You know the drill...you're on a deserted island. Just you, some trees, bananas (or whatever) and an old school Discman and some CDs. Oh, and it's somehow solar powered. That's important. In that situation, where your iPod is dead, what would you choose to listen to for what could very well turn out to be the rest of your life? 8 discs (no compilations or collections) - here are my choices.
The Joshua Tree - U2. This is one of the best albums ever made without question. The way the songs compliment each other and sound together as a whole make this an easy choice.
Achtung Baby - U2. Another U2 classic, and one that vies with The Joshua Tree for my ongoing "best U2 album" affection. They're two completely different beasts and I think that is what, more than anything else, makes it so hard for U2 fans to decide which is best and also to leave it off this list.
Slippery When Wet - Bon Jovi. This is absolutely not a highbrow pick. Nor is it anything that influences music much, at least in my opinion. It's a hard rock album that knows what it's meant to do and it does it very well. I defy anybody who grew up in the 80s to not know at least 3 of the songs off of this album enough that you could still sing along with Jon in the chorus.
Led Zepplin (IV) - Led Zepplin. Another album that represents the peak of a great band. This is a shorter album than the others in the number of tracks on it, but it has some epics like "Stairway to Heaven," which a lot of people consider to be the greatest rock song ever made.
Hotel California - The Eagles. This is a choice that, assuming you could do compilations, would be different. Hell Freezes Over is a better album in my opinion in large part because of the arrangements of the songs. This is an acceptable replacement and has a bunch of great tracks on it, but I like what age and 14 years apart did to the Eagles.
Gladiator - Hans Zimmer. This is the only instrumental selection on this list, but I tossed it on because I think Zimmer is an amazing writer and even though a lot of people look down on him as too low brow, as the cameraman on the Simpsons reminds us, "I'm quite low brow!"
Phantom of the Opera - Andrew Lloyd Webber. Another choice that perhaps reveals a little more proletariat side of me. Yes, I love musical theater. Yes, I love a lot of Lloyd Webber. Yes, I know I would get blasted for this opinion by "serious" theater goers.
The Ricky Gervais Show - Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant, Karl Pilkington. This 3 disc set chronicles a series of 12 podcasts that remain to this day some of the funniest material ever put into an electronic format. It was originally released this way, so it's included. It's also 9 hours, which helps when you've got not much else to listen to. You always know there's someone around who is in a worse situation than you are (usually it's Karl).