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  1. 464. ‘The Passenger’, Iggy Pop (1977) I had absolutely no idea that this was Iggy Pop. It was a song that I never truly attributed to anyone and mainly remember from its use in adverts. Between the guitar work and the la-ing, this has too many hooky parts to not make it a favourite. The lyrics talk about the excesses of nights spent in Germany apparently, though the tune itself was created by Ricky Gardiner on an idyllic spring walk. Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of what could be a pleasant enough instrumental mixed with a darker lyrical content that make it truly work. 465. ‘Stayin’ Alive’, Bee Gees (1977) Influenced by: TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) • MFSB (1974) Influence on: I Was Made for Lovin’ You • Kiss (1979) Covered by: Mina (1978) • Happy Mondays (1991) Dweezil Zappa (1991) • N-Trance (1995) • Dimension Zero (2007) • MegaDriver (2007) There have probably been other songs, but to me this feels like one of the first songs that showed the power of the film soundtrack. Written for ‘Saturday Night Fever’, it was interestingly created without reading either the essay the film was based on or the screenplay for the movie itself. With that in mind, they struggle that the Bee Gees explore in the song lyrically are quite in keeping with the tone of the film, even if the overall musical tone is somewhat lighter than some of the darker elements that the movie explored. Whilst the whole thing feels very 70s, it is testament to the quality of this disco tune that it still has staying power to this very day. Between the falsettos and the fashion, it could so easily have been mocked and ignored, but at base it is a very good song and it gets the recognition I feel it deserves. 466. ‘Wonderous Stories’, Yes (1977) Influenced by: I Believe in Father Christmas • Greg Lake (1975) Influence on: Northern Lights • Renaissance (1978) Covered by: Magenta (2009) Other key tracks: Close to the Edge (1972) • Awaken (1977) • Going for the One (1977) There was a time in my musical interest that I can imagine really liking this song. 2020 is not that time. I’m sure that if you like Yes, you really like them, but this is all just a bit too twee for me. The woodwind, the reverb on the vocals in places, the synthesisers, the lyrics – one would be ok, but it just gets layered in a fashion that does so little for me. By the end, I was beginning to warm to it a little…but not enough to really enjoy it in the manner that many probably do.
  2. 461. ‘Peg’, Steely Dan (1977) Outside of being named after a sex toy and ‘Do It Again’, I know very little about Steely Dan. What I learned from this sub-four minute song is that they knew how to craft an enjoyable jazzy pop song. Alongside dynamic and harmonious vocals, the instruments create a lively background even as the lyrics hint at something slightly sleazier. The guitar solo in the middle could feel somewhat chucked in for the sake of it, yet it adds a further hint of funk to proceedings. Really fun work. 462. ‘Marquee Moon’, Television (1977) I was very confused as I thought this was the band who did ‘Tequila’, but turns out that was Terrorvision. I’m sure you really needed to know about my stupidity, so there you go. Apparently, these were pioneers for New York punk, yet there is nothing very punk about this ten minute sprawling tune outside of perhaps the relative minimalism of the instrumentation, especially the bass. One of the things I’ll give it credit for is that it is put together in a manner that makes it feel that the length is warranted – it doesn’t feel artificially inflated. Two solos might have been too much, but the song builds to them in a way that is enjoyable throughout. This also feels pretty timeless, probably due to the amount of bands who could feasibly have been influenced by Television as a whole. 463. ‘Like a Hurricane’, Neil Young (1977) The book spends a lot of time talking about the genesis of this song – a woman called Gail that Young had become enamoured with during a trip to La Honda as he recuperated from surgery to his vocal chords. What followed was a song about what they term ‘corrosive longing’. I’ll be honest, it took me a few minutes to really ‘get it’, but by the time the solo kicked in, I was there. I think Young’s voice is one you either love or don’t necessarily care for and I oscillate between those two situations depending on what song he is singing. In this song, it works for me at least.
  3. 455. ‘Ram Jam’, Black Betty (1977) This is one of those songs where I feel what it brings to the table is pretty self-evident. Lyrics to singalong to? Check. Loud guitar to enjoy? Check. Hooky drum work? Check. It is at its best when it isn’t necessarily trying too hard to do anything outside of the ordinary – the solo in the middle is good, just the move into it halts the momentum of the song in my opinion. Dumb and loud – just the way it should be. 456. ‘Born For A Purpose’, Dr. Alimantado and The Rebels (1977) Recorded in 1977, but not released on an album until 1981, this song came about when Alimantado was recovering having been run over by a bus on Boxing Day 1976 – an incident that may have been due to his deadlocks as they were frowned down upon in Jamaica. Lyrically and musically, this is a very good song. The sense of not wanting someone to determine what you do with your life made Alimantado an inspiration in the UK punk scene of all places, whilst the understated musical accompaniment rolls along, providing a percussive sound that makes you want to move your body. Alimantado’s vocals are also very good – he has a melodic delivery that is easy on the ear. 457. ‘Zombie’, Fela Kuti and Africa 70 (1977) It took a brave man in Nigeria during this time period to ridicule the military, yet that was what Fela Kuti chose to do with this twelve minute song. The backlash was ridiculous: he was beaten up, his mother was murdered, and his studio was destroyed. However, it served some purpose as it inspired rising up in other areas of Africa, such as Ghana. Kuti was a saxophonist so responsible for the jagged rhythms that carry the song, whilst it was the lyrics that were designed to make the army seem foolish. The biggest affront was that some of this mocking came from women as the backing singers chanted ‘Zombie’. This isn’t really my jam at all, but I can definitely see why it is here and it isn’t a bad tune by any means. 458. ‘Wuthering Heights’, Kate Bush (1977) Influenced by: A Really Good Time • Roxy Music (1974) Influence on: Silent All These Years • Tori Amos (1991) Covered by: Pat Benatar (1980) • White Flag (1992) • Angra (1993) • James Reyne (2000) • The Puppini Sisters (2006) • Hayley Westenra (2006) The book makes the point I was going to make immediately – this is as eye opening or startling as any Sex Pistols or the other groundbreaking acts that came about in this year, but in a very different way of course. Bush was only nineteen when she released this song and became the first British female to top the chart with a self-penned song. The real hook is her high pitched wail, which apparently was her trying to embody the role of the book heroine, a book that she didn’t even particularly care for. This feels over the top in all the best ways and is a hard song for me personally not to enjoy. 459. ‘Uptown Ranking’, Althea and Donna (1977) There is a swagger throughout this song that makes it hard not to enjoy. Streetwise patois adds to that feeling of ‘cool’ that emanates from every moment of the tune. It was rare – based on this list at least – to have lyrics from women that prominently featured them talking themselves up in some fashion, or showing off about how they looked and what they wore. This appealed to enough people to go to number 1 in the UK which is the least it deserved. 460. ‘I Feel Love’, Donna Summer (1977) A controversial song as it took disco away from its African-American soul and funk roots, this was one of the first noteworthy tunes that had a completely synthesised backing track. This feels like the perfect amalgamation of a musical world that were still enthralled by disco but had just had bands like Kraftwerk rock up to the party. Whether people liked the removal of the human element to the backing track, it is hard to argue that the synthesised melodies don’t create a pulsating and busy background which Summer’s clear vocals laid on top. Making up the ‘Future’ section of her album ‘I Remember Yesterday’, Summer was pretty much spot on as we headed into the 80s.
  4. 452. ‘Orgasm Addict’, The Buzzcocks (1977) Influenced by: I Can’t Control Myself • The Troggs (1966) Influence on: Uncontrollable Urge • Devo (1978) Covered by: Manic Hispanic (1992) • Momus (1996) Other key tracks: Boredom (1977) • What Do I Get (1978) • Everybody’s Happy Nowadays (1979) Perhaps the strangest thematic subsection in music is that masturbation song. I hadn’t really thought too much about it, but there are quite a lot of songs about self pleasure and this is a very good example. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it is loud, raucous and very funny. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t touched by the BBC and almost didn’t even get pressed due to its content. Still, this is a really good song irrelevant of the subject matter. In fact, as far as masturbation songs go, it is a stroke of genius and hard to beat…. I’ll see my way out. 453. ‘Holidays in the Sun’, Sex Pistols (1977) Influenced by: Chatterbox • New York Dolls (1974) Influence on: Good Times • Towers of London (2006) Covered by: The Bollock Brothers (1983) • Skid Row (1989) • Green Day (1997) • Hayseed Dixie (2007) Other key tracks: Satellite (1977) • Pretty Vacant (1977) • E.M.I. (1977) I hadn’t expected more than two Sex Pistols songs on the list and this is definitely one that I haven’t heard before. It probably sits right in the middle of the other two in terms of my enjoyment, though perhaps I should be giving The Jam the credit since the main riff was stolen from ‘In The City’. This apparently led to a duel of headbutts between Sid Vicious and Paul Weller according to the book, which probably is the most exciting thing about this song. I don’t care too much for the vocals, but the crunchy guitar tone is at least enjoyable for someone who likes their music on the heavier side from time to time. 454. ‘Peaches’, The Stranglers (1977) Another for the ‘oh yeah, THAT song’ list. I had no idea what this was just looking at the title and the band name, but was instantly aware from the opening note. It also is another song that I don’t think I’ve ever had to listen to the whole way through, with the chorus being the main hook used…I’m guessing in films, TV and advertising? I’m not sure – it seems to be the only place I can imagine hearing this. A large debate about this song is whether the lead singer uses the word ‘clitoris’ or ‘clitares’, which may or may not be a French name for a swimsuit. Either way, this is a lot more talk/singy than I’d imagined heading in, though it is all about the simple yet addictive bass line anyway. That’s what makes this song ‘work’.
  5. 449. ‘Dum Dum Boys’, Iggy Pop (1977) Considering I know Pop purely for his short, rocking numbers, I was surprised to see a seven minute tune of his crack this collection. This is a song that reminisces about the Stooges, three years after Pop had taken his leave from them. I’m not sure whether I’d have picked it out myself, but when it turns out that David Bowie produced and part-wrote the song, it feels very Bowie-esque, at least for my knowledge of this era of his work. The guitars may not be as noisy or frenetic as some of Pop’s earlier work, but the relatively simple tune that is generated creates a groovy soundscape for his bittersweet lyrics, whilst the effects and echoes add a little touch of sonic interest. Probably my favourite song of his to end up on the list so far. 450. ‘Come è profondo il mare’, Lucio Dalla (1977) I’ve included the music video that was recorded only a few years ago seemingly, yet I believe this is a cleaned up version of the original rather than some new recording based on Dallas’ age. The jaunty whistle gives way to a song that is actually about the melancholy he was feeling, the book describing it as a meditation on the human condition. If you didn’t know that, it would be hard to tell, especially when you factor in some choral backing at points and the spare instrumentation. Dallas’ voice is very expressive and it is as you listen that you can perhaps hear the frustration that the rest of the song doesn’t always hint at. 451. ‘Ghost Rider’, Suicide (1977) Inspired by the Marvel comic of the same name, this is what happened when a sculptor and a free-form Jazz musician came together to try and mix the sensibilities of the Strokes and Andy Warhol’s pop-art movement. The term ‘anti-music’ gets used and there is an argument that this singular reliance on the drum machine and a one note riff is trying to boil music down to its very essence, seeing what was capable with the simples of commodities. Bands like Depeche Mode and Radiohead cited these as an influence, but I think it says a lot that I’m much more interested in their take on this stylistic choice of music. Not a bad song by any means, just one that came and went for me.
  6. 446. ‘Trans-Europe Express’, Kraftwerk (1977) Music video version: Influenced by: Bayreuth Return • Klaus Schulze (1975) Influence on: Confusion • New Order (1983) Covered by: Señor Coconut y su conjunto (2000) Other key tracks: Autobahn (1974) • Radioactivity (1975) • Europe Endless (1977) • Showroom Dummies (1977) • Tour de France (1983) Here is another act that I feel I should have gone out of my way to listen to before, but just never got around to it. This is also another song that you hear and try and imagine what it must have been liked first listening to it back in the 70s. This must have felt so ‘futuristic’ and forward thinking in terms of the sounds it used. That it was very legitimately about a train almost makes it better in some regards. There is that sense of lurching locomotion throughout, whilst the synthesiser going in and out in terms of volume was designed to mimic the Doppler Effect, further adding to the sense of movement. 447. ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’, Ian Drury (1977) Influenced by: Bluejean Bop • Gene Vincent (1956) Influence on: Oranges and Lemons Again • Suggs with Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra (2001) Covered by: Robbie Williams (2001) Other key track: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (1977) My knowledge of Ian Drury is pretty limited outside of the ‘obvious’ songs, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this song. I definitely didn’t expect the slow opening, yet when things kicked into gear, everything fell into place a bit more. A song that – unsurprisingly – is an homage to Gene Vincent, it is a lively rocker with a playful tone to it. I like when UK artists keep their accent and though it meant the song had very little success outside of the UK, it is fun to hear Drury’s Estuary English accent recorded for posterity. A good song, nothing more, nothing less. 448. ‘By This River’, Brian Eno (1977) With vocals and keyboard only, this is a very minimalist song but is all the more effective for it. Apparently, Eno largely moved away from vocals during his work in the next decade, yet his voice is perfect for the atmosphere this song seems to be aiming for. The notes themselves feel upbeat when considered on their own, but as they fall together, it creates a melancholy atmosphere that is furthered by his forlorn sounding vocals. If anything, the song felt a little on the short side – I could have gone for a little more of it, that’s for sure.
  7. 443. ‘Poor Poor Pitiful Me’, Warren Zevon (1976) Warren Zevon’s self-titled album had involvement from Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and Bonnie Raitt amongst others, suggesting that these musicians knew a good thing when they saw it. They had hitched their wagon to a singer-songwriter who soon proved that he had some skill in that department. This song wasn’t quite what I expected with the title, yet somewhat better. The clear guitar and drum sounds offer a backdrop for Zevon to talk about a run of bad luck that included things such as a failed suicide attempt and domestic abuse. The lyrics are at odds with the sound, which is what makes it an interesting slice of Zevon’s work. The clarity of the production in general was noticeable and made everything sound that bit bigger than it might have done otherwise. 444. ‘Underground’, The Upsetters (1976) The book speaks to this song setting the tone for future acts such as Massive Attack, and I can see it. This is an example of ‘dub’, not necessarily a style or genre of music that I was aware of. However, I do much prefer it to many of the reggae-esque songs that have come before it in the list. The use of echo and reverb give it a darker tone whilst still maintaining the overall groove that makes this style of music so enjoyable and largely quite accessible. 445. ‘God Save The Queen’, The Sex Pistols (1976) Influenced by: My Generation • The Who (1965) Influence on: Smells Like Teen Spirit • Nirvana (1991) Covered by: The Bollock Brothers (1983) • Anthrax (1985) • Quorthon (1997) • Motörhead (2000) • Enrico Ruggeri (2004) • The Enemy (2008) • Nouvelle Vague (2009) Outside of the opening bars of this tune, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in full. It is hard not to compare it to ‘Anarchy in the UK’, which is a song I do prefer on balance of what I think they offer. ‘God Save…’ might be more controversial in its content as it linked the Queen to a fascist state and was released during her Jubilee for good measure…but it just isn’t as good overall. It lacks the hookiness to go with the noise that a lot of the 70s UK punk bands often managed to incorporate effectively.
  8. 440. ‘Chase the Devil’, Max Romeo (1976) I won’t be the only one who primarily ‘knows’ this song through its sampling in the Prodigy song ‘Out of Space’, one of my absolute favourite songs. The most interesting aspect of this song are some of the weird things Romeo did during recording his songs – things like burying the tapes in the ground or blowing smoke on the reels. His is also probably one of the very few songs on this list that would have a guiro as a backing instrument. 441. ‘New Rose’, The Damned (1976) The first thing that really hits you with this song (and maintains throughout it) is the power and speed of the drums. This is noisy, fast and fun, whilst apparently being fuelled by ‘speed and cider’. The vocal break in the middle gives this a bit more of a dynamic feeling to avoid it from becoming a bit one note in style, before a breakneck end 45 seconds or so that ends where it began – with those drums. Hectic. 442. ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’, The Sex Pistols (1976) The Sex Pistols have never really been a band that I wanted to go back and check out. I was aware enough of what they had to offer, but I’ve never been a big fan of the older punk sound. No judgement for those who are, it just wasn’t something that appealed to me personally. The release of this was shortly followed by the infamous interview in which they swore on television, thus creating a maelstrom that carried them into the public consciousness in a manner that hadn’t been the case before. This was apparently the second attempt at recording this song – a version that geared towards recreating the live sound was turned down, whilst this version was seen as a more considered take and much better for it. Whether I like their sound or not, this must have been a real signal of intent during the mid-70s.
  9. 437. ‘American Girl’, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976) I feel like Tom Petty is another artist that has largely passed me by due to a (perceived by me) lack of success in the UK relative to some other big US acts. However, this has been used in so many different places – it feels – that I am well aware of this song. This is another tune where I believe the lyrics had a lot of importance in its success as they tell a narrative that can easily be co-opted by the listener for someone they know or even themselves. The book mentions the similarity/outright theft of ‘Last Nite’ by the Strokes, which I somehow hadn’t realised. If you are going to steal, I guess you should at least steal from something good. 438. ‘Detroit Rock City’, Kiss (1976) I was thinking that I’d know this song as soon as it came on, yet I can only really hear ‘Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight’ by Spinal Tap. I guess that speaks volumes to how good the writers were at tapping into the sound of these big and brash rock bands from this time period. Maybe it is just me, but this just doesn’t do it for me like some of the other Kiss songs I know – that is, until the guitar solo. It isn’t anything spectacular, yet it lifts things above the rather solidly pedestrian song up until that point. 439. ‘Young Hearts Run Free’, Candi Stanton (1976) A song for all years. The disco element doesn’t date it like it could do for some songs, yet what it does do is hides how sad the song actually is. Stanton sings about a woman who stands by her cheating man as she can’t find the impetus to make a break for it. The simple repeated drums lay the groundwork, whilst the horns add some flourishes to help develop what is actually quite a simple song. Canton’s vocals are given room to stand out and are a particular highlight.
  10. 434. ‘(I’m) Stranded’, The Saints (1976) The desire for the book to incorporate a number of Australian bands whether they feel worthy or not does have me feeling somewhat sceptical about another act from Down Under. I shouldn’t worry as this is a good song from a band who went on to influence acts such as Nick Cave and Henry Rollins. That such aggression can come from Australia feels odd for someone like me whose experience of life there being mostly led by what I see on Neighbours. However, at a time when police brutality and government corruption were an issue, this was a song of barely repressed aggression about the system. There is a hookiness to everything that elevates this song – at base, it is a good rock song with a crunchier, rougher sound. 435. ‘Hotel California’, Eagles (1976) The song that launched one thousand and one school talent shows, my own personal interest in the song is crippled by the amount of times I’ve heard barely pubescent teenagers struggle to wring some life out of it In some ways, this is a shame because before that, I had a genuine enjoyment of this tune, even with my general apathy to Eagles. Kids like to play it because it is pretty simplistic, yet sounds cool in execution. I feel the lyrics are the key component that also draws the students to cover it – it sounds really dark and deep in a way that speaks to the sensibilities of the young. To be quite honest, I was young when my enjoyment of this song was at its peak, quite probably for exactly the same reason. 436. ‘Roadrunner’, The Modern Lovers (1976) This is a weird addition to the ‘driving songs’ oeuvre as it focuses on a Boston ringroad that the writer, Jonathan Richman, lived a ten minute drive from. A fan of the Velvet Underground, Richman managed to connect with John Cale in particular, who produced this song. There is a weird mix here of a song that has pace and forward momentum, yet doesn’t really feel like it gets anywhere. Probably exactly what you are looking for from an ode to a ringroad. Richman’s vocals are languid in their delivery for the most part, which may work for some more than others.
  11. 427. ‘Sir Duke’, Stevie Wonder (1976) This one made me laugh as I was very much ‘I don’t know this song’ until I played it and then was ‘oh yeah, this song’. It is a mixture of the brass and Wonder’s melodious vocals that make this so catchy, with a chorus hook that is hard not to get out of your head. This was written as a tribute to Duke Ellington and if the quality of the song is any indication of the quality of the tribute, this one is up there with the best. 428. ‘The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)’, Rod Stewart (1976) Apparently based on a true story about a man who used to shadow the Faces when in New York, a man who had been shunned by his family for his life choices, this tackles a challenging subject. Some of the musical ‘stuff’ for lack of a better way of putting it in this book I have to take at face value when I don’t really know enough about the artist, so reportedly this came at a time when Stewart was making a push for more mainstream success. With that in mind, this was a bold song. To give Stewart his credit, this could have been trite and poorly judged, but the story is told in a fashion that doesn’t make light of the situation nor uses it for shock value. 429. ‘Dancing Queen’, ABBA (1976) Influenced by: Rock Your Baby • George McCrae (1974) Influence on: Love to Hate You • Erasure (1991) Covered by: Garageland (1995) • Kylie Minogue (1998) • S Club 7 (1999) • CoCo Lee (1999) • Sixpence None the Richer (1999) • The Ten Tenors (2006) I genuinely don’t think there are a better group or even artist who wrote better ‘pop’ music than ABBA did. Whilst this isn’t amongst my absolute favourites by them – mainly due to it being somewhat ubiquitous and overplayed – it is a perfect indication of what they offered the music world. The piano, the vocals and the strings all add together to create something fundamentally enjoyable in my opinion. This was also their only number 1 hit in the US, showing that it was perhaps the song that had most drawing power amongst their sizeable catalogue of singles. 430. ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, The Ramones (1976) Influenced by: Saturday Night • Bay City Rollers (1976) Influence on: St. Jimmy • Green Day (2004) Covered by: Screeching Weasel (1992) • Yo La Tengo (1996) • Poison Idea (1996) • The Kids (2002) • Rob Zombie (2003) • Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (2001) • The Beautiful South (2004) Is there a better band at capturing the spirit of what rock and roll perhaps should be about than The Ramones? The idea that pretty much anyone could get up, play a guitar and sing, making wonderful, loud and noisy music. Fun and stupid in equal measure, this was apparently inspired by the Bay City Rollers song ‘Saturday Night’, with the Ramones wanting their own song with a chanting section in it. No airs or graces, this is just dumb fun and all the better for it. 431. ‘Love Hangover’, Diana Ross (1976) Apparently, Ross (and her record label) was sceptical about the new wave of disco music that had seen her edged out of the spotlight, yet was convinced to do the song and produced a sultry, sexy eight minute slice of what she was capable of. The studio was decked out like a disco, whilst Ross had several drinks of Remy Martin to overcome her nerves and concerns. It is an interesting song as it doesn’t really kick in to the ‘disco part’ until almost halfway through, but that is to the song’s benefit, as it allows Ross more time to vocally sashay her way around the lyrics. 432. ‘Cokane In My Brain’, Dillinger (1976) Depending on where you look, the song gets listed as either ‘Cokane’ or ‘Cocaine’, though I’m thinking the book might have – for some reason – been making it a little bit tamer. The lyrics are pretty ambiguous, though the main hook gives it something to hang everything on. I don’t have a lot to say about this. It is enjoyable enough, but I feel one for the era that it was created in. It also apparently had quite a big impact on areas such as US hip-hop as well as having acid house and drum and bass remixes.
  12. 421. ‘Musica ribelle’, Eugenio Finardi (1975) Influenced by: Mysterious Traveller • Weather Report (1974) Influence on: Extraterrestre • Eugenio Finardi (1978) Covered by: Luca Carboni (2009) Other key tracks: Amore Diverso (1983) • Le ragazze di Osaka (1983) • La forza dell’amore (1990) This was apparently a big deal upon its release in Italy during 1975 – a stagnant music scene was shaken by this lively take on what I guess is Italian rock. Mixing Italian musical conventions with the style of the British and American rock bands of the time, Finardi created a song about a wave of musical rebellion that he urged. This doesn’t feel aged at all and if anything is a song that I’d struggle to have placed in the 70s at all. Really fun and I can imagine that this blew the cobwebs away for some Italian music fans. 422. ‘Born To Run’, Bruce Springsteen (1975) Influenced by: Da Doo Ron Ron • The Crystals (1963) Influence on: Stuck Between Stations • The Hold Steady (2006) Covered by: Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984) • Suzi Quatro (1995) • Joey Tempest (1998) • The Hollies (1999) • Melissa Etheridge (2001) • Ray Wilson (2002) Urgency is the word that springs to mind whenever I hear ‘Born To Run’. It starts up and never really lets up – pretty fitting for a song with that title. Originally conceived as part of an aborted concept album idea, this song was toiled over for a long time and at least four different versions exist if the book is to be believed. The time was well spent – this is just excellent rock and roll. It longs to be danced or sung along with, and that, to me, is the very essence of a good rock and roll song. This nails it. 423. ‘Leb’ Wohl’, NEU! (1975) This is just really cool. The last song on their farewell album – with the song title meaning ‘Farewell’ – NEU! (a band I’ve never heard of, I’ll be honest) mixed ocean waves, hushed vocals and minimal piano to create a beautiful nine minute piece of music. As a way to go out, this is pretty impressive. Everything feels well thought through here, as if they knew exactly what note they wanted to leave things on. It makes me intrigued to go back and check out more, which is praise indeed. 424. ‘Legalize It’, Peter Tosh (1975) No real surprise what this is about – the former Wailer spends four minutes calling for the legalising of weed. The upbeat rhythm make this a good song to listen to whatever your predilection for smoking marijuana, whilst I particularly like the intermittent female backing vocals that add another little layer to proceedings. Nothing special, but the incorporation of such a clear call for changes to drug legislation is a novel thing at this point in the music journey. 425. ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’, Blue Oyster Cult (1975) Would I be right in thinking that the SNL sketch ‘More Cowbell’ is more famous than the actual song that begat it? I know it where I first became aware of the song, which says a lot for someone who doesn’t have easy access to SNL. A song that inspired by the guitarist’s fears about dying during a bout of heart trouble, this is an enjoyable song above and beyond the comedy sketch element. The sombreness is always more melancholy than outright sad, whilst the song as a whole has enough hooks to make it stand out. 426. ‘More Than A Feeling’, Boston (1975) When I was younger, I used to go to watch a local ice hockey team on a Saturday night. Well, I was taken by my Dad and Stepmum. Years later, I heard this on Rock Band and could already place it as a song that was played during intermission or before games. I had no idea what it was, but knew that I enjoyed it and that enjoyment of the song has remained. As for my attempts to sing it on Rock Band, the highness of the vocals in places are just ridiculous and testament to the impressive range of the lead singer. Amazingly, all the instruments apart from the drums were played by one guy, Tom Scholz. Taking a routine idea about music uplifting you and turning it into something that feels so much more speaks to some great lyrical work as well.
  13. 418. ‘Time of the Preacher’, Willie Nelson (1975) I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard a full song by Willie Nelson, so I can at least tick that off of the list. This was the opening song of ‘Red Headed Stranger’, a concept album about a preacher who kills his wife and love, and it returns at several other points in some guise. I can’t vouch for the quality of the song compared to others on the album, but it makes sense to incorporate the recurring song of an album that sold several million copies. What I heard, I like – unfussy, with Nelson providing a good narrative delivery. 419. ‘Rimmel’, Francesco De Gregori (1975) The opening of this song sounds really familiar, as if it is the opening them to some teenage/young adult situation comedy/dramedy. Apparently the bittersweet farewell to a lost love, ‘Rimmel’ was on an album that saw a change in De Gregori’s style, switching from politics to love songs. Sounding like a poppier, Italian Neil Young-type, it isn’t difficult to see why this became a fundamental part of his live shows, alongside several other songs from the album. Pop with a bit of soul. 420. ‘Born to be With You’, Dion (1975) A Phil Spector production that Dion was largely unhappy with, the album that spawned this song was commercially unsuccessful, yet seemed to have a larger influence many years later with musicians from Primal Scream and Spiritualized speaking highly of it. This was a cover of a song that had been released several times before, whilst also seeing Spector produce one of those versions. Thus, this was him trying to outdo himself. The candor of the lyrics is talked up in the book, whilst the flourishes of the saxophone add to what is already a powerful, if subtle, instrumentation.
  14. 415. ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, Bob Dylan (1975) I’ll be honest, I don’t think I ever heard this song until it was on a Rock Band or Guitar Hero I owned. Still, I fucking loved it after belting it out a few drunken times in the lifetime of my involvement with those games. The song came on an album written around the time he was going through a divorce, which ties into lyrics that – in a scattershot approach – explored a relationship that was falling apart. It jumps around, though it offers up some interesting snapshots of their time together and what led to them breaking up. It is also, in my very limited exposure to Dylan’s songs, the main one that I can’t imagine being done better by someone else. I like Dylan’s songwriting, but not always his actual delivery when compared to other notable covers – this one is a perfect mix of the two. 416. ‘Walk This Way’, Aerosmith (1975) I’m pretty certain that I have never heard the original, non-Run DMC version of this song up until now. I’m sure people will have different opinions, but this doesn’t feel as good as the remix, whilst its position on the list feels as much about paying homage to what it would eventually become. Still, it is funky, with a title inspired by ‘Young Frankenstein’ apparently and a fair bit of sexual innuendo within the lyrics. A fun slice of rock and roll. 417. ‘Wish You Were Here’, Pink Floyd (1975) I always feel that there are certain bands I’ve never tried to get into and probably should – Pink Floyd is one of them. Considering how well loved they are by some, I mean to delve into their back catalogue, but have never found the drive required. This is arguably my favourite song I’ve heard of theirs, though the list is pretty short. There is something very sad, yet meditative at the heart of it that I really enjoy.
  15. 409. ‘Fight the Power, Part 1 and 2’, The Isley Brothers (1975) Another song that engaged with the political climate of the time, The Isley Brothers themselves were quick to point out that this wasn’t about black versus white, but about those without power against those in power. Coming off the back of Watergate, it was received particularly well, though the music didn’t need anything gimmicky to get people moving and grooving. Ok, they do drop a few ‘bullshits’, but the guttural croon of Ronald coupled with Ernie’s incessant guitar make this a very catchy song irrelevant of the circumstances it came out in. Throw in the anti-authority stance and its popularity was guaranteed. 410. ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’, KC and the Sunshine Band (1975) A perfect example of a song that has been so ubiquitously used on radio and at various parties throughout my life that I’ve never really stopped to spend much time to actually pay attention to it. Apparently the sexy lyrics were toned down on the actual released version as they did risk not getting airplay on the original recording of the song. The mixed male and female vocals not always heavily link to the sexy times being described, but it adds layers to the vocals that take this away from something that threatens to be repetitive and into something more. At just over three minutes, this is done before it overstays its welcome (something it definitely could have done given more air time, I feel). 411. ‘Kalimankou denkour’, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (1975) A Bulgarian polyphonic choir that was given an even larger air of mystery by being sold as a Swiss group singing ancient songs of their people. It is all a bit random, but the music is undeniably impressive. Whether you like this style of music or not, the vocal control and skill is something to behold, with the layers of vocals making this feel powerful even to this day. 412. ‘Marcus Garvey’, Burning Spear (1975) A tribute to the philosopher and activist, this was another example of reggae-based music having success on both sides of the ocean. I don’t have a lot to say about it personally – it is a fine song with some effective horn use throughout – but it is also a song that just is, for me. The significance of broadening musical horizons earns it a space on the list, yet the song itself isn’t particularly exciting personally. 413. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Queen (1975) Influenced by: This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us • Sparks (1974) Influence on: United States of Eurasia • Muse (2009) Covered by: Elaine Paige (1988) • “Weird Al” Yankovic (1993) • Rolf Harris (1996) • Lucia Micarelli (2004) • The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2005) This is a great song to hear in the context of the time period. I – for reasons unknown – assumed this was a song released later than this. Early 80s, perhaps? I’m not entirely sure and it was never something I thought too hard about. This is a batshit crazy song no matter when it was created, yet it feels even more incongruous with the rest of what has been picked from the early and mid 70s. I personally love the song, but I could understand complete apathy towards it as well. What could be completely disparate bits fit together in my opinion in a way that turns a six minute song into one that never loses its energy. There is definitely nothing really like this, so it has that in its favour, for better and worse. 414. ‘Gloria’, Patti Smith (1975) Influenced by: Sister Ray • The Velvet Underground (1968) Influence on: C’Mon Billy • PJ Harvey (1995) Covered by: Jimi Hendrix (1979) • Eddie & The Hot Rods (1997) • Rickie Lee Jones (2001) • The Standells (2001) • Simple Minds (2001) No pretensions, just good ol’ rock and roll here from Smith. I’ve never heard this before, but the list of people who pay homage to this as a seminal song in the evolution of the genre says a lot in support of its inclusion. Unlike ‘Piss Factory’, this is more of a song to me than spoken word and Smith has a voice that presents the yearning, sexually charged narrative presented in the lyrics. There isn’t a lot else going on with the music, outside of a driving guitar chord that powers the song along and creates just the right sort of racket.
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