December 31 – My 1970 Year End Top 30 Album Ranking

Greetings, and welcome back to the end of 1970! This list is not an attempt to claim which albums are the “best” in terms of any number of criteria. My ranking is nothing more than an attempt to share my favorites in loosely accurate order based mostly upon the ones I’ve played and enjoyed the most over the years, and it ain’t an easy exercise. Releases by the Flying Burrito Brothers, James Taylor, The Doors, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, and Jethro Tull did not make my top 30. Also edged out were really good albums by the likes of Syd Barrett, MC5, The Stooges, Band of Gypsies, King Crimson, Free, Clapton, Paul Kantner, Todd Rundgren, and others.  I did extend the list by five from the first time I did a year end ranking, but we’ve now entered the most bountiful years of music as far as my favorites go and it’s hard to narrow my list.

If interested in what I have to say about my top 30 and more, I invite you to look back through my posts from this year.  The date I published them is in parentheses. I’ve covered most of them, but a few albums slipped by due to time constraints or just plain laziness. That said, thank you all for coming along for the ride with me.  I hope you keep checking in as we move forward-yet-backward into 1971.  Happy New Year!


30. Brewer & Shipley – Tarkio (12/30)

Tariko album cover.JPG

29. The Allman Brothers Band – Idlewild South (9/23)

Idlewild South cover.jpg

28. Canned Heat – Future Blues (8/3)

Future Blues - Canned Heat.jpg

27. Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills (11/16)

Stephen Stills sitting outside in the snow and playing a guitar, with a toy giraffe nearby

26. Leon Russell – Leon Russell (5/29)


25. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (7/16)

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory.jpg

24. The Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (6/14)

A black-on-sepia image of men in Stetson hats standing along a road.

23. Dave Mason – Alone Together (7/11)

Alone Together.jpg

22. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends – On Tour with Eric Clapton (6/1)


21. Bob Dylan – New Morning

A black-and-white photograph of Bob Dylan

20. Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon

Joni Ladies.jpg

19. The Velvet Underground – Loaded (11/15)


18. The Moody Blues – A Question of Balance (8/7)


17. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III

A collage of butterflies, teeth, zeppelins and assorted imagery on a white background, with the artist name and "III" subtitle at center.

16. The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (9/4)

Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert.jpg

15. Elton John – Elton John (6/6)

Elton John - Elton John.jpg

14. Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (11/23)

Tea for the Tillerman.jpeg

13. Paul McCartney – McCartney (6/16)


12. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu (6/1)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu.jpg

11. Santana – Abraxas (9/23)


10. Van Morrison – Moondance


9. Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die (7/1)

Traffic-John Barleycorn Must Die (album cover).jpg

8. The Grateful Dead – American Beauty (11/1)

A woodgrain panel with a circle in the middle—inscribed is a rose surrounded by the words "American Beauty".

7. Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970).png

6. The Beatles – Let It Be (5/25)

A black cover with four square photos of the band members' faces

5. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection (10/23)

Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection.jpg

4. Derek and the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (11/9)


3. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (12/11)


2. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (9/19)

After the Gold Rush.jpg
  1. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (11/27)
All Things Must Pass 1970 cover.jpg

14 thoughts on “December 31 – My 1970 Year End Top 30 Album Ranking”

  1. Holy cow, Stephen! It’s almost unreal to look at your list and realize that all of these albums appeared in the same year of 1970. Man, this was truly a golden age for music!

    And what a difference to the 2020 year-end album lists Hans from Slice the Life has shared in recent days, where I didn’t even know the vast majority of artists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is amazing. And most of these albums are well known. There are also quite a few I discover for myself in the process of blogging that I feel like I should already be familiar with, some of which most likely would be Top 30 worthy if I’d listened to them for years. I thought 1970 might be the peak as far as my blog goes, but looking at my list for 1971 I’m not so sure. We’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting list– we agree I think on 18 of the 30 and most of the ones we have in the top half- and of course we agree at #1. I think All Things Must Pass gets better and better as time passes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yes i agree- although I am looking forward next year for the new version. I have heard the title track and it sounds excellent. I think George’s catalog in general has improved with age.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Allman Brothers first two albums gets overlooked…The list is great Stephen. A great year for albums…the next year wasn’t a bad one either. Happy New Year Stephen.

    Liked by 2 people

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