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Any Major Hits from 1973 – Vol. 2

 

In Any Major Hits from 1973 Vol. 1, which dropped in January, I noted how few UK hits made it big in the US that year. On the other hand, US acts were very successful in the UK charts, even as the British pop scene was thriving, especially with glam rock peaking.

Where Vol. 1 concentrated on the US charts, the second mix of 1973 hits reflects some of what was happening in the UK. And rightly, it kicks off with a triple whammy of stone cold glam classics featuring Slade, Sweet and Wizzard — and had Gary Glitter not been an unrepentant sexual abuser, it might have been four… The playlist returns to glam towards the end. And if you still need more of a glam fix, try the Any Major Glam Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 mixes.

Junior Campbell had a #15 hit with the blue-eyed soul track Sweet Illusion in the summer of 1973. It was his last chart hit, following on from his first solo hit a year earlier, which reached #10. But Campbell already had his fill of hits as founder member, lead guitarist, keyboard player, vocalist and songwriter with the Scottish band Marmalade. He co-wrote songs like the global hit Reflections Of My Life (on which he played the guitar solo) and I See The Rain, a hit in Europe and now something of a cult classic.

After his solo career, Campbell went to arranging and producing, carving out a fine career for himself.

US soul group Limmie & Family Cookin’ (fronted by the unlikely-named Limmie Snell) were more successful in the UK than at home. Their quite wonderful You Can Do Magic was their only US chart entry, stalling at #86 and getting to only #42 on the R&B charts. In Britain, however, it reached #3 in 1973. The group had another UK Top 10 hit in 1974, with A Walkin’ Miracle.

Jimmy Helms is another US-born soul singer who made it big in Britain. Having signed for a British label, he had a #8 hit with the falsetto classic Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse. It sounds as if it was recorded by Gamble & Huff in Philadelphia, but the track was in fact produced by a white guy named Mike Moran, who’d later sing the Eurovision classic Rock Bottom with Linsey de Paul.

Helms didn’t bother the UK charts again as a solo artist, but after a few years of doing session work — including backing vocals on the Deacon Blue hit When Will You Make My Telephone Ring and the Fine Young Cannibals’ Good Thing — he made a comeback in the late 1980s as a founding member of Londonbeat, putting his falsetto to good use on tracks such as the huge hit I’ve Been Thinking About You and A Better Love, both of which he also co-wrote.

The track that is probably the most anachronistic in this mix is The Strawbs’ Part Of The Union, an anthem celebrating trade unionism and collective solidarity, which went as high as #2 in early 1973. You’re not likely to hear much political content of that kind in pop hits these days, and Thatcher succeeded in smashing working class solidarity. And with the current Labour leadership, The Strawbs would have little to brag about today. Still, here they are in 1973, performing on the BBC on Top of the Pops, being introduced by a prominent Tory…

Likewise, I doubt that Hot Chocolate could record Brother Louie in quite the same way today as they did 50 years ago. A song about racial prejudice in the face of an interracial romance, the song’s spoken bits (one of them by Alexis Korner) includes racial pejoratives that would not be tolerated today, even if applied to criticise these attitudes (and that might be a good thing). A cover by the US band Stories topped the US charts later in 1973.

As a bonus track I include a Euro hit from 1973, Simon Butterfly’s Rain Rain Rain. The singer and writer of the song was a German, so you will not be shocked to learn that his real name wasn’t Butterfly but Bernd Simon. His song, on which he sounds a lot like the great, late singer-songwriter Udo Jürgens, was a big radio hit in West Germany, though it peaked at a lowly #20. Oddly, Simon released his song only in English. But it was a success in France, where Marie Laforêt recorded it as Viens Viens, and in Italy, where Dalida rendered it as Lei Lei. Simon released a few more records, but without success, and also did some producing. He died in 2017 at the age of 71.

A companion series to the Hits of the Year series is A Life In Vinyl, which goes back to 1977, when I started to invest seriously in records. .

If you dig the feel of 1973, take a look at the collection of posters from West-Germany’s Bravo magazine in 1973 (other years, from 1957 to 1985, feature too).

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-glammed covers, and the above text in PDF. PW in Comments.

1. Slade – Cum On Feel The Noize
2. Sweet – Ballroom Blitz
3. Wizzard – See My Baby Jive
4. Mungo Jerry – Alright Alright Alright
5. Junior Campbell – Sweet Illusion
6. Hot Chocolate – Brother Louie
7. Limmie & Family Cookin’ – You Can Do Magic
8. The Spinners – Could It Be I’m Falling In Love
9. Jimmy Helms – Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse
10. David Cassidy – Daydreamer
11. David Bowie – Sorrow
12. Argent – God Gave Rock & Roll To You
13. The Faces – Cindy Incidentally
14. Wings – Hi Hi Hi
15. The Strawbs – Part Of The Union
16. Albert Hammond – The Free Electric Band
17. Geordie – All Because Of You
18. Nazareth – Broken Down Angel
19. Mott The Hoople – Roll Away The Stone
20. Suzi Quatro – 48 Crash
21. Mud – Dyna-mite
22. Barry Blue – Dancing (On A Saturday Night)
23. Jackson 5 – Hallelujah Day
Bonus Track
Simon Butterfly – Rain Rain Rain

GET IT!

Any Major Hits from 1944
Any Major Hits from 1947
Any Major Hits from 1961
Any Major Hits from 1970
Any Major Hits from 1971
Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 1
Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 2
Any Major Hits from 1973 Vol. 1

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  1. amdwhah
    June 15th, 2023 at 08:31 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Stephen M Mitchell
    June 15th, 2023 at 20:16 | #2

    Microsoft Defender detected a virus in both downlaod sites

  3. amdwhah
    June 15th, 2023 at 22:33 | #3

    MS Defender has been doing that for a while now, with different files. The files are scanned for viruses and stuff, so I presume it’s a false warning. Some people have said that if they tried again a few days later, it mysteriously works. But I have no idea what to do about this.

  4. Crab Devil
    June 25th, 2023 at 08:23 | #4

    Thanks for Volume Two and for the link to the applicable page over at Bravo. I was 13 (and living in England) in 1973, so I remember almost all of these tracks quite well. Some, such as “Broken Down Angel” and “Roll Away the Stone,” are among the first few singles I ever tracked down and bought when they were originally released. It’s interesting to me that you’ve commented on the political content of the Strawbs song, as those particular lyrics had left my precocious little self rather confused at the time. The words did seem to imply that there was something heroic about belonging to a union (and the chant-like delivery did sound stirring and so on), but the line about “the rise of the factory’s fall” made me wonder if this was in reality a bit of satire — an ANTI-union piece in disguise. I mean, most of the song made it sound as if it was obviously a good thing for the workers to be empowered. But, then again, at least some of the song made it sound as if all that empowerment was doomed to backfire, ultimately costing the workers no less than their very jobs. Years later, as an English major, I learned that it’s not just unexceptional but in fact routine for works of art to come across as ambiguous. In 1973, though, I was just stumped as to what “side” the Strawbs were actually taking.

  5. amdwhah
    June 25th, 2023 at 21:10 | #5

    That’s an interesting take. But, from Wiki: “The song (especially its chorus “You don’t get me I’m part of the Union”) quickly became popular as an unofficial anthem of the trade union movement.[1] Subsequently, the Strawbs have confirmed that the song was written with genuine celebratory intent, in support of the unions.” The fact that this required confirmation supports the idea that your interpretation was circulating.

  6. July 28th, 2023 at 18:10 | #6

    Long time reader, first time writer! I’ve loved your site (and your musical tastes) for several years now.

    I’m not sure if there’s a problem with the file or with my iMac, but I can’t open the .rar file. I tried both downloading options. Stuffit Expander says “the structure of the archive is damaged.” While the Unarchiver has a message about a problem while reading the contents of “amhits73v1.rar” even tho’ I’m opening v2!

    Not sure if there’s anything that can be done about it, but I wanted to let you know.

    Thanks for all the great music!

    best,
    Pete

  7. amdwhah
    July 30th, 2023 at 20:00 | #7

    Hi Pete, I’ve not had any reports of problems with that file. I wonder whether various unzipping apps just have problems with my particular version of WinRar…

  8. amdwhah
    August 2nd, 2023 at 08:17 | #8

    Pete, I’ve sent you an email on the address you provided

  9. Pete
    August 2nd, 2023 at 23:39 | #9

    @amdwhah
    Thank you! That was very kind of you.

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