Here are numbers 6-10:
10. ZZ Top, EliminatorWithout question, the hottest car on the road in 1983 was made 50 years earlier. The iconic 1933 Ford Coupe that graced the cover of Eliminator and served as a chariot for hot women on MTV was easily the coolest thing on wheels and no keychain was complete without a shiny "ZZ" hanging from it. You wouldn't think three dude with Rip Van Winkle beards would become music video celebrities, but you cannot discount the awesome hat trick of "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "Legs." Although those are the songs most people remember best, the rest of the album is all killer and no filler, packed to the brim with stunning Texas boogie like "Dirty Dog," "I Got the Six," and my personal favorite, "You Got Me Under Pressure." I'd still hop in that Ford Coupe if it pulled up in front of my house without hesitation. Wherever it's going is someplace I'd want to be.--CroutonBoy
9. The Replacements, HootenannyHaving just started to move beyond the thrashing scrappy hardcore of their early offerings, The Replacements began to artfully dismantle some of the post-punk building blocks that cemented the foundation of their reputation and replace them with a more put together, slower burning set of songs. Released just one year prior to the seminal and critically acclaimed Let It Be, Hootenanny marked a shift in dynamic and showcased a better sounding, more mature and diverse Replacements. Stylistically richer and playfully experimental (some tracks feature a completely rearranged line-up), it still has the infectious hooks and raw power that put this band over the top of the hill of greatness in my mind, but it showcases the promise of the next few years with prophetic knowing. Color me still impressed, this album never gets old.--Dufmanno
8. Yes, 90125I knew about Yes before 90125 was released, but I never really listened to them. The early '80s were all about pop music to me--I didn't get into my classic rock phase until around 1988 or so. My friends and I used to hang out in an arcade called Gadgets after work. The arcade had a laserdisc video jukebox in the corner--it was the first and only place I ever saw one. Before we started in on the video games, we pumped some money in the jukebox and got the videos cranking. One night, someone else got to the video jukebox first and cued up the a cappella version of "Leave It." It instantly caught my attention--I'm a sucker for great harmony, and Yes is among the best when it comes to that. As I recall, I went out and bought the album the next day.
I've since gotten into some of Yes's older stuff as well, but 90125 remains my favorite overall Yes album. Unlike most of the classic rock groups I discovered through their '80s music, I consider the '80s to be the pinnacle of Yes's work.--Dave
7. Journey, FrontiersThe pinnacle of Journey's work was definitely Escape (1981). For me, it set the tone for the band (or at least my expectations of what the band should be). Based on that, Frontiers was definitely a good follow-up in that respect. Several of the songs on the album--particularly "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Send Her My Love," and "Faithfully"--remain among my favorites from the band. I know I'm going to take flak from people who are more holistic in their love of the band, but I just have trouble getting into most of the earlier and later albums. If I could only own two Journey albums, Escape and Frontiers would be the two. The band was a big part of the '80s for me, but that's about as far as it
6. Billy Joel, An Innocent ManIt's hard for me to pinpoint my favorite Billy Joel album. Unlike so many of my (now) favorite artists, I didn't discover Billy Joel in the '80s. I was already a big fan of his work before he started his '80s album marathon.
Of his '80s work, though, Innocent Man is definitely the best. Six of the ten songs on the album were released as singles, and all of them were pretty popular. You can't think of Billy Joel in the '80s without "Uptown Girl" or "Tell Her About It" popping into your mind. For me, the best song of the album is "The Longest Time." The first time I heard the song, I was struck by doo-wop style, the cool harmonies and the fact that, other than a bass, no instruments were used. I later learned that all the vocals were done by Joel himself; he did the lead and 14 separate background tracks. Really cool stuff. --Dave
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