Trying to come up with a list of musicians that most impacted my life has been a difficult task. Coming up with 15 that I like is the easy part; however, it’s spending the time to analyze and consider the impact their music had on me that I find most difficult. Sure, there were those artists that produced a song or two that I liked, or even loved, but were they necessarily ones that I sought out and eagerly waited for their next release? Did I rush out to by their new album? Were their songs prominent on my mix tapes, CDs, or playlists? These were those differentiating aspects that have helped me compile this list of those 15 musicians that have most impacted my life.
Today’s post is the starting point of what I expect to be a four part series. My intent is to divide the posts up and count down 15-11; 10-6; 5-2; and then an entire post dedicated to the #1 on my list. My hope is that you will find these articles entertaining, and maybe it will spur you to do a bit of reminiscing of your own. So if you can, be sure to check back often and chime in. I look forward to your feedback.
#15 Hootie and Blowfish: One of the later bands to make its way onto my musical palette is Hootie and the Blowfish. And while Darius Rucker has gone on to make quite a name for himself in country music, he got his start with his old pals at the University of South Carolina. Cracked Rear View was the first album I purchased, and Only Wanna Be With You is a song that I still find myself singing to this day. The album was ripe with other hits too, such as Time, Hold My Hand, and Let Her Cry – all equally enjoyable to sing. Additionally, having witnessed them in concert, I was also really impressed with the fact that their live music sounded so much like the compact disc that I had come to love and adore. Favorite album: Cracked Rear View.
#14 Journey: For some of you, having Journey at #14 on a list of top 15 would be reason enough to not read another line, but if I’m truthful, they could probably be listed anywhere between 11 and 14. I know that they were a tremendously popular band throughout the 70s and 80s, and I’ve enjoyed their music from multiple albums. But for me, outside of a few truly remarkable songs such as Open Arms; Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin‘; Don’t Stop Believin’; Any Way You Want It; and Faithfully, Journey has just never been a band that I wanted to listen to over and over. Is something wrong with me? Perhaps, but the above mentioned songs are most likely found on any rock music loving person’s playlist, especially an 80s music addict such as myself. Favorite album: Escape.
#13 Bruce Springsteen: The Boss rings in at #13 on my list and like Journey, I could probably list him anywhere between 10-15. Interestingly, though I loved the Born In the USA album, it was probably the 1987 release of his album Tunnel of Love that really caused me to stop and pay more attention to Springsteen. And while I know Tunnel of Love was considered by many to be a bit mellow, songs like Tougher Than the Rest; One Step Up; Tunnel of Love; and Brilliant Disguise, seem to speak to me more than all others, with the exception of my all-time favorite Bruce Springsteen song, The River. As a side-note, I’ll always remember my Uncle Charles when I hear Bruce Springsteen because of an interesting conversation between my mom, dad, uncle and me, after their attendance of a concert in Atlanta in the 80s. My Uncle Charles was a tough character that loved to drink beer and work on cars, and he usually never minced words. So you can imagine the surprise and laughter that we all got when we heard him exclaim “He put on a great show. He’s got a cute butt, too!” Favorite album: Tunnel of Love.
Bonus: Favorite lyric from the song Tunnel of Love: “Fat man sitting on a little stool takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you.”
#12 Bob Seger: Though he is listed at #12 on my list of musicians that most impacted my life, he would likely be a top 5 if I just looked at my life from age 40 on. As I’ve aged, Seger’s music seems to resonate with me more and more. I have The Greatest Hits CD in my truck, and I often listen to it on long trips. It’s one I find myself coming back to over and over. One of the songs that is most memorable for me is Like a Rock. Yes, it’s the same tune that Chevy used for quite a time in their truck commercials, but that’s not my reason for liking it. I recall years ago as my youngest son and I were traveling down a long south Georgia highway, I looked over to see my youngest son singing along with me and ole Bob (Bob was on the radio). My son was about 10 at the time and I asked him “Jacob, do you like this song?” He replied with a big smile “Yes, sir” and just kept on singing. Every time I hear Bog Seger, that moment is frozen in time! Night Moves, Mainstreet, Like a Rock, Against the Wind, and Turn the Page, are a few of my favorites. Favorite album: Greatest Hits.
#11 Bon Jovi: My friend John exclaimed “Other than Van Halen, this is the best rock band, period!” Up until that point, sometime in 1986 or 1987, I had never heard of Bon Jovi. But after hearing the Slippery When Wet album, I was hooked! From You Give Love a Bad Name to Wanted Dead or Alive to Livin’ On a Prayer, it just seemed like every song was a hit. Further enhancing the draw was their amazing guitar riffs, vocals, and the cool live videos! Who cares if these guys had hair that made most women envious? They could jam! But with the success of Slippery When Wet, the question as to whether or not they’d be a flash in the pan was quickly answered with their next album New Jersey. From that album came the hits Bad Medicine, Lay Your Hands on Me, and I’ll Be There For You. Those third and fourth albums have endured for years and they possess the “go to” songs for any Bon Jovi enthusiasts or for those wanting to see what all of the hubbub is about. Even to this day, I am a fan of Jon Bon Jovi and his commitment to use his talents to help others. Check out the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation website here: JBJ Soul Foundation.
Favorite album: Slippery When Wet.
Bonus: Favorite video – You Give Love a Bad Name
There you have my list of 15 down to 11. What do you think? Do any of these artists or their music bring back any fond memories for you? If so, I hope you’ll take the time to comment and let me know. And don’t forget to stay tuned for part 2 of the series revealing #10 thru #6. Coming soon.