We Don’t Need No Education: What albums would be in your “School of Rock” curriculum?

I’ve been “re-discovering” old music recently.  Lately I’ve been listening to music that my parents would have listened to, and a lot of the music that I listened to while I was growing up.

Some of the artists that I have been finding renewed appreciation for include David Bowie, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Cars, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, just to name a few.

Upon listening to these old classic artists I have several times said to myself:  “Damn, this is really fucking GOOD,” and I am amazed at the genius and innovation of some of the bands who created this old music.

It is amazing to me that a band can create a song and have it bring so much joy and happiness to people around the world.  Over the years I have had much joy singing Queen songs to my dogs and dancing and bouncing all over the house to songs by The Cars.  As a teenager I used to fall asleep nightly to the first side of the record “Dark Side of the Moon,” by Pink Floyd.  So many Beatles songs simply make me happy and I have fond childhood memories of my mother singing along to Simon and Garfunkel songs.

When I was a little kid, my dad introduced me to the album “The Wall,” by Pink Floyd.  As a kid I didn’t understand the meaning behind the songs, but loved the tunes and especially loved the children singing with British accents “We don’t need no education”  and the old man scolding “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding.  How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”  I loved listening to the album and listened to it many times during my childhood and continued listening to it into my teenage years.  Over time I slowly began to develop an understanding for some of the deeper meaning of the lyrics regarding the subjects of mental health issues, war, government and society, alienation and isolation.  To me, listening to that album was part of growing up, and learning about the adult themes poised within this “concept album” was also, for me, a part of growing up.  Image

So as I’ve been re-discovering these various bands, I began to contemplate how amazing some of these classic artists are and I think about the fact that there are probably people on the planet who do not know these artists, albums or songs.  I find that to be a shame.  I really feel as though some of these classic albums were so inventive and groundbreaking that they have provided a stepping stone for many other great artists to take music to another level.

At one point in my life, I would say that every single person I knew was familiar with the albums “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, and “The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” by David Bowie.  Now, with the passing of time, and as my circle of friends has grown more diverse, I wonder how many of my friends are familiar with these classic albums and artists.

I feel like there there is plenty of amazing innovative music out there and although some may think:  “We don’t need no education,”  let’s pretend for a minute that you were in charge of providing a basic music 101 class, in which students must become familiar with classic albums in an effort to encourage music appreciation.

If you were in charge of assigning albums for someone to listen to to improve their music education, “School of Rock” style, what albums would you choose?

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Some of my choices would be:

Abbey Road by The Beatles

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

The Wall by Pink Floyd

A Night at the Opera by Queen

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie

Nevermind by Nirvana

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Thriller by Michael Jackson

The Cars by The Cars

Aqualung by Jethro Tull

Purple Rain by Prince

I could probably list more, but I am curious as to what your list includes, please comment and let me know, and then I can start doing some homework.

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4 thoughts on “We Don’t Need No Education: What albums would be in your “School of Rock” curriculum?

  1. Good list. I definitely agree with The Beatles and Bowie. Those were very important artists for me and Josh. I really liked “Rubber Soul” more than any other Beatles CD when I was young, which is perhaps a bit odd.I would also add Neil Young – probably Harvest Moon. I think The Who is essential to a music education for Townshend’s lyrics and Moon’s drums. Eric Clapton is important with Cream and of his own accord. Jefferson Airplane and Surrealistic Pillow. Jimi Hendrix. Stevie Wonder. Debbie Harry and Blondie – what a bad-ass babe. The Clash – London Calling is essential too. In more “modern” music, I think Stone Temple Pilot’s “Core” is such an outstanding rock album. And Radiohead is in a whole league of their own; they need an entirely different course for being so transformative. I also agree with Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” but think Dave Grohl deserves his own spot too for all the work he does with various bands — Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Probot, Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters were probably the best live rock performance I have ever seen, which I didn’t truly expect. I think there are some others who are just great at their genres. In catchy pop tunes, I think Rivers Coumo is stellar, although most recent Weezer albums suck ass. Pinkerton was amazing. Somewhere I have a list I made about ten years ago of my “ultimate jukebox.” It’s totally a dream of mine to have my own classic jukebox with a ton of great albums. So, here’s to winning PCH so I can have that. Okay, I wrote way more than enough. Sorry.

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