Is 1973 the second-best 12 months ever for excellent albums? From Bob Marley to Little Feat, you inform us!

    Is 1973 the second-best 12 months ever for excellent albums? From Bob Marley to Little Feat, you inform us!

    One 12 months in the past tomorrow, I enthusiastically wrote that extra actually nice albums have been launched in 1972 than in another 12 months earlier than or since.

    To make my case, I cited classics by such various artists as Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Stevie Surprise, Miles Davis, Little Feat, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, Mild Large, former San Diegan Frank Zappa and a great quantity extra that indelibly rocked my world in my mid-teens.

    So, how does 1973 fare by comparability?

    Fairly effectively, thanks, though the position of music in my life modified dramatically that 12 months. What had been an often-shared expertise with my band mates and non-musician mates alike instantly turned a largely solitary one. This could show to be a certified benefit and a fair larger drawback, which I’ll elaborate on in a second.

    I nonetheless maintain agency in my rivalry that 1972 was a landmark 12 months for albums. However I’m comfortable to acknowledge 1973 was additionally fairly wonderful, if not as pivotal for me as an keen younger listener keen to take in as a lot new musical info as potential.

    Stevie Wonder

    Stevie Surprise’s basic 1973 album, “Innervisions,” adopted the discharge of his two excellent 1972 albums, “Music of My Thoughts” and “Speaking E book.”

    (Night Normal/Getty Pictures)

    Stevie Surprise, Pink Floyd, The Who

    It was the 12 months that noticed the discharge of such standout albums as Stevie Surprise’s “Innervisions,” The Who’s “Quadrophenia,” Pink Floyd’s “The Darkish Facet of the Moon,” Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Street” and Sly & The Household Stone’s “Recent.”

    Different equally timeless albums launched in 1973 embrace Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Catch a Hearth,” James Brown’s “The Payback,” Maria Muldaur’s “Maria Muldaur,” Todd Rundgren’s “A Wizard, A True Star” and Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Band on the Run.”

    And that’s simply the tip of this enchanting sonic iceberg.

    The record of 1973 albums additionally contains Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters,” Steely Dan’s “Countdown to Ecstasy,” Led Zeppelin’s “Homes of the Holy,” The Stooges’ “Uncooked Energy” and David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane.”

    And don’t overlook about Judee Sill’s “Coronary heart Area,” Fela Kuti & The Africa 70’s “Gentleman,” Paul Simon’s “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” the Eagles’ “Desperado” and Willie Nelson’s “Shotgun Willie.”

    Or about such formidable 1973 albums as Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Dave Holland’s “Convention of the Birds,” Funkadelic’s “Cosmic Slop,” Lou Reed’s “Berlin” and John Cale’s “Paris 1919.”

    The Pointer Sisters, London, 1974

    The Pointer Sisters are proven at a London live performance in 1974, the 12 months after the discharge of the group’s arresting 1973 debut album.

    (Michael Putland / Getty Pictures)

    A banner 12 months for debuts

    It was additionally a banner 12 months for debut albums.

    Bands and solo artists whose first albums got here out in 1973 embrace Queen, Bruce Springsteen (whose second album additionally dropped in 1973), The Pointer Sisters, Frankie Miller, Betty Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Chaka Khan-led Rufus, New York Dolls, Mike Oldfield, Henry Cow, Tony Rice, Barry White, Common White Band, Aerosmith, Ralph Towner, Garland Jeffreys, Burning Spear, Elliott Murphy, Asleep on the Wheel and San Diego-bred singer-songwriters Tom Waits and Michael Franks.

    As well as, 1973 noticed the discharge of memorable dwell albums by Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Leon Russell, Genesis, Battle, Leo Kottke, Ike & Tina Turner, Jefferson Airplane, Mickey Newbury (whose “Reside at Montezuma Corridor” was recorded at a now-defunct San Diego State College venue), Visitors, Merle Haggard, Jerry Jeff Walker and now-deceased San Diego jazz sax big James Moody.

    Did I personal, and even hear, all these albums in 1973?

    After all not.

    I used to be then a junior at Pacific Excessive Faculty in San Bernardino, a metropolis whose most notable distinction on the time was its tear-inducing smog. The cash I earned writing month-to-month album evaluations for Abroad Life — a free month-to-month journal distributed on U.S. army bases in all of the NATO nations in Europe — was sufficient to pay for a number of new albums a month and a pair of latest drumsticks.

    I didn’t know then that report firms routinely despatched free assessment copies of albums to journalists, a designation I used to be fairly positive didn’t then apply to me. On a whim, I typed a letter on an Abroad Life letterhead to MCA Information in Hollywood requesting a duplicate of the then-new Wishbone Ash album, “Wishbone 4.”


    The English band Wishbone Ash is proven within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, after guitarist Laurie Wisefield (prime left) changed the group’s co-founder, Ted Turner.

    (Fin Costello / Redferns)

    MCA promptly responded by mailing me a minimum of half a dozen latest albums, however not “Wishbone 4.”

    As a substitute, they despatched the latest releases by some alarmingly sub-middle-of-the-road pop and pseudo-country acts that I had little interest in protecting. So, I politely once more requested “Wishbone 4,” solely to obtain extra albums by equally alarming sub-middle-of-the-road pop and pseudo-country acts.

    At my behest, when my mother and father and I went to Hollywood a number of weeks later to go to my grandmother, we first made a rapid cease at MCA Information.

    In a transfer that was both impressed, inane, or each, I strode into the foyer at MCA and handed the understandably startled receptionist a pile of my almost 20 undesirable MCA albums. They have been neatly tied collectively in a bundle with a notice taped to the highest on an Abroad Life letterhead. It learn: Thanks, however no thanks. Please take away me out of your mailing record!

    It’s unclear what occurred to my notice, or the albums I returned, however MCA didn’t take away me from its mailing record. This ended up working in my favor, as I subsequently acquired assessment copies of two epic double-albums, The Who’s “Quadrophenia” and Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Street.”

    Elton John is shown receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1975.

    Elton John is proven receiving his star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame in 1975. His basic double-album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Street,” was launched in 1973.

    (Los Angeles Instances)

    Imports have been a should

    I added each to my slowly rising assortment of albums, which solely a 12 months earlier had been rising exponentially on a weekly foundation. The slowdown was the results of a number of elements, each geographic and private.

    If there was a great, well-stocked report retailer in San Bernardino, it eluded me within the 16 months I lived there. Because of this, my album-buying passed off as soon as a month at Tower Information on Sundown Blvd., which my mother and father kindly let me go to every time we visited my grandmother in Hollywood.

    I’d first head to Tower’s import bins to hunt out the newest releases by bands from England and different elements of Europe, together with Germany. I had lived, from the age of seven to 16, in Frankfurt the place I had develop into a rabid music devotee even earlier than attending my first concert events — on the age of 12 — by, respectively, The Doorways and Jimi Hendrix.

    The Tower Records store on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood counted Elton John among its devoted customers in the 1970s.

    The Tower Information retailer on Sundown Blvd. in Hollywood counted Elton John amongst its devoted clients within the Nineteen Seventies.

    (Tibrina Hobson / FilmMagic)

    Tower Information can be the place I’d purchase the newest copies of the UK weeklies Melody Maker, NME and Sounds, the higher to maintain abreast of latest musical developments. Again house in San Bernardino, I commonly learn Rolling Stone and Creem journal, cowl to cowl, and perused every new situation of Billboard and Downbeat within the faculty library. My mother and father subscribed to the Los Angeles Instances and I devoured each assessment by its pop music critic, Robert Hilburn, and jazz critic, Leonard Feather.

    Studying apart, my consumption of music turned a distinctly lonely one in San Bernardino. Whereas I had some very good classmates, I had no shut mates, not to mention any who shared my passions for art-rock, jazz, blues, funk and decidedly obscure music not performed on any AM or FM radio stations inside listening to distance.

    I auditioned for a number of bands, however nothing clicked. I dutifully performed within the orchestra at college — I can nonetheless do Elgar’s “Pomp & Circumstance” blindfolded — practiced my drumming every day in my mother and father’ storage and listened to my more and more treasured albums, alone in my room.

    My place as editor of the college’s irregularly revealed newspaper, Excessive Tide, offered a welcome outlet for studying and elevated writing alternatives. Sitting at school, I’d typically have music dancing in my head. Drumming on my legs whereas strolling alone to and from faculty was a each day routine.

    I responded enthusiastically when a student-teacher in my eleventh grade English class assigned us the lyrics to the Leonard Cohen track “Suzanne” to interpret, solely to rapidly uncover nobody else within the class had any familiarity with Cohen, who I had twice seen carry out in Frankfurt once I was a middle-school pupil.

    Along with my Tower Information visits, my very supportive mother and father would drive me to L.A. to attend periodic concert events, together with King Crimson, The Strawbs and Again Door on the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Joe Walsh and Montrose on the Hollywood Palladium. (The only real 1973 live performance I attended at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium — the place the Rolling Stones made their U.S. live performance debut in 1964 — was a triple-header by Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac and Rory Gallagher.)

    However the social elements and attract of listening to music and sharing it with others — of delighting collectively in thrilling new discoveries and having fun with established favorites anew — was not an possibility.

    I listened in solitude and yearned for a musical neighborhood that, sadly, didn’t appear to exist for me in San Bernardino. That was a key motive I graduated early from highschool and moved again to Frankfurt, the place I attended extra concert events in just some weeks than I had throughout my total 16 months as a largely idle Inland Empire resident.

    However my near-monastic life in San Bernardino did afford me loads of time to hear intently to my albums, day after day. It could be a stretch to say music saved me, however it was a continuing companion that enriched me and offered solace and luxury.

    Music additionally sparked pleasure and painted vivid aural photos of locations I longed to be, whether or not actual or imagined. And if I selected the suitable music on the proper time, music virtually completely mirrored and amplified my frustrations and aspirations, be it with a complete album, one track, a well-crafted lyrical couplet or just some completely performed notes.

    Downtown San Bernardino, Calif., is seen on July 12, 2012.

    Downtown San Bernardino is seen on July 12, 2012.

    (Reed Saxon / Related Press)

    Adios, San Berdoo

    My favourite albums from 1973 stay a few of my favourite albums at this time. The explanations have little to do with nostalgia — I used to be counting the minutes till I might depart San Bernardino and return to Frankfurt — and all the things to do with music’s potential to resonate, years and a long time later, and to disclose completely different aspects with every repeat listening to.

    It will be straightforward to jot down at size in regards to the brilliance of the perfect albums launched in 1973. However does anybody want me to elucidate why Stevie Surprise’s “Innervisions” is a piece of singular brilliance, why Pink Floyd’s “The Darkish Facet of the Moon” stays so common to at the present time, or why Neil Younger’s bare ache on “Tonight’s the Night time” nonetheless sounds so tragically cathartic?

    As a substitute, I’ve chosen among the albums that meant essentially the most to me at a time in my life when music meant extra to me than ever earlier than.

    These albums stuffed a void that, very fortunately, quickly ended. They usually play on for me now, not as a reminder of a lonely time I’d prefer to overlook, however as a reminder of how music could make these instances sound and really feel a complete lot higher.

    Little Feat, mid-1970s. Kenny Gradney, Billy Payne, Sam Clayton, Lowell George, Paul Barrere, Richie Hayward.

    The members of Little Feat are proven within the band’s heyday within the mid-Nineteen Seventies. Proven from left are bassist Kenny Gradney, keyboardist Billy Payne, percussionist-singer Sam Clayton, guitarist-singer Lowell George, guitarist-singer Paul Barrere and drummer Richie Hayward.

    Little Feat, “Dixie Rooster”

    Little Feat already had two richly promising albums below its belt, however “Dixie Rooster” was when this six-piece Los Angeles band actually and absolutely got here into its personal. Devotees contemplate it to be the group’s most interesting album, though I maintain 1974’s “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” and 1975’s “The Final File Album” in equally excessive regard.

    Led by the very good singer and guitarist Lowell George, the group’s intoxicating mix of rock, funk, blues, nation, Latin and jazz was as seamless because it was intoxicating. The heady mix that resulted was concurrently earthy and urbane, eloquent and economical, fluid and agency.

    Do you know? In 1989, the title observe of “Dixie Rooster” impressed a younger, all-female Texas country-music group to call itself the Dixie Chicks.

     July 4, 1980, Bob Marley performs in Paris

    Bob Marley, proven right here in 1980, started to attach with American audiences following the discharge of his 1973 album with the Wailers, “Catch a Hearth.”


    Bob Marley & The Wailers, “Burnin’ ”

    Reggae music was already on my radar, due to Jimmy Cliff and Toots & The Maytals. However “Burnin’ ” put Bob Marley & The Wailers entrance and heart for me.

    Whereas I knew nothing then about Jamaica’s risky political realities, the fervor in such propulsive songs as “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Burnin’ and Lootin’ ” and “I Shot the Sheriff” was unmistakable. And the mixed energy of Marley, fellow singer-guitarist Peter Tosh and singer-percussionist Bunny Wailer — each of whom left the band quickly after “Burnin’s” launch — gave the album a robust triple punch.

    Do you know? “Catch a Hearth” options two non-Jamaican musicians, Alabama-born guitarist Wayne Perkins and Texas-born keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick. Perkins recorded with the Rolling Stones within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, whereas Bundrick toured with The Who from 1979 to 2010.

    Mahavishnu Orchestra, Sept. 1973, in Tokyo.

    The Mahavishnu Orchestra is proven in September 1973 in Tokyo. From left are keyboardist Jan Hammer, drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist John McLaughlin, violinist Jerry Goodman and bassist Rick Laird.

    (Koh Hasebe / Shinko Music / Getty Pictures)

    Mahavishnu Orchestra, “Birds of Hearth”

    English guitarist John McLaughlin and Panama-born drummer Billy Cobham recorded collectively on Miles Davis’ fusion-jazz epic “Bitches Brew” in 1969, so it was not shocking once they co-founded the five-man Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971. The masterful “Birds of Hearth,” the group’s second album, mixed jazz virtuosity with the high-octane energy of heavy-metal and the complexity of prog-rock like no album earlier than or since.

    Whether or not ripping via wildly accelerated tempos or performing beautiful acoustic reveries, Mahavishnu Orchestra’s music exuded pleasure and pleasure in equal measure. In 1974 in Frankfurt, a guitarist buddy and I tried to play among the songs from “Birds of Hearth” (or, somewhat, elements of them). We couldn’t come near matching the band’s distinctive instrumental command, however we virtually matched their depth, if just for a number of fleeting moments, and took delight in doing so.

    Do you know? In 1986, former Mahavishnu keyboard wizard Jan Hammer received two Grammy Awards for his theme track for the TV sequence “Miami Vice.”

    Gram Parsons performs with Emmylou Harris at The Quiet Knight, Chicago, March 3, 1973.

    Gram Parsons, left, is proven performing with Emmylou Harris at The Quiet Knight in Chicago on March 3, 1973. He died from an overdose in a Joshua Tree motel in September of that 12 months.

    (Icon and Picture / Getty Pictures)

    Gram Parsons, “GP”

    At 17, I had but to find the aural pleasures of listening to Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, however the younger and then-still-obscure Emmylou Harris offered a welcome entry level.

    She did so courtesy of Gram Parsons, who — throughout his quick tenures with The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers — helped seed the then-fledgling country-rock and Americana-music fields. Listening to him and Harris sing collectively in heartfelt concord evoked chills then. It nonetheless does now.

    Do you know? Gram Parsons attended Harvard for a semester earlier than dropping out to pursue music. Emmylou Harris attended the College of North Carolina for 2 years earlier than dropping out to pursue music.

    Back Door, May 1973. Left to right: Ron Aspery, Colin Hodgkinson and Tony Hicks.

    The English band Again Door is proven in Could 1973. Left to proper: saxophonist/flutist Ron Aspery, bassist/singer Colin Hodgkinson and drummer Tony Hicks.

    (Michael Putland / Getty Pictures)

    Again Door, “Again Door”

    This English trio’s instrumentation of electrical bass, drums, flute and alto and soprano saxophones was uncommon to my teen ears. However the music they made — a singular amalgam of jazz, funk and blues — was as distinctive because the group’s potential to play with punk-rock-like velocity one second and strange delicacy the following. Their songs have been wealthy in invention but additionally marvels of concision; the 12-song album clocks in at only a smidgen greater than half-hour.

    In Colin Hodgkinson, Again Door had a jaw-dropping innovator whose mixture of rapid-fire chordal work, improbably fleet runs and finely nuanced accents all however redefined what an electrical bassist might accomplish. Fellow bass nice Stanley Clarke beamed from ear to ear once I talked about Hodgkinson throughout a 2015 interview. “My brother from one other mom!” mentioned Clarke, whose band, Return To Ceaselessly, shared a London membership stage with Again Door for a one-week residency in 1973.

    Do you know? Colin Hodgkinson is now Again Door’s sole surviving member. Whereas jazz stays his forte, he has recorded through the years with Mick Jagger, The Spencer Davis Group, Whitesnake and Ten Years After. Hodgkinson additionally co-wrote the Emerson, Lake & Palmer track “Bullfrog.”

    Extra favourite 1973 albums: John Martyn, “Stable Air”; The Isley Brothers, “3+3”; Darryl Means’s Wolf, “Saturation Level”; The O’Jays, “Ship Ahoy”; Toni Brown & Terry Garthwaite, “Cross Nation”; Earth, Wind & Hearth, “Head to the Sky”; Terry Reid, “River”; Climate Report, “Sweetnighter”; Household, “It’s Solely a
    Film”; Roxy Music, “For Your Pleasure”; Can, “Future Days”; Milton Nascimento, “Milagre Dos Peixes,” Unbelievable Bongo Band, “Bongo Rock”; Bees Make Honey, “Music Each Night time.”

    Your flip!

    What are your 5 favourite albums of 1973, and why?

    Ship your responses to [email protected]. Please embrace your title and the place you reside (not your handle, however the space).