EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
The 1970 Decade came on like gangbusters! Always wanted to use that phrase, anyway it was true, the sixties’ unloaded nothing less than a tommy-gun spray of individual thought. This freedom of thought triggered the upheaval of unquestioned traditional life that allowed people to break out and enjoy free-form individualistic lifestyles, enriched with open-mindedness and the inner-drive to better oneself.
Although the Love Generation and the Summer of Love were rich history, it was the new decade that served as the exciting natural progression of the excessive “height of the ’60s”, but at the same time the ’70s exposed signs of the end of the dream, a seriously fully-realized corporeal dream.
As one can see, the Rock of the ’70s Decade, unlike Rock’s rise of the ’60s, became marginalized by the dominant Singer/Songwriters of the “Love Songs of the ’70s”, as well as the equally dominant Disco uprising. But Rock wasn’t entirely devoid of blame – the Rock Spirit had thinned – it was still there, but in sparks, not explosions.
By the end of the ’70s the Counter-Culture had seen, heard and experienced the Historic and Classic days and years when music was in the air, magick was in the blood, adventure was a Trip away, and positive accomplishments had been made. This era had slipped away and dissipated; the Tribes became a diaspora from a world they created.
But for a blinding light moment in history the ’70s reigned. The cultivated knowledge and experience of the ’60s created a much wider and deeper Counter-Culture in the ’70s where every faction of life pushed the limits of possibilities. The Triad of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll were front and center, with music providing prime assistance to push those limits to unexplainable and unimaginable heights.
If there was even the slightest doubt whether the ’70s could match or surpass the ’60s, it was quickly gone – check out the historic albums all released in just the first year of 1970!
A distillation of 13 albums from just the year 1970 would be tough, so please bear with the omissions of certain well-known historic albums from the entire decade that are well-documented elsewhere, as they are considerately sacrificed to allow other equally important but lesser known albums their due.
The Top 13 albums are not based on best sellers, chart ratings, or desert island choices, these are based on the prevailing Vibe and are specific representations of massive explosions of innovative excellence in creativity and relevance in Music and Rock History. Rock was a direct-connect to the expression of what it was like to live during that time and these albums represent important and influential time-stamps of once-in-a-lifetime experiences when music was downright intoxicating.
The highly prolific nature of bands’ album releases in the ’70s was amazing and a Top 500 would be a much more satisfying post – however, 00individual does offer a sensual and satisfying Top 79 Historic & Classic 1970s Rock Albums for your pleasure, or for an extended quickie try the Top 23 Historic & Classic 1970’s Rock Albums. If it’s a “Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am” you’re lookin’ for, you’re in luck, 00individual is all about the excruciating SadoMasochistic madness of reducing subjects to their Top 13 essence. Here ’tis:
TOP 13 ALBUMS of the 1970 DECADE
A Rolling Stone readers’ poll in 2012 ranked “Live at Leeds” as the best live album of all time. That’s something that any Rocker instinctively knows. It is so far out in front of any other that the WHO own that title for all time. There will never ever be a period in any future history where the absolute thrill of this album by Iconic Rock Gods could be matched – it’s an impossibility – Historic Rock ‘n’ Roll lightning only strikes once – especially during the era of Historic Cultural Revolution that altered society forever!
Just listening to the opening track, “Young Man Blues”, from the original “Leeds” album, gives 00individual shivers all over! The “Young Men” were in supernatural top form!
Thrill to the Best WHO Concert Ever – The WHO – June 14, 1970 – Anaheim Stadium (scroll down past Hendrix).
QUATERMASS were easily one of the underlying seminal forces of Metal / Prog / Blues / Rock and are by far the Best Unknown Band EVER (along with Rumplestiltskin) that somehow slipped through the entire Rock History canon. 00individual is still mystified that this album by a superb power trio did not become as popular as any Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple album of its time. Each song on the album is 100% strong, no filler, solid super Hard Rock with an incredible use of a real string orchestra. This is the definitive synthesis of Rock and Classical Orchestration; violins, cellos, violas; that counter-point and blend seamlessly into a beyond-belief sonic orgasmic SuperRockFest.
This is/was as about as close as you can get to a perfect album on all counts, the song-writing and lyrics are deep and meaningful, Johnny Gustafson’s soulful Blues vocals match the mood of every lyric and emotion and his bass-lines are some of the strongest memorable riffs in Rock, Mick Underwood’s drums are perfect and seamlessly connect each transition, and Pete Robinson’s Hammond organ use as a lead guitar and the ability to achieve that effect is beyond belief and near magical. The engineering and string arrangements (Paul Buckmaster) are gorgeous and deftly, yet dramatically woven into the songs, and the songs – all of them – are the kind that you can listen to over and over again and still get the pleasure and chills that come with those rare moments when a band of musicians come together for a Perfect Storm of Rock. And in this case leave this one indelible, historic, classic, iconic album that will forever stand as one of the Pinnacles of Rock.
Legend has it that Deep Purple’s break-up and Ritchie Blackmore’s departure is due to his insistence and Deep Purple’s resistance to record: QUATERMASS – ENTROPY / BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY – eventually he did with his band, Blackmore’s Rainbow.
This was one of the first albums that 00individual remembers being aware of some major sophistication in the whole sound and presentation; it was a defining moment of excellence that set the bar for all album releases that followed.
From the opening of “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts” Santana had tapped into a higher realm, and then by conjuring up an iconic version of Peter Green’s “Black Magic Woman” / Gabor Szabo’s “Gypsy Queen”. With this track, Santana created possibly the #1 guitar build and break in all of Rock History honored as such with Holy silence by true Rockers everywhere beginning at 3:18 and really, on out to the end. Santana created a Rock Monument of the Highest Level of Musical Achievement with an album that indelibly repped the ’70s era.
Listening to this album – really listening, from beginning to end may give those who’ve never experienced psychedelics a peek at what all the fun is about – this album is a mind-bending acid trip!
This isn’t easy access Incense and Peppermints Acid, this psychedelic music is sophisticated and closer to the real feelings and sounds one may encounter. There have been very few albums and movies that truly reflect aspects of a psychedelic trip; Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is one of the all-around best movies – as Performance is for albums. And just like with LSD; this album lets you experience different levels of reality that can take you to different places (visionary, hallucinogenic) but are part of the whole trip. And the album’s blend of styles and overall excellent quality of the music only heightens the visceral and highly appropriate drug-induced surreality of the whole film’s trip.
Most of the music was written by Jack Nitzsche, a visionary in Rock History from waaaay back with his cool, cool hit “The Lonely Surfer”, plus Randy Newman, Mick Jagger, Merry Clayton, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bernard Krause, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, and many other adepts in their field.
To feel honesty in music is rarer than one would think, the like minds within Performance succeeded, as did Elton John and Bernie Taupin . . .
Like Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding” in ’67 and the Band’s “Music from Big Pink” in ’68, Elton took an Old West / Civil War Roots Rock concept and developed one of the most interesting and amazing albums of his career.
How Elton and his Brit lyricist counter-part Bernie Taupin could tap into and evoke the authentic feelings about and from those early American times through infectious rockin’ tunes is truly amazing – AND there’s not a weak track on the album.
Within all of the acclaim and awards for his albums and music; for 00individual and Hippies of the early ’70s it’s all about this little album that proved Elton’s real genius.
Rumplestiltskin is the classic example of a band that very few even knew existed. Another band whose record company’s handling of them was apparently tragic.
Shel Talmy, the producer of The Who and The Kinks (during their early successful years) whose heavy influence with The Who created a historic recording, “My Generation,” has this to say: “I produced a band called “Rumpelstiltskin”, which was a put-together band of very good session guys, and we almost made it with that one. We had a whole concept. We were going to do a comic strip and all kinds of stuff. It was really a fun thing. And good songs, great music, ’cause these guys really could play. That went on Bell Records, [who] just totally screwed the whole thing up. It was really unfortunate.
Remember that Led Zeppelin were quality session players that made it big – Rumplestiltskin were on the right path with the wrong record company.
Every cut is really, really great – big chunks of guitar with monster hooks, bass-lines that shake the ground and slabs of hot, hot Hammond organ with a commanding soulful voice soaring through it all unscathed. Really solid unique heavy meaty tracks! This album is seriously great and showed the potential of the new decade.
Take the first track; “Make Me Make You” – classic hooks, transitions and totally hip and cool passages – at a little past six minutes it sounds as though Keith Emerson dropped-in for a bit. This track alone demands repeat listenings – plus – this is the “Gateway Drug” song for the rest of the album, if you like it you’ll love the rest.
Due to a rise in current interest there are a few vinyl albums available through online auctions and even a limited run CD on the Repertoire label.
David Crosby, a true Rock ‘n’ Roll icon, created one of the most beautiful, richly rewarding and infectious Rock albums of all time with his first solo effort.
“Crosby, Stills and Nash” debut album and “Deja Vu” are both great historic albums, no argument, but this album is a clear example of the dominate influence Crosby had with CSN (& Y’s) “sound”; as well as with the seminal psychedelic folk-rock group The Byrds.
This is truly an album that never got the appreciation it should have and like Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” it has its own distinct and unique “feel” to it that begs repeated listenings. A superior recording that continually sounds appropriate anytime, and like Dave Mason’s “Alone Together” album, it epitomizes the height of the Hippie-era.
One last thought; the totally cool and hip track; “Cowboy Movie” should have been made into a cowboy movie – and still should, with David Crosby composing the soundtrack and appearing in a cameo. And like a Tarantino film; bring back all the classic “western-type” iconic dudes like Peckinpah did with the classic, “Pat Garret and Billy the Kid”, mixed in with some cool young dudes of today – then plumb the depths of the story – it would be an absolute trip!
00individual offers his services to adapt and write a killer screenplay!
Hey, don’t look at him like that, he’s written a WGA registered screenplay – he’s serious!
No, really! Gotta talk “Cowboy Movie” – Head to Head.
Here’s the album that ignited the first half of the decade that would forever stand as the Pinnacle of Rock ‘n’ Roll. These tracks were were as gritty, pure, beautiful and rousingly refreshing as the era in which they impacted!
The Stones were one-fourth of the top groups whose historic album releases just got better and better; this applies to The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.
To end the ’60’s decade with the masterful “Let It Bleed” was a blessed gift with perfect timing to celebrate the decade. To open the decade with “Sticky Fingers” was all of the certified proof needed that the ’70s were gonna Rock Hard! Leave it to the World’s Greatest Rock ”n’ Roll Band: The Rolling Stones to lead the way!
It was the night before Hallowe’en, over four decades ago that an inter-dimensional cross-rip of truly transcendent Rock was released to the world – Pink Floyd’s “Meddle”.
If ever there was a record that had the power to transcend space and time, it was this album. Meddle was the doorway to other dimensions and “ECHOES” was the key.
The beauty of this album is its balance – “Echoes” takes you on a wondrous trip that seems to start up again once the record is flipped-over with “One of These Days” which really extends and Rocks the “Echoes” ride with space age sophistication in a compact sonic package laced with a hyper-nitroglycerin bolero that after a righteously well-placed God-like vocal finally shoots its load and soars out into the vastness of space – then builds the bolero up again, soaring and swooping to eventually and literally end in a “Pillow of Winds” , a spacey slide guitar lullaby. “Fearless” expands on the “Obscured By Clouds”-era Floyd with typical Floydian insight and then listeners get to take a very refreshing walk on the beach at “San Tropez” – what a classy, spacey, ’40’s upbeat piece! Even 00individual’s dogs, Bosco, Beau and Shyloe, would join in on “Seamus” (dogs dig the Blues!) and then after all has calmed down, flip Meddle over and start the whole Pleasurable, Cerebral, Space Rockin’ Ride all over again, and again, and again.
Back in 1972 a “Starman” from Mars made himself known to a generation of Rockers yearning for a new sound who were on the verge of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide“.
His message of “Soul Love” was an inspiration and though “It Ain’t Easy” to do in this “Suffragette City” he told us to “Hang Onto Yourself” for just “Five Years” and we too would be a “Star“. His name was “Ziggy Stardust” and along with “Lady Stardust” he led us into a “Moonage Daydream“of Rock ‘n’ Roll bliss!
Strangely enough, the above “story” is fairly true. The thrilling climax of the British Invasion bands, the Psychedelic S.F./L.A. bands and the “Supergroups” had run their course and by 1972 Rockers were getting a little edgy, jonesin’ for the next “big thing”.
And then it happened; an androgynous alien arrived on the scene, a powerful Rock ‘n’ Roll mutant with his band, the Spiders from Mars! That’s right, the Spiders from Mars! How cool was that? And to top it off his name was Ziggy Stardust!
And the best part, the absolute best part was that Ziggy and his band were just the dynamic explosion of Rock ‘n’ Roll that was desperately needed. Just like the superhero in any great comic book or movie, Ziggy arrived just in time to save the day!
There were a few bands who could claim the ’70s as theirs with consistent historic album releases, but with Pink Floyd it encompasses the entire Historic and Classic Rock Era.
Pink Floyd are on this Top 13 three times; but as hard as 00individual tried, it was next to impossible to not include them as their individual impact and importance in Rock History was undeniable. In a seriously cut-throat mood “Meddle” and “Wish You Were Here” could be dropped as even though their individual impact on so many levels are important, the phenomena of Dark Side Of The Moon surpasses any Rock album.
This album remained on the Billboard charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988 – that’s fifteen years with over fifty million copies sold. Beyond rankings and sales is the talent and creativity of Waters, Gimour, Wright, and Mason with Alan Parsons engineering, that took a decade’s worth of prolific musical experimentation and dedication to produce a truly spellbinding Rock album that topped every genre in one album.
Dark Side of the Moon was the Peak of the Pinnacle of Rock.
And if the Dark Side of the Moon was the Peak of the Pinnacle of Rock, then Wish You Were Here was the transcendent end result of the the entire Classic Rock Culture History.
With the release of WYWH that was it; Rock had peaked at its highest point. The sonic tidal wave of the late ’50’s and entire ’60s decade that kept surging forward into the ’70s to seemingly never break, finally crested with WYWH and when that Floyd Tsunami broke it washed away the landscape of any rivals for decades to come. Rock will never get past this level of accumulated perfection – Pink Floyd never got past this level either. For with this album there was a shared feeling that joined the four band members from when there were five. Egos aside, with the soul goal of a quasi tribute to Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd founder and the band’s inspiration, and swipes at the music industry, they succeeded in every respect – but in doing so reached a level of rarefied air that also served as the beginning of the end for the Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason band. Things would never be the same.
The somber tone of their “Animals” album was expressed in the lyrics, ‘. . . dragged down by the stone.”; “The Wall” was a ponderous Waters-dominated magnum opus, and even “The Division Bell” had a dark death knell feel about it. This is an honest mini-critique by a solid Floyd fan. If you know Pink Floyd, then you know what 00individual is saying – after WYWH the historic music continued, but the spirit had dwindled and The Wall separated the band.
However, WYWH became Rock Music’s “The Wild Bunch”, the last of the best in a land whose landscape had changed and had exhausted its Classic Rock domination. After ’75 an incredible era lost i’s magickal power and begrudgingly came to an end, and a new era began – the ’80s, the last fun decade.
But wait, there’s a brilliant light of Rock ‘n’ Roll hope at the end of the ’70s decade tunnel.
Coming in just under the wire and ending the decade with a dynamic hard-rockin’ soulful and totally classic debut album release; The Pretenders redeemed a decade that had nearly lost its Rock ‘n’ Roll Spirit.
Ranked respectfully high on all pertinent “Best of Rock ” lists; this album is jam-packed with classic gems that are both infectious and righteous – this due to Chrissie Hynde’s classic voice and writing talent. It’s the fun of the British Invasion and the hard-edged precision of serious Rock. The Pretenders were the essence of things to come as the leaders of New Wave, Punk, and ’80’s Rock.
While this Top 13 is influenced by 00individual’s personal experience, it also represents the Legion of Individuals who passed through the decade-long Halls of the ‘70s during their youth, teens, and twenties. With these albums as their soundtrack, they emerged empowered and ready to say goodbye to the Classic Days of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll for an unknown, yet potentially exciting sonic future of infinite possibilities.
Guess it’s true; all good things must come to an end.
– Please disregard any advertisements that may appear on this site –
00individual does not endorse nor receive any payment of any kind from any advertiser(s).