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1973 Memories – A Journey Back To 1973

A Journey Back To 1973


The golden year of 1973. A brief journey through the music, entertainment, happenings, memories and some trivia of the year.

By John Surgenor
Irvine Beat FM – Golden Hour Presenter

The golden year of 1973. A brief journey through the music, entertainment, happenings, memories and some trivia of the year.

I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m John Surgenor and I do a golden hour show on Irvine Beat FM 107.2 every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 11.00 and 12.00hrs. I was asked if I could contribute something to our webpage and I decided I’d do a little escape into our pasts like I do on my show. I usually keep between 1960 and 1989 so this time it’s 1973.

What do you remember if anything about 1973?

What do you remember if anything about 1973? For me it was turning 18 in April. I could walk into a pub and have a beer. I did just that at the Pop Inn at the railway station. I wasn’t asked my age so I must have looked cool??? An overriding thought of mine on my first pint of beer was how could anything stay in a pub and drink a lot of this stuff. I tried to look as if I enjoyed it but it would take me several weeks to acquire a taste but I did and it’s stayed with me. The whisky took a bit longer. Another couple of memorable local things in 1973 would be the start of the end for our Green bridge across the river joining the Irvine and Fullarton sides not a time for celebration but Irvine could celebrate the Medda winning the Scottish Junior cup. Anyway let’s get on with our Golden year

The music of 1973

The music of 1973 started with Little Jimmy Osmonds 1972 Christmas number one Long haired lover from Liverpool. This would stay at number one for most of January until the number one by Sweet Blockbuster toppled it. Sweet would follow this with three consecutive hits which stopped at 2nd place. Blockbuster would last at the top for 5 weeks until knocked off by Slade.

“Cum on feel the noize” would be the 4th number one for Slade and was the first to go straight to number on release as would their follow up “Skweeze me pleeze me”. They would remain at the top for five weeks before succumbing to Donny.

Donny Osmond would be the second table topper this year for the family with his second number one “Twelfth of never” which was first recorded by Johnny Mathis and later a top 10 hit over here for Cliff Richard. Donny would only last for the one week but would be back later on in the year.

Gilbert O’Sullivan would come after Donny with his second and final number one “Get down” which was not about a dog. Irishman Gilbert would stay top for two weeks until Dawn came.

“Tie a yellow ribbon round the ole old tree” would be the second and final number one for Dawn but on this occasion they would be called “Dawn featuring Tony Orlando”. This track like their first number one “Knock three times” would be a transatlantic number one.

Roy Wood & ELO

The extrovert front man of ELO and the Move, Roy Wood reached the top next with his new band “Wizzard” whose debut “Ball park incident” had been top ten earlier in the year before “See my baby jive” gave them their first number one which spent four weeks there. The Birmingham band would be replaced by the dynamic Suzi Quatro at the top.

Suzi Quatro like Sweet owed a lot of her success to the prolific hit making song writing duo of Londoner Nicky Chinn and Australian Mike Chapman who had also penned the previous Sweet number one. Can the Can would be Suzi’s first table topper lasting only the one week

One week would be the length of tenure that the first 10CC hit “Rubber bullet would last at the top. This Manchester band would consist of songwriter Graham Gouldman and three former members of Hotlegs two of whom, Godley and Creme would have a career as a duo in the eighties.

Slade would reach the top spot for the second time in 1973 with “Skweeze me Pleaze me”. This was their fifth number one and would stay there for three weeks.

Peters and Lee

Lennie Peters and Dianne Lee (Peters and Lee) would be the next UK number one and would be the fourth act to have a solo week there this year. Peters and Lee had lasted a bit longer on Opportunity Knocks where they lasted a then record seven weeks with “Welcome home”.

For the next four weeks the chart would be topped by the disgraced Paul Gadd.

Donny Osmond would reach the top of the hit parade again with “Young Love”. This would be his third and final UK number ones and he still wouldn’t be sixteen years old. He would have one more chart entry this year and that would his last solo top ten.

“Young love” stayed at the top for four weeks before Wizzard followed up there first number one with their second and last table topper “Angel fingers” (A teen Ballad). Like their first number one “See my baby jive” the stay would last for one week before being toppled.

The theme tune for a TV detective programme set in Holland “Van der Valk” starring Barry foster stayed at the top of the chart for four weeks. The track was called “Eye level” and would give us a purist one hit wonder in the “Simon Park Orchestra”.

One Of The Biggest Hits Of The 70’s

David Cassidy would knock Simon Park off number one with his second and final chart topper “Daydreamer” which was sold as a double a side along with “The puppy song”. David would stay there for three weeks. This would be the fourth of five top ten hits he achieved in the 70’s.

Paul Gad would spend another four weeks at number one before being toppled by Slade’s Christmas record “Merry Xmas everybody” which went straight to number one as all their number ones did this year. Between “Skeeze me” and “Merry Xmas” they had “My friend Stan” which stalled at number two behind Simon Park and his Orchestra, making it the bands biggest year.

Album chart of 1973

At the start of the year it was a various artists album which was at number one which was “20 All time hits of the Fifties”. Slade’s third album “Slayed went to number one for one week Before Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Back to front” had a one week stay only for Slade to go back top with “Slayed”.

Elton John would have the next top selling album with his 6th album release “Don’t shoot me I’m only the piano player” which would remain at the top for six weeks. Elton had previously had two albums stall at number prior to his first number one. And this album would give him his second US number one album
Alice Cooper’s sixth album “Billion dollar babes” would give him his only week at the top of the UK album chart and his only US number one album.

Alice Cooper would be knocked off the top by another various album in the form of “20 flashback hits of the 60’s”

Led Zeppelin would spend two weeks at the top with “Houses of the Holy”. This would be their 4th consecutive number one album both here and in the US. It would the first of their albums with a name other than Led Zeppelin

Next up would be another band in “The Faces” with “Ooh la la” staying for one week only before David Bowie took their place.

1973 Albums UK

Alladin Sane

David Bowie’s sixth album “Alladin Sane” would give him first UK number one album and his second top 20 album in the US when it went to seventeenth place. Alladin Sane would be top dog for five weeks until he too was knockjed off by a various album. This time it would be “Pure Gold various artists” which would remain there for three weeks.

The next number one album would be an original soundtrack album of the film “That’ll be the day”. This would spend seven weeks at the top.

Opportunity Knocks “Peter and Lee” would be next to top the chart for two weeks with their debut album “We can make it”.

Rod Stewart

Next up would be Rod Stewart at the top with his compilation album “Sing it again Rod” which was his second number one after “Every picture tells a story” in 1971. Rod would hold the top spot for three weeks.

Rod would get knocked off the top spot by the evergreen Rolling Stones with their seventh table topping album “Goats head soup” lasting for two weeks.

Slade would have their second number one album of the year with “Sladest” which lasted three weeks at the top.

Status Quo would be the next number one in the UK album chart with “Hello” giving them their debut number one chart album which would last only one week.

David Bowie would have his second number one album of the year with his album of cover versions, “Pin ups” which had a super cover of David and Twiggy as painted clowns. Like Alladin Sane this would stay at the top for five weeks

Roxy Music would knock David off the top spot with their first number one album and the only number one album they would have in the seventies “Stranded” which stayed for one week.

David Cassidy would have his only week at the top of the UK albums chart with his third album “Dreams are nothing more than wishes”

Elton John would have his second number one in the UK album charts this year with his glorious double album “Goodbye yellow brick road” which would in turn be first number one album in 1974.

Entertainment in 1973

Situation comedy was big on TV in 1973 with a few crackers starting in this year. Last of the summer wine must be the pick of the bunch starting out on Comedy playhouse. Compo (Bill Owen) and Clegg (Peter Sallis) started out alongside Cyril (Michael Bates) but after a couple of series it was predominantly Foggy (Brian Wilde). Nora Batty (Kathy Staff) was the big love interest and she had Ivy (Jane Freeman) as her sidekick for the journey. Other big names of TV comedy who popped up on the show were Brian Murphy (George and Mildred) Bert Kwouk (Pink Panther) and Russ Abbot (Madhouse). Truly epic until 2010.

Open All Hours would be another long term favourite on our box running until 1985 and being resurrected again in 2013 with “Still open all hours” with David Jason now running the shop. The 1975 series main protagonists were, Arkwright (Ronnie Barker), Granville (David Jason) and Lynda Barron playing the love interest Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. Another classic sitcom.

Another big sitcom started this year was “Man about the house” which again had Brian Murphy as one of the stars. The series had three housemates in Richard O’Sullivan, Sally Thomsett and Paula Wilcox. their landlord is the hapless Brian Murphy and his domineering wife Mildred. The series ran until 1976 and spawned two spin offs in “Robins Nest” and “George and Mildred”.

Steve Austin (The six million dollar man) arrived on our screens this year. Lee Majors starred as the ex astronaut rebuilt after being severely injured at the cost of $6million dollars. He becomes a secret agent and an icon during the time the series ran. It would become a series in 1974 and later it lead to Jaime Sommers becoming the bionic woman.

Memories of 1973

1973 TV Detectives

Two American detectives would hit our screens in 1973. Kojak (Telly Savalas) complete with lollipop and Barnaby Jones (Buddy Ebsen). Kojak worked for the New York city police while Barnaby Jones was a private investigator working with his daughter in Los Angeles. Buddy Ebsen was best know as Jed Clampett head of the Beverly hillbillies during the sixties.

Jim Dale

Also in 1973 Jim Dale took over as presenter of Sunday night at the London palladium while Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) left Coronation street and Jimmy Hill took over the reins at Match of the day.

1973 Films

On the film front it would hard to beat “The Sting” featuring Paul Newman and Robert Redford a la Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. They go about trying to con a mob boss Robert Shaw (Jaws). It’s a fun caper unlike another big film of the year in “The Exorcist”. I went to the pictures with my then girlfriend and we lasted no more that 15 minutes. I’ve still never watched it.
Dirty Harry appeared for a second time in “Magnum Force”. Harry Callaghan was played by Clint Eastwood. There would be a total of five films starring Dirty Harry the first being in 1971.

Roger Moore best known as Simon Templar (The Saint) before 1973 would play James Bond for the first time this year in “Live and let die”. Gloria Hendry was the bond girl “Rosie Carver” and Wings would sing the theme tune which in turn won the Academy award for the best original song. It was written by Paul McCartney.

Disney brought out their 21st animated film this year when “Robin Hood” hit our screens. Peter Ustinov was the voice of Prince John while Terry Thomas played Sir Hiss and another English actor Brian Bedford was Robin Hood.

A mention should also be given to Al Pacino in Serpico a New York cop.

1973 in Film

Others happenings in 1973.

  • The UK entered the EEC this year under the government of Ted Heath.
  • While the old Irvine bridge was getting dismantled the new London bridge would be opened.
  • The Austin Allegro replaced the Austin 1100 and 1300 this year and would be produced until 1982.
  • The Everly Brothers split.
  • Jackie Stewart won the Sports personality of the year award this year and was the first Scottish winner since Ian Black (Swimming) in 1958.
  • There was a big surprise in England when Leeds United got beat in the FA Cup final 1-0 by Sunderland.
  • Joe Bugner took Muhammad Ali the distance and lost on points this year.
  • Princess Anne and Mark Phillips got married.
  • Red Rum won the first of his three Grand Nationals.
  • Virginia Wade won her first US open
  • Tom Weiskopf won the open.
  • First Pizza hut opened in the UK
  • Inflation was at 8.4% this year.
  • It was also the first time you could buy a Freddo bar

A handful of arrivals in 1973

Brendan Rodgers (Leicester FC manager) 26th January
Ole Gunnaer Solskyjar (Man U FC manager) 26th February
Lee Westwood (Golfer) 29th April
Josh Homme (Queens of the Stoneage) 17th May
Ryan Giggs (Footballer) 29th November

A handful of departures in 1973

Lynden B Johnson (US President) 22nd January
Edward G Robinson (Actor) 26th January
Noel Coward (playwright) 26thMarch
Jimmy Clitheroe (Actor) 6th June
Betty Grable (Actress) July 2nd

That’s my subjective brief journey through 1973. I hope you enjoyed yourself. Many thanks for joining me, good health, good fortune and God bless. Bye for now.


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