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40 that are 40 in '13 - Part 1

Landmark anniversary for 1973 classic rock releases


1973. What a year that was, especially in rock music. The Dark Side of The Moon, Houses of the Holy, Band on the Run -- albums that have since come to define classic rock. There were debut albums from Aerosmith, Montrose, and The Marshall Tucker Band. It was a great year for virtually every sub-genre of classic rock.
There are dozens of classic rock albums celebrating their 40th anniversaries in 2013. I've narrowed the list to 40 of those that were historically and/or musically significant, or those that just have the best back stories. In order to avoid the hint of ranking any as better or worse than any of the others, they are listed alphabetically by album title.
And now [insert fanfare and drum roll here] the first 20!

'Aerosmith' - Aerosmith

Aerosmith - Aerosmith
Sony Entertainment
One of the first of 1973's new releases in early January was Aerosmith's self-titled debut album. Aerosmith got good reviews, but was not an overnight success, in spite of containing two of what would become the band's signature songs, "Dream On" and "Mama Kin." The reissue of album in 1976 was considerably more successful, and by 1986 it had been certified 2x Platinum.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Make It"
2. "Somebody"
3. "Dream On"
4. "One Way Street"
Side 2
1. "Mama Kin"
2. "Write Me a Letter"
3. "Movin' Out"
4. "Walkin' the Dog"

U.S. release dates: 1/5/73, chart peak #59; 1976 reissue, chart peak #21

'Aladdin Sane' - David Bowie

Aladin Sane - David Bowie
Aladdin Sane (a bit of wordplay on the phrase, "a lad insane") was David Bowie's sixth studio album, released in 1973 in the wake of the huge success of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars the year before. More than a few critics suggested that the album contained some of Bowie's best work. Two singles - "The Jean Genie" and "Drive-In Saturday Night" - were hits even before the album was released. The album debuted at #1 in the UK.
Original LP Track List
1. "Watch That Man"
2. "Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)"
3. "Drive-In Saturday"
4. "Panic in Detroit"
5. "Cracked Actor"

Side 2
1. "Time"
2. "The Prettiest Star"
3. "Let's Spend the Night Together"
4. "The Jean Genie"
5. "Lady Grinning Soul"

U.S./U.K. release date: 4/13/73, chart peak #17/#1

'Back in 72' - Bob Seger

Back in 72 - Bob Seger
The 40 years since Bob Seger recorded Back in '72 have seen the album become one of the rarest of classic rock rarities. It was never reissued after its initial release in 1973, and even bootleg recordings are hard to find. It barely cracked the Top 200, but contained tracks that became live concert and classic rock radio standards: "Turn the Page," Neon Sky" and "I've Been Working."
Original LP Track List
1. "Midnight Rider"
2. "So I Wrote You a Song"
3. "Stealer"
4. "Rosalie"
5. "Turn the Page"

Side 2
1."Back in '72"
2."Neon Sky"
3. "I've Been Working"
4. "I've Got Time"

U.S. release date: 1/73, chart peak: #188

'Band on the Run' - Paul McCartney and Wings

Band on the Ron - Paul McCartney & Wings
Hear Music
In spite of a shaky start, Band on the Run became Paul McCartney and Wings best selling album, and is still held by many critics to be the best of all of McCartney's work after the breakup of The Beatles. Shortly before recording sessions began, two of the band's five members (drummer Denny Seiwell and lead guitarist Henry McCullough) quit, leaving the McCartneys (Paul and Linda) and guitarist/keyboardist Denny Laine to record virtually the entire album.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Band on the Run"
2. "Jet"
3. "Bluebird"
4. "Mrs Vandebilt"
5. "Let Me Roll It"

Side 2
1. "Mamunia"
2. "No Words"
3. "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)"
4. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five"

U.S. release date: 12/5/73, chart peak #1; U.K. release date: 12/7/73, chart peak #1

'Billion Dollar Babies' - Alice Cooper

Billion Dollar Babies - Alice Cooper
Warner Bros
Alice Cooper's sixth studio album, Billion Dollar Babies brought greater commercial success than any of his releases prior to 1973. As was (and is) typical, lyrical themes ran from visiting the dentist to sexual harassment to horror story. As Cooper told Creem magazine, "The whole idea behind the album was exploiting the idea that people do have sick perversions." Apparently sick perversions make for good box office, as the album became the band's first (and last) #1.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Hello Hooray"
2. "Raped and Freezin'"
3. "Elected"
4. "Billion Dollar Babies"
5. "Unfinished Sweet"

Side 2
1. "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
2. "Generation Landslide"
3. "Sick Things"
4. "Mary Ann"
5. "I Love the Dead"

U.S./U.K. release date: 2/25/73, chart peak #1/#1

'Brain Salad Surgery' - Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson Lake and Palmer
Sony UK
Riding the crest of the progressive rock wave, Emerson Lake & Palmer released their fourth studio album, Brain Salad Surgery in 1973. It was a rock-classical fusion that was composed and arranged with live performance in mind. Accordingly ELP's tour after the album's release turned out to be their biggest. Like so many albums of the era, it got a cool reception from critics, but a very warm one from record buyers.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
2. "Toccata"
3. "Still...You Turn Me On"
4. "Benny the Bouncer"
5. "Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 1"

Side 2
1. "Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 2"
2. "Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression"
3. "Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression"

U.S./U.K. release date: 11/19/73, chart peak #11/#2

'Brothers and Sisters' - The Allman Brothers Band

Brothers & Sisters - Allman Brothers
Mercury Records
The Allman Brothers Band's fifth studio album was also their first #1. Brothers and Sisters was the first ABB album released after the death of co-founder Berry Oakley, who died in a motorcycle crash in 1972, just a year after co-founder Duane Allman had died in a similar accident just a few blocks away. The tracks were longer than the typical radio-friendly fare of the day. One single, "Ramblin' Man" charted, peaking at #2.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Wasted Words"
2. "Ramblin' Man"
3. "Come and Go Blues"
4. "Jelly Jelly"

Side 2
1. "Southbound"
2. "Jessica"
3. "Pony Boy"

U.S. release date: 8/73, chart peak: #1

'Bachman-Turner Overdrive II' - Bachman Turner Overdrive

Bachman-Turner Overdrive II
Mercury Records
Canadian rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive released their first and second albums in 1973. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, released in May, was a moderate commercial success, making it into the Top 100 at #70, and was certified Gold the following year. But it was Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, released seven months later, that secured BTO's place on the A-list, with songs that would become band standards, like "Takin' Care of Business" and "Let It Ride."
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Blown"
2. "Welcome Home"
3. "Stonegates"

Side 2
4. "Let It Ride"
1. "Give It Time"
2. "Tramp"
3. "I Don't Have To Hide"
4. "Takin' Care Of Business"

U.S./Canada release date: 12/73, chart peak #4/#6

'Countdown to Ecstasy' - Steely Dan

Countdown to Ecstasy - Steely Dan
MCA Records
The biggest differences between Steely Dan's first two albums -- Can't Buy a Thrill (1972) and Countdown to Ecstasy" (1973) -- was critical acclaim (most critics were lukewarm on the first one, loved the second one); radio airplay (the first one had two hit singles, "Reelin' In The Years" and "Do It Again", the second one had none); and commercial success (Can't Buy a Thrill peaked at #7, Countdown to Ecstasy at #35.) The 1973 album solidified the band's status as a force to be reckoned with, and its sound, with Donald Fagen handling all of the lead vocals after David Palmer's departure.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Bodhisattva"
2. "Razor Boy"
3. "The Boston Rag"
4. "Your Gold Teeth"

Side 2
1. "Show Biz Kids"
2. "My Old School"
3. "Pearl of the Quarter"
4. "King of the World"

U.S. release date: 7/73, chart peak #35

'The Dark Side of the Moon' - Pink Floyd

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
Capitol Records
The Dark Side of the Moon debuted as a live performance before work had even begun on recording the album. It became not only one of Pink Floyd's most popular albums, it ranks as one of the most popular albums, in any genre, of all time. The album stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for 741 consecutive weeks, from 1973 to 1988, making it the longest continuously charting album in history. It has been a fixture on the Catalog Albums chart from the time that chart first appeared in 1991. It is estimated that more than 45-million copies of the album have been sold worldwide.
Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Speak to Me"
2. "Breathe"
3. "On the Run"
4. "Time"
5. "The Great Gig in the Sky"

Side 2
1. "Money"
2. "Us and Them"
3. "Any Colour You Like"
4. "Brain Damage"
5. "Eclipse"

U.S. release date: 3/1/73, chart peak #1; U.K. release date: 3/24/73, chart peak #2
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