I Love 1976: My Top 40 Albums of 1976

American Top 40 - 70s_1976

1976 was a year that had been hyped up so much during our years in elementary school, that there was no way the United States’ two-century birthday celebration was ever going to live up to that hype. The country’s dominant political and economic powers were still being wielded by the pre-Elvis generation, so there was no way a rock band would be on the list of performers for the celebrations in DC and in NYC that July 4th. Oh sure, they might have gotten crazy and invited the Beach Boys, but they were a nostalgia act by then. And, Johnny Cash was invited, I’m sure, as long as he stuck with his non-controversial country hits. Oh, the powers-that-be probably booked the Osmonds and Up with People, but that was the extent of a nod toward perhaps the most American of twentieth century music, right after jazz, the blues and country musics. But, I did not watch the celebration.

Instead, I took to the cul-de-sac, or as the kids called it “The Circle,” to watch a couple of martini-sipping middle-aged men with blowtorches, light all of the fireworks us twenty kids had purchased for our own celebration. Back in 1976 in Indiana, Hoosiers were not allowed to buy firecrackers, bottle rockets and any other explosive fireworks any teenaged boy would love to blow up. However, someone from the neighborhood was always traveling to Tennessee the week before Independence Day in order to buy illegal fireworks, so we were never without. Still, my favorite memories remain the men’s shaky hands doing the lighting by the end of the evening; the neighbor’s military-trained dog successfully several firecrackers and M80s before exploding; and, getting in a little hand-holding and kissing with a neighbor girl.

But, it was Casey Kasem’s special Fourth of July American Top 40 Countdown of the most popular songs from past July 4th countdowns during the rock era. That four-hour radio program was one of the most enjoyable history lessons that I ever took part in (I wrote it down…DUH!). But, my album of choice that summer was the classic album Destroyer by Kiss. No album before it had ever given me such a rush. It was nearly comparable to winning a Cross Country race or getting a double win in the half-mile and mile runs in track or making some great catch in centerfield in baseball. That album was a life-changer for me. And, 1976 had many more good albums. But, everything that was happening as a set-up for the seismic shift that would take place next year in the form of punk rock. Still, that was brewing in New York City and London, far away from some skinny would-be athlete from the middle of Farmland USA.

So, would you join me in my countdown of my 40 favorite albums from the bicentennial year of 1976, which the celebrations that year went off like popgun, while the music was more like a bazooka. Rock on everyone!

4.30 kiss destroyer

4.30 ramones_-_ramones_a-ramones4.30 Queen a day at the races

  1. Kiss – Destroyer
  2. Ramones – Ramones
  3. Queen – A Day at the Races
  4. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  5. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  6. Boston – Boston
  7. Rush – 2112
  8. David Bowie – Station to Station
  9. Thin Lizzy – Jail Break
  10. Heart – Dreamboat Annie
  11. Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More from the Road
  12. Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees
  13. Parliament – The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein
  14. Eagles – Hotel California
  15. Electric Light Orchestra – A New World Record
  16. Steve Miller Band – Fly like an Eagle
  17. The Runaways – The Runaways
  18. Blondie – Blondie
  19. The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
  20. Bob Seger – Live Bullet
  21. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  22. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Bigger Than Both of Us
  23. Eddie & the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression
  24. Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell
  25. Kiss – Rock and Roll Over
  26. Styx – Crystal Ball
  27. Aerosmith – Rocks
  28. The Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination of Edgar Allan Poe
  29. Bee Gees – Children of the World
  30. Bob Dylan – Desire
  31. Elton John – Blue Moves
  32. Bob Seger – Night Moves
  33. The Rolling Stones – Black and Blue
  34. Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive
  35. Wings – Wings over America
  36. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes – I Don’t Want to Go Home
  37. The J. Geils Band – Blow Your Face Out
  38. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – The Roaring Silence
  39. Klaatu – 3:47 EST
  40. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

4.30 stevie wonder - songs in the key of lifeparliament clones of dr funkenstein

That is the year of 1976 according to my taste in music. Stay tuned for the of the Seventies as the week progresses. Rock on!

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I Love 1975: My Top 40 Albums of 1975

i love the 70s_1975

1975 is actually a line in the sand in my life. It was the year during which I discovered that I was a decent distance runner. I also remember telling my father, the old basketball coach himself, that I wanted to learned to make basketball moves that would make me a better player. And, I discovered my new hobby of all things pop and rock music, whether taping songs off my transistor radio, buying and reading every line in Creem, Circus and Hit Parader magazines. I choose them, especially Creem, because they had photos I could cut out and hang in my room, right next to my posters of Johnny Bench, The Cincinnati Reds, The Indiana Pacers and Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Eventually, my adolescent “Wall of Fame” would come to include posters of Farah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs, Debbie Harry and Linda Ronstadt. Additionally, I was writing down every list of Top 40 songs from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 show on the old Muncie, Indiana AM radio station, WERK. Of course, forty songs and artists were not challenging for me to put to memory. Why bother with mathematics concepts? Oh, it was there too, I was just lazy about pulling it out of my brain. That was my ADHD winning the chemically-depleted battle in my brain.

In 1975, thanks to a high school basketball player who was dating the older sister of a friend down my street, I was introduced to Kiss Alive! Quite possibly no other album impacted my life than that album. I literally became a rock music student after hearing that album, along.” with its transcendent single “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Quite literally, that album was my gateway into so much of the music that has enriched my life over the past 43 years. That basketball player would play one-on-one games, while listening to that 8-track tape. My basketball game kept improving due to him taking me under his wing, much to the chagrin of his then-girlfriend, my friend’s sister.

Unbelievably, Kiss opened my musical world to so much music, as did Casey Kasem’s weekly radio show and the musings in Creem magazine. Music helped me deal with my shortcomings as a teen boy with limited interests and difficulty relating with others my age. But, I could put Elton John’s Rock of the Westies, close the door to my room and escape my shortcomings as a human teen. But, thanks to rock music, I was able to work through the shortcomings over the next decade thanks to Kiss and all the other music that followed. And, this all began in 1975, though much of the groundwork was laid over the previous half-decade.

So, it is my pleasure to introduce forty albums that represent a year that remains special to me. Maybe, it wasn’t a year that was as deep with fantastic music like 1972 or 1973, as I covered last week. Nor is it as deep as a few years that are coming up in the next few days and weeks. But, it is a special year to me. Let’s do this countdown thing!

4.30 Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

  1. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
  2. Queen – A Night at the Opera
  3. Kiss – Alive!
  4. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  5. Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years
  6. Parliament – Mothership Connection
  7. Elton John – Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
  8. Electric Light Orchestra – Face the Music
  9. Heart – Dreamboat Annie
  10. Bob Dylan & the Band – The Basement Tapes
  11. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
  12. Bee Gees – Main Course
  13. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
  14. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
  15. Patti Smith – Horses
  16. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Rufus
  17. David Bowie – Young Americans
  18. Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
  19. Dwight Twilley Band – Sincerely
  20. Feelgood – Down by the Jetty
  21. Elton John – Rock of the Westies
  22. The Isley Brothers – The Heat Is On
  23. Roxy Music – Siren
  24. Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic
  25. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
  26. The O’Jays – Family Reunion
  27. Neil Young – Zuma
  28. War – Why Can’t We Be Friends?
  29. Various Artists – The Rocky Horror Picture Show OST
  30. Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow
  31. Brian Eno – Another Green World
  32. Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
  33. Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare
  34. Donna Summer – Love to Love You Baby
  35. ABBA – ABBA
  36. Earth, Wind & Fire – That’s the Way of the World
  37. Earth, Wind & Fire – Gratitude
  38. The Staple Singers/Curtis Mayfield – Let’s Do It Again OST
  39. AC/DC – T.N.T.
  40. Kiss – Dressed to Kill

4.30 Queen - A Night at the Opera4.30 Kiss - Alive

So, there you go. That’s 1975 according to my tastes. I hope this will kick up some memories for you.

4.30 Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action4.30 Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

One last thing: I am over the Pacers’ final loss of the season, knowing they had overachieved with the current roster. Yet, I watched as the two young men the team traded Paul George for as they showed that they, along with Myles Turner, are three brilliant players to build around. Now, if we could find a player in the mold of Draymond Green, who is a solid defender/rebounder/scorer. That, and some bench depth. It will be an interesting off-season for one of the youngest teams in the NBA.

I Love 1974: My Top 40 Albums of 1974

American Top 40 - 70s_1974

Let’s start today’s entry with a quick thank you to my readers! After taking an unplanned week off for family emergencies and events, I came back to a consistent readership in much higher numbers than before. I am certain that the quality of my writing has not improved nor has my choice of topics. Yet, for reasons unknown to me, you all have been visiting my silly blog about the music that you and I love. Please, if you like this blog, pass on the site to your other music-loving friends. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a core group of my high school and college friends who have encourage this adventure, but it is the people whom I do not know that make this blog worthwhile. So, a big thanks goes out to everyone who has read this blog.

Today, the year is 1974. That was the year during which I finished up elementary school as my father finished up his first year as principal of the very same school. He would go on at the school for 26 more years, retiring in after the 1998-99 school year. 1974 was also something of a milestone year because it was that very year, during summer break, in which I discovered American Top 40 anchored by the incomparable voice of Casey Kasem. I really do not remember much about that countdown, as I did not write it down each week. However, I do remember hearing ABBA’s great single “Waterloo” being played, and I was hooked on this weekly radio program.

Looking back, 1974 was a solid year in music, with my quirky albums that were failures at the time going on to become favorites of mine. It was also around this time that Sir Elton John was beginning to peak in popularity. Stevie Wonder was on the hottest streak of his career, Jackson Browne was just beginning to establish himself as the voice of a generation, and the Raspberries were attempting a comeback, only to be wrongly convinced that they were not worthy of rock stardom, even with their brilliantly yearning single “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).” Finally, 1974 will be remembered for all eternity as it was the year when Kiss released the first two records of their career. This and so much more happened in 1974.

And, while many exciting things happened in 1974, the number of classic albums was minimal. Still, the records that were released in 1974 are the kind that will only enrich your collection, by giving it diversity. With all of that said, let’s start the countdown!

4.27 Big Star - Radio_city

  1. Big Star – Radio City
  2. Queen – Sheer Heart Attack
  3. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys
  4. Raspberries – Starting Over
  5. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now
  6. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping
  7. Stevie Wonder – Fullfillingness’ First Finale
  8. Bob Dylan & The Band – Before the Flood
  9. Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado
  10. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Natty Dread
  11. Elton John – Caribou
  12. Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky
  13. Daryl Hall & John Oates – War Babies
  14. The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll
  15. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel
  16. The Doobie Brothers – What We Once Vices Are Now Habits
  17. Rush – Rush
  18. Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information
  19. Neil Young – On the Beach
  20. Kiss – Kiss
  21. Supertramp – Crime of the Century
  22. Van Morrison – Veedon Fleece
  23. Todd Rundgren – Todd
  24. Kraftwerk – Autobahn
  25. New York Dolls – Too Much Too Soon
  26. The Spinners – Mighty Love
  27. Sweet – Desolation Boulevard
  28. Labelle – Nightbirds
  29. Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan – Rags to Rufus
  30. Kiss – Hotter Than Hell
  31. Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic
  32. Roxy Music – Country Life
  33. Aerosmith – Get Your Wings
  34. Ohio Players – Fire
  35. Queen – Queen II
  36. Bad Company – Bad Company
  37. Eagles – On the Border
  38. Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard
  39. Brinsley Schwarz – The New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz
  40. Barry White – Can’t Get Enough

4.27 The_Doobie_Brothers_-_What_Were_Once_Vices_Are_Now_Habits4.27 Ohio Players - Fire

During one last “look-sy,” I have noticed soul albums, English pub rock albums, hard rock albums, disco albums, funk albums, pop albums and everything in-between and all around. Needless to say, it is a somewhat eclectic list.

Indiana-Pacers-Logo-Neon-Sign-Custom-Neon-Signs-25-23

I hope everyone has a great weekend! And, I hope this is NOT the last time I blurt out, “Go Pacers!”

I Love 1973: My Top 40 Albums of 1973

we-love-70s_1973

So, I’m moving slowly today. The pain level is higher than the normal baseline despite trying out some new homeopathic “meds.” And, I had such high hopes for this substance. Oh well, it’s only money.

The other reason that I am down is that the world’s greatest basketball player, LeBron James, hit a last-second three-pointer to sink my young Pacers’ hopes of an upset. This Pacers team has overachieved this year. Last summer, Paul George wanted out of Indy. He was the Pacers’ star, but he felt he was too Hollywood for Naptown. And, so, the Pacers traded him for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. I felt it was a good trade, but I thought the payoff would not come for another couple of years. Little did I realize that these young men simply needed playing time. Long story short, the NBA future is shining bright in Indianapolis.

Now, on to my other favorite pastime: music. Specifically, let’s look at the year 1973. The early part of 1973, I was finishing fourth grade and was beginning fifth grade at the end of the year. Once again, 1973 is more of a rock history lesson to me more than being totally immersed in the year’s music, as I would become in two more years. But, I was pleasantly surprised how good of a year for music 1973 was. Now, is it one of the classic years for music that 1972 is? Not yet. But, I think 1973 is gaining respect with many critics.

Some immortal albums were released during the twelve months that comprise 1973. Check out some of the biggies from 1973: the album that has logged the most weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon; Alice Cooper’s classic Billion Dollar Babies; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John and the debut albums by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bruce Springsteen and Queen. In other words, there is some stiff competition for the spots on this year-end chart.

But, I will let you, my loyal reader, evaluate my Top 40 Albums List for 1973 to determine if the year is one of those immortals years, such as 1967, 1972 and a handful of other years, as I hope you will discover in the coming days. So, enough of the playing around, let’s start the countdown!

4.26 Hall & Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette

  1. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette
  2. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  3. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
  4. The Who – Quadrophenia
  5. Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies
  6. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  7. Iggy & the Stooges – Raw Power
  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd – (pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)
  9. Paul Simon – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
  10. Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
  11. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
  12. Gram Parsons – GP
  13. Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, a True Star
  14. Raspberries – Side 3
  15. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run
  16. The Isley Brothers – 3+3
  17. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
  18. The O’Jays – Ship Ahoy
  19. Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
  20. The Doobie Brothers – The Captain and Me
  21. Queen – Queen
  22. Billy Joel – Piano Man
  23. John Lennon – Mind Games
  24. Grand Funk – We’re an American Band
  25. The J. Geils Band – Bloodshot
  26. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
  27. Steely Dan – Countdown to Ecstasy
  28. Roxy Music – Stranded
  29. Neil Young – Time Faces Away
  30. Lou Reed – Berlin
  31. Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
  32. The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup
  33. Little Feat – Dixie Chicken
  34. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
  35. The Spinners – The Spinners
  36. Aerosmith – Aerosmith
  37. The Temptations – Masterpiece
  38. Sly & the Family Stone – Fresh
  39. The Allman Brothers – Brothers and Sisters
  40. Al Green – Call Me

4.26 Todd Rundgren - A Wizard4.26 stranded-roxy-music

See what I mean? This list doesn’t immediately jump out at you that you are reading about an immortal year for the release of albums, as yesterday’s list did. Yet, if you ponder the list a bit longer, I think you will realize that you are reading a list that contains many great albums. But, is the list immortal? If it’s not, it’s awfully close!

Pacers-new-logo

I Love 1972: My Top 40 Albums of 1972

i love the seventies_1972

Without a doubt, 1972 was a great year for music. I could not believe the sheer number of great artists who released some of their definitive work that year. Stevie Wonder dropped not just one but TWO classics that year. Two of my favorite bands power pop bands of all time made their debuts in 1972. One, Cleveland’s Raspberries had success in the form of a Top 5 single, “Go All the Way,” while the other, Big Star, languished in anonymity until the mid-Eighties, when alternative bands began discovering their greatness, becoming one of the most influential cult bands of all-time, this side of the Velvet Underground.

Besides that, soul music was experiencing a peak year in 1972, as albums by Al Green, The O’Jays and The Isley Brothers had mainstream success, while soundtrack albums to “Blaxploitation” movies such as Shaft, Superfly and Troubled Man all became big hits, as did a reggae soundtrack compilation of artists such as Jimmy Cliff on The Harder They Fall was successful. And, rock music had a rich year with The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and Steely Dan led the way, while David Bowie brought Glam Rock across the pond with Ziggy Stardust. And, those albums were just the tip of the iceberg.

So, let’s get the countdown going!

4.25 Big_Star_-1_Record

  1. Big Star – #1 Record
  2. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
  3. Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968
  4. Alice Cooper – School’s Out
  5. Raspberries – Raspberries
  6. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything?
  7. Jimmy Cliff and Others – The Harder They Come OST
  8. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill
  9. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  10. Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview
  11. Elton John – Honky Chateau
  12. Raspberries – Fresh
  13. Randy Newman – Sail Away
  14. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
  15. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together
  16. Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind
  17. Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man
  18. Paul Simon – Paul Simon
  19. Neil Young – Harvest
  20. The Band – Rock of Ages
  21. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
  22. Nick Drake – Pink Moon
  23. The J. Geils Band – “Live” Full House
  24. The O’Jays – Back Stabbers
  25. Eagles – Eagles
  26. Roxy Music – Roxy Music
  27. Lou Reed – Transformer
  28. Rex – The Slider
  29. War – The World Is a Ghetto
  30. Slade – Slayed?
  31. The Isley Brothers – Brother, Brother, Brother
  32. Jackson Browne – Jackson Browne [aka Saturate Before Using]
  33. The Allman Brothers Band – Eat a Peach
  34. America – America
  35. Chicago – Chicago V
  36. Deep Purple – Machine Head
  37. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle Be Unbroken
  38. Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes
  39. Focus – Focus III
  40. Doobie Brothers – Toulouse Street

4.25 Nuggets4.25 War - The World Is a Ghetto

Now, THAT is a classic lineup of great albums. In my book, anytime you have Stevie, Marvin, Big Star, Raspberries, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, War, Chicago, Deep Purple, The Stones and the rest in the same countdown, it HAS to be a great year. And, many of the albums from 1972 have stood the test of time.

Pacer logo evolution

Finally, tonight is the pivotal game five between my over-achieving Indiana Pacers’ game against the incomparable LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Play-Offs. If the Pacers have a chance to win this series, they must beat the Cavs tonight. Must See TV for Me…heeheehee! (My apologies! Again…)

My Top 40 Albums of 1971

i heart the 70s_1971

Yesterday, I started my first major series of Keller’s Top 40 Albums for each year between 1970 and 2017. Now, yesterday, I spent nearly half of my blog crying around about my love of basketball and the Indiana Pacers, which probably just made many of you suffer from reverse peristalsis, commonly known as barfing, ralphing, puking, spewing, vomiting, regurgitating, honking or casting the demons. Whatever you call it matters not. I am simply giving you more terms to aid you in the description of my writing. Oh, sure, I may have an inspired entry once, maybe even twice, a month. Yet, we all know that the rest tends toward drivel.

Anyway, I never did explain why I started with 1970. Well, the year is not really some magically chosen year, except it was the year in which I finished first grade. So, for some reason, I chose to recognize first grade over kindergarten since the latter was only a half-day immersion in public education. Plus, with first grade came the social immersion that comes only from the school bus. On the school bus, I learned the proper uses for every curse word from the older kids, while I also discovered one of my favorite pastimes: the female. And, thank goodness for all the false information I learned about that other sex of the human condition. The school bus in the 1970s was a forerunner to all the false news sites pushed by Facebook. But, if you cast aside the Cheech & Chong topics, the first exposure to Playboy magazine and the worldly sixth graders who for some reason held all of the secrets of the world, the school bus did possess true information about one thing that continues to follow me: a great basis for my musical knowledge. From the older kids on the bus, I was exposed to Alice Cooper, the Doobie Brothers and so many other rock artists that continue to haunt my collection to this very day.

So, I decided to begin my countdowns to correspond with half of a school year on the school bus as the starting point for my annual Top 40 Albums countdown. And, that, my friends, is the WHOLE story. Additionally, I would love to thank my babysitter’s older kids for the foundation to my musical knowledge, followed by the older kids on that school bus, Bus #17, for their input. And, finally, I would like to thank my classmates for helping me build this knowledge base as I listened to their opinions and arguments concerning popular music.

Today, I wish to cover 1971. I think 1971 will go down in the annuals as another strong year for rock and soul music. But, was it one of the transcendent years? Not really, but it was very close. Still, many of the albums listed in this countdown as still being played on Classic Rock radio to today. With that said, let’s get this countdown underway. Buckle up!

4.24 rolling stones - sticky finger

  1. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
  2. Led Zeppelin – IV
  3. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  4. The Who – Who’s Next
  5. Carole King – Tapestry
  6. Todd Rundgren – Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
  7. Elton John – Madman Across the Water
  8. John Lennon – Imagine
  9. Joni Mitchell – Blue
  10. Sly & the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  11. T. Rex – Electric Warrior
  12. Laura Nyro – Gonna Take a Miracle
  13. Bill Withers – Just as I Am
  14. The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up
  15. The J. Geils Band – The Morning After
  16. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
  17. The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies
  18. Badfinger – Straight Up
  19. The Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head
  20. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  21. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
  22. Traffic – Low Spark of the High-Heeled Boys
  23. Alice Cooper – Killer
  24. Janis Joplin – Pearl
  25. Isaac Hayes – Shaft
  26. Santana – Santana III
  27. Don McLean – American Pie
  28. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate
  29. Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson
  30. Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  31. Flamin’ Groovies – Teenage Head
  32. The Band – Cahoots
  33. Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  34. The Doors – L.A. Woman
  35. Paul & Linda McCartney – RAM
  36. Yes – Fragile
  37. Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
  38. Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
  39. Al Green – Al Green Gets Next to You
  40. The Chi-Lites – (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People

sly & the family stone - there's a riot goin' onchi-lites - give more power

Maybe this WAS a classic year for music. It sure appears that 1971 was a great year for albums. Check it out, but nine of the Top 10 albums were created by members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, while 30 of the Top 40 albums were done by Hall of Famers. Realistically, 1971 appears to be a classic year. And, it may end up being recognized as such. But, for now, let’s simply say that it’s a really, really, really good year.

Pacers - state

Go Pacers! Shock the world!

I Love 1970: My Top 40 Albums of 1970

I Heart Music_1970

As you all know, I am a huge basketball fan, though the word fan probably does not properly describe the role basketball in my life. For the first five years of my life, my father was a basketball coach at a small high school that no longer exists. During those five years, I went to practices and games, and, yes, I would run around the gym, being an annoying kid, but I was also learning about basketball. For some reason, the beauty of the game was being switched on in my DNA. Basketball, and not music, is the first love of all my interests.

The saddest day of my life was not when I was forced to retire from teaching, though that day is a very close second place, was the day I realized my body would never allow me to coach basketball, or track and field, ever again. While I was still teaching, I tried to stay involved with the team by breaking down game tape, during some “third grade” analytics on those games, and helping formulate game plans for upcoming games. At the game, my school’s head coach and I were still professionally close, and we were determined to use my mind although my body was falling apart. Unfortunately, I had to give that “job” up when my body would not allow me to continue my game analysis.

Initially, I tried to sit through my schools’ boys basketball teams’ games, but as a frustrated coach and a sufferer of chronic back pain and spasms, the games became fewer and fewer, until I stopped going altogether. And, then, the mental anguish grew so much that I was giving up my television basketball viewing until I stopped watching altogether for a couple of years.  That is, until last night, when Son #1 got tickets for my beloved Indiana Pacers’ play-off game against the Cleveland Cavaliers and their unparalleled leader LeBron James. For a moment, I got my mojo back, that may have only lasted as long as the game. Yet, I felt the very adrenaline running through my veins the way it once did when I played and then coached. For the first time in many years, basketball was fun, although my Pacers lost a squeaker. I could go on and on as to why the Pacers lost (come on Thaddeus Young! You’re a former first-round draft pick! You shouldn’t miss SIX layups! And Pacers! The Cavs were playing a modified ‘box-and-one’ defense that allowed them to double-team the ball out front. Side-to-side passes are made for picking off. The diagonal pass is the attack of choice.).

Okay, we all can tell basketball is an important part of my life. But, let’s talk music! Did everyone enjoy the twelfth consecutive Record Store Day? My boys and I ventured to our favorite independent record store for the celebration, where we were able to purchase a couple of special releases each. I picked up a special re-release of a single album version of Prince’s commercial breakthrough album 1999. My other purchase was a picture disc of Madonna’s classic self-titled debut album; that album is now up on the Picture Disc Wall of Fame in my music room. As far as my boys are concerned, Son #1 picked up a special mix of The Stooges’ eponymous debut album called ‘The Detroit Mix’ version and a copy of Soungarden’s greatest hits package called A-Sides, while Son #2 picked up a Nas album he recorded with an orchestra and Rage Against the Machine’s special printing of their performance at the Democratic Convention way back in 2000. Unfortunately, all three of us did walked away without one of our top choices. Son #1 and I both wanted to pick up the special version of Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits album, which was released on vinyl for the first time, while Son #2 was searching for Run the Jewels super-popular box-set package. This was one of the first time in which all three of us walked away without one of our highly ranked treasures. Yet, as Record Store Day becomes more popular with each passing year, this will occur more often, I’m afraid.

So, with all of that out of the way, let’s get down to brass-tacks. Over the next several weeks, I plan to present to you, my faithful reader, my Top 40 Favorite Albums for every year, from 1970, the year during which I became aware of popular music, up to, and including, last year, 2017. I have been plotting this series for the past several months and am pretty excited to get the whole thing started. Let’s face it – I am celebrating nearly 50 years of beautiful music in my life. A reminder to all of you: be gentle with me for any of your favorite albums missing from my lists. Still, I do want to see your album choices for that particular year we are celebrating. So, let’s light this firecracker!

4.23 simon & garfunkel - bridge over troubled water

  1. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water
  2. The Stooges – Funhouse
  3. Led Zeppelin – III
  4. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu
  5. Grateful Dead – American Beauty
  6. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
  7. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush
  8. Van Morrison – Moondance
  9. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
  10. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World
  11. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
  12. Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead
  13. Todd Rundgren – Runt
  14. The Band – Stage Fright
  15. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory
  16. Derek & the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  17. Elton John – Elton John
  18. The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!
  19. The Who – Live at Leeds
  20. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
  21. Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman
  22. The J. Geils Band – The J. Geils Band
  23. The Kinks – Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
  24. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
  25. Van Morrison – His Band and the Street Choir
  26. Curtis Mayfield – Curtis
  27. Badfinger – No Dice
  28. Emitt Rhodes – Emitt Rhodes
  29. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
  30. Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs
  31. Bob Dylan – New Morning
  32. Paul McCartney – McCartney
  33. The Beatles – Let It Be
  34. The Temptations – Psychedelic Shack
  35. Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys
  36. Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton
  37. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
  38. Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
  39. Randy Newman – 12 Songs
  40. The Move – Shazam

4.23 The_who_live_at_leeds4.23 syd barrett - the madcap laughs

As you can tell, 1970 was a very strong year for rock music, although it is not considered one of the “Golden Years” (my apologies to the late, great David Bowie). Still, my list of albums from 1970 contains some absolute, stone cold classics. Here’s to 1970! Long live 1970!