The History of Pop Music – 1973

Featured song:

 10cc – Rubber Bullets

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1973: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about: Joining in the ECC, more Cod Wars, IRA bombings, even more strikes and at the end of the year the *3 day week*, not exactly happy days, but at least the music was great.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 17, I had not long started proper work as an upholstery cutter, earning money was good.  I had my first proper girlfriend and lost something, sometimes 5 or more times a night.  I was now living with my sister and basically a live-in baby-sitter.  David, my new brother in law used to take me out every Friday, 4 pints of the local Shipstones Ales and a decent pint of Double Diamond (Works wonders) in the pub nearest home, saw me very tired and emotional.  Happy days, but I was bored, I needed more.

TV programmes included:

The UK and world record breaking long-running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine starts as a 30-minute pilot on BBC1’s Comedy Playhouse show. The first series run starts on 12 November and the programme runs for 37 years until August 2010.  I liked this. The Wombles, Are you being served started, Open All Hours airs with Ronnie Barker’s.  BBC Television series The Ascent of Man, written and presented by Jacob Bronowski.  Possibly the first “memorable” advert, Smash Martians advertising campaign launches on ITV.  Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, That’s Life started and a particular favourite of mine Casanova started (usually at least one pair of boobies on show).  Come on, I was 17, what do you expect.


Prime Minister – Edward Heath (Conservative)

1 January – The United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark entered the European Economic Community.

22 January – British share values fell by £4 billion in one day.

27 February – Rail workers and civil servants went on strike.

1 March – Pink Floyd released The Dark Side of the Moon, the all-time best-selling album by British artists.

1 April – Value-added tax (VAT) came into effect in the UK.

1 May – 1.6 million workers went on strike over government pay restraints.

20 May – The Royal Navy sent three frigates to protect British fishing vessels from Icelandic ships in the Cod War dispute.

29 May – The Princess Royal announced her engagement to Mark Phillips.

23 June – A fire at a house in Hull which killed a 6-year-old boy is initially thought to be an accident, but it later emerged as the first of 26 fire deaths caused over the next seven years by arsonist Peter Dinsdal

6 July – The James Bond film Live and Let Die was released in British cinemas, with the spy being played by 45-year-old The Saint star Roger Moore.

30 July – Markham Colliery disaster: eighteen coal miners were killed at the coal mine near Staveley, Derbyshire, when the brake mechanism on their cage fails.

30 July – £20 million compensation was paid to victims of Thalidomide following an 11-year court case.

21 August – The coroner in the Bloody Sunday inquest accused the British army of “sheer unadulterated murder” after the jury returns an open verdict – twat

8 September – The IRA detonated bombs in Manchester and Victoria Station in London.

10 September – IRA bombs at King’s Cross and Euston railway stations in London injured 13 people.

12 September – Further IRA bombs exploded in Oxford Street and Sloane Square

October – Prime minister Edward Heath announced government proposals for its counter-inflationary Price and Pay Code Stage Three (continuing to July 1974), including limiting pay rises to 7%, restricting price rises, and paying £10 bonuses to pensioners before Christmas – a move which would cost around £80 million, funded by a 9 pence rise in National Insurance contributions.

8 November The Second Cod War between Britain and Iceland ended.

14 November – Eight members of the Provisional IRA were convicted of the March bombings in London.

14 November – The Princess Royal married Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey.

5 December – The speed limit on motorways was reduced to 50 mph from 70 mph until further notice.

31 December – As a result of coal shortages caused by industrial action, the electricity consumption reduction measure – the Three-Day Week, announced on 17 December – came into force at midnight.  This was a bummer for me, however we started doing 12 hour shifts to get the hours in, so not too bad overall, earned about the same amount but more time off.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Hits of 1973
   1 Dawn Tie A Yellow Ribbon
   2 Simon Park Orchestra Eye Level
   3 Peters & Lee Welcome Home
   4 The Sweet Blockbuster
   5 Slade Cum On Feel The Noize
   6 Gary Glitter I Love You Love Me Love
   7 Wizzard See My Baby Jive
   8 Gary Glitter I’m The Leader Of The Gang
   9 Donny Osmond The Twelfth of Never
   10 David Cassidy Daydreamer


Yes, I am aware that GG was a wrong un, but this is about the era and you cannot change history.

What a year for Dawn and Tony Orlando, Sweet, Wizzard, Gary Glitter.  Suzi Quatro came on the scene, Slade continued their great run of hits.  Fleetwood Mac (No longer Peter Green, released Albatross, Alvin Stardust started and the first single from one of my favourites 70’s band Mud came out, Bowie producing some great tunes.  Thin Lizzy with Whisky in the Jar.  Wizzard also came out with I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, sorry.

The tune:  “Rubber Bullets” is a song by the English band 10cc from their self-titled debut album.  Written by Kevin Godley, Lol Creme, and Graham Gouldman and produced by 10cc, “Rubber Bullets” was the band’s first number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending one week at the top in June 1973.  It also reached No. 1 in Ireland and No. 3 in Australia, but it fared relatively poorly in the United States where it peaked at only No. 73.  A tongue in cheek homage to the 1957 film Jailhouse Rock with a Beach Boys influence, the song attracted some controversy at the time because of the British Army’s use of rubber bullets to quell rioting in Northern Ireland.  It was amazing that the BBC never banned the track, although they limited its airplay, because they thought it was about the ongoing Northern Ireland conflicts. In fact, it was about an Attica State Prison riot like the ones in the old James Cagney films.

More writings on this song here:  Rubber Bullets

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are:

Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody – It had to be done, first time around in 1973 for this.  I think we will be hearing this on the radio for yet another 50 years at least.

So why I am at it:

Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Promise, no more Christmas ones.

Sweet – The Ballroom Blitz – Are you ready?  Let’s go..  And the girl in the corner is everybody’s mourner – she could kill you with a wink of here eye!  Sing along, I know you want to.

Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limit – I defy you to not tap your feet

The Rolling Stones – Angie – Always liked this, one of their best in my view.

The Faces – Cindy Incidentally – Rod again.

David Bowie – The Jean Genie

Gilbert O’Sullivan  – Get Down – Always like Gilbert

Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo – If you put some black gloves on you are very, very ghey

Nazareth – This Flight Tonight – yet another classic

Medicine Head – One and one is one

Dave Edmunds – Born To Be With You – I have always liked Dave, bet you do not remember this until you start playing it.

Suzi Quatro – Can The Can – She is awesome

Suzi Quatro – 48 Crash

Roger Daltrey – Giving it all away – Written for, and gifted to Roger Daltrey by the great Leo Sayer

David Bowie – Life On Mars?

The O’Jays – Love Train

Thin Lizzy – Whiskey In The Jar – Possibly the best opening guitar ever.

Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Ghey level – Emperor Palpatinen

David Essex – Rock On – Ghey level – Sith Lord

Status Quo – Caroline – What a classic to get your air guitar out.

Slade – My Friend Stan – TOTP introduced by Kenny

Fleetwood Mac – Albatross – This is the extended version.

MUD –Dynamite – First of many great tunes.

Detroit Emeralds – Feel the need in me

New Seekers – You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me – Always liked their stuff.

Strawbs – Part of the union

Focus – Sylvia – pleasant instrumental

Carly Simon – You’re So Vain – This is such a great tune.

Limme The Family Cooking – You Can Do Magic

Roberta Flack – Killing me softly with his song – have linked the one with lyrics showing.

Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You – Classic Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty.

Perry Como – For The Good Times – Soppy old me

Barry Blue – Dancing On A Saturday Night – Gheyness level – Jedi

Barry Blue ‎– Do You Wanna Dance

Wizzard (Roy Wood) – Angel Fingers

David Bowie – Sorrow

Fun song: Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers – Monster Mash

Fun song: The Hotshots – Snoopy Vs the Red Baron – Bloody hell, just putting the links in to this and playing it and I still remember all the words.

39 songs for 1973 in my favourite lists.  I think for the next couple of years at least, it gets better and better.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1974.

Featured Image: AVRO [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2019

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