Entertainment & Culture

5 classic albums to get your summer BBQ rocking

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

We pick out five classics worth sticking on for your next summer BBQ.

It looks like this summer is going to see a record number of staycations, and, if the weather holds, we will likely be dusting off the barbecues to make the most of the great outdoors in the back garden.

When entertaining at home, there is often an argument over the choice of music. Who gets to choose the Spotify playlist? Do you choose rock anthems? Or family-friendly pop? However, the rise of the playlist has arguably diluted the impact of the almighty album. And, that’s a shame, because an album is so often more than the sum of its parts.

Moby – Play

One of the definitive albums of the 1990s, Play set Moby on the path to superstardom after his years as an electronic music DJ. What’s really great about this album is that it is instantly catchy enough for younger listeners to appreciate, but there is enough complexity for more seasoned musical ears to enjoy.

The bouncing beats of Bodyrock contrast nicely with the haunting sounds of  Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad. The brilliant Natural Blue is a masterpiece, and there are enough foot-tapping other tracks to here to keep everyone happy.

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

This 13-time Platinum album stayed in the UK charts for over a decade (which seems insane by modern standards), but it is such a beautifully crafted composition that it’s easy to understand why. Like Moby’s Play above, there are nice contrasts here.

The upbeat rockiness of Go Your Own Way and The Chain; the jaunty nursery rhyme nature of songs like Second Hand News; and, the beautiful lullabies from Stevie Nicks in Silver Springs and Christine McVie in Songbird.

Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced

Probably one to put on when the kids go to bed, as Hendrix’ raw chords and jams can be somewhat difficult for little ears to take in.

Indeed, if you are after grown-up entertainment, there is a cool Jimi Hendrix slot by NetEnt that is well worth checking out. Regardless,  Are You Experienced is a funky work of genius by the legendary guitarist. Different versions were released, but the modern reworks contain classics like Hey Joe, Purple Haze and Foxey Lady. Some prefer the follow up, Electric Ladyland, but Hendrix debut might be the superior work.

Body Talk – Robyn

In most albums on the list here, we are trying to recommend musicians who appeal to all types of tastes. At first glance, Robyn delivers nothing more than some catchy Europop.

However, the Swedish artist is so much more than meets the eye. Catchy electronic beats are mixed in with clever lyrics, some of which touch upon dark themes. Grown-up music in the guise of sugar-coated pop songs. Standout tracks on Robyn’s critically-acclaimed Body Talk include Hang With Me, Tell Your Girlfriend and the nihilistic Dancing on My Own.

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars has always been one of the most accessible Bowie albums, and it’s got some of the legendary artist’s greatest hits – Starman, Moonage Daydream, Lady Stardust… 

It’s one of those concept albums that tells a story, building up the career of Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy, and then tearing him down again in the final throes of Rock N’ Roll Suicide.

Once again, Bowie – in his prime here – can create complex music that is instantly gettable. A brilliant piece of musical history. By the way, if you are stuck indoors with the weather, Bowie’s incredible set at Glastonbury 2000 is up on BBC iPlayer right now. 

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