On Facebook, Charlie Bertsch linked to "Ana Marie Cox gave us a list of her favorite records".
Charlie thought that Insound, who are the ones who asked for the list, should ask other Bad Subjects contributors besides Ana for similar lists. I couldn’t resist trying to reduce the entirety of recorded music down to fifteen albums (which is how many were on her original list). It can’t be done … I could only get it down to 15 albums plus one DVD box set. Here goes, in rough chronological order.
Elvis Presley: The ‘68 Comeback Special Deluxe Edition DVD. There are a couple of CDs that take care of the music I most care about from this greatest of all rock and roll nights, but this set overwhelms them all, so I’ll cheat, get it over with, and move from here to fifteen actual albums.
The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night. Because early Beatles are at least as good as late Beatles.
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground and Nico. If I could remove one track from either White Light White Heat (“The Gift”) or The Velvet Underground (“The Murder Mystery”), one of them would be my choice here.
Otis Redding: Live in Europe. I could pick a greatest hits package for Otis, but this is the album I played over and over as a teenager.
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks. In the running for my favorite album of all time.
Derek and the Dominos: Layla. Even better than whatever Led Zep album I might have picked.
Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits. At what point do these become self-explanatory?
Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run. Since Bruce is my favorite, and this is my favorite of his albums, I guess this is my favorite album ever.
Patti Smith: Easter. It says something about an artist when more than one album is a contender. On a different day, I might have chosen Horses.
The Clash: London Calling. Hey, they were the only band that mattered.
Prince: Sign 'O' the Times. Or Dirty Mind. Or Purple Rain.
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions. I guess I like Paul’s Boutique even more than this one, but PE sounds better with the volume turned way up.
Hüsker Dü: New Day Rising. Speaking of sounding good with the volume turned way up.
Sleater-Kinney: The Woods. Talk about going out on top. They made seven albums, not a dud among them, with a couple that could easily make this list. And I chose the last album they ever made, because they were still getting better when they went on “hiatus”.
Pink: Funhouse. We’ll finally know if she’s underrated when she does/doesn’t make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.
(Number of the above artists I’ve seen live: nine, if I count Eric Clapton as Derek and the Dominos, which I shouldn’t. I mean, I didn’t count Lou Reed as the Velvets, and I saw him lots of times.)