Thursday, December 31, 1970

This month: Bob Marley & the Wailers released Soul Rebels

Soul Rebels

Bob Marley


Released: December 1970


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: reggae


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Soul Rebel (12/70, --)
  2. Try Me
  3. It’s Alright
  4. No Sympathy
  5. My Cup (1970, --)
  6. Soul Almighty
  7. Rebel’s Hop
  8. Corner Stone
  9. 400 Years
  10. No Water
  11. Reaction
  12. My Sympathy


Total Running Time: 33:09

Rating:

3.237 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

About the Album:

“Originally issued in 1970, Soul Rebels was the first album credited to Bob Marley & the Wailers, and it was also the band's first full-length collaboration with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, for whom they had already recorded a string of fairly successful singles.” AZ

“Working with the newly configured Upsetters band, Marley and crew delivered a strange and wonderful set of early reggae that at times plays fast and loose with the already established conventions of the genre — on My Cup the beat sounds inside out, while It's Alright sounds like a slightly Jamaicanized version of Motown soul. Other songs, such as the beautifully harmonized Try Me, show their deep roots in rocksteady.” AZ

“One of the most arresting tracks on the album is the Bunny Wailer composition Four Hundred Years, on which Wailer unburdens himself of some of his typically dread pronouncements in his rich, chesty voice.” AZ


Notes: Tracks 1-11 are all featured on Rasta Revolution as well. That collection also includes “Mr. Brown” and “Duppy Conqueror,” the latter of which is also on Burnin’. The Sanctuary/Trojan 2002 reissue adds 10 bonus tracks: “Dreamland” (2 versions), “Dracula,” “Zig Zag,” “Jah Is Mighty,” “Brand New Second Hand” (2 versions), “Downpresser” and alternate versions of “Soul Rebel” and “My Cup.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 5/6/2021.

Saturday, December 26, 1970

George Harrison hit #1 with “My Sweet Lord”

My Sweet Lord

George Harrison

Writer(s): George Harrison (see lyrics here)


First Charted: November 28, 1970


Peak: 14 US, 14 CB, 13 HR, 10 AC, 1 CL, 16 UK, 14 CN, 18 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.94 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 124.1 video, 280.84 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

While George Harrison’s songwriting talents were overshadowed during his stint with the Beatles by bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney, TB he was the first to have a hit as an ex-Beatle. RS500 That song, “My Sweet Lord,” was nearly given away – and it was later claimed to have never belonged to Harrison in the first place.

Harrison originally gave the song to Billy Preston, who was due to release a single of the song in September 1970. When it was withdrawn, Harrison released his own version. BR Harrison had wanted to write an uplifting song and turned to the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day” for inspiration. Wary of committing to a specific religious belief, HL Harrison came up with what he called “a simple idea of how to do a Western pop equivalent of a mantra, which repeats holy names over and over again.’” HL

The result was a “hook…as catchy as anything he ever came up with in The Beatles.” BBC However, publishers of the 1963 Chiffons’ hit “He’s So Fine” felt like the hook wasn’t Harrison’s to use and sued him for copyright infringement. BBC A March 6, 1971 article in Billboard magazine confirmed that Harrison’s royalties had been halted worldwide until the case was settled. BR

It wasn’t until 1976 BBC that a judge ruled that George was innocent of stealing KL-168-9 but was guilty of “unconscious plagiarism.” BBC Bright Tunes music got more than a half million dollars from the settlement. SF George has responded saying, “I still don’t understand how the courts aren’t filled with similar cases…as 99 per cent of popular music is reminiscent of something or other.” HL


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for George Harrison
  • DMDB page for parent album All Things Must Pass
  • BBC BBC Radio 2 (2004). “Sold on Song Top 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 286.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Page 59.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 122.

Last updated 4/28/2021.

Friday, December 11, 1970

John Lennon released Plastic Ono Band: December 11, 1970

Originally posted December 11, 2012.

image from spinner.com


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Mother (1/9/71; #43 US) / Hold On / I Found Out / Working Class Hero / Isolation / Remember / Love (11/21/82; #41 UK) / Well Well Well / Look at Me / God / My Mummy’s Dead

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world

Peak: 6 US, 11 UK

Rating:


Review: For his first official solo record, John Lennon serves “an unflinching document of bare-bones despair” TL in “an often painful, soul-baring musical therapy session.” PR He “created a harrowing set of unflinchingly personal songs, laying out all of his fears and angers for everyone to hear.” AMG On “rock & roll’s most self-revelatory recording,” RS500 he purges “just about everything there is to purge” DBW as he “charts his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols,” AMG “including his own former band (‘I don’t believe in Beatles,’ he sings in God).” RS500 “It was a revolutionary record – never before had a record been so explicitly introspective, and very few records made absolutely no concession to the audience’s expectations, daring the listeners to meet all the artist’s demands.” AMG

God

“Which isn’t to say that the record is unlistenable.” AMG “It is ultimately life-affirming.” AMG “Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding.” AMG “Always direct, hard-hitting and tender by turns, almost every track here is a gem.” DBW Lennon delivers “harrowing confessionals (Isolation),” JA and “deals with childhood loss in Mother,” RS500 but “there’s also room for a fragile sense of possibility (see Hold On).” RS500

Mother

“This is the ultimate in underproduced, but brilliantly written rock.” JA These “stark, minimally-arranged songs” DBW were “recorded with a bare-bones trio [Ringo Starr on drums, Klaus Voorman on bass] and majestically produced by Phil Spector” TL “in the most uncharacteristically minimal way imaginable.” JA Spector “resists the temptation to swamp the songs in saccharine-sweet strings and ethereal choirs, opting instead for a sparse, intimate sound which kept John’s emotionally draining confessional sharply in focus.” PR The album “in its echo-drenched, garage-rock crudity, is years ahead of punk.” RS500

Buy at Amazon

In addition, Lennon’s “still-underrated singing stands with rock’s finest.” TL and “his melodies remain strong and memorable, which actually intensifies the pain and rage of the songs.” AMG His “writing was never sharper.” TL

Working Class Hero

Lennon also “milks every style he knew to the hilt;” JA “songs range from tough rock & rollers to piano-based ballads and spare folk songs.” TL He delivers “nihilistic protest songs (the masterful Working Class Hero, I Found Out),” JA “raging proto-punk” (Well Well Well), TL and “elegant, understated love songs” (Look at Me, Love). JAPlastic Ono Band continues to be an incredibly moving listening experience” AZ which is “essential for anyone with even a passing interest in Lennon’s work” JA and “a must-own for any rock fan.” AZ

Love


Resources and Related Links:


Award(s):