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“Blue Jean Baby, LA Lady, Seamstress for the Band”

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! Part 2 of my favorite record album sides was a lot more difficult to compile than I imagined. I started out trying to pick my ten favorite album sides of the 1970s, but ended up with 20. (and even that was difficult, see my honorable mention list) . After all, I was dealing with about twice as many years than the mid-late 1960s. Interesting fact about this list, half the picks were from 1970-71 and only three after 1976. This either says something about disco and its negative impact on quality rock music by the late 1970s or the fact that after college (I graduated in June 1976), I didn’t listen to as much new music.

  1. Chicago (II) – Chicago (January 1970) Side 2Wake Up Sunshine, Make Me Smile, So Much to Say, So Much to Give, West Virginia Fantasies, Anxiety’s Moment, Colour My World, To Be Free, Now More Than Ever –Chicago’s second album (another double album) features their best individual side. “Wake Up Sunshine” and the outstanding 13 minute “Ballet of a Girl from Buchanan” written by trombonist James Pankow. This latter composition was actually a compendium of 7 songs that flowed smoothly together –“Make Me Smile” “So Much to Say, So Much to Give”; Two instrumentals -“West Virginia Fantasies” and “Anxiety’s Moment”, “Colour My World” (later to become a hit single), To Be Free (another short instrumental), and the finale “Now More Than Ever” which was the last verse of the single version of “Make Me Smile”. Chicago, which I have since seen live in concert three times (twice in a fairly intimate night club setting in Vegas), did a wonderful job playing the “Ballet of a Girl from Buchanan” to open one of these concerts. This is not only an excellent side of Chicago songs, it is the most cohesive album side that they ever recorded.
  2. John Barleycorn Must Die-Traffic (July 1970) Side 1 – Glad, Freedom Rider, Empty Pages Traffic was originally formed by Steve Winwood in late 1967 when his earlier group Spencer Davis Group (e.g. “Gimme Some Lovin’, “I’m a Man”) didn’t want to experiment with more musical styles. ( Steve Winwood was all of 19 years old at the time!). “Barleycorn” is Traffic’s best album and features the unique rock, blues and jazz fusion sound that made them famous. As with all Traffic albums, Steve Winwood wrote or co-wrote all the music and played all keyboards and bass guitar. While Side 2 is good, it is Side 1 that has the three best songs on the album, beginning with the 7 minute instrumental “Glad” which features Winwood’s superb piano playing along with excellent saxophone work of Chris Wood. “Freedom Rider” is a great vocal and instrumental song which features Wood’s wonderful saxophone and flute mixed pleasingly with Winwood’s ever present keyboards. The organ fanfare begins “Empty Pages” and Winwood dominates throughout – vocally, musically and lyrically. Winwood’s emotional, blue-eyed soul voice belts out “staring at empty pages” and you know it isn’t just writer’s block that he is challenged with but girlfriend troubles as well. In between, Winwood fills in with a very jazzy electric piano , organ and bass. And then the song and the side ends fittingly fading out with Winwood’s last few organ notes.
  3. Tapestry- Carole King (February 1971) Side 1- I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, It’s Too Late, Home Again, Beautiful, Way Over Yonder– This is truly a case of an album with two outstanding sides of music and no weak tracks. I picked Side 1 rather than Side 2 largely on the strength of Carole’s newer solo hit songs (e.g. “It’s Too Late”, “I Feel the Earth Move”, “So Far Away”) versus her old 1960s standards made famous by Aretha Franklin “A Natural Woman” , the Shirelles “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and her friend James Taylor (“You’ve Got A Friend”). I also like the last three tracks a lot particularly the uplifting “Beautiful” a song that I still find very inspiring on depressing days “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart, and people gonna treat you better, they’re gonna find…that you’re as beautiful as you feel”.
  4. The Yes Album – Yes (February 1971) Side 1 – Yours is No Disgrace, The Clap, Starship Trooper – Like my other favorite groups, Yes posed a difficult decision for me. Yes has three fantastic albums and 6 excellent album sides on “The Yes Album” “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge”, but if I had to choose just one– it would be side 1 of the Yes Album. Both “Yours is No Disgrace” and “Starship Trooper” are lengthy Yes songs, both nearly 10 minutes long, showcasing their musical strengths– Steve Howe’s guitar, Chris Squire’s bass guitar, Bill Bruford’s drums, Tony Kaye’s keyboards, and Jon Anderson vocals. (In between the two long songs  is sandwiched “The Clap” , a short yet excellent acoustic guitar solo by Steve Howe.) In listening to this album side MANY MANY times, I am fascinated not just by the great basic melodies, verses and bridges but it is the intricateness of the different musical lines of the songs from Howe’s multiple guitar chord progressions and Chris Squire’s very distinctive bass lines. Both long songs are incredibly catchy. I defy anyone to listen to them several times and not get sucked into the music. And for that reason every time I listen, I find myself wishing the songs wouldn’t ever end. Now that is the sign of a great album side!
  5. Sticky Fingers- Rolling Stones (April 1971) Side 1- Brown Sugar, Sway, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, You Gotta Move It’s hard to beat Side 1 of Sticky Fingers when it comes to Stones albums. Not only does it have the two excellent Stones singles “Brown Sugar” and the often underrated and rock n’ bluesy “Wild Horses”, but you have the slow rocker “Sway” and one of the best Stones album cuts EVER ” Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” a six-minute tour-de-force which ends with a wonderful saxophone solo. The side ends up fittingly with the wonderfully slow blues number ”You Gotta Move” ( one of the few albums that I can remember that is effectively telling you that you have to get up and flip the record to the other side.) . Side 2 is good, but not nearly as great as Side 1 with only two songs ” Bitch” and “Dead Flowers” among my favorites by the Stones .
  6. Every Picture Tells a Story- Rod Stewart (May 1971) Side 2. – Maggie Mae, Mandolin Wind, I’m Losing You, Reason to Believe – Rod Stewart’s first album was by far his best. Released in May, it peaked in popularity in October 1971 (at the same time “Maggie Mae” was #1 on the charts ). It seemed like everyone I knew at boarding school in September owned this album. Side 2 was superb. It featured the mega hit ” Maggie Mae” complete with a nice Renaissance style guitar intro, and Rod’s wonderful singing and lyrics ” you turned into a lover, but mother what a lover, you wore me out ..,.you laughed at all of my jokes”. This was followed by a nice slow ballad “Mandolin Wind” featuring Ron Wood’s mandolin and guitar playing.The third track was the up-tempo, rock-n-roll extraordinaire version of the Temps “I’m Losing You” . The final track “Reason to Believe” featured Stewart’s great vocals on this Tim Hardin song “….knowing you lied straight-faced while I cried, still I love to find a reason to believe…”. Wow. I don’t think I flipped this album over to Side 1 for weeks after I bought it.
  7. Who’s Next – The Who (August 1971) Side 2 – Gettin’ in Tune, Goin’ Mobile , Behind Blue Eyes, Won’t Get Fooled Again – With the Who, the challenge wasn’t determining which of their albums was best. This was clearly “Who’s Next”. However, the problem was which side to choose. Both are outstanding. However, I gave the slight edge to Side 2 on the strength of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (my favorite Who song ever!) and “Behind Blue Eyes” (my third favorite on the album after “Baba O’Riley” on Side 1). But the first two tracks “Gettin’ in Tune” and “Goin’ Mobile” are great songs as well. The musical quality is unbelievably good , including seamless use of synthesizer, keyboards, and other instruments in addition to Townshend’s usual fine guitar work, John Entwistle’s great bass playing and Keith  Moon’s always energetic drumming and of course Daltrey’s excellent vocals. But I’ll admit this was one album that I always got up to flip over. Side 1 is  great too, with “Baba O’Riley”, “Bargain” and Entwistle’s amusing “My Wife” being particular highlights.
  8. Madman Across the Water – Elton John (November 1971) Side 1 – Tiny Dancer, Levon, Razor Face, Madman Across the Water – While Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is a better overall album and Side 1 with “Funeral for a Friend”, “Candle in the Wind” and “Bennie and the Jets” has three great songs, Side 1 of “Madman Across the Water” is every so slightly better because it is more integrated as a single side with songs that flow from one to another. It doesn’t hurt either, that “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon” are arguably two of John’s best song compositions ever. What makes this album and particularly Side 1 so great is the great use and integration of orchestration along with Elton’s piano and backing guitar and bass. This is probably most evident with the final cut on Side 1 “Madman Across the Water”, an excellent song made even better with the sweeping feel of a full orchestra and Elton’s great emotionally charged vocals. The album “Madman Across the Water” was a Christmas day, 1971 gift along with a pair of new headphones. I played Side 1 for weeks before I ever flipped the record over to Side 2.
  9. Led Zeppelin IV (untitled)- Led Zeppelin (November 1971) Side 1 – Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Battle of Evermore, Stairway to Heaven– Led Zeppelin recorded a lot of great rock songs; something I have grown to appreciate even more over the years. But there was one album that I bought in early 1972 because of only ONE SONG – “Stairway to Heaven”. Though overplayed over the years by progressive rock stations, this song still stands the test of time as one of the greatest rock songs ever. It is not surprising that Side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV (actually untitled) which  includes the 8 minute plus “Stairway to Heaven” is my favorite Led Zeppelin album side. But it turns out that Side 1 also has some other great songs including, most notably, two hard rockers that are among Zeppelin’s all time best “Black Dog” and “Rock N Roll”. And the “Battle of Evermore” which is the weakest cut on the side, grew on me after constant playings and fits nicely between the first two rockers and “Stairway”. Not surprisingly this album was almost never flipped though Side 2 also has several good tracks most notably “Going to California”.
  10. Sittin’ In – Loggins and Messina (November 1971) Side 1 – Nobody But You, Danny’s Song, Vahevala, Trilogy (Lovin’ Me/ To Make a Women Feel Wanted/ Peace of Mind)- A popular duo by accident, Jim Messina had just planned to “sit in” with Kenny Loggins in recording this session, “Sittin’ In” was their best album. And though Side 2 is very good with the beautiful “House at Pooh Corner” as the highlight, Side 1 is by far the best on this or any other Loggins and Messina album. It begins with the lively rock n roll song and great tune “Nobody but You” which not only features the excellent vocals of both Loggins and Messina but a brass sound that would characterize much of the rest of the album. This is followed by a respite with Loggins’ solo on the slow love ballad  “Danny’s Song”, a song that would later be covered as a successful single by Anne Murray. The Caribbean inspired “Vahevala” complete with metal drums and great orchestration is another excellent song, perhaps the best single song on the album. Finally, the album ends with the brilliant 11 minute “Trilogy” which merges three songs together so successfully that they seem as one. It starts with the slow-paced Loggins-Messina duet “Lovin’ Me”  a great cuddling song, if there ever was one, the pace builds at the end of the song then moves to a lively guitar/horns/organ bridge to another great tune, the up tempo “To Make a Woman Feel Wanted” “… you don’t need change in your pocket….soles on your shoes….” and  lastly bridges to the solo slow ballad “Peace of Mind” “…give me some peace of mind”. Wow, I loved this album side so much that I literally wore it out and had to replace the album in the mid-1970s.
  11. Harvest – Neil Young (February 1972) Side 1 – Out on a Weekend, Harvest, A Man Needs a Maid, Heart of Gold, Are You Ready for the Country –   My favorite of Neil Young’s albums was “Harvest”. It was unique sounding (arguably one of the first country rock albums)  and had great song compositions. While both sides are good, it is Side 1 that was my favorite. It begins with the very folksy, slow tempo “Out on the Weekend” a great mood setter for much of the rest of the album, complete with acoustic guitar and harmonica and Young’s mournful lyric “See the lonely boy out on the weekend, trying to make it pay….”. “Harvest” is also an excellent song and continues in a similar vein but relying a bit more on twangy electric guitar , “A Man Needs a Maid” is a complete shift – musically dominated by the London Symphony Orchestra and beginning and ending with Young’s solo piano. But the theme is familiar, love lost or love on the rocks as Neil sadly ends the song “when will I see you again?”. “Heart of Gold” provides a welcome change, with a much more upbeat and very catchy song which still ranks as Young’s most popular single ever and made even better by Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor backing vocals. The side ends with the much more rockin’ sound of “Are You Ready for the Country” a great finale to Side 1 which features backing vocals from Graham Nash and David Crosby. Side 2 is very good including most notably “Old Man” and “Alabama” but Side 1 is still my favorite.
  12. Dark Side of the Moon-Pink Floyd (March 1973) Side 2 – Money, Us and Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse – It is hard to have been a college student in late 1973/early 1974 and NOT own “Dark Side of the Moon”. This was their most critically acclaimed and by far their most popular album and certainly one that I played constantly at college. In fact, my first copy of the record was inadvertently left out on our room’s radiator and became permanently warped. After a few failed attempts to get it to play on the turntable, which were interesting to say the least, we hung the record by a string from the ceiling to give us – voila! – instant dorm room art. And of course, within 24 hours I had bought a new record. Not surprisingly the whole album is great with songs/tracks almost indistinguishable from each other. Side 1 was excellent with, if you will excuse the pun , the timeless “Time” a particularly outstanding track. The improvised wordless vocals and outstanding singing of session singer Clare Torey on “The Great Gig in the Sky” is another highly unusual feature of Side 1. But Side 2 was my favorite starting with the extraordinary guitar work of David Gilmour and bass guitar Roger Waters providing the driving sound behind Pink Floyd’s best rock song “Money”. Session sax player Dick Parry adds his great sound to “Money” but his work on “Us and Them” is particularly noteworthy. The excellent blended harmony of singers Gilmour and Richard Wright along with Wright’s great work on keyboards provides the ethereal and relaxing quality of “Us and Them” and makes this my favourite track on the album. It’s hard to know upon early listening  where “Any Colour You Like” begins or when “Us and Them” ends, but it provides a nice musical interlude with featuring great organ playing from Wright and guitar work from  Gilmour. “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” are two excellent songs that finish out Side 2 nicely and are the clearest reference to former Pink Floyd member  Syd Barrett’s mental breakdown “and if the band you’re in, starts playing different tunes”.
  13. The Captain and Me – Doobie Brothers (March 1973) – Side 1-Natural Thing, Long Train Running, China Grove, Dark Eyed Cajun Woman, Clear as the Driven Snow– The Doobie Brothers recorded a lot of great music but nothing beats Side 1 of “The Captain and Me”. It starts with the guitar/organ fanfare of “Natural Thing” (” …We all got to be loved , it’s a natural thing don’t you know..”) then moves to two great rocking singles ” Long Train Running” and of course ” China Grove ” “… they’re people just looking to the East.” “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman” is an enjoyable, albeit slower, country-blues inspired tune, but the respite is short-lived with the best “non-single” cut on the album, ” Clear as the Driven Snow”, which starts as a slow folk-rock song and then builds into a great up-tempo rock song which nicely ends Side 1. Side 2 is good too, with the rocking “Without You” and the beautiful “South City Midnight Lady”, but Side 1 is hard to top.
  14. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder (August 1973) – Side 2 – Higher Ground, Jesus Children of America, All in Love is Fair, Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing, He’s Misstra Know it All  –  Stevie Wonder’s best album was easy to select for me. “Innervisions” was played constantly in my dorm room in college. The hard part was deciding which side to play. Side 1 features the long version of the mega-hit “Living for the City” and three other excellent tracks “Too High”; “Visions” and “Golden Lady” . But Side 2 is slightly better. It begins with Stevie Wonder’s great rocker “Higher Ground”, featuring Stevie’s great playing of the Hohner clavinet keyboard (which he originally used most distinctively in “Superstition”) . The song morphs into the second track the beautifully soulful R&B tune “Jesus Children” and next moves to the gorgeous but mournful ballad “All in Love is Fair”. The style changes abruptly with “Don’t You Worry Bout at Thing” , an excellent hispanic-style, up-tempo love song. Lastly, Stevie ends with “He’s Misstra Know it All” a nice soul R&B ending to the side. Did I also mention that Stevie Wonder played almost all of the instruments on the album?
  15. Band on the Run – McCartney/Wings (December 1973) Side 1 – Band on the Run, Jet, Bluebird, Mrs. Vanderbilt, Let Me Roll It – My favorite album of the year 1974 ( though technically a December 1973 release) was Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” and Side 1 is also McCartney’s best album side. The side begins with “Band on the Run”, perhaps McCartney’s best single of his career (“Band on the Run” set an unofficial record in my quad at Brown for being played the most times in a row -28 times! – out from the window of my dorm room, much to the greater consternation of those living nearby.) Side 1 continues with the lively rocker “Jet”, followed by the pleasant and slower love ballad “Bluebird” which was one of the rare love songs that features both Paul AND Linda in good form. The pace quickens with the lively “Mrs. Vanderbilt” a great tune (and another single at least in Europe). The side ends with the excellent guitar-led, slow rocker, “Let Me Roll it”, one of McCartney best compositions.  To be clear, Side 2 of the album was also loaded with great songs notably “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)” and my favorite “1985” which highlights some mean piano playing by Paul. But Side 1 gets the nod in McCartney best non-Beatles album.
  16. Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen (August 1975) Side 2 Born to Run, She’s the One, Meeting Across the River, Jungleland – Springsteen’s third album “Born to Run” was what hooked me to Springsteen’s music, was to become his most popular effort to date and created an entire new legion of Springsteen fans. Lyrically and musically the album was outstanding with not a single weak track. Some compared Springsteen to an electric Dylan (a la “Like a Rolling Stone”) but Springsteen took the music further with more complex arrangements and orchestration than Dylan ever contemplated (some critics likened it to the Phil Specter “wall of sound”). And he had a great backup band featuring Clarence Clemons on sax and Stevie Van Zandt on guitar. Side 1 is excellent featuring “Thunder Road” to begin and “Backstreets” to end the side. But it is Side 2 that is my favorite beginning with the rousing and heartfelt drama of “Born to Run” my favorite single of his long and illustrious career. Musically, it was wonderful with an unforgettable sound and lyric “…Highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive”. The rocking “She’s the One” barely tempers the intensity of Springsteen’s music. The intensity ebbs with the slow jazzy horn introduction to the mournful, darker “Meeting Across the River”. This song serves as a musical and lyrical bridge to the drama that unfolds in Harlem in “Jungleland”, this brilliant nine and a half minute epic Springsteen song. “The Rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night…”. The drama ends badly though “…but they wind up wounded, not even dead, tonight in Jungleland”.
  17. Boston-Boston (August 1976) Side 1-More than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, Foreplay/Long Time– Boston’s first album was the complete brainchild of Tom Scholz who wrote all the music and played all the instruments except drums. Scholz’s guitar and keyboard work were distinctive and created the unique sound for the group. But it was Brad Delp soaring tenor vocals that made the Boston sound famous. Side 2 includes two excellent songs “Something About You” and “Hitch a Ride”, but it is Side 1 that gets the nod on the power of three superb songs. “More than a Feeling” became Boston’s first and biggest hit song and its guitar riffs and Delp’s excellent vocals. “Peace of Mind” is almost a match and is similarly styled. But it is the last almost 8 minute track “Foreplay/Long Time” that is my favorite, beginning with the great musical almost 3 minute intro “Foreplay” which features dueling guitars, organ and bass guitar. This leads seamlessly thru a great building drum sequence into the wonderfully guitar laden “Long Time”. Delp vocals soar hitting high notes in tune with the guitars. A piece de resistance! Perhaps I loved Side 1 so much because it was full of uplifting rock music and vocals which I sorely needed in late 1976 and 1977.
  18. Rumours-Fleetwood Mac (February 1977)- Side 1 –Second Hand News, Dreams, Never Going Back Again, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own Way, Songbird– I found it difficult to pick my favorite album side for Fleetwood Mac, with Side 1 of “Fleetwood Mac” a close second (i.e. Monday Morning , Warm Ways, Blue Letter, Rhiannon, Over My Head, Crystal). However, Side 1 of Rumours is truly outstanding. The album has no pretenses; it is very clearly about the breakups of Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks AND the end of the marriage of Christine and John McVie. “Second Hand News” is Buckingham’s upbeat rock lament “someone has taken place….I’m just second-hand news”. This is followed by the beautiful slow ballad “Dreams”, Stevie Nicks own lament over love lost “Thunder only crashes when it’s raining, players only love you when they’re playing….In the stillness of remembering what you had and what you lost”. This is followed by Buckingham’s short song “Never Going Back Again” which the group joins to sing with him and which quickly segues into the brilliantly upbeat rocker and wonderfully optimistic “Don’t Stop”, “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, it’ll be here better than before, yesterday’s gone….”. While “Don’t Stop” might be Fleetwood Mac’s best song ever, arguably “Go Your Own Way” which follows is even better, both musically (great guitar work by Buckingham and a wonderfully lively tune) and lyrically (the simple optimism of “Don’t Stop” is replaced by resignation and even anger “You can go your own way, you can call it another lonely day”). The album finishes with a slow beautiful, Christine McVie’s “Songbird” which features her always beautiful vocals and her personal lament of marriage’s end “for you there will be no more crying……and the songbirds are singing like they know the score” . This album had great personal meaning as I listened to it during the course of my distance relationship with my girlfriend during 1977 both the highs and the lows and the ultimate breakup.
  19. Aja – Steely Dan (September 1977) Side 1 –Black Cow, Aja, Deacon Blues – While there are many songs and albums that Steely Dan has recorded that I like a great deal, there is only one record side that I enjoyed ALL the tracks – Side 1 of Aja. Aja is Steely Dan at their jazziest, though still fundamentally a rock-jazz fusion group. And I can remember listening to this album frequently in the months before heading West to California and Stanford Business School in the summer of 1978. The album starts with “Black Cow” a wonderful song about rocky relationships “I can’t cry anymore while you run around. Break away. Just when it seems so clear that it’s over now. Drink your big black cow and get out of here” with a great saxophone and keyboards and guitar which fit the mood of the song brilliantly. Next, the title track “Aja” has a distinctly different Asian character, albeit with equal jazzy instrumentation, a lengthy musical interlude in the middle and an extremely relaxed feel to it. Lastly, the album ends with “Deacon Blues” which is another excellent song and the third lengthy track on the side. Side 2 is quite good as well, but it is Side 1 that is the most consistent.
  20. The Cars – The Cars (June 1978) Side 2 – You’re All I’ve Got Tonight, Bye Bye Love, Moving in Stereo, All Mixed Up – This debut album by this Boston area group is without question their best and the perhaps the best album of the entire “new wave” of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Energetic and edgy, the Cars had many of their best songs on this one album. It was my first purchase upon arriving in California prior to my first year at Stanford Business School. I played it incessantly and both sides almost equally though ultimately I preferred Side 2 because I liked ALL four songs immensely. In fact, all four tracks flow together musically and lyrically which adds to their overall appeal. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” features a great new edgy techno-rock sound primarily using guitars and keyboards. Ironically, it ends lyrically with “I need you tonight” and then a 6 note musical/lyrical reversal into the second track “Bye Bye Love” as Ocasek sings “always with some other guy, it’s just a broken lullaby” another great techno rocker. ( I confess that for years I thought Ocasek was saying “always with some other guy, it’s just a fucking alibi” which would have been a better line, but no doubt would NOT have been approved by the record company in the 1970s.) The crescendo of techno-rock ends with the same six note sequence and moves more softly into “Moving in Stereo” another great song which lyrically belies classification “life’s the same I’m moving in stereo, except for my shoes”. The last song another great tune “All Mixed Up” fittingly provides at least some resolution of the tenuous/tempestuous relationship begun with “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” “…she’s always out the window, when it comes to making dreams. It’s all mixed up” but then it finishes “she says to leave it to me, everything’ll be all right” and the song fades away. A brilliant and cohesive album side. Nonetheless, it is only a somewhat better than Side 1 and its three excellent singles “Good Times Roll”; “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed”.

There are many honorable mention artists, James Taylor (“Sweet Baby James”) ELO (‘A New World Record”), Eagles (“Hotel California”) to name three I can think of off the top of my head. What are your favorites?


From → Music 60s70s

  1. Geoff permalink

    Bruce … Great blog posts on great album sides. If I had to pick a list, a large majority of the choices would be the same as yours. Some of my thoughts:

    If you are going to pick two Beatles sides, why not three? Abbey Road (side 2) and Sgt. Peppers (side 1) are great, but I’ve always loved side 2 of Rubber Soul (the American release, because that’s the one I listened to growing up): “It’s Only Love”, “Girl”, “I’m Looking Through You”, “In My Life”, “Wait”, and “Run for Your Life”. The songs just flowed.

    One I’m really surprised you didn’t list (I’m guessing it was an oversight): “Deja Vu” by Crosby Stills, Nash & Young (1970). Both side are great, but I’d go with side 1: “Carry On”, “Teach Your Children”, “Almost Cut My Hair”, “Helpless”, and “Woodstock”.

    Another album side I’m surprised that you didn’t pick: Side 1 of Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens; 1970): “Where Do the Children Play”, “Hard Headed Woman”, “Wild World”, “Sad Lisa”, and “Miles from Nowhere”.

    Also: Abraxas (Santana; 1970; side 1); Moondance (Van Morrison; 1970; side 1); Blood on the Tracks (Bob Dylan; 1975; side 1). All great sides.

    I’ll post back later with some thoughts on some 1980s selections (I think I got my CD player in 1986, so I still bought albums in the early 80s).


  2. Bruce permalink

    Agree about Rubber Soul, but I had to cut it off somewhere! I had CSNY on my list but dropped it at last minute (should have been on honorable mention). Moondance and Blood on the Tracks would be good choices , except I owned neither so they didn’t make the cut. I liked Abraxas but no one side had all excellent/good tracks which was one unofficial criteria of mine.
    But Tea for the Tillerman was a clear oversight! Oh well I will have to fix when I turn all these music blogs into a book!

  3. Geoff permalink

    Going to have to agree to disagree with you on Abraxas: side 1 has two good cuts “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts” and “Incident At Neshabur” and two great cuts (“Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen” and “Oye Como Va”). No filler there.

    Other possibilities:

    Purple Rain – Prince (1983) [side 2: “When Doves Cry”, “I Would Die for You”, “Baby I’m a Star”, “Purple Rain”]

    1999 – Prince (1982) [side 1: “1999”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Delirious”]

    The Joshua Tree – U2 (1987) [side 1: “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “With or Without You”, “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “Running to Stand Still”]

    Rock N Roll Animal – Lou Reed (1974) [side 1: “Intro / Sweet Jane”, “Heroin”]

    Squeezing Out Sparks – Graham Parker & The Rumour (1979) [side 1: “Discovering Japan”, “Local Girls”, “Nobody Hurts You”, “You Can’t Be Too Strong”, “Passion Is No Ordinary Word”]

    Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield (1973) [side 1: “Tubular Bells, Pt.1”]

    Frustrated that I couldn’t find an Elvis Costello side that was consistently good. Also, I’m kind of undecided between Harvest and After the Gold Rush (side 1) for Neil Young. Both are great.

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