Ranking #1 songs, U.S. edition: 1973

Any doubts about the pre-teen Tanya Tucker settled after her confident performance of “Delta Dawn.” Damn. One of the trends I love about this era is its confident women. Carly Simon harmonizing with Mick Jagger and using “gavotte” in a rhyme gets our praise, but Helen Reddy and Karen Carpenter deserve more praise for precision than Jagger did for slurring his way like a ten-gallon drunk through “Angie.”

A decent year, another supper club year. Although I wasn’t alive, I can imagine the daytime variety shows existing for the likes of “The Morning After” and Tony Orlando, who, like Donn Osmond, wrote not a single top 40 song worth a second listen. “Let’s Get It On” and “Midnight Train to Georgia” and even “Photograph” would blow the pattern apart.

The Hague

Paul McCartney & Wings – My Love
Maureen McGovern – The Morning After
Dawn and Tony Orlando – Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree
The Rolling Stones – Angie
Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown


Elton John – Crocodile Rock
Stories – Brother Louie

Sound, Solid

The Carpenters – Top of the World
Billy Preston – Will It Go Round in Circles
Cher – Half Breed
Helen Reddy – Delta Dawn

Good to Great

The Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
Grand Funk – We’re an American Band
Stevie Wonder – Superstitious
The O’Jays – Love Train
Ringo Starr – Photograph
Eddie Kendricks – Keep on Truckin’
Roberta Flack – Killing Me Softly With His Song
Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Diana Ross – Touch Me in the Morning
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
Stevie Wonder – You Are the Sunshine of My Life

7 thoughts on “Ranking #1 songs, U.S. edition: 1973

  1. I’ll trade Brother Louie for Touch Me In the Morning here, easily. One of the best middle eights of the decade there with the strings (Jeff Lynne listened!)
    Another great year with 7 songs in your upper list.

    Love Photograph as a songwriting piece. I still think all those embellishments (castanets, sax, the works) is to enhance a voice that can’t carry the nostalgic thing around by its own. Ringo’s voice is like paperwall to me. “It Don’t Come Easy” comes off as more of a miracle the more I hear him. At least you can hear some strain going on there.

      1. Listen to the middle eight string section again and tell me ELO’s Evil Woman is not being born there. It’s the type of song that inspire others, just like “Ziggy Stardust” created Billy Corgan and Big Star’s “Holocaust” gave birth to Jeff Tweedy. Whatever you think of those it has that “electric” moment that outlives the piece. Brother Louie is, at least, a 7 on that middle section alone. Something no even Errol Morris came up with.

  2. “Touch Me In the Morning” is great? Those lyrics …. really suck. Obviously written by a man. No woman willingly says “touch me” & then “walk away”. Gimme a break already.

    As for “Angie”, everyone hates it. Ya know why? Cuz it doesn’t SOUND like they think the Stones should sound. Rocking, bluesy. But it’s really not a bad song. I was twelve when I first heard it & I really loved it. I wrote a story about Angie & her sad BF.

      1. Angie it’s not terrible, except for Jagger’s nosebleed vocals ( an obnoxious mannerism) and that piano chords that came straight out of a John Denver ditty of the time. Not a compliment.. I’ve never like it. As for “Touch Me” there’s the lyrics as silverapplequeen said, but when it reaches for speed (the pre- chorus) La Ross feels the neccesity to orchestrate it in the way I hate strings being used in a pop song (not astringent, funky, and phrasing a melody, like in Brother Louie, but enhancing “grandiose emotions” like in a John Williams movie score) The Bacharach-like horns are a nice touch in the chorus. A 6 it’s ok,
        She should have kept the incredible balance found in “Love Hangover”. Plus, that’s really sexy. Instead, more often than not, she went for the John Williams-like movie strings, like in the execrable “Magahony”. But even John Williams wouldn’t have come up with something so saccharine. That song belongs in “Love Story”. So we can burn both in one stroke.

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