Lynyrd Skynyrd is another band with which I am mostly unfamiliar. Sure, I know ‘Free Bird,’ mostly as a jokey thing to shout out at the end of a concert, but I’ve never heard one of their albums in full.
It appears the one to start with is, appropriately, their 1973 debut, helpfully titled Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd. This album, along with its follow-up Second Helping, are considered not just the band’s best work but among the best works of Southern Rock ever recorded.
My familiarity with Genesis is based almost entirely on the band’s output in the 80s, when drummer Phil Collins took over the reins from the departed Peter Gabriel and steered the band away from prog rock and into pop and soft rock.
Selling England by the Pound (1973) is a great example of what Genesis was before that happened, when Gabriel blended folk and prog elements into an ambitious, if slightly goofy, mix.
Continuing my look at the albums released in 1973, I’ll now cover records with which I’m either passingly or not at all familiar.
Initially, I expected to put The Who’s Quadrophenia in the latter category. I remember my high school friend’s were big Who fans, and this was an album they loved, but I never really got into the band. I loved ‘The Kids Are Alright‘ (still do) and the Who’s Next album, but the “rock operas” Tommy and Quadrophenia never stirred me a bit.
Elton John released Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in October of 1973, but just nine months earlier he dropped his first album of the year, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player.
This album is best known for its opening track, ‘Daniel,’ and the rollicking ‘Crocodile Rock.’ During my recent Elton John deep dive, I wrote about two other highlights: the Rolling Stones-esque ‘Midnight Creeper‘ and closing track ‘High Flying Bird.’
I haven’t given Led Zeppelin much thought since I left high school. They are a rite of passage for high school kids (boys, in particular) and I was no exception.
Even back then, most of my focus was on Led Zeppelin IV, the classic 1971 album featuring ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Black Dog,’ ‘Going to California’ and ‘When the Levee Breaks.’ What a motherlode of classic rock staples.
A few years back, following David Bowie’s death, I did a deep dive into his catalog. It was my first real exposure to a lot of his work, which I mostly knew through the hits.
1973’s Aladdin Sane emerged as a favorite, alongside Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, the two albums that preceded it. It’s funny how so many of the albums I’m writing about were part of successful streaks. The early 70s were a gold mine for new music from some of the greatest pop artists of all time.
In 1973, Al Green released Call Me, the album widely considered his finest. Featuring soul classics such as the title track, ‘Here I Am (Come and Take Me), and ‘You Ought To Be With Me,’ as well as covers of country hits ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ and ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,’ this is am excellent introduction to the range and silky smooth sound of the Reverend.
Soul isn’t my genre, so I haven’t given Call Me as many listens as it deserves, but every time I do it’s a transporting experience.