#626.4: The Big Lists of 2017 Part Four: LeBrain brings the reign

LeBrain’s Top Lists for 2017

2017 was, from almost every angle, a shit year.  Another onslaught of losses in music, entertainment and sports (another list on its own).  2017 was as devastating as 2016, but perhaps all that loss was turned into musical dividends.  Before the year was even half over, I had already found my #1 album of 2017 from a surprising corner.  I knew as soon as I heard it that it was something remarkable.  I pencilled it into the #1, wondering who would topple it.  Over the months, no-one did.  Though my annual Top Five Albums list was not finalised until last week, the #1 album never changed.

Before we get to albums, however, let’s check out some winners in other categories!



I put my reputation on the line when I recommended The Party to everyone I knew.  I only got good reviews in return.  For the record, it was our own Uncle Meat, back in July, who broke the news of this box set.  He knows someone involved with the remastering and was aware of the project well before the public was.  Though the packaging was bare bones, the reissue otherwise hits all the bases.


DEF LEPPARD – Hysteria 30th anniversary edition

What was probably my #1 album for Christmas 1987 is my favourite reissue in 2017.  In a year featuring fantastic reissues by Marillion (Misplaced Childhood) and Whitesnake (1987), none brought me back in time like Leppard’s Hysteria did.



In case you doubt, check out Deke’s list over at “Arena Rock”.  One of my favourite rock scribes agrees with me on most of these releases.  ‘Twas Deke who turned me onto the #5 album — thanks bud.

Normally I exclude live albums from my lists, but this has been a special year.


5 1/2 IRON MAIDEN – The Book of Souls: Live Chapter


4. ALICE COOPER – Paranormal

3. THE DARKNESS – Pinewood Smile

2. GRETA VAN FLEET – From the Fires

1. STYX – The Mission

I haven’t cared so much about Styx since I was 10 years old!  What an incredible album The Mission is.  And I’m counting it as CanCon, because of singer/pianist Lawrence Gowan (but you can call him Larry).


Other fun categories!

BEST NEW ARTIST – Greta Van Fleet

BEST SOUNDTRACK – John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST SOCIAL MEDIA – Michael Sweet (Stryper)

BEST ARTWORK – Deep Purple, for InFinite


BEST COMEBACK – Quiet Riot, for Road Rage

BEST GUITARIST – Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage)



BIGGEST MISTAKE – Black Sabbath and Bill Ward not playing together at all before The End, a wasted opportunity to set things right.




  1. Yeah while much respect (super cool guy) confess to never being a huge fan of Alice Cooper but Paranormal was quite the pleasant surprise :)

    Styx!? Good call.

    Haven’t finalized my own list yet but our motley gang are due for our annual Top5 night soon so best get cracking! Thanks for all the list posts Mike cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the list! NIce to see Quiet Riot on it! I haven’t made mine yet. Don’t usually do these.Paranormal got played a lot here. At the moment I’m listening to SOD’s Speak English Or Die…Need to check out that Styx album u keep raving on about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just checked what got played most this year. Here goes: Portrait:Burn the world, Black star riders: heavy fire, Joe Bonamassa: Live at the carnegie Hall, Alice with Paranormal, Dragonfire: Reaching into infinity, As lions: selfish age, Von Hertzen Brothers: War is over. Suprise of the year was that Prophets of Rage disc. Really liked that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooga booga! I’ll have to repeat what I said to Deke… only heard assorted tracks from these. Some good stuff, just not what I’m really after lately. Ones to revisit when I’m in the right mood maybe. I don’t think that Lep reissue was all that well done personally but glad you dug it! I’d have taken a punt on the Max box but it’s way too pricey over here.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The Book of Souls is worth breaking your live album rule. :D These are all great picks, and /spoilers/ Greta van Fleet is my number 1. A happy new year in advance to you, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RIGHT! Any song…would have been nice to hear them do one with Bill, one with Bill singing (like It’s Alright), anything! It’s a shameful end to the greatest metal band of all time. All four members are alive and they blew it. They’ll live to regret it.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. That Greta Van Fleet is fantastic! We picked it up on Deke’s recommendation and I feel like a 17 yo again listening to Led Zeppelin. Alice, and Max; totally agree.
    Happy New Year, Mike. Hopefully 2018 is a much better year for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Some great choices. We both have Greta at #2. I also love your fun categories with the only difference being I would probably pick LA Guns as best comeback since I didn’t care for the QR album. That Styx album was pretty darn good. Probably the first Styx album I have listened to in 20+ years.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for the shout out and link Dude!
    Cool list and Hooray for that Rock Dog Pearcy sliding in on your Top 5 as well!
    Styx man what a resurgence amongst us……
    Both Styx and Cheap Trick came out the same day (June 16th) as well as that was the day I seen Maiden Live…Mega Music that day!
    Your individual category reminded me of the Polls that Creem Magazine ran back in the day…
    Love all these year ender’s!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve heard bits and pieces of the stuff here (mainly cause you guys have reviewed them), but I’m very familiar with the Alice album. So much so, as I mentioned over at Deke’s place, that it’s been threatening to take a place in my own top 10.

    Liked by 1 person

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