You Can Pick Your Friends
By Ralph Greco, Jr.
So my two best friends and I are sitting around my house on a Friday night as we are wont to do on Friday nights, discussing the latest Live Earth concert. Sucking down subs and hoping for something on TV, we begin to compare and contrast the bands we have just recently seen with the bands from our youth (since we’re all guys in our mid-forties, the list mainly centers around bands born and bred in the late 60s/early 70s, what one would call ‘classic’ rock bands, a little heavy on the progressive side), and we get to talking about our favorite albums.
Picking our personal faves from the likes of Queen, ELP, Pink Floyd, etc. and solo artists like Bruce Springsteen, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, we made our choices and defended our reasoning. Even though we disagreed more often than not — though Springsteen’s Born To Run was a communal favorite — we still agreed that each album we chose was a great album. And as we laughed, chatted and compared, it became apparent to all assembled that the groups we were talked about produced such incredible bodies of work that choosing a favorite really was a subjective consideration.
I hate to be a snob, but the reason those artists have great albums is not because they were exceptionally prolific (though, in most cases, there is a wealth of material) but because those artists made great albums. I have been watching VH1 Classic's Classic Albums series, where the old tapes are put through the cap stands and the musicians, producers and engineers take us through alternate mixes, regale us with stories about the sessions, and generally bring the viewer back to the time, place and circumstances of how, why and where these albums were made. From Dark Side Of The Moon to Goodbye Yellow Brock Road to even Nevermind, we watched and realized that not only are the albums being dissected classic works, but the featured artists usually have other great albums under their belts — a lot of them actually. Be it a much maligned 70s “concept” album or even the very latest work of a particular artist, one does come away with the feeling that not only did we get a glimpse into a piece of history, that the artist went on to make history again and again with their other releases.
So here are a few questions my friends and I couldn’t answer, sort of in the “things were better way back when” vein:
Now I ask you — am I being a snob or shall we never see the likes of truly 'classic' rock albums again?