Friday, August 17, 1973

Allman Brothers Band “Ramblin’ Man” charted

Ramblin’ Man

Allman Brothers Band

Writer(s): Dickey Betts (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 17, 1973

Peak: 2 BB, 11 CB, 11 GR, 2 HR, 2 RR, 12 AC, 1 CL, 7 CN, 40 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 7.2 video, 214.77 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Duane Allman was one of rock’s most celebrated guitarists. When he was killed in a motorcycle accident at 24, it was understandable that people wondered how the Allman Brothers Band could soldier on without him. However, they translated their mix of rock, country, jazz, and blues into being one of the signature Southern rock groups who’ve been hailed for the improvisational stage jams and “double-guitar harmony.” MM

Their biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man,” came courtesy guitarist Dickey Betts “who leaned very strongly towards country” TC and here served up a liquid tone and a shuffle beat [that was] simple and seamless” DM with a vocal that “is two parts B.B. King and one part George Jones.” DM This is “probably the closest real blues slide guitar has come to topping the chart.” DM

Betts said he carried the line “I bet you’re just tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best you can” around in his head for three years. It was a friend’s comment in 1969 about how he imagined Betts was doing with his music. MM When he finally sat down to write the song in 1973, he said, “the words came fast, like I was writing a letter.” MM Although it was a completely different song, this “was rooted around an old Hank Williams number [of the same name from 1951] about traveling the world and taking life as it comes.” DT

It was released on the band’s Brothers and Sisters album, the first without Duane. It was also the last to feature bassist Berry Oakley, who – after a year of struggling with depression and substance abuse brought on by Duane’s death – also died in a motorocycle accident before the album’s release.

“Ramblin’ Man” “stands alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as one of the definitive Southern rock songs. It’s an amiable, laid-back tune, falling halfway between blues-rock and country-rock, graced with wonderful guitar harmonies. The Allmans could rock much harder than this, but that was the record’s charm – it was easy and friendly, with all the charm of a breezy summer’s day.” AMG “The refrain that bookends the chorus is perhaps the catchiest and prettiest hook in all of Southern rock.” AMG


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First posted 9/12/2023.

Saturday, August 11, 1973

On This Day in Music: The Birth of Hip-Hop

August 11, 1973

The Birth of Hip-Hop

Clive Campbell (aka DJ Kool Herc) and his sister Cindy threw a back-to-school school party in the rec room of an apartment building in the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc played copies of the same record on two turntables, going back and forth between the records to loop the percussion and keep the beat going. Rap, or hip-hop, was born.

In 2023 – the 50th anniversary of hip-hop – DJ Kool Herc was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a musical influence. That same year, the Grammys presented a tribute to the 50th anniversary with an all-star, thirteen-minute celebration of the genre.

Spotify Podcast:

Check out the Dave’s Music Database podcast episode The Birth of Hip-Hop: The 50th Anniversary which highlights 20 of the genre’s most important songs. It debuted August 11, 2023.

For more important days in music history, check out the Dave’s Music Database history page.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 8/24/2023.

Saturday, August 4, 1973

Golden Earring “Radar Love” released

Radar Love

Golden Earring

Writer(s): George Kooymans, Barry Hay (see lyrics here)

Released: August 4, 1973

First Charted: December 8, 1973

Peak: 13 US, 10 CB, 9 HR, 7 RR, 1 CL, 7 UK, 10 CN, 10 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.25 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 32.7 video, 141.04 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Before you could send a text message or call someone in their car, there was no way to communicate to a driver - unless you had a certain telepathic love that could convey from a distance your desire to be with that person, something you might call – Radar Love. In this song, the guy has been driving all night, but keeps pushing the pedal because he just knows that his baby wants him home.” SF

“Radar Love” is certainly in the running as one of the ultimate driving songs. In 2011, it topped a survey done by UK radio station Planet Rock of favorite songs to listen to in the car. SF “Built around an insistent rhythm and riff, the song rides alongside its protagonist, who has been ‘driving all night, hands wet on the wheel’ while listening to Brenda Lee’s ‘Comin’ on Strong’ – a pretty driving little number itself.” UCR

The band Golden Earring formed in the Netherlands in 1961 and “had been releasing a string of fantastic records for nearly a decade, but nothing that took hold in the U.S. market. Their…1973 album Moontan changed that, as FM radio began spinning cuts like ‘Vanilla Queen’ and ‘Candy’s Going Bad.’” UCR Of course, it was with the “driving rocker ‘Radar Love’” UCR that “Golden Earring drove into full view of the U.S. record-buying public.” UCR

The song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, but fared even better on the three major U.S. competitors (Cashbox, Hit Records, Radio & Records) in the pop chart world, hitting the top ten on all three of them. It was also a top-10 hit in the UK, Australia, and Canada. The song also hit #1 in the band’s native Netherlands as well as Belgium and Germany. SF Their only other top-40 hit in the United States was 1982’s “Twilight Zone,” a #10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song has been covered more than 250 times by notables such as Bryan Adams, Crowded House, Def Leppard, R.E.M., Santana, and U2. White Lion charted with their cover of the song in 1989 (#59). It has also been used in TV shows The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, and My Name Is Earl. It was also used in the movies The Break-Up, Pushing Tin, and Wayne’s World 2.


First posted 7/24/2022.

Joe Walsh “Rocky Mountain Way” charted

Rocky Mountain Way

Joe Walsh

Writer(s): Joe Walsh, Joe Vitale, Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 4, 1973

Peak: 23 US, 13 CB, 16 HR, 15 RR, 1 CL, 39 UK, 31 CN, 39 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 33.5 video, 50.8 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Joe Walsh was with the James Gang for three albums from 1968 to 1971. They had minor Billboard Hot 100 entires with “Funk #49” and “Walk Away,” both of which have become staples of classic rock radio. In a move that didn’t go well with his bandmates or record company, Walsh bolted for a solo career just as the group appeared to be primed for success. When he left the James Gang, he also bolted from his longtime home in Cleveland, Ohio, for Boulder, Colorado.

He formed the band Barnstorm and released an album of the same name in 1972. In 1973, they released The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, which featured the song “Rocky Mountain Way.” It “celebrates the scenery and lifestyle of Colorado” SF using the Rocky Mountains “as a focal point for the virtues of Colorado.” SF In some ways, this is “a rocked-up version of John Denver’s ‘Rocky Mountain High,’” SF released the year before. “The chunky slide guitar, lurching rhythm and rolling piano line on ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ does indeed capture the rugged natural beauty of that state.” UCR

He was inspired to write it while mowing his lawn and looking at the Rocky Mountains. He ran inside to write down the lyrics, but forgot to turn off the mower, which ran into the neighbor’s yard and ruined their garden. He joked, “It was a very expensive song to write.” SF

“Although they’re not exactly clear or literal, the lyrics seem to indicate Walsh moved in order to get away from some personal troubles, which apparently worked just as he imagined it: ‘And we don’t need the ladies crying ‘cuz the story’s sad / Cause the Rocky Mountain way is better than the way we had.’” UCR He has said, “I got kind of fed up with feeling sorry for myself, and I wanted to justify and feel good about leaving the James Gang, relocating, going for it on a survival basis. I wanted to say 'Hey, whatever this is, I'm positive and I'm proud', and the words just kind of came out of feeling that way, rather than writing a song out of remorse.” SF

“’Rocky Mountain Way’ is perhaps most famous for that incredible talk box guitar solo, but he didn’t pioneer this sound. Simpler forms of the technology had been used on records before. In fact, Walsh got his device from friend Bill West (Dottie West’s husband), and it had previously been used on Pete Drake’s 1955 song ‘Forever.’ Still, Walsh took things to a whole new level of popularity among his peers and the public. Peter Frampton was obviously inspired: He called Walsh to find out what this magic box was and how to use it,” UCR famously employing the technique on “Show Me the Way.”

Walsh, who is a big baseball fan, referenced the sport with the lyrics “bases are loaded and Casey’s at bat,” which alludes to a famous baseball poem. The song has since become associated with the game, most specifically the Colorado Rockies who play the song at their home stadium after a win.


First posted 7/26/2022.

Friday, August 3, 1973

Stevie Wonder released Innervisions


Stevie Wonder

Released: August 3, 1973

Peak: 4 US, 12 RB, 8 UK, 11 CN, 26 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.1 UK, 6.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Too High [4:36]
  2. Visions [5:23]
  3. Living for the City [7:26] (11/10/73, 8 US, 6 CB, 5 HR, 10 RR, 1 RB, 15 UK, 17 CN)
  4. Golden Lady [4:47]
  5. Higher Ground [3:46] (8/18/73, 4 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 8 RR, 41 AC, 1 RB, 29 UK, 9 CN)
  6. Jesus Children of America [4:10]
  7. All in Love Is Fair [3:43]
  8. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing [4:45] (3/30/74, 16 US, 10 CB, 11 HR, 15 RR, 9 AC, 2 RB, 13 CN)
  9. He’s Misstra Know-It-All [5:36] (4/13/74, 10 UK)

All songs written by Wonder.

Total Running Time: 44:12


4.797 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)

Quotable: “Stevie Wonder’s masterpiece.” – Clarke Speicher, The Review

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

This is when “the boy genius comes of age.” BL As “the preeminent artist of his era” BL with “a career full of towering achievements” RV and a “plethora of deeply funky soul recordings” WR Innervisions stands as Stevie Wonder’s masterpiece.” RV “It’s probably his most cohesive work.” SL-87

The album is “introspective, melancholy, sassy and uplifting, it transcends all notions of soul as schmaltz.” WRInnervisions would display a dark edge, as well as an interest in religious matters that had barely surfaced in his work to that point.” SL-87 If Talking Book is his most personal album, Innervisions is “by far his most political work” RV with “songs addressing drugs, spirituality, political ethics, the unnecessary perils of urban life, and what looked to be the failure of the ‘60s dream – all set within a collection of charts as funky and catchy as any he’d written before.” AMG Wth Innervisions, Wonder “mastered angry, socially conscious, ingenious music that remained danceable.” BL

“Too High”

The “stunning” Too High is “a cautionary tale about drugs driven by a dizzying chorus of scat vocals and a springing bassline.” AMG That song and ‘Living for the City’ “make an especially deep impression thanks to Stevie’s narrative talents.” AMG As the opener, it quickly establishes the record’s forceful yet vibrant tone. “The listener is on fairly familiar ground: Fender-Rhodes, synth bass, drums and exquisite backing vocals form the habitiaul yet un-formulaic sonic palette.” SL-89


On Visions, Wonder “considers the ideal society, which it seems can only exist as a vision in the mind.” SL-89 It “sounds the way you’d expect ancient Greek music to be: airy and harpy and modal, with a good view of Mount Olympus.” SL-89 “The instrumental setting here is unusual: three guitars – one electric…two acoustic.” SL-89

“Living for the City”

This is “the summit of the wunderkind’s blend of funk-addled synth-pop and socially conscious lyrics.” UT It is a brilliant examination of the myriad social ills so endemic to the ghetto experience and a stirring celebration of African-American resilience. It is “an eight-minute mini-epic” AMG and “Wonder’s finest moment.” RV He “preaches without being preachy about the injustices suffered by the black community, using the microcosm of a Southern boy who visits New York City and gets arrested for drug trafficking. Wonder sings with unbridled emotion and ends the song with the hope that the listeners have learned something.” RV “He also uses his variety of voice impersonations to stunning effect.” AMG

“Golden Lady”

Wonder still finds “time for romance with his Golden Lady.” VB The song serves as a contrast to most of the album’s more socially-minded songs. It is a mid-tempo ballad that Stevie said he wrote about Minnie Riperton. SW Wonder was a producer for her 1974 album, Perfect Angel, which produced the hit “Lovin’ You.”

“Higher Ground”

Higher Ground, a funky follow-up to the previous album’s big hit (‘Superstition’).” AMG It “takes the idea that the writer is on his second life, having lived one life of sin…While he’s aspiring to the ‘higher ground,’ he warns others guilty of warring and lying to do the same.” SL-89 It is “the album’s strongest indicator that something new and rather strange was happening to Stevie’s mood.” SL-89

The song took took on even greater resonance in the wake of the car crash which nearly killed him just months after the album’s release. He was in a coma for five days. When Stevie’s publicist and road manager, Ira Tucker, came to the hospital, everyone was “quiet and reverential around Stevie’s bed.” SL-90 Ira suggested a “louder” strategy. He knew Stevie liked to listen to music at high volume and started singing “Higher Ground” loudly in Stevie’s ear. “Eventually a slight movement of the fingers was noticied, followed by a genuine tapping in response to the song.” SL-90

“Jesus Children of America”

“Higher Ground” and “Jesus Children of America, with its tough-minded realism, both introduced Wonder’s interest in Eastern religion.” AMG This one “tackles the innocence of children, depth of religious understanding and belief, sects, junkies, transference of pain, and transcendental meditation – which is probably enough for one tune. But there’s an open-endedness about the song’s message that is attractive rather than irritating or preachy.” SL-89 It’s a tribute to his genius that he could broach topics like reincarnation and transcendental meditation in a pop context with minimal interference to the rest of the album.” AMG

“All in Love Is Fair”

“If ‘Visions’ is the obligatory slow tune on the first side…All in Love Is Fair is the filling in the double sandwich on the second side.” SL-130 It “provides the personal, intimate, soul-searching, dare-one-say Kleenex-grabbing moment of reflection.” SL-130 The assumption is that this is a lament about Stevie’s failed marriage to first wife Syreeta. SL-130

Instrumentally, this is a piano ballad “softened by some light drums, bass and Rhodes” SL-130 as well as a “fiercely committed vocal, rivalling if not exceeding previous tracks in its level of singing prowess.” SL-130 “It’s the voice of experience, looking back over a failed affair with a degree of resignation, but at the same time not blaming either party for the way things changes within a relationship.” SL-130

“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”

This song is built on “the Cuban rhythmic style of the mambo,” SL-163 which sounds like salsa music, but “as usual, Stevie is concerned with getting the flavour of a style and then making it his own.” SL-163 The song creates a character trying to hit on a woman in a bar by impressing her with his “citizen-of-the-world experience.” SL-164 “On closer examination, there’s a sensitive man on hand…The song is a re-assurance to a female friend, letting her know that whether she resists the outside world and its tempting offers, or goe out there to ‘check it out,’ he will support her every inch of the way.” SL-164 It is a “well thought-out lyric, socially aware, and undoubtedly intriguing, as is generally the case on Innervisions.” SL-164

“He’s Misstra Know-It-All”

This served as Wonder’s “statement warning about the dangers of associating with persons only out to deceive.” SW “Wonder also made no secret of the fact that He’s Misstra Know-It-All was directed at Tricky Dick, aka Richard Milhouse Nixon, then making headlines (and destroying America’s faith in the highest office) with the biggest political scandal of the century.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 6/18/2008; last updated 8/3/2021.