Your Semi-Obligatory Friday Fun Link


Pitchfork Media taps the top hundred albums of the '70s. I can't say the results are an exact match with my tastes—there's too much Kraftwerkia and not nearly enough country—but the list is surprisingly diverse and enjoyably eccentric, down to the you-gotta-be-kidding-me pick for number one. Besides, it's nice to know I'm not the only guy out there who likes Miles' much-maligned On the Corner.

While I'm at it, a few weeks ago CounterPunch asked a bunch of writers, myself among them, to name their favorite 25 albums released since 1950. To see everyone's picks, go here. (Note: While my choices are numbered, they're actually listed alphabetically by artist, not in order of preference.) For more thoughts on listmaking, see this piece from 2002.

[Via Gene Healy.]

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  1. Hard to disagree with about 75% of what’s on the list, even if I don’t like the order. Still, I think they get the best Bowie wrong, way too much Led Zep, and there should be no Miles Davis from that era.

  2. It’s also heavily weighted towards albums the pre-saged the 80s. A lot of the choices not really typical of the 70s. Not that that invalidates the choices…

  3. First thing I noticed was “A Saucerful of Secrets” gets two nods, but no one picked “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”?

  4. What??? They forgot my favorite album: Meat Loaf “Bat Out Of Hell.”


  5. As a teenager, I’m apalled, just apalled, by the lack of punk. Seriously, “importance” and pretentiousness aside, is it really more fun to listen to old Cramps albums or to listen to Wire? Lester Bangs called Pink Flag the deadest, sterilest album he ever heard. It’s not as if any of their other work is any better. Yes, I do own a fair amount of it, mostly inherited from older, wiser relatives.

  6. Not-So-Sly and the Stoned Family makes it to the top ten?

    It is also tough to cut the decade at each end because the music evolved so dramatically from what really was ’60’s music into the dregs of disco and the eve of punk.

  7. Any list that includes Plastic Ono Band and excludes the Eagles is suspect.

  8. It’s nice to see X on the list; three times, isn’t it; but, Bob Marley only shows up twice?

    I keep pushing these two albums every time a music category comes up; “The Fire of Love” by The Gun Club and “Young Loud & Snotty” by the Dead Boys always get overlooked in these lists, but they shouldn’t be. Sublime’s “40 oz. to Freedom” shouldn’t be ignored either.

    Too much Zeppelin? Even as an old Punk from wayback, I can’t get too much of Physical Graffiti or Zeppelin I–maybe the best blues record ever. Oh yeah, and before you people lose yourselves in complete dismissal of my smokey dorm room youth, I also think it’s a shame not to see a single mention of AC/DC; I would argue that “Whole Lotta Rosie” is the greatest rock and roll song ever, and that no list of great recordings should ignore “Let There be Rock”. That’s right–best rock and roll song ever!

    Waits made a list or two, but no one mentioned Heart Attack & Vine. So it was a bit more “pop”? It’s still a great recording.

    No “Love Supreme”? I’m glad to see someone mention Louis Armstrong; why isn’t he on everybody’s list?

    P.S. I know this is a free site and everything, but what the hell do you mean “Semi-Obligatory”? It’s obigatory. Obligatory, I say!

  9. Yeah? No Rick Derringer and the Winter Bros?

    No Allman’s?

    and no Lynnard Skynard?

    Get outta town.

  10. When anyone lists Captain Beefheart among their top albums, it makes me think that their list is bullshit and they are trying to impress others with the depth of their musical knowledge rather than list the albums they actually like.

  11. I think the problem is that they STOPPED smoking, not that they are. No Steely Dan? The Wall in the 30s? To each their own I guess.

  12. I forgot to answer Ken’s question:

    I’m glad to see someone mention Louis Armstrong; why isn’t he on everybody’s list?

    Because the rules excluded anything recorded before 1950, and that’s when Armstrong did his best work. If I’d been allowed to include the Hot 5 and Hot 7 recordings, they’d be there.

  13. This just goes to show that music criticism/ranking is the most unconstructive use of anyone’s time, ever. “most influential” might make sense, but I haven’t ever seen a list of that. “Top-selling” might make sense, but who wants to see a bunch of Brittney Spears and N’Sync albums on a list? Seriously, “best” albums? You might as well have a list of “the 100 best colors of all time.”

  14. No Allman’s?

    Indeed. IIRC, the first two (official) albums came out in 68 or 69, but Eat A Peach and Live From Fillmore East came out in the 70s.

    There was yet another of these stupid lists a year or two ago listing the 100 top guitarists. Neither Duane nor Dickey made the list.

    I’ve been a fan of ‘Low’ for a while, so at least that part is good.

  15. Sure enough, that explains it.

  16. ~Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting~
    ~Their fists were fast as lightning~

    How could we forget K.C. and the Sunshine Band? 😉

  17. Punk is a skunk.

  18. Aw come on guys, that crappy list isn’t pointless, it’s fun.

    Look at all the fun we had bitching about those dopes with no taste in music 🙂 all the while complaining that ever so much better albums were left off the list.

    Now, I beg to differ with Mr. Walker, Steely Dan’s Aja was one of the finest offerings of the entire decade.

    Even though Michael McDonald forced the Doobs into Kool Aid drinking oblivion, the Captain and Me was a seriously great album.

    Maybe Hotel California was just one good song on the album, but in that case, just move to Eagles Greatest Hits # 1 instead. I mean, come on, these guys redefined rock music and gave all the potheads permission to listen to country western.

    IMO, the Eagles laid the groundwork for contemporary country’s rock sound. So there.

    Personally, I am happy as a clam that Jesse posted this. Secondly, I also looked at the other links–top 25 album picks, including Jesse’s–where I found myself saying, okay, this is more like it.

    Now I have to go back to that miserable tile laying project….shoulda listened to the old lady and hired a tile guy.

  19. “On the Corner”? Wow, talk about awful.

  20. alot of shit I never heard of and I lived through the 70’s. Pin Floyd was way undervalued too.
    Dark side of the moon at #70? WTF?

  21. And no Zappa!?
    Geet the fuck otta here


  22. “No Eagles” and “No Steely Dan” are features, not bugs. (Yes, “Hotel California” is a good song, but one decent track does not a great album make.) The absence of Warren Zevon is less forgivable, but again, I don’t read these lists to nod my head in agreement; I read them to enjoy other people’s eccentric tastes. A really pretentious list is one that includes no surprises.

    That said, the real abomination is that the Pitchfork 100 includes absolutely nothing by the Kinks.

  23. Perfidious Albion!

    DB “Low” #1?
    Joy Division??!!


  24. This list just cements Pitchfork as the most pretentious music site around. Any list of the best 100 70’s albums that doesn’t include “Warren Zevon” and “Excitable Boy” isn’t worth the disk space it occupies.

    In fact, Warren Zevon’s eponymous album should have easily made their top 10.

    And Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allmans should each have at least two albums on that list.

    And “Hotel California” doesn’t even make the top 100? What are they smoking?

  25. It was echoed here, but…

    Top anything lists are an act of hubris and self centered cock-stroking!

    Completely pointless.
    That said.

    WTF are you guys bagging “on the corner” for?
    Davis’ peak for sure.

  26. good list — none is gonna please everyone but sites/writers as good at PFM which I go to daily leaving off zappa and bob marley is a crime they should be sent to the hague for .

  27. You guys are dating (and bad-tasting) yourselves with all this whining for the Eagles and Lynrd Skynrd.

  28. “IMO, the Eagles laid the groundwork for contemporary country’s rock sound. So there.”

    So they’re the ones to blame?

    These list’s are all about a certain group of people trying to increase/cement an artist’s place in history. The Eagles/Skynard/ ect. don’t need it – I hear that shit all the fucking time against my will already.

  29. I’ve got to admit, I like Steely Dan.

    And Col. Kurtz, if you like “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” you’re one of God’s elect. “Saucerful of Secrets” has some good stuff on it, though. “Jugband Blues” is about the last song PF did that Syd Barrett had a major hand in, and he was well on the way to being completely bugshit at the time.

  30. I’m sure Traffic had at least 3 albums in the 70’s. But hey, it’s not my list.

  31. this list has angered my metal brain due to not being metal enough.

    black sabbath
    judas priest
    jethro tull
    uriah heep

  32. deep purple

  33. TWC, I think that Steely Dan released five classic albums in the 70s. There only weak one was AJA.

  34. No Rush or Styx?!?!

  35. If you enjoy Pitchfork (or find it insufferable), the fine folks at SomethingAwful put together a hilarious (and, in my view, dead-on) parody of it:

  36. Brief passage deep expression of the author’s thoughts and feelings, touching.

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