|1977 Classic Rock Reviews
|With the golden age of classic rock winding down, 1977 became a great year for pop/rock music in general. As the relatively short fads of punk rock and disco were exploding on opposite sides of the music spectrum, clear and accessible rock-based pop music was dominating that spectrum’s mainstream. Still, a few holdouts from the classic rock and prog rock eras of the recent past put out some interesting material this year.
We featured albums from the year 1977 during January and February 2012. During that 35th anniversary celebration of this music, we originally reviewed 16 albums:
David Bowie – Low
Eric Clapton – Slowhand
Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Billy Joel – The Stranger *
Kansas – Point of Know Return
Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell
Steve Miller Band – Book of Dreams
Pink Floyd – Animals
Queen – News of the World
Rush – A Farewell to Kings
The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Steely Dan – Aja
Styx – The Grand Illusion
Supertramp – Even in the Quietest Moments
*1977 Album of the Year
Below are further descriptions of each album, in the order that we reviewed.
|January 2, 2012|
|Largely forgotten by critics and mainstream rock fans, Animals is a true original among a Pink Floyd library which is loaded with originals. This album also signifies a definitive turning point from the band-oriented works to those dominated by Roger Waters.
Review of Animals
|January 7, 2012|
|The third of four great albums by Supertramp in the mid-to-late seventies, Even In the Quietest Moments was unique in many ways especially musically. Still, it acts as a nice bridge between the band’s earlier art rock and later pop-rock sounds.
Review of Even In the Quietest Moments
|January 11, 2012|
|After the success of their 1976 breakthrough, 2112, the band Rush was finally in a position where they could make the type of music that they wanted to make. With A Farewell to Kings, they struck a nice balance between pop-oriented hard rock and unchartered areas of prog rock.
Review of A Farewell to Kings
|January 15, 2012|
|Steely Dan reached their career pinnacle with Aja in 1977. Under the nearly-obsessive leadership of songwriters Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, close to forty of the finest jazz and rock session musicians were enlisted to compose what would become the group’s masterpiece.
Review of Aja
|January 19, 2012|
|After nearly a dozen albums and constant lineup changes, Fleetwood Mac finally got their formula right in the mid seventies. 1977′s Rumours would become not just the band’s best selling album, but one of the highest selling albums ever up to that point in time.
Review of Rumours
|January 23, 2012|
|While most classic rock artists had migrating towards simpler accessible music in 1977, Kansas was one of the last, stubborn holdouts to still compose pure prog. Although the band didn’t exclusively compose tunes in this genre, they still leaned mainly in this direction on their most popular album Point of Know Return.
Review of Point of Know Return
|January 27, 2012|
|Draw the Line was the fifth album by Aerosmith, produced during the beginning of their first decline during the seventies era. Still, the album offers much of the brilliance and grit that the band offered during this golden era.
Review of Draw the Line
|January 31, 2012|
|The say that the Sex Pistols were a flash in the pan would be to greatly exaggerate their longevity. They disbanded the very same year that their classic lineup formed but did manage to produce one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, and were extremely influential.
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
|February 3, 2012|
|The Grand Illusion by Styx is a pleasant listen, albeit a bit uneven and less-than cohesive. The fantastic first side contains all the radio and chart hits with a much less inspired second side featuring some under-developed pieces which render the album just short of greatness.
Review of The Grand Illusion
|February 7, 2012|
|Produced by Todd Rundgren with songs written by Jim Steinman, Bat Out of Hell was credited to Meat Loaf and would go on to be a platinum seller fourteen times over. However, the project spent over five years being rejected by every major Label (and quite a few minor ones as well).
Review of Bat Out of Hell
|February 11, 2012|
|With Slowhand, Eric Clapton found a nice formula, perfected with enough musical prowess to attract rock and blues fans and the right touches of pop craftmanship to reach the radio-friendly pop audience of the day.
Review of Slow Hand
|February 14, 2012|
|Steve Miller‘s most popular and enduring records came in the mid-to-late seventies and featured a blend of pop-rock songs and quasi-psychedelic pieces with synthesized effects. Book of Dreams fell right in the heart of this era.
Review of Book of Dreams
|February 18, 2012|
|News Of the World was recorded and released in the heart of Queen’s most prolific and creative era and may be the band’s most balanced album. It bridges the harmony-rich, virtuoso studio pieces of the recent past with the funk-influenced, rhythm driven hits of their near future.
Review of News Of the World
|February 20, 2012|
|Out Of the Blue was a double album by Electric Light Orchestra which was incredibly composed in just a few weeks by the band’s leader Jeff Lynne. The album went on to be revered by many as the group’s finest work ever and was the high-water mark of their popular career in the seventies.
Review of Out Of the Blue
|February 23, 2012|
|The first of what has come to be know as the “Berlin Trilogy”, David Bowie made a definite turn into synthesized, avant-garde music with Low. Although the album is completely asymmetrical, with the help of producer Tony Visconti and sound genius Brian Eno, Bowie made an artistic masterpiece.
Review of Low
|February 27, 2012|
The second of a trio of fantastic albums by Billy Joel in the late seventies, The Stranger is a pop music masterpiece with just a touch of experimentation and musical vituosity. The album fit perfectly for the times but yet does not sound dated 35 years later and so it is our album of the year for 1977.
Review of The Stranger
|Final 1977 Poll Results|
|Q: What is the best album of 1977?
Conducted on our site, January-February, 2012
|Other 1977 Albums of Note|
The highly transitional year of 1977 included scores of albums which we were not able to review. These ranged from the English folk of Songs From the Wood by Jethro Tull, to the harder rock of Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent, to Journey‘s final album before enlisting Steve Perry as lead vocalist.
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