1973 – A Great Year For Rock!

While doing a bit of research on a blog I was writing on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, I was looking at all the albums that came out in 1973.  And man!  Was I blown away!  I had forgotten how many absolutely great albums came out that year!

1973 Notable Moments:

For a little context, 1973 was the first year for the seminal rock programs The Midnight Special, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and The King Biscuit Flower Hour.  I can remember staying up late as a 16 year old, watching with wonder as many of the day’s top acts peformed on The Midnight Special.  Genesis’ Peter Gabriel blew me away with his over the top dramatic performances; Alice Cooper was amazing! And Todd Rundgren was like something I had never seen before!

If you’re unfamiliar with either The Midnight Special, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert or The King Biscuit Flower Hour, check them out on youtube or elsewhere on the internet, definitely worth your time.

Led Zeppelin toured America, and during the tour recorded performances for the film The Song Remains the Same, also VERY worth checking out if you’ve never seen it!  I still watch it almost every time it comes on the tube.  If you do watch it, check out Jimmy Pages’ bell bottom custom-made pants…very cool!

David Bowie “retires” Ziggy Stardust.

Jim Croce dies in a car accident at age 30, and Gram Parsons, (of the seminal country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers), from drug overdose at age 26.

Kiss performs their first concert ever, in Queens, N.Y.

CBGB’s (Country, Blue Grass and Blues) opens in Manhattan, and the music scene there explodes, changing the landscape all over the country and abroad; (if you don’t know about CBGB’s, you really should look it up!)

In with the new, out with the old:

Also in 1973, Queen releases their first album, as do Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen.

The Who release Quadrophenia, the follow up to their magnificent album Who’s Next (1971).

Yes releases YesSongs, (which will be reviewed in another blog); and AC/DC performs their first gig on New Years’ Eve ’73!

Richard Branson debuts his Virgin Records label with Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (which included the creepy theme song from the Exorcist).

A number of notable new bands formed in ’73: Bachaman, Turner Overdrive; Quiet Riot; Bad Company; Max Webster; K.C. and the Sunshine Band; Heart; Journey and Kansas.

At the same time a few bands called it quits in 1973, including The Doors (2 years and 2 albums after Jim Morrison had died), The Velvet Underground, Free, The Byrds, The Poppy Family and Bread.

Here’s a list of just a few of the great albums that came out in 1973:

Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player by Elton John.  This is the album that introduced most of North America to Elton John, with the singles Daniel and Crocodile Rock.

And later in the year, Elton John struck again…Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John, possibly his best album ever – and a double album at that!  While the hits included Bennie and the Jets, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle In The Wind, Harmony and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, there is another track on this album that outshines them all.  The first (double) track, Funeral For A Friend/Love Lives Bleeding is a masterpiece of dynamics and orchestration.  Words do not do this track justice.  If you haven’t heard it before, (or even in a while), hunt it down on youtube, turn the lights down and the volume up and settle back for a magnificent 11 minutes of memorable music!Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973

The Joker by Steve Miller.  The whole album is decent Steve Miller music, BUT…it’s the title track single that everyone knows…The Joker!

The Joker 1973

The Joker

Of special interest to Canadian fans…

BTO II – by Bachman Turner Overdrive.  Their 2nd album (and 2nd in one year!), featuring the well known singles, even today, Takin’ Care of Business and Let It Ride!

Last I heard, Randy Bachman was semi-retired and selling real estate in Abbotsford, B.C.  His son, Tal Bachman, had a hit in the late ’90s with “She’s So High”.

Piano Man by Billy Joel.  Although this was his 2nd album, this is the one that really brought him to everyone’s notice.  Over 40 years later, the title track, Piano Man is still an awesome song to listen to.  Other singles include Travellin’ Prayer, Captain Jack and The Ballad of Billy the Kid.

ELO 2 by Electric Light Orchestra.  Notable for the single Roll Over Beethoven, a great song to wake up to.

Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper.  Singles were the title track, as well as Elected, Hello Hooray and  No More Mr. Nice Guy.  For those interested, the Coop is still alive and well and currently touring with his new band Hollywood Vampires, featuring Joe Perry (guitarist from Aerosmith) and Johnny Depp, also on guitars, and suprisingly good at it too!

Billion Dollar Babies 1973

Billion Dollar Babies

The Captain and Me by the Doobie Brothers.  A forgotten gem by the Doobies, singles included China Grove and Long Train Running, and one of my all time favourites, South City Midnight Lady…a great tune for relaxing late at night, or driving late at night.

Closing Time by Tom Waits.  Waits voice, sounding like he has a throatful of gravel, is an acquired taste, but I tossed this in here for one particular song, “Ol ’55”.  This tune was later covered by the Eagles on their album On the Border.  However, hunt this tune done by Waits down online.  His version is truly beautiful.

Desperado by The Eagles.  Singles were the title track, as well as Tequila Sunrise and Outlaw Man.

Desperado 1973


Anne Murray released one of my good buddy Mike’s favourite albums, Danny’s Song!

Razamanaz by Nazareth.  Once the loudest band in the world!  Best single is Razamanz…a real barn burner.  Nazareth released another album later in the year…

Loud’n’Proud, which featured the single “This Flight Tonight”, where they took a Joni Mitchell folk-rock sound and rocked the crap out of it….good tune!

Loud'N'Proud 1973


The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get by Joe Walsh.  Features the classic single Rocky Mountain Way.

Chicago V by Chicago.  Chicago is still alive and well; their latest release is Chicago XXXVI!   Yep, 36 albums!  Singles off of their 5th album include Just You’n’Me and Feeling Stronger Every Day.

Goats Head Soup by The Rolling Stones.  Singles you may remember are Angie and Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).

Brothers and Sisters by The Allman Brothers.  Notable singles are Ramblin’ Man and Jessica.

Brain Salad Surgery- Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  If you like prog-rock, or as it used to be called “classical rock”, then you’ll definitely enjoy this album.  3 virtuosos at their respective skills, Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (guitar and vocals) and Carl Palmer (drums) provide an amazing albums worth of dazzling prog-rock.  PLUS…the album cover is soooo cool!

Brain Salad Surger 1973

Brain Salad Surgery

Mott by Mott the Hoople.  This album was produced by David Bowie, who also added vocals and guitars.  You probably know the big hit single from the album “All The Young Dudes”.

For Everyman by Jackson Browne.  Browne’s second album had a notable hit with “Take It Easy” written with his good friend Glenn Frey, who would also record it with great success with his group The Eagles.

Ziggy Stardust 1973

David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust

Alladin Sane by David Bowie.  As already noted above, David Bowie said goodbye to Ziggy Stardust in ’73, but not before he gave him a rousing send off in the album Aladdin Sane (and a world tour), containing the hits Jean Genie and Panic In Detroit.


“Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd” by Lynryd Skynrd, their first album.  The most famous track would be Free Bird, which became an southern rock anthemn.

Band On The Run by Paul McCartney and Wings.  Singles were the title track, Band on the Run, Helen Wheels and Jet.

Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin.  Their 5th album gave us the classic hits The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song and No Quarter, as well as Dancing Days and D’yer Maker.

Quadrophenia by The Who, as noted above.  The Who’s second “rock opera”, is musically more developed than “Tommy”.  Personal favourite tracks inclde The real Me, I’ve Had Enough, 5:15 and Love Reign o’er Me.The Who 1973

And of course, we can’t forget…

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.  A classic album for the ages, ’nuff said.  (Plus, I review it in another of my blogs…look for it here:   )

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon 1973

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon


Those above are just some of the notable albums of 1973, and every one of them deserves a listen!  But, there are so many other great albums that came out in 1973, literally too many to mention here. You can (and should!) check out more of the the year in music for 1973 yourself, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_in_music

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