Country Life Fulfillingness' First Finale Autobahn Standing on the Verge of Getting It On
Musik Von HarmoniaTaking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) Thrust Perfect Angel

In 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision contest for Sweden with "Waterloo." During the California Jam in Ontario, CA, ELP's Keith Emerson attached himself to a piano and spun in mid air (while playing the instrument and chewing gum). Billboard began treating disco as a style of music. Also, Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, and Van Halen formed, but they wouldn't make their full impact until a little later on. It was 1974 and dozens upon dozens of memorable albums and singles -- from Autobahn to Eldorado, from "Rock the Boat" to "Rock Your Baby" -- hit the shelves. If it was the year of any one thing in particular, a strong case could be made for German progressive music. Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster, and Tangerine Dream released distinct landmark albums, all of which still sound thrilling and weird.

John Bush
This wasn't meant to look like a hipster list, laden with obscurities; 1974 is just a strange year for me. I definitely like a lot of the mainstream rock and soul of the '70s, don't get me wrong, but only two of the most celebrated artists of the year put out material I really enjoy -- those being Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. So, when I left out Roxy Music and Gram Parsons and Stevie Wonder and Genesis and Queen and Randy Newman, I ended up with plenty of room for some of the more intriguing undercurrents of music in 1974. It was a banner year for Krautrock (with great LPs from Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Eno) and also for jazz fusion, with Herbie Hancock's Thrust and George Duke's Feel, among many others.

That still leaves ample room for a few more far-from-the-mainstream artists: Betty Davis, the scream queen of soul; Frankie Miller, who took the British soul mantle from Rod Stewart after Stewart's early-'70s peak; Victor Jara, the Chilean folksinger who was persecuted to death for his powerful songwriting; John Howard, a grandiose English songwriter whose "Goodbye Suzie" is an office favorite; Jeanette, the Spanish-French singer with the one-shot "Porque Te Vas" plus the sublime "Amanacer"; and Chairmen of the Board, whose Skin I'm In LP features the craziest prog/psych/soul suite I've ever heard. Better than all of these, though, and probably my favorite obscurity of 1974, is the second record from Slapp Happy, which has never been equaled for its brand of avant-pop -- skewed, catchy, literate, and ineffably Eurocentric.

Slapp Happy - Slapp Happy
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
George Duke - Feel
Herbie Hancock - Thrust
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia
Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
John Cale - Fear
Gene Clark - No Other
Bob Dylan/The Band - Before the Flood
Frankie Miller - Frankie Miller's High Life
Victor Jara - Te Recuerdo Amanda
Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim - Elis & Tom
Big Star - Radio City
Todd Rundgren - Todd
Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different
Chairmen of the Board - Skin I'm In

Brother to Brother - "In the Bottle"
Cymande - "Brothers on the Slide"
Shuggie Otis - "Aht Uh Mi Hed"
Smokey Robinson - "I Am I Am"
Freddie Hubbard - "Polar AC"
Terry Callier - "Satin Doll"
Stevie Wonder - "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
Syreeta - "Spinnin' and Spinnin'"
Antonio Carlos Jobim - "Aguas de Marco"
Gordon Lightfoot - "Sundown"
Dolly Parton - "Jolene"
John Howard - "Goodbye Suzie"
Jackson Browne - "Late for the Sky"
Barry Manilow - "Something's Comin' Up"
Big Star - "O My Soul"
First Class - "Dreams Are Ten a Penny"
Frankie Miller - "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)"
Kool & the Gang - "Summer Madness"
Jeanette - "Porque Te Vas"
Kraftwerk - "Autobahn"

Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
Brinsley Schwarz - The New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Big Star - Radio City
Hall & Oates - War Babies
Bob Seger - Seven
Roxy Music - Country Life
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys
New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon
Little Feat - Feats Don't Fail Me Now
Ace - Five-A-Side
The Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock 'N Roll
Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers - Bongos Over Balham
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Second Helping
Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December
George Jones - The Grand Tour
Todd Rundgren - Todd
Neil Young - On the Beach
Eric Clapton - 461 Ocean Boulevard

Bob Seger - "Get Out of Denver"
Al Wilson - "Show and Tell"
Glen Campbell - "Houston (I'm Comin' to See You)"
Brian Eno - "Needles in the Camel's Eye"
The O'Jays - "For the Love of Money"
Sweet - "Ballroom Blitz"
The Spinners - "Then Came You"
Willie Nelson - "Bloody Mary Morning"
Hall & Oates - "She's Gone"
David Bowie - "Rebel Rebel"
Harry Nilsson - "Daybreak"
Stevie Wonder - "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
Paper Lace - "The Night Chicago Died"
Neil Sedaka - "Laughter in the Rain"
George Jones - "The Grand Tour"
America - "Tin Man"
Thin Lizzy - "She Knows"
Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods - "Billy Don't Be a Hero"
Electric Light Orchestra - "Showdown"
Elton John - "The Bitch Is Back"

David Jeffries
Bad Company - Bad Company
Blue Öyster Cult - Secret Treaties
Budgie - In for the Kill!
John Cale - Fear
Cluster - Zuckerzeit
The Cosmic Jokers - Gilles Zeitschiff
Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes - Get Dancin'
Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Funkadelic - Standing on the Verge of Getting It On
The Good Rats - Tasty
Marcia Griffiths - Sweet Bitter Love (Play Me Sweet & Nice)
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia
Keith Hudson - Pick a Dub
Kiss - Kiss
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Bob Marley - Natty Dread
New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon
Klaus Schulze - Blackdance
Sparks - Kimono My House
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale

Andy Kellman
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Can - Soon Over Babaluma
Herbie Hancock - Thrust
Idris Muhammad - Power of Soul
Les McCann - Layers
Minnie Riperton - Perfect Angel
Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson - Winter in America
Miles Davis - Get Up with It
Dee Dee Bridgewater - Afro Blue
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Roxy Music - Country Life
Carlos Garnett - Black Love
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Santana - Lotus
Julian Priester - Love, Love
Harmonia - Musik von Harmonia
Cluster - Zuckerzeit
George Duke - Faces in Reflection
Keith Hudson - Flesh of My Skin Blood of My Blood

LaBelle - "Lady Marmalade"
Ohio Players - "Skin Tight"
James Brown - "The Payback"
David Bowie - "Rebel Rebel"
Stevie Wonder - "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
Herbie Hancock - "Chameleon"
Kraftwerk - "Autobahn"
Charles Earland - "Leaving This Planet"
Gwen McCrae - "90% of Me Is You"
The O'Jays - "For the Love of Money"
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - "You Got the Love"
Earth, Wind & Fire - "Devotion"
The Isley Brothers - "Summer Breeze"
The New Birth - "Wildflower"
Kool & the Gang - "Hollywood Swinging"
Chairmen of the Board - "Life and Death"
Funkadelic - "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On"
Genesis - "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
Esther Phillips - "Disposable Society"
Santana - "Mirage"

Uncle Dave Lewis
1974 was a transitional year; America said "goodbye" to President Richard Nixon, who resigned owing to the Watergate scandal, and the music world to Duke Ellington. Tenor master Gene Ammons bade us farewell with the album Goodbye, and, to everyone’s surprise, Peter Gabriel said "so long" to Genesis. Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones discovered their inner pop groove, while the pop world itself -- mired in disco -- went strangely silent in '74; meanwhile, Steve Reich's 3-LP set Drumming left eggheads scrambling for words. Avant-garde Brit progressive was on a roll, and German artists -- Kraftwerk and Nico -- contributed two of the most important albums of the whole year. Autobahn heralded the future, whereas The End was a final, sad farewell to the excesses of the '60s. Change was in the air in 1974, and the wait wouldn't be a long one.

Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Gene Ammons - Goodbye
Average White Band - AWB
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
Quincy Jones - Body Heat
John Cale - Fear
Can - Soon Over Babaluma
Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Henry Cow - Unrest
King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Nico - The End
Oregon - Winter Light
Robert Palmer - Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley
Residents - Meet the Residents
Sparks - Kimono My House
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom
Steve Reich - Drumming -- Six Pianos -- Music for Mallet Instruments, Voice and Organ
Gunther Schuller/New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble - The Red Back Book
Raymond DesRoches/New Jersey Percussion Ensemble - Percussion Music

(Several significant classical LPs from 1974 have never been reissued as such on CD -- CBS' 5-LP set Charles Ives: The 100th Anniversary, the Julliard String Quartet's CBS release of quartets by Stravinsky and Ginastera, Jan De Gaetani and Aeolian Chamber Players' CBS LP of George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale, and EMI Electrola's Reflexe issue of music of Pierre Abelard, performed by the Studio für frühen Musik under Thomas Binkley.)

Jason Lymangrover
Miles Davis - Big Fun
Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
Kiss - Kiss
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Roxy Music - Country Life
Scorpions - Fly to the Rainbow
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (')

10cc - "The Worst Band in the World"
Bad Company - "Ready for Love"
David Bowie - "Rebel Rebel"
James Brown - "The Payback"
John Cale - "Ship of Fools"
Can - "Come Sta, La Luna"
The Jimmy Castor Bunch - "Bertha Butt Boogie"
Rick Derringer - "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo"
Earth, Wind & Fire - "Devotion"
Funkadelic - "I'll Stay"
Grateful Dead - "Unbroken Chain"
Hall & Oates - "She's Gone" (YouTube)
Elton John - "Bennie and the Jets"
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Jet"
Mott the Hoople - "Roll Away the Stone"
Ohio Players - "Skin Tight"
Dolly Parton - "Jolene"
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - "Tell Me Something Good"
Sparks - "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us"
Sweet - "Fox on the Run"

J. Scott McClintock
Roxy Music - Country Life
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
Pilot - Pilot (From the Album of the Same Name)
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys
Stackridge - Pinafore Days
John Cale - Fear
John Howard - Technicolour Biography
Supertramp - Crime of the Century
Electric Light Orchestra - Eldorado
Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
10cc - Sheet Music
Todd Rundgren - Todd
Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing
Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
Caravan - Caravan & the New Symphonia
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom
Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - "Jackie Blue"
Paper Lace - "The Night Chicago Died"
Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods - "Billy, Don't Be a Hero"
The Hudson Brothers - "So You Are a Star"
The Hues Corporation - "Rock the Boat"
Roberta Flack - "Feel Like Makin' Love"
Billy Swan - "I Can Help"
Elton John - "Bennie and the Jets"
Hollies - "The Air That I Breathe"
Terry Jacks - "Seasons in the Sun"
Maria Muldaur - "Midnight at the Oasis"
Isaac Hayes - "Joy"
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Battle of New Orleans"
Neil Diamond - "Longfellow Serenade"
Chicago - "Wishing You Were Here"
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Jet"
Tom T. Hall - "I Love"
Carl Carlton - "Everlasting Love"
Jim Stafford - "Spiders and Snakes"
George McCrae - "Rock Your Baby"

James Christopher Monger
Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
Steve Ashley - Stroll On
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
John Cale - Fear
Planxty - Cold Blow and the Rainy Night
Steeleye Span - Now We Are Six
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Mick Ronson - Slaughter on 10th Avenue
John Denver - Back Home Again
Jorge Ben - A Tábua de Esmeralda
Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown
Roger Glover - Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast
Roxy Music - Country Life

Big Star - "September Gurls"
Paper Lace - "The Night Chicago Died"
The Doobie Brothers - "Black Water"
Hollies - "Air That I Breathe"
Harry Nilsson - "Don't Forget Me"
Jethro Tull - "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day"
Electric Light Orchestra - "Can't Get It Out of My Head"
Rush - "Working Man"
Caravan - "Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again"
Judas Priest - "Rocka Rolla"
Terry Jacks - "Seasons in the Sun"
Kiss - "Cold Gin"
Tom T. Hall - "I Love"
Donovan - "Sadness"
David Bowie - "Rebel Rebel"

Tim Sendra
Big Star - Radio City
Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia
Millie Jackson - Caught Up
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance - Anymore for Anymore
New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon
Rick Springfield - Mission Magic!
Sweet - Desolation Boulevard
We All Together - 2

Blue Swede - "Hooked on a Feeling"
Rick Derringer - "Teenage Love Affair"
David Essex - "Rock On"
The Hues Corporation - "Rock the Boat"
Andy Kim - "Rock Me Gently"
George McCrae - "Rock Your Baby"
Mud - "Tiger Feet"
The Raspberries - "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)"
Reunion - "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)"
Rubettes - "Sugar Baby Love"

Sean Westergaard
Choosing for 1974 was an interesting exercise. It was one of the last years I was listening to Top 40 radio (WLS in Chicago), so the singles are the songs I was listening to a lot and really liking at the time (though not exclusively from radio play). With the exception of Zappa's Apostrophe (and the song "Autobahn"), the album list consists of albums I heard well after 1974; all of which still get played at home or on my radio show to this day. The singles: not so much, although there are a few.

Miles Davis - Dark Magus
Miles Davis - Get Up with It
Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets
Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Gil Evans - The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
Funkadelic - Standing on the Verge of Getting It On
Herbie Hancock - Thrust
King Crimson - Red
King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Bright Moments
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon
Parliament - Up for the Down Stroke
Sun Ra - Discipline 27-II
The Residents - Meet the Residents
Roxy Music - Country Life
Santana - Lotus
McCoy Tyner - Atlantis
Frank Zappa & the Mothers - Roxy & Elsewhere
Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (')

Bachman-Turner Overdrive - "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"
Brownsville Station - "Smokin' in the Boy's Room"
Cheech & Chong Featuring Alice Bowie - "Earache My Eye"
Coven - "One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)"
Jim Croce - "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues"
Carl Douglas - "Kung Fu Fighting"
David Essex - "Rock On"
Golden Earring - "Radar Love"
Grand Funk Railroad - "The Loco-Motion"
Hollies - "The Air That I Breathe"
Elton John - "The Bitch Is Back"
Elton John - "Bennie and the Jets"
Kraftwerk - "Autobahn"
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Helen Wheels"
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Jet"
Steve Miller Band - "The Joker"
Paper Lace - "The Night Chicago Died"
The O'Jays - "For the Love of Money"
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - "Tell Me Something Good"
Jim Stafford - "Spiders & Snakes"

Although some albums and songs in these lists were released in 1973, they peaked in the U.S. in 1974.

Previously
AllMusic Loves 1968
AllMusic Loves 1977
AllMusic Loves 1984
AllMusic Loves 1987
AllMusic Loves 1993
AllMusic Loves 1999