by Geo Thelen
Join us as we celebrate the varied tapestry of live music from 1974, a pivotal year that birthed iconic performances captured for historical posterity. From Marvin Gaye's soulful serenades in Oak-town to the electrifying energy of Santana in Japan, these live albums have stood the test of time and are a must have for any record collection.
Marvin Gaye LIVE! Recorded at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, this Tamla label release on June 19th, 1974, delivers 43:41 minutes of soulful bliss and proving Gaye still had his riveting live game. Garnering a Grammy nomination, it soared to #1 on the R&B Album chart, marking a milestone in Marvin Gaye's illustrious career.
Santana - Lotus LIVE in Japan Immerse yourself in over two hours of electrifying Santana performances, captured during their tour in Osaka, Japan, on July 3rd & 4th, 1973. Originally exclusive to Japan, this triple LP (yes 3!) showcases Santana featuring Jazz vocalist Leon Thomas, and Woodstock veterans drummer Michael Shrieve and company at their peak.
Bob Dylan and The Band - Before the Flood This live masterpiece, recorded mostly in Los Angeles during January and February 1974, stands as Dylan's inaugural live album. Peaking at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart, its platinum certification cements its status as a quintessential 1974 release, and a teaser for what would come later with the release of “The Last Waltz.”
Rory Gallagher - Irish Tour ’74 Rory Gallagher's guitar prowess shines in this double LP, capturing the essence of his Northern Ireland tour from January 1974. Recorded amidst political turmoil, it's a testament to Gallagher's raw talent, musical resilience, and love of country. The innovative (LMS) mobile recording unit used to capture this performance was later used by numerous artists including Eric Clapton, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.
Velvet Underground - 1969: The Velvet Underground Live Despite being recorded in 1969, this Mercury label gem wasn't unveiled until September 1974. Featuring fan-recorded tracks from a Dallas show and house 4-track recordings from the Matrix in San Francisco, it's a must-have for Velvet Underground / Lou Reed aficionados.
David Bowie - David Live Recorded during the Diamond Dogs American tour, this album at Tower Theater, Pennsylvania, documents Bowie's evolution from Ziggy Stardust to soulful pop. The album hit #2 in Bowie’s native England and #8 on Billboard’s Top LP’s & Tapes. A commercial success, it is noted as a pivotal moment in Bowie's iconic career.
Ella Fitzgerald - Ella in London Recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, this live album showcases Fitzgerald's elegance amidst London's vibrant jazz scene. A testament to her enduring legacy, it stands as her sole live recording in England. Established in 1959, Scott’s Jazz Club was the location of Jimi Hendrix’s last public performance in 1970 and is considered one of the most influential Jazz clubs in British history.
Elvis Presley - Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis Returning to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, Presley delivers a stellar performance at the Mid-South Coliseum. The album hit #2 on Billboard’s Country Album charts and the single “How Great Thou Art” would give Presley his third and final Grammy award. With 15 soul-stirring tracks including a melody of his early hits, it's a poignant reminder of Presley's lasting impact on music.
Van Morrison - It’s Too Late to Stop Now A historical blend of Morrison originals and inspirations, this double LP captures the essence of his performances across iconic venues. The double-LP is made up of performances recorded at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, England during the summer of 1973. Released by Warner Brothers Records in February of 1974, it's on the short list of best live albums of all time.
Billy Preston - Live European Tour Documenting Preston's European tour with the Rolling Stones, this album features Mick Taylor on guitar and a repertoire heavy on Lennon/McCartney compositions. The original album release was limited to Europe and Japan and is Preston’s only live album making it a rare gem for music enthusiasts.
Electric Light Orchestra - The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach Limited to Germany and Australia, this live recording captures ELO's unique sound amidst a marred performance in Long Beach, California. It is the only live recording of ELO during their 1970’s existence considered a historical piece of audio for fans of the iconic band.
Harry Belafonte - Belafonte Concert in Japan Harry Belafonte's farewell to RCA Records after 21 years, this live recording from Tokyo, Japan, captures his timeless classics with full vocal backing. A captivating 14-song set that epitomizes Belafonte’s uniquely unmatched talent, Belafonte Concert in Japan is more than worthy of any record collection.
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