Monday, January 5, 2015


I stopped collecting records and moved to CDs at some point in the 80s. I hate to admit it, but the reasoning was how convenient the CDs were in their smaller jewel cases and the fact that I could load several CDs into my new Pioneer player and listen and listen and listen without the interruption of flipping or changing the record every twenty minutes.

I admit it. I’m always looking for creature comfort, even at the expense of sonic quality.

Then, around ten or fifteen years later, along came computer music. I started with a player on my PC called WinAmp. I think it is probably still around. I wasn’t buying music online, but I was able to slowly “record” all my CDs onto my computer. Now I didn’t need to get off the couch even to put a bunch of CDs in my player. Plus I could count and sort and locate all my music with a few clicks on the keyboard.

Eventually my brother-in-law Chuck talked me into using iTunes. Shortly after that I got my first iPod. As the saying goes, it was all downhill from there. Today I can travel with my entire music library, consisting of 1326 albums by 739 artists, on the hard disk in the Blue Bus.

"Play artist Rolling Stones." "Yes, master."

I can’t say how many songs because the latest version of iTunes no longer shows the song count on the bottom of the screen. (Why do they keep “improving??” these programs?).

I haven’t bought many albums since that initial switch to CDs. A few dozen on eBay as I completed my collection of Casey Anderson music. I recorded Casey during the last few years of his career, and I wanted to have everything he had ever published. I bought a few other albums on eBay and a few at used record stores, but now my collection is focused on digital copies.

I have 13 large cases, each with 60-70 albums, stored away under the stairs. Included in this vinyl collection are several DOUBLE ALBUMS. I got them out when I was home in November while getting all the Christmas decorations. I didn't spend a lot of time digging into the albums, but I found several old double albums and that got me thinking.

Way back, when music was just born, and mostly performed by cave men … you know: 1960. For you TV Babies (that’s anyone born after 1963) albums used to just be a hit song or two and the rest was filler. That’s just how the hit single marketplace was … well … marketed. Even when folks from England started making record albums, it didn’t change much.

Then those four Liverpool lads started creating albums that were filled with good music. Who knew that would work. (My theory is that all they produced is good music, so naturally the albums were full, not filled.)

Up until that time, typically, albums had a high percentage of filler. After all, odds were two or three to one. One hit song … a whole side of filler.

This was also the era of the 3 minute (if not shorter) song. People thought that was the only length appropriate for radio play. But this idea began to change with the advent of FM radio and soon whole album sides were being played on the air. Before you knew it, bands started putting lots of good songs on albums. And the songs got longer. Before you could say "top forty," they started to run out of room on the time-limited platters.

There were other things cool about albums that 45 rpm singles didn't share. Besides their better sonic qualities, albums also had wonderful art work and liner notes. Some albums opened like a book. There was only one disc, but there were two "pages." Now you could really add the art, graphics, and liner notes. A whole industry was born with albums coming with posters and song books and picture books and just about anything you or the musicians could imagine.

Of course, the American music scene being what it is, you know that, before you could snap your fingers, someone figured out the “double album.” Now you really got a work of art. Four whole sides of music. (Sometimes even more.) And all that wonderful real estate to put pictures and graphics and even books. At first it was just an accident … too much music to fit, so they added a second disc. Then it became purposeful as the artists learned to tell stories and the "concept album" was born.

In the mid 1960s the idea of a double album was seen as groundbreaking, a landmark recording. However, since the introduction of the CD, the double album has become the norm; the norm in the sense that 2 vinyl albums ran to about 80 minutes on average. In many cases the filling of a CD with close to a double album’s worth of material has produced too many albums that are more "filler than killer" once again.

Here I am in Oregon with nothing but my digital music collection. That is one advantage, bits travel well. Nonetheless, I’m thinking about that vinyl collection under the stairs back home. Particularly I’m thinking about my double albums. A quick sort by release date and I had a complete chronology of the ground breaking double albums.

I’ve written before about the magic sixties decade of music. A period of ten years that has never been seen before or since. As I described, more accurately, the period of maximum goodness was from about 1963 to 1973, still a decade, just not very “powers of ten-ish.” These double albums I am thinking about trailed that period by about five years. There is some deep cosmic meaning there, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

While I try to invent my personal music history chronology, here is the dated sequence. These are the greatest double vinyl albums of all time (IMHO), and interesting to find a comparable large release on CD. No, just as video killed the radio song, CDs really killed the Double Album. Now they’re all too long with too many songs, and it just isn’t like it used to be. A lot of filler and not much killer.

Here’s my list. What would you add or subtract? Do you agree? Which ones do you consider the greatest double albums of all time?

July 1966

Blonde on Blonde by Bob (Robert) Dylan. Blonde on Blonde is the seventh studio album by the singer-songwriter, released on May 16, 1966 on Columbia Records. Recorded in New York and then Nashville … and then Nashville again.

Recording sessions began in New York in October 1965 with numerous backing musicians, including members of Dylan's live backing band, The Hawks. Though sessions continued until January 1966, they yielded only one track that made it onto the final album — "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)." At producer Bob Johnston's suggestion, Dylan, keyboardist Al Kooper, and guitarist Robbie Robertson moved to the CBS studios in Nashville, Tennessee. These sessions, augmented by some of Nashville's top session musicians, were more fruitful, and in February and March all the remaining songs for the album were recorded.

The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart in the USA, where it eventually went double-platinum, and reached No. 3 in the UK.

Dylan mixed the album in Los Angeles in early April, before he departed on the Australian leg of his 1966 world tour. As author Sean Wilentz writes in Bob Dylan in America, it was at this point it became "obvious that the riches of the Nashville sessions could not fit onto a single LP," and they had "produced enough solid material to demand an oddly configured double album, the first of its kind in contemporary popular music." According to producer Steve Berkowitz, who supervised the reissue of Dylan's LPs in mono as The Original Mono Recordings in 2010, Johnston told him that they carefully worked on the mono mix for about three or four days whereas the stereo mix was finished in about four hours. This was typical of the age when AM radio play was the focus, and the stereo mix was often just left to the engineers!

The cover photo of Blonde on Blonde shows a 12-by-12 inch close-up portrait of Dylan. The double album gatefold sleeve opens to form a 12-by-26 inch photo of the artist, at three quarter length. The artist's name and the album's title only appear on the spine. A sticker was applied to the shrink wrap to promote the release's two hit singles, "I Want You" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."

Side one

"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"
"Pledging My Time"
"Visions of Johanna"
"One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)"

Side two

"I Want You"
"Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again"
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"
"Just Like a Woman"

Side three

"Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)”
"Temporary Like Achilles"
"Absolutely Sweet Marie"
"4th Time Around"
"Obviously 5 Believers"

Side four

"Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"

July 1968

Next on my list is Cream’s Wheels of Fire. This band didn’t put out a lot of albums, so a double is twice as nice. It consists of a studio and a live record. It reached #3 in the United Kingdom and #1 in the United States, becoming the first platinum-selling double album.

Cream's third album was planned to be a double album on which Atco Records' producer Felix Pappalardi and the group would include several live performances. The group and producer Felix had, in July and August 1967, recorded studio material at IBC Studios in London, and at Atlantic Studios in New York City during September and October of the same year. Additional studio material was recorded at Atlantic Studios in January and February 1968, during a break from the band's heavy touring.

The following month, Pappalardi ordered a mobile recording studio in Los Angeles to be shipped to the Fillmore auditorium and the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Six shows were recorded in San Francisco by Pappalardi and recording engineer Bill Halverson, and extra performances not included on Wheels of Fire ended up on Live Cream, and Live Cream Volume II.

In an oddity, even for rock and roll, the album was also released as two, single albums, one with the live music and one with the studio tracks.

Disc one: In the Studio

Side one

"White Room 3"
"Sitting on Top of the World"
"Passing the Time 1 3"
"As You Said”

Side 2

"Pressed Rat and Warthog"
"Politician 3"
"Those Were the Days 3"
"Born Under a Bad Sign 3"
"Deserted Cities of the Heart 2 3"

Disc two: Live at the Fillmore

Side three


Side 4

"Traintime 4"

October 1968

Electric Ladyland is the third and final studio album by English-American rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 by Reprise Records. The double album was the only record from the band produced by Jimi. By mid-November, it had charted at number one in the United States, where it spent two weeks at the top spot. Electric Ladyland was the Experience's most commercially successful release and their only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, where it spent 12 weeks on the chart.

Electric Ladyland included a cover of the Bob Dylan song, "All Along the Watchtower," which became the Experience's highest-selling single and their only top 40 hit in the US, peaking at number 20; the single reached number five in the UK.

Although it confounded critics upon its release, Ladyland has since been viewed as Hendrix's best work and one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

Recorded in London and New York at the newly opened Record Plant Studios, with Chas Chandler as producer and engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren. As recording progressed, Chandler became increasingly frustrated with Hendrix's perfectionism and his demands for repeated takes. Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell recorded well over 50 takes of "Gypsy Eyes" over three sessions. Hendrix allowed numerous friends and guests to join them in the studio, which contributed to a chaotic and crowded environment in the control room and led Chandler to sever his professional relationship with Hendrix.

Besides the Experience regulars, Mitchell and Redding, the album included Jack Cassady, Steve Winwood on organ, and B.B. King, Al Kooper, and Elvin Bishop.

Side one

"…And the Gods Made Love"
"Have You Ever Been"
"Crosstown Traffic"
"Voodoo Chile”

Side two

"Little Miss Strange"
"Long Hot Summer Night"
"Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)"
"Gypsy Eyes"
"Burning of the Midnight Lamp”

Side three

"Rainy Day, Dream Away"
“1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"
"Moon, Turn the Tides… Gently Gently Away”

Side four

"Still Raining, Still Dreaming"
"House Burning Down"
"All Along the Watchtower"
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"

November 1968

The self titled The Beatles is the ninth studio album by the English rock group. It is a double album and commonly known as the White Album, as it has no graphics or text other than the band's name embossed (and, on the early LP and CD releases, a serial number) on its plain white sleeve.

Most of the songs on the album were written during early 1968 at a Transcendental Meditation course in Rishikesh, India. Although the group's experience of the course was mixed, the lack of external influences and drugs sparked the band's creativity and they returned to England with around 40 new songs.

They regrouped at George Harrison's house, Kinfauns, in May and recorded demos of 26 songs, enough for a double album. The group returned to Abbey Road Studios to record the new material, with sessions lasting through to mid October, but their experiences in Rishikesh did not help motivate them in the studio. Because the Beatles had unlimited recording time, there was little attempt to rehearse anything as a group, so everything was captured on tape, after which they would overdub voices and additional instruments.

Arguments broke out between the Beatles, and people in the studio saw John Lennon and Paul McCartney quarrel with one another repeatedly. The feuds intensified when Lennon's new partner, Yoko Ono, started attending the sessions. In addition, McCartney was not happy about the avant-garde piece "Revolution 9," while Lennon disliked several of McCartney's songs.

After a series of problems, including producer George Martin taking a sudden leave of absence and engineer Geoff Emerick quitting, Ringo Starr left the band briefly in August, and consequently did not play on some tracks. The same tensions continued throughout the following year, leading to the group's eventual disbandment in April 1970.

Around the same time, the group's self-belief that they could do anything led to the formation of a new multimedia business corporation Apple Corps, an enterprise that drained the group financially with a series of financially unsuccessful projects. The open-ended studio time led to a new way of working out songs. Instead of tightly rehearsing a backing track, as had happened in previous sessions, the group would simply record all the rehearsals and jamming onto tape, then select which performance had been best to overdub. Harrison's song "Not Guilty" was left off the album despite recording 102 takes.

Side one

"Back in the U.S.S.R."
"Dear Prudence"
"Glass Onion"
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
"Wild Honey Pie"
"The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
"Happiness Is a Warm Gun”

Side two

"Martha My Dear"
"I'm So Tired"
"Rocky Raccoon"
"Don't Pass Me By"
"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
"I Will"

Side three

"Yer Blues"
"Mother Nature's Son"
"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"
"Sexy Sadie"
"Helter Skelter"
"Long, Long, Long”

Side four

"Revolution 1"
"Honey Pie"
"Savoy Truffle"
"Cry Baby Cry"
"Revolution 9"
"Good Night"

Eric Clapton played the lead on Harrison’s composition, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and Yoko did backup vocals on two tracks.

It was The Beatles first studio album in almost eighteen months and the album achieved huge commercial success. Capitol Records sold over 3.3 million copies of the White Album to stores within the first four days of the album's release.

April 1969

Chicago Transit Authority is the self-titled debut album by the Chicago-based rock band Chicago Transit Authority, later known simply as Chicago.

At the band's 1967 inception, it was initially called "The Missing Links." Then, according to Robert Lamm on an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard devoted to the making of the album, the name was changed to "The Big Thing" (occasionally performed in areas outside Chicago and Milwaukee as "The Big Sounds" due to some venues complaining about the double entendre that the name "The Big Thing" also alluded to), before adopting the name The Chicago Transit Authority when the producer James William Guercio took them on in 1968. Their trademark was fusing brass and jazz with a soulful rock and roll feel and Guercio instinctively felt that this would prove successful, lobbying for his label to give them a try.

The Chicago Transit Authority band were signed to Columbia Records late that year and recorded their first album in late January. While Guercio had recently produced Blood, Sweat & Tears' second album (which proved to be a huge smash), he did so to raise capital for his band. By the end of The Chicago Transit Authority's sessions, it was clear that the album would have to be a double. Very skeptical, seeing as the band had no track record, Columbia only agreed to the concept if the group would take a royalty cut.

In 1974 The album was also mixed in quadraphonic sound and released on SQ encoded LP and Dolby Quadraphonic 8-Track. In 2010 Rhino Handmade re-released the original quadraphonic mix of the album on a limited edition DTS DVD.

Side one

"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

Side two

"Questions 67 and 68"
"Poem 58”

Side three

"Free Form Guitar"
"South California Purples"
"I'm a Man”

Side four

"Prologue, August 29, 1968"

Released in April 1969, The Chicago Transit Authority (sometimes informally referred to simply as "CTA") proved to be an immediate hit, reaching #17 in the US and #9 in the UK. While critical reaction was also strong, the album initially failed to produce any hit singles, with the group seen as an album-oriented collective.

May 1969

Tommy is the fourth studio album by the English rock band The Who, a double album first released in May 1969. The album was mostly composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera that tells the story about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy, including his experiences with life and the relationship with his family.

Townshend came up with the concept of Tommy after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba, and attempted to translate Baba's teachings into music. Recording on the album began in September 1968, but took six months to complete as material needed to be arranged and re-recorded in the studio. Tommy was acclaimed upon its release by critics, who hailed it as the Who's breakthrough, although its critical standing diminished slightly in later years. Nonetheless, it has since been viewed by several writers as an important and influential rock album.

The album was recorded onto eight track tape, which allowed various instruments to be overdubbed. Townshend used several guitars in the studio, but made particular use of the Gibson J-200 acoustic and the Gibson SG. As well as their usual instruments, Townshend played piano and organ and bassist John Entwistle doubled on french horn. Keith Moon used a new double bass drum kit owned by roadie Tony Haslam after Premier had refused to loan him any more equipment due to continual abuse.

Though Townshend wrote the majority of the material, the arrangements came from the entire band. Singer Roger Daltrey later said that Townshend often came in with a half-finished demo recording, adding "we probably did as much talking as we did recording, sorting out arrangements and things." Townshend asked Entwistle to write two songs ("Cousin Kevin" and "Fiddle About") that covered the darker themes of bullying and abuse. "Tommy's Holiday Camp" was Moon's suggestion of what religious movement Tommy could lead. Moon got the songwriting credit for suggesting the idea, though the music was composed and played by Townshend. A significant amount of material had a lighter style than earlier recordings, with greater prominence put on the vocals. Moon later said, "It was, at the time, very un-Wholike. A lot of the songs were soft. We never played like that.”

The album was commercially successful, reaching No. 2 in the UK album charts, and No. 4 in the US.

Side one

"Overture" "It's a Boy!"
"Amazing Journey"
"The Hawker"

Side two

"Cousin Kevin"
"The Acid Queen"

Side three

"Do You Think It's Alright?"
"Fiddle About"
"Pinball Wizard"
"There's a Doctor"
"Go to the Mirror!"
"Tommy Can You Hear Me?"
"Smash the Mirror"

Side four

"Miracle Cure"
"Sally Simpson"
"I'm Free"
"Tommy's Holiday Camp"
"We're Not Gonna Take It”

Though later released as a single, "See Me, Feel Me" was not a track in its own right on the original album, and is included as the latter half of "We're not Gonna Take It".

November 1970

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is the only studio album by blues rock band Derek and the Dominos. Released in November 1970, it is best known for its title track, "Layla." The album is often regarded as Eric Clapton's greatest musical achievement. The other band members were Bobby Whitlock on keyboards and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums, Carl Radle on bass, and special guest performer Duane Allman on lead and slide guitar on 11 of the 14 songs.

The collaboration that created Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek and the Dominos, grew out of Eric Clapton's frustration with the hype associated with the supergroups Cream and the short-lived Blind Faith. Following the latter's dissolution, he joined Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, whom he had come to know while they were the opening act on Blind Faith's US tour in the summer of 1969.

A serendipitous event brought Clapton and guitarist Duane Allman together shortly after the Dominos had begun recording at Criteria Studios in August 1970. Veteran producer Tom Dowd was working on the Allman Brothers second album, Idlewild South, when the studio received a phone call that Clapton was bringing the Dominos to Miami to record. Upon hearing this, Allman indicated that he would love to drop by and watch, if Clapton approved.

After the show, Allman asked if he could come by the studio to watch some recording sessions, but Clapton invited him there directly, saying: "Bring your guitar; you got to play!" Overnight, the two bonded; Dowd reported that they "were trading licks, they were swapping guitars, they were talking shop and information and having a ball — no holds barred, just admiration for each other's technique and facility." Clapton wrote later in his autobiography that he and Allman were inseparable during the sessions in Florida; he talked about Allman as the "musical brother I'd never had but wished I did.”

Atco Records issued Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in November 1970 in the United States, with a UK release following in December, on Polydor. The album failed to chart in the United Kingdom, while in the US, it peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Top LPs chart.

Side one

"I Looked Away"
"Bell Bottom Blues"
"Keep On Growing"
"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"

Side two

"I Am Yours"
"Key to the Highway"

Side three

"Tell the Truth"
"Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”
"Have You Ever Loved a Woman"

Side four

"Little Wing"
"It's Too Late"
"Thorn Tree in the Garden"

July 1971

At Fillmore East is the first live album by the Allman Brothers Band, and their third release overall. Produced by Tom Dowd, the album was released in July 1971 in the United States by Capricorn Records. As the title suggests, the recording took place at New York City's music venue Fillmore East, run by concert promoter Bill Graham. It was recorded over the course of three nights in March 1971 and features the band performing extended jam versions of songs such as "Whipping Post" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." When first commercially released, it was issued as a double LP with just seven songs comprising four vinyl sides.

At Fillmore East was the band's artistic and commercial breakthrough, and has been considered by some critics to be one of the greatest live albums in rock music; certainly one of the greatest live albums.

The Allman Brothers Band had first played Fillmore East in December 1969, opening for Blood, Sweat & Tears for three nights. Promoter Bill Graham enjoyed the band and promised to have them back soon. In January 1970, the band opened for Buddy Guy and B.B. King at San Francisco's Fillmore West, and one month later at Fillmore East supporting the Grateful Dead. In 1970, Duane Allman told disc jockey Ed Shane, "You know, we get kind of frustrated doing the [studio] records, and I think, consequently, our next album will be … a live recording, to get some of that natural fire on it." "We were not intentionally trying to buck the system, but keeping each song down to 3:14 just didn't work for us," remembered vocalist Gregg Allman. "And we realized that the audience was a big part of what we did, which couldn't be duplicated in a studio. A lightbulb finally went off; we needed to make a live album.”

On June 27, the Fillmore East closed, and the band were invited to play a final invitation-only concert, along with Edgar Winter, the Beach Boys and Country Joe McDonald. The Beach Boys initially refused on performing unless they headlined the event, but Graham refused, telling them that the Allman Brothers would be closing the show, and they were free to leave if they disagreed.

At Fillmore East peaked at number thirteen on Billboard'​s Top Pop Albums chart,

Side one

"Statesboro Blues"
"Done Somebody Wrong"
"Stormy Monday"

Side two

"You Don't Love Me"

Side three

"Hot 'Lanta"
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

Side four

"Whipping Post”

May 1972

Exile on Main St is a double album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released on May 12, 1972 by Rolling Stones Records. The album's music incorporates rock and roll, blues, soul, country, and gospel genres.

Even though the album is often described as being Richards' finest moment, as Exile is often thought to reflect his vision for a raw, rootsy rock sound, Jagger was already expressing his boredom with rock and roll in several interviews at the time of the album's release. With Richards' effectiveness seriously undermined by his dependence on heroin, the group's subsequent 1970s releases — directed largely by Jagger — would experiment to varying degrees with other musical genres, moving away from the roots-based sound of Exile on Main St.

Preceded by the UK and US Top 10 hit "Tumbling Dice," Exile on Main St was released in May 1972. It was an immediate commercial success, reaching No. 1 worldwide just as the band embarked on their celebrated 1972 American Tour. Their first American tour in three years, it featured many songs from the new album. "Happy," sung by Richards, would be a Top 30 US hit later that summer.

Side one

"Rocks Off"
"Rip This Joint"
"Shake Your Hips"
"Casino Boogie"
"Tumbling Dice"

Side two

"Sweet Virginia"
"Torn and Frayed"
"Sweet Black Angel"
"Loving Cup"

Side three

"Turd on the Run"
"Ventilator Blues"
"I Just Want to See His Face"
"Let It Loose"

Side four

"All Down the Line"
"Stop Breaking Down"
"Shine a Light"
"Soul Survivor"

October 1973

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the seventh studio album by singer-songwriter Elton John. Released in 1973, it has come to be regarded as one of his best and most popular albums.

Recorded at the Château d'Hérouville, the double album contains the Marilyn Monroe tribute "Candle in the Wind" as well as three other successful singles: "Bennie and the Jets," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting.”

Under the working titles of Vodka and Tonics and Silent Movies, Talking Pictures, Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics in two and a half weeks, with John composing most of the music in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.

According to the album's producer, Gus Dudgeon, the album was not planned as a two-record collection. In total, John and Taupin composed 22 tracks for the album, of which 18 (counting "Funeral for a Friend" and "Love Lies Bleeding" as two discrete tracks) were used, enough that it was released as a double album, John's first (three more such albums followed up to 2011). The songs, mostly around the theme of nostalgia for a more humble childhood and an older American culture as seen through eyes of the movies, included "Bennie and the Jets," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," the latter based on memories of a pub Taupin frequented when younger.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has come to be regarded as John's best and most popular album, and is his best selling studio album. It has also been seen as one of the most influential albums in music.

Side one

"Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding"
"Candle in the Wind"
"Bennie and the Jets"

Side two

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
"This Song Has No Title"
"Grey Seal"
"Jamaica Jerk-Off"
"I've Seen That Movie Too"

Side three

"Sweet Painted Lady"
"The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909–34)"
"Dirty Little Girl"
"All the Girls Love Alice"

Side four

"Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)"
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
"Roy Rogers"
"Social Disease"

November 1974

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (often shortened to The Lamb) is a double concept album recorded and released in 1974 by the British progressive rock band Genesis. It was their sixth studio album, and the last to feature original singer and frontman Peter Gabriel.

The album tells the surreal story of a half Puerto Rican juvenile delinquent named Rael living in New York City, who is swept underground to face bizarre creatures and nightmarish dangers to rescue his brother John. Several of the story's occurrences and places were derived from Peter Gabriel's dreams, and the protagonist's name is a play on his surname (Rael = Gabriel). In reference to the live performance of "it" (where Gabriel appears onstage with an identically dressed mannequin), Phil Collins remarked that the entire concept was about split personality.

Following their Selling England by the Pound tour, the band went on retreat to Headley Grange to write and develop their next album. Used previously by Bad Company and Led Zeppelin, this was where the band hoped living together away from other distractions would help inspire creativity and develop unity between the members. The house, however, was in poor condition and infested by rats. Several band members had difficulty sleeping, believing the house was haunted

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway reached number 10 in the UK, and number 15 in Canada, while nearly cracking the US Top 40, reaching number 41 and eventually going Gold, although it met with mixed reviews.

The release of the album was accompanied by a very elaborate tour that reenacted the album's story. There were a lot of technical errors and the tour was very frustrating for the entire band. For example, some of the stage costumes that Gabriel wore prevented proper miking and there were issues with the slide photographs played in the background. At one point, an over enthusiastic explosion literally stopped the performance. The band was frustrated that the reviews focused on the stage show instead of the music performance … always a problem with complex tour designs. No complete performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was recorded, although several pieces were filmed, including some bootleg footage taken by audience members.

Disc 1

Side one

"The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
"Fly on a Windshield"
"Broadway Melody of 1974"
"Cuckoo Cocoon"
"In the Cage"
"The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging"

Side two

"Back in N.Y.C."
"Hairless Heart"
"Counting Out Time"
"The Carpet Crawlers"
"The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Disc 2

Side one

"Lilywhite Lilith"
"The Waiting Room"
"Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist"
"The Lamia"
"Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats"

Side two

"The Colony of Slippermen"
    a)  "The Arrival"
    b)  "A Visit to the Doktor"
    c)  "Raven"
"The Light Dies Down on Broadway"
"Riding the Scree"
"In the Rapids"

February 1975

Physical Graffiti is the sixth studio album by rock band Led Zeppelin, released on February 24, 1975 as a double album two years after their previous studio album. The band wrote and recorded eight songs at Headley Grange; these eight songs stretched beyond the typical length of an LP. The band decided to make Physical Graffiti a double album by including unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions: one outtake from Led Zeppelin III; three from Led Zeppelin IV; and three from Houses of the Holy including its unused title track.

The first attempt to record songs for Physical Graffiti took place in November 1973. The recording equipment consisted of Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio. However, these sessions came to a halt quickly and the studio time was turned over to the band Bad Company, who used it to record songs for their self-titled debut album.

Spanning several years of recording, the album featured forays into a range of musical styles, including hard rock ("Custard Pie," "The Rover," "The Wanton Song," "Night Flight," "Sick Again," "Houses of the Holy"), eastern-influenced orchestral rock ("Kashmir"), progressive rock ("In the Light"), driving funk ("Trampled Under Foot"), acoustic rock and roll ("Boogie with Stu," "Black Country Woman"), love ballad ("Ten Years Gone"), blues rock ("In My Time of Dying"), soft rock ("Down by the Seaside"), and acoustic guitar instrumental ("Bron-Yr-Aur"). The wide range of Physical Graffiti is also underlined by the fact that it contains both the longest and shortest studio recordings by Led Zeppelin. "In My Time of Dying" clocks in at eleven minutes and five seconds, and "Bron-Yr-Aur" is two minutes and six seconds. With the exception of "The Battle of Evermore" on their fourth album, it is also the only Led Zeppelin album to feature John Paul Jones playing additional guitar on some tracks.

The album's sleeve design features a photograph of a New York City tenement block, with interchanging window illustrations. The two five-story buildings photographed for the album cover are located at 96 and 98 St. Mark's Place in New York City. The original photograph underwent a number of tweaks to arrive at the final image. The fifth floor of the building had to be cropped out to fit the square album cover format.

Physical Graffiti was the band's first release on their own Swan Song Records label, which had been launched in May 1974. Until this point, all of Led Zeppelin's albums had been released on Atlantic Records. The album was a commercial and critical success, having built up a huge advance order, and when eventually released it reached No. 1 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart.

Side one

"Custard Pie"
"The Rover"
"In My Time of Dying"

Side two

“Houses of the Holy"
"Trampled Under Foot"

Side three

"In the Light"
"Down by the Seaside"
"Ten Years Gone"

Side four

"Night Flight"
"The Wanton Song"
"Boogie with Stu"
"Black Country Woman"
"Sick Again"

January 1976

Frampton Comes Alive! is a double live album by Peter Frampton released in 1976, and one of the best-selling live albums in the United States. Following four solo albums with little commercial success, Frampton Comes Alive! was a breakthrough for the artist.

The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 the week ending April 10, 1976, and was in the top spot for a total of 10 weeks. It was the best-selling album of 1976, selling over 6 million copies in the US and becoming one of the best-selling live albums to date, with estimated sales of 11 million worldwide.

The album was recorded in summer and fall 1975, primarily at Winterland in San Francisco and the Long Island Arena in Commack, New York, as well as a concert on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in Plattsburgh, New York. The Winterland recordings were recorded on a 24 track master recorder. Other concerts were recorded on a 16 track recorder.

Side one

"Introduction / Something's Happening"
"Doobie Wah"
"Show Me the Way"
"It's a Plain Shame"

Side two

"All I Want to Be (Is by Your Side)"
"Wind of Change"
"Baby, I Love Your Way"
"I Wanna Go to the Sun"

Side three

"Penny for Your Thoughts"
"(I'll Give You) Money"
"Shine On"
"Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Side four

"Lines on My Face"
"Do You Feel Like We Do”

September 1976

Songs in the Key of Life is the eighteenth album by recording artist Stevie Wonder, released on September 28, 1976, by Motown Records. It was the culmination of his “classic period” albums. The album was recorded primarily at Crystal Sounds studio in Hollywood, with some sessions recorded at the Record Plant in Hollywood, the Record Plant in Sausalito, and The Hit Factory in New York City.

An ambitious double LP with a four-song bonus EP, Songs in the Key of Life became among the best-selling and most critically acclaimed albums of his career.

A total of 130 musicians were on the album, but Wonder’s preeminence was evident. Among the people present during the sessions, there were legendary figures of R&B, soul, and jazz music — Herbie Hancock played Fender Rhodes on “As,” George Benson played electric guitar on “Another Star,” and Minnie Riperton and Deniece Williams added backing vocals on “Ordinary Pain.”

Highly anticipated, the album surpassed all commercial expectations. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart on October 8, 1976, becoming only the third album in history to achieve that feat and the first by an American artist (after British singer/composer Elton John’s albums.) Songs in the Key of Life became the second best-selling album of 1977 in the US, only behind Fleetwood Mac’s blockbuster Rumours, and was certified as a diamond album by the RIAA for sales of ten million copies in the US alone.

Side one

“Love's in Need of Love Today”
“Have a Talk with God”
“Village Ghetto Land”
“Sir Duke”

Side two

“I Wish”
“Knocks Me Off My Feet”
“Pastime Paradise”
“Summer Soft”
“Ordinary Pain”

Side three

“Isn't She Lovely”
“Joy Inside My Tears”
“Black Man”

Side four

“Ngiculela –—Es Una Historia —– I Am Singing”
“If It's Magic”
“Another Star”

The A Something's Extra 7" EP was included with the special-edition version of the original LP.

Side one

“Ebony Eyes”

Side two

“All Day Sucker”
“Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)”

December 1978

Here, My Dear is the fifteenth studio album by music artist Marvin Gaye, released December 15, 1978, on Motown subsidiary label Tamla Records. Recording sessions for the album took place between 1977 and 1978 at Gaye's personal studios, Marvin Gaye Studios in Los Angeles, California. The album was notable for its subject matter being dedicated to the fallout of Gaye's marriage to his first wife, Anna Gordy Gaye.

Marvin Gaye was going through a personal crisis in the summer of 1976. In November of 1975, Gaye's estranged first wife, Anna, sued Marvin for divorce, claiming irreconcilable differences and seeking money in palimony for support of their adopted son, Marvin Gaye III. After months of delays, in March of 1977, the singer's attorney Curtis Shaw wanted to end divorce proceedings and convinced Marvin to give up half of the percentage of album royalties he would earn from his next Motown album to Anna. The Gayes' divorce was finalized in June.

When Marvin set to start production on the record, he said he figured he just do a "quickie record — nothing heavy, nothing even good," stating, "why should I break my neck when Anna was going to wind up with the money anyway?" But as Gaye lived with the notion of doing an album, the more it fascinated him, stating he felt he "owed the public my best effort." Gaye stated he did the record "out of deep passion," noting he "sang and sang until I drained myself of everything I'd lived through." The record was completed in three months, but the singer held it back for over a year, scared of letting it be released.

When Here, My Dear was released in the end of 1978, it was panned by consumers and critics alike, who called the album "bizarre" and “un-commercial." The album's lack of success angered Gaye to the point that he refused to promote it any further. In 1994, the album was re-released due to increased attention on Marvin's life to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the singer's untimely death, and reached number-one on Billboard's R&B catalog chart. The original album peaked at number four R&B and number twenty-six pop, becoming Gaye's lowest-charting studio album of the 1970s.

I’m not sure what the self-requested album front photo of Marvin in a toga means. I’m no Sigmund Freud. But the collapsing temple labeled “Matrimony” on the back side is easy to decode. I’ll leave you readers to search the used record bins for a copy and check out the large inner album art work. Marvin was in a confused state of mind, as it is readily apparent in all aspects of this album.

Now, some thirty plus years later, this album has finally received the respect and placement that I thought it deserved originally. It is now listed in many top 500 albums of all time, and, to quote Dave Ritz on the liner notes, “Soul music doesn't get any deep, darker, or more personal than this.” He goes on to say that it is at once, "self-serving, self-justifying, [and] self-pitying.”

Side one

"Here, My Dear"
"I Met a Little Girl"
"When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You"

Side two

"Is That Enough"
"Everybody Needs Love"
"Time to Get It Together"

Side three

"Anna's Song"
"When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Instrumental)"

Side four

"A Funky Space Reincarnation"
"You Can Leave, but It's Going to Cost You"
"Falling in Love Again"
"When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Reprise)”

November 1979

The Wall is the eleventh studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It is the last studio album released with the classic lineup of Gilmour, Waters, Wright, and Mason before keyboardist Richard Wright left the band and the Gilmour / Waters feud began. Released as a double album on November 30, 1979, it was supported by a tour with elaborate theatrical effects, and adapted into a 1982 feature film, Pink Floyd — The Wall.

The Wall is a concept album and explores themes of abandonment and personal isolation. The album is a rock opera that follows Pink, a character whom bassist and lyricist Roger Waters modeled after himself and the band's original leader, Syd Barrett. Pink's life begins with the loss of his father during the Second World War and continues with abuse from his schoolteachers, an overprotective mother, and the breakdown of his marriage; all contribute to his eventual self-imposed isolation from society, represented by a metaphorical wall.

The album was recorded in several locations. In France, Super Bear Studios was used between January and July 1979, with Waters recording his vocals at the nearby Studio Miraval. Michael Kamen supervised the orchestral arrangements at CBS Studios in New York, in September. Over the next two months the band used Cherokee Studios and The Village Recorder in Los Angeles. A plan to work with the Beach Boys at the Sundance Productions studio in Los Angeles was cancelled. For a week in November they worked at the Producers Workshop, also in Los Angeles.

This hectic change in locations and geography combined with issues with producers, including a short period where keyboardist Richard Wright produced, added to the friction within the band. Waters's relationship with Wright broke down. Ultimately, Wright left the band — or was fired depending on the account. He was hired back as a salaried musician for the tour following the release of the album. Due to the large cost of the complicated stage production, everyone lost money except for Wright who was on salary.

That relationship wasn’t the only one strained by this epic album. David Gilmour later stated, “I think things like ‘Comfortably Numb’ were the last embers of mine and Roger's ability to work collaboratively together.”

Despite the friction and cost overruns of the tour, the album The Wall was released in the UK on November 30, 1979, and about a week later in the US. Coinciding with its release Waters was interviewed by veteran DJ Tommy Vance, who played the album in its entirety on BBC Radio 1.

Critical opinion of its content ranged from The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau's "too-kitschy minimal maximalism with sound effects and speech fragments” and Rolling Stone writer Kurt Loder's "a stunning synthesis of Waters's by now familiar thematic obsessions,” to Melody Maker's "I'm not sure whether it's brilliant or terrible, but I find it utterly compelling." Nevertheless the album topped the Billboard charts for 15 weeks, and in 1999 was certified 23x platinum. It remains one of the best-selling albums of all time in the US, between 1979 and 1990 selling over 19 million copies worldwide. These results place it second only to the phenomenal success of Dark Side of the Moon.

Side one

“In the Flesh?"
"The Thin Ice"
“Another Brick in the Wall (Part I)"
"The Happiest Days of Our Lives"
"Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)"

Side two

"Goodbye Blue Sky"
"Empty Spaces"
"Young Lust"
"One of My Turns"
"Don't Leave Me Now"
"Another Brick in the Wall (Part III)"
"Goodbye Cruel World"

Side three

"Hey You"
"Is There Anybody Out There?"
"Nobody Home"
"Bring the Boys Back Home"
"Comfortably Numb"

Side four

"The Show Must Go On"
"In the Flesh"
"Run Like Hell"
"Waiting for the Worms"
"The Trial"
"Outside the Wall”

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