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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Top 105 Songs of 1973

Nothing fantabulous that's new is happening here.  Punk is still a few years away though its predecessor, glam rock, continues to thrive.  Led Zeppelin is a little boring nowadays.  This is the year Dark Side of the Moon was released, so you'll see Floyd all over this thing.  The Grateful Dead had two great albums come out this year and Bob Marley had two himself, so I imagine it was a great year to smoke your doobies.  Here's the list:

105.  Funky Worm – Ohio Players (Funk) – 1973

If Dr. Dre samples it, it has to be good right?  This song tests that theory to its fullest. 

104.  Mama Kin – Aerosmith (Hard Rock) – 1973

Yes, 1973 is the first year for American Idol critic Steven Tyler.  He has to be aware of what he’s doing to his legacy right?  He better bang that Puerto Rican chick that's sitting next to him. 

103.  Rocky Mountain High – John Denver (Folk) – 1973
102.  Kissing My Love – Bill Withers (Funk) – 1973
101.  I Know What I like – Genesis (Psychedelic Rock) – 1973

Many years ago, I heard pre-pop years Genesis for my first time and was confused because it was so weird.  I get it now.  They’re making psychedelic music years after it was fashionable. 

100.  D’yer Mak’er – Led Zeppelin (Reggae) – 1973

Houses of the Holy lacks a soul for the most part.  Led Zep seems to have good ideas here and there, but more often than not they just repeat the idea for 4 or 5 minutes and songs like this get old half way through them. 

99.  Here We Go Again – John Lennon (Slow Rock) – 1973
98.  Can the Can – Suzi Quatro (Glam Rock) – 1973
97.  400 Years – Peter Tosh (Reggae) – 1973
96.  Jet – Paul McCartney (Rock) – 1973
95.  Dixie Chicken – Little Feat (Rock) – 1973
94.  Never, Never Gonna Give You Up – Barry White (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973

So, as of 1973, the Making Baby Music Power Rankings are … 1) Marvin Gaye; 2) Al Green; 3) Bill Withers; 4) Barry White; 5) Isaac Hayes.  Does that sound about right? 

93.  Precious and Grace – ZZ Top (Hard Rock) – 1973
92.  Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man – Loretta Lynn and Some Guy (Country) – 1973
91.  Band on the Run – Paul McCartney (Pop Rock) - 1973
90.  We’ll Sweep Up the Ashes In the Morning – Gram Parsons (Country) – 1973

If this were an Elliott Smith song, I’d be suspicious that Gram was referring to his own ashes. 

89.  Cosmic Slop – Funkadelic (Funk) – 1973

Maybe when I’m done with the 70s, I’ll finally understand the difference between Parliament and Funkadelic. 

88.  No More Trouble – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1973
87.  Coming Down Again – The Rolling Stones (Slow Rock) – 1973

This probably should have been the first song on Goat’s Head Soup even though it isn’t too exciting.  It’s the perfect come down after the heroin-infused Exile on Main Street. 

86.  Cindy Tells Me – Brain Eno (Glam Rock) – 1973
85.  Pony Boy – The Allman Brothers (Bluegrass) – 1973

Where the hell has this ho-down been?  I can’t believe I’ve never heard this A-Bros tune before. 

84.  The Boston Rag – Steely Dan (Rock) – 1973
83.  Cum on Feel the Noise – Slade (Hard Rock) – 1973 

It’s really difficult for me to rank these hair metal songs of the 80s that came out well before the 80s.  I promise as a music fan that if I ever encounter anyone that tries to defend Quiet Riot, I will ruin their evening.  It must be done. 

82.  Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Heavy Metal) – 1973
81.  Don’t You Worry About a Thing – Stevie Wonder (Latin) – 1973

Thus far I’ve completely ignored the influence of Latino rhythms on rock, and I shouldn’t have.  Between this, Santana and that “Spill the Wine” song, it’s done enough.  I’ve probably missed a few too. 

80.  The Ocean – Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) – 1973
79.  Kinky Reggae – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1973
78.  He Went to Paris – Jimmy Buffett (Country) – 1973

In 1973, Jimmy Buffett is a really hard person to qualify.  For someone who really seems like they should be the first person in the door at any party anywhere, he’s such a polarizing figure musically.  I don’t get it. 

77.  Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – Bruce Springsteen (Rock) – 1973

I really don’t know if what I just heard was really the Boss, or in fact the Hold Steady. 

76.  Dancing Days – Led Zeppelin (Rock) – 1973

Everybody’s humping around …

75.  Piano Man – Billy Joel (Slow Rock) – 1973 

This song really had no chance with me because of a vision I have of my wanna-be frat guy (much worse than an actual frat guy) college freshman year roommate singing this song drunk off his ass.  I know it has some value, so here I rank it, but still.  

74.  The Great Gig in the Sky – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1973

You have not lived until you’ve heard this covered with a vacuum cleaner rather than some chick simply wailing her pipes out. 

73.  Why Don’t We Get Drunk? – Jimmy Buffett (Country) – 1973
72.  Knocking On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan (Folk Rock) – 1973
71.  Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers (Rock) – 1973
70.  The Joker – Steve Miller Band (Rock) – 1973

It’s too bad every “Acoustic Karaoke Guitar Guy” in the world covers this as part of his repertoire.  I’d say the three biggest bands ruined by this guy are Steve Miller, The Eagles (though they had it coming) and Jimmy Buffet. 

69.  Pyjamarama – Roxy Music (Glam Rock) – 1973 

As I try to put the pieces together, of how the Talking Heads came into fruition, I’m realizing it’s a combo of Brian Ferry’s first project combined with Brian Eno.  The beginning of New Age … (not to be confused with the beginning OF A new age). 

68.  I’m the Slime – Frank Zappa (Progressive Rock) – 1973

Does listening to Frank Zappa automatically get you on sexual predator lists?  Or do you need to drive a van with a stripe on it as well? 

67.  Weather Report Suite – The Grateful Dead (Jam Rock) – 1973
66.  Personality Crisis – New York Dolls (Hard Rock) – 1973

This is a strange band.  On one hand, we may not have the Sex Pistols and punk may not have exploded as it did without them, on the other hand, we DEFINITELY wouldn’t have had Poison without them and I’m sure many would see that as a blessing.  As someone who thinks Poison is fun and punk is overrated, I can’t help you at all in terms of the Dolls relevance. 

65.  Roll Away the Stone – Mott  the Hoople (Glam Rock) – 1973
64.  Andalucia – John Cale (Folk Rock) -  1973
63.  Right Place, Wrong Time – Dr. John (Funk) – 1973

This is a great song, yet I can feel disco get closer and closer. 

62.  Living For the City – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973
61.  Solid Air – John Martyn (Folk) – 1973

For some reason folk songs seem to age so much better than most. 

60.  Will It Go ‘Round In Circles – Billy Preston (Funk) – 1973
59.  Nutbush City Limit – Tina Turner (Rock) – 1973
58.  Kodachrome – Paul Simon (Pop Rock) – 1973 
57.  He’s Misstra Know It All – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973

This song surprised me because I’ve known Innervisions for a very long time and I have never loved this song.  This is some pretty smooth shit.  I may have to concede that Innervisions is a complete album. 

56.  Keep On Truckin – Eddie Kendricks (Funk) – 1973

Though no longer a Temptation, he continues their 70s move towards making good funk music. 

55.  Shoot Out At the Fantasy Factory – Traffic (Jam Rock) – 1973

This is the last good Traffic song. 

54.  Southbound – The Allman Brothers (Jam Rock) – 1973

The Allman Brothers are smoking on this one. 

53.  Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney (Rock) – 1973

You can tell Paul is trying to be real unique on this song, but without John there it’s a little awkward.  Paul must have hated it at the time, but John must have really pushed Paul's creativity. 

52.  I Shot the Sheriff – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1973
51.  Jessica – The Allman Brothers (Jam Rock) – 1973
50.  Angie – The Rolling Stones (Slow Rock) - 1973

You have to give me props for having a girlfriend named Angi, and I've probably only started singing, "Angi … AAAAAAAAAAngi, when will those clouds all disappear" in front of her once or twice.  I’m certain Angie’s everywhere get killed by douchebags with this song, though nowadays it’s probably nice because the gentleman caller at least knows his Stones, rather than being Nickelback-listening fuckwad. 

49.  Pillow Talk – Sylvia (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973

Wikipedia tells me Al Green rejected this song due to his religious beliefs, that is was too “risqué” for him.  Moe Cizlak says WHAAAAAAAAA?  Didn’t that guy know that all the while people were making love in ridiculous proportions to his songs?  Looking at his song titles though, yeah, he wasn’t the one singing, “Let’s Get It On.”  So there you have it, Al Green was the religious guy and Marvin Gaye was the one that got shot by his father.  Jesus is always watching. 

48.  Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1973

It’s not like Goat’s Head Soup is a bad album, it just doesn’t have much awesomeness going on like there last few efforts.  Sadly, 1973 is the year in which the Stones have passed their peak (though they will get some more good stuff in). 

47.  Love Reign O’er Me – The Who (Rock) – 1973

It’s kind of strange that Adam Sandler has been in some pretty decent dramas, including the movie that shares the title with this Who song.  He’s also phenomenal in Punch Drunk Love which is a very underrated film. 

46.  Chameleon – Herbie Hancock (Funk) – 1973
45.  Franklin’s Tower – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock) – 1973
44.  (I Got) So Much Trouble On My Mind – Sir Joe Quarterman (Funk) – 1973

I’m guessing he’s a “Sir” in the same way Dr. Dre is a doctor. 

43.  Drowned – The Who (Hard Rock) – 1973
42.  Here Comes Sunshine – Grateful Dead (Rock) – 1973
41.  Love and Happiness – Al Green (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973
40.  No Quarter – Led Zeppelin (Progressive Rock) – 1973

It’s not the most exciting song, but Zeppelin’s really doing something different here. 

39.  Candle in the Wind – Elton John (Glam Rock) – 1973

This is one of those songs I love that I expect people who know me expect me to do a double take.  I can’t deny it.  I love it. 

38.  Money – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1973

I don’t think this song belongs on Dark Side of the Moon. 

37.  Row Jimmy – Grateful Dead (Reggae) – 1973

See, EVERYONE has to do a reggae song now.  This is a great song to listen to when you’re in a stressful situation that’s beyond your control, like driving in pouring rain. 

36.  Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh (Hard Rock) – 1973

Do you think Joe Walsh was going through some kind of substance abuse problem and he was having too much fun in life and that’s why he decided to join the Eagles? 

35.  Help on the Way – The Grateful Dead (Rock) – 1973
34.  Baby’s On Fire – Brian Eno (Glam Rock) – 1973

The only thing I’ve ever known about Eno is he’s had a great helping hand in Talking Head’s albums.  Now I see why David Byrne trusted this guy so much.  This is something entirely different than anything that’s happened before. 

33.  I Can’t Stand the Rain – Ann Peebles (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973
32.  5:15 – The Who (Hard Rock) – 1973
31.  Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ Top (Blues) – 1973

I can’t remember the last time I ranked a blues song, especially this high.  That’s the magic of Billy Gibbons.  It's great to listen to this guy. 

30.  Get Up Stand Up – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1973
29.  Also Sprach Zarathustra – Deodato (Funk) – 1973

I hate the fact that I thought this was an original Phish jam for so many years. 

28.  Search and Destroy – The Stooges (Hard Rock) – 1973

The Stooges seem louder than everyone else.  There’s too much going on here for it to be considered punk, but it’s sure obnoxious like punk, and in this case, that’s a compliment. 

27.  Crazy Fingers – Grateful Dead (Reggae) – 1973
26.  Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet (Glam Rock) – 1973

This is more like the glam rock scene of the late 80s, just look at these guys. 

25.  Shotgun Willie – Willie Nelson (Country) – 1973

This may be Willie Nelson’s greatest moment of glory, aside from being in Wag the Dog. 

24.  The Music Never Stopped – Grateful Dead (Rock) – 1973
23.  Brain Damage/Eclipse – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1973
22.  Radar Love – Golden Earring (Hard Rock) – 1973

I don’t think I’m going to do a “Top Songs To Drive To” sub-list, but this would have to be #1, no?

21.  That Lady – The Isley Brothers (Funk) – 1973

This song transcends funk.  I’m not exactly sure what the Isley Brothers were smoking when they recorded this one, but whatever sound effect thry put on that guitar was genius.   Most funk songs just have a guitar player jamming endlessly, and though that’s sort of what happens here, the effect on said guitar makes it worth the trip. 

20.  Over the Hills and Far Away – Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) – 1973

I’m sure most of us guitar players have learned the intro riff to this song at some point in our lives. 

19.  Breathe – Pink Floyd (Slow Rock) – 1973
18.  Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleoo – Grateful Dead (Alt-Country) – 1973
17.  On the Run – Pink Floyd (Instrumental) – 1973

When you first hear this song, the realizations come that this Dark Side of the Moon album will be like nothing you’ve ever heard before.   

16.  The Song Remains the Same – Led Zeppelin (Hard Rock) – 1973

Led Zeppelin takes a step back on Houses of the Holy but the opening track is probably the best of the bunch.  This is one of the few songs on it that doesn’t get boring and repetitive about half-way through. 

15.  Waiting For the Bus – ZZ Top (Hard Rock) – 1973

It’s best when paired up with its follower, “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”

14.  Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group (Hard Rock) – 1973

This used to be one of my favorite songs, but then I found out it “revolutionized” the key-tar.  Normally when you revolutionize something, it’s a compliment.  The key-tar does not qualify under this “normally” though.  Now that I’ve heard this a few times since the stunning discovery, it’s still a pretty bad ass song.  It was always helps when you see a live band cover this without a key-tar. 

13.  Dream On – Aerosmith (Slow Rock) – 1973

This is arguably the first power ballad, but power ballad’s have an element of cheese to them and this song is too great to have cheese involved. 

12.  Concrete Jungle – Bob Marley (Reggae) – 1973

Obviously I can’t say I’m a huge reggae fan, but I remember having Catch a Fire on vinyl and loving it.  This was always a cream of the crop reggae song for me.  There are very few other reggae albums I would mention by name. 

11.  Us and Them – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1973
10.  Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973

This has to be the most listened to song ever while people are having sex.  I know that’s probably hard to measure, but this has to be #1.  It has to. 

9.  Eyes of the World – The Grateful Dead (Jam Rock) – 1973

Let’s see, fun memory or serious memory.  I’ll go fun.  This was the one song I wanted to hear the Dead play live when I saw them at the Old Sombrero, and they didn’t, or at least I thought they didn’t.  I was in such an “alternative” place that I never even noticed they opened the second set with it.  I was probably too busy having a conversation with a friend about how I could reason that destroying the Old Sombrero would lead to people having to rebuild it, and thus my vandalism would create jobs.  That’s why you don’t explore “alternative” places. 

8.  Time – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1973

Dark Side of the Moon is very difficult to break down song by song because it’s the ultimate “sum of it’s parts” album, but this may be the best song on it.  It’s either this or “Us and Them” right?

7.  Tuesday’s Gone – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Jam Rock) – 1973

The thing about southern rock is it has a soul a lot of other rockers don't.  I didn’t expect to rank this song this highly, but it’s great. 

6.  Too High – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1973

Sure, it may be about drugs and said song about drugs equates the feeling to that of a tangerine, but aside from the whole drug thing, the actual music is some of the smoothest Stevie has ever done. 

5.  Keep Yourself Alive – Queen (Hard Rock) – 1973 

This is the first Queen song.   If there was ever a torch for great rock music, 1973 seems to be the year Led Zeppelin passed it to Queen.  Though Queen wasn’t exactly relevant yet, what Brain May is doing here is some of the most melodic guitar playing I’ve heard since Jimmy Page. 

4.  The Real Me – The Who (Hard Rock) – 1973

I’m leaving 1973 with the impression that the Who did well with Quadrophenia.  You wouldn’t know by the amount of songs I ranked from it, but I’ve enjoyed almost every song on it individually, away from the theme of the album.  That’s the way to do a rock opera. 

3.  La Grange – ZZ Top (Hard Rock) – 1973

I know Page and Hendrix did the guitar solo thing so well it probably didn’t need to be done much more, but Billy Gibbons reaches their level.  If I could jam with any guitar player that’s still alive, I’d probably go Gibbons.  Let’s face it, most great guitar players are incredible douchebags (as are most musicians in general), but for some reason it seems like Gibbons wouldn’t try to show you how awesome he is (as Eddie, Trey, Jimi and Jimmy Page most certainly would). 

2.  Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder (Funk) – 1973

When all is said and done, this is the greatest peak of Stevie’s career.  I wasn’t sure about this vs. “Superstition”, but this one has a little more going on. 

1.  Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Jam Rock) – 1973

There’s a reason why people still know who this band is today and this song is jokingly requested at nearly every live show one goes to.  If you don’t like “Freebird”, you may as well join Al-Qaeda. 

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