Sky Arts 1 is a TV channel available on the Sky network. For some inexplicable reason I am able to get this channel here in Warsaw, even though you can’t get Sky in Poland. Strange that.
It is a very dangerous channel because it forces you to stay up way past your bedtime by using alien powers of hypnotism. You switch to Sky Arts 1 at say 22:00 and before you know it it’s 01:00 and you have to take Zosia to school in the morning! Take the other night for example, they had the audacity to show a very interesting documentary about the nothing if not controversial artist, Damien Hirst, followed immediately by an equally fascinating documentary in their Classic Albums series on Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and then, just when you think it’s safe to go to bed they broadcast David Gilmour: Live at the Albert Hall. That’s just one example, it seems like every time I tune it it’s the same story one great programme after another. Bastards! Leave me alone, I need sleep!
As I also consider Rumours to be a classic, I thought I’d check the full list of albums they are highlighting in the Classic Albums series. The programmes take an in depth look at the album tracks as well as everything that was going on in and around the artist/band at the time. Here’s the list (in order of date of original broadcast, I think) with some comments of my own:
- Queen – A Night At the Opera – Got it & like it but those who got into Queen earlier would definitely put Sheer Heart Attack ahead of this one. Been to the gig.
- Motorhead – Ace of Spades –Not got it and although I have fond memories of Lemmy’s performances of the title track I’m not sure I’d call it a classic.
- Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – Got it & agree with ‘classic’ status although Wish You Were Here runs it close. Been to the gig.
- U2 – The Joshua Tree – Got it & agree with ‘classic’ status. Been to the gig.
- Deep Purple – Machine Head – Got it but found myself listening to the compilation 24 Carat Purple far more often. Been to the gig.
- Phil Collins – Face Value – Got it, enjoyed it at the time but it now annoys the holy bejezus out of me! Been to the gig.
- The Who – Who’s Next – Have not got it. Can see attraction of The Who as a classic band but don’t know enough about the album to comment too much. It does contain my fave Who track, Won’t Get Fooled Again. Saw parts of it live at Charlton football ground.
- Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley – Don’t have it but I suppose it has plenty of reasons to be called a classic.
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours – Got it & agree with ‘classic’ status. Amazing achievement given the turmoul the band was in at the time. Been to the gig.
- Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks – Got it, or best to say had it because it got lost along with a lot of other vinyl years ago. Understand why it is on the list but from a musical viewpoint London Calling by The Clash would be a better choice even though released 2 years later. Never saw them live, but was very close to doing so.
- Bob Marley and the Wailers – Catch a Fire – Have not got it and always listen to the posthumous compilation Legend. This album put Marley on the map so may justify classic status just for that. Never been to a Wailers gig.
- Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland – Have not got it and no matter how hard I try I cannot get into Hendrix, undoubted genius that he was. He died when I was eleven.
- Meatloaf – Bat out of Hell – Got it and agree with classic status. Been to the gig and boy was it loud!
- The Band – The Band – Who? You see that’s the problem here. I keep hearing about these guys but I know nothing about them and when I do catch a track I’m not all that impressed. I suppose you had to be there.
- Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Got it and agree with classic status. There are only two Elton albums worth getting, this one and Captain Fantastic. Been to the gig.
- Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life – Got it and agree with classic status. Superb and I think very underrated album, artist even. Been to the gig.
- Metallica – Metallica – I call this the Black Album. Got it and it probably is a classic but only bought it recently, not when released in ’91. No gig.
- Nirvana – Nevermind – Got it & without doubt a classic. Defined the grunge genre. No gig.
- Steely Dan – AJA – I really like Steely Dan but not deeply enough to listen to anything more than a Greatest Hits. No gig.
- Def Leppard – Hysteria – Got it and really like it. Not sure I’d call it a classic but it’s close. No one-armed drumming gig.
- Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast – Not got it. No gig and no idea about this band. They completely passed me by, which is surprising really. No gig.
- Lou Reed – Transformer – Had it, now lost. Produced by Bowie and Ronson, which has something to do with why I liked it so much. Not sure if it warrants being a classic although as embryonic glam rock and with the fading whiff of the velvent underground it might be excused. No gig but plenty of Bowie ones.
- Paul Simon – Graceland – Got it and undoubtedly an excellent album but not sure it’s a classic. If it is for encompassing World Music then there are probably better choices even if less commercial. I prefer Still Crazy to this. No gig.
- Grateful Dead – From “Anthem” to “Beauty” – Covers a total of five albums. Another one like The Band. I think you have to be born in San Francisco. No doubt a classic band but not with me. No gig.
- Judas Priest – British Steel – I’ve got this and have been listening to it recently as it also appeared on a list of best ever British albums. No question it is classic rock and was influential in defining heavy metal but I’m not sure I want to listen to it all that often. No gig.
- John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band – Haven’t got it. While I think he was the most talented one, I’d prefer to see a Beatles album here. No gig.
- Frank Zappa – Over-nite Sensation & Apostrophe (!) – Two albums from over 30 by the Salvador Dali of music! Have not got these but have fond memories of tracks like Don’t eat the yellow snow and Stink-Foot. The guy’s a nutter with a twist of genius. Are they classic? No gig.
- The Doors – The Doors – These guys are a bit like Hendrix for me, I know there’s something there but I can’t quite come to love it. Would they both be so popular without the drug induced early deaths? Both Hendrix & Morrisson were 27 when they died in 1970 & 71 respectively. No gig but I’ve done the grave!
- Jay Z – reasonable Doubt – Not a bloody clue! No gig.
- Duran Duran – Rio – Popular band at the time but there were many others in the new-wave era I liked better. No gig.
Judging by how reasonably in tune I am with the list I can only assume the compiler is a relatively old fart , possibly American or at least trying to be nice to Americans looking at some choices.
Just from my own collection there are a number of albums that I would place in the list ahead some of those listed above.
Anything you’d like to add or subtract from that list yourselves?