Thinking about Sgt. Pepper's influence on me musically made me start thinking about other music that influenced me during my early years. Here's a list that is nowhere near exhaustive.
Kiss Alive - For a kid who grew up drawing superheroes and watching monster movies, Kiss was a (pardon the word) godsend. I immediately became a Kiss freak and voraciously devoured every album until they took off their makeup and the magic faded.
Journey Infinity - I remember going to the mall to pick up this album. Steve Perry's vocals just killed me. I truly believe that singing along with Perry in my bedroom helped me finesse my developing voice.
Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell - I bought this album at the same time I bought Journey. Why? I don't really know. Perhaps I secretly related with this overweight rock star being a pudgy kid. He was fat but he was singing and theatrical too. Bat Out of Hell and Paradise by the Dashboard Light remain favorite tracks to this day.
Toto Hydra - I know that Toto isn't a very popular band but I am a huge fan. My favorite album to this day is this one. In my book, these guys had it all...songwriting ability, killer vocals and excellent musicianship. Toto IV won all the Grammies but Hydra is the real winner.
Kansas Leftoverture - This album is a masterpiece. Kansas was a band I was exposed to earlier but didn't get. Once my brain was able to wrap around what they were doing, I was hooked. I think this is where my love for prog comes from.
Rush 2112 and Farewell to Kings - Actually it's hard to pin down a Rush album from the 70's that I didn't like. I wore out Bytor and the Snow Dog on their All the World's a Stage live album. 2112 was important because it cemented my love of the concept album. I once did a report on 2112 in a high school class called Man's Quest. After about 10 minutes, Mrs. Gallagher made me turn it off. Farewell to Kings remains a favorite to this day. Cygnus X-1 kicks ass.
Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon and Animals - I used to go over to my friend Gary's house to turn on the black light, watch the lava lamp, stare at the black light posters and listen to Dark Side of the Moon. Animals is my all time fave even today. I love Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade's live version of the album.
Van Halen's first album - This album literally blew my mind. I heard Runnin' with the Devil on the radio and called to find out who it was. (I thought it was Black Oak Arkansas due to the husky vocals) I immediately took this album to my friend Gary's house and we let the guitar genius of Eddie Van Halen wash over us. David Lee Roth will always be the greatest VH lead vocalist of all time...even if he's insane.
Led Zeppelin The Song Remains the Same - I used to drop the needle at pivotal Jimmy Page moments during the album. I don't listen to it that often anymore but there's some great stuff happening on that recording.
ZZ Top Tejas - I don't really know why this one is my favorite. I just know that I can put it on and let the whole thing play. There's not a weak track on it.
Boston's first album - This one just blew us out of the water. Nothing had ever sounded like that before and nothing has sounded like it since. Brad Delp's recent death made me sad. His vocals were incredible.
Aerosmith Rocks and Toys in the Attic - Back before they got so commercial doing cheesy ballads for movies about meteors, these guys used to rock. I have recently rediscovered these recordings and I remember why I loved them so much.
AC/DC - Back in Black - I never really liked AC/DC before this. Bon Scott's vocals really grated on my nerves. When Brian Johnson started singing with them, I perked up. Back in Black is perhaps the greatest rock and roll song of all time.
Well, that's all I can think of right now. Sure, there are other great bands I liked...too many to name...but these are the albums that wore out the most needles on my JC Penney stereo during my formative years. Feel free to share yours if you like.