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20 Rock Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the 1970s That You Never Heard

We praised them 40 years ago — and you should listen to them today!

twiggy and the hudson brothers

Gems/Redferns/Getty; GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty

From 1970 to 1979, Rolling Stone printed over 250 issues, many of them with 20-plus record reviews. That means we reviewed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 albums, so it’s not surprising that some of our favorites have gone unplayed recently. These are 20 rock albums that we loved in the Seventies — from Mitch Ryder to Twiggy, from Kate Hudson’s father to Paul McCartney’s brother — that have gone largely unheard in recent decades but still deserve to be played loud.

Crack the Sky

Crack the Sky, ‘Crack the Sky’

This West Virginia prog-rock group incorporated rock, funk and string sections into a jagged album with "dazzling stylistic diversity," perfectly reflecting singer John Palumbo's lyrics about media-induced schizophrenia. The LP wasn't a smash hit, but Crack the Sky became popular in Baltimore and have continued a Maryland-centric career to this day, releasing well over 20 albums.

What We Said Then: "Like the first albums of Steely Dan, 10cc and the Tubes, Crack the Sky's debut introduces a group whose vision of mid-Seventies ennui is original, humorous and polished without seeming too arty. . .If Palumbo's lyrics are the latest in Seventies cynicism, their darkness is countered by the light-spiritedness of most of the music. Palumbo avoids conventional melodies, preferring to repeat a tuneful phrase and then abruptly break the mood he's established with something nearly opposite in spirit." — Stephen Holden, RS 203 (January 1st, 1976)

Detroit

Detroit, ‘Detroit’

Mitch Ryder was only a few years past his Sixties hit singles with the Detroit Wheels, but that was enough time for his career to crash on the rocks and for him to head an ill-advised Vegas-style soul revue. This album was the comeback from his self-inflicted wounds: the forceful debut of a new rock band that showcased Ryder as "one of the primal blue-eyed shouters of our time." The LP was produced by a young Bob Ezrin, who would go on to work with Kiss and Pink Floyd; Ryder's reputation would be sustained over the following decades by Bruce Springsteen's frequent live rendition of his hits in the "Detroit Medley."

What We Said Then: "The drumming, without exception, is extremely forceful, and the bass playing — especially on Ray Davies' 'It Ain't Easy,' here captured in what must surely be its definitive version — is nothing short of incredible. . .as you might expect, the louder it gets the better it gets. But I think the thing I like most about Detroit, which would make them something a little special even if their album limped along like a stray dog, is the kind of moral commitment they bring to their music." — Lenny Kaye, RS 97 (December 9th, 1971)

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