Why go all the way to New Orleans when you can just stay online and vote for the best album released in 1966? Oh, because March Madness and this Music Court tournament have nothing in common despite the intentional name and date similarities and the college basketball finals are enticing? Okay, I guess I understand. But wait! You can do both. So before the National Title game commences tonight at the unfairly late hour of 9:25 p.m. ET (seriously! I go to sleep at 10 p.m.), vote in the two Final Four matchups below!
#1-seed Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys vs. #4-seed Freak Out by The Mothers of Invention.
For the second straight year, the March Madness album pool has gone chalk. That does not mean that match-ups cannot be close. In a big surprise, Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme did not only give top-seeded Pet Sounds a run for their money, but also almost beat them. The two albums were only separated by two votes. This was not the case for Freak Out which took care of the Mamas and Papas with ease. Because of this, I am not ready to sail Pet Sounds into the finals just yet. There is a chance that Freak Out might pull off a Final Four update and compete for the title of best album of 1966.
#2-seed:Revolver by The Beatles vs. #3-seed: Blonde on Blondeby Bob Dylan
Revolver has blown out every opponent it has faced since the first round. Blonde on Blonde has pretty much done the same (with the small exception of the Rolling Stones’ Aftermath which it beat by three votes.) Both albums are looking quite strong and, well, are excellent albums. The winner gets the finals and, for the Beatles, a chance to win best album titles for 1967 and 1966.
Thus begins the true first round of March Madness: 1966 Album Edition. If you are new to the game, let me do a quick sentence reminder of what this is. Over the next few weeks we are going to do a March Madness-style poll game that will narrow down the best album released in 1966 in a time span concurrent with the NCAA March Madness tournaments. Easy enough. All you have to do is vote and have fun. A few days I go I did the premiere post of this year’s competition that saw the #1 seed Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys vs. Buffalo Springfield by Buffalo Springfield. Both good albums, of course, but I think Neil Young would even vote for Pet Sounds, though. It seems that the majority of readers agree. Pet Sounds is winning 5 to 2 currently. Buffalo Springfieldis putting up a deserved fight, though. It is an excellent album featuring some musical superstars. Vote for The Beach Boys or Buffalo Springfield here
Keep voting! Remember, the only way this works is if we receive a whole bunch of votes. Let me thank John Phillips over at http://joebeans2002.wordpress.com/ for re-blogging the first March Madness poll. Do check out his blogs. I am grateful to all of you if you spread this along to others. Let’s make this years March Madness even more exciting than last’s.
On to the match-ups!
#2 seed: Revolver by The Beatles vs. #15 seed:The Young Rascalsby The Young Rascals
The Beatles were on last year’s 1967 list twice. They occupy a #2 seed this time around. The Beatles are Duke. They must have been a pretty good band. It is actually striking just how industrious and talented the fab four actually were. Many consider Revolver to be their first deep dive into musical diversity and psychedelics (and it makes sense considering their next two releases). It features hits like “Eleanor Rigbey,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.” It goes up against the debut album from the Young Rascals. The album features their versions of “Mustang Sally,” “In The Midnight Hour,” and a little-known song named “Good Lovin” that went on to be one of the Young Rascals most beloved songs. Is this an easy match-up for Revolver? I think Revolver has too many strengths to lose. It is multi-faceted and classic. Up to you all, though!
#3 seed: Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan vs. #14 seed: A Quick One by The Who
Blonde on Blonde was released a year after Highway 61 Revisited which is my favorite Dylan album. It is nowhere near a slouch though. Many consider Blonde on Blonde to be Dylan’s most advanced album. The opening track is “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35!” The album also features “Just Like a Woman” and “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” It is bluesy and folky and if it wasn’t for the fact that two of the best albums ever released ever were ahead of it, it may be a #1 seed. It goes up against a Who album that is no Spring chicken – even though it was the second album released by the band. The album, which originally was called Happy Jack because of the title’s lewd aspirations, features a few great pieces, but mainly a band that would develop into one of the best of the generation. This may be closer than you think.
#4 Seed: Freak Out by The Mothers of Invention vs. #13 Seed: The Soul Album by Otis Redding
This is a good battle between two bands that seem like they are absolutely nothing alike, but are more alike than it seems. The Mothers, led by Frank Zappa’s keen musical nature, blended doo-wop, blues, and rock, that together formed the experimental rock collage the album was. The Soul Album (features bluesy soul – obviously) was Otis Redding and members of Booker T & The MG’s (STAX Records house band). The album just couldn’t be bad. Will we have a 13-4 upset?
One year ago yesterday, I excitedly posted about an idea I had to celebrate March Madness. 16 albums. One year. One winner. What was the best album released in one of the greatest years for music – 1967. We did it like a region of the March Madness bracket. 16 vs. 1, 15 vs. 2, 14 vs. 3 and et cetera until we got down to our final match where the 1-seed, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, took home the grand prize. You can read the finale post here. The entire Music Court event was extremely fun. Do you know why? Because you all voted and made it awesome. We had several votes per poll and therefore received close battles and true blowouts (which you will also see during the March Madness tournament itself. And guess what?
We are doing it again! We are traveling back in time one year and exploring what was the best album released in 1966. Did you know that Texas Western won the NCAA men’s tournament that year. It was actually a very memorable tournament. The all-black starting five of Texas Western defeated an all-white starting five for Kentucky in the championship game and continued to open up possibilities of black athletes everywhere.
During the same year two bands from California released two influential albums. One was released by a couple of simple surfer boys turned complex musical composers – their 11th album. The other, a debut, featured protest, protest, and protest. Before we get to a preview of round #1 let’s go over some of the rules. Yes, I am copying this from my post last year!
I have ranked 16 albums from 1 (meaning the best) to 16 (meaning the 16th best on our list). Yes, 1-16 will have tremendous albums and your favorite may not be included. Many albums were released in 1966 and it is very hard to choose the best (1-16) but I am trying. There is no genre discrimination. If I feel that the album was the best, it will be on our list.
The tournament will see four match-ups in the form of polls two days a week. So, today, below, you see the one seed vs. the sixteen seed. It is a little taste of the tourny. Tomorrow we will do three more match-ups. You vote for your favorite. You have until the end of the first round (March 21 ) to vote. After the first round I will tally the votes and we will move onto the elite eight and then the final four and then the finals. Here are the rough dates of when everything will be posted.
March 14 (Tomorrow: 2 vs. 15, 3 vs. 14, 4 vs. 13)
March 19: (5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9)
March 23: Elite Eight (First two matches)
March 26: Elite Eight (Last two matches) Voting for Elite Eight ends April 2
April 2: Final Four – Voting for Final Four ends April 9
April 9: Finals – Voting ends April 15 and winner is crowned.
REMEMBER: THIS WILL ONLY WORK IF YOU ALL VOTE!!! Keep track of the schedule and VOTE VOTE VOTE!
ROUND 1 Preview
#1: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys vs. #16: Buffalo Springfield by Buffalo Springfield
It is not an easy choice. While Pet Sounds is widely considered as one of the most impactful psychedelic explorations ever (ranked #2 of 500 albums in Rolling Stone’s Top Albums Ever), Buffalo Springfield’s eponymous first album did feature Neil Young and Stephen Stills rocking out together for the first time (even though they were unhappy with the release). So will we have a rare first round upset or will Michigan State beat LIU (oh I mean Pet Sounds vs. Buffalo Springfield). It’s time to make your voices heard. Vote!
The NCAA Men’s March Madness Tournament has been mercurial thus far. It is close to impossible to pick games correctly. Solid favorites have been outplayed by low-seeded teams. If your bracket is busted, do not fret. Welcome to the Music Court’s 1967 Album Tournament where you choose the best albums from 1967. We have just finished up our first round (16 albums) and we are on to our elite eight. For those who voted in the first round, thank you. If you are new to the tournament, please vote. I am eager to hear all opinions. Remember this cannot work if you do not vote. We begin the elite eight with two matches. The other two matches will be posted on Friday, March 25 and voting for the elite eight ends on Friday, April 1.
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, the consensus #1 seed in The Music Court’s 1967 album bracket pool flew by Always Free in The Beatles’ first round match (12-0). The album that features “A Day in the Life” will move on to face the upset winner in the 8 vs. 9 match-up, John Wesley Harding, which beat Aretha Franklin’sI Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. Dylan, who is keen to upsets, matches “A Day in the Life” with his “All Along the Watchtower.” Does he have enough to pull off a dramatic elite eight upset, or will he be blowing in the wind?
#4 seed: Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles vs. #5 seed: Disraeli Gears by The Cream
The Beatles do not like to lose. In a well-fought opening round match, Magical Mystery Tour (released only four months after #1 seed Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band), beat out the scrappy Velvet Underground and Nico 8-5. Disraeli Gears, a very strong five seed, crushed Pink Floyd’s debut album 10-2. Will Disraeli Gears stop the Beatles from having a guaranteed path into the finals, or will Magical Mystery Tour face its predecessor in the final four match? Magical Mystery Tour is perhaps more touted because of its artistic draw, but the track listing still does include “I Am The Warlus” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” two of the Beatles most psychedelic pieces. Clapton and The Cream do put up a fantastic fight with “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Badge,” two awesome blues/psychedelic fusion songs. This is going to be a battle.
The first round keeps on trucking along. The higher seeded match-ups for the best album of 1967 have garnered a lot of attention and votes continue to come in. Currently, the 1,2,3 seeds are rolling along but Magical Mystery Tour, the 4th seed, is having issues with Velvet Underground and Nico, the 13th seed, which only trails by ONE VOTE! It’s an exciting potential upset. Haven’t had a chance to vote in the higher seeded first round matches yet? Follow the below links before voting in the last four first round match-ups below.
#1 Seed: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles vs. #16 Seed: Absolutely Free by The Mother’s Invention
Let’s move on to some excellent first round matches. While many of the higher seed battles are going to be won by the higher seeds, we may see some mini-upsets in some of these mid-level upsets. You all ready? Let’s do it. Remember vote if you want your favorite to pass through. First round voting ends March 21!
Disraeli Gears may be The Cream’s best album. It was the second release by this supergroup and it featured classics like “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Strange Brew.” It was ranked 112 in Rolling Stones’ best albums of all time. It is a great example of the talent that oozed from this band. But, it does have some competition with The Pipers at The Gate of Dawn. While this is not Pink Floyd’s best album (by any argument), it is the debut from one of the most influential British rock bands that would later take progressive psychedelic rock to a new level. Syd Barrett provided direction for this album (the only Floyd album he would) and songs like “Interstellar Overdrive,” “Astronomy Domine” and “Bike” are featured, all excellent examples of psychedelic rock.
#6 seed: Strange Days by The Doors vs. #11 seed: Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina by The Left Banke
Do not write this one off as a clear win for the Doors quite yet. Many may be looking at this and thinking who is The Left Banke and how did they manage an 11 seed. Well, they are a dark horse in the competition because of the absolute excellence of this release. On it is “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina” two of the best examples of baroque pop ever to be released. Listen to the songs before you vote. This is not intended to sway your vote. Strange Days is an excellent album that probably deserved a higher rating (that’s how good 1967 was for album releases). Released just eight months after their first release, the album features “Strange Days” and “People are Strange.”
#7 seed: Forever Changes by Love vs. #10 seed: Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane
The battle of two psychedelic juggernauts. This may come down to matter of preference. On one side you have Love who with Forever Changes pretty much defined the genre of psychedelic rock. It is some of the most crisp and fine examples of the genre ever. Surrealistic Pillow, on the other hand, features “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” two other exceptional examples of psychedelic rock. In a way, Jefferson Airplane’s music is more rock-oriented and Love, more psychedelic. Let the battle of the 1967 California psychedelic bands commence.
#8 seed: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You by Aretha Franklin vs. #9 seed: John Wesley Harding by Bob Dylan
The diversity of 1967 album releases is striking. I do love how we go from Love vs. Jefferson Airplane (two bands playing psychedelic music) to Aretha vs. Bob Dylan, soul vs. folk. So, which way will you go? “Respect” or “All Along the Watchtower”