Genre: Acid Rock
Preceded by: –
Followed by: Strange Days (1967)
Related to: not available yet
1967 was a crucial year in pop music history, looking at all the highly acclaimed albums released in this year. 1967 was also a crucial year for American rock band The Doors, as they released their first two albums. Both of them were a big success, but let’s have a closer look on their debut here: The Doors.
When you say Doors, you say Jim Morrison. Although Morrison might have been the face of the band, rather accentuated by the album cover, this album got his strength from the synergy of all four Doors. That’s prolly why all credits go to the band as a whole, although Morrison and guitarist Robbie Krieger were the primary writers.
The beauty of this album in my opinion is created by the way the Doors were looking to develop their own distinct sound, and doing so they were blending different styles together on one album. For example, you’ve got the uptempo songs like ‘Break on Trough’, a call to the new generation of that time, and the ultimate hitsingle ‘Light My Fire’. This was originally an unfinished song by Krieger as an ode to sexual desire, later on expanded with its epic organ and guitar solos. It became world famous thanks to the intro of keyboard player Ray Manzarek.
The album also contains some covers, ‘Backdoor Man’ and ‘Alabama Song’, but they were given such a typical Doors sound that they sound like original songs. And there are the darker songs like ‘The Crystal Ship’ and ‘The End’. With the first one, considered as a love song to Morrison’s first love (Mary Werbelow), Morrison shows his abilities as crooner (being a big fan of Frank Sinatra).
‘The End’ to the contrary, was originally about Morrison breaking up with this Miss Werbelow. However, thanks to the mystic instrumental parts and Morrison’s narrative vocals, the song became a theatrical masterpiece about lust and death. When the group performed this song live for the first time at the Whiskey A Go Go, they were thrown out because Morrison screamed the original line “Mother…I want to fuck you!” during the climax of the song… Enjoy one of the best debut albums of all time.
Preceded by: Yellow Submarine (1969)
Followed by: Let it Be (1970)
Related to: not available yet
When you start with Dylan, you have to come up with something great to follow up. So let’s just immediately throw the Beatles in, the world’s most famous band ever. Influenced by Dylan, and at their turn influencing the rest of he world.
Talked enough about influence, what is it worth after all if the music itself sucks? Luckily this is not the case for the ‘Fab Four’, and certainly not for this album. Although Sgt. Pepper’s and Revolver are way more often called the best Beatles albums, I would recommend Abbey Road to start with. Little irony there, as this album was the last one they recorded before breaking up (although Let It Be was released after it).
One thing that characterizes this album is that it’s a very tightly constructed one. Irony part two there, as the group was really falling apart in those days. But despite all the disputes, the band’s main songwriters Lennon and McCartney were still able to produce some fantastic material. Besides, guitarist George Harrison was exposing more and more as a brilliant songwriter. That’s why everybody will recognize famous tunes like ‘Come Together’, ‘Oh! Darling’ , ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘Something’ (which was considered by McCartney as the best song ever written by Harrison), without ever having heard the complete album.
The first part of the album consists of these kind of songs, together with ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’. The Beatles opened the doors for so called progressive rock with this song, having a very unusual length and structure. The fanatical organ sounds by ‘fifth Beatle’ Billy Preston and the sophisticated bass from McCartney makes this song one of my personal favorites. Side two to the contrary, is basically one big suite of short compositions with a total duration of about 16 minutes. They were originally made for The White Album and Let It Be, but blended together by McCartney and Beatles producer George Martin on Abbey Road. It closes with the symbolic track ‘The End’, a song with a solo from each of the Beatles (even Ringo, his only one with the Beatles) and the following last line: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”. Enjoy.
Genre: Folk Rock
Preceded by: Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
Followed by: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
You have to start somewhere, so somewhere must be Dylan. Bob Dylan is one of America’s most influential musicians of all time and influenced many many musicians all over the world. Especially this album marks a turning point in rock history.
Back in 1965, Dylan was known as a very successful folk artist. But at that point he decided he didn’t want this to be for the rest of his life and exchanged his acoustic guitar for an electric one on the A side of the album Bringing It All Back Home. He completed this transition on his next album: Highway 61 Revisited.
The name of the album was derived from one of North America’s great highways. This road had a special meaning for Dylan, as it connected his birthplace Minnesota with places in the south like Memphis and New Orleans. It were those places where some of Dylan’s heroes like Elvis Presley and Muddy Waters came from.
What makes this album a perfect starting point is it’s ‘revolutionary’ character which had a great influence on a lot of other music to be discussed here later on. Not only the transition to electric rock, but also for example the introduction of songs lasting longer than three minutes. Every song lasts about 5-6 minutes and the epic final track ‘Desolation Row’ even lasts 11 minutes. On top, the songs are not mainly about love anymore and they don’t have the traditional sing along choruses which were standard those days. Last but not least, the emphasis on this album lies on the lyrics, not the voice which sings them. That’s by the way the main reason that Jimi Hendrix started to sing after all: if Dylan could sing, Hendrix could at least give it a try.
Hendrix even covered the famous opening track of the album: ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. This track in particular avoids all traditional themes of a pop song, expressing resentment and revenge instead. This song was even listed number ONE on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, could you imagine a better start for your discovery? Enjoy the album!
Welcome to this brand new blog. This summer I finally went to Poland, and after that I realized there’s only one more thing I want to do in my life: start to write my own album blog. You can read all about it in the about section. The first album will follow quickly on this historical tuesday.