Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Robert Christgau's 1970 Jazz & Pop Ballot


  1. Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Columbia) [SG]
  2. Tony Williams: Turn It Over (Polydor) [SG]
  3. John McLaughlin: Devotion (Douglas) [SG]
  4. Leon Thomas: Spirits Known and Unknown (Flying Dutchman) [MV]
  5. Turner/Walker/Spann: Super Black Blues (Bluestime) [MV]
  6. Gary Burton: Throb (Atlantic) [SG]
  7. Ella Fitzgerald: Ella (Reprise) [FV]

Jazzman of the Year: Miles Davis

Best Jazz Composition: No choice.

Best Jazz Arrangement: Leon Thomas/Oliver Nelson: Disillusion Blues


  1. Randy Newman: 12 Songs (Reprise) [MV]
  2. Neil Young: After the Gold Rush (Reprise) [MV]
  3. Grateful Dead: Live/Dead (Warner Bros.) [PG]
  4. Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed (London) [PG]
  5. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo's Factory (Fantasy) [PG]
  6. Joe Cocker: Joe Cocker (A&M) [MV]
  7. Insect Trust: Hoboken Saturday Night (Atco) [PG]
  8. Grateful Dead: Workingman's Dead (Warner Bros.) [PG]
  9. Tracy Nelson: Tracy Nelson Country (Mercury) [FV]
  10. Bob Dylan: New Morning (Columbia) [MV]

Pop Musician of the Year: John Fogerty

Best Pop Song: Gimme Shelter

Best Pop Arrangement: Guthrie/Waronker/Parks: Running Down the Road


From the article:

As usual, each critic was asked to select what he or she considered the ten best records of the past year, but from there on, procedure varied from that of past polls. For the first time since the inception of the Critics Poll, multiple point awards for each album (not more than 30, not less than 5, to add up to a total of 100 were not given; in the interests of fairness and easier tabulation, each album voted for by any one critic received from that one critic one point only. If four critics voted for a particular album, that album received four points in the final count.

Although it was not insisted on, participants in the poll were further requested to designate at least one choice of their ten in one of the six jazz categories or three pop categories; in jazz, Big Band (BB); Small Group, of less than ten pieces (SG); Piano (P); Vocal (V), male or female or group; Blues, vocal or instrumental (B); and Re-issue (R), the Re-issue category being kept separate, for obvious reasons, in the tabulation. In pop, the categories were Pop Group (PG), Male Vocal (MV); and Female Vocal (FV). In addition, critics were asked to elect a Musician of the Year, the Best Composition of the Year, and the Best Arrangement of the Year, in both musical divisions.

Eligible albums were those issued between October 1, 1969 and October 31, 1970. Where ineligible albums were voted for, they are shown in the critic's individual choice listing but not included in the tally. In voting for Jazzman of the Year or Pop Musician of the Year, critics were asked to recognize general achievement within the same timespan covered by the record poll rules, but not to confine their attention to recorded activities only.

Critics were also requested to select best instrumentalists in the jazz and pop fields, voting for one musician in each category. The classification of Best Producer was added this year for the first time.

A total of thirty-tree critics from here and abroad participated in this eighth annual poll. Once again, jazz critics listed "No choices" in the pop categories, and the pop critics matched them with "No choices" in jazz categories. Too bad. We have been hoping for some sort of mutual result to take place each year, and so far nothing has seemed to crack the barrier. Critics on both sides of the musical divide profess interest in what's going on across the way, but when push comes to shove, no one seems to want to express his interest on his Critics Poll ballot.

Jazz & Pop, 1970