Best 12 albums for the 60's & 70's
July 28, 2006 3:49 PM   Subscribe

We are sending a capsule into deep space to carry a sample of America as it was in the 60's and 70's. We can include 12 CDs (or albums transferred to CD) to reflect popular music of the time (1960 through 1979.) What 12 CDs best represent what was happening then?
posted by leafwoman to Society & Culture (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Beatles - White Album (Do we have to pick just one Beatles album?)

Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield

Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:02 PM on July 28, 2006

Freedom Rock
posted by necessitas at 4:10 PM on July 28, 2006

(I'll admit that I started to type "Beatles" reflexively).

Bringing It All Back Home (Bob Dylan, 1965)
Mr. Tambourine Man (The Byrds, 1965)
Let's Stay Together (Al Green, 1972)
September of My Years (Frank Sinatra, 1965)
Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen, 1975)
The Ramones (The Ramones, 1976)
At Budokan (Cheap Trick, 1979)
Led Zeppelin I (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
Where Did Our Love Go (The Supremes, 1964)
Pet Sounds (Beach Boys, 1966)
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (Simon & Garfunkel, 1966)
Green River (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969)
At Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash, 1968)

Very cool project, by the way.
posted by Iridic at 4:14 PM on July 28, 2006

Oh, wait--do you mean strictly American music, or just music that was popular in America?
posted by Iridic at 4:15 PM on July 28, 2006

Beatles Abby Road
Hair (New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater version)
Wasn't That A Time. Peter, Paul, and Mary
posted by KneeDeep at 4:19 PM on July 28, 2006

Based on an exhaustive survey of the contents of Western American thrift stores: The Carpenters, Andy Williams, Herb Alpert, The Sound of Music, Firestone Christmas Album and Dora Hall. Or heck, just a dozen Dora Hall albums.
posted by Scram at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2006

Sgt. Peppers before White Album or Abbey Road.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2006

Iridic had a lot that would be on my list. I could also include:

Merle Haggard Hag
Elvis Presley 1968 TV special LIVE
Carole King Tapestry
The Clash London Calling
Beatles Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon
Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde
Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
James Taylor Sweet Baby James
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:25 PM on July 28, 2006

Don't forget "Whipped Cream and Other Delights". Seriously! I don't know if it's on CD but that's no excuse.
posted by apple scruff at 4:26 PM on July 28, 2006

No, not Sergeant Pepper's or the White Album. Send the best Beatles album, Rubber Soul.
posted by jayder at 4:35 PM on July 28, 2006

jayder, while Rubber Soul may be a better album, the question is what was most representative of what was happening at the time, and I think Sgt. Pepper's is a better fit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:41 PM on July 28, 2006

Beatles - 1967-1970
Led Zeppelin IV
Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water
Carole King - Tapestry
Saturday Night Fever
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Eagles - Hotel California or Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)
Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
Fleetwood Mac -Rumours
Elton John Greatest Hits
Blondie - Parallel Lines
AC/DC Highway to Hell

This is definitely not about my taste; this is about what people were listening to, because I think that's what indicates what was happening then.

These are not the best albums, or the most influential lin the long-term albums, or the most inspiring albums. Just the albums that people were buying because it was affecting them the most at the time

For this purpose, I think greatest hits albums serve a very legitimate purpose, especially when there's no one clearly best album from an artist who should be represented.
posted by spira at 4:42 PM on July 28, 2006

Carole King, but not a single Motown? Shaaaaame.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:59 PM on July 28, 2006

Rumours was an excellent pick, spira. I totally missed that one.


Queen A Night at the Opera
Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive (I'm pretty sure that in the 70s this was issued to all newborns at birth)
Kiss Alive!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:12 PM on July 28, 2006

Your question is a bit of a mess. Do you want us to list the "best 12 albums" of the time (a critical decision from our perspective) or do you want the selection to "reflect popular music of the time" (what was popular) or do you want the selection to "represent what was happening then" (protest songs, etc.) or what? And do you mean albums released as albums then, or albums released more recently (today's oldies hits collections, for example) that fit the criteria?

To be fairly wide-ranging (compared to the careful selections above) and more accurate, I might grab some Billboard hits collections. That way you'd get a mix of what people really liked at the time, which would also reflect a bit of what was going on at the time (such as "Ballad of the Green Berets"), and they would be the best recordings of the time according to the average person of the time. Try to get adult pop, rock, soul, jazz, and country hits collections. Or do you intend "popular music of the time" to mean a narrow range of "pop" music that does not include, for example, jazz or country?

If you're disallowing contemporary repackagings, then I would choose some K-tel collections (or similar packages) of the time.
posted by pracowity at 5:16 PM on July 28, 2006

Tina Turner, Aretha, Temptations, Supremes, Bob Marley, Sergio Mendez, Herb Alpert, Alvin (Chipmonks,) Tom whathisname (welsh "Ghostriders in the Sky,") Mr. J. Cash, Chicago, Creedence, etc. Come on we don't have a mix yet.

Oh and to orthogonality, the broadcast will get to a point in space sooner but if the SETI aren't up they will miss it. Even if we broadcast it continuously for five years that's a narrow time window. We are setting a broad time window (about 75 mph) with a narrow space window. If they just have Highway Patrol they will get it.

I want your 12 not one to be nominated, it is easy to throw out a suggestion but your post should indicate (by ommission) everything you would leave off.
posted by leafwoman at 5:23 PM on July 28, 2006

Top Albums of Each Year of the 1970's In the US
Year Album/Artist or Group
1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
1971 Tapestry, Carole King
1972 American Pie, Don McLean
1973 Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
1974 John Denver's Greatest Hits, John Denver
1975 Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Elton John
1976 Frampton Comes Alive!, Peter Frampton
1977 Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
1978 Saturday Night Fever, Soundtrack
1979 Breakfast in America, Supertramp

Top 10 Albums of the 1960's
In the US
Single/Artist or Group Year Released
1 West Side Story (Soundtrack), Various 1961
2 Blue Hawaii (Soundtrack), Various 1961
3 The Sound of Music, (Soundtrack), Various 1965
4 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles 1967
5 More of The Monkees, The Monkees 1967
6 Days of Wine and Roses, Andy Williams 1963
7 G.I. Blues, Elvis Presley 1960
8 The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, Bob Newhart 1960
9 Whipped Cream and Other Deilghts, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass 1965
10 A Hards Day's Night, The Beatles 1964

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:23 PM on July 28, 2006

So your fake question about a fake rocket launch is basically asking which four of the top ten best selling albums of each decade is UNrepresentative of the times?

Agree with pracowity. Chatfilter. Mess.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:28 PM on July 28, 2006

No Stevie Wonder? Shame.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:13 PM on July 28, 2006

Could you also throw in "The Belle Album"? I think it's important that aliens get to hear some Al Green.
posted by First Post at 6:34 PM on July 28, 2006


It is a real question, no rockets, not four of top 10 twice, 12 altogether, Alvin Lucier was a cutting edge composer but not popular, Ravi Shankar was popular, albums not singles compressed into mp3 1000 per CD or whatever, was a bit of a mess - sorry, thanks for the input from those who offered, what's chatfilter.

If you remember the 70's you weren't there.
posted by leafwoman at 6:38 PM on July 28, 2006

Please add

Stevie Wonder - Talking Book 1972

It's A Beautiful Day 1969

the Youngbloods Elephant Mountain 1969

for consideration. They are very representative of the time they were issued. As was
the Beatles Abbey Road
the Stones Let It Bleed

This is fun stuff
posted by ptm at 8:22 PM on July 28, 2006

What hope would any finder of this artifact have of making any use of it at all? Are you going to send some kind of bootstrap, or just a bunch of indecipherable digital media?

That aside: if you're going to send Led Zeppelin, send The Song Remains The Same. Not only does this album show off Zeppelin's truly inspirational jamming skills - it also has the "does anybody remember laughter?" cut of Stairway to Heaven, which is enough to cause uncontrollable cringing in anybody who does remember the Seventies.
posted by flabdablet at 10:05 PM on July 28, 2006

Lots of good suggestions thus far (and let me nth Tapestry and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), but I don't think anyone has mentioned Bitches Brew.
posted by box at 5:16 AM on July 29, 2006

sly and the family stone greatest hits

any complilation of hits that includes stuff like "yummy yummy", "sugar", "seasons in the sun", "love grows", crap like that ... actually, you should have two different ones ... yes, it's crap, but if you want representative, then something like this must be included
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 AM on July 29, 2006

I don't think I see Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" mentioned above ... that album was completely representative of its time IMO ...
posted by General Zubon at 5:59 PM on July 29, 2006

« Older Books about city life in ancient Rome   |   White and black wires, no green and blue? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.