A Life’s Soundtrack (In Progress): My Top 100 Albums

While knocking one of these lists out seems easy for the first 70-80 or so albums, there are hard choices to make once you near the 100 mark.

Do you include or exclude something based on it merely being one of the first albums that turned you on to music, whether or not you listen to it anymore?  Does the inclusion of a live album or compilation constitute cheating in some way?

With regard to the latter: To you, if a live album represents the definitive work of the artist, then why not?  Also, if your introduction to a band came via a compilation, I think that counts as it’s your “go to” album by them.  So, I’ve unapologetically added a few of those here.

With my list, it’s clear that my formative music-listening years were from around 1978 to 1988, but as a friend once told me, your years from 10 to 20 are when the bulk of your musical tastes are formed (might be up for debate, but not by me!).

The fun thing about these lists is that it’s not always about what’s on them, but what’s NOT on them. So, you’ll see that I wasn’t at all influenced by many of prog and/or hard rock bands that so many hold dear, such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Genesis. On the flip side, my love for some bands is such that numerous albums of theirs are represented here.

No matter what, these 100 – and others beyond – are the soundtrack to my life, 1968-present:

  1. AC/DC, Back In Black
  2. Alcatrazz, Disturbing The Peace
  3. Animal Logic, II
  4. Asia, Asia
  5. Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, An Evening Of Yes Music
  6. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  7. The Beatles, Abbey Road
  8. Big Big Train, The Underfall Yard
  9. Big Big Train, English Electric
  10. Bourgeois Tagg, s/t
  11. Bourgeois Tagg, Yoyo
  12. Crowded House, Recurring Dream
  13. Dada, Puzzle
  14. Dada, s/t
  15. Dave Matthews Band, Remember Two Things
  16. Dave Matthews Band, Under The Table And Dreaming
  17. Dave Matthews Band, Before These Crowded Streets
  18. The Doors, Best of The Doors
  19. Dream Theater, Images And Words
  20. Dream Theater, Awake
  21. Dream Theater, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
  22. Dream Theater, A Dramatic Turn of Events
  23. Dream Theater, s/t
  24. Emerson, Lake & Powell, s/t
  25. Frost*, Milliontown
  26. Halloween, Alaska – Champagne Downtown
  27. Peter Gabriel, Security
  28. Peter Gabriel, Us
  29. Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast
  30. Iron Maiden, Piece Of Mind
  31. It Bites, Once Around The World
  32. It Bites, The Tall Ships
  33. Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking
  34. Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual
  35. Billy Joel, The Stranger
  36. King Crimson, Discipline
  37. King Crimson, Beat
  38. King’s X, Gretchen Goes To Nebraska
  39. King’s X, Ear Candy
  40. Kino, Picture
  41. Luce, Never Ending
  42. KISS, Alive
  43. KISS, Alive II
  44. Barry Manilow, Live (you heard right)
  45. Marillion, Clutching At Straws
  46. Bob Marley, Legend
  47. Wynton Marsalis, Hot House Flowers
  48. Mr. Mister, Welcome To The Real World
  49. Mr. Mister, Go On…
  50. Mr. Mister, Pull
  51. Trevor Rabin, Can’t Look Away
  52. Roxy Music, Avalon
  53. Rush, A Farewell to Kings
  54. Rush, Hemispheres
  55. Rush, Permanent Waves
  56. Rush, Moving Pictures
  57. Rush, Power Windows
  58. Rush, Roll The Bones
  59. Saga, Worlds Apart
  60. Saga, Heads Or Tales
  61. Saga, Behaviour
  62. Saga, The Security Of Illusion
  63. Seal, s/t (second album)
  64. Simple Minds, Street Fighting Years
  65. Frank Sinatra, Classic Sinatra
  66. Spock’s Beard, Beware Of Darkness
  67. Spock’s Beard, Day For Night
  68. Spock’s Beard, V
  69. Spymob, Sitting Around Keeping Score
  70. Steely Dan, A Decade of Steely Dan
  71. Steely Dan, Everything Must Go
  72. Sting, Bring On The Night
  73. Sting, The Soul Cages
  74. Sting, Ten Summoner’s Tales
  75. Swing Out Sister, It’s Better To Travel
  76. Swing Out Sister, Live At The Jazz Café’
  77. Talk Talk, Sprit Of Eden
  78. Tears For Fears, The Seeds Of Love
  79. Tears For Fears, Raoul And The Kings Of Spain
  80. Tears For Fears, Everybody Loves A Happy Ending
  81. Threshold, Critical Mass
  82. Toto, XIV
  83. Toy Matinee, s/t
  84. Transatlantic, Bridge Across Forever
  85. U2, The Unforgettable Fire
  86. UK, Danger Money
  87. UK, Night After Night
  88. Van Halen, Fair Warning
  89. Whitesnake, s/t
  90. Winger, s/t
  91. XTC, Skylarking
  92. XTC, Oranges And Lemons
  93. XTC, Nonsuch
  94. Yes, The Yes Album
  95. Yes, Close To The Edge
  96. Yes, Drama
  97. Yes, 90125
  98. Yes, Big Generator
  99. Frank Zappa, Sheik Yerbouti
  100. 3, To The Power Of Three

By the way, I reserve the right to sneak in here and swap out an album here and there – hey, like I said, it’s really hard to decide on those last few. 🙂

12 thoughts on “A Life’s Soundtrack (In Progress): My Top 100 Albums

  1. Haha,Liked the LARGE majority of these myself Kevin!!! The “icing” on the cake however,was all the “RUSH” albums on here as well!!! (and YES,I IMMENSELY LOVE each and everyone listed too!!! I APPRECIATE You NOT putting “2112” as ONE of them as well!!! NOT saying it’s a Bad-album or shouldn’t be included,but C’MON,ANY RUSH-FAN when asked “What’s your favorite RUSH-album,the answer USUALLY is 2112!!! So I THANK-YOU for that!!!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kevin Williams

      Thanks! I just can’t bring myself to dig “2112” as much as the “typical Rush fan.” I really dug the title track as a teen and always loved Something For Nothing, and those two tracks make up over half of the album’s content – usually good enough for an album to be a Top 100 contender – but I’d probably look at adding Counterparts before looking again at 2112.

      Honestly, I think I actually made either a bathroom and/or beer run when they played 2112 on the Test For Echo tour – that’s how far down the list of Rush tunes that “2112” was in my book by then.

      Now, I *could* have added the awesome “All The World’s A Stage” as it remains a classic live album and a great primer for the 1974-76 Rush albums, but I’m FAR more in love with the 1977-81 Rush. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Brent Bourgeois moved to Nashville, recorded a fine CCM album, and then disappeared. I saw him at a Nashville Tower Records in-store performance in the early 90’s. Sure wish I could have seen BT in their prime!

        Like

      2. Kevin Williams

        Since BT hails from my hometown of Sacramento, I was fortunate enough to see them on (I think) New Year’s Eve 1996, and they were great. Brent has been back in the area for some time. He recently released a new album that I know is on iTunes, since I’ve streamed it through Apple Music.

        They also did a reunion show in Sactown to benefit an ailing friend – here’s a clip from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-nrbESMGW8

        Guitarist Lyle Workman did quite well for himself, working with the likes of Sting and Beck!

        Liked by 1 person

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