Paul Fitzpatrick: London, May 2021
Every generation tends to think there era was best.
And why wouldn’t they… typically, every era has access to more ‘stuff’ and better lifestyle choices than the previous one.
For our generation (late Baby-Boomers born between 1954-1964), I think we hit the sweet spot culturally…. particularly when it comes to music.
My musical awareness began around 1968, just in time to catch the Beatles, and all the brilliant 70s artists that followed.
I look back now and realise that the 70s wouldn’t have been so prolific without the 60s…. with The Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Motown, Stax and the Laurel Canyon scene inspiring what was to follow.
And what was to follow was pretty special…….
The Rolling Stones, The Who, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, The Eagles, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, The Doobie Brothers, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Little Feat, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklyn, Carole King, Carly Simon, Bob Marley, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bobby Womack, Pink Floyd, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Queen, McCartney, Lennon, Harrison , Yes, Genesis, AWB, The Bee Gees, Deep Purple, Linda Ronstadt, Curtis Mayfield, George Benson, Rory Gallagher, John Martyn, Todd Rundgren…. and many more
Whether you were a fan of some of these acts or not, the one thing they all shared was a prolificacy of output…. amazingly they all managed to release multiple albums of exceptional quality, whilst still finding time to compose, record, tour, collaborate and live a 70s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, with all the excesses that entailed.
Indeed, there was so much quality being produced in the 70s that for the first five or six years of the decade it seemed like there was a landmark release every other week.
Take 1971 as an example.
- The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
- Carole King – Tapestry
- Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
- David Bowie – Hunky Dory
- Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
- Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
- John Lennon – Imagine
- Joni Mitchell – Blue
- The Who – Who’s Next
- T Rex – Electric Warrior
- Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
- The Doors – LA Woman
- Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
- The Faces – A Nods as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
- James Brown – Sex Machine
- Don McLean – American Pie
- Gil Scott Heron – Pieces of a Man
- Jethro Tull – Aqualung
- Pink Floyd – Meddle
- James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim
- Isaac Hayes – Shaft
- Yes – Fragile
- Paul McCartney – Ram
Included in this list from 71 are two of the top three albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine….
Marvin Gaye’s – What’s Going On and Joni Mitchell’s – Blue.
Both seminal and often cited as landmark recordings by other artists and critics, but in truth just two excellent albums from a catalogue of exquisite releases.
There is a neat book about the quality of the music released in 1971 by David Hepworth who describes the year as ‘the most creative in popular music’
Anther remarkable thing about the 70s was the diversity of the music.
Rock, pop, soul, reggae, jazz, punk, folk, glam, funk….. it was one big melting pot where you could find Benny Hill rubbing shoulders at the top of the charts with Jimi Hendrix, Abba with Pink Floyd, and The Wombles with Stevie Wonder.
The 70s record buying public represented a ‘broad church’ of musical styles and tastes and they were all represented in the weekly top 30.
There was also a constant flow of talent breaking through in the 70s.
Take the chart below from July 1972 and you will see the emergence of a few acts making their chart debuts that month, who went on to do pretty well….
Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, ELO
Another barometer of how good an era is, can be measured I think, by the interest in it from future generations.
Based on my own anecdotal evidence, I have a daughter who loves Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye as much as she loves Beyonce or John Mayer and I have sons who dig Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder as much as they dig Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters or Kanye West.
That only happens when the music is timeless…..
Talking of timeless music, the updated 70s Jukebox links are below.
There are 250 songs on the master playlist now, with the common thread being that they are all singles that would almost certainly have been playing on a jukebox somewhere in the 70s.
Thanks to everyone who contributed, it’s a playlist that’s been curated by you and not surprisingly our choices have proved to be a microcosm of the record buying public with a wide range of tastes and musical styles covered.
It was clear from the song choices coming through at the start that there were two distinctive threads –
Therefore I’ve prepared two playlists….
1) The Ultimate Playlist which is the master playlist and features all 250 songs, tracks 1-150 are classic pop/rock songs and tracks 151-250 are soul/disco tracks…. select shuffle and it will churn out 17 hours of hit after hit, just like a great jukebox should.
2) The Boogie Nights Playlist features the 100 soul/disco tracks taken from the master playlist which you can boogie or smooch to….. just like a night up Joannas or your favourite 70s nightclub of choice!
Within each playlist I have tried to group the songs in a running order that makes sense but if you’re like me you’ll probably just hit ‘shuffle’, pour out your beverage of choice and boogie round the kitchen like it’s 1975…
To save the playlist to your Spotify library….. press the Spotify icon in the top right hand corner of the playlists above and when you’ve been transferred to the playlist on your own Spotify account, click the Heart icon to save the playlist to your library.