TNPC presents… The 100 GREATEST ALBUMS made before 1974

Greatest Records

The Idea…

The NME’S Greatest Albums Of All-Time poll from 1985 jump-started my obsession with popular music, inspiring me to buy dozens of my favourite ever LPs. I learned soon afterwards that the magazine had published an earlier list in 1974, and in those pre-internet days, tried hard to track it down. Eventually, somehow, and from somewhere I can’t quite remember (probably a Back Issues mail order advert), I managed to acquire a tatty old copy. Coming from a definitively post-punk perspective, I found the list somewhat exotic, sometimes horrifying, but always intriguing. I dug it out recently in order to generate some discussion on social media, and – at Philip Downer’s suggestion – agreed to invite a range of music nuts, (writers, musicians, fans) to re-imagine the list today, restricting their choices to albums released before 1st January 1974. The response was surprisingly instantaneous.

Is the ‘canon’ dead?

November 11th: It’s very late in the evening. I should be in bed. I’m rustling through dog-eared scraps of paper pinning scores to roughly alphabeticised lists of albums. I wouldn’t say that I don’t trust computers, but I certainly don’t have confidence that mine will last the pace, so it’s safer this way. I’m on around my fifteenth or sixteenth list (sixty three to go), and already I’m recording the second nomination for Ralf & Florian and the third for Clube da Esquina. I’m thrilled, and for a brief moment believe that, rather than this being an exercise in great folly, what in fact will emerge from this painstaking endeavour will be the greatest list of albums I’ve ever seen. But neither Ralf & Florian nor Clube Da Esquina receive another vote. People are messaging me on Twitter, wanting to amend their selections. I am reassured by their uber-enthusiasm for the task. I’m about 40 votes in before I do a little counting – I can’t stand the suspense – convinced as I am that the tired old ‘canon’ is on its way out. But then I notice that the old favourites have not only started to creep into contention, but have relentlessly and ruthlessly gobbled up and spat out all the quirky curios and cult favourites that have caught my eye, the inclusion of which has made this such a pleasurable process.

And that perhaps is the inevitability of the block vote: there are still some interesting variations here (only 39 survive the original ’74 poll), but the end result is something that looks not unlike the ’95 Mojo poll, and in some ways makes the list of those ranked between 101-200 resemble a ZigZag poll from the mid-70s, peppered as it is with offerings by Jim Sullivan, Bill Fay, The Millenium, White Noise, Silver Apples and Amon Duul 2. As far as the quota ranked at 700 or lower is concerned, it looks a little like a cohort of refugees escaping from a Wire poll, and for some the more interesting things will undoubtedly be happening further down the list.

I make no claim for this to be regarded a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of the period – it could not pretend to be and was never intended to be. Naturally, the people we correspond with on social media often have similar tastes and so while the album which topped the poll may be a moderately surprising choice to some, if you think about the context, it may well be less surprising than you think. I did try to cast the net of contributors as far and wide as possible, and it brought me great satisfaction to read lists which consistently bore witness to the passion, wisdom and broad perspectives of their compilers, each of whom I’m very grateful to, and who are listed at the end of this article.

Anyway, hope you enjoy reading. Let us know what you think. I’m still reeling from Tim Buckley’s Happy Sad ranking a lowly 101st!

[I will post numbers 101-200 at a later date, and perhaps a post-1974 poll may be in order at some point in the future. Watch this space.] (JJ)

100. The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (A&M, 1968)

99. Starsailor – Tim Buckley (Straight, 1970)

98. Led Zeppelin IV ( Atlantic, 1971)

97. Something / Anything – Todd Rundgren (Bearsville, 1971)

96. Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd (Harvest, 1973)

95. The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – The Incredible String Band (Elektra, 1968)

94. Journey Into Satchidananda – Alice Coltrane (Impulse, 1971)

93. The United States Of America (Columbia, 1968)

92. American Beauty- The Grateful Dead (Warner Bros, 1970)

91. Aladdin Sane – David Bowie (RCA, 1973)

90. Chelsea Girl – Nico (MGM/Verve, 1967)

89. Small Faces (Decca, 1966)

88. In The Court Of The Crimson King – King Crimson (Island, 1969)

87. Axis: Bold As Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Track, 1967)

86. Future Days – Can (United Artists, 1973)

85. Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Track, 1967)

84. Judee Sill (Asylum, 1971)

83. Roxy Music (Island, 1972)

82. John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (Apple, 1970)

81. Liege & Lief – Fairport Convention (Island, 1969)

80. Arthur Or The Decline & Fall Of The British Empire – The Kinks (Pye, 1969)

79. John Wesley Harding – Bob Dylan (Columbia, 1967)

78. Heart Food – Judee Sill (Asylum, 1973)

77. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis (Columbia, 1970)

76. Safe As Milk – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (Buddah, 1967)

75. Who Sell Out – The Who (Track, 1967)

74. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (Parlophone, 1967)

73. Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (Straight, 1969)

72. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder (Tamla Motown, 1973)

71. Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake – Small Faces (Immediate, 1968)

70. Ege Bamyasi – Can (United Artists, 1972)

69. The Madcap Laughs – Syd Barrett (Harvest, 1970)

68. Berlin – Lou Reed (RCA, 1973)

67. In A Silent Way – Miles Davis (Columbia, 1969)

66. Neu! (Brain, 1972)

65. Maggot Brain – Funkadelic (Westbound, 1971)

64. If Only I Could Remember My Name – David Crosby (Atlantic, 1971)

63. The Doors (Elektra, 1967)

62. Transformer – Lou Reed (RCA, 1972)

61. For Your Pleasure – Roxy Music (Island, 1973)

60. Curtis – Curtis Mayfield (Curtom, 1970)

59. Electric Warrior – T. Rex (Fly, 1971)

58. Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones (Decca, 1969)

57. Songs Of Leonard Cohen (Columbia, 1967)

56. Gris-Gris: The Night Tripper – Dr. John (Atco, 1968)

55. Histoire De Melody Nelson – Serge Gainsbourg (Philips, 1971)

54. Scott 3 – Scott Walker (Philips, 1969)

53. White Light / White Heat – The Velvet Underground (MGM / Verve, 1967)

52. Electric Ladyland – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Track, 1968)

51. Otis Blue – Otis Redding (Atco, 1966)

50. The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators (International Artists, 1966)

49. A Love Supreme – John Coltrane (Impulse!, 1965)

48. Abbey Road – The Beatles (Apple, 1969)

47. Kick Out The Jams – MC5 (Elektra, 1969)

46. Tago Mago – Can (United Artists, 1971)

45. Bringing It All Back Home – Bob Dylan (Columbia, 1965)

44. Who’s Next – The Who (Track, 1971)

43. Pink Moon – Nick Drake (Island, 1972)

42. Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys (Brother, 1971)

41. Loaded – The Velvet Underground (Cotillion, 1970)

40. Something Else By The Kinks – The Kinks (Pye, 1967)

39. Buffalo Springfield Again – Buffalo Springfield (Atco, 1967)

38. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones, 1971)

37. Easter Everywhere – The 13th Floor Elevators (International Artists, 1967)

36. Exile On Main Street – The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones, 1972)

35. After The Gold Rush – Neil Young (Reprise, 1970)

34. Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake (Island, 1969)

33. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn – Pink Floyd (EMI, 1967)

32. Bryter Layter – Nick Drake (Island, 1970)

31. The Band (Capitol, 1969)

30. Dusty In Memphis – Dusty Springfield (Atlantic, 1969)

29. Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis (Columbia, 1959)

28. Paris 1919 – John Cale (Reprise, 1973)

27. Younger Than Yesterday – The Byrds (Columbia, 1967)

26. There’s A Riot Goin’ On – Sly & The Family Stone (Columbia, 1971)

25. Blue – Joni Mitchell (Reprise, 1971)

24. The Stooges (Elektra, 1969)

23. The Gilded Palace Of Sin – The Flying Burrito Bros (A&M, 1969)

22. Raw Power – Iggy & The Stooges (Columbia, 1973)

21. Rubber Soul – The Beatles (Parlophone, 1965)

20. Beggars Banquet – The Rolling Stones (Decca, 1968)

19. The Notorious Byrd Bros – The Byrds (Columbia, 1968)

18. The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars – David Bowie (RCA, 1972)

17. Fun House – The Stooges (Elektra, 1970)

16. Odessey & Oracle – The Zombies (CBS, 1967)

15. Scott 4 – Scott Walker (Philips, 1969)

14. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young & Crazy Horse (Reprise, 1969)

13. The Beatles (Apple, 1968)

12. Hunky Dory – David Bowie (RCA/Victor, 1971)

11. No. 1 Record – Big Star (Ardent / Stax, 1972)

10. Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan (Columbia, 1965)

9. The Village Green Preservation Society – The Kinks (Pye, 1968)

8. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Tamla Motown, 1971)

7. The Velvet Underground (MGM, 1969)

6. Blonde On Blonde – Bob Dylan (Columbia, 1966)

5. Astral Weeks – Van Morrison (Warner Bros, 1968)

4. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys (Capitol, 1966)

3. Revolver – The Beatles (Parlophone, 1966)

2. The Velvet Underground & Nico (MGM / Verve, 1967)

1. Forever Changes – Love (Elektra, 1967)

 

Many Thanks to all who agonised and sweated blood before submitting their contributions to the poll:

Camilla Aisa, Andy (Birmingham ’81), Michael Bailey (Soft Hearted Scientists), Caroline Binnie, Nick Blakey (Underground Jukebox), Stephen Boyd, Holly Boyd, Mark Brend, Johnny Browning, Colin Brunton, Robert Century, Rob Chapman, Si Cole, Stuart Cosgrove, Jon Dennis, Mick Derrick, John Dickie, Philip Downer, Spender Downes, Vincent Driscoll, Matthew Edwards, Russell Elder, Liam Elliott, Matt Elliott, Declan Flanagan, Paul Gallagher, Gary (Captain Howdy), Ash Grace, Andrew Hall, Oliver Hawthorn, Greg Healey, Mark Hillier, Robert Hodgens, Sophie Jay, Johnnie Johnstone, Peter Johnstone, Allan Jones, Harris King, Graham Kingsbury, Blair Liddell, Paul Lowman, Gary Mackenzie, Gavin Martin, Stewart May, Stephen McAuley, Ryan McCullough, Grant McPhee, Fiona McQuarrie, John Medd, Andy Miller, Rob Morgan, Tony Mulraney, Jason Myles, Jeremy Neal, Kris Needs, Ingrid Neimanis (Neon Brambles), Thomas Patterson, Nick Portnell, Johnny Purcell, Mark Raison, Peter Rice, Don Richmond, Matt Rogers, Marco Rossi, Martin Ruddock, Chris Sawle, Jason Spence, Arthur David Spota, Theo Stockman, David Tanner, Huw Thomas, Daniel Thompson, James Timoney, Terry Tochel, Sughosh Varadarajan, Denis Version, Judah Warsky, Stevie Watt, Sandy Wishart.

Appendix: 101-200

101. Happy Sad – Tim Buckley

102. Talking Book- Stevie Wonder

103. Countdown To Ecstasy – Steely Dan

104. Goodbye & Hello – Tim Buckley

105. Gene Clark & The Godsin Brothers – Gene Clark

106. Hot Buttered Soul – Isaac Hayes

107. Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival

108. Songs Of Love & Hate – Leonard Cohen

109. Songs Of Innocence – David Axelrod

110. The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

111. 5D (Fifth Dimension) – The Byrds

112. Pieces Of A Man – Gil Scott-Heron

113. Os Mutantes – Os Mutantes

114. GP – Gram Parsons

115. New York Tendaberry – Laura Nyro

116. Here Come The Warm Jets – Eno

117. Quadrophenia – The Who

118. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart

119. Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

120. From Elvis In a Memphis – Elvis Presley

121. Just Another Diamond Day – Vashti Bunyan

122. Help! – The Beatles

123. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You) – Aretha Franklin

124. All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

125. Crosby Stills & Nash – Crosby Stills & Nash

126. Giant Steps – John Coltrane

127. Bill Fay – Bill Fay

128. New York Dolls – New York Dolls

129. Aerial Ballet – Nilsson

130. Nashville Skyline – Bob Dylan

131. Head – The Monkees

132. Begin – The Millenium

133. Moby Grape – Moby Grape

134. New Morning – Bob Dylan

135. Disraeli Gears – Cream

136. Clear Spot – Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band

137. Led Zeppelin III – Led Zepoelin

138. Bert Jansch – Bert Jansch

139. Silver Apples – Silver Apples

140. Nancy & Lee – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood

141. Meddle – Pink Floyd

142. Original Soundtrack – The Harder They Come

143. Mott – Mott The Hoople

144. Oar – Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence

145. A Wizard A True Star – Todd Rundgren

146. The Marble Index – Nico

147. An Electric Storm – White Noise

148. Their Satanic Majesties Request – The Rolling Stones

149. Clube Da Esquina – Milton Nascimento / Lo Borges

150. Roots – Curtis Mayfield

151. Live At The Apollo – James Brown

152. Scott – Scott Walker

153. Aftermath – The Rolling Stones

154. Headquarters – The Monkees

155. Sunflower – The Beach Boys

156. Blue Afternoon – Tim Buckley

157. Walk Away Renee / Pretty Ballerina – The Left Banke

158. Love – Love

159. Tim Hardin 1 – Tim Hardin

160. Closing Time – Tom Waits

161. Present Tense – Sagittarius

162. Basket Of Light – Pentangle

163. Tim Hardin 2 – Tim Hardin 2

164. Underground- The Electric Prunes

165. Watertown – Frank Sinatra

166. Band On The Run – Wings

167. Sketches Of Spain – Miles Davis

168. Wee Tam & The Big Huge – The Incredible String Band

169. Surrealistic Pillow – Jefferson Airplane

170. Sunshine Superman – Donovan

171. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

172. Between The Buttons – The Rolling Stones

173. Live At The Star Club – Jerry Lee Lewis

174. Gonna Take A Miracle – Laura Nyro & Labelle

175. Back To The World – Curtis Mayfield

176. Solid Air – John Martyn

177. Dixie Chicken – Little Feat

178. Here’s Little Richard – Little Richard

179. Face To Face – The Kinks

180. Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds

181. Lady Soul – Aretha Franklin

182. Moondance – Van Morrison

183. A Hard Days Night – The Beatles

184. UFO – Jim Sullivan

185. Unicorn – Tyrannosaurus Rex

186. Pawn Hearts – Van Der Graaf Generator

187. Spooky Two – Spooky Tooth

188. Requiem For An Almost Lady – Lee Hazlewood

189. Yeti – Amon Duul 2

190. Goats Head Soup – The Rolling Stones

191. Moondog – Moondog

192. Space Ritual – Hawkwind

193. Superfly – Curtis Mayfield

194. SF Sorrow – The Pretty Things

195. Various Artists – Nuggets (Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, 1965-68)

196. Aqualung – Jethro Tull

197. Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Vol. 1 – The Kinks

198. Deja VU – Crosby Stills Nash & Young

199. In The Land Of Grey And Pink – Caravan

200. Call Me – Al Green

5 thoughts on “TNPC presents… The 100 GREATEST ALBUMS made before 1974

  1. D ‘yer know, there’s not a bad record in the hundred…a bit surprised at the preponderance go stooges at the top…maybe im out of sync…..glad to see big star so high….

    Like

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