Walt Gray Show Blog

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Walt's Best Classic Rock Albums

My ten favorite classic rock albums of all time... albums I wore out!
1. "Joshua Tree" U2. (1987). This was blasting away in my Porsche when i was just arriving in Sacramento as a KCRA Sportscaster. This brings back memories of driving out to Bobby McGee's on Sunrise Blvd or to the Confetti nightclub across from Arden Mall. TGI Fridays was another hot meeting spot at Hurley and Howe. This album is the time stamp to my early days in Sacramento. Top songs; "With or without you", "Where the streets have no name" and "i still haven't found what I'm looking for".
2. "Sweet Baby James" James Taylor (1970). I guess this is where i learned that i was a fool for acoustical balladeers. Nobody better at stirring feelings and memories than JT. "Fire and Rain", Country Road" and the title track "Sweet Baby James". These were also JT's Carly Simon days. All good. I saw JT play at Cal-Expo about twenty years ago.
3. "Hot Rocks" the Rolling Stones (1971). It was their first compilation album so to purists it may not count as a new release, but this was a four-sided album of all their best stuff to date. I wore this album out too. "Ruby Tuesday", "Paint it Black", "Midnight Rambler", "Can't always get what you want", "Brown Sugar" etc etc etc. I was just into my teen years so i had missed the early Stones albums so this was my introduction. Blew me away. I saw the Stones at Arco Arena about twelve years ago. Front row seats. Great night.
4. "The Captain and Me" Doobie Brothers (1973). San Jose's finest. This got me thinking about not just how cool California was (at the time) but who'd ever heard of Ukiah before this album? Every song on this album kicked ass. "Long Train Runnin", "China Grove", "South City Midnight Lady" and "Ukiah".
5. "Searchin' for a Rainbow" Marshall Tucker Band (1975). My college roommate, Jack Stein had this in his heavy rotation. I'd never heard of MTB. Everybody was overdosing on Springsteen then. This hooked me on Toy Caldwell and Doug Gray to this day. "Fire on the Mountain", "Can't You see" and the title "Searchin' for a Rainbow" on an album with the best cover artwork I've seen. I met Doug Gray at O'Hare airport in Chicago a couple of months ago as we were both on the same flight. I was like a giggy schoolgirl. Meeting him was on my bucket list. I saw MTB play the X-Fest in Modesto about five years ago.
6. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Elton John (1973). I bought this album a couple of years after it's release and we'd crank the volume to "10" before we'd roll out to play our high school basketball games. Amazing work by ol' Reginald Dwight. "Saturday nights allright for fighting", "Candle in the wind", Funeral for a Friend".
7.  "Crosby, Stills and Nash" CS&N (1969). Their first album and it was huge. What a cool new sound. "Marrakesh Express" was the big single, but the harmony in "Suite; Judy Blue Eyes" remains one of my favorites that i still have in my car. "Wooden Ships" and "Helplessly Hoping" all bring back fond memories of a family visit to a lake in Maine that summer when this album came out.
8. "1984" Van Halen (1984). David Lee Roth and Eddie V put this thing together and it was at the peak of my years in Ft Myers, Florida. We put the album on before we went to a club...or to play for the company softball team, or for any reason. "Jump", "Panama", "Hot for Teacher". This album was a monster, and at the time, so was D.L. Roth.
9. "Pretzel Logic" Steely Dan (1974).  Love the classic jazz-rock fusion. Unique pair in Fagen-Becker. While "Reelin' in the years" is one of my favorite classic rock hits, it's not on this album. 'Rikki Don't Lost That Number", "Barrytown" and "Any Major Dude" are. I saw Steely Dan at Shoreline amphitheature in '94. Great show, but everybody went to grab a beer when Walter Becker started doing some of his solo stuff.
10. "Fleetwood Mac" Fleetwood Mac (1975). "Landslide" is on this album which has a bearing on why this album is on my list. My rule is this song can only be played late at night when you've had a few. It gets me thinking about where i am in life and who i am. Maybe you have one song that does that. Stevie Nicks, I'm certain, is singing to me. Other reasons i wore this album out are "Monday morning", "Rhiannon" and "Over my head". I caught Fleetwood Mac at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville about 8 years ago. Stevie and Lindsey still pulled it off. Much is still being pulled from their relationship years.
You will notice there are no Beatles albums on this list. I was more Elvis than the Beatles. I had the Beatles albums, but back then you had to "identify" if you were "Elvis...or Beatles".
Those are my top ten classic rock albums of all time. What are yours??   -Walt Gray

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Locations : CaliforniaChicagoFloridaFt MyersMaineMarysvilleSacramentoSan Jose
People : Bobby McGeeCarly SimonDavid Lee RothDoug GrayEddie VJack SteinJames TaylorReginald DwightStevie NicksTucker BandWalter Becker


01/15/2013 1:08PM
Walt's Best Classic Rock Albums
Please Enter Your Comments Below
01/16/2013 1:10PM
Best Classic Rock
Nice list. "Hot Rocks" was a Stones starter kit for many. After that we branched out and got the individual albums. Happy to see "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on here. Elton was king of world in the early to mid-70s. As for the Doobies album, it'd be nice if the Eagle played tracks like "Ukiah." Many people probably have never heard it.
01/17/2013 9:24AM
Best Classic Rock Albums
Frampton Comes Alive and Lynyrd Skynyrd pronounced were 2 I wore out.
02/03/2013 11:17AM
Best classic rock albums
Elton was king in the seventies, wasn't he? My all time fave is still Fleetwood Mac's Rumours-I played it every day after high school; absolutely wore it out! Lindsey is the best guitarist out there and I love Stevie's lyrics-so magical. Can't wait to see them in concert!
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