I can chart a sort of path through my life with music. I can remember (sort of) how things led me to other things, songs led me to albums, albums led me to bands, bands led me to other bands...you get the idea.

I listen to a lot of different things, but rock and metal definitely top the list of things I listen to. Receiving a cool gift in the mail today got my mind thinking about the music that led me around from kidhood to adulthood. Well, as adult as I get.

I started off listening to weird stuff my parents had lying around, like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Herb Alpert...stuff like that. Then, somehow, I found a rock band I still like to this day, and that got my mind chasing more music faster!

  • 1

    Styx - Pieces of Eight

    The big hit from this one was "Blue Collar Man", but a couple of the other songs really grabbed me in a weird way. First was the two-track combo of 'The Message' and 'Lords of the Ring'. Kind of a creepy, bombastic, strange song, 'The Message' sets up 'Lords of the Ring', which has a huge chorus. It's also sung by James Young, and his voice may not be the best, but it's unique, and really caught my ear.

    The other song that really caught my attention is 'Queen of Spades'. Another dark song, sung by Dennis DeYoung, one of my favorite singers, this starts off mellow but becomes a monster rocker! I love this riff.

    This led me not only to more Styx, but to my next heavy album...

  • 2

    Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll

    This was a huge album in my life. When my brother's friend brought this album over, and they put it on, the first song started, 'Black Sabbath', and the rain and darkness of the music scared the s*** out of me.

    Come on, cut me break, I was 6!

    I had nightmares that night, but I was hooked! I listened to this collection A LOT! Sabbath represents everything early metal was about: slow, plodding, dark...this was music totally unlike anything else out there!

    This had me looking for more dark and awesome stuff, which led me to...

  • 3

    Judas Pries - Sin After Sin

    The mightiest band ever, Judas Priest! Holy crap, Batman!

    I'd never heard anything like this before! The songs, the guitar playing, that voice! Judas Priest took all the things that made Sabbath good, and picked up the tempos and musicality to such a high level, that people are still chasing that bar they set!

    'Sinner', 'Let Us Prey/Call For the Priest', 'Dissident Aggressor', 'Raw Deal', 'Here Come the Tears'...every track on this album is amazing! This album laid the groundwork for everything metal since, and everything Judas Priest has achieved.

    All metal stems from here, IMHO.

  • 4

    Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

    Dear God! This album! Number two on the stack of titans of metal is the mighty Iron Maiden. They've released some of the most influential albums ever by any band.

    What musician DOESN'T know about 'The Number of the Beast'? So many great songs, the amazing musicianship, the air raid siren voice Bruce Dickinson brought to the band...this is what metal is all about.

    I say #2, even though Maiden and Priest are both at the top of the list for me. I can't think or live without either band. Just too much amazingness.

    This album didn't have one of my favorite tracks on it, until the re-releases over the last 20 years. Which one? 'Total Eclipse'. For whatever reason, it was left off the original release of the album, and was only a B side, and played live. Still love this song!

    Of course, the well-known songs, 'Number of the Beast', 'Run to the Hills', 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', and others round out this amazing album that is still quoted as inspirational by a lot of musicians.

  • 5

    Metallica - Master of Puppets

    Of course this album is on the list. One of the most influential metal albums of all time!

    I can remember picking up the cassette of this when it came out and sitting in the car while my parents drove us home, reading the lyrics quietly in the back seat. I read them quietly, since there are some swear words in there, most specifically in 'Damage, Inc.', and I didn't want to get in trouble!

    This album opened up my ears to the speed and aggression of thrash metal, and led me to bands like Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Exodus, and more!

More From 97.9 WGRD