Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Year 1975 Albums Calendar + Top 20

1975, the year before I was born, and I guess I have thought-of for a long time as the peak or maybe just past the peak of progressive rock and art-rock of the 1st era or original era per say.

And with that, there was a lot of depth from this year, in particular with Classic Rock "classics" and Jazz-Rock especially.

A Night at the Opera for nearly 20 years has been an all-favorite of mine. Stone-Cold landmark record, and my favorite Queen album really since I 1st started checking out their catalog almost 20 years ago. It includes the radio staples of course which I do find still hold up, plus "The Prophet's Song" which I consider Queen's greatest work ever.

But you take that amazing record and then also my #1 records from 2 of my favorite bands ever in Renaissance and Led Zeppelin, and you have a year that is really top heavy. Even just the top 10, man, all ESSENTIALS for me including Born to Run, like A Night at the Opera, includes Bruce's greatest track with "Jungleland."

This year also seemed to include many standout Solo albums, many of which were debut solo records for whatever reason. Maybe by the Mid 70's the *bands* had members who felt it was time to do something outside of their main gigs.

Along with those, there are many debut albums in some cases were some of the artists best work, and others, just a start of bigger and better things to come.

The blurbs below are included because in reviewing the years I still had to post, 1975 I started maybe 2 years ago, not long after I began this whole Albums Calendars project. And I didn't find it necessary to not include the blurbs I had already written up. But why some albums have them and others do not? I never finished some of the others and as my style of doing these, I'm not writing blurbs for every album per how much time it would take.

But the good news is, with 1975 finally up, all the 70's years are finished (until if/when an edit/redux may be warranted).

1. Queen - A Night at the Opera
2. Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories
3. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
4. Rush - Caress of Steel
5. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
6. Jethro Tull - Minstrel in the Gallery
7. Chris Squire - Fish out of Water
8. Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea - No Mystery
9. Kansas - Song for America
10. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
11. Steve Hackett - Voyage of the Acolyte
12. Rush - Fly By Night
13. Styx - Equinox
14. Electromagnets - Electromagnets
15. Kansas - Masque
16. Steve Howe - Beginnings
17. Jack Lancaster / Robin Lumley - Peter and the Wolf
18. David Bowie - Young Americans
19. The Eagles - One of These Nights
20. Hall and Oates - Daryl Hall and John Oates

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Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
rel January 20, 1975

Stackridge - Extravaganza
rel January 1975

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Rush - Fly By Night
rel February 15, 1975

Rush's 2nd album, a record I probably enjoy slightly more than their debut. Of course it is also the 1st album with drummer Neil Peart. It also has one of their most recognizable covers.

Musically, Rush started to experiment with extended song structures and Scifi lyrics.

I guess with this album Rush began a run of consistency that is maybe unmatched, as it's a record I enjoy pretty much every track.

"Anthem" a song I always have loved the energy and Geddy's screaming. When I was in High School, I put it on a mix tape for warmups for my team's basketball games.

"Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between, Behind" also are great energetic blues rock tracks.

"By-Tor and the Snow Dog" has been a fan-favorite since this album came out, and it is really Rush's 1st experience with progressive rock. The story, the suite, the dynamics. I suppose maybe the thing that I often think of this piece most for is Alex Lifeson's guitar *growl* or whatever he used, with the reverb to create the deep, resonant texture.

The front of a brownstone
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
rel February 24, 1975

While I regard Zeppelin's catalog consistent and pretty much every record they released to be close in quality (sans for Coda, which is more or less a B-sides album anyway), I do consider this my favorite of theirs, I suppose if I had to choose one.

I even bought a Tablature book for it, which included more or less every single part.

But why it's my favorite? I guess a lot of it is the fact it is a double album and one that I find myself enjoying more or less every track in some way. Some more than others I guess. My favorites being "In the Light" and the organ and/or mellotron work especially. Such an epic track. "The Rover" I at 1 time considered my favorite Zeppelin tune, although I suppose I wore it out a little, it has such a ballsy riff.

"In My Time of Dying" "The Wanton Song" and "Sick Again" all have incredible heavy blues riffs I fall for every time I hear them.

The bridge on "Down by the Seaside" is gorgeous (and more or less makes that song great).

"Ten Years Gone" may have Jimmy Page's greatest and saddest solo ever. Goosebumps and even tears it brings me to.

"Kashmir" as much as it did get played a ton on Classic Rock radio, and I would probably place Kevin Gilbert's version above it, is still an iconic track that really was one of the songs that made me a fan of Zeppelin and rock music in general. I even quoted it on my Senior page in HS.

"Custard Pie" is another rocker, which along with "The Rover," really jump starts this album out.

"Trampled Under Foot" was a song at 1st I barely liked, but grew to appreciate. Even if it got on the radio, over some others. It has that organ riff that is unforgettable.

The title track I can say the same about with radio. I do enjoy it, even though I have heard it a lot more times than other tracks on this album.

By that same token, "Night Flight" is a song that radio played, that I have never grown sick of.

I once saw a picture of a lady with a baby
Southern lady, had a very, very special smile
We are in the middle of a change in destination
When the train stops, all together we will smile

"Bron Y-Aur" "Boogie With Stu" and "Black Country Woman" I grew to like enough and fall under this album's *sound* as much as anything, and don't overstay their welcome.

Is it the best album from '75, I can say there was at least 1 record later in the year that I prefer, but certainly in the mix and a top 5-10 definitely.

Ambrosia - Ambrosia
rel February 1975

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Camel - The Snow Goose
rel February 1975

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Kansas - Song for America
rel February 1975

The title track is one of, if not my favorite Kansas song, although it being 10 minutes surprised me, but I suppose I've heard the 3-minute radio edit more than I'd prefer. But this was their 2nd record and showed some evolution from their debut album from the year before.

"Lamplight Symphony" and "Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman" are among the other highlights

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Peter Hamill - Nadir's Big Chance
rel February 1975

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Mahavishnu Orchestra - Visions of the Emerald Beyond
rel February 1975

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David Bowie - Young Americans
rel March 7, 1975

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Soft Machine - Bundles
rel March 22, 1975

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Rick Wakeman - The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
rel March 27, 1975

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Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow
rel March 29, 1975

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Steely Dan - Katy Lied
rel March 1975

Another record that I remember best for showing up in the Rolling Stone 67-87 issue. "Black Friday" is the 1 big hit off it. "Bad Sneakers" was the other single from this record, which the guitar work almost sounds like an electric sitar.

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10cc - Original Soundtrack
rel March 1975

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Journey - Journey
rel April 1, 1975

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Pavlov's Dog - Pampered Menial
rel April 4, 1975

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Steve Hillage - Fish Rising
rel April 11, 1975

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Abba - Abba
rel April 21, 1975

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King Crimson - USA
rel May 3, 1975

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Hawkwind - Warrior on the Edge of Time
rel May 9, 1975

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Elton John - Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
rel May 19, 1975

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The Eagles - One of These Nights
rel June 10, 1975

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Neil Young - Tonight's the Night
rel June 20, 1975

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Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All
rel June 25, 1975

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Fairport Convention - Rising for the Moon
rel June 1975

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Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac
rel July 11, 1975

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Caravan - Cunning Stuns
rel July 25, 1975

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Black Sabbath - Sabotage
rel July 28, 1975

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Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy
rel July 1975

Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories
rel July 1975

Like Zeppelin, at least the 70's Renaissance albums were consistently good and I often have a hard time ranking them. But over time, this became my favorite of theirs.

It consists of 4 pieces, including the 24+minute epic/multi-part suite in ""Song of Scheherazade," which I'll admit to not hearing before hearing this record. And it immediately grabbed me and came to become a Renaissance and progressive rock favorite. It's really a journey piece, that features their string arrangements, lead bass lines, Annie's emotive falsetto vocals, and even some middle eastern elements from memory.

But that isn't even my favorite part of this record. My 1st and still probably my favorite Renaissance track is the nearly 11-minute opening cut "Trip to the Fair."

A trip the faiiiiiiiiiir, but nobody was theiiiiiiiiiii-re!

I close my eyes to disguise the fear from inside
Trembling within my own mind I find no place to hide
Stars of tomorrow shine through the grey mist that has gone
I wish that this trip to the fair had never beguhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhn

Suddenly thousands of faces I see
Everyone seemed to be staring at me
Clowns laughed in the penny arcade
What was this game my mind played?

I often think of an episode of The Twilight Zone or something with this, or even going to a fair, the MN State Fair or otherwise, and having this experience of it being a nice day to go to a/;the fair, and then getting there and it being empty. Or at least everyone was hiding and playing a practical joke on me or something (or just trying to surprise me), as they all could see me, but I couldn't see them.

But this song made me love Annie Haslam's voice. It is so emotive and gorgeous at times. Powerful, gentle, clean and pretty, and yet very almost crazy at times with some of the laughing and effects.

Also the piano work is brilliant on it. Both the playing and arrangement in the song. Along with some of the bells or xylophone, etc. The crescendos work superbly. I honestly get goosebumps every time I hear it, and from memory, I think when I saw Renaissance, they played it.

"Ocean Gypsy" is another favorite. Very mystical and dreamy. I think of Annie or some gypsy woman, or psychic woman who wears gypsy robes and Shalls, and is very exotic and pretty. The lyrics

Silken threads like wings still shine
Winds take pleasure still make patterns
In her lovely hair
So dark and fine

Stands on high beneath the seas
Cries no more
Her tears have dried
Oceans weep for her the ocean sighs

The lyrics are kind of sad, as they tell of a gypsy woman who dies in some event at sea. Annie's voice does capture that well. Also the piano is quite sad, namely towards the end.

"The Vultures Fly High" is poppy and another track I've always enjoyed on this album, even if it's the weakest song. But like "Northern Lights" and some others, it is a song I've always liked and appreciated.

Scheherazade, like Physical Graffiti, is a favorite and maybe Renaissance most epic/grand-scale album in their catalog, and certainly among my top records for '75.

Gentle Giant - Free Hand
rel July 1975

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Hall and Oates - Daryl Hall and John Oates
rel August 18, 1975

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Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
rel August 25,1975

As much as I enjoy a lot of his 1st 2 records, and the follow-up, I can't deny, this is my favorite Springsteen record. First and foremost for my favorite Springsteen song in the closing progressive rock  9+minute"Jungleland"

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Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby
rel August 27, 1975

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Miles Davis - Agharta
rel August 1975

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Kool and the Gang - Spirit of the Boogie
rel August 1975

Jethro Tull - Minstrel in the Gallery
rel September 5, 1975

I don't liken this to quite the level of Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, but it's only 1 level below. "Baker St. Muse"  "Cold Wind to Valhalla" and the title track are among the best pieces Tull ever recorded.

An image of two men dressed in dark grey business attire standing in the grounds of a Hollywood film studio, facing each other and shaking hands. The man on the right's hair and clothes are on fire, but he seems oblivious to the fact. The upper right edge of the photograph appears singed.
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
rel September 12, 1975

A fan-favorite, and while I put others like AnimalsObscured By Clouds and Atom Heart Mother above it, I still find it has more to it than the over-mentioned The Wall and even Dark Side.

And while I do love much of the "Shine On" suite, I have always felt "Welcome to the Machine" to be this album's biggest highlight. It's so trippie and mesmerizing.

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Supertramp - Crisis? What Crisis?
rel September 14, 1975

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Foghat - Fool for the City
rel September 15, 1975

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Rush - Caress of Steel
rel September 24, 1975

An underrated Rush album certainly. I love the epics on this record at times as much as any of their other epics. "The Necromancer" has always stuck with me as brilliant, and "Fountain of Lamneth" despite the band and some fans and critics issues with, I find still really works, in some ways like "Supper's Ready" or other extended suites. "Bacchus Plateau" oddly has a part that I always think with a Springsteen's "Jungleland" from Born to Run. Why I have always wondered if Alex Lifeson had been listening to that when they wrote it, but as the dates show, the timing would have been unlikely (Perhaps Steve Van Zandt and Lifeson had been listening something else that was the same piece when both were written? lol).

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The Brecker Brothers - The Brecker Bros.
rel September 1975

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Electric Light Orchestra - Face the Music
rel September 1975

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Kansas - Masque
rel September 1975

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The Who - The Who By Numbers
rel October 3, 1975

Roxy Music - Siren
rel October 24, 1975

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Steve Howe - Beginnings
rel October 31, 1975

Steve Howe's debut solo record and what I still consider his best. Some great classical-guitar work,

Steve Hackett - Voyage of the Acolyte
rel October 1975

Hackett's debut album that came out while he was still a member of Genesis. Phil Collins  and Mike Rutherford are even is included on much of it. Very much fits the "Lost Genesis Album" as it sounds like something the band would have made around this time fittingly. "Ace of Wands" and "Star of Sirius" are among my favorites.

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Nektar - Recycled
rel October 1975

One of Nektar's best for sure.

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Sparks - Indiscreet
rel October 1975

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Van der Graaf Generator - Godbluff
rel October 1975

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Tony Williams Lifetime - Believe It
rel October 1975

Chris de Burgh - Spanish Train and Other Stories
rel November 1, 1975

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Chris Squire - Fish Out of Water
rel November 7, 1975

Chris Squire's only solo record, which much like Voyage of the Acolyte, sounds much like an album Yes would have made around that time. "Hold Out Your Hand" and "Silently Falling" are maybe the 2 pieces I think of most for it.

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Earth Wind and Fire - Gratitude
rel November 11, 1975

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Queen - A Night at the Opera
rel November 12, 1975

One of my all-time favorites. 5-stars without question. Love the radio staples "You're My Best Friend" "Bohemian Rhapsody" and when they do air occasionally "I'm in Love with My Car" and "Death on Two Legs."..Even "'39" as much as it sounds like The Moody Blues, totally works. Brian May even on lead vocals.

And of course "The Prophet's Song" is so bloody good. The vocal layers are an amazing studio technique which has been attempted but I'm not sure ever fully matched (Savatage's "Chance" is 1 that comes to mind though). The flow and momentum on it just gets me to sing-along every time.

ah ah people of the earth...

And I now I know, And I now I know, And I now I know

now I know. now I know. now I know.

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Eric Carmen - Eric Carmen
rel November 1975

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Joni Mitchell - The Hissing of Summer Lawns
rel November 1975

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Robert Palmer - Pressure Drop
rel November 1975

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Lenny White - Venusian Summer
rel November 1975

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Styx - Equinox
rel December 1, 1975

This is a favorite if for nothing else, an all-time Styx favorite of mine "Suite Madame Blue."

AC/DC - T.N.T.
rel December 1, 1975

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Live!
rel December 5, 1975

Kaipa - Kaipa
rel December 1975

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Area - Crac!
rel 1975

John Abercrombie - Timeless
rel 1975

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Carmen - Dancing on a Cold Wind
rel 1975

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Philip Catherine - Guitars
rel 1975

Crack the Sky - Crack the Sky
rel 1975

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The Dixie Dregs - The Great Spectacular
rel 1975

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Electromagnets - Electromagnets
rel 1975

Eric Johnson's 1st? band. Doing jazz-rock, and rather well.

Profondo Rosso
Goblin - Profondo rosso
rel 1975

Jan Hammer - The First Seven Days
rel 1975

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Kraan - Let It Out
rel 1975

Jack Lancaster / Robin Lumley - Peter and the Wolf
rel 1975

Marscape they did even better, but still a worthy 1st effort in adapting and composing a concept record in their (and later Brand X's) style.

Mother Superior - Lady Madonna
rel 1975

Alphonse Mouzon - Mind Transplant
rel 1975

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Premiata Forneria Marconi - Chocolate Kings
rel 1975

Return to Forever - No Mystery
rel 1975

Underrated among the RTF and Fusion fans. I sometimes feel I like this album more than Romantic Warrior. "Celebration Suite" is so bloody good, even if I hear moments of Yes/Kansas in it.

David Sancious - Forest of Feelings
rel 1975

Triumvirat - Spartacus
rel 1975