Saturday, July 26, 2008

MY LIFE IN MUSIC (AKA, BORN IN THE SIXTIES)

What a drag it is getting old.

(And the song from which I took that line is older than me).

Ya' see, Furious tagged me (and just about everybody else) with the most time-consuming yet . . . consuming meme I've ever come across: Your Lifetime Through Music. In other words, as described by El Furioso, start at the Wikipedia page for the year in music for the year of your birth, and pick the best (or your favorite) album from each year you've been alive. It's as easy as that.

And it's hard!

It's funny, just like anything else, there are good years and bad years. Some years (read: the mid-70s thru mid-80s; mid to late-90s) feature albums which are clearly the year's best, yet they wouldn't make the top 20 of other years (read: late 60s or early 90s). Other years (read: 1969, 1971, 1991) have at least three or four that would dominate a lesser year. But that's how it goes.

(Carl Yastrzemski led the AL in batting at .301 in 1968. And the number one album for 1981 was . . . well, you're just gonna have to wait and see.)

Remember, these albums are "My Favorites," not what I think is "The Best." Except when they aren't. And, as it has to be, the opinions are mine as of today. Except when they aren't. And I discovered some of these albums well after their release date (either because of non-birth or because of missed opportunities.) Finally, runners-up if-and-when appropriate. Let's get to it.

Today, I'll present the first third of the 42 years (1967-2008) I've existed on this mortal coil. Only caught 18 days of 1967, but a fine year it was for tunes. The remaining 28 years to follow in the coming days. Anyhow . . .

The Golden Years (Part I):

1967: Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix
Runners-up: Velvet Underground & Nico - Velvet Underground; Live At Monterey - Ravi Shankar; Sgt. Peppers - Beatles; Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane

1968: The White Album - The Beatles
Runners-up: Music From Big Pink - The Band; Astral Weeks - Van Morrison; Sweetheart Of The Rodeo - The Byrds; Beggars Banquet - Rolling Stones; John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan; Hair - Original Cast Recording

1969: The Band - The Band
Runners-up: Abbey Road - The Beatles; Let It Bleed - Rolling Stones; Live Dead - Grateful Dead; Tommy - The Who; Santana - Santana

The Classic Rock Radio-Fodder Years:

1970:
American Beauty - Grateful Dead
Runners-up: Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin; Deja Vu - CSNY; Live At Leeds - The Who; John Barleycorn Must Die - Traffic; Paranoid - Black Sabbath; Loaded - Velvet Underground; Workingman's Dead - Grateful Dead

1971: Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
Runners-up: At Fillmore East - Allman Brothers Band; Jesus Christ Superstar - Various Artists; Tapestry - Carole King; What's Goin' On - Marvin Gaye; Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones; Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek & The Dominoes; Who's Next - The Who; All Things Must Pass - George Harrison; Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy - The Who

1972: Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones
Runners-up: Eat A Peach - Allman Brothers Band; Europe '72 - Grateful Dead

1973: Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
Runners-up: The Wild, The Innocent & The East Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen; Houses Of The Holy - Led Zeppelin

The Dark Years (and man, this Dark Age lasted a longggggggg time):

1974: Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan (My copy says it's from 1974, even though Wikipedia says 1975. I'm sticking with '74 so I can have an entry for this astonishingly weak year).

1975: Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
Runners-up: The Basement Tapes - Bob Dylan & The Band (I'd make this the winner, but this was recorded in '66-'67, remastered & dubbed, etc in '74 or so); Live! - Bob Marley & The Wailers

1976: Desire - Bob Dylan
Runners-up: The Royal Scam - Steely Dan; Boston - Boston; 2112 - Rush; Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder

1977: Never Mind The Bollocks - Sex Pistols
Runners-up: Rumours - Fleetwood Mac; Saturday Night Fever - Various Artists (I don't own either of these, but I loved 'em both as a kid. Plus, the mid to late 70's are so weak, I have to fill up the list somehow)

1978: Darkness On The Edge Of Town - Bruce Springsteen
Runners-up: The Cars - The Cars; Parallel Lines - Blondie; Van Halen - Van Halen (Four solid albums, to be sure, but holy shit was that a bad year)

1979: London Calling - The Clash
Runners-up: Breakfast In America - Supertramp; Fear Of Music - Talking Heads; Regatta De Blanc - The Police; The Wall - Pink Floyd

1980: Permanent Waves - Rush
Runner-up: Back In Black - AC/DC

Back tomorrow (Tuesday) with Part II (1981-1994). In other words, some of the worst musical years on record and then . . . The Renaissance.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Applesaucer said...

I'll comment on your list later (nice work; can't wait for the next installments), but a quick question: Is your feed working? I never got this post sent to my newsreader.

Applesaucer

7:16 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I began creating this Saturday evening, and you'll notice the date stamp reads "Saturday."

Maybe that has something to do with it.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

Nifty meme--Rickey digs. Amen to going with The Band over Abbey Road for 1969. What a terrific album...

8:35 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

I really wanted The Royal Scam to make my list, and was crushed that it was in the same bracket as 2112...

You and I are probably the only two people to go against Back in Black in 1980. Though, I would probably re-consider that vote the more I think about it.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Get on it, Rickey. Yours won't be too hard since it'll be short, ya' whippersnapper...

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

OK, I've put together my '68-'80 list (kudos to you for devising the installment method). I have lots of music to work through for this period, so the list will undoubtedly change.

(please excuse all the typos)

1968 (maybe the best year on my list, with '69 being the only competition):
1. Beatles - White Album
2. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
3. Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison
Honorable Mentions: The Band - Music From The Big Pink; Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat.

1969: (see above):
1. Beatles - Abbey Road
2. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
3. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (he came out with about a billion albums per year, by the way); The Band - The Band; Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed; The Who - Tommy;

1970:
1. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III
2. The Velvet Underground - Loaded
3. The Stooges - Fun House
Honorable Mentions: George Harrison - All Things Must Pass; Grateful Dead - American beauty; The Who - Live At Leeds; Dead - Workingman's dead; CSNY - Deja Vu.

1971:
1. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (a very early "self-purchase")
2. Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers (my favorite Stones album right now)
3. Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Shmilsson
Honorable Mentions: Yes - Fragile; Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks (a best of that counts; there will be a few more); The Who - Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy (see above); The Who - Who's Next (falling fast in my estimation; you were right); Pink Floyd - Meddle); Paul McCartney - Ram.

1972:

1. The Kinks - Kinks Kronikles
2. Can - Ege Bamyasi (OK, I'm a hipster-wannabe);
3. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Honorable Mentions: Lou Reed - Transformer; Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street (sorry).

1973:
1. Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy (the end of Zep's five-year creative peak period);
2. Pink Floyd - Dark Side;
3. None
Honorable Mentions: Wings - Band on the Run (eh)

1974:
NOTHING. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. (I haven't listened to enough Dylan, yet. But I will. I promise).

1975:
1. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here;
2. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
A Very Weak Year.

1976:
1. The Ramones - The Ramones
2. Steely - Royal Scam
3. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Self-titled;
Honorable Mentions: Boston - Boston; AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Bonn Scott [sp?] was my guy, not his screaming substitute); Led Zeppelin - Presence (not their best, but underrated); Rush 2112 (I considered it for the top 3).

1977:
1. Sex Pistols - Nevermind The Bullocks;
2. David Bowie - Low (not including the boring instrumentals at the end);
3. Television - Marquee Moon
Honorable Mentions - Kraftwerk - Trans Europe express (you'll hate it); Saturday Night Fever.

1978:
1. Van Halen - Van Halen;
2. Rolling Stones -- Some Girls (notwithstanding all the bad memories I assocoiate with that album -- think of the hoodlum listening to it on the bus non-stop) ;
3. Elvis Costello And The Attractions - This Year's Model
Honorable Mentions: Steve Miller Band - Best of ('74-'78)(hey, it provided lots of good college memories, what can I say?); Blondie.

1979:
1. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Damn The Torpedoes (also might be THE first Rock Album "purchased with my own money", as they say);
2. Pink Floyd - The Wall (very early "self-purchase");
3. Led Zeppelin - In Through The Outdoor;
3.
Honorable mentions: Michael Jackson - Off The Wall (what can I say? It's a great album); Joe Jackson - Look Sharp; Supertramp - Breakfast In America (another very early self-purchase)

1980:
1. The Clash - London Calling;
2. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables;
3. Rush - Permanent Waves.
Honorable Mentions: The Feelies - Crazy Rhthyms; John Lennon (sans Yoko) - Double Fantasy; Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue (lots of back catalog, but still pretty good, IMHO).

Applesaucer

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Major Oversight Alert: Somehow I dropped all the John Lennon albums, save for Double Fantasy.

Unforgivable.

So throw Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, and Walls & Bridges in the Honorable Mentions for the appropriate years (I don't have the others).

I don't love any of those albums, but I definitely like them enough to mention (and definitely like them as much as -- maybe more than -- the McCartney/Wings albums mentioned).

Sorry John!

(and sorry to all the others I forgot; I'm sure you're crushed by my oversight).

Applesaucer

11:49 AM  
Blogger George said...

Mike, I haven't even finished the films of my life meme and now there's this one. Here's all the good stuff (I promise) you missed from 72-80:

1972
Randy Newman "Sail Away"
Big Star "#1 Record"

1973
Mott the Hoople "Mott"
"Harder They Come" sdtrk
John Cale "Paris 1919"
Roxy Music "Stranded"

1974
Brian Eno "Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)"
Big Star "Radio City"
Richard and Linda Thompson "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight"
Roxy Music "Country Life"

1975
Roxy Music "Siren"
Brian Eno "Another Green World"

1976
The Modern Lovers "The Modern Lovers"
Graham Parker "Heat Treatment"
The Ramones "The Ramones"

1977
Television "Marquee Moon"
The Clash "The Clash"
Richard Hell and the Voidoids "Blank Generation"
David Bowie "'Heroes'"

1978
Big Star "Third"
Wire "Pink Flag"
Elvis Costello and the Attractions "This Year's Model"
Anthony More "Flying Doesn't Help"
Nick Lowe "Pure Pop for Now People (aka Jesus of Cool)"
Steve Reich "Music for 18 Musicians"

1979
Nick Lowe "Labour of Lust"
Neil Young "Rust Never Sleeps"
Graham Parker and the Rumour "Squeezing Out Sparks"
XTC "Drums and Wires"

1980
Gang of Four "Entertainment!"
Talking Heads "Remain in Light"
Joy Division "Unknown Pleasures"
X "Los Angeles"
Feelies "Crazy Rhythms"
XTC "Black Sea"

For a great resource, check this out: http://www.robertchristgau.com/cg.php

1:56 PM  
Anonymous wfta said...

There were no runners up in '73. Dark Side of the Moon was the only record playing on my planet.

Did anybody mention The Moody Blues, Carol King, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Still, Nash and Young? Admittedly these were '60's artists who aged gracefully? And yes, the mid-'70's were pretty sad. In early '79 I found out about jazz and never looked back.

Thanks for the walk down Memeory Lane. I'll tune in for part II.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

George, I am absolutely, totally in love with you *sigh.* Any XTC fan is a pal o'mine, at the very least. And even an Elvis Costello... *double sigh.*

AND NO FUCKING RUSH!!!!! *jumping for joy*

AND ROXY MUSIC!!!! More Than This... I cannot ask for. I'm not even Over You yet!!!!!!

3:53 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Amen to going with The Band over Abbey Road for 1969

Yeah. Obviously you've got the Side Two Suite, plus "I want You (She's So Heavy)," but . . . "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"? "Octopus' Garden"?

Not number-one-album-of-a-great-year material.

Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Shmilsson

I need to check that out. I think you may have have it to me, which means it could be on my I-pod right now.

Kinks Kronikles

I thought about it, but I tend to listen only to side one ("Village Green," "Berkeley Mews," "Shangri-La.")

Steve Miller Band - Best of ('74-'78)(hey, it provided lots of good college memories, what can I say?)

True.

Good stuff in there, George: Big Star, Ramones, Television, plus a few things I want to discover but haven't: Rust Never Sleeps, Wire.

But also a lot of stuff I'm just not crazy about: Bowie, Eno, Roxy Music.

What can I say? As Deb would point out, I spent high school listening to The Who, Led Zep, and . . . Rush.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I just don't get the love for Rush, Mike. I honestly expected much more of you, a man whom I considered to have much more discerning taste in my short span of reading this here blog, lol.

Of the entire Rush repertoire (which as Keith Hernandez recently said, is French for "repertoire"), I actually like only two selections -- Fly By Night and In The End. And I'm not ashamed to say I had the cassette tape of the album containing both, either.

I was never really a fan of any band that had a pseudo female sounding lead singer, which I suppose is at least partially responsible for my dislike of most of Rush's stuff.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Yeah, Deb, I could see Geddy Lee as a pretty serious obstacle. If you can't take his voice, it's all downhill from there.

Good job calling out Abbey Road, Mike. I love that side two, but there is some weak tea on that album as well—some of those songs are almost like children's music.

Funny how many of my honorable mentions cross over with everyone else...Look Sharp! especially. I NEVER gave that album a chance until ten years later and my college roommate had it among our very limited CD collection.

Applesaucer, if you want to make a foray into Dylan you do better than that era. Blood on the Tracks is phenomenal, and Desire is good too.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

It's funny. I was a HUGE Rush fan in high school, but by sophmore year of college didn't listen to them often. To this day I still don't own any of their stuff on CD.

But looking back I have to give props to their best 70s and 80's albums, which I probably should get one of these years.

some of those songs are almost like children's music

Yes. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and "Octopus' Garden."

6:57 AM  

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