Friday, 13 May 2011

The Year of 1971

In the writings of one N Molesworth (the curse of st custards as any fule kno), there are described a number of patent daydreams designed for bored schoolboys to utilise during double maths – mainly space adventures with wizard whams, bonks and xplosions.  But what of grown ups?  Are we not entitled to a bit of downtime when life gets a bit lethargic?  Can we not let our imagination drift for a minute or two during that Health and Safety presentation?  One of my usual standbys is to imagine that my entire music collection has been held to ransom and I am allowed to save one particular year’s worth.  What will it be eh?

After deliberating for longer than I care to admit, a few candidates start to emerge.  For starters, 1982 was quite a good year encompassing some great stuff from Kate Bush, Siouxsie and Michael Jackson but then so was 1992 (Tori Amos, REM, Lush etc) and even 2006.  But eventually I incline towards 1971.  This is probably not surprising as I gave the game away here.  It is the year that I began to buy albums in earnest and not having many of them, tended to play them all to destruction.  It was a time of great discovery and great music.  Let’s see the evidence.

These are the LPs I bought during the year in question as they were released:
Chicago – Chicago III
Curved Air – Second Album
The Doors – LA Woman
The Faces – A Nod’s As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse
Focus – Moving Waves
John Lennon – Imagine
Paul McCartney – Ram
Don McLean – American Pie
Pink Floyd – Relics
Yes – Fragile

These I taped from friends (so sue me – I’ve bought them since):
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Lesley Duncan – Sing Children Sing
It’s A Beautiful Day – Choice Quality Stuff

 And lastly, these I bought a year or two later but belong in 1971:
Beach Boys – Surfs Up
Caravan – In the Land of Grey and Pink
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Fanny – Charity Ball
Genesis – Nursery Cryme
Carole King – Tapestry
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Pink Floyd – Meddle
The Who – Who’s Next

The more I look at this list the more I am convinced that, if forced into giving up the rest of my entire collection, I could live happily with every one of these discs.  Each is so well known to me in a way that most of the albums I have bought since are not.  As the years went by, I bought more and more albums but with the exception of a chosen few, didn’t really listen to them much and some perhaps only once.  These albums represent a time when I was seized by music and spent hours listening to it.  Time and experience deadens this initial enthusiasm to a point where today, only one album in say, 10, really grabs me.

So, on my desert island, I shall sneak in all 22 of these albums and be blissfully happy playing them repeatedly like those heady days in 1971 when I was doing it for real.


drewzepmeister said...

Impressive list! '71 was a great year for music! Much of your list I'd bring to your deserted island.

Along with:
Doors LA Woman
The Faces A Nod to a Blind Horse
John Lennon Imagine
Yes Fragile
Jethro Tull Agualung
Deep Purple Machine Head
Pink Floyd Meddle
Who Who's Next

I'd bring...
Led Zeppelin 4 (I couldn't live without it)
Traffic Low Sparks of the High Heeled Boys
T-Rex Electric Warrior
Janis Joplin Pearl
Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells a Story
Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
Allman Brothers Band At the Fillmore East
Santana III

music obsessive said...

Drew - looks like I'm going to need more suitcases on my desert island! A great addition to the list. How can one year have produced so much good stuff?

Charlie said...

My fav album from 1971 was Every Picture Tells a Story and I still love it to this day.

music obsessive said...

Charlie - one that I knew well but never actually owned. Funny how many albums from that period become firm friends.

TR1-Guy said...

Great choice of years and truly a fantastic year for music overall. For me in the USA, AM Top 40 was very strong and diverse from the Partridge Family to Frijid Pink. But, you mentioned one of my favorite albums of all time and that's "RAM" by McCartney.

Like we've discussed before, we are brothers seperated by an ocean as your entire list is dead on! Great stuff, man!

music obsessive said...

Hi Byron. Frijid Pink!! Wow, there's a name from the past. I reckon the reason we are all nostalgic about these albums is that back then, things were more polarised. We all shared in the limited amount of releases no matter where we were, globally. Today the music industry is so vast that we don't stand a chance of hitting on the same stuff.

Btw - great news about your comic commission. I hope it leads to greater things!

Brett said...

Great list. I would have the Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Yes and The Doors, the Who, Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers for sure. I have often wondered what year produced some of the best music. 1971 has to be near the top of that list. Great post.

music obsessive said...

Thanks Brett. '71 takes a lot of beating but I get the feeling it's an age thing. The younger generation may not agree! I mean, where are the videos?

john said...

Here are a few that I got in '71 that I still love today...they are a little off the beaten track,though:
In Hearing Of by Atomic Rooster

Inner Mounting Flame by The Mahavishnu Orchestra

A Space In Time by Ten Years After

I also agree with your choices of Machine Head and Tapestry,probably the best albums by Deep Purple and Carole King.

music obsessive said...

Hi John. Just more evidence to suggest that 1971 was one of the best years ever. The Mahavishnu Orchestra was a bit off my radar as it fell into the same category as Henry Cow!