My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Friday, January 6, 2023

January 6, 2023: 2023 Anniversaries: 1973 in Music

[As I’ve done for the last few years, I wanted to start the New Year by looking back on some prior years that we can commemorate as anniversaries. Leading up to a weekend post with some 2023 predictions!]

On how a handful of groundbreaking albums tell the story of a year.

1)      Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (March): Pink Floyd had been around for almost a decade by 1973, a legacy of the psychedelic late 60s that was still going very strong into the 1970s. The separation between decades is as arbitrary in music as it is in every other way, after all, and this stunning album reminds us that the 1960s were far from over in 1973.

2)      Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy (March): But at the same time, new decades, like new years, do bring musical evolution, especially with the rise of new artists; and one of the rock bands that was really taking the mantle of the greats in the early 1970s was Led Zeppelin. Having released four self-titled albums between 1969 and 1971 (you read that right—artists were just insanely prolific in this era), Zeppelin took another step in their continued domination with their fifth album in 1973.

3)      Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On (August): Rock and roll was still a dominant cultural force in the late 60s and early 70s to be sure, but I would argue that Motown had become the single most influential element in American pop music over those years (and indeed well before, but only building into this moment). No single artist better reflected that dominance than Marvin Gaye, who released a dozen solo albums (along with a handful of collaborations) in the dozen years between 1961 and 1973. Gaye’s 1973 album wasn’t better than all those amazing ones—just another landmark in that stunningly successful career.

4)      Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (August): Stevie Wonder wasn’t exactly new in 1973—his debut album The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie dropped in 1962 when he was just 12, and he released fourteen more albums over the next decade (again, insanely prolific)—but I would say he was beginning to evolve from a child novelty act into a full-fledged musical genius in this early 70s moment. The culmination of that evolution was definitely his 1976 masterpiece Songs in the Key of Life, but I’d say that 1973’s Innervisions was a significant step along the way, and helped announce that this next great soul singer had fully arrived.

5)      Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (January) and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (November): You knew I couldn’t write about 1973 albums without highlighting the pair of debut albums from my boy Bruce. I’m not going to suggest that either of these albums is as good as the other four I’ve written about here, although I think Wild is pretty darn good (period, and doubly so for an artist’s second album). But I am saying that, y’know, we saw the future of rock and roll in 1973, and it’s name was Bruce Springsteen.

2023 predictions this weekend,


PS.  What do you think? 

No comments:

Post a Comment