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Twenty Dynamic Albums Turning Fifty This Year

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Ian Anderson Was Known for Putting on a Fantastic Show As Well as Sitting On a Park Bench


Much of my earnings throughout my lifetime have gone the The Beatles, be the merchandise vinyl LPs or compact discs or T-shirts or biographies. When it was revealed last week that exactly one thousand dollars was the price of the fiftieth anniversary of All Things Must Pass, well, even this die-hard fab Four fan had to pass.

George Harrison's double album is no doubt a great set, but this exorbitant anniversary edition is too much. It comprises eight vinyl records, a blu-ray disc, and two books about the production of All Things Must Pass.

I would never fork over a thousand dollars for any record, especially one that is not even the best of its year. As far as 1971 is concerned, Harrison's ATMP would fall somewhere in the middle of the best two dozen.

Here are twenty other sensational albums that, like All Things Must Pass, are turning fifty this year.

1. Love It To Death by Alice Cooper

The glam quintet led by the erstwhile Vincent Furnier broke through to the mainstream with this release, thanks in part to the smash single “I'm Eighteen.”

2. Aqualung by Jethro Tull

No one can forget the memorable guitar riff of the title track, but the album also boasts such gems as “Cross-Eyed Mary” and “Locomotive Breath.”

3. Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones

Opener “Brown Sugar” hit number one in the United States, where fans who purchased the record also got “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers.”

4 Poems, Prayers, and Promises by John Denver

His most well-known song, not about Colorado but West Virginia, makes the centerpiece of a record also containing “Sunshine on My Shoulder” and the underrated title track.

5. LA Woman by the Doors

Mr. Mo Jo Rison went down three months after the release, adding to the popularity of songs like “Riders on the Storm” and “Love Her Madly.”

6. Leon Russell and the Shelter People by Leon Russell

Long known for his keyboards work with the Wrecking Crew, Russell collaborated here to make memorable cuts such as “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “Home Sweet Oklahoma” and “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

7. Every Picture Tells a Story by Rod Stewart

At the end of the decade Stewart would again hit number one with the disco-esque Blonds Have More Fun, but he started the Seventies with this disc containing the title track, “Mandolin Wind” and the immortal “Maggie May.”

8. Blue by Joni Mitchell

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Definitely her breakthrough after gaining some notoriety with “Big Yellow Taxi,” Blue showcases her songwriting gifts on “Carey” and “California.”

9. Stephen Stills 2 by Stephen Stills

While Mitchell was making her breakthrough, her friend was simply following up “Love the One You're With” by offering this sophomore effort known for “Marianne” and “Changing Partners.”

10. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour by the Moody Blues

After several successful albums the Moodys finally hit number one with this classic, revered for tracks like Justin Hayward's “The Story in Your Eyes” and Ray Thomas's “Nice To Be Here.”

11. Who's Next by the Who

In between the opening violin riff on “Baba O'Reilly” to the final synthesizer coda on “Won't Get Fooled Again,” fans get treated to other classics like “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Bargain” and “Going Mobile.”

12. Imagine by John Lennon

The title track alone is enough to make it a quality record, but add “Crippled Inside” and “Gimme Some Truth” and you have a no-duds classic.

13. Electric Warrior by T Rex

Three of Marc Bolan's best known songs are here, "Bang a Gong", "Jeepster" and "Mambo Sun."

14. Teaser and the Firecat by Cat Stevens

His follow up to “Wild World” and Tea for the Tillerman was this rich offering, sweetened with the three hits “Morning has Broken,” “Moonshadow” and “Peace Train.”

15. American Pie by Don McLean

The title track takes up nearly one fourth of the album, which also spawned “Vincent” and “Babylon.”

16. Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

Most boomers can name the songs in the exact order starting with “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, and they would be only halfway through when they reached the “Stairway To Heaven.”

17. Madman Across the Water by Elton John

It preceded the epic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, yet it held its own by opening with “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon.”

18. Nilsson Schmilsson by Nilsson

Put the lime in the coconut and jump into the fire were just two its of advice the well-respected tenor offered on this breakthrough, which also featured the number one hit “Without You.”

19. Self-Titled by John Prine

Without doubt this doubt is the best ever made by an American artist, whose memorable songs are still revered a year after his death from COVID-19.

20. Straight Up by Badfinger

George Harrison and Todd Rundgren produced alternate songs on this second album by the pals of The Beatles, an effort that gave Brit rock fans the singles “Baby Blue” and “Day after Day.”

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