My car (1998 Honda Accord) doesn't have a CD player, so I listen almost exclusively to tapes that I've made over the years. Some are on their last legs (or spools), including one that I made for the woman I was wooing back in 1985 (we will celebrate our 22nd anniversary in a few weeks).
The tape that I threw in today includes the entirety of Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells A Story," one of the best albums in rock history. But also, an album that is so much better than everything else he did during his career, that it can hardly be considered representative. A little more than five years after the release of this landmark work, he released "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," an piece of unlistenable dreck that I once owned but ushered out of the house during a long-ago garage sale.
In any event, the album got me to thinking - in all of rock history, what are the albums that are so much better than the rest of an artists' catalogue that it makes you wonder what the hell happened? And I'm not talking about things like debating about whether "Beggars Banquet" or "Exile on Main St." is a better Stones album. I'm talking about huge, vast chasms. Although, on the flip side, it doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of the artists' catalogue is pure dreck.
So here are my three:
- "Every Picture Tells A Story," Rod Stewart
- "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road," Lucinda Williams
- "Play," Moby
The gap is widest in Rod's case, but also pretty huge with the other two, though I like much of the rest of their work.