Any list of best ofs, is subject to subjectivity. For instance, when it comes to selecting the greatest hockey player of all time, many people will put their stamp on Wayne Gretzky. I, on the other hand [and many others], will argue vehemently that Bobby Orr is the best! Both camps can put forth very convincing arguments for each player. But who is right? Subjectivity!
The same holds true for music. I love sitting around with a group of anybody talking about the best of: the best song, the best album, the best guitar player, the best vocalist, etc., which brings me around to the subject of this blog, the best year in rock music. There have been so many great years in the history of rock [including every year from 69 to 76], so picking the best isn’t exactly a gimme.
Pick any year and you’re going to find some great music! 1969 saw the release of the Beatles, Abbey Road. It was also the year Creedence Clearwater Revival released Willy and the Poor Boys, which included their smash hit, Down on the Corner. 1971 saw the release of Led Zeppelin 4, arguably one of the best albums of all time, given that it contains Stairway to Heaven. 1976 was also a phenomenal year with the release of Boston, by Boston, Frampton Comes Alive, by Peter Frampton and Hotel California by the Eagles.
So many great years! But when it comes right down to it. Forced to pick one year [I wasn’t forced by anybody]! My choice is 1970. It was the year the Beatles released their final album, Let it Be. It was also the year former Beatle, George Harrison, released All Things Must Pass,, as well as the year CCR released Cosmo’s Factory, the Guess Who released American Woman, Neil Young released After the Gold Rush, Van Morrison released Moondance, Simon and Garfunkel released Bridge Over Troubled Water and Black Sabbath released Paranoid.
So many great albums and songs!
But what puts 1970 over the top for me, is that was the year Eric Clapton got together with guitarist Duane Allman, keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon to release Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs as Derek and the Dominoes. It was their only album together, but it contained Layla, my favorite song! How can I go wrong with this choice?
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which is the best. As I said at the outset it is all a matter of opinion. Just the same though, it makes for lively discussion and a chance for me to put it out there!
Care to weigh in on your favourite year?