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1970

September 30, 2021

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[Albums 922 – 924 / 1001]

Of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,’ 30 are from the year 1970.

I’ve reviewed all but three of them so far.

The last trio of non-reviewed albums from 1970: Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs, Spirit – The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, and Ananda Shankar – Ananda Shankar.

Which 1970 albums are the most essential to hear again?

Ranked by their essential-ness, here’s how I’d prioritize revisiting these 30 albums, enjoy!

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30. Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.

29. Ananda Shankar – Ananda Shankar.

Nothing inherently wrong with either, just in some pretty good company in 1970.

28. Soft Machine – Third. Chances are, I’m probably more likely to revisit Big Star’s Third.

27. Derek & the Dominoes – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. I’m also more likely to revisit Layla than the rest of the assorted Love Songs.

26. Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die. Mr. Burns referred to a beer as “John Barleycorn” in a recent episode, that sort of association rarely hurts.

25. Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs. Easily the most intriguing of the previously un-reviewed 1970 albums.

24. Deep Purple – In Rock. I like a good visual pun, this album art is no exception.

23. Grateful Dead – American Beauty. Especially Ripple & Box of Rain.

22. Black Sabbath – Paranoid.

21. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath.

The 1001 list included 3 Sabbath albums & I gather they could have (if not should have) included a few more.

20. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew. The album (and name) that inspired perhaps my favourite memo ever!

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19. Rod Stewart – Gasoline Alley. Next time I drive on Highway 11 between Barrie and Orillia, I fully intend on listening to Gasoline Alley while driving through Gasoline Alley!

18. Santana – Abraxas. Oye Como Va especially.

17. Van Morrison – Moondance. His 2nd of 3 appearances.

16. CCR – Cosmo’s Factory. Can’t argue with that Ramble Tamble riff.

15. The Stooges – Fun House. 2nd of 3 for Les Stooges.

14. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James. Although it may not have been the best time for his “unique brand of bittersweet folk rock” when he appeared on the ‘Deep Space Homer’ episode of The Simpsons, I’ve generally got the time for it.

13. Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills. A surprisingly relevant tracklist for our current pandemic.

12. The Doors – Morrison Hotel. An argument in favour of the side one / side two format.

11. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – Déjà Vu. The feeling of Déjà Vu means there’s a glitch in The Matrix.

And just like Keanu in The Matrix, when I listened to this CSNY album a few years ago, it made me react in a similar way!

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10. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush. I’ve changed my tune since I reviewed this almost a decade ago.

9. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III. Likely a coin toss between this & Physical Graffiti as my favourite LZ.

8. Nick Drake – Bryter Layter. His second of a trio of albums on the 1001.

7. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band. 3 outta 4 Beatles have 1970 solo records on the list.

6. Paul McCartney – McCartney. Always fascinating, if somewhat frustrating, to revisit.

5. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass. Isn’t it a Pity that there aren’t more triple LPs like this?

4. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water. I will lay me down and listen to this any day.

3. The Carpenters – Close To You. What a voice (and as I learned recently, what a drummer Karen Carpenter was as well).

2. The Who – Live at Leeds. No Substitute.

1. Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman …the Extras theme song / title track as the closer is the icing on the cake!

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Verbalize the Positive

Thank you to Green Day for writing Wake Me Up When September Ends: the perfect song of the day for my high school classes today!

From → 1970s

17 Comments
  1. Processing this vast quantity of music in such a compressed period–a mere decade– is an heroic task, one leaving little time to linger, I imagine.

    Having devoted a whole series to a 1970 countdown in 2020, I won’t barge into a list shootout, but simply observe that our top tens each include George Harrison and Neil Young.

    • I like that description of it being a heroic task, Bruce – I compare myself to a musical ‘tourist’ but your description sounds more noble!
      I will revisit your list, I’m intrigued to see if any of our picks lined up exactly!

  2. That has to be the shortest ever Youtube clip ever! lol Love THE WHO and how Leeds has that sound of destruction that only they could pull off back in 70!

    • I opted for the less is more with the clip – The Who however, they went for the bigger the sound, the better!

  3. Another year with some amazing albums. What a good time for music back then.

  4. Once again a great list but the Stooges oughta be way higher – Fun House is a masterpiece! You’re really gonna dig Syd, when you get there, methinks.

  5. Wow – that memo!

  6. I like that Spirit album a lot. I’ve never heard a Carpenters studio album, just a compilation, but maybe I should?

    • a compilation likely gets the job done – for me, it’s about her voice rather than any individual songs!

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