Here in our beautified, revisionist world that dovetails nicely into the Internet age where everything is permitted and available 24/7, 1977 takes on a less annoying presence, since with eyes moist from joy and sorrow at just how freakin' long ago everything good actually is at this point and how good it actually was, even if we didn't know it then, we no longer feel 1977's pain. All that remains are our golden memories.
24) Blondie -- Plastic Letters: Deborah Harry ruined many a young man's life, much in the way Johnny Depp has frustrated many of the ladies in our audience. Though they were not signed to Sire Records, they did take label head Seymour Stein's "New Wave" decree quite seriously and fashioned themselves as the brightest blip on the radar. That blip turned into a star.
22) Queen -- News of the World: Every generation picks from the past and decides whose reputation will rise. It looks like Foo Fighters have made the case for Queen, though I do wonder how many new fans get past the now brutal, sports-arena friendly anthems. Anyone want to check out Herman and His Hermits?
20) Sex Pistols -- Never Mind the Bollocks: John Lydon was disappointed the Sex Pistols didn't dismantle rock 'n' roll, but prolonged it. Or at least that's what he said to the press. Surely, Steve Jones would clock him with his Les Paul if he'd been within earshot. Those Chuck Berry riffs don't play themselves, you know?
18) David Bowie -- Low, "Heroes": The punks may have been barking at the door, but Bowie was too busy getting weird and moody to care about their aggression. Locked away with Tony Visconti tugging at one ear and Brian Eno taking cuts at the other, Ol' Blue Eye and Grey Eye ventured onto the art-rock, Krautrock, death-disco, Exile-in-Berlin train that gave him the sharpest studio tan in the biz.
16) Aerosmith -- Draw The Line: While Rocks is the album that gets all the credit, Draw The Line had its own variety show happening. I'm incapable of judging this album since every note is somewhere imprinted on my grammar school brain (Catholic School to boot!). Lost interest in them when I discovered the Rolling Stones. "Kings and Queens" still works, despite its D&D-like approach. I sometimes wish Steven Tyler had been my dad.
14) Television -- Marquee Moon: In the land where the guitars shall meet, Television tangle up in blue and shimmering gold like alchemists who write pop songs for a living. Or is that art song? Verlaine can't sing, at least not in the radio-friendly way that makes travel easier, but the band make the singing secondary. The words are so good, you can ignore them and they'll come back at you sideways.
12) Leonard Cohen -- Death of A Ladies' Man: After receiving so many floggings over the years from the press and even its creator, this album has been receiving, like its creator, a renaissance of sorts. People now speak of its misunderstood qualities. I'm not entirely sure what that means. I always found it quite lovable. But I don't know anything about ladies' men.
10) Peter Gabriel -- Peter Gabriel: No, not that "Peter Gabriel" album, this one. For a man of such robust creativity, he really messed with everyone by naming his albums so generically. If he's so forward-thinking, shouldn't he realize that someday we'd be Googling this stuff? I'm just glad I never sent my mother out to the store to pick this up. Who knows what she'd come home with.
8) Cheap Trick -- Cheap Trick, In Color: Using a secret mountain blend of rock and pop, in a just world Cheap Trick would be bigger than U2. But for some reason serious looking dopes seal more deals than the "smart and funny" that people always list as being their preference. Only reason Bono hasn't found what he's looking for is because he isn't really looking. It's all right here, dude!
6) Ramones -- Leave Home, Rocket To Russia: 1977 was a decent year for the Ramones. Then again, why shouldn't bands rustle up two albums a year? If the Beatles could do it and still make movies and tour, then all other bands should show us such dedication at the beginning of their careers. This is not to encourage Robert Pollard to ramp up production to 12 albums a year. Note, I said, the "beginning" of a career.
4) Talking Heads -- 77: As someone who wasn't there for the trio, I can't argue against the addition of Jerry Harrison on guitar and keybs. It sounds fine and right for the record. Besides, minimalism is great until you realize how much you really like color. They'd eventually expand like a great vampire squid wrapping around the fear of music. Dr. Eno will see you now.
2) AC/DC -- Let There Be Rock: On the slower side of punk and from Australia, AC/DC suffered for being a hard rock band. However, time and persistence has given them the last laugh as they are now one of the bestest selling musical acts of all-time and their records sound much better than many of their contemporaries. Sometimes only a hammer can do the job.