Rick Wakeman’s 10 Favorite Rock Songs of the ’70s

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Fighting your way through the interminable lockdown doldrums can be a cumbersome and tedious process, but who is this caped crusader skating on the horizon? He’s our old progressive rock buddy Rick Wakeman with a gold fist of classic rock from everyone’s favorite decade.

“I never left the ’70s,” admits the keyboard legend, “It was such an explosive time for music.” And as if to prove it, Wakeman (who is about to release his personal collection of 60 tracks and triple CDs 70s Rock Down: The Ultimate Rock Anthems) chose his top ten examples of what made the ’70s so great.

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Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

When I lived in Switzerland there was a wonderful pub in Montreux called The White Horse and all the musicians who worked at Queen’s Mountain Studios spent their lives there.

It was a phenomenal place. Absolutely buzzing in every way. There was a jukebox and that’s where I first heard it Another Brick in the Wall. I went straight to it, put it into multiplay, and waited for people to complain. No one did. Everyone loved it … It’s very unFloyd.


Faces – Stay with me

Another Swiss memory. Where I lived was halfway up a mountain in a place called Les Monts-de-Corsier and my drive up the winding road to the studio took exactly the same length it took to play Stay with me.

I love the Wurlitzer electric piano on it. Ian McLagan was a great player and a very underrated player. One of the hardest things for keyboardists is playing the right thing, and he had a knack for playing the right thing.


Money – Keep Your Head Up

Rod (Silver) is a good friend, and I don’t just pick people because they’re my mates, I pick that because it’s awesome. The organ solo in Keep your head up is, for me, one of the most beautiful organ solos on a record.

It’s brilliantly put together, and from a time when you couldn’t go back and correct notes and redo things. It’s a real solo. A small work of art, so it must fit. It’s just awesome, so good.


Free – Everything is fine now

Another track that needs to come in because of a solo. Paul Kossoff’s guitar solo is really good, but what I really like is that when the solo ends and you come back into the chorus, there’s probably the easiest drum break you have. never heard.

Most drummers would do something absolutely ridiculous at the end of such a solo, but not Simon Kirke. He just made a very simple da-dum da-dum da-dum-dum-dum. Simple, but brilliant.


Stealer’s Wheel – Stuck in the middle with you

They were on the same label as me. A&M files; the last of the real big independent labels, because (co-founder of the label) Jerry Moss encouraged a real diversity of music. A&M was the equivalent of the jazz label Blue Note or the classic Deutsche Grammophon label.

If you bought something from A&M, you were pretty sure it would be good. Production levels had to be very, very high and Stuck in the middle with you, a simple song, is totally unique.


The Moody Blues – Question

The Moody Blues were such a great band both live and as songwriters. They were also one of the first true users of the Mellotron, the famous I-can’t-keep-it-in-tune instrument that all keyboardists have, but they have used it very well, and although they used it the most White Satin Nights, they have used it here in a way that no one has ever used it before. A good melody, a beautiful song and a unique use of the dreaded Mellotron.


Deep Purple – Dark Night

A phenomenal solo by Jon Lord. Not a synth lover, but he loved his organ and his electric piano. He got a host of different guitar effects and built that long string that went from his amp to both Leslies and his speakers so he could create a truly unique organ sound that would pierce while doing a solo.

Being great friends we had a long discussion and Jon said “I just wanted to see what I can do with the instrument rather than just do what he did”. He did so until his death. An absolute genius.


Status Quo – Rocking All Over The World

Rick Parfitt and I used to get in serious trouble together, I was living in Surrey at the time and we would go out to a very dodgy pool hall in Putney and then to very dodgy clubs until the early hours of the morning, then come back and tell everyone that we worked hard on the music.

He was a good boy, I loved Rick to the end. Quo produced some fantastic stuff with the limited chord progressions they used, amazing things no one else did, and there’s a real art form to it.


Alice Cooper – School’s Out

Alice has always managed to create songs with a large audience. School is over was a classic example; a song that moms and dads loved and were so happy their kids would listen to it despite taking the stage with snakes in his rectum and god knows what else.

I mean, while he would be a good person to have on Halloween, he speaks well and writes great tunes that are very relevant. I have a lot of time for him, he’s great.


The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar

The only thing every kid who plays music in their bedroom wants to hear is their parents screaming, “Turn off that damn racket!” ” Upstairs. It is the seal of approval. Music is the first thing a child has: parents choose their clothes, school, what to do, eat, where they go, but their music? It’s theirs.

There must have been millions of parents who shouted “Turn off that damn thing” as the Stones performed in Dansette Majors and the kids pumped air into their rooms thinking “Yes!” Thank you!’. Brown sugar sums up this feeling.

70s Rock Down: The Ultimate Rock Anthems Releasing This Week.


70s Rock Down: The Ultimate Rock Anthems Songlist

CD1
Queen Slayer – Queen
Kiss – I was made to love you
Elton John – Pinball Assistant
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Old Time Rock And Roll
Paul McCartney & Wings – Live and Let Die
Free – Everything is fine now
Money – God gave you rock & roll
Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
Kansas – Carry On The Wayward Son
Gold earring – Radar Love
Tom Robinson Group – Highway 2-4-6-8
Town Boy – 5.7.0.5
Yes – Wonderful stories
Emerson Lake & Palmer – Marching Band for the Common Man
Bachman Turner Overdrive – You ain’t seen nothing yet
Ram Jam – Black Betty
Jo Jo Gunne – Course Course Course
Gary Moore & Phil Lynott – Passerelles Parisienne
Jethro Tull – Life is a Long Song
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird (Full Version)

CD2
Status Quo – Low Low
The Who – Who are you
Focus – Hocus Pocus
Deep Purple – Dark Night
Thin Lizzy – The boys are back in town
Rainbow – Since you’ve been gone
Hawkwind – Money Machine
Bad company – I can’t get enough
ZZ – Top La Grange
Taste – What’s going on
Heart – Barracuda
Rory Gallagher – Bad Penny
Slade – Cum On Feel The Noise
The talent – Ma Sharona
McGuiness Flint – When I’m Dead and Gone
Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle
America – Ventura Highway
Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the middle with you
Climax Blues Band – Can’t Get It Right
Canned heat – let’s work together

CD3
Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop
Alice Cooper – Schools Out
Eric Clapton – Lie Down Sally
Mott the Hoople – All Young Guys
Faces – Stay with me
Joe Walsh – Life Has Been Good
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded By The Light
Stranger – Cold as ice
Santana – Woman of Black Magic
Python Lee Jackson – In a Broken Dream
Uriah Heap – Easygoing
Dr Feelgood – Roxette
The Allman Brothers Group – Jessica
The Moody Blues – Question
Mink DeVille – Spanish Walk
Roger Daltrey – Give it all
Nazareth – Love hurts
10cc – Rubber balls
Rick Wakeman – Catherine of Aragon
John Miles – Music

70s Rock Down Packshot

(Image credit: Xploded)


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