Monday, November 16, 2009

Top 10 Releases of 1972!!

You might expect nothing but Glam and Prog and Kraut from 1972, and you'd be not far from right! Not much prog in the top ten, actually. And there's a bit of diversity to break up the one-two punch. And then the shocking conclusion!!

#10 Bright Phoebus - Lal & Mike Waterson

Bright Phoebus
"Bright Phoebus" from Bright Phoebus (1972)

Genre - Deep British Folk Rock
Wikipedia -
Location - England

Review - The Rising Storm
iTunes - Lal Waterson
Purchase -

A beauty all the way through, two of The Watersons bring all sorts of post-folk music into the tradition. It's veddy British, and for me the best of their side's folk.

#9 KänGuru - Guru Guru

"Oxymoron" [live] from KänGuru (1972)

Genre - Krautish Jam Trio
Official -
Location - Germany

Review - Progweed
iTunes - Guru Guru
Purchase - Amazon US

Four exploratory epics of power-trio guitar jamming, which often detours into exploratory spaciness. Approaching prog, sometimes heavy, often psychedelic, always flowing over the next musical horizon.

#8 Transformer - Lou Reed

"Satellite of Love" from Transformer (1972)

Genre - Glam Rock (and Roll)
Official -
Myspace -
Location - New York

Review - Pitchfork
iTunes - Lou Reed
Lala - Transformer
Purchase - Amazon

The album kicks off where Loaded (1970) left off, but goes in many directions from there. "Walk on the Wild Side" draws attention, but "Satellite of Love" is the peak on Lou's best solo album. As a scene, glam was a good fit for him - but he was just passing through: one foot in the Velvets, the other already in the future.

#7 Roxy Music - Roxy Music

Roxy Music
"Virginia Plain" from Roxy Music (1972)

Genre - Art Glam
Official -
Location - U.K.

Review - Ground and Sky
iTunes - Roxy Music
Lala - Roxy Music
Purchase - Amazon

Their debut, with Eno still on board. The first half alone would warrant this spot... the rock, the swank, the squalling sax, the otherworldly synth! Too explosive to be contained in any one genre, Roxy Music promised to be everything popular music could aspire to. Though they only ended up being a very great band.

#6 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders from Mars - David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust
"Hang On To Yourself" [live] from Ziggy Stardust (1972)

Genre - Ur-Glam
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Britain

Review - Rolling Stone, 1972
iTunes - David Bowie
Lala - The Rise and Fall of...
Purchase - David Bowie Store

Mick Ronson is the not-so-secret weapon, slinging the flashy guitar hard-rock, but never really surrending to glam. Which served as a perfect balance to Bowie's true-believer embrace, of anything and everything. Packed to the gills with classic tunes.

#5 The Slider - T. Rex

The Slider
"Buick MacKane" from The Slider (1972)

Genre - Glitter Rock
Unofficial -
Location - London

Review - Super Seventies
iTunes - T. Rex
Purchase - Amazon

The other shoe drops, high-heeled and dazzlingly-spangled. Almost the equal of Electric Warrior (1971), especially on the expanded-version release. It brings the guitar-god rock, plays power-pop to the kids, and even slows things down for the mystic ballroom romance. A titan of pop music!

#4 Ege Bamyasi - Can

Ege Bamyasi
"Pinch" from Ege Bamyasi (1972)

Genre - Krautfunk
Official -
Myspace -
Location - West Germany

Review - Stylus Magazine
iTunes - Can
Lala - Ege Bamyasi
Purchase - Amazon

Can tightens up after the sprawling jams of Tago Mago (1971). Not only in the shorter structures, but in a tenser tone. The basic funk of Can becomes even more explicit, but it's a restricted, claustrophobic bounce. Except for the dreamy "Sing Swan Song," which flows... floats... levitates.

#3 Neu! - Neu!

"Hallogallo" from Neu! (1972)

Genre - Proto-Motorik Kraut Jams
Official -
Location - Düsseldorf, Germany

Review - Pitchfork
iTunes - Neu!
Lala - Neu!
Purchase - Amazon

Neu! does so many different things amazingly well on their debut: rock 'n' roll things, experimental things, things that erase the border between those two. This album exists as a nexus between the short history of rock music, the infinite future of rock-based music, and whatever dimensions run sideways across that axis.

#2 #1 Record - Big Star

#1 Record
"Thirteen" from #1 Record (1972)

Genre - Power-Pop
Official -
Myspace -
Discography Post - Big Star.

Review - Rolling Stone, 2009
iTunes - Big Star
Lala - #1 Record/Radio City
Purchase - Amazon (w/ Radio City!)

They might have been the American Lennon/McCartney of the '70s, Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. But this was the only album they made together. Beatlesque in the extreme, the good songs just overflow through the entire running time. Another amazing debut album!!

#1 Europe '72 - Grateful Dead
Garcia - Jerry Garcia
Ace - Bob Weir
Rolling Thunder - Mickey Hart

Europe '72
"China Cat Sunflower" [Danish tv] from Europe '72
"The Wheel" [live '77] from Garcia
"Cassidy" [US tv '81] from Ace
"The Main Ten" [live '70] from Rolling Thunder

Genre - Ur-Jamband
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Bay Area, CA

Reviews - Sputnik Music, AllMusic Guide, Sputnik again, AllMusic again...
iTunes - Grateful Dead
Lala - Europe '72, Ace, 30-sec samples from Garcia
Purchase - Amazon

1972 was a banner year for the Grateful Dead. Probably their best line-up: Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Billy and Pigpen (the originals), plus second drummer Mickey Hart [11/28: wrong!], and new keyboardist Keith Godchaux. A two-month European tour yielded a massive 3xLP document, probably their best 'live' record and maybe best overall. Three members released their debut solo albums, all among the best solo Dead stuff (not a high bar). I think it'll deserve its own post!

And Ten more that could be in the Top 20. Album title links go to a sample track/video... Artist name links go mostly to Wikipedia.

Malesch - Agitation Free
So Far - Faust

666 - Aphodite's Child
Octopus - Gentle Giant
A Tab in the Ocean - Nektar

The original Garage comp!
Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

A Clockwork Orange - Wendy Carlos
Obscured by Clouds - Pink Floyd

Comedy! ***NSFW!!***
Class Clown - George Carlin
Dolemite for President - Rudy Ray Moore



mr. c said...

Larks' Tongues in Aspic by King Crimson really ought to be on this list. First album with the new lineup -- Bruford, Wetton, Cross, Fripp -- and one of the heaviest art rock albums ever.

Sergeant said...

Happy New Year 2011 !