A sometimes fascinating look at the state of Rock in 1973. No one will argue that 1973 wasn’t one of the best years for the Rock and Roll, being at its creative and cultural peak. Two years past the break-up of the Beatles, 1973 saw the last of rock as revolution and the beginning of Rock as commodity. Or so Walker suggests. To look back at 1973, it is overwhelming to realize the amount of essential rock and roll being made. Walker focuses on the 1973 albums and tours of Led Zeppelin (Houses of the Holy,) The Who (Quadrophenia) and Alice Cooper (Billion Dollar Babies) to argue his point.
Anyone who spent any evening of their adolescence at a festival-seating (read “no-seating”) concert in a basketball arena crushed against a steel barrier knows the era of rock and roll that 1973 launched. At this point, the Who were the old guard, a decade into their career. Led Zeppelin, shunned by the Lester Bang-school of rock critics, were the kid’s choice. Alice Cooper, through sheer force-of-will, were just at their peak of their meteoric career. Walker shows the proceedings from the points of view of the band, their management, the fans, and the rock press.Thankfully, unlike a lot of these sorts of books, the writer keeps himself out of it. The author bio photo, Walker circa 1973, is the only acknowledgement that he was living through these events, too. (However, he does throw in a few out-of-nowhere cheap shots at Grand Funk Railroad.)
Also, Walker does a very good job at not romanticizing things. While the title, the cover verbage, and the chapter headings seem to promise salacious backstage details, Walker does not indulge in any sort of “boys will be boys” dismissal of things. As it turns out, statutory rape and sexual assault really isn’t that fun when you get down to the details.
Rock may not be dead, but rock as it was in 1973 certainly is.