Big Star’s debut album, #1 Record, didn’t make much of a splash when it was released in 1972 — in fact, it sold fewer than 10,000 copies — but it eventually found favor with a generation of indie rock acts. Band leader Alex Chilton, who died five years ago at only 59, has been cited as an influence by many of my favorite artists.
I bought this album, along with the band’s sophomore effort, Radio City, in a 2-for-1 package a year or so back, but I haven’t listed to it enough to give it a spot on my list of the best albums of 1972.
This week and possibly next, I’ll look at some of the albums considered the best of 1972 — records I either haven’t heard or haven’t spent enough time with to render my own judgment.
First up is Neil Young’s Harvest, the best-selling album of 1972 and Young’s all-time best seller. The album is considered a classic, though it wasn’t universally acclaimed upon its release and still has its share of detractors.
Today’s Random Weekend selection is appropriate for Father’s Day, given the lineage of the featured artist. Happy Father’s Day to my own dad, as well as all of the other fathers out there.
Jakob Dylan put out two solo albums in 2008 and 2010 while The Wallflowers were on hiatus. Both were quiet, largely acoustic folk albums, more like something from Jakob’s dad’s early career than the roots rock of The Wallflowers.
Here’s another of those rare cases where an important milestone falls on a Random Weekend, allowing the fates to offer up either a fitting tribute or an ironic commentary on the event.
The occasion today is my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday. So, Random iTunes Fairy, what song will you deliver to mark the passing of my first born into her teenage years? Surprise us!
And my favorite album of 1972 is… Randy Newman’s Sail Away. This probably comes as no surprise to frequent readers of this blog, as I’ve featured almost all of its songs at one point or another.
I came across an interesting tidbit on the Wikipedia page for this album: Brian Wilson turned to it during the depths of his depression to lift his spirits and renew his creative spirit. I totally get that. Both the music and the underlying sensibility of Sail away are grounded and spiritually refreshing.
According to a scientific poll of one (me), the second best album of 1972 is The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street.
This classic album sits atop many critics’ lists of the best albums of not just that year but all of the 70s. It’s The Stones’ undisputed masterpiece, a drunken lost weekend of rock-n-roll perfection.
My third favorite album of 1972 (my birth year) is a record I consider among the most quintessentially 70s albums I own — Carly Simon’s No Secrets.
I’ve written about this on the blog before so I won’t dwell on it again here, but this record is forever cemented in my memory as one of those adult artifacts my parents shared with my sister and me, either directly or inadvertently.