Sunday, December 20, 2009

Album Of The Decade: The Seventies

Where to start? Well, I'll start by admitting I'm not up to the job. The 70s was such a varied decade for music with so many great albums. I can't say one is better than the rest.

So the "album of the decade" becomes the album that, for me, is at the heart of the period. In the 60s, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn took young minds out of the monotone past into a kaleidoscopic future. And so decades to come would strive for a Tomorrow's World without the suffocating constraints of the traditionalist Raymond Baxter.

Raymond would have chosen a punk album, possibly London Calling. But guitar rock was where we'd been, not where we were going, as the future music saw the increasing use of synthesisers.

So I'm going to go the whole hog and ignore great albums by the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, ignore the great soul albums of Stevie Wonder and Isaac Hayes, even ignore the electronics of the early Roxy Music albums and Bowie from the mid to late 70s. I'm going to go the whole hog and choose Kraftwerk's masterpiece Trans-Europe Express.

Smart young fellows in suits and ties, helplessly indebted to the Berlin Wall which was to be later ruthlessly destroyed by Roger Waters, Kraftwerk were Cold War Cool. This was the age of the train in Germany, knocking our Jimmy Savile's Leeds-London commute into a cocked hat. Trains that went long distances, sleeper compartments, countryside, towns and cities flying back into the past.

A lot has been made of Kraftwerk's influence on hip hop and house as if this was their greatest achievement. No. The music stands alone as genius. Man and machine, together. Together in electric dreams.


  1. You missed The Plan, by the Osmonds.

  2. Innervisions by Stevie Wonder is the greatest album of all times!

  3. My favourite Album of the 70's, which sold shedloads so can't hold its head up in any poncy "seminal oevre definitive etc etc" category is....

    "Every Picture Tells a Story" by Rod Stewart.

    Maggie May and the title Track, plus Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe" are absolute solid Gold Rocktastic Poptabulous Classics!

    I kept it next to my Carole King Tapestry.

  4. Is Vicus asking for life support?

  5. Controversial as usual Geoff.
    Me I'm still a geetar woman.

  6. Tim - The concept album is a whole different kettle of fish. They built Salt Lake City on rock 'n' roll, you know.

    Vicus - Jarre was the true electronic innovator, c'est vrai.

    Amy - Those 4 Wonder albums are magnificent.

    Malc - You can't keep this up. I bet you're going to get all dark and moody in the 80s.

    Rog - My mum loves Rod Stewart. But just his interpretations of the American classics. When Rod was good he was very good but when he was bad...

    MJ - He's saying it into a vocoder. He may be more weak than he sounds.

    Kaz - Then Marquee Moon is the one for you. Or something by Wishbone Ash.

  7. I have them both.
    There's the rub.

  8. Gary Numan? Was his album 1979? Much underrated.

  9. Kaz - It's the dual guitar attack.

    Scarlet - Our weirdest ever pop star.

  10. Erm...sorry to interrupt the flow (wish I knew what everyone was on about) but haven't you just had a birthday?

    If so, Happy Birthday, Geoff. Keep on keeping the world looking backwards between its legs!

  11. Thank you, Christopher. I don't look it, do I?