It Was Forty Years Ago Today (1973)

If you thought 1972 was good, just wait till you hear what 1973 has got in store for you!

I guess 1973 was the year I "came of age" musically... Of course, I'd lived through "THE SIXTIES", but didn't realise that they were happening at the time. My experience of music, such as it was, was limited to the novelty hits of the day and whatever else oozed out of the 'medium wave' wireless, plus an occasional dip into my Dad's big band jazz collection. Musical history was being made all around, but most of it went right over my head, as I had more important childish pursuits to... um, pursue. Let's face it, as an eleven year old boy in the summer of 1969, I was far more enthralled by the Apollo space programme than anything that was happening on a farm in upstate New York. But even as a mere sprog, musically disinterested as I was, I knew enough to realise that THE BEACH BOYS were much better than THE BEATLES (and for that matter, just about everyone else was better than THE ROLLING STONES). I mean to say, it's obvious now, isn't it? Can't anyone else see it?

Then sometime in the early nineteen-seventies, I began to realise that there wasn't just "POP" music. There was also something called "ROCK" music to be discovered. This was something new to me, music that had to be listened to, because it actually had something going on. A number of factors contributed to my musical education:- 
- First and foremost, there was the Saturday afternoon radio programme hosted by the grand old man of the airwaves, ALAN "FLUFF" FREEMAN. Here I discovered all kinds of Progressive Rock for the first time - The Big Four (Floyd, Yes, Genesis, ELP) plus all those conservatoire-trained funny foreigners from Holland, Germany and Italy that seemed to tickle my fancy the moment I heard them...

- I'd missed the opportunity to hear proper "pirate" radio stations (the government killed most of those off in the sixties), but every evening I'd go to sleep hearing RADIO LUXEMBOURG struggle through the static. I hazily recall they played Redbone's "Witch Queen Of New Orleans" and something by Santana every single night. This too was something new and exotic while it lasted.

- Then, on the telly, "THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST" started. Regular host WHISPERING BOB HARRIS was a big advocate of this new-fangled Progressive Rock I'd been hearing about (he later managed and produced one such band called Druid). FOCUS were the first band to grab my attention. I thrilled to see RICK WAKEMAN playing excerpts from "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" with all those keyboards!!! (Confessions Of A Gear-Head Trainspotter). Every week, the show featured at least one band that I found exciting, as well as the endless stream of American singer-songwriters coming out of the woodwork at that time.

- Some school chums had older brothers who had actual RECORD COLLECTIONS. Not only that, they played them on something called a HI-FI. Solid state, not valves. This was a revelation.
- About this time, we would have started to buy and digest the 'inkies' every week:- the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and SOUNDS, sometimes the MELODY MAKER. These were our holy texts. They told us what was okeydokey and what was not.

- I attended Saturday morning classes at the Art College. In the corner of the studio was an old Dansette record player and two LPs. One of them, "THE YES ALBUM" was played to death every Saturday from that point on (I don't remember what the other one was, but I've a feeling it was something by the Edgar Broughton Band).

- In the NAAFI Club at some air force base or other, there was a jukebox that repeatedly pumped out seven-inch slabs of HAWKWIND, DEEP PURPLE and ATOMIC ROOSTER at a thrillingly loud and distorted volume.
So the year 1973 (I was 14 going on 15), was when I 'found' music and it started to matter. I bought my first ever LP in the summer (Focus' "Live at the Rainbow"). Accompanying a couple of school chums (and one of those older brothers I mentioned), I went to my first ever rock concert (Hawkwind at Portsmouth Guildhall) on the 19th December. Mind Blown Forever.

Just looking at this list now, you can see that it was a golden age for some rather decent music. It's astonishing how many albums widely regarded as "all-time greatest" were released during that one twelve-month period. (They weren't all classics of course. Don't worry, I've filtered out all the Donny & Marie and Gary Glitter albums that would have been on a lot of contemporaneous Dear Santa's). I suppose everyone would say that "their time" was a golden age. I can't pretend that I was aware of all the items on this list at the time, but a frightening number of them have found their way into my collection in the years since. Many are treasured favourites to this day.

10cc - 10cc
ABBA - Ring Ring
Acqua Fragile - Acqua Fragile
Alan Hull - Pipedream
Alan Stivell - Chemins De Terre
Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
Allman Brothers Band - Brothers And Sisters
Ange - Le Cimetière Des Arlequins
Area - Arbeit Macht Frei
Argent - In Deep
Arti E Mestieri - Tilt
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Io Sono Nato Libero
Band - Moondog Matinee
Barbra Streisand - And Other Musical Instruments
Beach Boys - Holland
Billy Cobham - Spectrum

Black Oak Arkansas - High On The Hog
Blue Öyster Cult - Tyranny And Mutation
Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets
Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J./The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
Bryan Ferry - These Foolish Things
Buckingham Nicks - Buckingham Nicks
Budgie - Never Turn Your Back On A Friend
Camel - Camel
Can - Future Days
Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night
Carlos Santana & Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender
Clannad - Clannad
Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen - Country Casanova
Curved Air - Air Cut
David Bowie - Aladdin Sane/Pin Ups
Donovan - Cosmic Wheels
Doobie Brothers - The Captain And Me
Dr. John - In The Right Place
Eagles - Desperado
Earth Wind & Fire - Head To The Sky
Edgar Broughton Band - Oora
Electric Light Orchestra - On The Third Day
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
Eric Clapton - Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert
Faces - Ooh La La
Fairport Convention - Nine/Rosie
Family - It's Only A Movie
Faust - The Faust Tapes
Flash - In The Can/Out Of Our Hands
Fleetwood Mac - Penguin
Focus - Live At The Rainbow
Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation
Fripp & Eno - No Pussyfooting
Fruupp - Future Legends
Funkadelic - Cosmic Slop
Genesis - Selling England By The Pound
Gentle Giant - In A Glass House
George Harrison - Living In The Material World
Golden Earring - Moontan
Gong - Flying Teapot/Angels Egg
Grand Funk Railroad - We're An American Band
Grateful Dead - Wake Of The Flood
Greenslade - Bedside Manners Are Extra
Gryphon - Gryphon
Hall & Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette
Hawkwind - Space Ritual
Henry Cow - Leg End
Horslips - The Tain
Hugh Hopper - 1984
Humble Pie - Eat It
Ian Matthews - Valley Hi
Iggy & The Stooges - Raw Power
Il Roviesco Della Medaglia - Contaminazione
Isley Brothers - 3 + 3
It's A Beautiful Day - Today
Jefferson Airplane - Thirty Seconds Over Winterland
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play
Jimmy Buffett - A White Sport Coat And A Pink Crustacean
Jimmy Cliff - Struggling Man
John Cale - Paris 1919
John Entwistle - Rigor Mortis Sets In
John Lennon - Mind Games
John Martyn - Inside Out/Solid Air
Kevin Ayers - Bananamour
Kevin Coyne - Marjorie Razorblade
King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic
Kraan - Wintrup
Kraftwerk - Ralf Und Florian
Le Orme - Felona E Sorona
Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy
Leonard Cohen - Live Songs
Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Lou Reed - Berlin
Lynyrd Skynyrd - (Pronounced 'Leh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
Magma - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Magna Carta - Lord Of The Ages
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds Of Fire/Between Nothingness & Eternity
Man - Back Into The Future
Manassas - Down The Road
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Messin'/Solar Fire
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
Michael Nesmith - Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells
Montrose - Montrose
Mott The Hoople - Mott
Neil Young - Time Fades Away
Nektar - Remember The Future
NEU! - NEU 2
New Riders Of The Purple Sage - The Adventures Of Panama Red
New York Dolls - New York Dolls
Osanna - Palepoli
Osmonds - The Plan
Peter Hammill - Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night
Pharoah Sanders - Elevation
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon
Poco - Crazy Eyes
Premiata Forneria Marconi - Photos Of Ghosts
Procol Harum - Grand Hotel
Quincy Jones - Body Heat
Rare Bird - Somebody's Watching
Raspberries - Side 3
Ray Manzarek - The Golden Scarab
Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning
Return To Forever - Light As A Feather
Rick Derringer - All American Boy
Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Robin Trower - Twice Removed From Yesterday
Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
Rory Gallagher - Blueprint/Tattoo
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure/Stranded
Roy Harper - Lifemask
Sandy Denny - Like An Old Fashioned Waltz
Santana - Welcome
Scaffold - Fresh Liver
Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Next
Serge Gainsbourg - Vu De L'Extérieur
Sly & The Family Stone - Fresh
Soft Machine - Six/Seven
Spirogyra - Bells, Boots And Shambles
Spooky Tooth - You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw
Steeleye Span - Parcel Of Rogues
Steely Dan - Countdown To Ecstasy
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - The Human Menagerie
Steve Miller Band - The Joker
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
Strawbs - Bursting At The Seams
Stray - Mudanzas
String Driven Thing - The Machine That Cried
T.Rex - Tanx
Tangerine Dream - Atem
Thin Lizzy - Vagabonds Of The Western World
Three Dog Night - Cyan
Tim Buckley - Sefronia
Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star
Tom Waits - Closing Time
Tom Zé - Todos Os Olhos
Traffic - Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory/On The Road
Van Morrison - Hard Nose The Highway
Vangelis - Earth/L'apocalypse Des Animaux
Wailers - Burnin'/Catch A Fire
War - Deliver The Word
Who - Quadrophenia
Wings - Band On The Run
Wishbone Ash - Wishbone Four/Live Dates
Yes - Yessongs/Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yoko Ono - Feeling The Space
ZZ Top - Tres Hombres