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40 Albums Baby Boomers Loved That Millennials Don’t Know

From Tina Turner to Eric Clapton, these LPs were beloved by millions, but are younger generations finding them?

40 Classic Baby Boomer Albums

Courtesy of Courtesy of A&M Records; Capitol Records; RSO Records; Warner Bros. Records

Some albums transcend their eras, finding their way into the cultural canon and continually being rediscovered by subsequent generations of listeners. And some don’t. For whatever reason, be it dated production, a social context that doesn’t translate, or any number of far more ineffable causes, the following albums were beloved by millions of baby boomers and yet, unlike, say, the inarguably canonical Dark Side of the Moons and London Callings of the world, seemed not to resonate particularly strongly beyond their initial audience. Check back again in a few years, and this list, hopefully, will look entirely different.

Phil Ochs Pleasures of the Harbor

Courtesy of A&M Records

Phil Ochs, ‘Pleasures of the Harbor’ (1967)

In the early-to-mid-Sixties, Ochs was just a notch below Bob Dylan in the protest-singer pantheon. But Dylan's historical presence is so overwhelming that he's become a stand-in for the entire folk movement, marginalizing the likes of Ochs in the popular imagination. Don't sleep on him. When folk faded away, Ochs himself turned from simple acoustic-guitar arrangements to the more ambitious and heavily orchestrated Pleasures of the Harbor (1967). After seven musically and lyrically detailed song epics, the "The Crucifixion" closed the LP melancholy fashion with an eight-minute allegory comparing JFK to Jesus.  

Arlo Guthrie Alice's Restaurant

Courtesy of Reprise Records

Arlo Guthrie, ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ (1967)

Can you imagine a playfully meandering 18-minute, 34-second song that sounds like a joke but is really a war protest becoming a radio hit in 2014? Well, Arlo Guthrie (Woody's son) pulled that off with 1967's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," a ragtime-influenced ditty with a meandering story based on a real-life incident involving Guthrie. In brief, the protagonist is working at the titular restaurant on Thanksgiving Day when he has to take the trash to the town dump, only the dump is closed, so he leaves the garbage there. He gets arrested by local cops, gets fined in court, and later is deemed unfit to be drafted for the Vietnam War because of his crimes. The folk star originally played the song live on the radio, with the performance becoming an unlikely hit. As it was too long to be released as a single, it became the entire first side of the Alice's Restaurant LP, along with six more tracks that range from protest songs ("Ring-Around-a-Rosy Rag") to lovelorn ballads ("Chilling of the Evening") to purely silly ("The Motorcycle Song"). The album peaked at No. 17 on the charts and led to a movie of the same name, starring Guthrie, in 1969, a great reminder of just how effective a bit of absurdity can be when it comes to combating serious issues.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Courtesy of Elektra Records

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, ‘The Paul Butterfield Blues Band’ (1965)

While acts like the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds were reworking traditional blues into rock across the pond, the multi-racial Paul Butterfield Blues Band came along as one of the States' best young acts in the genre. Based out of Chicago, the lineup included Butterfield on vocals and harmonica, as well as the legendary twin-guitar attack of Elvin Bishop and Mike Bloomfield, who built upon the sounds of Elmore James and Muddy Waters, whose songs they covered on their exciting 1965 self-titled debut. The album and their impressive live performances led Bob Dylan to draft Bloomfield for "Like a Rolling Stone," as well as his bandmates bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay, for his controversial electric performance at the '65 Newport Folk Festival. The band later expanded its repertoire into jazz and fusion, a nascent genre in the late Sixties, while somehow getting less credit than their English counterparts. Regardless, the blues has long since been relegated to its own stylistic niche. 

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