6. The Beatles, Abbey Road (Capitol, 1969)

Everybody has an album that "changed their life" and this is mine. Up until my senior year of high school, top 40 radio and MTV molded my taste in music. One afternoon, I heard "Come Together" playing in a friend’s car. Although I knew the song, it seemed much cooler than before--the snarky wordplay, the unorthodox percussion, the bluesy electric piano. A few months later, I borrowed this CD from the library just to hear that one song again. However, I felt my world shifting left of center as I took in the entire album. I was delighted to find another old favorite, "Here Comes the Sun", but was just floored by the multi-song suite that concludes the disc (and the band's career). I had never heard anything so ambitious, clever, intricate and effortlessly executed. It encouraged me to listen to classic rock, which in turn led to college radio, checking every available music publication, spending hours rummaging through used record stores, etc; In short, Abbey Road was like the first, primary domino, and undeniably responsible for what I listen to today. For that, it’s obviously still my favorite Beatles album and an exceptionally cohesive piece of art--pretty miraculous when you consider how close the band was to disintegrating when they birthed it.