The challenge is to come up with 15 "life-changing" albums...but after doing this list I see that some of these were life-changing, but some were soundtracks to major changes in my life. Regardless, here's the list, minus the tagging:
1. Tanya Tucker, TNT: It was the first album I ever bought for myself, and it was life-changing less for the music (though she does a rendition of "Send Me" that's wonderful) than for the album cover, which is the primary reason I bought it. Picture this: the LP cover opens up like a centerfold, and there's Tanya in a red leather jumpsuit (halter, I think), with the microphone cord snaking between her legs. Spot the baby dyke, buying the LP at Gateway Village--what was that? Fred Meyer Music, by then?
2. The First Saturday Night Live Cast Album: One or both of my sisters bought me this, I think for Christmas, and I can still recite dialogue.
3. The Cars. I belonged to the RCA Record Club, and I ordered a David Gates album as one of my freebies for joining. The muses intervened, and sent me this record inside the David Gates sleeve. Thank you, o muses.
4. Pete Townshend, Empty Glass: I perpetually forgot to mail back those stupid record club postcards to say I didn't want the month's selection, and this one came. And instead of sending it back, I listened to it. Interesting, raw rock and roll. My taste is nothing if not eclectic.
5 & 6. Hair (Broadway cast recording) / Fame (soundtrack). It's a tie. And this is sheerly for the number of times I listened to these, drama geek that I was. And to whomever stole my cassette copy of the Hair movie soundtrack from a party in Walla Walla sometime during 1982/1983, that was mean.
6 & 7. Patti Smith, Horses and Easter (tie). My first girlfriend introduced me to a lot of music, but Patti was definitely the most life-changing. I had seen her years before on Saturday Night Live, her voice shot, and I didn't understand it. Then I heard these albums and I got it. If you ever want to get in touch with your inner wild woman, play these.
8. Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams. You will begin to note a trend: strong, independent women. Hmmmm....
9. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls: Ah, the trend continues.
10. Melissa Etheridge, Brave and Crazy. First saw her on VH1 and said, "Hey, there's a dyke on that there TV!"
11. k.d. lang, Ingenue. Loved the early albums, too, but Ingenue was in my Walkman for months during a particularly turbulent time in my life. There's something about k.d. lang's rich, powerful voice right in your ear...oh, and I saw the second night of her tour at a small theater.
12. Two Nice Girls, Chloe Liked Olivia. Witty, clever, eclectic. They rocked. The antidote to the melancholy I indulged in with lang.
13. The Traveling Wilburys Vol. I. If for no other reason than this list needs a few more guys.
14. Susan Tedeschi, Just Won't Burn. And we now return to our regularly scheduled trend. Her huge voice has been described as a blend of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. I first saw her when she opened for Keb' Mo in Seattle years ago.
15. Brandi Carlisle, Brandi Carlisle. Again, the soundtrack for a major transition in my life. Standing on the subway platform listening to "Follow" on my mp3 player. If you haven't heard her, check out her second album The Story. A voice that makes your heart ache.