Sunday, January 23, 1977

Pink Floyd Animals released

Animals

Pink Floyd


Released: January 23, 1977


Peak: 3 US, 2 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.1 UK, 12.4 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock/progressive rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 1 [1;24]
  2. Dogs (Gilmour, Waters) [17:04] (9 CL)
  3. Pigs (Three Different Ones) [11:28] (10 CL)
  4. Sheep [10:20] (12 CL)
  5. Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 2 [1:24]

All songs written by Roger Waters unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 41:40


The Players:

  • Roger Waters (vocals, bass)
  • David Gilmour (vocals, guitar)
  • Nick Mason (drums, percussion)
  • Richard Wright (keyboards)

Rating:

4.004 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Of all of the classic-era Pink Floyd albums, Animals is the strangest and darkest, a record that’s hard to initially embrace yet winds up yielding as many rewards as its equally nihilistic successor, The Wall. It isn’t that Roger Waters dismisses the human race as either pigs, dogs, or sheep, it’s that he’s constructed an album whose music is as bleak and bitter as that world view.” AMG

“Arriving after the warm-spirited (albeit melancholy) Wish You Were Here, the shift in tone comes as a bit of a surprise, and there are even less proper songs here than on either Wish or Dark Side. Animals is all extended pieces, yet it never drifts – it slowly, ominously works its way toward its destination.” AMG

“For an album that so clearly is Waters’, David Gilmour’s guitar dominates thoroughly, with Richard Wright’s keyboards rarely rising above a mood-setting background (such as on the intro to Sheep). This gives the music, on occasion, immediacy and actually heightens the dark mood by giving it muscle. It also makes Animals as accessible as it possibly could be, since it surges with bold blues-rock guitar lines and hypnotic space rock textures.” AMG

“Through it all, though, the utter blackness of Waters’ spirit holds true, and since there are no vocal hooks or melodies, everything rests on the mood, the near-nihilistic lyrics, and Gilmour’s guitar. These are the kinds of things that satisfy cultists, and it will reward their attention – there’s just no way in for casual listeners.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/22/2008; last updated 9/1/2021.

Friday, January 14, 1977

David Bowie Low released

Low

David Bowie


Released: January 14, 1977


Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, 56 CN, 10 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 2.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Speed of Life [2:46]
  2. Breaking Glass (Bowie/David/Murray) [1:51] (11/17/78, 41 CL, 15 CO, 54 UK)
  3. What in the World [2:23]
  4. Sound and Vision [3:03] (2/11/77, 69 US, 88 CB, 18 CL, 5 CO, 3 UK, 74 AU)
  5. Always Crashing in the Same Car [3:29]
  6. Be My Wife [2:55] (6/17/77, 29 CL, 20 CO)
  7. A New Career in a New Town [2:51]
  8. Warszawa (Bowie/Eno) [6:20]
  9. Art Decade (Bowie/Eno) [3:43]
  10. Weeping Wall [3:26]
  11. Subterraneans [5:39]

Songs written by David Bowie unless indicated otherwise.


Total Running Time: 34:34


The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, multiple instruments)
  • Brian Eno (keyboards, etc.)
  • Carlos Alomar, Ricky Gardiner (guitar)
  • Dennis Davis (percussion)
  • George Murray (bass)
  • Roy Young (pianos, organ)

Rating:

4.244 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)


Quotable: Low provides “a new direction for the avant-garde in rock & roll.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After living in Los Angeles and dealing with drug addiction, Bowie and his friend Iggy Pop moved to France in 1976 to sober up. The pair of them recorded The Idiot, Pop’s debut solo album. They traveled to Hansa Studios in West Berlin to mix the album and Bowie became fascinated with the city. In September 1976, Bowie began work on his own album, Low, the first of three albums which became known as the Berlin Trilogy.

Brian Eno, who’d explored ambient music in his work, heavily influenced Bowie during this period. He has been mistakenly attributed as the producer of the Berlin Trilogy albums, but they were actually produced by Tony Visconti, who’d worked with Bowie on previous albums. Eno, however, “functioned as a conduit for Bowie’s ideas, and in turn Bowie made the experimentalism of not only Eno but of the German synth group Kraftwerk and the post-punk group Wire respectable, if not quite mainstream.” AMG “The record is defiantly experimental and dense with detail, providing a new direction for the avant-garde in rock & roll,” AMG including experimental rock such as post-punk, electronic, and ambient music.

Side one consisted of “short, direct avant-pop song fragments.” WK “The guitars are jagged and the synthesizers drone with a menacing robotic pulse, while Bowie’s vocals are unnaturally layered and overdubbed.” AMG

Sound and Vision has a shimmering guitar hook” AMG and doesn’t feature Bowie’s vocals until the 1:45 mark. Eno said it was done to “confound listener expectations.” WK The lyrics reflected Bowie’s mental state after his drug addiction. He called it his “ultimate retreat song.” WK

Always Crashing in the Same Car referenced an incident during Bowie’s time in Los Angeles when he kept ramming his car into that of a drug dealer’s who was ripping him off. Lyrically, it was a metaphor for repeating mistakes and Bowie’s obsession with travel and constant lifestyle change. WK

On Be My Wife, Bowie was lyrically reflecting on his “feelings of loneliness, inability to settle, and plea for human connections.” WK Musically, it “subverts soul structure in a surprisingly catchy fashion.” AMG

The second side consists of longer, mostly “atmospheric instrumentals.” AMG “The electronics turn cool, which is a relief after the intensity of the preceding avant pop.” AMG

Warszawa was named after the Polish city of Warsaw. Bowie visited it in April 1976 and wanted to capture the desolate landscape in music. The haunting song was mostly composed by Eno. Biographer David Buckley called it the album’s “most startling” piece. WK

Art Decade, about West Berlin, was a pun on “art decayed.” It was Bowie’s reflection on “a city cut off from its world, art and culture, dying with no hope of retribution.” WK Weeping Wall was “meant to evoke the pain and misery of the Berlin Wall.” WK It featured Bowie playing all the instruments himself. It was influenced by composer Steve Reich.

Bowie described Subterraneans as a portrait of “the people who got caught in East Berlin after the separation.” WK it was originally recorded for the soundtrack for The Man Who Fell to Earth, which starred Bowie. The director, Nicolas Roeg, decided against the music, wanting a folksier sound. WK

The album was originally rejected by RCA, who wanted something in a more commercial vein like preceding albums Young Americans and Station to Station. Bowie refused and RCA delayed the album from its intended November 1976 release because they considered it “distinctinly unpalatable” for the Christmas market. WK It was eventually released in January 1977 and received little promotion.

Sounds magazine’s Tim Lott called Low “the most difficult piece of music Bowie has ever put his name to.” WK Phonograph Record’s Bud Scoppa said it was “the most intimate and free recording this extraordinary artist has yet made.” WK NME’s Ian MacDonald described the album as “stunningly beautiful…the sound of Sinatra reproduced by Martian computers.” WK The New York Times’ John Rockwell said “the instrumentals are strange and spacey. Nevertheless, the whole thing strikes this listener as remarkably, alluringly beautiful.” WK The Observer’s Ron Hart said “Low is an album that will make you dance, think and weep all in the span of 38 minutes.” WK


Notes: The 1991 Rykodisc reissue adds a remixed version of “Sound and Vision” as well as previously unreleased songs “Some Are” and “All Saints.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 7/31/2021.

Saturday, January 1, 1977

Fleetwood Mac makes way onto chart with “Go Your Own Way”

Go Your Own Way

Fleetwood Mac

Writer(s): Lindsey Buckingham (see lyrics here)


Released: December 1976


First Charted: January 1, 1977


Peak: 10 US, 10 CB, 10 HR, 8 RR, 45 AC, 1 CL, 38 UK, 11 CN, 20 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 124.5 video, 582.39 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The recording sessions for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours were frought with extensive drug use and fractured relationships. Bassist John McVie and singer Christine McVie’s marriage crumbled, as did drummer Mick Fleetwood’s. Guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks, who’d just joined the band on the previous album, were also splitting up. She’d been romantically linked with the Eagles’ Don Henley and Jefferson Starship’s Paul Kanter and written songs about her breakup with Buckingham.

He responded with “Go Your Own Way,” his “scathing” SJ “answer record” MA in which he slams her, singing, “shacking up is all you want to do.” Nicks demanded that he remove the lyric, but he kept it. She said he “knew it wasn’t true” WK and that she hadn’t been with anyone else while they were together. SF She said he wrote it to push her buttons, saying “I’ll make you suffer for leaving me.” WK

The song, in which Buckingham aspired to create a groove groove similar to the drum feel of the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man,” WK became the lead single from Rumours and the band’s first top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It produced demand for the album: pre-orders hit 800,000 copies, the largest advance sales in Warner Brothers’ history at that time. WK

Much of the album’s success can be attributed to Buckingham. He “had the studio savvy and production diligence to make their records far livelier models of craftmanship than ordinary pop-rock.” MA Co-producer Richard Dashpot said “It wasn’t necessary or even expedient for them all to be in the studio at once. Virtually every track is either an overdub, or lifted from a separate take of that particular song. What you hear is the best pieces assembled, a true aural college.” TC


Resources:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Fleetwood Mac
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 741.
  • SJ Bob Shannon and John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York, NY; Warner Brothers, Inc. Page 32.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 319.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia


Related Links:


First posted 4/10/2020; last updated 11/6/2021.