A year that seen Bob Dylan’s hour-long documentary film, Eat the Document, première at New York’s Academy of Music. The film included footage from Dylan’s 1966 UK tour.
Also, the 13th Grammy Awards, honoring musical accomplishments of the previous year, were presented. The ceremonies were broadcast on live television for the first time.
Bands and groups that split this year included the English rock band Free, bands and groups that established this year included American hard rockers the New York Dolls and New Zealand rockers Split Enz.
Now let’s look at some tracks;
SONG 1 - Cactcus - Long Tall Sally
A cover of the 1956 song by Little Richard Cactus joins a long list of impressive artists to have covered the song including Elvis who recorded it twice, Eddie Cochran, The Kinks, the Beatles and the Scorpions to name just a few.
The Cactus version appeared on their second album One Way …. Or Another, the album had eight tracks in all 6 of which were written by the band and two which were covers, Long Tall Sally and also I Feel So Bad by Chuck Willis a blues musician who released his version in 1954 when it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues Chart. This track was also released by Elvis in 1961.
SONG 2 - Scott English - Brandy
The song reached number 12 in the UK for English, it was also released in the US but only reached the lower portion of the Hot 100.
The suggestion that Scott English wrote the song about a favorite dog is apparently an urban legend. English has said that a reporter called him early one morning asking who “Brandy” was, and an irritated English made up the dog story to get the reporter off his back.
The song would be covered by Barry Manilow 3 years later but the name ‘Brandy’ was changed to ‘Mandy’ to avoid any confusion, it would hit the top spot in the US and hit number 11 in the UK. In 2003 Westlife would release their version of Mandy and it would top the UK charts.
SONG 3 - Pink Floyd - Fearless
Fearless is the third track on the album Meddle by Pink Floyd.
This song was one of several to be considered for the band’s “best of” album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.
Although it was not released as a single in the UK and never played live, it was released as the “B-side” of the single “One of These Days”
In a review for the Meddle album, Jean-Charles Costa of Rolling Stone described Fearless as “a clever spoof” that “leads up to a classic crowd rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
A Classic Rock Review described Fearless as “the best overall song on the album and talks about meeting challenges in the face of adversity.” They went on saying Fearless is “highlighted by Gilmour’s calm yet strong guitar strumming and the odd beat from drummer Nick Mason.”
SONG 4 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Nut Rocker
The single reached number 70 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 92 on the U.S. Cashbox chart.
It was a favorite for the bands fans when performed live and appeared on the live album Pictures at an Exhibition recorded at Newcastle City Hall. The album peaked at number 3 in the U.K. and number 10 in the U.S.
SONG 5 - Led Zeppelin - The Battle of Evermore
The song, like some others by the group, makes references to The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Plant felt he needed another voice to tell the story, and for the recording of the song, folk singer Sandy Denny was invited to duet with Plant. Denny was a former member of British folk group Fairport Convention.
The track appeared on the untitled album commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV.
The album received overwhelming praise from critics. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Lenny Kaye called it the band’s “most consistently good” album yet and praised the diversity of the songs: “out of eight cuts, there isn’t one that steps on another’s toes, that tries to do too much all at once.”
SONG 6 - REO Speedwagon - 157 Riverside Avenue
157 Riverside Avenue is a song by REO Speedwagon from their first album, REO Speedwagon.
The song is a standard at the band’s live performances, as it has been for many years. Where the original studio version clocked in at only 3:57 some live performances of the song have reached 13:37.
As well as 157 Riverside Avenue the band’s debut album also gave us other fan favorites, “Sophisticated Lady” and “Lay Me Down”.
SONG 7 - Janis Joplin- Me and Bobby McGee
Joplin recorded the song for inclusion on her Pearl album only a few days before her death.
Kris Kristofferson had sung the song for her, and singer Bob Neuwirth taught it to her. Kristofferson didn’t know she’d recorded it until after her death.
The first time he heard her recording of it was the day after she died.
Joplin’s version topped the charts to become her only number one single
SONG 8 - Ten Years After - I'd Love to Change the World
Change the World by British blues rock band Ten Years After written by Alvin Lee (lead guitarist and singer of the band), it is the lead single from their album A Space in Time.
It is the band’s only Top 40 hit, peaking at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and their most popular single.
The song discusses the confused state of the world, covering a wide variety of societal complaints, until it finally addresses the Vietnam War.
SONG 9 - John Entwistle - My Size
My Size is the first track on Entwistle’s debut solo album Smash Your Head Against the Wall and contains the main riff from one of his popular compositions, “Boris the Spider”.
Although released as a single it failed to chart.
When Entwistle was asked about the song, he said simply: “‘My Size,’ was just written in the studio, we wrote the chord progressions and then I went home and composed the tune and the words.” In another interview Entwistle called “My Size” a sequel to his 1966 hit with The Who, “Boris the Spider”.
The last track for today is from Egg with A Visit to Newport Hospital.
Before we finish this post let’s reveal the year – did you get it?
Other notable things from this year were …
Jim Morrison was found dead in a bath tub in Paris, France, aged 27. Alain Ronay would claim, years later, that he assisted Morrison’s lover, Pamela Courson, in covering up the circumstances.
Also, Bob Dylan made a surprise appearance for the encore of The Band’s New Year’s Eve concert at the Academy of Music, joining the group for four songs including “Like a Rolling Stone”.
SONG 10 - Egg - A Visit to Newport Hospital
A Visit to Newport Hospital tells the story of the Eggs origin and appeared on the album The Polite Force.
The album is often regarded as the band’s best work and displays an advance in compositional maturity which moves away from the lingering psychedelic-pop sensibilities of their debut album toward a more avant-garde instrumental approach.
The music is a fine example of early English progressive rock, bearing many similarities to Soft Machine.
I hope you enjoyed our trip into the Music Time Warp in this post looking at the year 1971.
Be sure to check back for weekly posts looking back into the Music Time Warp.