Spillyear 1974

The mid-70s are the dark ages for me, musically speaking. But I’m sure many of you will disagree…

Listen here

Add your top 3

We’ll take a break for the next couple of weeks as there’s so much listening what with the Festive ‘Spill, Xmas earworms, end of year lists and so on. See you for a new year in the new year.

54 thoughts on “Spillyear 1974

  1. I don’t go far beyond a top 3, but it’s a good top 3:

    1. Gram Parsons (and Emmylou Harris) – Return of the Grievous Angel
    2. Dylan – Dirge
    3. Tom Waits – (Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night

  2. Three of my favourite albums were released that year. I was 16 and just starting to have a bit of spending money due to my weekend job at the locale Co Op. A job I was sacked from for having long hair.

    Richard and Linda Thompson – I want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
    Joni Mitchell – Raised on Robbery
    Sparks – Talent is an Asset

    Dorian Lynskey has been raving about this year’s Bowie album over on Bookface.

  3. 1974 was the year I took my A Levels. I remember it being a great year for my social life too, and I was pretty well-off, because I had an evening job that paid well, and I had been able to find a job for the whole summer holidays, so I was able to see a lot of bands and buy quite a few albums. Here are ones that I definitely bought in ’74.

    Robin Trower Bridge Of Sighs
    Joni Mitchell Court And Spark
    Roy Harper Valentine
    Lou Reed Rock And Roll Animal
    Van Morrison It’s Too Late To Stop Now
    The Eagles On The Border
    King Crimson Starless And Bible Black
    David Bowie Diamond Dogs
    Average White Band AWB
    Dylan and The Band Before The Flood

    One notable gig was Roy Harper at the Rainbow Theatre on Valentine’s Day, for the release of his Valentine album. He did an acoustic set and an electric one, with a backing band consisting of Jimmy Page, Keith Moon and Ronnie Lane, which was amazing.I also saw John Martyn, who was touring following the release of Solid Air and <Inside Out the previous year. He was incredible live, with Danny Thompson and John Stevens as his bass and drums. He created the most amazing soundscapes with his echoplex and other effects.

    Anyway, what to pick? I’ll avoid things from the live albums, brilliant though they are.

    Robin Trower – Too Rolling Stoned
    David Bowie – Diamond Dogs
    Roy Harper – Male Chauvinist Pig Blues

    • Love everything by Roy, so donds. I’ve just been given a copy of Bowie’s Nothing Changes in which he starts with his most recent hits and works back in time. It’s an interesting way of tracing his development. Hearing the 70’s Bowie cuts for the first time in so many years has been an intensely evocative experience. So, a roundabout way of saying donds to Diamond Dogs.

    • was often glued to the Fluff Freeman saturday radio show, when he played the Trower tracks I cycled straight down town and got a copy, Bridge of Sighs, but i’ve no idea how i had the 2:45 that an album would have cost as i didn’t do a summer job at a biscuit factory till a year later, which was the only time i had any cash
      Too Rolling Stoned fantastic stuff

  4. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find much in 1974 as I was too little to know much music at the time and I don’t listen to much from that year now, but investigation reveals some good ones
    1. Light of Love by T Rex
    2.I’m In Love with My Car by Queen
    (written by Roger Taylor, he went to the same school as my Dad and I love him)
    3.Never Blow Yr Trip Forever by Gong

  5. Not the greatest of years for me musically speaking but a few gems

    Astronomy – Blue Oyster Cult
    Revolution – Bob Marley + the Wailers
    Late For the Sky – Jackson Browne

    + all of Rock n Roll Animal

      • Rock And Roll Animal is an amazing album. I saw Lou Reed in 1974 at Charlton Athletic’s old ground, The Valley on the same bill as The Who, Humble Pie, Maggie Bell, Bad Company, Lindisfarne and Montrose.

        Lou was pretty much doing the same set as on Rock And Roll Animal but his touring band didn’t feature Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, unfortunately.

        That was a very long, very hot and very stoned day. A pretty top notch set of acts, though. Humble Pie were, as usual, superb.

    • Carole, I was at Charlton in 1974 too, the first big gig I’d ever been to, don’t remember that much about it except the sheer number of people and the fact that the Who and Lou Reed were the best acts on the day

  6. A very good year in my book, spoiled rotten for choice. Going to borrow the 2 list idea here, and maybe even 3.

    Rock picks –

    Clapton – Let it Grow
    Stones – Fingerprint File
    Humble Pie – Thunderbox

    (If Rich shows up with a Bad Co nom, there’s a dond.)

    Funk list –

    Ohio Players – Skin Tight (or Fire)
    Jacksons – Shake your body down to the ground
    James Brown – Hell

    Folkie / mellow list –

    Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
    Cat Stevens – OH Very Young
    Chicago – Wishing You Were Here

    So many more great tunes.

  7. A couple of albums have been mentioned already that I’d like to pick songs from – is that ok? so, from Diamond Dogs, a song that always has me dancing around, impossible to keep still; from Rock’n’Roll animal, that wonderful version of a much-loved VU song, with its amazing intro, and lastly, something from Band on the Run which really takes me back to that year

    David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
    Lou Reed – Sweet Jane
    Paul McCartney and Wings – Jet

    • Ah no, Band on the run was released in December 1973. Very well then, although there seems to be some confusion I’m hoping this version was released in 1974

      The Hollies – Air That I Breathe

      • No, on second thoughts, this one, definitely first released in 1974. Strangely, it brings back memories of.going to the laundrette with my husband-to-be – our washing went round together before we did! But we got married later that year – so kind of memorable! Moved from Bristol to Yate for a while, but had to get up so early for work to get the bus in…so a year later we moved back into Bristol to a lovely house in Neville Road, Bishopston. A friend from those days still lives in that area. A happy year.

        Minnie Riperton – Loving You

      • Thanks Amy….I would’ve changed back to the Hollies but have already added Minnie to the list, Hard to choose really. Minnie just brought back a memory – what an amazing voice she had.

  8. Yes indeedy, so many great tracks on Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight, but I’ll go for the sweet brutality of The End of the Rainbow; and
    Grateful Dead – Stella Blue
    The Meters – Hey Pocky A-Way

  9. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Lively Up Yourself (Bob assumes the protest mantel from another Bob)

    Gene Clark – Some Misunderstanding (The sweep of this song is mindboggling. One of the best ever written.)

    Steeleye Span – Mooncoin Jig (Best instrumental folk song I know. It is so happy! Hey, why are you still sitting down?)

    • Oh dear – I just looked Gene Clark up on Wikipedia and found this:

      “A period of abstinence and recovery followed until Tom Petty’s cover of “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, on his album Full Moon Fever (1989), yielded a huge amount of royalty money to Clark, who quickly reverted to crack cocaine and alcohol abuse.”

  10. I’d go for anything from Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan, but I can’t access it here on Youtube.

    Linden Arlen Stole the Highlights – Van Morrison (or maybe Streets of Arklow)
    Steel and Glass – John Lennon
    How Long – Ace

  11. Restricting myself to stuff that my 13-year-old self actually bought in 1974 (no revisionist historian, I) and since Tempus seems to have left the field open for a specific Steely Dan nom I’ll go for:

    Barrytown – Steely Dan
    La Cathedrale de Strasbourg – Focus
    Carpet Crawlers – Genesis

  12. in 74 i bought Relayer while on holiday, so i had to look at the sleeve for days before i could actually hear it .. proggie jazz war & peace
    giant crimson earthbands earth album with a bag of soil from wales deke leonard
    all sorts

    • purple mkiii with coverdale & hughes did two albums in 74 with young David on fine form on Soldier of Fortune
      Gong You with the glorious om riff may have been 74 too
      Giant’s Power & the Glory saw my first gigs in 74 Lizzy & Judas Priest in Cleethorpes

    • Ah, Deke Leonard!

      I was a huge Man fan back in the early ’70s. I saw them loads of times, because they always seemed to be touring and playing the London pub scene.

      I was at The Roundhouse when they recorded the live parts of Back To The Future and I got Deke Leonard’s Iceberg Album for Christmas in 1973. I’ve not heard in in years.

  13. The single still ruled :
    ‘Tom the Peeper’ – Act One
    ‘Crystal World’- Crystal Grass
    ‘South African Man’ – Hamilton Bohannon

  14. Much good music already mentioned above. I was fourteen. Songs I remember from that time (as opposed to what I might have heard subsequently) are:

    Gordon Lightfoot – Sundown
    Deep Purple – Burn
    Yes – To be Over

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