The 1971 award cycle was a decent year for music.


If you only listen to one song: "Pullin'", Aretha Franklin


The Beatles
Let It Be sounds very un-Beatles-ish to me. At the very least, the songs sound unfinished. This may be one of the first Beatles albums that I don't particularly care for, perhaps only because I have such high expectations for The Beatles.[1]

Bitches Brew
There are a few types of music I love hearing live and, also, find insufferable as a recording. This album falls into that category. I would have paid a lot of money to see a live performance of it, though.

Ladies Of The Canyon
I already love Joni so I already love Ladies of the Canyon.

I know Let It Be is one of the Beatles' last albums and Ladies of the Canyon is one of Joni's first: I never considered that Joni Mitchell may have spent years listening to the Beatles before releasing an album of her own. In my head, Joni and The Beatles were all about the same age, so I kind of assumed their careers mostly overlapped.

New Morning
I don't hate this Dylan album... That's brings the total to like 2 or 3. I think I like Nashville Skyline and there may be one more that I can't think of at the moment.

At some point I may do a retrospective and try to actually figure out what makes for a Dylan album I hate and one I love.

Spirit In The Dark
Shout out to the god, Aretha Franklin. This album is solid.

Black Sabbath
As I'm listening to music for this project, I feel like I'm hearing the history of music becoming more accessible to the masses.

In 1960, I could basically listen to all of the good or notable albums that were released. By 1966 or so, there were way too many albums to listen to all of them, but they felt clustered into a few genres: a bunch of soul, a bunch of rock, some jazz... much of it decent but not necessarily notable. 1971 is one of the first years I've noticed a legitimately wide spread in the genres of really good albums being released.

How weird is it to have Black Sabbath, Ladies of the Canyon, Let It Be, Spirit In The Dark, and Bitches Brew all released within 12 months of each other? That's 5 very notable albums all operating in very different musical spaces.

I can only assume the spread will continue to increase... I feel like that's in alignment with the laws of entropy and what not.

Also, for the record, Black Sabbath is truly excellent.


The current One Man Academy (OMA) project is listening to the Grammy's Album of the Year nominees and re-choosing winners, absent of historical context.

Spotify playlist for this post: OMAs: 1971 Revisited


  1. It's entirely possible friend-of-the-site Jess is chuckling after reading that sentence. ↩︎