A review of the 1970’s
I am now finished with the 1970’s on the album challenge list. It was a great decade with many different kinds of music represented. But, there were some artists and genres that were left out. After all, there were only so many places for the decade on the list and as with anything, things get left out. Here’s some of what the list didn’t cover.
1. Singer-songwriters/”Soft rock”/California sound
The singer-songwriter movement of the 1970’s was an exciting time in pop music. Several artists wrote and performed their own songs and ended up embodying the moods and feelings of the me decade. This form of music was not hard, heavy or experimental but, soft, soothing and accessible. Some of the artists in this genre were seen as cheesy and over the top but many are still writing, touring and recording. Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne and James Taylor could have had a bigger prescence on the list. Joni Mitchell and Neil Young had the most albums of any singer-songwriter and The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac were also represented. But, J.J. Cale, The Doobie Brothers, Christopher Cross and Linda Ronstadt could have had a spot on the list. It has to do with the British sensibility of the book. Most of the critics were British and the California sound didn’t have the same pull in England.
2. The Angry Young Man/Pub rock
The Angry Young Man movement was a series of songwriters from England that released albums in the late 70’s. Influenced by pub rock, soul and power pop, they embodied the feelings of men who couldn’t relate to the punk bands of the time. While the most notable angry young man, Elvis Costello is featured heavily, Joe Jackson and Graham Parker are ignored. Both Jackson and Parker embodied that spirit and released great albums. Also, pub rock in general was ignored with the exception of Dire Straits. Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe partnered together, bring their pub rock and rockabilly influenced sounds to fans. This back to basics movement of the late 70’s was a great counter to punk and included: Brimsley Schwarz, The Rumour, Dr. Feelgood and Eddie & The Hot Rods.
3. Power pop
Power pop was another genre that got a boost in the 70’s. Big Star and Cheap Trick were featured but so many other power pop bands like The Records, Bram Tchaikovsky, Badfinger, The Knack, The Romantics and The Raspberries. These bands would continue to have their influence spread through many bands in the next decade and create a genre of music that is both catchy, fun yet perfect in many ways.
While the list did not feature these genres in detail, after the challenge is over, I will be going back and listening to many of these forgotten albums and artists. It is my way of making sure I experience the music of the 1970’s in full.
Next: Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam & The Ants