My Top 10 Music Artists
Criteria – I love a broad spectrum of their work and they have had a long-lasting emotional appeal. Or to put it simply, my life would be emptier and duller without them.
I’ve also added the albums I’d recommend as a starter-kit for discovering them (if you haven’t already)
Bob Dylan – Try Greatest Hits (1967) and Blood on the Tracks (1975) – his best compilation and his best album. If this doesn’t win you over, chances are, Dylan’s not for you. If you like what you hear, snap up his mid-60s ‘electric’ albums – Bringing it All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited (both 1965) plus Blonde on Blonde (1966). Proceed from there.
Pink Floyd – I can think of no better place to start than Dark Side of the Moon (1973), surely one of the greatest albums ever released. From there, absorb the rest of their great 70s work before back-tracking to the Syd Barrett years (1967-8). And don’t forget Division Bell (1994).
The Rolling Stones – The Stones are so well-known it hardly seems necessary to recommend starter points. There’s plenty of great compilations available including Hot Rocks (1986) which has their best 60s to early 70s work on it. If you see The London Years (1989) cheap, snap it up – it’s a fantastic 3CD compilation of all their singles and b-sides. Their greatest albums were done 1968-1972 and includes Exile on Main Street (1972) which is superb. Some Girls (1978) is their last really good record.
Neil Young – Decade (1977) is the ideal starter set as it contains everything from Neil’s Buffalo Springfield days up to the late 70s solo stuff. From there, decide if you prefer rockin’ Neil or acoustic Neil the best. If the former, head for Zuma (1975) and Rust Never Sleeps (1979) – if the latter, go for Harvest (1972) and Harvest Moon (1992). Work up to his ‘ditch trilogy’ – including On the Beach (1974) and Tonight’s the Night (1975).
Tom Waits – Tom’s voice is the main stumbling point for most people – plus the fact that (like Dylan and Young) he’s done loads of albums. My advice? Pick up Closing Time (1973) his most accessible piano-ballad album and Rain Dogs (1985) his best album overall. From there, proceed with confidence. Asylum Years (1987) and Beautiful Maladies (1998) are great compilations of his Asylum / Island years respectively. His latter-day stuff is best appreciated with Mule Variations (1999).
All About Eve – You can do no better than picking up their first self-titled album (1988). From there, buy or download the other three albums plus a decent compilations. Keepsakes is a nice collection (2005) which has a snazzy DVD on it, too.
The Who – There’s millions of Who compilations. The classiest is probably Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971) a great selection of their wonderful 60s singles. Having said that you can get exactly the same tracks and more on something like Ultimate Collection (2004). Their best album is Who’s Next (also 1971) and many swear by Live at Leeds (1970).
The Smiths / Morrissey – The Smiths have suffered a raft of cash-in compilations considering their short career. You’ll want to hear The Queen is Dead (1986) their masterpiece but Louder Than Bombs’ (1987) is perhaps the most satisfying compilation. They only did four albums, and they’re all great.
Fleetwood Mac – This one’s relatively easy. Buy or download Rumours (1977) – Dylan aside, it’s the greatest divorce album ever made. Once that’s in your system, get a decent compilation like the greatest hits they did in 2002. The Dance (1997) is a fun live album. There’s also the earlier blues material best sampled as the original Greatest Hits in the early 70s. Just look for the ‘Peter Green’ label.
Metallica – These guys are far too money-savvy to bring out a best-of. And until they do, Master of Puppets (1986) is your best bet for discovering these thrash titans. After that, buy their other 80s records and then get the self-titled ‘black album’ (1991).