Coming at this topic from a different direction, there are some albums I have to possess just for one song; it’s a bonus if the entire album is good. Here are some of those songs:
- "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys. On their Pet Sounds album, a pretty good one ;-) . There is a video on You Tube of a music teacher sitting at a piano, breaking down the structure and composition of this majestic Brian Wilson song. Watch it and have your musical consciousness raised!
- "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted", written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, and James Dean, sung by Jimmy Ruffin. A really, really great song, with a glorious chord progression and melody (and superb bass part by James Jamerson). Available on any Jimmy Ruffin Greatest Hits/Best Of album, or Motown V/A collection.
- "No Time To Cry" by Iris Dement. The wife of an old friend, knowing of my record collection, asked me for an album recommendation. She’s a professional therapist/counselor with her own clinic, is pretty smart and sophisticated, and a good dancer. I had just discovered and fallen in love with Iris, and told the wife to get her My Life album. When I heard back from the friend, he told me the wife found the album severely melancholy. For me, it’s like what the old Bluesmen said about their music: To sing about what they did helped soothe the pain. "No Time To Cry" is as heartbreakingly-beautiful as Pop music (non-Classical) can be. The entire album is fantastic, but not for those with a distain for Hillbilly music.
There are many other albums I have solely for one song (there are far more excellent musicians than songwriters), but that’s enough outta me.