This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
What happened in 1973?
- Rufus Wainwright was born
- Richard Nixon told us he wasn't a crook. Yeah right
- Gravity's Rainbow was published
- Pablo Picasso died
- The Sting was released
- Richmond were premiers
1973 brought us STEVIE WONDER's finest recorded moment with the album “Innervisions.”
The centrepiece of the album is the song Living for the City. This song has very tough lyrics suitable for a song about the times we were living through then.
You can hear Stevie's voice getting angrier as the song progresses. It's not a pretty song but it demands to be heard.
DAVID BOWIE was going through a bit of a strange period in 1973. Okay, that doesn't narrow things down too much.
This was the time of Ziggy Stardust and the song is Space Oddity. The song was actually recorded and released in 1969 and re-released in 1973 to cash in on the new persona.
Mentor Williams wrote the song Drift Away and it was originally recorded by John Kurtz. No one took much notice until DOBIE GRAY had a go at it.
It proved to be a great success and has been covered many times. It's also used by a lot of bands to finish their gigs. Ace session guitarist Reggie Young plays the wonderful guitar parts in the song.
GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS was a family affair – the Pips consisted of Gladys's brother Merald (or Bubba) and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.
Rather surprisingly, many of their hits were written by a country music songwriter (and occasional singer), Jim Weatherly. This is one of those, Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).
Over the previous few years VAN MORRISON had released five of the finest albums of the era.
This year saw "Hard Nose the Highway" which wasn't quite up to the standard of the previous ones but was very good anyway. Van had recorded more than enough for a double album (with songs left over) but was convinced to release a single one.
A few of the tracks popped up on the next album but most didn't appear for years when a double CD of unreleased tracks was unveiled to the public. Many of those were so good we wondered why that hadn't seen the light of day before. But that's Van.
The song today is Snow in San Anselmo, which is all about snow falling in San Anselmo (a rare event).
JIMMY CLIFF wrote the song Many Rivers to Cross in 1969 and it did nothing at the time.
Later, Jimmy had the lead role in the film The Harder They Come and the song, along with other songs of his, was featured in it. More especially, it was on the fine soundtrack album which became a big seller (and is one of the finest soundtrack albums ever).
There are many cheating songs out there, it's a staple subject of country music, blues and, well, any sort of music really.
This one though is a little unusual as it's from the perspective of the cheaters. Okay, I know a couple of others but not too many. The singer on this is BILLY PAUL.
The song is Me and Mrs Jones. If you listen carefully to the introduction, the sax player plays a brief bit of Secret Love. Very tongue in cheek.
This was some year for ELTON JOHN.
Not only did he release the monumental "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album earlier this same year, he also put out "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player.”
Artists these days seem to take years to produce albums (and they don't come up with anything near the quality of these two). The song Daniel is from the latter mentioned album.
Tina Turner wasn't a songwriter generally but she did write this one about the town where she grew up. Not surprisingly, given their history together, this was the last song that AND TINA TURNER recorded together.
Ike didn't play guitar on this track; it was Marc Bolan who was a fan of the duo (but especially Tina). The song is Nutbush City Limits.
JIM CROCE's song, Time in a Bottle became a number one hit a few months after his death in a plane crash.
The song was used in a TV tele-movie and the next day the TV network was inundated with calls wanting to know what the song was and was it available as a single.
It wasn't but that was soon rectified. The words gained greater poignancy with his recent death.
1974 will appear in two weeks' time.