There's a Riot Goin' On Sticky Fingers Who's Next What's Going On
Electric Warrior Nilsson Schmilsson Master of Reality Tapestry

It was the year of many, many things -- the flowering of progressive soul, the diamond-hard spooky fusion of Miles Davis, the first inklings of outlaw country, another year of gloriously disposable AM pop singles -- but above all 1971 is the year that the era of classic rock began. It is the year of Led Zeppelin IV, Who's Next, What's Going On, Sticky Fingers, Every Picture Tells a Story, Hunky Dory, Blue, Master of Reality, Tapestry, Aqualung, Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, Imagine, Meddle, Electric Warrior, Fireball, If I Could Only Remember My Name, L.A. Woman, Madman Across the Water, Nilsson Schmilsson -- and those are just a handful of the albums that provide the essential texts for '71, the albums that created the sound, style, and attitude of album-oriented rock, pop, and soul. Today, almost all of those records are commonly accepted classics -- even those that didn't age as well as, say, There's a Riot Goin' On, are undeniably what the golden era of album rock was all about, and when reviewing all the great music that came out in '71, there's no doubt that this is one of the all-time great years of pop music.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Like any other year with too much good music to fit on one simple list, I created my own set of rules when compiling my 1971 lists, relying on my usual habit of not picking singles from albums on the list then cramming the two Faces and Haggard albums from this year into one slot apiece. Call it cheating, but by their very nature lists are never complete and are best viewed as a roadmap through a particular territory…and in this case, '71 provided some memorable, adventurous terrain. As always, albums and singles are picked according to what I'd like to hear right now, as of this writing in 2010, and any oversights may or may not be intentional.

Sly & the Family Stone – There's a Riot Goin' On
Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Little Feat – Little Feat
Todd Rundgren – Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
The Who – Who's Next
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
T. Rex – Electric Warrior
Faces – Long Player/A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse
The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies
The Move – Message from the Country
Sir Douglas Quintet – The Return of Doug Saldaña
Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson
Merle Haggard and the Strangers – Hag/Someday We'll Look Back
Badfinger – Straight Up
John Lennon – Imagine
Carole King – Tapestry
Allen Toussaint – Allen Toussaint
Mott the Hoople – Brain Capers
Miles Davis – A Tribute to Jack Johnson
Delaney & Bonnie – Motel Shot
Elton John – Madman Across the Water
Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
MC5 – High Time
Elvis Presley – Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old)
Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey
The Band – Cahoots
Flamin' Groovies – Teenage Head

The Move – "Tonight/Chinatown"
Dave Edmunds – "I Hear You Knockin'"
T. Rex – "Ride a White Swan"
Ringo Starr – "It Don't Come Easy"
Bob Seger – "Lookin' Back"
Alice Cooper – "Be My Lover"
John Kongos – "He's Gonna Step on You Again"
Buoys – "Timothy"
Al Green – "Let's Stay Together"
The 8th Day – "You've Got to Crawl (Before You Walk)"
Johnny Paycheck – "She's All I Got"
George Jones – "A Good Year for the Roses"
Bob Dylan – "Watching the River Flow"
Lee Michaels – "Do You Know What I Mean"
Paul & Linda McCartney – "Another Day"
Willie Nelson – "Me and Paul"
The Dramatics – "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get"
The Staple Singers - "Respect Yourself"
The Undisputed Truth – "Smiling Faces Sometimes"
The Grass Roots – "Temptation Eyes"
Tom T. Hall – "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died"
Melanie – "Brand New Key"
Jerry Reed – "When You're Hot, You're Hot"
The Jackson 5 - "Never Can Say Goodbye"
The Chi-Lites – "Have You Seen Her"
Van Morrison – "Domino"
Stephen Stills – "Love the One You're With"
100 Proof (Aged in Soul) – "Somebody’s Been Sleeping in My Bed"
The Free Movement – "I've Found Someone of My Own"
The Sweet – "Co-Co"
Carly Simon – "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be"
Carpenters – "Rainy Days and Mondays"
Bill Withers – "Ain't No Sunshine"
Free – "Stealer"
Todd Rundgren – "We Gotta Get You a Woman"
Stevie Wonder – "If You Really Love Me"
Electric Light Orchestra – "10538 Overture"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Sweet Hitch-Hiker"
Yes - "I've Seen All Good People"
Middle of the Road – "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep"

Sean Westergaard
The Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East
John Cale & Terry Riley - Church of Anthrax
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda
Alice Cooper - Killer
Miles Davis - Live-Evil
Jimmy Dawkins - All for Business
Eddie Fisher - Eddie Fisher and the Next One Hundred Years
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
Hampton Grease Band - Music to Eat
George Harrison - The Concert for Bangladesh
Jimi Hendrix - The Cry of Love
The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
The Last Poets - This Is Madness
The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin - The Inner Mounting Flame
Pharoah Sanders - Thembi
Soft Machine - Fourth
Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers - Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters Live (At Mr. Kelly's)
Weather Report - Weather Report
Frank Zappa & the Mothers - Fillmore East: June 1971

John Bush
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Marcos Valle - Garra (YouTube)
The Who - Who's Next
Miles Davis - Live-Evil
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
John Prine - John Prine
Earth Wind and Fire - Earth Wind and Fire
Faces - A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse
Faces - Long Player
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story
Françoise Hardy - La Question (YouTube)
Stevie Wonder - Where I'm Coming From
Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso (A Little More Blue)
Todd Rundgren - Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
Donny Hathaway - Donny Hathaway
The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Roy Harper - Stormcock
The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin - The Inner Mounting Flame
T. Rex - Electric Warrior
Herbie Hancock - Crossings

Bobby Valentin - "Use It Before You Lose It" (YouTube)
Black Sugar - "Too Late" (YouTube)
Stevie Wonder - "Do Yourself a Favor" (YouTube)
Doris Monteiro - "E Isso Ai" (YouTube)
Al Green - "I'm a Ram"
The Chi-Lites - "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People"
Lee Dorsey - "Yes We Can Can"
Bill Withers - "Grandma's Hands"
Gil Scott-Heron - "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
Kool & the Gang - "Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Pts. 1-2"
Willie Nelson - "Me and Paul"
Mickey Newbury - "The Future's Not What It Used to Be"
The Beach Boys - "'Til I Die"
Sly & the Family Stone - "Runnin' Away"
Funkadelic - "Can You Get to That"
Bill Fay - "Omega Day"
Flamin' Groovies - "Teenage Head"
Carpenters - "Hurting Each Other"
Bob Dylan - "When I Paint My Masterpiece"
Led Zeppelin - "When the Levee Breaks"

Uncle Dave Lewis
1971 was such a strange and transitional year in the whole music biz. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had both died the year before, Jim Morrison would die during 1971, and by then the world was realizing that the Beatles truly were never going to get back together. Louis Armstrong, Igor Stravinsky, and George Szell also died during '71 and both the classical and jazz worlds were strangely silent in some respects, exceptions being that both Weather Report and Earth Wind & Fire made their debut albums that year and Miles Davis recorded his violently angry Tribute to Jack Johnson. Among the albums listed below, about all of them are flawed in some ways -- perhaps only Black Sabbath, Carole King, Led Zeppelin and Harry Nilsson were really on their games in '71, and the Carpenters fashioned some of the most creative pop music of the year (!) In 1971, I had access to a new technology; a small, hand-held plastic transistor radio which I used to hear the hits. The singles chart perhaps reflects 1971 better than the albums listed -- in '71, everyone was wondering where the music was going to go; wherever that would be, it wasn't there yet.

The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Brian Jones - Presents: The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka
James Brown - Hot Pants
John Cale & Terry Riley - Church of Anthrax
Can - Tago Mago
Papa John Creach - Papa John Creach
Keith Jarrett - Facing You
Janis Joplin - Pearl
Carole King - Tapestry
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
John Lennon - Imagine
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
The Modern Jazz Quartet - Plastic Dreams
Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
Yoko Ono - Fly
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Sparks - Sparks
War - All Day Music
Jorge Mester, Louisville Orchestra - George Crumb: Echoes of Time and the River

James Brown - "Super Bad"
Carpenters - "Superstar"
Skeeter Davis - "Bus Fare to Kentucky"
Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"
Isaac Hayes - "Theme from Shaft"
Janis Joplin - "Me and Bobby McGee"
Led Zeppelin - "Black Dog"
John Lennon - "Imagine"
Paul & Linda McCartney - "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
Lee Michaels - "Do You Know What I Mean?"
Harry Nilsson - "Me and My Arrow"
Wilson Pickett - "Call My Name, I'll Be There"
Kenny Price - "The Sherriff of Boone County"
Jerry Reed - "Amos Moses"
Cat Stevens - "Wild World"
Joe Tex - "Give the Baby Anything That the Baby Wants"
Think - "Once You Understand" (YouTube)
War - "Slippin' into Darkness"
Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"
Stevie Wonder - "If You Really Love Me"

Aneet Nijjar
Carpenters - Carpenters
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Laura Nyro & LaBelle - Gonna Take a Miracle
Dory Previn - Mythical Kings And Iguanas
Karen Dalton - In My Own Time
Todd Rundgren - Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren
Robert Wyatt - End of an Ear
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson
Os Mutantes - Jardim Elétrico
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Isaac Hayes - Black Moses
Aphrodite's Child - 666
Alice Cooper - Killer
Hawkwind - In Search of Space
Faust - Faust
Can - Tago Mago
Amon Düül II - Tanz der Lemminge
Cluster - Cluster 71

Jason Lymangrover
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Budgie - Budgie
Alice Cooper - Love It to Death
Can - Tago Mago
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On
Genesis - Nursery Cryme
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
John Lennon - Imagine
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Curtis Mayfield - Roots
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Rare Earth - One World
Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Sly & the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On
T. Rex - Electric Warrior
War - All Day Music
The Who - Who's Next
Yes - Fragile

James Christopher Monger
Mickey Newbury - 'Frisco Mabel Joy
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Shirley Collins & the Albion Country Band - No Roses
Ralph McTell - You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
Pete Dello - Into Your Ears
The Who - Who's Next
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Leo Kottke - Six and Twelve String Guitar
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Martin Carthy - Because It's There
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Comus - First Utterance
Chico Buarque - Construção
The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
Steeleye Span - Ten Man Mop
Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
Tim Hart & Maddy Prior - Summer Solstice
Colin Blunstone - One Year
Anne Briggs - Anne Briggs

Paul & Linda McCartney - "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
John Lennon - "Imagine"
Cat Stevens - "The Wind"
The Beach Boys - "Feel Flows"
The Move - "Message from the Country"
Gilberto Gil - "Can't Find My Way Home"
Badfinger - "Day After Day"
Stevie Wonder - "Do Yourself a Favor"
John Denver - "Take Me Home Country Roads"
Neil Diamond - "I Am I Said"
The Hollies - "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)"
The Temptations - "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"
Brave Belt - "Crazy Arms, Crazy Eyes"
The Doors - "Riders on the Storm"
Steeleye Span - "Boys of Bedlam"
Yes - "I've Seen All Good People"
Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"
Rod Stewart - "Maggie May"
Fred Neil - "Dolphins"
Elton John - "Levon"

Heather Phares
Badfinger - Straight Up
Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Can - Tago Mago
The Electric Light Orchestra - The Electric Light Orchestra
Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Isaac Hayes - Shaft
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Elton John - Madman Across the Water
Carole King - Tapestry
The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
John Lennon - Imagine
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Sparks - Sparks
Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat
T. Rex - Electric Warrior
The Who - Who's Next

Carpenters - "Superstar"
The Chi-Lites - "Have You Seen Her"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose - "Treat Her Like a Lady"
Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"
George Harrison - "What Is Life"
Jimi Hendrix - "Dolly Dagger"
Tom Jones - "She's a Lady"
Carole King - "It's Too Late"
Gladys Knight & the Pips - "If I Were Your Woman"
Led Zeppelin - "Immigrant Song"
Melanie - "Brand New Key"
Van Morrison - "Domino"
The Poppy Family - "Where Evil Grows"
The Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
The Temptations - "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"
Maggie May - "Rod Stewart"
T. Rex - "Ride a White Swan"
Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"
Stevie Wonder - "If You Really Love Me"

Matthew Garbutt
Al Green – Gets Next to You
Anne Briggs – The Time Has Come
Bill Withers – Just as I Am
Candi Staton – Stand by Your Man
Caravan – In the Land of Grey and Pink
Carole King – Tapestry
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces of a Man
John Martyn – Bless the Weather
Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate
Marvin Gaye – What's Going On
Nara Leão – Dez Años Depois
Os Mutantes – Jardim Elétrico
O.V. Wright – A Nickel and a Nail and Ace of Spades
Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
Roy Harper – Stormcock
Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson
Faces – A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse
The Isley Brothers – Givin' It Back
T. Rex – Electric Warrior

Ann Peebles – "Tripped, Slipped and Fell in Love"
Chet Ivey – "Get Down with the Geater"
Dave & Ansell Collins – "Double Barrel"
Delroy Wilson – "Better Must Come"
Dom Salvador e Abolicao – "Hei! Você"
Edu Lobo - "Ponteio"
James Brown – "Make It Funky"
Jean Knight – "Mr. Big Stuff"
Karen Dalton – "Something on Your Mind"
Marcos Valle - "Garra"
O Povo Canta – "O Telefone Tocou Novamente"
Robert Ramsey – "Like It Stands"
Shuggie Otis – "Strawberry Letter 23"
The Abyssinians – "Satta Massa Gana"
The Chi-Lites – "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People"
The Delfonics – "Hey! Love"
The Dramatics – "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get"
The Emotions – "Blind Alley"
The Soul Senders – "Soul Brothers Testify"
The Stylistics – "You Are Everything"

James Wilkinson
The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
John Lennon - Imagine
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 4 Way Street
Pink Floyd - Meddle
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Anne Briggs - The Time Has Come
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Bill Fay - Bill Fay
Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink
Carole King - Tapestry
Colin Blunstone - One Year
Gene Clark - White Light
Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners
Judee Sill - Judee Sill
Lee Hazlewood - Requiem for an Almost Lady
Pentangle - Reflection
David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name

The Doors - "Riders on the Storm"
Bob Dylan - "Watching the River Flow"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"
Neil Young - "When You Dance I Can Really Love"
Bob Dylan - "If Not for You"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Hey Tonight"
Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"
Rod Stewart - "Maggie May"
T. Rex - "Get It On"
John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir - "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
The Band - "Life Is a Carnival"
The Beach Boys - "Cool Cool Water"
The Doors - "Love Her Madly"
Al Green - "Tired of Being Alone"
Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
Focus - "Hocus Pocus"
The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again"
Johnny Cash - "The Man in Black"
Harry Nilsson - "Me and My Arrow"
Crazy Horse - "Downtown"

Richard Wilson
Hawkwind - In Search of Space
Aphrodite's Child - 666
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Gong - Camembert Electrique
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre - The Asmoto Running Band
Egg - The Polite Force
Dory Previn - Mythical Kings and Iguanas
Anne Briggs - The Time Has Come
Janis Joplin - Pearl
The Doors - L.A. Woman
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
Isaac Hayes - Black Moses
Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces of a Man
The Last Poets - This Is Madness
Isaac Hayes - Shaft

Andy Kellman
Sly & the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
Miles Davis - A Tribute to Jack Johnson
Pink Floyd - Meddle
Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi
Can - Tago Mago
Weather Report - Weather Report
Isaac Hayes - Black Moses
Harlem River Drive - Harlem River Drive
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Marcos Valle - Garra
Woody Shaw - Blackstone Legacy
Freddie Hubbard - Straight Life
Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces of a Man
Eddie Harris - Instant Death
Pharoah Sanders - Thembi
The New Rotary Connection - Hey, Love
Eugene McDaniels - Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse

Marvin Gaye - "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"
Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
Bill Withers - "Ain't No Sunshine"
James Brown - "Soul Power"
The Undisputed Truth - "Smiling Faces Sometimes"
Carole King - "It's Too Late"
Parliament - "Red Hot Mama"
Aretha Franklin - "Rock Steady"
Gil Scott-Heron - "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"
Bobby Womack - "That's the Way I Feel About Cha"
The Stylistics - "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)"
T. Rex - "Bang a Gong (Get It On)"
The Jackson 5 - "Never Can Say Goodbye"
Sly & the Family Stone - "Family Affair"
Isaac Hayes - "Theme from Shaft"
The Staple Singers - "Respect Yourself"
The Dramatics - "Get Up and Get Down"
Herman - "East of the River Nile"
Betty Wright - "Clean Up Woman"
The Doors - "Riders on the Storm"

Previously
AllMusic Loves 1956

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