Once again, I have been forced – forced, do you hear? – to listen to hundreds of songs from my music collection, so as to pick out the best of the best for you. Woe is me. My music collection is vast (seriously, 13.5k songs and climbing). This is a huge chore. (If I have to tell you that I’m pulling your leg here…)
Back when, stations had a lot more room to fool around with their playlists and they generally did. In our time, it was not unusual to hear Eric Clapton followed by Henry Mancini, Gladys Knight and then Glen Campbell. So we didn’t actually have a genre, we had genres.
I saw them during the late ’70s in a huge, circus-like tent (along with The Grateful Dead). Just awesome, what a show.
1. Santana – “Evil Ways” (1970)
During the 1990s, Intel used this as the theme for commercials about their MMX-enabled Pentium processors. Somehow, I believe that someone didn’t think this one through – processing capacity and a song titled “Outa-Space” in the same presentation? Hmm. “Catastrophic Error – No memory available – Blue Screen of Death. Have a nice day.”
2. Billy Preston – “Outa-Space” (1971)
I mentioned we routinely heard more than mainstream rock on the radio then. Well, here’s one that got a lot of air play for a time. Cajun Country? Me, I wouldn’t mess with Amos, I want to exit that swamp alive.
3. Jerry Reed – “Amos Moses” (1971)
The near-end of the ’60s rock sound. Grand and portentous.
4. Argent – “Hold Your Head Up” (1972)
Listen, how could anyone not like Ian Anderson? He is a true madman, talented and eccentric.
5. Jethro Tull – “Bouree” (1972 Remix)
“Lynryrd Skynyrd” is actually a mispronunciation of their high school gym teacher’s name, “Leonard Skinner.”
6. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird” (1973)
As he says at his official site, “God bless and KEEP ON ROCKIN.”
7. The Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein” (1973)
I never did get to see him live, but I can just imagine it. Thousands of Klieg lights, artificial fog, glittery suits and cheap sunglasses. Great music.
8. Elton John – “Bennie and the Jets” (1974)
During their career these guys sold over 40 million albums.
9. The Doobie Brothers – “Black Water” (1974)
Southern rock? Damned Skippy, Bubba!
10. Outlaws – “Green Grass and High Tides” (1975)
By about now, some very different sounds have taken over the airwaves. Prog rock over psychedelic. Disco began to appear. The unique ’70s sounds were now established. Take the following example – just a few years before was “Me and Mrs. Jones,” arguably mainstream Motown, yet here is the following, which simply isn’t. This is funk/disco.
11. K.C. and the Sunshine Band – “Get Down Tonight” (1975)
Guitarist Brian May was completing his Ph.D, but gave it up to pursue music when Queen “took off.” That was until a few years ago, when he decided to finish his studies. He is now Brian May, Ph.D in astrophysics; his paper on zodiacal light has been standard fare in colleges for decades.
12. Queen “Tie Your Mother Down” (1976)
Hoo Hoo Hoo!
13. Steve Miller Band – “Take the Money and Run” (1976)
I never quite got the title, as there is no “Year of the Cat” in the Chinese Zodiac. Still, a very good song.
14. Al Stewart – “Year of the Cat” (1977)
These two, the Wilson sisters, had beauty and stone-cold rock and roll. Heart? More like, they induced heart attack just watching them perform.
15. Heart – “Barracuda” (1977)
As always, this is just a slice of the ’70s. More in the same category to follow shortly. Keep up the suggestions, please.
(H/T tolbert, Reformed Trombonist, myiq2xu and jbspry for their suggestions.)