Iron Butterfly, UFO, Humble Pie, Kansas + Others: Lost Hard Rock / Prog Recordings

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Put a bunch of old musicians in a room together and eventually the conversation becomes centered on old venues they’ve played, old songs they’ve performed, and fellow musicians and their fortunes, good or bad. In some ways, this parallels the talk of old soldiers exchanging war stories of battles, equipment, and comrades-in-arms.

Extending the metaphor, studio albums might be considered the equivalent of military campaigns: extended, planned operations that focus on particular objectives. And like military campaigns, some albums are deemed essential to the historical record, while others – regardless of their quality or importance – fade over a period of time.

Sure, milestones like Hotel California, Dark Side of the Moon and Back in Black deserve to be highlighted in the narrative of popular music, but there are many other albums celebrating their 40th through 50th anniversaries that are beginning to enter a twilight zone where reside all that is ignored or forgotten.

What follows is a list of 50 albums released or recorded 40 to 50 years ago during the period from 1968 through 1978. Many of these albums caught the attention of the record-buying public for a short while but eventually faded into obscurity, unremembered in the current age. Some have gone on to become cult classics loved by only a small but loyal fan base. And some of these albums just never caught on, period.

The list is by no means exhaustive or definitive: Most people have their own personal choices for what they consider to be great lost recordings. As well, this list sticks mostly to releases by bands as opposed to individuals. Finally, it focuses mostly on artists that are usually classified as hard rock and/or progressive rock groups.

So – in roughly chronological order (and with random commentary):

FamilyMusic in a Doll’s House (1968)
Spooky ToothIt’s All About (1968)
The Pretty ThingsS.F. Sorrow (1968): Considered to be one of the first rock operas/concept albums.
AndromedaAndromeda (1969)
TouchTouch (1969)
Humble PieAs Safe As Yesterday Is (1969)
TasteOn the Boards (1970): Led by the late, great Rory Gallagher on guitar.

The Stalk-Forrest GroupThe St. Cecilia Recordings (1970): The original Blue Oyster Cult sessions, rejected by their record label and not released until 2001.
Iron ButterflyMetamorphosis (1970)
The MoveShazam (1970)
JosefusJosefus (1970)
SteppenwolfSteppenwolf 7 (1970): A band that ought to be remembered for more than just “Born To Be Wild.”

TrapezeMedusa (1970): An early group of hard-rock veteran Glenn Hughes.
Procol HarumHome (1970)
BloodrockBloodrock (1970)
Atomic RoosterDeath Walks Behind You (1970)
FuseFuse (1970): A couple of members would go on to form Cheap Trick.
Leaf HoundGrowers of Mushroom (1971)
Orang-utanOrang-utan (1971)

UFOUFO2: Flying (1971): More psychedelic than their better known recordings.
MountainNantucket Sleighride (1971)
CactusRestrictions (1971)
VirusThoughts (1971)
Mott the HoopleBrain Capers (1971): From before their breakthrough with David Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes.”
MC5High Time (1971): Considered to be one of the godfathers of punk rock.
DemianDemian (1971)
SilverheadSilverhead (1972)

Captain BeyondCaptain Beyond (1972)
WarhorseRed Sea (1972)
REO SpeedwagonR.E.O./T.W.O. (1972)
NercromandusOrexis of Death (1973): Recorded 1973; released 1999. Sometimes described as a proggier version of Sabbath, there was some talk of them becoming Ozzy’s backing band when he first went solo.
SladeSlayed (1973)
Wishbone AshWishbone Four (1973)

SharksFirst Water (1973)
BudgieNever Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973): Fans of the first Rush album would probably like this.
BadfingerWish You Were Here (1974)
NazarethRampant (1974)
ScorpionsFly to the Rainbow (1974)

Ted Nugent’s Amboy DukesTooth, Fang & Claw (1974): From when Ted was known more for his guitar playing than his politics.
Stray DogWhile You’re Down There (1974)
ManRhinos, Winos & Lunatics (1974)
The Sensational Alex Harvey BandTomorrow Belongs to Me (1975)
Hot TunaAmerica’s Choice (1975)
KansasSong for America (1975)
Mahogany RushStrange Universe (1975)

TriumphTriumph (aka In the Beginning) (1976)
Grand Funk RailroadGood Singin,’ Good Playin’ (1976): Produced by Frank Zappa.
British LionsBritish Lions (1977)
LakeLake II (1978)
StarcastleFountains of Light (1978)

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JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
JC Mosquito
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