Joey Molland had a hand in a number of albums that changed many lives: Straight Up, No Dice, The Concert for Bangladesh, Imagine, All Things Must Pass. That’s quite a resume right there. And as a member of Badfinger, he kept going beyond the Apple Records years. And as a solo artist, he kept going beyond the Badfinger years. Since 1983, he has released five solo albums, and he’s at work now on a sixth. He keeps Badfinger alive on the road as Joey Molland’s Badfinger. He’s a touring member of the White Album Tour with Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross and Micky Dolenz. He’s 72 now, happy and healthy in America, and he sees no reason to get off the rock and roll path he started on in Liverpool more than half a century ago.
He has quite a lot to say about his fascinating musical life, in which you will learn that it is he who brought the rocking edge to the historic Beatlesque band called Badfinger. In this list, you can see where it came from. And like The Beatles themselves, this British rocker first fell in love with music through America’s rhythm and blues. He loved the Stax sound and the Motown sound. But these were the whole albums (plus a few noteworthy singles) that changed his life. And like me and probably you, The Beatles protégé simply couldn’t pick one particular Beatles album.
Taj Mahal, Taj Mahal
I love Jesse Davis on this Taj Mahal record—the one with the chain link fence and the butterflies on the cover of the house. Oh, it’s great. It’s got “Statesboro Blues” on it. I could be wrong here, but I heard the story that Gregg Allman got that version and played it to Duane. It’s like magic, that one.
Chuck Berry, Twist
The Chuck Berry record, that had “Johnny B. Goode” on it and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” It absolutely stunned me. Chuck Berry on rhythm guitar, absolutely stunning. Listen to the rhythm guitar parts, man. Everybody talks about the lead guitar bits, but the rhythm guitar bits are just as important.
Buddy Holly, The Buddy Holly Story
Buddy Holly, Texas boy. My brother had this record, the grey cover. It had “Peggy Sue,” “Maybe Baby,” “It’s So Easy.” You know, in Liverpool, we all learned to play guitar from those records. Buddy Holly taught me to play guitar solos, how to work a solo out. A really incredible record.
Booker T. and the MG’s, Doin’ Our Thing
Stax Records started to come, incredible players, incredible singers. Al Jackson, the drummer, grabbed a hold of me, Duck Dunn the bass player, Steve Cropper, of course... Booker T. and the MG’s.
Otis Redding, Mr. Pitiful
I remember finding the single in a record store in England. “They call me Mr. Pitiful!” Yeah, “Mr. Pitiful,” and “Try a Little Tenderness.” Starts out real quiet. What a fantastic record. That’s when you learn you can’t sing! They’re unbelievable.
Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through the Grapevine
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and all that. “Ain’t That Peculiar.” It was just amazing. The early stuff, before the psychedelic age.
B.B. King, Blues is King
I moved to London in 1967, and I joined the band Gary Walker and the Rain. Gary introduced me to B.B. King and Blues Is King. It’s a live record. Stunning. I used to wake up to that record every day. I had an alarm on my record player. The alarm would go off and the switch on the record player, and then B.B. King would come on. Of course you can’t learn B.B. King licks. The guy was such a phenomenal guitar player, it really floored me. Blues Is King is a definite must.
The Beatles, The Catalog
Rubber Soul, With the Beatles is great. Every record they made. Abbey Road was great. Revolver.
Elton John, Elton John
Elton John’s first record knocked me out. I thought it was Jose Feliciano! Jose Feliciano had just had “Light My Fire” a little bit earlier than that. I thought it was his second or third album!
Leon Russell, And the Shelter People
A fantastic record. Leon went on to be one of my great heroes. I got to play with him. He played on “Day after Day.” When we were making records, we were working with The Beatles. We didn’t want to sell those records because those people were on our records, you know what I mean? There was no mention of George Harrison playing slide guitar or Leon Russell on piano on “Day after Day.” Pete (Ham) and I were working the parts out, and George came in and said, “Can I play slide?” I said, “Yeah, you go ahead!”