Saturday, 24 August 2019

1001 Albums You Must Hear - A Review (the 1970s)

The Seventies

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die was first published in 2005 by Universe Publishing. Edited by Robert Dimery, it contains a chronological list of albums chosen by a panel of music critics to be the most important, influential, and best in popular music between the 1950s and the 2000s. It was reissued in 2008 with a revised list, and again in 2011, 2013 and 2016. From first publication the list has been a topic of much debate, with some disagreement regarding albums left out or included; however, it is widely regarded as a very useful starting point for the main musical references of the late 20th century. As the 2005 book is the first and has the most impact, that is the list I've used here.

I'm working my way through the list, and also comparing it with other lists.

Albums marked $ are ones I agree with (124) 
Albums marked + are ones I have added to the list (112)
Albums marked XX are ones I have removed (152) 
     Total albums recommended = 236 (-40)
     Brought forward 220  (+46); running total =  456 (+6) 

JZ = Jazz 

Albums marked RS are on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums
Albums marked MC are on Mojo's 100 Records That Changed The World
Albums marked CCC are on Robert Christgau's Core Collection (pre-1980 albums)
Albums marked C4 are on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Albums 
Albums marked NM are on NARM The Definitive 200 
Albums marked G50 are on The Guardian 50 Albums That Changed Music 
Albums marked UC are on Uncut's 200 Greatest Albums Of All Time 

Albums marked NME are on NME's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time 
Albums marked Q are on Q's 100 Greatest Albums Ever (2006)   


The Stooges – 
 House (RS) (MC)  - The 1969 debut album is also worth listening to. It's also worth listening to their influences and contemporaries to see that they fitted into the contemporary late Sixties music scene very well, and were actually a little more reactionary rather than revelatory compared to some of their peers. What particularly makes the Stooges stand out is Bowie's interest in them, and Iggy Pop's character. While the 
Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die    
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (RS)   [JZ] The most famous and acclaimed jazz fusion album in the history of music. I've never found it very likeable, but it's here because of its status and influence. 
Syd Barrett –The Madcap Laughs   
The Who – Live at Leeds (RS)   In its original six tracks format this is a blistering live album. Various increasingly bloated versions have been released over the years - the Deluxe version has 33 tracks, which includes a live recording of Tommy. That one is not a blistering live album - it is drawn out and ultimately boring. Listen to, and only to, the original six track album. 
Santana – Abraxas (RS) The band's fame rests on their first two albums, and this, their second, is the better of the two. Afterwards Carlos Santana moved more into jazz fusion, leaving behind much of the rock feel that made his Latin-rock fusion so appealing.
Derek and the Dominos – Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (RS) (CCC) ***Exceptional album
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (RS) (MC) (G50) 
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà vu (RS) (NM)  ***Exceptional album
Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NME)
 (Q)   ***Exceptional album
Deep Purple – In Rock (See also Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))
Van Morrison – Moondance (RS) (CCC) (NM) 
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (RS) (C4) (NM) ***Exceptional album
Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (RS) (NM)
James Taylor Sweet Baby James
 (RS) Rather modest songs and singing, but he had a pleasant warmth that captured the mood of the early Seventies and for a short while was the biggest singer-songwriter on the planet, and it seemed everyone had this album. 
Led Zeppelin – III (RS)  This was my first Zeppelin album. I bought it purely on the enthusiasm of school friends. I put on "Immigrant Song" and from that moment I became a fellow enthusiast. We saw them at Wembley  in 1971, and that remains one of my all time favourite concerts. While some of the bands first five albums are weaker than others in parts, they together constitute one of the greatest achievements of mankind. They were very exciting at the time, hugely influential and significant, and still stand up today as unique works of art. 
John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (RS) (MC) (CCC)  
George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (RS) (NM)  From the moment of its release until now this is an album that is probably talked about more than listened to. As a triple album it is rather long, and feels it. A lot of the creative work on the album done by other musicians, Eric Clapton in particular, was never properly acknowledged by Harrison - indeed, many of those "guesting"  didn't even get paid. It's a solid enough album with the sort of decent enough songs that you tend to ignore on the Beatles albums, plus a handful of stand out songs like "My Sweet Lord". I'm inclining to the thought that this is not a good album, and probably not Harrison's best work - I think that was done in The Travelling Wilburys, but it does loosely belong in that Dylanesque country-rock vibe that was popular at the time, and is quite good of its type. Probably needs to be listened to because it's such a monumental work. Probably the most respected solo Beatles album outside of Lennon's work. 

Fotheringay Fotheringay - Folk-rock singer Sandy Denny has a significant reputation. This is her own band, created after leaving Fairport Convention, and this is their only album. 
The Beatles Let It Be (RS) Full of nostalgia, this is a moving record of a band about to break up, playing songs they had written when younger, snatches of songs from their past, and recently written songs which evoke memories of the past, or hint at it subconsciously in the lyrics ("Get back to where you once belonged") - a raw and astonishing and sadly overlooked album.
Kris Kristofferson Kristofferson Great songwriter, and a fascinating man. One of the top modern country artists who crossed over into rock and popular music. 
Various Jesus Christ Superstar   
Various Woodstock  Woodstock is of cultural and historic significance in itself, but it also made some bands well known, and though the bands involved were diverse, on the whole they seemed to represent an ethos for the Woodstock generation, much as bands who emerged around 1977 represented an ethos for the Punk generation. This album was pretty much owned by every hippy in the early 70s. I've dropped a Creedence Clearwater Revival record for this. Clearly a good swap. 

Syd Barrett  - Barrett   Syd Barrett released two solo albums in 1970 - this is the second and better album. If I were to cut one it would be The Madcap Laughs which is less satisfactory than this one, though more well known. 
Stone The Crows - Stone The Crows    Sadly neglected. Damn fine band. Raw gutsy singing from Maggie Bell, great guitar work, and an interesting blend of soul and blues. The band had talent, were awesome live, got good reviews, but never got the sales they needed. 
Jimi Hendrix / Band of Gypsys - Band of Gypsys   Hendrix's last album, his only official live album, and the only official album recorded with musicians other than Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell of The Experience. This rocks!  
Joni Mitchell - Ladies of The Canyon   
Randy Newman  - 12 Songs   (RS)    (CCC) The first of the trilogy of albums that are considered Newman's finest (12 SongsSail AwayGood Old Boys). Which of the three are the best depends on individual point of view. After repeated listening I kinda like this one. Newman is a mildly humoroussardonic observer and commentator on life. Nothing special, but he does what he does well. His music and style moved away from this mildly folky approach to something more pop mainstream, and now he concentrates on film scores, writing songs for movies such as Toy Story
Funkadelic - Funkadelic  Debut album of Parliament-Funkadelic, one of the pioneering and influential funk acts of the Seventies, generally regarded as being in third place after James Brown and Sly Stone. A bit quirky, which is both positive and negative. The quirky humour gives a feel that the band are not taking themselves seriously, and often the humour/quirkiness doesn't work. Funkadelic are a fusion of rock and funk, and this album contains ideas and sounds that the band would go on to explore in the Seventies, but still has a feel and sound of Sixties psychedelic soul with a nod toward Hendrix. Prince took a lot of his ideas from this band, and most of them are right here. 
The Last Poets  -  The Last Poets    Black social poetry by several voices over music, a progenitor of hip hop, including swearing and an aggressive attitude. 
+  Amon Düül II  - Yeti  The second album by Krautrock band Amon Düül II is a double album - the first disc containing pre-thought out structured songs, and the second containing looser improvisations. The band's first few albums are widely considered their best, and these five are the most respected: Wolf CityTanz Der LemmingeYetiLive in LondonPhallus Dei, with no agreed consensus on the order they should be listed. 
Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You   UK organ led blues-rock and semi-prog band. Tight, moody and brooding. 
+  James Brown -  Sex Machine   (C4) (RD) Funky extended mixes. Sounds live, but most tracks were studio recorded and then treated to make them sound live. Powerful funk. 
+  The Rolling Stones -  Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!     A great example of the Stones live at their peak with Mick Taylor on guitar in his first big tour, and Ian Stewart on piano.  Some overdubbing was done at Olympic Studio, but the feel is very live. 
Popol Vuh -  Affenstunde  Electronic ambient music.  

XX Black Sabbath – Paranoid (RS) (C4) (NM) I may revisit this. 
XX The Doors – Morrison Hotel   This is a surprisingly dull album. It came as the band were trying to pull themselves back together after the flop of the expensive and over produced Soft Parade, and wanted to return to their roots. Critics at the time saw it as a return to form after several weak albums. It was good in comparison to stuff like The Soft Parade, but by itself it is weak - the songs are inadequate, apart from "Roadhouse Blues", there is a lack of effort and creativity - indeed, half the album is thrown together from tracks rejected from several earlier albums. The most that can be said for it, is that it prepared the way for LA Woman
XX The Carpenters – Close to You (RS) Very light-hearted and superficial treatments of often quite good songs - it can be painful to listen to at times as they murder "Reason To Believe" and "Help". Compare Rod Stewart's cover of "Reason" with The Carpenters' version. The Carpenters arrangements are often simplistic, plodding, and unrefined. They sound sweet and sugary and meaningless. I think part of the appeal is an undefined melancholy in Karen Carpenter's singing, but for me I just wish she would engage more fully and directly with each song.
XX Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (RS) (CCC) I understand that CCR were popular in America, but not so the rest of the world; though some songs did have chart success, the band themselves and their albums were not taken seriously. There have been various musicians who have been popular, like the Monkees, Bay City Rollers, etc, but I think there needs to have been some cultural significance beyond fleeting popularity to suggest that people who have not heard an album should make an effort to listen. CCR do not appear to be musically or aesthetically significant, and their cultural impact appears to have been limited in time and location, and I question their historical significance - but I will look into Swamp Rock. OK, I looked, and it seems that Swamp Rock consisted of mostly just CCR.
XX Ananda Shankar – Ananda Shankar An Indian sitar playing doing some dreadful covers of rock songs, and doing even worse original songs. This should be on a list of worse albums of all time.

XX Paul McCartney – McCartney (1970)    Contains what is possibly McCartney's best ever track, "Maybe I'm Amazed", but the rest of the album is the sort of embarrassing drivel that often ruined Beatles albums. Here he's clearly trying to be Lennon, and showing the gap between them. McCartney is much better playing to his own strengths of simple melody. 
XX Soft Machine – Third  [jz] Jazz fusion. Soft Machine are much respected for their uncompromising work on progressive jazz fusion, and this is their most popular album. A double album with a single instrumental composition on each side.  It lacks the adventure and creativity of their debut album, and by 1970 bands like Gong led by Soft Machine's original creator Daevid Allen had already overtaken Soft Machine in developing progressive jazz fusion. This is too serious, too jazz focused, and simply too boring. 
XX Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus   See The Psychedelic Years (1966-69) - a compilation album which contains "Fresh Garbage", the band's best song. 
XX Grateful Dead – American Beauty (RS) (NM)  American Beauty, along with  Workingman's Dead (1970) (RS) (CCC), are the studio albums most regarded as the band's best. The band, along with Dylan, The Byrds, and The Band, were at the forefront of country/folk-rock and Americana. The Dead added a twist of psychedelia as they came out of the West Coast scene, so in a sense can be considered The Band on acid (ha!). Anyway, these albums are more Americana than psychedelia, and neither are live so are not entirely representative. One of their live albums would be a better, choice, and I think Live/Dead does a decent job of capturing the band at their most representative and their best. There is much to like about other live albums, such as live in Europe '72, but Live/Dead is shorter and tighter, and only a Deadhead needs a triple live album of this simple good time music. 
XX Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley I like this period Rod Stewart: there's some decent songs here, Stewart is at his vocal best, and The Faces groove well, but the essential album is Every Picture, and as good as this is, it pales in comparison to that, and I'm not sure that by itself it justifies inclusion.....  The title track is very good, but the rest is not quite on the same level as Every Picture
XX Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills   Stills first solo album stuffed full of famous guest musicians including Clapton and Hendrix, and including the awesome "Love The One You're With", somehow  fails to have impact and gravitas. 
XX Nick Drake – Bryter Layter (RS)  



Fela Kuti - With Ginger Baker: Live!  
Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson   A quirky concept album (rock opera?) about lusting for someone. There is also a film to accompany the music. Consensus is that that this is Gainsbourg's best album. It's influence can be heard in bands like Pulp, with Jarvis Cocker's breathy vocalisations, spoken words, and fascination with lust. The atmospheric sounds can also be heard in Portishead. Melody Nelson is Jane Birkin
Joni Mitchell – Blue (RS) (MC) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (G50) 
The Who – Who’s Next (RS) (NM) (Q)  
Jethro Tull – Aqualung (RS) (NM)  
The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (RS)
David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name I think most of us overlooked this at the time, and it has taken the Pope to wake us up to just how good it actually is. 
Carole King – Tapestry (RS) (MC) (NM) (NME)   ***Exceptional album
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (RS) (CCC) (NM) (NME)
 (Q)  One of the greatest albums ever made.  ***Exceptional album
John Lennon – Imagine (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM) Beautiful and thoughtful album - the one everyone knew he was capable of making and hoped that one day he would. And then he did, bless him.  ***Exceptional album
The Doors – LA Woman (RS)  ***Exceptional album
Can – Tago Mago (MC)
Led Zeppelin – IV (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM)
 (Q)  Their best album.  ***Exceptional album
Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story (RS) (CCC) (C4) One of my all time favourite albums.  ***Exceptional album
T. Rex – Electric Warrior (RS) 
David Bowie – Hunky Dory (RS) (NME)
 (Q)   ***Exceptional album
Don McLean – American Pie The title song is something quite extraordinary, and essential listening - the rest of the album doesn't quite live up to that, but is pleasant enough, and there is the bonus of having Vincent on the album, a more than decent song. All in all, it's OK, and more than representative of the singer-songwriter tradition that was very popular around 1971, but this is low on the list, and will go if necessary. 
Yes – The Yes Album    
Mahavishnu Orchestra The Inner Mounting Flame    [JZ]  Though not my sort of music, this is a significant fusion band, and this is their most important and acclaimed album. 
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (RS) (MC) (C4) (NM) (G50) (NME) (Q)  

Hawkwind In Search Of Space Their second album, and their best. Hypnotic. Rocky. Jazzy. Electronic. Firmly in the trend coming from German which would become known as Krautrock - the band at this point used the bass guitarist from Amon Duul II. Hawkwind became more rock when Lemmy took over on bass. 
Lindisfarne Fog On The Tyne
The Strawbs From The Witchwood Progressive folk rock with the added touch of Rick Wakeman's keyboard madness before he joined Yes. A number of fans and some critics regard their following album Grave New World (1972) as their definitive album, but I feel Witchwood is the more interesting album as it remained successfully within the folk framework, while with Grave New World the band moved more into prog rock, for which there are more notable albums by other bands to listen to.

Laura Nyro - Gonna Take A Miracle  Simply beautiful. 
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention –  Fillmore East – June 1971   The inventiveness and musicianship on this album is extraordinary - it is Zappa and his band at their ultimate peak. The recorded concert is a music critic's normally favourite thing - a "concept", taking a story about a rock band and groupies as the linking concept, with the infamous Led Zeppelin mud shark incident as the central theme,  in a playful and exuberant exploration of various music styles, using in places some of Zappa's most musical pieces alongside music specially composed for the concert, utilising the very venue as part of the story. Rarely has a band been so inventive and fun - clearly enjoying themselves. This is Zappa at his most inventive and tongue-in-cheek, yet also most musical and appealing, so the whole is bright, inventive, fascinating, and enjoyable. This is not just the best Zappa album, but also one of the best albums of the early Seventies. Oddly, given the inventiveness of the album, that it is a concept album, indeed, a live concept album, that the band are musically tight throughout, and that the humour is the most effective of Zappa's career, this is not a critic's favourite.  
The Who –  Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy   A decent overview of The Who in the Sixties
Joy of Cooking - Joy of Cooking   Little known band who appeared at number 6 on the first Pazz & Jop poll. A mixed gender group led by two women, the band attractively, melodically, and skilfully blend rock, soul, country-rock and jazz in a laid back feminine manner. The swirling softness of the music is the main attraction, but is likely also the reason the band were not successful and remain unknown - they lack impact and gravitas. Quality music like this, however, should have been heard. It's odd how much decent music slips by us, and how much trash - fed by TV "talent" shows - sells in the millions. 
Focus -  Focus 3    Focus were more pop and classical orientated than most prog bands. Their top albums are acknowledged to be Waves, III, Hamburger and Rainbow (a live album). This double album captures them at their peak, and allows them space to develop longer pieces alongside the more pop-orientated short pieces. It was their most successful album, and contains their hit "Sylvia". 
Alice Cooper - Killer  Though the public bought School's Out  in their thousands because of the breakthrough hit of "School's Out", the album actually sucks. The two best Alice Cooper albums are Love It To Death and Killer. Both are good, though Killer is the more imaginative and developed album. It kicks off right from the start and doesn't let go. This is proper rawk, spirited, dirty, sexy, slightly naughty and dark, and very melodic. The band's best album. 
+ Pink Fairies  Never Never Land   Debut album of radical underground band which played free street concerts and impromptu free concerts in festival campsites. 
Earth, Wind & Fire – Earth, Wind & Fire   Debut album of big band R&B band , similar to Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears but with added funk and weirdness.  
+  Carla Bley & Paul Haines - Escalator Over the Hill   [jz]  Freeform jazz incorporating rock and other musical styles. This album is reflective of the musical spirit at the start of the Seventies when much fusion occurred.  
+  Popol Vuh -  In Den Garten Pharaos  
+  Curtis Mayfield - Curtis Live!    Double live album with material from the Curtis album, the Impressions period, plus some new songs. While it was poorly received by Jon Landau in 1971, modern retrospective reviewers Wilson & Alroy and Allmusic have been almost deliriously enthusiastic. While there are weaknesses, this is a great album, and an almost perfect summary of Mayfield's talents and his weaknesses. If getting only one Mayfield album, this is the one to get. 

XX Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus If there is to be an ELP album, then this is as good as any - it's just that the band were rather bad. They were fairly short-lived, and I'm not sure how influential they were, or how important in the realm of organ led progressive music. They were popular for a while. But I think this list could soon become crammed if every popular artist were included. If they are to be included, it would be on the basis of the gap between the critics who regarded them as pompous and superficial, and their popularity. But this in itself is not new. On that basis I should be including the Bay City Rollers.... Anyway, one to think about. OK, I've decided. I'm removing this in favour of The Nice's 1967 debut album. Everything that is here was already present on that album. 
XX Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love & Hate    
XX The Faces – A Nod is as Good as a Wink… To a Blind Horse    
XX Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Pictures at an Exhibition   I think this may be the ELP album I like the most, but as only one album by ELP is needed, and this album doesn't contain any original material, just their thudding arrangement of Mussorgsky's composition, this is not the one to choose.
XX Elton John – Madman Across the Water (See Greatest Hits 1974)
XX Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head This is dreary rawk. This is pretty much where The Stones would end up, but at this point, anyone listening to this after Sticky Fingers, knows that the Stones simply existed on a different level entirely - yet the liner notes to the 1999 CD release says that this is the better album. Cough, cough, splutter.....

XX Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors (RS)   See Ultimate Dolly Parton  (2003)
XX Yes – Fragile  A transitional album for Yes containing elements of both The Yes Album and their major prog rock album Close To The Edge
XX Bee Gees – Trafalgar  It's an odd, quirky album. Not always successful, but usually interesting. Baroque pop more than psychedelic, and not the early progressive rock album it is sometimes slated as being.  I'm not entirely sure it belongs on this list, but not entirely sure it doesn't either. When I reviewed it for my blog piece: The Bee Gees, I was quite dismissive. But on listening again, I am unsure.... OK, rejected. 
XX John Prine – John Prine (RS) (CCC)  Country folk. Think of some of Dylan's early throwaway humorous folk songs - not his good stuff, but the stuff that barely worked. Well, that;s what this sounds like. I can see why some like it, but it's small stuff, and it sounds very dated today. 
XX The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up   There has always been a sense about this album that it should be good, but on the whole it doesn't quite work. Holland is the better studio album, but the real killer Seventies Beach Boys album is the 1973 In Concert
XX Gene Clark – White Light   A rather indifferent country-folk album by the former member of the Byrds. Critics seem to like it, but nobody else does.  
XX Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson   There's a profound lack of authenticity about this middle of the road album of random songs. If Nilsson stopped for a moment to write (and sing) something serious (and seriously) there might be a chance he would would have a legacy, but the two most famous songs on this are the cringey Brill Building "Without You", and the throwaway "Coconut".  The most famous thing he did was the cover of "Everybody's Talkin'", though when you hear the original by Fred Neil, you can see why the best Nilsson can hope for is to be a footnote to Fred Neil's story. 
XX Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On (RS) (CCC)  This is an interesting album, and contains some involved and pretty compelling grooves, and is worth spending some time with, but Stand! (1969) is the truly mind blowing album. 
XX Isaac Hayes – Shaft: Music from the Soundtrack     The title track is awesome, and had a huge impact. Not sure about the rest of the album... 
XX Janis Joplin – Pearl (RS) This is Joplin's best studio album, but is patchy and incomplete. The best overall album of her work is 1973's Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits (CCC)
XX Funkadelic (Parliament-Funkadelic) – Maggot Brain (RS) Largely acclaimed because of the guitar work on the title track. It's not particularly great guitar work compared to that by Hendrix and Clapton, and listeners will either like it or not, but it's not original nor significant. Funkadelic's debut album is more interesting. 


Hawkwind – Space Ritual Captures wonderfully the edgy chaos and richness of a Hawkwind gig at their height. This epitomises the early Seventies underground scene - you can almost smell the patchouli and dope. Is it a great album? No. Is it a fascinating record of that period? Yes. 
Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (RS) (CCC) 
Roxy Music – Roxy Music     
Lou Reed – Transformer (RS) (C4) (NME) (Q)  ***Exceptional album
David Bowie – Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (RW) (MC) (C4) (NM) (G50) (NME)
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (NME) (Q)  ***Exceptional album
Yes – Close to the Edge    
Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill (RS) (CCC)  Gosh this is such a great album. Breath of fresh air. 
Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything (RS)
War – World is a Ghetto (RS)  
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together  
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly (RS) (C4) (NM) 
The Temptations / Norman Whitfield – All Directions    Norman Whitfield is one of the major writers and producers of the Sixties and Seventies. This album contains some of his most famous pieces, such as "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (which the band really didn't want to record), but the album is rather patchy - it's difficult to know which is the better album, this or the follow up Masterpiece. Temptations fans prefer this one as there is more singing than on Masterpiece, which is more about Whitfield and the Funk Brothers than about the vocalists. What I'd like to have is a decent compilation album of Whitfield's best work - such as the 1976 albumThe Songs of Norman Whitfield.  
Paul Simon – Paul Simon (CCC)  Simon's first solo after he and Garfunkel split up. An assured and excellent album that firmly sets Simon on the road to Graceland, and contains some bloody good songs. Yes, it's patchy, and yes it's a disappointment after Simon & Garfunkel, but it's a solid album, and to be fair, there aren't many albums this good. 
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic    [jz]  Hmmm. Jazzy and progressive and quirky and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's always kinda interesting....
Milton Nascimento & Lo Borges – Clube da Esquina   [jz & Borges' album influenced a music movement in Brazil, named after the album:  Clube da Esquina. It is highly regarded in Brazil, and appreciated by those outside of Brazil who hear it. 
Nick Drake – Pink Moon (RS)  
David Bowie – Aladdin Sane (RS)  
Neil Young – Harvest (RS) (NM) 
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Catch a Fire (RS) (CCC) (G50)    Reggae

The O'Jays - Back Stabbers (RS)   Philadelphia soul 
Various The Harder They Come (RS) (CCC)
Various Glastonbury Fayre  Early Seventies "underground" music; and - although some of the music was not from the festival, this essentially is a record of the start of the most iconic and successful music festival outside of America (and some may argue, that it is simply the best music festival in the world, period). 
Gary Glitter Glitter One of the leading figures of the tongue-in-cheek glam-rock period in British music history during the early Seventies; his stomping beats, retro rock n roll and bubblegum sound, combined with his camp and flashy image, pretty much defined glam-rock. Never quite taken seriously by the music press, nor by himself, he was, nevertheless, for a period, one of the most successful and popular British musical figures - the convictions for paedophilia related activities stunned the British public and turned him overnight from one of the best-loved entertainers in British music history, to one of the most widely hated and condemned.
Various Nuggets (MC) A useful and intelligent summary of the best of the early unsuccessful psychedelic bands of the Sixties
Man/Brinsley Schwartz/Hawkwind Greasy Truckers Party Captures the social and musical ambiance of the underground music scene in the early 1970s perfectly. The 22 minutes of Spunk Rock by Man on side one is an extraordinary piece of music, and by itself justifies inclusion, but the album also has tracks by the influential yet sadly ignored Brinsley Schwarz (Wonder WomanMidnight Train) (think Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Graham Parker, etc) and two of the three best Hawkwind tracks ever recorded, "Master of the Universe", and "Born to Go" - the third track was also recorded during this concert, but released separately as a single - "Silver Machine"
Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent, and The East Street Shuffle (RS) Springsteen's second album, and the one where he really got it all today. Probably his second best album after Born To Run.
Beaver & Krause All Good Men Early promoters of electronic music and the Moog synthesiser. I had this album and found it fascinating - well constructed and very forward looking. Sadly overlooked then as well as now. There is very little information on them available on the internet. This album sells for around £2.50, even signed copies in mint condition hold little value. Sigh.

Steve Miller Band Anthology  Miller came out of the same psychedelic milieu as the Grateful Dead, but was more focused on the Blues, was tighter, more disciplined, and Miller wrote better songs. From the late 70s onward his work became simpler, more rock and pop, leaving behind the psychedelic Blues of his classic period, and he achieved his greatest commercial success with albums like  Fly Like an Eagle (1976) (RS), but his best work was all done earlier. Anthology is a useful summary of his best work.  Number 5 (1970)  is possibly his most complete and satisfying album, though doesn't contain any of his most popular or acclaimed songs. 
Stevie Wonder  - Music Of My Mind  (RS) 
 Neu! – Neu!  Early Krautrock.  
Amon Düül II - Wolf City   Possibly my favourite  album by early and influential Krautrock band.      
George Gerdes - Son Of Obituary    This album has dropped out of existence, and has never been released on CD, though vinyl copies in mint condition (often unsold) can be picked up cheaply.  Gerdes made two albums, the first, called Obituary, is supposedly a homage to a functional singer-songwriter. Son Of Obituary is the follow up, recorded using the same musicians that appeared on Blonde On Blonde. Quirky and appealing and unusual songs well played. Sometimes good stuff simply doesn't catch on.... There are only a handful of songs from the album available on the internet. To hear the full album you need to buy the original vinyl album. 
Wendy/Walter Carlos - Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange   Wendy Carlos (under her then name of Walter Carlos) created music for Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange film. Kubrick did not use all of the music, so the official soundtrack does not contain some of Carlos' more interesting compositions, such as the 14 minute "Timesteps". An album was released of the original music under the title Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange. The title was changed when Walter became Wendy to A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carlos's Complete Original Score

XX Big Star – # 1 Record (RS)  A short-lived unsuccessful American early Seventies "power pop" band that became a critics favourite in the Eighties. I have read about them many times, and might have listened to this album when there was such a buzz about them in the Eighties, but never really got to grips with them or why they became such a cult for a while. Even remastered the production is so poor it sounds very thin, echoey and amateurish, which doesn't encourage respectful listening. There is an early REM sound here, which is interesting, but other than that this is a weak album - the songs are indifferent and derivative (mostly of the Beatles), and the playing is mediocre washed out Rolling Stones.
XX Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Long-lived country rock band. 
XX Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd (RS) (CCC) (NM) I'm not seeing anything particularly interesting in this thumping mediocre stuff. The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers cover this territory so much better.  (See Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))
XX T. Rex – The Slider I was a T. Rex fan, but I found this to be very weak after Electric Warrior, and it hasn't improved with age.
XX Deep Purple – Made in Japan Tedious for all but lovers of hard rock. (See Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))
XX Slade – Slayed? Seriously? The band were great fun and made some popular singles, but they were not an albums band. This contains a few of the singles and then a lot of tedious tub-thumping filler. (See Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))
XX Black Sabbath – Vol 4 One album by Black Sabbath is enough to get the idea.
XX Deep Purple – Machine Head   Early Metal / Hard Rock (See Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))

XX Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock  Un-fucking-believable that anyone should put this into a must listen list, even as a joke. It's dreary lift Muzak, and Seventies blacksploitation film music played on bongos by a paid-by-the-minute session band who clearly couldn't give a monkey's. Grief! 

XX Alice Cooper – School’s Out   The single is great, and was the breakthrough hit for the band, but the album is very weak. Other than the title track the band never played any of the songs live, nor have they appeared on any greatest hits album. People bought it because of the single. This is not the Alice album to listen to. 
XX Eagles – Eagles (RS)  You can hear the sound that they would use so effectively on Desperado, but while the songs are pleasant enough, they are not quite of Desperado's level of focus and delicate depth. 
XX Stephen Stills – Manassas    Double album of indifferent American country rock. At times there are echoes and hints of some of Still's better works, but not enough to make this album stand out.
XX David Ackles – American Gothic   Randy Newman meets Kurt Weill and they write boring songs. This album is more famous for the overpraising and hype by Electra and Los Angles Free Press reviewer Chris Van Ness than it is for any aesthetic qualities. Van Ness compared it (absurdly) to Sgt. Pepper's, and Electra sent the review to the press with review copies, and the critics toed the line. But the public didn't buy it, and still don't. 
XX Hugh Masekela – Home is Where the Music Is   Easy listening jazz with African influences. Attractive but lacking in depth. 
XX Tim Buckley – Greetings from LA   This is my favourite Buckley album, and if I was going to include one, it would be this. But, pleasant though it is, it's derivative and unremarkable, and it would be more appropriate to go to his influences, some of whom, like Fred Neil, are not just better than Buckley, but not as well known.  
XX Randy Newman – Sail Away (RS)   One album by Newman is sufficient. I've chosen 12 Songs (1970) 


Paul McCartney – Band on the Run  (RS) (NM)  It's a good album. The best album McCartney made as a solo artist, and among the best music he made. It's light years ahead of the usual drivel he recorded, and that may be due to the circumstances of its recording, in which as his band, Wings, were about to fly off to Nigeria to record, most of them quit, partly due to the lack of respect McCartney's music was getting, leaving McCartney to play most of the instruments himself, including lead guitars and drums. He has said he recorded it in a fit of anger and an attitude of "I'll show them". Some of that strength and anger comes through in blistering performances. It is a strong, determined album, with an unadorned rootsy feel, playing to McCartney's strength of simple straight melody, mixing attractive twee pieces such as "Bluebird" with ballsy numbers such as "Jet". This would be the last decent music McCartney would ever make. 
Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, a True Star A breathtaking album, combing various forms of music in one long superbly engineered and delightful melody. Often playful, always inventive, critics were unsure how to take the collage of styles which often seemed to move too fast for them to catch up.  ***Exceptional album
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (RS) (C4) (NM) (G50)
 (Q)   ***Exceptional album
Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets (RS) ***Exceptional album
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells      **
*Exceptional album
John Cale – Paris 1919   
The Isley Brothers – 3 + 3   Classic RnB and soul by a sadly neglected band. 
John Martyn – Solid Air   
Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters (G50)   [JZ]  Jazz fusion - this is actually more about funk and groove than jazz, but there is enough jazz present to class it as a fusion. Quite funky, and while being very much of its time, it does tend to look ahead to how interest in jazz modes would shift into first funk and then hip hop and acid house. 
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions (RS) (MC) (CCC) 
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get it On (RS) (NM) 
Can  – Future Days    Early ambient music in Krautrock format. 
Lou Reed  – Berlin (RS)  

The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys In Concert  Musically at their best with Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar in the band as the rhythm section giving them a muscular sound, the band go through their greatest songs in a more unified and atmospheric manner than any greatest hits package. And this is a great compilation of their songs, covering their full range from the Sixties and the Seventies.  

The Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle (MC)  Groundsetter for dub and consequently all forms of rapping. Hugely influential especially on  hip-hop.
John Denver Greatest Hits Very popular country music singer-songwriter who introduced pleasant pop melodies to the country vibe - not always liked or accepted by Nashville because of his pop sensibilities. Used to replace Merle Haggard
Hall & Oates Abandoned Luncheonette   
Gong Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1 Flying Teapot  [jz] While I had (have) a personal preference for Camembert Electrique, the Flying Teapot album is more important as it was the one that not only introduced Gong to a wider public, but also launched Virgin Records 
Faust The Faust Tapes  (extract only) This was the record that everyone had in 1973 - Virgin were selling it for 49p, and it was utterly fascinating. This was for most people their first encounter with krautrock.  ***Exceptional album
Eagles - Desperados  ***Exceptional album
Maria Muldaur - Maria Muldaur   For a little while Maria Muldaur had the attention of the Western world with her laid back easy listening and highly popular rootsy blues and folk. Either this, her debut solo album, which contained her big hit "Midnight At The Oasis", or the follow up album Waitress In The Donut Shop, which is a more complete and varied album, but perhaps tries too hard, would be worth listening to. The music captures the mood of the times very evocatively. 
+  Willie Nelson  - Shotgun Willie  Nelson had been a country singer and songwriter since the 1950s with moderate success. After the critical and commercial failure of his 1971 religious concept album Yesterday's Wine, he retired to Austin, Texas, where - surrounded by liberal hippies and rock music - he became energised and recorded Shotgun Willie. Merging country rock with country music to produce a robust and melodic album full of ideas and energy, this marks the start of Nelson's most important period during which he would record the marriage break up concept album Phrases and Stages (1974) followed by  Red Haired Stranger  (1975) which eventually gained him mainstream critical attention, and Stardust (1978) which gained him mainstream public attention. But this album beats all of those together, and reflects the important yet largely ignored influence of Kris Kristofferson. 
The Temptations / Norman Whitfield – Masterpiece 
Genesis –  Live  The band built their reputation through their live theatrical performances. This was the only contemporary record of the band live with the original members. It contains most of the significant material from the first albums, the albums which built and developed their ideas and their reputation, and which are their most creative and original. And, apart from all that, It is a great live album. After this the band released the two albums which are always listed at the top of best Genesis albums lists, and then Gabriel left. 
Tom Waits - Closing Time  ***Exceptional album
Little Feat Dixie Chicken     Country rock incorporating Southern rock and swamp rock.  
Clannad Clannad  Debut album of the Irish folk-rock band.  
Janis Joplin – Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits (CCC)   Pearl (1971) is Joplin's best studio album, but is patchy and incomplete. This compilation album is overall the best summary of her work. It may leave off a few decent songs, but it has all the main ones, and leaves out the weak songs that spoil her main album releases.  
Big Youth – Screaming Target    Deejaying or toasting is an early form of rapping. Jamaican disc jockeys would chant and rap over instrumental versions of popular songs. Big Youth is considered important int the development of toasting. I'm doubtful about keeping this. 
Kool & the Gang - Wild and Peaceful  Jazz fuelled funk. Contains "Funky Stuff". Later, in the Eighties they got into smooth soul and had success with commercial material such as "Ladies Night" which contains faint memories of their jazz/funk roots, but it's this early Seventies period in which they did their most significant work. 
Kevin Coyne - Marjory Razorblade  Blues influenced singer-songwriter with his own idiosyncratic approach. 
David Bowie - Pin Ups    Released at the same time as Brian Ferry's These Foolish Things, this was Bowie's homage to the music that influenced him, and this blast through early British RnB was both a lesson and an inspiration for a generation too young to have known the originals. The notion of an established song-writing artist doing an album consisting entirely of covers seemed audacious at the time, and has been much imitated since, so it now seems commonplace, though Laura Nyro had done the same thing two years earlier with Gonna Take A Miracle.  
+ Brian Ferry - These Foolish Things   
+  James Brown - The Payback   

XX ZZ Top – Tres Hombres (RS) This is a musically limited album, largely following in the footsteps of Canned Heat. ZZ Top became very popular in the 80s, and their singles were a bit of fun as the band didn't take themselves seriously during their glory days, so consideration could be given to listing one of their albums, but if so it would be Eliminatortheir most popular album, containing nearly all their hits, not this album, their third, which got a lukewarm reception at the time, but which is seen in retrospect as important as it contained their first, albeit modest, hit La Grange
XX Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (RS) (C4) (NM) (See Greatest Hits 1974) 
XX Faust – IV  People did listen to this, but not as many as listened to The Faust Tapes, and its sales were not comparable. The Faust Tapes was the breakthrough album for krautrock, and is astonishing even today. 

XX Iggy & the Stooges – Raw Power (RS) (G50) (Q)   The best known and best marketed of The Stooges three albums, but the least successful and least interesting. All that matters is contained in the first two albums. There are two mixes, Bowie's original, and Iggy's re-mix. Both have their flaws. 
XX Steely Dan – Countdown to Ecstasy (CCC) You have to be a Steely Dan fan to really like this album. There is a lack of ideas in the song-writing, and the performances and production sound hurried and either indifferent or unsure. 
XX Mott the Hoople – Mott (RS)  The band did a couple of half-decent Bowie type songs, but couldn't really stretch to a full album. 
XX Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes    "Outlaw" Country  Mostly plodding maudlin stuff without the touch or quality of Nelson, Kristofferson or Cash, the major outlaws. 
XX Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Next   Entertaining live act, but even the band's followers didn't regard the band as anything other than a simple good time act. They lacked originality, particularly impressive musicianship, and good songs.  They were always a somewhat lower division band. 
XX Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information   Psychedelic soul and trippy RnB that had no impact at the time, but has since been championed by David Byrne. Worthy, but doesn't quite transcend for me. 
XX Genesis – Lamb Lies Down on Broadway     Dropped in favour of Live (1973) 
XX Genesis – Selling England by the Pound    Dropped in favour of Live (1973)
XX Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure (RS)  This is a good album, but it doesn't develop on from the debut, and is essentially weaker in many ways. The essential Roxy album is the first one.
XX Bad Company – Bad Company  (see Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))
XX New York Dolls – New York Dolls (RS) (MC) (CCC)  Mock rock. It's crude, lacking in authenticity and talent. Sigh. 


Tangerine Dream – Phaedra   
Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic (RS) (CCC)  Not as astonishing as the debut, and if there is a need to cut back albums, then this is the Dan one to go, but still a beautiful and assured album. Sophisti-pop ahead of its time. 

Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (RS) (CCC)   ***Exceptional album
Kraftwerk – Autobahn   Electronic music. Their earlier work also contained repetitive rhythms and sounds created by electronic instruments, though was more diverse (and interesting), such as their debut 1970 album, Kraftwerk. This album, however, generated a wide appeal, possibly because of the greater focus on simple rhythms and repetitive noises, and the neat commercial trick of presenting such sounds as a representation of modern living in the form of a road trip.  Though their earlier work is more interesting, it is from Autobahn onwards that Kraftwerk become popular, and influential. This is the album that started that commercial success, and is worth hearing for the roots of what would influence Bowie and Eighties synth-pop. 
10cc – Sheet Music   Very polished and clever pop music. Opinions are divided on which is their best album, though this was highly acclaimed by critics at the time, and is regarded by the band as their best and their favourite so is appropriate. My personal favourite album of theirs is How Dare You, from 1976.
Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom    

Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now (CCC)  
Richard & Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (RS) Folk rock by Fairport's main man. It's OK, but I'm not really seeing the significance or additional beauty over Fairport. OK, I'm keeping this around for a while longer. 
Sparks – Kimono My House   The best known of the keyboard focused pop groups of the early Seventies such as Sailor, they had a big hit with "This Town..." from this album, and this album is widely regarded as their best.  "This Town" is an awesome track, and while the best songs echo that song, they never quite manage to equal it so there is a sense of a let down on initial listenings, however repeated listenings do reveal a lot of charm and intelligence.  

Millie Jackson - Caught Up   Smooth deep soul moving into quiet soul and a precursor for modern R&B. Breathless and engaging. The album's theme is a extra-marital affair as seen from the viewpoint of the two women caught up in it. How did this get overlooked? 
Elton John Greatest Hits I have written in depth about Elton John for this blog, with comments on each of his albums. I think people will have their own favourites among his albums, and I can understand why there would be a range of albums on any list. Generally most critics have tended to favour Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) as his best album; my own favourite is Tumbleweed Connection (1970). For the purpose of this list I have selected Greatest Hits as it covers all the songs that made him famous, and which have a resonance. "Your Song" is the song which made his name, and is - for me - his finest achievement, but it appears on his almost unknown second album. It seems a shame to have to select that album just because of that one song, and it seems a shame to include any other of his albums which does not have the song that made his name, and without which we may not now know him. 
Various June 1, 1974  Kevin Ayres, Eno, John Cale & Nico - c'mon!  
Marcia Griffiths - Sweet & Nice    Think you know reggae? Think again.....
Bob Dylan/The BandBefore the Flood (CCC)  
Average White Band AWB This album and  Cut the Cake (1975) are supremely well made funky examples of soul regardless of who made them, but everyone who heard the albums  found themselves taken aback that AWB were an all white band from Scotland. 
David Bowie -  Diamond Dogs   Imaginative and compelling, with some great rock music blended with soul in a 1984 themed bleak sci-fi fantasy which  confused and alienated critics at the time, and has never recovered.  A great thumping technicolour cinemascope album which merges musical and lyrical ideas and sounds from ZiggyAladdin SanePin Ups and Young Americans into one exhilarating breathless whole. 
Barry White Can't Get Enough Blends Issac Hayes and Al Green in a smooth and rich style that made the world swoon and sway. Unique, instantly recognisable, enjoyable, and very popular. Smooth soul to melt the heart.
Cluster -  Zuckerzeit   
Raspberries - Starting Over     Rather too much like their influences  - The Beatles, Beach Boys, the Faces, the Who, etc, but a significant example of the Seventies development of the under-rated genre of power-pop, incorporating pop melodies with rock riffs and drumming.  

Big Star –  Radio City (CCC) (RS)  Unsure, but whacking it in for now. Poppy Beatlesque power pop. 
The Residents – Meet The Residents The debut album of a quirky and interesting band who are playful, and push the envelope of our understanding of music. The band made a lot of albums, pretty much on the same ideas, so any any album would be representative, and this is generally regarded as their most significant, and sets up everything that will come. It all stems from this debut. 

XX Queen – II   
Robert Christgau's assessment of "wimpoid royaloid heavyoid android void" sums it up.
XX George Jones – Grand Tour Maudlin country singer. 
XX Supertramp – Crime of the Century See Breakfast in America (1979) Supertramp were popular, but not important or essential, so if there is something better I will drop Supertramp from the list - and if I am to keep something by the band, then Breakfast in America is more fitting, as that is their best known and best selling album, and the only real reason to include Supertramp would be because they are big sellers. 

XX Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (RS) (CCC) These are the sort of songs that have always put me off listening to Newman. His sarcastic, nasal, dreary voice grates on me, the music is over-orchestrated muzak, and the lyrics are mostly small minded and nasty - in this case it's very small town about an area of America that means more to Americans than it does to the rest of the world, and despite what I hear critics say, I can't see anything interesting or revelatory that I can relate to or find interesting. "Rednecks" is simply an unpleasant sneary song by a geek - it tells us nothing about anybody: saying "you're dumb and you're racist" is not clever, poetic, or helpful, that's simply trading insults over the fence, and not providing any understanding. 
XX Gene Clark – No Other   More country-folk-pap with sub-Dylan/Band songs. The Basement Tapes covers this sort of material so much better. 
XX Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel (RS) (CCC)  Maudlin, uninspired Country. 
XX Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America   Jazz poet with a soulful touch. Kinda worthy, but dull, and lacking the profound touch that such music needs. 
XX Stevie Wonder – Fullfillingness’ First Finale (CCC)  
XX Brian Eno – Another Green World (RS) (CCC) 
XX Queen – Sheer Heart Attack (MC)  
XX Roxy Music – Country Life (RS) 
XX Joni Mitchell – Court & Spark (RS) (CCC)  This feels similar in tone and style to Ladies Of The Canyon (1970) 
XX Bob Marley & the Wailers  – Natty Dread (RS)  
XX Neil Young – On the Beach  This is rather loose, sparse, and difficult to like at first. It's the title track "On The Beach" that offers a way in, being an attractive bluesy piece with echoes of early Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison ("TB Sheets"), though not quite matching either. It's a rocky album, and is not really in Young's style.  



Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (Q)  ***Exceptional album
Patti Smith – Horses (RS) (MC) (CCC) (C4) (G50) (NME) One of the greatest albums ever made. Transcends music genres - this is simply a great piece of art. One of the high marks of human achievement.  ***Exceptional album
David Bowie – Young Americans (NME)   Awesome album. The title song is Bowie's hip soul version of "A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall" - a series of oblique, poetic sound bites. The lyrics suggesting something about the state of America in the Seventies, but never quite pinning anything down, so the imagination is free to be inspired. The music is smooth, beautiful, catchy, and exquisitely produced. Bowie's voice is breathy with soul, reaching places a white boy shouldn't be able to go, building in intensity and passion - and the point where he delivers 
"Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?" in a reference to Johnny Ray gives me goosebumps every time. 
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (RS) (MC) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (Q)  ***Exceptional album Springsteen had been working since the late Sixties with modest success, gradually honing his approach. His first album under his own name Greetings... (1973)  had been undisciplined, with an incomprehensible torrent of words. and leaned too much on his Dylan and Morrison influences. His second, The Wild... (1973) was more lyrically focused, introducing his theme of working class teenagers living in despair and hope in New Jersey, and with a more complex and melodic sound bringing in elements of rock and soul. The songs are romantic, huge, emotional, yearning, beautiful, poetic, but the album leaned too much on balladry to gain commercial attention. "Rosalita" is the stand out track, and shows the direction Springsteen was going. While containing the same theme and romantic approach of the other songs, "Rosalita" also has boundless energy. That combination of romance and energy would work wonders on Born To Run, and deservedly propelled Springsteen into global stardom. The title track starts energetic and never lets up, indeed it builds, seems to pause, then relaunches. It has a huge sound, cinematic, wall to wall, in glorious technicolor with Spector's wall of sound approach to production - no square inch of sound is left unfilled. Breathless, romantic, exciting, this is intelligent lyric writing and knowledgeable music making - totally committed and authentic.
Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic (RS) (NM) Why listen to this? Aerosmith are one of the most popular pop-rock bands. They had two popular periods - during the mid 70s, and again in the 90s. Their poppy melodic sub-Rolling Stones tunes (dirty in the 70s, polished in the 90s) combined with a strong repetitive beat and occasional flourishes (guitar, vocals, or drums) appealed to a wide audience, as well as gaining them some positive critic attention. This album is their most popular and is widely seen as their best. I find their music on the whole lacks ideas, and simply covers ground pioneered by the Rolling Stones and other bands without adding anything new, but occasionally they do produce something I find enjoyable such as the fun "Love In An Elevator" with all its rock cliches done in a bold tongue-in-cheek slightly excessive manner like Spinal Tap, and the fun collaboration with Run DMC, "Walk This Way" (1986)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (RS) (NM) (Q)  
Keith Jarrett – Köln Concert   [JZ]  Best selling live album of solo jazz piano. Improvised piano music with a moody jazz and soft classical music feel. 
Joni Mitchell – [jz The Hissing of Summer Lawns  Accepting this for now - this may be temporary.....

Elvis Presley - The Sun Collection / The Sun Sessions (RS) (CCC) (C4) The original Sun sessions in which Elvis and the Sun musicians successfully copied the black R&B sounds they'd been hearing, but with a country swing, so creating a rockabilly style that was accessible to white folks. I may move this to the 1950s. 

John Lennon Rock 'n' Roll    
Grover Washington Jr. - Mister Magic   [jz]  A pioneer of smooth jazz. This is a beautiful album. 
Dr. Feelgood - Down By The Jetty    
Bob Dylan and the Band - The Basement Tapes (RS)  
Ash Ra Tempel / Manuel Göttsching - Inventions for Electric Guitar  KrautRock / Ambient / proto-Techno. Also worth listening to E2-E4 (1982) and Ash Ra Tempel (1971).  Stunning, eh? 
Paul Simon - Still Crazy After All These Years (G50)  
+ Brian Eno Discreet Music (G50)    Ambient music takes form here.  And, that aside, this is stunningly beautiful music, imaginatively, intelligently and creatively developed.  
Gavin Bryars  - The Sinking Of The Titanic / Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet   The first release on Brian Eno's Obscure Records label. Bryars is the creator of the Portsmouth Sinfonia and an experimental composer. These two pieces are sound compositions - the Titanic is based on the idea of what the  the Titanic orchestra would sound like as they sank beneath the waves. Resonant and ambient and unique, these are extraordinary recordings. 

XX Dion – Born to Be With You   
XX Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (RS) 
XX The Dictators – Go Girl Crazy! The joke (if there is one) wears out very quickly. The band has very limited talent. 
XX Emmylou Harris – Pieces of the Sky  She has been awarded the Polar Music Prize, which is not to be sneezed at, so I need to pay close attention, but she is to my ear just another yodelling country singer, and country music is a cultural, musical, and intellectual dead end. Certain musicians, like Cash, can imbue it with character and purpose, but musicians like Cash walk a line between rock and country anyway. This album is pure sweet middle of the road country, with no edge or meaning to it anywhere. And her maudlin voice, regardless of how well she can harmonize with others, is empty and slightly irritating. 
XX Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers [or Damn the Torpedoes (RS)] Rather pedestrian country rawk. Apparently they appeal to white, working class males in heartland America. The peak for this "
heartland rock" was the Eighties. 

XX Rahul Dev Burman – Shalimar  Bollywood music. 
XX Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger (RS) (NM)   Simplistic and old fashioned country-folk song-cycle broken into short chunks: a cliched tale of a cheated husband killing his wife. There's no depth to it, but it proved to be very popular and turned Nelson into a superstar. For the best Nelson see Shotgun Willie (1973)
XX Queen – A Night at the Opera (RS) (C4) (NM)  I've always had a bit of a problem with Queen. I've seen them as playful rock-pop with no authenticity or seriousness. A bit like Bat Out Of Hell, or even the Baron Knights. That's not to say that I don't like some of their songs - but I take Queen the same way I take Sweet - just throwaway middle-of-the-road commercial rock-pop. Entertaining enough now and again in small doses, but it's hard to take an album load, especially when it's wrapped up in prog-rock and heavy-metal clichés. So I particularly struggle with this. But this is their most popular album, liked by fans, critics, and the buying public, so if there is going to be a Queen album on the list, this needs to be it. What I have to wrestle with is the concept of having such a pretentious, overblown load of commercial twaddle on the list.  See Greatest Hits (1981) 
XX Earth, Wind & Fire – That’s the Way of the World (RS) (NM)   This is very smooth and commercial. I prefer the funk of their debut. 
XX Neil Young – Tonight's The Night (RS) (CCC)   
XX Neu! – ‘75   Minor Krautrock.  Try Neu! (1972) - similar sound, but done earlier, and in a more organic way. 
XX Tom Waits -   Nighthawks At The Diner   This feels so false and strained. There's an attempt to create a jazz nightclub, but it falls flat. It's like a plastic flower. If there was an intention to be ironic, that might make sense, but the intention was genuinely to make this studio album sound like a jazz night club - the producer even got in a stripper to get the invited audience in the right mood. Gee. And the songs are not strong, and Waits is straining his voice unnaturally. Every now and again there's a moment that is suggestive of what he can do, and a memory of the tunes and verses of his debut album float in, but all too quickly float out, and we have the artifice again. A sad failure. 
XX Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey   This is considered relevant in reggae history for the development of roots reggae, which is a focus on various Rastafari themes, particularly political. However, Niney the Observer and Yabby You  are more significant for the early development with songs such as "Blood & Fire" (1970) and "Conquering Lion" (1972), and Bob Marley more important for the popularising of the genre.
XX Curtis Mayfield – There’s No Place Like America Today    



Elvis Costello – My Aim is True (RS)  ***Exceptional album
Wire – Pink Flag (RS) (CCC) UK band considered significant in the development of art punk and post punk. Gosh I'm recognising lots of BritPop sounds here, including Elastica's "Connection" which contains a similar sound structure as "Three Girl Rhumba". 
Jorge Ben -  África Brasil  Attractive blend of samba soul and funk with modern Western pop and rock styles. Some people prefer the earlier  works Gil e Jorge  (1975), or A Tábua De Esmeralda (1974), and I can see why, but they are mainly limited to Brazilian samba alone, and do not fly away as Africa Brasil does. 
Brian Eno – Before & After Science    
Ramones – Ramones (RS) (MC) (CCC) (G50) 
David Bowie – Station to Station (RW) (NME) 
Fela Kuti – Zombie  [jz]  Afrobeat  The Kuti album that had the greatest social and political impact.  
David Bowie – Low (RS) (MC) (NME) (Q)  Electronic.  Not sure, but keep for now. 

Graham Parker and the Rumour Howlin' Wind (CCC) Howlin' Wind is Parker's debut album, and demonstrates his early soul feel, and a style that had much in common with early Elvis Costello as they shared influences, producer, and even some backing musicians. Squeezing Out Sparks (RS) is widely regarded as his best album, and at this point he was moving in a more rocky and stripped back direction. It's all a matter of individual taste I suppose which album you'll prefer. I prefer Howlin' Wind, and as that is also the debut album that put him in front of the critics and started his career, that is the one I have select as the one to listen to.
Augustus Pablo and King Tubby King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown (G50)  
Glen Campbell - The Very Best of Glen Campbell   Successful country-pop singer. Placed here as he died today, and I was surprised by the extent of the news coverage and Facebook comments. His period was the Sixties and Seventies. Maudlin songs - quite empty, but very popular, and he appears to have been warmly liked - though not hugely loved or respected. This 1987 CD replaces an almost identical vinyl LP released in 1976, so I am placing it in 1976 as this is more his time anyway. 
Bob Dylan - Desire (RS) Perhaps not one of the top five great Dylan albums, but contains some of his more direct, personal, and also puzzling songs. Full of life and energy. 
+  Patti Smith Group - Easter  possible.  This is not as brilliant an album as Horses, nor is it Horse II, nor is a development on from Horses, and therein lies the problem. Anyone coming to Easter from Horses is going to feel a little disappointed. But approached as an album in its own right, and  things take on a different perspective. More direct and rocky than Horses, with an emphasis on simplistic garage rnb, with at times a startling resemblance to the Sex Pistols album a year later.

XX ABBA – Arrival (C4) See Gold (1992) 
XX Aerosmith – Rocks (RS) (CCC) See Toys In The Attic (1975) 

XX Boston – Boston (NM) Commercial, popular, pop-rock. Trivial stuff, though it would be useful to have a compilation album which includes songs like "More Than A Feeling".  Found it: Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015)***
XX Kiss – Destroyer (RS) (see Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015))  There is no earthy reason for anyone to listen to this glam metal, unless they like unimaginative simplistic hard rock.  The band are a joke, and clearly not authentic - they are exploitive, copying glam rock bands like Alice Cooper, Sweet,  New York Dolls, with a bit of early heavy metal from bands like Black Sabbath  thrown in, to try and grab some attention and sales.
XX Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive    This was a hugely popular live album in America. It's superficial but pleasant enough middle of the road rock. Frampton started his career in The Herd, a Sixties flower pop band, before forming the rocky Humble Pie with Steve Marriott, then having a fairly mediocre solo career until something about this album caught the attention of the public. 
XX Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express  (RS) (C4) (G50)  One album from Kraftwek is enough. See Autobahn. 
XX Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading   "Love and Affection", the single from the album, is awesome. And I, along with thousands of others, rushed out to buy the album to find it contained solid jazzy singer-songwriter songs, but nothing like "Love and Affection". Even though she has had a respected career, she has never matched, or even come close, to the magic of "Love and Affection". 
XX Steely Dan – Aja (RS) (NM)  Compared to their peak period, this is lacking in soul - the band have edged too close to jazz, and too far away from having fun. 
XX Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue    Hugely popular sub-Paul McCartney songs. It's all pap. 
XX Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music from the Penguin Cafe   Likeable, quirky minimalist pop-jazz. This was their debut, produced and promoted by Brian Eno, which attracted some interest. The second album, Penguin Cafe Orchestra (1981),  is the better made and more musically successful, though Eno had moved on to other things and interest had waned, so the band remain better known for their weaker debut. 
XX John Martyn – One World   Electronica, dub and trip-hop elements introduced by Lee "Scratch" Perry during production in Jamaica. Dubious value. 
XX Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life (RS) (C4) (NM) (G50) (Q)   For many (most?) critics this is Wonder's best album. It marks the end of his classic period and the start of his commercial, and it contains elements of both. For me it tips too far into the commercial and twee, and does not have the depth of feeling of the albums at the start of his classic period. I don't see anything here that is essential. 
XX Billy Joel – The Stranger (RS) (NM) [also consider 52nd Street (RS)]   Rock influenced middle of the roadsinger-songwriter. Lift muzak. Avoid. 
XX Weather Report – Heavy Weather  Poppy smooth jazz. Weather Report were regarded as a jazz fusion band when they started in 1970 - a jazz-rock band, but there's little rock here in 1977. This is pop jazz. Smooth jazz. "Nice". Some critics prefer the band's harder edged debut Weather Report (1971), but Heavy Weather sold well, mainly through the success of "Birdland". This has elements of Steely Dan, and they are a better choice for looking into the smoother/poppier areas of jazz fusion. To get a handle on the more serious/respected side of jazz fusion (which tended to be jazz musicians incorporating rock ideas more than vice versa), then Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (1969) is a must listen. This is perhaps a good example of the popular poppy end of jazz fusion, coming from the jazz side rather than - as with Steely Dan - the rock side. And possibly it has a cultural significance because of that - but I'm unsure....
XX Rush – 2112   Popular but critically derided. Not sure if they are interesting enough to be on the list, and if they are, just one album would be enough, and this edges Moving Pictures, which I have crossed out  On listening further I'm not getting much from this. Lacks authenticity. And the combination of heavy metal with prog rock would only be a plus if elements of either by themselves were good, but they're not. Technical ability minus creative ability results in a rather uninspiring and empty sound. Queen do this sort of thing much better. 
XX Eagles – Hotel California (RS) (C4) (NM)  This is hugely popular thanks to the title track, but lacks the authenticity, focus, and musical genius of Desperados (1973). 
XX The Clash – The Clash (RS) (CCC) (Q)  Popular with those who were young and ignorant in 1976/77. I've never quite got The Clash, though some of the singles were great.
XX The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (RS) (CCC)  "Roadrunner" is awesome (the album has a different version to the single - not better or worse, just different). The rest of the album is not the same quality as "Road Runner"
XX Peter Tosh – Legalize It   Reggae  
XX Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygene       Hugely popular electronica, using ideas successfully developed by Kraftwork, Tangerine Dream, and Brian Eno. This album was a huge hit, largely through the success of the single "Oxygene IV", and is seen as the catalyst for bringing electronic music firmly into the mainstream.  Other than the single, the music is boring, and too derivative of earlier electronic music to be interesting.  
XX Joni Mitchell – Herija    [jz]   I like this - but still working out which of Mitchell's albums should be included. In general, this is similar to Summer Lawns (1975), but Summer Lawns is better, so that should take precedence. 
XX The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus   I like the Stranglers, but not sure about including this. See Greatest Hits (1990) 
XX Parliament (Parliament-Funkadelic) – Mothership Connection (RS) - see Funkadelic (1970)



Talking Heads – 77    Debut. Contains "Psycho Killer" and has the raw sound and musical approach the band would utilise throughout their career, though the band would get more acclaim for their later albums.  Tentative. 
Television – Marquee Moon (RS) (MC) (CCC) (NME)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (RS) (C4) (NM)  (See  Now That's What I Call Classic Rock (2015)) 
Ian Dury – New Boots & Panties!!     
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (NME) (Q)  ***Exceptional album
Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (RS) (CCC) (C4)  
***Exceptional album (NM) (Q)  (NME)
Blondie – Parallel Lines (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NME)   ***Exceptional album
Dire Straits – Dire Straits     This came out of the blue during a period when punk was all the rage, and such considered and gentle rootsy music was being ridiculed by all and sundry. Clearly inspired by the lyrics of Dylan and the music of J. J. Cale, these are serious, considered, mature, old-fashioned songs. It all got a bit MTV and slick in the Eighties, but the debut is authentic and very beautiful.    ***Exceptional album
Buzzcocks – Another Music in a Different Kitchen    

Bob Marley & the Wailers  – Exodus (RS) (MC) (C4) (NM) (Q)  ReggaeGosh, this takes me right back to 1977. I'd just moved to London. Star WarsClose Encounters and Saturday Night Fever were all out.  Punk had settled into its commercial phase with every band under the Sun claiming to be punk. And this played everywhere. I have particular memories of a party thrown by a BBC producer, and dancing to this with the poet Maggie O'Sullivan.  
$ Iggy Pop – The Idiot    
Iggy Pop – Lust for Life    
Muddy Waters – Hard Again  Bloody hell, this is good! 

Bee Gees Others Saturday Night Fever (RS) (C4) (NM) This album defined disco music, and is great just by itself. 

Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me  Something a little wacky that got overlooked in what else was going on during 1977. But is considered an influence on Beck, so is worth checking out.  This is not a strong entry, so I may later remove it, but it's quirky enough to be worth paying attention to. 
The Congos - Heart Of The Congos   Roots reggae album produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and considered a lost classic. It had limited release in 1977 due to conflicts between Perry and Island records, and only gained a general release in 1996.

XX Thin Lizzy – Live & Dangerous  These versions of the songs are not as sharp and exciting as the originals, and as the recordings are taken from all over the place, there is no atmosphere or cohesion, so this ends up being a compilation album anyway - and you might as well get a decent compilation album of the originals.  The 1976 Jailbreak album is widely regarded as their best album, containing the two songs that defined them - "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back In Town", but other than those two songs it seems a bit limp. Their appearance at the Reading Festival in 1983 is widely regarded as their best live performance - the concert was recorded by the BBC and released in 1993 as Thin Lizzy Live; it's a much more cohesive, atmospheric, and exciting album than Live & Dangerous (and is genuinely live with no studio overdubs and tinkering).
XX Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue  There's an interesting warm Seventies groove to this, but it's all a bit sloppy, and it sounds like one of those solo albums by someone who has just left or is part of a big famous band - lots of friends to help out, a big loose sound, and no focus or direction. It's OK, but it's not as good as people would like it to be. That folks are surprised that the cool one from the Beach Boys was able to make a record considering his overall lack of musical ability seems to give the album a bit of a gloss. If this album was made by an unknown artist there wouldn't the interest or acclaim.
XX Van Halen – Van Halen (NM) Very popular American pop-rock band. Musically very superficial and derivative. Because they were so popular consideration is given to including one of their albums, and it seems more appropriate to include 1984 as it includes Jump their best selling single, and the song that most people associate with them.

XX The Jam – All Mod Cons (C4) Replaced by Snap! - the 1982 singles album. 

XX Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (I)  
XX Suicide – Suicide (RS)  While not attracting many listeners, this album has come to be regarded as influential on synth-pop - presumably due to its use of organ and treated sounds which may come from synthesisers. It sounds like some of the crap produced by garage bands during the psychedelic era in the Sixties, when bands thought they could jump on the bandwagon simply by being a bit weird. Claims for its influence appear to be overstated, and mainly come from poor sources such as fanzines. 
XX David Bowie – "Heroes"  (NME)   The title track is one of my favourite Bowie songs, and this is one of the albums from his acclaimed Berlin Trilogy, but I feel he is not working at his best here. I think the influence of the album is somewhat over rated, as Bowie was not the only one to be working in the ambient and electronic genre. He was not so much creating a trend as following an existing one. Most of the ideas on here had been explored much earlier by bands such as Tangerine Dream and Kraftwork,  and by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, who both worked closely with Bowie on the trilogy, and Eno was a significant contributor. 



Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings & Food (RS) (CCC) 
Siouxsie and the Banshees – The Scream   Everything that the Banshees are and would become are present on this audacious debut. JuJu is widely regarded as their best album, and that is also worth listening to, but everything on JuJu is also here, though not so refined. I like the raw energy and impact of this stage of their career, and that this is their calling card, so for me this is the album to choose. 
Magazine – Real Life
Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers (RS) 

The Only Ones – The Only Ones    Well crafted and intelligent power-pop/rock songs delivered in a languid romantic style by lead singer Peter Perrett. The band had a hit in 1978 with "Another Girl, Another Planet", which frequently appears on compilation albums of the Seventies punk period, though the band are too well crafted and melodic to be punk. Similar to BuzzcocksTelevision, and The Modern Lovers. The album was re-released in 2009 with three additional tracks including "Lovers Of Today", their debut single which caught the attention of the UK music press.  
The Cars – The Cars (NM)  Quite likeable "New Wave" (read as "intelligent/arty pop rock from young musicians not crude or loud or violent like punk"). This debut is widely seen as their best album, and it is attractive. But are The Cars the most significant of the New Wave bands? Is this album that much better than other New Wave albums released at the time? And, aside from the New Wave tag, is it genuinely above the ordinary?  Perhaps... 
Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance/ Dub Housing   Post-punk art rock. Quirky and interesting if not entirely successful. Elements of Beefheart and The Fall. Keep for now.  
Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (RS) 

Nick Lowe Jesus of Cool (Pure Pop for Now People) (CCC)  

Linton Kwesi Johnson /  Poet and The Roots - Dread Beat an' Blood  
The Band - The Last Waltz   Live final concert of the Band, supported by various artists such as Clapton, Dylan, and Van Morrison, which was filmed by Scorsese, and then released as a triple album. This contains all the Band's best songs, without any dross, plus some great songs from the supporting artists. Of particular note is the performance by Van Morrison of CaravanVan Morrison is an awkward and troubled person. Painfully shy, he often found it hard to perform live (and sometimes even to perform in the studio with session musicians he didn't know). Yet, his early Seventies recordings and live performances are seen by critics as amongst the greatest achievements in music (and some say they are the greatest). However, by the mid Seventies his emotional vulnerability overcame him, and he stopped recording and performing for three years. He couldn't write or perform, and after struggling with it for three years he was about to give music up completely, when he was asked to take part in The Band's farewell concert.  He knew the members of The Band. They were friends and neighbours, so he agreed. But when it came time for him to go out on stage nerves got the better of him, and he refused. His manager, the beefy Harvey Goldsmith, physically forced him onto the stage, where he staggered on and gave an awesome performance. His own pleasure at his performance is wonderful to see. I have seen Morrison live three times, and I have never seen him high kicking as he does here, and then doing a mic drop and swaggering off the stage. Awesome. After this he returned to performing and has released an album a year ever since....    
Kate Bush - The Kick Inside    The debut. Wonderful.  She never really bettered this.
Steel Pulse - Handsworth Revolution   The first significant UK reggae act. A Birmingham band, they presumably influenced early UB40, but never had their success. Keep for now
Brian Eno – Ambient 1: Music for Airports   
Nina Hagen - Nina Hagen Band  A rather operatic German rock singer - the style is sort of glam rock with a nod toward Kiss and the New York Dolls, and a bit of the spirit of punk. Not serious, but quite ear-catching!

XX The Saints – Eternally Yours 
Australian fast rock group who get grouped with punk. Not very good

XX Joe Ely – Honky Tonk Masquerade  Old time country music with some honky tonk piano by a little known artist. 
XX Willie Colón & Rubén Blades – Siembra  Pleasant samba - I like this. But it's not really an improvement on Getz & Gilberto. Ponder it a while, but I think this is going. Yep, gone. 
XX The Residents – Duck Stab/Buster & Glen  I like music that is a little quirky, has character, doesn't take itself too seriously, and challenges our expectations of what is music. So I like this. My consideration now is regarding if this is the best example of their work.  I think Meet The Residents (1974), the debut album, is more appropriate, so I have chosen that one.  
XX Kraftwerk – Man Machine   (Q)   One album from Kraftwerk is enough. See Autobahn. 
XX Willie Nelson – Stardust (RS) (CCC) (NM)  Nelson is a hugely popular and hugely respected idiosyncratic country singer and songwriter who developed his  outlaw country style over a long history stretching from the 1950s to now (2018). This was his biggest hit and is one of his most respected albums - a selection of covers of American standards. I am struggling with this album. A noteworthy songwriter doing an album of covers is not unusual, and there have been more interesting and essential covers albums both before and after this one - Bowie's Pinups and Bryan Ferry's These Foolish Things, both from 1973, John Lennon's Rock 'N' Roll (1975),  Various We Do 'Em Our Way (1980), Johnny Cash's American Recordings (1994), Cat Power's The Covers Record (2000), Robbie Williams' Swing When You're Winning (2001), Tom Jones' Reload (2003), and Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook 3 (2004).  What appears to get the public's and the critics' attention is that Nelson is a significant country music singer and he's doing non-country American standards, so for the mainstream, American public this is a win-win, and for critics they have something to talk about: the merging of two distinct, separate and important music styles that for white Americans seem to exemplify America rather more than the blues, jazz, rock, soul or hip hop genres, which they would consider is music made by the devil and "niggers".  While Nelson remains resolutely white through the album, it is produced by the soul legend Booker T. Jones, who does it with an awareness of Ray Charles' 1962 Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which took country music songs and gave them soulful big band swing and grace with lush arrangements. But this album, in a sense, does the opposite of Modern Sounds, and does it, also, without the crossover impact of a black man in racially segregated America singing and altering the music of Heartland America.  Nelson doesn't expand on these songs, he doesn't add anything new to them - indeed, he seems to reduce them to a dull simplicity that pushes his dubious voice to the fore but ignores the heart and significance of the song. If you like Nelson, if you like the American Songbook, if you like country music, if you like your music simple and meaningless so it becomes elevator muzak, then you'll like this, but if you want something cutting edge, something meaningful, something genuinely tender rather than something thrown off casually, then this is not for you. Take any one of the songs and compare it to other versions, and Nelson's is far from being in any kind of top ten, and once you've sat through a few of the songs they start to sound so alike because each is given the exact same treatment that it does become boring wallpaper music. Example: "Stardust" by Nelson, by Nat King Cole, by Hoagy Carmichael, by Sinatra (1943) and Sinatra (1961) - there are also plenty of versions by famous people that are just as indifferent as Nelson's: Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan come to mind. On the whole I feel this is an album to avoid rather than one to listen to, but I've given it some attention as it appears on so many reputable Best Ever Albums lists. 
XX Elís Regina – Vento de Maio   Pop jazz. This is very pleasant, but sounds a bit too close to Stan Getz from the early Sixties, so feels a little dated for the late Seventies. Chosen by Andrew Gilbert, an American journalist specialising in jazz. He praises her emotional voice. Each to their own - the voice sounds a little strained to my ears. 
XX X-ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents   Carried along by the excitement and DIY attitude of punk there were a number of bands who released loud and trashy albums. Those who had female members tended to get more attention than others. This is a very rough and simple album. The band's opening single "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" (not included on the original album release, but found on re-issues) is an attractively brash piece, but that's as much as you want or need to hear. For a good summary of punk and related artists see the 1995 punk compilation Best Ever... (1979) 
XX The Adverts – Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts   See the 1995  punk compilation Best Ever... (1979) 
XX Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model (RS) (CCC)  A good album, but mostly repeating what had been done on the debut but with weaker songs. 
XX Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town (RS)  
XX Public Image Ltd – Public Image: First Issue (MC)  "Anti-rock" with a sound that combines industrial with krautrock and prog. Some of Lyden's interest in Van Der Graff Generator is revealed here. Some of PiL's ideas worked extremely well, such as the awesome "Rise", but on the whole they were more interesting as an idea than as a band to listen to for an entire album. 
XX Funkadelic (Parliament-Funkadelic) – One Nation Under a Groove (RS) Yeah, it's funky, but I've put in the band's debut 1970 album Funkadelic as being representative of the band, and the band's most significant and influential recording. This is smoother and more polished than the debut, but then by 1978 a lot of funk and R&B bands had moved into smooth funk, and many were producing sharper music than this.  But I do like it! 
XX Throbbing Gristle – DOA: Third & Final Report    See 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979) 
XX Chic – C’est Chic (G50)  Written and produced by Nile Rodgers. See Freak Out (1988 compilation of Chic & Sister Sledge)  

Elvis Costello – Armed Forces (RS) 
Talking Heads – Fear of Music (C4) (G50)
Public Image Ltd – Metal Box (RS) 
Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps (RS) (CCC)  
The Clash – 
London Calling (RS) (MC) (C4) (NM) (G50)
$ Michael Jackson – Off the Wall (RS) (CCC) (C4) (NM) (NME) Wow! This is such a hugely influential album - Jackson's most important (though Thriller would be more popular and commercially successful). He and Quincy Jones developed a smooth rhythmic very danceable style of music that would become known as modern or contemporary R&B - quite possibly the most successful musical style of the 21st century.  ***Exceptional album
$ Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (MC) (NME)  Joy Division were significant for the post-punk music generation for taking the energy, immediacy, and anger/violence of punk and applying it to mood, expression, and atmosphere. They bridged punk and synthpop. They only made two albums before the lead singer, Ian Curtis, killed himself, but both are seen as important. This is their first, and is generally regarded as their most significant, though the second sold more, as it was released shortly after Curtis' death. The band continued without Curtis, under the name New order, and became one of the major bands of the 80s.   

Supertramp – Breakfast in America  Supertramp were popular, but not important or essential. Breakfast in America is their best known and best selling album, containing several of their best selling songs. A pleasant jazz-pop band who emerged from a progressive band, and retained some of the elements of that in their music.
Madness - 
One Step Beyond... (C4) Replacing The Rise & Fall. This is more typically Madness, and shows their influence on the Ska revival in the UK. 

Misty In Roots -  Live at the Counter Eurovision 79   Subtle and beautiful roots reggae from an acclaimed but commercially unrecognised UK act. This is their powerful debut. 
Various - The Best Punk Album in the World Ever!    Compilation released in 1995, but + Throbbing Gristle –  20 Jazz Funk Greats  
The Pop Group - Y  Post-punk band blending several music styles including free jazz and funk. Challenging, but interesting. 
Nick Lowe - Labour of Lust (CCC)  
Cowboys International - The Original Sin   Little known but typical late 70s post-punk combined with synthpop.  An interesting period piece, and more wide-ranging than some of the band's better known contemporaries.  
+  The Roches - The Roches (CCC)   Quirky folky trio with Robert Fripp on guitar. Perhaps of temporary interest, but listing for now....

XX Pink Floyd – The Wall (RS) (NM) (Q) Hugely popular, due to the success of the singles "Another Brick In The Wall" and "Comfortably Numb", but long and tedious. Piper and Dark Side are their major albums.
The Undertones – The Undertones See the 1995  punk compilation Best Ever... (1979)
XX Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
XX AC/DC – Highway to Hell (RS) (NM)
Cheap Trick – At Budokan (RS)
The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette 
See the 1995 punk compilation Best Ever... (1979)
XX Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle  It's unlikely I will be keeping Numan; I find his music boring and derivative. The first single he had with Tubeway Army, "Are Friends Electric", was enjoyable, but pretty much everything after that was dirgy and unadventurous. However, I can understand the thinking behind having this album on a list, as he was popular, and brought a lot of attention to what was eventually called synthpop. See the 2015 Synth Pop compilation.
XX The Crusaders – Street Life  The title track, "Street Life", was a cool single, but nothing particularly special, and the longer album version doesn't do it any favours. The band were originally jazz, but over a long career picked up modern influences, and by 1979 were a fusion band incorporating funk and r&b to create a pleasant smooth jazz feel in "Street Life", and something a little more funky in the rest of the album, but it's all pretty dated having been done before and better by Grover Washington Jr and Weather Report, among others.
XX The Police – Reggatta de Blanc (RS)  See Synchronicity (1983) 
XX Germs – GI   Fast trash punk in the style of Iggy Pop and the Ramones. This was their only album, and apparently they were good live. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, and better. Especially by Iggy and The Stooges. 
XX Marianne Faithfull – Broken English  Faithfull had gained attention in the Sixties for her attractive blonde looks, and her relationship with Mick Jagger. Her fragile beauty was matched by the vulnerable  tone of her voice, and so songs like "As Tears Go By", written for her by Jagger and Richards, were successful. She declined into drug abuse in the early Seventies after the break up of her relationship with Jagger, living on a wall in Soho, and picking up her prescription from the chemist as detailed in "You Can't Always Get What You Want": "I went down to the Chelsea drugstore / To get your prescription filled". Her voice cracked and deepened, giving her a different sound which was liked by some critics and seemed to fit in better with the late Seventies when she made this "comeback" album, led by the country influenced single "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan", a remake of the better version by Dr Hook. The rest of the album doesn't live up to the promise of that single, and the sparse somewhat electronic production gives the album a cheap and empty feel. The final track "Why'd Ya Do It", does, however, have a compelling power. 
XX The Slits – Cut   Messy  simplistic punk reggae/dub. There's hints of sense in the chaos, but the musicianship is limited so the band fall back on not playing that well, and twisting things around so they don't come at a tune twice the same way. There's a limited charm to it, but it only goes so far. The idea here is that they are all girls. That's the statement they are making. Carol Kaye made a bigger statement.  
XX Holger Czukay – Movies  I quite like this, but Czukay's best work was done with Can. 
XX Gang of Four – Entertainment! (RS) (MC)  I'm not hugely impressed with this. Fairly thumping and straightforward. Not as interesting lyrically and melodically as their contemporaries the Au Pairs and Young Marble Giants. 
XX Japan – Quiet Life    
XX The Fall – Live at the Witch Trials   Debut album of the interesting Mark E Smith's Fall. Smith falls into the Beefheart, Zappa group of strongly committed, authentic, individualistic, unique, and somewhat demanding artists. The Fall is Mark E Smith, and the band members are hired and fired almost at will in a similar style to Zappa and Beefheart, with certain line-ups and individuals having more of an influence than others. The most important Fall individual was Brix, Smith's American wife, who joined the band as guitarist just before
XX Chic – Risqué   Written and produced by Nile RodgersSee Freak Out (1988 compilation of Chic & Sister Sledge)  
XX Sister Sledge – We Are Family    Written and produced by Nile RodgersSee Freak Out (1988 compilation of Chic & Sister Sledge)  

Still considering....

??  David Bowie - The Man Who Sold the World    
?? Kevin Ayers - Shooting At the Moon     
?? Bruce Haack - The Electric Lucifer    

?? The Groundhogs - Split     Electric blues. 
?? Humble Pie - Performance   Rugged electric blues. This was very much a thing during this period. 
?? Gil Scott-Heron  -  Pieces Of A Man    Still not sure about this......
??  Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality (RS)  probably not, but hold on a while  

?? Can - Ege Bamyasi  

?? Bridget St. John - Thank You For…

?? Charlemagne Palestine   - Strumming Music  
?? Magma  - Köhntarkösz 

?? Michael Hurley/The Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Fredericks & The Clamtones -  Have Moicy  possible quirky country  

?? Goblin  - Suspiria  Italian gothic prog rock band who did horror film soundtracks - this is their most acclaimed. 
?? Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me 

?? Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians  
?? Robbie Basho  - Visions of the Country

?? Ghédalia Tazartès  - Diasporas