RECORD STORE TALES Part 231: Top 5…of all time?
I put in just shy of 12 years at the record store. That’s a lot of time to work retail. If you’ve worked retail, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, it has its ups and downs. The ups include discounts. The downs entail being abused by the general public on a daily basis.
I have a nice plaque around here somewhere, commemorating 7 years at the store. It was a pretty cool gift. It was a total surprise, how it happened. My boss phoned me out of the blue one day.
“Mike,” he said. “I need a list of the top 5 albums of all time. It’s for an article we’re doing.”
“Cool!” I responded eagerly. “But what are the parameters? Is it like rock, or all genres? Because that’s just a wide-open question.”
“Just what you think are the top albums of all time, that’s all I really need.”
Cool! I started work on it. I wanted to be objective, fair. If I were making a personalized list of a top 5, it would be easy, I know there would be some Kiss and Sabbath in there. I wanted to discount my own personal biases and try to be as open as possible for this particular list.
First of all, I chose The Wall. I admit that I chose this over Dark Side due to personal preference, also I think a double album like The Wall deserves many accolades. I obviously had to give respect to two of the greatest bands of all time, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. I chose Zeppelin IV and Abbey Road. I really couldn’t choose a Zeppelin, so I went with IV as kind of a default answer. Abbey Road is arguably the most genius the Beatles ever were, so I could easily choose that over Sgt. Pepper’s.
OK, three down! Even though all three artists I chose were different from each other, they were all rock, so I needed to go outside that box. To represent country, I decided on Folson Prison by Johnny Cash. Were this a more personalized list, I would choose San Quentin, but I went with Folsom as it seems to be the best known.
I didn’t know what to pick last, so I went with a cop-out answer. Back In Black. What a weak, spineless choice! What am I a college student? Anyway, again I decided to be open and think about how many copies it sold, not about the many superior AC/DC albums.
I submitted my list. A month or two later, I was presented with this plaque! And these five albums were on the plaque! My boss had collected lists from a few of us who had been there a while, and given us custom made plaques, with the CDs and everything. It was really cool and I treasured mine for years.
I only wish he had worded his question differently! If I had known in advance what he was really asking (thus spoiling the surprise) I would have chosen these five:
5. Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
4. Kiss – Alive
3. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell
2. Deep Purple – Fireball
1. Black Sabbath – Born Again
The original plaque is packed up in a box, as Mrs. LeBrain and I are planning a move to a bigger place. Here’s the five albums that made it onto the plaque though, at least all albums I proudly own. And because I don’t do anything small, I own them all in some kind of crazy deluxe box set. Enjoy.