Friday, 4 April 2014

Top 5 Albums of 1973

I remember 1973 being a fabulous year, though I'm not entirely sure why. I was 5 so this was the year I started primary school and the year I first got to know my best mate. It was the year of the final Apollo mission and I really got into things to do with space including collecting the Race Into Space PG Tips cards which I think I still have tucked away in a box in the loft somewhere. It was also the year that IDEAL toys released the Evel Knievel stunt-cycle. I never had one but I did get a go with a friend's and remember it turning out to be a little disappointing.

1. Status Quo "Hello!" - Regular readers may remember that Hello! is my favourite Quo studio album. Having discovered them in the early 80s (I had my finger on the pulse of current music!) that's to such Radio 2 fodder as Rock'n'Roll and Marguerita Time, Hello! was one of the first classic Quo albums I discovered. They'd nailed their trademark sound with 1972's Piledriver but Hello! was the first album to feature all original compositions and their first UK number one.

2. John Cale "Paris, 1919" - This is perhaps a little higher than it should be. When I first compiled my 70s top 50 I was on a bit of a Cale groove and probably overestimated how much I liked it. There's no doubt this is a very fine album though. I'm not a big Velvet Underground fan at all but enjoyed the album Cale released with Lou Reed about Andy Warhol (Songs For Drella) and really should have investigated his solo catalogue sooner.

3. New York Dolls "New York Dolls" - I'd always ignored the New York Dolls due to the Glam image. There were a lot of 80s hair metal bands who took their image from this band who really weren't my thing. However, that view began to change when I read the book Please Kill Me about the American Punk revolution and realised how big an influence they were on many bands I like. Opening with the excellent Personality Crisis the pace rarely let's up, ten cracking originals and a storming cover of Bo Diddley's Pills.

4. Pink Floyd "The Dark Side of the Moon" - Perhaps an album I overplayed when I first got into Floyd. It is still a special album, I love the way it flows into one piece of music, but it doesn't quite enthrall me as much as it used to. This was one of two album covers I remember my junior school art teacher showing in class one lesson (the other was Animals so I guess this would have been around 1976) and it made a big impact on me and must have influenced my early interest in music that wasn't in my Mum & Dad's record collection.

5. Genesis "Selling England by the Pound" - Probably the most commercial of the Gabriel era albums. It's got a more polished sound than their earlier stuff and features the band's first charting single I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) which reached number 21 and opened the band up to a new audience. It also includes one of my all time favourite Genesis tunes Firth of Fifth which pretty much sets the standard for Prog bands trying to use awkward time signatures.

Near misses; Black Sabbath "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", The Stooges "Raw Power", Tom Waits "Closing Time" and Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band "The Spotlight Kid".

Albums to try; Roxy Music For Your Pleasure, Lou Reed Berlin, Bob Marley and The Wailers Catch A Fire, David Bowie Aladdin Sane, John Martyn Solid Air, Man Back Into The Future and Budgie Never Turn Your Back on a Friend.


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