5. Emerson Lake & Palmer, Tarkus Medley (1971)
Running Time: 20:40 This is the blue print for the flashy playing and unnecessary musical changes within one musical piece that would define generations of progressive rock, and it's damn hard to listen to. The name itself is nerdy. Tarkus sounds like a villain on "Buck Rogers." Wait, no, it's nerdier than that. Check out the cover. It's a cartoon, armadillo tank. Were these guys for real?
4. The Allman Brothers Band, Mountain Jam (1971)
Running Time: 33:41
The Allman Brothers were a group of rednecks from Georgia who, when their original line up was all living, made some wonderful music inspired by jazz and blues. And when they were at their best, their music could take you on a journey. While "Mountain Jam" did highlight some great playing from the original members, clocking in at over a half hour the only journey it's likely to send anyone less than a diehard fan would be over to the CD player to hit the skip button.
3. Pink Floyd, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast: Rise and Shine/Sunny (1970)
Running Time: 13:01
What was the band thinking when they made this "song?" It's literally a guy making breakfast. It opens with him saying, "sausages . . . coffee . . . marmalade. I like marmalade." It then goes into a pretty musical passage, which really is a fitting sound for waking up in the morning, and it's quite well done. Then it's back to flipping Alan gulping down his OJ and pouring his cereal! Then there's a trippy guitar section that's, again, pretty well done. But then it's back to Alan sizzling his bacon and talking to himself. I'm going to go on record right now to tell you all that I'm probably the biggest Pink Floyd fan alive right now, and not even I can defend the merits of this song. I think that if you asked the members of the band at least three out of four of them would tell you themselves that the song is "rubbish."
2. Iron Butterfly, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)
Running Time: 17:05
I'm sure you've heard before, as I had, that the song got its name because the singer was too messed up to say the words "In the Garden of Eden." However, it was news to me to learn another bit of folk lore. The band was also too doped up to figure out how to end the song properly, and that's why it meanders on for over 17 minutes. That explains a lot. The drum solo in this one is real bad too, even as drum solos go.
1. Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick (1972)
Running Time: 43: 40
What's on side one of this record? "Thick as a Brick" clocking in at 22:37. Okay, a little long, but that's okay. What's on side two? "Thick as a Brick" at a mere 21:03. There is some great music on this album without a doubt, but not sectioning some of the segments into different names is just a pretentious move. These days we can skip around pretty fast with the laser technology, but imagine if you wanted to play a part you liked for someone on your record player, and you just had to keep guestimating, and dropping the needle at various places, probably even flipping the record over a couple times since both sides had the same title. That would have been exhausting, much like Ian Anderson's 14th flute solo on "Thick as a Brick," part one or two, take your pick.