It's really hard for me to decide my favorite Bob Dylan album but if my life depended on making a choice, it would probably be this one. I wrote a review this album a long time ago and I still believe what I wrote about this being a how-to-guide for songwriting. Inspired by a painful divorce, the line that sums this one up is on "You're a Big Girl Now" where Bob sings about a "corkscrew to his heart." Very few have been able to make such beautiful music out of so much pain. "Shelter from the Storm" could be the best set of lyrics in the history of rock. In the top Dylan songs at the very least.
Silver Medal: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Speaking of favorite albums by favorite artists, this is Floyd's best achievement in my mind. The two epic parts of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" sandwich three masterful songs in this Syd Barrett life-story inspired record. Pink Floyd was ahead of just about any other band in the seventies in being able to follow through with huge artistic ambitious visions. Even more impressive that they managed to do it while composing a song that basically spoke to a generation "Wish You Were Here."
Bronze Medal: A Night at the Opera by Queen
Queen has one of the most instantly recognizable sounds of any band and this album is their magnum opus. Yes, it has "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "You're My Best Friend" but those two hardly stand out in the stupendous twelve track playlist. This was the band's entrance in to the world of rock legend land and it still sounds like something that could never be reproduced. Freddy Mercury and Brian May channeled the magic of Lennon and McCartney for one album and this is it. Don't get me wrong; there are more good Queen albums. But this is the only one that hasn't any filler.
Top ten tracks:
1. "Shelter from the Storm" by Bob Dylan
2. "Country Road" as performed by Toots and the Maytals (John Denver)
3. "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd
4. "Barstool Blues" by Neil Young
5. "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin
6. "Love of My Life" by Queen
7. "Simple Twist of Fate" by Bob Dylan
8. "Lookin' For a Love" by Neil Young
9. "Dimming of the Day/Daragai" by Richard and Linda Thompson
10. "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac