Posts From Sam Sutherland

When ELO, ELP, Tull + More Rocked the Classics

Classical themes have found their way into rock since the earliest days of the music. We look at some of the best, from ELO to ELP and beyond.

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The Band’s Pioneering ‘Music From Big Pink’

The album offered quiet songs of experience bathed in a rustic glow, with no hints of the futurism and none of the kilowatt drama then prevalent elsewhere in rock.

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‘Dixie Chicken’: Little Feat’s Secret Southern Sauce

The group drew on Lowell George’s versatile command of blues, country, folk and R&B for its third–and many feel finest–studio album.

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Elvis Costello: ‘Armed Forces’ @40

The band’s third album was a leap forward in songcraft and sonic ambition, a song cycle weaving the personal and political.

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Dr. John’s ‘Gumbo’: A New Orleans Master’s Thesis

For the sessions, instead of his own new material, he breathed authentic life into lively new versions of hometown classics.

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‘Astral Weeks’: Van Morrison’s Masterpiece @ 50

A “feverish poetic intensity persists” throughout the cycle of songs that comprise Morrison’s 1968 work, even as those songs shift in pace and tone.

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‘Who’s Next’: Plan B Yields a Career Blockbuster

Born from the ashes of an abandoned project Pete Townshend called ‘Lifehouse,’ the band’s 1971 masterwork triumphed through songcraft and performance.

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Dire Straits’ Breakthrough Debut Album @40

“Sultans of Swing” was immediately distinctive in both sound and story. The album proved the band to be one of the most refreshingly creative of its day.

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The Byrds’ ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ @50

Their most consequential stylistic stroke since their pioneering folk-rock debut three years earlier, it ushered in country-rock and Americana.

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‘Let It Bleed’: The Rolling Stones’ Turbulent Masterpiece

The album captures the band at its creative apogee through a dark masterpiece that mirrors the violent ’60s milieu in which it was created.

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