Thursday, April 18, 2013

Favorite Albums of 1965

Starting today, I plan to, once a week, release a list of top ten albums by year, starting with 1965 and going through this year by the end. Hopefully you can discover and rediscover some forgotten classics through these lists. I realize

10. Them - Them

This is an amazingly underrated album to start the list. Easily one of the heaviest and grungiest ever released at that point. Imagine Black Sabbath playing Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys, and you have a good idea of the unique sound generated by Them. Every track is a solid, dirty rock tune and you won't hear another band that sounds just like these guys. This is really a stunning piece of work considering the time, and is woefully underappreciated for everything it contributed to the genre. From keyboard solos, deep lyrics mixed with rock flavor made popular by Zeppelin years later, and possibly the earliest tinges of Grunge. The only reason this album isn't much higher is that I've only recently discovered it. It's obviously better than maybe half of the albums on this list, but I have a good bit of personal attachment to all the others.

9. Four Tops - Four Tops' Second Album

The Four Tops are one of my favorite Motown groups. Unfortunately though, they're typically one of those groups that makes a few good songs per album. But their second album, creatively titled "Four Tops' Second Album" has the best and most consistent listing of their career. Just about every song is classic 60's Soul. "I Can't Help Myself", "Something About You", "Love Feels Like Fire" are all great, energetic love songs. In short, the defining moment of one of the great Motown acts in history.

8. The Beach Boys - Today!

The Beach Boys are one of those seminal classic rock bands that everyone knows. Surf rock incarnate. But this album is a bit different, but in a good way. The first half is basically typical Beach Boys and the second half emanating lyrical and musically soulful experimentation by Brian Wilson and the rest of the band. Amazingly enough, this is pulled off at least as well, perhaps better than the Surf Rock the band all but created. The album doesn't contain as many  It's the perfect blend of party rock and soulful ballads and the highlight of their career in my opinion.

7. Roy Orbison - Orbisongs

Another career highlight in my eyes, this time that of Roy Orbison. This one includes most of his best tracks, including "Oh, Pretty Woman", "Let the Good Times Roll". "Nitelife", and "(I'd be) A Legend in My Time". I honestly don't have a whole lot to say, he's one of the most well-known rock acts of the 60's and this is his best work in my opinion.

6. The Zombies - The Zombies

The Zombies are one of the best groups 60's and no one ever talks about them. They're critically acclaimed, but socially, no one recognizes them. They're one of those bands I think many people have heard once or twice, but never known who sings that song. There are varying opinions on their best album, but this is definitely their most well known. It features many of their best known tracks and for good reason. I love the ambient, but energetic tempo and Colin Burnstone's amazing vocal range. The man could read the instructions from the back of a condom wrapper over the sounds of a flock of geese and make it sound awesome.I command you to check these guys out if you haven't.

5. The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man
THE Classic Byrds album. Every song is high quality, and some of their most beloved songs are on this album. This is one of classic rocks shining moments, one of those albums that defined rock in the mid to late sixties. laid back but energetic, fun but soothing, it's well-crafted throughout. One of the definitive albums by one of the most renowned bands of their generation.

4. Otis Redding - Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul

This is widely considered the best album by maybe the greatest voice in soul. I honestly love Otis Redding, but his songs tend to either fall flat or absolutely destroy to me, but that's not really the case here. There are a couple songs that don't quite hit the peak that others do, but they're all good. The greats are some of his best as well, such as his absolutely stunning versions of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Wonderful World", as well as "Ole Man Trouble", "I've Been Loving You too Long", and his defining version of "Mr. Pitiful". If you get the chance, snatch this one up. I don't love it as much as I should because some of these songs are still new to me and some aren't as good as others, but the best songs are some of the greatest you'll ever hear.

3. The Yardbirds - Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds

Every track here is stunning Blues Rock. Two of the greatest guitarists working together on the same album. Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton absolutely shred and Keith Relf, Jim McCarthy and the rest all add underappreciated support to every song, and keep you entertained throughout. This is one of the great albums of its decade. The only reason it's so low, is one Empire dominating the music world at the time, and I can't help but give them the top spots.

2. The Beatles - Help!

The Beatles. The Beatles. The name of this album encompasses the feeling every other band got when they learned The Beatles would be releasing an album in the same year as them. "You're Going to Lose that Girl", "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away", "Ticket to Ride", "I've Just Seen a Face", as is tradition with The Beatles, every song is great. Every song is fun, every song has a message, and every song is well-constructed. It's simply an amazing album. But I think it's easily their second best album of the year.

1. The Beatles - Rubber Soul

Yep, the only group that could top The Beatles in 1965, was The Beatles. Rubber Soul is one of my favorite albums of all time and maybe my favorite Beatles album, if not my second. Every song is a magnificent piece of music. From the fun and high-paced "Drive My Car", to the mellow love song "My Michelle", The introspective and beautiful "In My Life", and the angsty, jealous, kind of messed up "Run for Your Life". I love every single track on this album, and if you haven't heard it, you simply haven't experienced the best that music has to offer.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment on how much you agree or disagree with me. If you agree that Them and The Zombies are underrated, or that I'm an idiot for leaving "The Who Sings My Generation" or any of the three Rolling Stones albums. Also, follow me @SycoMantis1991 on Twitter, and yeah. Thanks again.

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