Singer, Babys alum John Waite shares the albums that changed his life

By Ken Sharp

From his first chart smash with The Babys — “Isn’t It Time” — to his new album, “Live All Access,“ John Waite has, thankfully, never lived by the rules. (He even chose 11 albums for this list!)

The multi-talented singer and songwriter demonstrates the breadth of his rich musical knowledge, hand-picking an eclectic and diverse list of favorite albums befitting of such an extraordinary artist.

Humble Pie Smokin'Humble Pie, Smokin’: The first time I heard “C’mon Everybody,” the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I turned pro that Sunday and bought my first amp on Monday.

Free Fire and WaterFree, Fire and Water: “All Right Now.” Kills me. I loved it right off. I was 17. The album represented everything I was thinking in my 17-year-old head.

The Shadows To The ForeThe Shadows, The Shadows to the Fore: Me and my brother Joe pooled our money and went into town on the bus to get it. “Apache” was my first inkling of sex in music.

The Beatles Please Please MeThe Beatles, Please Please Me, With the Beatles: I got both albums as my main Christmas present. My room was on the corner of the house and had no heating. I could see my breath! I stayed in there all day. I couldn’t leave.

Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced?The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?: “Hey Joe” had seriously got me. And then came the album. I lived through it. It was art, sex and guitars. It profoundly influenced me.

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers With Eric ClaptonJohn Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton: As a kid, I’d liked Big Bill Broonzy a lot. This was like the blues coming around a second time. I wore it out. A young, raw Eric going for it with a vengeance. The songs are all spectacular. I still play it and get off.

Fairport Convention Liege and LiefFairport Convention, Liege and Lief: Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson in the same band! The most beautiful album I’d ever heard. I saw them play live at Lancaster University. I love folk as much as country, if not more. I adored this record, and I’ve had to buy it several times. It gets worn out or stolen.

Bob Dylan Blood on the TracksBob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks: His best, and that’s saying something. Every six months or so, I dig it out and play it for days. It reminds me of the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. A masterpiece.

The Rolling Stones Sticky FingersRolling Stones, Sticky Fingers: The first time I became aware of “room sound” in production. The songs were vivid London hip life. Drugs, sex and America on the horizon. F**king great!

Bill Evans Trio Village VanguardBill Evans Trio, Sunday at the Village Vanguard: When Bill played he would have his head level with the keyboards. It’s like he was talking to god. It’s all I listen to on the road.

Marty Robbins Gunfighter BalladsMarty Robbins, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs: I used to leave school at the age of 7 and run into town before my bus would come so I could spend an extra minute or two just staring at the album in the window of Kenneth Gardeners shop. It was the first one. Love at first sight. Day-Glo red cover with a cowboy going for his six-gun. Wow! America. Stories of the West. Alison Krauss found a copy, had it framed and gave it to me for Christmas. I would list more albums but I’ve already “gone to 11.” GM

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