I recently picked up copies of Toys In the Attic and Rocks, released in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Many regard these albums as the apex of the early part of their career, and I would have to agree with them. I haven't heard their first two albums (Aerosmith and Get Your Wings) in full, but from what I have heard it seemed like they were still "getting their sea legs" in terms of finding their sound. By the time Toys and Rocks came out, they were in full form.
Toys In the Attic features such classics as the title track, "Walk This Way," "Big 10 Inch Record," "Sweet Emotion," and "No More No More." Most of these songs were staples on 101 WRIF, a hard rock station out of Detroit I listened to during my formative years as a music lover. They never get old to me, and hearing them transports me back to my basement hang-out in middle school, when I played video games and listened to my dad's ancient 1970s stereo, with the broken turntable and cassette player. "Sweet Emotion" also has the added attraction of reminding me of the intro to one of my all-time favorite flicks, "Dazed and Confused." Rocks is another rockin' record, and features the tunes "Back In the Saddle" and "Last Child," two more songs I used to love when they were played on the WRIF. This album has been a big influence on many people in the hard rock and metal community, with bands like Guns N' Roses and Metallica citing it as influential.
Allmusic, a music review website I find to be an invaluable resource when deciding on albums to buy, gives each of these records 5 stars. Unfortunately their next two albums would not be as well-received, and would be the last ones to feature the original line-up until their mid '80s comeback.
Alan Parsons Project
The Alan Parsons Project, a duo consisting of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson (along with various musicians and vocalists) are a band I've liked for a while but had yet to really get into. Until recently I was only familiar with the handful of hit singles they had in the '80s ("Eye In the Sky," "Don't Answer Me," "Time"). On the recommendation of my old co-worker/friend Greg from Kalamazoo, I picked up the I Robot album and liked it a lot. It has a lot of different sounds going on...early electronic, prog, disco, soul, and funk, which keeps definitely keeps it interesting.
|The album cover photo features the band members using the escalator tubes in the circular Terminal 1 building of de Gaulle Airport outside Paris.|
A concept album loosely built around the idea of robots, the following was written on the cover inlay. It sets the mood for the album:
"I ROBOT...THE STORY OF THE RISE OF THE MACHINE AND THE DECLINE OF MAN, WHICH PARADOXICALLY COINCIDED WITH HIS DISCOVERY OF THE WHEEL...AND A WARNING THAT HIS BRIEF DOMINANCE OF THIS PLANET WILL PROBABLY END, BECAUSE MAN TRIED TO CREATE ROBOT IN HIS OWN IMAGE."
Heavy stuff right?
Here's a few of my fave songs:
"I Wouldn't Wanna Be Like You"
"Breakdown" (feat. Allan Clarke, lead singer of the Hollies, on vocals)
My pal Greg has this to say about the album when he recommended it recently: