5 Great Albums of the 70s

Marijuana and music go hand-in-hand. Carl Sagan used cannabis to increase his appreciation of art and music, and there are countless odes to the herb by musicians from all sorts of genres.

We’re going to avoid the standard Led Zeppelins, Black Sabbaths and Grateful Deads for this article, as awesome as they are. Instead, we’re going to suggest 5 classic albums for the weekend – ones you may have never heard before. Here we go …


Ghetto Brothers, Power Fuerza (1972)

The Ghetto Brothers were a Latin/rock/funk/pop band hailing from the Bronx. Anyone who’s seen 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s and/or Flyin’ Cut Sleeves will see that these guys were the real-life Warriors. Fans of the show The Get Down must listen to this album, as this band gives you a glimpse of where hip-hop came from.

An extremely rare jewel of a record (it’s one of the most expensive pieces of vinyl in the world), Power Fuerza one will go down in the annals of music history due to the Ghetto Brothers’ influence on not only hip-hop, but their effect on the social life in the Bronx and New York in the 70s as a whole.

Alice Coltrane featuring Pharoah Sanders, Journey in Satchidanada (1971)

Quite simply, 37 minutes of perfection. This album is a stunning mix of classical Indian, Middle Eastern and African music, and is a brilliant entry point for anyone interested in experimental jazz due to its accessibility and spiritual themes. The title track, “Journey in Satchidanada”, has even been heard playing at the end of hardcore trance raves! Also happens to be one of Paul Weller’s favorite albums, and it’s not hard to hear why. A great way to end a busy weekend.

Demon Fuzz, Afreaka! (1970)

When people realize that this album was made in 1970, it blows their minds. The opening riff is pretty much pure stoner rock that could easily fit inside a Kyuss song. In certain areas of London, you can go to a party full of death metallers and, when you put on this album, have them bow down to you saying, “We’re not worthy.” Afreaka! is a heavyweight Afrobeat album blending together jazz, rock, blues and funk alongside traditional African rhythms, all played with expert skill. Original vinyl copies of this can set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

Betty Davis, They Say I’m Different (1974)

When you look at the Lady Gagas, Madonnas, Beyoncės and Christina Aguileras of the world, then compare them to Betty Davis, it kind of dawns on you that many of these modern pop princesses are rather tame. Betty Davis was the wife of Miles Davis, and in this raunchy funk/blues/rock album shows that she’s every bit as accomplished a musician herself.

B. Davis’s live shows were notorious for their wildness and open displays of sexuality, and it seems that the world is just catching up with her forward-thinking attitude now. Oh, and Iggy Pop covered “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up” from Betty Davis’s first, self-titled album in 2012, which ought to tell you something about her proto-punk attitude.

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

This wouldn’t be a suitable list of great early seventies music without a little bit of Krautrock in it. Plus, it was getting all a bit US-heavy, so it’s nice to mix it up a little. Tago Mago is probably one of the best prog-/kraut/avant garde rock albums around, easily on par with (or perhaps even better than) other German rock legends like Kraftwerk, Missus Beastly and Birth Control. Hugely influential, and much-loved by shoegazers and post-punkers the world over.

That was a hard list to make, considering how many great albums and bands were around at that time! Plus, we’re missing out on so many greats like Mandrill’s Composite Truth (1972), Gong’s Camembert Electrique (1971) and T. Rex’s Electric Warrior (1971), but if we included them all we’d be going on forever! However, if you feel that your favorite little-heard early-70s gem is missing from this list, feel free to tell us about it!

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