For about three decades I’d say Frankenstein was the hit of this album. It was a US#1, it’s a truly fantastic song, and remains firmly as one of my favourite instrumentals. However, over the last ten or so years, Free Ride has really emerged as the standout track on this album. I’m not sure why, but it seems to encapsulate the 70s better than Frankenstein does. Frankenstein is just sick, to borrow the common parlance of today, but Free Ride is much more accessible. Ask a teenager today, and I reckon they’ll recognise Free Ride, but not Frankenstein.
I first heard Free Ride on the soundtrack to Richard Linklater’s Dazed And Confused. Since then, I’ve heard it on the soundtracks to countless films – it even popped up on one of the classic rock radio stations on a recent Grand Theft Auto video game. It straddles the fence between 70s pop silliness and edgy, ambiguous progressive rock, with that atmospheric break before the end of the song.
I can’t remember when I first heard Frankenstein though. I remember owning it on the soundtrack to one of the Wayne’s World films, but I’d heard it long before then. I remember having it on cassette at some point in my childhood – and I think I had presumed it was a TV or film theme. It could be really – it fits perfectly alongside those jazzy 70s TV themes by the likes of Mike Post and Pete Carpenter.
Hit: Free Ride
Hidden Gem: Alta Mira