Using my (questionable) ‘expert’ knowledge and a little help from my musical friends, I’ve come up with a list of records you need to know about. These 70s records are a must have if you’re going to study music. They are essential listening and will help you out massively on the musical education journey you’re about to embark on. This week we’ve gone back to the 1970s, so grab your corduroy flares and prepare to get groovy!
1. Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
Of all the albums in this list, Carole King is one of the artists I’m less than familiar with. I know of King because she sang the theme song to Gilmore Girls, ‘Where You Lead’, with her daughter Louise. ‘Where You Lead’ features on ‘Tapestry’ and is by all accounts one of the best albums the 70s has to offer. This album is also home to the classic ‘You’ve Got Friend’ which has been covered countless times. This woman knew how to write a song and is someone worth knowing about if you want to write great songs yourself. She also co-wrote ‘(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman’, released by Aretha Franklin in 1967. It features on Tapestry and there are also some beautiful live versions that are worth seeking out. This album is a 70s must and a wonderful creation by a talented female musician.
2. David Bowie – Low (1977)
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Bowie. In my opinion he is one of the greatest musicians that ever lived and I strongly urge you to listen to everything he made. Each album he created was a triumph in its own way however the one I chose for this list is ‘Low’. Thanks to being at BIMM I know a lot about this record, I studied it intensely during my first year and fell in love with the weird and wonderful world of music that ‘Low’ brings to the table. ‘Low’ as a piece of art is nothing short of genius. If you want to explore music as an art form while you’re at BIMM, this album is what you need.
3. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
‘Rumours’ has been labelled by some as one of the greatest albums ever and I can see why. If you’ve not heard ‘Rumours’ before or you’re not overly familiar with the band, then you may not know about the backstory to this record. As many bands have done (*cough* ABBA) and do (*cough* Arcade Fire), they dated/married within the group. As a result Fleetwood Mac had their fair share of public relationship troubles and this record captured some of the worst. You thought Taylor Swift knew how to name and shame, well then you haven’t listened to ‘Go Your Own Way’ properly. Backstory aside, this album is jam-packed with amazing songs and all of them well written. It’s packed with inspiration for any budding song-writer and if I haven’t persuaded you enough then it’s worth noting that Stevie Nicks is in this band and she is just great so…
4. Blondie – Parallel Lines (1978)
Ah, Blondie. This was their third studio album but it’s very similar to their ‘Greatest Hits’ release. This record offers banger after banger, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘One Way Or Another’ (you might remember One Direction attempted to murder this song back in 2013), ‘Picture This’, ‘Heart Of Glass’, and ‘Sunday Girl’. Blondie weren’t just rock, they were the revolution, showing us we were on the brink of the new wave. If you need strong song inspiration or want to hear an amazing front-woman in action, listen to this record. Then skip forward to 1980 and listen to ‘Rapture’, to experience some of the best/worst rapping skills you may ever hear. Either way, Blondie needs to be on your radar.
5. ABBA – Voulez-Vous (1979)
We haven’t talked about disco yet. You might not like it and it certainly wasn’t ‘cool’ once we hit the 80s (if the TV show ‘Freaks and Geeks’ taught us anything, it’s that disco was “so last decade”) but it happened and needs to be acknowledged. You may even love it. This love may even include almost everything ABBA ever made. For now though let’s focus on the album ‘Voulez-Vous’. No, this one doesn’t have ‘Dancing Queen’ on it but it does have alternative wedding reception favourite such as the slightly odd ‘Does Your Mother Know’ (which describes a dubious relationship between a man and young girl…) and ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ (in which a woman’s loneliness is compared to a dark foreboding night…). Obviously ABBA’s #choons have reached a new market with the success of the musical/film Mamma Mia but regardless of whether you’re into disco, you’ll be into this album.