Ten Albums That Changed My Life
From his first chart smash, The Babys “Isn’t It Time” to his new CD, Best, John Waite has thankfully never lived by the rules—he even chose 11 albums for this list. The multi-talented singer/songwriter demonstrates the breadth of his rich musical knowledge, hand picking an eclectic and diverse list of favorite albums ranging from the gentle pastoral folk of Fairport Convention to the primal blues majesty of Free’s Fire and Water to the smoky free-form jazz stylings of Bill Evans’ Live at the Village Vanguard. It’s a remarkable list that befits an extraordinary artist.
1. Smokin’ – Humble Pie
The first time I heard “C’mon Everybody” the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I turned pro that Sunday and bought my first amp on Monday.
2. Fire and Water-Free
“All Right Now”. Kills me. I loved it right off. I was seventeen. The album represented everything I was thinking in my seventeen year old head.
3. The Shadows to the Fore – The Shadows
Me and my brother Joe pooled our money and went into town on the bus to get it. “Apache” was my first inkling of sex in music.
4. Please Please Me and With the Beatles – The Beatles
I got both albums as my main Christmas present. My room was on the corner of the house and had no heating. I could see my breath! I stayed in there all day. I couldn’t leave.
5. Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Hey Joe” had seriously got me. And then came the album. I lived through it. It was art, sex and guitars. It profoundly influenced me.
6. Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton – John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
As a kid I’d liked Big Bill Broonzy a lot. This was like the blues coming around a second time. I wore it out. A young raw Eric going for it with a vengeance. The songs are all spectacular. I still play it and get off.
7. Leige and Lief – Fairport Convention
Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson in the same band! The most beautiful album I’d ever heard. I saw them play live at Lancaster University. I love folk as much as country if not more. I adored this record and I’ve had to buy it several times. It gets worn out or stolen.
8. Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan
His best and that’s saying something. Every six months or so I dig it out and play it for days. It reminds me of the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. A masterpiece.
9. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones
The first time I became aware of “room sound” in production. The songs were vivid London hip life. Drugs, sex and America on the horizon. Fucking great!
10. Bill Evans – Live at the Village Vanguard
When Bill played he would have his head level with the keyboards. It’s like he was talking to god. It’s all I listen to on the road.
11. Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
I used to leave school at the age of 7 and run into town before my bus would come so I could spend an extra minute or two just staring at the album in the window of Kenneth Gardener’s shop. It was the first one. Love at first sight. Day-Glo red cover with a cowboy going for his six gun. Wow! America. Stories of the west. Alison Krauss found a copy, had it framed and gave it to me for Christmas. I would list more albums but I’ve already “gone to 11”.