Top 5 Albums Of The 1970’s

Ah, the 1970’s. Punk, metal, skinny ties, CBGB’s, disco, prog. About as different from the 60’s as it could be. Or was it?

Queen, A Night At The Opera: It starts out with a mysterious piano roll which builds in tandem with a snarling Brian May guitar riff (no synthesizers!–if any of you get this reference I‘ll be ubber impressed), until Mercury enters with the most vicious of personal attacks: “You suck my blood like a leach/you break the law and you breach/screw my brain ‘till it hurts”. Talk about drama, and we’re still 9 songs away from Bohemian Rhapsody! Bloody marvelous, dahling!

Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City: I’ve combined the two ‘cause that’s how I bought ‘em. A “two-fer” deal, if you will, and I’ll always see these as two halves of a whole. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell created #1 together a-la Lennon/McCartney, which lent the album a fascinating back and forth of rockers and ballads, but Radio City is pretty much all Chilton’s, including the wonderfully poignant September Gurls. They are, without a doubt, the quintessential power pop band.

The Clash, London Calling: It changed the game, and the punks cried. But everyone else rejoiced at the immense creativity and absolute fearlessness of the songwriting, and for a 13 year old Uncle E it was life altering. It still contains one of my favorite lines of any song: “He who f%$ks nuns, will later join the church”.

Elvis Costello, Armed Forces: “Oh I just don’t know where to begin…” I know how you feel Big E! Where does one start when presented with an album as perfect as this? Accidents Will Happen, Senior Service, Two Little Hitlers, Oliver’s Army and the definitive version of Nick Lowe’s (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding? ‘Nuff Said?

Nick Lowe, Jesus Of Cool: Not his most consistent, song wise, but as a statement of purpose it’s untouchable. And this album, which came out in 1978, is more “punk” in it’s D.I.Y. aesthetic than most punk albums of the period, more tuneful than what was on the radio, and sounds just as vital in 2010 as I am sure it did back in ‘78. Come on, I was 10!

 Runners Up: Billion Dollar Babies by The Alice Cooper Group; Bad Habits by the Monks; Never Mind The Bollocks by The Sex Pistols; Damned Damned Damned by The Damned; A New World Record by ELO; Rumours by Fleetwood Mac; Maggot Brain by Funkadelic; Bruised Orange by John Prine; Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere by Neil Young; Rocket To Russia by The Ramones.; Trans Europe Express by Kraftwerk; Supertramp, Breakfast In America; Marquee Moon, Television.