The End of “Classic” Fleetwood Mac #music #FleetwoodMac @StevieNicks @LBuckingham @MickFleetwood

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On this day, five years ago, the classic lineup of Fleetwood Mac took their final bow together at Radio City Music Hall.

Despite them being one of my two favorite bands (along with Rush), I never saw them in concert. Of course, it’s certain I never will.

Maybe I’ll see Stevie Nicks in the fall. She’s coming to Baltimore with Billy Joel.

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The Story of Fleetwood Mac #ChristineMcVie #music #FleetwoodMac #RIP @StevieNicks @LBuckingham @MickFleetwood

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, in light of a recent celebrity death, here’s the story of Fleetwood Mac in their own words.

I loved that my analysis of Christine’s role in the band was validated by what her bandmates said.

Creation can be a painful process.

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Christine McVie’s Songwriting Credits Ranked (by Me) #ChristineMcVie #music #FleetwoodMac #RIP @StevieNicks @LBuckingham @MickFleetwood

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The world lost a special songwriting talent when Christine McVie died on November 30, 2022. Below is a list of every songwriting credit I can find for her (co-writers, if any, are in parentheses). After the list, I provide my ten favorite songs of her. Some of my links are to their songs I first heard on their Live album.

Chicken Shack

Who came up with that name?

40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready to Serve (1968): When the Train Comes Back, You Ain’t No Good
O.K. Ken?: Get Like You Used to Be (Stan Webb), A Woman Is the Blues (Stan Webb)

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey seems preoccupied.

Future Games (1971): Morning Rain, Show Me a Smile, What a Shame
Bare Trees (1972): Homeward Bound, Spare Me a Little of Your Love
Penguin (1973): Remember Me, Dissatisfied, Did You Ever Love Me
Mystery to Me (1973): Believe Me, Just Crazy Love, The Way I Feel, Why
Heroes Are Hard to Find (1974): Heroes Are Hard to Find, Come a Little Bit Closer, Bad Loser, Prove Your Love
Fleetwood Mac (1975): Warm Ways, Over My Head, Say You Love Me, World Turning (Buckingham), Sugar Daddy
Rumors (1977): Don’t Stop, Songbird, The Chain (per curiam, so to speak), You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy
Tusk (1979): Over & Over, Think About Me, Brown Eyes, Never Make Me Cry, Honey Hi, Never Forget
Live (1980): One More Night
Mirage (1982): Love in Store (Jim Recor), Only Over You, Hold Me, Wish You Were Here
Tango in the Night (1987): Everywhere, Mystified (Buckingham), Little Lies, Isn’t It Midnight (Eddy Quintela, Buckingham), You and I, Part II
Behind the Mask (1990): Skies the Limit (Eddy Quintela), Do You Know (Billy Burnette), Save Me (Eddy Quintela), Behind the Mask
Time (1995): Hollywood [Some Other Kind of Town] (Eddy Quintela), I Do (Eddy Quintela), Sooner or Later (Eddy Quintela), Nights in Estoril (Eddy Quintela), All Over Again (Eddy Quintela)

Solo Albums


Christine Perfect (1970): Let Me Go [Leave Me Alone], Wait and See, Close to Me (Richard Hayward), No Road is the Right Road, For You
Christine McVie (1984): Love Will Show Us How (Todd Sharp), The Challenge (Todd Sharp), So Excited (Todd Sharp, Billy Burnette), One in a Million (Todd Sharp), Ask Anybody (Steve Winwood), Got a Hold on Me (Todd Sharp), The Smile I Live For
In the Meantime (2004): Friend (Dan Perfect, George Hawkins, Robbie Patton), You Are, Bad Journey (Dan Perfect), Anything is Possible (Dan Perfect, George Hawkins), Calumny, So Sincere (Dan Perfect), Easy Come Easy Go (Eddy Quintela), Liar (Dan Perfect, George Hawkins), Sweet Revenge (Dan Perfect), Forgiveness (Dan Perfect), Givin’ It Back (George Hawkins, Billy Burnette)
Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie (2017): Feel About You (Buckingham), Red Sun (Buckingham), Too Far Gone (Buckingham), Game of Pretend, Carnival Begin

Does anyone else find it funny that Sweet Revenge and Forgiveness are found in succession on her In the Meantime album? Anyhoo . . . .

Top Ten List

I’m a Fleetwood Mac nut. That said, I like to say that I was raised on Rumors, so my bias is clearly for the classic line up of Buckingham, Fleetwood, McVie x2, and Nicks. Rumors was the first album my brother owned, and Live was the first album I owned, so I listened to them both incessantly. They’re both remarkably important to me, and yet none of Christine’s songs off of Rumors made it into my top five. Go figure.

The Chain is not on this list because Christine’s songwriting credit is diluted by the fact that everyone in the band has a songwriting credit to it. But that’s a damn fine song too, and I was thrilled that it got so much screen time in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

#10. Only Over You

I received Mirage on vinyl for Christmas in 1982. This song starts off with a lyric that was downright jarring, so I skipped the song every time I was listening to the album. After a month or two, I let the album play nonstop and heard the whole thing. That’s a month without this song I’ll never get back. That specific lyric, which is repeated in every chorus, still has a bit of that jarring effect on me, but the bridge more than makes up for it.

#9. Love Will Show Us How

This is Christine’s only song from her solo career that makes this list, but not her only non-Fleetwood Mac song to do so (see #5). Definitely an 80s song, and definitely an 80s video. I turned 12 in 1980 and 21 in 1989, so you can imagine why this is right up my alley. The video seems to capture Christine’s style in a different, non-big-hair way. She wasn’t flamboyant but rather stood on the strength of her music. This worked far better in the context of a band than as a solo artist, which is why Lindsey and (especially) Stevie had stronger solo careers. Still, that foundation of great songwriting is something you shouldn’t miss. Click through a few of the links on this post and give her a listen.

#8. You Make Loving Fun

As I mentioned above, you’d think all of Christine’s songs from Rumors would make this list, and yet this is the only one. It’ll probably be even more surprising in light of the fact that, when I first heard Rumors, You Make Loving Fun became my favorite song by any artist. I could always listen to it at home, but when I was old enough to, for example, go to roller-skating rinks (it was the late-70s, early-80s, kids), I’d always request it from the DJs. If I was in a restaurant with a juke box, I’d give my last quarter to play it. Yet over time, the song fell further down the list of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, and even on my list of Christine-written songs. Still, if you look at only Christine’s songs, it makes the top ten. How could it not?

#7. Little Lies

When the average person (i.e., non-Fleetwood Mac maniac, assuming any such person exists) thinks of Tango in the Night, they probably think of four songs (whether by name or by melody): Big Love, Seven Wonders, Everywhere, and Little Lies. Big Love and Everywhere are hard to forget considering that they were given new life to new, younger audiences by appearing on The Dance. But it’s interesting to note that of those four songs, Christine wrote two of them without a co-writer. Obviously, everyone in the band contributes at least a little to each song — I love the Mick Fleetwood’s drum part in Little Lies — but Christine deserves the credit for giving them such a solid foundation.

#6. Say You Love Me

With Monday Morning, Say You Love Me started off the Live album with a one-two punch. Before I won this album as a door prize at a middle school dance, I had never heard Monday Morning, and more importantly I never appreciated live recordings. I thought they were rough and scrappy, and I was right. I just didn’t realize how awesome that was. Not only does it showcase how talented professional musicians are by being able to stay in tune and in beat with each other without the comforts of studio do-overs, but it also allowed them to riff a bit (see the guitar intro to Monday Morning) and switch up the dynamics of a song (see the intro to Say You Love Me). Live got me into that, and I couldn’t tell you how many times in a row I listened to the live rendition of Say You Love Me.

#5. Red Sun

This is from Christine’s 2017 collaboration with Lindsey Buckingham, which flew far too far under the radar. I assure you that this is no token choice just to make sure this wonderful album is represented on the list. I really love how this song drives despite being relatively mellow, and the harmonies are as brilliant as you would expect from members of Fleetwood Mac.

#4. Sugar Daddy

Perhaps unsurprisingly, what I love most about this song is the keyboard part, which often improved songs by other songwriters, sometimes providing the final touch to put it over the edge towards greatness (e.g., Gypsy). It’s also a perverse twist on love songs. You have to appreciate that.

#3. Everywhere

I’m glad Chevy is getting everyone on board on this song, even though it’s a shameless play at capturing the glory of the cranberry juice guy. As I discussed in my R.I.P. post, Christine had a way of breaking the tension on albums. She was capable of writing energetic music (see #1 below), but Lindsey and Stevie were mass-producing high-energy songs, especially while their relationship was crumbling. Sometimes you needed something light, and Everywhere was one of those songs that did that. It not only gave you a needed step back while listening to the first side of Tango in the Night, but also when listening to a random mix of Fleetwood Mac music. Their best songs were often heavy, but a random list of their best songs usually included Everywhere.

#2. Think About Me

I imagine this might be a surprise choice, especially so high. The composition is fairly simple, and it has a droning quality to it, at times as much white noise as music. But I always loved this song, and I associate it with getting swept up in the fervor of the Miracle on Ice from 1980 and picking up street hockey. The song was still getting plenty of airtime during that event. I never grew out of my love for this song, and it remains one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs. Music is often about association, right?

#1. Isn’t It Midnight

Other than the aforementioned The Chain, which involved the entire band, Tango in the Night was the one and only Fleetwood Mac album where Christine teamed with Lindsey to write some songs (at least to the extent that a co-songwriting credit was appropriate). It produced this song, which is a driving combination of Christine’s sultry, bluesy voice and Lindsey’s terrifying guitar work. It produced my favorite song among any with a songwriting credit for Christine.

So, there it is. Those are my favorites. If you disagree, that’s great; to each his or her own. But I hope this list has given you an excuse to revisit or discover some of her work. Most of us didn’t know her, so we’re not in true mourning. Instead, we’re in a position to celebrate her legacy. Do so. You won’t regret it.

Yes, Christine, it’s now midnight. Sleep well.

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R.I.P. Christine McVie @StevieNicks @LBuckingham @MickFleetwood @Andrew__McP #music #FleetwoodMac

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I don’t get bothered by many celebrity deaths because I don’t know the people. However, even I experience the sense of mortality that those deaths impose upon us. Christine McVie has died. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, Christine was an important part of one of my two favorite bands. The other is Rush, who lost who lost Neil Peart just under three years ago. Around that time, I googled all the members of those bands for their ages. It painted a grim picture, but despite some scares, everyone held on until this morning. Because I rarely go to concerts, I’ve never seen either band live, so I was excited to see Lindsey Buckingham had a concert scheduled for nearby Tysons Corner, Virginia. Unfortunately, he cancelled the show at the last minute. Stevie Nicks is on tour, but she isn’t scheduled to be anywhere near me. I may never get the chance to see any of them live, but I can live with that. I’m appreciative that as long as I’m still around, I get to hear their music anytime I want.

The fact that Fleetwood Mac stayed together was always a mystery to me. I understand the idea of being professional even in the midst of personal breakups, but the nature of their jobs was such that Lindsey and Stevie were constantly taking shots at each other through their music. Just looking at Rumors for the moment, you have Lindsey telling Stevie that loving her was a mistake because she had no sense of loyalty (Go Your Own Way), leading Stevie to respond that he was the one abandoning her (Dreams). One of my favorite songs of all time (Silver Springs), which almost made the album, and to which I have a mild, personal connection, was even more biting, as its musical composition drove as deeply as the lyrics did. Then you have the entire band coming together to write a song (The Chain) filled with the bitterness that accompanies a failed relationship. Lindsey and Stevie always had to sing these songs with and to each other as if they were just words.

[C]obbled together by Buckingham at a time when certain people in the band weren’t even speaking to each other . . . “[t]he Chain” is a stark reminder that you’re forever tied to the people you love most, even while they’re betraying you. –Jillian Mapes,

As completely fucking brilliant as those songs are, too much of anything can grate on you. Christine provided the counterbalance. Despite being in one of the couples that was splitting at the time of writing those songs, she gave us the needed break from that anguish with the optimism (Don’t Stop) and gave us a sense that she was willing to move on (You Make Loving Fun). Even disregarding the lyrics, her compositions changed the tone at just the right times within the album, and it was just as brilliant as the rest of it.

I could go on with other albums, but I’m sure you get the jist. Instead, consider some music that might be new to you. If you get the chance, take a listen to her unheralded album with Lindsey Buckingham entitled, rather unimaginatively, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie. It’s a nearly perfect album for Fleetwood Mac fans.

Here are some thoughts on how that one came together.

R.I.P. Christine McVie. Your musical legacy is on solid ground.

A nice tribute.

I know what music I’ll be listening to for the next week.

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In case the tweet is ever deleted, here’s a screenshot.

31 Songs in 31 Days Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Song from the 70s #music #FleetwoodMac @fleetwoodmac @StevieNicks

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It’s September, the start of a new month. Well, in mid-August, half a month too late, I came across one of those internet challenges. Being a music nut, I’m willing to take my chances with the data mining assholes and participate. For the month of September (plus October 1), I’m going to answer each of these with a blog post. Here’s the challenge:

Day 9: Favorite Song from the 70s

I already mentioned this one, but here it is again.

This could have qualified for day 6, but no regrets.

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Hate Always Beats Like/Love @Nickelback #Caturday #haters

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This is a Caturday post, but in the most roundabout way possible.

The other day, a music video hit my Facebook stream. It was a video I had never seen, and song I had never heard. The video was Nickelback’s This Afternoon. The video quickly arrives at a scene in which someone brings a band they’ve kidnapped to play at a party intending to prove that “the Nerd Brigade knows how to rock.” The organizer is disappointed to see that the band is Nickelback. This is a brilliant moment of self-awareness that’s lost on society today. No one seems to be able to laugh at themselves anymore, especially when it comes to politics and religion.

But that’s not my point.

This got me thinking, yet again, about how everyone hates Nickelback. There’s even been a “scientific study” done to prove this is the case. And yet, Nickelback was, as of January 25, 2017, the 11th Best-Selling Band In History. How do you explain the discrepancy? It’s simple: This is yet another example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. A bit more formally, this is yet another example of the statistical fallacies people commit when analyzing data. In the YouTube generation, a single point of data is often used to extrapolate a broad rule. Confirmation bias also plays a factor, of course, and people don’t appreciate the fact that their specific search command loads the data. For example, if you Google “eating sauerkraut on ice cream,” you’ll find plenty of stories on it, and if you leave your blinders on, you’ll ignore the fact that almost all of those stories are reporting the same phenomenon originating from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region.

But again, I’m drifting from my point.

The truth is that Nickelback is, in fact, very popular (or at least was), and is probably still well loved by those that grew up with it (much my love of Rush, Fleetwood Mac, etc. doesn’t fade with time). So why is it that the only people you see in your streams are the haters? Consider this: How many of you (myself absolutely included) have criticized people for talking about home much they like CrossFit, veganism, or, well, Nickelback? Anytime someone does, they get blasted. There are countless social media posts asking which fan group is the most annoying of the bunch. That drives positive comments underground. On the other hand, we welcome the hatred people spew for just about anything. It’s probably seen as “edgy” or “raw.” It’s really just dickish. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be allowed to be dickish. Here’s another example, and it’s the one example where hate is criticized.

As a free speech nut, I’m completely fine with you spewing your hate; I just have a problem with the weakness society has embraced allowing your hate to cause them to self-censor themselves. No one’s opinion is more entitled to be voiced than any other’s. The second we abandon that principle, everyone will be censored. You need support for that assertion? Look around you, America. It’s everywhere. But the fact that this phenomenon favors hate is a bit disturbing and explains how we get the impression that beloved things are largely hated.

Full disclosure: I shamelessly admit that I like (don’t love) Nickelback. It may appear that I’m trying to do the same thing, saying I like Nickelback because everyone else supposedly hates it, thus turning around the attempt to sound counter-culture on itself. However, I’ve often said that when asked about guilty pleasures. Nevertheless, Nickelback is not a guilty pleasure. I’m far from alone.

If you don’t like Nickelback (or anything else), that’s fine, but holding them up as a poster child for what’s wrong with music is stupid. If there’s something wrong with modern music, it’s a trend among all the bands, but there’s isn’t. Popular music is popular because it’s what people want to hear, and not all of it is as formulaic as is claimed. Take it from this old fogey: No one cares what the old people think. As a demographic, you don’t have a lot of disposable income, but even if you do, you aren’t spending it on new things. Don’t become your parents. Stop hating on what the young-uns want. You’ll be dead soon, and the only people left will be the young-uns. While you’re at it, stop basing your worldview on one video or article.


With that in mind, fuck you guys. I like cats, and I’ll post about it (and anything else) whenever I want. Your hate has no power over me.

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Stevie Nicks Songwriting Stories @StevieNicks @FleetwoodMac #music

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I was browsing Google headlines today and came across this article detailing my second favorite Stevie Nicks songwriting story. The jist of it is this: Stevie wrote Stand Back while listening to Prince’s Little Red Corvette, and the influence was too great. So, she called Prince and asked permission to use the riff. Not only did Prince grant permission, but he flew out to Los Angeles and played the keyboard part on the song. Prince was credited on the album as Alexander Nevermind and shared 50% of the revenue from the song.

See the source image
This is a pioneer, right here.

My favorite story? I learned of it only recently. One of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs is Silver Springs. In 1975 or 1976, Stevie was leaving a concert at the Capital Center in Landover, MD, riding along the Washington, DC beltway (I-495). As she passed the exit for New Hampshire Ave. (Route 650), she read the sign, “Silver Spring, MD,” and thought, “What a great name for a song.” (Here’s the longer version of the story. As brilliant and tortured as Rumors was, imagine how much moreso it would have been with Silver Springs on it.)

What’s great about this story was that, because of the time of night, I was almost certainly snug in my bed less than one mile from her as she drove by. I wouldn’t even know of the band, Fleetwood Mac, until 1977, but I was in some small sense there for the start of one of my favorite songs from one of my two favorite bands.

Seems appropriate.

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Musings on Game Design and Revisiting AD&D 1st Edition: My AD&D Playlist #DnD #RPG #ADnD #music

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Introduction to Each Post in This Series

On Friday (July 23, 2021), I mentioned that I was relearning AD&D 1st Edition (“1e“) with the intention of running it. As I read through the Player’s Handbook (“PHB“), certain mechanics or text will strike me as odd or surprising, but in either case worthy of discussion. In fact, the most surprising thing I’m experiencing is that I’m finding a lot more great ideas in 1e that we’ve since abandoned. I find myself asking, “Why?” As a result, I’ll be writing several posts over the next few weeks. I’m sure everything I’m thinking has been discussed before — sometimes be me — so perhaps my questions have been answered, and my concerns resolved, years ago. My experience with RPGs is relatively limited in scope, having played a small number of games, so I’m sure a lot of what I’m going to say has been incorporated into games I’ve never even heard of. (Some have certainly been addressed by future editions of D&D themselves.) Nevertheless, bringing this directed conversation to the public is new to me, so here it goes.

Posts in this series: | My Playlist | Campaign Settings and Pantheons | Languages | Level | “Dead Levels” | Division of Labor, Distance, and Time | Initiative | Combat Subsystems | Armor Class Ratings | Alignment and Reputation | The Feel of a School of Magic | Boring Magic Items | Ability Score Bonuses and Skill Rolls | The Problem with Democracies | Hitting More Frequently | Encounter Balance and Shooting Yourselves in the Feet |

That was a big build up. I hope this doesn’t disappoint. This post was written today (7/25), which means it’s actually the seventh post I wrote in the series. Why am I front-loading it? Because Sundays are always reserved for posts that celebrate other people’s thoughts, deeds, or work; something silly; some of the above; or all of the above. That, and not game theory, is what this post is about. You should expect the same tomorrow, as Mondays are reserved for mythology. So, consider the next two days sessions 0 and 0.5 if you will.

Like all of you, when I hear a song, it takes me back to the time I first heard it and/or listened to it the most. As a result, there are a lot of songs that bring me back to 1e that wouldn’t necessarily put high fantasy into your brain. Nevertheless, if I’m at the gaming table, I don’t want to hear the 1812 Overture, the Anvil of Crom, or even Sisters of the Moon (a later-discovered song) by one of my two favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac. No, these specific versions of these songs are what I want to hear. While gaming. Seriously.

  1. Limelight, Spirit of the Radio, and Closer to the Heart by Rush;
  2. Sweet Dreams and The One That You Love by Air Supply;
  3. While You See a Chance by Stevie Winwood;
  4. Sara, Monday Morning, and Say You Love Me, Not That Funny, Rhiannon (one of the strongest vocal performances I’ve ever heard), and Landslide by Fleetwood Mac;
  5. Literally anything off of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album;
  6. Turn Your Love Around and Give Me the Night by George Benson;
  7. Goodbye Stranger, Take the Long Way Home, Fool’s Overture, and Babaji by Supertramp;
  8. Just Between You and Me and Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine;
  9. Almost any song I can name by Triumph, but especially Magic Power and Fight the Good Fight;
  10. The Voice and Gemini Dream by the Moody Blues;
  11. Find Your Way Back and Jane by Jefferson Starship
  12. Ebony Eyes by Bob Welch;
  13. Don’t Fear the Reaper and Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult;
  14. Babe and Best of Times by Styx;
  15. Lady by the Little River Band;
  16. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen;
  17. Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd;
  18. Games People Play by the Alan Parsons Project;
  19. Refugee by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers;
  20. Almost every song from Foreigner’s album, Four;
  21. Almost every song from the Police’s album, Ghost in the Machine;
  22. Almost every song from Asia’s debut album, Asia;
  23. Point of No Return by Kansas;
  24. Hold on Loosely and Caught up in You by .38 Special;
  25. I’m Winning by Santana;
  26. Don’t Let Him Know by Prism;
  27. Switching to Glide/This Beat Goes On by the Kings;
  28. No Time to Lose by the Tarney/Spencer Band;
  29. On the Loose by SAGA;
  30. A Life of Illusion by Joe Walsh;
  31. My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone) by Chilliwack;
  32. Take It on the Run by REO Speedwagon;
  33. American Pie by Don McLean;
  34. Blinded by the Light and For You by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band; and
  35. Tragedy by the Bee Gees

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few big ones. I’ll add them as I think of them.

There’s a surprising number of songs on this list released in 1981/1982, which is the last year I played until 2005. I wonder what it says about me that I have the strongest association with songs that were there at the very end before the Satanic Panic kicked my ass. Probably that I’m a sociopath. That would check out.

Just order some pizza and put that shit on continuous loop, and I’ll keep playing the entire weekend nonstop.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

My Five Favorite Albums . . . Really Five This Time @rushtheband @StevieNicks @LBuckingham @MickFleetwood @billyjoel @IronMaiden @PhilCollinsFeed @tonybanksmusic @officialmatm #music #Rush #FleetwoodMac #IronMaiden #BillyJoel #Genesis

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I’ve provided my favorite movies, bands, and songs, and now we reach the last in this series: My favorite five albums. This should be the easiest of the posts, so I shouldn’t be such a coward this time. You’ll get your five. Again, however, I’m going to give you my favorite albums by the bands I mentioned previously, but my absolute favorite album of all time isn’t from any of them. Despite my methodology, though, this could very well represent my actual, favorite five albums.

Grace Under Pressure, Rush

R.I.P., Professor.

This is an unusual choice for Rush fans, but in discussing it online with several other fans, I’m definitely not alone. I’m not going to go into this in detail, because it’s a personal matter. I’m simply going to make this vague statement: There was a moment in time when I truly became an independent person. For better or worse, this was a significant moment and a significant development, and Grace Under Pressure was part of my life during that moment of clarity. It’s tough to separate this album from that.

Rumors, Fleetwood Mac

If you’ve read the previous two posts, you knew this was coming. I was raised on this album. It belonged to my older brother, but I could listen to it whenever I wanted, and he bought it at a time when I finally had a choice of what music I heard. I had my own radio, so I could listen to which songs I heard on the radio, and from 1977 forward, I slowly started my modest collection of albums so I could listen to the music I wanted to hear when I wanted to hear it. Despite it not being mine, Rumors was the start of that.

Powerslave, Iron Maiden

As with GUP above, I think I’m making a choice that isn’t very popular among fans of the band. Yes, my favorite Iron Maiden song is on this album, but as with much of our attachment to art, this is about more than the art itself. This is about nostalgia. This was my first Iron Maiden album, and the music on it is solid from start to finish. I’m also a huge fan of the instrumental, Losfer Words, as well as the title track. I’ve spent many hours jamming to these songs on my guitar or bass (though I’ll never win an award for my playing).

The Stranger, Billy Joel

This album combines the positive qualities I’ve referenced throughout this series of posts. While the music is all from a specific genre, it’s diverse within that genre. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is epic. It’s like an Iron Maiden or Rush song in that it has multiple movements, all lyrically tied together, yet clearly distinct from one another musically, producing one hell of an effect. The band has enough members in it to fully fill out the music. The instrumentation doesn’t include merely the traditional guitar, bass, keyboard, and drum set collection, but adds woodwinds and other percussion. Hell, there’s even an accordion in there. Joel is a native New Yorker. He grew up in the ultimate melting pot. This influenced how he collected personnel and wrote his music, and the Stranger is probably the best example of that from his discography. As far as I’m concerned, this was one of my favorite artists at his absolute peak.

My Favorite Album? Drum Roll, Please. Duke, Genesis

Once again, I admit that this is all subjective, but there’s a pseudo-objective reason why Duke is my favorite album. As Duke was being written, you could still say Genesis was going through a transitional phase after the departure of Peter Gabriel. This was their third album after Gabriel left, and second after Steve Hackett left, so Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, and Tony Banks were still trying to figure out what they wanted to do, even having considered for a time writing only instrumentals going forward. After finally settling on six songs that comprised the Story of Albert, the band realized they needed more music to fill out the album. Each of the members wrote two more songs. The result was remarkable.

Because the earlier six songs were telling a common story, Duke was strongly coherent. The later six songs mixed things up a bit to keep the album from being monotonous, but those later six songs were still connected to the earlier six, both lyrically and musically. In other words, you had a strongly coherent album of spectacular songs with just enough variety to prevent you from getting bored. The songs themselves represented a stunning bridge between progressive rock and popular music.

Of course, you must like this kind of music for any of this to matter, but that’s why I admit that it’s still a subjective question. In fact, many Genesis fans hate Duke because it tries to be both things, and to them Duke represents to worst of both worlds. Obviously, I believe it represents the best of both worlds. I’ve occasionally said that I’d be happy to pay full price for a concert ticket where Genesis got back together and just played Duke from start to finish. I’d need nothing else.

Subjectively speaking, Duke is my favorite album of all time. YMMV.

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