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The Who – Tommy (1969; 2013 reissue)

The Who – Tommy (1969; 2013 reissue)

At once ambitious and complex, the Who’s Tommy stands as a shining moment in their vast career. Their sweeping work redefined the “concept album” and set the standard for rock operas such as Green Day’s American Idiot.

Maria Taylor – Something About Knowing (2013)

Something About Knowing is not simply an album that brings all the musical experiences that Maria Taylor has mastered to this point — it’s about the way her life has changed since becoming a mother.

Almost Hits: Tom Petty, “It’s Good To Be King” (1995)

Almost Hits: Tom Petty, “It’s Good To Be King” (1995)

“It’s Good To Be King,” which somehow only crept up to No. 68 on the charts, doesn’t sound like any side Tom Petty had ever put out — and, at the same time, like all of them.

Hugh Laurie – Live on the Queen Mary (2013)

There is perhaps no more unpredictably weird image than Hugh Laurie — who, from 2004-12, played the Golden Globe-winning title protagonist on TV’s House — weaving his way through Professor Longhair

On Second Thought: Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some (2011)

Many folks (and not just “Young Folks”) ended up hearing the biggest hit single to feature whistling since maybe Mitch Miller’s theme from “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”

Haim – Days Are Gone (2013)

Haim’s debut Days Are Gone is an outstanding instance of throwback pop and 1970s influences stitched together in colorful and undeniably fun fashion.

Shows I’ll Never Forget: Michael Nesmith, November 15, 2013

Shows I’ll Never Forget: Michael Nesmith, November 15, 2013

At City Winery, Chicago: Since 2012, Michael Nesmith has toured around the country with the Monkees and as a solo act.

Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Across The Border” (1995)

Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Across The Border” (1995)

There are many descriptions of the album The Ghost of Tom Joad as being “bleak” and “tuneless,” which leads me to wonder how exactly is a person supposed to render situations of no hope in an artistic context.

The Rolling Stones – Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (2013)

The Rolling Stones – Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (2013)

There would be no poetry this time, some 44 years after the Rolling Stones last took the stage at London’s Hyde Park. Back then, in 1969, they were eulogizing Brian Jones, then just two days dead.

Katayoun Goudarzi and Shujaat Husain Khan – Spring (2013)

That the poetry of Persian poet Rumi still matters today goes without saying. The Sufi saint’s words have inspired generations of musicians, writers, vocalists, and even philosophers the world over.

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