When I was 16, it was a very good year

Fifty years ago, I was fortunate enough to be coming of age at a time when the quality and diversity of popular music was figuratively off the charts and literally dominating the charts.

A convincing claim can be made that 1971 was the peak year for rock album releases.

It was the first year that Americans bought more albums than singles. I was thrilled by this development, because it seemed to indicate that, like me, more and more people were interested in hearing artists’ complete artistic statements instead of just the one hit that Top 40 radio stations were playing (ad nauseam).

Rock ‘n roll wasn’t universally loved when it arrived on the charts in 1955, not by a long shot, but over the next 15 years, it grew exponentially in popularity as the music and its audience matured.  It grew like a massive oak, branching out into multiple mini-genres – folk rock, acid rock, R&B and soul, bubblegum, country rock, electric blues, even (already?) roots rock.  Quite the cornucopia of styles.

By 1971, the table was set with a sumptuous buffet of musical options from which to choose.  The Stones and The Who were at their creative peaks.  The Beatles may have split, but there were some mighty fine solo albums to savor. San Francisco jam bands like the Grateful Dead and Santana honed their psychedelic/Latino improvisations, and hard rock bands like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper offered up hefty slabs of power chords.  

The progressive rock coming from England – Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis – was pushing boundaries and challenging listeners to really listen, and the ever-evolving rhythm-and-blues scene kept people dancing as Motown and Memphis branched out into funk and Philly soul.  Dozens of confessional singer-songwriters emanating from Laurel Canyon in California added emotional depth and warm melodies, and the Southern rock of The Allman Brothers Band laid the foundation for their many imitators to come.

The glam rock of David Bowie made its showy entrance, and artists such as Poco and Commander Cody kept the burgeoning country rock genre cooking. Elton John released three albums in less than 12 months, and bands like Badfinger and Three Dog Night represented the pleasant middle ground. And, as always, there was bland pablum for the unhip.

It was all there, from Bloodrock to the Osmonds.

In all, there were more than 500 rock-related albums released in 1971, in excess of 40 per month, and from that plentiful list, I have identified 35 that rocked my world (and maybe yours) at the time. Some of them are relatively obscure choices, while others continue to be named among the finest albums of all time. It was crazy difficult, but I somehow managed to whittle down those 35 LPs to my Top 15, with the other 20 relegated to my “honorable mentions” category. No doubt your list might be different. A Spotify playlist at the end features four tracks from each of the Top 15, and a second playlist offers two tracks from each of the honorable mentions.

********************************

What a year it was 50 years ago! Here they are, in no particular order:

“Blue,” Joni Mitchell

When Rolling Stone assembled a new “Top 500 Albums of All Time” list last year, updating its 2002 rankings, I found it very revealing that this record jumped from an already impressive #30 all the way to #3, proof positive of Mitchell’s enormous influence on artists in the ensuing decades since its release. Her deepest confessional songs are here, performed with relatively simple arrangements featuring Joni on guitar, piano or dulcimer. “Carey” was a modestly successful single, but several other tracks have made greater impact, including “Little Green,” about the daughter she gave up for adoption; “A Case of You,” about her adoration of fellow poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen; and “River,” which has become a Yuletide standard covered by dozens of artists. A brilliant, brilliant album.

“Who’s Next,” The Who

Who woulda thunk that a failed film project and a nervous breakdown would have ended up resulting in such a monumental album? Following “Tommy” turned out to be an agonizing ordeal for Pete Townshend. He envisioned an existential rock opera in which “one perfect universal note” would metaphorically bring each audience together in a “celestial community.” It almost drove Townshend crazy trying to translate his ideas into reality, but along the way, he wrote some of The Who’s most memorable music: “Baba O’Riley,” “The Song is Over,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Behind Blue Eyes” and more. Roger Daltrey’s vocals were in tip-top form, and producer Glyn Johns gets loads of credit for making The Who sound better than they ever did before or after.

“Imagine,” John Lennon

The harrowing, bare-bones tracks found on his soul-baring “Plastic Ono Band” solo debut in 1970 won praise from critics, but some fans found them difficult to swallow. Lennon decided the follow-up would be “more sugar-coated” so it would be more commercially successful. He found just the right balance of vitriol and love, with George Harrison and Ringo Starr sitting in, and Phil Spector manning the boards. The title track has taken its place as a utopian anthem of the last half century, while “Gimme Some Truth” aims darts at the hypocrisy and corruption of political leaders. Lennon really let Paul McCartney have it with both barrels on “How Do You Sleep?”, then showed his gentle nature on “Oh My Love” and “Oh Yoko.”

“(Untitled)/IV,” Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page said he knew while writing “Stairway to Heaven” that it was going to be a massive rock song for the ages, but its impact still managed to exceed all expectations, as did the album as a whole. Robert Plant’s vocals were at their very best on these tracks, from the crazy time signatures of “Black Dog” to the stunning Joni Mitchell tribute, “Going to California.” Page and John Paul Jones dueling on acoustic guitar and mandolin gave “The Battle of Evermore” an eerie Middle Eastern feel, and John Bonham’s always thunderous drumming achieved new heights on their cover of the 1920s blues tune “When the Levee Breaks.” This album, official untitled but referred to as “IV,” never fails to disappoint, even after hundreds of listenings.

“Tapestry,” Carole King

One of the most prolific hitmakers of the Sixties, writing perfect pop songs for others to make famous, King needed to be coaxed to finally become a recording artist in her own right in the Seventies. After a tentative first album, she collaborated with lyricist Toni Stern to compose an outstanding batch of tunes for her second effort, “Tapestry,” which went on to become one of the best selling and most widely praised albums of all time. In addition to covering two of her earlier songs — The Shirrelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” — King and top-flight L.A. session musicians recorded such gems as “I Feel the Earth Move,” “Beautiful,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and the #1 hit “It’s Too Late.”

“What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye

Gaye had been one of the elite acts in Berry Gordy’s Motown stable since the early ’60s, but he grew restless by 1970, eager to sing weightier material about the troubled world around him. “With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?” he asked. He fashioned a song cycle that matched edgy lyrics with a delicious urban groove and, despite Gordy’s protestations that it wouldn’t sell, it became one of the most popular albums of the ’70s. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” “What’s Happening Brother” and the iconic title track are the highlights of this pivotal album. Much of the LP was used in the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s 2020 Vietnam vet film “Da 5 Bloods,” proof of its enduring impact.

“Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon,” James Taylor

Fine songs and sincere performances made Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” LP one of the real treats of 1970. Some artists stumble when following up a hugely successful record, but Taylor found a way to up his game with the down-home appeal of “Mud Slide Slim,” recorded with many of the same people who were working on Carole King’s “Tapestry” album down the hall in the same L.A. studio. James had the biggest hit single of his long career with her tender “You’ve Got a Friend,” and surrounded it with more autobiographical beauties like “Long Ago and Far Away,” “You Can Close Your Eyes,” “Places in My Past” and the melancholy “Hey Mister, That’s Me Up On the Jukebox.” This album takes me right back to 1971 more than any other on this list.

“Aqualung,” Jethro Tull

This was the album that quickly took Tull from warm-up act to headliner. Of all the British “prog rock” bands, Tull has always been the most diverse, offering hard rock and delicate acoustic tunes with equal assurance. “Aqualung,” in fact, offers both in the same song. Some labeled this LP a concept album because of three rockers that disparage organized religion (“My God,” “Hymn 43” and “Wind Up”), but the rest of the tunes focus on other matters, including overpopulation (“Locomotive Breath”), homelessness (the title track) and selfless love (“Wond’ring Aloud”). Ian Anderson’s phenomenal flute work and distinctive singing, and Martin Barre’s electric guitar, really shine throughout this album, setting the stage for a string of Top Ten albums over the next five years.

“At Fillmore East,” The Allman Brothers Band

In 1969, guitar ace Duane Allman put together a powerhouse band steeped mostly in blues and jazz influences, featuring two lead guitarists, two drummers and younger brother Gregg on organ and vocals. Their first two studio albums were brimming with great originals and covers, but this was a group that seemed to do their best work on stage, so they recorded shows in New York in March 1971 and released the best tracks as a double live album that still ranks as one of the very best concert LPs ever released. “Statesboro Blues,” “Whipping Post,” “Stormy Monday” and especially “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” positively crackle with intensity and immediacy. This package continues to send chills up and down my back every time I hear it.

“Madman Across the Water,” Elton John

In many ways, 1971 belonged to Elton John. His gorgeous debut single “Your Song” was a big hit in February, and his first two albums (“Elton John” and “Tumbleweed Connection”), although both released in 1970, got a lot of exposure throughout 1971. Add to that a soundtrack to a little-known French film (“Friends”) released in March and a vibrant live record (“11-17-70”) released in April, and you’ve got a veritable feast of Elton’s wondrous music, but he wasn’t done yet. In November came “Madman Across the Water,” a classic LP if only because it featured three of his very best songs: “Tiny Dancer,” “Levon” and the dramatic title cut. I played this album incessantly and have returned to it dozens of times through the decades.

“The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys,” Traffic

At only 15, Steve Winwood first made a splash as lead singer and keyboardist for the Spencer Davis Group, and then formed Traffic two years later. The band offered a wonderful mix of folk, rock and jazz elements that brought them much success in England but not as much here. By 1970, their LP “John Barleycorn Must Die” reached #5 on US album charts and was a favorite of FM radio DJs coast to coast. For me, though, it was the brilliant “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” album that sealed the deal. Winwood’s vocals and keyboards were augmented by new percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah on an enticing, eclectic batch of songs like “Many a Mile to Freedom,” “Rock and Roll Stew,” “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” and particularly the mesmerizing, 12-minute title track.

“Sticky Fingers,” The Rolling Stones

1969’s “Let It Bleed” may be my favorite Stones album, but “Sticky Fingers” is a very close second. This was the era when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing their best songs and the band was making their best recordings, with new guitarist Mick Taylor adding cool professionalism to the Stones’ muscular mix. “Brown Sugar,” with its instantly identifiable riff and controversial lyrics about slavery, oral sex and rape, might just be the quintessential Stones song, but there’s so much more. “Bitch,” the country-tinged “Wild Horses,” the acoustic drug tracks “Sister Morphine” and “Moonlight Mile,” the mind-blowing “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” — they all add up to a salacious package of some of the biggest, baddest, bawdiest Stones music ever made.

“Off the Shelf,” Batdorf and Rodney

This amazingly talented duo never got the exposure they deserved, and I’m not sure why. Insufficient promotion by Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records? Maybe. Indifferent radio program directors? Could be. All I know is this debut album (they made two more before breaking up in 1975) is one of my Top 25 favorite albums of all time. The vocal harmonies and the guitar stylings of John Batdorf and Mark Rodney are simply spectacular, as good as or better than any of the singer-songwriter artists of that era. Batdorf wrote some wonderfully buoyant songs, full of sunny optimism: “Oh My Surprise,” “One Day,” “You Are the One” and especially the incredible “Can You See Him.” If you’re not yet familiar with this record, by all means, get moving!

“The Yes Album,” Yes

By 1973, when Yes went off the rails with a self-indulgent double album comprised of four dense 20-minute songs, this talented band of Brits epitomized the excess that helped doom progressive rock as a genre. Before that, though, they were an absolutely astonishing group that found the perfect balance between complex arrangements and catchy hooks on three back-to-back-to-back LPs in 1971-72. Many people prefer “Fragile” or “Close to the Edge,” but I am partial to “The Yes Album,” which introduced me to the ethereal voice of Jon Anderson and the amazing guitar-keyboards-bass-drums interplay of Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire and Bill Bruford. Listen to “Yours is No Disgrace,” “Starship Trooper,” “Perpetual Change” and the single “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Superb!

“4-Way Street,” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

The “Crosby, Stills and Nash” debut in 1969 and CSN&Y’s amazing “Deja vu” 1970 follow-up are both pretty much perfect records in my book. An excess of talent and ego tore the group apart too soon, and they went their separate ways to make some pretty decent albums on their own (see the honorable mentions below). Fortunately, they recorded a few of their concerts from their 1970 tour and assembled 16 tracks for this glorious, sometimes ragged, often exhilarating double live LP. You get a liberal dose of acoustic songs (“Nash’s “Right Between the Eyes” and “Chicago,” Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” and “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Crosby’s “Triad” and “The Lee Shore”) and strong renditions of electric tunes (“Southern Man,” “Carry On,” “Ohio”). What a spread!

********************************

Here are the 20 honorable mentions, some of which may very well have made your Top 15 list:

“Hunky Dory, David Bowie
“Teaser and the Firecat,” Cat Stevens
“L.A. Woman,” The Doors
“Songs For Beginners,” Graham Nash
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” The Moody Blues
Ram,” Paul McCartney
“Tupelo Honey,” Van Morrison
“Every Picture Tells a Story,” Rod Stewart
“If I Could Only Remember My Name,” David Crosby
“American Pie,” Don McLean
“Nilsson Schmilsson,” Harry Nilsson
“Killer,” Alice Cooper
“Future Games,” Fleetwood Mac
“Meddle,” Pink Floyd
“5th,” Lee Michaels
“Santana III,” Santana
“Deliverin’,” Poco
“Leon Russell and the Shelter People”
“Surf’s Up,” The Beach Boys
“Anticipation,” Carly Simon

********************************

Got live if you want it!

I’m going to come right out and say it.  By and large, live albums just aren’t very good.

In my conversations with friends and family during the COVID upheaval, when I ask what everyone misses the most, one of the things mentioned most often is the opportunity to attend a concert and hear live music.

Listening to great music performed right in front of you at a small club or street fair, or even at an arena or stadium, can be extraordinary.  It’s potentially thrilling to hear and see them offer their live versions, perhaps with subtle or major changes in tempo, arrangement or length, therefore making it a unique experience that you share with the others in attendance.

That’s what we miss:  Seeing and hearing live music simultaneously.

100live1

Live albums, on the other hand, attempt to recreate the concert experience without the crucial visual component.  They’re immediately handicapped by that shortcoming, which is the main reason why they are so often disappointing.

Ever since the introduction of concert DVDs, it seems to me the live album should be a dead concept.  What’s the point?  Why merely listen to a band in concert when you can listen AND watch a band in concert?

In the formative years of the ’60s and ’70s, though, virtually every band eventually released a live album, sometimes two or three or more.  It was considered something of a bellwether, an indication that the artist had become a Big Deal and was justified in putting out an in-concert LP.

So what was wrong with that?  Several things.

Too many live albums came with way too much applause and crowd craziness.  It’s so boring, and annoying, when a live track begins and/or ends with 30 seconds, 45 seconds, maybe a whole minute or more of clapping and whistling.  Some even interrupt the flow of the track with crowd noise during the song.

Many live LPs were shoddily produced and hurriedly released to capitalize on a band’s popularity.  Even the packaging was substandard.

Some live albums were fraudulent.  They actually took studio recordings and grafted on some concert applause to make the track appear live to the undiscerning listener.  Others included substantial dubbing of re-recorded guitar or vocals to cover up errors or so-so performances.

Still, they could be fun to listen to, they’re part of rock music history, and lots and lots of people bought them.  So I’ve compiled my list of a dozen live albums from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s that bring back fond memories for me for their indelible performances and their ability to transport me to their concerts.

********************

“At Fillmore East,” The Allman Brothers Band, 1971

81TiDFSXXAL-1._SL1400_I would argue that this is rock’s finest live album.  The Allman Brothers’ first two studio albums had great original songs but the limp production gave the tracks a hollow sound.  This was a band that sounded far better in concert than in the studio, so they recorded a few nights at the Fillmore East in March 1971 and released this ferocious double album.  Original tracks like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post” were transformed into magnificent extended versions with Duane Allman and Dickey Betts both showing off their best licks.  Just as impressive were their renditions of such blues classics as “Stormy Monday,” “You Don’t Love Me” and “Statesboro Blues.”  A very “alive” sound with minimal crowd intrusion.

“Waiting for Columbus,” Little Feat, 1978

R-1329675-1329852272-1.jpegThis talented band never really got past cult status, but that cult was sizable and fiercely loyal.  Most of their six studio LPs sold respectably, and they filled small halls when they toured, but widespread acceptance seemed out of reach.  Their record label sought to change that with this gorgeously produced double live album, promoted the hell out of it and had it serve a dual purpose as a greatest hits collection.  It’s a solid effort that is widely praised as one of rock’s best live LPs, although it was revealed years later that Lowell George wasn’t happy with some of his guitar parts and later overdubbed them in the studio.  Another way that live albums are sometimes not as “live” as they seem.

“Stop Making Sense,” Talking Heads, 1984

41C1CZQFQJLAnother sonically superior concert LP is this soundtrack from the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” concert film, directed by the great Jonathan Demme.  Critics raved: “A perfectly measured snapshot of a widely loved and respected band playing at the height of their powers,” said Neil Jeffries of Empire.  “No other music movie soundtrack sounds this good.”  Leader/songwriter/singer David Byrne retained control of the recorded musical product, and it shows.   Such a fine selection of songs from their catalog:  “Psycho Killer,” “Girlfriend is Better,” “Take Me to the River,” “Burning Down the House,” “Once in a Lifetime”…  It’s one of very few live albums to be included among Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Albums of All Time.

“Running on Empty,” Jackson Browne, 1977

R-1542309-1537728584-2463.jpegUnique among live albums is this entertaining release by one of L.A.’s best singer/songwriter of the Seventies.  He conceived a collection of new songs about being on the road, and recorded all of them live.  Half were recorded on stage in various U.S. venues, while others were recorded as little more than demos in various locations:  on a tour bus (“Nothing But Time”), in a hotel room (“Cocaine” and “Shaky Town”) and  a backstage rehearsal room (“Rosie”).  One of the best tracks is “The Road,” whose first half was taped in a hotel room and grafted to a second half from a stage show.  It was a novel idea that worked remarkably well; the album peaked at #3, spawned two hit singles and stayed on the charts for more than a year.

“Europe ’72,” The Grateful Dead, 1972

Unknown-625Early on, The Dead quickly realized they sounded much more like themselves in concert than in the studio, so they released an unprecedented seven double live LPs in their long career.  One of those was actually a triple album, “Europe ’72,” a fantastic sampling of music they performed during their tour of England and continental Europe in the spring of 1972.  European audiences tend to be more restrained and polite in their crowd response, which makes for a better listening experience here.  Check out their 13-minute “Truckin'” and the medley of “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider” to see what I mean.  I personally think the band never sounded better, on stage or in the studio, than they do on this LP.

“The Concert in Central Park,” Simon and Garfunkel, 1982

810HYDgn1NL._SL1500_As a huge fan of this iconic duo during their 1965-1970 heyday, I was thrilled when they announced they would reunite for a free benefit concert in Central Park in September 1981.  It ended up attracting half a million fans and became a defining moment in the rock and roll pantheon when a film of it was shown on HBO the following year.  The concurrently released double album (#3 on the charts) featured smartly produced performances of the duo’s unparalleled vocal blend, with five songs from Simon’s solo works and one new Garfunkel tune (“A Heart in New York”), but the rest was a fabulous look back at the songs that tantalized a generation, from “The Boxer,” and “Homeward Bound” to “America” and “Mrs. Robinson.”

“Wheels of Fire (Disc 2),” Cream, 1968

4714641While Cream came up with some pretty great studio tracks on the four LPs they made in their two years together, it is the recordings of their live performances that really define what Cream was all about.  Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were each virtuosos on their respective instruments, and when they embarked on extended jams of some of their songs, look out.  If Cream had put all their best live tracks on one album, it would’ve been a slam dunk, but instead they’re spread out among several LPs.  Still, I’m going to include the live Disc 2 of “Wheels of Fire” on my list because of the phenomenal production which captured the improvisational brilliance of “Spoonful” and “Crossroads.”

“Woodstock,” multiple artists, 1970

Woodstock_Original_Soundtrack_1970This one’s a big, glorious mess of a live album — six vinyl sides of performances, both sharp and ragged, by an all-star cast of bands from the summer of ’69 — Joe Cocker, The Who, Ten Years After, Sly and The Family Stone, Santana, Country Joe and The Fish, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Jimi Hendrix.  There’s plenty of crowd noise, dialog, stage announcements, occasional feedback, flat notes and whatnot, but that’s part of what made the triple live LP and the film into award-winning documentaries of a watershed event in rock history, warts and all.  The sound quality of the album is, frankly, hit or miss; some bands sound muffled or distant, while Santana, a new band to many in attendance, comes across better than most.

“Miles of Aisles,” Joni Mitchell, 1974

R-5951388-1407193994-3473.jpegThis wonderful record captured one of rock’s most wondrous artists at her commercial peak just as she was ending one period and embarking on another.  Joni had been a folk singer whose own songwriting matured by leaps and bounds throughout her first five albums, and with “Court and Spark,” she began to use a full band (the jazz-infused L.A. Express) in the studio and on tour.  These live performances offered a cross section of old Joni, basically just her voice with guitar or piano, and new Joni, with the band, showing hints of the full-blown jazz material she’d be doing within a couple of years.  Almost all tracks were recorded at Universal Amphitheatre, and the sound is pretty damn good.

“Four-Way Street,” Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, 1971

81n4hBljrvL._SL1500_These hippie gods were so talented, and yet so maddeningly egotistical, that they were doomed to break up less than a year after they got together.  There simply wasn’t enough space on an album for all the great songs these four musicians were cranking out in this incredibly fertile period, but they put one tour together, and recorded most dates.   A year after the breakup, they selected 16 performances and assembled “Four-Way Street,” where the crowd noise is a bit loud for my taste, and the vocals aren’t as pristine as we had come to expect from their studio tracks.  But the album made it to #1 and makes my list because there are wonderful acoustic tunes new to the audience at the time (Crosby’s “The Lee Shore,” “Nash’s “Right Between the Eyes” and Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”).

“Frampton Comes Alive,” Peter Frampton, 1976

Unknown-626If there’s a live album you can blame for the glut of double live LPs that cluttered the record stores in the late ’70s, it would be this one.  Frampton had intended “Frampton Comes Alive!” to be a single LP, but A&M Records actually encouraged him to make it a double, and it ended up soaring to #1 in the US, where it sat for 10 weeks in 1976 and became the biggest-selling live album ever.  There’s way too much intrusive crowd noise here (it’s particularly annoying during the talk-box guitar solo on “Do You Feel Like We Do”), but the production is crisp and pure throughout, and Frampton and his band are in fine form on “Something’s Happening,” “Lines on My Face” and the hit single “Baby I Love Your Way.”

“Big World,” Joe Jackson, 1986

Big_World_coverThis final selection offers another unique take on how a live album could be recorded.  In this case, Jackson wrote 15 great new songs, thoroughly rehearsed them with his touring band, and then booked a concert hall — Roundabout Theatre in New York City — for three nights.  But here’s the kicker:  He requested that the audience refrain from any response until each song’s recording had been completed.  The intent was to capture the intensity and spontaneity of a live performance, but without the distraction of noise from the crowd.  “There was plenty of applause,” said Jackson, “but they were asked to hold it until they were sure a song was finished.  They understood this, and it all went surprisingly smoothly.”

*******************

Honorable mention:

Live at Leeds,” The Who, 1970;  “Live at the Harlem Square Club,” Sam Cooke, 1963;  “Live 1975-1985,” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, 1985;  “Delicate Sound of Thunder,” Pink Floyd, 1988;  “In Concert,” Peter, Paul and Mary, 1964;  “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” Joe Cocker and friends, 1970;  “Live at the Apollo,” James Brown and His Famous Flames, 1962;  “Band of Gypsys,” Jimi Hendrix, 1970;  “11-17-70,” Elton John, 1971;  “Before the Flood,” Bob Dylan and The Band, 1974;  “Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” The Beatles, originally released in 1977, but the 2016 remixed version is the one to get;  “How the West Was Won,” Led Zeppelin, not released until 2003, but captures the band in 1972.