My Favorite CDs

I’ll omit the standard best albums that almost anyone of my age will list, which are usually various Beatles and Pink Floyd albums. My personal favorites consist mostly of 70’s prog rock, with a few more recent things thrown in.


Watch

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

An album I had in my teens, a combination of some live greatest hits, and some studio tracks. I’m not a huge fan of most of MMEB’s other work (although I do like a lot of individual songs from various other albums), but this recording has a special place in my heart. Favorite songs: Circles, Drowning on Dry Land/Fish Soup, The Mighty Quinn. Hard-to-find.


Wind and Wuthering

Genesis

The first Genesis album I ever got, and still my favorite. Could be the posterboy for 70’s prog, this was also the last record Steve Hackett played on. I’ve done three comics based on songs from this album. Favorite songs: 11th Earl of Mar, Blood on the Rooftops, An Unquiet Slumber for the Sleepers. Generally available.


A Curious Feeling

Tony Banks

The first solo album for Genesis keyboard player Banks. None of his solo efforts was a success; and this was the only one I enjoyed. Sounds very much like Genesis of that era, which is probably why I like it! A concept album about someone who makes a childhood bet with fate, and then loses his mind. Very tragic. Portions of this album inspired a character in one of my comics. Favorite songs: Lucky Me, The Lie, Forever Morning. Very hard-to-find.


Defector

Steve Hackett

An early solo effort from ex-Genesis guitarist Hackett. A not-entirely concept album about east-west relations (done before the fall of the Berlin Wall, obviously). Favorite songs: The Steppes, Slogans, Hammer in the Sand. Hard-to-find.


Armchair Theater

Jeff Lynne

The first, and so far only, solo album from ELO singer/songwriter Lynne. (his newest effort, Zoom, was released under the ELO name) A combination of cover tunes and original songs. Fellow Traveling Wilbury alumni George Harrison and Tom Petty also play. Favorite songs: Lift Me Up, Now you’re Gone, Don’t Say Goodbye, What Would it Take. Hard-to-find
 

The Wall

Pink Floyd

This is pretty much a no-brainer for the list; most people my age have this album memorized.  Both the album and the movie had a huge influence on my work when I was in my late teens and early 20's.  A couple tracks that were in the movie, When the Tigers Broke Free and What Shall We Do? are also worth seeking out.  Favorite songs:  Hey You, Nobody Home, In the Flesh, Waiting for the Worms and The Trial.  Generally Available.


Time

Electric Light Orchestra

An ELO fan-favorite album, although not as well liked by the critics (aww… what do they know??)

A concept album about a man from our time transported to the future by generally benevolent robots and 21st century dwellers. A sequel of sorts to their earlier album Eldorado. Favorite songs: Twilight, The Lights Go Down, 21st Century Man. Generally available. Note: three songs that were cut from this album, Julie Don’t Live Here, When Time Stood Still, and Bouncer, were released on the 3 CD compilation Afterglow.


Amused to Death

Roger Waters

The most recent (mid-90’s!) solo effort from the ex-Pink Floyd singer/songwriter/guitarist. A very typical Water’s angst-filled dirge to the excesses of our culture. Probably the only rock CD that manages to condemn WWI, Vietnam and the Gulf War all in one disc. Some brilliant guitar work by Jeff Beck. Favorite songs: Too Much Rope, Late Home Tonight pt 1, What God Wants III, Amused to Death. Generally available.


Back to the Story

The Idle Race

A 2 CD compilation of Jeff Lynne’s early (pre-Move) band. Sounds very, very much like the Beatles, with just enough hints of the Move and ELO to make it fascinating. Favorite songs: Skeleton and the Roundabout, Follow Me Follow, Mr. Crow and Sir Norman, Going Home, A Better Life. Nearly impossible to find.   Due to the interest people have expressed in this CD, here are scans of the track list and liner notes for those who wish further information

 

 

The Turn of a Friendly Card

Alan Parsons Project

A concept album about gambling, the vagarities of life and the lure of Las Vegas.  Very typical prog rock from 1980, similar to the other Parson's albums of Vulture Culture and Eye in the Sky.  Favorite Songs: Turn of a Friendly Card (all 6 parts). Generally available


Smallcreep’s Day

Mike Rutherford

First solo album from Genesis guitarist Rutherford. A concept album based on a book of the same name, about a faceless worker in a gigantic factory. Sounds a lot like late 70’s era Genesis, which is probably why I like it so much. This is very much pre-Mike and the Mechanics work. Favorite songs: Overnight Job, Smallcreep Alone, Out into the Daylight. Very hard-to-find.


John Denver’s Greatest Hits vol. 1 & 2

John Denver

Yeah, you can laugh, but I listened extensively to these two albums in my teens, and they actually inspired a lot of my early art and stories. At least I wasn’t listening to Donny and Marie Osmond. Favorite songs: Take me Home, Country Roads, Rhymes and Reasons, Looking for Space. Generally available.


John Henry

They Might be Giants

Although not considered to be their best effort, this is my favorite CD of TMBG (although Flood runs a close second.) Their complex lyrics always challenge, and the catchy tunes are a delight. Favorite songs: AKA Driver, Destination Moon, A Self Called Nowhere, Stomp Box. Generally available.


Vs

Pearl Jam

I don’t like every song on it, but the ones I do like, I like a whole lot. Eddie Vetter at his angry, angst-filled best. Favorite songs :Elderly Lady Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Rearview Mirror.

Generally available.


Chess

(original London cast)

An abberation in my list, this musical was done by a couple former members of Abba and Andrew Lloyd Weber lyricist Tim Rice. It has a very 80’s pop music feel, intermixed with classical music and standard musical-type songs. I particularly like the second act. I find the character of the American very intriguing. Favorite songs: One Night in Bangkok, Endgame, The Story of Chess. Hard-to-Find



My Favorite Movies

My movies are standard populist fare; I watch movies strictly for entertainment purposes. I won’t list some of the classics nearly everyone would put down, like Wizard of Oz or It’s a Wonderful Life, just because everyone lists those….

A Clockwork orange

One of the few movies that is as good as the book it’s based on.

Aliens

A very rare case where the sequel was as good or better than the original. IMHO one of the most exciting SF films ever made.

Silence of the Lambs

An awesome thriller. Hannibal Lechter seems so much like Salem….

Star Wars Trilogy

I doubt there’ll be many people my age who don’t include these as part of a favorite films list.

Pink Floyd: The Wall

Although the film itself is not entirely engaging, the animated sequences stunned me when I saw them, and the fascist segment perfectly capture the album’s flavor.

Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind

An entertaining favorite.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Disney version)

A movie I saw in my late childhood that had a huge effect on me, and influenced much of my early writing.

Pinocchio

Hands-down the best animated film ever made, from an artistic standpoint. And the story and songs are pretty darn good, too.

The Music Man

A movie I saw as a teen, and a sentimental favorite of mine.

Secret of NIMH

One of the best animated films done in the last 20-odd years, and the only decent film Bluth ever did.

2001: A Space Odssy

My dad dragged me to see this when I was a kid, and I never regretted it.

Titanic

Probably the only time I sat spellbound through a 3 hour movie. Yes, I cried.

Toy Story II

Another sequel as good as the original. Funny, touching and entertaining in turns, it succeeds on all levels.

Back to the Future

Good solid entertainment. What more can I say?

Bevis and Butthead do America

Definitely low-brow fare, but it does what cartoons are supposed to do; make you laugh. I was rolling in the aisles. One of the few modern cartoons that was only interested in being funny, not teaching anyone a ‘lesson.’

Pulp Fiction

An unusual pick, but there’s no denying the impact the movie had on me when I saw it. Not a movie for the whole family, that’s for sure.