Favorite Albums & the Rise of AOR
Most folks forget that only in the early 70′s did FM radio begin to replace AM as the most frequented local for music, relegating the mono frequency to sports and right-wing radio. I distinctly recall the new, laidback voices on FM channels preaching the virtues of AOR or Album Oriented Radio. Such a change to hear not just the A side with an occasional B play but “deep” cuts as well as entire albums. Who didn’t stand ready with a cassette player ready to record the newest releases played up for free or maybe a midnight classic featured each and every night.
Album art had taken on a life of its own and the more astute artists included a booklet containing the words, usually unstaged photos, and sometimes comments discussing the work. Album (LP’s) purchases sored while 45′s stoically endured life in the closeout bin.
High tech ironically issued LP’s their comeuppance though as the downloadable single has become de rigueur, a fact not lost on 45′s which took so much abuse from AOR.
My point here, however, is not to lament progress, or lack thereof, but to compile a list of my favorite albums. Rank is not important as I will periodically add to the list, and encourage you to do the same. And, yes, artist still produce great albums so there are no date limits. Just don’t be surprised if most were produced before 2001.
Favorite Album List (in no order whatsoever)
Dire Straits – Making Movies (Warner Bros, 1980): The third album by this British rock band featuring the lead guitar and vocals of songwriter Mark Knopfler also featured E Street keyboardist Roy Bittan. It spent 252 weeks on the UK Albums Chart. Though I had listened to the album many times, only when I borrowed a fraternity brother’s car containing a beyond kickass stereo system, did I truly appreciate the work. This album requires the finest equipment to catch the full complexity and robustness of Knopfler’s finest work.
Old 97’s – Fight Songs (Elektra, 1999): This high-energy Dallas quartet began in 1993 earning stripes in the burgeoning world of alt country. Fight Songs clearly set the group in a genre of its own merging country undertones with punk riffs and really compelling popish lyrics. This one’s hot right out of the wrapper.albums, AM radio, favorite albums, FM radio, lp's, Music