1. Alive! by KISS
This is the album that really started them on their road to fame, and the album that introduced me to KISS.
What a brilliant piece of marketing and packaging, as well as of course the amazing live energy that they previously had failed to capture on vinyl.
The archetypal characters that they played, and the accompanying ‘notes’ on the inside of this double album, completely captured the imagination of this 11 year-old – and made me certain that the bass was the coolest instrument in the history of the universe!
2. Bad for Good by Jim Steinman
I think the story goes that this was supposed to be Bat out of Hell 2, but Steinman, who wrote all of Meatloaf’s songs, got tired of waiting for him.
Whatever. It has all the bombast, wailing guitars and long songs with storylines of love, rebellion, heartbreak and glory – all delivered with Kasim Sulton’s bass and Todd Rundgren’s guitar solos. I still know almost every word of each song.
3. Grace by Jeff Buckley
If you put me on a desert island for the rest of my life and said I could only take one album, this would be it.
Buckley created a modern masterpiece with his soaring vocals and huge dynamics.
Songs of love, death, surrender… it just doesn’t date and I’ll bet that this album is just as popular in 100 years.
4. Desperate by Divinyls
This second album announced the quintessential Aussie 80s rock band to the world, and what a band, what an album this is.
A rhythm section with the genius and seriously cool Rick Grossman on his Steinberger bass provided an unstoppable backdrop to Chrissy Amphlett’s unreal vocals.
I was lucky enough to see the Divinyls a couple of times in pubs. Chrissy was almost frightening to be close to, she was so in character – yes, I was a little scared just watching her!
If there is any justice in the world, this band will be the next INXS.
5. Ghost Mile by Voyager
If you like your music hard, intelligent and with great melody, then Voyager are for you.
Amazing musicianship doesn’t hide their sense of joy as they deconstruct accepted wisdom on what a song should be, and then put it all back together in a way that makes you think: “Why hasn’t anyone done that before?”