Here's the latest installment in my respectivus annumus (Yeah, that bullshit Latin sounded better in my head). Anyway, here's my picks for the top 32 albums of the year 11 years before I was born, 1970:
32. Pink Floyd "Zabriskie Point"
My least favorite Pink Floyd album, from any era.
31. Alice Cooper "Easy Action"
This was Alice Cooper's second album, and it wasn't the kind of music you're used to hearing from him. He had the look down, but he was more on the psychedelic tip on this one.
30. King Crimson "Lizard"
28. Neil Young "After The Gold Rush"
27. Mountain "Climbing!"
26. Woodstock: The Album
25. Melanie "Candles In The Rain"
24. Miles Davis "Bitches Brew"
This album is a fuckin' mess, but it is the beginning of fusion. There may have been an album or two leading up to this that were proto-fusion, but this is where it was born. It isn't my cup of tea either; in fact, out of the six songs that make up this two CD monstrosity, none of them would be considered music by the average listener. (And I don't mean that to be a snob. You actually have to train your mind and really strain to pretend to understand shit like this. It also helps to have a bunch of music learning under your belt.)
This is the primordial soup from whence the awesome Jazz-Fusion of the 70's crawled out of, and as such is not really recognizable when compared side-by-side to its progeny except on a molecular level. (And that's probably because the cast is a who's-who of the genre: Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham, Airto Mireira, and John McLaughlin who has a freakin' SONG named after him on this album. That's balla.)
23. Frank Zappa "Burnt Weenie Sandwich"
22. Frank Zappa "Weasels Ripped My Flesh"
21. Frank Zappa "200 Motels Soundtrack"
When it says soundtrack, it MEANS soundtrack: This double disc set is the entire audio track from the film. What in the fuck.
20. The Beatles "Let It Be"
Not a huge fan of this one.
18. Jimi Hendrix "Band Of Gypsys"
17. Fleetwood Mac "Kiln House"
This was the band's first album w/out Peter Green, and well before the Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks-era. "Station Man" is pretty boss.
16. James Gang "Rides Again"
The first album my mom ever bought with her own money.
15. King Crimson "In The Wake Of Poseidon"
A carbon copy of "In The Court Of The Crimson King" with the exception of Greg Lake's involvement. "Court" is better than "Poseidon", but there's a handful of decent joints.
14. Deep Purple "In Rock"
Into The FIYAAAAAHHH!!!!
13. Tower Of Power "East Bay Grease"
12. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Deja Vu"
11. Jean-Luc Ponty "King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa"
They've changed a lot since this album. In 1970, Czar was a prog band with decent, though not special tunes. Then some of the members resurfaced in Denver in the 90's as The Czars and made six albums of alternative rock. The guitarist went in a more edgy direction, starting a hard rock band named Tsar in L.A. at the turn of the millennium. After the Denver outfit disbanded, one of their members made the baffling turn to hip-hop, first calling himself MC Czar, then Czar Black, performing in black face for an infamous Halloween show in 2008, pretty much ending his career. The remaining members decided to merge the two bands in 2010, moving to Chicago and recording a progressive death metal album called "Vertical Mass Grave". That shit bangs.
9. Gil Scott-Heron "Small Talk On 125th & Lennox"
This is what a lot of people point to as one of the first "rap" albums ever recorded. Really, it's spoken word with African instruments behind it, but it wound up being a primitive version of what became rap music, without even intending to. It is the record that made everyone from the 80's to now point backwards in time and point to Gil-Scott Heron as the godfather of rap.
8. The Guess Who "American Woman"
7. The Guess Who "Share The Land"
These two records were the peak of the band in popularity and quality output. I LOVE me some Guess Who.
6. The Doors "Morrison Hotel"
A very nice turnaround from the paper thin "Soft Parade".
5. Traffic "John Barleycorn Must Die"
I still bust out "Empty Pages" at karaoke.
4. Frank Zappa "Chunga's Revenge"
Out of the four albums the man put out this year (five if you count the cover album he had a hand in with Jean-Luc Ponty), this one was the only one that is listenable (besides "King Kong"). Not only is it listenable, it rocks hard like a muh fuka.
3. Black Sabbath
The beginning of all metal. 1970 was a good year for starting new genres.
2. Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
The solidification of all metal. Whereas their self-titled album was the jump off, this one took what they did, made it more cohesive (a bunch of the first album was just jamming that turned into something), and set the blueprint for what metal was. The codifier of the genre, and full of awesome songs.
1. Led Zeppelin III
Just about every song on this album (with the possible exception of "Hats Off (To Roy Harper)") is damn near perfect. And most of them for different reasons from the next. It's a smorgasbord for the senses; a three ring circus of rock excellence. Zep III all the way!
What do you think? Did I miss something? Are you pissed that "Let It Be" barely cracked the top 20? Drop me a line, and let's make this a conversation. Until next time!