Celebrate 5 classic albums that turn 50 in 2023
It’s a testament to a piece of art that, 50 years after its release, it’s still appreciated. In the case of music, this decade, so many timeless albums celebrate their golden jubilee. SiriusXM Canada will highlight a selection of these throughout 2023, starting with these five 1973 beauties: Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon; David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane; Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road; New York Dolls’ eponymous album; and Stevie Wonder’s Innvervisions.
This assortment will probably make some of you feel old, or nostalgic — or both — while there are enough “reaction videos” on YouTube by young ‘uns listening to classic songs for the first time that maybe this series of blogs is doing a service too.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Released March 1973
The consummate chill album, The Dark Side of the Moon is Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album and is best listened to with your eyes closed, but you do you. After road-testing the material, the band cut the epic record at EMI Studios, now famously known as Abbey Road Studios. A concept album covering everything from greed to mental illness, it went on to sell more than 45 million copies, spurred initially by singles “Money” and “Us and Them.” Sadly, predictably and hilariously, the band recently received backlash from homophobes after posting their 50th-anniversary version of the iconic prism album art.
Released: April 1973
The creative chameleon was now a bonafide star, no doubt with the perspective which comes from that odd placement in society. As Aladdin Sane (a lad insane), this Bowie incarnation with the red and blue lightning bolt over half his face (on the album cover) symbolized that dichotomy – the decadent cons of stardom, or is that the pros? Recorded with co-producer Ken Scott, the album‘s enduring hits include “The Jean Genie” and “The Prettiest Star.” Aladdin Sane is the last album that involved all the legendary Spiders From Mars band members.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Released: October 1973
The Rocket Man ended the concerts for his final tour with this wistful hand-waving title track from his 17-track masterpiece (18, if you split up “Funeral for a Friend” and “Love Lies Bleeding”). The seventh studio album in his career was released as a double album, produced by Gus Dudgeon, and includes some of John and Bernie Taupin’s most iconic songs (though there were many more to come): “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Candle in the Wind,” and the title track.
New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Released: July 1973
Todd Rundgren produced the self-titled debut album by the seminal gritty-glam rock band whose excesses permeated every pore of their cross-dressing substance-fueled bodies. An American layman’s collision of Britain’s Stones and Sex Pistols, the cover photo dared you to pick it up — curious, you either did and loved it or stayed the hell away. New York Dolls is the epitome of NYC’s Lower Manhattan captured on tape. “Personality Crisis,” “Jet Boy,” and “Trash” are raw, fun punk triumphs. The album did not sell well out of the gate, but its influence is immeasurable.
Released Aug 1973
It’s unusual that an artist’s 16th release, let alone a sixth or tenth, would be deemed one of the most classic albums in history, but Wonder did release his first album at age 11. He was 23 when he made Innervisions, wrote and played just about everything on it and steered the production alongside engineers Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil. Lyrically he addressed systemic racism in “Living for the City” (after the killing of 10-year-old Clifford Glover by a cop), living for today in “Higher Ground,” and a woman who OD’ed in “Too High.” Stevie was likely influenced by Marvin Gaye, but Innervisions would also influence Black music of the ’70s.