Saturday Single No. 762

Parts of this post have likely shown up in bits and pieces over the years, but those bits all came together in a response the other week to, yes, another question at Facebook. Actually, it was three questions:

Do you remember the first five albums you bought (or at least chose for yourself)?

Do you remember the next five?

Do you listen to any of those albums today?

I’m going to add the words “pop, rock or country” into those questions because otherwise we’d spend time this morning talking about Al Hirt, the Tijuana Brass and John Barry’s James Bond soundtracks (all of which I still like but which likely have a less broad appeal to whatever audience I have here).

We start in the summer of 1969, probably right around the third week of August, when Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 2 and hit the Top Ten on KDWB. So Dad and I picked up a copy of Johnny Cash at San Quentin.

Here’s the next four of my first five. (The first two I selected but did not pay for; for the next two, I laid out my own cash, as I believe I’ve noted here before.)

The Age of Aquarius by the 5th Dimension
Abbey Road by the Beatles
Chicago (now called Chicago II)
Let It Be by the Beatles

That brings us into May 1970 and the end of my junior year of high school. Of those five, I listened most – back then and in the years since – to Abbey Road and the first two sides of the Chicago album.

Except for “25 or 6 to 4,” the third side of Chicago’s double album is inconsequential and the agit-prop of “It Better End Soon” on Side Four hasn’t aged well. (The thought occurs that it may become pertinent again, but it’s still ponderous.) Three of the four tracks on Side One, all of Side Two (including the monumental “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon”) and “25 or 6 to 4” are in the iPod and thus are part of my day-to-day listening.

Almost all of Abbey Road is as enjoyable today as it was back in the autumn of 1969; I have less tolerance now for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” than I did then, but when it pops up on random, I can click past it, and when I’m listening to the full album, it’s gone in 3:28. All of Abbey Road except “Maxwell . . .” is in the iPod.

As to the other three, well, I recently ripped the 5th Dimension album as a full album, but I haven’t listened to it yet. Memory tells me there are some things that work very well and others that don’t; I’m particularly interested in hearing the group’s take on “Sunshine Of Your Love” after at least a thirty-year gap. Two of its tracks – the “Aquarius” medley and “Wedding Bell Blues” are in the iPod.

There are some tracks from Let It Be that I like very much: “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Two Of Us,” Across the Universe,” “One After 909,” “For You Blue,” and the title track (though I like the single version produced by George Martin more than I do the album version finished with the heavy hand of Phil Spector). But there’s too much dross and silliness, and I prefer the single version of “Get Back,” so the album isn’t essential although some of the tracks are. The five tracks mentioned at the top of this paragraph are all in the iPod, as is the single version of “Let It Be.”

As to the Johnny Cash album, I’ve got it on CD (as I do all four of the others mentioned here), but I can’t recall the last time I purposefully listened to any of it. I don’t click out of the tracks if they pop up on the RealPlayer on random, but I don’t seek them out, and none of them are in the iPod.

I was going to look at the second five albums, too, but this has turned out longer than I anticipated, so we’ll look at those next Saturday. As for something to feature, we may as well make the 5th Dimension’s cover of “Sunshine Of Your Love” today’s Saturday Single.

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