The Decades In Review: The 5 Best Albums of the 1970s

Each decade is home to a horizon of music that characterizes it. I listen to music from all eras, and this is going to be a new segment in which I reflect upon my personal favorites from each musically turbulent decade of the twentieth century. To reiterate, this is my “best of” list, so please don’t get mad because Dark Side Of The Moon or Appetite For Destruction isn’t on here – Your favorites have a place on your own list. Welcome to the internet! Below are my five favorite records from the 1970s.


The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978)

Credit: Polydor Records, Virgin Records

When I first heard Some Girls, I not only came to understand everyone’s fixation on The Rolling Stones, but I was blown away; I had never heard such a catchy rock & roll record. Some Girls is stock full of hooks and foot tapping melodies that won’t be able to leave your head – A pop art roller coaster from beginning to end that will have you humming day and night.


Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)

Credit: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Columbia

For the record, Cold Spring Harbor is my favorite Billy Joel album. Nonetheless, his ingenious breakthrough The Stranger has found it’s way onto this list – Challenging his predominantly piano driven blueprint, and staying true to it while offering dynamic new arrangements. The themes and substance on this record are undoubtedly authentic, whether it’s the picturesque charm of “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” the thoroughly imposing, wise “Vienna,” or the fallen gospel on “Everybody Has A Dream.” The Stranger is a continental treasure, and after hearing it, there’s no question as to why it gave Billy Joel his big break.


Television – Marquee Moon (1977)

Credit: Elektra Records

Television’s debut has an electric, urban charm to it – They sound unlike a lot of other bands emerging around the time due to the tastes of new wave, indie, and even post and art punk all present on Marquee Moon. The title track is ten minutes of some of the most impressive instrumentation I’ve ever heard, and the rest of the record doesn’t fall the least bit short of grandeur. The guitar work on Marquee Moon is absolutely superb  – Bravo to Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. This outstanding debut makes itself clear within the first few seconds, and remains a pleasure to the end.


Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (1975)

Credit: Columbia Records

I’m close to blowing out my speakers and making my neighbors hate me from playing this record as abundantly as I do. On Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen set out to write an anthology of breaking out; running away and chasing a starry eyed dream. This album did exactly that, and I will hail it to the end as one of rock & roll’s finest. “Thunder Road” wakes the record up sunshine coming through the window and an open road, romantic plead to leave it all – “Jungleland” closes this masterwork on a tragic, cinematic note. Born To Run is an exquisitely charming epic propelled with silver screen speed; a tremendous debut for Bruce Springsteen and soaring scream to suburban, rockabilly driven car culture.


Tom Waits – The Heart Of Saturday Night (1974)

Credit: Asylum Records

There’s lots of Tom Waits out there to listen to, but The Heart Of Saturday Night is some of the best you can find. This record offers an unprecedented perspective of a small town’s nightlife, spanning midnight piano ballads to jazz lit aromas of whiskey and cigarette smoke. It’s the kind of album that gives you the vision to write a song of your own. Tom Waits’ late night, heart strung serenade will never lose it’s half drunk, neon charm.