Traffic’s first album was released in 1967 entitled Mr. Fantasy. The album featured all four original members. However, Dave Mason left the band before the album was even issued. The band’s second album simply titled Traffic was released one year later in 1968. Once again, the album featured all four original members as Dave Mason was invited back into the band for the recording of their second record.
The band broke up after the release of their second album. In 1969, Island Records released an album entitled Last Exit which was a compilation of live tracks and unreleased material. In 1970, the band Traffic reformed and released the group’s most successful album. The record entitled John Barleycorn Must Die reached the number five spot on the Billboard Top 200 album charts in 1970. Many of the band’s classic rock hits that have become legendary tracks on classic rock radio were released on the John Barleycorn Must Die album.
Traffic’s fifth studio album was entitled The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. The record was released in 1971. Two years later in 1973, the band released Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory. In 1974, the band released their final album of the 1970’s entitled When the Eagle Flies.
Twenty years after the release of their final album, Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi reformed Traffic for one more album. In 1994, the album Far From Home was released. The record featured only two members of the original band. It would become the final studio ever released by the band.
# 10 – Shout Out At The Fantasy Factory
Opening up our Top 10 Traffic Songs list is a song from the band’s Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory album. The title track was the album’s opening number. The album was released in 1973. The song was also released on the great live album Traffic On The Road. We have included the smoking live version from that album here on this list.
# 9 – John Barleycorn Must Die
Continuing with our Top 10 Traffic Songs list we turn to the band’ s most successful album. The title track from John Barleycorn Must Die was released as the second track on the album’s B side. Steve Winwood’s vocal on this track is haunting, and yet so beautiful at the same time.
# 8 – Rock and Roll Stew
The song “Rock and Roll Stew,” was released on the album The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. The album was released in 1971. The song “Rock and Roll Stew,” was written by Ric Grech and Jim Gordon. One word……..Groove!
# 7 – Empty Pages
The song “Empty Pages,” was the first single released from the John Barleycorn Must Die album. The song was also covered by the band Blood Sweat & Tears. Fans have long debated which version of the song is the definitive classic.
# 6 – Light Up Or Leave Me Alone
The song “Light Up Or Leave Me Alone,” was the closing track on the The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys album. The song featured Jim Capaldi on lead vocals. The album was released in November of 1971.
# 5 – Glad
The John Barleycorn Must Die album is the most featured album on our Top 10 Traffic Songs list. One of our favourite Traffic Songs of all time is the simple titled Traffic Song “Glad.” Another one of those incredible piano licks to start of the sons that dances so perfectly with the bass and drums. So freaking brilliant!
# 4 – Dear Mr. Fantasy
As we get closer to the number one spot on our top 10 Traffic songs list it becomes more difficult to sort the order of these great Traffic songs. “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” is one that could not be missed. It was released on the album titled appropriately Dear Mr. Fantasy.
# 3 – Stranger To Himself
Once again we return to the John Barleycorn Must Die album for the great Traffic Song “Stranger To Himself.” Steve Winwood is credited with playing all the instruments on the track. Jim Capaldi is credited with vocals.
# 2 – Freedom Rider
The song “Freedom Rider,” was written by Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi. The song appeared as the second track on the great John Barleycorn Must Die album. The piano introduction is one of legend. Such an amazing piece of music.
# 1 – The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
We could not close out our Top 10 Traffic Songs list with any other Traffic songs than the band’s classic track The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys. The song appeared on the band’s fifth album released in 1971 entitled The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.
Traffic Songs selected by Thomas Neokleus.