Tuesday, February 27, 2007

October Top Ten: What a Concept

I had mentioned last summer that I'd do a top ten each month, but my inspiration quit blogging for a while so I skipped October, November and December, so I thought it was time to catch up. Part of me thinks this is kinda dumb to do, but I like making lists and it keeps me entertained so I just can't help myself.

When it comes to music, I prefer albums to songs. Albums, when well done, flow smoothly and reveal more of the musician's ideas and story than a single song. Using this logic, the ultimate album is the concept album, sometimes pretentiously called the rock opera. Concept albums sometimes tell a story and sometimes just revolve around a central theme. My favorite of all time is the Who's Quadrophenia, which I recommended to the talented blogger at Me In Place. You can read her review here. I'd been listening to the album for twenty years, and didn't get as much out of it as she did. Concept albums are Pete Townshend's (of the Who) specialty, so the list is heavily tilted in his direction.

Since I've let you know what's number one, here are my next ten favorite concept albums with some of the more well known songs in parentheses:

2. The Who: Tommy, 1969 - THE rock opera ("Pinball Wizard", "We're Not Gonna Take It")
3. The Who: The Who Sell Out, 1967 - Fake English pirate radio broadcast complete with commercials ("I Can See For Miles")
4. Willie Nelson: Red Headed Stranger, 1975 - Story of an old west preacher ("Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain")
5. Larry Norman's trilogy of three albums Only Visiting this Planet (1972), So Long Ago the Garden (1973), & In Another Land (1975) - Kind of a biographical series ("The Outlaw", "I Wish We'd All Been Ready", "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music", "Fly, Fly, Fly", "The Sun Began to Rain")
6. Pink Floyd: The Wall, 1979 - Pompous, overblown, but great anyway ("Another Brick in the Wall Part 3" -or was it part 2?, "Comfortably Numb", "Mother")
7. Pete Townshend: White City: A Novel, 1985 ("Give Blood", "Face the Face")
8. Kinks: Lola vs. Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part 1, 1970 ("Lola", "Apeman")
9. Pete Townshend: The Iron Man, 1989 - Based on Ted Hughes' children's book ("A Friend is a Friend")
10. The Who: Wire and Glass, 2006 - from the album Endless Wire
11. Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, 1973 - On the Billboard charts for nearly two decades ("On the Run", "Time", "Money")

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