Showing posts with label 1973. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1973. Show all posts

Monday, December 18, 2023

My Favorite Songs of 1973

Fifty Years of Music. 1973 was a great year musically and personally. Fifty years ago, I was spending the first Christmas with my new girlfriend, Mary Kit and so the songs of that year have that special place in time in my heart.

Here's a few personal opinions from the featured albums above.
  • No sophomore slump with the Eagles, as their second album is their best.
  • Stevie Wonder takes it to a whole other level. Stevie opens my ears to R&B and I start to expand my musical tastes. 
  • Paul Simon makes an album for the ages. My personal favorite from his great body of work.
  • With this album, The Who cement the bronze metal just behind The Rolling Stones silver, and then there is The Beatles, at the top of the platform.
  • Two albums by Elton John and Fleetwood Mac with song after song included here. I miss Christine.
  • Jackson Browne is becoming a legend, but just wait for the one next year.
  • Neil Young is drifting here, but I still want to believe.
  • Dave Mason finally gets a little solo attention, and I'm including almost every song from the album.
  • The Faces make a better album than The Stones in 1973. 
  • Seals and Crofts make their last great album, and I played that thing to death in my bedroom.
  • Pink Floyd actually made some good songs that I listened to in 1973. Then, classic rock stations killed the song, Money as it goes into the category of "songs ruined by radio."
  • Harry Nilsson can do it all. I miss Harry, I wonder if only...
  • Bonnie Raitt is quietly picking up steam.
  • Mary Kit gets me listening to David Bowie, but years later I realize his early sound is the rock 'n' roll greatness of Mick Ronson. How could Bowie let him go?
  • Bob Dylan makes a wonderful soundtrack and song that is one of my favorites of all-time.
  • Two albums by Paul McCarthy and one by John Lennon without much mention here. 
  • Tom Waits, what an incredible debut album. The songwriting and simple performance knocks me out 50 years down the road. I was so out to lunch and completely missed this one as an 18 year old. 
  • Love the acoustic arrangements as Led Zeppelin builds even a wider spectrum of fans.
  • Joe Walsh. Always a great song or two on every album he made. Enough to fill arenas for years and years, and that's just the solo part of his career.
  • Loggins and Messina sing Lahaina, and I cry listening to it 50 years later watching the town burn down in 2023.
  • Steely Dan is just killing it by 1973, with more to come. Anybody remember Skunk Baxter? He's still alive by the way. Steely Dan always had great songs performed by some of the best players in the world.
  • George Harrison makes a solid album. I know it's not necessary to root for George Harrison, but I always wanted him to do well after the Beatles. I missed George this week listening to the Traveling Wilburys CD in the car.
  • Mark Twain and John Prine, now that's a couple centuries of Americana all spun in the wonderful writing of these two giants. I miss John Prine. Dear Abby, Dear Abby...

Enjoy my 1973 playlist compiled from all my #FiftyYearsInMusic blogs this year. There are lots of deep cuts here my friends.

p.s. Don't forget my Christmas Mix 2023, I've added a few more videos!

Monday, October 16, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973

October, 1973 is a monster month in rock 'n' roll. I've already featured three albums from this list of twelve shown above recently and decided to mix them all together and make a big ol' playlist this week. 

I always seem to surprise myself 50 years down the road, and this past week it was listening to Neil Young's Time Fades Away. This was the album that followed Harvest and it just became part of Young's succession of albums where he seemed not to care as much in making great records. Neil has a lot of personal history within this time period, so much so that this live album is not officially listed in his catalogue, and wasn't pressed as a CD until 2017. In my journey through the past this last week, I found Time Fades Away very satisfying. In a year, I'll give Neil's 1974 On The Beach, another try.

Two other gems, are Fleetwood Mac's Mystery to Me, and Dave Mason's It's Like You Never Left. I think I included every song from both albums here as the Brits just kept making great music.

Enjoy my friends, you've got a full week of listening enjoyment as I was personally having the time of my life with my girlfriend and into my first semester of college in October, 1973. 

Monday, October 09, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973 • Quadrophenia • The Who

Quadrophenia is The Who's sixth studio album. Pete Townshend has called it, their last great album. As a double-album and rock opera, it follows Tommy and Who's Next, two back-to-back rock 'n' roll classics filled with hit songs. 

Like many great albums of the 1960's and early 70's, I didn't fully appreciate Quadrophenia until later. It tells the story of a young Mod, Jimmy confused about his identity, worth, and purpose.

With regard to British culture, most Americans were focused on how the "British Invasion" bands of the 1960's affected American music and culture. The Who give us a story of early/mid-1960's culture in England where class, fashion, and music collide to become a culture war between two young unsatisfied working class groups, the "Rockers" and the more progressive, "Mods."

Mod, from the word modernist, is a subculture that began in London and spread throughout Great Britain and elsewhere, eventually influencing fashions and trends in other countries, and continues today on a smaller scale. Focused on music and fashion, the subculture has its roots in a small group of stylish London-based young men and women in the late 1950s who were termed modernists because they listened to modern jazz. Elements of the mod subculture include fashion (often tailor-made suits); music (including soul, rhythm and blues, ska and mainly jazz) and motor scooters (usually Lambretta or Vespa). In the mid-1960s, the subculture listened to rock groups with mod following, such as The Who and Small Faces, after the peak Mod era. The original mod scene was associated with amphetamine-fuelled all-night jazz dancing at clubs. One notably instrumental figure in the movement's origins was British fashion designer Mary Quant. Wikipedia

In 1979, Quadrophenia became a movie that until this past Saturday I had never seen from start to finish. I think Quadrophenia does a good job in depicting post-World War II conditions in Britain where England's war-babies have grown into a stalled economy with little opportunity and options other than to be a day labourer. Ray Davies of The Kinks and Pete Townshend of The Who are two such post-war children who turned that angst into pop-culture hits. 

Townshend's duality of the Rockers representing the 1950's youth rebellion of James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause and Marion Brando's brash-biker in The Wild Ones is dated and out of touch for the upcoming Mods. These kids want more from their society as communicated in The Who's 1965 song, My Generation

It's all a motor scooter preamble for what's coming as London becomes the center of change with "Swinging London" and the dawn of modern drugs, sex, fashion, music, and all things psychedelic in the swinging sixties. 

So, with the 50th anniversary of the October, 1973 release of Quadrophenia, I present you with a couple of shiny little pill options.

First, here is the Super-Deluxe double-album of Quadrophenia for your listening pleasure this week. If you haven't given it a listen to in a while, well it's certainly worth the revisit, and a rock 'n' roll classic right up there with Tommy and Who's Next. Who could have imagined such a trilogy of greatness!

And second, here is the original 1979 movie trailer, followed by a link to Amazon Prime where you can rent the movie for $3.99. I enjoyed this movie as my recent Saturday night feature, and highly recommend it if you're like me and kind of obsessed with this time period in history.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, October 02, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973 • For Everyman • Jackson Browne

For Everyman is Jackson Browne's second album and there is no sophomore slump here. I remember going over to listen to it for the first time with my friend Paul Hobbs in his bedroom, the teenager's sanctuary. 

Everyone realizes that Jackson Browne is an exceptional talent with the release of this album. For me, he quickly ascends to the same songwriting status that I had for James Taylor, Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Cat Stevens in the early 70's folk-rock era. This album also begins Browne's long collaboration with David Lindley whose lap steel guitar playing was a huge part of the Jackson Browne sound.  

Everything about Jackson Browne's albums are intricate and intimate, including his album covers. Didn't everyone want to live in a spanish-style house in the 1970's? I sure did. When I saw this album cover for the first time, I immediately thought of my grandparents little spanish-style house on Park Street in Santa Maria, CA and their little brick enclosed backyard with its outdoor arched fireplace. I loved that house.

The album cover photograph is a depiction of Browne's childhood home in Highland Park, California, "The Abbey San Encino” which was hand-built by his grandfather Clyde Browne and owned to this day by his brother Edward. The photograph was taken by Alan F. Blumenthal. The cover of the original release was a cutout with the inner sleeve showing Browne sitting in a rocking chair. When removed the picture on the inside had the same background but Browne and the rocking chair were omitted. Wikipedia

 Jackson Browne is Evermore. In the fifty-one years since his debut album in 1972, nothing has diminished. Buy his latest album, go see him in concert, and watch his current YouTube videos as I continue to be in simple awe of his everlasting talent and humanity. 

Enjoy this wonderful album my friends, again.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road • Elton John

October, 1973 is one of those monster months in rock 'n' roll. So big for me that I'm writing about it a month early, fifty years later. 

I'll start with Elton John, the biggest rock 'n' roll star to impact my life in 1973 because my new girlfriend loved Elton John, still does. She had all of his records during that time, and on October 5, 1973 he releases, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I'm sure Mary Kit bought this double-album on that day, and for the next four years I would be hearing that album quite a bit on the turntable, the radio, and live in concert.

Elton John, Fabulous Forum 10/5/74
In fact, one year later to the day, October 5, 1974 Mary Kit and I drove down to Inglewood to see him play the Fabulous Forum. What a concert that was! We were up in the cheap seats when the Forum was mainly the basketball palace of the Los Angeles Lakers and the acoustics... well I don't think acoustical engineering was invented yet for sports arenas in the 1970's. It was a fantastic show, but I still remember the ringing in my ears, not only from the volume (everybody thought they had to match The Who and Led Zeppelin), but also from the sound bouncing off the back walls and rafters where we were sitting.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has so many great songs. My favorite is Harmony. Let me know your favorite song from this great double-album in the comments section below.    

Enjoy the album my friends!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • Eagles, Desperado • Released April 17, 1973

I'm as pleased as an outlaw in a sleepy town bank to write this post.

First hitching post.

It's September, 1975 and I've just moved into the Toltec dorms at San Diego State University as a junior transfer. It's my first time living away from home and I'm teamed up with another junior, Kevin Kuhlmeyer from Pasadena, California. 

We become friends and share our love for the Eagles. Kevin has just bought the new Eagles album that came out in June 1975, One of These Nights. Kevin quickly proclaims it as the "best" Eagles album. I too love One of these Nights, but in a fun dorm room debate stake my claim that Desperado is indeed the best Eagles album. 

During that 1975-76 school year, we will share each others records on our respective turntables as we both have complete stereo systems in our little 10' x 12' cell block dorm room. So one day during the spring semester, I walk into the room and Kevin is sitting with his friend, Debbie Phelps listening to Desperado, and he says to me, "Doug, I think Desperado is now my favorite Eagles album." Rest in peace my friend, I'll always cherish our year together.

Second hitching post.

YouTube was started in 2005, and then was purchased in 2006 by Google for $1.65 billion dollars. (In 2022, YouTube is estimated to be worth $180 billion dollars.)

If you're old enough to remember the wild west of streaming music back in the early 2000's, you might recall that thing called, "Napster" was shot down like a dirty dog in the street in 2001. Another outlaw online streaming service, Limewire was hung in the public square in 2011. I say this in context as various bands like The Beatles and Eagles were slow to embrace the new streaming format for music. The Beatles didn't appear on the very "legit"  iTunes until 2010, for example.

Since the early 2000's, most famous bands and artists eventually put all their content on YouTube, Spotify (2006), and Amazon Music (2007) as they figured pennies on the dollar were better than no pennies at all. 

However, there were a few holdouts who were not going to give it all away as the Eagles, and in particular, Don Henley was just not having it. It's like he hired Palidin from Have Gun - Will Travel as an AI bot bounty hunter taking down non-approved fan uploads of Eagles and Henley songs with his six-shooter. 

In January 2015, I started writing this blog and used another outlaw free streaming service called "Grooveshark" to build my playlists. By April, that too was strung up, and thus I made my way to YouTube that still stands tall today like Gary Cooper in High Noon as my playlist app of choice. 

Last year, I was doolin-dalton around on YouTube, and found that every song from Desperado was now actually there! By combining a 2018 Eagles greatest hits album called, Eagles - Legacy with the non-hits from Desperado, that had been uploaded in 2014, I was finally able to blacksmith a complete Desperado YouTube album playlist. Phew! (So how many of these cowboy references is he going to throw in here?)

Third hitching post.

In preparing this blog post, I came across a website called, Randy Meisner - Hearts on Fire. You have to stop and click here first, before listening to the playlist as it chronicles the outlaw photo shoot by Henry Diltz and includes many interesting articles, you'll love it!

Jackson Browne, JD Souther, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Henley & Glenn Frey

Enjoy the Desperado playlist my friends. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disruptive innovation and taking my Kodachrome away

In May 1973, Paul Simon released There Goes Rhymin' Simon one month before my high school graduation. As mentioned in previous blogs, my good friend, Paul Hobbs, purchased this album and I went over to his house to listen to it like with so many other albums. I loved Rhymin' Simon so much that I in fact, purchased it myself shortly after and continued to burn that vinyl record out during my college years.

My next door neighbor at the time (also previously mentioned in my blogs) was Ron Zieman. In the early 60's his family had moved from Rochester, New York as his dad, Ray was selected by his employer, Eastman Kodak to work at Vandenberg Air Force Base. In 1965, my family moved next door to the Zieman's on Tunnell St. in Santa Maria, CA and started a long-time friendship that endures to this day. During my time with the Zieman family on Tunnell, I began to learn a little about Eastman Kodak as a powerhouse of American manufacturing, not knowing at the time, that the quiet mannered Mr. Zieman worked for Kodak with our Government developing cold war spy satellite technology against the Soviets. Back then, Kodak was literally everywhere.

From being a senior in high school, my girlfriend Mary Kit (also mentioned many times in my music blogs) bought me this very Minolta Hi-Matic F 35mm camera for Christmas in 1973. So as an American consumer, I graduated from buying Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110 cartridges to now buying Kodak 35mm film.

With the popularity of the hit single, Kodachrome which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Charts that June of '73 and with my new camera in hand, I started to buy Kodachrome film. As I began to experience photography, I learned of Kodachrome's color richness properties that made photographs a magical enhancement of real life. Kodachrome 25 and 64 became my go-to film rolls. I also learned that Kodachrome was very popular with professional photographer's. I thought maybe I could get a little closer to their art rubbing off on me by buying the film they used. An interesting fact to There Goes Rhymin' Simon is that Kodak made Columbia Records put the registered trademark symbol (®) after the song's title on the album cover. Paul Simon sold a lot of records with that song not to mention vast quantities of film he sold for Eastman Kodak to kids like me.

In 2003, I remember doing a photo shoot for my friend Bill with his wife and son in their sheep field on Vashon Island in Washington. I was using a Sony digital camera and remember going to the very small and only photographic shop on the island. I was going to get prints made of the shoot and brought in my digital photo card to upload in their new digital photo processor. We could pick out the digital shots we wanted and they would be developed into prints for later pick up. I will never forget the owner who was helping us and complaining the whole time how digital photo technology in general was terrible as nobody was buying film anymore. I remember thinking, this guy is a dinosaur and wondered how long he was going to be in business with his attitude and the changing times. A year or two later, when I was back on the island, I remember looking at that shop as we drove by, it was now a clothing store.

Several weeks ago, I was in my car listening to NPR's Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal as he was doing a story on Kodak and Rochester in a continuing series called, How the Deck is Stacked and this segment titled, Rochester looks to rebuild from the rubble, Can manufacturing save America?. This broadcast caught my attention on two fronts, one, my association with the Zieman's and Kodak and two, I was scheduled to speak at the Leatherstocking Library Conference about 120 miles east of Rochester outside of Syracuse in Vernon, New York. The report was fascinating describing the heyday of the Kodak Park facility in Rochester employing 30,000 local residents.

“You didn’t even have to go to college. You got out of high school and went to Kodak, Delco, Rochester Products, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb and you made $20 an hour. Back in the day, you got out of school, and you could be 18 and move off on your own into an apartment. Today? These kids today? If you don’t have college, those top companies are just not here anymore. My youngest daughter did it the hard way. She found out without college here, there’s only $13-an-hour jobs. If that. She’s still at home, 31, but back to school now to get that degree to get out on her own. There was an article in the paper this past weekend, ‘Oh, middle class America, so many jobs are coming back,’ $12 to $15 an hour. Like, what are you gonna do with $12 to $15 an hour? You cannot live on your own.” from NPR

The NPR piece on Rochester got me thinking about Eastman Kodak and the concept of Disruptive Innovation. "A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. The term was defined and phenomenon analyzed by Clayton M. Christensen beginning in 1995. In the early 2000s, "significant societal impact" has also been used as an aspect of disruptive innovation." from Wikipedia

The demise of the former Eastman Kodak is quite astounding for the fact that Kodak invented the digital camera, yes drum roll... in 1973. I don't expect you to read all my links, but this link just above from the New York Times by James Estrin is a must read and the big idea to this blog. 

Go ahead, you have the time.

Okay, you read the article, so the irony should not be lost on you or me taking photographs of my still intact Minolta Hi-Matic camera above, and my family's vintage Eastman Kodak Folding Autographic Camera below, with my very digital smart phone.

Kodak and their wonderful products like Kodachrome, represent America as the innovative and creative company that helped build this great nation. I'm dismayed when our current political rhetoric reverts back to the glory days of America; yes, we have created and built great things in our history, but it really doesn't need to be beaten into us with fear. Instead, I'm always inspired by our national spirit, not to be longing for the old days and old ways, but moving forward to new days with new technology and products to help us along the journey. Rochester is the story of American manufacturing. Now, how will Rochester and the nation engage our young people to be successful in today's economy? How will our education system create learning innovations to seed new American product innovations in our country?

Here, I'll return to There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Paul's timeless classic, American Tune. The 1973 song speaks of many things gone wrong in the United States at the time. For me during that time, it was social unrest, the Vietnam War and my uncertainty for my future. I was also learning as a young person that life was getting harder for many Americans. I then, in 1973 and now in 2016 take solace as Simon ends the song with-

Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day

And I'm trying to get some rest

That's all I'm trying to get some rest. 

As American's, we have the freedom to let our music sing the truth, we get knocked down, but have the ability to get back up and make our way. As life always balances with things old and new, we can take our adaptive spirit and build upon our new innovations.

As you begin your Monday working day, I wish for you a creative and productive day. Here's a three song playlist from There Goes Rhymin' Simon to start it off.