was 14 or 15. In all honesty, MTV really fueled my love for these guys. I loved the sometimes-weird and off-the-wall videos the band made, and I fell hard for John Taylor. My dad actually bought me the VHS of their music videos, something I’m sure he wouldn’t have done if he (or I) had known what was in some of the videos.
Favorite Song: My Own Way
Rick Wakeman — The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I heard this one for the first time when I was maybe 8 or 9. My brother came home from college with this one, and he let my other brother and me listen to it. I’d never heard of King Arthur at that point, but this collection sparked an early interest in the Arthurian legends that came to life in high school and college.
Favorite Song: Guinevere
Joan Baez — Baptism. One of my college friends had this among his collection. It was far different from anything I’d ever heard before. A lot of it was downright creepy, which always appealed to me, and some of the poems gave me nightmares.
Favorite Track: The Magic Wood
Stryper — To Hell With the Devil. Before MTV began playing Stryper’s videos, all Christian music in my eyes was made up of hymns and Southern gospel. It fascinated me that these songs could be taken in either a Christian or a secular context.
Favorite Song: Calling on You
Guns n Roses — Appetite for Destruction. This album was very popular during my freshman year of college. Hearing any of the songs from AfD transports me back to walking into Smith Hall on a Friday afternoon and hearing “Sweet Child of Mine” blasting from the Lambda Chi Alpha house.
Favorite Song: Sweet Child o’ Mine
Pseudo Echo — Love an Adventure. I kind of stumbled on this band when they remade “Funkytown.” It kind of bummed me out that they didn’t become bigger than they did, because I really liked their sound.
Favorite Song: Living in a Dream
Big Bam Boo — Fun, Faith, and Fairplay. This is another group that I wish had been more popular, because I thought they had a unique sound. One of their songs was featured in a local radio station’s new song competition, and as I recall, it blew the other song away.
Favorite Song: Fell Off a Mountain
Enya — Shepherd Moons. This one might actually be beyond my teens, but it still had a huge influence on me. I was in a period of spiritual questioning and was dabbling a bit in Wicca at the time. I was also very steeped in King Arthur and all kinds of other romantic poetry and fiction, and Enya’s music just fit right in.
Favorite Song: Marble Halls