EXPERIENCE ROCK HISTORY!
00individual Presents The 1970’s Counter-Culture’s Sub-Culture’s Top 33 Albums
Profound Statement: None of the artists, vocalists, musicians, bands, composers, or musical genres on this list are new or original. Every vocal and beat derived from mankind’s early hip primal urge to express himself vocally and to sing along with the soul-resonating beat of a hand-clap or stick against a hollow log. Everyone knows monkeys pounded out “Louie, Louie”, “Mona”,”Smoke On The Water”, and “Sunshine Of Your Love” at some point, alone or in a group (band?), over the eons. The only difference is that now all of those Tribal chants of yore are plugged in, amplified, and reinvented into Rock ‘n’ Roll!
On With The Show: Most “Best Of” lists for any decade rely on the obvious, usually represented by Billboard Top 100-type lists – therefore few non-commercial yet icomic albums are recognized.
While sales and popularity are important data, there is a level that is probably more relevant and true to the times. This level was in the places where the Groove set in, it hung out where true Rock and Inspiration shared a bowl, this was the level where the Counter-Culture’s Sub-Culture drove the Machine.
Although the Sub-Culture had regional Sub-Cultures, this is a personal list representative of one demographic of the Los Angeles and San Francisco and Beyond Sub-Culture(s). These were responsible, under the radar, drug taking drug dealing, hard-working, knowledgeable about Rock and socio-political issues, amusing, seriously-fun Psychonauts whom existed deep in the Vibe.
00individual includes many iconic albums and leaves off as many – that’s the defintion of any Sub-Culture; to differentiate but retain founding principles.
So, what was the Counter-Culture’s Sub-Culture groovin’ to? The answer is in this excruciatingly short chronological list of the Top 33 Albums:
TEN YEARS AFTER
CRICKLEWOOD GREEN – April 17, 1970
Alvin Lee and Company were of the select few who really hit the mark dead-center with the timing of Cricklewood Green and with the excellence of all of the tracks on this album. A true zenith of ’70s Psychedelic Blues Hard Rock.
LIVE AT LEEDS – May 16, 1970
This is easily the Best Live Album Ever.
Entwistle and Daltry were 26, Townshend was 25 and Moon was 24 and 00individual was 19 at the release of this album.
The WHO were shaking the “Pillars of Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven and Hell” – and breathing extremely rarefied air – and by mere existence, so were Who Fans everywhere. To be young, wild and psychedelic when the WHO were too was an exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime feeling that words can’t describe. But the music can.
QUATERMASS – May 1970
QUATERMASS were easily one of the underlying seminal forces of Metal / Prog / Hard Rock Blues and are by far the Best Unknown Band EVER (OK Rumplestitltskin still holds that title) that somehow slipped through the entire Rock History canon. 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; they counter-point and blend seamlessly into a beyond-belief sonic orgasmic Hard Rock Fest.
ALONE TOGETHER – June 1970
The “Alone Together” album was a righteous Counter-Culture favorite with tracks full of seriously perfect music featuring insightful lyrics to ponder while getting stoned with friends. Also excellent Rock for cruising or traveling. Groovy!
HUMBLE PIE – July 1970
Here is a near perfect Rock album created by one of thee tightest hard-rockin’ bands of the ‘70s. Super success, hit singles and hit albums would follow, but this eponymous album was the first true Pie album and a gem soundtrack for life then and for years to come.
RUMPLESTILTSKIN – 1970
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. We made two albums that I was very pleased with; that I think should have made it.”
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!
ABRAXAS – September 1970
When Santana’s second album “Abraxas” was released expectations were high and Santana delivered. 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.
September 19, 1970
Really listening to this album 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 acid, this psychedelic music is sophisticated and closer to the real feelings and sounds one may encounter. With a super rare collaboration of the finest musicians, composers and singers of the day; it all came together as one continuous flow of exquisite examples of ‘70’s musical genres with Rock as the base and drenched in psychedelia wafting up from the sunrise at your elbow.
The ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
IDLEWILD SOUTH – September 23, 1970
With Idlewild South the Allman Brothers totally jettisoned the Southern Rock category and showed everyone their superior compositions and mastery of musicianship and laid down some of the most sophisticated Jazz-tinged, yet stone rockin’ Blues, this side of Santana’s Abraxas.
HOLLYWOOD DREAM – October 1970
Pete Townshend saw the musical talent in his driver, Speedy Keen, and got his trio, Thunderclap Newman, a record deal. The result was a terrific really quirky-cool and unique album that contains one of the most iconic and historic singles of the ’70s; “Something In The Air”! Actually every track on the album is great and has the quality of upon repeated listenings to become more and more infectious until the whole album is a pure pleasure to hear.
TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION – October 30, 1970
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 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 evoke the authentic feelings about and from those early American times through roots rockin’ tunes is truly amazing AND there’s not a weak track on the album.
12 DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus presented advanced realizations of relationships between man and nature, deep feelings of love, dramatic understandings of life, and raw emotions of free-spirited fun. Rockin’ epic times were forged into sublime time-stamp music by Spirits’ mystical mastery of Jazz, Heavy Metal, Folk, Rock, Progressive, Blues and Psychedelic perfections; these dreams were Hippies’ and Rockers’ delights – gifts from Spirit.
The WORST of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
“Worst” is seriously the best; each song is a Classic Gem unto itself and the album flows perfectly and covers a lot of important ground; a “time stamp” of an era of music and feeling that will forever be part of Rock History.
Even though all of the tracks are from mid-to-late ’60s, the early ’70s release date made it one of the ’70’s most-played albums as it was truly a greatest hits – no filler.
Jefferson Airplane spoke the language and articulated it well. Their music, attitude, look and mere presence served as a strong green light for the heartfelt anti-establishment, anti-war, pro-drug, pro-peace and Love movement that the Counter-Culture were backing, promoting and living.
THE END OF THE GAME – December 1970
In late 1969 Fleetwood Mac were coming off of one of the seriously best albums of the 1960’s;
“Then Play On“, and were also at the height of their bands’ career when Mac founder and guitarist Peter Green left the group.
As this all-instrumental album clearly shows, Peter Green was a genius and a Master Blues Guitarist on a rare emotional level with Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Hazel, Carlos Santana, Duane Allman, John McLaughlin, and Jeff Beck. This album is why he had to quit Mac, he was literally bursting with creative electric guitar Psychedelic Blues Jazz Prog improvisation and needed to cut loose.
ZZ TOP’S FIRST ALBUM – January 16, 1971
ZZ Top – their name immediately had Hippies and the Counter-Culturists grinning by their combined use of the two most high-profile brands of rolling papers of the day; Zig Zag (ZZ) and Top.
It’s not easy maintaining any career and certainly not a music career, but ZZ Top have, and it’s their attuned talent and fun-loving Blues Rock spirit that makes any age fan feel good.
With fifteen hit albums to date, ZZ Top knew where their career was headed when they named this their “first” album!
IF I COULD ONLY REMEMBER MY NAME
February 22, 1971
David Crosby, a true Rock ‘n’ Roll icon, created one of the most beautiful, richly rewarding and earthy albums of all time with his first solo effort.
What makes this such an irresistible album is the perfect blend of mood; the vocals, the instrumentation and the compositions all meld together into a rare mix of superb music.
AQUALUNG – March 19, 1971
After the very impressive time-stamp albums, “This Was” (Hard Rockin’ Blues with an Ian Anderson twist), and “Stand Up” (full-blown Renaissance Jazz Flute Rock) and both with sublime folk ballads, Tull released “Aqualung”. Most fans agree Aqualung to be Tull’s best, and the album is always highly-ranked as one of the Best Rock Albums ever.
The ROLLING STONES
STICKY FINGERS – April 23, 1971
A perfect example of how the Rolling Stones and Rock ‘n’ Roll continue to be timeless entities of joy and cultural influence is represented by this classic Stones album “Sticky Fingers”.
Released a lifetime ago – it still sounds as gritty, pure, raunchy, beautiful, and rousingly refreshing – as the era in which it impacted!
MEDDLE – October 30, 1971
It was the night before Hallowe’en, October 30, 1971 when an interdimensional cross-rip of truly transcendent Rock was released to the world – Pink Floyd’s “Meddle”.
If ever there was a record that could actually take you away – 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.
LED ZEPPELIN IV – November 8, 1971
The mighty Led Zeppelin IV had a presence, a power, it superseded and overtook everything in sight. This was a heavy album with a zeitgeist quality that seemed to come from an evolved state. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones melded I, II, III into a Rock ‘n’ Roll Masterpiece.
The RISE and FALL of ZIGGY STARDUST
and the SPIDERS FROM MARS – June 6, 1972
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!
LORD OF THE RINGS – September 1972
Hansson tapped into some deeply-rooted primal sounds that not only harken back to tribal eras but present a future landscape at the same time. These are truly supernatural compositions that have the power to transport one to Middle-Earth, a Distant Planet, a Spaghetti Western, a Fantasy Adventure, or an entirely New Dimension. While each track is distinctly different they represent a flowing cinematic montage.
TROUBLE MAN – December 8, 1972
Trouble Man is the crème de la crème of noir hipster cool! Marvin Gaye is the Man! The mostly instrumental music ebbs and flows like a good thriller would, so it creates its own nightlife atmosphere of danger and cool intrigue. Gaye’s genius for scoring a film also achieves solid stand alone tracks that soar above all others as righteous examples of hip, cool, ambient Soul, Rock, Blues and Jazz!
TWICE REMOVED FROM YESTERDAY – 1973
When Trower left Procol Harum and went power-trio with James Dewar and Reg Isadore, the planets were in alignment for the creation of these epic Hard Rock Space Blues tracks on this monumental rock album; that was definitely Twice Removed From Yesterday.
MOONTAN – July 1973
The tantalizing original outside cover Moontan Knockers were just a tease for the inside Moontan Rockers.
Side one of this album rates extremely high on the “Best Side One Albums of All Time” – each of these three extended tracks are truly exceptional Air Fist Pumpin’, Dashboard Drummin’, Head-Nodic, Body Rockin’, Howl-at-the-Moon(tan) songs!
“Radar Love” is one of the grooviest rockers ever; a stone classic that feels like a super-charged ’50’s rebel rocker heard through the radio of a retro-future supercar chargin’ down the Hard Rock Highway of Love!
EARTH – 1973
Vangelis O. Papathanassiou is now known as the electronica genius composer of film scores, albums and phenomenal music that has influenced both artists and music lovers world-wide for the past four decades. But before that, Vangelis was a Greek Rocker.
“Earth” is Vangelis’ first solo album after leaving his Psychedelic Rock band “Aphrodite’s Child” who created the psychedelic cult classic double album “666”. Everything about Earth is truly great, everything – the soul of the songs, the rockin’ beat, lyrics, vocals, instrumentation – the lively up-tempo tracks and the heartfelt ballad ones. A Sub-Culture Gem.
QUADROPHENIA – October 1, 1973
Quadrophenia was like a “2001: A Space Odyssey Monolith”, appearing at a perfect time as a catalyst for introspection and revelation of life themes that echoed the joyous melancholy Vibe that was life up ’til then.
REMEMBER THE FUTURE – November 1973
“Remember the Future” (part 1&2) is a full length song on sides 1&2. A very hypnotic album; Nektar went through all phases of psychedelic rock from space truckin’ to soulful melodic passages. Roye Albrighton had a perfect voice match for Nektar’s music; a real stand out.
ISAO TOMITA – SNOWFLAKES ARE DANCING
April 12, 1974
Tomita’s “Snowflakes Are Dancing” album displays classical electronica tone paintings of Claude Debussy compositions at their finest and doubles as a trippy Psychedelic “Christmas” album with its spiritual and supernatural wintry “Holiday” sound.
A wondrous psychedelic staple throughout 00individual’s life since its release in ’74; it evokes many cool emotions and manifests from a magical, serene, satisfying and otherworldly place – Christmas in Outer Space.
Fragments of Light – 1974
Blending synthesizers, guitar, keyboards, and strategically-placed vocals, Franco Falsini and an otherworldly rhythm duo of Richard Ursillo – bass and Keith Edward – drums, percussion; Sensations’ Fix carved-out a landscape, no, a world, for their landscape’s spellbinding rockin’, moody, spacey tracks.
WISH YOU WERE HERE – September 12, 1975
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 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) they succeeded in every respect – but in doing so reached a level of rarefied air that also served as the death knell for the Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason band. Things would never be the same – which also sums up the mid-’70s.
DAVE GRUSIN – THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR
This is much more than a movie soundtrack, this is the one record to send into space to rep the 1970s.
Three Days Of The Condor is the epitome of the height of smooth-as-silk raunchy ’70’s New York nightlife and espionage set to hot sexy sax and wonderful rockin’ wah-wah tracks. A truly terrific conspiracy movie (made even better by the soundtrack) that oozed that great ’70’s New York grit ‘n’ good times era – before Disneyfication. Sigh.
Past 1976, the Counter-Culture had reached it’s zenith and had become an established fabric of society. The whole mid-’60s through mid-’70s influence had served its purpose: to elevate societies’ minds and show evidence of alternate and beneficial concepts and deliver Historic and Classic Rock.
And while not within the classic range of ’65 through ’75 here’s an exceptional Rockin’ album to end the 1970 decade!
December 27, 1979
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 packed with classic gems that are righteously memorable: “Precious” – 3:36, “The Phone Call” – 2:29, “Up the Neck” – 4:27, “Tattooed Love Boys” – 2:59, “Space Invader” 3:26, “The Wait” – 3:35, “Stop Your Sobbing” – 2:38, “Kid” – 3:06, “Private Life” – 6:25, “Brass in Pocket” – 3:04, “Lovers of Today” – 5:51, “Mystery Achievement” – 5:23
After this was the ’80s –
the Last Fun Decade.
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