Continuing our series of must-have albums for any music-lover we would like to share with you three gems that feature some of the most beautiful sugar-coated pop songs ever written.
From ‘Fall at Your Feet’ by the incomparable Crowded House from Down Under to ‘Old Man Took’ by the folk rock outfit America and the blissful ‘Michelle’ by the Beatles, these are records with songs that will touch your heart, lift your spirits and put a smile on your face.
‘The Very, Very Best of’ by Crowded House
Released: July 2010
I would normally chose 1991’s ‘Woodface’, but this incredible best-of collection encapsulates almost the entire catalogue of one of the world’s most underrated bands, a band that Paul McCartney would salute and compare to the Beatles.
Brothers Neil and Tim Finn’s collaborative efforts set the gold standard for song writing, which is brilliantly showcased on the 19-track double album. It’s filled with gems like ‘Fall At Your Feet,’ ‘Four Seasons in One Day’, ‘Don’t Dream it’s Over’ and ‘Not the Girl You Think You Are.’
The New Zealand brothers, who were awarded OBE’s from the Queen of England in 1993, combine flawless melodies with heavenly harmonies for a blend of infectious pop. If you like your music to taste like a cheesecake then Crowded House serves you slices on a platter.
‘Holiday’ by America
Released: July 1974
The first four albums that the British folk trio recorded between 1971 and 1974 are all masterpieces but it’s the last one from this quartet that gets my vote as the pick of the pack.
America will forever be judged by their first hit, the massive ‘Horse with No Name’, but they raise their game here heroically to record songs that are a succinct blend of friendly folk-rock and pop that had by now become a distinct feature of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek’s writing style.
With legendary producer George Martin at the helm, ‘Holiday’ scores five gold stakes with fantastic songs led by ‘Tin Man’, ‘Lonely People’ and the outstanding ‘Old Man Took’.
Critics did not fall over themselves listening to this record but two songs, ‘Tin Man’ and ‘Lonely People’, which both made Billboard's Top Five, will blow you away with the sweetest affection.
‘Rubber Soul’ by The Beatles
Released: December 1965
This is my all-time favourite Beatles’ record, not simply because it boasted some of the Fab Four’s biggest hits like ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, ‘Michelle’, ‘Girl’, and ‘I'm Looking Through You’, but perhaps more because of the ambiguities of the song writing.
This is an album of love songs that represented a huge step forward in terms of thought-provoking lyrics. The Beatles had matured considerably by the time they recorded ‘Rubber Soul’ with the influential producer George Martin who encouraged them to push the envelope and expand their instrumentation, as seen with the subtle use of the Sitar on ‘Norwegian Wood’.
My personal favourite is ‘Michele’ where Paul McCartney tests his French skills with the addition of ‘ma belle’ to the lyric and ‘Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble’, which in English means ‘these are words that go together well.”
Beautiful - masterly sung and masterly produced.