Music is a huge part of my life. I always said if I had to choose to be blind or deaf I would have to forfeit sight because my eyes only allow me to see the physical. Through my ears I can hear words that have power and melodies that spark imagination which can create images as real as eternity itself. Truly there is a song for every thought, feeling and emotion. Music tells of the tragic, the triumphs, the dreams and the hopeful. It takes the temperature of the times, tells of the past and projects towards the future. Bob Dylan once said, “I don’t care who makes the laws, as long as I write the songs.” This alone should tell you the power of music. It can make you laugh, throw your hands up, dance, cry, reflect, and even go to sleep. From R&B to Jazz, from bee bop to hip hop, country to pop, bossa nova, folk, classical and reggae – music to me reveals the soul of the world.
This week I would like to share some of my perspectives of the music that helped shape my life. As well as discuss with you some ideas of yours and mine regarding differing music subject matters. I will start things off but invite you to join in and make this discussion as diversified as the music itself. I figure we can start off with a week’s worth of subjects and see where it goes from there. Lets kick it off with our first topic.
Big Time Freshman Debuts
You ever come across an album that you hear from a new artist, and the album is so good they darn near have to play every song on it before its past its prime? Boy oh boy I can think of some, especially during the 80s and 90s that just jumped off the charts either mainstream or just in my own personal mix. These are a list of 10 of some of my most significant debuts that rocked my earphones and are still classics today. Agree or disagree with mine? Tell me some of yours! Remember it has the be the artist’s first album! I started to put down Michal Jackson’s “Off The Wall.” But not only did Michael have a full career with his brothers previously, he also had solo projects during those early years. So that album didn’t qualify. Lets get to it!
Mary J Blige, “Whats the 411” July 28, 1992
Keith Sweat, “Make It Last Forever” November 24, 1987 – Sweat has since had many very good projects and has successfully produced. But none top this first stunna!
Whitney Houston, “Whitney Houston” 1985 – Produced by Kashif! Remember that dude? We will have a discussion about Whitney later in the week. A pure R&B soul classic piece of work. She has since made a lot of money, but hasn’t done anything to touch this one yet.
Toni Braxton, “Toni Braxton” – I mean can you have a better debut than this? Everything on the album played on the radio extensively. For a long time she lived off the reputation of this CD!
Teena Marie, “Wild And Peaceful” – A little old school for some of you. But Teena broke out a flavor that was all her own, totally original a mixture of R&B grooves with classically technical vocals and a bossa nova jazz tempo.
R Kelly, by Public Announcement “Born Into The 90s” – This Chicago native borrowed from the best of them. But his sound is still a brand that is well respected. R Kelly makes hits cause he simply knows what people want and he gives it to them.
Sade, “Diamond Life” 1984 – I don’t even need to elaborate on this. You already know!
Amy Grant, 1977 – Ahh surprised huh? You can’t sleep on Grant. I used to call her Amy ‘Grammy’, as she has six of them. Remember too that in her early career her music only sold in Christian bookstores. She is a pioneer.
TLC, “Ooh On The TLC Tip” 1992
LL Cool J, “Radio” 1985 – Probably the longest running career for a hip hop artist. Ice Cube has to be the next in terms of relevant and currently influential performing hip hop artist for a quarter of a century. Though the music is pre-historic by today’s standards, Def Jam was on a wing and a prayer back then, Radio still rocks today.
Ok – So I know there is a lot more out there and it’s impossible to cover close to all of the best debuts ever. Tell us some more and bring some more to my rememberance!