Friday, September 16, 2016

Obsessive list-making, 1970s edition

Pitchfork, the music site most of us music-loving scum have a weird relationship with (hey, there's good and bad writing on it every day, like most sites with multiple writers), recently posted its list of the 200 Best Songs of the 1970s. People like to bitch about lists while secretly loving them, and I am no exception. I regularly watch movies from movie lists, make playlists out of song and album lists, and read books from book lists. It's an enjoyable way to approach the Mt. Everest of art and entertainment made by us humans in the last handful of centuries. Lists are fun if you don't take them seriously as definitive statements and instead approach them as personalized time-capsule aggregations of our many subcultures. They're snapshots of what we value at certain times in our history and why, but they also reveal a lot about us by what gets left out.
I like the Pitchfork list. It's full of stone-cold jams. But the list has some of the drawbacks of any list made by a consensus of writers. Obvious choices get yet another feather in their cap while neglected gems remain neglected. Singles are favored over non-singles. Songs with cultural capital and zeitgeist relevance take precedence over songs that sound great but don't have much 2016 juice. And the idiosyncratic taste of the solitary music lover is lost in the consensus of the group. Instead of bitching about it, I decided to spend a little time each night this past few weeks coming up with two '70s playlists of my own. First, I made a song-by-song response to the Pitchfork list by picking the same artists as Pitchfork in the same order, but choosing a song by those artists that didn't make the Pitchfork cut. Then, I made my own list of 200 great '70s songs by 200 artists who are not on the Pitchfork list. This is just a highly personal collection of songs I love from my favorite musical decade, full of my own biases and idiosyncrasies. These songs are not ranked in any hierarchy or chronology or mystical numerology or on how much sass the hot track contains, etc. I did try to make them flow together as a continuous 200-song mix tape, but I'm not the ranking least-to-greatest type because that changes for me every single day. All this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure I have forgotten many favorites. Though I love every decade of recorded music, the '70s grabs my ear the most. (Well, 1966-1984 grabs my ear the most.) In conclusion, I am an obsessive weirdo, and I suspect this post will only be of use to fellow obsessive weirdos who like to make mix tapes and playlists.

(An asterisk means I had to use a song from early 1980 because Pitchfork used the only 1970s songs that artist released)
(Also, Pitchfork picked a Dinosaur song, which was a pseudonym used by Arthur Russell for that particular single. I put an Arthur Russell song in its place.)

Marianne Faithfull – Witches’ Song
Patrice Rushen – Shout It Out
Waylon Jennings – You Ask Me To
Art Ensemble of Chicago – Barnyard Scuffle Shuffle
Jorge Ben – Xica da Silva
Lee “Scratch” Perry & The Upsetters – Bush Weed
Manu Dibango – Dangwa (Three Points)
James Chance & The Contortions – Dish It Out
Brian Eno – The True Wheel
Tom Zé – Jimmy, Renda-se
Betty Davis – If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up
Idris Muhammad – Loran’s Dance
Junior Murvin – False Teachin’
Cerrone – Give Me Love
The Whispers – Make It with You
Thelma Houston – I Don’t Know Why I Love You
The Spinners – It’s a Shame
Todd Rundgren – Zen Archer
Delta 5 – Now That You’ve Gone
Van Morrison – Fair Play
The Damned – Plan 9 Channel 7
The Germs – The Other Newest One
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Mirage
Faust – Jennifer
Loretta Lynn – As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone (w/Conway Twitty)
Giorgio Moroder – Too Hot to Handle
Dillinger – Leggo Violence
Eddie Kendricks – My People… Hold On
The Equals – Nature Girl
The Walker Brothers – Nite Flights
The Roches – Mr. Sellack
Plastic Bertrand – Super Cool
Sun Ra – Discipline
Milton Nascimento – Milagres dos Peixes
Karen Dalton – Katie Cruel
Donnie & Joe Emerson – My Heart
Don Cherry – Degi-Degi
Bruce Springsteen – Lost in the Flood
Black Flag – Fix Me
The Nerves – When You Find Out
The Chi-Lites – Stoned Out of My Mind
Rose Royce – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – I Need to Know
Bobby Caldwell – My Flame
William DeVaughn – Blood Is Thicker than Water
Chic – Everybody Dance
T. Rex – Baby Strange
Faces – Debris
Harry Nilsson – The Moonbeam Song
Townes Van Zandt – Nothin’
Grateful Dead – Box of Rain
Shuggie Otis – Aht Uh Mi Hed
Wire – Mannequin
Nina Simone – Ain’t Got No – I Got Life (Black Gold version)
Donny Hathaway – Giving Up
Ramones – Commando
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Lipstick Vogue
XTC – When You’re Near Me I Have Difficulty
Cheap Trick – Auf Weidersehen
The Undertones – True Confessions
The Raincoats – Off Duty Trip
Throbbing Gristle – United
Bauhaus – Dark Entries*
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Angel Dust
Isaac Hayes – Hung Up on My Baby
Marvin Gaye – If I Should Die Tonight
The Brothers Johnson – I’ll Be Good to You
The Abyssinians – Declaration of Rights
The Five Stairsteps – We Must Be in Love
The Rolling Stones – Fool to Cry
Electric Light Orchestra – Livin’ Thing
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop
Herbie Hancock – Rain Dance
Diana Ross – Remember Me
Roxy Music – Mother of Pearl
Kool & The Gang – Hollywood Swinging
John Lennon – Isolation
Roberta Flack – I Told Jesus
The Beach Boys – All I Wanna Do
Neu! – Negativland
Serge Gainsbourg – L’hotel particulier
Blue Oyster Cult – Then Came the Last Days of May
Sex Pistols – Submission
Thin Lizzy – Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) A Rock Legend
Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Liars Beware
James Brown – Down and Out in New York City
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Gang of Four – 5.45
Sparks – At Home At Work At Play
Judee Sill – The Donor
Hall & Oates – Don’t Blame It on Love
Elvis Costello – I’m Not Angry
Earth, Wind & Fire – Can’t Hide Love
Minnie Riperton – Inside My Love
Joni Mitchell – Harry’s House/Centerpiece
The Doobie Brothers – It Keeps You Runnin’
The Clash – The Card Cheat
Led Zeppelin – Tangerine
Elton John – Bennie and the Jets
Neil Young – Last Dance
Brian Eno & Robert Fripp – The Heavenly Music Corporation
Miles Davis – Sanctuary
Jimi Hendrix – Who Knows
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Reaction
CAN – Dizzy Dizzy
Iggy Pop – Baby
Kraftwerk – Ruckzuck
Patti Smith – Distant Fingers
Suicide – Rocket USA
Joy Division – Shadowplay
The Congos – Congoman
Blondie – Bermuda Triangle Blues (Flight 45)
The Cars – Candy-O
Steely Dan – Only a Fool Would Say That
Stevie Wonder – Do Yourself a Favor
The Isley Brothers – Fight the Power
The O’Jays – Back Stabbers
The Kinks – Strangers
George Harrison – I’d Have You Anytime
The B-52’s – 52 Girls
ABBA – Waterloo
Talking Heads – Mind
The Who – How Many Friends
The Velvet Underground – I Found a Reason
Brian Eno – Everything Merges with the Night
Leonard Cohen – Memories
Jimmy Cliff – Sitting in Limbo
Caetano Veloso – Minha Mulher
Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Domelo (Give It to Me)
10cc – The Worst Band in the World
The Slits – Newtown
Ann Peebles – I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down
Bobby Womack – Woman’s Gotta Have It
Big Star – O My Soul
Lou Reed – I’m So Free
The Rolling Stones – Moonlight Mile
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Sedan Delivery
Funkadelic – Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow
The Modern Lovers – Modern World
The Beatles – You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)
Alice Coltrane – Blue Nile
Stevie Wonder – Love Having You Around
Parliament – Unfunky UFO
The Temptations – Law of the Land
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Slave Driver
Sly & The Family Stone – Just Like a Baby
CAN – Halleluhwah
Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – Everything Scatter
Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs
Black Sabbath – A National Acrobat
Sugarhill Gang – Sugarhill Groove*
Arthur Russell – This Time Dad You’re Wrong
The Clash – Stay Free
The Cure – Jumping Someone Else’s Train
Nick Drake – Hazey Jane II
James Brown – Hell
David Bowie – Win
Talking Heads – Warning Sign
Althea & Donna – Make a Truce
Chic – At Last I Am Free
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America
Pink Floyd – Fearless
Neil Young – Speakin’ Out
Suicide – Girl
Lou Reed – Sad Song
Buzzcocks – Autonomy
X-Ray Spex – I Live Off You
Ramones – Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
Funkadelic – I Bet You
Michael Jackson – Get on the Floor
Dolly Parton – Down from Dover
Marvin Gaye – Sparrow
Al Green – Simply Beautiful
The Velvet Underground – Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
The Stooges – TV Eye
Curtis Mayfield – Future Shock
Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand
Bob Dylan – Sign on the Window
Big Star – Daisy Glaze
David Bowie – Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)
Patti Smith – Free Money
Kraftwerk – Neon Lights
Blondie – Will Anything Happen?
Iggy Pop – Some Weird Sin
Bruce Springsteen – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Queen – Flick of the Wrist
Stevie Wonder – They Won’t Go When I Go
Al Green – You Ought to Be with Me
Joni Mitchell – Little Green
Bill Withers – The Same Love that Made Me Laugh
Joy Division – Leaders of Men
Fleetwood Mac – Think About Me
Television – The Fire
Prince – Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
David Bowie – Station to Station
Kate Bush – Feel It
Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
Marvin Gaye – Right On
Michael Jackson – Girlfriend
David Bowie – The Bewlay Brothers 

(not ranked in preferential order)

1.       Pat Stallworth – Questions
2.       The Adverts – I Will Walk You Home
3.       Pere Ubu – Humor Me
4.       War – The World Is a Ghetto
5.       Charles Mingus – The Shoes of the Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers
6.       Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black
7.       Devo – Uncontrollable Urge
8.       Pantherman – Pantherman
9.       Kleenex/LiLiPUT – Ain’t You
10.   The Twinkeyz – Aliens in Our Midst
11.   Emitt Rhodes – With My Face on the Floor
12.   Badfinger – Dennis
13.   Gene Clark – The True One
14.   Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains
15.   Ruby Andrews – Uh Uh Boy, That’s a No No
16.   Marion Black – Who Knows
17.   Creedence Clearwater Revival – Ramble Tamble
18.   Alice Cooper – Halo of Flies
19.   New York Dolls – Human Being
20.   Jobriath – World Without End
21.   Millie Jackson – (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right/The Rap/(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right (Reprise)
22.   Yoko Ono & Plastic Ono Band – Death of Samantha
23.   Peter Ivers – Audience of One
24.   Lewis Furey – Poetic Young Man
25.   La Dusseldorf – Geld
26.   Michael Rother – Feuerland
27.   Henry Cow – Bittern Storm Over Ulm
28.   King Crimson – The Night Watch
29.   Ornette Coleman – What Reason Could I Give
30.   Allen Toussaint – Cruel Way to Go Down
31.   Gram Parsons – Brass Buttons
32.   Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance – Roll On Babe
33.   Tucker Zimmerman – Amusement Park
34.   Tim Buckley – Sweet Surrender
35.   Leroy Smart & Big Youth – Pride & Ambition/Pride & Joy Rock
36.   Augustus Pablo – Too Late
37.   The Mighty Diamonds – I Need a Roof
38.   Arthur Lee – He Knows a Lot of Good Women (or Scotty’s Song)
39.   Denise LaSalle – Trapped by a Thing Called Love
40.   The Lost Generation – Wait a Minute
41.   Turner Bros. – Cause I Love You
42.   Slade – Gudbuy T’Jane
43.   Mott the Hoople – The Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll
44.   MC5 – The American Ruse
45.   The Scientists – Frantic Romantic
46.   The Saints – This Perfect Day
47.   Amon Duul II – Archangels Thunderbird
48.   Edgar Broughton Band – Out Demons Out
49.   Lucifer – Fuck You
50.   The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
51.   Chrome – TV As Eyes
52.   Cabaret Voltaire – Nag Nag Nag
53.   George McRae – Rock Your Baby
54.   The Emotions – Best of My Love
55.   Machine – There But for the Grace of God Go I
56.   Glen Campbell – Wishing Now
57.   George Jones – The Grand Tour
58.   Kris Kristofferson – Sunday Morning Comin’ Down
59.   Tanya Tucker – San Antonio Stroll
60.   Warren Zevon – Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
61.   Randy Newman – Guilty
62.   Michael Hurley, Unholy Modal Rounders, & Jeffrey Frederick & The Clamtones – Slurf Song
63.   Richard & Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
64.   The Move – Chinatown
65.   Babe Ruth – The Mexican  
66.   The Records – Starry Eyes
67.   Rich Kids – Ghosts of Princes in Towers
68.   Luxury – Green Hearts
69.   Shoes – Do I Get So Shy
70.   Alex Chilton – Alligator Man
71.   The Cramps – Human Fly
72.   The Rezillos – Can’t Stand My Baby
73.   The Fall – Rebellious Jukebox
74.   Subway Sect – Ambition
75.   AC/DC – Rock’n’Roll Damnation
76.   Motorhead – Stay Clean
77.   Sir Lord Baltimore – Master Heartache
78.   Dust – Suicide
79.   Yes – Heart of the Sunrise
80.   Genesis – Back in N.Y.C.
81.   Van der Graaf Generator – Pilgrims
82.   The Residents – Sinister Exaggerator
83.   This Heat – The Fall of Saigon
84.   Public Image Ltd. – Poptones
85.   Magazine – The Light Pours Out of Me
86.   The Pop Group – Thief of Fire
87.   Essential Logic – Aerosol Burns
88.   Dennis Brown – Wolves and Leopards
89.   Marcia Griffiths – Dreamland
90.   Gregory Isaacs – Native Woman
91.   Hortense Ellis – Woman of the Ghetto
92.   Aretha Franklin – Spirit in the Dark
93.   The Majestic Arrows – I’ll Never Cry for Another Boy (rehearsal version)
94.   Tafo & Nahid Akhtar – Karye Pyar
95.   Kazi Aniruddah – Mafe Karo
96.   Donald Rubinstein – The Calling (Main Title from Martin)
97.   John Carpenter – Assault on Precinct 13 Main Title
98.   Goblin – Suspiria Main Title
99.   Ennio Morricone – Un uomo da rispettare (Titoli)
100.                        Michel Polnareff – Ne dans un ice-cream
101.                        Dion – (He’s Got) The Whole World in His Hands
102.                        Spring – Sweet Mountain
103.                        Carole King – It’s Too Late
104.                        Paul Williams – Someday Man
105.                        The Carpenters – Superstar
106.                        Bill Fay – Methane River
107.                        Alan Hull – One More Bottle of Wine
108.                        Jack Nitzsche – I’ll Bet She Knew It
109.                        Sonic’s Rendezvous Band – City Slang
110.                        Debris – One Way Spit
111.                        George Brigman – Jungle Rot
112.                        Chris Stamey & The dB’s – If and When
113.                        Marbles – Fire and Smoke
114.                        Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention – The Orange County Lumber Truck
115.                        Penguin Café Orchestra – Penguin Café Single
116.                        Steve Reich – Drumming: Part IV
117.                        Kevin Ayers – Two Goes Into Four
118.                        Robert Wyatt – Sea Song
119.                        Bee Gees – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
120.                        Paul McCartney – Every Night
121.                        Barry White – Never Never Gonna Give You Up
122.                        Candi Staton – Young Hearts Run Free
123.                        Little Murray & The Mantics – Don’t Leave Me Mama
124.                        Esther Phillips – Home Is Where the Hatred Is
125.                        The Last Poets – On the Subway
126.                        Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Carney and Begard Place
127.                        The Specials – Concrete Jungle
128.                        Radio Birdman – I-94
129.                        The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Hot City Symphony, Part 1: Vambo
130.                        Pentagram – Be Forewarned
131.                        Atomic Rooster – Death Walks Behind You
132.                        Streetwalkers – Hangman
133.                        Heart – Crazy On You
134.                        The Flamin’ Groovies – Whiskey Woman
135.                        John Cale – Fear Is a Man’s Best Friend
136.                        Boney M – Rasputin
137.                        Holger Czukay – Cool in the Pool
138.                        Harmonia – Walky-Talky
139.                        Cluster – Rosa
140.                        Bruce Haack – Electric To Me Turn
141.                        Annette Peacock – I’m the One
142.                        The Groundhogs – Cherry Red
143.                        Pink Fairies – Do It
144.                        The Pretty Things – Grass
145.                        Chris Bell – You and Your Sister
146.                        Michael Nesmith & The First National Band – Joanne
147.                        Jeff Cowell – Lucky Strikes and Liquid Gold
148.                        The Byrds – Chestnut Mare
149.                        Nick Lowe – I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
150.                        Lloyd & Claudette – Queen of the World
151.                        Dr. Alimantado – Born for a Purpose/Reason for Living
152.                        Nico – All That Is My Own
153.                        The Only Ones – From Here to Eternity
154.                        Rodriguez – Hate Street Dialogue
155.                        Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers – Let’s Get Funky
156.                        Freddie King – Going Down
157.                        Eddie Hazel – California Dreamin’
158.                        Mike Post – The Rockford Files Theme
159.                        Quincy Jones – The Sanford and Son Theme (The Streetbeater)
160.                        Terry Callier – Ordinary Joe
161.                        Willie Wright – I’m So Happy Now
162.                        Ned Doheny – Each Time You Pray
163.                        Boz Scaggs – Lowdown
164.                        Wee – Leavin’ You Alone
165.                        Tommy McGee – We Ought to Be Together
166.                        The Edge of Daybreak – Our Love
167.                        Mary Perrin – Dedication
168.                        The Go-Betweens – Karen
169.                        Swell Maps – H.S. Art
170.                        Dead Boys – All This and More
171.                        The Weirdos – Life of Crime
172.                        The Mekons – Where Were You?
173.                        Pretenders – Tattooed Love Boys
174.                        Leaf Hound – Freelance Fiend
175.                        Third World War – Ascension Day
176.                        Van Halen – D.O.A.
177.                        Captain Beyond – Raging River of Fear
178.                        Hawkwind – Master of the Universe
179.                        Rog & Pip – Why Won’t You Do What I Want?
180.                        Wizzard – See My Baby Jive
181.                        Linda Perhacs – Parallelograms
182.                        Buckingham Nicks – Frozen Love
183.                        Jeremy Spencer – Linda
184.                        The Band – Stage Fright
185.                        Jackson Browne – Fountain of Sorrow
186.                        Joan Baez – Diamonds & Rust
187.                        Roy Harper – When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease
188.                        Loudon Wainwright III – Motel Blues
189.                        Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Heart Like a Wheel
190.                        The Flatlanders – Tonight I’m Gonna Go Downtown
191.                        The Monochrome Set – He’s Frank (Slight Return)
192.                        The Stranglers – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
193.                        Crime – Hot Wire My Heart
194.                        The Dils – I Hate the Rich
195.                        Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
196.                        Squeeze – Up the Junction
197.                        Marshall Crenshaw – You’re My Favorite Waste of Time
198.                        Dwight Twilley Band – Baby Let’s Cruise
199.                        Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
200.                        Frank Sinatra Jr. – Black Night