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Kevin Forest Moreau's Top 10 Albums of the 1970s

1. Bob Dylan: Blood On The Tracks (Columbia, 1975)
The beginning of the grizzled, elder-statesman Dylan phase that's lasted until this day. Vivid and precise in its imagery.
 
2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Rust Never Sleeps (Reprise, 1979)
Neil Young's light side (commanding, introspective folk like "Pocahontas") meets his dark shadow (the unseemly electric sprawl of the second half). Pristine, messy and beautiful in its sloppiness.
3. The Who: Who's Next (MCA. 1971)
These self-important mods could sometimes be insufferable, but Who's Next distills the band's best elements--Daltrey's ham-fisted vocals, Townsend's concise songwriting and Moon's understated chaos--into a masterpiece.
 
4. Kiss: Destroyer (Casablanca, 1976)
Where the music caught up with the sheer imagination of the visual spectacle. "Detroit Rock City," "Queen of the Nighttime World" and "God of Thunder" are air-guitar anthems.
5. The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street (Virgin, 1972)
The needle-junkie's answer to the proper Americana of Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Helped lay the blueprint for all of country-rock -including, more's the pity, the Eagles.
 
6. Led Zeppelin: IV (Atlantic, 1971)
Houses of the Holy rocked harder, Physical Graffiti had more sprawl, but IV remains a perfect fusion of blues-rock swagger and gauzy, shimmering fantasia. And love it or hate it (the latter, please), "Stairway to Heaven" has changed the face of rock radio for all time.
7. Van Halen: Van Halen (Warner Bros., 1978)
The album that launched a thousand hair-metal guitar heroes and just as many outlandish frontmen.
 
8. Pink Floyd: The Wall (Capitol, 1979)
Roger Waters' landmark concept piece is too bleak and nakedly ambitious for some tastes. A bit overblown, but its very excess is ultimately its greatest strength.
9. Yes: Going for the One (Atlantic, 1977)
Most critics, if they care to acknowledge Yes at all, give the nod to Fragile or The Yes Album. But this one is spectral and soaring, thanks in no small part to the lush, imperial keyboard work of returning member Rick Wakeman. "Wondrous Stories" is simply gorgeous.
 
10. Elton John: Honky Chateau (Rocket/Island, 1972)
One of the rare instances where Elton's over-the-top flamboyance didn't get in the way of some unassuming and truly memorable songs.
 
Notable near misses:
 
  • Big Star: Third/Sister Lovers (Aura, 1978)
  • Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath  (Warner, 1970)
  • David Bowie: Low (Virgin, 1977)
  • Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan (Epic, 1979)
  • Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare (Atlantic, 1975)
  • Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (Rykodisc, 1977)
  • Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Reprise, 1977)
  • Genesis: Selling England By The Pound (Atco, 1973)
  • Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel (Reprise, 1974)
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Damn the Torpedoes (MCA, 1979)
  • Rush: Hemispheres (Mercury, 1978)
  • Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run (Columbia, 1975)

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