Ten Favorite Debut Albums: Ten Other Great Debuts

@FourWalls (13750)
United States
May 3, 2017 9:46am CST
Before I get to the top, I want to thank all of the other debut albums that also made their way into my life and enriched it, but didn't make the "top ten" list. As I said, these ten favorites are the ones that really packed a punch when I listened to them, going far beyond just enjoying them and saying, "Hey, that's a good album!" Don't think for a second that the albums I've highlighted are the only ten great debuts. Oh, no. Here are ten more that are superb: Music From Big Pink - The Band (1968): one of the founders of "roots music" or what we now call "Americana" is The Band, who went from backing Bob Dylan to their own stellar career. Classics such as "This Wheel's on Fire," "Tears of Rage," and their all-time great "The Weight," along with a terrific cover of "Long Black Veil," highlighted the album. Pickin' Up the Pieces - Poco (1968): the Eagles didn't invent country-rock, they just popularized it. Poco really didn't "invent" it, either, but they dang sure perfected it. With that title song's opening line, "there's just a little bit of magic in the country music we're singing, so let's begin" the mark was set. Quite high. And even the high-flying Eagles couldn't reach it. Elton John - Elton John (1970): also technically not his first album, but it was the first one released in the US (1969's UK-only Empty Sky wasn't released world-wide until Elton became an international superstar). Containing the hit "Your Song" and other greats ("Sixty Years On," "Take Me to the Pilot," "Border Song") that showed just how good this ride was going to be. The Clash - The Clash (1977): wowza. "I'm So Bored With the USA" and "Career Opportunities" are among the songs that put the world on notice that the band dubbed "the only band that matters" by a publicist at their record label was going to live up to that moniker...and then some. Outlandos d'Amour - The Police (1978): from the punk era but their music drew more from world music influences (especially reggae), the Police (how they got their name, according to Andy Summers: "We saw it on the side of a car" ) exploded with this great album, featuring the hit "Roxanne" and great songs like "So Lonely," "Can't Stand Losing You," and "Born in the 50s." I'm the Man - Joe Jackson (1979): a little punk, a little post-punk, and a lot of humor (the song "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" or "Sunday Papers") introduced the world to the great Joe Jackson. Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes (1983): how about this: acoustic punk! I would say the best album about teenage angst ever made. Gordon Gano's voice (sounding like a depressed teenager) reiterated the lyrics of youthful despair, especially in the realm of sex ("Blister in the Sun," "Add It Up," "Prove My Love"). This is the only album in history that never made the Billboard album chart and yet still went platinum, selling a million copies. How Will the Wolf Survive - Los Lobos (1984): Technically not the first album, but it was their first album that was in English (their previous two albums were all-Spanish). And man, is it a killer. Los Lobos is one of the great bands in Americana, college rock, and Mexican music. That's quite an accomplishment. Guitar Town - Steve Earle (1986): another one of those "first albums" that really wasn't but you never knew that until the small indie label he released an album on showed up with the reissue after he made a name for himself albums. Steve Earle isn't really "country" (when I saw him in 1988 he referred to "Copperhead Road" as "the first heavy metal song written on a mandolin"), but this first album certainly had great country elements such as the title song, "Someday," "Hillbilly Highway," and "Good Ol' Boy (Gettin' Tough)." He's made some great albums since, and his son is terrific as well, but he never matched the overall brilliance of this one. Especially For You - Smithereens (1987): a little harder edge to "college rock" but still a great college rock band. These guys were fun live, and this debut album showcases some of their best work, including "Behind a Wall of Sleep," "Blood and Roses," and "Crazy Mixed-Up Kid." They should've been much bigger. Coming soon...the number one album. Here's "Kiss Off" from the first Violent Femmes album:
From The Album "Violent Femmes" - Rough Trade 55. The U.K. 1983. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. THANK YOU. *Violent Femmes were an American alternative...
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3 responses
@teamfreak16 (41179)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
6 May 17
I was hoping for Especially for You. I love that album.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (13750)
• United States
7 May 17
I saw them when Green Thoughts came out. Dang, that was a fun show.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41179)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
7 May 17
@FourWalls - I have green thoughts because I've never seen them.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 May 17
Wow I can't believe I remembered Poco I saw them once lol I would never have remembered if I had not seen it here in your post Four Walls. Okay can't wait to see the top album then.
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@JohnRoberts (57029)
• Los Angeles, California
3 May 17
I didn't figure you for the Violent Femmes and Smithereens. I am surprised Poco, EJ and Clash only made "honorable mentions."
1 person likes this