My last post was about music I grew up listening to. I featured 10 albums that I call “The soundtrack of my life.” Actually, those albums are mostly the soundtrack of my early teen life. Each one has a reason for being on the list that I kept at 10 albums due to time restraints, which omitted many other important ones.
The first album on that list, Revolver by The Beatles (1966), led me to seek out more songs by the group. I ended up with a hefty collection of 45-rpm singles. By the time I could afford long-playing albums, The Beatles were disbanding. My next Beatles album was Let It Be, the US record version released by Apple Records (red label) in 1970.
As quoted at Wikipedia, “Original American copies of Let It Be bore the Apple Records label, but because United Artists distributed the film, United Artists Records held the rights to distribute LP copies of the album in America. (EMI subsidiary Capitol, which held the Beatles’ US contract, had simultaneous rights to the music on the album, allowing them to distribute pre-recorded tape versions of the album, as well as to release its songs on singles and compilation albums. Capitol, however, did not have the rights to release or distribute the album in LP format.) To indicate that Let It Be was not distributed by Capitol, the Apple logo and record label in America sported a red apple, rather than the Beatles’ usual green Granny Smith apple.”
In the wake of The Beatles’ legal hassles, the outcry of the band’s breakup, and the debate of whether Phil Spector did them favor dubbing in orchestral and choral accompaniment of some of the songs on the Let It Be album, I wanted to like the record as well as I did Revolver. I gave the album away a year later in exchange for Paul McCartney’s Ram.
Paul McCartney – Ram, released in 1971
I owned and liked very much the 45-single “Maybe I’m Amazed” by McCartney from his first album, but missed out buying the album. So, when the song “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” hit the radio airwaves, I hurried to the local record store and bought the single, hoping to buy the LP too. Unfortunately, the album never made it to our small town 5 and 10 cent store, so I ended up trading to a friend who lived in a bigger town for his copy of Ram.
Ram is a collection of quirky songs, similar the quirkiness of the songs on Let It Be, but, IMHO, much more fun to listen to. I recall it getting unfavorable reviews by Rolling Stone magazine. Actually, I recall the magazine giving many of my favorite recording artists and bands unfavorable reviews. Looking back, Rolling Stone had a pretentious air to it, which was a deciding factor to cancel my subscription to it in 1977. Years later, I still laugh and thumb my nose at critics who think they have their fingers on the universal pulse of things, but are really out of touch with the other side. Because that’s what life is: Two sides. Take it or leave it.
Anyway, Ram was important because it was fun to hear. And its critics were important because it made me aware of human pretentiousness. That’s when I quit making fun of my younger brothers liking The Osmonds.
Ram was high on my favorite albums list and it sat next to Revolver. It was the only McCartney LP I owned until Band On The Run came along two years later.
Too Many People
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Heart Of The Country
Monkberry Moon Delight
Eat At Home
Long Haired Lady
Ram On (Reprise)
The Back Seat Of My Car
Paul McCartney and Wings – Band On The Run, released in 1973
Without argument, this is McCartney’s most successful and celebrated album. It joined Ram as a top favorite record and got me closer to my brother Russ. His music preferences were much harder and louder than mine were. I recall some nasty hard-edged rock coming from his bedroom at the time, especially from Aerosmith’s debut album and Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. But he took a liking to Band On The Run and borrowed it often. In turn, I borrowed Aerosmith’s album until I bought my own copy later on when I was in the Navy. I’ve always liked their version of the Rufus Thomas hit Walking The Dog.
Band On The Run
Let Me Roll It
Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five
What’s important about these albums and the ones featured in my earlier post, is that they played in the background while I wrote my Ridgewood stories from 1970 to 1974. I believe the songs helped me create the characters and their scenes and stories. Today, when I listen to these LPs, I can still see in my mind the people and stories that came about. This, I think, is why the characters still live in me.
Next time, some nasty hard-edged rock that brought Russ and me closer than ever.