Your editor has picked his most memorable albums of 1988…what would you have chosen from a year that saw the £1 note phased out, Wimbledon win the FA Cup, the Lockerbie air disaster and the change in law to allow pubs to stay open all day?
Magnum – Wings of Heaven
A fine album and the last by Magnum that I bought new on vinyl – key tracks ‘Days of No Trust’ and ‘Start Talking Love’ were great but ‘Wild Swan’ and ‘Don’t Wake The Lion’ stole the show. ‘Goodnight LA’ would follow a couple of years later, before a new genre would grab almost all of my attention and only 3 or 4 years ago did I start to follow Magnum once more.
Robert Plant – Now and Zen
Having collected all the key Led Zeppelin albums on vinyl, it was time to branch out and this fairly relaxed solo effort from Robert hit the spot. Some albums keep resurfacing for renewed attention and this is a perfect example.Bon Job
Poison – Open Up and Say… Ahh!
Hair metal was still strong in 1988 and very few could see what was just around the corner…and this album from Poison is prime hair metal real estate. ‘Nothin’ But a Good Time’ does exactly what it says on the tin.
Soundgarden – Ultramega OK
Talking of things just around the corner – this debut studio album from Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and the original bassist Hiro Yamamoto gave some a glimpse of what was to come – although most rock fans outside the fledgling Seattle grunge scene wouldn’t pick up on Soundgarden until 1991’s Badmotorfinger – myself included.
Marillion – B’Sides Themselves
As a huge Marillion fan this release was a chance to fill a couple of gaps – and to make sure I had the epic 17 minute ‘Grendel’ on CD to complement the original vinyl B side to the 12” of Market Square Heroes. None of this could make up for the departure of Fish – the first band ‘breakup’ to really hit me. I tried Hogarth fronted Marillion but it just never hit the spot in quite the same way.
Bon Jovi – New Jersey
Like many younger rock fans I was introduced to Bon Jovi with the ridiculously huge selling album ‘Slippery When Wet’ back in 1986. A couple of years later, and this follow-up provided some decent enough tracks to keep the momentum going – ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ and the infectious ‘Bad Medicine’ stand out. It would be 4 years though until what would be my favourite Bon Jovi album – ‘Keep The Faith’ – hit the streets and our local rock nightclub dancefloor.
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
Nothing’s shocking except when you listen now to the debut album from Jane’s Addiction – and realise that they were at least 2 years ahead of their time with an album that could easily be described as grunge. Stunning tracks such as ‘Jane Says’ and ‘Mountain Song’ laid the foundation for their huge 1990 album ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual’ which caught everyone’s attention with the hit ‘Been Caught Stealing’.
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
I was spending my money on collecting the entire back catalogues of Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Magnum, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Hawkwind and all sorts of other stuff back in 1988 – so I let my younger brother Tom buy all the Maiden! I loved ‘Powerslave’ from 1984 more but you can’t leave out an album with ‘Can I Play With Madness’ from any list. Many of the songs here are still a staple of the Maiden live set. Essential stuff.
King’s X – Out of The Silent Planet
Gorgeous prog-tinged hard rock riffs and superb vocals – with plenty of nods to The Beatles – what’s not to like? Still strong live this is one of those obscure gems of a band – my other half Gina and I first saw King’s X back in 1999 at the legendary Rock City in Nottingham when she was carrying our first child!
Metallica – And Justice For All
Although I was a little late to the Metallica party, at least I wasn’t ‘black’ album late! The video for ‘One’ converted me and seeing them for the first time live at the Milton Keynes Bowl a few years later blew my mind.
Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime
Talking of late to the party – try 30 years late. A perk of this job is to interview some interesting people – and last year HRH Radio DJ and Mag contributor Atom Heart Mutha and I were fortunate to interview a certain Mr Geoff Tate. I did a little homework – and haven’t looked back! What an album this is and the follow up ‘Empire’ is arguably even better. Worth noting Geoff Tate was a proper gent and can still deliver the tunes brilliantly. Quite how I missed Queensryche first time round I have no idea. Maybe I missed that week’s episode of Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show?
Hawkwind – The Xenon Codex
The first band I ever saw live – 4 years previously – was Hawkwind. This was the 2nd album by the space rockers that I bought new, the first being 1985’s ‘The Chronicle of the Black Sword’. Although not quite as cohesive as its predecessor ‘Xenon Codex’ still delivers some cool tracks such as ‘Heads’ and ‘Lost Chronicles’. Any album featuring the legend that was Huw Lloyd-Langton was always going to have beautiful moments such as the stunning solo in ‘Neon Skyline’. The folding packaging of the vinyl version of ‘The Xenon Codex’ was simply incredible – a true collector’s item. I just need to find who I lent my copy to…