ALBUM CHART HISTORY
Researched and written by Sharon Mawer
The best selling album of 1971 was Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, as it had been in 1970. The album added a further 9 weeks at no.1 during 1971 in addition to the 24 already achieved in 1970, not one single album released during '71 could come close to its sales total. This was not the first time this had happened however, as recently as 1968 the Soundtrack to The Sound Of Music had been the best selling album for the third year out of four since its release and was still making an appearance this year, for two weeks in its 7th year on the charts.
The album that came closest to Bridge was Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells A Story, not his debut album but the breakthrough featuring the first hit single, Maggie May. Every Picture spent 6 weeks at the top in October and November. Stewart began his musical career after spending some time as an apprentice with Brentford Football Club. He joined Long John Baldrey's band The Hoochie Coochie Men, recorded a single in 1964, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, which failed to chart and soon afterward the group evolved into Steampacket. After Steampacket disbanded, he joined the Jeff Beck Group at the end of 1966. At last he was beginning to see some success, but both he and Jeff Beck joined the Small Faces after the departure of their founder Steve Marriot. Eventually they shortened their name simply to The Faces and Rod Stewart began a simultaneous solo career. After two failed commercial albums An Old Raincoat Won't Let You Down and Gasoline Alley, the third album, Every Picture Tells A Story was released along with a minor hit single Reason To Believe, which was quickly flipped over for its B side Maggie May and the solo career was up and running. The album also included Mandolin Wind and covers of That's All Right and I Know I'm Losing You.
After Paul McCartney had come close to a solo number one the previous year, both George Harrison and John Lennon achieved one each in 1971. George Harrison spent 8 weeks at the top with All Things Must Pass although the extent of this album's chart success was obscured for many years as the album was just about poised to reach the top at the end of January but coincided with a Post Office strike which stopped Record Retailer, the main source and publisher of the charts, from producing any album charts for 8 weeks during the whole of February and March, thus keeping Simon & Garfunkel at the top by repeating the chart of the 30th January. For just these eight weeks, many chart books, including this one, revert to the Melody Maker charts, the publication used during 1958-1960 and unaffected by the strike.
George Harrison, the lead guitarist for the Beatles had recorded two solo albums in the late 60s and even he probably was not surprised that they were not commercially successful. Wonderwall Music was a score to the film Wonderwall showing Harrison's total devotion to the Indian sitar and Electronic Sound, a more Moog synthesiser influenced album with two very long tracks Under The Mersey Wall and No Time Or Space which apparently were interposed on the album as each other. This was the final release on the experimental offshoot of the Beatles own Apple label, Zapple. The third album, a triple called All Things Must Pass was released after the break up of the band in 1971 and was the first solo Beatles album to feature a no.1 single, My Sweet Lord, although George Harrison had to hand over most of his royalties in a subsequent law suit from the publishers of the song He's So Fine, claiming and succeeding in their claim that the two songs were similar. All Things Must Pass also featured What Is Life, Isn't It A Pity, If Not For You and the Bob Dylan song I'd Have You Anytime. Themes from his second album re-appeared on the third of the triple album set but the first album was filled with pretty songs in the style that he had been providing for Beatles albums, Behind The Locked Door, Run Of The Mill and I Live For You.
John Lennon finally charted an album, John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band after four commercial failures. By the end of the year he was no.1 for two weeks with Imagine. Even while The Beatles were still a major force, John Lennon, tired of pop music, released several albums with his new wife Yoko Ono. Unfinished Music No.1 Two Virgins, more notable for both of them appearing naked on the album sleeve than for its musical content, it found a niche audience who were no doubt surprised by an album full of random sounds, footsteps, wind, conversation far away from the microphone and the occasional wailing and screaming. The second album, Unfinished Music No.2 Life With The Lions was more of the same, two minutes of complete silence, 12 minutes of the sound of a radio being tuned in and not quite finding a station, but also some songs sung by Yoko in a plaintive acapella voice. The third album The Wedding Album, also with lavish packaging including a copy of the marriage certificate and a photo of the wedding cake and the music on the album consisted of 25 minutes on side 1 of Yoko Ono wailing and 22 minutes on side 2, both of them calling each other's names from opposite speakers, not exactly She Loves You or Can't Buy Me Love but also unrecognisable from Lennon's current Beatles work Abbey Road or Get Back, more comparably to Revolution 9 on the White Album. Finally, an album with some recognised music was released. Live Peace In Toronto 1969 even featuring hit singles Give Peace A Chance and Cold Turkey, the latter song banned from virtually every radio station airplay and further alienating Lennon from the establishment, as he felt the song had an important message and should have been heard more widely. Indeed the establishment banning him from speaking via his music on Cold Turkey was one of the reasons he gave for returning his MBE. Side 2 was another complete side of Yoko wailing and it wasn't until John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band, that they finally released an album filled with songs and attempted to actually go for the commercial market. Working Class Hero, Power To The People, My Mummy's Dead, Love, Isolation and God, all tracks with pretty obvious themes but the public understood it in these turbulent times. The album hit no.8 and paved the way for real commercialism later in the year with the no.1 Imagine featuring the title track, plus Jealous Guy, I Don't Want To Be A Soldier and How Do You Sleep, an attack on Paul McCartney.
Having come close the previous year, Paul McCartney together with his wife Linda hit no.1 for two weeks in June with Ram. This album was credited to the husband and wife team rather than as a solo artist and featured the US no.1 single Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey along with Back Seat Of My Car and even a couple of 1920's jazz numbers, 3 Legs and Heart Of The Country.
Beginning an eight week tenure at the top, most of which crossed into 1972 was Electric Warrior by T Rex. The year began with MOR crooner, Andy Williams-Greatest Hits and Bridge Over Troubled Water at no.1 and by the end, newcomers T Rex, Led Zeppelin and Rod Stewart were dominating the top position. T Rex were originally a folk rock duo called Tyrannosaurus Rex, featuring Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrine Took. They released three albums, My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brow, Prophets Seers And Sages The Angels Of The Ages and the considerably shorter titled Unicorn. By the early 1970s, Took had left the group to be replaced by Mickey Finn and the first album A Beard Of Stars was a minor hit reaching no.21. The turning point came when Marc Bolan shortened the group's name simply to T Rex and released the single Ride A White Swan and the album T Rex, which peaked at no.7 but stayed on the chart for nearly 6 months. The album featured T Rex classics, Jewel, Sun Eye and One Inch Rock, but not the single Ride A White Swan as it was effectively an acoustic album, still influenced by Bolan's hippy days with bongo drums and mostly acoustic guitars. This was right at the start of glam rock, the Beatles having officially split and the public looking for the next big thing to fill the void. Marc with his glitter makeup, feather boa and camp act was ideal and they were ready to become the biggest band in the country for the next two years. The band's line up was expanded with the addition of Steve Currie and Bill Legend and this new line up recorded the tracks Hot Love and Get It On, both no.1 singles and the no.1 album Electric Warrior. This album included the latter of the two no.1 singles plus Jeepster, the hippy ballads Monolith, Life's A Gas and Cosmic Dancer and Motivator which could have easily been one of the singles released.
Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album is one of the most important rock records of the 1970s, defining a hard rock sound with a sense of drama that as a band, they were best at. The albums highlights include Black Dog, Rock And Roll and When The Levee Breaks, but the most remembered track is the epic Stairway To Heaven. Four Symbols or Led Zeppelin IV, nobody could actually say for certain what the album was called, but it didn't matter, everybody knew the Led Zeppelin album released towards the end of 1971 was a classic and it topped the chart for the first two weeks in December.
The latest in the Motown Chartbusters series, now up to volume 5, spent three weeks at the top in the Spring. This was the album that featured Motown stars faces on the cover for the first time, the first four in the series featuring abstract artwork because it was a commonly held belief within the company that although they had sold millions of singles, the albums would not sell with black faces on the cover. By now, it was obvious to everyone that Motown featured black pop stars and their popularity meant the company could take chances with its audience. This album also had some of the more politically charged tracks on it, Edwin Starr's War, Temptations Ball Of Confusion and Marvin Gaye's Abraham Martin & John alongside simple fun pop songs Tears Of A Clown, The Love You Save and It's All In The Game. Volume 6 featured I'm Still Waiting-Diana Ross, Indiana Wants Me-R Dean Taylor and The Four Tops-Simple Game among its list of major hits, reached no.2 in October.
Between January and July, the mid price chart continued weekly although there were several breaks in February and March when a chart was not compiled, while there were just seven monthly combined charts produced which included all LP titles, even budget albums below 75p. The mid price listings only showed four new number one albums during 1971, Best Of T Rex, Trojan records Sampler Club Reggae Vol 2, Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains-This is Manuel and the first volume in Decca's series World Of Your 100 Best Tunes. Other major chart titles included Jim Reeves-Girls I Have Known, Pink Floyd's compilation Relics, Family-Old Songs New Songs, East OF Eden's World Of East Of Eden, Tighten Up Vol 4, Perry Como's Golden Records, Dave & Ansil Collins Double Barrel and the Island records Sampler El Pea. The monthly best sellers on the budget listing were dominated by Hallmark's Top Of The Pops and MFPs Hot Hits series. With just seven charts produced, one at the beginning of each month, Top Of The Pops 14, 16 & 17 were no.1 on five of them and the other two months were taken by Hot Hits Vols 4 and 5. Other major budget titles in the charts during the first half of 1971 included Johnny Cash-Great Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves-God And Country, Geoff Love-Big War Movie Themes, Cliff Richard-All My Love, Elvis Presley-You'll Never Walk Alone and Jimi Hendrix-Eternal Fire.
A decision was taken on the 7th of August 1971 to abolish all price restrictions on the main LP charts which appears to have been retail shops led. The result of this was an influx of the budget titles into the LP charts particularly the cover versions albums Hot Hits 6 7 & 8 on Music For Pleasure and Top Of The Pops volumes 18 19 & 20 on Hallmark through Pickwick records. With the restrictions now lifted, they saw their albums competing with the Moody Blues, John Lennon, Rod Stewart and Led Zeppelin for the honour of being the best selling album that week. These albums were released about every six weeks and included virtually every hit single over the preceding six weeks. There were no licensing problems, no one refused them permission to use tracks, as they weren't original hit versions and they did not pay royalties for use of the songs. There were even two volumes of light orchestral classical compilations on Decca, World Of Your 100 Best Tunes, based on the radio show, Volume one of which actually became the 5th best selling LP of the year but was excluded from the final table. Volume One included Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Moonlight Sonata, Sibelius Finlandia and Bruch Violin Concerto, while Volume Two had excerpts from Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, Tchaikovski 1812 Overture, Johan Strauss Blue Danube, Handel's Largo and the aria from Puccini's Turandot, Nessun Dorma. The radio programme was called Your Hundred Best Tunes, but the albums were not quite so extravagant with just ten pieces each.
With or without the charts, Top Of The Pops racked up 92 volumes between 1968 and 1985, crossing over into the era of Now That's What I Call Music and most of which are now collectors items, worth far more than the original 75p, as embarrassed buyers discarded their albums in these more enlightened times when most buyers would not put up with anonymous cover versions, even at 75p. The first full main no.1 album in this genre, Hot Hits 6, the one with Viv Neves, the girl in the bikini and cricket pads featured versions of all of the big hits from June and July 1971 including Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Me And You And A Dog Named Boo, Banner Man, Don't Let It Die and Coco. Top Of The Pops Volume 18 was an almost identical album with seven of the same tracks but also truly awful versions of Get It On, Street Fighting Man and Wont Get Fooled Again. However close to the originals the pop tracks sounded, the rock tracks were quite far away. Top Of The Pops Volume 20 hit number one, the final week in November and featured Maggie May, Tweedledee Tweedledum, Witch Queen Of New Orleans, Simple Game, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Sultana.
Also enjoying their first chart topping albums were Emerson Lake & Palmer with Tarkus which was followed by another top 3 album Pictures At An Exhibition at the end of the year, The Who-Who's Next and Deep Purple with Fireball. Tarkus side 1 is a 21 minute complete recording of the title track, telling the story of a prehistoric armadillo tank and is an all time classic, unless one has an aversion to prog rock and its long meandering tracks. Side 2 featured much shorter tracks Bitches Crystal, A Time And A Place and Jeremy Bender. Pictures At An Exhibition, based on the music of Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and other was one of the albums that introduced the record buying public to classical music. Well, classical music of a sort as played by the trio live, with a rock orchestral feel and Keith Emerson prominent on the organ on most of the tracks including The Curse Of Baba Yaga, The Great Gates Of Kiev, Promenade, The Old Castle and Nutrocker.
Who's Next was originally a sci-fi rock opera called Lifehouse which was supposed to be the sequel to Tommy, but before completion, Pete Townshend had suffered a nervous breakdown and Lifehouse had been abandoned. The album which reached the top for one week in September, includes the ballads The Song Is Over and Behind Blue Eyes, but is better remembered for the rock tracks like the 8 minute Wont Get Fooled Again and Baba O Reilly, otherwise known as Teenage Wasteland. On Fireball, which was no.1 for one week at the end of September, Deep Purple continued their hard rock sound direction of the previous hit album Deep Purple In Rock and features the hit single Strange Kind Of Woman as well as the classic rock title track Fireball and the instrumental The Mule.
Old hands at the top included Andy Williams with Home Lovin Man featuring the top 10 single and the Moody Blues latest album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, both artists third no.1, and the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers, their sixth. Andy Williams' Home Lovin Man was his third and final chart topper in April and featured his versions of recent hits, Your Song, Something, We've Only Just Begun, I Think I Love You, Candida, Fire and Rain, Rose Garden and My Sweet Lord.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is a classic Moody Blues album which was no.1 for one week in August, their final chart topping album, sandwiched between the two cover version albums Hot Hits 6 and Top Of The Pops 18. There were no singles released from this album but the guitar work and harmonies on The Story In Your Eyes, Emily's Song and Our Guessing Game are stand-out tracks.
Sticky Fingers, the album with the zip fly in the trousers on the cover which actually worked, is a drug influenced album, the songs are either surreptitiously about drugs like the major hit single Brown Sugar, Sister Morphine or Wild Horses, or are influenced by them such as the Moonlight Mile and Can't You Hear Me Knocking. In the CD age, the zip was not quite as effective as on a 12" vinyl album cover. An album filled with guitar riffs, except the blues number You Gotta Move and the seven minute track that turns into a Santana number, Can't You Hear Me Knocking. Having departed the Decca label to set up their own record company, Rolling Stones Records, Decca took the opportunity to cobble together an album of rarities and B Sides and released Stone Age which hit no.4 just one month before Sticky Fingers hit the top.
Another new artist to be positively affected by the Post Office strike was Elton John who saw his eponymously titled album reach no.5 and the follow up Tumbleweed Connection get as high as no.2 during the 8 weeks of the Melody Maker charts in February and March. Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, joined his first band, Bluesology as early as 1961. Years later, after failing auditions as the lead singer of King Crimson, Gentle Giant and as a solo artist on Liberty records, he teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin who had also been turned down by Liberty. The pair were hired by Dick James as staff songwriters at his new DJM label and they began turning out songs for many of the pop artists of the late 1960s, before Elton released his first solo album Empty Sky. On the second album, Elton John, Bernie Taupin introduced the producer Gus Dudgeon and Elton found himself with a major hit single in Your Song and it also included the tracks I Need You To Turn On, Sixty Years On, The Greatest Discovery, The King Must Die and The Border Song. Tumbleweed Connection was an attempt at a concept album with all songs loosely based on the Wild West, Ballad Of A Well Known Gun, My Father's Gun, Burn Down The Mission and Country Comfort, although not country songs, attempted to follow the theme.
Also new to the charts in 1971 was James Taylor with Sweet Baby James and Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon. Neil Young and Stephen Stills both had solo albums in the top 10, with After The Goldrush and Stephen Stills respectively. Carole King's Tapestry spent 15 weeks at no.1 in the USA but could only reach a high of no.4 in the UK. James Taylor, the epitome of calm singer songwriters, playing an acoustic guitar and singer of sad, mellow songs recorded his debut album, James Taylor for Apple records in 1968 but after a period of heroin addiction and a motorcycle accident that kept him out of action for several months, he was released from Apple, moved to California and released Sweet Baby James including the single Fire And Rain, a song about his experiences in various mental institutions while recovering from his addiction. Rather a shock after three tracks of James Taylor and a simple strumming acoustic guitar, on track four, Steamroller arrives with horns and an electric guitar. Later in the year, he released Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon featuring the major hit single and one of the defining songs of the singer songwriter genre, You've Got A Friend.
Canadian, Neil Young, formally with the folk rock band Buffalo Springfield had also moved to California and after Buffalo Springfield broke up, he joined a local band The Rockets, whom he renamed Crazy Horse and eventually joined forces with Crosby Stills & Nash for their album Déjà vu before branching out as a solo artist. After The Goldrush, reached no.7 and was similar in style to the James Taylor albums featuring acoustic folk rock tracks Only Love Can Break Your Heart, a cover of Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me and the title track. Stephen Stills, another former member of Buffalo Springfield, also succeeded with a solo project in 1971. Crosby Stills Nash & Young as a quartet also charted with the double live album, Four Way Street, both albums containing the song Love The One You're With.
The album Tapestry established Carole King as not only one of the most successful composers, but now also as a singer of her own songs. In New York in the late 1950s, she met fellow budding songwriters Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka and Gerry Goffin, whom she eventually formed a partnership with. During the early 1960s, they had some major successes with the songs Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Take Good Care Of My Baby, The Locomotion and over 100 chart hits, but only one recorded under her own name, It Might As Well Rain Until September. In the early 1970s, she made another attempt at a solo singing career and struck gold with her second album Tapestry featuring the songs It's Too Late, I Feel The Earth Move and her versions of her own songs You've got A Friend, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.
Fairport Convention also finally achieved their only top 10 top album Angel Delight. With an original line up like a who's who of British folk music of the late 60s, Richard Thompson, Ian Matthews, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, Judy Dyble and Martin Lamble. Dyble was replaced after the first album by Sandy Denny and throughout the next couple of years, the line up was significantly altered due to musical disagreements and even the death of the still teenage, Lamble in an accident with their equipment. By the time of their sixth and only top 10 album, Angel Delight, an album filled with tongue in cheek folk music tracks including Lord Marlborough, Bonny Black Hare, Sickness And Diseases with violins to the fore on Bridge Over The River Ash and The Journeyman. Only Nicol was remaining as an original member, Fairport Convention surviving the loss of both Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny.
Artists with considerably shorter chart careers included Waldo De Los Rios the Argentinean composer and arranger with his Symphonies For The Seventies including his hit single version of Mozart 40th and Dvorak's New World Symphony, Curved Air with their only top 10 album Air Conditioning, McGuiness Flint with their eponymous album together with their two top 5 singles When I'm Dead And Gone and Malt And Barley Blues and Franck Pourcel with This Is Pourcel, the French classical violinist who was noted for his easy listening albums in the style of Mantovani, Percy Faith or Ray Conniff. This Is Pourcel included orchestral versions of recent hits, A Man Without Love, Love At First Sight (Je Taime), Un Banc Une Arbre Une Rue, It Must Be Him and This Is My Song.
Curved Air, named after Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air, the band, originally formed to accompany Galt McDermott on his musical Who The Murderer Was, hired vocalist Sonja Kristina and released their first album, a cross between hard rock, prog rock and classical music and reached the top 10 and is notable as one of the first, if not the very first picture disc album commercially available. This LP really blurred the lines between pop and classical especially on the track Vivaldi, an instrumental violin piece that could have been Vivaldi himself, except in the middle section where the experimental section came in and there were more electronic sounds than violins. Also featuring the tracks It Happened Today, Blind Man and Rob One. The album ends with the track Vivaldi With Cannons, sounding more like a computer game than a cannon. It wasn't until their second album that they finally hit the singles chart with Back Street Luv.
Yes were founded in 1968 when Jon Anderson met Chris Squire at the London club La Chasse. They recruited keyboard player Tony Kaye, guitarist Peter Banks and drummer Bill Bruford and all had a vision for the band which was neither the psychedelic music of the late 1960s, nor heavy rock, but a harmonious mixture combining both and also concentrating on good musicianship and vocal performances. Their break came at the Speakeasy club, filling in a spot for the absent Sly & Family Stone, which led to regular appearances at the Marquee and the release of the eponymous album late in 1969. Although a failure on the charts, this album had many of the sounds in place that would define the group. Not wasting any time, they prepared their second album, Time And A Word, but by the time of its release, the first of their numerous personnel changes had taken place with Steve Howe replacing Peter Banks, although Banks actually played on the album.
Yes hit the top 10 with The Yes Album peaking at no.4, an album based on a science fiction concept, although this was also an album filled with pop songs including Starship Trooper, Perpetual Change and Yours Is No Disgrace which could have been a single had it not been nearly 10 minutes long. Basing a lot of the background sounds on Tony Kaye's Moog synthesizer and organ, they began to work on the next album when Kaye announced he was leaving the band to join up with fellow ex Yes member Peter Banks. Needing a new keyboard player, they turned to the former Strawbs man, Rick Wakeman who not only played the keyboards but was as extravagant and flamboyant as Keith Emerson, using up to twelve different keyboards simultaneously including an organ, mellotron, synthesizer and even a couple of pianos. The new album released at the end of the year was Fragile, another science fiction and fantasy album with new member Rick Wakeman on all keyboard instruments. An edited version of the track Roundabout was released as a single to show that Yes did not have an aversion to singles if they resulted in attracting buyers to their albums. Fragile had four long tracks, Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky, Heart Of The Sunrise and Long Distance Runaround and like Pink Floyd's Ummagumma before it, dedicated five other tracks to showcasing the talents of the individual members.
Chicago charted their third album at number 9, showcasing Robert Lamm's six part Travel Suite, Terry Kath's five part An Hour In The Shower and James Pankow's five part Elegy, as 16 tracks on yet another double album.
The biggest new soundtrack of the year was Love Story, in the main, an orchestral score, in fact the only soundtrack to reach the top 10 during 1971 apart from the Sound Of Music still going strong. Elvis Presley charted three albums in 1971, Love Letters From Elvis featuring the title track, a hit from 5 years previous, Elvis Country, subtitled I'm 10000 Years Old, a country album with his versions of the tracks There Goes My Everything and Make The World Go Away, but also non country tracks Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On and Snowbird and also Cmon Everybody which included Easy Come Easy Go, I'm Not The Marrying Kind and the title track Rock n Roll classic.
A whole series of rock albums hit the top 5 including Jimi Hendrix-Cry Of Love, Pink Floyd's Meddle, Leonard Cohen-Songs Of Love And Hate, Jethro Tull's Aqualung, Groundhogs-Split, Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality, The Nice-Elegy and Ten Years After-Watt.
Cry Of Love which hit no.2 in April, was the first of the posthumous releases in the Jimi Hendrix catalogue and collected most of the studio tracks that were either completed or very near completion before he died. He also hit no.9 with a another compilation called Experience which collected together the tracks Purple Haze, Foxey Lady, Voodoo Child and If 6 Was 9 along with another nine songs all from previous albums. Pink Floyd's Meddle is mostly a 23 minute epic called Echoes, nothing even closely resembling a pop song, but a texture of sounds mingled together, which was a taste of things to come on future albums. Leonard Cohen continued his attempt to release more and more depressing music as each album came along. As master of the art however, on Songs Of Love And Hate, the lyrics on Famous Blue Raincoat, Joan Of Arc and Love Calls You By Your Name rank among the best of all his work. He's even smiling on the album cover, something he does not appear to do while singing. It doesn't even cheer up when a children's chorus joins in on Last Year's Man and Dress Rehearsal Rag.
Jethro Tull's Aqualung, a no.4 album in April, was a bold album with its theme of being pro God but anti-religion. Hard rock intermixed with folk, Ian Anderson's flute playing and very deep lyrics that made a lot of people think about the link between God and organised religion, a courageous album at the time featuring the tracks Cross Eyed Mary, Locomotive Breath, My God, Hymn 43 and Mother Goose. Another courageous album was Split by The Groundhogs based on the subject of schizophrenia, the four part title track and Cherry Red being examples of gritty blues the band never expected to receive any radio play on because of their harrowing lyrical content. Not really on the subject of religion, but they would have everyone believe they were into the dark arts was another Black Sabbath album, Master Of Reality with more thoughtful, heavy rock and lyrics about Satan on such tracks as Sweet Leaf, Children Of The Grave, After Forever and Lord Of This World. Ten Years After-Watt was the follow up to last year's Cricklewood Green and many of the tracks were left overs that didn't quite make it onto the previous album, the set ending with a cover of Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen. After the breakthrough albums The Nice and Five Bridges, The Nice released Elegy, a live album showcasing Keith Emerson's keyboard skills before he departed to concentrate full time on the Emerson Lake & Palmer projects. This album featured his interpretations of the works of Bob Dylan on My Back Pages, Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, a 12 minute version of Hang On To A Dream and a live version of their hit single, America.
There was however, still room in the upper regions of the chart for much more mellow sounds, Jim Reeves hitting no.3 with Twelve Songs Of Christmas, a mixture of traditional songs and Christmas Carols including Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Mary's Boy Child, O Come All Ye Faithful and O Little Town Of Bethlehem. This album had charted every Christmas since 1964 but this year was its first at mid price. He also charted with two other albums, Jim Reeves Golden Records and a mid price re-issue from 1964 of The Intimate Jim Reeves. Sinatra And Company peaked at no.9 featuring the tracks, I Will Drink The Wine, Close To You and Leavin On A Jet Plane. After hitting no.5 the previous year with Something, Shirley Bassey returned in 1971 with the album Something Else which included Where Do I Begin, Until It's Time For You To Go, It's Impossible and her version of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Tom Jones was also in the top 10 with She's A Lady which saw him cover some unusual recent hits including Resurrection Shuffle, Nothin Rhymed and You're My World.
Burt Bacharach was in the top 5 with Portrait In Music which included the tracks I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Alfie, I Say A Little Prayer, This Guys In Love With You and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Joni Mitchell-Blue was an album of love and loss featuring 10 Joni Mitchell compositions including This Flight Tonight, All I Want, My Old Man, Little Green about a child given up for adoption and the mournful title track Blue. Cat Stevens-Teaser And The Firecat featured the hit singles Morning Has Broken, based on a hymn, Peace Train and Moonshadow, and also the Greek influenced Rubylove complete with two bouzoukis and the Caribbean flavoured Tuesday's Dead. Teaser And The Firecat eventually peaked at no.2 in January 1972 and was his first top 10 album since the breakthrough hit Matthew And Son in 1967.
Melanie hit no.9 with her second top 10 album Good Book, but there were no hit singles taken from this. Diana Ross had been groomed for solo stardom for several years by Berry Gordy and her first solo top 10 was I'm Still Waiting which featured the hit singles, Surrender, Remember Me and the no.1 title track. In the meantime, with Jean Terrell taking Diana Ross' place in the Supremes, and after the previous years' success with The Temptations, they teamed up with The Four Tops, another Motown legend and released the album The Magnificent Seven which peaked at no.6 and included the two groups hit single version of River Deep Mountain High along with For Your Love, Stoned Soul Picnic and Everyday People. Free hit no.4 with Free Live, an album containing a six and a half minute version of All Right Now as well as Fire And Water, Mr Big and The Hunter.
The USA no.1 albums did not fare as well in the UK as they had done in 1970. The studio cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, the rock opera musical of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Santana 3, the final album to feature their original Woodstock era personnel, both reached no.6 in the UK. Jesus Christ Superstar was a groundbreaking and daring, controversial musical of the time, telling the story of the last few days of Jesus and sung throughout, with no breaks for dialogue by Yvonne Elliman, Ian Gillan, Murray Head and PP Arnold. Tracks that became hit singles included I Don't Know How To Love Him and Superstar.
Santana 3, beginning with the heavy instrumental Bakuta with dominant guitar and organ chords. Guajira, Jungle Strut, Para Los Rumberos and the vocal tracks Everybody's Everything and Everything's Coming Our Way were back to the Latin sound of Abraxas. The Soundtrack to Shaft featuring the music of Isaac Hayes and one of the first major blaxploitation movies of the early 1970s, could only get as high as no.17, but even that fared better than the classic albums by Sly & The Family Stone-There's A Riot Goin On which stopped at no.31and Janis Joplin-Pearl which never got higher than no.20.
Sly & The Family Stone, formed in 1967 by Sly Stone, born Sylvester Stewart was the first band to feature black and white, male and female members, the first fully integrated pop funk band in the world, basing their music on James Brown's good time funk and soul with a stage act that was an explosion of colour, but as the 60s turned into the 70s, Sly Stone became addicted to various narcotics and his disillusionment with the civil rights movement shows through on his only chart album in the UK. Janis Joplin, a singer of the blues and rock with emotional delivery. She first came to public attention as the singer with Big Brother & The Holding Company who had topped the US charts in 1968 with their album Cheap Thrills featuring Piece Of My Heart and the 9 minute epic Ball And Chain. Janis Joplin went solo and released just one album before her death, I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama. Pearl, featuring the dramatic Mercedes Benz, Get It While You Can and her ultimate version of Kris Kristofferson's Me And Bobbie McGee, was released after her death and also features the prophetic Buried Alive In The Blues, an unfinished track with no vocals, which were scheduled to be recorded on the day after her death.
As for the other top 5 albums in the USA during 1971, Creedence Clearwater Revival Pendulum peaked at no.8 in the UK, their third top 10 album. Pendulum included the tracks Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Pagan Baby, Molina and ends with the six minute Rude Awakening no.2, an instrumental that could be described as prog or experimental rock. Andy Williams' Love story reached no.11, The Carpenters reached no.12 with their self titled album, and Three Dog Night Golden Bisquits failed to chart in the UK at all. The Partridge Family with three top 10 albums Up To Date, The Partridge Family Album and The Partridge Family Sound Magazine, only reached no.46 with Up To Date, the other two not charting in the UK.
Five artists with no.1 singles could not cross over into the album charts at all in 1971, Clive Dunn, Dawn, Middle Of The Road, The Tams and Slade.
NUMBER OF TOP 10 ALBUMS - 85
NUMBER OF #1 ALBUMS - 18
Top albums of 1971
1 Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
2 Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story
3 Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
4 Various - Motown Chartbusters vol 5
5 T Rex - Electric Warrior
6 Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
7 Carole King - Tapestry
8 Moody Blues - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
9 Andy Williams - Greatest Hits
10 James Taylor - Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon
(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company