After much research, I came up with 134 potential albums for this list of 25. Surely, you see the mathematical problem here. Anyone who reads the much older and less great Y! Music blog New This Week will see that 2010 is easily the same year as 1970, but noticeably worse. For some reason, not immediately revealed to me, several artists released multiple albums that year. (Visits to a fertility doctor?)
This list is once again in a precisely random order with some importance given to certain things. I stand firmly behind these choices except when I don't.
Don't forget, we have at least a Part Two!
25) Charles Manson--Lie: The Love And Terror Cult: The only known killer on this list, Manson recorded this album of folk-rock back in 1967. It took three years for it to be released. Did stupid voyeuristic reality TV get its start with the "morbid curiosity" that surrounded this album? Probably not. But it didn't help. Songs later covered by Guns N' Roses and the Lemonheads among many others.
24) King Crimson--In the Wake of Poseidon, Lizard: How Robert Fripp never became a teen idol with these albums of progressive rock is one for the history books (whatever that means). Fripp managed to get members to quit after the first album, beginning a trend that would continue throughout KC's entire career. I must've played with these guys at some point.
23) David Bowie--The Man Who Sold The World: Known to people the world over for having that song the Nirvana kid sang before he died, The Man Who Sold The World is actually the album where Bowie-Ronson-Visconti pledge their marriage vows. Bowie would end ruling over the 1970s with an adaptable ear. While not as sonically profound as later albums, it has a pretty great sound of its own. Hmmn, that last sentence sounded so good, I'm thinking of checking the album out!
22) The Last Poets--The Last Poets: The first rappers? Close enough. This album features three song titles I can't print. Songs about Sex, Drugs and Revolution are always welcome at this blog. I think the guys in this group want me to get off the couch or something. Well, that's not happening! Next!
21) Isaac Hayes--...To Be Continued, The Isaac Hayes Movement: The other important, original rapper doesn't want us to take it to the streets but to the bedroom! (Alright!) With a woman! (Gotta buy me some breath mints and a comb!) These two albums would've surely been issued as one long downloadable file these days. Who knows, Ike might have made these songs even longer! After all, he only goes back as far as his childhood. Surely, he's got some memories of the womb!
20) Nirvana--Dedicated To Markos III: The good band named Nirvana! From the UK! Yes, this was their third album, their In Utero. Just as parts of In Utero had to be remixed for public consumption, so did this album have to be reworked in order to fail massively with the public. Admittedly not as good as their debut album, The Story Of Simon Simopath, it still sounds really good to people who have slit the plastic off the vinyl and listened to it. From what I'm told.
19) Pink Floyd--Atom Heart Mother: I've read some tepid reviews of this album, but I beg to differ. Sure it sounds like the orchestra got drunk beforehand and didn't care if they played in time with anything, but that's what makes it great. If Pink Floyd had kept releasing albums all the time, like every four to six months, they could've been supergood. Instead, they became a pure 1970s band that began taking TWO YEARS between albums. Which these days would be pretty good. This culture stuff is going to hell!
18) Frank Zappa--Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Chunga's Revenge: Frank Zappa was one of the first artists to realize that he might as well release as many albums as he could because it wasn't likely that he was going to sell more records if he limited his output. Sure, something might stick to the wall, but who cares? Why labor over things when you can move onto something new? I'm pretty sure he recorded in his sleep.
17) Elton John--Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection: Elton John kept Paul Buckmaster plenty busy, letting him put his string arrangements to work on what were to become some of the most popular albums of the 1970s. John is currently planning an album and tour with Leon Russell! Because he's rich and can do anything he wants to do. I would've bought a new condo by the water instead!
16) Syd Barrett--The Madcap Laughs, Barrett: Two solo albums from Syd Barrett in one year? Not bad for a guy who was supposedly going nuts. They were finished by David Gilmour and Rick Wright, but you have to start somewhere.
15) Bloodrock--Bloodrock, Bloodrock II: Thanks to my friend currently known as Zoraxx Astrea I'm listening to Bloodrock right now. Two albums in their first year every bit as heavy as Black Sabbath, Bloodrock were given terrible reviews in influential places, but--surprise, surprise--sound much better today than any current music. Why do they even print music magazines anymore?
14) Soft Machine--Third: One song per side is pretty risky. If you don't like one of the songs, it's a long time till another one shows up. This is considered to be pretty radical stuff. Of course, nowadays with everything available all of the time, it's one of those things you can get around to when you feel like it. There was once a time when it was urgent for you to find new things because it would surely be taken away from you in just a few years. There was a thing called out-of-print, which...you know what, it doesn't matter.
13) The Velvet Underground--Loaded: This is funny. John Cale was long gone (released his own Vintage Violence this year) and Billy Yule was on drums replacing a very pregnant Maureen Tucker. Still, Lou Reed was writing songs worth repeating at that point and Sterling Morrison was never anything less than essential. If you don't own this album, well then, you're a jerk!
12) Grateful Dead--Workingman's Dead, American Beauty: There was once a time when the Grateful Dead bothered with the recording studio. That year was 1970. They also worked on songs that could be played in under an hour. It's like they were so high they thought they belonged in a recording studio. What next? They tell their loyal following to sell their VW and buy a Gremlin?
11) The Kinks--Lola Vs. The Powerman And The Moneygoround (Part One): So much for brief album titles! The Kinks were getting tired of being ignored by the music industry. They were obviously better than most of the bands making millions but they had to settle for getting most of their album catalog deleted. While that's a great career move and likely to create lots of interest among dorky record collectors, you need a hit to keep making records. Voila! "Lola." In only a few short years, the Kinks would get pretty lousy, but, remember, we'll always have England.
10) Tim Buckley--Lorca, Starsailor: Not content to release one weird album in 1970, Tim Buckley released two. Starsailor has the unique distinction of being very hard to come by on CD, but readily available as an iTunes download. Chances are, you'll hate this. But you should at least try.
9) Funkadelic--Funkadelic, Free Your Ass And Your Mind Will Follow; Parliament--Osmium: George Clinton had so much to say, he created two different enterprises to release it all. This music is an obvious blueprint for much of what would follow in the ensuing decades. Him, Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel are so far in front of everyone that we're still catching up. Daddy, don't you walk so fast!
8) Amon Duul II--Yeti: In what is surely revisionism, Amon Duul II are now acknowledged as very important to the rock music canon. Of course, go back in time and they're about as popular as Nick Drake. This should make you wonder what will be unearthed in another ten to twenty years. By then, I will list Perry Leopold's Experiments in Metaphysics at number 3 and we can ignore Josephus once and for all. Or maybe not.
7) Black Sabbath--Black Sabbath, Paranoid: Lester Bangs claimed he listened to the first three Sabbath albums each night one winter with a gallon of wine. I guess finding the right barbiturates was difficult in the wilds of Michigan that year. BS have become heavy metal legends, but there was once a time when they were just another loud band in the Blue Cheer vein who got lousy reviews. Read those reviews today and it's like no one had a sense of humor back then and they couldn't enjoy a simple head pounding. Maybe I'm wrong about all those grindcore albums after all.
6) Neil Young--After The Gold Rush: Anything recorded by Neil Young up until about the mid-1980s is essential listening. This includes the stuff that doesn't sound so good at first because over time it will grow on you and make sense. This is one of the easiest albums of his to enjoy. If you don't like it, I would suggest that maybe you don't like life. I have my own doubts, but this album has nothing to do with it.
5) The Doors--Morrison Hotel, Absolutely Live: Morrison Hotel is often cited as one of the Doors' best albums, but they only recorded six studio albums. Get them all. If you pick up this live album, or however they've boxed it up these days, you'll have an album for each day of the week. That's kind of neat, isn't it?
4) Miles Davis--Bitches Brew, A Tribute to Jack Johnson, Black Beauty: Miles Davis Live At The Fillmore West, Miles Davis At Fillmore: Live At The Fillmore East: There's a new expanded 40th Anniversary Edition of Bitches Brew available because I called up and complained. Plus, there's a huge boxed set for Jack Johnson. The live albums almost seem like cheating. Just set up a tape recorder and tape every gig. Who do these guys think they are? Pearl Jam??
3) Nick Drake--Bryter Layter: Nick Drake is now completely famous. You're only somebody if someone uses you in a TV ad. Never truer than with Drake. VW, AT&T, what next, BP? He is British, after all.
2) John Lennon--Plastic Ono Band: Some prefer Yoko's album of the same name. I might, too, if I didn't love the specific whining going on throughout this album, my favorite of any ex-Beatle and many other people's as well (though Venus And Mars sounds great in the car). "God is a concept by which we measure our pain"? Someone get this guy an orgone box and a scale. He needs help.
1) The Stooges--Fun House: Iggy's moved on to Raw Power these days, but I'd take this one if forced to choose at the pearly gates. Otherwise, I'm bringing people with me because I can't carry all this vinyl myself.