Do I really need to introduce this masterpiece, which just last week celebrated its 40th anniversary? Released in 1973, Pink Floyd’s 8th album is easily their most successful, remaining on the charts for nearly 15 years (no, that wasn’t a typo, it was about 740 weeks if my memory serves me correct), and selling around 50 million copies across the world. It explored a lot of universal themes, such as the passing of time, war, greed, and mental illness (influenced by the deteriorating mental state of Syd Barrett, who founded the band but left after two albums). Musically it is best enjoyed listening to the full suite from start to finish, although it did have singles including “Money” and “Time”, the latter of which also had “Us and Them”, my favourite track and a song which sneaks up on you and seeps under your skin, as the b-side, and it is this song which I’m including as the clip:
Released in 2005, this album is considered by many to be one of McCartney’s finest solo works in a very long time, and I for one agree. Working with Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck) as his producer, McCartney was challenged during the writing of this album, often being told bluntly if his songs were not good enough, and being forced to play most of the instruments himself (much like on his albums McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980)). What results is some of the best material he has written, songs which have been honed continuously through the long process of making this album, and music which is also quite reflective and intimate for McCartney – while the album has plenty of upbeat moments, it is generally a more quiet affair. The track I’m including is the first single, “Fine Line”:
This is one of my two favourite albums by this band (the other is Led Zeppelin III, and I cannot for the life of me pick between them). Their 6th record was released in 1975 as a double album, featuring 15 songs that are among the most varied ever collected on the one work by these guys – from long drawn out rock songs like Kashmir and In My Time Of Dying, to funky moments like Trampled Underfoot, to upbeat, almost silly songs such as Boogie With Stu, and then the simple classic rock songs such as Houses Of The Holy, The Rover, and more. I have often said that Led Zeppelin are a deeply misunderstood band, judged on the songs that appear on their “best of” collections which, to me, do not show the full range of their musicality. One listen of this album from start to finish and you’ll know what I mean. The song I’m featuring is a live rendition in the 1970s of “Kashmir”:
Are you a fan of any of these bands/artists or albums? What are your favourite moments on these albums, all of which are classics in their own ways?