Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I first heard Patti Smith's masterpiece and debut Horses played on 96 Rock, WKLS, Atlanta in December 1975. The station was standard "album oriented" format: Zeppelin, the Stones, Cream, Free, the Faces, and other less memorable, torpid sounds of that era. It really wasn't so different from the perpetual-adolescent male fantasy format of its current incarnation: Project 9-6-1. Nothing could have been further out of place than Patti's groundbreaking neo-feminist punk poetry avant-garde rock 'n' roll. Yet someone had the good sense to program her new record on their weekly show featuring new releases in their entirety, and it changed everything for one young listener. I was slowly breaking with the mainstream of rock music as long as I had been listening to the stuff, basically since I was old enough to crawl toward sound coming from a hi-fi speaker. I finally broke free to the sound of "Break it Up" that cold night. I wish I could recall the name of the show which against all odds featured this remarkable punk rock record, before many people used the term "punk rock." I had read Patti's music writing and read about her musical efforts in Creem magazine -- one place where punk rock was already being described. But hearing her music on the radio that night was a unique experience. Within two years I had abandoned most of my favorites for a new crop of punk bands related to Patti Smith: the Ramones, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Television, Pere Ubu, Wire, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and many others setting the pace for all my musical choices to come. Horses was where my new wave began. Unlike "punk rock", "new wave" is a term that always sounded rather silly and has long been out of vogue. Yet there is something appropriate about how it suggests a torrent of change, something very like a wave of sound that began for this listener on a December night long ago.

Best LPs of 1975

1. Patti Smith: Horses (Arista)
2. Bob Dylan: The Basement Tapes (CBS)
3. Brian Eno: Another Green World (Island)
4. Neil Young: Tonight's the Night (Reprise)
5. The Dictators: Go Girl Crazy (Epic)
6. Lynyrd Skynyrd: Nothing Fancy (MCA)
7. Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)
8. Lee Scratch Perry: Revolution Dub (Creole)
9. John Cale: Helen of Troy (Island)
10. Robert Wyatt: Ruth is Stranger than Richard (Virgin)
11. The Rolling Stones: Metamorphosis (ABC)
12. John Cale: Slow Dazzle (Island)
13. Tom Waits: Nighthawks at the Diner (Asylum)
14. Roxy Music: Siren (Atco)
15. Ian Hunter: Ian Hunter (CBS)
16. Steve Lacy: Concert Solo (Emanem, UK)
17. Van Der Graaft Generator: Godbluff (Charisma)
18. Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (RCA)
19. Brian Eno: Discreet Music (Antilles)
20. The Revolutionary Ensemble: The People's Republic (A&M)
21. The Meters: Cissy Strut (Island)
22. Anthony Braxton: Recital 71 (Futura)
23. Steve Lacy: Flakes (RCA)
24. Steve Lacy: School Days (Emanem, UK)
25. Steve Lacy: Crust (Emanem, UK)
26. Steve Lacy: Sextet Scraps (Saravah, France)
27. Bob Marley & the Wailers: Natty Dread (Island)
28. Peter Hammil: Nadir's Last Chance (Charisma)
29. Cecil Taylor: In Transition (Blue Note)
30. David Bowie: Young Americans (RCA)
31. Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (CBS)
32. Al Green: Is Love (Hi)
33. Etta James: Betta Than Evah (Chess)
34. Neil Young: Zuma (Reprise)
35. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (CBS)
36. Hatfield and the North: The Rotters' Club (Virgin)
37. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (CBS)
38. The Sweet: Desolation Boulevard (Capitol)
39. Andy Fairweather Low: La Booga Rooga (A&M)
40. Van Dyke Parks: Clang of the Yankee Reaper (Warner Brothers)
41. Lou Reed: Live (RCA)
42. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel: The Best Years of Our Lives (EMI)
43. John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Nico & Eno: June 1, 1974 (Island)
44. Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: Evening Star (Antilles)
45. Leo Kottke: Chewing Pine (Capitol)


Blogger hanson ono. said...

great post. great list...

1:25 PM  

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