Four hit musicians reveal the albums that changed their lives

Decades just before Perry Farrell, 61, fashioned the band Jane’s Dependancy, he was executing for his older siblings in the basement of their household residence in Queens. 

“They’d have parties in the basement each weekend, and I was authorized to continue to be if I danced for them,” Farrell reveals in my new reserve, “Rock Stars on the Report: The Albums That Improved Their Lives” (Diversion Books), out now. 

“If I was very good sufficient, they’d let me continue to be and be the bartender and deejay for their make-out parties,” states Farrell, who performed documents from his siblings’ massive report collection, which spanned the Beatles and James Brown to Jamaican singer Millie Little. 

But it was through snooze-away camp that a counselor released Farrell to the album that would give his lifestyle purpose: “The Live performance for Bangladesh,” a 1971 reside triple album of a charity concert hosted by former Beatle George Harrison. 

Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction could not get enough of “The Concert for Bangladesh.”
Perry Farrell of Jane’s Dependancy could not get sufficient of “The Live performance for Bangladesh.”
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Farrell states that album gave him the passion to put on his very own concert someday. In 1991, he went on to co-build Lollapaloozafestival,, which has considering that turn out to be just one of the most significant and most iconic new music festivals in the environment and is now an yearly occasion in Chicago. 

“I nevertheless daydream about it,” he states of that album. “It’s turn out to be my life’s mission. You know what I cherished about ‘Concert for Bangladesh’? It is just a bunch of mates coming jointly to perform new music. They came simply because they required to assist. And they required to make men and women come to feel happy. That’s the energy of new music.” 

As I interviewed dozens of other artists for my reserve, like icons from bands like Devo, Blondie, Soul Asylum, and Earth, Wind & Fire, I uncovered that all people has at least just one album that altered their lifestyle. 

Donny Osmond begged his mother to buy him Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.”
Donny Osmond begged his mother to invest in him Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.”
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In the mid-’60s, an eight-year-old Donny Osmond was presently a performer — singing with his brothers in the bubblegum pop group The Osmonds — when he initial listened to Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” on the radio at a rehearsal studio in the San Fernando Valley. 

“It fired up a little something in just me,” states Osmond, now 63. He begged his mother to invest in the one for him, and put in months sitting by itself in the studio, listening to the forty five on a consistent loop. 

“Stevie spoke to a put in my coronary heart,” Osmond states. “My childhood, as remarkable as it was, was sort of a challenging just one,” he provides. “I did not develop up in an abusive residence, but I in no way went to university and did not have mates.” 

Don McLean was famously inspired by Buddy Holly.
Don McLean was famously encouraged by Buddy Holly.
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For Osmond, whose very own new music tended to be pop saccharine — his greatest-identified strike was 1972’s “Puppy Love” — Stevie Surprise encouraged him to just take his new music to new and funkier extremes. 

“Stevie released me to the clavinet [electrical keyboard],” Osmond states. “This sounds actually unusual, but I in fact broke several keys on my clavinet trying to bend a observe like he did.” 

Don McLean, 75, was just a teenager when he uncovered that rock ’n’ roller Buddy Holly had been killed in a airplane crash in 1959. And it remains just one of the most singular reminiscences of his lifestyle. 

“Weird Al” Yankovic  taught himself to play the accordion to recreate “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic taught himself to perform the accordion to recreate “Goodbye Yellow Brick Highway.”

“I was 14 when [Buddy Holly] died,” McLean states, “which was the same year my father died. It is all wrapped up jointly. We in essence had no funds coming in when my dad left. We were being destitute. But the issue I bear in mind most from that time is, Buddy Holly is gone.” 

It encouraged him to produce and report his breakout strike, 1971’s “American Pie,” which went on to be named just one of the leading five tracks of the century by the National Endowment for the Arts and RIAA. 

Stars on the Record

Even now, considerably taken off from the tragedy, he nevertheless listens to “The Buddy Holly Story” — his beloved of the late rocker’s albums, with hits like “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be the Day” — and feels the same acquainted hurry of feelings. 

“I nearly started off to cry the other working day, just thinking about how stunning that report is and how much I really like Buddy Holly,” McLean states. 

For lots of artists, their initial documents did not just encourage them to go after a job in new music but served as a grasp course. 

“Weird Al” Yankovic, 64, taught himself to perform the accordion at 14 several years old by trying to recreate his beloved tracks from Elton John’s 1973 double-album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Highway.” 

“After enjoying together [to] the album a few hundred situations,” Yankovic states, “I was even able to delude myself into thinking that the accordion was a completely satisfactory rock ’n’ roll instrument.”

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