Quick menu

Five classic albums celebrating the Big Five-0 in 2020

David Gilmour performing Atom Heart Mother with Pink Floyd in Hyde Park in 1970 © Tony Collins

This year sees a number of classic albums celebrate milestone anniversaries. So we’ve decided to share our pick of golden records who hit the big Five-0 in 2020. 

1970 was a big year in music. Paul McCartney formally announced the demise of The Beatles in April, and their final album 'Let It Be' was released on May 8. The Isle of Wight Festival in late August was the largest rock concert in history - 600,000 people attended the 3 day event. Later in the year Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both died at 27 within less than a month of each other.

1970 also saw the birth of the heavy metal genre, Americana and a move towards softer, singer-songwriter based music.

Here’s our selection of five classic albums from this great year


Neil Young onstage with Crossby, Stills & Nash at Wembley Stadium in 1974 © Mick Gold

Neil Young: After The Gold Rush 
Widely regarded as one of the best albums ever and a benchmark for the country-folk genre, 'After The Gold Rush' was Neil Young’s third studio album. Initially the album unimpressed critics and it was several years before it started to be revered as a masterpiece. 

Much of 'After the Gold Rush' was recorded in Young’s basement studio in California. By enlisting the help of bassist Greg Reeves and drummer Raph Molina, Neil Young aspired to find a sound balanced between Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills, Nash. The album got its title from an unpublished screenplay by Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman, for which Young wanted to write the soundtrack. Sadly the film was never completed. 

Van Morrison performing at the Rainbow Theatre in July 1973 © Jill Furmanovsky

Van Morrison: Moondance
Moondance is another third studio album, this time by Northern-Irish singer songwriter Van Morrison. Upon its release it received immediate commercial and critical success with many feeling Van Morrison had finally fulfiled his artistic potential.

The album helped establish Morrison as a major artist and although it never topped the charts, songs like ‘Caravan’ and ‘Come Running’ have become airplay staples. 

The Beatles outside Abbey Road Studios in June 1967 @ Alec Byrne

The Beatles: Let It Be 

'Let It Be' was the final album from The Beatles, released just one month after the band broke up. This was despite it having been recorded before Abbey Road. it took longer to be released mainly due to a turbulent sound-mixing and production process.

Although the album received mixed reviews at the time it was a commercial success and songs such as ‘The Long & Winding Road & ‘Get Back’ remain perennial favourites


Alternative cover artwork for the 40th Anniversary issue of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother © Storm Thorgerson

Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother

This was the fifth studio album by Pink Floyd and the first of the band’s albums to reach number 1 in the UK. Recorded in Abbey Road Studios, it was the first of their albums to not feature the band’s name or photo of the band on the cover. A trend that would continue throughout the 1970s and beyond.

Designed by Hipgnosis the cover featured a Friesian Cow. The story goes that the band wanted something plain for the cover. Storm Thorgerson said that he simply drove out into a rural area and photographed the first thing he saw. 

Led Zeppelin onstage at the Bath Festival in 1970 © Michael Putland

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin III is the eponymous third studio album from the band. Featuring classic tracks ‘Immigrant Song’ and ‘Celebration Day’ it was an immediate commercial success upon release, topping both the UK and US charts; despite the original release date having been delayed by two months due to problems with the intricate inner sleeve design.

A number of the songs were written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page whilst they were holed up in a remote 18th century cottage in Snowdonia called Bron-Yr-Aur, where Plant had previously spent holidays with his family.