Hi folks, it’s getting close to the business end of the year and I would like to give a shout out and a huge thanks to each and every one of the contributors and readers for the inaugural season of My Top Ten. What a year it’s been! We’ve had Tim Rogers, Ashley Naylor, Ben Salter, Alan Brough, Davey Lane, Link McLennan, Dave Larkin, Laura Imbruglia, Steve Pinkerton, Zac Anthony, Mick Thomas, Jeff Jenkins and Seja Vogel! I wasn’t sure how long this would actually last but I’m so glad it grew into something somewhat larger than expected. I will leave you (as I know you’ve been hanging out for this!!) with my very own top ten. I did this a while ago as a template for the site. I know it’s the classic saying, but I hope you’ve had as much fun reading MTT as I have being able to bring it to you. Back in 2017, bigger ‘n’ better – stay tooned!!
THE STONE ROSES The Stone Roses (1989)
I bought this album when I was about 12 from Rockaway records on the Gold Coast (where I spent my formative years). There weren’t many record stores around but this was a good one. At the time I was listening to a lot of The Cure, Dinosaur Jr and a new band called Nirvana…yep I was a pretty cool 12-year-old! On this particular day I was in the record store and I was going to buy another Cure album to add to the collection but I picked up the Stone Roses album knowing absolutely nothing about them, it was just something about that Jackson Pollock-esque look of the cover. When I flipped the album over, they looked really fucking cool too (and still do mind you) and the title of the first song “I Wanna Be Adored” just sold me. I literally just took a punt and bought it. I put it on when I got home and was instantaneously blown away. This was some of the most brilliant songwriting I’d ever heard but in the vein of the Beatles or something. As I grew older with it, it all made sense to me. It opened the gates to a whole new breed of bands I got into. Still one of the greatest and most important records of all time. Masterpiece.
THE PIXIES Surfer Rosa (1988)
I remember being at a gig they held at the Milton Bowl when I lived in Brisbane. I was about 16 at the time. Gaslight Radio, Moler and Sandpit were also playing if I recall. Anyhoo, I couldn’t get into the bar as I was underage and all my mates were a bit older, so one of my friends suggested we go home and have some beers and listen to the Pixies “cos all these bands think they’re the Pixies”! So we got home and I’d never really sat and heard them before and that was the first time I had listened to Surfer Rosa. It was brutal, beautiful, raw and melodic with twisted harmonies, and I fell in love with them from then on. Frank Black is one of the great lyricists.
THE ROLLING STONES Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (1966)
A close friend’s Dad gave me this compilation on vinyl when I was 14. Thanks Bob! I’d always been into the Beatles ever since I could remember and didn’t know much about the Stones. I adored all these early songs. I dearly love a lot of the Stones early 60s and early 70s records and I find myself in the same scenario with the Beatles where it’s hard for me to choose a favourite, so this compilation is where my relationship with the Stones began.
OASIS Definitely Maybe (1994)
To me, this album came out and blew everything else out of the water. People talk of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory as being THE classic Oasis album but this record kicks its arse I think. Oasis are like all my favourite bands rolled into one. My brother bought the “Supersonic” single home one day before anyone here knew them. He played it for me and it was one of the most powerful sounding songs I had ever heard. In listening to Definitely Maybe for the first time I would go as far as to say it was quite a transcendental experience. As I went along I found Oasis’ B-sides were as good as the A-sides which led me to think they were the best band since the Beatles. Like The Stone Roses first album this one just hit all the right notes and I think was just as important for its time. Back-to-basics barre chords, simple direct lyrics, classic guitar solos and just fuckin’ balls-out loud! Brilliant. Life changing. The last truly great rock band.
SMASHING PUMPKINS Siamese Dream (1993)
Some may find this an interesting choice but this record had a huge impact on me. Early to mid-nineties was just such a great era for music and I was a teenager and listening to stuff like this when I was in high school and it just made me want to leave school and join a band. This album has the best drumming on it and over-the-top guitar sounds that are really heavy but evenly melodic at the same time. Funny thing is I don’t really like any other Smashing Pumpkins records at all! They just nailed it on this I think. I got real obsessed and went on the hunt to find the exact guitar pedals Billy Corgan uses on this album and got most of them but still haven’t found the right outlet for my heavier side (as yet!). So I just fuck around with them in the bedroom.
THE BEATLES The Beatles (White Album) (1968)
I could easily fill up my top ten with Beatles records, but if I had to pick one the White Album would be it. When I was in my first band Lavish we drove from the Gold Coast to Brisbane regularly to play gigs cos there were only about one or two places to play on the Gold Coast! But whenever I listen to this album it reminds me of our drive home from Brisbane in the early days. It would only be my brother (who was also in the band) and his girlfriend at the time and it seemed we just listened to the White Album all the time on the way back after the gigs. Songs like “Cry, Baby, Cry”, “Julia” and “I Will” send shivers down my spine. I found it hard to choose a favourite Beatles album. I like ’em all equally, just depends which one I’m listening to at the time! My favourite band of all time.
CROWDED HOUSE Together Alone (1993)
Apart from those chaps from the Beatles, Neil Finn is quite possibly my favourite songwriter of all time. So I wouldn’t feel right without including something from his ever expansive body of work. I chose this album as I think it is brilliant from top to tail. “Kare Kare”, “Nails In My Feet”, “Fingers Of Love”. Songwriting at its finest.
THE LEMONHEADS It’s A Shame About Ray (1992)
My Grandfather used to buy me records and tapes every Christmas and they would always be hit and miss. You could end up with Al Jarreau or Lionel Richie, or occasionally he would come out with a ripper like this one. I’d never even heard of the Lemonheads at the time but thought I’d give it a listen because of the funny name and I’m glad I did. Every single song on this album is killer. Evan’s voice is so rich and effortless and the songs are just perfect pop. As fate would have it I somehow ended up playing bass for Evan Dando 10 or so years later. One of the high points of my career, even though I was a nervous wreck!
DINOSAUR JR Green Mind (1991)
Green Mind was another one I got into as a pre-adolescent. A good friend of mine growing up had an older brother who was a bit wild and was in the know of all things music. It seemed he was the first person to know of Nirvana. He also used to play with a machete in his swimming pool, but that’s another story. So we would go into his bedroom and listen to his records when he was out. I always remember listening to this particular album obsessively and I especially dug the cover. I would listen to the tracks “The Wagon” and “Puke & Cry” on repeat. Me and my friend both being aspiring musicians and listening to stuff like this at that age filled our imaginations with thoughts of how we could create a cunning plan to leave school and form our own band. I still listen to this album every now and again.
YOU AM I Hi Fi Way (1995)
It’s a toss-up between this and Hourly, Daily but this came first. I remember the day I bought this record. I was in Myer of all places. I’d saved up my pennies and I’d just started getting into a lot of bands like the Stones and The Who and I saw this record on the shelf and I was just intrigued by seeing the song titles on the front of the CD and the whole 60s/70s kinda look, and I just took a punt and bought it. Not really knowing anything about them really – I missed Sound As Ever when it came out but I think I had the “Berlin Chair” single with “I Can’t Explain” on it that led me to this. Superb songwriting and the sound of a band absolutely on fire. Showed me we had a band that could match any of the overseas acts. Rusty’s drumming stands out on this record and is phenomenal. “Purple Sneakers” is the perfect song.