Wednesday, August 28, 2013

40 Years Ago • August 1973

Maria Muldaur - Maria Muldaur cover photo MariaMuldaurMariaMuldaurCOVER_zpse54276b8.jpg Stevie Wonder - Innervisions cover photo steviewonderinnervisionsCOVER_zps03b4517e.jpg
Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly cover photo Roberta-Flack-Killing-Me-SoftlyCOVER_zps372d2ef1.jpg Allman Brothers - Brothers & Sisters cover photo AllmanBrothersBrothersampSistersCOVER_zpsc9fcfe3f.jpg

I am not sure exactly what made me think of this, but I looked over some of the music that hit the music store shelves 40 years ago. The year was 1973, and it was a turbulent time for many. The Vietnam War was grinding to a halt, and in February the first American prisoners of war were released by Vietnam. In March, the last episode of 'Laugh-In', the comedy show that was politically charged, aired. The Watergate scandal was all over the news, and a Special Prosecutor was named. The World Trade Center was officially opened in April. The next month, Chicago's Sears Tower opened, making it the tallest building in the world. Bobby Riggs promoted a few tennis matches, beating Margaret Court before losing to Billie Jean King. Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes to earn the Triple Crown. But when it comes to the music, the news was very good all around. In the month of August alone, there was some great music that was released. One of those was released in August of 1973, the self-titled debut album from Folk/Blues singer Maria Muldaur. The album featured the hit single, "Midnight at the Oasis", which went to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On August 3, 1973, one of the best albums of the year was released. Stevie Wonder had been making wonderful music for over a decade at this point, his first album out in 1962. He had gone from the novelty 'Little Stevie' to the amazing songwriter and musician who was respected by so many. With the release of 'Innervisions', he scaled to new heights, following up two consecutive #1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. The first release off the album was the hit "Higher Ground", which went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the R&B chart.

The very first day of the month, August 1, 1973, there was another album released that was one that will long be remembered. Roberta Flack released the album and lead single "Killing Me Softly". The album went on to be nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy Award, while Flack took home the Grammies for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and for Record of the Year. The song, with music by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel, seemed to appeal to everyone, and it was a huge hit, sitting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. I hope you enjoy Roberta singing "Killing Me Softly".

August of 1973, The Allman Brothers Band added their sound as they stirred the pot. Some considered Duane and Gregg Allman the architects of Southern Rock, as they blended Rock, Blues, Jazz and Country music to make a great sound. But in 1971, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident, and no one knew if the band would continue. But Gregg and Dickey Betts stepped up to continue on, only to have bassist Berry Oakley involved in a motorcycle accident just 3 blocks from Duane's, and pass while recording a new album. So Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Lamar Williams, Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe, and Butch Trucks went back into the studios to finish the album, and finally they released the album 'Brothers & Sisters'. The album features some classic Allman Brothers songs, including the hit "Ramblin' Man". The single went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an amusing side note, the #1 song was "Half-Breed", sung by Duane Allman's future wife, Cher. Here is the Allman Brothers Band performing "Ramblin' Man" live.

Hope you enjoyed the look back!

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