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1974

October 9, 2021

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[Albums 937 – 939 / 1001]

Of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,’ 26 are from the year 1974.

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

The last trio of non-reviewed albums from 1974: Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America, Sparks – Kimono My House, Tangerine Dream – Phaedra.

Which 1974 albums are the most essential to hear again?

Ranked by their essential-ness, here’s how I’d prioritize revisiting these 26 albums, enjoy!

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26. 10cc – Sheet Music. Admittedly, I don’t recall much about this one.

25. Gene Clark – No Other. Ironically, he does have 1 Other album (White Light) on the 1001 list.

24. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now. From what I gather, he followed a strict ‘no overdubs’ policy.

23. Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom. His first of a pair on the list.

22. Roxy Music – Country Life. My LP has the censored cover, perhaps that’s why at a price of only $15, it was so affordable?

21. Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard. An eventual stop on my travel itinerary, to listen to 461 Ocean Boulevard while driving past.

20. Supertramp – Crime of the Century. I sometimes struggle with their big radio hits but I quite liked the album tracks here!

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19. George Jones – The Grand Tour. Nice misdirect in the title.

18. Gil-Scott Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America.

17. Sparks – Kimono My House.

16. Tangerine Dream – Phaedra.

For me, 1974 represents an interesting year for these rankings.

The reasons are threefold:

a) There wasn’t a coronation of an obvious #1 (as was the case for many of the years in the ’60s)

b) There weren’t any albums that I loathed and were therefore automatically shunned to the bottom of the pile

c) The final three new-to-me albums were quite different in sound, yet similar in takeaway impression as I’m intrigued enough in each case to keep listening. Or to borrow the closing track from Sloan’s Navy Blues, I’m Not Through With You Yet.

15. Kraftwerk – Autobahn. One of their three from the list.

14. Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Their second of two.

13. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel. “Adam is the resurrected spirit of Gram Parsons” – Frank Turner, I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous. If “Adam” sounds like the stuff on Grievous Angel, he’s worth hearing!

12. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Natty Dread. Their second of three.

11. Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information. I tend to admire multi-instrumentalists.

10. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys. Somewhat different from the Toy Story soundtrack.

9. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets. As I’ve learned, it takes time to reach full Eno enjoyment!

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8. Bad Company – Bad Company. Bad Company’s Bad Company, from the album, Bad Company, among my favourite self-titled trifectas.

7. Queen – Queen II. Seven Seas of Rhye, what a closing track.

6. Queen – Sheer Heart Attack. And the other day, when I asked a student what they were listening to and they replied, “Killer Queen,” I was reminded that the future is bright!

5. Stevie Wonder – Fullfillingness’ First Finale. Alliteration generally earns a few bonus points.

4. Neil Young – On the Beach. The record itself plays fine, though my LP’s cover is in rough shape, which actually feels appropriate for the album art.

3. Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic. At the time, I wan’t all that enthused, but I’ve changed my tune.

2. Joni Mitchell – Court & Spark. One of her four on the list.

1. Richard & Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights TonightThe Thompsons!

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Verbalize the Positive

3-Day Weekend!

From → 1970s

11 Comments
  1. So much amazing music in this year, it’s hard to pick from the book, let alone from the other several hundred titles. Still, great that they included two German artists, both of which would in all likelyhood, be in my top ten. Van’s live album is a rip snorter and Rock Bottom has grown on my hugely over the years. I hope some of these do for you too.

    • The live Van was actually my preference of his 3 from the list – solid performances.
      And with Rock Bottom, I remember comparing it to my experience listening to Kid A. Which 20 years ago, would not be a favourable association for me, but these days is a very favourable one!

  2. This is another really good year with really good picks from the book. I share the Supertramp thing where I don’t really like the cheesy radio singles but the albums are good. I love No Other but it’s hard to complain when most of what’s above it is among my favourites too.

    • I think this might have been among the most consistent years in the book – with some of these lists, I can look at the whole set and quickly know what would be in the top/bottom 10 and then have to take more time to sort out the middle. This time, the middle was huge, with very few immediately jumping to the ‘top’ or ‘bottom’ of the revisit list.
      Which I guess is a good problem, when there’s so many worth revisiting that it’s tough to sort them out!

  3. Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack would’ve been my #1 out of these albums. I would also say that this is a lackluster year for me with this list. It definitely is not as good as we’ve seen so far, but good job getting through them.

    • It’s been interesting for me to revisit these as 1-year installments – some years have a really strong top few and then it tapes, others more consistent, others just not really my cuppa.
      This would be one of the years where I’d say the difference between #26 and #1 is a lot narrower than some other years, no real duds for me, but none that were ridiculously off the charts either.
      And my thanks, John!

  4. That debut Bad Company album is a classic for sure. You are cranking these out quicker than a Crosby one timer!

    • A colleague had a Bad Company shirt on the other day – and being mentioned in the same sentence as Sid is high praise, Deke!

  5. Cool list of albums from my birth year. Of course I’d put Queen higher, but I’m biased. HMO will be happy to see Richard and Linda Thompson at #1!

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