Archive for Michael Jackson

My 100 Favourite albums of all time

Posted in life, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by Richard James Clark II

Top 100 albums by Myself

These records are 100 albums I listen to regularly and find many different levels of music playing, lyrics with meaning at the highest quality. Most albums are present in my collection of music either on CD, Vinyl. I have loved most albums here for many years, or I listen to more then I thought and others are new to the list which I have reacquired or acquired during the last year and I have now replaced some of the worn vinyl’s to play with CD’s so I can listen to them more.

1. Michael Jackson-Thriller First Released 1982

The first album I was bought and still love as much when I was younger till now!

He is my generations 25-30 year old’s Elvis, Beatles and all sorts. Thriller was to most Michael Jackson’s peak! He could never eclipse it. No one came close to it, not even Prince. Not a bad song on it apart from the Girl is Mine, Come on Michael what were you thinking, but hey it was the 80’s.

Raging monsters such as Billie Jean (that killer bass line, and sparse tight arrangement which became a production technique which still sounds fresh today-remember this is 25 years old), Thriller (A clever song with a interesting arrangement, with some interesting pulse and grooves, check the beat against the bass line in the sections)-also became a benchmark in Music Video, Beat It (Rock mixed with R & B, amazingly simple but effective)-plus who didn’t want to learn the guitar to play that solo. Wanna Be Startin Something (The Latin groove, African chanting middle 8’s, snappy lyrics and some of the most uplifting joy you’ll ever hear recorded) then to gems such Human Nature (one of the best ballads ever in the history of Pop music, with the Caribbean/jazz feel chorus), Baby Be Mine (another great song and has one of the sickest bass line ever for a ballad song, plus the bounce feel to the track is amazing-I wonder why Chris Brown didn’t do a cover for the Thriller 25 he could have done a good version), PYT (A joyous song with Quincy weaving his magic arrangement), Lady of my life(a great blues/ballad/soul whatever -this song is going to be played at my wedding) and so for any musician who doesn’t have this shame on you!

THIS is why Michael was loved as a musician! And the music was one word JOYOUS! -forget the other sh*T!,

This is why Michael will always be a great musical legend and I don’t care what people say, this album has influenced music in the last 25 years. But one thing for me why this album always stands out is the arrangements,

Quincy “The Legend” Jones (tell me someone who competes as a producer/arranger/ the man is top legend! The word “music” in the dictionary should have a picture of Quincy Jones next to it, if Shakespeare is the greatest author, Quincy is probably in my eyes the best composer ever-hands down! ) which are second to none. Whether you like Michael Jackson is your issue, but one thing is the musicians used (the best in the world from the west coast at the time-Louis Johnson on bass, Toto band members the list goes on) and arrangements for these “Pop”(it is such a bad word to use for this album really as it is multi-genre of music, it can’t even be catergorised but critics do as they lazy and criticize Michael Jackson because he sold more copies of one album then the Beatles did ) are so layered, every time you listen to this album you discover something new, a layer, a technique, sounds, it is so very in-depth.

2. Marvin Gaye’s Here My Dear First Released 1978

Most people love What’s Going On (great album…no doubt) but for something very spiritual (critics hated this at the time! I suspect Marvin didn’t care really what people thought, though reading books ‘Divided Soul’ it must have messed him up) but this is the definition of a SOUL album, this is Marvin at his most artistic and remember Marvin never got a penny for doing this album (he did it for the love of art something 99 percent of artists don’t do that anymore!) as the advance and the profit went to his 1st wife as part of the divorce to Anna Gordy. The main element of this album is the emotional content mixed with hazy moody jazz, blues, soul, funk, and afro-beat in places. The lyrical content is so personal and you feel you go through the journey with him, I really don’t understand why this album is never considered to be a great album by music journalists, as it’s a masterpiece in every way. The cover depicts a statue of Marvin and you know why as he knew this would be his final masterpiece, his empire, his achieving glory (which sadly never happened until afterwards, after he died-In Our lifetime is a good album and has interesting lyrical ideas but gets awash in the disco sound which happened alot to soul music in the late 70’s, Curtis Mayfield being a sad victim of this)..

Multi layered vocal arrangements-go further advanced then “I Want You” album, amazing counterpoints and the musical painted landscapes go through a hazier utopia, free-form lyrics. Key Cuts: When Did you stop loving me, when did I stop loving you-A mammoth song with so much personal content, the joy, the pain the anguish, you want to know what Marvin Gaye was about, his emotional states, this track alone tells a story (In fact I would probably go as far to say his most personal song!). , Is that Enough-A jazzy poetic semi-free form piece stating the emotional turmoil Marvin was going through and put through, and full of class-short concise lines-spiting at Anna-“fooling around with my mind instead of my heart!”, amazingly calm and no anger felt especially after ANGER-this song is about his trust , his feelings and regrets, his attitudes-losing of dear friends, talking about going to another plain to rid of the pain of divorce and loss of friendships(sure this is about him getting high to dull the pain-which in fact probably created more demons for him then needed), Anna’s Song-A song about the joys of the relationship he shared with Anna and how he regrets having to express his negative and positive feelings, Sparrow-a track based on a metaphor-raucous compared to the other tracks on the album, in parts, check the sax work-Avant-garde Sh*T!

Also I recommend getting the Deluxe Edition, which has been released as you can hear demos and how Marvin used to compose by the tracks sketches.

3. Love-Forever Changes- First Released 1967

A 60’s album with writing way ahead of it’s time, written before the winter of disillusionment in 67. Arthur Lee was clearly pissed at the world-he felt he was going to die-which surprisingly he didn’t, knowing his state of mind- a tortured soul and how he later on in life got arrested for shooting firearms, it takes a few listens to grab you.

I got some of it at first but then I first heard this album on cassette when I was 12, but you can learn so much from this album-I play it at least once a week, and have done since the reissue on CD in 2001. You wouldn’t believe at first listen that this album is negative to the world -as the arrangements are deceptively joyous clever same effect Marvin uses on Here My Dear, listen to this album and get lost in a world of hippy optimism turning sour! Predated Kinks/Beatles(the kinks lyrics were interesting but not on the level of Arthur Lee’s writing-and the kinks didn’t have a great album like this-the Beatles were too commercial and popular to ever discuss what “Plain” Arthur lee was on) interesting work and Beach Boys-Surf Up’s (no sunny harmonies-dark-LSD influences) Pink Floyd marvel’s Dark Side which is a great album but the lyrical content is poor compared to Forever changes,

This album has multilayered arrangements, unusual for the time too, melodic songs, with no definite chorus-most if not all the song titles don’t appear in the songs (their statements), lyrics with double meanings.

Arthur discusses leaving this world to join the spiritual enlightenment-and is a true follower of Gnosticism, stating a world which was crumbling in front of peoples eyes without sounding angry!

Something Hip-Hop hasn’t leant yet to do on this level accept for a few acts such as A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def and so on.

To me this album influenced such a huge sound coming from the west coast-The Doors, Sly and the family Stone, The Damned, Grateful Dead and so on (including Hendrix-he must have loved this album)

Classic Cuts: Alone Again Or, A House Is Not a Motel, Andmoreagain, Daily Planet, Red Telephone, Maybe the people would be the times (and so on)——It would too long to explain about these, check out a later Blog on this album alone.

4. Prince-1999 First Released 1983

I know the ” what’s so great about Prince argument!” and have heard it way too many times, it is slightly boring..

He’s really foul mouthed, is he gay? He can’t sing-blah blah blah blah blah!”

Right well Hello u damn ignorant fools this is the reason

Prince’s best album in my opinion (VIBE magazine claimed it to be the most inflectional album of the last 20 years-rightly so!) only Sign of the Times comes close, this album influenced a scene which has been huge for years HOUSE

This album masterpiece has multi-genre qualities-funk, soul, electro, pop, gospel, jazz, rock, crudeness, political stabbings,comedy everything at once (it is like being hit be a musical hurricane),

“Free” however is a bit of a lame track sorry Prince not the best you could do, loving stuttering fool Reagan! UGGH! Who by the way people has caused the crack problem since the 80’s and the money he gave to Afghanistan so they can train extremists so to protect themselves from Russia-F*cking retard),

If you Hate Prince’s music (if you do I feel sorry for you! as along with Michael Jackson these two are the last best musicians from the 20th Century) don’t listen to this, if your a prude don’t listen to this as it would overwhelm you but if you marvel at his genius music writing listen to this!

Personally all musicians should have this or obtain it, like Thriller (if any album you should but get my top 5 if you don’t own them already).

Classic tracks

The pre-millennium tension of “1999”a song very political (influenced by Sly no doubt), this track is a bit dated but during the 80’s this song was very relevant but it was always a tongue in cheek song..

My favourite track of Princes is the song about the lady lover “Little Red Corvette”

A song with one of the best first lines in a song-musical/lyrical genius-“I guess I should known by the way you parked your car sideways it wouldn’t last” conjures such a painting of the character, amazing layers and the journey is unreal-pretty much like getting F*cked in this car journey with this girl,

The pure grimy funk rawness of “DMSR”-how you could never love this song is beyond me-it makes you wanna dance!

The ambiguous sexual “Something in The Water Don’t Compute”-something so cold and electro but amazing soulful

The pity filled “Lady Cab Driver”-with interesting views on the world which the make the track end up being a raucous jam “check the Middle 8″and scholar like writing “will you accept my tears to pay the fare”.

5. Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. First released 1973

Stevie most complete album-he played most of the instruments on it too and not a weak song on it,

Song in the key is his other great album but it lacks the concise punches this album had, a classic in every sense of the word and funky as hell!

All songs are great but the key songs to me are

Higher Ground-A funk/blues song stating of the chance to re-do his life again, very political with a amazing funk presence, one of the most funkiest songs ever-Chilies cover is good too, and Stevie’s live versions are good too

Golden Lady-not the song most people associate with Stevie or people mention from this album much (I think it is one the greatest songs ever as it’s so simple yet a mutli layered arrangement) it influenced the acid jazz movement, straight forward lyrics, interesting arrangement around it (the bass line is phat!, Stevie was on a mad one)-just check it out!

Living In The City-a story of a country boy trying to get work then becoming after jail time deluded by life-harsh reality with amazing production but hey someone had to talk about it -truth hurts , Too High-an inventive way of the dangers of drugs-two amazing things in this song “the drums and the harmonica solo in the middle-it sounds like a battle between the normal state of mind and the drugged up-very clever -again listen and listen again in amazement.

All in love is fair-a ballad with amazing emotional depth, (I have heard (and I know what your thinking, what a F**) a Barbara Streisand cover of this and it’s amazing, probably one of the best Stevie covers ever, but the original is the best, the jazz timbre/classical styling and the piano playing is amazing, very complex compared to other tracks on the album.

6. Curtis Mayfield-Curtis, First Released in 1971

Curtis Mayfield is by far one of the most amazing composers ever, political statements & arrangements (out of this world).

Written and predating What’s Going On this album is beautifully arranged and has interesting songs on it from the beautiful

Making Of You-a spiritual love-ode with lyrical beauty and tenderness (another wedding song-along with lady of my life and golden lady), it may not seem much at first but it’s subtly is special,

The spiritual Move On Up-unfortunately Kanye West had wrecked this song for me for a while (along with some others he mashes up to create some of his horrible hybrid crap!-some Stuff you should leave alone-word to “Kanye”-this was one of them! Please watch what you pick-as you lose the content of the original so much), but an amazing song with the joy of peace and enlightenment and a message very similar to “keep on keeping on” but more commercial viable, check out the arrangement not just horns but the breakdown, the drum pattern (Questlove from The Roots must love this track for that!)

The cautious Hell Below!-Spiritual readings-better then any preacher i have heard, gritty punchy, and a arrangement with great depth Listen to this to learn what was so special about this man, sorely missed!

7. Sly and The Family Stone-There’s A Riot Going On –First released in 1971

Sly created such a joyous sound with the Stand album and everything else then he felt his optimism went sour and wayward-so created in the aftermath is this Dark, Moody, evil (perhaps), happy in parts, sad, creepy, a Monstorous oxymoron of an album, trust me 1971 was such a peak year with albums along with 1982,

Do you like Sly’s 60’s stuff (forget that) listen to this and see him in a different light he became a bastard (the PCP and other concoction of drugs didn’t help perhaps) to his band but hey even the band put up with his bullsh*T how could you not when you come up with this a master piece!

Family Affair-bluesy-soul telling of a family in tatters, simple lyrics but under a infectious groove that is mesmerizing remember hearing this track when I was 8 yrs old and thinking what is this! It was on BBC Radio 2- so I heard who it was and obtained a 45 record of it (which wasn’t in great nick when I got it)

I played it to death, tried to do the drum pattern with my voice, all sorts it is such a wonderful track I studied it alot,

Smilin-like family affair but the woman singing changes the feel of this, the horn parts too jazz turn a rounds

Poet-that harpsichord and funky wahs makes this potent, with a lyric so simple but with emotional depth.

I will write a separate blog on this album–you have probably hurt your eyes reading thus far by now! But continue!

8. D’Angelo-Voodoo- First released in 2000

Where is he? What is he doing?, Some say overrated! Nah! Never!

This to me is the last best album I have bought in the last 10 years, it makes me realise that there is great music out there, but nothing comes close to this…

D’Angelo is in the same league as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Prince spiritually and musically and people may wonder why he takes so long to write albums

I personally don’t care about his personal problems but it does make him a emotional writer like Marvin Gaye when he writes but more ambiguous

Brown Sugar (good album for it’s time and got me back into up-to date music as the mid 90’s bored me before then, but not great like Voodoo) then this! His talent comes from somewhere else-it is out of earth experience

Key Tracks

Spanish Joint-rumored he wrote this originally when he was young about 14 (I heard. don’t quote me, same age as Bach when he wrote Toccata and fugue in D minor-GENIUS), where do I start Charlie hunter playing the guitar and the percussion and drum pattern build up to the part he sings coming in like a monsoon like a “whenever it rains, fell this way” it is a killer, I believe Fela Kuti influenced this album a lot along with the ebat style of J Dilla -listen to the acoustic version done on piano on Spanish joint, the vibe, the feeling, by D’Angelo has reminisce of Fela or the great Cuban music.(if you don’t have it, obtain it somehow!)

One Mo’Gin-hazy-dark, a modern day sly track from there’s a riot, the build-up the bass line, the harmonies, the lyrics, subtle but poignant,

Send It On-The lyrics and the movement in the song the middle 8 is an amazing drop then the subtle guitar solo, the horn samples used, genius,

Left And Right-A great song, which builds on a great groove and becomes very hypnotic

Untitled(how does it feel)-yes the video (ladies I know you love it! LOL) but the song, Marvin crept into him, one of the best soul ballad for years-only Till the cops come knockin is close. (Another blog soon on this album too)

09. Simon and Garfunkel-Bookends First released 1968/69

An album of many great melodies!

Amazing songs and would you believe at this time they couldn’t stand each other, but when they were together at their peak they do in my opinion rival and better Lennon & McCartney!

To be honest neither did anything as amazing singular (except Graceland for Paul Simon) or before as albums, but amazing songs just the same Old Friends/Bookends is my favorite song of theirs from this album and one of my all top 25 songs and others from this masterpiece album are Overs and the classic Mrs Robinson.

10. Michael Jackson -Off the Wall –First released in 1979

An obvious choice following on from Thriller, some say even a better album and if it had been promoted like Thriller it would have done better!

I’d disagree with that, it is not in-depth enough to be as good as Thriller, nut Thriller did follow the template layout of this album but the energy and classic songs such as

Rock With You-probably one of the best pop-ballad songs ever (Rufus played on this-Bobby Watson-bass, the groove by john Robinson, the melody and the arrangement),

The energetic Off The Wall-short staccato lyrics, horns, vocals,

Working Day And Night-a Latin masterpiece which builds and builds (check out the Bad “Live ” version) give it a fair argument (Michael beginning his meteoritic rise to elitism)

Even timid ballads such as Girlfriend and I can’t help it (my 4th favorite track of this album-one of Stevie’s best written songs) pull this album through, the only criticism I have about this album is sometimes it sounds too dated disco for me and with not enough bite say compared to the edginess of Thriller!

11. Donovan-Sunshine Superman-First Released 1967/68

A poor mans Dylan people claim, what misjudged fools they are!

This album has so much to offer, in fact I have had so many people buy this album from every walk of life after hearing it! I also met the man recently (within the last three years) as well which was interesting!

Worth having a listen to and something British (warning very LSD and hippy inspired though but very cool!) and he also taught Lennon and McCartney finger picking on the guitar!-who can put claims to that!

The joyous Sunshine Superman-someone should do a funk cover of this (perhaps i will!),

The funky blues “Season of The Witch” to the sonnet Celtic, “Three kingfishers”.

12. Bill Withers-Still Bill First Released 1971/72

A classic song writer who has written great songs, Ain’t no sunshine, use me, who is he and what is he to you, the latter two on this album,

A great mantel for anyone wishing to learn how to write great R &B or edgy pop songs

I have had this album since the age of 9 and the greatest hits was a regular playing album when learning to compose and along with Marvin, Stevie,

I consider Bill Withers to be a high standard writer with so much depth

Key cuts are the stated before along with Lean on me, Lonely Town, Lonely Street

13. (I’m a little superstitious using this number)

Marvin Gaye-What’s Going On, First released in 1971

“The first Black music concept album”

Berry Gordy tried to stop it coming out,

But Marvin believed in this (but he was a stubborn Git too, that’s why i love his music) and ultimately was his masterpiece but to me never showed the diversity like Here My Dear but aside from that.

Classic songs and influenced many conceptual ideas for Black music albums especially Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield had already released Curtis before What’s Going On, hence why I like that album more-the arranging especially, but this album has a huge range of powerful and meaningful songs which keep this in high stead for many years to come!

Subjects including the state of the environment and poverty within society and saving and looking out for the future keeps this album’s message even relative to now!

I don’t really have to explain these tracks do I?

14. Beatles-Revolver First released in 1966

A had to include a Beatles album in here, but as they are the beginning of pop music as we know now, this album has classic pop songs, unconventional arrangements for that time, and some of the most classic pop songs ever written,

I have been brainwashed since young by bloody musicians and music teachers “The Beatles! Blah Blah-I personally don’t get the whole big fuss!

I don’t think the could sing for starters but there you go

(No writing to me please telling me how great the Beatles are please-as i will only tell you to F*Ck off)

Eleanor Rigby a tale about a lonely woman, Taxman a funk song about the taxes imposed by government, and a classic love song in Here, There and Everywhere, I’m only sleeping (this could have been funked up by later Sly!), and even Yellow Submarine doesn’t spoil this album! LOL

15 Prince-Sign Of The Times First released in 1987

Prince wrote this masterpiece of an album in 1987 it changed a lot of things in Prince’s Camp and was the decline in the relationship between him and Warners.

Prince had run the course of the revolution, and was sick of the sound, so he wanted to strip it down to the basic funk, D’Angelo used a similar trait with Voodoo.

The Songs about the state of the world in the title track were very daring at the time, even my mum who ‘hates’ Prince found this track interesting and stark, to gender reversal “If I was your girlfriend” to the need for a woman “The ballad of Dorothy Parker”-my favourite Prince song apart from Little Red Corvette, to funked-up jams about pure sexuality “Hot Thing” and all together the last great thing Prince ever did and probably ever will do.

16. Jimi Hendrix-Electric Ladyland-First released in 1969/70

Sonically experimental and out of this world genius all created by one man, this to me is Hendrix’s pinnacle work and deservedly so,

All Along the watchtower puts Dylan’s version to complete shame,

The snappiness of Cross town traffic, the doo-wop of Long Summer Nights, any musician even if they are not keen on Hendrix should try to own this album, warning though it isn’t easy to listen to at first…

17. Terry Callier-What Colour is Love-First released in 1972

Who? What is this album!

Well describing this album is as joyous as listening to it is, beautiful arranged and very different from his other bluesy material,

I only heard of this album 9 years ago and fell in love with this as much as Here My Dear by Marvin Gaye, this album feels like falling in Love (sound cliché! I know but it’s not smaltzy either) and check out why this album is fantastic and worth listening to even if it’s not your thing, if you like Curtis by Curtis Mayfield try to acquire this!

18 Exodus-Bob Marley first released in 1977

The best reggae album, or one of the best albums ever…this wasn’t the first Bob Marley album I heard it was Natty dread, but when I obtained this when I was 11, I feel in love with Bob Marleys music and his message (I believe him to be one of the most important people ever in music history and regard him so highly), I also got into Peter Tosh and some of the Trojan sounds.

Well not a weak song on it really, I obtained it again on CD with the 30th Anniversary edition and somehow passed by it for years, only listening to some of the songs on the Legend album

One of my things I love in music is arrangement and lyrics, and Bob Marley is a genius at simplistic lyrics but with so much meaning

My Favourites being

Waiting in Vain, A ballad about longing (it was about Damien Marley’s mother-the rest is history) but has such a postive energy and ends up not being smaltzy unlike so many acts who have tried before and afterwards.

Jamming –A great song which conjures the element of being a musician and it ethics in being one.

Three little birds-A song not about animals as first thought but a metaphor about his backing group and how people should look to be positive.

Exodus –A song about the movement of people originally from the idea of Moses leaving Egypt to find the promised land, Bob Marley represents this song in another way of the movement of people away from the current world-a hostile environment, perhaps him being a Moses figure, I find this song has such a spiritual affiliation, as I have gotten older I have always been intrigued as the movement from Babylon to the fathers land, can be seen in many different ways perhaps to Heaven or the land where the world started Ethopia. Well it’s your interpretation..

19/20 The Isley Bros -3 and 3/ The Heat Is On- First released in 1973/75

Both these albums have great musicality to them and destroyed the Motown sounding Isleys with elements of rock, funk and other out of this world catchiness.

3 & 3 has a great mixture of funky songs “That Lady” and “Summer Breeze” to the wonderful ballads of “Highways of my life” and “Don’t let me be lonely”

The Heat Is On turns up the pace and the strength of songs just under peaks 3 & 3 but has great songs such as “Fight The Power” “For the love of you” and one of the most sexiest songs ever in “Sensuality”, if you have never discovered these albums I feel sorry for you, as these are truly excellent musical masterpieces!

21 David Bowie-Hunky Dory, First Released in 1971

A musical legend in his own right but this album is Bowie’s first masterpiece(my favorite as well)

This album is where and when Bowie showcases his great song writing before going into his utter dependence on drugs and character idioms and follows on from his creative arty beginnings.

It is one of the artist’s least rock-oriented efforts, bearing little relation to what came before or after.

The album covers a wide range of styles from operatic pop “Life on Mars?” a song originally written to take the piss out of ole blue eyes Frank Sinatra to a low-key folk (“Quicksand”) to English music hall ditties (“Kooks”) and the chugging, life-affirming “Changes”.

22.A Tribe Called Quest-People’s Instinctive Travels (Paths of Rhythm)

First released in 1990

Well my first and favourite hip-hop album ever, I obtained this in 1991 and hassled my Mum to buy it while in America, and because it had no parental advisory lyrics my Mother didn’t mind

It is amazing how this album still has such a emotional connection with myself even after 18 years of listening to this album, and really it wasn’t meant for me a British white kid in a racist environment and especially at school but I just got lost in my own world and loved the lyrics which had meaning unlike the garbage which was in the pop charts at that time, and I try to do that even now, even though my environment is more cosmopolitan (when I went to NY last year this album really captured the feel of NY especially Brooklyn and the end of the summer)

It is a masterpiece of what Hip-Hop to me should be about and where most hip-hop has completely forgotten about how to make a solid album.

Only Three hip-hop acts in my opinion seem to have regained this apart from Q-tip himself, The Roots, Common and Mos Def the latter has never hit the heights of his debut ‘Black On Both Sides’ and Common has become a commercial letdown and The Roots can’t seem to come with a album as interesting as Things Fall Apart.

Paths Of Rhythm has such a cohesive theme that you didn’t mind listening to the whole album and boy I went through 5 cassettes of this album and I was glad to get a CD of this in 1995…the year I obtained a CD walkman.

The birth of the start of Push it along made you wonder if this was the birth of a new movement in music and from then the journey starts which goes into the comedic tales of Lucien, but during the journey of this album I knew certain tracks samples and then also I wished to discover the original tracks which the samples where taken from…Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, Eugene Mcdaniels (this took a while to obtain) and so on…

My favourite tracks which maybe quite obvious are

I left my wallet in El Segundo-a tale about the tribe going to escape the city and tip leaving his wallet in El Segundo…very original couldn’t imagine many hip-hop artists talking about this in the ‘Bling Bling’ Era.

Bonita Applebum-The feel of this track and being one of my favourite hip-hop tracks is the lyrical content and the description about a guy falling in love with a beautiful woman and not being crude but intelligent..

Can I kick it, My favourite hip-hop track of all time and due to the use of a great sample ‘Walk on the wild side’ and the positive lyrical content which was inspiring and joyous, this has been missed in Hip-Hop for a long time, the video version always was a favourite of mine too.

Youthful Expression-The organ rift sample usage (Inner city blues-redone by Les McCann?) -in this song and the lyrics about the environment of the group, and the political connotations was very smart and subtle compared to that of Public Enemy

Description Of A Fool-A song dissing drug dealers, I didn’t understand this when I was young but someone older explained the meaning to me, and I thought it was a smart sonng.

23.Marvin Gaye-I Want You- First released in 1976

Vocally an amazing album

Leon Ware was on top writing form and though not as personal as other solo albums “Here my Dear and “What’s going on”, the title track with the sense of longing and spirituality beg for your ears to listen with intelligent arrangements

Other tracks such as Soon I will be loving you, after the dance and come live with me angel have such warmth that this album is so irresistible (and more interesting then the raw 2D “Let’s get it on”)

24. The Jacksons-Triumph-First released in 1980

This album was just written before Thriller and to be honest Michael and his brothers were musically on form and bloody amazing try to watch live shows of this being performed on

From Michael’s solo success from Off The Wall to the eventual Masterpiece of Thriller, co-produced by Greg Philliganes,

This album has not a bad moment on it and is never that highly regarded, surprising because this has great arrangements, good songs, in some case people may think OTT, but this comes from a family who were living the American dream from a young age! Come on!

Key songs

The anthem call “Can u feel it” to the sinister

“Heartbreak Hotel” a predecessor for Billie Jean

Funky arranged pop songs “Give it up” to the evils of woman, “Your ways”,

If you want to understand, study or get inspiration from music in Michael Jackson’s key period in musical history this wouldn’t be a bad bet to purchase along with Off The Wall and Thriller! Highly Recommended

25 Maxwell-Embrya- First released in 1998

Embrya is the modern day “I Want You” album,

As a concept album not highly regarded this will become a future classic, great arranging, great melodies but alienated fans as a departure from Urban Hang Suite, but to me this is Maxwell’s best album by far and only in modern day soul D’angelo is better, competes with Marvins, and Stevie Wonders best work.

Classic Cuts “Drowndeep hula” “Arroz con polo” “Luxury/cococure”

Blog on this album coming soon too

26 Cat Stevens-Tea For the Tillerman- First released in 1970

One the best writers of songs for the last 30 years and his albums still stand up as testimonial to his genius to his gems classic cuts such as “Wild wood” “Father and Son” (Covered too many times the original is still the best” and “Where do the children play?”

27. Kate Bush-Never For Ever -First released in 1980

Now most people know Kate Bush by her famous songs Wuthering Heights, Hounds Of Love,

Never for Ever has a diverse range of music(very like Hunky Dory) and has inspired a lot of woman performers such as Tori Amos, Bjork, Fiona Apple.

Babooska, The Wedding List and Army Dreamers are my favorites but this album contains so many gems and the writing has many different influences, in fact I get a lot of inspiration from this album and I had to represent a female artist on here somewhere!

28/29 -Eugene McDaniels-Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse/Outlaw-First released in 1969/70

Before writing great songs for Roberta Flack, Eugene McDaniels had written two concept albums which for him nearly broke him financially and mentally, but what gem’s these are.

Re-released for the last ten years you wonder why the record company made a fuss! But great grooves, very dark and moody! This has great song writing and very original, in fact I would highly recommend this to anyone who wishes to explore the darker side of music, it’s just a shame I heard this after “Sly’s There’s a riot and Marvins “What’s going on” but nevertheless a great masterpiece

Key Cuts’ “Jagger the Dagger” “Lord is Back” Lovin Man” “Freedom Death Dance” on Headless and on Outlaw, Cherrystones, Unspoken Dreams of Light, Reverend Lee, Love Letter to America

30. Roberta Flack-Feel Like Making Love album First released in 1975

Beautifully arranged songs, great musicianship.

This has great songs from the title track to the laid back Mr Magic, and to uplifting songs such as “Feeling that Glow” and some “Gospel according to Mathew!”, a lot of people prefer Killing me Softly but as an album I feel this is more complete and not a bad moment on it.

31 Carole King-Tapestry-. Tapestry First released in 1971

A well regarded classic songwriters album took the Grammy over Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” which people felt she deserved after all the famous songs she had written,

Very raw and emotional interesting from the famous classic “You’ve got a friend” to the classic songs she wrote for 60’s female doo-wop groups “Will you still love me tomorrow” and to the man biting “It’s Too Late”, this has stood the test of time and deserves a few listens to get the essence of this album!

32 Joni Mitchell-Blue, First released in 1971

A template for Female Singer songwriters everywhere and not a bad song on this album either, which is a surprise, to be honest Joni Mitchell never did an album close to this apart from Ladies in the Canyon.

Classic Cuts: “My Old Man” “Blue” “All I want

33. Shuggie Otis-Inspiration Information-First released in 1974

Pre-Dated Prince played every instrument known to man (asked to be The Rolling Stones Guitarist before Ron Wood) and now is a pauper because of the record companies’ poor marketing and has become a recluse!

After Sly’s “RIOT” and “Fresh” album I would listen to this, reissued 8 years ago…a forgotten classic.

His back catalogue keeps him alive! Some albums at the time just get slated too much

A lot of critics (famous) slate albums on this list which I love!

Hence why I want people to discover my list but listen to this and see what I get from it! “Aut of mi Hed”, “Inspiration information”, if you love “There’s a riot Going On” get this it more bluesy/jazzy and positive though…

34 Pink Floyd-Dark Side Of The Moon- First released in 1973

A group who really never took off in the 60’s but

Moved the Beatles ideas sonically forward and maxed it further,

A great sonic art work and still considered a masterpiece very ahead of it’s times unusual time signatures and counterpoints, poly rhythms trying to push boundaries Key Cuts “Money”, “Breathe” and “Time” and all the pills they took

35 Bob Dylan-Freewheelin- First released in 1963

Freewheelin is a classic album and to think this was his second album and the strength of his song writing was way beyond his years,

I prefer this album to everything else he did or does, and to me it has one of the best songs known to popular music “Blowin in the wind” and other cuts such as “Master of War” and “I shall be free”,

36 Funkadelic-One a Nation under a Groove- First released in 1979

This album mixes so many things I like in music funk, melodies, arranging, surrealism and most of all humour! This album has it all, everything you want to know about the funk, and well this album would be a good start!

The title track and other jams make this album a must have for any dull party to light the f*Ck up or to start a party, George Clinton is still a genius and listen 2 this and see why he is so regarded!

37.Miles Davis-Bitches Brew First released in 1970

One of the greatest and important records ever made!

A few days after Woodstock and a world of new music on the horizon leaving the 60’s behind and going into the nexus towards the 70’s, some jazz fans hate it and some people just don’t get it!

To me this album has given me such inspiration and shows the level musicians can get when exploring ideas, Highly recommended and shows Miles Davis as the pioneer of Jazz music

38 Stevie Wonder-Songs In the key of Life-First released in 1976

An epic record which never to me eclipses Innervisions but nevertheless is an impressive masterpiece

With some of Stevie Wonder’s best songs “As”, “Sir Duke”, “I Wish” “Pastime Paradise” and ballads with depth and musical bite which he never explored again without going into schmaltz “If it’s Magic” “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, “Summer Soft” Isn’t She Lovely”, worth adding to you collection for just so much creativity, why it isn’t higher on my list is because it’s too long sometimes, tracks can be 8 mins long, and some tracks lose their focus!

If this wasn’t the case this would be in my top 15!

39 The Dramatics-Whatcha See is What You Get-First released in 1970

The Stylistics were more successful but never came up with a whole album to compete and only the Chi-lites could match this group in talent and versatility, but as an album this has Great writing all by one man Tony Hestor, great arrangements and excellent songs

Key cuts; the title track “In The Rain”, “Hot Pants In the Summertime” “Get up and Get down” and an album so good Ghostface Killah comes back to this and samples the sh*T out of it!

40 Michael Jackson-Bad- First released in 1987

Trying to write a follow-up to the biggest selling album in the world ever is no easy task but Michael keep up with the times with this amazing effort, where at least six songs are his best ever he has done

“The Way you make me Feel” to the gritty “Smooth Criminal” and the killing me softly ode “Dirty Diana” and to one of the funkiest songs he has ever done “Another part of me” to the interesting simplicity of “Liberian Girl”, and the anthem cal “Man In the Mirror”.

Just some cheesy smaltzy songs let this down for me “Just Good Friends” & “I Just Can’t Stop Loving U” but other wise worth owning!

41 Bjork-Debut First released in 1993

Well Bjork has been so pioneering but this is where it started and as an album the most complete of her work

Being a admirer of Kate Bush, I was always after a female artist who could be experimental and interesting as well as writing good songs, many tried to Tori Amos, Fiona Apple to an extent but never to the imagination of Bjork.

Venus as a boy, play dead, big time sensuality, human behavior are my favorites in fact they still stand up so well makes them great,

42.Fela Kuti-Expensive Shit

43. Q-Tip-The Kammal Abstract Theory

44.D’Angelo-Brown Sugar-

45.The Roots-Things Fall Apart-

46.Erykah Badu-Mama’s Gun

47. Jill Scott-Words and Sounds Vol 1

48.Rufus -Streetplayer

49. Simon and Garfunkel -Bridge Over Troubled Water

50. Donald Bryd-Places and Spaces

51. Sly and the Family Stone-Fresh

52 Prince-Dirty Mind

53 Carly Simon-No Secrets

54 Mos Def-Black On Both Sides

55 Lenny Kravitz-Mama Said

56 Leon Ware-Musical Massage

57 Jimi Hendrix Experience-Are you Experienced

58 Michael Jackson-Dangerous

59 Lina -The Inner Beauty Movement

60 Outkast-Speakerbox /The Love Below

61 Brother Johnson-Light Up The Night-

62 Fiona Apple-When The Pawn

63 Curtis Mayfield-Superfly

64 Common-Like Water For Chocolate

65 Tracey Chapman-Tracey Chapman

66.Sly and The Stone-Stand

67 Raul Midon-State Of Mind

68.Wanted Dread And Alive-Peter Tosh

69. Seal-Seal

70 Steely Dan-Aja

71 Herbie Hancock-Headhunters

72 Ginuwine-The Bachelor

73 Aaliyah-Aaliyah

74 Prince-Parade

75 Beck -Midnight Vultures

76 Funkadelic-Uncle Jam Wants You

77 Paul Simon-Graceland

78 Velvet Underground & Nico-Velvet Underground

79 Rachael Yamagata-Happenstance

80 George Harrison-All Things Must Pass

81 Beatles-Abbey Road

82 Miles Davis-On the Corner

83 Scott Walker-Scott 3

84 Marvin Gaye-In Our Lifetime

85. Bill Withers-Justments

86 Gary Numan-The Pleasure Principle

87 Pink Floyd-The Wall

88 Elton John -Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

89.The Clash-Sandista

90 Keite Young-The Rise and Fall of

91 Frank Zappa-Hot Rats

92 West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band -West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band Vol.2

93 Squarepusher-Feed Me Weird Things

94 Pharoah Saunders-Thembi

95 Coldplay-A Rush Of Blood To The Head

96 Rage Against The Machine-Rage Against The Machine

97 Radiohead-Ok Computer

98. Aphex Twin-Druqs

99. Isaac Hayes –Hot Buttered Soul

100.Alicia Keys-I am