John Cooper -- bass guitarist and lead singer for Skillet -- blogs for AOL Radio this week, sharing his Top 10 favorite records. From the "the black sheep" (of the list) to the album he favors to "pump iron to," Cooper's list proves that his influences are more than just hard rock.
These are my top 10 favorite records of all time! Some are just because they make me feel good; some are because they remind me of the excitement of hearing music for the first time when I was growing up; some because they are artistic; but most of them are because they are flat out "RAISE YOUR FIST AND BANG YOUR HEAD ARENA ROCK!"
10) Live: Throwing Copper
I am not the biggest fan of 90's music, but this record was refreshing. I love the quirky vocals. Also, it was definitely in the modern rock category; meaning it did not sound like hair metal, so it was modern. However, it sounded awesome, unlike much of the stripped down 90's records. This record to me was a unique sound during a somewhat dark, depressing, over-simplified musical landscape of the time. It had some real artistic expression to it. And MAN I love the vocals on this record!
9) INXS: 'Kick'
Michael Hutchence had so much star power, that it truthfully did not matter what he sang, or how he sang it...it was awesome. The groove, the beats, but somehow still the "classic rock" sound of it all. Don't really know how they pulled it off actually! Every song on that record was awesome. My personal favorite is 'Need You Tonight.'
8) Yes: 'Fragile'
Every rock musician has to have a "progressive phase," and my secret love is the band "Yes!" They are my number one favorite band of all time. Brilliant is not a strong enough word for these musicians; nor is "ahead of their time" a strong enough phrase! They play things that most of us musicians do not understand, much less perform... much less create.
7) Metallica: 'The Black Album'
Feel like pumping iron? I do when I hear "Enter Sandman." "Enter Sandman" is my favorite rock song of all time. I am aware that true "Metallica purists" would say that the black album was a "sellout" record. However, I unashamedly love melodies and hooks, and this is when I became a fan. Bob Rock also rules...
6) Seal: 'Seal (1996)'
I will say that this album could not have been any better for me. I am not a huge R&B fan, but this record combines it with electronica, soul, and rock, and also jazz. Seal's voice is stellar. His lyrics were stellar, and he's with Heidi Klum...
5) Linkin Park: 'Hybrid Theory'
This is the only real "modern band" to enter into my list. For the most part, music listeners generally like the music they grew up with better than new music. However, Linkin Park redefined modern rock for me. The songs and production were great; but more importantly the way that they combined singing, screaming, and rapping was perfect. Especially because I hated rap so much before hearing this project.
4) Bon Jovi: 'Slippery When Wet'
One of the first rock records I ever heard. He manages to sing rock music that is so melodic, that it's almost pop. And he is still a rock star after 20 something years. He sings amazing, writes amazing, and is a killer frontman. And as far as I'm concerned, is tied with Bryan Adams for the most amazing power ballads of all time!
3) AC/DC: 'Back in Black'
Uhhh, Mutt Lange is a genius! Have I mentioned that? This record will never get old. It is a classic and will always be relevant and rockin'. The guitar sounds are stupid awesome. This makes me want to drive fast.
2) Def Leppard: 'Hysteria'
Holy Mutt Lange! He is a genius, pure and simple. The hugest rock/pop record ever, with the most amazing hooks and production. This record is all out perfect. It is also a sort of pre-show ritual!
1) The Innocence Mission: 'Glow'
This record is the "black sheep" of my list...I know it doesn't necessarily belong! I heard this record when I was dating my wife...awwww. It reminds me of her every time I hear it so it will always hold the number one slot. (Every bad boy has a soft side...)