Our Greatest Albums Of The 70s, numbers 15 to 11.
15) SINGLES GOING STEADY – Buzzcocks (IRS, 1979)
Originally compiled for a US-only release, the album sold decently on import in the UK. It eventually emerged here on the United Artists label in 1981 – just after the Lancastrian band first split. It then flopped, despite being a fiercely focused set of lovelorn punk-pop songs.
If the Pistols and The Clash brought the rage to the age, Buzzcocks brought the (twisted, thwarted) romance through Pete Shelley’s witty, woebegone words, as lasers such as What Do I Get? and I Don’t Mind soundtracked our falling in love with someone we shouldn’t’ve.
What they said at the time: “To describe it as wonderful would be doing the lads a gross injustice. Fast, funny and memorable.” __ _Melody Maker___
14) A TRICK OF THE TAIL – Genesis (Charisma, 1975)
Many thought it would be all over for Genesis after Peter Gabriel left, but they managed just fine. Taking over on vocals, Phil Collins suggests the local chimney-sweep given the lead role in a public school’s end-of-term drama production. But there’s great charm – and great choruses – in Squonk, Entangled and other wistful songs about childhood dreams and romance. This is the sound of Genesis slowly joining the real world.
What they said at the time: “Is it artistically valid? Blowed if I know… But Genesis fans’ll go a bundle on A Trick Of The Tail.” NME
13) KILLER – Alice Cooper (Warner Bros, 1971)
Four albums in, Alice Cooper (the band) were learning how to weave a tinge of a commercial presence into their sick shtick without relinquishing either weirdness or darkness of mood. Under My Wheels and Be My Lover took them into a bewildered hit parade, but Killer built upon a growing reputation for the macabre with the controversial Dead Babies – actually a plea for parents to care better for their offspring. Elsewhere, You Drive Me Nervous and Yeah, Yeah, Yeah preserved AC’s garage-rock roots.
What they said at the time: “[This is] a strong band, a vital band, and they are going to be around for a long, long time.” Rolling Stone
12) THE KICK INSIDE – Kate Bush (EMI, 1978)
Opening with whale song, darting between literary references and debuting that eerie somersault of a vocal, 19-year-old Kate Bush’s first album was hard to ignore (particularly after Wuthering Heights made her the first female artist to have a self-penned UK No.1 hit). Before the bean-counters and image consultants moved in, The Kick Inside’s arty mélange sounded blissfully unshackled (“I was lucky to be able to express myself as much as I did,” Bush recalled). But while the album is rightly treasured by Bush fans it’s on far fewer shelves than 1985’s Hounds Of Love.
What they said at the time: “A bewildering record. While sometimes it just seems pathetically contrived, at others it suggests there’s talent struggling to get out.” NME
11) MARQUEE MOON – Television (Elektra, 1977)
After Patti Smith’s Horses and The Ramones’ self-titled debut, this was the first album from New York’s CBGB explosion to match unanimous critical gushing with chart success. Headily influenced by ecstatic jazz, French poets and West Coast jam bands, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd hoisted a formidable twin-guitar front line, allowed to fly on the mercurial title track, while gorgeous reflections such as Venus de Milo injected subtlety next to abrasive live faves such as Friction. Sadly the band disappeared up its own myth after 1978’s underrated Adventure.
What they said at the time: “An album for everyone, whatever their musical creeds and/or quirks… passionate, full-blooded, dazzlingly well crafted, brilliantly conceived and totally accessible.” NME