Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Best of the 1970s: The dawning of the age of the Singer/Songwriter, as well as the rise and fall of Album-Oriented Rock and Disco.

This was the decade that ushered in and out three profound genres. Name me another decade that saw the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, and the Bee Gees fight over who's stamp would define it better and I'll show you, well, you know what, forget it. There was no other decade like this.

And yet, in many respects, this was a terrible decade for creativity. Save for the Joni Mitchells, the John Prines and the Stevie Wonders, this was a very narrow-minded decade. Unlike, its predecessor (the '60s) and its benefactor (the '80s) the 1970s were as predictable as dirt. No sooner had AOR exploded on the scene in late '69 than it began to fizzle out within a few years; by 1975 it was in its death throws, replaced by the early new wave/punk movement. Disco, too, became of a victim of its own fame. By 1979, it had become the nation's number one trivia joke. And yet there were some marvelous moments in this decade that are as timeless as Richard Nixon sweating on the camera. Behold, I give you a top 40 look at the "Me" decade.

1. The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones, 1972).
2. Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1971).
3. Derek and the Dominos: Layla (Atco, 1970).
4. Bob Dylan/The Band: The Basement Tapes(Columbia, 1975).
5. Al Green: Call Me (Hi, 1973).
6. Sly and the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On (Epic, 1971).
7. Randy Newman: 12 Songs (Reprise, 1970).
8. Neil Young: Rust Never Sleeps (Reprise, 1979).
9. Paul Simon: Paul Simon (Columbia, 1972).
10. Television: Marque Moon (Elektra, 1977).
11. Eno: Another Green World (Island, 1976).
12. Joni Mitchell: For the Roses (Asylum, 1972).
13. Van Morrison: Moondance (Warner Bros., 1970)
14. Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic (MCA, 1974).
15. Nick Lowe: Pure Pop for Now People (Columbia, 1978).
16. The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (Island, 1976).
17. New York Dolls: In Too Much Too Soon (Mercury, 1974).
18. Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story (Mercury, 1971).
19. Graham Parker and the Rumour Squeezing Out Sparks (Arista, 1979).
20. The Who: Who's Next (MCA, 1971).
21. Jimmy Cliff, et al: The Harder They Come (Mango, 1973).
22. Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band: Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (RCA Victor, 1976).
23. Bonnie Raitt: Give It Up (Warner Bros., 1972).
24. John Prine: Sweet Revenge (Atlantic, 1973).
25. Stevie Wonder Innervisions (Tamla, 1973).
26. Bob Marley and the Wailers: Burnin' (Island, 1974).
27. Patti Smith: Horses (Arista, 1975).
28. Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel (Reprise, 1974).
29. Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted and Black (Atlantic, 1972).
30. The Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (Warner Bros., 1977).
31. James Brown: Sex Machine (King, 1970).
32. The Clash: The Clash (Epic, 1979).
33. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Reprise, 1977).
34. Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire, 1978).
35. Big Star: Radio City (Ardent, 1974).
36. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmos Factory (Fantasy, 1970).
37. Michael Jackson: Off the Wall (Epic, 1979).
38. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (Columbia, 1975).
39. Blondie: Parallel Lines (Chrysalis, 1978).
40. John Lennon: Imagine (Apple, 1971).

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