Looking Through Time: 1975
The members of the CommRadio Arts & Entertainment staff revisit a handful of the most iconic albums from 1975 in this edition of Looking Through Time.
Eagles — “One of These Nights”
Rising to prominence with their incredibly successful fourth studio album “One of These Nights” provided the Eagles with an international platform and their first No. 1 record on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Incorporating arguably some of the Eagles’ most recognizable music, such as “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It to the Limit” and the album’s title track, the group received almost unanimous praise from critics and fans across the board. Even the deeper cuts on the album were effective at solidifying this record’s remarkable revisiting potential. For instance, tracks like the electrifying “Too Many Hands” and the mellow “After the Thrill Is Gone” exhibited the Eagles’ impressive range and were effective at providing material for any and all types of listeners.
“One of These Nights” is a major stepping stone in the Eagles’ career because it marks the solidifying of the group’s iconic formula. The Eagles perfected their approach of seamlessly transitioning between soft and hard rock music on this record, which would later become the style they would be most often associated with.
“One of These Nights” provided the Eagles with a monumental expansion in their fan base as well as enough commercial success to solidify the group’s impact on rock music for forever. —Scott Perdue
Fleetwood Mac — “Fleetwood Mac”
It made sense that “Fleetwood Mac” was the second time that the band named an album after itself. “The White Album,” as often referred to by fans, was a reinvention: it was the first time the world saw the revamped Fleetwood Mac lineup.
Seeing moderate success as a British blues rock band for seven years, drummer and band leader Mick Fleetwood brought in Californians Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks after the departure of singer and guitarist Bob Welch. From this, the band originally from London earned a softer, more pop-centric west coast sound. While the Mac’s 1977 album “Rumors” would become the band’s magnum opus, 1975’s self-titled record is a force in its own right, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts and later being certified seven times platinum in America.
Much of this success is due to the newcomers. The duo worked very well in tandem, with Buckingham as the guitarist and Nicks as the singer-songwriter. Nicks penned two songs for this album, “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” songs that would indicate the singer’s future as one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters. The latter song is especially phenomenal, and over time, “Landslide” has proven to be a classic. A somber acoustic track, “Landslide” sees Nicks masterfully liken an unexpected end of a relationship to standing in front of an avalanche.
However, the peaks of this album do not stand too far above the rest, as “Fleetwood Mac” is consistently exceptional. The album is easy-going, mostly upbeat and extremely infectious. Apart from Nicks, Buckingham and Christine McVie composed memorable tracks too, such as “Monday Morning” and “Over My Head.”
After nine albums brought Fleetwood Mac middling success which seemed to be finally petering out, the additions of Nicks and Buckingham gave the band just the spark it needed. The distinct style that debuted in “Fleetwood Mac,” and was then perfected in “Rumours,” brought the band worldwide success as well as a legacy and influence that has no sign of slowing down. —Jim Krueger
Paul McCartney and Wings — “Venus and Mars”
In the years following the Beatles’ breakup, there was no question that each member would be wildly successful in their solo careers. Each Beatle was already experimenting with his own personal interests by the band’s split, making the last few Beatles albums feel like jumbled tracklists compiled by solo artists. Paul McCartney in particular created some of the most defining music of the Beatles’ career as well as the 20th century in general. “Venus and Mars,” released in mid-1975, is just a sliver of McCartney’s impact on the music industry.
“Venus and Mars” was the follow up album to Paul McCartney and backing band Wings’ 1973 album “Band on the Run”—an incredibly hard act to follow. While “Venus and Mars” could never live up to the legacy of its predecessor, it would prove to be a standout record of Wings’ 10-year run. The signature sound of McCartney finally begins to fall into place throughout the decade. “Venus and Mars” is an incredible look into the pure range of McCartney as a performer and creator, even if “Rock Show” is the only real standout track from the album.
McCartney remains dynamic, constantly relying on the non-traditional to fuel his creative energy. Harps and saxophones are not often found on rock albums, yet somehow McCartney is able to make it all come together, which he does cohesively. “Venus and Mars” reminds one of McCartney’s Beatles project “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in terms of innovation and cohesion. Each track is different enough to stand on its own, yet McCartney ensures that each track flows into one another to create one giant song that is definitive of his tenure as an artist. —Jade Campos
Pink Floyd — “Wish You Were Here”
At the height of the progressive rock genre from the 1960s through the 1980s, no artist stood out more than Pink Floyd. Beginning with 1973’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd went on an incredible run, combining key elements of progressive rock with more commercial themes to release four of the highest-selling, most influential, and most enjoyable albums of all time. Although “Dark Side” gets the most headlines out of any album in that run, its successor, 1975’s “Wish You Were Here,” may be the superior work of art.
Although Pink Floyd was earning serious critical acclaim and commercial success by 1975, the band, and especially bassist/songwriter Roger Waters, was becoming disillusioned with the record industry. This idea would become the driving theme for “Wish You Were Here” and is immediately reflected by the iconic album art, which depicts two businessmen shaking hands with one getting “burned” by the other. This trend carries into the music, as tracks like the synth-heavy “Welcome to the Machine” and guitar-infused “Have a Cigar” portray the record industry at its sleaziest and most unfeeling.
Not all of “Wish You Were Here” follows this trend, however. Half of the album is dedicated to former band member Syd Barrett, who was forced to leave Pink Floyd in 1968 due to complications with drug abuse. The title track is a prime example: an excellent piece describing a wistful longing for days passed, accompanied by David Gilmour’s bittersweet guitar-playing and vocals.
But the highlight of “Wish You Were Here” is the epic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which bookends the album in two 13-minute chunks. “Shine On,” a direct tribute to Barrett, is truly Pink Floyd at its peak. Highlighted by Gilmour’s mastery of the guitar, Richard Wright’s prowess with the keyboard and synthesizers, Nick Mason’s drumming excellence, and Waters’ perfectly crafted lyrics, “Shine On” is not only Pink Floyd’s crowning achievement but also a contender for the greatest song of all time. There’s not a dull moment for its entire 26-minute duration.
“The Dark Side of the Moon” may have put Pink Floyd on the map, and future triumphs like “Animals” and “The Wall” further cemented the group’s status as classic rock royalty, but “Wish You Were Here” truly stands above them all as Pink Floyd’s most cohesive moment. —DJ Bauer
Queen — “A Night at the Opera”
Although Queen had discovered its distinct aesthetic on its third studio album “Sheer Heart Attack” through iconic tracks like “Killer Queen,” it wasn’t until the band’s fourth studio album “A Night At The Opera” that Queen perfected its unique sound.
Cementing its flawless ability to transition between hard, hyper-masculine rock and soft, flamboyant glam rock, Queen solidified its multifaceted stylistic approach and wielded its fresh sound with effortless grace. Moving seamlessly from quirky carousel tunes such as “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” and “Seaside Rendezvous” to blistering rock tracks like “Death on Two Legs” and “I’m In Love With My Car,” Queen proved that it was a band with a presence unlike any other. Other tracks such as the catchy “You’re My Best Friend” and the tender “Love of My Life” aided in refining the Queen brand and the album’s undeniable revisiting potential.
However, the track that changed everything was the immaculate fan favorite anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which bestowed upon the world one of the most impressive progressive rock songs of the decade and potentially of all time. Queen was suddenly launched into the top of the charts in several countries and was finally able to break out of Britain in order to reach an even wider audience. Queen seemingly obtained the world as its stage and brought the rock genre to its knees with its unprecedented ability to craft a sound that has gone on to become undoubtedly one of the most quintessential and redefining rock movements of all time. —Scott Perdue
Rush — “Fly by Night”
Canadian rock band Rush released its second studio album “Fly by Night” in1975. This was the album that drummer and songwriter Neil Peart made his debut, replacing John Rutsey. He was a blessing in disguise, as he helped shape what is now known as one of the most respected rock bands of all time.
“Fly by Night” made Rush known from its pronounced hard rock sound: a sound was so great that the band won a Juno Award for most promising group of the year. With Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart as the group’s trio, they showed just how different their sound had become with the album’s first song “Anthem.” The name of this song refers to a short story by Ayn Rand about a man rebelling against his society, longing to establish a new life with freedom. Lee sings about how the heart and mind will help guide you to where you want to be in life, and that one should worry about only his or herself to accomplish life dreams because nobody else will: certainly an inspiring message. Lifeson’s guitar and Peart’s drums further create an exciting and distinctive rock sound, which persists throughout the album’s duration.
After the release of “Fly by Night,” Rush went on to produce many more commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Rush retired in 2015 but continues to inspire many other bands to this day, including Iron Maiden, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Foo Fighters. —Rachel Miloscia
Bruce Springsteen — “Born to Run”
Packed with imagery, guitar riffs, life-changing saxophone solos and the presence of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “Born to Run” has everything that makes a classic album from 1975.
Now a staple in any record collection, “Born to Run” is a timeless piece that has long outlasted the year of 1975. Reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the album was Springsteen’s ticket into the mainstream. Before the release of “Born to Run,” Springsteen already had two albums to his name, both of which provided minor success. However, to firmly plant his presence in the music industry, he needed to strike gold with his third album. Working tirelessly in the studio and at home, he finally had a record that he could cash in on.
From the opening track of “Thunder Road,” the listener immediately knows that he or she is going to be taken on a trip. The lyric “It’s a town full of losers and we’re pulling out of here to win” eases the audience into instrumentals that transcend into what Springsteen was feeling at the time: living the American dream.
With “Backstreets,” the listener can practically smell the salty beach air and feel his or her shirt stick to them from the humidity. Packed with lyrics about friendships, love and distant memories, it’s the perfect song to lead into the epic title track.
So much has already been said about the song “Born to Run.” With each listen, something new is heard in not only the instrumentals but also the lyrics. Being a 4 ½-minute song, the verses are longer than the chorus, providing a novel of ideas to form in the listener’s mind. That all centers around a rocking guitar riff.
By the time the listener hears the last note of the iconic saxophone solo on “Jungleland,” the listener understands why Springsteen is “The Boss.” He performs with all his heart and writes with the intensity of a novelist. Audiences still go wild for “Born to Run,” over 40 years after its release. —William Roche
DJ Bauer is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jade Campos is a sophomore majoring in print/digital journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Jim Krueger is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Miloscia is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Scott Perdue is a junior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
William Roche is a junior majoring in film/video. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Junior / Print/Digital Journalism