You probably understand how good music from 1973 is when you compare it to modern hits. Sure, there are some good ones now, but there’s something special about the songs of this year.
Here are the best songs from 1973.
1. “Long Train Runnin’” by The Doobie Brothers
As one of the top songs of the year, “Long Train Runnin’” was a hit in 1973. The song talks about the direction life can go without having love in the equation. While the music behind the words was used in several tracks by the band, they finally sat down to create the lyrics for their 1973 album The Captain and Me.
2. “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
Everyone in the world may have heard this epitome of good music from 1973 at least once in their lifetime. This reason is due to the many different ways creators insert the lyrics into their own projects. Initially, Ed Townsend wrote this song about fighting alcoholism. However, Marvin Gaye changed the lyrics to reflect his intense desire for his new wife.
3. “Angie” by The Rolling Stones
After releasing this song from Goat’s Head Soup, much speculation came to be about the lyrics and their meaning. It’s a song about a woman, but her true identity is a secret.
There are many stories about how the song got its name, ranging from a snippet from an autobiography written by Mick Jagger’s wife Angie about his past to it being about Keith Richard’s infant daughter who was born around that time.
4. “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips
The 1973 hit by Gladys Knight & the Pips, known as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” depicts a woman’s struggle as her significant other gives up on their dream of making it big in Hollywood. In the song, the man admits defeat and takes the train back home to Georgia. The theme is depicted beautifully in its video and won a Grammy shortly after being released.
5. “Natural High” by Bloodstone
The meaning behind the song “Natural High” by the famous 1973’s band Bloodstone comes through in both the music video and song. As you will decipher through viewing and listening, the musician is talking about his excitement upon seeing a girl he likes for the first time. After that moment, he continues to fall more and more in love with her as time goes on.
6. “That Lady, Parts 1 and 2” by the Isley Brothers
A song still prevalent today, “That Lady, Parts 1 and 2” by the Isley Brothers took off in 1973 after four years of falling short on the top song lists. The song's overall theme is about their appreciation for a beautiful woman that has come into their life. This song is a remake of the band's earlier version in the 1960s.
7. “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich
Taking a different direction from the love theme that many top songs focus on, “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich offers a look into what happens when decisions are made at a political level when nobody else is around.
As you can often see in interviews, the public mentions don’t always know what happens behind closed doors, which can be unfair when politicians are deciding things that affect the country as a whole. This song brings the topic to light, focusing on the Watergate scandal around 1973.
8. “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” by The Spinners
This poignant song by The Spinners is a true story. The band released “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” in 1973 following the lead musician's breakup with his girlfriend.
While it doesn’t play out in the video, the song speaks to coming home to a poignant message on the wall and a girlfriend nowhere to be seen. Through interviews, the musician disclosed the event to the public, making the song even more meaningful.
9. “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers
At the top of the list for good music from 1973, “Ramblin’ Man” enjoyed its place at the top of the rankings for several weeks. Listeners enjoyed tuning in on the radio to take in the catchy tune. The writer took the title from an older Hank Williams song and the lyrics are a tribute to him. The words fit nicely as a musician who travels frequently and takes life as it comes.
10. “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love?” by The Spinners
1973 was an excellent year for The Spinners, with another top-ranking hit in “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love.” As the song shows listeners, after years of turmoil and failed attempts at a relationship, a person can finally start to find true love again. Melvin and Mervin Steals wrote the song for the band and envisioned The Spinners while composing the lyrics.
11. “Shambala” by Three Dog Night
There is a unique backstory to the song “Shambala” by Three Dog Night. Songwriter Daniel Moore penned the lyrics, and the group recorded the tracks at nearly the same time, along with another musician, B.W. Stevenson. Both versions came within weeks of one another, while the Three Dog Night song rose to the top after a few weeks.
The song features Buddhist principles. A Buddhist story inspired Moore to write the lyrics and these ideas also appear in the music video.
12. “So Very Hard To Go” by Tower of Power
As another top hit of the ’70s, “So Very Hard To Go” is written about a real-life situation that one of the Tower of Power bandmates found himself in with a girl. In a story about breaking up and the difficulty with those final goodbyes, the song captivates its audience and speaks to many memories of similar situations.
13. “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad
When you listen to this iconic song or tune into the later-released video, you get insight into what the members of Grand Funk Railroad were like while on tour.
“We’re An American Band” depicts stories through the lyrics of what things they did while performing and who they interacted with while on the road. For those close to the band members, it’s easy to pinpoint inside jokes and stories that those outside the group won’t understand.
14. “Keep on Truckin’” by Eddie Kendricks
When it comes to good music from 1973, this hit song by top musician Eddie Kendricks, a previous member of The Temptations, is on the list for many reasons. Many people see it as a motivational song, as it encourages people to continue going despite whatever hardships they may face throughout the year. This tune was the first hit that Kendricks had as a solo musician.
15. “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn
When you listen to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” you escape into more than just a song. This tune by Tony Orlando and Dawn takes you into a folk story about a man trying to get a past love back. While the music has undergone several iterations throughout the years, you get the concept of the story through the intricate lyrics.
16. “Sing” by The Carpenters
If the lyrics of this song sound familiar in another context, it’s because it is part of Sesame Street videos from more recent years.
Although the artists created the music earlier, it became incorporated into the series in English and Spanish translations. The overall sentiment of the lyrics is to enjoy what you have today by taking the time to sing whenever the mood strikes.
17. “Get Down” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
After the release of this song in March of 1973 in the United Kingdom, it quickly became a hit in the United States. There is terminology in the music and video that speaks to the inclusion of a dog. However, the songwriter has insisted that it is about a past relationship that went awry.
18. “The Twelfth of Never” by Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond and his sister, Marie, were famous musical artists in the 1970s. In 1973, Donny released “The Twelfth of Never.” As listeners can decipher, the song centers around loving someone forever. Instead of an exact date their love with end, they provide the Twelfth of Never to insinuate further that their love is binding.
19. “Photograph” by Ringo Starr
As a previous Beatles member, Ringo Starr knew a thing or two about performing top hits for fans. Therefore, it was no surprise when “Photograph” went straight to the top of the charts in 1973.
The lyrics and video portray a young man upset about a recent breakup. Having a photograph that continually reminds him of the good times they had together makes the event even more painful, but he is glad that he has a small part of their relationship to remember.
20. “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin
While this song was an apparent hit in 1973, it wasn’t the last for Led Zeppelin, who went on to have many more in future years. This song traces back to one of the band member's Celtic roots and even draws inspiration from the book “The Hobbit.” While the song isn’t the top performer of the band, it did draw a lot of attention at the time.
21. “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
In what is one of the most iconic songs of the decade, let alone 1973, “Free Bird” has captivated audiences ever since it came out. Although this Lynyrd Skynyrd song has a lot of praise, its topic is on the sad side and speaks about the lead singer's inability to commit to the relationship he is currently in, despite the love he has for her.
Top Songs From 1973, Final Thoughts
Though the younger generation may not realize it, some of the best songs from 1973 still get airplay today. Anyone can find a new favorite tune among all of the top songs from 1973. Take a day to tune in and reminisce with some of these iconic masterpieces from beloved 90’s artists.