The great Martin Popoff released a book a while ago called “10 Albums That Changed My Life”.
Jake E Lee was one of the artists who gave Popoff his top 10.
The albums “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” with Ozzy Osbourne introduced Jake E Lee to the masses, but its “Badlands” and “Voodoo Highway” which really showed what Jake E Lee is all about.
But that all ended by 1991.
Since Badlands, he became a recluse and did a few solo releases here and there and he sold some gear for extra cash. He eventually re-appeared with the “Red Dragon Cartel” which didn’t set my world on fire, but as a fan, it was great to have him back, recording and releasing music. And with every release he does I’m still interested to hear it.
So here are the 10 albums which changed Jake E Lee’s life?
Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon
His first album with Ozzy Osbourne, who told the world he wrote the album with one finger and a piano.
Lee said that this record changed his life. It was exciting to work with pro musicians like Bob Daisley and Tommy Aldridge and to write with Bob Daisley (but Ozzy is credited as the only songwriter on the album) and to record in a foreign country.
The song “Bark At The Moon” is almost at 72 million streams on Spotify. And who can forget that intro riff and the outro solo.
Scorpions – Virgin Killer
This is what Lee said about the album.
“I was in bands by this point. I was going through a lot of different bands.
I was in a funk band and we had a full horn section and I loved playing that stuff.
I was also in a fusion band, where we did a lot of Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra. It wasn’t a popular band, but it was a fun one to play in.
I was in a rock band and for me, at that point, Ted Nugent was huge but he was not really my cup of tea. He sort of simplified everything and it was making it less interesting and I was getting a little bit tired of rock.
So I think the only band I really enjoyed back then at that moment was Scorpions. Uli Jon Roth was a beast on guitar. But like I say, I was not 100% in rock. I was in other bands that interested me more.”
When “Bark At The Moon” came out, Lee came across as very accomplished and experienced, but when you look at the hours he put in with different styles and different bands, you get an idea of the work ethic in place to expand his mind outside of just rock music.
Led Zeppelin – III
Lee saved up his allowance to buy this album and it became his favourite Led Zeppelin album. This is what he had to say on it.
“I heard “Immigrant Song” on the radio and it was such a nasty riff and a spooky song and I was like, great, this album’s going to be bitchin’.
And I took it home and that’s the only song like it on the whole record. It pissed me off.
I tried to take the record back and they wanted to know why.
And I said, “Because I don’t like it”.
“You can’t bring a record back just because you don’t like it”. And I was stuck with it for the next month, until I could buy another new album. So it was the only new music I could listen to then.
And then it grew on me.
After a month, it was and still to this day is, my favourite Led Zeppelin record. And the reason I wanted to address that is, I kind of feel like our Red Dragon Cartel record “Patina” is like that, most of the songs on there aren’t immediately accessible.”
That’s how it was when you had to buy a physical album. Like it or not, you were stuck with it, so you listen to it a little bit more and you start to like it a little bit more. But from the mid 80’s, a lot of filler started coming onto records and it didn’t matter how many times you listened to the album, you just couldn’t like all of it.
And what are people’s views of “Patina”?
I listened to it once and filed it away. It’s time to get it out and give it a re-listen.
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Lee listened to “Machine Head” a lot as he liked Ritchie’s blues influence and how he made a Strat sound so big and powerful. At this stage, Lee was a Gibson guy.
But when he made his debut to the world with Ozzy he was a Strat guy.
Montrose – Montrose
Lee talks about Ronnie Montrose and how he should have been more applauded than he was, because he was a monster guitar play, with a great tone who could write solid songs.
Aerosmith – Rocks
The first record he got from Aerosmith was “Get Your Wings”. It made him a fan, but it was “Rocks” that became his favourite because of the looseness in the guitar playing of Joe Perry.
Van Halen – Van Halen
Lee basically said, when Van Halen came along, they changed his life.
When this record first came out, he quit the other bands he was in and just stayed within the rock bands. They did a lot of Van Halen covers and he started to write songs in this style.
He goes on to say “Eddie’s playing really turned everybody’s thoughts on how to play guitar upside down”.
Long live the King. RIP. EVH.
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Band Of Gypsies
Lee mentions how “Are You Experienced” is the reason he picked a guitar up, but “Band Of Gypsies” is the album he can’t get enough of.
Lee mentioned how Hendrix was so much harder to learn than the other guys like Page and Clapton, and I agree with him. The other guitar players stuck within normal shapes and patterns when it came to leads and playing, whereas Hendrix was different. Lee called him “John Coltrane on guitar”.
Iron Butterfly – In A Gadda Da Vida
This was Lee’s first rock record he purchased. Before that, he was exposed to James Bond soundtracks. He thought it was the heaviest thing he ever heard.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Lee thought Iron Butterfly was the heaviest thing he ever heard and then he heard the Black Sabbath debut. Nobody sounded like that according to Lee.
I posted another post previously when Jake E Lee mentioned his Top 5 guitar solos in a July 1989 Guitar World interview. And he more or less has stayed true to what his top 10 albums are.
The list is Jimi Hendrix and “Red House” from the “Hendrix In The West” album released in 1971.
“Crossroads” from Cream’s “Wheels Of Fire” featuring Eric Clapton.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” from Led Zeppelin “III” featuring Jimmy Page which shouldn’t be a surprise.
“Mean Town Blues” from Johnny Winter and “Stratus” from a Spectrum album featuring Tommy Bolin.