ufoSelf Made Man can barely hide his excitement at the prospect of next week’s annual RUSHONROCK Roll Of Honour with 2012’s best releases and gigs revealed.

But after compiling his own contributor’s list this week’s column is all about the nearly men of another classic year for classic rock.

He’s been with us from the start and he’ll be with us again next year – read Self Made Man every week exclusively right here. 

 

I asked, I pleaded, I even begged. But my appeal fell on deaf ears.

“A list of the top ten albums of 2012 please,” was the request. “Top ten?” I replied increduously. “But that’s impossible. Make it a top 15 or even 20.”

But the website’s esteemed editor was not for budging. Ten albums and ten albums only, he said.

I quickly wrote down those albums which would definitely feature………..and promptly came up with 15. A few minutes later, I realised there were two notable omissions.

So that makes 17 to squeeze into my top ten. Impossible? Well, not quite.

You see, four and a half years ago when RUSHONROCK was launched and I was asked if I’d like to write a weekly blog, the remit was clear.

Write about anything as long as it’s loosely associated with the core subject matter on this website, I was told.

Well, over the years, I’ve stretched that “loose” description to such an extent that it’s almost become disconnected.

While the vast majority of my blogs have related to rock music in general and classic rock in particular, a word search reveals names such as Abba, Frank Sinatra and even The Wombles have cropped up on occasions.

Fear not, dear reader, despite the festivities all around us, there’ll be no mention of Cliff Richard or Mr Blobby this week.

But if I can’t compile a list beyond my top ten albums of the year, I can certainly write about those that agonisingly missed out.

For the first time I can remember, UFO have released an album which does not feature high up on my list. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Seven Deadly. I love it as do thousands of rock fans out there who do include it in their own top tens.

Seven Deadly would probably come in 11th. Joint 11th along with Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball, Van Halen’s A Different Kind Of Truth and Apocalyptic Love, the album Slash co-wrote with vocalist Miles Kennedy.

See how hard this list was for me to compile?

On another day, any one of that quartet could have nudged its way into the top ten. The fact all of them were released during the first three months of 2012 possibly weighted against them.

Back in January, Van Halen’s first album with Dave Lee Roth back in the band since the eighties, was never out of my car’s music system and seemed a certainty for the top ten but over the course of 12 months, was gradually overtaken.

In 2010 and again 12 months later, Black Country Communion’s first two albums were among my albums of the year. Afterglow, their third release, isn’t, not because it’s a bad album but because it doesn’t have that DNA which characterised this supergroup.

With Kevin Shirley in the box seat, it’s as well produced as any I’ve heard and the standard of musicianship could not be better but with Joe Bonamassa contributing little to the writing. Afterglow feels more like a Glenn Hughes’ solo effort than a collective work.

I feared The Darkness’ Hot Cakes, their first album since reforming, would prove a dud and happily I was wrong. It’s a creditable seven and a half out of ten effort with two or three outstanding tracks but too many fillers to be included in my list.

And while The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten made my 17-strong shortlist, it didn’t quite tick all the boxes of its predecessor American Slang – though this is a band I believe is destined for stardom.

So there you have it, my “nearly list” of 2012 – and they said Sports Personality Of The Year was a close call?

For my definitive top ten, you’ll have to wait until next week. Merry Christmas.

Ian Murtagh