Was 1971 the high point of popular music?

All these albums were released in 1971.

"Imagine" by John Lennon

"Sticky Fingers" by Rolling Stones

"Blue" by Joni Mitchell

"Meddle" by Pink Floyd

"There's a Riot Going On" by Sly & The Family Stone

"Fragile" by Yes

"The Yes Album" by Yes

"Killer" by Alice Cooper

"Ram" by Paul McCartney

"Live at the Filmore East" by Allman Bros. Band

"Who's Next" by The Who

"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye

"Hunky Dory" by David Bowie

"Aqualung" by Jethro Tull

"Master of Reality" by Black Sabbath

"Songs of Love and Hate" by Leonard Cohen

"Shaft" by Isaac Hayes

"Every Picture Tells a Story" by Rod Stewart

"Madman Across The Water" by Elton John

"LA Woman" by The Doors

"Led Zeppelin IV" by Led Zeppelin

"Tapestry" by Carole King

"Pearl" by Janis Joplin

"Live-Evil" by Miles Davis

" Journey in Satchidananda" by Alice Coltrane

"Teaser and teh Firecat" by Cat Stevens

"Deuce" by Rory Gallagher

"Santana III" by Santana

"Weather Report" by Weather Report

"Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison

"Surfs Up" by The Beach Boys

"John Prine" by John Prine

"Wild Life" by Wings

"Where I'm Coming From" by Stevie Wonder








No. Reason being is that Philly was only just getting started..

Plus Stevie’s all time best album, Songs in the Key of Life didn’t even come out until 1976. 

Both Motown and Philly put out tons of top selling music after ‘71. And Disco didn’t even begin until ‘74. The Bee Gees album Saturday Night Fever sold 25 Million albums between 1977-1980, and was one of the biggest selling in history. 

And Earth Wind & Fire didn’t even start selling top albums until 1972. :)

Thanks for the topic, tony1954

Born in 1946, having perpetual music, live and recorded, in the house, the 1950's included c&w, crooners, jazz large and small, folk, r&b, rock, movie themes and varied sub-genres.  That's reaching pretty high. 

1950s Rock and Roll: A Decade of Music That Changed the World (rollingstone.com)

My theory is that EXCESSIVE drug use was damaging overall to popular music into the 1970's, choosing to explore other genres during much of this time.  Of course, there WAS great music created during this stretch, however, I found pop too inconsistent.  

As music lovers, yes, our birth year greatly affects our preferences...and we can debate deep into the night...hopefully while flipping Ray Charles early 1950's jazz mono vinyl.        More Peace     Pin    (bold print for old eyes)

I agree the early 70s was amazing and it was the diversity of popular music impressed me.  Today pop music tends to follow a similar path.  For a while everyone sounded like Ariana Grande, now it's Taylor, Olivia Rodriguez, etc.  BUT the diversity is still there but because of no record companies, artists put their own music out, there is not nearly the clear path to expose the masses to this new music. You must hunt now.

Anyone listen to Holly Humberstone?  Or Missy Higgins from Australia (she's been around a long time)?  Or how about Jacob Collier?     


How about 1970?
We can point to something akin to the “invention” of this music (I get it, I get it…there are always predecessors, but these things below arguably crystallized these types of music like nothing prior)

Hip hop
The Last Poets - The Last Poets
Gil Scott-Heron - Small Talk at 125th and Lenox

The Stooges - Fun House

More overtly aggressive, nasty, loud and confrontational than the previous LP, The Stooges, or anything The Sonics did prior, with perhaps only Monks’ Black Monk Time (‘66) and Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat (‘68) to compare.
Listening to Fun House now and comparing it to those others reveals it to have a strong case for first punk LP.

Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Led Zeppelin - “Immigrant Song” single

While not necessarily music for which a strong argument could be made as to its “invention” in 1970, the music being released by a plethora of jazz and classical artists in 1970 was very often extremely inventive and original.

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
Steve Reich - Four Organs / Phase Patterns
Pharoah Sanders - Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun)
György Ligeti - Chamber Concerto
Art Ensemble of Chicago - Les Stances a Sophie soundtrack
Alice Coltrane - Ptah, the El Daoud
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Opus 1970
Sonny Sharrock - Monkey-Pockie-Boo
McCoy Turner - Expansions

Then 1970 gave us whatever the heck ya call this music:

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band - Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Kraftwerk - Kraftwerk
Nico - Desertshore
Armando Sciascia - Impressions in Rhythm & Sound
The Group - The Feed-back (featuring a young Ennio Morricone)
Can - “Don’t Turn the Light On, Leave Me Alone,” “Tango Whiskeyman,” “Mother Sky”

Popular music was doing pretty well.

Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Sings Newman
James Brown - Sex Machine
Randy Newman - 12 Songs
The Delfonics - The Delfonics
The Velvet Underground - Loaded
Minnie Ripperton - Come to My Garden
Nick Drake - Bryter Layter
Band of Gypsys - Band of Gypsys
Frank Sinatra - Watertown
Donny Hathaway - Everything is Everything
Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon
The Chi-Lites - I Like Your Lovin’ (Do You Like Mine?)
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III
Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
Performance soundtrack
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo’s Factory, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold the World, “Conversation Piece,” “The Prettiest Star”
Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection, “Border Song,” “Your Song”
John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band, “Instant Karma!”
Gladys Knight & the Pips - “If I Were Your Woman”
The Jackson 5 - “ABC,” “I’ll Be There”
The Carpenters - “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “(They Long to Be) Close to You”
Edison Lighthouse- “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes”
The Spinners - “It’s a Shame”
The Temptations - “Ball of Confusion”
The Four Tops - “Still Water”
Don McLean - “Castles in the Air”
Led Zeppelin - “Hey Hey What Can I Do”
Beatles - “Let it Be,” “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”