No.1 - Eric Clapton
Blues has become my undisputed favourite genre/form of music. And Eric Clapton is the main reason why I gravitated towards this genre, either through his original blues rock pieces such as Bell Bottom Blues or from his Robert Johnson covers like Me and the Devil Blues.With the local airwaves devoid of any blues music of note, it took a great album - Eric Clapton Unplugged (1992) - to introduce me to this form of music. Many Clapton albums/songs as above later and I was well and truly hooked.
No.2 - AC/DC
More widely known as a hard rock band, AC/DC is actually also a blues rock band with lots of its music heavily influenced by the blues. While the band's current lead singer Brian Johnson has his moments, I generally prefer AC/DC during their Bon Scott years. His vocals and Angus Young's guitar licks were a match made in heaven. That means my favourite Angus/Bon Scott moments predated the Back in Black album i.e. Highway to Hell and The Jack (the naughty live version).
No.3 - Elton John
Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time) for me, in my humble opinion, is the quintessential song of science fiction. It's the song I would play were I an astronaut out in deep space heading to heaven knows where. And as for Tiny Dancer, it's a song that has come to represent one of my favourite movies of all time - Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. An interesting trivia - like me, the first time David Grohl (lead singer for Foo Fighters) heard the latter song was in the movie.
No.4 - Paramore
Paramore is the music I play when I just want to flash the middle finger at the world. Yes the band has amazing ballads like The Only Exception but lead singer Hayley Williams puts in a lot of attitude into her other songs e.g. the hugely underrated Playing God which is a great in-your-face song. Frenetic beats tend to pseudo-mask what are essentially very melodic songs and it's that strange hybrid that makes me keep coming back for more and more, and more.
No.5 - Norah Jones
At the most stressful time of my working life, there was Norah Jones. Her debut album Come Away With Me single-handedly took me through some dark times. Her single also titled Come Away With Me just melted all those stress away and mellowed me out like no song ever did. Together with Diana Krall (another jazz singer who didn't make the list), Norah made jazz more mainstream. Another song I like a lot is What Am I To You? from her even better sophomore album Feels Like Home.
No.6 - John Mayer
Yet another artist whose work is heavily influenced by the blues. Granted a lot of his early work was pop-rock but then came his third studio album Continuum. It incorporated more blues elements and deservedly won Best Album in the Grammy Awards. For me, Slow Dancing In A Burning Room was the highlight of that album. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate his more commercially driven pop-rock stuff. Music is music and Why Georgia? from his debut album sounds great regardless.
No.7 - Dido
I first heard Dido in an Eminem song featuring a track from her song Thank You. She is one of the very few straight-up pop artists that I follow. Another Dido song that stands out for me is Life For Rent though to be honest it's hard to pick just two out from her entire repertoire.
No.8 - Adele
In the past decade, no new artists have held my attention for long, except for Adele that is. Her amazing voice punched through my wall of cynicism regarding present day music that seems preoccupied with dances moves and video imagery. For Adele, practically every song is about a simple thing called vocals as it should be. From the live version of her classic Someone Like You to the latest When We Were Young, I am in awe of her ability to sing a story.
No.9 - Abba
What can I say. This was the music of my youth. An the age of four going on five all I ever played on cassette tape was ABBA, ABBA and more ABBA. Oddly enough, 40 years later ABBA's music still sounds great to me. It might be uncool to like ABBA but I don't care. From their breakthrough Waterloo to their most popular song Dancing Queen, ABBA was unquestionably 1970s pop.
No.10 - Foo Fighters
David Grohl must be one of the few singers who can shout out a song and still sound good. Case in point is Best of You and The Pretender from their In Your Honour and Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace albums respectively. Something good did come out of the ashes of Nirvana.
Other great music that didn't make the list
It's impossible to chose a Top Ten. There are so much great music which didn't make it ... where do I even begin: Star Wars Original Trilogy Musical Score (John Williams), Get Back (Beatles), Stay (Sugarland), Man of Constant Sorrow (Alison Krauss & Union Station), Sweet Virginia (Rolling Stone), Muddy Water (Free), Waiting for the Bus (ZZ Top), I Loved Another Woman (Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac), Don't Stop Me Now (Queen), Roll With It (Oasis), Night Moves (Bob Seger), At Last (Etta James), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), Battery (Metallica), Come As You Are (Nirvana), Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix), Still Got The Blues For You (Gary Moore) ... and the list goes on and on.
Well, enough of the music I paint and draw to. Normal service resumes in the next post with new updates on my Bandai 1/144 Millennium Falcon project. Until then, stay safe and be happy.