November 1973 – For The Love of Money by The O’Jays

November 1973 – a song popular in this month – For The Love of Money by The O’Jays

Often misinterpreted as a song celebrating the accumulation of money, it’s actually one of the more unadorned warnings about the sordid side of the mighty dollar.

Interesting facts For The Love of Money & The O’Jays

The songwriting/production duo of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff co-wrote this song with Anthony Jackson, who also played bass on the track.

The song was written at a time when the songwriters Gamble and Huff were reaping the financial rewards of their success, but also reconciling it with their spiritual beliefs (Gamble had recently converted to Islam).

The duo often wrote messages into their songs gleaned from their everyday conversations. On this track, they are very clear: “Don’t let money change you.”

It was the theme of the NBC reality series The Apprentice starring Donald Trump.

Tarsia tried recording the bass (with a wah-wah pedal) through the phaser. Gamble loved the effect, which provided a unique sound that made the song stand out on the airwaves.

When Trump ran for president in 2016, he used another O’Jays song, “Love Train,” at the Republican convention. This didn’t sit well with the group members, who denounced him.

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November 1973 – Piano Man by Billy Joel

November 1973 – a song popular in this month – Piano Man by Billy Joel

This was inspired by Joel’s experiences playing at The Executive Room, a piano bar in Los Angeles.

Interesting facts Piano Man & Billy Joel

Joel played under the name Bill Martin, which explains why the patrons in the song call him Bill. Martin is his middle name.

This is the first song and title track to Joel’s breakthrough album, which he released after signing with Columbia Records.

When he was 21, after his band broke up and his girlfriend left him, he tried to kill himself by drinking furniture polish (he “took the Pledge”). He learned that furniture polish doesn’t kill you, it just gets you really sick. After the incident, he checked himself into a hospital for depression, which he later said was a great experience, since he saw people who had far worse problems and learned to stop feeling sorry for himself.

Many critics trashed him in the ’70s. Joel used to tear up their reviews onstage.

This song has surprising appeal to a younger generation, something that Joel learned when he played the Bonnaroo festival in 2015 and the crowd sang along. He told Entertainment Weekly the response was unexpected, since it’s “an old, long song about a guy at a depressing piano bar.”

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October 1973 – Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

October 1973 – a song popular in this month – Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

Bernie Taupin writes the lyrics to Elton’s songs. He often seems to write about Elton, but this one appears to be about him.

Interesting facts Yellow Brick Road & Elton John

Elton doesn’t write lyrics, his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin takes care of that.

He won a piano scholarship when he was 11 to the Royal Academy of Music.

The Yellow Brick Road is an image taken from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s created a flavor of ice cream in honor of Elton John called “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road.” Made of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks, it was made to commemorate Elton’s first concert in Vermont (home of the ice cream makers) on July 21, 2008 at the Essex Junction fairgrounds.

At one point, John was responsible for 3% of all records sold on the planet.

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October 1973 – Midnight At The Oasis by Maria Muldaur

October 1973 – a song popular in this month – Midnight At The Oasis by Maria Muldaur

This song was written by David Nichtern, a composer who also became a renown teacher of Shambhala Buddhism.

Interesting facts Midnight At The Oasis & Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur is an Italian singer who was born Maria D’Amato.

Maria Muldaur explained: I was making my first solo album for Warner Brothers in 1973, and I had just recently separated from my then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, who not only was my partner, but also my musical partner, and sort of the mastermind of, musically, whatever we did together

A hit song can become a burden to a singer if she is sick of the song yet still expected to perform it night after night. So how does Muldaur feel about constantly performing this song? She told us: “I still do enjoy singing it. And you know why? Because number one, it was a very hip-ly written song.

In 1994, a version by Brand New Heavies featuring N’Dea Davenport went to #13 in the UK.

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October 1973 – The Joker by Steve Miller Band

October 1973 – a song popular in this month – The Joker by Steve Miller Band

Miller is one of the most inconspicuous rock stars in history.

Interesting facts about The Joker & Steve Miller Band

Miller drew associations to some of his other songs in the lyrics to this one. The line, “Some people call me The Space Cowboy” is a reference to Miller’s 1969 song “Space Cowboy.” The line, “Some call me a gangster of love” is a reference to his song “Gangster of Love.” The line, “Some people call me Maurice” is a reference to Miller’s 1972 song “Enter Maurice.”

This finally hit #1 on the UK charts in 1990, thanks to its inclusion in a Levi’s jeans commercial. In the spot, a guy rides a motorcycle into an office building and rolls up to an attractive worker, who puts on a pair of 501s and gets on the back of his bike as he takes her away.

Miller was born in Milwaukee and raised in Dallas. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco and formed The Steve Miller Blues Band, which was shortened to The Steve Miller Band when they signed with Capitol Records the next year.

In the TV show Friends, Joey has an imaginary friend named Maurice whose occupation is “Space Cowboy.”

Homer Simpson sings this (poorly) on a second season episode of The Simpsons where we flashback to him driving to school.

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(NOTE: I am still in the hospital having my pain managed.  I am unsure if I will be released today (Sunday) or not.  I will keep you posted)

September 1973 – We’re an American Band by Grand Funk

September 1973 – a song popular in this month – We’re an American Band by Grand Funk

Sometimes they were known as either Grand Funk Railroad or GFR.

Interesting facts We’re an American Band & Grand Funk

The lyrics are about little things that were going on the road during the Phoenix tour. All of them are true. Don explains the line, “Up all night with Freddie King, I’ve got to tell you, poker’s his thing”

Regarding the line, “four young chiquitas in Omaha,” Don Brewer told us that it came from a situation where they checked into a hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. “There were four groupies in the lobby waiting to see the band,” he said. “‘Four young chiquitas’ sounded a lot better than ‘four young groupies’ or ‘four young girls.'”

Grand Funk was one of the best-selling bands of the ’70s, and this was their biggest hit. Critics were often very harsh, especially Rolling Stone magazine, but they had a huge fan base and got lots of radio play.

This was the first of two #1 singles by Grand Funk – the other was their remake of “The Loco-Motion” a year later.

Dismissed by critics and radio programmers, Grand Funk was able to sell over 20 million albums through constant touring. They frequently sold out stadiums and arenas.

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August 1973 – Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye

Originally written by 1950s one-hit-wonder Ed Townsend (“For Your Love” in 1958), the song originally addressed the author’s desire to get on with life after beating alcoholism.

Interesting facts about Let’s Get It On & Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye completely changed the lyrics (and meaning) to the song after meeting Janis Hunter, the woman who would become his second wife.

“Let’s Get It On” was the title track of Gaye’s 1973 album. It topped the Billboard Pop Singles chart for two weeks and the Billboard Soul Singles chart for eight weeks.

One of Motown Records’ most successful artists, Gaye was married to Anna Gordy, who was the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

One of his last public performances was singing the US national anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star game. At the time, performers were expected to give a restrained and traditional performance when singing the national anthem, but Gaye delivered an emotional performance similar to other songs he would sing in concert.

This song has appeared in a variety of TV shows, movies and commercials, often for comic effect to imply an imminent romantic encounter. Some of the media uses include the TV shows The Simpsons, The Sopranos, Scrubs, House, Ugly Betty, Charmed, Spin City and The King of Queens.

Movie uses include Into the Night (1985), Queens Logic (1991), The Inkwell (1994), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), High Fidelity (2000), Crossroads (2002), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), Mr. 3000 (2004), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), The Change-Up (2011), and The Dictator (2012).

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August 1973 – Ramblin Man by The Allman Brothers

August 1973 – a song popular in this month – Ramblin Man by The Allman Brothers

This is based on a 1951 Hank Williams song of the same title. It’s about a guy whose travels take him to many places, and he takes life as it comes.

Interesting facts about Ramblin Man & The Allman Brothers

This was The Allman’s first top 10 hit.

The band played this on the premiere of an ABC show called In Concert. It was their first national TV appearance, and also Berry Oakley’s last performance, as the bass player died in a motorcycle accident a week later.

Early names for the band included The Escorts, The 31st of February, Hour Glass, Almanac, and The Allman Joys.

A short part of this song appears in the 1973 movie The Exorcist. It’s used in a bar scene when the priest is in the bar.

This was kept out of the #1 spot by Cher’s “Half Breed.” Gregg Allman married Cher in 1975.

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June 1973 – Feelin Stronger Every Day by Chicago

June 1973 – a song popular in this month – Feelin Stronger Every Day by Chicago

“Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” was written by Peter Cetera (vocalist, bassist) and James Pankow (trombones, percussion) of Chicago.

Interesting facts about Feelin Stronger Every Day & Chicago

It was released as a single from their two-time multi-platinum album Chicago VI.

This was their second #1 album on the US album charts, their third two-time platinum album, and they would yet have two more consecutive #1’s on the US album charts

Their original name was “Chicago Transit Authority,” and their first album had the same name. The group was forced to shorten it to “Chicago” after the city of Chicago said: you can’t use that name, period!

Chicago was a spin-off of the group The Buckinghams. The Buckingham’s “Foreign Policy” sounds exactly like Chicago, with a political agenda that dominated their early albums.

Chicago focused on protest and political songs but they discovered the money was in Rock ‘n’ Roll love songs so they dropped the political agenda and concentrated on commercial pop-rock after the third album

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May 1973 – Long Train Runnin by Doobie Brothers

May 1973 – a song popular in this month – Long Train Runnin by Doobie Brothers

Doobie Brothers guitarist and lead singer Tom Johnston wrote this song, which they played live for three years before recording.

Interesting facts about Long Train Runnin & Doobie Brothers

Always a crowd-pleaser when The Doobies play this live, it starts with a very recognizable guitar riff that Johnston came up with. When he came up with the riff, Johnston didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary.

The Doobie Brothers from 1970 to 1975 featured most vocals from Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons. The band was more Rock-oriented and was heard on what is now known on Classic Rock stations.

McDonald was brought in when Johnston fell ill and could not tour in 1975. He and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter both recorded with Steely Dan.

Before landing on the name The Doobie Brothers, the band originally went by Pud.

This did not originally chart in the UK. However in 1993 it became the Doobie Brothers only British Top 10 hit when a remixed version climbed to #7 on the singles chart.

Girl group Bananarama scored a #30 hit in the UK with their cover version, in which they were backed by The Gypsy Kings.

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