1960s, 1970s, & 1980s Rock
The 1960s and 1970s gave birth to so many unique sounds that helped transform the rock landscape forever. The 70s were probably my favorite era of music because it gave birth to the best band of all time, the Rolling Stones. It also the emergence of such bands as Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground, The Who, and many more.
Favorite rock albums from the 70s
Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
Ok, I'll admit it. I am a huge fan of INXS. The two songs that I have discovered are "New Sensations" which I read about in the book American Psycho and "Never Tear Us Apart" which was played in Season 2 episode of 3 of Euphoria. The lead singer of INXS, Michael Hutchence wrote the lyrics for "Never Tear Us Apart". The song is supposed to describe an instant connection between two people who form a bond that lasts forever. Hutchence died in 1997 at 37, and during his funeral service his coffin was carried out by the remaining members of INXS and his brother to the song.
This song is played in Euphoria when Cal and Derek are dancing. This scene is one of my favorites in the entire two seasons of Euphoria. You can just feel the passion and the emotions through the two actors. One of my favorite scenes in the entire show.
The Passenger - Iggy Pop
I rediscovered this song when was watching episode 1 of Dexter New Blood. For those who watch Dexter this song couldn't describe the some storylines in the show any better. Dexter calls his compulsion to kill his "dark passenger" saying how it never leaves his side and it is always there.
However, Iggy Pop did not have this in mind when he wrote this, considering the song came out 40 years before Dexter New Blood. Iggy Pop wrote this song about himself being a passenger on tour in David Bowies car. It is said that he penned the lyrics while riding on a train in Berlin but garnered inspiration from his travels with Rock legend Bowie. The lyrics show how he is relishing in the travel experience in and of itself. "And amongst his favorite activities are looking out the “glass” from moving vehicles and beholding the brilliant starlight in the sky. Indeed he can just ‘ride and ride’, seemingly into infinity."
This is the perfect song to ride to, it makes me feel hopeful for tomorrow while embracing the beautiful day I had today. Ok, maybe thats a stretch, but it still does give me great pleasure to listen to this song in the car.
Marquee Moon - Television
Marquee Moon by Television was released in 1977 but had been in the makings since 1974. Running 10 minutes and 38 seconds it is quite the trip for the patient listener, but unfortunately, most songs that run this length have a hard time getting radio play. This song is built like a story, the song builds to a climax and then returns to the start like returning to normal life after an ordeal, with the opening line section ("I remember how the darkness doubled...") reprised at the end.
The guitar riff in this song is consistent throughout and most recognizable for someone who have might not heard it before. I also found it interesting how, "According to Richard Lloyd, there are plenty of overdubs on this song, but no effects on the guitars, which were plugged directly into the amps."
This song is best to listen to, in my opinion, during a long drive in the summertime. The first time I ever heard it, I was driving home from a landscaping job on a sunny day in mid July and for 2020 standards I was feeling as if I was on top of the world. It is an uplifting song with a positive feel to it that will just put you in a good headspace. Also, "Tom Verlaine's voice was processed a bit on this song, with some echo and delay to give it a more robotic feel."
Layla - Derek & The Dominos
How have I yet to write about this masterpiece? While it is one of the greatest songs of all time, it for sure has one of the most crazy backstory's to any song out there. Basically, Eric Clapton (the writer of this song) was in love with and having an affair with the famous Beatle, George Harrison. Despite Clapton making a love song about his wife, Harrison was not too thrown by it because him and his wife were at the end of their marriage anyways. Clapton ended up marrying Pattie and even though their marriage didn't last long, one memory sure stuck with me. "After I married Eric we were invited out for an evening and he was sitting round playing his guitar while I was trying on dresses upstairs. I was taking so long and I was panicking about my hair, my clothes, everything, and I came downstairs expecting him to really berate me but he said, 'Listen to this!' In the time I had taken to get ready he had written "Wonderful Tonight." Imagine just casually writing one of the greatest love songs of all time, wild.
Back to the song, Layla. One of my favorite songs ever because of the pure beauty of it. From the opening guitar riff to the closing piano at the end. It is all perfection. Once the song hits the 3min mark, the piano descends into a blackhole, actually it's more like it shoots into the sky on a rainbow. The guitar, bass, and piano all come together in the end and its actual magic. I like listening to this song really for any occasion, whether it is early morning or late at night it is always one I can nver skip.
Sweet Jane - The Velvet Underground
I would say that it was about 2 and a half years ago that one of my best friends Noah introduced me to The Velvet Underground. They have a unique sound that I have still never heard duplicated, they were basically the first punk rock group. Their "reign" lasted in the late 60s into the 70s. I put reign in italics because at the time nobody really knew how good they were and they were not aware of the impact this group would have on music itself. Led by the ultra talented Lou Reed and his monotone style of singing, they were and still are a fantastic band.
The first time I ever listened to Sweet Jane, arguably their most well written and successful song, I was doing homework late at night in my house. I figured I would give it a shot, I described my feelings at that current time in my notebook. "I heard that song come on and I forget everything that is happening in my life, I was tranquilized by the sound. I didn’t cry but I just felt such beauty come from those first 15 seconds that it made me emotional." Not many sounds can do that for me. To this day Sweet Jane never gets old.
When Lou Reed was making the album "Loaded" he was told by the record company to make an album with a lot of hits. So this song was his attempt at making a hit. So 66 millions plays on Spotify later, he made more than a hit, he made a revolutionary sound. My life advice for today, listen to The Velvet Underground, you will not be disappointed.
Roadrunner - Modern Lovers
I always like to think that it is easy to write about something you are passionate about. Music is one of those subjects, and "Roadrunner" by the Modern Lovers is one of those songs I could write about all day. There is not a better song for cruising the suburban streets of Massachusetts or literally doing anything for that matter. Considered to be the first punk rock song in existence, Jonathan Richman created a unique sound that still to this day is absolutely timeless.
Quite literally, if you listen to the lyrics of this song it is about cruising late at night on route 128. Letting the streets of Massachusetts and his radio keep him company on the late lonely nights. I think of it as sort of a love song to Massachusetts. Just be careful if you are blasting this song while driving, chances are that you will automatically increase your speed 10mph without even noticing.
Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Buckle up for this soliloquy of chaos, where Roger Daltrey teaches the listener about corruption in the government in the early 70s. Pete Townshend wrote this song about a revolution against the government. "In the first verse, there is an uprising. In the middle, they overthrow those in power, but in the end, the new regime becomes just like the old one ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss")." (songfacts).
The song runs just over 8 minutes and 30 seconds and every little bit of it is masterful and composed to absolute perfection. They had the song shortened to around 3 minutes to have the radio play it because no radio station would play a song that long, Daltrey was not happy about that and explained that The Who's music has evolved past the 3 minute mark.
When I think of the best screams in rock n roll I think of two voices on two long songs about revolution. Jim Morrison on "When the Music's Over" and Roger Daltrey on "Won't get fooled again". Deciding who had the more manic and downright bone chilling scream is nit picking. Let's start with Roger Daltrey, the build up to it starts right around the 6:35 mark in the song, seemingly like the music is descending and the song is almost over, Keith moon picks up the drums again around 7:30 and builds up what is one of the best screams ever at 7:45. If you listen to it on full volume you will get chills, the rest of the band thought he was "brawling with the engineer." Crazy to think. Then there is Jim Morrison, I will get more into him on another day but around 8:00 in "When the Music's Over" is when he unleashes his vocal cords. Unreal song that I will talk about another time.
Anyways, back to The Who. When listening to this song it never feels like it is 8 minutes and 30 seconds, I often listen to this on long car rides and tend to never skip it because it takes me to another place. Absolute masterpiece.
Midnight Rambler- The Rolling Stones
Off of the stones 1969 album, Let it Bleed which some regard as their best album, it was also their first really successful piece of music. Midnight Rambler is my personal favorite song. One of the coolest facts about this song is something that Mick Jagger said about recording it, "That's a song Keith and I really wrote together. We were on a holiday in Italy. In this very beautiful hill town, Positano, for a few nights. Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don't know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I'm playing the harmonica in these little cafes, and there's Keith with the guitar." Even if that is a Wikipedia it is pretty fucking cool if you ask me. This song has a very blues feel to it with the harmonica sprinkled throughout. I think of the first half of this song as just a led up to the 5 minute mark when everything seems to be slowing down and then the tempo picks up and right around 5:22 Mick lets loose, sends chills down my spine every time.