1974: 20 songs released in 1974 you must hear





The Year 1974 summary

  • OPEC ends the oil embargo begun in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War (Mar. 18).
  • Nixon and Brezhnev meet in Moscow to discuss arms limitation agreements. Background: nuclear disarmament
  • Leftist revolution ends almost 50 years of dictatorial rule in Portugal (launched Apr. 25).
  • India successfully tests an atomic device, becoming the world’s sixth nuclear power (May 18).
  • Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is deposed. A collective military dictatorship assumes power (Sept. 12).
  • House Judiciary Committee adopts three articles of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice, failure to uphold laws, and refusal to produce material subpoenaed by the committee (July 30).
  • Richard M. Nixon announces he will resign the next day, the first President to do so (Aug. 8).
  • Movies: Chinatown, The Godfather Part II, Day for Night, Blazing Saddles, The Towering Inferno
  • Deaths: Bud Abbott, Dizzy Dean, Duke Ellington, Charles Lindbergh, Ed Sullivan

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of wonderful music was released in 1974, here are 20 essential songs.

  • Forever Young – Bob Dylan

    Written in Arizona in 1972 and recorded in California in November 1973. The song first appeared (in two different versions, a slow and a fast) on Dylan’s 1974 album Planet Waves.
    A demo version of the song, recorded in New York City in June 1973, was included on Dylan’s 1985 compilation Biograph.

    May God bless and keep you always
    May your wishes all come true
    May you always do for others
    And let others do for you
    May you build a ladder to the stars
    And climb on every rung
    May you stay forever young
    Forever young, forever young
    May you stay forever young.



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August 11: Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)

leonard cohen old skin

…I must say I’m pleased with the album. It’s good. I’m not ashamed of it and am ready to stand by it. Rather than think of it as a masterpiece, I prefer to look at it as a little gem.
~Leonard Cohen (to Melody Maker’s Harvey Kubernik in March 1975)

That miraculously intimate voice has become more expressive and confident over the years without losing its beguiling flat amateurishness. Some of the new songs are less than memorable, but the settings, by John Lissauer, have the bizarre feel of John Simon’s “overproduction” on Cohen’s first album, which I always believed suited his studied vulgarity perfectly. A-
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)

.. The lyrics are filled with abstract yet vivid images, and the album primarily uses the metaphor of love and relationships as battlegrounds (“There Is a War,” “Field Commander Cohen”). Cohen is clearly singing from the heart, and he chronicles his relationship with Janis Joplin in “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” This is one of his best album..
~Vik Lyengar (allmusic.com)

Chelsea Hotel #2

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.
Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don’t need you,
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around.

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July 16: Neil Young released On The Beach in 1974

Neil Young - on-the-beach

“Good album. One side of it particularly—the side with ‘Ambulance Blues’, ‘Motion Pictures’ and ‘On the Beach’ — it’s out there. It’s a great take.”
~Neil Young

The second in Neil’s ditch trilogy, On the Beach was also disavowed by Young and unreleased on CD until 2003. It is weirder but sharper than Time Fades Away, with harrowing lows and amazing highs, including the off-the-cuff, eight-minute folk jam “Ambulance Blues.”
~rollingstone.com

Walk on:

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