10 greatest albums of the 1970s

The best of an amazing decade.

Michael Putland/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next

No. 2 - Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)

This is an album easy to look back on and think about vocalist Ian Curtis's suicide and have that color the album. But would one do that with Nirvana albums or Soundgarden records? They shouldn't, right? The point is in the strength of the songs and whether the album is front-to-back amazing. Unknown Pleasures is and for several reasons.

I mean, just look at the tracklist alone: "Disorder," "Day of the Lords," "Candidate," and those are just the first three songs. There is a bleakness to the lyrics and a darkness to the music but it is so well performed that it elevates those who listen. If you have only heard "Love Will Tear Us Apart," you've missed so much. And mortal bands could never make this record.

No. 1 - David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

There are few albums ever as iconic as David Bowie's Ziggy. He remade himself, as he would do often in his career, into a character and then wrote great enough songs to get fans to buy into the character he had become. And what a fantastic set of tracks the album is. All of them were well-played and conceived. The tracklist is in perfect order, one song building off of the next to create a concept album about a strange alien whom fans came to identify with personally.

This was part of the genius of Bowie, of course. His main characters could be distant, but fans felt a kinship, much like the performer himself. Who exactly was David Bowie (nee Jones) we likely will never know. But we do know he gave us gems such as "Suffragette City," "Starman," and "Lady Stardust." But there are zero bad songs on the record; every track is a stand-alone piece of brilliance. And is there any better album-ender than "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"? Doubtful.

Read more from AudioPhix

manual