60s and 70s essentials?

I listen to a lot of music. I’m 30 years old, and grew up in a house with a massive record collection. My parents had a pretty broad collection of albums from the 60s and 70s, and while I definitely did not listen to all of them, I listened to many, and at least became familiar with the album covers and artists.

Anyway, I know that their collection was far from comprehensive, and as I’ve pursued my own musical interests I’ve filled in some gaps, but far from all of them. Among my friends in my age group I’d say I’m one of the most knowledgeable about pre-Nirvana rock and folk music, but I always feel like I only have part of the picture.

So, who, in your mind, is essential, overlooked, misunderstood, or oft-forgotten in the music of the 60s and 70s (give or take)? I’m keeping the 80s out of the equation only to keep a little focus. What albums are worth knowing?

For the purposes of this thread, let’s assume that I already know Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, but I don’t know Joan Baez or Arlo Guthrie. I know Chicago but not Blood, Sweat and Tears. If that makes sense.

I doubt the collection has Blood Sweat and Tears’s best album “The Child is Father to the Man,” but that’s the essential one.

There’s also"

Laura Nyro – New York Tendaberrry
Lovin’ Spoonful – Greatest Hits (usually I don’t recommend “Greatest Hits” albums, but the Spoonful was a singles group).
Emett Rhodes – Emmit Rhodes
Kak – Kak
Renaissance – * Renaissance* (sometimes packaged as King and Queens) – not the group that became famous later.
Loudon Wainwright III – Album III
Mothers of Invention – We’re Only In It for the Money, Burnt Weenie Sandwich, or Freak Out
McDonald and Giles
Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother or Meddle
Rick Wakeman – The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Soft Machine – Third
Spirit – The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (one of the greatest albums of the era).
Traffic – Dear Mr. Fantasy, John Barleycorn Must Die or Traffic
The Band – The Band.

Feh. For the great singles of the 1970s get Rhino Records “Have a Nice Decade”. It’s 7 full disks of hit singles and one hit wonders that did well.

60s San Francisco Bay Area

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails

Country Joe and the Fish - Electric Music For the Mind and Body

Lothar and the Hand People - Presenting…

Moby Grape - Moby Grape

Big Brother and the Holding Company - Cheap Thrills

And the usual assortment of albums by the Dead, Jefferson Airplane and CCR.

My favorite album of all time: Fever Tree

Here’s one song: San Francisco Girls. They were actually from Texas and had never been to San Francisco when the song was recorded.

Well, a definitive list of all important music from the 60s & 70s would probably use up more bandwidth than the SDMB even has; but the thread so far seems to be veering towards late 60s/early 70s west coast “classic rock.”


Grateful Dead - Live Dead, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty

Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) - Crosby, Stills, Nasih and Deja Vu, also Neil Young’s solo Harvest and David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name.

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow and Volunteers, also check out Blows Against the Empire (credited to Paul Kantner - Jefferson Starship) and Hot Tuna (Hot Tuna are an acoustic spin-off group of Airplane proper.)

Janis Joplin - Pearl and Joplin in Concert. Skip Cheap Thrills - a shoddy, sloppy mess that only proves Joplin made the right decision going solo.

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon, and Court & Spark. (Most folks will say “Blue” is her seminal work, but IMO her best songs are on either of these Lps.)

the Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!, the Fifth Dimension and Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again

the Mamas & the Papas - Any old “greatest hits” collection will do, since they basically repackage the same dozen or so songs over & over again.

Love - Forever Changes

the Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

the Doors - the self-titled debut and L.A. Woman.

Santana - the debut Lp and Abraxas.

Frank Zappa / the Mothers of Invention - We’re Only In It For the Money and Weasel Ripped My Flesh.

Creedance Clearwater Revival - Bayou County, Green River and Cosmo’s Factory.

Some of the bands, you’d probably be better just putting together a playlist on itunes or rhapsody. Some suggestions -

Pride of Man & the Fool - Quicksilver Messenger Service
Rock & Soul Music & I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag (from the Woodstock soundtrack) Country Joe McDonald & the Fish
White Bird - It’s a Beautiful Day
I Got a Line On You, Fresh Garbage - Spirit
Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Omaha - Moby Grape
Spill the Wine - Eric Burdon & War
Make Your Own Kind of Music & Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By - Mama Cass

I’d go for country rock. Start with the Byrds, then on to Buffalo Springfield, Poco, the Eagles, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan’s Nashville period and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. If you like that, you can get really deep.

Ian and Sylvia.

The Who - Who’s Next and Tommy
The Animals - a greatest hits album will do
Any of Bonnie Riatt’s first 4 or 5 albums
Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
The James Gang - Live
The Go-Gos - Beauty and the Beat
Cream - Disraeli Gears
Johnny Rivers - Best of
Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow.
Little Feat - Waiting for Columbus
Laura Nyro - Christmas and the Beads of Sweat

I tried to keep it under one hundred…

Stand Up - Jethro Tull
Benefit - Jethro Tull
The Turning Point - John Mayall
Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane (thirded)

Folky stuff
I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore - Phil Ochs
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
Wildflowers - Judy Collins
Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen
Karla Bonoff - Karla Bonoff
Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger - Dave Van Ronk
Liege & Lief - Fairport Convention
Below the Salt - Steeleye Span

…and if you want some weird stuff, try Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, by The Incredible String Band

Not yet mentioned:

60s - The Zombies Example Example Example

70s - Big Star Example Example

  - **War** [Example](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro4yhp9L6Ok) [Example](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liq_wYFkMoU&feature=related) [Example](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzQApZWlxgw&feature=related)

Bloomfield, Cooper and Stills, Super Session. I’d also check out Manassas.

Quintessential 70s (for me), these are a few I can think of for now.
Earth, Wind and Fire.
Wild Cherry (beyond “Play that Funky Music” I liked their stuff).
BeeGees (Yeah, I know they’re known for their Disco, but they had some good pre-disco stuff).