Here are numbers 1-5:
5. R.E.M., Fables Of The ReconstructionIt's hard to figure out how a town as small as Athens, Georgia gave birth to so many wonderful musicians, quality albums, and classic stories. Granted, very few rose to the lofty heights attained by the illustrious R.E.M., but if I'd only known one thousandth of what I know now, I would have stuck around the area to watch it all unfold in person instead of packing my bags. In 1985, however, I was still a plucky, metal-mouthed high school sophomore with great musical taste and a brand new Walkman. I'd purchased all of R.E.M.'s releases up to that point and was prepared to be wowed by my new Fables Of The Reconstruction cassette as I slipped it gingerly into the waiting tape deck. Much to my horror, I found the entire second side played in reverse and was completely unlistenable. Not sure if it was some sort of artistic joke that I wasn't getting or just a manufacturing defect, I sprang up and demanded to be brought back to the mall record store where I'd made my purchase. After making mince meat of my sales associate, I returned home with a proper album and the listening commenced. We'd spend endless hours arguing if the official title of the album was Reconstruction Of The Fables or Fables Of The Reconstruction (A and B sides made it a hotly debated topic) and while it contained the insanely popular hits "Driver 8" and "Can't Get There From Here," there were endless favorites like "Green Grow The Rushes" and "Auctioneer" that we memorized and sang with wild abandon.
This was the album that made you want to take a drive straight down into the heart of Athens and see what inspired such sultry southern jangly goodness. Thankfully, some of us did just that.--Dufmanno