May 2015

Hearts_cover_image#4 – America – “Sister Golden Hair” – (1975)

The twang of the the guitar on this track is what sells me on it. Every. Time. I. Hear. It. This song would’ve been successful five years earlier if it had been written and released then. It has that folky country rock feel that the late-60 and early-70s perfected. It’s America’s best song and one of their most popular. It was also their second #1 single on the Hot 100.

220px-The_Eagles_-_One_of_These_Nights#5 – Eagles – “One Of These Nights” – (1975)

Man the into to this song is dark. It’s just menacing. Then the lyrics kick in and it really doesn’t brighten up any, but it’s not as menacing. This was the Eagles’ second #1 and it has a pinch of disco hidden behind all that wonderful harmonizing backing vocals and great guitar playing. Even Glenn Frey said this was his favorite Eagles song. It’s awesome.

Bob_Dylan_-_Blood_on_the_Tracks#6 – Bob Dylan – “Tangled Up In Blue” – (1975)

This is one of Bob Dylan’s best songs and one of his biggest hits, peaking at #31 on the Hot 100. You can actually understand him too, which is nice. It’s a song that shows just how good Bob Dylan was in his prime. The lyrics – which tell a story in an interesting fashion – are delivered almost non-stop, which is impressive for an almost six minute song. There’s barely even a chorus. It’s just a story – that rhymes brilliantly – and moves around from perspective to perspective. You’ll find a new respect for this track if you really try and follow the lyrics.


220px-Aerosmith_-_Toys_in_the_Attic#7 – Aerosmith – “Sweet Emotion” – (1975)

While “Sweet Emotion” wasn’t Aerosmith’s first hit, it did set off a string of success for the band when it was released off of Toys in the Attic in 1975. It peaked at #36 on the Hot 100, becoming the band’s first in the top 40. This song actually has a pretty funky groove to it before the guitars kick in. It pops up nearly everywhere and is one of the band’s best known songs. It was also re-released in 1991 and was accompanied by an unnecessary music video.

Led_Zeppelin_-_Physical_Graffiti#8 – Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir” – (1975)

Physical Graffiti was the last Led Zeppelin album to feature some really great stuff. That hard rock-defining sound they cultivated prior to 1975 was still on full display, but it tapered off pretty quickly after this. Side two of this double album is where all the action is, with the three songs there (and “Kashmir” being the third) being the best on the album. It’s an eight-and-a-half minute epic. It’s one of Zeppelin’s best songs – and the members of the band agree, with Robert Plant calling it “the pride of Led Zeppelin.”

220px-Horizon_(Carpenters_Album)#9 – The Carpenters – “Please Mr. Postman” – (1975)

If you ever go to a garage sale, among the pile of Lawrence Welk and Herb Alpert records, there is bound to be at least one Carpenters album. I don’t care for their music, but this cover of The Marvelettes’ 1961 classic is great. It has a wonderful over-produced pre-synth keyboard sound. It’s just solid pop music.

Hallandoatesselftitledcover#10 – Hall & Oates – “Sara Smile” – (1975)

It’s like when they shot this album cover, they went “let’s try and look as much like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie as possible. And Oates, put more makeup on. The 70s were a confusing time. This was Hall & Oates first top ten hit in the U.S., climbing to #4. It’s a fantastic song – nice soft, rock. It’s also one of the reasons we’re breaking everything pre-1980 down year by year… because music like this bled over into the 1980s and every year seemed to have a different feel about it.

220px-ELO_Face_The_Music_album_cover#11 – Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman” – (1975)

This pre-disco rock song is what put ELO on the map. It sounds so glittery yet it is such a fine, tightly choreographed symphonic rock… and then you add Jeff Lynne’s amazing vocal range… it’s wonderful. This was the band’s first major, global hit charting in the top ten in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. It remains one of their best-known songs.

220px-Ted_nugent_album_cover#12 – Ted Nugent – “Stranglehold” – (1975)

Ah, The Nuge. This hard rock song from Ted Nugent was released on Ted Nugent’s first solo album. And he doesn’t even perform the vocals here – they’re done by Derek St. Holmes. This song is a rambling eight and a half minutes but it’s worth it because the entire time, it’s building. There is wailing guitar and sparse vocals – a menacing sound. There’s a really long instrumental section that is generally cut out of the single edit, but it all goes down after the seven minute mark – specifically when Ted shreds it at 7:45. It’s an epic piece of rock and roll.

220px-Album_Main_Course#13 – Bee Gees – “Nights on Broadway” – (1975)

The Bee Gees dominated the charts in the late 1970s. But their mid-70s stuff wasn’t quite as “guaranteed-#1” as the later stuff. Actually, 1975’s Main Course was a sort of comeback album for the Brothers Gibb, who hadn’t scored back-to-back top 10 hits since 1968. It’s a nice song because it doesn’t fall into the disco trap that their later music would. The vocals are Gibb-fantastic in their own special quivering way and the music is funky. This song also was the basis for the “Barry Gibb Talkshow” on SNL.

Fool_for_the_City#14 – Foghat – “Slow Ride” – (1975)

“Slow Ride” is a classic, uh, classic rock song, by Foghat, the strangely named band from London. This is the band’s signature and best-known song. The LP version was over eight minutes long, while the single was cut down to less than four – either one is good. It’s just good, solid hard rock from the 1970s.

220px-War-WhyCan'tWeBeFriends#15 – War – “Low Rider” – (1975)

War released some catchy songs back in the day, perhaps none more so than this. It evokes images of low rider cars in Southern California and does so brilliantly with a nice mix of funk and Latin music. It’s the best Chicano rock song ever and if you picture anything other than Cheech wiping down his car, you’re crazy.

220px-OMDs_1974#16 – Ozark Mountain Daredevils – “Jackie Blue” – (1974)

Boooo! Some idiot messed up his years. This album was actually released in October of 1974 and the single was from ’74 as well, even though it didn’t peak on the Hot 100 (at #10) until 1975. This is one of those good, mid-70s country rock/southern rock hits. The guitars are twangy and the vocals soft. It’s a great song, but unfortunately for me, from the wrong year. But it’s staying right here.