The era of the live album truly got underway with the blockbuster success of Frampton Comes Alive in 1976; in its wake, most every major rock act released a live set. But five landmark live albums hit the shelves four years earlier.
Live Cream Volume II – Cream broke up in 1968, with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker all going on to other high-profile projects. This posthumous document captured their thrilling onstage dynamics.
The Mothers – Just Another Band from L.A. – Frank Zappa’s band had been through wholesale lineup changes by this point, but this uproarious set captured the peak of the “Flo and Eddie’ (ex-Turtles Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman) era band in all its mischievous glory.
Slade Alive! – A massive hit in the band’s native U.K. this live release from the workmanlike hard rock quartet was their first release to make the charts in the U.S., laying the groundwork for a succession of American tours, sharing bills with Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and ZZ Top.
Mountain Live – Released only five months after Flowers of Evil (half of which was recorded live) this Long Island hard rock outfit’s double live LP featured a 17-plus minute reading of their popular “Nantucket Sleighride.”
Procol Harum Live: In Concert with The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – Rock band and orchestra collaborations onstage are commonplace today, but in 1972 this was an edgy, groundbreaking (and very successful) experiment.
Procol Harum – “Conquistador” Live in Edmonton, Alberta 1971