Monday, 15 November 2004

1976 vs. 1977, Leap Years & More

1976 vs. 1977? Ahhh many a man have had this debate before, and it's certainly a toughie. I've pretty sure a certain young man with the initials BM will disagree with me here, but I'm going to go with 1977.

Granted, 1976 has its fair share of classics: Stevie Wonder "Songs in the key of life", Peter Tosh "Legalize it" (a great concept album on the pros and cons of jay-walking) and Billy Joel's underrated "Turnstiles". And who can forget the debut album Mental Notes from NZ art-rock outfit Splut Unz? Tom Waits released his superb Small Change this year, and Queen released A Day At The Races, which was the follow up to their masterpiece A Night At The Opera (also named after a Marx Brothers movie). All solid albums in their own right.

1977 saw the release of Television's Marquee Moon, of which the title track is still one of the biggest goosebump raising guitar songs of all time. Elvis Costello released his debut album My Aim Is True, coincedentally released the same year a relative unknown "other" Elvis kicked the bucket. Billy Joel released his most critically acclaimed album The Stranger. Kraftwerk released Trans-Europe Express, considered a pinnacle album in the electronic music genre. On the punk side of things, The Clash released their self-titled debut and Sex Pistols released their only album, Never mind the bollocks. David Bowie released Low, which Pitchfork recently named the number one album of the 70's. On the disappointing side of things, Tom Waits released his weakest album Foreign Affairs. Meat Loaf also released his infamous Bat Out Of Hell album, hated by many but also loved by a certain man with the initials DW.

So while 1976 was a good year for music in its own right, I'd have to go with 1977 based on the anecdotal evidence outlined above.

And then the old question as to whether leap years produce better music because of the extra day, giving the potential for more great albums to come out. One thing to observe -- you will note that out of the all the years in my countdown, only 1968 was a leap year. Of course, the countdown isn't complete yet, so you will need to wait and see if leap years tend to be better years for music or not. One _could_ argue that albums which are released on February 29th age a lot better, simply because they age in a quarter of the time. If anyone knows of any well known albums released on a February 29th, please let me know. It could be a new blog posting all of its own.

1 comment:

  1. I am disappointed, I thought you would be able to rattle of a list of Feb 29 releases Jeremy...but ah well never mind.

    And I like Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell, yes its commercial, yes, it is now associated with a certain type of genre known as "cock rock", but you can't deny the theatrics of it..songs like Paradise by the Dashboard Light, quite unique and quite effective.


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