“A smoothly apocalyptic little ditty from that latter part of Harry Nilsson‘s career when folks had pretty much written him off – all that boozing and drugging and hanging with John Lennon (among notable others) having blown his once beautiful voice to smithereens. And he was wrong about the future, too, how we were running out of air, and oceans, and pills and trains of thought even. But for whatever reason, I do like the song. Because, paradoxically, it gives me hope. Because if it didn’t happen in 1975, then why’s it going to suddenly happen now? Or something like that.” (Philip Random)
“It would’ve been the late 1970s sometime when I first heard Kool and the Gang, and I didn’t like them at all. Too easy and smooth – the wrong kind of radio friendly. But jump ahead fifteen years or so and I was moving backward, getting archaeological as I dug through the stacks upon stacks of old vinyl that everybody was dumping at the time. Which inevitably got me to their better, cooler, funkier early stuff, starting with 1975’s Spirit of the Boogie. Apparently, even James Brown was afraid of them at time. Too dangerous to have on while he was driving, he said.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1975 and if you’re Neil Young, you’re hanging out in sunny California, feeling a decade older than you were three years ago, but at least the drugs are good, and sometimes the smog ain’t so bad, particularly when Crazy Horse drops by. Just plug in and play so loud it actually cuts through the haze, and mystical birds of great danger are seen soaring high, fierce and beautiful.
“If machines have souls, then Kraftwerk would be holy men, working the metaphysical grey area between them and us, coaxing forth the magic therein. Or something like that. All I know is Radioland (found on 1975’s Radioactivity) is exactly the kind of music I’d expect to hear in a funeral mass for a much loved machine. Mechanical, mysterious, contemplative, beautiful.” (Philip Random)
The Strawbs started out as a folk band in the 1960s, but somewhere along the line, things started getting so-called progressive, which Rick Wakeman‘s stint on keyboards only accentuated. But even after Yes scooped him up for their nefarious ends, the Strawbs continued with the progressing and expanding, and nowhere so seriously, intensely, psychedelically as The Life Auction, found on 1975’s Ghosts. It’s tea time, the middle of England somewhere (or maybe just some drab Canadian suburb) and the acid you dropped an hour or so back is finally kicking in hard, the truth about everything revealed in the polluted haze of another diluted day.
A Led Zeppelin rocker from 1975’s Physical Graffiti, but for Philip Random, it was more of a 1988 record. “A pivotal year for me. At the time, it was just something to be endured, one of those phases where the winter winds never stopped howling, even in the middle of summer (figuratively speaking of course). The Winter of Hate we ended up calling it. Aliens with a hunger for human flesh had taken over all the world’s governments and the only thing worth laughing about was that nothing was funny anymore. Musically, this manifested in a lot of pure raw noise as even punk/hardcore wasn’t really fierce enough anymore. Or maybe I was jonesing for some honest, raw, nasty blues – the kind of stuff Led Zeppelin had in ample supply on their biggest, longest, last truly great album. Man did it sound right!”
“It’s true. I only started thinking of Supertramp as Stupidtramp after about their fifth album. Because they were actually pretty darned good for a while through the mid 1970s with 1975’s Crisis What Crisis? a standout because it really didn’t get overplayed, and the cover was a gem (man on holiday in an industrial wasteland), and songs like Another Man’s Woman showing a genuinely strong band that could really work the dynamics, even show a little soul.” (Philip Random)
George Dekker (straight outa Jamaica) delivers a timeless anthem of rather uplifting despair, if such is possible. Because things are always getting worse, just turn on the news, no reason to stop moving. “I remember a work friend whose younger brother was dying of Hodgkin’s. She loved this song. It became kind of a joke. I’d ask her how things were. She’d raise a triumphant fist and declare, Things Are Getting Worse.” (Philip Random)
In which KC and his Sunshine Band remind us that all disco didn’t suck. In fact, most of it didn’t until Saturday Night Fever came along at which the powers that be suddenly seemed to think it was something you could base an entire culture on. So that which had once been a nice part of overall sonic stew suddenly became its dominant ingredient. Rather like putting too much cilantro in something.