This band, and this record, influenced countless acts in the rock and punk worlds, from Kiss and the Sex Pistols to Guns N Roses and The Smiths. It reminds me of the line people use about The Velvet Underground’s debut, “not many people bought it, but everyone who did started a band.”
I’ve never been a fan of Steely Dan. I enjoy a lot of artists and genres that are Steely Dan-adjacent (I’m even into Donald Fagen’s solo work) but for some reason the band itself has always left me cold.
In fact, Steely Dan leaves me so cold that this is — astoundingly — the first ever song of theirs I’ve featured on the blog. Eleven years and more than 4,100 posts without a single ‘Hey Nineteen,’ ‘Deacon Blues’ or ‘Do It Again.’ That’s dedication to not giving a damn about Steely Dan!
I’ve spent a fair amount of time with The Rolling Stones’ catalog, after coming to them a little late in my musical life. I know seven or eight of their albums very well, including the half-dozen classics they released between 1966 and 1972.
Somehow, though, I never got around to 1973’s Goats Head Soup. Maybe that’s because, as the follow-up to Exile on Main St. and the start of a half-decade period considered their first creative slump, it just doesn’t have the cachet of the rest of their work.
Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1973 album Catch a Fire was their fifth, but it feels like a starting point. It was their first album with the Island label, and the first to have the distinctive instrumentation and production with which casual fans are familiar.
If you’ve owned and loved the classic Legend collection, those songs started here.
Gaye grew up physically and emotionally abused by his minister father, who instilled in the young man a deeply troublesome view of sex that contributed to bouts of impotence. Not exactly the mental image you get of the man who sang ‘Let’s Get It On’ and the rest of the slow-funk love jams featured on this album.
In 1973, the Eagles followed up their mega-successful self-titled debut (released a year earlier) with a concept album inspired by the Old West. Featuring a cover image of the band members in cowboy gear, Desperado must have seemed ripe for ridicule.
But with songwriters Don Henley and Glenn Frey taking center stage, penning eight of the album’s 11 tracks, the songs were just too good to dismiss. While the album failed to sell early on, it eventually reached double platinum status and is considered a seminal album in the country rock genre.
Last week I featured a song from Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 album The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. That classic album was Bruce’s sophomore effort, and amazingly he had released his debut the very same year.
In January of 1973, Springsteen hit the scene with Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, an ambitious collection of wordy Dylan-esque folk songs sped up and set to a beat. Right out of the gate, Springsteen cast himself as a sensitive poet for working class dreamers, a mantle he would carry for more than five decades.