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Life at 33 1/3   By Carl Meyer


The album classics of 1970 part 1

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic) - Released: October 5, 1970.

In October 1970 a crestfallen 18 year old was wondering if he had bought a pig in a poke. “Immigrant Song,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Tangerine” were the only tracks justifying the album’s existence, I thought then - and returned to “Since I’ve Been Loving You” to soothe my disappointment. Luckily, when you were young and poor, like most teenagers were at the time, there was no turning back. If you bought an album you were stuck with it, so you you kept on playing it. And slowly “Led Zeppelin III” started making sense.
“Out On The Tiles” was the first track that crept up on me, turning my favourite trio of songs into a quartet. Then came “Gallows Pole”, and with that my appreciation for the acoustic soundscapes and quirky time signatures that characterise much of the album.
I do not remember exactly when the pieces fell into place, but some time during spring 1971 I realised that “Led Zeppelin III” had turned into my favourite Zeppelin-LP. And if that wasn’t enough, the sequel even though it included the iconic “Stairway To Heaven”, failed to dethrone “Led Zeppelin III”. 44 years on it still sounds as fresh and full of life.
Contents: Immigrant Song/Friends/Celebration Day/Since I’ve Been Loving You/Out on the Tiles/Gallows Pole/Tangerine/That’s the Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Hats Off to (Roy) Harper

The Who, Live At Leeds (Track) - Released: May 16, 1970

The greatest live album of all time, warts and all. Recorded on an extremely inspired evening at Leeds University on February 14, 1970. The original release was the tip of the iceberg, as later deluxe editions have included the complete 33 song program (plus the Hull concert recorded the following night), but I still prefer the 6 track vinyl version.
The full “Tommy” performance drags on a bit, and the best bits are neatly incorporated into the 14 minute magnificent showstopper “My Generation” anyway. These 6 tracks are like hand-picked cherries and capture The Who in their absolute prime. A tour-de-force of maximum R & B, so powerful and thunderous it is hard to grasp that this wave of noise was created by just three instruments and a singer.
The brutally rolling bass-lines of John Entwistle interlocks with the chaotic brilliance of drummer Keith Moon, providing Pete Townshend with the perfect foundation for his monster riffs, tortured solo-runs and howling feedback. On top of that you got the roaring voice of Roger Daltrey. The Stones’ “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” (also released in 1970) pales in comparison.
Contents: Young Man Blues/Substitute/Summertime Blues/Shakin’ All Over/My Generation/Magic Bus

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass (Apple) - Released: November 27, 1970

The quiet Beatle steps out of the shadows of John and Paul and delivers an impressive horn of plenty. Some of the strongest tracks fell on deaf ears when introduced to The Beatles during the recording of “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road”. What were they thinking?
This triple album (actually a double album of songs plus a bonus album of disposable jams) turned George into the coolest and most successful ex-Beatle for a while. It still sounds as good as anything John and Paul did solo.
Contents: I’d Have You Anytime/My Sweet Lord/Wah-Wah/Isn’t It a Pity/What Is Life/If Not for You/Behind That Locked Door/Let It Down/Run of the Mill/Beware of Darkness/Apple Scruffs/Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)/Awaiting on You All/All Things Must Pass/I Dig Love/Art of Dying/Isn’t It a Pity/Hear Me Lord/Out of the Blue/It’s Johnny’s Birthday/Plug Me In/I Remember Jeep/Thanks for the Pepperoni

Neil Young, After The Goldrush (Reprise) - Released: August 31, 1970

The songs produce a strange mixture of happiness and sorrow, there’s mystery and dreams, a longing for a sanctuary that tastes of summer, meadows and girls with sun in their hair, but there is a scary undercurrent of doom here that won’t let go as dark clouds approach from the horizon.
“After The Gold Rush” is the soundtrack to the young generation who had just grown out of the 60’s and stood outside the gate, luggage in hand, with no idea whatsoever of where to go in a world so cruel. They had rock music, and it truly was their property as both performers and listeners were of the same age, and now the performers found themselves outside the same gate. A shared experience. We were all heading for the great unknown. A unique moment in history that will never repeat.
All you people who arrived later can appreciate the music of course, it is there for everybody, no matter how old or young you are. But there was a time. We’ll always have Paris. Here’s looking at you, kids.
Contents: Tell Me Why/After the Gold Rush/Only Love Can Break Your Heart/Southern Man/Till the Morning Comes/Oh Lonesome Me/Don’t Let It Bring You Down/Birds/When You Dance I Can Really Love/I Believe in You/Cripple Creek Ferry

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The album classics of 1970 part 1