Tag Archives: David Bowie

The Year Is 1977. The List Is Ten Alternative Albums From That Year.

The world was witnessing the early stages of Punk Rock in 1977, sounding the death knell of Disco. OK, maybe not that dramatic, but the music listening public was seeing the first main wave of Punk albums being released in 1977. Seven of the ten albums I will list are debut releases. 1977 was fertile ground for new recording artists.

One of my entries might not be considered alternative, but it is difficult to categorize. Besides, this is my blog and I can include what I want. Also, the first reggae album I’ve ever ranked is included in this list.

So far I have done lists for 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986-1989. And, as always, this is my list, your results may vary…


10) Equal Rights – Peter Tosh Right off the bat is the first reggae album to be featured in one of these lists. I like reggae, but I don’t listen to it often and I don’t have many albums of that music from Jamaica. But, I do have this one. The opening track (my favorite) was co-written by Bob Marley and was originally recorded by The Wailers, but I prefer Tosh’s version. I also prefer Tosh’s voice to Marley’s. This is a nice, relaxing album about the need for equal rights and justice with a little religious undertone throughout.

Favorite track: Get Up, Stand Up


9) Spiral Scratch – Buzzcocks The first debut release on this list is an EP by one of my favorite bands to emerge from UK’s Punk scene. Four pretty raw blasts of Punk energy featuring Howard Devoto on vocals. Devoto would not be with the band for long, but he did help set the tone and direction the band would take in his absence, when Pete Shelley would take over lead vocals.

Favorite track: Boredom


8) Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick Maybe not exactly alternative, this debut album by the power pop rockers from Illinois is awfully hard edged when to compared to their albums that followed. They address pedophilia (Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School), serial killer Richard Speck (The Ballad of TV Violence), and the suicide of a friend of the band (Oh, Candy). It also features their excellent power ballad Mandocello.

Favorite track: Hot Love


7) Pink Flag – Wire 21 tracks on this first studio release by these British art punkers. Wire demonstrated that Punk didn’t have to follow any rules. They went where their art took them, including into some very catchy pop (Mannequin). More than half a dozen songs clock in at less than one minute!

Favorite track: 12 X U


6) Rocket To Russia – Ramones This is the third album by the original punk rockers from New York, so they’ve been showing those Brits how to do it for a while by 1977. A couple excellent covers (Do You Wanna Dance? and Surfin’ Bird) along with plenty of classically twisted Ramones originals (Cretin Hop, We’re A Happy Family, and my favorite track) make this a must-own for any fan of alternative music.

Favorite track: Teenage Lobotomy


5) Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols – Sex Pistols A tighter collection of songs than you might expect from the kings of the UK Punk Rock scene. This is the only official studio album released by the Pistols and that seems completely proper considering the volatile nature of this band. This album set the template for a great number of lesser punk bands to follow. It has plenty of kick ass tracks including Holiday in the Sun, Anarchy in the UK, God Save the Queen and EMI, the band’s screed against their record label and the music industry itself.

Favorite Track: Pretty Vacant


4) The Clash – The Clash Another debut album, this one is by what would become known as “the only band that matters.” It’s the US version of which I am more familiar, so I’m kinda bending the rule here, because, technically, that version was released in 1979. Oh, well, the US version is being used here because it’s the Punk thing to do and it does contain my favorite track. There are plenty of good songs on this one: Janie Jones, White Riot, Career Opportunities, and (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais to name a few.

Favorite track: I Fought the Law


3) Talking Heads: 77 – Talking Heads Yep, another debut album. New York’s Talking Heads took a more artful approach to the Punk Rock sound. David Byrne’s unusual and detached vocals preside over a really tight band. They explored and embraced a kind of quirky worldview both lyrically and musically. (Can you explore a worldview musically? Oh, well, it sounded good when I wrote it.) And there’s a sense of fun to this album that is missing from much of the alternative music of this time.

Favorite track: Psycho Killer


2) Low – David Bowie Part of his “Berlin Trilogy,” Low is my favorite album by Bowie. Much of the music was written with the intent of being used as the score for Bowie’s film debut, The Man Who Fell To Earth, but the director didn’t think it worked. The second half of the album consists of mostly instrumental tracks. Very moody.

Favorite track: Sound And Vision


1) In The City – The Jam Heavily influenced by my favorite band The Who, how could this debut album from the UK’s top Mod rock band not be number one on my list? Filled with forceful, brash, and blaring rock songs with power chords aplenty, The Jam quickly shot to the top of my list of favorite bands. The Jam were also influenced by 60s garage rock and the Motown sound, mixing all of it to become one to the UK’s most popular acts. They even cover the Batman Theme!

Favorite track (Tie): In The City and Art School

Packing Peanuts!

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Some David Bowie favorites…

Stunned. That’s the word for it. I was stunned Monday morning when I heard the news that David Bowie had died.

“Didn’t he just release an album? How can this be?”

Well, it was true.

I don’t want to give the impression that I was some megafan who credited Bowie for helping release my true self and let my freak flag fly. My freak flag is pretty vanilla. But, I did like a lot of the music he gave to the world. And I liked his being what I always thought was the true embodiment of the artist: Always creative, always reinventing himself while still maintaining that cool air of intelligence and sophistication.

All week I’ve been listening to his music. (I have Aladdin Sane playing now.) He produced a lot of music. More than 20 albums worth with his latest album Blackstar released just last Friday on his 69th birthday. I haven’t given a listen yet, but I will.

I figured as a tribute I’d share my three favorite of his albums:


Hunky Dory (1971) just feels so good to me. This album was setting up what would become the Ziggy Stardust persona that would come with his next album. It starts off with one of his most iconic songs Changes and then takes the listener on a trip through his life and tributes to his influences. Kooks was a song for his son Duncan (or Zowie) tucked in with songs for Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol. There’s a joyousness to this album that sinks right into me as I listen.


Scary Monsters…and Super Creeps (1980) was Bowie’s first release after his Berlin Trilogy and it ushered in the 80s decade with its artful take on New Wave. Ashes To Ashes was just brilliant as it revisited Major Tom from Bowie’s first hit song Space Oddity. Always the innovator, Bowie demonstrated with the video for the song that video could be an art form all its own. And Pete Townshend lends a hand on the track Because You’re Young, so how could I not consider this one of Bowie’s best albums?


Low (1977) was the first of the Berlin Trilogy and is a fantastic album. Synthy, poppy, moody, artsy. Just so cool. I listened to this album all through my years at art school. Sound And Vision is my favorite track that is such great synth pop before there even was synth pop. That’s Bowie! He always led the way. The second half of the album is filled with mostly instrumental tracks with sparse vocals. The songs are quite atmospheric and cinematic, which makes sense as this album was made of material Bowie had initially intended to be used as the soundtrack for the film The Man Who Fell To Earth. However, the director didn’t feel the music fit. Regardless, what an excellent and influential album.

As I said, David Bowie produced a lot of music. These three terrific albums only scratch the surface.

It’s been a rough stretch for celebrities lately. Lemmy Kilmister, Wayne Rogers, Natalie Cole and few others have all died within the last couple of weeks, but Bowie’s death seems to have really shaken us up. He was a giant talent who definitely had a hell of a lot more to contribute to the world.

Let’s hope we don’t lose another creative giant any time soon.

What? Alan Rickman?!