Saturday, January 8, 2011
When the rubber meets the soul
Rubber Soul was Billboard's top album on this day in 1966. It would spend nine of its 42 chart weeks in the No. 1 position. We rue the ranking of music (you may have noticed) but here's a list that could pass as Exhibit A in the continuing argument Yes We Boomers Had It Pretty Damn Good When it Came to Music.
Below is the cream of the crop from Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Now our personal Top 5 wouldn't look anything like this, but it's still remarkable to consider that all these albums were released in two-year span between 1965-67.
1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Beatles, 1967
2. Pet Sounds, Beach Boys, 1966
3. Revolver, Beatles, 1966
4. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan, 1965
5. Rubber Soul, Beatles, 1965
Some Boomers would undoubtedly find room on their short lists for everything from Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones to Springsteen, the Allman Brothers and even U2. And today at least we need to ask: Elvis, anybody? The rest of you, well, you'll have to tell us. But these five are nevertheless incredible albums, produced in that tight little time span, each standing the test of time.
Rubber Soul, in fact, has returned to the charts on three other occasions. It reached No. 10 in September of 1998 after the release of the Beatles in Stereo Remasters -- 33 years after we first heard it on the Everson boys' record player above the Walgert Hotel and Tap Room in Whitehall.
Today it is 46 years and counting, and we still think an album that includes "Norwegian Wood" -- the most clever 2 minute, 1 second song ever written -- "Drive My Car," "Nowhere Man," "Girl," "I'm Looking Through You," "In My Life," "Run For Your Life" and "Michelle" -- the Grammy-winning song of the year in 1966 -- is a pretty special disc to have in your collection.