Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews - We listen to the lousy records so you won't have to.

Year In Review: 1973

With 70s genres like glam rock, soft rock, arena rock, reggae, and funk already hashed out, 1973 ushered in a three-year period of consistent but unimaginative music-making. Established acts like David Bowie, Roberta Flack, Elton John, Carole King, Led Zepplin, Todd Rundgren, and Stevie Wonder were all at the peak of their careers, but had long since settled in to their successful formulas. Similarly, some of the less predictable artistic successes were coming not from new bands, but from 60s artists on the rebound: most visibly the chart-ruling Paul McCartney, but also the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Labelle, Sly Stone, and Traffic alumnus Dave Mason. The only omens of things to come were Brian Eno's eclectic debut solo album, the Wailers' international debut albums, and Funkadelic's best record to date - but even that band was still working within established styles.

The industry's underlying problems were hinted at by some of the less overwhelming, but still enjoyable efforts. The Allman Brothers made their last truly noteworthy album, and their first one with no Duane Allman involvement at all; Eric Clapton was incapacitated by drug abuse, and his record company dealt with it by releasing a couple of live records; the Faces were about to split up; and Frank Zappa's act was starting to devolve into a self-parody.

Some major embarassments were only to be expected. David Bowie clumsily applied some glam rock sheen to a collection of oldies; British prog rockers like Genesis were increasingly pompous and self-indulgent; L.A. bands like Poco tried to copy the Eagles' vapid country-flavored AOR formula; many 60s stars like Bob Dylan and Traffic were burned out; Rufus got their start as unsuccessful Elton John imitators, of all things; and a lot of Motown acts like Diana Ross and the Temptations had shifted to a tedious MOR-like formula of lengthy, orchestrated ballads. (JA)

Back to 1972 - Forward to 1974 - Back to the future...

 Main page 

 New additions 

 Pop: 00s  90s 80s 70s 60s 50s


 Top 20: DBW JA