Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

BTR and Other Great Albums

It was just announced here that a special re-release of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" album will be coming out in November. BTR, which was actually Springsteen's third album but his first to receive wide airplay and gain him popular acclaim, was originally released thirty years ago this month.

Besides being one of my personal favorites, BTR is also one of those rare rock albums which can be viewed as a "virtual" greatest hits. I.e., every individual song on the album has received a reasonable amount of airplay, if not on "hit" radio then on album/classic rock stations. To achieve this feat requires a singular combination of artist talent, popularity, and staying power, as well as other practical factors like timing and the album having a small number of songs.

Other than the Beatles, who are of course in a class by themselves in that every song they've ever written got (and still gets) on the radio, only a handful of rock artists have ever had an album that fits this category, even with minor "stretching" (e.g., I have heard "Meeting Across the River" from BTR on the radio, but pretty rarely).

So here's my initial list of, other than Beatles, what I consider "virtual greatest hits" rock albums. Of course, there are many other complete albums on which I personally love every song, but by no stretch can some of the songs on each be said to have gotten any significant airplay. Actual greatest hits collections or re-compilations are of course also excluded:
  • "Born to Run", Bruce Springsteen
  • "Who's Next", The Who
  • "Bat Out of Hell", Meat Loaf
  • "More Than a Feeling", Boston
  • "Rumors", Fleetwood Mac
Honorable Mentions: "The Stranger" and "52nd St.", both by Billy Joel. Each of these albums has maybe two songs (out of 10 or so) that didn't get airplay. So they almost fit the category, but not quite.

If you can think of others, please send comments and I may update the list if I agree.

UPDATE: A couple of other albums that meet the "almost" category, in that only 2 or 3 songs don't get regular airplay, as suggested in comments and elsewhere:
  • "Joshua Tree", U2
  • Self-titled albums 1 and 4, Led Zeppelin
  • "Jagged Little Pill" Alanis Morissette
UPDATE #2: "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd was one I forgot - it definitely belongs on the list! Thanks, David!


At 9/29/05, 11:50 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I am too tired to add to the list but I wanted to say that I enjoy all of those albums too.

At 9/29/05, 10:28 PM, Blogger benros52589 said...

more than you think you are matchbox20
warning green day
away from the sun 3 doors down
meteora linkin park
blink 182 self titled
maroon 5 songs about jane
nickleback the long road

At 9/29/05, 10:57 PM, Blogger Mirty said...

I remember in high school hearing every single song from "Rumors." I got really sick of Fleetwood Mac, actually, but never of Bruce Springsteen.

Van Morrison's "Moondance" album feels like it belongs in this list.

At 9/29/05, 11:19 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Does your son really consider that stuff "music"? Do I really sound like my parents?
One thing I missed not really keeping up with popular/rock music: U2.

At 9/30/05, 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NU Und vat about the Toronto Pirchei Kviyer and Modzhizer's Greatest Hits?
-Chaim Mordcha B-r-e "ech-ech" e-r

At 9/30/05, 7:46 AM, Blogger Mirty said...

Oh yes, U2's "The Joshua Tree".

And Allan Sherman's "My Son the Folksinger" (just kidding).

At 9/30/05, 9:04 AM, Blogger Elie said...

David: Actually I like some songs by "Green Day", but most of what my kids listen to is noise (yes, we do sound like our parents!)

Ben: What music you like is a matter of taste, but I don't think those albums fit my category. Each of them did have a couple of singles but not every song on those albums has gotten airplay, which was what I'm looking for.

Mirty: Not sure "Joshua Tree" quite makes the cut either, at least a few of these songs are obscure. Same for "Moondance". Both are great albums though.

Speaking of U2, they're one of the few groups where my kids' and my musical tastes overlap! They're impressed that my "old fogies" (aka "classic rock") station plays U2's new album.

At 9/30/05, 9:42 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Joshua Tree is a fabulous album. The first three cuts really do it.

At 9/30/05, 11:24 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

Jagged Little Pill from Alanis Morissette almost fits the category. About two thirds of that CD were released and did well on the radio.


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