Classic Albums? The 1970’s Rocked

Have you ever considered the astonishing number of classic Pop and Rock albums that the decade of the 1970′s gave us? Allow me to jog your memory with a list. In no particular order, and allowing only one album per artist (just because) here are some of the 70′s timeless musical riches:

Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
Steely Dan: Aja
Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Bob Dylan: Blood On The Tracks
Carole King: Tapestry
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Deja Vu
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run
Nilsson: Nilsson Schmillson
Bob Marley: Exodus
Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon
The Rolling Stones: Some Girls
Boston: Boston
Jefferson Starship: Red Octopus
The Who: Who’s Next
Jethro Tull: Aqualung
Paul McCartney & Wings: Band On The Run
Led Zeppelin: IV (Zoso)
Yes: Close To The Edge
Supertramp: Breakfast In America
Boz Scaggs: Silk Degrees
Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life
Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare
Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive
The Grateful Dead: American Beauty
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Damn The Torpedoes
Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
Bee Gees: Main Course
Neil Young: Harvest
George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
The Cars: The Cars
Rush: 2112
Aerosmith: Toys In The Attic
Eagles: Hotel California
Van Morrison: Moondance
Deep Purple: Machine Head
Kansas: Point Of Know Return
Santana: Abraxas
Billy Joel: The Stranger
Strawbs: Bursting At The Seams
Alan Parsons Project: I Robot
Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Derek & The Dominos: Layla
Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die
Steve Miller Band: Fly Like An Eagle
Weather Report: Heavy Weather
John Lennon: Imagine
OST: Saturday Night Fever
OST: Grease
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory
Don McLean: American Pie

I don’t think any other decade comes half-way close, especially taking into account that the 60′s music scene was so singles-oriented for much of the decade. And the list could be much longer if I’d allowed multiple albums per artist, obviously.

To the Aspiring Artist: Be An Original

One thing seems ever more clear the more I listen to music old and new: The artists who truly made a mark did their best work when they followed their own muse, rather than trying to copy another artist’s sound, style or message. It’s true of any genre and any era.

Lady Gaga is most interesting when she isn’t “doing a Madonna”. Neo-Progressive Rock bands are constantly admonished to stop trying to sound like Pink Floyd and find their own sound.

Looking back in time, the Turtles made some of the greatest Pop singles of the 60’s, music on par with the Beatles’ best work–that is, once they stopped trying to be the Byrds. Lennon and McCartney themselves began to make really interesting music after they stopped covering Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. And it didn’t get much more pathetic than hearing Sonny Bono trying to write and sing like Bob Dylan.

Dylan is among the truest of artists, those who seemed to take direct dictation from a voice heard only by them, rather than settle for being a poor man’s version anyone else. Like Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Freddie Mercury, Van Morrison…but also Bread, ABBA and the Carpenters. All are revered. All have the tribute albums to prove that subsequent generations appreciate their distinctive genius. And all seemed more determined to be the best version of themselves than an immitation of anyone else.

So I suppose the lesson to the young aspiring musician is to get inside himself and become more intimate with his own muse. Listen to hear what makes the great stuff great, then listen even more attentively to the voice in your own head. Because that’s what Roger Waters did.

%d bloggers like this: