The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967): The culmination of years of artistic maturation and bold experimentation. The original rock concept LP.
Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On” (1971): The sexy love man embraced civil rights and inner-city turmoil as subject matter, changing the tone of R&B, both lyrically and musically.
Carole King “Tapestry” (1971): King’s songs of love lost, found and wasted spoke to the Me Generation’s turn toward introspection.
Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin IV” (1971): Mystical and bombastic, acoustic and brash, Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album defined ’70s rock (and FM radio).
The Rolling Stones, “Exile on Main Street” (1972): Incorporating blues, soul, country and even gospel, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards dug deep into the era’s spiritual malaise and made the Stones’ most emotional album.
Stevie Wonder, “Innervisions” (1973): The best of a series of innovative, hit-filled albums Wonder made in a 1970s creative surge, it changed the sound of popular music.
Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” (1976): Anchored by Don Henley and Glen Frey, this Southern California band was both romantic and cynical, diluting any sweetness with a bitter edge that reflected the compromises of adulthood.
Bob Marley & the Wailers, “Exodus” (1977): The sensual, spiritual album that helped make reggae one of the most popular musical genres in the world.
“Saturday Night Fever,” soundtrack (1977): The percolating rhythms of disco acts like K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Tavares and, of course, the Bee Gees captured the zest, decadence and hustling of the dance boom.
Nelson George, AARP Media
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