Have a look at the five vintage albums (we think) every music lover and vinyl collection needs.
Music is personal. It is subjective and it is emotional. It’s something to explore, talk about and indulge in. It’s an integral part of our lives and impacts us probably more than we know. Music heals, inspires and excites. It adds another level to living. That’s why we’re starting a new music series here on the blog. Welcome to “The Five.” Each week we will bring you five albums, songs or artists we think you should know or would want to talk about. So get ready, we’re about to go on a weekly musical ride.
This week, we’re kicking off the series with “The Five Vintage Albums Every Record Collection Needs.” In no particular order, we narrowed down a list of about 100 to five and, believe me, it was no easy feat. So have a look and don’t forget to get in on the conversation below!
The Doors by The Doors. This self-titled debut album was recorded in only six days and fills all of your rock, blues, and spacey psychedelic needs. At that time, The Beatles were masters of the pop scene, surf music was the sound of southern California, and the Summer of Love feel-good, hippie movement was in full swing in San Francisco. The Doors brought a new sound to the forefront with The Doors — a certain kind of dark rock-poetry psychodelically speaking to death, sex, and drugs. The LA foursome started recording the album in Hollywood in August of 1966. By 1967, The Doors hit number two, behind The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on the Billboard 200 after steadily climbing the charts. “Light My Fire,” arguably the best song on the album, scaled the charts as well and sealed the record’s lasting success. The Doors was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for album and “Light My Fire” was inducted under the “Rock (track)” category. It went on to achieve five times platinum in the US and 3 times platinum in France, among many other staggering stats across the globe. The Doors progressed psycheledic rock, but also acclaimed recordings in all of pop music. Other songs of mention include “Break On Through (to the other side)”, the controversial “The End”, and one of my personal favorites, “Soul Kitchen.”
The Best Of Otis Redding. Are you feeling heartbroken? Listen to Otis. Have you fallen in love? Listen to Otis. Need to dance? Yep, listen to Otis. Powerful, emotional and soulful, Otis Redding was one of the greatest singers in American history. Dubbed the ‘King of Soul’, Redding flew onto the music scene by way of an unplanned recording at Stax Records in 1962. After driving a musician to the Memphis studio, he was offered to cut a few tracks with the remaining studio time. He left that afternoon with his first single, “These Arms of Mine” and a contract. Redding continued on his path to blow people away with his gritty and emotional voice, his romantic lyrics and powerful horn section. Not only was Redding influential to other soul singers, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors were also heavily influenced by him. Even though Redding was greatly known for his voice, he was also a great musician and songwriter. He wrote “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” in 1967 on a houseboat right outside San Francisco. At the time, he was inspired by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and wanted to change up his sound. However, his label, band, even his wife didn’t like the new sound and encouraged him the other way. But Otis stayed true to his vision. The song went on to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first posthumous #1 single in US chart history.
Transformer by Lou Reed: After two years of walking away from The Velvet Underground, one of the most influential bands of all time, Lou Reed did not find himself living the life of stardom. Quite the contrary…he was broke, strung out and nursing a very unsuccessful debut album. But then Transformer came along. With the help of Reed’s friends David Bowie and Mick Ronson, the two producers on the record, Transformer became a perceptive and timeless album. Bowie, a glam-rock legend in his own right, brought a little more edge to Reed’s sound and after some commercial success, Reed was elevated from having a cult-like following to being an international success. The best-received songs on the album include, “Walk on the Wild Side”, “Perfect Day”, “Satellite of Love” (in which you can hear Bowie singing backup vocals), and “Vicious.” “Vicious,” according to Reed, was inspired by Andy Warhol, a good friend since his days in The Velvet Underground. Apparently, Warhol said Reed should make a song about a vicious person. When asked what he meant, Warhol replied, “Oh, you know, like I hit you with a flower.” Transformer is just as relevant today as it was when it was released in 1972. Its natural and underproduced sound, coupled with riveting yet sometimes puzzling lyrics, still feels fresh.
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. If there is ever a record you need, it’s this one. It will make you think, laugh, inspire and possibly confuse you. Freewheelin’ is Dylan’s second in a long list of albums he’s made over the length of his career. Recorded in New York City in 1963, the record showcased Dylan’s talent for songwriting and composition. His political outlooks on civil rights became lines in his songs and made him an important figure in the changing culture of the 1960s. Freewheelin’ includes some of Dylan’s most popular works: “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Girl From the North Country”, “Masters of War”, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” These folk anthems made him a lasting star in both folk and popular music. It’s been said that the album is not only inspired by the civil rights movement but also by his girlfriend of the time, Suze Rotolo, who he lived with in NYC. She is also pictured with Dylan on the cover of the album.
III by Led Zeppelin. Some may say that the first two Zeppelin albums were some of their best. While I, as a huge fan, agree, I do have to point out that III marks an important milestone in the band’s sound. Their third studio album was written in 1970 at frontman Robert Plant’s vacation cottage in Wales called Bron-Yr-Aur. Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and their families settled in the home for some much-needed rest after a tiring North American tour and ultimately started writing their third album. The cottage retreat, nestled in a serene and quaint town, was without electricity and water and provided a quiet place to work on their new mature sound. III has an emphasis on folk and acoustic music as opposed to their first two rock and blues heavy records. Though their third album confused fans looking for a rock followup to II, III showed them that Led Zeppelin was not just a rock band, but a dynamic quartet that could ultimately live in other genres. Yes, III showed us that Zeppelin could successfully evolve. Some song favorites include “Immigrant Song”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, “Tangerine”, and “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper.”
Ok, now it’s your turn! Let us know who you would add to this list in the comments section. I can’t wait to hear your picks!