Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1970s (Again)

So one year ago tomorrow, if you recall, I published this. In case you don't recall and don't feel like reading that (which would be perfectly understandable; it's very longwinded) I'll give you the highlights. Basically it said that my tastes in music change and I also hear new stuff all the time blah blah blah I'm republishing my Best Albums of Decades albums list! Yeah!

This time around, though, I'll spare you the color-coordinating and whatnot--and by spare you, I mean spare myself; that took me a long time. I also don't think I'll be writing too many (or any) explanations. The albums can speak for themselves, and, to be honest, I don't think the lists have changed too much. The major difference is that I'm including 102 albums instead of 90. So there.

The 1970s: what a decade! Seriously though, as cringe-inducing as most mainstream '70s culture was, its counterculture was unparalleled. What the brilliant music of the '60s had touched on (psych, free jazz, proto-punk) was fleshed out and explored fully in the '70s by artists of all races all over the world. There was a backlash to the Age of Aquarius, and it manifested itself in some pretty crazy music--seemingly beginning as soon as the calendar switched over to 1970. Step back and think about how violent, aggressive, and, most of all, unprecedented The Stooges' debut was. That was released in 1969. By 1970, they released Fun House, which was doubly as violent, aggressive, and unprecedented. Sly & The Family Stone, who broke ground in terms of integration--both racial and musical--in the late '60s, gave us the dark, free There's A Riot Goin' On by 1971. Just two years removed from the happy hippy days of the '60s. Fast forward to the second half of the decade: This Heat, Wire, The Pop Group, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle... You get my drift? "Tomorrow Never Knows" has nothing on the manic-ness and disturbed angst of the music of the late '70s. This is serious stuff. And seriously good. Punk, post-punk, new wave--not to mention krautrock, deep funk, electronic, and, er, Nick Drake. The 1970s are modern music. Enjoy the albums.

102. The B-52's--The B-52's
101. Kraftwerk--Radioactivity
100. Simon & Garfunkel--Bridge Over Troubled Water
99. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band--Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
98. Madness--One Step Beyond...
97. John Cale--Paris 1919
96. The Upsetters--Super Ape
95. Stevie Wonder--Innervisions
94. Pink Floyd--The Wall
93. Richard Hell & The Voidoids--Blank Generation
92. Syd Barrett--The Madcap Laughs
91. Parliament--Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome

90. Pere Ubu--The Modern Dance
89. Herbie Hancock--Thrust
88. Cluster--Zuckerzeit
87. Kraftwerk--Autobahn
86. Miles Davis--A Tribute To Jack Johnson
85. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band--Clear Spot
84. Robert Wyatt--Rock Bottom
83. Joni Mitchell--Blue
82. Brian Eno--Before And After Science
81. The Cure--Three Imaginary Boys

80. Herbie Hancock--Sextant
79. T. Rex--Tanx
78. Magazine--Real Life
77. This Heat--This Is 1
76. Leonard Cohen--Songs Of Love And Hate
75. Al Green--Call Me
74. Faust--Faust IV
73. Curtis Mayfield--Superfly
72. David Bowie--Aladdin Sane
71. Miles Davis--Live-Evil

70. Faust--So Far
69. Nico--Desertshore
68. Brian Eno--Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
67. Jimi Hendrix--Band Of Gypsys
66. The Rolling Stones--Exile On Main Street
65. Randy Newman--Sail Away
64. The Slits--Cut
63. David Bowie--The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars
62. Wire--154
61. Talking Heads--77

60. The Congos--Heart Of The Congos
59. Giorgio Moroder--From Here To Eternity
58. Sly & The Family Stone--Fresh
57. Black Sabbath--Master Of Reality
56. Herbie Hancock--Headhunters
55. James Brown--The Payback
54. The Specials--The Specials
53. Fela Kuti--Expensive Shit
52. David Bowie--Hunky Dory
51. Led Zeppelin--IV

50. John Lennon--John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
49. The Clash--London Calling
48. David Bowie--Station To Station
47. Miles Davis--Get Up With It
46. Creedence Clearwater Revival--Cosmo's Factory
45. David Bowie--Lodger
44. T. Rex--The Slider
43. Throbbing Gristle--20 Jazz Funk Greats
42. Miles Davis--On The Corner
41. Iggy Pop--Lust For Life

40. The Ramones--Rocket To Russia
39. Kraftwerk--The Man Machine
38. Neu!--Neu!
37. The Beach Boys--Surf's Up
36. The Beatles--Let It Be
35. Nick Drake--Bryter Layter
34. Tim Buckley--Starsailor
33. Suicide--Suicide
32. Talking Heads--More Songs About Buildings And Food
31. The Pop Group--Y

30. David Bowie--"Heroes"
29. Can--Future Days
28. Bob Dylan--Blood On The Tracks
27. Iggy Pop--The Idiot
26. Can--Soon Over Babaluma
25. Devo--Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
24. Steve Reich--Music For 18 Musicians
23. Miles Davis--Bitches Brew
22. The Velvet Underground--Loaded
21. Iggy & The Stooges--Raw Power

20. The Modern Lovers--The Modern Lovers
19. Brian Eno--Here Come The Warm Jets
18. Wire--Chairs Missing
17. Can--Tago Mago
16. The Ramones--Ramones
15. Talking Heads--Fear Of Music
14. T. Rex--Electric Warrior
13. Brian Eno--Another Green World
12. Gang Of Four--Entertainment!
11. Serge Gainsbourg--Histoire de Melody Nelson

10. Television--Marquee Moon
9. Funkadelic--Maggot Brain
8. David Bowie--Low
7. Can--Ege Bamyasi
6. Joy Division--Unknown Pleasures
5. Wire--Pink Flag
4. The Stooges--Fun House
3. Kraftwerk--Trans-Europe Express
2. Nick Drake--Pink Moon
1. Sly & The Family Stone--There's A Riot Goin' On

Gee whiz, this one was hard to make. The '70s are my favorite decade for music. All 102 of these are amazing--and I could name at least twenty other spectacular albums off the top of my head that I couldn't fit on the list. At the end of the day, I think I just went with the ones I listen to the most at the top. That works, I think...

I'll leave you with my at-the-moment favorite track from my favorite album of my favorite decade. Leave it to Sly to make a cover of his own song...

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