Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come.

Label: Ace Records.

Format: 2CD.

First there was rock ’n’ roll and then between 1972 and 1976 morphed and there was everything from art rock, experimental rock and glam rock to hard rock and Krautrock as well as power pop, pub rock and punk rock. The music being released by artists and bands in Britain, America and Europe was eclectic and much of it was ambitious and innovative as new bands released albums. 

Meanwhile, some of the artists who came to prominence in the late-sixties made a welcome return. No longer were they playing acoustic guitars and releasing albums of folk music. Instead, they plugged in and reinvented themselves. Other bands that had been around since the sixties quickly realised that they had to adapt to stay relevant. In doing so, they became part of one of the most exciting periods in music.

This period is documented on Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come which is a two CD set that has been released by Ace Records and features forty-four tracks. It’s the latest a series critically acclaimed compilations that have been curated by Jon Savage. He puts his encyclopaedic knowledge of music to good use on Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come 

Disc One.

Opening disc one of Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come is Easy To Slip which is taken from Little Feat’s sophomore album Sailin’ Shoes which was released on the 1972. The album saw the group begin to hone their inimitable sound and flit between and fuse Southern Rock and blues rock. For anyone new to Lowell George and Co. this is the perfect introduction to the group and an album that failed to find the audience it deserved.

Birmingham-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood cofounded The Move in 1965  and on the ‘14th’ of April 1972 they released California Man as a single on the Harvest label. Tucked away on the B-Side was Do Ya, which is a barnstorming and anthemic rocker and a welcome addition to the compilation.

The same can be said of Alice Cooper’s rebellious hard rock classic School’s Out which was released by Warner Bros in 1972. It reached number one in the UK and lent its name to the album which was also released in 1972 and after selling a million copies in America was certified platinum.

By 1972, West Germany had  a vibrant musical scene and across the country new groups were being formed and recording and releasing innovative music. This includes Faust who released So Far by Faust as a single on Polydor on the ‘2nd’ June 1972. It’s an ambitious and innovative example of German experimental music from a group who were one of the pioneers of Krautrock.

Having enjoyed a massive hit single with the David Bowie penned All The Young Dudes, Mott The Hoople released One Of The Boys as a the followup on CBS on the ‘28th’ July 1972. However, the single stalled at ninety-six in the US Billboard 100 and never the troubled the UK charts. This tough rocker was the one that got away. It also featured on the All The Young Dudes album which was released on the ‘8th’ September 1972 and is Mott The Hoople’s finest hour.

In August 1972, Big Star released their debut album # One Record on the Ardent label. The lead single was When My Baby’s Beside Me which features the group at their melodic and soulful best on this slice of perfect power pop. Sadly, Big Star never enjoyed the commercial success and critical acclaim that their music deserved. It was only much later that their music started to receive the recognition it deserved.

Nothing lasts forever. That was certainly the case with Free. When they released the stomping rocker Wishing Well as a single in the on the ‘8th’ of December 1972 the group were teetering on the brink, and would split-up in 1973. It reached number seven in the UK and features blistering licks and a vocal masterclass from Paul Rodgers. His vocal is full of anger and frustration  as he delivers the lyrics on what’s one of the group’s finest singles.

On January the ‘5th’ 1973 glam rockers Sweet released their latest single, Blockbuster! It was penned Mike Chapman and Nick Chin and produced by Phil Waiman and topped the UK charts. It’s now regarded as a genre classic one of the group’s greatest singles.

For a while, art rockers Roxy Music were reluctant to release singles from their new albums. Eventually they relented and in contrarian fashion one of the singles they released was a double-A-side. It featured Do The Strand and the rocky Editions Of You which features a teasing, jocular vocal from Bryan Ferry. It’s a reminder of the classic lineup of one of the great art rock bands of the seventies.

In August 1973, proto punk pioneers the New York Dolls released Trash as a single on the Mercury label. It was produced by Todd Rundgren and taken from their eponymous debut album which was released on July the ‘27th’ 1973 and reached 116 in the US Billboard 200. However, the single sunk without trace, but three years later the group were named by many punk groups as an influence on their music.

Closing disc one is John Lennon’s #9 Dream which was released as a single in the UK on the ‘24th’ January 1975. It’s a beautiful, mesmeric, string-drenched ballad that’s one of the finest solo singles the former Beatle released.

Disc Two. 

Sparks open disc two with Girl From Germany which was the followup to This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us. The single was released on Bearsville on June the ‘28th’ 1974 and features the group at their most melodic.

Patti Smith released a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe on Lenny Kaye’s Mer label in November 1974. This is no ordinary cover of a classic song. Instead, it’s transformed and taken in new and unexpected directions. Later, this genre-hopping cover closes with a powerful and impassioned plea that plays a part in reinventing this familiar song.

Following his departure from Roxy Music Brian Eno embarked upon a solo career. Third Uncle is taken from his sophomore album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) which was released by Island Records in November 1974. It features dark lyrics and some blistering guitar from Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music. Along with this tight, talented band they play their part in one of the highlights of what was a groundbreaking album.

On the ‘14th’ of March 1975 Hawkwind released Kings Of Speed as a single on United Artists. The space rockers combining psychedelic and street rock but the single failed commercially. However, when the album Warrior On The Edge Of Time was released on the ‘9th’ May 1975 it was certified silver in the UK and belatedly a wider audience heard this genre-melting track.

Neu! ’75 was the third album to be released by Krautrock pioneers Neu! It was their first album in two years and was released by Brian in 1975. The album closes with After Eight. It’s a driving, aggressive and hypnotic sounding track where the group combine Krautrock, experimental rock and rock as they brought this genre classic to a close. This was just the latest groundbreaking album from Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger which would influence and inspire several generations of musicians.

Say It Ain’t So Joe was Murray Head’s sophomore album and was released by Island Records on the ‘17th’ October 1975. Unsurprisingly the title-track was chosen as the lead single. It features a rueful vocal as the track changes from its acoustic introduction and ends up a mini symphony from a truly underrated singer-songwriter.

During the seventies, Kraftwerk were at the peak of their creative powers and released a string of innovative albums including several that would become classics. This includes Radioactivity which was released in the UK in October 1976. However, on the ‘13th’ of February 1976 the title-track was released as a single and that day, record buyers heard the music of tomorrow today. It features a mixture of social comments, synths and drum machines on genre-melting track where experimental electronica and pop is combined with Krautrock to make what turned out to be a timeless classic.

New York-based punk rockers the Ramones released their eponymous debut album on the ’23rd’ of April 1976. It opened with Blitzkreig Bop which became one of their most famous track and was released as a single in June 1976. It’s one of the highlights of an album that’s regarded as one of the most influential punk albums of all time.

Blue Oyster Cult released Don’t Fear The Reaper on Columbia in the UK on the ‘23rd’ July 1976. Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser wrote the song and delivers the lyrics  about eternal love and the inevitability of death. The single reached sixteen in the UK and twelve in the US Billboard 100 chart and is the highlight of the group’s fourth album Agents Of Fortune which was released on May the ‘21st’ 1976.

When Nick Lowe released So It Goes on Stiff records on ‘14th’ August 1976 hidden away on the B-Side was Heart Of The City. It sounds as if it’s been inspired by the Ramones and is far removed from the music he would release after in career.

Closing disc two of Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come is Train, Train by The Count Bishops. This haunting blues was released in the UK on Chiswick on the ‘27th’ August 1976. It’s another welcome addition to the compilation.

The forty-four tracks on Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come include singles, B-Sides and album tracks from familiar faces as well as what will be new names to some music fans. They’re in for a veritable musical feast as Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come is a treasure trove of eclectic, esoteric, interesting music where the emphasis is on quality.

Jon Savage’s 1972-1976: All Our Times Have Come.

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