The Vatican has previously denounced rock music as the devil’s work, but oh how times have changed. In February 2010, L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, released its Top Ten Albums, and surprisingly there is not a single classical piece in the list. But they are all classics – classic rock that is. Who knew that the Vatican was so cool? With this list of rockers – all of whom had their fair share of psychedelic party years – you get the visual of the the Pope rocking out with his air guitar and the stereo turned up loud. And so this list presents the Top 10 Albums of all time, as chose by the rockin’ dudes in the Vatican.
10. If I Could Only Remember My Name – David Crosby
This title of the debut solo album by one of the greatest song writers of the folk-rock 1960s era is no coincidence. David may well have some troubles remembering things, a scene that is pretty out there for a Vatican selection. Crosby has gone to jail for cocaine possession, fathered children for a lesbian couple, written a song about being on an acid trip in Winchester Cathedral, and taken a heroic quantity of things, as well as being a key member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Birds, among his many musical gigs.
9. Graceland – Paul Simon
The voice of South African racial plights in the 1980′s, this album was the first to bring to tribal African music commercial success in the US and world music markets. Paul Simon truly opened the world music dam with this album, and brought the world to focus on the changing times in South Africa, as well as writing some of the best music of his career.
8. Supernatural – Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana is well known as a spiritual person, just not in the sense of the Catholic church. He would probably have been called a heretic in the old days, and burned at the stake if his music wasn’t so amazing. But to give a nod to Santana for a Top 10 album list, the first album – Santana – gets the LOP vote.
7. The Nightfly- Donald Fagen
Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen released his debut solo album The Nightfly in 1982, and the record was one of the first fully digital recordings of popular music.
6. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Interesting that the album was made as the group was purportedly experiencing its hardest interpersonal times, and once the creative juices had been exhausted with the songs, the leading members all broke up and the married ones got divorced.
5. Achtung Baby- U2
John Paul met frequently with Bono, the lead singer for U2 and a prominent poverty fighter, who dubbed him “history’s first funky pontiff” and eulogized him at his death as “the best frontman the Roman Catholic Church ever had.” U2′s seventh studio album was released in 1991 and is one of the band’s most successful releases to date. It includes the songs Even Better Than the Real Thing, One and Mysterious Ways.
4. Thriller – Michael Jackson
Creatures of the night, reanimated dead people (zombies), pagan rituals and a little crotch grabbing in the dance moves – no problem, this is still a great album. And apparently the Vatican is also ok with a little song about the demons and devils of the night, as long as it has a cool video and a good beat that you can dance to.
3. (What’s The Story) Morning Glory – Oasis
The second album by British rock group Oasis was hugely successful upon its release in 1995, and is the third biggest-selling album in UK chart history.
2. Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd
Unarguably on anyone’s best album list. Aside from teh absolute brilliance of the music, it is interesting that this choice celebrates the genius and wonder of the insane mind. Do you think that the Pope listens to this with headphones, especially the intro to Time and turning up the volume for the guitar solo in Money?
1. Revolver – The Beatles
The Infamous Jesus Interviews:
Gotta have the Beatles in any list of best albums right? Well, this is in light of the church having banned the Beatles for saying that they were bigger than Jesus Christ. Apparently the Catholic church does have the ability to forgive all transgressions, even for John Lennon and the lads. Happiness Is A Warm Gun – ok. Why Don’t We Do It In the Road – obviously about mass. But “Rubber Soul”, probably was never in the running.
Sources say that the B’nai B’rith is coming out with their own Top Ten List. Rumor has it that they have selected “Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles as its top album based on a misunderstanding that one of the songs is entitled, “Your Mother Should Only Know” [CounterPunch].
Note that there is no Bob Dylan on this list, even though he is a highly visible convert to Christianity. Osservatore Romano denied him because the paper claims he “turned Messianic” after converting to Christianity, and because he wrote “three-note songs” that “tried the ears and patience of listeners.”
And of special note, the man himself: The Pope’s own album is in the running for a top music award. Benedict XVI was shortlisted for the Classical Brit Awards album of the year (2009) for Alma Mater – Music From the Vatican, on which he sings. View the video here.
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