Our Greatest Albums Of The 70s, numbers 48 to 43.
48) ROCKET TO RUSSIA – Ramones (Sire, 1977)
The Ramones were already on their third album as 1977 ended. But although their formula had given punk its blueprint, relentless road-honing and a bigger budget resulted in a career peak. Boasting a pronounced surf influence on tracks such as Cretin Hop, Rockaway Beach and their wonderfully crazed version of The Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird, the Ramones still packed more excitement, warped innocence and pulverising power than any imitators, now enhanced by a punchier sound and greater variety – they even included a ballad with Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.
What they said at the time: “Rocket To Russia is the best American rock and roll of the year and possibly the funniest rock album ever made.” Rolling Stone
47) OVER-NITE SENSATION – Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention (DiscReet, 1973)
Over-Nite Sensation was gleefully embraced by a generation of puerile schoolboys who found an unexpected kindred spirit in dear old smut-mouthed Uncle Frank. With its dense technical complexity defused by the visceral sass of an uncredited Tina Turner And The Ikettes, Over-Nite Sensation helped reposition Zappa in subsequent public perception as an incorrigible lech, invariably winking at the camera with tongue in cheek and bristle in ’tache.
What they said at the time: “Having made social comments on plastic people, status at high school, brain police and road ladies, Zappa returns to the most pervasive element in his warped personality: the joys of a wet crotch.” Crawdaddy
46) BACK IN THE USA – MC5 (Atlantic, 1970)
How could MC5 follow up 1969’s incendiary Kick Out The Jams? By signing to Atlantic, submitting to future Springsteen mentor Jon Landau’s tight production, and forging an album that strove to update teenage rock’n’roll. Despite the watered-down sound, bottled lightning bolts such as The Human Being Lawnmower, The American Ruse and Teenage Lust were later acknowledged as punk-influencing classics on one of the decade’s seminal works.
What they said at the time: “…the music, the sound, and in the end the care with which these themes have been shaped drags it down, save for two or three fine numbers that deserve to be played on every jukebox in the land.” Rolling Stone
45) HERGEST RIDGE – Mike Oldfield (Virgin, 1974)
It says much about Hergest Ridge that Oldfield’s previous album, the huge-selling Tubular Bells released in 1973, returned to bump its follow-up from the UK No.1 spot. The poor thing never stood a chance. Oldfield loathed the attention Tubular Bells brought him, and recorded its follow-up’s demos in rural isolation. The result was a filmic study in folk, classical and ambient sounds, closer to composer Terry Riley than a conventional rock band, and perhaps best experienced when out of one’s gourd. Even now, its pastoral moods make it a far more inviting listen than Oldfield’s overheard, overexposed debut.
What they said at the time: “Mike Oldfield has the singular ability to paint landscapes with music. This scene is stately, orderly, English, and very green.” Down Beat
44) GET YOUR WINGS – Aerosmith (Columbia, 1974)
Popular opinion says that Aerosmith didn’t discover their mojo until 1975’s Toys In The Attic. But those wanting a dirtier experience go back to its predecessor, Get Your Wings. Same Old Song And Dance, Lord Of The Thighs and a runaway cover of Train Kept A Rollin’ are the motherlode of the Aerosmith sound: basically, a lascivious Steven Tyler vocal about girls, stimulants and good times yoked to a funky white-boy guitar lick. Repeat ad infinitum. Seasons Of Wither, with its slow build and final guitar crescendo, sounds like every Guns N’ Roses ballad ever, just 12 years early.
What they said at the time: “Aerosmith’s second album surges with pent-up fury yet avoids the excesses to which many of their peers succumb.” Rolling Stone
43) ACE FREHLEY – Ace Frehley (Casablanca, 1978)
Given Ace Frehley’s role as the perpetual fuck‑up of Kiss, only a brave bookmaker would have offered odds on the guitarist/occasional singer attaining the biggest sales of the four band members’ solo albums released on September 18, 1978. But that’s what happened. Some consider Paul Stanley’s as the pick of the bunch, but Frehley’s matches it track for track, spawning the series’ only Top 40 single in New York Groove, selling over one million copies, and depositing much egg upon the face of a certain Demon.