Ten albums from the Sixties and Seventies that sounded better in the Eighties:
1. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO The Velvet Underground & Nico (MGM/Verve, 1967). While everyone else was doing peace and love in 1967, Lou Reed and John Cale explored the degenerate, gritty, stinging reality of life. Virtually every Eighties alternative band worth its weight in influences--R.E.M., Sonic Youth, the Feelies--has picked up on the VU.
2. THE SEX PISTOLS Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (Warner Bros., 1977). Pit this record against anything the Replacements, Husker Du, or Black Flag ever put out. It still reverberates with the punk sensibility responsible for returning rock 'n' roll to its raging roots.
3. MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Two worlds, jazz and rock, met in this experimental, wildly improvisational, highly engineered flight of fancy. The definitive fusion album.
4. NEIL YOUNG Harvest (Reprise, 1972). Neil Young's introspective lyrics and country-blues-pop sound show up today on records by everyone from Depeche Mode and Tracy Chapman to the Cowboy Junkies.
5. FUNKADELIC Tales of Kidd Funkadelic (Westbound, 1976). Spin this disc, and groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and De La Soul start making a lot more sense. George Clinton showed the kids how to take funk to outer space.
6. BOB DYLAN Blonde on Blonde (Columbia, 1966). A model of effusive, semipsychedelic lyricism backed by spontaneous electric musicianship. Listen to this record and then to Bruce Springsteen or Lenny Kravitz or Tom Petty or . . . 7. PINK FLOYD Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Tower, 1967). This album's been making the rounds again on alternative- rock stations. Any Eighties act to dabble in psychedelia--including Prince and R.E.M.--has sliced off a piece of this acid-laced pie.
8. ARLO GUTHRIE Hobo's Lullaby (Reprise, 1972). The essential folk-rock album. Its landmark emphasis on homespun instrumentation is the inspiration for both new-traditionalist country (Rodney Crowell, Foster and Lloyd, the O'Kanes) and modern folk-rock (Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Michelle Shocked).
9. IGGY AND THE STOOGES Raw Power (Columbia, 1973). Any band swearing by the redemptive power of noise has listened to this at least once. There's even a grungy music scene in Seattle based on this record.
10. HERBIE HANCOCK Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, 1965). Modular and moody, pianist Herbie Hancock's venture into ensemble work. The rhythm section played eerily as one voice, while Hancock's compositions stand as shining examples of the turn toward musical eloquence.