Every now and then I’ll come across these lists on Facebook. You know the ones I’m talking about right? Lists like the one I’m talking about today. I’m not sure why but this one just seemed to be really fucking cool to me. The list was 10 albums that made an impression on me as a teen. The challenge is to list them as fast as possible without over thinking or hell, thinking about it at all. It was really interesting to me the ones that literally just flew out from the top of my head. Of course 10 is just not enough as there were countless albums that made an impression on me as a kid but it was these 10 in particular that came to me without even having to think about it. It was fun to read back on this list so for this post I figured I would break them down and tell you why they made such an impact on me as a kid.
So here they are. Ten albums that made an impression on me as a teen (in NO ORDER).
Black Sabbath – Live Evil
As a young, fledgling metalhead, discovering Black Sabbath was something. Discovering that Black Sabbath was actually fronted by Ronnie James Dio at one point was a whole new fucking ballgame. Thanks to the K-Tel compilation White Hot, I learned about Dio era Sabbath. I went straight to Warehouse Records & Tapes and asked the burnout dude behind the counter which album I should get. Without even blinking he directed me to Live Evil. This album was the perfect introduction to Dio era Sabbath as it covered some of their best material along with Ronnie killing it on Ozzy era Sabbath songs. To this day it’s one of my all time favorite releases.
Dio – Last in Line
Dio was “our” guy. He was the guy that totally understood and empathized with the lost youth, the tormented, the bullied, etc. He got us and through his songs I found a lot of strength. Not only did I find strength, I found escape. Songs like “Egypt”, “Mystery”, and “I Speed at Night” were such mesmerizing songs full of vivid imagery but it was “Last in Line” that resonated with me like none other. That album blows my mind to this day and even after all these it’s importance and impact is felt on me like the first time I ever heard it.
Iron Maiden – Live After Death
In my opinion, hands down one of the greatest live albums ever released. When I first heard this album, I had never seen Iron Maiden live. This was long before YouTube and aside from hearing a couple of shitty bootlegs, this was the first time I was hearing this era of Iron Maiden in all of their splendor. It was so raw, so powerful, and it made me feel as if I was standing in the middle of Long Beach Arena. Everything from the gatefold artwork to the lyric inserts to the music itself was absolutely perfect. As a young kid hearing this album, I remember feeling the excitement and the energy of the crowd and the band only to be a part of it a few years later myself. Even now I consider this album perfect!
The Monkees – Headquarters
The Monkees right? I know, I know but I stand tall next to this one. I fucking LOVE The Monkees and Headquarters was an album that made such an impact on me? Why? Because it fucking rocks and it’s also the album where The Monkees put the naysayers to rest by not only proving that they could play instruments but that they could play as a band and do it really well. As a young metalhead, in 1986 I was also discovering some great 60’s rock and The Monkees quickly became one of my all time favorite bands opening the doors for me to discover other great 60’s acts such as The Grass Roots, Gary Puckett, and Paul Revere & The Raiders just to name a few.
Lillian Axe – Lillian Axe
As a kid growing up in New Orleans, Lillian Axe getting signed was a huge fucking deal. Lillian Axe was, in my opinion, the best fucking band in New Orleans and when Stevie Blaze recruited members of the Texas band, Stiff (most notably vocalist Ron Taylor), Lillian Axe just got that much better. Seeing a local boy take it to the top, get signed, and land tours and pick up a diehard cult following all over was definitely inspiring and showed me that anything is possible. While I never got signed (never say never though right?), seeing Stevie’s dreams come true was a true inspiration and something that would never escape me.
Rush – Presto
This was the album that made me truly fall in love with Rush. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Dude! 2112?” Honestly, no, it was Presto. There was just something magical about that album and I guess you can call it a right place/right time kind of scenario. The first time I heard “Show Don’t Tell” it struck such a huge chord with me. Maybe it was just where I was at in my life as a young person but this album, start to finish, hit me like a ton of bricks and is what opened the door for me to be a full on Rush fan. I never get tired of that album and it’s a frequent “go to” album for me.
Alice Cooper – Greatest Hits
My dad bought me this album when I was 12 years old and this was without a doubt the gateway to my obsession with all things Alice Cooper. This was the album where I discovered the awesomeness of songs that you never heard on the radio. Songs like “Teenage Lament ’74”, “Muscle of Love”, and “Desperado” floored me and made me see just how substantial Alice Cooper was musically. There was so much more to him (and the band) than the makeup, the shock, and the horror. Under all of that facade was a band that created some of the most awesome, memorable, and timeless hard rock albums and this particular album was a great introduction. To this day, if anyone has never heard Alice Cooper, this is the album I start them with because you just can’t go wrong. It’s the perfect 101 for an artist and a new fan.
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Hands down one of my all time favorites. Twisted Sister really knocked it out of the park and this album was the perfect album for the outcasts, the losers, the underdogs, and the cast aside. I know it sounds dramatic but it’s true. Just ask any diehard Twisted Sister fan and they will tell you how important Stay Hungry was to them in their youth. This particular album pretty much saved my life as I found strength, encouragement, and understanding in it. From the neckbreaking title track to the deeper cuts such as “Captain Howdy” and “Street Justice”, Stay Hungry was an album that was my best friend when I had none.
W.A.S.P – W.A.S.P
The debut W.A.S.P album is a timeless classic and at the time of it’s release, I clearly remember thinking that I had never heard anything like it. They looked like a cross between Alice Cooper and Motley Crue but had a sound all their own. Blackie Lawless’ epic voice on songs like “I Wanna Be Somebody”, “The Flame”, and “Sleeping in the Fire” blew my young mind. The lyrical content of the songs were definitely a bit on the darker side that I was used to but I loved that. I almost feel as if this album is what opened the doors for me as a young person to be more open to the more dark, sinister side of heavy metal. Nowadays it sounds tame in comparison to much that’s out there but nonetheless, it’s a flawless album from start to finish and it’s an album that transports me back to that time.
Venom – Black Metal
Venom was the first band that literally scared me. When I was 11 years old, my friend’s brother had two huge Venom posters on his wall. One of them was of the Black Metal album cover and the other was the three members of Venom (Cronos, Mantas, and Abbadon respectively) holding swords, knives, and two spears each with a human skull on the end. Man, this was way beyond Motley Crue and a pentagram. This was full on devil shit and I was having none of it. 3 year later at the age of 14 I would buy this album, sneak it into my room, and listen to it. Right away I remember thinking, “This is heavy as fuck. I’m going to burn in hell… but I don’t care. This is fucking awesome.” The more I listened to it, the less scary it got but this album was definitely a gateway of curiosity for me for all things dealing with the occult which is a fascination that is still with me to this day.