65 thoughts on “Spillyear 1971

  1. Joni Mitchell – The Last Time I Saw Richard (closing my sometimes favourite album ever)
    David Bowie – Life On Mars
    Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

    That was easy.

  2. I played all these artists last Saturday, the Sly song was Dance to the Music

    Isaac Hayes: Shaft
    Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
    Sly & the Family Stone: Family Affair

    David Bowie: Queen Bitch

    Great year!

    • Those are all great. I’d have to go with Inner City Blues for Marvin though. The mighty Maggot Brain was ’71 too. The Stylistics first album was that year, and were all over Philly radio.

      And, Soul Train was syndicated in 1971.

      • Just now I typed in Soul/Funk 1971 and oh my funky god! That was a mighty year for soul and funk bands with mighty brass sections, mighty rhythm sections and guitars. I might have to do a separate post about how good the grooves were that year. You know I completely forgot the small matter of Sticky Fingers being 1971!


        (Ha! The Aussies are 86 for 6 after electing to bat! Sorry, irrelevant cricket post)

      • Cricket posts are never irrelevant. I notice the Guardian OBO is discussing whether 1987 was a great or dire year for music. Watch this space.

      • I’ve been following cricinfo while doing other stuff and the people around me are beginning to wonderwhat drugs I’m on. 99 for 7; this is dreamland. What a morning for Jimmy Anderson!

        Sticky Fingers… This week,,, my pick would be Wild Horses.

      • By the way, 1987 was a great year for music, if you were into alt&indie rock My recollection of the charts stuff is a bit vague.

      • dond for Wild Horses, of course. And hopefully Beth or Fintan picks my other choice. Oh, and Sway would be in there too. Oh, and Sister Morphine too. What a great album.

        I forgot Changes on my Bowie shortlist too. What a great album too. They just don’t make them like that anymore.

      • The album became an art form in that era. And rock became serious, too.

        These days I’m just overwhelmed with the amount of music that’s available and that I want to hear. The CD made albums too long, so you just don’t know what you’re getting and the quality can vary too much.

        And I think it takes longer for the cream to rise, or it just gets ignored or lost in its own genre.

      • Well, now we sort of have to do our own work to find our music, the radio stations aren’t going to do it for us. Which probably isn’t a bad thing. We just have to sort of choose our vetters these days according to our own tastes.

  3. I shall be very unoriginal. If Blue and Hunky Dory were that year – and Electric Warrior apparently…
    T-Rex – Get It On
    Joni Mitchell – Little Green
    David Bowie – The Bewlay Brothers

    • Just to add that, during that year, I was probably only aware of hit singles. I was 13 and a late starter to buying albums and delving further into music than Top of the Pops. At the time I would probably have picked Mungo Jerry’s Lady Rose or Baby Jump and Middle of the Road’s Soley Soley.

  4. Ah, 1971! This is a year I remember well, not least because it is the year that Led Zeppelin gave us Stairway To Heaven, which I will definitely bag.

    It is also the year that Pink Floyd released Meddle and I am picking Echoes from that album.

    !971 was a great year for music, I think. So many great albums were released; Aqualung, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, Tago Mago, The Yes Album, L.A. Woman, Sticky Fingers, What’s Going On, Every Picture Tells a Story, The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East, Fool’s Mate, Shaft, The Inner Mounting Flame, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Moving Waves and many more.

    It is the first year when I had enough money to regularly buy albums, because I had a Saturday job.

    So, my choices are;

    John Martyn – Glistening Glyndebourne
    Pink Floyd – Echoes
    Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven

    • Yes, could easily have picked any of these – although it’s hard to judge (or even appreciate) Stairway to Heaven unselfconsciously. Like the Mona Lisa or St Paul’s Cathedral.

      • Weirdly, perhaps, it wasn’t until I bought LZ IV on CD that I was able to listen to Stairway anew. On vinyl, it always came across as the crown jewel of Side One and seemed to act as a kind of full stop to the album. I got to the point where I stopped listening to Side Two. When I bought the CD, I was able to listen to the track as part of a seamless whole, with Misty Mountain Hop following on without a break in such a way as to kind of anchor Stairway into the flow of the music.

  5. It’s a tough one, but –

    Bowie – Hunky Dory
    Stones – Sticky Fingers
    Led Zep – Led Zep IV
    Yes – The Yes Album

    Oh, you mean you just want one song? From back in the days where an album was an album and not just a single or 2 with some filler? And not a clunker on Sticky Fingers either. Ok, eenie meenie (but thanks, folks, for making the Hunky Dory pick just a bit easier.)

    Rolling Stones – Bitch
    Bowie – Quicksand or Kooks
    Led Zep – Black Dog
    Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
    Yes – I’ve Seen All Good People

    I’ll narrow it down to 3 for the playlist.

  6. Of course, I’ve managed to forget another great 1971 album, Carole King’s Tapestry.

    Also, it was the year that The Who released Who’s Next, which managed to salvage a great rock album from the shambles of Pete Townshend’s “Lifehouse” project.

    Three posthumous releases worth mentioning are Pearl by Janis Joplin and The Cry of Love by Jimi Hendrix, an album which stands up in its own right, and Rainbow Bridge which doesn’t, really, but both were later used as the basis of First Rays of the New Rising Sun, which is an attempt to recreate the album that Hendrix was working on when he died.

    On the prog front, Caravan gave us In the Land of Grey and Pink, King Crimson released the underrated Islands, Van der Graaf Generator gave us Pawn Hearts and Genesis released Nursery Cryme

    The more I think about it, 1971 comes over as another great milestone year in musical terms.

    • I agree with you, but … we already did 1967 and 1969, and 1970 and 1972 were milestone years too. Those were the golden years. For us old rockers anyway.

      Tapestry was probably the most ubiquitous album of the day, you couldn’t get away from it where i lived. No real clunkers on that one either.

      • I am very firmly of the opinion that the decade from 1965 to 1975 represents a kind of peak for rock music. The sheer inventiveness and variety of music produced in incredible. It is the core of almost everything I still love today.

        This is not to belittle the music that means a lot to others, we all have our own personal golden ages.

      • No, not at all. But we’re rock music fans, and it’s probably why we are, because that’s what was around and so good at the time. Now if we were born a decade or two later, let’s say that hair metal was what was around for rock, and we probably would have been indie or hip hop kids because that’s what was good then.

  7. Barbryn, I can’t believe the year is up, already. I hope you all have a smooth journey back to the UK and get settled without too much drama (bring jumpers, the conkers are falling already).

    So much to choose from, but in terms of what I was actually listening to at the time (I was 12 and we didn’t have a record player), I’ll go for some singles:

    Judy Collins – Amazing Grace
    Curved Air – Back Street Luv
    Rod Stewart – Maggie May

    Judy Collins was the first gig I ever went to (a year later). My best friend was a Rod Stewart fan, she had a feather-cut like his and a picture of him inside her school hymnbook (together with one of Kevin Keegan, who played for Liverpool at the time). Someone had written “Rod Stewart is a radio-active hedgehog” on the back on the loo door at school.

    I was just beginning to get into “prog rock”, Moody Blues, Zeppelin, Floyd, Genesis, Caravan, Focus, King Crimson, ELP etc.etc. and used to listen to Radio Caroline, late at night, I think it would have been around this time. I also liked folk music and could pick this up on the radio too, Sunday afternoon, I think. Long time ago.

  8. I had my first birthday. This would have been my playlist if I had one of those big parties that parents throw for their sprog these days. I think I just got a single cupcake. 😦

    1) The Doors – Riders On The Storm – One of the best uses of sound effects on a song, and Ray’s keyboard solo and the double-tracked lead vocals (whispered over sung) still sends a chill up the spine. Just perfect in every way.

    2) James Brown – Hot Pants – Forgettable fashion fads have inspired lots of disposable novelty songs, but the Godfather is in top form here.

    3) Michelangelo – 300 Watt Music Box – Goin’ deep here, but at age one you can see why I might need a lullaby. Especially one with a weird phasey sound anchored by a dulcimer.

  9. 1971 was a transition year, both for me and for the music I was listening to. I left school, fell hopelessly in love (at first sight!!), went up to Uni (Sussex) and had my heart well and truly screwed, causing real ‘WTF am I doing here?!’ moments.

    I’d fallen out with Pink Floyd’s pretension, couldn’t stand Led Zep, wasn’t a Who or Stones fan, didn’t love Caravan enough for a whole album, didn’t ‘get’ Bowie/TRex etc, appreciated (but wasn’t keen on the voice of) Joni, didn’t get round to listening to What’s Going On ’til years later, missed Can, couldn’t get into Yes, wasn’t female enough for Tapestry……

    Thank Christ the Grateful Dead released the Skull and Roses album! After the acoustic songs of WD and AB the previous year, hearing the live band again felt good, even though half the tracks were single-length. It was the record containing the invitation for Dead Heads [sic] to write in and which, I discovered years later, Phil Lesh had insisted Warner Bros name Skullfuck… And it contained the first versions I ever heard of these three classics:

    Playing In The Band
    Wharf Rat
    Not Fade Away/Going Down The Road Feeling Bad

      • Never heard of him but he sounds infinitely preferable to Jeb, Donald & co. Would you really prefer yet another rich old white man to Hillary? (Having said that, I find myself wanting Jeremy Corbyn to beat Labour’s Stepford wives.)

      • He describes himself as a democratic socialist. I cannot see that going down well with the majority of American voters.

      • I’m not political. So take anything I say about politics with a whole bag of salt…


        In the midst of all this supposed Berniemania, it’s worth remembering another Vermonter who also had unassailable civil rights credentials, refused to accept big campaign money, and was wildly popular on college campuses, social media, and in the pages of the Grauniad.

        And one whose campaign was over in the time it takes to say “hyeeeeahhhh!”

      • It’s going down much better than could ever be suspected. Don’t believe what you read in the Guardian on American affairs. We are a very, very pissed off electorate these days. In addition to pissed off labor and lefty Dems, he’s picking up a lot of Indies (who are the majority of the electorate), and even a lot of working class Republicans, and vets who generally vote R.

        What makes him different is that he’s an honest candidate with a solid record of walking the walk for decades, he’s no Nader. Or even Obama, who sold us out from day 1. Even Repubs who don’t like his policies admit that at least he’s an honest guy and real. He’s an Independent as Senator, but running against Hills as a Dem. I don’t expect, or even necessarily want, all of his proposals to get passed should he win as president. (I’m actually no socialist). But he’s our best shot at someone who won’t sell us out.

        Polls as they stand have Clinton still the frontrunner in the Dem primaries, although the gap is narrowing. But if you look at how they poll against the Repubs in the general, he’s doing as well, or better, than she is. The Dems should rethink their meme that she’s the only one who can win against the Repubs.


      • SHA – Howie is a lobbyist for Big Pharma now. Who could have possibly forseen that. (I’ll tentatively raise my hand there. And i’m an Indy, but I actually still kind of like Kerry.)

  10. Donds for Hunky Dory (all of it) & T.Rex

    Doors – LA Woman
    Who – Baba O’Riley
    Lee & Nancy – Did You Ever?

  11. We moved from Greater London to the wilds of the Essex countryside that summer. My parents promised me riding lessons to shut up my whingeing (I really did NOT want to go), yet to this very day I have never been on a horse. Donds to all the T.Rex songs already mentioned, but I reckon my 7 year-old self would have been listening to

    Benny Hill – Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)
    Cher – Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
    Kinks – Apeman

  12. I was only one – not much stuck in my mind!
    stuff I heard later would be very unlike my normal listening (except Lenny as that is one of my all time fav tracks – but barbryn got there first) if I had to pick 3 it’s be Lenny, Bill and Gators I guess, I know I’m the yang to Amy and Caroles ying about this era – I own and rather enjoy Focus and Amon Düül II but they get one listen every decade to make me smile:

    Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
    The Gaturs ~ “Cold Bear”
    MC5 – Sister Anne
    Osibisa – Music For Gong Gong
    Focus – Hocus Pocus
    Amon Düül II – Syntelman’s March Of The Roaring Seventies
    Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat
    Focus – Eruption


      • And i was most definitely listening to it at the time too, as a 10 or 11 year old kid. I had the single.

        To be fair, i had a lot of Bread singles then too. It would have been “If” in ’71. I’d probably get donds for that from Fintan and Magic if no one else.

        Carole mentioned James Taylor. If Suzi shows up and picks one, there’s a dond too.

  13. I have a friend born in 1971 who used to do our local pub music quiz, and had a thing for music from the year of his birth. I agree that it’s one if the great years, for diversity and quality, a bit of an unsing hero of a year. In 2001 I made him a set of six compilation tapes of 1971 music.

    If we can have the year of UK chart entry, then I’ll have Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up”, though I think the album / USA chart was 1970. Chi-Lites – “Have You Seen Her ?” might have a similar time-lag thing.

    Dave and Ansel Collins – Double Barrel
    Deep Purple – Fireball
    The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

  14. Just had a look a a list of 1971 singles and Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys (Equals), In My Own Time (Family), Nathan Jones (Supremes) and Tired of being Alone (Al Green) were all in the charts that year. Plus, of course, more T-Rex classics. That wasn’t a bad time to become a teenager.

      • It’s weird I have a complete marmite love/hate relationship with many of those artists. Things like Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Isaac Hayes I adore; but the so called staples of Stevie Wonder, any variation of the Jacksons, even Marvin Gaye leave very little impression on me.
        However hard I try (and an ex did try very hard to convert me long, long ago) I just find it drifts past me before I notice anything – maybe they are too perfect for me, I guess.
        Or I sold my soul many moons ago.

      • I can understand that. Some soul is too smooth for me (mostly late 70’s/early 80’s) but I do love the Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye of this period though, especially that deeper social observation you find in the soul and funk of this era. The personal and political mixed with the sound of those huge bands.

      • I do find the politics interesting – (but I also find it fascinating that Wham!/Nomad/Spiral Tribe/Ragga Twins are political in pop or dance tracks… ‘possibly’ not quite as deep!).

  15. Late to this because of work and other issues, so pretty well all the tracks I thought of immediately have already been taken (Won’t Get Fooled Again, Life on Mars, Shaft, Family Affair, What’s Going On…). I’d go for Purple’s Strange Kind of Woman, which I think was ’71; Free’s My Brother Jake; Curtis Mayfield, Move On Up.

  16. Atomic Rooster – Devil’s Answer, which my best friend wanted for his ninth birthday, but his mum asked the lady at Woolworths to play it first, and she decided it was too loud !

    The Temptations – Just My Imagination

    The Elgins – Heaven Must Have Sent You

    Hurricane Smith – Don’t Let It Die

    John Kongos – He’s Going To Step On You Again (as adapted by the Happy Mondays)

    The Supremes and The Four Tops – River Deep, Mountain High is the first version of the song that I heard, and I have a soft spot for it. Levi Stubbs. I think theie “Simple Game” was 1971 as well.

    Quite a year !

  17. Interesting how most discoveries in this period are from influences on other bands:

    Fall – Can
    Tindersticks – Hazlewood
    Later Bowie – Earlier Bowie
    Damned – Who (really liked to Smash It Up & My Generation is an early punk song, even if the uniform du jour is a bit different)

  18. I am very late to this as we’ve been on holiday, so first of all, sorry Amy, I would have added to the Sticky Fingers enthusiasm, but it seems to be well covered in the end. Donds to all of those and to the Doors, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, T Rex, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and Caravan.

    I’m going with a few obscure ones:
    Sandy Denny – Blackwaterside
    Anne Briggs – The Cuckoo
    Daevid Allen – It’s The Time of Your Life

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