14. MUSIC MATTERS (PT 1)
I have just returned from another tour of North America, singing backing vocals for The Zombies - specifically the ‘Odessey and Oracle’ set. This will be the final tour that involves ‘Odessey and Oracle’ in its’ entirety, alongside the set of the current line-up of the band, who continue to tour and to create new music.
The Zombies were opening for The Brian Wilson Band who were touring ‘Surf’s Up’ and ‘Friends’. The ‘Something Great From ‘68’ tour. It has been an incredible time.
It occurred to me, not for the first time, that we don’t listen to albums anymore in the way we used to. Is it a lost art to simply listen and absorb the atmosphere of an entire album of songs?
Travelling thousands of miles with The Zombies has put me in a unique position.
Being a particularly generous lot, they agreed to answer a question I put to them at the start of the tour. It is a nearly impossible question to answer - especially given their vast knowledge of, and contributions to, the world of music. It generated a lot of discussion!
I also put the same question to the fabulous crew surrounding the tour, so this is a two part blog as there is A LOT of information. ‘Part 1’ deals with those of us performing - we are all British except for Søren who is Danish and Darian who is American. ‘Part 2’ will be the insights of mainly Americans - it is an interesting selection all round.
So the question is:
‘NAME THREE ALBUMS THAT, IN YOUR OPINION, EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO
AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIFETIME.’
(I must preface these answers with the fact that obviously everyone has a huge array of albums they love, and wide musical tastes which cannot possibly be covered by this ‘vox-pop’ question, but I really wanted to ask it anyway).
(Lead vocals with original and current line-up of The Zombies, songwriter)
‘Blue’ - Joni Mitchell (1971)
‘Pet Sounds’ - The Beach Boys (1966)
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ - The Beatles (1967)
(Keyboards / vocals with original and current line-up of The Zombies, songwriter, producer)
‘Ray Charles In Person’ - Ray Charles (1959)
‘Goldberg Variations’ - MUST BE 1955 mono version - Glenn Gould (1955)
‘Talking Book’ - Stevie Wonder (1972)
(Bass guitar / vocals with the original line up of The Zombies, songwriter, producer)
‘Beauty And The Beat!’ - Peggy Lee and George Shearing (1959)
‘Sketches of Spain’ - Miles Davis and Gil Evans (1960)
‘Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 & 2nd - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra (1961)
(Drums with original line-up of The Zombies)
‘Agent Provocateur’ - Foreigner (1984)
‘Cornerstone’ - Styx (1979)
‘Falta Amor’ - Mana (1989)
(Drums with current line-up of The Zombies)
‘Physical Graffiti’ - Led Zeppelin (1975)
‘Elemental’ - Tears For Fears (1993)
‘Ring Of Hands’ - Argent (1971)
(Guitar / vocals with current line-up of The Zombies, producer)
‘Abraxis’ - Santana (1970)
‘First Circle’ - Pat Metheny Group (1984)
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ - Simon and Garfunkel (1970)
(Bass guitar / vocals with current line-up of The Zombies, guitarist, songwriter)
‘East Side Story’ - Squeeze (1981)
‘I’m With Stupid’ - Aimee Mann (1995)
‘Temple Of Low Men’ - Crowded House (1988)
(Keyboards/singer with Brian Wilson Band, keyboards/vocals for The Zombies ‘Odessey and Oracle’ set, songwriter)
‘Pet Sounds’ - The Beach Boys (1966)
‘Revolver’ - The Beatles (1966)
‘Odessey and Oracle’ - the Zombies (1968)
(backing vocals for The Zombies ‘Odessey and Oracle’ tour, songwriter, visual artist)
I already mentioned Elvis Costello’s ‘My Aim Is True’ in Blog 11, so I am going with:
‘Led Zeppelin IV’ - Led Zeppelin (1971)
‘Aretha Now’ - Aretha Franklin (1968)
‘The Koln Concert’ - Keith Jarrett (1975)
So there you have it! A small scratch in the surface of music that inspired each of us.
We all have reasons for giving these choices - they may not even be our ‘favourites’ but they are important in a way that is exceptional in some way, hopefully will inspire further listening, and that we feel should definitely be listened to at least once and all the way through.
I have been listening to entire albums I have never heard before during these long journeys, by road and air, over the last month and wish I had heard some of them decades ago!
Working with, and travelling thousands of miles with The Zombies and with the entire crew has been a massive joy and education - for the 4th time!
Music and laughter can change lives. ‘Music-wise’ I would add the tour albums - ‘Odessey and Oracle’, ‘Friends’ and ‘Surf’s Up’ to everyone’s list. ‘Laughter-wise’ I would listen to anything by the late great Bill Hicks. Bless the invention of recording equipment!!
Huge thanks to everyone on the road for their input. I will be listening to absolutely everything on this list and the next (part 2) - I have no doubt I will be inspired and will learn something great by doing so.
Love to all of you – and thanks to whoever took this photo!