Here are a few of mine, courtesy of the Wayback machine. Some of these albums got a fair amount of attention back in the day, but don't go looking for them on your favorite Oldies station. They're long forgotten now. And they shouldn't be.
The Brooooooce Wing
Broooooooce casts a long shadow, and his influence on the rock 'n roll of the late seventies and eighties is incalculable. There would probably be no Tom Petty without Bruce. There would almost certainly be no John Cougar Mellencamp. Here are some folks who stood in that shadow, and who stepped out to make some memorable music of their own.
Gary "U.S." Bonds -- Dedication, On the Line
Bonds had several R&B hits in the early '60s, and Bruce covered his "Quarter to Three" in almost every one of his concerts during the first few years of his superstardom. He repaid the favor in the early '80s by resurrecting Bonds' long-dormant career, producing and playing on most of the tracks (along with the rest of the E Street band), and contributing several new songs that wouldn't officially appear in the Bruce canon until the Tracks box set many years later. Bonds' versions of "Rendezvous" and "Love's on the Line" are better than Bruce's.
Iron City Houserockers -- Iron City Houserockers, Have a Good Time But Get Out Alive
Led by the incomparably named Joe Grushecky, this blue-collar Pittsburgh bar band made tough, literate rock 'n roll. It wasn't better than Bruce's early '80s work. But it was better than anything the Melonhead did, at least up until Scarecrow.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes -- I Don't Want to Go Home, This Time It's For Real, Hearts of Stone
Pity poor John Lyon. Cursed to be from the same hometown as a rock 'n roll icon, his music was constantly compared to his better-known friend. Which is too bad, because Bruce wasn't really doing variations on classic R&B, and that's what Johnny did best. The albums started going south in the mid-'80s, but those first three albums are absolutely great. Hearts of Stone, in particular, is as good as anything Springsteen ever did. Five stars.
The Byrds Wing
Contrary to popular belief, REM did not invent jangly guitars. The Byrds did, with some admitted assistance from George Harrison on "Ticket to Ride." And these bands carried on in that grand tradition, often long after it was cool to do so.
Starry Eyed and Laughing -- Starry Eyed and Laughing, Thought Talk
The Byrds were has-beens when these albums were released in the mid-'70s. So these guys played Rickenbacker 12-strings and harmonized beautifully, and nobody cared. Disco and punk were on the horizon. But gorgeous songs with chiming guitar runs will never go out of style. These songs still sound as fresh to me as they did thirty years ago.
Guadalcanal Diary -- Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, Jamboree, 2X4, Flip Flop
There was another hot band from Athens, Georgia out at the time these albums were recorded (the early '80s), so they mostly went unnoticed. They're great, and tremendously relevant examples of how to incorporate spiritual themes and Christian imagery into contemporary songwriting in a non-cheesy way. Plus, in one of their non-Byrdslike moments, they recorded an absolutely sublime punk cover of "Kumbaya." No kidding.
The Bangles -- All Over the Place
Yeah, I know. But I'm telling you, that first album, long before they hit their commercial peak, is absolutely great. There are jangly guitar songs galore, and the best "We Can Work It Out" knockoff (here called "Tell Me") not recorded by The Beatles.