From Rock to Schlock: 150 Desert Island Albums

From Rock to Schlock: 150 Desert Island Albums

Written by Frank Doris

Most “desert island” record articles make the assumption that you can only take a handful of discs with you that you can’t live without. Well, since the concept of being stuck on a desert island is hypothetical and ultimately nonsensical, if I’m forced to spend the rest of my life on some sandy rock with only a volleyball named Wilson for companionship (um, not a basketball as originally mis-stated, and thank you m3 lover for pointing that out), I’m at least granting myself a big record shelf. Plus, it’s a gratuitous way to fit the “150” theme into Issue 150.

This isn’t a “best albums of all time” ranking. Muso though I am, I don’t think I’m qualified to put such a list together, and if I had to take a stab at it, it would be all-too-predictable – Sgt. Pepper, The Dark Side of the Moon, Kind of Blue, yadda yadda. This list is of my all-time favorite albums, not some edict from On High. Some would probably make someone else’s worst albums list, and I stand naked in revealing my sometimes-questionable taste. To which I can only say: ehhh?

For now, this is just a list. I will be doing mini-reviews of most or all of these albums in future issues.

I’m not including favorite singles or songs, just albums; a list of singles would easily top 1,000 (I’ll start compiling it now!) and include many more soul, R&B, funk and newer artists (James Blake’s “Say What You Will” is sticking in my head at the moment), as well as country, new wave, dance music and a lot more. I’m also cheating a bit; some of these are greatest hits collections and anthologies.

I’ve included YouTube videos of some of the perhaps lesser-known stuff.

It’s been said that the music of your youth has the most emotional resonance throughout your life. Guilty as charged.

801 Live
The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
The Beatles, Revolver
The Beatles, Rubber Soul
The Beatles, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Be-Bop Deluxe, Axe Victim
Be-Bop Deluxe, Futurama
Be-Bop Deluxe, Sunburst Finish

Jeff Beck Group, Rough and Ready
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath, Paranoid
Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult, Agents of Fortune
Blue Öyster Cult, Secret Treaties
Blue Öyster Cult, Spectres
Blue Öyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation
Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Volume One
David Bowie, Aladdin Sane
David Bowie, Lodger
David Bowie, Station to Station
David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Roy Buchanan
China Crisis, Autumn in the Neighborhood

Leonard Cohen, The Essential Leonard Cohen
Crack the Sky
Cream, Disraeli Gears
Cream, Wheels of Fire
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country
James Brown, Live at the Apollo
James Brown, The CD of JB: Sex Machine and Other Soul Classics
Jack Bruce, Songs for A Tailor
Ray Charles, Genius + Soul = Jazz
Ray Charles, Greatest Hits
Jim Dawson, Songman

Deep Purple, Machine Head
Depeche Mode, Catching Up With Depeche Mode
Donovan’s Greatest Hits
Eek-A-Mouse, Wa-Do-Dem


Eno, Before and After Science
Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
Genesis, A Trick of the Tail
Genesis, Foxtrot

Genesis, Nursery Cryme
Genesis, Selling England by the Pound
Genesis, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Gentle Giant, Free Hand
Gentle Giant, In a Glass House
Gentle Giant, The Power and the Glory

The Good Rats, Tasty
The Guess Who, Artificial Paradise
The Guess Who, Greatest Hits
Daryl Hall and John Oates, The Atlantic Collection


Daryl Hall and John Oates, War Babies
Hampton Grease Band, Music to Eat
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland
Iggy and the Stooges, Raw Power
Iron Butterfly, Ball
Iron Butterfly, In A Gadda Da Vida
James Gang, Rides Again
James Gang, Thirds
James Gang, Yer Album
Billy Joel, Turnstiles
June 1, 1974, various artists


Keith, 98.6/Ain’t Gonna Lie
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
The Kinks, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
The Kinks, Everybody’s In Showbiz
The Kinks, The Kink Kronikles
Kraftwerk, Autobahn
Kraftwerk, Computer World/Computerwelt

Kraftwerk, Electric Café
Kraftwerk, Radioactivity/Radioaktivitat
Kraftwerk, The Man Machine/Die Mensch-Maschine
Kraftwerk, The Mix
Kraftwerk, Tour de France
Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express/Trans Europa Express
Love, Forever Changes

Love, Revisited
Martha and the Vandellas, Greatest Hits
The Mothers of Invention/Frank Zappa, Absolutely Free
The Mothers of Invention/Frank Zappa, Freak Out
The Mothers of Invention/Frank Zappa, One Size Fits All

The Mothers of Invention/Frank Zappa, Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Motown 1s, various artists
Mott the Hoople, Mott
Nektar, Remember the Future
New Order, Substance
Laura Nyro, Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro
Phil Ochs, 20th Century Masters
Roy Orbison, The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison, The MGM Years 1965 – 1973


Les Paul, The Legend and the Legacy
Pavlov’s Dog, At the Sound of the Bell
Anthony Phillips, The Geese and the Ghost

Pink Floyd, Meddle
Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon
Ramones, Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: The Anthology
Lou Reed, Berlin
Lou Reed, Rock and Roll Animal
Lou Reed, Transformer
The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet
Roxy Music, Country Life
Roxy Music, Siren
Roxy Music, Stranded


Rumer, Into Colour
Rumer, Seasons of My Soul
Todd Rundgren, A Wizard/A True Star
Todd Rundgren, Faithful
Todd Rundgren, Hermit of Mink Hollow
Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything?
Todd Rundgren, Todd

Shelby Lynne, Love, Shelby
Shonen Knife
Shonen Knife, Brand New Knife
Shonen Knife, Pretty Little Baka Guy
Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
The Spinners
Spirit, 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit, The Best of Spirit

James Lee Stanley, Freelance Human Being
James Lee Stanley, The Eternal Contradiction
Steely Dan, Aja
Steely Dan, Can’t Buy a Thrill
Steely Dan, Countdown to Ecstasy
Steely Dan, Katy Lied
Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic
Steely Dan, The Royal Scam
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
Stevie Wonder, Talking Book
Strawbs, Hero and Heroine

Super Hits of the ’70s: Have a Nice Day (OK, I’m really cheating here; this is a 25-volume CD set of 1970s singles)
Talking Heads, Fear of Music
Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues
Talking Heads: ’77
Television, Marquee Moon
Joe Walsh, Barnstorm
Dionne Warwick, Anthology
The Who, Who’s Next
Gary Wilson, Forgotten Lovers
Gary Wilson, You Think You Really Know Me

XTC, Drums and Wires
Neil Young, After the Gold Rush
Neil Young, Decade
Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Frank Zappa and the Mothers, The Grand Wazoo
Frank Zappa, Hot Rats

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