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music friday, 1973 edition

This weekend, Robin and I will go down to Santa Cruz to celebrate our 42nd anniversary (the actual date is Tuesday). Besides our getting married (at 19), 1973 sticks in my mind in a musical sense because I bussed tables in a cafeteria with a jukebox that year, which meant I heard a lot of the same songs over and over. Here are some 1973 songs that bring back the year for me.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Freebird”. Treated as a joke now, but I once voted for it as the best song of the 70s. This being the 21st century, of course I can find a video of the band playing their great song from the one time I saw them live. (It’s the link in the song title.) When the band would get to that spot everyone knew was coming, as Ronnie Van Zant finished off his singing, it was like when Steph Curry prepares to take a three, and the whole crowd holds its breath for a moment, and then the ball swishes in. I love this song to this day. BTW, Robin was at this concert, as well, although I suspect she doesn’t remember.

Ann Peebles, “I Can’t Stand the Rain”. John Lennon once called it the best song ever. It was everywhere, with Peebles climbing onto that Hi Records groove.

Elton John, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”. This one is tied inextricably with my first summer working in a factory. It was as if the rhythm of the song matched the rhythm of the machines.

Sly and the Family Stone, “If You Want Me to Stay”. Fresh was the end of an unmatchable run for one of our greatest artists. Rustee Allen on bass.

Aretha Franklin, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”. The greatest female artist since the beginning of rock and roll. The link is to a live version with Stevie Wonder, who was ever present in 1973.

The Rolling Stones, “Tumbling Dice”. From 1972, not 1973, but it was on that jukebox where I worked. Actually, the selection was Side One of Exile, so I heard five songs all the time, and “Rip This Joint” has always been my favorite. But as I get older, I move closer to “Tumbling Dice”, which Linda Ronstadt did wonderful things with a few years later.

Mott the Hoople, “I Wish I Was Your Mother”. I played Mott over and over again back then.

The New York Dolls, “Personality Crisis”. The video is from The Midnight Special, which, along with In Concert and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, provided lots of TV viewing.

Dan Hicks and His Lot Licks, “I Scare Myself”. Cheating again ... Hicks first recorded this in 1969, and then again in 1972. The night before our wedding, I was watching one of those concert shows, and Hicks sang “I Scare Myself”. I thought it told my story, and the next day at the ceremony, I read the lyrics aloud:

I scare myself just thinking about you
I scare myself when I'm without you
I scare myself the moment that you're gone
I scare myself when I let my thoughts run
and when they're running
I keep thinking of you
and when they're running
what can I do?

I scare myself, and I don't mean lightly
I scare myself, it can get frightening
I scare myself, to think what I could do
I scare myself -- it's some kind of voodoo
and with that voodoo
I keep thinking of you
and with that voodoo
what can I do?

(it’s me I’m scared of)

but it's oh so so so different when we're together
and I'm oh so so so much calmer; I feel better
for the stars have crossed our paths forever
and the sooner that you realize it the better
then I'll be with you and I won't scare myself
and I'll know what to do and I won't scare myself
and I'll think of you and I won't scare myself
and my thoughts will run and I won't scare myself

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