Each month we handpick a collection of reissues, limited editions or just straight classic long-players that deserve a place in any record collection.
The Who, My Generation (1965)
Keith Moon is striking the drums with herculean power and dizzying speed, John Entwistle is dropping solos on his bass, a 20-year-old Pete Townshend is extracting unbridled fury from his Marshall amplifiers, all fronted by a street brawler from Acton. It’s 1965 and The Who have just laid down the first stretch of a roadmap soon to be strewn with chaos, innovation, and some of the best songs ever to be committed to tape. There are a few covers on the album, but then there are the Townshend-penned monsters: The Ox, The Kids Are Alright and punk’s very first anthem, writhing in teenage angst, My Generation. With My Generation came new rules, and these rules were not for the faint-hearted.
TOP TRACK: My Generation
FAST FACT: Pete Townshend wrote My Generation on a train on his 20th birthday.
Eric Clapton, Slowhand (1977)
The fifth solo album from Eric Clapton struck a near perfect amalgam of pop, rock, alt country and blues. A grooving cover of J.J. Cale’s Cocaine opens the album, followed by the onetwo punch of Wonderful Tonight and Lay Down Sally – these songs proved to be the commercial combination Clapton needed to unlock and reach a wider audience. The real stars on Slowhand are Clapton’s superlative guitar work – his riff on The Core is exquisite – and the disciplined and technical prowess of the man behind the desk, Glyn Johns. Slowhand is Clapton’s finest solo hour.
TOP TRACK: The Core
FAST FACT: Slowhand was named after the nickname given to Clapton by the manager of The Yardbirds, Giorgio Gomelsky, in the mid ‘60s.
Al Green, Greatest Hits (1975)
JB Hi-FI EXCLUSIVE LIMEADE VINYL
The ten tracks on this album, drawn from Al Green’s best pre-’75 work, dovetail together to create one of the best compilations ever assembled. Green’s beguiling falsetto guides a set of exceptional southern soul melodies, forming a collection of perennial classics. These are pockets of absolute pop genius that are as comfortable on a film soundtrack as they are on a turntable platter long after the party has finished. Uplifting and inspirational, there’s an infectious comfort to these songs. If you’re only ever going to buy one greatest hits album, you’ve found it.
TOP TRACK: Tired Of Being Alone
FAST FACT: Green’s father kicked him out of the family home for listening to Jackie Wilson.
Gurrumul, Gurrumul (2008)
With a voice like no other, this self-titled debut saw the arrival of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu as a solo artist who was able to captivate upon first listen – and the album only became ever more perfect upon each subsequent spin. From the soothing, lullabylike beauty of opening track Wiyathul through the haunting Bȁpa and personal tales such as History (I Was Born Blind) – and that’s just a few of the highlights on the disc’s first side – Gurrumul soon became a household name. A swathe of plaudits followed – ARIA and Deadly awards, silver and platinum discs – and a true landmark of Australian music who transcended basic “world music” pigeonholing arrived.
TOP TRACK: Wiyathul
FAST FACT: Prior to his solo success, Gurrumul was a member of both Yothu Yindi and Saltwater Band.
10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION YELLOW VINYL
Having decided to go his own way after a successful stint producing hits for others and doing the odd guest appearance, Bruno Mars unleashed a pure taste of the soulful pop to come with his single Just the Way You Are. Far from being a Billy Joel cover, this upbeat original love song quickly grabbed hearts – and charts. When debut long-player Doo-Wops & Hooligans landed, it did so with a bang, also topping charts and spawning more smash singles in the kinetic Grenade, reggae-tinged The Lazy Song and sweet, upbeat side two opener Marry You, all of which parked themselves in the top 10 locally.
TOP TRACK: Just The Way You Are
FAST FACT: Born in Hawaii and growing up with the name Peter Gene Hernandez, Mars’s first five number one US singles came quicker than those of Elvis Presley.