1973: 20 songs released in 1973 you must hear

The Year 1973 summary

  • Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark enter European Economic Community (Jan. 1)
  • A ceasefire is signed, ending involvement of American ground troops in the Vietnam War. (Jan. 28)
  • US bombing of Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia (Aug. 15)
  • Fourth and largest Arab-Israeli conflict begins when Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israel as Jews mark Yom Kippur, holiest day in their calendar (Oct. 6). Egypt and Israel sign US-sponsored cease-fire accord (Nov. 11). Background: Arab-Israeli Wars
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hikes oil prices tremendously in retaliation for Western countries’ involvement in Yom Kippur War.
  • US Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade.
  • Movies: The Harder They Come, American Graffiti, The Exorcist, The Sting, Last Tango in Paris
  • Deaths: W.H. Auden, Pearl S. Buck, Betty Grable, Pablo Picasso & Lyndon Baines Johnson


  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed (that’s another & more complicated list)
  • Max 20 songs

Here we go…

  • Knocking On Heavens Door – Bob Dylan

    Released as a single July 13, 1973 & and on the album “Pat Garrett & Billie The Kid” (1973).

    Mama, take this badge off of me
    ’cause I can’t use it anymore.
    It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
    I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.

  • Jolene – Dolly Parton

    dolly parton Jolene
    Written and performed by American country music artist Dolly Parton. It was released in October 1973 as the first single and title track from her album of the same name, produced by Bob Ferguson.
    It is ranked No. 219 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

    Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
    I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
    Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
    Please don’t take him just because you can

  • Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – Bruce Springsteen

    springsteen rosalita
    A 1973 song by Bruce Springsteen, from his The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle album (released September 11, 1973), and is especially famed as a concert number for Springsteen and The E Street Band. The song, which clocks in at just over seven minutes, is a story of forbidden love between the singer and the titular Rosalita, whose parents disapprove of his life in a rock and roll band.

    Spread out now rosie doctor come cut loose her mama’s reins
    You know playin’ blind man’s bluff is a little baby’s game
    You pick up little dynamite i’m gonna pick up little gun
    And together we’re gonna go out tonight and make that highway run

  • Angie – The Rolling Stones

    rolling stones angie
    Written by Jagger/Richards & released as a single 20 August 1973.  It was include on the 1973 album “Goats Head Soup”.
    An acoustic-guitar-driven ballad which tells of the end of a romance. The song’s distinctive piano accompaniment was played by Nicky Hopkins, a Rolling Stones recording-session regular. The strings on the piece were arranged by Nicky Harrison. An unusual feature of the original recording is that singer Mick Jagger’s vocal guide track (made before the final vocals were performed) is faintly audible throughout the song (an effect sometimes called a “ghost vocal”).

    Angie, Angie
    When will those clouds all disappear?
    Angie, Angie
    Where will it lead us from here?
    With no lovin’ in our souls and no money in our coats
    You can’t say we’re satisfied
    But Angie, Angie
    You can’t say we never tried

  • Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye

    marvin gaye lets get it on
    A hit single released June 15, 1973, on Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. The song was recorded on March 22, 1973, at Hitsville West in Los Angeles, California. The song features romantic and sexual lyricism and funk instrumentation by The Funk Brothers.

    I’ve been really tryin’, baby
    Tryin’ to hold back this feeling for so long
    And if you feel like I feel, baby
    Then, c’mon, oh, c’mon

  • The Punk and the Godfather – The Who

    Released on the album “Quadrophenia” 19 October 1973 (UK) & 1 November 1973 (US).

    You declared you would be three inches taller
    You only became what we made you.
    Thought you were chasing a destiny calling
    You only earned what we gave you.

  • Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich

    charlie rich - behind closed doors
    Written by Kenny O’Dell and first recorded by Charlie Rich for his 1973 album Behind Closed Doors. The single became Rich’s first number-one hit on the country charts, spent 20 weeks on this chart, and also became a crossover hit on the pop charts.

    My baby makes me proud
    Lord, don’t she make me proud
    She never makes a scene
    By hanging all over me in a crowd
    ‘Cause people like to talk
    Lord, don’t they love to talk
    But when they turn out the lights
    I know she’ll be leaving with me

  • Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd

    lynyrd skynyrd simple man
    The last track on Side A of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album, Pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd (1973).
    Since the song became available for digital download, it has become Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third best-selling digital song after “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”. It has sold 1,333,000 copies in the US as of November 2013.

    Mama told me when I was young
    Come sit beside me, my only son
    And listen closely to what I say.
    And if you do this
    It will help you some sunny day.
    Take your time… Don’t live too fast,
    Troubles will come and they will pass.
    Go find a woman and you’ll find love,
    And don’t forget son,
    There is someone up above.

  • Why Me – Kris Kristofferson

    kris kristofferson why me
    Released as a single in April 1973.

    Why me Lord what have I ever done
    To deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known
    Lord, what did I ever do
    That was worth lovin’ You or the kindness You’ve shown

  • Angel – Aretha Franklin

    aretha franklin - angel
    The song was co-written by Aretha’s sister, Carolyn, and Sonny Saunders. Aretha co-produced the song with Quincy Jones and it originally appeared on Aretha’s 1973 album “Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky)”. It was released as a single in June 1973 and went on to top the US R&B Singles chart for two weeks while reaching number twenty on the Pop chart. The single sold over 900,000 copies.

    Gotta find me an angel, to fly away with me
    Gotta find me an angel, ooh and set me free
    My heart is without a whole, I don’t want to be alone

  • Search & Destroy – Iggy & The Stooges

    iggy pop search and destroy
    Recorded for the group’s third album Raw Power (1973). Lead singer Iggy Pop said that the title is from a column heading in a Time article about the Vietnam War. In 1997, “Search and Destroy” along with the rest of the songs on Raw Power were remixed and remastered by Iggy Pop and Bruce Dickinson. The result was far more aggressive and stripped down than the original release, which had been mixed by David Bowie. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #468 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. In 2009 it was named the 49th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

    I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
    I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
    I am a world’s forgotten boy

  • Ramblin’ man – Allman Brothers Band

    Released in September 1973 as the lead single from the group’s fourth studio album, Brothers and Sister (1973).

    Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man,
    Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can.
    And when it’s time for leavin’,
    I hope you’ll understand,
    That I was born a ramblin’ man.

  • If We Make It Through December – Mere Haggard

    Written and recorded by Merle Haggard. It was released in October 1973 as the lead single from the album Merle Haggard’s Christmas Present, and was the title track on a non-Christmas album four months later. In the years since its release, “If We Make It Through December” — which, in addition to its Christmas motif, also uses themes of unemployment and loneliness — has become one of the trademark songs of Haggard’s career.

    If we make it through December
    Everythings gonna be all right I know
    It’s the coldest time of winter
    And I shivver when I see the fallin snow

  • Chameleon – Herbie Hancock

    A jazz standard composed by Herbie Hancock in collaboration with Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson and Harvey Mason, all of whom also performed the original 15’44” version on the 1973 landmark album Head Hunters featuring solos by Hancock and Maupin.

  • Call me (come back home) – Al Green

    Released as a single January 30, 1973.

    Call me call me call me
    What a beautiful time we had together
    Now it’s gettin’ late and we must leave each other
    Just remember the time we had
    And how right I tried to be
    It’s all in a day’s work

  • You asked Me To – Waylon Jennings

    written by Billy Joe Shaver and originally recorded by Jennings on his 1973 album Honky Tonk Heroes.

    Long ago and far away
    In my ol’ common labor shoes
    I turned the world all which a way
    Just because you asked me to

  • Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel – Todd Rundgren

    Released on the album “A Wizard, A True Star” March 2, 1973.

    Sometimes I don’t know what to feel
    Everything I thought that I knew starts to look so unreal
    There’s a ringing in my head that keeps me awake at night
    Sometimes I don’t know what is right

  • Personality Crisis – New York Dolls

    Released on their debut album “New York Doll” on July 27, 1973.

    Well we can’t take it this week
    And her friends don’t want another speech
    Hoping for a better day to hear what she’s got to say

  • The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin

    Released on “Houses of The Holy” on 28 March 1973.

    This is the springtime of my loving – the second season I am to know
    You are the sunlight in my growing – so little warmth I’ve felt before.

  • Ol’ ’55 – Tom Waits

    It is the opening track and lead single from Waits’ debut studio album, Closing Time, released in March 1973 on Asylum Records. Written by Waits and produced by Jerry Yester, “Ol’ ’55” was a minor hit. The song has been covered by numerous artists, most notably by the Eagles on their On the Border (1974)

    Well my time went so quickly, I went lickety-splickly out to my old ’55
    As I drove away slowly, feeling so holy, God knows, I was feeling alive.

These came close:

  • Child’s Christmas in Wales – John Cale
  • Band On The Run – Paul McCartney And Wings
  • The Jean Genie – David Bowie
  • Concrete Jungle – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • Money – Pink Floyd
  • Jesus Just Left Chicago – ZZ top
  • Warm Love – Van Morrison
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
  • Moving  – Howlin Wolf
  • Dan Penn – I Hate You
  • Jerry Jeff Walker – L.A. Freeway
  • Desperado – Eagles
  • Living for the city – Stevie Wonder
  • I can’t stand the rain – Ann Peebles
  • Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl
  • Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul – Stoney Edwards
  • Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – Bruce Springsteen
  • 5:15 – The Who
  • The Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet
  • 20th Century Boy – T. Rex
  • I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – Genesis
  • Cum on Feel the Noize – Slade

Spotify Playlist:

Sources – Wikipedia, allmusic.com


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