The history of the albums

This list includes in chronological order the important and unavoidable albums. A list updated regularly

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground
94
One of the pillars of the Velvet Underground's magical art lies essentially in the fact that (almost) every one of its various albums can be chosen by the listener as his or her favorite of the band's albums, without any debate being able to find a universal answer. One of the other pillars also proves that the Velvet Underground is one of the most influential, visionary and innovative bands of all time, without resorting to experimentation. The eponymous 1969 album is the perfect example of an album conceived largely without any real prototype se-quences, unlike its predecessors, but its influence on the music of the last 30 years is absolutely overwhelm-ing. Genius(es). To get to this point, it's necessary to re-situate a few important points. The Velvets were a cursed and misunderstood band before they enjoyed a considerable reputation. Their banana-hued debut album, featuring Nico and Andy Warhol, showcased the possibilities of a brilliant band whose overflowing and even more brilliant ideas had revolutionized music forever. Their second, released in 1968, ventured even fur-ther into the experimental and avant-garde, serving as an album of anti-beauty, as band member John Cale himself defined it. Despite their absolutely incredible prowess, the band was doomed to commercial failure, reserved for specialized listeners lucky enough to stumble across the New Yorkers. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/6360-the-velvet-underground/
Jaki Byard - The Jaki Byard Experience
90
I vaguely remember my solfeggio lessons when I was a half-portion, but that was far too long ago. The one and only memory I really have is that I wasn't mature and ready enough to want to understand those les-sons. Clearly it was hell for me, a waste of time. Today, I'm sorry I let it all go. Of course, it's never too late, but life takes its course and time flies. Yet deep down I would have loved, and even more so today, to have gone through the music and theory courses, refining my analysis and debating with other opinions. I would have loved, for example, to sit down and listen to Jaki Byard, who has lived through almost every era of jazz, lay out all his knowledge. And finally, on the occasion of this episode, I started to look for a list of mu-sicians who had also become music teachers on a large scale, out of curiosity, and in the end it's rather complex to find elements. On the one hand, there are theorists, but they're not exactly teachers, they're researchers (George Russell or Xenakis, for example). And on the other, there are lists of musicians who were first teachers (but not only in the field of music), such as KISS vocalist Gene Simmons, who was a maths teacher before becoming a superstar in make-up, how ironic… full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/68352-the-jaki-byard-experience/
The Flying Burrito Brothers - The Gilded Palace of Sin
92
Country rock became a widespread trend in the 70s, thanks in particular to the influence and impact of "The Gilded Palace of Sin", produced by The Flying Burrito Brothers, featuring Graham Parsons and Chris Hillman, ex-Byrds. Here's a quick review to help you understand its origins (https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7024-sweetheart-of-the-rodeo/). In 1969, the flagship bands and newcomers were gradually abandoning the psychedelic aesthetic for various paths, some towards the emergence of Prog, others concentrating on "roots" genres such as Blues Rock, Country or Folk. It's no coincidence that Country is regaining popularity, with new figures such as Townes Van Zandt, The Band, Neil Young solo, and a resurgence of popularity for Johnny Cash and his legendary prison concerts. The first real traces of Country Rock date back to the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young, Stephan Stills, Richie Furay...) in 1966, quickly followed by International Submarine Band, Gram Parsons' first band before he temporarily worked on the Byrds' "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" project. It was only logical, then, that Parsons and Hillman should meet again on the Flying Burrito Bros (FBB) project, as true precursors of the Country Rock movement...
Full review https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7038-the-gilded-palace-of-sin/
East Of Eden - Mercator Projected
85
East Of Eden is a particularly underground Prog band, reserved for specialists, which I classify among the "Proto-Prog" elements, i.e. the experimental investigators before the real genre was born with King Crimson, that same year 1969. I refer you to my review of Family's "Music in a Doll's House" (1968), which explains and defines the roots of Prog in the first two paragraphs. I've opted for a compact format, like an interlude, because basically there's not much to say about East of Eden. However, "Mercator Projected" and their fol-low-up album "Snafu" (1970) are clearly very interesting and brilliant enough to attract the attention of a few curious listeners (and I know there are plenty here). Formed in Bristol in 1967, the band endured for a dec-ade (although active again since the 2010s), with a succession of line-up changes whose principal members were violinist and instrumentalist Dave Arbus, saxophonist Ron Caines, bassist Steve York and singer and guitarist Geoff Nicholson. This obscure group had only one chart success, with "Jig-a-Jig" in 1970, which was radically different from their style. It was with a contribution to the French-English film "Laughter In the Dark" (1968) that the band made their mark and signed to DERAM (Decca). Dave Arbus is also a close friend of Keith Moon (The Who), who played violin on the legendary song "Baba O'Riley" (1971)..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/251089-mercator-projected/
Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis - Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis
90
Towards the end of the '60s, the Avant-Folk movement initiated in the '50s by the pioneering avant-garde Moondog began to gain ground on the underground scene. As a reminder, Avant-Folk can simply be translat-ed as Contemporary Folk, but with a far more experimental and varied range of instruments. It's no coinci-dence, since this period was deeply marked by a very libertarian social movement in Western countries. We find, of course, Nico, Robbie Băsho and, from the other side of the Atlantic, Brigitte Fontaine, as well as the inseparable Catherine Ribeiro/Patrice Moullet duo. The latter have a well-established reputation among spe-cialists, and have played a major role in the development of a movement that will probably last forever. After a landmark first album, which we'll be looking at today, the group went on to evolve under the name ALPES until the end of the 70s, in reference to one of France's (and the world's) most beautiful mountain ranges, of which Catherine Ribeiro is a native.. full review:
https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/123337-catherine-ribeiro-2-bis/
Bee Gees - Odessa
83
While the average lifespan of a '60s band was closer to 3 years, it was even rarer for a band from that period to endure over two decades. Yet there are a few exceptions who managed this feat, including the Bee Gees. The three Australian brothers are best known as disco icons, thanks in particular to their single "Stayin Alive" and the soundtrack "Saturday Night Fever" (an expression now democratized to define dancefloor parties), but miraculously the Bee Gees didn't limit themselves to just that, it's as if they were lucky enough to have 3 lives. The one we're going to study today is the very first, when the Gibb brothers were an internationally popular band. It wasn't until the Disco period that Bee Gees totally reinvented themselves, becoming super-stars with an absolutely staggering number of records sold. However, I couldn't devote just one episode to this mythical group, as they are a major influence on many artists over several generations, from Olivia New-ton-John to Beyoncé. With the passing of COVID, many artists wanted to breathe new life into Disco music, like Jessie Ware, Roisin Murphy, Dua Lipa etc... no doubt some of their influence was also drawn from the Bee Gees. If we only look at their early "Baroque Pop" era, however, I'm not sure that the group has had any impact, and a lot of people don't even know that they've been around that long, in a completely different niche. Yet the Bee Gees, who have always been known for their fantastic harmonies and songwriting talent, have managed to churn out a few gems, including Odessa, a highly underrated project in my humble opinion.. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/15051-odessa/
Prince Lasha & Sonny Simmons - Firebirds
85
Today, a little respective to present an album released whose date is not really defined. Some sources say 1968, others the following year, so let's go there now before we forget, because it's as unknown as it is ines-capable. The two personalities we are going to analyze are very discreet, if not absolutely underground. To begin with, Prince Lasha, born in Texas in 1929, was a flutist and saxophonist who made/participated in fewer than 10 albums, which is very (very) rare for a jazzman who died at the age of 79 and whose career spanned 3 decades. On the other hand, Lasha has always been a leader, with a few exceptions, like his colleague Sonny Simmons, although the latter released many more solo albums. Lasha met Ornette Coleman at school, as they were both natives of Fort Worth. They even formed an R&B/Bebop band in the mid-50s when both were trying to make a career for themselves in California. Coleman went on to enjoy a legendary career, while Prince Lasha kept a low profile, as always, until his arrival in New York in the early '60s... full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/291130-firebirds/
MC5 - Kick Out the Jams
87
Finally, in the history of '60s rock, live recordings on LP were rare, in total contrast to jazz. Yet rockers spent just as much time on stage throughout the year on far more impressive and exhausting tours. It wasn't until the 70s that the live album became more widespread, notably with the double format. Frankly, it's going to be pretty easy to do the math if you take into account popular or highly regarded "Pop Rock" live albums, such as Jerry Lee Lewis's "Live at the Star-Club, Hamburg" (1964), and that's about it. So yes, many studio albums do include live songs, especially the Blues Rock bands with their love of Jam. In fact, the Yardbirds experimented with hybrid LP formats in the mid-60s. It wasn't until the MC5's "Kick Out The jams" album that the music industry and artists began to understand the opportunity. This album du jour was followed by oth-ers the same year, such as "Live/Dead" by the Greatful Dead, "Happy Trails" by Quicksilver Messenger Ser-vice and "Bless Its Pointed Little Head" by Jefferson Airplane. The machine was launched.. full review ; https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7012-kick-out-the-jams/
Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis
92
What if "Dusty in Memphis" and its inescapable "Son Of A Preacher Man" were the apogee of the infamous "Blue-Eyed Soul" musical trend? A term coined by DJs in the mid-60s, "Blue-Eyed Soul" still drags behind it a kind of forgotten world that is unfortunately still with us today. Separation, racism and discrimination, one of mankind's ills, along with anxiety and depression are annoying subjects because we're forced to talk about them again and again, like some kind of curse. Blue-Eyed Soul" is recognized as a form of R&B/Pop fusion, pronounced for its Soul and Gospel appeal, which is attributed to predominantly white artists, aiming to sep-arate them from blacks in the eyes of the public. So, in my opinion, this genre has a very bad connotation, since we could very well focus on its more conventional and unifying cousin "Pop Soul" to define this type of music. To understand, let's go back a few years to the heart of the USA, when the fight against segregation and discrimination was so strong. The 60s were marked by the actions of President Kennedy, followed by his successor Lyndon Baines Johnson, working for desegregation, for whom there are many positive results even after his death. "The Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965, mixed marriages in 1967, the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and university access for all. Unfortunately, at the same time, demonstrations and riots intensified to counter the conservative opposition, not to mention the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, which sometimes sounded like an admission of powerlessness in the face of human gangrene.. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7015-dusty-in-memphis/
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
92
Here we are, in front of our new TV set, we've done it, we've managed to wait for the moon for the first time in human history, but that doesn't mean it's true. (uneasiness) [a short breath], come on! Let's be carefree for once! From up here, we could see just how fast our beloved planet earth continued to turn, so fast that another decade was about to become history. 1969, an erotic year for some, accentuated the quest for space, one battle within another against the backdrop of the Cold War between the Americans and the Sovi-ets. It was also marked by profound upheavals in Africa, the oldest continent in the world, and the beginning of "Vietnamization", championed by the new President Nixon, symbolizing a potentially premature end to the Vietnam War. Finally, on a political and human level, 1969 sounded like a relentless struggle on several fronts, notably with the entry into force of the international convention on "the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination" and also the Stonewall riots, a demonstration by homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people to fight persecution, even from the authorities and system of the time. While a few stars went out with Judy Garland, Coleman Hawkins, Paul Chambers and Brian Jones, 1969 was rich in music, nota-bly with the first and famous edition of Woodstock, one of the landmark events in rock history. Finally, this year assumed its continuity with the previous one, but seemed to mutate towards what was to represent the first part of the 70s, with the emergence of Progressive Rock (and its sub-currents: Symphonic Prog and Avant-Prog).. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/4521-led-zeppelin/
The Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow
91
If the invention of the Rock Opera movement is systematically attributed to the Who with "Tommy" (1969), because it has become cult and popular, it's important to point out that once again one of the most underes-timated bands in history was also one of the very first precursors, the proof of which lies in "SF Sorrow" released at the very end of 1968. This isn't the first time the Pretty Things have been neglected, nor will it be the last. While a future episode will be dedicated to the genre, Rock Opera is more a concept than a sound, since it applies to an album rather than an individual song. The concept revolves around a story, with songs or pieces linked together like chapters in a book, or acts in a play. As a reminder, albums from the '60s, and even today, are often a compilation of individual songs, sometimes with a sort of theme thread, so it was very rare, if not unheard of, when "SF Sorrow" and then "Tommy" saw the light of day. Beyond Rock Opera, "SF Sorrow" also proves that the London band were destined to be creative players in the shadows, due to bad choices and a certain amount of bad luck. The Pretty Things hadn't even released their second album, "Get the Picture?" (December 1965), when the band had to part company with drummer Viv Prince, who was getting out of hand, and replace him with Skip Alan, and this was just the beginning of a musical chair, not at all unusual for outsider bands of the time. The band was one of the few not to have exported to the US, which had terrible consequences for their commercial success, as they released their last chart-topping sin-gle in 1966 with a Kinks cover.. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/31811-sf-sorrow/
Ultimate Spinach - Behold & See
83
I wouldn't dream of shattering a utopia that's as carefree as it is idealistic, but music is often about money. And it always will be. At the end of the 60s, almost no group or artist escaped the rule, with the exception of the Beatles, who bucked the trend by finally becoming their own boss. Well, there were a few of them, like Zappa for example, but let's face it, these underground exceptions didn't sell many records, although the first Velvet Underground album took a while to sell 30,000 copies at the time. An audience means supply and demand, an economic market means investment and profitability. Although the counterculture has so far succeeded in developing new scenes and interests, the music industry is developing mainly in New York and California with LA and San Francisco.. Full review https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/120992-behold-see/
The Turtles - The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands
79
Generally speaking, I'm not really a fan or follower of humorous musical trends in music. I appreciate the occasional or hidden touch of humor in songs or album concepts, but if I really need to laugh I'll just look at something and put my brain down somewhere beside me. There's no doubt that this type of musical trend has a big enough audience to continue to exist, and it probably always will, even more so in the age of "trolling". As I'm not a fan of the global family of comedy music, I'm even less of a fan of the Musical Parody trend, because it really doesn't interest me at all. For the most part, this style of music consists of taking a well-known song and transforming it into something funny and zany. It's a troll style in itself, or sometimes a satire. But this trend has been around forever, on record since the early 20th century, and more widely since the 50s. As it's part of musical history, I'm going to pay tribute to the only Musical Parody album in my opin-ion worth listening to: The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, released at the end of 1968. First of all, it's a good album, and it also gives me a chance to talk at least once about that mythical '60s band, the Tur-tles, known for a handful of hit singles, including the cult classic "Happy Together". Composed mainly of Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman and Al Nichol, the group alternated between a 5 and 6 member line-up before dying out in the late 60s due to lack of success and label problems. Hailing from California, the Turtles have never really contributed to any innovations, but have kept up with musical developments by remaining trendy and varied, although they are still considered a Sunshine Pop band.. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/61821-the-turtles-present-the-battle-of-the-bands/
Canned Heat - Living the Blues
80
For many, Canned Heat is a rather anecdotal band, like the hundreds that existed in the '60s and '70s, for whom only a handful of songs are remembered: "Going Up The Country", "On The Road", "Let's Work To-gether" and "Time Was". Frankly, that would be premature, or unfair. In fact, the Californians democratized and contributed to the emergence of Boogie Rock, a musical genre that is also rather disparaged by enthusi-asts. While the task of defending them seems as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, I'm going to try and pay my respects to a very honourable band who have left their mark on the history of music. To understand this band, let's go back to the very emergence of Rock, in the 50s, when all the bands/artists of the time were steeped in Blues, Rhythms and Blues and Country roots. Just as Rock and Roll was on the verge of extinction, the British Invasion arrived as a breath of fresh air, re-establishing the Blues as one of the essential pillars of their heritage. In the end, Blues remained the driving force for admiring young artists for many years. By the end of the '60s, Blues Rock had even become one of the main currents, if not the only one (the Stones and the Beatles got in on the act). Finally, it wasn't until the second half of the 70s that Punk and New Wave suc-ceeded in making the Blues almost disappear from the "Pop Rock" formula. This revolution marked the break between traditional rock and the rock we know today... full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/100101-living-the-blues/
Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet
94
1968 marked the beginning of the Stones' golden period (creatively speaking), which lasted some 4 years until Exile On Main St. We're talking here about a crucial period in building the legend of one of the greatest bands of all time. Unlike the other great behemoths of the time, who constantly recycled their musical styles with great success, the Stones never shone as brightly as when they were practicing in their "Blues" zone. The London band had just emerged from their psychedelic period, leaving opinions sharply divided on the matter. In the end, they even regretted having followed the hallucinogenic locomotive at the expense of the music that had shaped them. The spiritual British children of Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf have always been deeply inspired by American Roots culture, and Beggars Banquet marks the return to their roots that will remain their ultimate trademark to this day. Of course, the Stones aren't necessarily the ultimate exam-ple of the point I'm trying to make here, as the London band have managed to release a number of singles outside Blues Rock of exceptional quality, such as "Paint It, Black", "19th Nervous Breakdown", "Let's Spend the Night Together" and so on.. Let's not forget that we're talking about the Stones here. On the other hand, Jagger's band has never worked better in album format than with a Blues Rock backbone, sprinkled with a few eccentricities... full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/5444-beggars-banquet/
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
96
It's no surprise that Van Morrison is one of the most extraordinary and prodigious artists of all time. First and foremost, thanks to his unique voice and melodies, tinged with soul, blues and the traditional Irish music of which he is a native. Let's face it, VM is surely one of the finest white voices on the R&B scene (and be-yond, of course). The way he roars, with full emotional power, remains not only a trademark, but often the complementary element that adds another dimension to the songwriting or musically. In other words, it's possible, for example, to not particularly like a song, but in an instant his piercing voice is capable of changing your mind. And it's thanks to his songwriting, musicianship and personal touch that VM has left an indelible mark on music history, with multiple albums, songs and compositions whose secret often lies in minimalism, elegance and passion. VM is not an artist who can be pigeonholed solely in the R&B category: his repertoire and signature are eclectic, touching on Jazz, Folk, Celtic music, Gospel, Standard and Pop Rock, which makes this fusion so sensitive, so distinctiv.. full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/5715-astral-weeks/
Nico - The Marble Index
93
It wasn't until the Hollywood revolution that we found artists who were as comfortable in movies as in mu-sic, obviously we think of the iconic Bill Crosby, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Dolly Parton, up to Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and the list is as long as it is full. However, there are also a large number of hydrid artists who have not known the glory of awards and red carpets, but few of them have known how to mark the history of culture. That's why we're going to study today one of the most memorable counterexamples, better known under the pseudonym of Nico. In fact, the German Nico typically represents the type of artist who is absolutely legendary in the under-ground culture but relatively unknown in the popular culture. For all her various facets, Nico has marked the minds of specialists but without ever succeeding in becoming a star as she would have deserved to be. If we are to pay tribute to this brilliant and influential woman, we must place her as a cultural icon in the same category as Andy Warhol, Lou Reed and John Cale, emblematic associates of her career. Nico is the story of a model who became an actress before being taken under the wing of Andy Warhol, who also saw in her an innate talent for music. After participating in one of the most important albums in the history of music "The Velvet Underground & Nico" (1967), Nico went solo and became one of the most important pioneers of mu-sic, placing herself as a precursor/figure of countless currents/genres such as: Avant-Folk, Gothic, Chamber Folk, Drone, Art Rock, Neo-Medieval Folk or Neoclassical Darkwave. Her legacy is so considerable that we could quote the following artists: David Bowie, Brian Eno, Nick Drake, Blondie, Siouxie, Pattie Smith, Dead Can Dance or encore Portishead. This is absolutely colossal.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/19384-the-marble-index/
The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
96
The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (no less) is probably one of the albums that clearly impact-ed my musical tastes in my youth! I grew up with it, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I would go on a desert island with it if I had to choose only one album, but clearly it wouldn't be a bad idea. Finally I discovered the rest of the Kinks' discography rather late, I could clearly have been satisfied to listen to this masterpiece ac-companied by a compilation of the singles of the other albums! In fact, not only is this album the best of their repertoire but it is also logically the most solid from start to finish, which in my opinion is a bit lacking in the whole of their other albums, since the whole is often strewn with wonders and simply good songs. The Kinks have since 1966 developed a very British direction which will make their main singularity. Basically no other pop rock band sounds as authentic and true to their roots as they do. From Face To Face (1966) to Arthur (1970), the Kinks have been going through their golden years and it's no coincidence that this singularity combined with their genius will make them one of the most important bands of all time... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7029-the-kinks-are-the-village-green-preservation-society/
The Beatles - The Beatles
98
The period of the White Album strangely coincides with that feeling that comes over us when we watch with admiration and suspense a TV series where we feel that we have to enjoy it thoroughly because the conclu-sion is coming soon. You know that paradoxical feeling of nostalgia, where you say to yourself that it was still great although there is still time. Because basically, the Beatles' adventure in their management was almost irreproachable until now, except for the clumsy sentence about the Christ. Everything they did was good for them, for the fans and for the people. We can finally analyze that the thread that will make the Beatles go slowly to their separation is explained by the death of their manager Brian Epstein in August 1967, the fa-mous big brother, the sixth Beatles if we count George Martins. From this period, the weariness of George Harrison began to grow, vexed to be the last wheel of the coach. The death of Epstein, but also the years spent together almost non-stop has slowly tilted each towards a more and more individualistic conduct and nothing like the White Album to summarize this situation... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/4100-the-beatles/
The Impressions - This Is My Country
87
It is well known that each geographical area, even within a country, is so different in its culture, customs and roots that this difference is reflected in music. Far from the musical megalopolis like New York, Los Angeles or London, one city has always seduced me by its particular timbre and flavor, I make the case of course to Chicago. Whatever the period studied, the city of Chicago and its regional periphery is such a rich pool that many musical genres/variants were born there, enduring by their singularities and their charm. Take for ex-ample The Impressions, actors and pillars of the Chicago Soul scene that we will study today. The Chicago Soul scene started to distinguish itself in the early 60's, by a mix of Southern roots, Gospel and Motown until it found its authenticity in the early 70's with Curtis Mayfield, Terry Callier or Baby Huey. To achieve this, a trio had to take the lead, simply composed of Jerry Butler, Sam Gooden and Curtis Mayfield himself, redefin-ing the rules of a city that often needs to assert itself in force to be recognized. With more than a dozen al-bums and hit singles, The Impressions are basically a Doo-Wop band that has become so unique and brilliant that many great artists/groups from sometimes so different backgrounds have participated in their legacy such as Parliement, Tyrone Davis, Sly & The Family Stone, Chic, Bob Marley, The Band or The Style Council. Focus today on an absolutely essential phenomenon that the city of Chicago will not soon forget, and even beyond... to continue
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/57253-this-is-my-country/
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
97
If in the space of a few months, Jimi Hendrix went from being a strug-gling and totally misunderstood artist to a high profile icon, the 1967 Monterey festival made him a legend, and Electric Ladyland did much more. In my opinion, it is from this last studio album that Jimi Hendrix became one of the icons that characterize the best and worst of Rock n Roll. Fortunately for him, everyone has re-tained only the best, and I will not contradict them. Jimi Hendrix has always been an independent artist, un-controllable, perfectionist, truly eccentric, and it is as if Electric Ladyland symbolizes the moment when no limits constrain him anymore. In December 1967, Jimi Hendrix and his band released Axis, an album that marked an evolution of writing and interpretation, but also the first tensions between him and his producer Chas Chandler. In short, Axis is an album that was released in a hurry to meet the demands of the music in-dustry, which Hendrix did not like at all, especially when one is constantly searching for perfection. Although it was an extraordinary album, Axis was the last straw that broke the camel's back...
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/5706-electric-ladyland/
Ray Barretto - Acid
84
I discovered while working on this review that Salsa is not that old, nor even that traditional. Although its roots were developed in the 40's, Salsa was mostly created in New York in the 60's by musicians of Cuban and Puerto Rican origins during the so-called exotic period that America was going through in search of new flavors. Personally I was persuaded at the base that the Salsa was a current dating at least of the beginning of the 20th century, but it would seem that not. In the 60's, scenes similar to Jazz were created, creating com-munities so strong that the music industry could not help but get involved. Among its derivatives we find the Boogaloo scene which merges American styles like Rhythms and Blues and Jazz, symbol of a cultural mixture in full boiling. We find very quickly emblematic figures who distinguish themselves in particular Mongo San-tamaria, Joe Cuba, Willie Bobo, Pete Rodriguez but I think that the most important and talented remains Ray Barretto, a virtuoso percussionist, specialist of congas. Ray Barretto is probably the most extravagant, the most experimental and the most passionate of the Boogaloo universe. Not only is he the one who offers the most phenomenal album of this scene with "Acid" in 1968, but he is also recognized for his crazy productivity over more than 40 years..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/76880-acid/
Dillard & Clark - The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark
84
1968 sounds like a pivotal year for the whole "Country" family. Let's scan the horizon to prove my point: First of all, it's impossible to miss the unavoidable and probably the most cult live album of all time with Johnny Cash's "At Folsom Pri-son". We find the creation of the Outlaw Country movement. Then the Country Pop will shine with the general public with "Nancy & Lee" (Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood). The Country will also be confronted with the more progressive approach with the "Progressive Bluegrass" of the Dillards, or the Progressive Country. Finally the most important at this time, the emergence of the Country Rock with the Byrds, The Gosdin Brothers and of course the duo that we will revisit today: Dillard & Clark. This is the story of a duo composed of the icons Doug Dillard and Gene Clark. The first is without question one of the legends of the Banjo, a pioneer of the Bluegrass movement. ... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/33768-the-fantastic-expedition-of-dillard-clark/
Magic Sam Blues Band - West Side Soul
86
Today we're going to visit a very unrecognized classic in a rather concise review compared to usual. I hesitated for a while to write this episode, because there is not much to say about the character's life, but this album is so excellent that I decided to go for it. At that time, no one had added a note to this album, yet for those curious about old school stuff and guitar lovers I strongly advise you to give this product a chance. You have to understand that at the end of the 60's, the blues is omnipresent but mainly in the Blues Rock fusion, as much in the US as in the UK. As recently as my last episode, we were still talking about Blues Rock. It is clearly the dominant movement of this period. In fact, the love affair between Blues and Rock was born at the very beginning of the creation of Rock n Roll in the mid 50's, before becoming more pronounced a few years later during the biggest Blues revival period. In a way, the children and the young people of the end of the Fifties/beginning of the Sixties discovered the Blues heritage at this time. Remember that there was no internet to do research. The Blues revival was thus crucial in order to make discover the most traditional standards, the icons and legend then still unknown at the time and especially this scene of Chicago Blue, known for its electrification of the guitar. At the end of the Sixties, groups deeply marked by the Blues Revival like the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix etc.. knew how to transform and give a new soul to the Blues. Finally in spite of the enormous rise of the Blues Rock, and well it is rare to have on the other hand good album of more traditional Blues. For two reasons, because it was the young public whi ch led the tendencies and because there was not much prolific Blues personality... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/388738-west-side-soul/
Big Brother and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills
89
If not the top band in the Bay Area, wouldn't "Cheap Trills" be the best album of the San Francisco Psychedelic Rock band during the 60s? I'd say it's not far off. Among all the Bay Area bands, generally better known as Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service, the jammers Big Brother & the Holding Company managed to make a place for themselves in a flourishing and innovative scene before becoming internationally renowned. Mainly known by the fact of being composed of exceptional musi-cians/artists/songwriters, first of all the legendary Janis Joplin, but also Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin or Dave Getz, BB&THC shone because they are truly outsiders in their fields of predilection, entering the myths of the history of the music. Obviously this group is considered today as cultism because the late Janis Joplin, disappeared in 1970, will inevitably feed the attraction of this group, as if unfortunately it was embellished by this sad disappearance. In fact, BB&THC shone mostly during one year, from the Summer Of Love (1967) until the release of their album "Cheap Thrills" (1968), because before and after it's not really top. However, sometimes it takes only a few moments of grace to make history and this is the case for the time of an album. Without surprises, BB&THC embodies the archetype of the Californian band of the end of the 60's, that is to say a band of Jam origin which surfed on the Psychedelic Rock / Blues Rock / Acid Rock wave to become one of the pillars. For the blow, they are neither pioneers, nor avant-gardists that the history had neglected at the time, it was besides a resounding success.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7010-cheap-thrills/
The Peter Brötzmann Octet - Machine Gun
92
Let's imagine that I had to choose only one Jazz album (except Jazz-Rock) in 1968, my heart would lean without hesitation towards "Machine Gun" by The Peter Brotzmann Octet, not only for its avant-garde aspect, but especially because Jazz needed an album like this one that year. As I have already explained a few times in my previous episodes, but Jazz was going through a rather empty year in terms of releases in 1968, because it lacked the arrival of a new wave (Jazz Fusion, Spiritual Jazz, Jazz Funk..). As a proof, one of the best Jazz albums of the year does not come from the motherland USA but from Europe. So today we're going to go back to a classic of European Jazz and one of its most important pillars, the German Peter Brotzmann. European Jazz was not born at the end of the 60's, however, it is at this period that it will distinguish itself as an atypical and distinctive signature of the American model. Jazz began to develop after the first world war but for a long time it was discreet and followed the Americans except for a few exceptions such as gypsy jazz. At the end of the 50's, Americans started to pick up some European influences in classical music as for the Modal structure or the Third Stream genre, but again the real European jazzmen beyond their country or continent. For example, one of the first Europeans to make a name for himself in the 60s was the Polish Krzysztof Komeda who, despite his singularity, was always lumped into the "Avant-Garde Jazz" label. It is necessary to wait for the fracture of Jazz in the heart of the Sixties thanks to Free Jazz so that underground scenes develop, in particular the European Free Jazz with François Tusques, Peter Brotzmann.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/33366-machine-gun/
The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo
84
The end of the Byrds era stops in my opinion after 1968, since the band had known the departures of David Crosby, Michael Clarke, Chris Hillman, that is to say 3 people on 5 compared to the main line-up. Besides the internal tensions, "The Notorious Byrd Brother" and "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" are commercial failures and the band couldn't find a top 10 single since 1965. Paradoxically, these 2 albums of 1968 are often considered by the fans and the specialists as their best albums. As a reminder, commercial success doesn't necessarily rhyme with popularity. There are sometimes things that can't be explained. Since the single "Turn Turn Turn" (1965), the Byrds were not the best selling band, they had satisfactory results that allowed them to continue to offer a content both artistically free and innovative whatever the musical genre. As early as 1967, the Byrds were one of the first to merge Rock and Country with Buffalo Springfields, seeking to honor the traditions of the Nashville Sound and adapting it to a formula that would appeal to a young audience (an audience that doesn't necessarily buy anymore). All this strategy also stuck perfectly with the roots and the artistic spirit of the band, especially as the Rock was going to evolve quickly in this direction too. The Country Rock and the Blues Rock will become precisely at the beginning of the 70s a very prolific current. Except that the Byrds were always too far ahead of the public and we notice it on all their albums from 1964 to 1968.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7024-sweetheart-of-the-rodeo/
Family - Music in a Doll's House
88
Who really knows Family ? Probably a few specialists or curious people, but few people will tell you in a conversation about the 60's: "Family was really good, it's as good as the Who or the Stones", no it's not likely. I personally didn't know them before doing my research for the selection of the episodes. Like any band/artist cruelly and criminally forgotten, Family delivers in 1968 one of the most interesting album of the year. So in my humble way, I'll try to put on my vigilante cape for the time of a review to pay tribute to this London band, actor of the "Proto-Prog Rock". First of all, I would like to specify that the "Proto-Prog Rock" genre does not really exist, let's say that it is an imaginary trend that will allow me to illustrate my remarks. We can say in an almost unanimous way that the true first album of Progressive Rock was released in 1969 by the legendary King Crimson, simply because the musical genre was defined mainly by the codes imposed by the group of Robert Fripp. The principle of Prog Rock was to push the limits and boundaries of Rock so far by incorporating other musical genres, breaking the chains of Psychedelia and the conventions of a basic song (3 minutes, verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge or solo / verse / chorus, to keep it simple). One can also define Prog Rock as an intellectual attempt to develop a more sophisticated music. But I'll have time to come back to that later in future episodes. For now we will focus on the origins that led to this. For many years, from the Rock & Roll of the 50's until 1966/1967, Rock became more and more omnipresent and dominant in popular music... full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/68680-music-in-a-dolls-house/
The Band - Music from Big Pink
92
While the evolution of Pop Rock was in constant ebullition at the end of the 60's, the year 1968 marks a symbolic advance that will continue to have a considerable influence on the major part of the years to come (until 1976 to be precise). Once the Summer Of Love passed, the psychedelic movements, until now omnipresent, will gradually weaken, leaving place to 2 different branches: the muscles of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and on the contrary the homage to the traditions with the arrival of Country Rock and Roots Rock in order to widen the sphere Blues Rock. Concretely, all the greatest of the time will go there either in a direct or indirect way. The Americans will try to take back the control of the throne of the tendencies, and the English will adapt in their way by keeping a necessary singularity. It is now time to show the muscles, the hippies are in the process of disappearing and we understand very well that the public needed a change of scene. This is where The Band comes in, a name as explicit as magnificently deserved to assume the role of pillar of this new wave, accompanied by precursors like The Byrds, Gene Clark, Buffalo Springfield or Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thanks to these groups, American music will come back to the level of the English one as if they finally recover their due, hardly lost during the British Invasion. At the top of the list, the Canadians of The Band will become one of the most influential groups in the history of Rock from a stratospheric list of artists, from the Rolling Stones to Wilco. They even managed to make an impression on the Beatles. On the scene since the late 50's, first under the moniker The Hawks, the Canadians became The Band in 1965.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/5609-music-from-big-pink/
The Millennium - Begin
92
1968 is such a crazy year that some bands/artists of the top 20/30 albums could have largely conquered for a place in the Top 10 of any other year from 1980. Here are some examples: The United States of America, Silver Apples, Small Faces, Dr.John or The Millennium. In fact, few people in the general public know The Millennium, it's reserved for specialists or underground fans, yet they released an absolutely fantastic album, the one and only under this pseudonym. Without surprise, The Millennium is a group today emblematic of the psychedelic current of the 60s, also a pillar of the Sunshine Pop. However, at the time, the Los Angeles band was too unsuccessful, not accessible enough for the radio, not noble and refined enough according to the underground public (a nice misjudgment), which led to their separation a few weeks after the release of their only album. It's a bit the story of the cursed band, which didn't fall at the right time, or at least ended up in the soft underbelly of a fierce competition. Influenced by the Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas, the Byrds or Left Banke, The Millennium embodied a more sophisticated vision of pop, but I think that the public was already turned to other desires (Hard Rock, Blues Rock etc..), thus closing the door before having really opened it entirely. Fortunately history has come to make up for this setback and do justice to a classic album of the Pop Rock repertoire.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/91645-begin/
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
85
The history of music is marked by icons and also eccentric characters who managed to get noticed, where many more conventional artists remained in the shade despite their talent. We notice it even more today in the era of the internet and social networks, many popular personalities manage to break through by their singularity and especially by their shock value. All this becomes even caricatural since it seems that some-times the only way to be known is to play the fool or to embody a kind of extreme fascination. I don't even count the number of energumene who knew a short-lived buzz before disappearing as quickly as they ap-peared. However sometimes there are some exceptions like the crooner Screamin' Jay Hawkins in the 50's or Dr.John and Arthur Brown in the 60's. But strangely enough, none of them really managed to either last or reach the same level of career as some legends. This means that the entertainment aspect is a fundamental part of their image and creation, so that when the phenomenon fades, so does the artist.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/27885-the-crazy-world-of-arthur-brown/
Serge Gainsbourg - Initials B.B.
86
In my opinion (and I don't think I'm the only one), Serge Gainsbourg is the French artist par excellence, no French speaker can match him. Gainsbourg is an absolutely atypical character, he has an absolutely halluci-nating discography, he is endowed with a phenomenal charisma and charm, he is one of the best lyricists, composers and singers even beyond France. He has even created an alter-ego called "Gainsbarre". The cab-bage-headed man also had darker sides, he was a “Don Juan” but also a perfect a**hole when he wanted to be, he was also a phenomenon, polemic, alcohol, drugs, sex and rock n' roll. Gainsbourg didn't know how to stop at music, cinema, literature. But he is known specifically in music for having brought dozens of successful female artists to light. Gainsbourg never had his tongue in his pocket, his art had very little censorship, and he belongs to an era that is no longer the same today. This is why it is imperative to understand Gainsbourg's music in its context. Between genius and weirdness, Gainsbourg was a cursed poet. He was deeply affected by the "ugly man" syndrome, which drove him to make himself heard through provocation and shock value. At heart he was a man who, like many talented artists, was deeply singular, uncontrollable, free as a bird. That is to say, without his flaws, Gainsbourg would not be so great... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/9721-initials-bb/
Silver Apples - Silver Apples
87
Overall, the first phenomenon of popularity of Electronic music (as a whole) can be traced back to the early 1970s. For a long time, Electronic music and the Avant-Garde were one and the same. It was reserved for a niche audience, and composed by pioneers as convoluted as they were brilliant. Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Henry, Raymond Scott or Morton Subotnick are among the most famous. Sorry for those I forget. However, it took a long process of adaptation and technological advancement for electronic music to become a major part of popular music. In the middle of the 60's it was the Beatles, Brian Wilson or Frank Zappa who first incorporated some Electronic touches/techniques/effects in popular music (and more precisely in Pop Rock). The end of the decade will concretely accelerate things, we see a whole generation of artists very influenced by the revolutionary year. So we see the emergence of the Berlin school, Krautrock, Progressive Rock or Dub. The crowning glory of all this came at the end of the 70s with the New Wave, which incorporated the Electronic heritage almost entirely into its own. Let's also remember that the first successful Electronic song was released in 1972 by Hot Butter, "Popcorn".. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/33766-silver-apples/
Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison
94
Despite a huge career spanning more than 40 years, the legendary Johnny Cash has had several crossings of the desert and there are many gaps in his discography. On top of that, Cash has never had an easy ride; he has always had to excel to prove himself, even in his glory days. First of all, Johnny Cash has such a strong personality that it was difficult to twist him in the way the music industry would like. In those days (but as today in a different way) it was necessary to wait for the expectations and imperatives set. Very quickly Johnny Cash became rather uncontrollable, especially because of his vices (amphetamine addiction, alcoholism...) and these are things that strongly affect the artistic aspect. Cash was capable of the best and the worst. He also knew how to excel where no one expected him to. If one were to describe him in a caricatured way, I would say that Cash is an avant-garde cowboy, as tormented as he is brilliant. For me, Johnny Cash had three peaks, the first being his early days in the 1950s, when he revolutionised country, rock and roll and rockabilly, and was one of the first to think of albums in terms of concept and not just as a compilation. The second is the one we're going to study today, when he managed to come back from the brink at the end of the 60s, which led him to the status of "The Man In Black". And finally, the last period during the 90s/2000 when the new generation discovered the phenomenon with a series of "American" albums, a true revival out of the ordinary. In spite of all these innovations, I think that it is thanks to At Folsom Prison (1968) and At San Quentin (1969) that Cash was able to reach that glass ceiling. He simply revolutionised music (again) and more particularly the concert world.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7031-at-folsom-prison/
Small Faces - Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake
83
Although Small Faces did not enjoy the same esteem as their peers, the London band was not an outsider, it was one of the best bands of the 60s. In fact, many things worked against them, such as the fact that the Small Faces were part of the second wave of the British Invasion, unknown in the United States where it was imperative to make a name for themselves. For a long time, the Small Faces found themselves with the reputation of a sympathetic band for a teenage audience, where the others had already passed into another dimension. However, even though their career path has failed them, the Small Faces were one of the most popular bands in the country throughout the decade. The band had many hit singles and a decent discography, supported by their masterpiece 'Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake'. We are talking about a group that is used to the charts, capable of reaching the top spot ahead of the Beatles. The Small Faces have the distinction of being the only band to maintain a 'Mod' style even when the movement had lost interest. Today the band has gone down in history, becoming one of the major influences in the birth of Britpop in the 90s with bands like Oasis, Blur or Supergrass. The album 'Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake' symbolises the band's reputation in retrospect, with an album that divides opinions (albeit mostly favourable), as if the Small Faces were still struggling to convince listeners... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/29420-ogdens-nut-gone-flake/
Gilberto Gil - Gilberto Gil
89
To make it simple and quick, Brazil entered the dictatorship in 1964 and Tropicalia was born some time later as a protest movement around Art, pushed by essential pioneers such as Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé and Gilberto Gil. Beyond this era, it must be understood that Gilberto Gil is a legend of Brazilian popular music (MPB) with more than 60 years of career, millions of albums sold and almost constant success. He is probably one of the most eclectic Brazilian artists, from traditional values (Afoxé, Bossa Nova, Samba, Baiao etc...), to British psychedelia, passing by the African heritage. He even tried his hand at funk and disco in the 1980s in the midst of New Wave. There is never a dull moment when discovering one of his projects, because he shows a very singular creativity and imagination, even if not everything is essential. However, it was from 1967 to 1977 that the artist was at his most brilliant, from his famous eponymous album to Refevela, as if he had walked on water. In addition to his personal projects, Gilberto Gil was also a considerable influence on his peers, from the old to the new generation, he participated in many renowned projects such as the mythical albums of Gal Costa in 1969. He was exiled in 1969 because of the dictatorship, but Gilberto Gil has always been socially committed, even making a political career and becoming the Brazilian Minister of Culture in the 2000s.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/40075-gilberto-gil/
The Sonny Criss Orchestra - Sonny's Dream (Birth Of The New Cool)
91
To reduce 1968 to a bad year for jazz would be both completely wrong and disrespectful of a handful of delightful works. However, it must be acknowledged that the tragic death of John Coltrane the year before plunged jazz into a kind of creative impasse. This was felt in terms of the number of major works and innovations. The great figures of Jazz continued to exhaust Post-Bop to the end, like draining a well to the last drop. On the other hand, the very avant-garde artists continued to isolate themselves in the shadows. We will realize that this was only ephemeral since 1969 will resound like a new breath with the arrival of Spiritual Jazz and Fusion. But in the meantime, some underground personalities, reserved for the specialists, were discovered and were able to take advantage of this moment of floating and the first example is Sonny Criss. It is difficult to understand the background of the Memphis native, Sonny Criss, an alto saxophonist, faithful heir to Charlie Parker and Benny Carter. Criss was a renowned sideman of the Bebop and Hard bop era for almost 10 years from 1945 to 1955 before going through a slump where he literally disappeared from the radar for years before bouncing back in the 60s as a leader this time. Until his death in 1977 from cancer, Sonny Criss released a dozen albums without ever achieving any significant success. Only among all these, the Memphis native released in 1968 an extraordinary album called Sonny' Dream (Birth of The New Cool), a hidden nugget that should not be missed.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/163222-sonnys-dream-birth-of-the-new-cool/
Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends
92
What is really impressive with this New York duo that we almost don't need to introduce is that you will always find someone who will prefer a different album than yours. Indeed, Sounds of Silence (1966) to the last Bridge Over Troubled Water is a real no-fail that spans 4 albums of breathtaking quality. Here's why it's impossible to make a choice that would suit everyone. In January 1966, the duo Simon & Garfunkel came out of a kind of coma where nothing had worked for them so far. They were hit by the British Invasion wave and it wasn't until the genius idea of their producer Tom Wilson that the song Sounds of Silence became a launching pad with its Folk Rock version. Despite the number 1 on the Billboard charts, the first and significant album that logically bears the same name as the single will be less successful, which does not confirm all the doubts that there were about the duo. However, Simon & Garfunkel had at least one foot established in the music industry, they just had to ensure the second round, which they eventually succeeded in doing. It's a story of conviction and good choices. Simon & Garfunkel didn't waste any time, after the release of Sounds of Silence, the duo worked on their next album "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" for a few months to release it in October 1966. This time, the duo wanted to have more musical and artistic control and there is a certain extra mastery that distinguishes itself from the creative urgency of the previous album. As the duo was very far from being stupid, they simply kept the same formula as Sounds Of Silence, while progressing on their singularity. That is to say that "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" is once again oriented on a Folk Rock soul, which is essential, especially when Pop Rock continues to gain in trend and market share. The same goes for the contribution and the revisiting of the acoustic .. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/10010-bookends/
The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle
97
As you know (or not yet), I'm a real fan of musical anecdotes to the point of sometimes finding more interest in the story than in the content of a record. So imagine the dream for me to manage to com-bine these 2 criteria, which gives you Odessey And Oracle, one of my favorite records. We all know legendary artists who became successful, famous or rich after their death, like Van Gogh, Vermeer, Monet or Nick Drake. You can largely add The Zombies to your list, since Odessey And Oracle is the absolute example of the most neglected album in the world when it was released, to know a retrospective success only from the 90's with the re-release of Rhino, that is to say more than 20 years later. It is important to understand that the band was disbanded before the album was released in April 1968. What's amazing is to first try to understand how Odessey And Oracle managed to be ignored despite its greatness. Especially since one of the singles from that album, "Time of the Season", was a commercial success the following year in the United States, but did not help the album to get any exposure. Amazing in itself. In another sense, it suggests that there are still many unrecognized treasures that history will eventually reward..
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Full review: https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/6014-odessey-and-oracle/
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Nancy & Lee
84
The album Nancy & Lee is so quiet and delicate that it is perfect while waiting for Santa Claus to arrive, with your feet under the fire by the fireplace. Although we are focusing on this delightful album today, it is im-portant to say that Nancy & Lee is not only the story of a collaboration, it is the magic of an alchemy that extends beyond this famous project. One might also think that Nancy is a daddy's girl, since her father is none other than Frank Sinatra, the legendary crooner, but that's not quite true. Nancy Sinatra is more than that, she's probably one of the first Pop icons as we know them today. She is the ancestral mother of Ma-donna, Britney Spears and many more. In an exceptional career that spans over 40 years, Nancy has created her legend on screen but also in music with the cult classic "These Boots Are Made for Walkin" (1966), an absolutely irresistible standard. It was necessary to have guts and courage to succeed in proving that she was not in the shadow of her father and it is by crossing the road of Lee Hazlewood, singer/producer/songwriter who will become her close collaborator that Nancy will confirm all the promises of her success. At the same time, Lee Hazlewood will also take advantage of this collaboration by leaving the shadow to pursue a very remarkable career thereafter. Focus on one of the most unlikely duet in the history of music, on one side a young singer who had everything for her and on the other the one nicknamed the "cowboy psychedelia".. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/10789-nancy-lee/
The United States of America - The United States of America
93
Ooh la la the United States... born from its independence in 1776, the world superpower, the country of Uncle Sam, the Grand Canyon, Madison Square, Hollywood, Central Park, Macdonnald or even Kanye West. There is one thing that makes me so jealous and so fascinated at the same time, it is that the American culture is still the most influential in the world. But in reality it is class incarnate and there is no doubt in my mind. Besides, what country can boast of having a rock band that represents it? The United States of America, a band from Los Angeles created in 1967 and disappeared as fast as the speed of light, but which managed to mark the history of music (more than its own country) forever. An explanation is necessary. It is necessary to realize that in 1968, pop rock music was composed only of guitars, bass, per-cussion, piano but sometimes accompanied by an orchestra. The most experimental and avant-garde were then at work of technological innovation in the studios especially by the creation of effects, of textures which considerably impacted the future of the music. On the other hand, the pioneers of electronica were still very isolated and little recognized (Steve Reich, Terry Riley for example), although it is undeniable that their influences were also crucial. And then The United States Of America (I'm talking about the band) appeared with unconventional techniques in order to participate in the great era of the musical revolution by becoming the first "Pop Rock" band not to use any guitar, replaced by electronic instruments/techniques like the synthesizer and the ring modulator. Never seen before. The worst thing is that The United States Of America released only one album, before dissolving shortly after their success due to internal problems between the members.. to continue.. Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/53170-the-united-states-of-america/
Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso
87
When the western countries were living the counterculture era, articulated around the baby-boomer generation and the peace and love tones, Brazil entered in 1964 in dictatorship. This one takes a radical turn in 1967, depriving the freedom of expression and oppinion, for almost 21 years until 1985. Like any bloody dictatorship, Brazil will see the birth of opposed and oppressed groups (of the left) to denounce the authority of the oppressor. It is then that the country is going to know the second act (after the Bossa Nova/Samba) the most important of its contemporary musical history with the arrival first of the MPB then of the Tropicalia movement, launched by the painter and artist Hélio Oiticica, which sounds like an answer of the oppressed part. If the Tropicalia takes musical shape in 1967 in Bahia with Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, it is especially the following year that the movement will know its apogee but also its fall, since the dictatorship in place will force the Tropicalia artists to go into exile outside the country. However, this movement will last in a distant way until 1971/1972 before being confused with its cousin MPB. So we will study several times some key moments of the Tropicalia year, starting with one of the pioneer and icon of the movement: Caetano Veloso, a monument whose career continues to this day. Caetano Veloso, it is more than fifty albums (studio/live), so dozens of classics, as well as multiple appearances and contributions for other artists, not to mention what he did outside music (writer, theater, poetry, politics). His peak extends from 1967 until the early 80's, becoming one of the main actors and creative leaders of Tropicalia.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/17332-caetano-veloso/
Laura Nyro - Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
91
Among the most influential artists in history, we find the lyricist, songwriter, singer and pianist Laura Nyro, one of the queens of Pop Soul and Singer-Songwriter. She was known for merging the introspection of folk with R&B (as a whole), Jazz and Rock, which shook up the way of writing and broke the stylistic boundaries that were very closed at the time. That is to say that at the time, to caricature, there was the rock band, the Soul/Rhythm and Blues icon, the folk/blues singer with his/her guitar and the Jazzmen in their corners, but the hybrid aspect that we find omnipresent today almost did not exist. On top of that, her vocal performances built around a three-octave mezzo-soprano vocal range and her piano skills helped embellish this modern formula. However, despite her enormous legacy, highlighted by many artists such as Elton John, Carol King, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Patti Smith or Todd Rundgren (The Who), the New York artist is still very little recognized and not very popular (only 100,000 listeners per month on Spotify for example), especially because her greatest hits were interpreted by other artists. It is high time to pay tribute to one of the most brilliant female composers and singers of all time through an album as classic as it is irresistible: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, released in 1968... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/34674-eli-and-the-thirteenth-confession/
The Mothers of Invention - We're Only in It for the Money
88
To summarize, The Mothers Of Invention, led by the legendary Frank Zappa, had just released a first album that was a commercial failure, despite what it would become afterwards, that is to say a classic and pioneering album. The Californian band created their own style, the very opposite of counter-culture, constantly drawing satires on an Experimental Rock background of which they are one of the precursors. Despite the failure and the lack of means proposed by the label, Zappa and his band recorded in November 1966 a second album "Absolutely Free" (which will be released in May 1967) in an almost impossible timing. As a result, Zappa will do everything to push his formula to its paroxysm by accentuating the experimentation and the shock-value to make it more reserved and sophisticated. He introduces 3 additional musicians in the group Don Preston, Bunk Gardner and Billy Mundi. He then relegates Ray Collins to secondary singer, becoming the main one and develops notably new musical directions what makes Absolutely Free, the first Jazz-Rock album of all times. We find there notably excellent songs like Plastic People or Brown Shoes Don't Make It. An important and fabulous album as a whole, but I preferred to tell you about We're Only In It For The Money (1968) because it seems to me more significant.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/6383-were-only-in-it-for-the-money/
Berliner Philharmoniker / Herbert Von Karajan - 2001: A Space Odyssey
93
2001: A Space Odyssey is a soundtrack as classic as it is exceptional, comparable to the best film music of all time. Beyond the pure content and success of the film, this soundtrack has forged its legend by being totally different from what was usually done. Indeed 2001: A Space Odyssey is known for revolutionizing the use of music in a film and also for its unique way of choosing compositions. Prior to 1968, film music focused primarily on 2 models. The first one is best known as the Show Tunes, also used in theater and musicals, with songs/musical parts that are an integral part of the story. The Film Score is the second widespread model for which composers and artists compose an original music on a global theme that fits the film. We found there notably Ennio Morricone, the inventor of the Spaghetti Western, Bernard Hermann, John Barry, Michel Legrand, Maurice Jarre or The Beatles, Elvis Presley in a popular register. However, in 1968, the history of cinema music will change forever, with the arrival of the "Soundtrack" that 2001: A Space Odyssey will highlight as the main precursor. The difference that the Soundtrack offers compared to the Show Tunes or Film Score, is that a soundtrack includes songs or artists licensed, often external to the creative process of the film and whose songs / compositions already existed before. Today we even find soundtracks inspired by the film with songs that do not even appear in the film... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/74719-2001-a-space-odyssey/
Dr. John, the Night Tripper - Gris-Gris
91
Let's face it, R&B hasn't had such a zany and eccentric popular personality since Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Dr. John is something of an anomaly in music history although he absolutely deserves his place. Malcolm John Rebennack Jr, a.k.a Dr. John, is one of the few white artists to make a place for himself in the Rhythms and Blue music pantheon. Obviously it is difficult to compare Dr. John to some legends like James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin or Beyoncé because he is a UFO who is mostly recognized by the specialists. Known mainly for his stagecraft and his eclectic and atypical musical style, Dr. John has built an amazing career to get famous titles, from the Grammy Awards to his place among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Over a 50+ year career, Dr. John made history with his eponymous persona, a sort of voodoo singer/musician who was his most important concept. Originally from Lousiana, Rebennack developed a fascination for a local religion called Lousiana Voodoo. In a few words, I could say that it is a religion of African origin that merges several principles of different religions practiced by groups or sects rather self-taught and isolated. Rebennack therefore created a fictional voodoo character who acted as a seller of gris-gris to his followers to protect them. Thus was born the concept of one of the classics of R&B/Rock music, "Gris-Gris" released in January 1968.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/17381-gris-gris/
Taj Mahal - Taj Mahal
86
Today we are not going to make a guided tour of an Indian monument, we are going to dive into the analysis of an icon of the Contemporary Blues which bears the same name: Taj Mahal. At the end of the Sixties, the movement of the Blues Revival had of course considerably faded because its inheritance is from now on completely incorporated, like the DNA, in the Pop Rock with in particular the Blues Rock, the Hard Rock, the Acid Rock, the Psych Heavy etc... unlike the Country which will know it a kind of period of rebirth. However a great number of excellent albums categorized as Chicago Blues label will be born in the middle of the Sixties until the New Wave at the end of the Seventies. This is the case of the eponymous album of Taj Mahal. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Taj Mahal has built his legend around several points that distinguish him from others. First of all for his atypical way of applying the fingerpicking, and especially because he is recognized as one of the precursors of the opening of the Blues towards the fusion with the music of the world. Ironically, Taj Mahal has mostly known success in the 90's by winning Grammy Awards, thanks to his more international vision of the Blues, while the album that we are going to study today is literally opposite, in a more traditional register. However, it must be said that this eponymous album is in my opinion the best project of his repertoire, which explains why we revisit it now... to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/61835-taj-mahal/
Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum
81
Through a seminal album Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer, we're going to take a look today at both a pioneering Bay Area band and also at the history of Heavy Psych, a rather short underground musical trend that spans only 4 years (from 1968 to 1972) but whose influence is very important for the future. I don't know if we can define Heavy Psych exactly as a big cousin or rather as one of the spiritual fathers of Heavy Metal or Stoner Rock/Metal, but it is certain that there is a link. The first traces of Heavy Psych go back to the year 1967, with bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Vanilla Fudge or Blue Cheer that set the ingredients of this musical style. The psychedelic era gave birth to many derivatives like Hard Rock, Acid Rock and then Heavy Psych, all influenced by Blues Rock which could be confused by their many similarities. Let's say that Heavy Psych can be simply translated by its name, that is to say crushing psychedelia, articulated around riff and very languid improvisation. Whereas Hard Rock is more raw and energetic, and Acid Rock offers more surrealistic sounds. You will have understood the difference between Heavy Psych and Acid Rock is almost derisory. Anyway, the influence of Heavy Psych started to be felt directly and quickly on the Metal birth scene, and then more indirectly on the Punk, Alternative and more contemporary Metal scenes (especially Doom Metal). Blue Cheer is also recognized as the leader of the Heavy Psych (and that's probably why we made the difference with the other close styles) because the band had an absolutely atypical signature. To go further, the band's music was so deafening and loud for its time that Blue Cheer is often considered as the pioneer of heavy metal since 1968. Despite their impact, the Blue Cheer experience will really spread from 1968 to 1971, ... to continue
full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/7317-vincebus-eruptum/
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
95
What better way to start the year 1968 than with an ultimate classic offered by one of the greatest bands of all time: White Light / White Heat by the famous Velvet Undergound. Small reminder for those who need, The Velvet Underground are today cultissism notably by their genius and their enormous influences, but it is necessary to repeat that this New York group, composed in other base by Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico and managed by Andy Warhols in person was so underground and in margin of the others that their first album was a commercial failure. Not only that, the first self-titled album was accompanied by legal and internal problems. Apart from the musical content, the situation was not going to get any better. In fact, despite the leadership of Lou Reed and John Cale, the Velvet Underground drew its success at the time from the figure of Nico, artist and model who also had a solo career in parallel. It can be said quite clearly that a large part of the listeners of the time found that the attractiveness of the group was based mainly on Nico. Anyway, the members of the band end up having a falling out with Andy Warhols, firing him for his lack of involvement, which leads Nico to leave in his turn to follow another career direction. In 1968, The Velvet Underground was thus a group metamorphosed compared to their beginning, and will be also a group different from the one which will come from the following album. The album White Light / White Heat is already unique by this fact. After several tours, the album will be recorded in September 1967 on 2 days of sessions and released in January 1968, accompanied by the famous producer Tom Wilson (Bob Dylan, Mother of Inventions..) who strongly believed in the potential of avant-garde band... to continue..
full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/6359-white-lightwhite-heat/
Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen
97
The Quebec native is without question one of the greatest musical legends of all time, a monument that no one will forget. This is the story of Leonard Cohen, poet and novelist before one of the most marvelous voice and pen. Even before being known, Leonard Cohen was a case apart, a UFO of the UFO, he will remain so forever. Great traveler, innate vagabond, Leonard Cohen flourished in the curiosity and the culture that he stored up. With his intellectual genius and his way of analyzing the world, Leonard Cohen broke taboos by never shying away from expressing an idea in his work. He acted like a psychoanalyst poet, never afraid to touch a sensitive point. While only starting out in music at the age of 33, Leonard Cohen revolutionized Folk music (and music as a whole) by offering sophisticated and complex poetry like never before, while embodying a new style of crooner/songwriter whose signature remains unmatched. To understand it, we have to go back to his beginnings in 1967, in the middle of the revolutionary years for the "Pop Rock". Only Bob Dylan and Paul Simon really resisted the rise of Rock, even Jazz was going through a delicate transition period at that time. The arrival of Cohen was a major turning point in the history of music, with a personality capable of rivaling Dylan, a UFO among the popular competition. Moreover, even Dylan (who is his major influence) will fall in total admiration of him. Obviously Leonard Cohen is also a huge career, a repertoire of songs and albums absolutely divine. His influence will be amazing and omnipresent, with notably Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Scott Walker, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Nick Drake or Joni Mitchell. We will revisit today one of his most symbolic works, his first album Songs Of Leonard Cohen, released in December 1967.. to continue..
Full review : https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/doublez/album/6079-songs-of-leonard-cohen/
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Comments
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1mo
I always wanted to do some careful listening to the most important albums in cronological order. This is the dream reference list to follow, I'm using it already and I can't express how much I love it. Thanks for your kind work :)
4mo
can't wait to start this.
7mo
Where’s Carti 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡
7mo
It’s really really kind, thanks @TheUmbranHammer , @Triangulum ! ⏳⏲
7mo
you are so unbelievably increeible for this list. such amazing descriptions and an amazing array of albums. best list on the website by a mile
9mo
Great work !
1y
Any update?
1y
Im sure you have been asked this before, in fact I know it has because I saw the question but I cant find it anymore haha. But if you are willing to say do you, or if you do, do you have a perfect album? So many of them are so so close loll but will we see that 100 one of these days? Either way I'm new to your list but god damn, the amount of detail you put into it is something ill never be able to do HAHA. But because of it I have discovered such amazing bodies of work and I truly appreciate the effort! So existed to see what you give Led Zeppelin!
1y
It's crazy to think that people on internet are ready to involve so much quality work for others to enjoy, for free. Each review is detailed and passionate. Probably the best list on the site.
1y
wow... this is impressive
1y
Brilliant list!
1y
Thanks @Doofly , I haven't forgotten that you were one of the first to support me!
1y
I can only imagine how long this list must’ve took, just in terms of writing long paragraphs for hundreds of albums. Jesus fucking Christ. Nice job bro
2y
Just like the others, I'm trying to highlight the new scenes and there's a lot of classic IDM so there will be a lot of that I think (: @Unoriginal
2y
How much do you intend on including IDM artists when you get to the 90’s? It’s a relatively small blip on the larger musical landscape of the decade but there are so many classic albums.
2y
This is simply PURE GOLD. It's an amazing work that combines history and music together and also has the concern to cover countries besides US-UK. Amazing job!
2y
I had a similar idea to make a giant list of the most important and influential "must listen-to's" that I started working on before I saw your list, and I'm absolutely blown away. It's so incredibly in-depth and I can't wait to scour through this and find new music I might've overlooked. Thank you for all your hard work!
2y
A million thanks for these kinds words @blobfishdsluggy
2y
Mad list. Just stumbled upon it and it's probably one of the most passionately curated things on the site. Especially looking forward to the later submissions
2y
How do you decide which albums go on this list? Are there any difficult omissions you’ve had to make?
2y
Thank you for these kind words! I hope you will appreciate my recommendations @Memar
2y
Wow, this is INCREDIBLY impressive. Thank you so much for making this! I'm looking forward to listening to some of this.
2y
thank's @Ruimtewezel , it's really kind
2y
This is insane... I love it!
2y
Thank you very much ! really kind ! @Ipercreeper
2y
insane work, good luck
2y
Unfortunately not... ahah
but he will surely have his place here! @TheNerdyNerd201
2y
Many thanks @Avernannes , it is infinitely kind!
2y
I really appreciate it, your kind words make me happy, thank you! @noezao
2y
I wish my life was as organized as this list. Great work my guy, I'll check some stuff from here.
2y
Really kind, thank you so much ! @julipluseta
3y
Thank you very much for those kind words! It gives me great pleasure to read this comment @rafae_l
3y
I mean if u want of course wouldn't matter at all if you didn¡t (forgot to hit send xdd)
3y
I could suggest some records in spanish, they're not as trascendetal in the big picture as the english ones, but it's still the second most spoken lenguage in the world :)
3y
Oh thank’s so much, it’s kind ! If you need any suggestions, @Fergau
3y
listen to them*
3y
wow this is amazing thank you, there are some records here I didn't know that I'll totally
3y
Thank you very much! Don't worry, it's criminal to make a list of classics without stopping on the endtroducing masterpiece, so when I'm in the 90's there will of course be a review on it (: @bl0nded
3y
impressive but when you get to the 90s albums you better add endtroducing thats a landmark in music history
3y
These are words that touch me a lot, I appreciate it! Thanks again for everything! (: @A1t3rTheFreak
3y
really great and important list you have out here
thanks for all the great work you do👍🏾❤️
3y
Thank you very much, it means a lot to me! Thank you for all these kind words and for your support (: @josephdcarter
3y
You have become my favorite member on this site, and this list is the greatest undertaking in mankind. Keep up the good work!
3y
Thank you @Scre4meh, its kind my friend! I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you again on your latest reviews, especially the ones on Kanye!
3y
Best list on AOTY
3y
Thank you very much for this message @tiagoaon, it's very kind! If you don't have a lot of time, direct me to things you like and I'll make recommendations (:
3y
This list is amazing really, so bad for me to take so long to discorver it!
3y
Thank you very much @elextranodpl!
3y
Now this is dedication! Amazing list and concept for it. Can't say nothing but congratulations, might have to check some of these.
3y
Merci Math 🙏 je n oublierai jamais que tu as été le premier à suivre cette série !
3y
HOTA is iconic
3y
Thank you so much for this comment and your support 🙏 I appreciate it, it's really touching! @Allofasudden
You're welcome, you know not only I read them but also I like your opinions/analyses, keep it up! Personally I think it's normal to give strength when it's deserved, and even if sometimes we don't agree (like on DS2, hehehe for the moment we really don't agree) but it's important to hear the comments and opinions of others (:
3y
I very much appreciate your compliment, thank you! I hope you can find out a lot of things! @MikeOwen
3y
This is the best list on the website without a doubt. It's introducing me to a whole load of albums I wouldn't have checked out otherwise, and a good few of them here are really helping with wider listening for my music class. Thanks for compiling this!
3y
Thank’s so much @Jameswg03
3y
This is one incredible list!
3y
Thanks @dearsongs, it's a pleasure! Can't wait to see your possible future reviews on this topic
3y
This winter I’m def using this list to discovery lots of gems. Keep it up 👍🏻
3y
Thank you it's very kind Ryan! @cipater22
3y
What an amazing piece of work this is
3y
Thank you very much! I'm happy to help! @TommyAOTY
3y
That's really kind, thank you very much! Appreciate it! @MusicGod
3y
Wow this is amazing. This is easily the best list I’ve ever seen on this website. I’m looking forward to what you do with this in the future.
3y
A huge thank you! I appreciate your support and encouragement! I am happy to see people like you take an interest in my work! @Felix_96
3y
That's what you call a list. Looking forward to discover some great music here. Thanks DoubleZ for your passionate effort on creating this list.
3y
Thanks @Docky! I'm happy to make you discover albums and artists!
3y
Damn this thing is really cool, I have yet to finish reading even 1/4th of this but damn this is really well written and interesting. G'job on making this! I'll give some of these albums a listen later
3y
Thank you very much my friend! @(N0stalgia) ! I plan to continue until today, even if it will take a long time! The advantage is that there are so many wonderful things to discover every year that sometimes you don't want it to go any further!
3y
This project is easily my favourite on the whole website and I was wondering if you're only gonna do it for the early years in popular music or if you're planning to keep expending on it until one day you get to the 2020's?
3y
Thank you @Musk, that's kind of you!
3y
This is very cool and unique! Thank you for doing this project.
4y
Thanks for the comment and for the support, Simo!
4y
This is incredible. Thank you for making this
4y
Thank you, I really appreciate it!
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