Keyboardist Ian McLagan reveals the 10 albums that changed his life

By Mike Greenblatt

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame piano pounder Ian McLagan first tasted fame at 21 with Small Faces in 1966. Three years later, Small Faces became The Faces with the addition of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood from The Jeff Beck Group.

Ian McLagan photo by Ha Lam

Ian McLagan. Photo by Ha Lam.

The party lasted another six years until 1975, when Stewart went solo, Wood joined The Rolling Stones and drummer Kenney Jones joined The Who. McLagan stayed a true sideman, tickling the ivories for The Stones (that’s him off to the side with Ian Stewart on the “Live From Texas ’78” DVD).

He also became the in-demand piano man in sessions and on stages for everyone from Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker and Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and Melissa Etheridge.

Settling in Austin, Texas, in the 1990s, McLagan has been a leading figure of a vibrant Austin scene ever since, putting out albums with his Bump Band and performing numerous nights a week at local honky-tonks, proving boys just want to rock. He had to think long and hard about these 10 albums, but a few days after being asked, he came up with this list.

Bill Haley and the Comets Rock around The ClockBill Haley and The Comets, Rock Around The Clock
It was the first rock ’n’ roll record that turned my head, and to meet some of the guys at the Rock Hall ceremony was a particular thrill.

Buddy Holly, Buddy HollyBuddy Holly eponymous LP
It was my brother’s album, but I played it when he was out of the house.

Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 LPMuddy Waters, At Newport 1960
This album was the glue between me, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart. It was the album that first gave us something to play when The Faces were just starting, and it has the great Otis Spann on piano, my main influence.

Thelonious Monk Monk's Moods LPThelonious Monk, Monk’s Moods
Amazing! I heard Monk and Otis Spann the same night on the BBC and bought both albums. I don’t play jazz, but love Monk. He’s beyond the beyond. Nobody better.

Booker T and the MG's Green Onions albumBooker T and the M.G.s, Green Onions
You can add their “Soul Dressing” album, too. In fact, you can add all their albums. When I first heard “Green Onions,” I just had to get a Hammond to try and make that sound. Booker is the greatest organist, and his new album is a winner, too, as is guitarist Steve Cropper’s latest. Bassist Duck Dunn is sadly missed.

Little Walter Key to the HighwayLittle Walter, Key to the Highway
Add everything else he ever recorded. My first band, The Muleskinners, backed Little Walter Jacobs in 1964. His voice, his harp playing … extraordinary! His five-CD boxed set is absolutely incredible.

The Beatles Rubber Soul LPThe Beatles, Rubber Soul
The first Beatle album I ever bought and still my favorite to this day.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde LPBob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde
Bob was opening doors and windows on this great album. I was in Sweden soon after it came out and found an identical suede coat to the one he’s wearing on the cover. It was stolen a few days later.

Bpb Marley and The Wailers Kaya LPBob Marley and The Wailers, Kaya
I played “Kaya” nonstop in my car during the recording sessions for “Troublemaker,” my first album. It is still my favorite Bob Marley record.

NRBQ Tiddlywink albumNRBQ, Tiddlywinks
Anything by NRBQ makes me happy. Terry Adams is a genius, and that’s the truth. I saw them recently in Austin and was floored by the musicality and fun of this incredible band. GM

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