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ESSENTIAL LISTENING

Written by Michael Oshust

Music Speaks Louder looks at a few albums that are have been labelled "essential". How is the content of the album, did it have an impact, and what was the albums overall success.

Sticky Fingers was recorded over a two year period. The album was the first to feature Mick Taylor, who replaced Brian Jones in 1969. 
 
The cover was conceived by Andy Warhol. The album cover shows a sexually suggestive picture of a man in tight jeans complete with a fully working zipper that opened to reveal a pair of underwear. 

 

The album is a back to basics approach for the Rolling Stones.  Sticky Fingers hit No.1 on the UK and the US charts.

 

The album had several hit singles - Wild Horses, Bitch, Brown Sugar, Moonlight Mile, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, and Dead Flowers.  
 

Led Zeppelin released their untitled fourth album in November 1971.

The album was produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, and was recorded between December 1970 and February 1971, at the country house Headley Grange. The informal setting at Headley Grange inspired the band and allowed them to try different arrangements in a variety of styles. 

Black Dog was named after a dog that hung around Headley Grange during recordings.

 

Three songs that did not make the album were included on Physical Graffiti - Down By The Seaside, Night Flight and Boogie With Stu. 

AC/DC released Back In Black on July  25, 1980. It is the bands first studio album with lead singer Brian Johnson following the death of previous vocalist Bon Scott.

After the success of their 1979 album Highway to Hell, AC/DC planned to record a follow-up when Scott passed away from alcohol poisoning after a drinking binge in the UK.

The album was recorded in the Bahamas over seven weeksand was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The cover, which is all black, was designed as a "sign of mourning and respect" for Scott. 

Guns N' Roses released their debut album Appetite For Destruction.

The album was originally released to little fanfare in July 1987. It wasn't until the following year that the album started selling. It was after touring and received lots of radio airplay with the singles "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child o' Mine."

Guns N' Roses planned to release an EP in 1985, but plans for that album fell through when Tracii Guns left the band.

Songs considered for Appetite For Destruction included "Don't Cry," "November Rain," and "You Could Be Mine."

Def Leppard released Hysteria on August 3, 1987. It was the bands fourth studio album and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. It is Def Leppard's best-selling album to date, selling over 25 million copies worldwide, including 12 million in the US, and spawning seven hit singles. The album was plagued with setbacks, and in hindsight, it seems astonishing the album was ever finished at all. Hysteria was to be titled "Animal Instinct" and produced by Lange, but he dropped out after pre-production and was replaced by Jim Steinman. The band slowly continued production until Lange unexpectedly returned a year later. Drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a horrific car crash, but after perseverance Allen mastered his customized drum kit.