At number 25 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time is “Live at the Apollo” by James Brown.
This album, released in 1963, is a live recording of Brown in concert at the Apollo theatre in Harlem in October 1962. I do not own this album. In fact, I don’t own any James Brown albums, although I do have some of his songs on compilation albums. He is, of course, the self-titled “Godfather of soul”, and certainly was one of the many influences on bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones who came along in the early 1960s, having grown up being influenced by 1950s American Rhythm ‘n’ Blues as well as Rock ‘n’ Roll music.
It does say in the blurb about this entry that it is “perhaps the greatest live album ever recorded”. This got me thinking as to which is my favourite live album. I think it has to be U2’s “Rattle and Hum”, which I mentioned when I blogged about their no. 27 entry in this list a few weeks ago. Not only does “Rattle and Hum” contain some great new songs, but also most of the songs from “The Joshua Tree” performed live. Normally I prefer the studio version of a song to the live version, the live version often seems to miss some elements that I like in the studio version. But, with U2, I find most of the live versions of their songs add something extra to the sound they recorded in the studio, often making their live version of a song my preferred version. A specific example of this would be the song “Bullet the blue sky”. I find the live version on “Rattle and Hum” to be much more powerful and dramatic than the studio version on “The Joshua Tree”.
Which album do you think is the greatest live album ever?