In 1967 I was 5. The nation took notice of an unusual quartet playing a psychedelic stew of rock, jazz and blues, and fronted by an brooding, enigmatic poet. “Light My Fire” went to #6, and caught the attention of Ed Sullivan, who invited The Doors to perform live on his show. Sensitive to any “drug references” , the shows producer insisted they drop the line “Girl we couldn’t get much higher”. The band agreed, and played a revised version in rehearsals. The night of the show, singer Jim Morrison sang the original lyric, in the first of a long line of controversies that would follow in Morrison’s wake. From The Ed Sullivan show, September 17, 1967, prepare to be scandalized!
In 1968 I was 6, and even a 6 year old can tell you there was no choice required for this years song. This is my favorite song, ever by any artist.
I was 7 in 1969. It was a good year for music. Abbey Road was released that year. Credence Clearwater Revival had two new albums that would both become landmarks of classic rock. King Crimson released “Court of the Crimson King”, a seminal work of what we would eventually call “progressive rock”. Bob Dylan went all country on us with Nashville Skyline. An odd little English band named Yes released their first album, as did today’s pick, a phoenix that rose from the ashes of the defunct Yardbirds, and pretty much dominated popular music for the next decade.
I’m still stuck in 1969, for a very good reason. I almost overlooked one of my all time favorites from that year. In ’69, a band known primarily for destroying a lot of guitars and hotel rooms released an album that would help change the idea of what a rock album could be. Tommy, A full length, double album rock opera with messianic overtones would propel The Who to worldwide fame.
In 1970 I was 8. I got a red Schwinn Stingray for my bday, joined cub scout troop 722, and I got my hands on a radio. A cast off old clock radio with a missing volume knob that you had to adjust with pliers. It was my window into a new world, as I discovered the wonder of FM radio. At night, I would turn on the legendary KSAN and listen to things that would never be played on the AM stations. I don’t know what year, exactly, but I remember clearly laying in the dark and hearing a haunting, ethereal song that stuck with me, as did the mercurial artist who preformed it. It had no beat, lyrics I couldn’t possibly comprehend at the time, but I knew it was special nonetheless. Mr Young entrenched himself into my musical psyche and never left.
Continuing on 1970, I would be criminally remiss if I failed to recognize the very important birth. After years of labor pains, Black Sabbath delivered into this world kicking and screaming, the anathema of parents and people of refined taste around the world, Heavy Metal. There is much argument about the evolution of metal, but there no disputing where and when the various influences came together and gelled. Listing to this would dramatically alter the course of my personal musical journey.
In 1971 I was 9, and Marvin Gaye released a powerful and passionate statement about the state of the human race. Reflecting on the disillusionment felt by many Americans, lamenting the state of racial unrest, poverty and war. Unquestionably the finest album of a very long career that was sadly cut short.
In 1972 I was 10, and there were so many great albums released, it gets difficult to choose. One album in particular would impact me greatly. Among my circle of friends it would become mandatory listening, and to this day I still play it often. Deep Purple’s album Machine Head was a tour de force of hard rock, and became a template for generations of musicians to come.
1972- On a different end of the spectrum, I will unashamedly reveal a little known guilty pleasure. I love The Carpenters. I love Karen’s amazing voice, and I love Richards awesome arrangements. Richard in fact, is an unappreciated innovator in the art of recording, developing unique production techniques designed to maximize Karen’s powerful voice.