We gathered the last studio albums from 20 important bands, delving into the music’s production, distribution, and overall legacy.
1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Electric Ladyland’
Hendrix was at the height of his creativity at that time, amply demonstrating it on the previous “Axis: Bold As Love” released a year earlier, an album in which Jimi seemed to want to move away from the “puerile” stage explosiveness to focus on the sound experimentation, in the arrangements, in going a little further. And the result of all this was “Electric Ladyland”, an album that wasn’t too easy, admittedly, but that perfectly condenses everything that Hendrix was, and also everything that he could have been. In this, his latest studio album, there is hard rock, there is psychedelia, there are imaginative, experimental arrangements, there are touches of funk and soul –some of the influence of black music from labels like Stax or Motown is chewed on– there are blues; the sound of the album ended up influencing, say some chroniclers, Miles Davis for the creation of “Bitches Brew”, one of his most controversial albums, and in the same way, “Electric Ladyland” was influential for the symphonic and progressive rock of the following decade, the seventies, a decade that Jimi Hendrix did not get to see more than briefly. In short: it is impossible for you to like music and not find something on this album that makes you get up from your chair and clap your hands.
2. Cream, ‘Goodbye’
Cream’s goodbye came with this six-song album that combines live songs with others in the studio. It is certainly not his best work but it contains very valid examples of his rock, blues, and psychedelic sounds. I would highlight the live version of “I’m So Glad”, an original song by Skip James where we can enjoy his instrumental and vocal talent, and the studio inclusion of “Badge”, a beautiful song written between Eric Clapton and George Harrison.
3. The Beatles, ‘Abbey Road’
It was released before “Let It Be”, but in reality, the extraordinary “Abbey Road” was the last recording by the Beatles, masterfully concluding the trajectory of this fundamental group. The musical approach for the album of the components was very different. Following the guidelines of the cuts recorded for “Let It Be, ” John wanted an album based on a return to the most basic roots of rock’n’roll and blues, while Paul wanted to record a more complex album that recalls the achievements of “Sgt. Peppers”. For his part, George, tired of remaining in the shadow of the two geniuses, and after having recorded the experimental albums “Wonderwall Music” and “Electronic Sound”, wanted to fly solo, but not before leaving his brilliant compositional mark on this LP. . That constancy in the basic guidelines of rock led Lennon to compose songs like “Come Together”, a song dominated by a blues base that John composed for the campaign of politician Timothy Leary, a candidate for Governor of the state of California. The song was accused of plagiarism by Maurice Levy, owner of Big Seven Music, who accused Lennon of using several phrases that appeared in the Chuck Berry song “You Can Catch Me”, a song that finally, and to the economic benefit of Berry and Levy, was included in the Beatle’s subsequent solo LP “Rock’n’Roll”.
4. Janis Joplin, ‘Pearl’
The most heartbreaking white female voice (with an Aretha Franklin-style) in rock history on her most famous and probably most successful (posthumous) album. Emotional and passionate rock with blues, country, and soul influences performed in a moving way by Janis together with The Full Tilt Boogie and produced by Paul A. Rothchild, collaborator of the Doors or Love. The true value of Janis Joplin is the strength and passion that she imprints on her throat and that elevates the compositions she performs, despite the fact that they are not sufficiently prominent and, little imagination is perceived in her musical structures, especially in some ballads. bordering the soft rock.
5. The Doors, ‘L.A. Woman’
The last album by the Doors is their great masterpiece, when listening to this LP you hear an authentic blues-rock band, the dream of its singer and leader Jim Morrison. Among the different songs on the album, the rhythmic “The Changeling”, the bluesy “Been down so long”, “Cars hiss by my window” and “Crawling king snake” stand out, the latter being a version of the John Lee Hooker classic. At a higher altitude, they scratch the homonymous song of the album, “L.A. woman”, a song covered by different artists such as Billy Idol and “Riders on the storm”, jewels in the Doors’ discography.
6. Creedence Clearwater Revival, ‘Mardi Gras’
Wanting to control everything, John Fogerty ended up breaking everything. Starting with his relationship with his brother Tom, a rhythm guitarist who could no longer bear the little space left by his younger brother in the compositions. Mardi Gras will be Creedence’s last album in 1972. Was this departure a trigger for John Fogerty? Still, to save the group, which decides to continue as a trio without recruiting a new member to replace Tom, the leader will let go of his last two comrades. Narrowly escaping the mutiny, the captain conceives that Creedence can interpret titles written by someone other than him, and even deigns to take care of the guitar parts on the pieces written by Stu Cook and Doug Clifford. Great prince.
7. Lynyrd Skynyrd, ‘Street Survivors’
The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd had unique personalities. They were fully aware that there was nothing more beautiful in the world than life itself, as well as customs, the warmth of the environment, the closeness with the people one loves. Those personalities so unaccustomed to all that exacerbated media noise that always surrounds the world of Rock, made them earn a place -in addition to talent, of course-, on the podium of the most appreciated bands of the genre. They had numerous problems editing their first work; in fact, an Al Kooper who, at that time, had a well-earned reputation as a musician due to his work with Bob Dylan, decided to bet on a group, whose concerts, at first, received a cold and searing indifference. The perseverance and tenacity of a Ronnie Van Zandt who put aside his studies to get more involved in his band, made the southerners an example of how an idea, watered with work and effort, is capable of growing until it becomes the treasure most precious thing that a person has: works such as the enormous debut, Pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd -1973-, Second Helping -1974- or Nuthin Fancy -1975-, are the living example of what was previously reported.
8. Led Zeppelin, ‘In Through the Out Door’
The band had numerous problems finishing this LP, among them, the death of a son of Robert Plant * and the addition of Jimmy Page and John Bonham to various drugs, which caused the main composer of this album to be bassist John Paul Jones, is the author of six of the seven compositions. However, the LP has great quality songs, such as In the Evening, Fool In the Rain, Carouselambra, All My Love and I’m Gonna Crawl. With respect to previous works, the growing use of keyboards and even fusions with oriental and tropical rhythms can be seen, such as in the case of In the Evening and Fool In The Rain, respectively. Robert Plant’s voice sounds perfectly coupled throughout the album, demonstrating the musical maturity reached in those years by this great vocalist.
9. John Lennon, ‘Double Fantasy’
The record that John Lennon signed for his murderer, valued at some point at 2 million dollars and right now at auction for 400,000, was the one that had just been released three weeks earlier, on November 17, ‘Double Fantasy’ . Half-signed with Yoko Ono, since in general he alternately presents a song by one artist and another by the other, it meant the return of John Lennon after 5 years of silence in which he had focused on his family, after in 1975 their son Sean would have been born. Even so, it was not the most successful comeback, the album did not go straight to number 1 on the charts, something that would only happen after the murder, and some reviews were even negative. And they continued to be to some extent decades later.
10. The Clash, ‘Cut the Crap’
The Clash was a British punk band that was active between 1976 and 1986. The group was one of the most important and iconic of the first wave of punk originating in the late 1970s, and unlike most punk bands which were characterized by their musical simplicity, incorporated reggae, rock, rockabilly, ska, jazz, and dub among other varied styles in their repertoire. The Clash became a very influential band in world music. In addition to this, The Clash exhibited a political intent in their lyrics that would eventually become their fundamental distinctive feature. The idealism expressed in the compositions of Joe Strummer and Mick Jones contrasted with the nihilism of the Sex Pistols and the simplicity of the Ramones, the other emblematic punk bands of the time. Although their success in the UK was immediate, the band did not win over American audiences until the 1980s.
11. George Harrison, ‘Cloud Nine’
Underrated, outstanding George Harrison’s last studio album (and released during his lifetime) as a solo artist. It is a work to be discovered (or rediscovered) by Beatles music lovers, who will surely enjoy this great album full of great pop exercises. Perhaps it lacks the lyrical transcendence that “All Things Must Pass” possesses, but it has plenty of emotional depth and enormous melodic talent in the eleven songs that make up the album and that show Harrison’s ability to write superb compositions of sublime sentimental pop (without giving up some critical social comments) born from wise conjunction between brain and heart.
12. Rush, ‘Clockwork Angels’
After the tragedy that devastated the band a few months ago with the death of Neil Peart, they put an end to an impeccable career spanning over forty years. This album, his last studio album, picks up the witness where five years ago “Snakes & Arrows” turned out to be a “comeback” in style, an adaptation of his classic sound to the 21st century. Now it only remained to check if his successor would follow the same line. Same producer, Nick Raskulinecz, and same scheme for the album: no extensive conceptual works, songs ranging between five and seven minutes long, yes, full of intensity and instrumental ecstasy, with an extreme “feeling” and quality competitive beyond any doubt.
13. Van Halen, ‘A Different Kind of Truth’
Van Halen’s long-awaited new album, titled A Different Kind of Truth, will only be out in a couple of days, but it’s already generating a lot of buzz in the international rock community. The launch marketing has been superbly designed. In recent months, information and advances of the songs have been released, and even the video of the single “Tattoo”. David Lee Roth, Eddie, Alex, and Wolfgang Van Halen themselves have just offered a second one-hour private concert on Thursday, January 26, before some 500 people on a set at the Henson Recording Studios (Los Angeles), where they have dispatched 13 songs, from the classics You Really Got Me, Runnin’ with the devil, Ain’t talkin’ bout love, Everybody wants Some, Jump, Panama and Hot for teacher, to some of those included on the new album, such as the single Tattoo, She’s the woman, Stay Frosty and others.
14. Dire Straits, ‘On Every Street’
On Every Street by Dire Straits, which would be the sixth and last studio album by the British band, who by then was already Mark Knopfler and co. The charismatic British guitarist and vocalist wanted to give his music a twist after the stratospheric success of his previous album Brother In Arms, surrounding himself with session musicians to record songs composed entirely by himself. It was a way to die of success because he wanted to introduce records close to Country and Blues to experiment and partly get away from the labels that had brought him so much benefit until then.
15. The Allman Brothers Band, ‘Hittin’ the Note’
Something normal in a band as influential and seminal as the Allman Brothers, considered by many —among whom I include myself— one of the best formations that have ever set foot in a studio or on stage. They defined a genre, laying the foundations of southern rock —although they were never very in agreement with being included in that club— along with other pioneers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Outlaws, they went far beyond labels, billing a fusion of styles unpublished until then. . They also have a biography with numerous ups and downs, incidents, anecdotes, personal tensions and addictions that make their legend even juicier.
16. Nirvana, ‘In Utero’
On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, Universal reissues “In Utero” (1993), the last studio album recorded by the group Nirvana with production by Steve Albini. Kurt Cobain passed away a year later. Cobain composed all the cuts on the album (one in the company of Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic), including the single “Rape Me”, a song that shows the clear influence of the Pixies in Cobain’s writing (Kurt himself said in his day that in “Smells Like Teen Spirit” he consciously wanted to imitate the style of Frank Black’s band) and that it can be seen both as a message against sexual violence and against the interference of tabloid journalism in his life.
17. Queen, ‘Made in Heaven’
Every story has its end. No matter how big it is, no matter how many enormous moments of absolute exquisiteness it treasures, these will end up slowly extinguishing like the most passionate of flames, leaving in their place some warm embers that, over time, will turn to ashes that the wind will carry away. But if the said story is also a true legend, those embers will never be consumed but will keep all their heat alive, preserving their legacy, making it immortal over the years so that it can be remembered generation after generation. Something similar (if not the same thing) is what happens with the singer of the band that concerns us today and that I have prepared to review again. In 1991, QUEEN, one of the most bombastic groups on the music scene, lost its vocalist after releasing what was then their last studio album. FREDDIE MERCURY left us forever, but his legend gained even more strength and his legacy extended to infinity.
18. Lou Reed (with Metallica), ‘Lulu’
Metallica and Lou Reed have recorded their album, and I already know why I came into this world. It’s not every day you get the chance to write a review about a “Seven Churches” or a “Nevermind” or a “Black Metal” or a “British Steel” but me, the four West Coast heavy metals and rocker New York intellectual have granted me the privilege of reviewing the philosopher’s stone of an entire style. Metallica and Lou, Lou and Metallica, have patented with “Lulu” what is now known as “Bible Rock”. Yes, yes, Bible Rock. Like the dimensions of the disaster that these five musicians have perpetrated together.
19. Dio, ‘Master of the Moon’
Not only of the Moon, but Ronnie James Dio was also a teacher of the Earth, the Sun, the seas, oceans, and all the elements that make up the Universe, which does not mean that he made mistakes from time to time. “Master of the Moon” dates from 2004 and is the last studio LP that he recorded solo. So great are he and his legend that we have almost forgotten an important fact: His career was not always a bed of roses. Actually, since he left Black Sabbath, he only fully succeeded as a soloist in his beginnings, and even then he had to deal with enemies inside –Vivian Campbell- and outside the house –his eternal rivalry with Ozzy, the comparisons that did not make him any grace, and a second-best condition that was attributed to him more often than is remembered.
20. David Bowie, ‘Blackstar’
David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, is probably one of the most difficult to criticize in the current music scene. David has always been an avant-garde artist and his songs were never typical or composed to succeed or be praised in specialized media. In other words: a review may say that the album is great, but you could very well hate it. Or vice versa. And that is the greatest virtue of the English singer.