Dancing In The Dark With Bruce Springsteen
The only Springsteen record left in my collection since Born To Run and The River sadly never made it home from college, Born In The USA accompanied my freshman year as a top go-to after its release in the summer of '84. The Boss' best-seller of his career and one of the best-selling albums of all time, this one boasts seven top 10 hits though I absolutely love all 12 tracks equally. Perhaps not a favorite of his diehard fans more devoted to his less-commercial earlier work, this crackling variety of rollicking rockers and mournful ballads brought Springsteen's heartland sound to the mainstream masses. Another fun one to crank to 11 while we all go through "coronapause."
We've Got Tonight With Bob Seger
For Friday night at your favorite virtual roadhouse, here's some Bob Seger with his signature blue-collar rasp to bring on the weekend with a loaded jukebox. Seger's Stranger In Town from 1978 is one of his most hit-prolific albums with "Hollywood Nights," "Still The Same," "We've Got Tonight," "Feel Like A Number," "Till It Shines," and the Tom Cruise career-launching "Old Time Rock & Roll." I remember buying this gem at Pure Pop Records in Burlington and it still delivers. Fun fact: Seger co-wrote the Eagles' #1 hit "Heartache Tonight."
Burning Down The House in Lockdown
Their top-charting commercial breakthrough, the Talking Heads' Speaking In Tongues is a must-have for your next zoom cocktails web-together. This one stormed the scene with the frat party anthem "Burning Down The House," "Girlfriend Is Better," "Swamp," and the quarantine-compliant "This Must Be The Place." The off-kilter lyrics of genius frontman David Byrne are perfect for these strange days that "stopped making sense" so long ago.
Stepping Out With John Lennon
My favorite Beatle, John Lennon's two-album return from his own self-imposed quarantine from the music world to be a stay-at-home Dad features some of the very best of his solo career on Double Fantasy and this posthumous Milk & Honey that he would sadly never hear on the radio. Low polish and intimate with the recording timeframe constraints, this one features Lennon's prescient middle-finger nods to our own quarantine with "I'm Stepping Out," "I Don't Wanna Face It" and "Nobody Told Me" ("nobody told me there'd be days like these, strange days indeed - most peculiar, mama") along with the poignant "Grow Old With Me." Even Yoko's contributions are somewhat more listenable than her tortured-cat sounds on the Double Fantasy album, so this one gets the nod.
Paul McCartney On the Run
Paul McCartney's third album with Wings, 1973's Band On The Run was his most successful with hits like the title track, "Helen Wheels," and "Jet" that firmly established his sound and career as the most successful and prolific ex-Beatle. Other great ones here include "Mrs. Vandebilt," "Let Me Roll It," and "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,"with its whimsical cover art featuring a random cast of celebrities including James Coburn and Christopher Lee. In classic McCartney fashion, he literally only had a pair of wings in the studio with wife Linda and ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine after the abrupt departure of two band members, forcing Paul to play drums and lead guitar along with his usual bass.