Pitchfork: The Top 100 Albums of the 1970s

List published June 23, 2004; collected on Sept. 18, 2015. link (100-91) -- originally published in reverse order, with notes. Works out to 10 albums per year, not very evenly distributed { 1970: 11, 1971: 17, 1972: 10, 1973: 13, 1974: 5, 1975: 3, 1976: 1, 1977: 17, 1978: 11, 1979: 12 }. No easy way to check genre breakdown, but there are 2 reggae records (nothing by Bob Marley), 2 African (both Fela Kuti), 1 en franšais, 5 jazz (four Miles Davis), 0 country, 8 African-American, 8 Kraut rock (2 Kraftwerk, 3 Can), 42 English artists/groups.

My graded albums in blue, grades in brackets. On my initial pass I had 85 graded records (85%), leaving 15.

  1. David Bowie: Low (1977, RCA) [A-]
  2. The Clash: London Calling (1979, CBS) [A+]
  3. Television: Marquee Moon (1977, Elektra) [A]
  4. Sly & the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On (1971, Epic) [A]
  5. Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975, Columbia) [B]
  6. Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977, Capitol) [A]
  7. Led Zeppelin: IV (1971, Atlantic) [A]
  8. Gang of Four: Entertainment! (1979, Warner Bros) [A]
  9. Joy Division: Unknown Peasures (1979, Factory) [A-]
  10. Brian Eno: Another Green World (1973, Island) [A+]
  11. Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (1972, Rolling Stones) [A+]
  12. The Stooges: Funhouse (1970, Elektra) [B+]
  13. Nick Drake: Pink Moon (1972, Island) [B+(*)]
  14. The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1971, Cotillion/Atlantic) [A+]
  15. The Who: Who's Next (1971, Decca) [A+]
  16. Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady (1979, IRS) [A]
  17. Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (1971, Westbound) [B+]
  18. Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (1970, Columbia) [A-]
  19. Can: Ege Bamyasi (1972, United Artists) [B+]
  20. T. Rex: Electric Warrior (1971, Reprise) [B+(**)]
  21. Serge Gainsbourg: Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971, Philips) [B+(***)]
  22. Wire: Pink Flag (1977, Harvest) [A]
  23. Ramones: Ramones (1976, Sire) [A]
  24. Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (1974, Island) [A]
  25. Neu!: Neu! (1972, Brain) [A-]
  26. Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973, Tamla/Motown) [A]
  27. Led Zeppelin: III (1970, Atlantic) [A]
  28. The Beatles: Let It Be (1970, Apple) [B]
  29. Can: Tago Mago (1971, United Artists) [B+(***)]
  30. Miles Davis: On the Corner (1972, Columbia) [B+(***)]
  31. Talking Heads: Fear of Music (1979, Sire) [A-]
  32. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1979, Columbia) [B]
  33. Wire: Chairs Missing (1978, Harvest) [A-]
  34. Saturday Night Fever (1978, Polydor) [B+(*)]
  35. The Pop Group: Y (1979, Radar) [B+(***)]
  36. Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (1975, Columbia) [A]
  37. Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (1977, Columbia) [A-]
  38. XTC: Drums and Wires (1979, Virgin) [B+]
  39. Suicide: Suicide (1977, Red Star) [B]
  40. The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers (1977, Beserkley) [A]
  41. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977, Reprise) [A]
  42. The Specials: The Specials (1979, 2-Tone) [B+(***)]
  43. Michael Jackson: Off the Wall (1979, Epic) [A]
  44. The Clash: The Clash (1977, CBS) [A+]
  45. Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978, Sire) [A]
  46. The Congos: Heart of the Congos (1977, Black Art) [B+] -- graded ([1996], Blood & Fire)
  47. Al Green: Call Me (1973, Hi) [A+]
  48. Miles Davis: Live-Evil (1972, Columbia) [A-]
  49. Marvin Gaye: What's Going On (1971, Motown) [A-]
  50. Tim Buckley: Starsailor (1970, Warner Bros)
  51. Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks (1977, Warner Bros) [A]
  52. Elvis Costello: This Year's Model (1978, Columbia) [A-]
  53. Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (1978, ECM) [B+]
  54. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo's Factory (1970, Fantasy) [A]
  55. Nick Drake: Bryter Layter (1970, Island) [B+]
  56. Can: Future Days (1973, United Artists) [B+]
  57. Paul Simon: Paul Simon (1972, CBS) [A-]
  58. Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1971, Columbia) [A+]
  59. Ramones: Rocket to Russia (1977, Sire) [A+]
  60. John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band (1970, Apple) [A-]
  61. Beach Boys: Surf's Up (1971, Brother) [B]
  62. The Cars: The Cars (1978, Elektra) [B+]
  63. Cluster: Zuckerzeit (1974, Spalax)
  64. Iggy Pop: Lust for Life (1977, RCA) [A]
  65. Neil Young: On the Beach (1974, Warner Bros) [A]
  66. Big Star: Third/Sister Lovers (1978, PVC) [B+]
  67. Pink Floyd: Meddle (1971, Harvest) [B+]
  68. Herbie Hancock: Head Hunters (1973, Columbia) [B+]
  69. Faust: IV (1973, Virgin) [B+(**)]
  70. Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon (1973, Harvest) [A+]
  71. James Brown: The Payback (1973, Polydor) [A-]
  72. King Crimson: Red (1971, Atlantic) [B+]
  73. Van Halen: Van Halen (1978, Warner Bros) [C+]
  74. Leonard Cohen: Songs of Love and Hate (1971, Columbia) [A-]
  75. Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (1973, Atlantic) [A-]
  76. Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978, Chrysalis) [A]
  77. David Bowie: Aladdin Sane (1973, RCA) [B+]
  78. Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa '70: Expensive Shit (1973, Editions Makossa) [B+] -- graded in Expensive Shit/He Miss Road ([2000], MCA)
  79. Randy Newman: Sail Away (1972, Reprise) [A-]
  80. David Bowie: Hunky Dory (1971, RCA) [A]
  81. David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders From Mars (1972, RCA) [A-]
  82. George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (1970, Apple) [B]
  83. Iggy & the Stooges: Raw Power (1973, Columbia) [A-]
  84. Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson (1971, RCA) [B+(**)]
  85. Wire: 154 (1979, Warner Bros) [B+]
  86. Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971, Reprise) [A-]
  87. Roxy Music: For Your Pleasure (1973, Warner Bros) [A-]
  88. Giorgio Moroder: From Here to Eternity (1977, Casablanca) [B]
  89. Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978, Warner Bros) [A-]
  90. Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa '70: Zombie (1977, Celluloid/MIL) [A-]
  91. Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979, Industrial)
  92. Kraftwerk: The Man-Machine (1978, Capitol) [A-]
  93. Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys (1970, Capitol) [A-]
  94. King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black (1974, Atlantic)
  95. Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (1975, Swan Song) [B+]
  96. Iggy Pop: The Idiot (1977, RCA) [A-]
  97. The Harder They Come (1972, Mango) [A]
  98. Robert Wyatt: Rock Bottom (1974, Virgin) [B+]
  99. Neil Young: After the Gold Rush (1970, Reprise) [A]
  100. Brian Eno: Before and After Science (1977, Island) [A]

Initial rated count: 85 (85.0%).

Grade breakdown:

  • A+: 10
  • A: 25
  • A-: 25
  • B+(***): 5
  • B+(**): 3
  • B+(*): 2
  • B+: 18
  • B: 7
  • C+: 1
  • Total: 96