(On My Recommended Albums through the Decades) Part Two: 1970s
In the last issue, I featured my top picks from albums that were released in the 1960s. One of the primary commonalities among those albums was the lushness and complexity of the arrangements, instrumentation, and recording production. Because of having developed as early as when I was a child this personal penchant for well-structured music (thanks to grandparents who listened to Classical music and older uncles who listened to Progressive Rock), I naturally gravitated towards any album that bears these musical characteristics.
In the 1970s, I simply got drawn to bands whose music just followed the path of their predecessors from the previous decade. Here are 13 of my most favorite albums released in the 1970s, when the artistic, creative, and literary juices of many artists resulted in what many music listeners regard now as musical artefacts.
Caravan – In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)
Bread – Guitar Man (1972)
Roxy Music – Roxy Music (1972)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973)
Yes – Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)
America – Holiday (1974)
John Denver – Back Home Again (1974)
Gentle Giant – Free Hand (1975)
Camel – The Snow Goose (1975)
Rush – Fly by Night (1975)
Television – Marquee Moon (1977)
The B-52’s – The B-52’s (1979)
Most of my choices from the 1970s belong to the genre Progressive Rock—aside from a few less complex releases (Bread, America, Jon Denver, Television, and The B-52’s)—because of my admitted fascination for complex music. The inclusion of Television and The B-52’s foreshadowed my eventual gravitation to New Wave and Postpunk, which became my most favorite genres of music. Bread, America, and John Denver reveal my taste for also laidback, Folk-rooted, acoustic-guitar-based, and sentimental balladry. Among these albums, Brain Salad Surgery, Tubular Bells, and Tales from Topographic Oceans prove to be the most challenging to appreciate especially for those who don’t regularly listen to instrumental music, because each of these three albums are comprised by lengthy instrumental pieces.
Listening to all these albums never fail to lift my spirits and to inspire my creative mind. Nevertheless, these are just my Top 13 picks from the 1970s. Many equally great bands and albums had to be shortlisted.