ALBUM CHART HISTORY
Researched and written by Sharon Mawer
It wouldn't happen very often because most artists take longer than a year between album releases, but in 1973, three artists for the first time had two no.1 albums each during the year, Elton John, David Bowie and Slade. Technically, it had been achieved before in 1962 by the George Mitchell Minstrels, Elvis Presley and the Shadows but the latter were only credited with Cliff Richard on one of their two no.1s that year. The three 1973 artists achieved this feat in their own right and all three with their first two number one albums. Elton John had the biggest selling album of the year with Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player which spent six weeks at the top in February and March and he ended the year with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road . David Bowie hit the top for five weeks in May and June with the second best seller of the year Aladdin Sane, and yet another five weeks in November and December with the cover versions album Pin Ups. He also saw two of his 1972 albums reach their peak position during 1973, Hunky Dory and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. Slade also saw their previous year's album Slayed reach the top in January and by October they released Sladest, a greatest hits album with 6 no.1 singles.
Following the pop success of 1972's Honky Chateau, Elton John released his biggest selling album so far, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, his most direct, pop-oriented album to date, featuring the diversity of Elton John's style, ranging from the ballads Daniel and High Flying Bird to the 50s Rock n Roll Crocodile Rock and the rocking Elderberry Wine and Teacher I Need You. On Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John's personality began to shine through more than his music, although as usual the music was as diverse as ever, from the progressive rock epic opening track Funeral For A Friend at eleven minutes long with a six minute intro, the ballads Candle In The Wind, I've Seen That Movie Too and the title track Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and the rocking tracks Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting and Your Sister Can't Twist But She Can Rock n Roll.
Aladdin Sane followed the pattern set by Ziggy Stardust of guitar led, hard rock glam. With four albums in the top 10 during 1973, David Bowie could do no wrong this year. The first of the new albums featured the singles The Jean Genie which relied heavily on its guitar riff and Drive In Saturday which hardly featured the guitar at all, as well a cover of Let's Spend The Night Together, a taste of things to come on the next album Pin Ups which was filled with cover versions from the 1960s including tracks originally by the Who, I Can't Explain and Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, Yardbirds' Shapes Of Things, Animals' Don't Bring Me Down and even Pink Floyd's See Emily Play. The only hit single was Sorrow, originally by The Merseys. As well as Ziggy Stardust reaching its highest position during 1973, the 1972 album Hunky Dory also peaked in 1973. Hunky Dory was far removed from the rock sound of The Man Who Sold The World, featuring Bowie sounding like Anthony Newley as he had in the very early days on the tracks Fill Your Heart and Kooks and also a return to his folk roots with Quicksand, Song For Bob Dylan and The Bewley Brothers. Hunky Dory also included the singles Life On Mars, Changes and the original version of Peter Noone's Oh You Pretty Things.
Slayed was only the second studio album in four years from Slade, all the rest being live albums or compilations but it was by the far the most commercial to date. The singles Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Gudbuy T'Jane alongside typical Slade rockers Look At Last Nite, The Whole World's Goin Crazee and I Won't Let It Appen Again. In the singles charts of 1973, Slade could do no wrong. Three number one singles, all entering the chart at the top position, in the days when this was an unheard of feat. Two of these were featured on the best of compilation, released at the end of the year, Cum On Feel The Noize and Skweeze Me Pleeze Me alongside three other number one hits Coz I Luv You, Take Me Bak Ome and Mama Weer All Crazee Now. Only the Christmas 1973 hit Merry Xmas Everybody was missing.
Also enjoying their first no.1 albums were Alice Cooper with Billion Dollar Babies and Status Quo with Hello, following their breakthrough album earlier in the year, Piledriver. Roxy Music hit no.1 at the beginning of December with Stranded and they also hit no.4 in April with For Your Pleasure and Bryan Ferry released his debut solo album, These Foolish Things. The Faces hit the top in April with Ooh La La and in September Rod Stewart had his 3rd no.1 with the compilation Sing It Again Rod. Enjoying their 4th no.1 album were Led Zeppelin with Houses Of The Holy but still going strong, now on 8 number one albums were the Rolling Stones with Goats Head Soup.
Although School's Out was a number one single the previous year, it was Billion Dollar Babies that took Alice Cooper all the way to the top of the album charts for one week in March. Featuring the singles Elected, released to coincide with the 1972 US Presidential election, Hello Hurray and No More Mr Nice Guy as well as I Love The Dead and Sick Things, tracks that suited the macabre live shows to a tee.
Status Quo began life as a beat group called the Spectres. Francis Rossi, Alan Lancaster, John Coughlan and Roy Lynes, released several unsuccessful singles before changing their style to fit the 1967 psychedelic boom and their name to Traffic Jam. Adding Rick Parfitt to the line-up, they changed their name again to Status Quo and this time enjoyed some success with the hit singles Pictures Of Matchstick Men and Ice In The Sun, although the first two albums, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo and Spare Parts were not at all successful. By the early 1970s, they had replaced Lynes with the keyboard player Andy Bown, adopted a hard rock, three chord boogie sound with their Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon and Dog Of Two Heads albums before finally breaking through into the album charts with Piledriver and the number one Hello. Piledriver featured the first top 10 single for five years, Paper Plane and other boogie rock standards that have defined Status Quo for decades afterwards, Don't Waste My Time and Big Fat Mama. Status Quo showed on Piledriver that they also had a thoughtful side as on the track A Year, a song about grieving a loved one. The follow up album Hello continued with more of the same, the hit singles Caroline and Roll Over Lay Down, and the 10 minute track, Forty Five Hundred Times.
Brian Eno had departed from Roxy Music after the For Your Pleasure album and they immediately became less experimental as Bryan Ferry's standard rock formula prevailed on the following album, the number one Stranded. The opening track Street Life and the tracks Song For Europe, Psalm, Mother Of Pearl showing Bryan Ferry's sophisticated songwriting as did the tracks on For Your Pleasure which did not include any hit singles but did feature Do The Strand, The Bogus Man, Editions Of You and In Every Dream Home A Heartache. While Roxy Music were still flying high, Bryan Ferry began a successful solo career. These Foolish Things was most definitively not a Roxy Music album, not one track written by Ferry, but filled with covers, but unlike David Bowie's Pin Ups which looked to the British hits of the 1960s, These Foolish Things was filled with cover versions of American songs, some famous 1960s hits, It's My Party, I Love How You Love Me, Baby I Don't Care, Don't Ever Change, The Tracks Of My Tears, Bob Dylan's A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall, the first hit single, and These Foolish Things, a standard from the 1930s although it also has a cover of the Beatles' You Wont See Me and the Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The Devil.
Rod Stewart had released four albums over a period of two years and at the end of 1973, the first of numerous Greatest Hits compilations, Sing It Again Rod came out featuring most of the well known tracks from those first four albums, Handbags And Gladrags, Gasoline Alley, You Wear It Well and one complete side of his most successful album to date, Every Picture Tells A Story, including of course Maggie May. His band The Faces meanwhile also enjoyed their only number one album with Ooh La La with tracks written by the band members Ronnie Lane, Ron Wood and Ian McLagen as well as Rod Stewart and featuring the band's biggest hit single Cindy Incidentally.
Led Zeppelin enjoyed their fourth number one from five releases with the album Houses Of The Holy. Yet another album featuring a variety of styles far removed from their reputation of only playing hard rock. Dyer Maker had a reggae flavour, while The Rain Song and The Ocean both featured soaring string arrangements, but Houses Of The Holy did have its share of hard rock tracks including The Song Remains The Same, No Quarter and Dancing Days. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup became their 8th number one album for two weeks in September, with musical styles ranging from the angst ridden heartfelt ballad Angie to the hard rocker Star Star, although everyone, certainly the Rolling Stones fans, knew that was not what Mick Jagger actually sung on the track.
One of the biggest selling albums of all time and ending 1973 as the 4h best seller of the year was Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, although it never climbed higher than no.2 in the weekly charts, it did top the US album charts for 1 week. Other successful rock albums in 1973 included the no.2 Quadrophenia by The Who. Roger Daltrey also hit the top 10 with his debut solo album as did Focus with Moving Waves. Focus also hit no.6 with Focus 3. Deep Purple and Black Sabbath both had no.4 albums with Who Do We Think We Are and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Santana hit with Welcome and also placed the Carlos Santana collaboration with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Love Devotion Surrender in the top 10. 1973 saw the only appearances in the top 10 for Nazareth with Loud And Proud and Hawkwind with Space Ritual Alive.
Unlike the previous few Pink Floyd albums, Dark Side Of The Moon is full of great songs but is still also full of soundscapes and effects, quite a lot of which could have made hit singles if the band had showed any interest in this direction, despite the themes supposed to be about madness and man's inability to make decisions, depending on what interview one listens to. Tracks included Breathe, On The Run, Time, The Great Gig In The Sky and Us And Them. In the UK, they released no singles from the album, although Money was released in the US. The finale joining of the two tracks Brain Damage and Eclipse sum up the album perfectly and there is hardly a wasted moment on one of the most important rock albums ever.
Several years after Tommy, Pete Townshend revisited the rock opera concept with another double-album opus Quadrophenia, this time built around the story of a mixed up young mod named Jimmy and his struggle to come of age in the mid 1960s. The whole project didn't really lend itself to hit singles, but the track 5.15 was released nevertheless. The lyrics on some of the other tracks were less radio friendly, Helpless Dancer with its line, "If you complain you disappear just like the lesbians and queers". The Who's lead singer, Roger Daltrey was also beginning a solo career during the period of Quadrophenia and in 1973 released the album Daltrey. The ballad Giving It All Away was a hit single and it, like most of the rest of the tracks were written by an as yet unknown Leo Sayer, including one of his future hit singles One Man Band and other tracks like When The Music Stops and It's A Hard Life, which at the time, the other members of the Who took to be a message of the band's ultimate split, although this proved not to be the case.
Focus were a Dutch prog-rock band founded by Thijs Van Leer, Martin Dresden, Hans Cleuver and Jan Akkerman. The debut album In And Out Of Focus was the last appearance by the groups original members Dresden and Cleuver who were replaced by Cyril Havermanns and Pierre Van Der Linden for the second album recorded in English, Moving Waves which began with the instrumental single Hocus Pocus and ended with the track Eruption, a 23 minute jam in the style of Yes or ELP with organ solos, drum solos, alternating with jazzy guitar solos, not dissimilar to Carlos Santana. Throughout the song, they used the theme that would become the track Sylvia on the following album. Indeed Emerson Lake & Palmer had already used the title Eruption for one of their epic length songs on the album Tarkus. The third album Focus 3 also featured an instrumental hit single, this time the more conventional guitar piece by Jan Akkerman called Sylvia, and a flute instrumental, Love Remembered. The title track was an acoustic guitar and piano instrumental but the album ended with a 26 minute track Anonymous Two and a further 20 minute jazz guitar and piano jam on Answers Questions Questions Answers.
Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are was mostly a heavy rock album with a blues influence with tracks like Rat Bat Blue, Place In The Line and Our Lady, but began with the rocker Woman From Tokyo. They also returned to their prog rock roots on the eleven minute album finale, First Day Jam. More traditionally heavy metal however from Black Sabbath with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, including the title track plus A National Acrobat and Killing Yourself To Live. However even Black Sabbath were branching away from guitar rock with the introduction of keyboards on Sabbra Cadabra and Who Are You featuring Yes' Rick Wakeman.
When Santana moved away from their Latin roots towards jazz on Caravanserai, many fans were lost and after the collaboration with John McLaughlin, the situation seemed to get even worse. The newly assembled band included members of Santana's band and the Mahavishnu Orchestra who were Michael Shrieve, Billy Cobham, Doug Rauch, Armando Peraza, Jan Hammer, Don Alias and the organist Larry Young who appeared to gel the two diverse bands together on Love Devotion Surrender, a five track jazz instrumental album with some quasi religious chanting of the track titles. Recording again as a solo band entity, Santana then came up with Welcome which was a return to the jazz influences of John Coltrane. Tracks included Going Home, Samba De Sausalito and a track called Love Devotion Surrender which was not on the McLaughlin album.
The Scottish hard rock quartet Nazareth featuring vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet had released five albums before they finally hit the top 10 with Loud And Proud although the previous album Razamataz had come close, reaching number 11, as had their breakthrough singles Broken Down Angel and Bad Bad Boy. The sixth album Loud and Proud went just one place better with the tracks Go Down Fighting, Teenage Nervous Breakdown and two hard rock cover versions of Bob Dylan's Ballad Of Hollis Brown and Joni Mitchell's This Flight Tonight. Also finally hitting the top 10 with their sixth album were Hawkwind with Space Ritual Alive. Hawkwind were best known for their one major hit single from 1972, Silver Machine and were unlucky to be forced to withdraw the follow up single, which was shaping up to be an equally big hit, as Urban Guerilla coincided with a series of terrorist attacks in London. All three of their early albums failed to reach the top 10, Hawkwind, In Search Of Space and Doremi Fasol Latido, all of which were similar to early Pink Floyd albums with spaced out sound effects. Since their debut eponymous album in 1970, they had had a revolving door policy of members and the line up on this, their only top 10 album was Nik Turner, Dave Brock, Simon King and Lemmy (born Ian Kilminster), with spoken word interludes by poet Bob Calvert. Space Ritual was a double album recorded live and featuring five tracks out of seven from the third album, including Brainstorm, Space Is Deep and Time We Left This World Today. Free hit no.9 with Heartbreaker, including the tracks Wishing Well and blues ballads Come Together In The Morning, Muddy Water and Easy On My Soul.
David Cassidy hit no.2 with his second album Rock Me Baby as he had with his first the previous year and by the end of 1973 he was no.1 with Dreams Are Nothin More Than Wishes, something never achieved by the Osmond family who as a group had two top 10 albums in 1973 with Crazy Horses and The Plan, with Donny Osmond adding another two solo top 10 albums Alone Together and A Time For Us. Gary Glitter hit no.2 with Touch Me and T Rex made their final appearance in the top 10 apart from greatest hits compilations with Tanx. Making his first appearance though was David Essex with Rock On.
David Cassidy's second album Rock Me Baby was an attempt at blue eyed soul, which is a very different direction to the lightweight pop he sang with the Partridge Family and also on the first album. Indeed, David Cassidy actually wrote a couple of the tracks himself, Two Time Loser and Song For A Rainy Day, however the album still did include some cover versions, Some Kind Of Summer, Go Now, and How Can I Be Sure which gave him his first number one single and also the title track which was unlike anything heard from David Cassidy to date. By the time he released the third album Dreams Are Nothin More Than Wishes, he had returned to the pop songs that he and the Partridge Family had made their names with, including The Puppy Song and another number one single Daydreamer. On Crazy Horses, the Osmonds attempted to roughen up their clean-cut musical image with some hard rock and psychedelia, Hold Me Tight, Utah, What Could I Be and We All Fall Down excluding Donny Osmond's clean cut voice to give a harder edge and the title track is as hard rock as they got. The group's other top ten album in 1973, was even more ambitious, a concept album called The Plan attempting to explain the family's Mormon religion. Tracks such as Are You Up There, War In Heaven and The Last Days especially religious in their lyrical content. What they were best known for was lush ballads and Let Me In is one of the best examples, but they also rock like Crazy Horses on the final track Goin Home. Donny Osmond's Alone Together featured both his no.1 singles from 1973, The Twelfth Of Never and Young Love while the only hit single taken from A Time For Us was When I Fall In Love, continuing his string of oldie revivals along with A Million To One, Unchained Melody, Are You Lonesome Tonight and I Believe.
Gary Glitter's second album Touch Me includes three number two hit singles, Do You Wanna Touch Me Oh Yeah, Hello Hello I'm Back Again and Oh Yes You're Beautiful and more of the same as his debut album, camp glam tracks Sidewalk Sinner, Come On Come In Get On and a couple of cover versions Paul Anka's Lonely Boy and Phil Spector's To Know You Is To Love You. T Rex Tanx marked the close of the band's golden era and apart from greatest hits compilations, they never reached the top again with an album. The singles had also dried up as Marc Bolan's core audience had by now moved on and none of the tracks could make it into the singles chart, including Tenement Lady, Rapids, Mister Mister, Broken Hearted Blues, Shock Rock and Born To Boogie.
David Essex was born in London as David Cook in 1947 and began his career in musical theatre, winning the part of Jesus in the stage musical Godspell which led to a starring roles in the films That'll Be The Day and Stardust. For That'll Be The Day, he wrote the song Rock On and was an overnight pop star, as well known for a string of hit singles as for his acting achievements. For the debut album including the title track Rock On, established as one of the defining songs of the 1970s, he brought in producer Jeff Wayne and included classic tracks Lamplight, Streetfight and We All Insane, all with the same dark brooding undertones of Rock On.
The genre of prog rock moved on in 1973 with the biggest selling album by Pink Floyd, and the first appearance in the top 10 by Genesis with Genesis Live and Selling England By The Pound and Rick Wakeman with The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. There were also brief appearances in the top 10 for albums that would go on to much greater success in 1974, Yes Tales From Topographic Oceans and Mike Oldfields Tubular Bells. Jethro Tull reached no.16 with their US no.1 A Passion Play, a second full length composition with just one track, this time about a man reviewing his life as he arrives in heaven, although what this had to do with the story of the hare that lost his spectacles, only Ian Anderson would have known. The latest album by Yes was Yessongs, a live album covering the three previous studios albums, Close To The Edge, The Yes Album, Fragile and the debut solo album from Rick Wakeman.
Genesis, originally Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Michael Rutherford, Anthony Phillips and Chris Stewart met and formed the band at Charterhouse school in the mid 1960s and recorded their debut album while still at school, produced by Jonathan King, a concept album about no less a theme than the bible called From Genesis To Revelation. After leaving Charterhouse, they signed to the fledgling label Charisma and went through a series of personnel changes, losing original members Phillips and Stewart and gaining Steve Hackett and Phil Collins. One of the top progressive rock bands of the early 1970s, Peter Gabriel's theatrical singing and the band's powerful playing produced some of prog rock's must have albums. The Live album, their first top 10 album featured five tracks from the first three albums, The Knife from Trespass, Musical Box and The Return Of The Giant Hogweed from Nursery Crime and Watcher Of The Skies and Get Em Out By Friday from Foxtrot. This was swiftly followed by another intelligent rock masterpiece, Selling England By The Pound, an album influenced by TS Eliot and featuring the epic songs Firth of Forth, The Battle Of Epping Forest, The Cinema Show, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and their first single success I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe.
Another prog rock icon was Rick Wakeman, born in Perivale in 1949, and a graduate of the Royal College of Music. He began earning money in music as a session keyboard player and by the end of the 1960s his name was appearing on the credits of several albums. He officially joined the Strawbs for two albums and then teamed up with a harder rock band Yes, which he influenced to include synthesizers, mellotrons and electric keyboards in their music. During the making of Close To The Edge, Rick Wakeman embarked on a simultaneous solo project entitled The Six Wives Of Henry V111, containing six musical interpretations of the historical figures with the synthesizer to the fore and Wakeman beginning his career as a warlock character, magically conjuring sounds that had not been heard before on a keyboard with a stage age to match the pomp of this debut album. On the Jane Seymour track, he played a gentle, subdued piece whereas on Ann Boleyn-The Day Thou Gavest Lord Hath Ended, the music is a feisty and fiery piece to match the Queen's notorious temper.
There were also a couple of classical crossover albums in the charts of 1973, The London Symphony Orchestra reached no.2 with the soundtrack to the TV series The Strauss Family and the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange peaked at no.4 featuring the music of Beethoven, Rossini, Elgar and Purcell, produced by Wendy Carlos using a synthesiser to capture the seedy, eerie nature of the film. Many people who listened to this album had never heard Beethoven's 9th symphony or Rossini's Thieving Magpie in such detail before apart from in the Clockwork Orange film and were tempted to discover more about classical music in general and the excerpts featured on this soundtrack in particular.
Showing the variety of genres to hit the album charts in 1973, Jack Jones and Shirley Bassey both hit the top 10 with Together and Never Never Never respectively, both featuring more easy listening standard songs, Shirley Bassey with the top 10 single, title track and Jack Jones with cover versions of the Carpenters hits I Wont Last A Day Without You and We've Only Just Begun, and also You're A Lady and We Will.
Max Bygraves had a further two singalong medleys Singalongamax volume 3 and Singalongamax volume 4 with a theme of around the world. For five weeks in the Autumn, all four volumes were inside the top 50 at the same time. After her appearance in the film musical Cabaret, Liza Minnelli was hot property and she hit the top 10 with her solo album Liza With A Z and Peters & Lee spent two weeks at no.1 in August with We Can Make It. Liza Minnelli was Judy Garland's daughter, born in 1949, and did she want the world to forget it, but it wasn't until her appearance in the musical Cabaret that she became a star in her own right, winning an Oscar as best actress for her role as Sally Bowles in the seedy Kit Kat Berlin nightclub during the 1930s coinciding with the rise of the Nazis. The television show Liza With A Z was a live broadcast and the resulting album release brought her into the album chart top 10. The album includes her signature tunes Say Liza (Liza with a Z not Lisa with an S) and Ring Them Bells, cover versions ranging from Son Of A Preacher Man to Joe Tex's I Gotcha and a medley of songs from Cabaret, Wilkommen, Married, Money Money Money and Maybe This Time. Yet another successful act from the television show Opportunity Knocks, Peters & Lee, featuring blind singer pianist Lennie Peters and singer Dianne Lee, a duo who topped the singles and album charts in the summer of 1973 with Welcome Home and its parent album We Can Make It, filled with country pop songs including Cryin In The Rain, Good Morning Freedom, Never My Love and Let It Be Me.
The total dominance of the compilation album as during the second half of 1972 was already waning. K Tel hit no.1 for two weeks in April with 20 Flashback Greats Of The 60s and hit no.2 with Believe In Music. K Tel were showing themselves to be the most successful of the new specialist TV advertised record companies, their 60s album doing much better than the Arcade version with 1950s and 1960s tracks and with half as many. The K Tel no.1 album included five no.1 hit singles, The Kinks-Tired Of Waiting For You, Searchers-Don't Throw Your Love Away, Union Gap-Young Girl, Scott McKenzie-San Francisco and The Byrds-Mr Tamborine Man. It was easier to obtain the licence for chart topping singles for retrospective albums than the compilations of current hits. Believe In Music was such a current hits compilation along the lines of their Dynamic Hits series. No 1973 hits but Roxy Music-Virginia Plain, O Jays-Back Stabbers, Lindisfarne-Meet Me On The Corner, T Rex-Debora and Judge Dread-Big Six from 1972 and Faces-Stay With Me, Atomic Rooster-Devil's Answer, John Kongos-Tokoloshe Man, Greyhound-Black And White and Dave & Ansil Collins no.1 Double Barrrel, all from 1971. Arcade hit with their retrospective album, 40 Fantastic Hits Of The 50s And 60s and they also released volume three of their 20 Fantastic Hits series. However the traditional record companies were also beginning to join in the TV advertised compilation market with Philips hitting the top 10 with 20 Original Chart Hits, Motown who had been active in this area for a while, took their Motown Chartbusters Volume 8 to no.9, the last volume to hit the top 10 and EMI hit no.1 for three weeks in June with Pure Gold. Pure Gold featured EMI artists including two tracks from T Rex, Solid Gold Easy Action and 20th Century Boy, Mud's Crazy, Wizzard's Ball Park Incident and a variety of styles from The Temptations' Psychedelic Shack to Deep Purple's Strange Kind Of Woman.
It was during the seven week run at the top of the soundtrack to the film That'll Be The Day in July and August that a decision was taken to place all the compilations and any TV advertised albums in the separate mid price and TV chart, so on the 18th August 1973, all the compilations were removed, which really only affected That'll Be The Day as it was the only compilation that fitted the criteria in the top 10 at the time. That'll Be The Day featured both music from the film and also tracks inspired by it, including the original versions of Bye Bye Love, Poetry In Motion, Little Darlin, Chantilly Lace, Great Balls Of Fire and Tutti Fruitti and also ballads, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, I Love How You Love Me, Born Too Late and Sealed With A Kiss.
The definition of what was to be excluded was given as "LPs of individual hit records or catalogue material by various artists which is substantially promoted by TV advertising", a fairly woolly definition that appeared to be designed only to be aimed at the new record labels K Tel, Ronco and Arcade who did not own their own repertoire but specialised in these types of LPs. An exception was made at the end of the year for the release of the album to commemorate the Royal wedding of Princess Anne to Mark Phillips which reached no.7.
The mid price chart which had been produced weekly throughout the year, suddenly saw an influx of TV advertised compilations. A chart that had been the domain of albums such as Buddy Holly's Greatest Hits, Jim Reeves-Talkin To Your Heart, Country Side Of Miki & Griff, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra-World Of Johann Strauss and The World Of Your 100 Best Tunes Volume 5, all of which topped the mid price chart between January and July 1973, was taken over by the remainder of the run at no.1 for That'll Be The Day, Arcade's All Time Classics, Ronco's 60s compilation Good Vibrations and K Tel's 24 Golden Greats Of The 60s, 20 Explosive Hits and 20 Power Hits. 20 Explosive Hits featured 1973 hits Good Grief Christina, Broken Down Angel, Can't Keep It In, Wishing Well, Love Train, Me And Mrs Jones and Snoopy Vs The Red Baron while 20 Power Hits included Alright Alright Alright, Bad Bad Boy, Hypnosis, Can The Can, Cindy Incidently, Giving It All Away, Brother Louie, Yesterday Once More and Gaye. At Christmas, Arcade topped the chart with yet another 60s album, 20 Number Ones which featured 16 number one hit singles from the 1960s and Eddie Fisher's Outside Of Heaven, Emile Ford's What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For and Harry Belafonte's Mary's Boy Child from the 1950s were also included, as was Edison Lighthouse-Love Grows from 1970.
The third best selling album of 1973 was Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits, one place lower than it had been in 1972 and now in its fourth year, Bridge Over Troubled Water made its final appearance in the top 10. Paul Simon had another top 10 album with There Goes Rhymin Simon, his second album including the songs Take Me To The Mardi Gras, Loves Me Like A Rock and the banned Kodachrome with it's reference to a commercial product not suitable for BBC radio play. There were no top 10 albums for John Lennon during 1973, Mind Games peaking at no.13 but George Harrison reached no.2 with Living In The Material World, Paul McCartney hit no.5 with Red Rose Speedway and Ringo Starr charted with an album called Ringo. None of these solo albums sold as well as two compilations by The Beatles, The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970 commonly known as the Red and Blue albums.
George Harrison's follow up to the multi million seller All Things Must Pass was Living In The Material World, a project beginning with Give Me Love Give Me Peace On Earth. He was obviously in a serious mood when recording this album and it shows on the tracks The Light That Had Lighted The World, The Lord Loves The One That Loves The Lord and the title track. There isn't a track like My Sweet Lord on this album. Having gone through a year playing games with his fans, releasing firstly an overtly political record Give Ireland Back To The Irish and in response to the predictable lack of radio play, then releasing a nursery rhyme, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Paul McCartney, together with wife Linda released the album Red Rose Speedway, an album not filled with great memorable songs except probably the ballad My Love. Ringo Starr reached his musical peak as a solo artist in 1973. True, his solo career never really took off in the same way as his fellow ex Beatles, but 1973 saw the album Ringo with the other Beatles all joining him on various tracks but none with all four together. Ringo Starr wrote a few of the tracks including Photograph, Oh My My and It Don't Come Easy and had a second US number one single with a cover of You're Sixteen.
The biggest Beatles projects of 1973 were the releases of two greatest hits compilations, the Red and the Blue, 1962-1966 and 1967-1970. This was the first time that greatest hits of the band had been released since the Collection Of Beatles Oldies in 1966 which suffered from a lack of promotion and terrible timing and therefore, was not by comparison with their studio albums, a great success. With cover photos of the band as they looked at the start of each era, in a pose from the first album Please Please Me, both the Red and Blue double albums were packed with all the hits beginning with Love Me Do and ending with the US number one The Long And Winding Road and including every one of their 17 UK number one singles. Many of the tracks were not hit singles, but were representative of the biggest albums, such as four tracks from Sgt Pepper, four from the White album and three from Magical Mystery Tour all on the Blue album and several album tracks from Rubber Soul and Revolver on the Red. Most fans bought both albums and an expensive purchase it was too, possibly one of the causes of the albums peaking at numbers 3 and 2 respectively and allowing David Bowie's Aladdin Sane to pip them to number one for three weeks in May.
1973 saw the first albums in the top 10 for The Strawbs with Bursting At The Seams, helped in no small way by the major hit single Part Of The Union, Carly Simon No Secrets, Mott The Hoople's Mott, Lou Reed with Berlin, Stevie Wonder with Innervisions and The Carpenters with Now And Then. Diana Ross hit no.7 with Touch Me In The Morning, featuring the hit singles Touch Me In The Morning and All Of My Life and even a cover version of John Lennon's Imagine. Cat Stevens hit no.3 with Foreigner, his fifth album for A&M and seventh overall, this time with more elaborate keyboards, strings and bass and even a female trio backing group as opposed to the acoustic guitar mellow songs he had become famous for, side one of the album taken up by a meandering fragmented 18 minute piece called Foreigner Suite. Gilbert O'Sullivan hit no.2 with I'm A Writer Not A Fighter, his third album attempting to take him away from singer songwriter ballads into a more rock oriented market with songs like Ooh Baby and the number one single Get Down. However, the title track even had a funky background beat and there were the usual ballads, A Friend Of Mind, Where Peaceful Waters Flow and They've Only Themselves To Blame
The Strawbs were founded as a blue-grass trio called The Strawberry Hill Boys by Dave Cousins, Tony Hooper and Arthur Phillips, later to be replaced by Ron Chesterman on bass. Sandy Denny joined briefly and swayed the group towards traditional English folk music on their first two albums Strawbs and Dragonfly although they had also been credited under their new name The Strawbs as backing musicians on the album Sandy Denny & The Strawbs. Rick Wakeman also briefly joined the band before going on to a solo career and part of the band Yes, as did Richard Hudson and John Ford and they moved closer to a rock sound more like The Moody Blues or King Crimson. Nothing charted in the top 10 until their 7th album Bursting At The Seams which included the hit singles Lay Down and Part Of The Union and the tracks Flying and Lady Fuschia, sounding even more like a Moody Blues album opener. Like the single Part Of The Union, the album peaked at no.2 in March.
Carly Simon was a singer songwriter, born in New York in 1945 to an upper class family, her father Richard Simon being the co-founder of the Simon & Schuster publishing company. She originally recorded some tracks with her sister Lucy as the Simon Sisters and had a minor US hit single with Winkin Blinkin And Nod in 1964 but it wasn't until 1971 that she released her debut album, Carly Simon which was not a success and Anticipation which sold well over a long period of time without making much impression on the charts. The third album was the commercial breakthrough, No Secrets reaching no.3 in February with the hit singles You're So Vain and The Right Thing To Do.
Mott the Hoople, featuring Mick Ralphs on lead guitar, Verden Allen on organ, Overend Pete Watts on bass and Dale "Buffin" Griffin on drums, were originally known as Silence in the late 1960s. Stan Tippens joined as vocalist but was sacked and replaced by Ian Hunter before the release of the debut album eponymously called after the band's now changed name titled after a Willard Manus novel. After four unsuccessful albums, Mott The Hoople, Mad Shadows, Brain Capers and Wildlife, the band were on the point of splitting up when David Bowie at the height of Ziggy Stardust fame intervened as a fan and offered them the song Suffragette City for the fifth album which they refused, asking for Drive In Saturday instead. They eventually settled for All The Young Dudes which became their breakthrough hit and the title track of the fifth album and the following year in 1973, they released Mott, their first top 10 album which included the hits Honaloochie Boogie and All The Way From Memphis.
David Bowie claims one of his influences was the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. Their lead singer was in turn influenced in the 1970s by David Bowie. During their time, the group experienced little commercial success, though they were hugely appreciated by a cult audience and some critics, the general public treated them with indifference. Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico recorded albums whether or not the mainstream music buyers were ready for them and many of their tracks such as Heroin, Sister Ray, Sweet Jane, Venus in Furs, All Tomorrow's Parties and What Goes On have become classics, more appreciated in the 21st century than they were originally in the 1960s. Lou Reed embarked on a solo career in the early 1970s and received a boost similar to Mott The Hoople, when David Bowie offered to produce his second album Transformer which included the tracks Vicious, Perfect Day, Satellite Of Love and the surprising hit single Walk On The Wild Side. Surprising because of the amount of airplay it received, despite the seedy subject matter of New York transvestites. With Lou Reed now a hot property, the follow up album Berlin became his first top 10 entry. This was a much more serious album with themes of suicide and despair and a theme ran through the whole album of a romance between two drug addicts and the title track, not released as a single was equally as dark and seedy as Walk On The Wild Side and evocative of a Berlin nightclub in the 1930s. Not many tracks come more depressing than The Kids with the lyric 'they're taking her children away because they said she's not a good mother' and the sounds of children crying as they are taken into care.
Born Steveland Hardaway Judkins in Michigan in 1950, Stevie Wonder began as Little Stevie Wonder with the 1962 album The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie. He was not born blind but an illness as an infant caused his blindness, however he has not allowed this to prevent him from becoming one of the leading creators of thought provoking songs about racial, social and spiritual issues. The third album a year later, The 12 Year Old Genius produced the US number one single, Fingertips and throughout the 1960s, he developed from child star to fully fledged adult entertainer, albeit under the total creative control of Motown records. By the early 1970s, he was insisting on writing and producing most of his own material and as producer, the albums took on a funkier sound that culminated on the 1972 album Talking Book with the contrasting styles of the two US number one singles Superstition and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. Despite early misgivings, by now Berry Gordy and Motown Records dared not speak out against any Stevie Wonder project and the next album Innervisions, his 20th in total had a theme running through of social division and the racial tensions of the early 1970s and included the singles Living For The City, Too High, Higher Ground, Don't You Worry Bout A Thing and He's Misstra Know It All, Stevie Wonder's sarcastic tribute to the President at the time Richard Nixon. Innervisions became his first top 10 album in the UK, hitting no.10 for just one week in September but eventually peaking at no.8 the last week of April 1974.
The Carpenters, brother and sister duo Richard and Karen became one of the most popular artists of the 1970s, directly opposed to any novelty or fad and coming up with memorable light songs with Karen's distinctive voice and therefore outlasting almost every one of their contemporaries. The album Now And Then featured Carpenters original songs Yesterday Once More and Sing alongside cover versions ranging from Hank Williams' Jambalaya On The Bayou to a medley of 1960s oldies including Fun Fun Fun, The End Of The World, Da Doo Ron Ron, Johnny Angel, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Our Day Will Come and One Fine Day, all sounding like Carpenters originals with interjections by Tony Peluso doing the impression of a clichéd AM radio DJ.
Of all the US no.1 albums during 1973, there was no room at all in the UK for War's The World Is A Ghetto, Eric Weissberg's soundtrack to Duelling Banjos or Chicago VI and Diana Ross and The Allman Brothers Band could only just scrape in to numbers 50 and 42 with Lady Sings The Blues and Brothers And Sisters respectively. Elvis Presley reached no.11 with Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite from the TV show. Other top 5 albums in the US included Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On, Neil Diamond's soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull and the live Hot August Night, Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly and James Taylor's One Man Dog, all charting between positions 27 and 40 in the UK, John Denver, Rocky Mountain High reached no.11, Art Garfunkel's Angel Clare no.14, but there was no chart entries for Grand Funk We're An American Band, Cheech & Chong's Los Cochinos, Deodata Prelude, Edgar Winter Group-They Only Come Out At Night and Seals & Crofts' Diamond Girl, all of whom never charted an album in the UK. The Steve Miller Band would have to wait nearly ten years before a UK top 10 album and The London Symphony Orchestra and Chambre Choir charted in the USA only with their recording of Tommy, with vocal performances by the Who, Steve Winwood, Maggie Bell, Ringo Starr and Rod Stewart.
A UK number one single was no guarantee of a big selling album as was discovered by Wizzard, Suzi Quatro and 10cc who saw their albums stall at nos 29 32 and 36 and Dawn, Simon Park Orchestra and Sweet did not reach the album charts at all.
NUMBER OF TOP 10 ALBUMS - 90
NUMBER OF #1 ALBUMS - 20
Top albums of 1973
1 Elton John - Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player
2 David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
3 Simon & Garfunkel - Greatest Hits
4 Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
5 Peters & Lee - We Can Make It
6 Beatles - The Beatles 1967-1970
7 Beatles - The Beatles 1962-1966
8 Perry Como - And I Love You So
9 Gilbert O'Sullivan - Back To Front
10 Soundtrack - That'll Be The Day
(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company