Desert Island Discs – Hard Rock

I’m assuming that my desert island would allow me to have 10 CDs in every genre I like. A big assumption perhaps, but then, I don’t intend to be in a boat at sea any time soon, and if I am, I’ll take a wider selection of CDs with me – either that or an […]

by Fred Phillips

I’m assuming that my desert island would allow me to have 10 CDs in every genre I like. A big assumption perhaps, but then, I don’t intend to be in a boat at sea any time soon, and if I am, I’ll take a wider selection of CDs with me – either that or an MP3 player big enough to hold my whole collection.But, going with the theme, here are the hard rock CDs, I’d take. These records may be on the light side for most of the readership here at Teeth of the Divine, and it’s such a wide category that narrowing it down leaves off a lot of great music. But here’s my (few more than) 10 picks.

Aerosmith, Rocks and Aerosmith. I’m trying in these lists to not choose two CDs from the same band, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t be without either of these two records in my hard rock collection. In my own personal little world, “Rocks” is, quite simply, the best rock ‘n’ roll album ever recorded, and Aerosmith’s self-titled debut is not far behind. There’s not a song on either one of these records that I ever skip.

Led Zeppelin, IV. So the hardcore Led Zeppelin fans are probably screaming how I could choose this record over their favorite. When it comes to Zeppelin, though, I’m a generalist. I like them, but I’ve never been a disciple of the band. I’ll admit that this album is probably overplayed, but it’s still a damned solid record from start to finish.

ZZ Top, Deguello. So, I don’t know if ZZ Top really fits in the hard rock category, but it’s my list, and I say it does. Feel free to disagree. This record does rock pretty hard at times, and guitarist Billy Gibbons still has the best tone in the business. The last of ZZ Top’s blues rock records before they went glitzy and commercial in the 1980s, “Deguello” is rough and ready, and I can’t argue against the record that features “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide.”

Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The 1975 debut of Ritchie Blackmore’s new band, featuring on Ronnie James Dio on vocals, was a strange mix of music. It’s kind of all over the place with hard rockers like the records most well-known song “Man on the Silver Mountain,” to blues-based tunes, to epic numbers. The star of the album? “Temple of the King,” one of the best rock ballads ever.

Ted Nugent, Ted Nugent. One word: “Stranglehold.”

Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies. To be honest, it’s a toss up between this record, Welcome to My Nightmare and the heavier and more recent Brutal Planet as my favorite Alice albums. I throw out Brutal Planet because it’s so relatively new and toss a coin between the other two, and I end up with Alice’s most popular record on the list. Ask me tomorrow and it may be Welcome to My Nightmare.

Queen, Sheer Heart Attack. Though Queen’s got several records that rate high on my list, particularly the fantasy-heavy Queen II, this is the record that best shows off the band’s versatility. Ranging from the metallic riffing of “Stone Cold Crazy” to the lounge act sounds of “Killer Queen,” this is a record that belongs in any rock fan’s collection.

Skid Row, Slave to the Grind. Depending on who you’re talking to, this record might be considered more metal than hard rock, but for the readership of TOTD, I figure it fits here. Certainly, songs like the title track thrash with metallic intensity, but who cares about labels, right? Oh, apparently we do, I guess. Sorry. At any rate, Slave to the Grind is perhaps the best record to come out of the late 1980s crop of hard rockers, and while Sebastian Bach may be a pretty-boy diva, his vocals can still peel paint off the walls. 

Kiss, Revenge. Here again, most people would go with one of the band’s 1970s records, and while Destroyer remains a great record, if I had to choose one, I’d go with the heavier Revenge, if only for the presence of one of Kiss’ best tunes, “Unholy.”

AC/DC, Back in Black. Arguments could certainly be made for records like Highway to Hell and Dirty Deeds as the AC/DC’s best, but for me, if you’re only going to have one copy of AC/DC’s record, this is the one to have.

Alice in Chains, Dirt. Again, maybe this record doesn’t quite fit here, but I couldn’t think of a better list to put it on. I’m not doing a “grunge” list because it really wouldn’t fit TOTD (then again, maybe this list doesn’t fit), and it would only have three records  on it. This one, Facelift and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger. But this record, in my opinion, is a classic that can’t be ignored.

Deep Purple, Machine Head. As with Led Zeppelin, I’m only a casual fan of Deep Purple, but it’s hard to make a top hard rock list without including “Machine Head.” A record that includes “Highway Star,” “Smoke on the Water” and “Space Truckin’,” three staples of hard rock, should probably be higher on the list, but apparently I’ve got no appreciation for the classics. What can I say?



  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Nice call on Dirt. I think Alice in Chains had just as much metal and hard rock in them as grunge.

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