Thursday 1 January 2015

Revised Article: Every Single AAA Album In Chronological Order

Dear readers, happy new year! Whether you were controversially knighted in this year's honours list, are a humble MBE or CBE, were cruelly overlooked for another year or sent your medal back to the Queen in protest at 'Cold Turkey' dropping down the charts 45 years ago, welcome one and all. Let's hope 2014 brings good cheer for everyone except those we fear (I'm looking at you, David Cameron!) I've been racking my brains for a while to think what to give you for our first issue of the year, which has become our traditional spot for 'special editions'. We've already covered live albums, spin-off solo albums, compilations albums, live albums, AAA books and AAA DVDs so to be honest there isn't that much ground we haven't covered somewhere, somehow during our five years making this site. So we figured - why not organise what we've got for this year's special instead of adding yet more to it! So this edition is a sort of 'unfolding text', where you can see each AAA member's stories weave their way round each other, stitching up the fabric that is Alan's Album Archives.
You see, a few of you have asked me - well, to be honest, one of you have asked me - what the schedule of AAA releases are. Yes, I know we've got the years for release dates at the end of each review, but it's intrigued one of our readers that The Beach Boys were five months ahead of The Beatles and that The Searchers seem to have come to an ungainly halt pretty much before bands like The Rolling Stones and The Kinks had got going. So here, for those who want more detail (and if you want detail you've come to the right site!) I thought I'd get my researching cap on again and give you each and every official studio non-compilation AAA release in order by year (plus live albums made up of 'new' material), taking us all the way from 'Surfin' Safari' in 1962 to Paul McCartney's 'New' (which neatly is indeed the 'new'est album at the time of writing).
If lists aren't your thing, then a) whoops, sorry, don't despair, we'll be back to normal next week so hang around and b) think of this as some grand alternate 'home page' where there are links to each and every album reviewed on this site so far (we're approaching round about the three quarter mark) so you can, if you choose, read these reviews in their order of release rather than just by each artist chronologically as listed on our website's home page (believe it or not the first post every year is usually the most viewed, so it makes as much sense adding this 'home page' here as nay - I have a good feeling about our hit rate this year, but then again I said that the last three...) Unfortunately for the moment you might have to 'cut and paste' these into your internet browser yourselves: it nearly killed me physically putting the links in last time (oh for an assistant...) but if this page takes off I might well go back to doing it at a later date.
If nothing else, looking at the albums this way makes for some interesting reading, seeing which groups were exactly contemporary with whom and how each of our AAA bands influenced each other to some extent. For a bit of fun - and to break up all that heavy text - we've added our own comments at the end of each year in the by now customary AAA reverential-but-irreverent fashion.  Oh and by the way this is the release date in the country of origin - so for the Beatles, for instance, we've kept to their UK discography (except for 'Magical Mystery Tour', which works far better as an LP than it does an EP) and the Beach Boys the US. Sadly some discographies - such as that for The Hollies and Lulu - are a bit sketchy, but we do at least have the relevant month so we'll stick these albums at the top of each relevant month (except when release dates are as vague as 'early' 'mid' or 'late' in a year, when we've had to make do with our best guesses - you'd be surprised at how little notice there was of some of the obscurer albums on this list being released). Have a read of how tight some of these recording schedules are at the beginning of this list, now it's the norm for artists to go five years without releasing anything new, and weep... (on the plus side, this means we only have to suffer Justin Bieber albums every few years - our guess is that no one will remember him by this time next year!):

Firsts: It's the first ever AAA album, with The Beach Boys a full five months ahead of everyone else!
Best selling AAA album of the year: "Surfin' Safari"
Worst selling album of the year: Err, "Surfin' Safari"!
Themes of the year: surfing!
Total albums: One
Interesting things to notice: 'Surfin Safari' was released just four days before The Beatles came out with their first single 'Love Me Do'!
March 27th 1963: The Beach Boys "Surfin' USA"
September 16th 1963: The Beach Boys "Surfer Girl"
October 7th 1963: The Beach Boys "Little Deuce Coupe" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: debut albums by The Beatles and The Searchers
Best selling AAA album of the year: "With The Beatles" (the best selling album of all in 1963 despite being released only five weeks before Christmas!)
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Hard to tell, but 'Meet The Searchers' spent the fewest weeks in the charts
Themes of the year: surfing, cars, Merseybeat and fast-paced Motown covers
Total albums: 7
Interesting things to notice: By the end of 1963 The Beach Boys have released four albums, with The Beatles and The Searchers neck and neck on two each. BY contrast, The Rolling Stones have only released one comparatively flop single! Note too how closer together the two Searchers albums are and the mere three-week gap between Beach Boys albums, by far the shortest on our list (it helps that 'Little Deuce Coupe' is a 'concept' album about cars that recycled quite a few songs!)

"January" 1964: The Hollies "Stay With The Hollies"
March 2nd 1964: The Beach Boys "Shut Down Volume 2" (not yet reviewed)
"Spring" 1964: The Searchers "It's The Searchers" (not yet reviewed)
July 13th 1964: The Beach Boys "All Summer Long"
"Autumn" 1964: The Searchers "Sounds Like Searchers"
October 2nd 1964: "The Kinks" (not yet reviewed)
October 9th 1964: Simon and Garfunkel "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM"
"November" 1964: The Hollies "In The Hollies Style"

Firsts: Debut albums by The Hollies, Otis Redding, Rolling Stones, The KInks and Simon and Garfunkel
Best selling AAA Album of the year: "Beatles For Sale", just. Also the best-selling album of the year overall
Worst selling album of the year: 'Wednesday Morning' sells only in the low thousands - Simon and Garfunkel won't really take off until the end of 1965 when 'The Sound Of Silence' is overdubbed with electric instruments and turned into a 'hit'!
Themes of the year: Excitement, tiredness, more Merseybeat, more cars, Christmas trees and a bit of soul
Total albums: 13
Interesting things to notice: As we'll be seeing, most albums are released in November to make the Christmas market. However two AAA records were released this year in traditionally the slowest time for the record business (the first week in January). Oops! The Beach Boys and Beatles rivalry across the pond really takes off this year too, with 'A Hard Day's Night' released just three days before 'All Summer Long'.

January 15th 1965: Rolling Stones "No 2"
"March" 1965: Otis Redding "The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads"
March 5th 1965: The Kinks "Kinda Kinks"
March 8th 1965: The Beach Boys "Today" (not yet reviewed)
July 5th 1965: The Beach Boys "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!)"
July 22nd 1965: The Moody Blues "The Magnificent Moodies"
September 24th 1965: Rolling Stones "Out Of Our Heads"
November 8th 1965: The Beach Boys "Party!"
November 26th 1965: The Kinks "The Kink Kontroversy"
December 3rd 1965: The Who "Sing My Generation"
December 4th 1965: The Beatles "Rubber Soul"
December 6th 1965: The Byrds "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Debut releases by Lulu, The Byrds and The Who/Lasts: Last album by The Searchers
Best selling AAA album of the year: "Rubber Soul", beaten only by 'The Sound Of Music' soundtrack
Worst selling AAA album of the year: "Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads" - Otis only starts doing well with third album 'Otis Blue' later in the year
Themes of the year: The music world splits into two, hard-core rock and folk, sometimes combining the two.
Total albums: 18
Interesting things to note: Look at the three iconic albums at the end of the list, all released the same week for the Christmas market. The Beach Boys clock up three albums in the year - a record for an AAA group only equalled once by The Monkees in 1967 - while most of the other groups are really in the swing of things now, releasing an album every six months like clockwork.

January 7th 1966: Simon and Garfunkel "Sounds Of Silence"
April 1st 1966: Otis Redding "The Soul Album"
May 6th 1966: "The Small Faces" (Decca)
May 16th 1966: The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds"  (not yet reviewed)
June 6th 1966: The Hollies "Would You Believe?" (not yet reviewed)
October 10th 1966: Simon and Garfunkel "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme"
October 15th 1966: Otis Redding "The Otis Dictionary Of Soul" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Debut albums by The Small Faces, The Monkees, Jefferson Airplane and the Buffalo Springfield. Lasts: October sees the release of Otis Redding's fifth and final album before his death the following year.
Best-selling album of the year: Shock! Horror! The Beatles are beaten into second place by - no, not 'Pet Sounds' (which sells poorly at first) but 'The Monkees', alos the best-selling record of the year in general.
Worst selling album of the year: Both the Small Faces and Buffalo Springfield debuts got their respective bands off to a slow start
Themes of the year: More psychedelic, with longer songs and 'experiments', some of which work only too well and others not at all.
Total of the year: 16, down on the previous year for the first time as bands on tight schedules start feeling the burn and also gain more control over release dates
Interesting things to note: My personal favourite year in music terms, with several bands either consolidating their successes or starting their own career journeys this year. Both October and December are busy months, with several key AAA albums released in the same week.


January 9th 1967: The Monkees "More Of The Monkees"
"February" 1967: Jefferson Airplane "Surrealistic Pillow"
March 10th 1967: Cat Stevens "Matthew and Son"
("Mid 1967" Lulu "Loves Love To Love Lulu/Mickie Most Years/I'm A Tiger"
June 1st 1967: The Beatles "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band"
"August" 1967: "Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin"
September 18th 1967: The Beach Boys "Smiley Smile"
November 6th 1967: The Monkees "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd"
November 10th 1967: The Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed"
November 30th 1967: Jefferson Airplane "After Bathing At Baxters"
December 8th 1967: Rolling Stones "Their Satanic Majesties Request"

Firsts: Debut albums by Cat Stevens, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues. Lasts: None
Best selling album of the year: Again The Monkees win with 'More Of The Monkees' (also the best selling album of the year in general), although they did have more days of the year to sell the album than anyone else, releasing the record just nine days into the new year!
Worst selling album of the year: "Wild Honey" - following Brian Wilson's breakdown the Beach Boys simply aren't around to promote their new albums and are seen as 'old hat' after the non-appearance of 'Smile'.
Themes of the year: Peace, love and drugs
Total albums: a massive 25, reflecting how many 'new' groups there are this year
Interesting things to note: The huge gap in the Beach Boys' discography caused by Brian Wilson's breakdown (although their two albums are hot on each other's tails), the length of time between Beatles albums, only for 'Peppers' to be followed up very quickly by 'MM Tour' and the impressive three albums by The Monkees released in their biggest year by some margin, doubly impressive when you consider they also recorded 50-odd episodes of their TV show during this year and the last few months of 1966!

April 22nd 1968: The Monkees "The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees"
"June" 1968: "The Pentangle" (not yet reviewed)
July 26th 1968: The Moody Blues "In Search Of The Lost Chord"
August 12th 1968: Big Brother/Janis Joplin "Cheap Thrills"
August 30th 1968: The Byrds "Sweethearts Of The Rodeo"
November 12th 1968: "Neil Young"
November 22nd 1968: The Kinks "The Village Green Preservation Society"
"December" 1968: Pentangle "Sweet Child"

Firsts: Pentangle, Neil Young and the first ever solo Beatles album: George Harrison's 'Wonderwall' soundtrack. Lasts: Buffalo Springfield's third and final album, plus the last time Big Brother work with Janis Joplin. 'Ogden's 'is also the last 'finished' Small Faces album.
Best selling album of the year: "The White Album" (it's actually the best-selling record of the 1960s as a whole!)
Worst selling album of the year: "Head". A weird soundtrack album to a weird film with an even weirder advertising campaign by a band fading rapidly in fortune kills what might be the band's finest work stone dead.
Themes of the year: protest, blues, scarier psychedelia and mayhem.
Total albums: 21
Interesting things to note: 'Friends', a sweet compact extremely short album about how small Brian Wilson's world has become was released the same week as Pink Floyd's 'Saucerful Of Secrets', an epic album that's quite lengthy despite containing just seven songs and which takes in, literally, the universe and everything (well, the heart of the sun at least). Note too how quick on the mark Neil Young is, releasing his debut record just four months after the demise of the Springfield. There's also not a single Who or Hollies album for the whole of this year, unusual for a band in the 1960s.

January 13th 1969: The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" (not yet reviewed)
April 25th 1969: The Moody Blues "On The Threshold Of A Dream"
May 14th 1969: Neil Young "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere"
June 13th 1969: Pink Floyd "More"
"August" 1969: The Hollies "Sing Dylan" Reviewed as part of
"September" 1969: Janis Joplin "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmik Blues Again Mama!"
"November" 1969: The Hollies "Sing Hollies"
"November" 1969: Jefferson Airplane "Volunteers"
November 10th 1969: The Byrds "The Ballad Of Easy Rider"
November 10th 1969: Grateful Dead "Live/Dead" (not yet reviewed)
November 21st 1969: The Moody Blues "To Our Children's Children's Children"
December 5th 1969: Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Debut album by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Last album by The Small Faces (unfinished as it is).
Best selling AAA album of the year: 'Abbey Road', minutely beating the first CSN album and 'Let It Bleed'.
Worst selling AAA album of the year: 'Aoxomoxoa', which in fact does so badly it puts the Dead in debt to several million dollars after they agree to pay for all the studio time; luckily their live album of the year 'Live/Dead' is a strong seller done on the cheap.
Themes: Revolution, rocket ships, soundtrack albums to films about 'journeys' and the bittersweet feeling that an era is over.
Total of albums: 25 again, the same as in 1967
Interesting things to note: The Hollies and The Who return in strength after taking the previous year off - the former, in particular, don't leave themselves much gap between albums this year. Lulu also returns after a two year absence, although frankly most fans wished she hadn't (it's not one of her better LPs!) Note, too, that 'Instant Replay' is released by The Monkees just two months after 'Head', despite losing Peter Tork and most of their following.
(January 16th 1970: Lulu "New Routes" (not yet reviewed))
January 26th 1970: Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (not yet reviewed)
("July 1970": Lulu "Melody Fair" (not yet reviewed))
August 7th 1970: The Moody Blues "A Question Of Balance"
August 30th 1970: Neil Young "After The Goldrush"
"November" 1970: Pentangle "Cruel Sister"
"November" 1970: Paul Kantner/Grace Slick/Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra "Blows Against The Empire"
November 27th 1970: The Kinks "Lola v Powerman and The Money-Go-Round"
November 30th 1970: George Harrison "All Things Must Pass"

Firsts: Solo releases by John Lennon and Paul McCartrney; First CSNY album nine months after the first CSN album and first solo effort by Stills; Lindisfarne. Lasts: The final albums by The Monkees and Simon and Garfunkel.
Best selling AAA album of the year: 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', still in the top ten best-selling albums today!
Worst selling AAA album of the year: No one really buys Lindisfarne's  'Nicely Out Of Tune' until the release of 'Fog On The Tyne' and the re-issue of 'Lady Eleanor' the following year.
Themes: The year is split between huge epic LPs in gatefold sleeves and quite understated releases in fairly plain covers. Otherwise it's business as usual: with an emphasis on gnomes, bovines, inflatable giraffes and dustbins.
Total of albums: 23, down ever so slightly from the year before.
Interesting things to note: One of the big arguments that ended The Beatles was the dispute over the clashing release schedules of 'Let It Be' and 'McCartney', which ended up with Paul threatening Ringo according to some accounts; The gap between Cat Stevens' first two 'comeback' albums for Island is ridiculously short (four months!) with the Grateful Dead taking only a month longer between their two releases of the year; Lennon's and Harrison's first 'proper' solo records are released just a fortnight apart for the Christmas market.

February 22nd 1971: David Crosby "If Only I Could Remember My Name"
March 26th 1971: The Kinks "Percy" (not yet reviewed)
("June" 1971: Nils Lofgren and Grin "Grin" (not yet reviewed))
June 3rd 1971: The Byrds "Byrdmaniax"
July 23rd 1971: The Moody Blues "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour"
August 30th 1971: The Beach Boys "Surf's Up"
"October" 1971: Pentangle "Reflection"
"October 1971": Cat Stevens "Teaser and the Firecat" (Not yet reviewed)
October 8th 1971: The Hollies "A Distant Light"
October 8th 1971: John Lennon "Imagine"
"November" 1971: Paul Kantner/Grace Slick "Sunfighter"
November 26th 1971: The Kinks "Muswell Hillbillies" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Nils Lofgren's first LP with his band 'Grin'; First album by 'Wings'; First solo releases by both Crosby and Nash. Lasts: Janis Joplin's fourth and final LP released posthumously four months after her death; final 'proper' Byrds albums (although they'll be back with a short-lived 'reunion' the following year.
Best selling AAA album of the year: It's a close run thing between 'Who's Next' 'Sticky Fingers' and 'Fog On The Tyne', strong sellers all three (Lindisfarne are, in fact, the top selling UK act of the year although their sales are split between 'Fog' and the re-issue of their debut LP).
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Possibly 'Percy', a Kinks album nobody bought which was the soundtrack to a film nobody watched. 
Themes: Pig's ears, penis transplants, zipped-up-trousers and fish wrapped up in newspapers.
Total Albums: 24, so in between the totals for 1970 (23) and 1969 (25).
Interesting things to note: This is probably the most 'normal' AAA year of the lot: almost every band still around in 1971 released one album but no more (with the exception of Paul McCartney who takes Wings to flight a mere seven months after 'Ram').

February 14th 1972: Neil Young "Harvest" (not yet reviewed)
April 5th 1972: "Graham Nash, David Crosby"
May 15th 1972: The Beach Boys "Carl and The Passions - So Tough"
July 20th 1972: Jefferson Airplane "Long John Silver" (not yet reviewed)
August 25th 1972: The Kinks "Everybody's In Show-Biz"
"September 1972": Pentangle "Solomon's Seal"
September 15th 1972: John Lennon/Yoko Ono "Sometime In New York City"
September 27th 1972: Cat Stevens "Catch-Bull At Four"

Firsts: Paul Simon's first solo album a full 20 months before Art Garfunkel's; The first time Yoko Ono gets a co-credit on one of Lennon's mainstream albums; The first of two albums for Stephen Stills' short-lived super-group Manassas, his substitute for CSNY. Lasts: The final Moody Blues album before a six year 'rest'; Lindisfarne's final album before splitting in two and a six year 'rest' for the original line-up; the final Pentangle album before a fifteen-year rest and many line-up changes; the final Jefferson Airplane studio album before reforming as Jefferson Starship in two years' time.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: "Harvest", the only Neil Young album ever to make #1 in the charts.
Worst selling AAA album of the year: It's 50:50 between 'Romany' , a gorgeous but poorly marketed Hollies album (that saw the band relegated to German-only releases for the next year) and 'Solomon's Seal', a partly gorgeous but even worse marketed Pentangle album.
Themes: Almost every album cover released this year features somebody's face (even if 'Obscured By Clouds' has it out-of-focus and you'll need your magnifying glass for 'Exile on Main Street') or, in the case of 'Europe '72', a big boot.
Total albums: 17, down by around a quarter from the year before.
Interesting things to note: Again we're down to one AAA album per year now, but note the differing fortunes of two former 60s greats with new albums out the same week: The Stones have never been bigger or more acclaimed than with 'Exile on Main Street' but The Beach Boys score one of their worst selling albums ever with 'Carl and the Passions'.

March 7th 1973: "The Byrds"
April 23rd 1973: Stephen Stills/Manassas "Down The Road"
"May" 1973: Paul Kantner/Grace Slick/David Freiberg "Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun"
"Mid 1973": Lindisfarne "Roll On Ruby" (not yet reviewed)
"Mid 1973": "Lulu" (Not yet reviewed)
June 22nd 1973: George Harrison "Living In The Material World"
"September" 1973: Art Garfunkel "Angel Clare"
("October" 1973: Nils Lofgren and Grin "Gone Crazy" (not yet reviewed))

Firsts: Art Garfunkel solo and 10cc's first album under that name. Lasts: Grin waves goodbye; The Byrds fly away for good this time; Manassas go down the road for good; Paul Kantner and Grace Slick's last in their trio of joint albums before the Starship begin again.
Best selling AAA album of the year: Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' which will stay on the charts for the next ten years! Wings finally come good with 'Band On The Run', in second place, another of the decade's strongest selling albums.
Worst selling AAA album of the year: 'Out On The Road', a Hollies album only released in Germany.
Themes: There's a theme of foreign lands this year, what with a German Hollies album, a Beach Boys album entitled 'Holland', 'Band On The Run' recorded in Laos and Cat Stevens writing about his life as a tax exile in Brazil.
Total albums for the year: 23, up on last year.
Interesting things to note: Wings release two key albums just eight months apart; both 'Preservation' and 'Mind Games' are out the same day and, in two entirely differing ways, tackle the same themes of politics and disillusionment.

"March" 1974: "The Hollies"
"March 1974": Cat Stevens "Buddha and the Chocolate Box"
October 18th 1974: Rolling Stones "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll"

Firsts: Lindisfarne spin-off group Jack The Lad, who release two albums this year either side of what is left of the original band. Jefferson Starship also take off this year. Lasts: It's Lennon's last album before his 'house-husband' semi-retirement phase and the Grateful Dead take a break after their album this year too - erm, for a full year (that's long by Dead standards). This is also the last album by Lindisfarne Mark II.
Best selling AAA album of the year: To be honest none of the albums release this year are best sellers. 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' might win it by a nose, but even that record doesn't sell as well as the last two Stones LPs.
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Possibly 'Preservation Act Two' - Kinks albums had been in a steady sales decline ever since 1970 and a lot of the fans still left hated the first 'Preservation' so didn't bother with the second (it's well worth your time, though, having aged rather well).
Themes: Welcome to 1974: Dirt tracks, walls, bridges, hotels on alien landscapes and a chocolate-covered deity.
Total albums for the year: a paltry 13, the lowest since 1964. Not a vintage year.
Interesting things to note: Look how close 'Dark Horse' is to Christmas, the second-latest any AAA album is released in any year. I know George Harrison was more interested in the 'New Year's market 9what with 'Ding Dong Ding Dong' on the album and all) but still!

"Early" 1975: Alan Hull "The Squire"
"February" 1975: The Hollies "Another Night" (not yet reviewed)
February 21st 1975: John Lennon "Rock and Roll" (not yet reviewed)
("March" 1975: "Nils Lofgren" (not yet reviewed))
June 13th 1975: Jefferson Starship "Red Octopus"
"Mid" 1975: Lindisfarne "Rough Diamonds" (not yet reviewed)
"August" 1975: Grateful Dead "Blues For Allah"
"October" 1975: Art Garfunkel "Breakaway"
"October" 1975: Paul Simon "Still Crazy After All These Years"
October 3rd 1975: George Harrison "Extra Texture"
November 10th 1975: Neil Young "Zuma" (not yet reviewed)
November 17th 1975: The Kinks "Schoolboys In Disgrace" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Nils Lofgren's splits from Grin and goes solo. Lasts: None.
Best selling AAA album of the year: This is the year of the sequel: "Wish You Were Here", Pink Floyd's follow-up to 'Dark Side Of The Moon, is a natural contender, with Wings' "Venus and Mars" - follow up to "Band On The Run" - is a close second.
Worst selling AAA albums of the year: The Kinks weren't popular last year and the much-maligned 'A Soap Opera' doesn't do much to restore favour (even if it's one of my favourite Kinks albums...)
Themes: This is the year of the wacky album title: 10cc promise an 'original soundtrack' to a film that doesn't actually exist and George Harrison's extra textured cover is embossed and orange, while goodness only knows what Jefferson Starship meant by 'Red Octopus'.
Total albums for the year: 19, up on last year but still down on previous years.
Interesting things to notice: Cat Stevens ''Numbers" and the similarly titled 'Who By Numbers' are only released three weeks apart and are listed together. This is the only time the same title - or nearly the same title - appears on the whole list. That's a nice bit of trivia for you whenever someone invents an AAA version of Trivial Pursuits! Elsewhere note the two Kinks albums only six months apart (normal for the 60s, rare for the 70s) and the close proximity of both 'Breakaway' and 'Wind On The Water': both Art Garfunkel and Crosby/Nash appear on both albums, guesting on each other's albums.

"January" 1976: The Hollies "Write On" (not yet reviewed)
"January" 1976: 10cc "How Dare You!"
"March" 1976: Stephen Stills "Illegal Stills"
March 25th 1976: Wings "At The Speed Of Sound"
April 23rd 1976: Rolling Stones "Black and Blue" (not yet reviewed)
"June" 1976: Jefferson Starship "Spitfire"
("June" 1976: Nils Lofgren "Cry Tough" (not yet reviewed))
June 25th 1976: Crosby-Nash "Whistling Down The Wire" (not yet reviewed)
("Mid 1976": Lulu "Heaven and Earth and The Stars" (not yet reviewed))
July 5th 1976: The Beach Boys "15 Big Ones" (not yet reviewed)
"August" 1976: Jack The Lad "Jackpot" (not yet reviewed)
September 10th 1976: Stephen Stills/Neil Young Band "Long May You Run"
November 19th 1976: George Harrison "33 and 1/3rd" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: The one-off by the Stills-Young band. Lasts: The one-off by the Stills-Young band. Jack The Lad also call it a day after their album this year. Plus this is the last album by the 'Godley and Creme' line-up of 10cc.
Best selling AAA album of the year: Another terrible year for AAA bands. Only the Beatles-related, Stills/Young and 10cc albums chart, none of them that highly! 'Wings at the Speed Of Sound' probably wins on points, but it's a hollow victory seeing as the album only just makes the top ten.
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Good luck finding Lulu's album, I've never even seen it!
Themes: This is the year of the surprise return. We last heard of the Beach Boys back in January 1973 and it's taken them this long to gain a new recording contract. Many fans will wish they hadn't bothered...The Crosby-Nash and Stills-Young recordings were also planned to be on the first CSNY album since 1970, before the band split up (again!) This is also Lulu's first album in a number of years.
Total number of albums for the year: 14, not as poor as in 1974 but still woefully low (that's a mere one every three weeks!)
Interesting things to note: Stephen Stills had a hand in three albums this year, with some of the Crosby/Nash songs 'arranged' by CSNY together as well as his releases solo and with Neil Young. Interestingly 1976 is the only year till the 1990s that doesn't see the release of a solo Neil Young album. Note too the Hollies bookended the list, with the 'first' and 'last' releases of the year - not bad considering they also released the 'Hollies Live Hits' album the same year! As for the Beach Boys Birthday album, was it really '15 big ones' ago we started this list?!

January 21st 1977: Pink Floyd "Animals"
April 18th 1977: The Beach Boys "Love You" (not yet reviewed)
"May 1977": 10cc "Deceptive Bends"
("Mid" 1977: Nils Lofgren "I Came To Dance" (not yet reviewed))
"October" 1977: Art Garfunkel "Watermark" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. Lasts: None. What a boring year!
Best selling AAA album of the year: 'CSN' sold well in America and 'Animals' sold well in Britain though each album did comparatively badly across the pond. As ever in cases of Britain versus the USA, America probably wins!
Worst selling AAA album of the year: 'I Came To Dance' is generally recognised as being the weakest link in Nils Lofgren's back catalogue, both commercially and artistically.
Themes: A whole hodge-podge of subjects showing what a schizophrenic year punk's 'year zero' was, taking in Terrapins dancing on a railway platform, Cat Stevens playing with a yo-yo in his 'red room', Ray Davies' insomnia and a giant helium pigs flying over Battersea Power Station.
Total albums for the year: Only 10. Well that's less writing to do I suppose.
Interesting things to note: That 'Animals' becomes one of the best-selling albums of the year despite being released at the worst time, financially speaking, when record buyers are thought to have least money (just after Christmas). Note too the release of two 'transitional' back-to-basics albums release a day apart: 'American Stars and Bars' and 'Izitso?' The second half of the year is the worst six months yet in terms of AAA releases.

February 6th 1978: Jefferson Starship "Earth" (not yet reviewed)
"March" 1978: The Hollies " A Crazy Steal" (not yet reviewed)
May 19th 1978: The Kinks "Misfits" (not yet reviewed)
"June" 1978: Lindisfarne "Back and Fourth"
October 2nd 1978: The Beach Boys "M.I.U. Album"
October 31st 1978: Stephen Stills "Thoroughfare Gap"
November 18th 1978: Grateful Dead "Shakedown Street" (not yet reviewed)
December 3rd 1978: Cat Stevens "Back To Earth"
Firsts: Lindisfarne are back, for the first time in six years with the 'proper' line-up! Ditto The Moody Blues, who broke up six months after the Geordies and yet release their reunion album the very same month.  'Dire Straits' also begin their 15 year long career this year. Lasts: Cat Stevens, before his return under a new name in the 21st century. Also 'A Crazy Steal' is the end of an era as from now on it will be cover songs for The Hollies all the way through their album career...
The best-selling AAA Album of the year: 'Some Girls' does well by 70s Stones standards and 'Who Are You' is the biggest Who album in years but this year's title is probably won by new-comers Dire Straits who sell steadily via word of mouth the whole of the second half of the year (the album charts long into 1979 as well).
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Probably 'Thoroughfare Gap. CSN are very out of fashion at this point in time and Stills' decision to release a disco album a year late doesn't exactly win him over many new fans.
Themes: Places are back in fashion again, with 'London'  'Earth' the fictional 'Shakedown Street' and, err, the Maharishi Institute University of California all name-checked this year.
Total albums for the year: 14, the highest we've had for a while.
Interesting things to note: June is a particularly busy month. Two very different AAA albums are released the same day, June 9th, with the Moody Blues' lushest, proggiest album and the Stones' attempt at punk about as big a contrast between two AAA albums as you'll find. No other AAA albums are ever released on this day before or since which is quite, erm, odd.

("Early 1979": Lulu "Don't Take Love For Granted" (not yet reviewed))
March 15th 1979: Art Garfunkel "Fate For Breakfast"
June 8th 1979: Wings "Back To The Egg"
June 15th 1979: Dire Straits "Communique"
June 22nd 1979: Neil Young "Rust Never Sleeps"
("Mid" 1979: Nils Lofgren "Nils" (Not yet reviewed))
September 9th 1979: The Kinks "Low Budget"
("October" 1979: The Human League "Reproduction" (not yet reviewed))
November 1st 1979: Jefferson Starship "Freedom At Point Zero"

Firsts: The Human League begin their run on our list. Lasts: None.
Best selling AAA album of the year: 'The Wall' by one of the highest margins on the list despite having three things working against it: 1) it's a pricey double LP 2) it's released the closest to the end of the year and 3) it has one of the most boring album covers of all time (lots of bricks). The good news is having a #1 hit single in 'Another Brick In The Wall' probably helps quite a lot...
Worst selling AAA album of the year: Good luck finding this year's Lulu album as well!
Themes: There's a theme of breakfast at the start of the year (Wings lay eggs and Art Garfunkel eats fate), there's a run of 'newspaper' themes albums in the middle of the year (more on that story later!) and the year ends with themes of repression and obstacles.
Total albums for the year: 14, identical to last year.
Interesting things to note: The title of Lindisfarne's album this year, 'The News', was a working title for Dire Straits' 'Communique' the band decided not to use (Lindisfarne guitarist Si Cowe was a friend of Dire Straits drummer Pick Withers and was there at the 'band meeting' to decide the album name!) March and JUne are both busy months again: with two 'failed' AAA reunion albums by Wings and Dire Straits followed by Neil Young's biggest success in seven years, all released a week apart from each other in June.
February 16th 1980: Graham Nash "Earth and Sky"
March 24th 1980: The Beach Boys "Keepin' The Summer Alive"
April 28th 1980: Grateful Dead "Go To Heaven"
("May 1980": Human League "Travelogue" (not yet reviewed))
June 20th 1980: Rolling Stones "Emotional Rescue"
"Mid" 1980: The Hollies "Sing Holly" Reviewed as part of
November 17th 1980: John Lennon and Yoko Ono "Double Fantasy"

Firsts: 1980 sees Paul McCartney's first solo album in ten years. Lasts: Sadly this year also sees colleague John Lennon's last ever album, although a posthumous album is on our list in four years' time.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Double Fantasy' is a slow seller at first but understandably does rather well once creator John Lennon dies.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: Take your pick between 'Ten out of Ten' and 'Hollies Sing Holly' , neither of which chart.
Themes: Numbers - there's 'Macca 2' 'Double Fantasy' '10 out of 10'...
Total number of albums for the year: 12, slightly down again.
Interesting things to note: The much-delayed10cc album 'Look Hear' is closely followed by next album 'Ten Out of Ten' only eight months later - the shortest gap between any 10cc studio LPs.  

April 21st 1981: Jefferson Starship "Modern Times"
May 15th 1981: The Moody Blues "Long Distance Voyager"
("Mid 1981": Nils Lofgren "Time Fades Away" (not yet reviewed))
"August" 1981: Art Garfunkel "Scissors Cut"  (not yet reviewed)
(October 20th 1981: Human League "Dare" (not yet reviewed))
October 28th 1981: Neil Young "Re-Ac-Tor"

Firsts: None. Lasts: None. It's that kind of a year - anonymous in AAA terms.
Best-selling AAA Album of the year: The Human League's best-selling album 'Dare' (which time I read a list was just hanging on to 100th place in the 'best selling albums of all time in the UK', although it's dropped a little bit now), followed by The Moody Blues' best-selling 'Long Distance Voyager'.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Modern Times' sells less copies than any other Jefferson Starship record.
Themes: Note how many three syllable album titles there are: 'Sci-ssors Cut' 'Re-Ac-Tor 'Tatt-Oo You' 'Face Dan-ces' 'Modern Times'...
Total number of albums for the year: 9, the lowest number since 1963.
Interesting things to note: This is the first year since 1962 that Paul McCartney does not release an album, either solo with Wings or The Beatles.

("Mid 1982": Lulu "Take Me To Your Heart Again" (not yet reviewed))
September 4th 1982: The Who "It's Hard"
October 4th 1982: Jefferson Starship "Winds Of Change" (not yet reviewed)
November 5th 1982: George Harrison "Gone Troppo"

Firsts: None. Lasts: The Who release their final album this year, ending an impressive 17-year career, although they will be back for a misguided one-off in 2006.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: It's a close match between 'Love Over Gold' (which sells steadily for about a year) or 'Tug Of War' (which does very well but whose chart entry is over rather quicker).
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Gone Troppo', the first non-Ringo Beatles LP not to chart (to put this in context, even John and Yoko's trio of avant garde albums charted briefly!)
Themes: The year's first release, a sarcastic 'Give The People What They Want!', sums it up well: this is the year of the complex, troubled album from Neil Young's vocoder-filled album about his poorly son to The Who's shoulder-shrugging 'It's Hard' to the protracted sessions for Macca, CSN and Lindisfarne this year, all three records due for release the year before but delayed for one reason or another.
Total albums for the year: up slightly to 11
Interesting things to note: I take it back - Neil Young's 'Trans' is the record released closest to the end of the year, December 29th to be exact, making predecessor George Harrison's 'Dark Horse' in 1974 look positively organised!

March 21st 1983: Pink Floyd "The Final Cut"
June 10th 1983: The Kinks "State Of Confusion"
("Mid 1983": Nils Lofgren "Wonderland" (not yet reviewed))
"July 1983": The Hollies "What Goes Around..." (not yet reviewed)
July 27th 1983: Neil Young "Everybody's Rockin" (Not yet reviewed)
October 31st 1983: Paul McCartney "Pipes Of Peace"
November 7th 1983: Rolling Stones "Undercover"

Firsts: None. Lasts: We wave bye-bye to two long-serving AAA bands, The Hollies (who started in 1963 and are still around today, but don't release a full album again till 2006 and - shudder - that awful record doesn't count) and 10cc (who started in 1974 and will only be back for two unloved contract-filling reunion albums).
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'The Final Cut', the only #1 album on the list, even though ultimately it sold only a fraction of predecessor 'The Wall' (which peaked at #3).
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Wonderland', the Nils Lofgren record that took me longest to track down (and is taking even longer to find on CD!)
Themes: There's these pipes of peace, see, that are blown in the jungle that turns it into wonderland before a state of confusion is uncovered, which turns out to be the final cut.
Total albums for the year: 9, equal to 1981.
Interesting things to note: Halloween seems an odd date to release 'Pipes Of Peace', although ironically it is a bit of a trick-and-treat album. Arguably the best albums of the 1980s by Paul Simon and the Rolling Stones are released in the same week (November 4th and 7th) - sadly both also prove to be the worst-selling of the decade, proving for once and for all that the 1980s really was a decade without taste.

January 27th 1984: John Lennon and Yoko Ono "Milk and Honey"
("May 1984": Human League "Hysteria" (link missing!))
July 30th 1984: Stephen Stills "Right By You" (not yet reviewed)
October 22nd 1984: Paul McCartney "Give My Regards To Broad Street" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. Lasts: We really do bid goodbye to Lennon after this, with 'Milk and Honey' his last album of previously unpublished material. Jefferson Starship - or in fact Jefferson anything - wave goodbye after this album (sssh, I'll pretend the later 'Starship' albums never happened if you agree to it too!)
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Hysteria' does the best of a sorry bunch of albums this year, just about going top five on the back of 'Dare'
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Right By You' is released with barely any marketing or promotion and - six years after Stills' last solo album - seems doomed to failure.
Themes: 'Broad Street' is the soundtrack to an (unfairly, some of the time at least) film. 'Right By You' and 'Word Of Mouth' feature covers that look like film posters of the day. 'Nuclear Furniture', an epic about the destruction of mankind in a nuclear war, should have been a film.
Total albums for the year: just six
Interesting things to note: Afraid of being accused of 'cashing in' on Lennon's death, EMI sensibly wait until after the Christmas market to release the much-anticpated 'Milk and Honey'.

May 13th 1985: Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms"
June 10th 1985: "The Beach Boys" (Not yet reviewed)
August 12th 1985: Neil Young "Old Ways" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. lasts: none.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: actually the bset-selling album of the decade, 'Brothers In Arms'.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Flip!' does better than 'Wonderland' but sales for NIls Lofgren are still poor compared to the glory days of ten years earlier
Themes: Nostalgia: 'Flip!' is Nils' goodbye to his on-stage acrobatics now he's reached the age of 34, 'Brothers IN Arms' is a title track about wartime camaraderie , 'The Beach Boys' is a terrible attempt that half-remembers what Beach Boys albums used to be like and, contrary to the end, for Neil Young old ways are like 'a ball and chain'.
Total albums for the year: Four, the worst since 1962
Interesting things to note: This is the first time I can't think of any interesting things to note.

January 12th 1986: Art Garfunkel "The Animal's Christmas"
March 24th 1986: Rolling Stones "Dirty Work" (not yet reviewed)
March 27th 1986: Graham Nash "Innocent Eyes" (not yet reviewed)
April 6th 1986: The Moody Blues "The Other Side Of This Life"
"Mid 1986": Lindisfarne "Dance Your Life Away" (not yet reviewed)
July 21st 1986: Neil Young "Landing On Water" (not yet reviewed)
August 12th 1986: Paul Simon "Graceland" (not yet reviewed)
("September 1986": Human League "Crash" (not yet reviewed))

Firsts: None. Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Graceland', Paul Simon's controversial Africana album.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: It's a fight between Nash's 'Innocent Eyes' (delayed on CD till a couple of years ago) and The Kinks' 'Think Visual' (which still hasn't been re-issued on CD since it came out in limited quantities in1986).
Themes: Is it just me or are the examples on this list the worst records each of these artists made? With the exception of 'Press To Play' (which I love but everyone else hates) these are all the nadir of the respective artist's work (yes, even 'Graceland' which is a terrible album no matter how many copies it sold).
Total albums for the year: Back up to 10; this year is about quantity not quality
Interesting things to note: This is the year of the digital image on album sleeves: Nash features a big digital Earth, The Kinks feature a big digital posing body builder, Neil Young features a digital version of a liferaft complete with instructions, the Human League simply feature the letters of the album title in big digital lettering and Art Garfunkel features a big digital chicken. Note too that Art Garfunkel's poor-selling yuletide album missed the Christmas market completely, being released at the end of January - oops!

July 6th 1987: Grateful Dead "In The Dark"
"Mid 1987": Lindisfarne "C'mon Everybody" (link yet to be added)
"August 1987": The Monkes "Pool It!"
September 7th 1987: Pink Floyd "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason"
November 2nd 1987: George Harrison "Cloud Nine" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: This is the first Grateful Dead album in seven years... Lasts: ...And George Harrison's last solo record in his lifetime.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Cloud Nine', a successful comeback commercially if not artistically. 'In The Dark' is the best selling Dead album since 1970, too.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'C'mon Everybody' , in part thanks to the tasteless cheap-and-cheerful packaging and that fact that e-recordings of old rock and roll songs were deeply out of fashion in 1987.
Themes: Album covers with interesting backgrounds: The Monkees are in a swimming pool, Neil Young is in 'prison', the Grateful Dead are literally in the dark and Pink Floyd are, erm, on a beach filled with hospital beds
Total albums for the year: We're back down to a lowly six
Interesting things to note: Had 'Life' been released just a day later then the first half of 1987 would have been the first six-month period with no AAA albums in it at all.

"April" 1988: Art Garfunkel "Lefty" (not yet reviewed)
April 12th 1988: Neil Young "This Note's For You" (not yet reviewed)
June 6th 1988: The Moody Blues "Sur La Mer"
November 1st 1988: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young "American Dream"

Firsts: None. Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'American Dream' didn't do that well, but it outsold the other three hands down.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Lefty' is Arty's poorest selling album to date.
Themes: Blues, with The Bluenotes backing Neil Young and the Moodies still blue
Total albums for the year: A mere 4
Interesting things to note: There might only be four AAA albums out this year, but Neil had a hand in two of them (that's 50% in case you hadn't worked that out already). What's more 'American Dream' was more-or-less ready first but record company hassles (Neil was on Reprise, CSN were on Atlantic) caused the delay.

January 23rd 1989: David Crosby "Oh Yes I Can!" (not yet reviewed)
"Mid 1989": Lindisfarne "Amigos" (not yet reviewed)
August 29th 1989: The Beach Boys "Still Cruisin'" (not yet reviewed)
Firsts: None. Lasts: Goodbye Grateful Dead, who release their final studio album 22 years on from their first appearance in this list.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones went head to head with their new albums, both marketed heavily as 'big' comeback albums. Macca just won the album battle, but the Stones won if you count singles.
Themes: Many AAA bands who seemed to have stuttered to a halt came back this year, with 'Flowers' 'Freedom' 'Wheels'  and 'Amigos' all hailed as the fbest albums by their respective bands for many years.
Total albums for the year: Much healthier with eight.
Interesting things to note: this is David Crosby's first solo appearance on this list since 1971 28 years earlier, which is a record for anyone we cover on this site. Both The Kinks and Neil Young  release their new albums on the same day - the first time this has happened in many a year.

("Mid 1990": Nils Lofgren "Silver Lining" (not yet reviewed))
September 9th 1990: Neil Young "Ragged Glory" (not yet reviewed)
(September 23rd 1990: Human League "Romantic?" (link missing!) )

Firsts: None. Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Rhythm Of The Saints' - follow-up to 'Graceland' - does well, although it deserved to do even better.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Romantic?' is an all-time low despite being my favourite League LP
Themes: Cover stars standing in awkward poses: the drummer on 'Saints' seems as if he's about to topple over, Crazy Horse are in full intensity mode on 'Ragged Glory', the League look as if they're about to keel over on 'Romantic?'...
Total albums for the year: Slipped again to five.
Interesting things to note: September is quite a busy month - traditionally more records are released in November than any other month.

June 25th 1991: The Moody Blues "Keys To The Kingdom" (not yet reviewed)
September 11th 1991: Stephen Stills "Stills Alone" (not yet reviewed)
Firsts: None. Lasts: Goodbye Dire Straits, who released six albums between 1978 and 1991.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: Eagerly awaited 'On Every Street' - which is six years in the making - underperforms, but still outclasses the other two.
Worst-selling album of the year: I'm convinced 'Stills Alone' doesn't exist: I know everything on it from various sources but I've never ever seen it; even 'Amazon' says it's been out of print for the past ten years.
Themes: Awful digital photographs with an emphasis on blue for both Dire Straits and the Moodies. Stills simply looks blue and down-in-the-dumps on his cover.
Total albums for the year: Three, how the mighty have fallen!
Interesting things to note: Despite only releasing three albums in total this year, two of the AAA stars decided to release their albums the same week.

("Mid 1992": Nils Lofgren "Crooked Line" (not yet reviewed))
"Mid 1992": 10cc "Meanwhile..."
August 3rd 1992: The Beach Boys "Summer In Paradise"
November 2nd 1992: Neil Young "Harvest Moon" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: 10cc re-appear on our list after a ten year absence. Lasts: The Beach Boys wave nearly goodbye - their next album won't be for another 20 years (and isn't exactly worth waiting for).
Best-selling AAA album of the year: Neil Young's long-delayed return to his acoustic roots on 'Harvest Moon'.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: All of the other three perform badly, missing the charts altogether.
Themes: Times of the year: Summer, Autumn (when the Harvest Moon is out...)
Total albums for the year: Four, a minute improvement
Interesting things to note: Err, nothing.

February 1st 1993: Paul McCartney "Off The Ground"
March 23rd 1993: The Kinks "Phobia" (not yet reviewed)
May 4th 1993: David Crosby "A Thousand Roads" (not yet reviewed)
"Mid 1993": Lindisfarne "Elvis Lives On The Moon"
("Mid 1993": Lulu "Independence"

Firsts: Lulu's first album in over a decade. Lasts: Several farewells this year: The Kinks bid adieu after a stunning 29 year run on this list. David Crosby releases his third and final solo record (to date). And Lindisfarne are never the same again after founder Alan Hull dies some 18 months after the band release their 'Elvis' record.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Off The Ground' by a nose.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Phobia' is a commercial disaster, despite all the hard work put into it by the Davies brothers, selling only slightly over 1000 copies.
Themes: Outer space: Elvis is on the moon, 'Off The Ground' features Macca and band's feet flying...
Total albums for the year: Slightly better with five
Interesting things to note: For the first time on this list all the entries are in the first half of the year, making the second half of 1993 the first time no AAA records are released in a six-month period.

July 11th 1994: Rolling Stones "Voodoo Lounge" (not yet reviewed)
August 16th 1994: Crosby, Stills and Nash "After The Storm"  (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Oasis' debut on this list. Lasts: Pink Floyd wave farewell after appearing on these lists since 1967. CSN also release their last ever album as a trio (at the time of writing anyway).
Best-selling AAA album of the year: the mammoth publicity blitz for 'The Division Bell' really pays off, even if hiring a 'fake' website writer to 'drop hints' about the depth of the song lyrics is going a bit far... 'Definitely Maybe' does rather well too and Oasis are going to dominate this list from hereon in.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'After The Storm' , an awful disappointment for such a strong album.
Themes: Forces outside our control: storms, death ('Angels'), the division bell of date, voodoo...
Total albums for the year: 5 once again.
Interesting things to note: August is generally a quiet week for albums so it's a shock to see 3 of the 5 albums this month (that's 60%!) released in it!

(January 23rd 1995: Human League "Octopus" (not yet reviewed))
"Mid 1995": 10cc "Mirror Mirror" (not yet reviewed)
October 2nd 1995: Oasis "(What's The Story?) Morning Glory" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. Lasts: 10cc's very last album.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Morning Glory' storms past everything else on this list, staying in the best sellers chart well into 1996 9it's probably the best-selling AAA album of the 1990s).
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Damaged Goods', which is an awful shame - for me it's easily Nils' best record.
Themes: Mirrors: 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Mirroball' released alongside each other is a really cosmic coincidence (or is it?...)
Total albums for the year: 5,for the third year in a row.
Interesting things to note: 'Octopus', the long awaited League comeback, just misses the Christmas market.

June 6th 1996 (as an 'album', though released the year before on the internet)
July 2nd 1996: Neil Young "Broken Arrow"
"October 1986": The Monkees "JustUs" (Not yet reviewed)
November 18th 1996: Belle and Sebastian "If You're Feeling Sinister"

Firsts: Belle and Sebastian, who release two records this year (sort of - 'Tigermilk' was actually released in 1995 but only on a newfangled thing called the internet!) Lasts: it's the second and final Monkees reunion album this year, ending their run which stretches back to 1966. 'JustUs' is, in fact, released as near as possible to the 30th anniversary of 'The Monkees'.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Sinister', a cult hit that gradually picks up in sales across the following year...
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Tigermilk' but that's a bit of a cheat - it is a limited edition of 5000 copies after all (thankfully the album gets re-issues in 1998).
Themes: There's no links between these four disparate records that I can see.
Total albums for the year: Down slightly to four.
Interesting things to note: Belle and Sebastian's double means this is the first time an AAA band has had more than one album in a single year since 10cc in 1981!

May 5th 1997: Paul McCartney "Flaming Pie" (not yet reviewed)
August 21st 1997: Oasis "Be Here Now"
September 21st 1997: Rolling Stones "Bridges To Babylon"
November 18th 1997: Paul Simon "The Capeman"

Firsts: 'The Capeman' is the first (and only) musical soundtrack to make the list!
Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Be Here Now', which would have won on pre-order sales alone.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'The Capeman', a doomed production that loses Paul Simon a lot of love from fans.
Themes: Half the albums have Beatles references - naturally for Macca (the man on a 'flaming Pie' was a Lennon invention when asked how the Beatles got their name) and Oasis (who 'steal' the title of a George Harrison song after their success with 'Wonderwall' the previous year).
Total albums for the year: Still four
Interesting things to note: Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones again fight for chart supremacy with their 'comeback' albums, just like the old days (and 1989!)

"Mid 1998": Lindisfarne "Here Comes The Neighbourhood"
September 7th 1998: Belle and Sebastian "The Boy With The Arab Strap"

Firsts: None Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Arab Strap', though not exactly a strong seller itself.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: That leaves 'Neighbourhood', a sadly flop 'comeback' album.
Themes: Err....neighbourhoods? (Though B+S' character is hardly the boy next door!)
Total albums for the year: A pitiful two, the lowest since 1962
Things to note: What an empty year it was!

August 17th 1999: The Moody Blues "Strange Times" (not yet reviewed)
October 26th 1999: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young "Looking Forward"

Firsts: None. Lasts: The last time CSNY get together in any greater numbers than two. Also, this is kind-of the last Moodies album to date, as the follow-up is simply a badly made Christmas album.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: both albums do badly
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: both albums do badly
Themes: The Millennium is here: CSNY are looking forward to it, The Moodies less so...
Total Albums for the year: An equally pitiful two!
Interesting things to note: 'Looking Forward' is released the closest to the millennium of all AAA albums.

February 28th 2000: Oasis "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants"
April 25th 2000: Neil Young "Silver and Gold" (not yet reviewed)
June 6th 2000: Belle and Sebastian "Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like A Peasant"
October 3rd 2000: Paul Simon "You're The One"

Firsts: None. Lasts: None.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Giants' may have been Oasis' poorest seller to date but it still outshone everything else on offer.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: Paul Simon's album does better than 'Capeman' but still barely makes the charts.
Themes: Class: Oasis clearly think they're big and Paul Simon has found someone special, but Neil Young is obsessed with money and B+S are walking like peasants...
Total albums for the year: A slightly more respectable four
Interesting things to note: 'Shoulders' is the first AAA album of the 21st century and it's good-but-patchy status rather sums up most of the albums we've had ever since.

("Mid 2001": Nils Lofgren "Breakaway Angel" (not yet reviewed))
(August 6th 2001: Human League "Secrets" (not yet reviewed))
November 12th 2001: Paul McCartney "Driving Rain"

Firsts: None. Lasts: None, except to note that this is Paul McCartney's first album post-Linda.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: all three do badly, but at least 'Driving Rain', just, makes the charts.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: all three do badly, but at least 'Driving Rain', just, makes the charts.
Themes: Things being revealed.
Total albums for the year: A middling three.
Interesting things to note: None.

April 9th 2002: Neil Young "Are You Passionate?" (not yet reviewed)
April 30th 2002: Graham Nash "Songs For Survivors" (not yet reviewed)
June 3rd 2002: Belle and Sebastian "Storytelling" (not yet reviewed)
"Mid 2002": Lindisfarne "Promenade" (not yet reviewed)
October 8th 2002: Art Garfunkel "Everything Waits To Be Noticed"
November 19th 2002: George Harrison "Brainwashed"

Firsts: None. Lasts: So long George Harrison, whose appeared on this list in one form or another since the second entry. Goodbye too to Lindisfarne who've appeared since 1970. Graham Nash also records his fifth and final solo album to date.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Heathen Chemistry', Oasis agin outselling everyone else hands down.
Worst-selling AAA albums of the year: 'Promenade' is the worst selling Lindisfarne album of all, the band breaking up soon after. Also, fittingly, 'Everything Waits To Be Noticed' is a slow burner in sales terms.
Themes: None.
Total albums for the year: seven, the best since 1989.
Interesting things to note: There are two albums released in April, both of them from the same 'parent' group, although predictably Young's outsells Nash's.

August 19th 2003: Neil Young "Greendale" (not yet reviewed)
October 6th 2003: Belle and Sebastian "Dear Catastrophe Waitress"
Firsts: None.Lasts: This really is goodbye for the Moody Blues this time, after appearing on this list in some form or another since 1965.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Waitress' is a much more commercial B+S CD, which fully takes advantage of the growing word-of-mouth around the band.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: They've repackaged 'December' several times now and it still won't chart!
Themes: Snow on the Greendale Hills where catastrophe waitresses spill their trays
Total albums for the year: Back down to three.
Interesting things to note: Two of the three albums (that's 66.6%!) were released in October!

Firsts: None. Lasts: The final Crosby-Nash collaboration, after a gap of 28 years. To date it's the last studio release by either Crosby or Nash.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: Err, there's only one choice!
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: Err, there's only one choice!
Themes: Ampersands, nuclear waste, weapons of mass distraction and puppeteers.
Total albums for the year: One, the equal lowest with our first year of 1962!
Interesting things to note: This album is only one asterisk away from the title of the first Crosby-Nash album released back in 1971.


May 24th 2005: Belle and Sebastian "Push Barman To Heal Old Wounds" (EPs 1996-2005)
May 30th 2005: Oasis "Don't Believe The Truth"
August 9th 2005: Stephen Stills "Man Alive!" (Not yet reviewed)
September 5th 2005: Rolling Stones " A Bigger Bang" (Not yet reviewed)
September 12th 2005: Paul McCartney "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. Lasts: Stills' last album of 'new' material on the list.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Truth' just about outsells 'Chaos' and 'Bang' despite not doing as well as previous Oasis albums.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Man Alive'  does poorly, released on a tiny label with little budget.
Themes: Something bigger...who caused the big bang? Who created chaos in the backyard? What is the mysterious force that blows across the prairies? And should we always believe the truth?!
Total albums for the year: Back up to six!
Interesting things to note: Yet again the big comebacks by Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones are scheduled right next to each other! (A week apart in fact!)

February 6th 2006: Belle and Sebastian "The Life Pursuit"
("Mid 2006": Nils Lofgren "Sacred Weapon" (not yet reviewed))
October 30th 2006: The Who "Endless Wire" (not yet reviewed)
"November 2006": Yusuf/Cat Stevens "An Other Cup" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: Cat Stevens surprises everybody by recording his first 'pop' album since 1978, even if technically it's under a different name. This is also The Who's first album since 1982.... Lasts:...And their last to date.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Surprise', surprisingly, ever so slightly beating the much ballyhooed returns by The Who and Cat Stevens.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Sacred Weapon' is another hard-to-find Nils Lofgren album.
Themes: War - Neil's living with it, Paul's surprised by it, Nils is scared by it and Cat Stevens is trying to stop it.
Total albums for the year: Six, again.
Interesting things to note: Cat Stevens and The Who - last heard of in 1978 and 1982 respectively - chose to release their first 'new' albums in all that time only a week apart!
June 4th 2007: Paul McCartney "Memory Almost Full"
October 16th 2007: Neil Young "Chrome Dreams II" (not yet reviewed)

Firsts: None. Lasts: Stills' last album and the last by any of CSN to date, even if it is a previously 'lost' recording from 1968!
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Memory' does OK.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Chrome Dreams' is the weakest selling NY album for quite some years, perhaps because of that hideous cover which is a close-up of his car.
Themes: The problems of growing older - except for Stills, singing to us from 1968, who is worried about growing older.
Total albums for the year: Merely three.
Interesting things to note: You wait five years for an album to be released in June and then two come along at once!

October 6th 2008: Oasis "Dig Out Your Soul"
November 28th 2008: Paul McCartney aka "The Fireman"  "Electric Arguments"

Firsts: None. Lasts: Oasis' final album, after being a part of this list since 1994.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Truth' is the worst selling album to date, but still outsells 'Arguments'.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Truth' is the worst selling album to date, but still outsells 'Arguments'.
Themes: The 'spaciest' albums  by both Oasis and Macca, both about endings in different ways.
Total albums for the year: A pathetic two.
Interesting things to note: These are the first two reviews of 'new' releases that we ever wrote for this website!

April 7th 2009: Neil Young "Fork In The Road"

Firsts: None. Lasts: Cat Stevens' final album to date (although he might well release more in the future), ending an association with this list since 1967!
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'Roadsinger', on points.
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: A hurried concept album about a car that doesn't run on petrol. What were you thinking Neil - even I didn't bother to buy it!
Themes: Cars, quite neatly. One of the better links on this list!
Total albums for the year: Count them. One -Two. That was easy wasn't it?!
Interesting things to note: 'Roadsinger' was the third 'new' album reviewed for this site.


Firsts: None. Lasts: The final Belle and Sebastian album - probably for good, although a reunion album in a few years might be on the cards, ending an association that goes back to 1996.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: It's pretty much a draw!
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: It's pretty much a draw!
Themes: Both albums are - shock horror - about love.
Total albums for the year: Two. Again.
Interesting things to note: 2010 was the longest we had to wait for an album of 'new' AAA material since 1962!

February 28th 2011: Beady Eye "Different Gear, Still Speeding"
("Mid 2011": Nils Lofgren "Old School" (not reviewed yet))
October 17th 2011: "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds" 

Firsts: Both Beady Eye and Noel Gallagher debut their new bands at different ends of the year. Lasts: Noel Gallagher hasn't released a follow-up at the time of writing, but no doubt he will sometime soon. Ditto The Human League, Paul Simon and Nils Lofgren, who all seem likely to have a new album out before too long.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: Noel's album makes #1, the first AAA artist to do so since Oasis in 2005. Whether he deserved to or not is another matter...
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: 'Old School', bought only by the faithful, with the non-charting 'Credo'# the biggest surprise after a ten year wait.
Themes: A complete mixture this year.
Total albums for the year: Much better, with five.
Interesting things to note: Beady Eye beat Noel Gallagher into the shops, though there wasn't much in it.

June 12th 2012: The Beach Boys "That's Why God Made The Radio"

Firsts: None. Lasts: The last appearance to date for both Neil Young (around since 1968, or 1966 with the Springfield) and The Beach Boys(who date right back to our first entry in 1962!)
Best-selling AAA album of the year: All three albums went top ten and did pretty well
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: All three albums went top ten and did pretty well.
Themes: All three albums have a very 'backwards' kind of a feel, what with McCartney crooning, The Beach Boys returning to their earliest Four Freshman roots and Crazy Horse finally releasing the 'jamming' album they seemed to promise us in 1969!

October 15th 2013: Paul McCartney "New"

Firsts: None. Lasts: Final appearance to date for Beady Eye or any Oasis spin-off for that matter (rumour is that the band have broken up now, leaving this as their final appearance anyway) and Paul McCartney, whose been part of this list since the second entry.
Best-selling AAA album of the year: 'New' did rather well
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: '...But 'Be' didn't.
Themes: 'Let It Be'.
Total albums for the year: We end, yet again, with two.
Interesting things to note: 2013 has seen the lowest amount of AAA releases of all kinds since starting the site in 2008 - not just in terms of new releases but archive items as well.
January 28th 2014: David Crosby "Croz"
July 28th 2014: CSNY "'74"
September 5th 2014: Stuart Murdoch/Belle and Sebastian "God Help The Girl" (Film)
October 27th 2014: Yusuf/Cat Stevens "Tell 'Em I'm Gone"
November 4th 2014: Neil Young "Storytone"

Firsts: Crosby's first solo album since 1993. CSNY's first since 2001 (although it's an archive set, so we're not sure if it counts or not).
Best-selling AAA album of the year: The CSNY set did better than expected...
Worst-selling AAA album of the year: '...But 'Storytone' didn't!
Themes: Doom and woe. What a miserable trilogy of new albums we had this year - it says something when a box set recorded on the tour when Richard Nixon resigned and America was left in a mess ends up being the happiest release of the year!
Total albums for the year: We end with four.
Interesting things to note: 2014 upped the ante slightly to, erm, four!
January 19th 2015: Belle and Sebastian "Girls In Peacetime Just Want To Dance"
June 29th 2015: Neil Young "The Monsanto Years"

Yes the AAA bands might have slowed down a tad from the heydays of 1968 through 1972, alarmingly so come the 1990s, but so many of our bands are still releasing great music nearly 50 years after their first albums. We'll be there ready to review them, no matter what form they take or when they're due out, because the one thing we do properly learn from this list is to expect the unexpected: you never know what these bands are going to do next! let's hope the entries for 2014 will be chock-a-block! Till then, happy new year - see you next week for more news, views and music! I'm going for a lie-down after researching all that lot...