If 1972 were the year where the 1970s took on its own distinctive image with glam rock flaunting its majesty in a peacock-like fashion, then 1973 was the year the beards fought back. Every up has its flipside and so it goes here. The polar opposite of Bolan’s optimism, 1973’s biggest selling albums included Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ (a lavish concept album about depression and mental stability), The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ (a concept album about angst, youth and mental stability) and Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’, arguably the biggest foray into self-indulgent prog rock this side of Yes’ double platter bore-fest ‘Tales of Topographic Oceans’ (also released in 1973).
That’s not so say the great and accessible pop and rock had been swept away, of course. Nor that glam was dead – far from it, in fact. Sweet scored some big hit singles, Bolan told us the ‘Children of the Revolution’ couldn’t be fooled and one time hard rockers Slade escalated in popularity on the back of some great singles.
1973 brought us debut albums from Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Roxy Music; a debut and a follow up from Bruce Springsteen, two albums from David Bowie – a man who could seemingly do no wrong – and two albums from Elton, as well as an enduring classic LP from Billy Joel. We gained great music from Stevie Wonder (the year’s ‘Innervisions’ could convincingly be called his best work), Tower of Power and a frankly bonkers effort from Todd Rundgren. One of the most important bands of the next decade or more, Queen, made their first appearance on record, with a brave – and sometimes undervalued work – that casually mixed up the pop, glam rock, hard rock and prog tendencies of the day…although it would go fairly unnoticed until the following year.
Whichever way you choose to look at the year’s music, it’s hard to argue against lots of tastes being represented. 1973 brought something for everyone…and that’s something we’ve tried to capture in our personal picks. This voyage into 1973 is by no means complete, of course: A lack of Slade presents a massive hole in the year’s listening experience; there’s nothing included from McCartney’s evergreen ‘Band on The Run’ (great as it is, it was time to shift the focus towards a couple more cult records) or any excerpts from ‘Tubular Bells’ (we’re still a bit scared of the Piltdown Man). There was no way we were ignoring ‘Dark Side of The Moon’, of course; it remains a rather spectacular
As always, we hope you enjoy this musical excursion and that it reminds you of a few old favourites as well as a few things you might never have been so familiar with (this time, we’re particularly enamoured with picks from Gong, Fleetwood Mac and a hefty sounding b-side from Sweet). Until next time, have a great weekend…and happy listening to every one of you!