Old-Timer’s Corner: 2013 Minus 40

Since being invited onboard as a progarchist, I’ve come more fully to terms with my clear status as an old-timer.  I’m especially aware of this at year-end, when everyone feels the impulse to produce a “best of the year” list of some kind.  When it comes to music, I’ve never been a good multi-tasker; when I listen to music, I’d rather not be doing anything else at the same time.  That puts some pretty serious constraint upon the time I can devote to listening, unlike a number of my prolific friends.  Then there’s the fact that “prog,” as much as I adore its early history and gladly greet its ongoing vivacity, is far from the only genre vying for my ear-time.  Even the wide-net application of “prog” applied by our great Proghalla leader, Oleg Birzer, doesn’t help me very much.

pink floyd Dark Side of the Moon_dark_side

Don’t miss Big Big Train’s English Electric discs, The Fierce and the Dead’s Spooky Action, and Spock’s Beard’s Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep.  Beyond that, if you need guidance on 2013, pay attention to the other distinguished progarchists.  I’ll be the one still mostly stuck in the 1970’s.

So, to continue the tradition that I inaugurated last year, I’ve done a thorough and grueling ten minutes’ worth of review via Wikipedia (they could use a donation if you use them and can spare anything, by the way). I give you this brief reminder of what was going on in the general vicinity of what was defined as “progressive” four decades ago.

1973:  London faces bombings by the IRA, along with the first death attributed to arsonist Peter Dinsdale.  In the United States, Richard Nixon begins his second term, the televised Watergate hearings begin, and U.S. involvement in Vietnam officially ends.  The Supreme Court decides on Roe vs. Wade, and the World Trade Center (New York) and Sears Tower (Chicago) both open.  George Foreman defeats Joe Frazier, and Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs.

In music, The King Biscuit Flower Hour, The Midnight Special, and Don Krishner’s Rock Concert all begin airing.  The stature of the Beatles is manifest in Capitol’s release of the Red and Blue compilation albums.  Bruce Springsteen begins making his mark with not one, but two albums.  Paul Simon continues to enjoy solo success with There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.  Led Zeppelin breaks the Beatles’ previous record for concert attendance in Tampa, also recording/filming their Madison Square Garden shows, which will be released in 1976 as The Song Remains the Same.   Elvis Presley’s concert in Hawaii is the first worldwide entertainment telecast to be viewed by more people than had seen the moon landings.  Late in the year, vinyl shortages due to the oil crisis lead to delays of and limits on new album releases.  My selection of highlights here is subject to all sorts of personal bias, of course, but you can search online yourself for more complete lists of events, people, and other memories if you’d like.

Of greatest interest to our readers, presumably, will be the following list (not necessarily complete!) of prog and “prog-related” (by my arbitrary definition) albums released in 1973.  The first five are MY top five favorites from that year (as of today; such things may vary).  After that, they are listed in no particular order.

  1. Larks-Tongues-in-AspicKing Crimson, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic
  2. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery
  3. Todd Rundgren, A Wizard, A True Star
  4. Rick Wakeman, The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  5. Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (one of the best-selling and most widely recognized albums in popular music, remaining on the charts from 1973 until 1988! )
  • Camel, Camel
  • Electric Light Orchestra, ELO 2 AND On the Third Day
  • Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure AND Stranded
  • Hawkwind, Space Ritual
  • Yes, Yessongs AND Tales from Topographic Oceans
  • Gong, Flying Teapot
  • Jethro Tull, A Passion Play
  • Genesis, Genesis Live AND Selling England by the Pound
  • Flash, Out of Our Hands
  • Can, Future Days
  • Gentle Giant, In a Glass House
  • Renaissance, Ashes are Burning
  • Robert Fripp & Brian Eno, (No Pussyfooting)
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra, Birds of Fire AND Between Nothingness and Eternity
  • Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin, Love Devotion Surrender

My recommendation for today’s nostalgia hit:  Listen again to Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, and keep reminding yourself what year it was released.


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