25 Essential Eponymous Albums
On this day in 1983, a young woman from Michigan who had recently given up on a career as a hard-rock singer released her first album of electronic dance-pop, an album that also happened to bear her first name as its title. Although the first two singles, "Everybody" and "Burning Up," failed to ignite much beyond the dance floors of New York discotheques, subsequent singles you may have heard once or twice in the intervening years - "Holiday," "Borderline" - fared considerably better. By 2000, the RIAA had certified Madonna triple platinum.
Pop music is awash in "eponymous" albums, so named either as an introductory calling card or because the artist is just too lazy to think of an actual title. As you can see from this Wiki page, they are legion. Not all of them are debuts; some jokers like Peter Gabriel, Weezer and Brazilian heartthrob Roberto Carlos have given their names to several albums (Carlos a good two dozen or so).
Not surprisingly, many eponymous LPs also rank among the best albums ever made. We picked out a small sampling of our favorites.
Genre: Country + bluegrass + blues = The big bang of rock and roll.
"Blue Suede Shoes," "I Got a Woman," "Trying to Get to You," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Money Honey," "I Was the One," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"
The Doors (1967)
Genre: Shaman/bluesman and jazz-schooled mates pioneer "album-oriented rock."
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)," "Soul Kitchen," "The Crystal Ship," "Light My Fire," "Back Door Man," "The End"
Townes Van Zandt (1969)
Genre: Existentialist folkie genius suffers for his art.
"Colorado Girl," "Waitin' Around to Die," "Lungs," "For the Sake of the Song"
Genre: Le punk? C'est chic.
"X Offender," "Rip Her to Shreds," "Little Girl Lies," "Kung Fu Girls," "In the Flesh"
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
Genre: Southern rockers go L.A., pierce Boston-bloated FM playlists with punchy tunes... eventually.
"Breakdown," "Anything That's Rock 'N' Roll," "Hometown Blues," "Strangered In the Night," "American Girl"
Joe Ely (1977)
Genre: West Texas tales from a true honky-tonk hero.
"I Had My Hopes Up High," "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," "If You Were a Bluebird," "Treat Me Like a Saturday Night," "Suckin' a Big Bottle of Gin"