The Epic 2017 Project #294: 171021
Carly Simon – No Secrets (1972)
No Secrets is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Carly Simon, released on November 28, 1972 by Elektra Records.
The album was Carly’s commercial breakthrough. It spent five weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and quickly went Gold, as did its lead single, “You’re So Vain”, which remained at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks, and topped the Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks. In the UK, both the album and it’s lead single reached No.3.
At the invitation of producer Richard Perry, Simon recorded the album at Trident Studios in London, where Perry was keen for Simon to work with engineer Robin Cable. Trident Studios had previously been the venue for the recording of notable albums including The Beatles’ White Album, David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Elton John’s second album.
The photograph for the cover, taken by Ed Caraeff, was shot in front of the Portobello Hotel, on Stanley Gardens in London’s Notting Hill.
The Epic 2017 Project #281: 171008
Santana – Abraxas (1970)
The playlist at a gig we went to in Brighton last night included Santana’s version of ‘Black Magic Woman’. Rather excellent timing as I’d already scheduled ‘Abraxas’ for an airing in the Epic 2017 series. So here it is.
Abraxas was Santana’s second studio album. Building upon the interest generated by their self-titled first album released in August 1969 and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band released Abraxas in September 1970. The album’s mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa, and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band’s early sound.
In 2016, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its “cultural, historic, or artistic significance.
Black Magic Woman was written by Peter Green from the early Fleetwood Mac line-up. So here’s a vid of two 70-year olds performing it. Rather stunning stuff. Partly because it shows Mr Green back on form after the recluse years and partly because it shows that Mr Santana has never lost it! Enjoy.
The Epic 2017 Project #278: 171005
Sad Cafe – Facades (1979)
Sad Café formed in Manchester in 1976 and achieved their peak of popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for the UK Top 40 singles “Every Day Hurts”, “Strange Little Girl”, “My Oh My” and “I’m in Love Again”, the first of which was their biggest hit, reaching number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979. The band also had two US Billboard Hot 100 hits with “Run Home Girl” and “La-Di-Da”. Frontman Paul Young went on to achieve greater chart success as the co-lead singer (with Paul Carrack) of Mike + The Mechanics
Facades was their third studio album released in 1979.
The Epic 2017 Project #277: 171004
Sad Cafe – Misplaced Ideal (1978)
One of the things about having a passion for music are the little unexpected things that happen from time to time. Like the banning of an album sleeve. It doesn’t happen very often these days but when it does, it tends to make the original suddenly quite collectible; and valuable!
When I got Sad Cafe’s ‘Misplaced Ideals’ in 1978, a couple of days after its release and primarily because we’d seen them play the week before, this was what the album cover looked like…
…but two weeks later, the original was banned, withdrawn from stock and replaced with this (rather blander) version. Reason? Because the stretched face version was considered too grotesque and risqué for the time! The blander version stayed and became the cover for the Stateside release a year later.
The result though was that the album I would have purchased anyway, did (and still have) became instantly collectible and, after just a little while, quite valuable. Conservative estimate now – some 40 years later – £300! Not too shabby!
The Epic 2017 Project #262: 170919
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
For the last twelve days of September, The JemTunes ‘Epic 2017 project’ features 12 albums from the world’s longest running band – the Rolling Stones.
Sticky Fingers was their ninth British and elventh American studio album released in April 1971. It was the band’s first album of the 1970s and its first release on the band’s newly formed label, Rolling Stones Records, after having been contracted since 1963 with Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US. It is also Mick Taylor’s first full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album, the first Rolling Stones album not to feature any contributions from guitarist and founder Brian Jones and the first one on which singer Mick Jagger is credited with playing guitar.
The original vinyl release (and yes, I still have mine) had a real zip on the fly of the black jeans on the front cover.
The Epic 2017 Project #178: 170627
Steve Miller – The Joker (1973)
The Joker is the eighth album by Steve Miller Band, released in 1973. It marked a period of significant change for the group as the band abandoned their psychedelic oriented music for a more melodic, smooth rock/blues sound. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also their first solid commercial success due to the strong radio-play of the title track. The title track took 19 days to record.
The album’s artwork is also considered amongst the greatest; Rolling Stone magazine would later rank it as one of the “Top 100 Album Covers Of All Time”
The Epic 2017 Project #174: 170623
Don McLean – American Pie (1971)
A protégé of Pete Seeger, ‘American Pie’ was Don McLean’s second album. It was intended as a unified work, as McLean had said that he was influenced by the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album and envisioned American Pie to be a similar piece of work. Believing that an artist’s work should stand by itself, McLean generally did not offer explanations for his song’s themes or meaning,though he did describe the title song as involving “a sense of loss”. The album was dedicated to Buddy Holly, a childhood icon of McLean’s, and was released in 1971 on the heels of the ’60s, the defining decade of McLean’s generation. It has a melancholy feel and rather sparse arrangements. At the time of the writing McLean’s first marriage was failing and the optimism and hopefulness of the 1960s was giving way to the nihilism and hedonism of the 1970s.
The album’s title song though, made McLean a household name. The single was a number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972. In the UK, it reached No. 2 on its original 1972 release and No.12 on a reissue in 1991. It was listed as the No. 5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century and a truncated version was covered by Madonna in 2000 and reached No. 1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The repeatedly mentioned “day the music died” lyric refers to the 1959 plane crash which killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. The meaning of the other lyrics has long been debated, and for decades, McLean declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned. However, the overall theme of the song is the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation as symbolized by the plane crash which claimed the lives of three of its heroes