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Six landmark albums celebrating their fifthieth birthdays in 2022

David Bowie, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars by Terry Pastor

The 1970s music era saw a huge change in musical styles and 1972 saw the release of some of the most important and influential albums of the entire rock and roll era and gifted us masterpiece records from some of music's greatest icons. Here we celebrate six landmark albums that enjoy their 50th birthday this year, however given the depth and quality of music being produced in 1972 the list could have stretched much further.

 

David Bowie, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars by Terry Pastor

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie.

In 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' David Bowie used his alter ego Ziggy Stardust to stretch the boundaries of art and raise the issue of gender fluidity. Fictional Ziggy is portrayed as an intergalactic savior who brings a message of hope to the world when it is facing an apocalyptic disaster. The album included hits 'Starman' and 'Suffragette City' and its iconic album cover was designed by graphic designer Terry Pastor.

 

Neil Young, London, 1974 by Mick Gold

Harvest by Neil Young Harvest

'Harvest' by Neil Young might have been Young’s fourth album, but it is the one that helped him achieve mainstream success. With classic songs like ‘Heart of Gold’ and ‘Old Man,’ it became the best-selling album of 1972 in the US and achieved No.1 in countries across the world. 'Harvest' achieved this success despite never being able to win over the hearts of rock critics.

 

The Rolling Stones, The Roundhouse, 1971

The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street

When the Rolling Stones recorded 'Exile on Main St' they were at the zenith of their career having released classic albums 'Sticky Fingers', 'Let It Bleed' & 'Beggars Banquet' in the proceeding years. The band had relocated to France to record the album, in order to avoid the UK tax authorities. where they stayed for the next two years. It was a move that led to some of their finest work creating classic songs such as 'Rocks Off' & 'Tumbling Dice'.

 

Elton John, Crystal Palace, 1971 by Alec Byrne

Honky Château by Elton John

Elton John also spent time in France recording his fifth studio album in 1972. The '70s were Elton’s most prolific period and 'Honky Chateau' was produced at the 18th century Château d'Hérouville just outside of Paris, which had been converted into a recording studio. The album included the hugely popular singles 'Rocket Man' and 'Honky Cat'.

 

Stevie Wonder, Rainbow Theatre, 1974 by Jill Furmanovsky

Talking Book by Stevie Wonder

Often considered to be his first masterpiece, Stevie Wonder was just 22 when he released 'Talking Book'. The album showcased his huge talent as a singer, writer, and producer with timeless hits with 'Superstition' and 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life' and often features in critics’ lists of best-ever albums.

 

Lou Reed, Walk on the Wild Side by Morgan Howell

Transformer by Lou Reed

'Transformer' by Lou Reed is credited with putting glam rock on the musical map. Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson the album takes the listener on a journey through a variety of music styles from the T-Rex style rock n’ roll of ‘Wagon Wheel’ to the hard-hitting punk of ‘Vicious’ to the slow ballad of ‘Perfect Day’, but the stand out track is undoubtedly ‘Walk on the Wild Side’.

Other iconic albums celebrating their 50th birthdays in 2022 included: Marc Bolan and T. Rex with 'The Slider', Rod Stewart 'Never A Dull Moment', Joni Mitchell 'For The Roses', Aretha Franklin 'Young, Gifted & Black' and Pete Townshend 'Who Came First'.

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