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1971

October 2, 2021

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[Albums 925 – 927 / 1001]

Of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,’ 36 are from the year 1971.

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

The last set of non-reviewed albums from 1971: Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head, Jethro Tull – Aqualung, and Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On.

Which 1971 albums are the most essential to hear again?

Ranked by their essential-ness, here’s how I’d prioritize revisiting these 36 albums, enjoy!

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36. Isaac Hayes – Shaft. I quite enjoyed hearing the score during the movie, I would be happy to see the film (and hear the score while watching) again.

35. Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 with Ginger Baker – Live!. I appreciate both the solid musicianship & the album title enthusiasm.

34. Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Pictures at an Exhibition.

33. Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus.

Impressively full sound from the trio.

32. Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head. Not to be confused with the Hamilton, Ontario band Teenage Head (who alas never released an album named Flamin’ Groovies).

31. Jethro Tull – Aqualung. I liked both the album and that I can’t hear it without being reminded of Will Ferrell & Owen Wilson.

30. Sly & the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On. Their 2nd of 2 on the 1001 list.

29. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East. I usually like when albums and performances are efficient. Other times, 22+ minute live tracks? Why not!

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At Fillmore East stats

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28. Can – Mago Tago. Their first of 2 albums on the 1001.

27. Yes – The Yes Album.

26. Yes – Fragile.

2 of their 3 from the 1001 list.

25. The Who – Who’s Next. Where were you when…you learned the opening track wasn’t actually named Teenage Wasteland?

24. David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name. Along with Sidney & Bing, David would be among my Top 3 Crosbys.

23. Bee Gees – Trafalgar. On my next drive through Oakville, I plan on listening to Trafalgar while driving past Trafalgar Road.

22. Gene Clark – White Light. Along with Kelly & Tenace, Mr. Clark might be among my Top 3 genes.

21. Don McLean – American Pie. Weird Al’s The Saga Begins only enhances the appeal.

20. Elton John – Madman Across the Water. I’m fortunate to own both the LP and cassette and based on the diagram below, I recommend investing in both for the optimal Elton experience!

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19. Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story. Don’t it?

18. Faces – A Nod is as Good as a Wink… to a Blind Horse. also featuring Rod.

17. Janis Joplin – Pearl. Powerful vocal performances.

16. Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors. Terrific songwriting.

15. Led Zeppelin – Untitled. When The Levee Breaks, one of the all-time great side/album closers.

14. T. Rex – Electric Warrior. Nice to see so much Bolan music featured in Dallas Buyers Club.

13. John Lennon – Imagine. Likely his finest solo album.

12. Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson. The name is misleading, not an album to be dismissed.

11. The Doors – LA Woman. The third of three Doors albums on the list.

A 3-Circle Venn diagram to summarize their unique & shared characteristics!

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10. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate. Among my favourite lyricists.

9. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On. The first album I reviewed for this project.

8. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers. The opening trio of Brown Sugar / Sway / Wild Horses is one for the books.

7. The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up. Definitely not fun fun fun / dance dance dance but definitely good.

6. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain. Solid grooves throughout.

5. Joni Mitchell – Blue. My favourite Joni.

4. David Bowie – Hunky Dory. The first of seven Bowie albums on the list.

3. Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson. Would be right up there on my Top Concept albums list as well.

2. Carole King – Tapestry. Like an old friend.

1. John Prine – John Prine …how is this a debut? Remarkable.

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to my friend Bruce for his engaging & ongoing 1971 countdown – when he arrives at #s 36-1, I’ll be keen to see if we will have any exact ranking overlap!

From → 1970s

15 Comments
  1. It’s a heck of a year for music, that’s for sure.

    • And thanks for the shoutout too. I’m sitting here wishing I had your capacity for brevity. Perhaps you are Ramones and I’m Allman Brothers?

      • The brevity’s likely more out of necessity (in an effort to finish the project on time) – but I like those comparisons, either way, that would make us both 1001-list worthy!

    • I’d argue a Top 5 year!

  2. John Prine is a great call for number one.

  3. I didn’t realize the track list for the Elton was so different between cassette and vinyl. I wonder how many more albums are like that. That does change the whole listening experience.

    • There’s probably a bunch more that I have on one format but not another & I don’t realize that different versions exist.
      For this Elton, I was lucky enough to own multiple formats!

  4. You could do your 5 mile run on one or perhaps two Allman Brothers songs.

    • That’s a good unit of measurement – did you finish the run in less than 1 Allman Brothers jam? If so, that’s a good 5K time!

  5. That’s a whole lot of good music, right there. Prine is amazing, no doubt, I’d still put Sticky Fingers higher (bias) and rate Blue far lower (I know, I know, bad Canadian, I just don’t get it).

  6. Wow, great year some killer Tull, Elp and Yes albums there

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