Today I bring the Seventies to a close — lots more good music. I was only four years old, and so had to discover all this after the fact, but it’s still some of my favourite music. I bet you I listen to Tusk by Fleetwood Mac once a week or so.
The Clash – London Calling
The Clash transcended punk. None of the bands they came up with could have made this album. Hell, years later, no matter how much Green Day tried to be the Clash, they could never have made this album. (And don’t cite American Idiot – the true wonder of that album — and don’t get me wrong, I love it — is that they somehow made a concept album using only three chords.) London Calling should be on everyone’s shelf. It’s one of my favourite albums that still sounds amazing today — the sound of a band playing together, recorded live on analogue equipment, no auto-tune, no computers to fix shitty tracks.
Elvis Costello – Armed Forces
Oh, I just don’t know where to begin….
Elvis is King. But not that Elvis. A geeky-looking guy from London with more musical knowledge in his pinky finger than you or I.
Joe Jackson – Look Sharp!
Then there’s this guy, who came on to the scene in ’79 with an unforgettable debut album, with this unforgettable song…
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Angel Station
Art rock was not dead in 1979. Manfred Mann, who started out as a British Invasion artist (Doo Wah Diddy, anyone?) proved he was more than that. You’ll be familiar with their many covers of Dylan tunes, and of course, Bruce Springsteen’s Blinded By The Light — arguably better than the original — certainly more popular.
Supertramp – Breakfast in America
In my opinion, the end for Supertramp. Or at least, the last album that interested me. They’d never be this good again, but oh, how good is this album?
Robert Fripp – Exposure
I’m going to give you two tracks for this one — Robert Fripp produced Peter Gabriel’s second album (not a great album…) and Daryl Hall’s Sacred Songs (also not a great album) and then made this album (a great album). Peter Gabriel recorded Exposure for his album, and Fripp recorded Here Comes the Flood — arguably the better version. Also, I can’t help but include You Burn Me Up, I’m a Cigarette — a sly nod to a Joni Mitchell tune You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio.
Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps
One of Neil’s most iconic albums — this would prove to be, in my opinion, his last great album for quite some time. As you’ll soon see, the ’80s were not kind to some formerly great artists, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and even David Bowie included.
Talking Heads – Fear of Music
The second great Eno/Byrne album, with one of my favourite ever tracks!
Led Zeppelin – In through the Out Door
This is an album recorded in the wake of the death of Robert Plant’s son. It was never going to be a hard rocking album, and isn’t a very popular album, but I still love it for what it is. The story is, Jimmy Page was pretty strung out on heroin around this time. Maybe that’s why John Paul Jones stepped up and this album is full of great keyboards and string arrangements.
The Police – Regatta De Blanc
Well, I’ve got to put Message in a Bottle on here as a personal favourite, and while I cannot fathom a world where you’ve never heard this, I would be remiss if I didn’t try to correct that grievous oversight. But then — Bring on the Night. MWAH!
The Who – Quadrophenia
I was lucky enough to see The Who play Quadrophenia a couple of years ago. Roger Daltrey can still wail.
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
More than even Rumours, I love this album. It’s Lyndsey Buckingham at his best as a songwriter.
Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes
Remember, I’m picking albums, not just single tracks. True, his 1976 debut has American Girl, a song that will forever remind me of the film Silence of the Lambs, but as far as perfect albums go, this one’s it for Tom Petty (the first of several, as you’ll see). But there’s only one song that I can possibly post here.
Pink Floyd – The Wall
The bloated masterpiece that would be the first nail in Pink Floyd’s coffin. More than just “We Don’t Need No Education”, this album is quite magnificent, if, like some say, a bit pompous. Believe it or not, this isn’t even Roger Waters at his moaning bleakest — that would be The Final Cut, his last album with the group.