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1973 – Living For The City

February 10th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

What a year 1973 was for music, but then so were all years in the 1970’s really.

For a start it was a great year for glam rock, with great tunes from Suzi Quatro (Can the Can & 48 Crash), T. Rex (20th Century Boy), Sweet (Ballroom Blitz and Blockbuster), Slade (Cum on Feel the Noize), Gary Glitter (Do You Wanna Touch Me? &  I Love, You Love, Me Love & Hello, I’m Back Again & Leader of the Gang), Wizzard ( See My Baby Jive) and of course Elton John and David Bowie with all sorts of goodies too. And then at the end of the year we had the double-whammy of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and Merry Xmas Everybody.A few years later when I was getting into ‘proper’ rock and punk, it was not the done thing to admit to liking Suzi Quatro and Sweet and they felt like childish things that had to be forgotten. In the 80’s it was almost compulsory to write off the 70’s, or at least the early 70’s charts as naff, but since then I have come back to enjoying all the glam stuff.

But it wasn’t all glam rock. There were some belters of albums released, even if I didn’t get to appreciate them for a few years: Next, by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Brain Salad Surgery by ELP, Selling England by the Pound, Yessongs, Dark Side of the Moon and Innervisions.

One album that I did get into at the time was Tubular Bells, largely as a result of my Dad who was a big Mike Oldfield fan. It was also via his record collection that I was a fan of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Deodata at the same time. I didn’t have older siblings to point me towards things and Mum’s record collection was not cutting edge, but I always got to hear something new when visiting Dad in the early 70’s.

The first ‘proper’ albums I owned were from 1973, although I didn’t actually own them until about a year later. They were Tubular Bells on cassette and Band on the Run on vinyl. Either way, it makes 1973 a landmark year for me as it marked the point where I was not entirely reliant on the radio but could start to pick and choose my own music more.

To sum up the year I have picked Living for the City by Stevie Wonder. It is from the Innervisions album, which is just stuffed with good tunes. It has 9 tracks and at least 6 either were, or could have been hit singles. You can appreciate the song just as a nice-sounding song, but it is also a hard-hitting comment on social issues for black people in America. I particularly love the interlude in the middle (“New York! Just like I pictured it!”) which I think may have been cropped out of the single release. At over 7 minutes, the album version is an epic and all the more impressive when you later learn that Stevie Wonder played every instrument on the track.

What a decade this was for Stevie Wonder: he released 8 studio albums in the 70’s, two of them double albums, and all of them containing massive, classic, hit singles. Of all those songs it is Living for the City that still stands out for me so it is the perfect song to represent 1973 against stiff competition from Smoke on the Water, Hocus Pocus, Money, and Love Train.

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