Ask someone to name some of the best-selling albums of all time, and there’s a very good chance they will overlook AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” In some ways, it’s easy to dismiss the band as overly simplistic .. or even stuck in time. But that would be a mistake to discount the impact that the band has had on the trajectory of rock and roll. “Back in Black” came out in summer of 1980, and it’s such a great summer party album. (Or course, you could probably say that about every AC/DC album.) “Back in Black” came out just months after the death of lead singer Bon Scott, to whom the album is dedicated. The record is 10 songs of pure fist-pumping fun – with just the right amount of deviousness to boot. “Hells Bells,” “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are radio and arena staples more than four decades later, and they sound as fresh and relevant as they did then. Do yourself a favor and give a listen to “Back in Black,” particularly if you never have before. After all, it has sold more than 50 million copies … for a reason.
You can listen to Back in Black by AC/DC on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.
Before they reached international stardom thanks to the song “’74-’75,” The Connells were something of a regional favorite to music fans along the Eastern seaboard. Man, could they pack a house. The band composed some of the most pop-centered, unforgettable, singalong songs of the late-’80s and ’90s — ANYWHERE. It also didn’t hurt that they came across — even on stage — as just normal dudes. They even looked the part. Nowhere was this devotion to catchy melodies more emphasized than on their third album, “Fun & Games.” Mention The Connells today to someone of a certain age in Virginia or the Carolinas, and there’s a very good chance this is the album that comes to mind. You can still see the album cover on t-shirts to this day. If that’s not lasting power, we don’t know what is.
When The Beatles returned to Abbey Road to record their sixth album, they were exhausted from constant touring and releasing at a pace of two albums a year. They also had virtually no songs prepared. But when it was completed, their sixth album was Rubber Soul, arguably the first actual album, not just a collection of songs. This was the turning point; it’s the album that bridges the British Invasion Beatles to Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. It’s the album that turned the music world on its rear, forcing the band’s rivals and contemporaries like the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones to step up their games. In essence, with Rubber Soul, the Beatles were just getting started.
Thirty years after it was released, “Disintegration” by The Cure remains a Goth masterpiece. It was Robert Smith’s answer to critics that his band (and, let’s be clear: it was HIS band) could still do moody, dark epics as well or better than anyone. No one was a bigger critic of Robert Smith than himself. So he brought it. It’s all there in its “Cure-iness.” Simon Gallup’s bass is the omnipresent driving low-end of the album. But it’s Smith’s lyrics about creepy lullabies, red-light districts, spidermen and, yes, even love that make “Disintegration” the masterpiece it remains today.
It was an album that record execs and studio heads initially rejected. But “Kick” by INXS would go on to produce a slew of top 10 hits worldwide, turning the band – led by charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence – from Australian heroes to the people’s choice in rock and roll, putting them on par with U2 and R.E.M.