In 1973, Mick Jagger's request for a Japanese visa was rejected in January on account of a 1969 drug bust, putting an abrupt end to The Rolling Stones' plans to tour Asia; Aerosmith make their debut by releasing Aerosmith (album); The Rolling Stones benefit concert for Nicaraguan earthquake victims (on 22nd December 1972, an earthquake destroyed Managua, the capital of Nicaragua) raised over $350,000. Mick Jagger added $150,000 of his own money to the total in May. Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh was arrested for drug possession in California; Kiss performed their first concert, at the Coventary Club in Queens; David Bowie collapsed from exhaustion after a performance at New York's Madison Square Garden. He later 'retired' his stage persona 'Ziggy Stardust' in front of a shocked audience at the Hammersmith Odeon at the end of his British tour. Paul McCartney was fined $240 after pleading guilty to charges of growing marijuana outside his Scottish farm; Lou Reed was bitten by a fan during a concert in Buffalo, New York.
New bands formed: Aerosmith; KISS; AC/DC; Dawn
Bands which disbanded in 1973: Tin Tin; The Everly Brothers; The Ronettes
Top 20 Singles of 1973
1. Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree - Dawn featuring Tony Orlando
Written by Irwin Levine and Larry Brown, the lyrics of this ballad are based on the true story of a convict retuning from jail. Levine and Brown read the story in The New York Post, and changed some of the details. Pete Hamill wrote the New York Post article, based on a story told him by some college students in Florida. The convict was supposedly on the bus that some of them rode on. Interestingly, Hamill later wrote that he had correspondence from readers who said he had the details right but it happened somewhere else. Everyone who wrote to Hamill claimed they were there and they knew the truth. One thing everyone agrred on was that it was a white handkerchief around the tree, but it was changed to a yellow ribbon because it made for a better song. The 1949 John Wayne movie She Wore A Yellow Ribbon featured a song of the same name in it. The use of a yellow ribbon in honour of soldiers away fighting goes back to the American Civil War, thus it was in the Wayne movie. The yellow ribbon became a National symbol in 1980 when Americans put them on trees to remember the hostages being held in Iran.
2. Never Never Never - Shirley Bassey
This song, which was Shirley Bassey's biggest hit, is based on an Italian song; the music is by Tony Renis, the original Italian lyrics were penned by Alberto Testa and Fabio Testa, the English lyrics were by Norman Newell. The original Italian song "Grande, Grande, Grande" was performed by Mina. On live concerts Shirley Bassey sometimes jokes that this song is from the time where she "was married to the Italian". She means Sergio Novak with whom she was married from 1968 until 1979. Celine Dion released this song in 1997 on her album "Let's Talk About Love" as a duet with Luciano Pavarotti. She slightly modfied the lyrics and renamed it "I Hate You Then I Love You". Vikki Carr recorded this song too, but in Spanish and kept the original title "Grande, Grande, Grande". Numerous foreign language versions have also been recorded.
3. You're So Vain - Carly Simon (right)
This caustic little piece is definitely about someone - but Carly Simon isn't saying who, and probably never will. Among the likely candidates with whom she has had affairs are Warren Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, and Mick Jagger. The general opinion is that it is Warren Beatty, as she was going out with him at the time of the total eclipse of the sun referred to in the song (10th July 1972). Simon married James Taylor a month before the song was released and has said that it is definitely not about him. In 2003, she held an auction for a charity on Martha's Vineyard where she offered to tell the high bidder who this song is about. The winning bidder was Dick Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports, who paid $50,000. Ebersol had to sign a confidentiality agreement, but was allowed to give one hint - the man's name contains the letter "E."
She started recording this song with Harry Nilsson singing backup, but Mick Jagger ended up singing on it instead, although he was not credited on the album. When asked how she was able to get him, Simon said: "I was in London, it was 1972 and he happened to call at the studio while I was doing the background vocals with Harry Nilsson. Mick said 'Hey, what cha doin'?' and I said 'We're doing some backup vocals on a song of mine... why don't you come down and sing with us?' So Mick and Harry and I stood around the mic singing 'You're So Vain' and Harry was such a gentleman - he knew the chemistry was between me and Mick in terms of the singing, so he sort of bowed out saying, 'The two of you have a real blend - you should do it yourselves.'
4. Heaven Is My Woman's Love - Col Joye (right)
Written by S.K. Dobbins and Bob Millsap, this pleasant ballad was a surprise hit for Col Joye who in 1973 was still a popular performer but no longer putting out hit records. Col Joye was a pioneer Australian pop star of the rock'n'roll era who, in 1957, joined his brother Kevin's jazz band that was to become Col Joye and the Joy Boys. As well as a recording artist, he was a performer on the television pop show, Bandstand. Writer Bob Millsap worked in several areas of country music including publishing, producing and composing.
5. Crocodile Rock - Elton John (right)
Released on the album, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and as a single, 'Crocodile Rock' was an important stepping stone for Elton John on his way to the top. It tells the story of a man who, in the '50s or '60s, frequented a place where the patrons, especially him, loved a dance called the Crocodile Rock. However, times changed and his girlfriend, who also enjoyed "burning up to the crocodile rock," right him. The lyrics mention that the narrator preferred this to "Rock Around the Clock," which was a big hit for Bill Haley and the Comets in 1955. Elton has always felt "Rock Around The Clock" was vastly overrated, so this song's title is in all probability a play on Haley's song "See You Later, Alligator." Elton has said that he lifted the falsetto hook from Pat Boone's last Top 10 hit, "Speedy Gonzalez," released in 1962. Don McLean has mentioned that the song is similar to his "American Pie," which came out in the previous year.
Both songs are about young people in the '50s obsessed with rock'n'roll, but are disappointed when the music "dies." Both also feature a Chevy. Elton admits the song is highly derivative because it's about the things he grew up with. There was in fact a little known song and an accompanying dance named Crocodile Rock during 1957. The song was about dancing where there were crocodiles, and the dance looked like jump-stepping over and avoiding the crocs, and every now and then one has to to climb a tree to get away from the crocodiles. A lyric line was, "Whoops, there goes my other friend", meaning that the friend was eaten by a crocodile. 'Crocodile Rock' was the first of many No. 1 singles by Elton John in the US. His first in the UK came in 1976 with Kiki Dee ("Don't Go Breaking My Heart").
6. Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy
Though it is remembered today as Helen Reddy's signature tune, it was in fact first recorded in 1972 by its co-writer, Alexander Harvey. Tracy Nelson (who sang back-up on the original) and Bette Midler put the song in their live repertoires before it became a country hit for Tanya Tucker. Barbra Streisand apparently was offered the song but passed on it. Capitol Records released Reddy's single two days before Midler's was released. This prompted the bigwigs of Atlantic to flip the record and push the former B-side, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)" instead. At the last minute, "Delta Dawn" was dropped from the 45 and replaced by "Superstar," which became a hit for The Carpenters. 'Delta Dawn' was written by Alexander Harvey and Larry Collins who received a Grammy nomination for it.
7. Can The Can - Suzi Quatro (right)
Baby Boomer Suzi Quatro (born 1950) began her musical career in the bands Pleasure Seekers and then Cradle with her sisters Patti and Arlene. She moved to England in 1971 after being discovered in Detroit by record producer Mickie Most, who had already brought fame to the band Sweet. Quatro's first single "Rolling Stone" was a flop everywhere except Portugal, where it made No.1. Most then introduced Quatro to the songwriting/production team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman who wrote this song. Her second single "Can the Can" (1973) was a No.1 hit throughout Europe and in Australia. It was followed up by three further major hits: "48 Crash" (1973), "Daytona Demon" (1974) and "Devil Gate Drive" (also 1974). Her first two albums were also huge in Europe and Australia though success in the US alluded her until she joined Chris Norman of Smokie in 1979 for "Stumblin' In", which became a No.4 hit.
8. I'd Love You To Want Me - Lobo
Of Spanish descent, Lobo (Roland Kent Lavoie) was a singer-songwriter who enjoyed a few years of success internationally in the early 1970s. In 1971, former Sugar Beats member Phil Gernhard signed Lavoie, who at this time was calling himself Lobo (Spanish for wolf). Gernhard was an executive for Big Tree Records, and it was through them that Lobo released his first single, "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo". It reached No.5 in the US and launched a successful series of singles, its immediate follow-up being his highest charting hit, 'I'd Love You To Want Me'.
9. And I Love You So - Perry Como
Perry Como (1912-2001) was an Italian American crooner who sold around 60 million records during his long career. He began singing professionally in 1953 but it was his 1958 hit, 'Catch A Falling Star', that brought him his first gold record and made his a household name. Just as 'Catch A Falling Star' marked the beginning of Como's golden era at the top, his 1973 version of Don McLean's 'And I love You So' brought the era to a close, it being his last top 40 hit.
10. Daisy A Day - Jud Strunk
Though little known in Australia, Jud Strunk was a popular folk singers in the 60s and 70s in the US. In Australia he is remembered for two songs - the ballad 'Daisy A Day', and the novelty song, 'Bill Jones General Store'. He wrote both songs. Strunk was an American singer, songwriter, and comedian who was born Justin Strunk, Jr. in Jamestown, New York, he was raised in Buffalo. Although much of Strunk's material was humorous, this, his most popular song, was not. "A Daisy a Day" is a gentle, sentimental ballad in 3/4 time, describing the relationship between a boy and girl as they grow up together and ultimately grow old together. For every single day of their joined lives, he gives her a daisy as a sign of their love. In the last verse, she has died but her widower husband continues to make daily visits to her grave ... and he still gives her a daisy a day. Strunk's recording of it was one of the recordings chosen to accompany the Apollo astronauts on their missions to the moon.
11. Funny Face - Donna Fargo
After a number of years as a high school teacher, Donna Fargo followed her heart into a successful career in country music in 1972, when she recorded her first single, 'The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA'. Buoyed on by its success internationally, she quickly released the follow-up, 'Funny Face', which did even better. Though she had other hits, none reached the same heights as these two in Australia. She was given her own television variety show, The Donna Fargo Show, in 1978, and guest-starred in the 1980s on television shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and Hee Haw. A decade later she established a successful line of greetings cards and has authored several collections of poetry and inspirational prose.
12. Ben - Michael Jackson (right)
This song was written for a horror/thriller movie of the same name, which starred Lee H. Montgomery as a lonely boy who becomes good friends with a rat named Ben. This rat is also the leader of a pack of vicious killer rats. The movie was in fact a sequel to another movie called Willard. The song was Michael Jackson's first No.1 hit as a solo artist and was made at a time when Motown recorded and promoted him as a solo artist even though he was still a member of The Jackson 5.
13. I Am Woman - Helen Reddy
Featuring words and music by Helen Reddy and Ray Burton, 'I Am Woman' was adopted as the anthem of the womens liberation movement of the 1970s. Reddy claims she wrote this song because she couldn't find enough songs to include on her first album. She wanted a song that reflected a positive self-image that she felt she had gained from her participation in the women's liberation movement.
14. Top Of The World - The Carpenters (right)
Originally appearing on the multi-platinum album, A Song For You, in June 1972, this Richard Carpenter - John Bettis composition was not originally slated to be released as a single. The Japanese distributors released it as a single there, and to everyone's surprise, it went gold. Country artist Lynn Anderson ("I Never Promised You A Rose Garden") then covered it and it reached No.1 on the country charts, so finally, in September 1973, The Carpenters released the song as a single worldwide. It shot straight to No.1 and became one of their best known hits. The story goes that John Bettis and Richard Carpenter were on a plane looking down at Carpenters fans waving and screaming. Bettis leaned over to Richard and said, "you're on top of the world now, huh?" and the idea of the song was hatched!
15. Rock and Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) - Kevin Johnson (right)
This is one of those ironic hits about a would-be pop star going everywhere from San Francisco to London's Soho looking for his big break, ironic because at the time he wrote it, Johnson had never been outside of Australia. Johnson had already been writing and recording for several years before his first hit, 1971's "Bonnie Please Don't Go (She's Leaving)". That song landed him publishing and record contracts in the US, but both deals saw Johnson's success stagnate, with no real action. The sentiments of this song very much reflected his career at that stage in his life. "There was a lot of frustration because I was living on the smell of an oily rag at this stage. Because I'd signed with an American company I couldn't record here, so I didn't record anything for two years, which was like madness," he recalls. "There was frustration that had been going on for years before 'Bonnie Please Don't Go' and then two years writing and bashing my head against a brick wall."
Johnson wrote this, his biggest hit, in two days. "It was a quick song for me because I've spent months on one line. It just came to me one day as I was driving home, feeling all this frustration of two years without making a record. So I decided to write a song not about giving someone the best years of my life, but to write about the pursuit of success, which I thought related to a lot of people around the world, not just in music but anything. There are elements of a lot of things in the song, like Don McLean did with 'American Pie.'
But what I felt at that time, and I'll be damned for saying this, was that Australia emulated whatever was happening in all the major centres. So when I said I was 'always one step behind,' I mentioned San Francisco because as soon as San Francisco was happening everybody here was trying to play louder than anybody else with flowers in their hair, but about a year after. You can't follow, and that's what everyone in Australia was doing." The song struck a strong chord and remains one of the most memorable songs composed by an Australian. He admires some of the international versions, although he can't understand what French star Joe Dassin was singing, and was amused when Mac Davis changed the song's ending to a happy one. "There were a few people who wouldn't sing "I'll never be a star", because in their mind they were big stars." In spite of the strange adaptation he did of it for the AFL ("Aussie Rules I thank you for the best years of my life"), Johnson is comfortable with the song's legacy but says, "I have never tried to trade on it. A lot of people come to me and prefer 'Bonnie Please Don't Go' or many other songs to 'Rock and Roll'. So it's only one other song."
16. The Morning After - Maureen McGovern (right)
A former secretary, singer and Broadway actress, Maureen McGovern quickly became the new "in" singer in 1973 with the Oscar-winning The Morning After. While performed part-time with a folk band called Sweet Rain, her singing caught the attention of Russ Regan, then head of 20th Century Records, in 1972. Regan was searching for a singer to record this song, which was to be the theme song for the movie, The Poseidon Adventure (1972). He hired McGovern sight unseen to record the song. It was a failure as a single at first, but after it won an Oscar for Best Original Song, it quickly climbed the pop charts, reaching No.1 in 1973. In the following year, she recorded two more movie theme songs: "We May Never Love Like This Again" (The Towering Inferno, in which she made a short appearance singing the song as the evening's entertainment) and "Wherever Love Takes Me" (for the British disaster film, Gold).
The former, though not a hit, won an Oscar, and the latter received an Oscar nomination. These two songs (along with "The Morning After") led the media to call McGovern "the Disaster Theme Queen." McGovern continued touring and recording albums and movie songs (including a version of "Can You Read My Mind", the love theme from 1978's Superman: The Movie) throughout the 70s. Toward the end of the decade, she recorded "Different Worlds", the theme from a short-lived TV sitcom entitled Angie. That song was her only other top 40 single aside from "The Morning After". In 1980, she made a cameo appearance as the singing nun, Sister Angelina, in the comedy-disaster movie, Airplane! (released as Flying High in Australia). At the beginning of the 1980s, McGovern gave up movie themes to begin a career on Broadway, despite having little acting experience.
17. Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack (right)
A notable performer in the areas of jazz, soul, and folk, Roberta Flack is best known for two singles - "Killing Me Softly With His Song", which won the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year, and "Where Is the Love", the latter being one of her many duets with Donny Hathaway. Her second No.1 hit, "Killing Me Softly with His Song" (1973) was originally recorded by Lori Lieberman in 1971. After being mesmerized by one of Don McLean's concerts at the Troubadour theater in Los Angeles - and in particular McLean's song "Empty Chairs" - Lieberman described what she saw of McLean's performance to Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, who were writing songs for her new album, and they wrote the song for her. Said Lieberman: "I felt as if he knew me and his songs were about my life. I felt like he sang into my soul." Flack heard Lieberman's version on an in-flight tape recorder while flying from Los Angeles to New York.
She loved the title and lyrics and decided to record it herself, but felt it wasn't complete, so on arriving in New York she went into the studio and started experimenting. She changed the chord structure and ended the song with a major rather than minor chord. Flack worked on the song in the studio for three months, playing around with various chord structures until she got it just right. A press release put out on Lieberman's behalf states: "Lieberman to this day is never given credit for lyrics and her version. McLean said he had no idea the song was about him. 'Someone called me and said a song had been written about me and it was No.1,' McLean recalled. 'It was an honor and a delight, and I give Lieberman the credit. My songs have always come from my personal thoughts and experiences, so it's overwhelming when someone is moved and touched by them like Lori was.'"
18. Daniel - Elton John
Penned by Britain's most successful and talented post-Beatles songwriting duo, lyricist Bernie Taupin and composer/performer Elton John, 'Daniel' is about a man who has just come back from the Vietnam War. Written when the pair were at their most creative, it looks at a social issue rather than being just a pop-oriented love song like 'Crocodile Rock', and first appeared on Elton's 1973 album, Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player. The 1991 release, Two Rooms, A Tribute to Elton John & Bernie Taupin, which features a collection of their compositions sung by other artists, has a fabulous version of 'Daniel' performed by the female vocal trio, Wilson Phillips. It was the last thing they recorded together before breaking up (they reunited again in 2004) and their tight three part vocals give the song an all-together different feel to the original and is in all ways the better version of the song. Sorry about that, Reggie.
19. Angie - The Rolling Stones (right)
Lifted from the album Goat's Head Soup, this song was at one time thought to be about David Bowie's wife, Angela, a friend of Mick Jagger's, but the lyrics suggest it is about his relationship with Marianne Faithfull, which ended in turmoil in 1969. Another possibility is that Jagger wrote it for Angela "Dandelion" Richards, daughter of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, who was born in 1972, the year the song was written. Jagger recalls that Richards chose the title - "I think it was to do with his daughter. She's called Angela. And then I just wrote the rest of it." In 1990, Angela Bowie went on The Joan Rivers Show and claimed she once walked in on David Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together naked. Jagger and Bowie denied this, but it prompted speculation that Mick wrote this about David Bowie.
If you listen to Mick carefully, he at first sings Angie, but from about 1:15 till the end of the song it sounds more like Andy. Some people speculate this points to the song as being Mick's way of telling Andy Warhol goodbye. Andy used to do some of the Stones album covers, but not after this song. They quote the following lyrics as evidence - "There ain't a woman that comes close to you ... Everywhere I look I see your eyes". Yet others believe the song is Mick's answer to Carly Simon for calling him 'vain' in her 'Your So Vain', which seems unlikely as both songs were written simultaneously. Aimed at the US market, it was the band's first No.1 hit there.
Though it is loved by fans, 'Angie' has never been a favourite of The Stones themselves and this may be because they may have been co-ereced by their record company to produce a record uncharacteristic of their style in order to create a No.1 hit. It is far removed from their usual sound; the key instrument is the piano, which neither Richards or Jagger can play well or have the musicianship to write for or arrange with the degree of skill in evidence here. Nicky Hopkins played piano and Nicky Harrison is credited with the album's string arrangements - perhaps they put the music together around Mick and Keith's lyrics?
20. Last Song - Edward Bear
Edward Bear is not the name of a person, but a rock trio named after the bear in a Winnipeg zoo that inspired 'Winnie The Pooh'. Larry Evoy & Paul Weldon began jamming together in basements and garages in Toronto in the 1960s. They were assaulted with a variety of influences, from psychadelia to folk to blues-based styles, and went through several incarnations of various groups. With Evoy handling vocal duties and Weldon on organ, they went through a variety of band names, as well as people on drums and bass guitar. By the late 1960s they were regulars of the Yorkville (Canada) coffee house circuit and had also appeared at The Rock Pile, a major club gig at the time where the likes of Paul Butterfield and Led Zeppelin performed. Though relatively unknown in Australia outside of their 1973 hit, 'Last Song', they enjoyed many hits in their home country. The self-penned 'Last Song' was the group's biggest-selling single and prompted tours of Europe and Australia where it was a surprise hit. Ironically by the time this song was released, the group had lost its original lineup making this the "last song" the group recorded with the original members.
4. Rock and Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) - Kevin Johnson (right)
5. You Don't Own Me - Ormsby Brothers
Along with Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique (which was published shortly before this song's release), this song can be considered one of the many things that helped begin the Women's Liberation Movement. This song is one of the very first in which a woman demands her independence from her man. It was first recorded in 1964 by 18 year old Leslie Gore, whose biggest hit was "It's My Party"; Dusty Springfield's version made the top 10 in the same year. The song was written by John Madara and Dave White Tricker. The Ormsby Brothers put a totally different slant on the song by singing it from a man's point of view.
6. World's Greatest Mum - Johnny Chester (right)
With a recording career that began in 1961 and continues today, Johnny Chester is one of Australia's most enduring recording artists. In 1959, at the age of seventeen, he began running a dance in the St Cecilia's Church Hall in Melbourne's suburban West Preston. During the 1960s, whilst establishing himself as a recording artist and songwriter, he hosted two national television series for the ABC. He toured with a host of overseas acts including the Beatles, Roy Orbison, Dion and the Everly Brothers and worked as associate producer of the national Kommotion Televison show and a disc jockey on Melbourne's radio station 3UZ. He also did an entertainment tour of duty for the Australian and American forces in Vietnam. The 1970s saw a major musical transition take place as Chester moved into country music, hitting the jackpot with "Gwen" in 1971. "World's Greatest Mum" was Chester's next single, also making the top 5.
7. Your Mama Don't Dance - The Bootleg Family Band
Singer/songwriter/producer Brian Cadd originally put together The Bootleg Family Band as the house band for the independent rock label Bootleg which Brian had established with Fable Records boss Ron Tudor in late 1972. The idea was that the Bootleg house band would provide core musical backing for records and tours for himself and other artists signed to the label. Their debut, a top 5 hit, was a cover of Loggins and Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance" and featured Cadd prominently. The second single, "Wake Up Australia" (June 1973) failed to chart but the third single, a cover of the late Betty Everett's "Shoop Shoop Song" (July 1974), delivered another top 10 hit.
8. Suzie Darling - Barry Crocker
Barry Crocker, awarded an Order of Australia'in 1987 for services to the Australian entertainment industry and to charity, is correctly regarded as one of the 'greats' in the Australian entertainment industry. His milestone of achievements in life have been earmarked with numerous awards where he won four Logies including the Gold Logie for Most Popular TV Personality in 1969; two Entertainer of the Year Awards; four 'Mo' Awards; one 'Sammy' and a 'Penguin'; and thirty-three Gold Records. "Suzie Darling" was an updated cover of a Robin Luke hit of 1958. Olivia Newton and John and Pat Carroll sing back-up vocals. Crocker is also noted for having sung the original 'Neighbours' TV theme.
9. Cassandra - Sherbet (right)
For the greater part of the 1970s, Sherbet were the kings of pop in Australia. By mid-decade they were undisputed rulers of the Australian charts and concert stages, and only with the appearance of the mighty Skyhooks was Sherbet ever confronted with a serious rival. They produced some great original material and enjoyed a record-breaking string of hits, with an amazing run of sixteen consecutive top 40 singles between 1971 and 1977. They also hold the unique honour of being Australia's first band to score an overseas hit with a song written, recorded and produced entirely in Australia - "Howzat". Between 1971 and 1978, Sherbet released 15 albums and 30 singles. Among their singles were Australian pop classics such as "You've Got The Gun", "Child's Play", "Slipstream", "Cassandra", "Life" and "Summer Love".
10. Neither One Of Us - Linda George
Linda George migrated to Australia at the age of 15 with her parents. Settling in Adelaide, she finished school and began a career in hairdressing, but ultimately wanted to be a singer. At the age of 18, she packed her bags and moved to Melbourne where she joined the band Nova Express. Three years later, she right the band to perform for Australian troops in Vietnam with the ABC Show Band. George returned to Australia to lean times until 1973 when she was signed up by Image Records and released a string of soul influenced hits such as "Mamma's Little Girl", "Our Day Will Come" and a cover of the Gladys Knight & The Pips' single, "Neither One of Us". These led to live and TV appearances and singing in a variety of TV commercial. In the mid 1970s she went into session work and in recent years has taught Voice at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Rubber Bullets - 10cc
The duo that made up 10 cc - Kevin Godley and Lol Creme - first performed together in a trio named Hotlegs in 1970. Four singles later, they had shrunk to a duo and become 10cc. 'Donna' was their first hit, followed by another 1960s-style song, 'Johnny, Don't Do It', but it was their third single, 'Rubber Bullets', that brought them their first No.1 hit. It almost didn't make it as, being a protest song, many British DJs connected it to the Northern Ireland problem and were reluctant to play it. The band's first single in 1974 was the lyrical offensive "The Worst Band In The World". View the video online
Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
Bobby "Boris" Pickett is the only performer whose original recording has reached the top 100 on three different occasions. Written as a salute to actor Boris Karloff and his horror movies that its co-creator Pickett watched in his childhood, 'Monster Mash' became a No.1 in 1962 and then again in Australia second-time around in 1973. It repeated its chart-topping ways a decade later. View the video online
Dancin' (On A Saturday Night) - Barry Blue (right)
It was the Bee Gees' who introduced the world to disco with 'Nights On Broadway', but it was the No.1 single from teel idol Barry Blue - 'Dancin' (On A Saturday Night)' - that turned disco into the biggest music/dance phenomenum of the 20th century. Although he was never able to match the commercial heights of his rivals such as The Sweet, Gary Glitter, David Bowie or T Rex, Blue continued to work in the music business, mostly as a producer of other artists. Written by Barry Blue and Lynsey De Paul, the somng was recorded by both composers, as well as Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids and a Canadian band named Bond. View the video online
My Love - Paul McCartney & Wings (right)
Lifted from the 1973 Wings album, Red Rose Speedway, 'My love' was for many fans a welcome return from the 'silly love songs' of Paul's late Beatles/early solo era to the sensitive love songs like 'Yesterday' and 'The Long and Winding Road' that he wrote so well. It was a much needed major hit for McCartney, and went a long way to winnning back the legion of Beatles fans who had turned their backs on the Fab Four, upset at them for having gone their separate ways. View the video online
Time In A Bottle - Jim Croce (right)
Seen by many as one of the most beautiful songs ever written, 'Time In A Bottle' became a No.1 hit a few weeks after singer/songwriter Croce was killed in a plane crash. Croce had started touring after he completed his second album, I Got A Name. On 20th September 1973 a plane carrying him and five other people crashed upon takeoff as he was leaving one college venue for another 120km away. No one survived the accident. The song was never intended to be a single - it was on Croce's first solo LP, which had already yielded two hits "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" and "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" and was in fact released a year after the album.
The song was used in the telemovie, She Lives, which was about a woman dying of cancer; it aired in the US in September 1973 as Croce was adding the finishing touches to his I Got A Name LP. The next day, television stations were deluged with telephone calls from viewers who wanted to know where they could buy the record. It was rush-released and had already sold 200,000 copies in the US alone before the end of the month. 'Time In A Bottle', 'Operator', 'Walkin Back to Georgia' and 'A Long Time Ago' were all written in one week at Croce's kitchen table in Pennsylvania. After a failed album and years of touring, when his wife Ingrid told Croce that she was pregnant, he knew that he only had one more chance or else face the prospect of working odd jobs for the rest of his life. He sat down that night and wrote 'Time In A Bottle' for his unborn son, Adrian, the first of the four songs. Hear the song online
Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel
After recording the promising but commercially unsuccessful solo album, Can I Have My Money Back, Gerry Rafferty joined forces with old friend Joe Egan to form Stealer's Wheel in 1972. They released three albums together before disbanding in 1975. The band is probably best known for "Stuck in the Middle With You", a song which Paul Simon once described as his favourite ever pop record and one which was later used to unlikely and shocking dramatic effect by Quentin Tarantino in the film, Reservoir Dogs. Much like the "accidental" sax riff of Refferty's 'Baker Street', the writing of "Stuck in the Middle With You" was the result of a happy twist of fate.
The song was inspired by a pre-signing party laid on for the duo at a fashionable London Restaurant at which Rafferty and Egan were surrounded by a posse of record executives. Rafferty remembers, "We all sat at a huge long table (clowns to the right of them, jokers to the right, there they were, stuck in the middle), like one of those scenes from the Last Supper. A few days later, Joe and I wrote this humorous little ditty, never thinking it would go to No.1." His lyrical opinions of the "clowns and jokers" of the music industry establishment would prove to be strangely prophetic. Three years of legal battles with his management kept him quiet until the release in 1978 of "City to City". View the video online
5:15 - The Who (right)
"5:15" was written by Pete Townshend of British rock band The Who from their second rock opera, Quadrophenia (1973). The song is the first track on the second disc. In the song, the main character Jimmy has taken a train to Brighton, consumed a lot of drugs, and recollects his life with the Mods, the cultural movement to which he belongs, and their duels with the Rockers. Jimmy's memories are extremely disjointed, consisting mainly of anger, confusion, violence, sexual frustration, and rootlessness. "5:15", like so many songs from Quadrophenia, is self-referential and thus represents an angy self-centred, teenaged disconnection with society, family and the opposite sex. The studio recording shows off the originality of Keith Moon, whose drumming toward the end of the song mimics the rhythm of a train, slowing down as it enters a station. The simple power and drive of this song made it an extremely popular concert staple.
All the Way from Memphis - Mott the Hoople (right)
A song that was probably based on a actual event involving guitarist Mick Ralph's, "All the Way from Memphis" tells a story about a rock n' roller whose guitar is shipped to Oreole instead of Memphis. The musician gets half-way there before he realises his instrument is missing and takes a month to track it down. When he gets the guitar back, he is scolded by a stranger for being neglectful and self-centered. View the video online
The Cisco Kid - War
War was a multiracial, multicultural American funk band of the 1970s from Southern California, known for the hit songs "Low Rider" and "Why Can't We Be Friends?". Formed in 1969, War was the first and most successful musical crossover, fusing elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin music, R&B, and even reggae. The band also transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up. Its diverse musical influences have made it an enduring influence, one that has sold nearly 25 million records to date. Eric Burdon & War began playing live shows and immediately found themselves in front of sold-out audiences throughout Southern California before entering the studio to record the album Eric Burdon Declares War. The album's key track, the erotic, spaced-out, Latin-flavored "Spill the Wine", was an immediate worldwide hit and launched the band's career. In 1972 the band's sound was refined and deepened with the release of 'The World Is a Ghetto', a gritty, celebratory and reflective albuml. Its first single, "The Cisco Kid," shipped gold and brought the band a following in the Hispanic community that has remained loyal to the group to this day. View the video online
Don't You Know It's Magic - Johnny Farnham (right)
During the early years of the 1970s, Johnny Farnham was an Australian artist who could do no wrong. Voted King of Pop year after year, he started covering hits from America ('One' and 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head') and making them his own. Any prospect of trying his luck overseas was overruled by a busy schedule. Bit by bit he was being pushed into mainstream fabric of Australian show business, highlighted by a starring role in the stage musical 'Charlie Girl'. View the video online. "Don't You Know It's Magic" was written by Brian Cadd. View the video of Brian Cadd online
Get Down - Gilbert O'Sullivan
In 1972, O'Sullivan's international star shone at its brightest after his self-penned ballad, "Alone Again (Naturally)" became a chart-topper. He quickly landed two more chart toppers, with the songs "Clair" (1972) and "Get Down" (1973). The latter is said to have been written about his dog. View the video online
Helen Wheels - Paul McCartney & Wings (right)
As the single had been released prior to Band on the Run, the song was not included on the UK release of that album. The song is said to be a homage to Paul and Linda McCartney's Land Rover, which they nicknamed "Hell on Wheels". View the video online
Loves Me Like a Rock - Paul Simon (with The Dixie Hummingbirds)
Though it has the appearance of being simply a rollicking gospel song, songwriter Simon has cleverly woven into the lyric his personal commentary on a major event of the time, The Watergate scandal. The line about the president and "the minute the Congress calls my name" is a reference to the Watergate investigation that brought down president Richard Nixon in disgrace. Simon has said that the lines "My momma loves me ..." are specifically about Nixon, that no matter how many dirty things he did, in Nixon's mind it was ok because his mom loved him. View the video online
Hell Raiser - The Sweet (right)
Sweet (referred to as The Sweet on albums before 1974 and singles before 1975) were a popular 1970s British band. Although Sweet were largely known for their glam rock image and hit singles - many of them being so-called teenage anthems - they also released several albums throughout their ten year career. "Block Buster", Sweet's first chart-topping single, quickly reached No.1 in the Uk in early 1973. "Hell Raiser" was released in May and reached No.2, the success of which was repeated by the subsequent singles, "Ballroom Blitz" (September 1973) and "Teenage Rampage" (January 1974). "Hell Raiser" was the band's first single to make the Australian charts. View the video online
Jolene - Dolly Parton (right)
"Jolene" tells the tale of a housewife confronting a beautiful seductress who she believes is having an affair with her husband. It became Parton's second solo No.1 single on the US country charts and made the UK and Australian Top 40 charts. Olivia Newton-John's version of "Jolene" is featured on her 1976 album Come On Over. It was never released as a single in Australia. It has been said that the original inspiration for "Jolene" was a red-headed bank teller whom Parton suspected her husband at the time was fantasising about, due to his suddenly frequent trips to the bank, however Parton herself has stated on many occasions that her inspiration came from a little red-headed girl seeking an autograph after a concert who told Dolly her name was "Jolene". View the video online
If You Don't Know Me By Now - Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes
Among the Bluenotes' most important and successful recordings are love songs such as "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (1972, their breakout single), "I Miss You" (1972), "The Love I Lost" (1973), and "Don't Leave Me This Way" (1975), and socially conscious songs such as "Wake Up Everybody" and "Bad Luck" (both 1975). "If You Don't Know Me By Now" was their only single to make an impact on the Australian singles charts. The song was covered by Simply Red in 1988, and became a wordwide hit reaching number one on the U.S. Hot 100 on July 15, 1989 and peaking at number two in the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the Canadian Singles Chart. View the video of Simply Red online
See My Baby Jive - Wizzard
Not long after the release of Electric Light Orchestra's first album, co-founder Roy Wood found himself at odds with Jeff Lynne. Wood decided he wanted to go in a different musical direction and right, taking band members Bill Hunt (keyboards) and Hugh McDowell (cello) with him, to found Wizzard. Although they released two albums, Wizzard Brew, and Introducing Eddy & The Falcons, their biggest hit was their second single. "See My Baby Jive", which was Wood's affectionate tribute to the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound". The follow-up, "Angel Fingers", also topped the charts in the UK. During 1973 Wood was simultaneously exploring a solo career with his album, Boulders, that produced the Top 20 hit, "Dear Elaine". By autumn 1975 Wizzard had split, leaving a farewell single "Rattlesnake Roll", which failed to chart, plus a third album, Main Street, which their record company did not release as they deemed it too uncommercial. The album finally saw the light of day in 2000. View the video online
Kodachrome - Paul Simon (right)
Bouncy, cynical, and pleading all at the same time, this song is an amazing amalgam of emotions. Simon looks back on his youth and refuses to see it any improvement with the passing of time. 'If you took all the girls I knew when I was single, and brought them all together for one night, I know they'd never match my sweet imagination, and everything looks worse in black and white'. The word "crap" was edited out by many radio stations at the time. Kodak required Paul Simon to put notices on his album that Kodachrome was a registered trademark of Kodak.
It miffed him to have them intrude on his song this way, so that is why he occasionally makes a jab at them by singing "everything looks better in black and white." That line is a sardonic twist on an old Kodak slogan "Everything Looks Better in Color". This song was not a hit in England, partly because UK radio stations rarely played it. The BBC had very strict rules about commercial endorsements, and they would not allow stations to play songs that seemed to push products. The Kinks had to re-record part of "Lola" for the same reason; the lyrics originally included the line, "We drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola," But Ray Davies had to rerecord the line as "...Just like cherry cola" so the song could get airplay in the UK. Here the song online
Lamplight - David Essex (right)
David Essex has enjoyed a varied show business career. His father was a London East End dock worker and his mother was a self-taught pianist and the daughter of Irish travellers. Essex was two years old when his parents moved out of the overcrowded home his family was sharing with relatives. He loved playing football, was a member of West Ham United Juniors for a while and dreamed of one day being a professional player. Essex's first notable foray in showbiz was an acting role was the lead in the stage musical, Godspell, in 1971 at the age of 23. Two years later, he starred in the film That'll Be The Day (1973) and recorded a major hit single, "Rock On" (which he wrote himself), in the same year. A second single, "Lamplight", also reached the Top 10. View the video online
Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney & Wings (right)
The band name is said to have come to Paul McCartney as he was praying in the hospital while Linda was giving birth to their second child together, Stella McCartney. He recalled that in the film, Wingspan, the birth of Stella was "a bit of a drama"; there were complications at his daughter's birth and both Linda and the baby almost died. He was praying fervently and the image of wings came to his mind. He decided to name his new band, Wings.
In late 1972, McCartney re-christened the band Paul McCartney and Wings for the 1973 album, Red Rose Speedway, which yielded the first US No.1 Wings hit, the romantic ballad "My Love". During the extensive sessions for this album (which stretched over seven months and two continents), Wings recorded the theme song to the James Bond film, Live and Let Die, which reunited McCartney with Beatles producer/arranger George Martin. The uptempo song, released as a non-album single immediately after "My Love" in the summer of 1973, became a sizable worldwide hit and has remained a popular part of McCartney's post-Wings concert performances (often accompanied by fireworks). View the video online
My Coo-Ca-Choo - Alvin Stardust (right)
Record producer Peter Shelley wrote this song long before he decided who would perform it; all he knew was he wanted someone "Who could sing Rock 'n' Roll, but who looked pretty mean." After he heard Alvin Stardust's demo, he knew he'd found his man. Londoner Stardust (real name Bernard Jewry) first saw chart action in the UK in 1961 as Shane Fenton. Jewry was the vocalist with Shane Fenton and the Fentones. After their final and biggest hit "Cindy's Birthday" was released in 1962, Jewry went into management, but returned in 1973 as leather clad Alvin Stardust. This was his first hit under his new name and it became his most well known recording. As Alvin Stardust he achieved seven top 10 British hits between 1983 and 1984 including four altogether written by Shelley. Shelley himself had two Top 5 hits in the UK, "Gee Baby" and "Love Me Love My Dog." View the video online
Nutbush City Limits - Ike and Tina Turner
"Nutbush City Limits" is Tina Turner's (right) semi-autobiographical rock song, in which she portrays Nutbush, Tennessee, the town where she was born and spent her childhood until the age of sixteen. The original recording was produced by Ike Turner in 1973 and released by the couple under their professional name of Ike & Tina Turner. The song was taken from an album of the same title, and proved to be the duo's final significant chart hit. Following the couple's split, the song became a staple of Tina's live show, where she re-worked the funky studio version into a hard-driving rock 'n' roll showstopper. View the video online
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - Elton John
A lively throwback to early rock 'n' roll with a glam edge; the lyrics discuss a night out on the town in which the narrator plans to "get about as oiled as a diesel train." Lyricist Bernie Taupin has said that the song was meant to be a rock'n'roll song set in Britain, and was inspired by his raucous teenage days. It recalls the vicious fights between rivals from the towns Caistor and Market Rasen, that took place in Market Rasen Market Square, Lincolnshire, when he was a teen. Elton John attended Taupin's wedding in the town. Despite only being a modest hit compared to his other 1970s singles, it remains one of John's best-known songs. View the video online
Send In The Clowns - Judy Collins / Lou Rawls
A song by Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music, "Send in the Clowns" is a slow, mournful ballad, in which the character Desiree reflects on the ironies and disappointments in her life. Of Stephen Sondheim's 800 plus compositions, this is the only one that became a megahit. It achieved popularity with recordings by Frank Sinatra, Kenny Rogers, Judy Collins (whose version charted twice on the US pop singles chart in the mid-1970s, and was named Song of the Year in the 1976 Grammy Awards), and by soulful song stylist Lou Rawls (right). Sondheim added a verse for a 1985 Barbra Streisand recording of the tune (featured on the Broadway album). The song was written for actress Glynis Johns, who had a breathy voice and a limited tessitura - Sondheim wrote it with short phrases and a small music range (only about an octave). The song is considered a jazz standard, performed famously by Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra among others. View the Judy Collins video online
Sing - The Carpenters
The Carpenters maintained a demanding schedule of concert tours and television appearances during their years "on top of the world". Their popularity often confounded critics. With their output focused on ballads and mid-tempo pop, the duo's music was often dismissed by critics as bland and "saccharine". In January 1973, when they came to the NBC studios to tape a Robert Young Special, they were asked to perform a tune on Sesame Street with Arte Johnson, Sandy Duncan, Robert Young and a children's group. On the set, everyone from the cameramen to the producer was swept up in the sing-along quality of "Sing", a song written by Joe Raposo. After several days of rehearsal, Karen and Richard felt the song was strong enough to be released as a single. Richard arranging the song right at the TV studio, and featured The Jimmy Joyce Children's Choir. "Sing" became their seventh gold single. It appeared on the Now & Then album. Hear the song online
Touch Me in the Morning - Diana Ross
During the 1970s, Ross became one of the most successful female artists of the rock era, also crossing over into film, television and Broadway. Over the course of her career, Ross has been awarded a Tony Award for the music special, An Evening with Diana Ross (1977), seven American Music Awards, and a special Golden Globe for her leading role in the Billie Holliday biographical film Lady Sings the Blues. The Michael Masser-composed ballad, "Touch Me in the Morning", became Ross' second No.1 single as a solo artist. View the video online
Yesterday Once More - The Carpenters (right)
Written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis, "Yesterday Once More" was the first song on The Carpenters' 1973 album, Now & Then. The song preceded an oldies medley consisting of nine songs from the 1960s. At the end of the song a motorcycle engine is heard as a transition into the first song of the medley: "Fun, Fun, Fun". The motorcycle was mixed out on The Singles: 1969-1973 compilation. According to the liner notes from The Singles 1969-1973 album, "As Richard and Karen began preparing material for their Now & Then album, the United States was in the midst of a '50s and '60s musical revival. Entire radio stations were going oldie, groups not heard from in years were re-emerging. Everywhere you looked, people were digging tunes out of the dust of '50s juke boxes.
But as Richard observed, no one had written a song that was really a comment on this nostalgic trend. After coming up with the title and writing music to suit the lyrics of those old '50s backgrounds, Richard turned the rest of the lyric writing over to his partner John Bettis, and "Yesterday Once More" was born ... It became the Carpenters' biggest international hit." Richard Carpenter recalls: "Karen and I introduced an 'oldies' medley into our concert show starting the summer of 1972 and it met with such an enthusiastic response we decided to feature a similay medley in our upcoming album." View the video online
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
One of Wonder's best known songs, he wrote it for his then girfriend, Syreeta Wright, who later became his first wife. They married in 1970, but divorced in 1972, although remained friends, as Wonder produced a lot of her material. This song won Wonder the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The first two lines of the song are sung, not by Wonder, but by James Gilstrap (a backing singer and arranger) and Lani Groves. The single version of this song features an overdubbed horn section. Hear the song online