I was nominated over on Facebook by a lovely friend of mine from back in my record store days in the ‘80s at A&B Sound in Vancouver, to post 11 days of the most influential albums in my life! Some of these will be simple, “great album – how could it not influence me”, others will likely come with a long drawn out story… what can I say….
The title of this post really says well how I feel about music, and for that reason John Miles Music has always been one of my favourite songs.
June 15, 2019: Album #1 has to be the first record I ever bought which was David Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’! This is probably the one album that has had the most profound effect on me for so many reasons, moving forward the albums won’t be in any specific order, but this is definitely No. 1!
June 16, 2019: Given it’s Father’s Day, I’m going with an album that influenced me from my Dad. My Dad played multiple instruments but I think his go to instrument was the clarinet and one of his favourite artists was Benny Goodman. So, my #2 album has to be Mozart At Tanglewood by Benny Goodman, recorded in 1956. I remember this impressing me as the musician who was an amazing jazz clarinetist that headed a swingin’ Big Band also had a love for classical. I was already a fan of jazz at this time, but it’s when I also developed a love for classical! Thanks Dad! Love you and miss you, always!
Happy Father’s Day everyone, what music did your Dad introduce to you? I’ll be answering that question again myself somewhere in this collection of 11 albums, I’m sure!
June 17, 2019: My #3 album is Simon and Garfunkel’s 1972 Greatest Hits album which was another one of the very first albums I ever bought for myself, and at the time it was all rather too late as they had split up 2 years beforehand. But on the strength of “The Boxer” and “I Am a Rock” two of my favourite S&G songs… 13 year old me had to have it!
June 18, 2019: My #4 album is Heart’s debut album ‘Dreamboat Annie’ that was recorded at what was then Can-Base Studios, and later became Mushroom Studios, in Vancouver. Not only did I love this album when it first came out in 1975 but I was blown away by the production and when Heart released their 2nd ‘unofficial release’ album ‘Magazine’ in 1977, well… I was torn about what to do with my future, so yes… this album was a HUGE influence on my life! I called Can-Base studios and asked to talk to the producer and I asked advice as to what to do if I wanted to get started in the recording business. I was told to “start at the end and work towards the beginning”, the end being radio and retail records, the beginning being a recording studio! So that was when I started working in radio, BCIT’s Radio Broadcasting program and CFRO-FM, Vancouver’s Co-op Radio, and retail records, first at Woolco (don’t judge me) and then A&B Sound’s flagship store on Seymour. To make a very long story short, I did end up working for Mushroom Studios, toured the Pacific Northwest with an American Band that was recording at Mushroom at the time, and worked at a few other studios in Vancouver, working with a lot of new bands and a couple of pretty big ones! Alas, it was not the life for me, but it certainly cemented my love for music and I know my life would probably be entirely different today if it wasn’t for that experience! Loved every minute of it… well, maybe not every minute!
June 19, 2019: This challenge isn’t easy, in some cases I question if my choice is more for the artist than the album, and I’m trying to make it about the album! For my #5 album, and again these are in no particular order but I do seem to be thinking of a lot of early influences, I’m choosing Dire Straits self-titled 1978 debut album. In this case it is most definitely the album I am choosing, it’s one of those albums where I look at the track listing and I know every single song intimately! There are no throwaway tracks here, and the understated power in each one is it’s strength! I love this album, and it’s not the only Dire Straits album I love… anyone care to guess which would be my second favourite of theirs.
June 21, 2019: So, for my #6 album, and it’s not something from the ’70s this time, I’ve chosen Whitehorse’s 2nd album ‘The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss’ from 2012. 2012 was when I discovered this fabulous Canadian band at Ottawa Folk Festival and I loved everything about them! I bought their newest album that night and have been a fan ever since. I’ve seen Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse 5 times over the years, but it was the second time I saw them that is the reason I’ve chosen this album as one that has influenced my life! In 2014 I was going to Ottawa Jazzfest, and I had asked my daughter Caitlin if she’d like to come with me one night, I told her I wanted to see two bands in particular, one was one of her favourites, Natalie MacMaster, and the other was one of my newest favourites, that I was sure she’d like – Whitehorse! Well, like Father like Daughter, Whitehorse became one of Caitlin’s favourite bands too. And they have become one more thing that Caitlin and I share together, from catching their shows, buying their albums, Caitlin has most of their albums too, and even entering and winning not one but two contests! One lead to us meeting Luke and Melissa backstage at their show in 2017, where they did a private performance for us, we chatted, got their autographs, met their son and we even gave them a copy of our photography book ‘Father Daughter Perspective’… they share their passion with us, it felt right to share our passion with them! We’ve connected with both Luke and Melissa on Facebook since, and it’s so cool to have them like and comment, from time to time, on both of our posts/photos. And I have to say, in my opinion some of my best concert photos are of these guys, I’ve always said that if you find connections between what you do and what you love, you can’t help but do your best work, so it really pleases me that they really like my photos too! Whitehorse songs always seem to become a part of what Caitlin and I do together too, whether a short drive in the car, or an 8 day road trip through the U.S. 2 years ago. And most recently, Caitlin surprised me by picking a Whitehorse song for the Father Daughter dance at her wedding, the song was, ‘Jane’ from this very album! So yeah, this album has had an influence on my life! Love you Caitlin!
And hey, Whitehorse… “We love you guys!”
June 24, 2019: I’ve fallen behind quite a bit, but I’ll do my best to catch up, promise! So, for my next album I’m going with something that was only released 3 years ago! But it’s an album that is probably quite literally 69 years in the making! My #7 album is David Bowie’s ★. I can’t tell you how much this album has influenced me, because it’s not finished influencing me yet! This is the last album David ever recorded before he died, and The New York Times described the album as “at once emotive and cryptic, structured and spontaneous and, above all, willful, refusing to cater to the expectations of radio stations or fans”. That’s the Bowie I love, doing what he wants to do and we can take it or leave it! And for the record, pun intended, I DO love this record, immensely! I won’t tell you that I love everything Bowie’s ever done, but I do love that he stays true to himself and I hope that that will always influence me! I hope when my day comes, I can say I was always true to myself! I’ll finish with the final words of something I wrote 3 years ago, and posted to my web site, just after David died… the influence of ★ was already having an affect on me!
“Leave no stone unturned, no poem, song or story unwritten, no photograph untaken, no book unpublished, no film unmade, no words unsaid! Our time here is finite, but our deeds and accomplishments are not… move forward as though there’s no tomorrow and leave behind a testament to what it is YOU are passionate about. Leave behind the beauty in what you do, and what you WANT to do, it could mean the world to someone, it could change someone’s life, it could be the solace someone seeks… and it might make you smile!
And when the time comes, go out with as much creativity as you can muster!” © Julian Luckham 2016
“Keep your ’lectric eye on me babe…” © David Bowie 1972
June 26, 2019: What you may not know about me is I love musicals, even to the point of having been in a few. I think the first musical I ever saw was Oliver! in 1968. But my favourite is my #8 most influential album, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar from 1973! I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count and seen the musical on stage at least 3 times, once in London England, and once in Vancouver, with Ted Neeley [Jesus Christ] and Carl Anderson [Judas Iscariot] from the film! I consider this album influential because I knew this soundtrack so well, and enjoyed it so much, I was brave enough to do one song as part of a Tribute to Broadway, I was Pontius Pilate and sang ‘Pilate’s Dream’. I think this was the first of many I did back then, as well as a plays, theatre sports, film auditions, and a few short films both in Vancouver and here in Ottawa. I still do occasional readings at Open Mics of various pieces of poetry and fiction, as well as my own writings. Standing on a stage, be it real or just in front of a group of people, or a camera, proved to be exhilarating, and it stuck with me! And the funny thing about this story is 11 years later, who decided to play the part of Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ one year after meeting me… David Bowie, that’s who! Copy cat!
June 27, 2019: I’m going to cheat a bit today… my #9 most influential album is David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, but to really explain the influential part I need to include ‘Scary Monsters (Super Creeps)’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Never Let Me Down’, Bowie’s ’80s era! In 1980 I started work for A&B Sound and that’s where my love of music found a new and exciting play ground. I got to hear ’Scary Monsters’ before anyone else, I had access to promotional only records and promo materials, I had access to shows, backstage passes, and yes, it really was exciting! With my new found access to the music industry I was determined to meet David Bowie. In early 83 I was in London and did my best to cross paths with David while he was promoting ‘Let’s Dance’ and I missed meeting him by minutes! I first saw Bowie during the 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour, three times! I shot photos at one of those shows and I can honestly say that was the first time I was really excited about what I was shooting! My “Heroes” photo I still consider my favourite of all my photos I’ve shot! Later that year I met two guitarists that had worked with David, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Mick Ronson, but it wasn’t the year for me to meet David himself, that happened in 1987. Meeting David Bowie on the Glass Spider Tour was both exciting and scary…what if he was a jerk, what if my favourite artist of all time was an asshole! Luckily he wasn’t, he was polite, friendly and in spite of us being told we should not ask for autographs, when I asked he happily obliged! At one point we were talking like we were friends catching up… Bowie was just a normal guy, just as much as most of us are normal, or not! It was cool, and it was a huge influence on me moving forward in my own life!
July 1, 2019: So, it’s Canada Day so you know it has to be Canadian… my #10 most influencial album is Rush’s ‘Permanent Waves’ their seventh studio album released in January 1980! Why this album? It’s not my favourite Rush album, but it did influence my life… in the Summer of 1980, in London England. Rush played 5 sold out nights at the Hammersmith Odeon… and my best friend Kevin and I were there. Before the show we went by the London Polydor office to see if we could get back stage to interview the band, our perspective being why is Rush, a Canadian band, so much more popular in the U.K. than in their own country! They loved the idea and surprisingly we go that backstage pass! It was quite surreal, from all the artists we saw back stage, all the members of Whitesnake and Paul McCartney’s Wings, to walking in to a private room and sitting down and talking to Geddy Lee one on one! I could go on about what an amazing interview it was, but I’ll just say what Geddy Lee said at the end… “That was the best interview I’ve ever done!” I guess I missed my calling, but boy did that give me a lot of confidence in just doing whatever I want to do! And the most amazing moment of the whole night? Geddy Lee gets up from the interview and says “Come on, you gotta meet the other guys!”
July 2, 2019: This is my last one so I’m going with something that was again, introduced to me by my Dad! My #11 most influencial album is ‘The Pious Bird of Good Omen’, a compilation album of the first four non-album U.K. singles, plus B-sides and 4 additional tracks, by the British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac.
This collection was released in 1969 and my Dad played it a lot, at the house, in the car, even through a speaker he had hooked up in the car so that everyone walking by could hear ‘Albatross’ cranked!! LOL! I loved my Dad! My Dad remained a big fan of Fleetwood Mac throughout the years, as I have, but listening to their early days with the inimitable Peter Green, one of the greatest guitarists of all time, is still a special pleasure… just the two Peter Green penned singles ‘Albatross’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’ are worth the price of admission but then you have the brilliant blues song by Little Willie John and written by Mertis John Jr., ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ that they also released as a single. And let’s not forget the short instrumental ‘Jigsaw Puzzle Blues’ written by Fleetwood Mac’s other guitarist Danny Kirwan…too short, too short…as was ‘Albatross’ too!
Influential? Definitely, at 10 years old it introduced me to another oh so important genre of music, something my Dad was always doing, so much so that I can forgive him for Whistling Jack Smith! Love you Dad!