Looking Through Time: 1973
With the anniversaries of culturally important albums sprouting up each and every year, the CommRadio Arts department will be diving into albums from select years and breaking down their impact. Here are the albums from 1973.
The Allman Brothers Band - Brothers and Sisters
By the time the Allman Brothers Band were just four years into their career, they had already gained widespread critical acclaim with their three studio albums, chart-topping songs and reputation of brotherhood and happiness. It perfectly blended with the hippie, love-struck era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their fourth studio album, Brothers and Sisters, cemented their fame and success in the music industry by peaking at number one for five weeks on the Top 200 Pop Albums, and their hit single, “Ramblin’ Man,” peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album is quite literally the definition of a “feel good” album. There isn’t one song besides “Jelly, Jelly” that doesn’t feature an upbeat guitar tune. It generates an all-around uplifting and positive feeling inside the listener, almost a nostalgic feeling of childhood campfires and carefree thoughts. The fact that this album can create such feelings is truly heartwarming and inspiring, as Brothers and Sisters released just after the death of Duane Allman, the co-founder of the band, and Berry Oakley, the bassist. The album shows that even in the darkest of situations, positivity and happiness can be found through friendship and music. - Lilly Adams
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
After three years of releasing solid piano pop albums, Elton John had his magnum opus with 1973’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a sprawling double album that displayed John’s variety as a musical artist, as well as Bernie Taupin’s ever-excellent songwriting ability.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is particularly impressive in that it hardly loses any steam for its 76-minute duration. You’d think that at least one out of its seventeen songs would be filler, but that isn’t the case here. There’s no doubt Elton John was on the top of his game in 1973, and future efforts like Caribou and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy would prove that the strangely-dressed man from Middlesex, England was here to stay. - DJ Bauer
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
While it’s difficult to pinpoint a single album from Herbie Hancock’s expansive discography as his best, there is not an argument when it comes to which is his most influential. While many of his contemporaries at the time were hesitant to accept the grooves and fun nature of the ever-expanding funk genre, Hancock embraced them in full. The bass lines of “Chameleon” and “Watermelon” remain engrained in the fabric funk, jazz and hip hop to this day. His incorporation of synths and loop-like repetition began a small but important movement towards the birth of hip hop and electronic music. Hancock’s contributions were so revolutionary at the time that his innovations continue to push various genres of music forward today, with modern envelope-pushing artists such as Flying Lotus and Thundercat vocally acknowledging they’re still finding new ways to implement Hancock’s ideas. But if there’s any further reason to point to as why this album is an undeniable classic (and one that’s preserved in the National Recording Registry) it’s that it still rivals modern day releases in terms of funkiness and grooviness. - Chandler Copenheaver
Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy
From 1969 to 1975, Led Zeppelin could do no wrong. The band released multiple classic hard rock albums during this period, including fan favorites like Led Zeppelin II and Physical Graffiti. But just as good as any is 1973’s somewhat overlooked Houses of the Holy, an album that proved Led Zeppelin was not a one-trick pony.
After the release of the highly successful Led Zeppelin IV, the band got right to work on Houses of the Holy. IV was a hard rock album in the truest sense with its swaggering “Black Dog,” booming “When the Levee Breaks,” and epic rock journey “Stairway to Heaven.” But instead of releasing a sequel, Led Zeppelin diversified its sound on Houses of the Holy by combining elements of funk, jazz and reggae with it blues rock influences.
All throughout, Houses of the Holy is a joy to hear and a surefire highlight of the band’s catalog. Led Zeppelin’s run of greatness didn’t last much longer after this, but at least they gave us a classic with Houses of the Holy. - DJ Bauer
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of The Moon
After 45 years, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon not only holds up as a great album, but arguably the best album of all time. It is one of the most strange and experimental albums ever put out by the band, mostly in part from its use of non-instrument sounds within the music. It features iconic tracks such as “Money,” “Time” and “Us and Them,” unique songs that exemplify the genius of David Gilmour and Roger Waters. Combining progressive instrumentation, unconventional sounds and emotional cues, The Dark Side of The Moon is one of the few objective classic works in modern music's history. - Jack Grossman
Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video. To contact her, email email@example.com.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Jack Grossman is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Senior / Public Relations