Village Voice Critics Best Albums of 1971

Village Voice Critics Best Albums of 1971
Authored By John Nicholson

The paper's "Pazz & Jop" music poll, started by Robert Christgau in 1971, was released annually and, especially in the 1970s and early 80s, was an influential survey of the nation's music critics.

The Village Voice was launched by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, and Norman Mailer on October 26, 1955, from a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village; that was its initial coverage area, which expanded to other parts of the city by the 1960s. In 1960, it moved from 22 Greenwich Avenue to 61 Christopher Street in a landmark triangular corner building adjoining Sheridan Square, and a few feet west of the Stonewall Inn; then, from the 1970s through 1980, at 11th Street and University Place.

After a lot of changes of ownership, it finally closed its doors in 2017, its glory days then long behind it. 

I think, by any stretch of the imagination, this list covers all the major bases in terms of great albums of 1971, though I think Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride should be in there too. A wonderful album. 

Interestingly they put Led Zep IV at the bottom of the list. History suggests that’s a slightly odd decision but by the end of 1971, it hadn’t yet attained legendary status. There was also a lot of critical push back against Zeppelin’s popularity in some quarters, especially in UK. Quite why, I don’t know, but some were quite snooty about them.  

Most of us probably have or had most of these records. The Joy Of Cooking album is the only one missing from my collection. I must remedy that. 

  1. The Who - Who's Next
  2. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
  3. Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story
  4. Van Morrison - Tupelo Honey
  5. John Lennon – Imagine
  6. Joy of Cooking - Joy of Cooking
  7. Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead
  8. The Concert for Bangladesh - The Concert for Bangladesh
  9. Joni Mitchell – Blue
  10. Carole King – Tapestry
  11. Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
  12. The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
  13. Janis Joplin – Pearl
  14. The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
  15. Randy Newman – Live
  16. The Allman Brothers - Live at the Fillmore East
  17. Sly and the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On
  18. David Bowie - Hunky Dory
  19. The Move - Message from the Country
  20. Procol Harum - Broken Barricades
  21. Traffic - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
  22. Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  23. Jeff Beck Group - Rough and Ready
  24. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - Lost in the Ozone P
  25. The Band – Cahoots Capitol
  26. Alice Cooper – Killer Warner
  27. Yes - The Yes Album Atlantic
  28. Delaney & Bonnie - Motel Shot
  29. Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson RCA
  30. Led Zeppelin – IV

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