36. David Bowie- Heathen
Prior to David Bowie's death, his post-Scary Monsters output would often get dismissed as unworthy. Many I know, simply didn't bother to listen at all, some giving up as far back as "Diamond Dogs." The 80's were not kind, not to Bowie, not to anyone. But the 90's and beyond and records like "Earthling," "Hours," "Reality" and especially, 2002's "Heathen" were all pretty, pretty good and once the man departed this Earth, many came around. I think "Heathen" is the best of the four. It's the most consistent, with elements of just about all we loved in the first place. You have Gerry Leonard channeling Mick Ronson on "Slow Burn." "Slip Away," a paean to TV's Uncle Floyd, has the majesty of "Time" or "Lady Grinning Soul" from "Aladdin Sane." The title track is a haunting finale, feeling a bit anthemic like "Heroes." And the meat of the record, songs like ""5:15 The Angels Have Gone," "A Better Future" and the opener, "Sunday" all feel like updated versions of what's found on "Low." A great record!
37. NRBQ At Yankee Stadum
Not a live record, like so many who don't listen to the greatest band in the land, seem to think, but a studio record that is probably the band at its peak. I've raved about Terry, Big Al, Joey and Tommy countless times on these pages, and I will continue to do so until the whole world gets on the Q train. It seems impossible to not love this band. NRBQ is four guys who can somehow play Monk, Mozart, and Motown, Merseybeat and flat out rock and roll, and always sound original. "Yankee Stadium" is the one and the place to get on board.
38. King Crimson- Red
With a rotating line-up that began in 1969, it almost seems fair to choose one record highlighting each roster, but I need to go with 1974's "Red" because the line-up featuring Robert Fripp, the recently departed bass master John Wetton and one of my favorite drummers, Bill Bruford is the one that I latched onto first, and "Red" has it all. From the nasty riffing of the title track, to "Fallen Angel," a song that effortlessly moves from beauty to beast, to my choice for Bruford's best recorded work, "One More Red Nightmare," Side One of "Red" is perfect. And there is nothing wrong with Side Two, either!
39. Left Banke- Pretty Ballerina/Walk Away Renee
More than a few of my "Other 100" choices, really belong on my Top 40 of all time, but this list is about what does not appear on the usual Top 100, so that is why the Left Banke's debut is here. You should know both hits, which title the record. Absolute pop perfection! But so are just about every other song on this near-perfect masterpiece. (The lame attempt at a country tune, "What Do You Know" is out of place and keeps this from being perfect.)
40. Led Zeppelin-Presence
I like it better than Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II. Sorry, I just do. Want to hear two of Jimmy Page's greatest guitar solos? Both, "Achilles Last Stand" and "For Your Life" are on "Presence." Want to hear Bonzo at his most powerful? "Achilles Last Stand" again. Bonzo being funky? Again,"For Your Life," plus "Royal Orleans" and "Hots On For Nowhere." Jonesy's intense bass playing drives the entire record. As a fan of LZ, who did NOT give up on the band in 1970, I can't understand why "Presence" falls so far down on everyone's list. This record is a monster.