Wednesday, December 1, 2021


It was the year of Imagine, Hunky Dory, Sticky Fingers, Every Picture Tells A Story, Master of Reality (Black Sabbath), Electric Warrior (T-Rex), Pink Floyd's Meddle, Elton John's Madman Across the Water, Who's Next, Aqualung, Ram, Teaser and the Firecat and Led Zeppelin IV - and that was just the British side. In California Joni Mitchell put out Blue, The Doors, L.A. Woman, James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim, David Crosby, If I Could Only Remember My Name, Graham Nash, Songs For Beginners, Carole King, Tapestry and posthumously, Janis Joplin's Pearl. It was the year of California.

Carole King was one of several artists to put out more than one album in 1971. She released Music later the same year. McCartney followed Ram with the first Wings' album Wildlife, while Yes followed up The Yes Album with Fragile - all in the same twelve months. The strength of the list is even more amazing based on the people who didn't put out new material: Dylan, Paul Simon, King Crimson. Roxy Music, Jackson Browne, Queen, Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen had yet to release an album (next year, maybe).

In 1971, Lifehouse was scrapped, even that was written in the stars. Pete Townshend never could get that behemoth off the ground (are behemoths supposed to fly?), but out of it came Who’s Next, Lifehouse minus the fluff and dodgy concepts. 

The singles chart had one last fling with AM and a stellar lineup: "Roundabout," "My Sweet Lord," "Me and Bobby McGee," "Maggie Mae," "Levon," "Brown Sugar," "Iron Man," "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," "Get It On," "Shaft" and "Riders on the Storm."

Manet painted Olympia and LeDejuener sur L'Herbe in the same year (1869). '71 was that good on the rock music front; not as innovative, not as shocking or earth shattering, but that good. Manet's favorite? I'm saying T-Rex. Monet? I think he'd like Blue. I can picture Picasso painting "Guernica," getting down to "Brown Sugar:" "I say 'yeah, yeah, yeah, wooo." 

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