In the first instalment of FTRL I said that I was going to share some of my favourite records and reasons why they are just that — my favourites — whether it’s because of it being a great record, it having a great personal story attached, or both. I didn’t get around to it last year though. So I’ve decided there’s no better way to start the new year than by making a gigantic list of all the things I procrastinated on in 2011. This being one of them.
Here are three of my absolute favourite, can’t miss records.
The Beatles – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band LP
Starting with the obvious, this album has rightfully ranked number one — or close to — on many all-time greatest album lists. Released in 1967, Sgt. Peppers is eclectic brilliance from start to finish, making every one of the 13 songs a stand out. This was the Beatles’ first album to be released after the decision that the band would no longer tour or perform live. This allowed them absolute freedom and time to record and it shows. Every aspect of the album is great: from the iconic cover, showcasing pop art by Sir Peter Blake, to the Beatles amicable group effort while at their peak, before personal tensions and turmoil clouded future releases and eventually led to their demise. The closer, the climactic “A Day in the Life” is one of those songs you must hear in your lifetime.
NOFX – The Longest Line EP
My Dad, who is not into music at all, worked as a custodian at a high school and found a banana-coloured cassette walkman one day during summer cleaning. When he gave it to me I discovered this mysterious cassette inside. This record was to be my introduction to punk rock. I was an elementary school kid but from the first moment I heard this EP I was hooked. So it goes without saying that I had to purchase this on vinyl. NOFX continues to be one of my favourite bands of all time, as does this EP. Thanks, Dad.
Metallica – Terror Incognito Live Bootleg LP
This remains my best thrift store find to date. I found it at a Value Village of all places. Recorded at The Forum in Montreal in 1985, this double LP bootleg doesn’t boast the best sound quality compared to today’s live recordings but it still holds its own. A gem of a find for less than two bucks, it doesn’t hurt either — especially if you’re a diehard fan of original line-ups — that the bootleg was recorded with original bassist Cliff Burton, before his untimely death in 1986.
I realize these are only three records, but doing this list justice feels like an impossible task (or an ongoing column). You see, I have many favourites from many different genres all with many different reasons why they’re so great. But what I do know for certain is that most of my favourites are favourites because of the personal sentiment attached. I suppose in the end that’s all that matters. Whether it’s a great record, a bad record, whether it’s critically acclaimed or not: the only opinion that matters is your own.