Music, January 1971: All Things Must Pass

Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun recognized that the future of music was likely to be both album shaped and white in color.

Random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

The Beatles had broken up but there was a Fab on the top of the charts. All Things Must Pass spent the first seven weeks of 1971 at #1 in the US, though, as a double album, or triple, if you insist on counting the jam, it was twice the price of a standard LP. The title song was the theme of my high school senior prom. I loved the All Things Must Pass album, but was sad that the box the albums came in was too flimsy, and fairly quickly.

Whereas John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album was more difficult for me to grasp at first, with the primal screaming, though I did make it a part of my limited playlist at college that fall.

I was disheartened by the sometimes public sniping among the former Beatles, such as John’s towards George’s album, which was doing much better commercially than his. But because of a partnership agreement just before Brian Epstein’s death, they were joined at the hip. Harrison’s success was good for Lennon’s pocket too. So Paul could not leave the label as he wanted to do.

The leader of a Jersey cover band called Steel Mill made a trip to California and heard Van Morrison’s His Band and Street Choir. That album was one of my favorites, with Blue Money and Domino. That singer/guitarist, BTW, was Bruce Springsteen.

“Yes, we’re one of a number of long-haired groups who had been picked up in a sweep conducted by Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun when he recognized that the future was likely to be both album shaped and white in color. Ertegun had used his roots music calling card to sign Crosby, Stills & Nash; Iron Butterfly; Cream; and many other groups he really didn’t pretend to understand.” I did note that a lot of my favorite music of the period, from Sam & Dave and Roberta Flack and the (Young) Rascals to Led Zeppelin, was on the label.

The Yes Album did well, especially in head shops of the UK the first quarter of the year. It became another listening staple in my freshman year of college. So was Led Zeppelin III, which actually was #1 for 4 weeks in the last quarter of 1970.

Listen to:

Lord If I Ever Needed Someone – Van Morrison
Every Little Thing – Yes
What Is Life – George Harrison
Give Me Some Truth – John Lennon
I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds
Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Music, January 1971: All Things Must Pass”

  1. So many of us thought that The Yes Album was the first album by Yes, followed by Fragile. And we were wrong: The Yes Album was their third. (Before that: Yes and Time and a Word.; the cover of “Every Little Thing” appeared on Yes. I did feel sort of dumb.)

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