Song of the Day #3,701: ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon

Imagine, John Lennon’s second solo album, is my third favorite album of 1971, which is a good indication of just how strong that year was for music.

This is the album that gave us ‘Imagine’ and ‘Jealous Guy,’ two of the best songs Lennon ever wrote, with or without The Beatles. It contains many other pleasures, including the country rock of ‘Crippled Inside,’ the hard rocking ‘Gimme Some Truth’ and one of the best pure pop songs of the era, ‘Oh Yoko.’ It also features one of the earliest, nastiest dis tracks in ‘How Do You Sleep?,’ aimed at former pal Paul McCartney.

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Song of the Day #3,700: ‘Queen Bitch’ – David Bowie

Before I get to my #4 album of 1971, let me say a quick Happy Birthday to my sister Amy.

This year Amy selflessly asked, in lieu of gifts, for donations to a non-profit she founded called Birthright America. The program’s mission is to give underprivileged kids the chance to experience the majesty of America’s National Parks. Amy brought the first group of lucky children on the inaugural trip earlier this month.

If the idea sounds interesting to you, please consider visiting the website and donating to the cause. Happy Birthday, Amy!

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Song of the Day #3,699: ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ – Led Zeppelin

Continuing my countdown of favorite 1971 albums we arrive at my #5, Led Zeppelin’s IV (also known as Runes and Zoso).

This album boasts such iconic tracks as ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ‘Black Dog,’ ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Going to California’ and ‘When the Levee Breaks.’ Plus today’s track, ‘Misty Mountain Hop,’ which is less well known but just as awesome.

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Song of the Day #3,696: ‘Bitterblue’ – Cat Stevens

The albums I’ve listed so far among my favorites of 1971 earned their spots on the strength of a few excellent songs. My #6 album, Cat Stevens’ Teaser and the Firecat, is excellent start to finish.

Sure, it has its highlight moments, including ‘The Wind,’ ‘Morning Has Broken,’ ‘Moonshadow,’ and ‘How Can I Tell You,’ one of the prettiest loves songs ever written. But ‘Rubylove,’ ‘If I Laugh,’ ‘Changes IV,’ ‘Tuesday’s Dead’ and ‘Peace Train’ are all worthy of high praise.

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Song of the Day #3,695: ‘Madman Across the Water’ – Elton John

Elton John’s Madman Across the Water is my seventh favorite album of 1971, though it would be more accurate to say the first side of Madman Across the Water made the list. When ‘Tiny Dancer,’ ‘Levon’ and ‘Madman Across the Water’ are three of your first four songs, you can pretty much hang up your hat and call it a day.

The other tracks — ‘Razor Face,’ ‘Indian Sunset,’ ‘Holiday Inn,’ ‘Rotten Peaches,’ ‘All the Nasties’ and ‘Goodbye’ — are all solid, if not up to the level of the opening classics.

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Song of the Day #3,694: ‘Till Tomorrow’ – Don McLean

My #8 album of 1971 is Don McLean’s American Pie, the singer-songwriter’s sophomore effort, which hit #1 on the Billboard 200 and featured two hits in the iconic title track and ‘Vincent,’ McLean’s ode to Vincent Van Gogh.

This album could earn a spot on this list for those two songs alone, but the rest of its lineup features one achingly gentle acoustic gem after another.

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Song of the Day #3,693: ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ – The Who

I’ve featured only one Who song on this blog over the past ten years — ‘The Kids are Alright,’ a song I truly love. But as I noted way back then (Song of the Day #81, if you can believe it!), I’m not much of a Who fan in general.

I also mentioned in that post that I am a fan of the band’s fifth studio album, 1971’s Who’s Next. Enough to put it at #9 on my list of best albums from that year.

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