As we delve into the history of rock and roll, the year 1973 stands out as a milestone for many reasons. Here we are 50 years later looking back at a magical time in music and know it could never be recreated again. From the release of landmark records to the massive attendance at rock concerts, the music business reached an unprecedented level of success. Let's take a closer look at how this happened and what factors contributed to this golden era of rock and roll and the rock gods that created it!
One of the biggest reasons for the surge in rock and roll popularity was the release of several iconic albums. Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy," Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon," and The Who's "Quadrophenia" were just a few of the classic albums that dominated the charts. These albums not only showcased the incredible talent of these bands but also set a new standard for rock music.
Along with the release of these records, the emergence of new technology played a crucial role in the growth of the music industry. With the music fans upgrading from AM to FM radio and the DJ’s like Jim Ladd in Los Angeles mastering free form radio playlist to the availability of 8 track & cassette tapes, made it easier for fans to access and listen to their favorite music with new found portability. This, in turn, led to an increase in record sales, concert attendance, and overall revenue for the industry.
Another significant factor contributing to the rise of rock and roll in 1973 was the large-scale concerts and festivals that took place. The "Summer Jam at Watkins Glen," held in July of that year had The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers & The Band which attracted a staggering 600,000 people, making it one of the largest concerts in history to this day!
The Who's Quadrophenia, Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, and Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies tours were larger-than-life spectacles that epitomized the excess and opulence of the era. A new level of touring decadence was born!
The Who's Quadrophenia tour, in support of their groundbreaking rock opera of the same name, created an event that set a new standard for live performances. The tour featured elaborate sets, intricate lighting designs, and a level of musicianship that left the audience in awe. By 1973, The Who had built a massively loyal audience that craved the intense energy that only they could deliver, they brought “it” every night!
Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy tour was another massive event that solidified the band's status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The tour grossed over $4 million and drew over 1.5 million fans, making it one of the most successful tours in history, those numbers were unheard of back then. Led Zeppelin's stage presence, signature sound, light show and musical intensity left fans spellbound and wanting more. Their legendary tales of debauchery on the road didn’t hurt their mystique either!
Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies tour was a theatrical extravaganza that pushed the boundaries of what was possible on stage. The tour featured an elaborate stage set that included a giant guillotine, a 12-foot boa constrictor, and a dancing toothbrush. Cooper's shock rock style and macabre theatrics and great songs made him one of the most popular and controversial performers of the era, not to mention a killer band!
All three tours shared a common theme of excess and extravagance. The sheer size and scale of these productions were unprecedented, and the money and resources invested in these tours were astronomical. These tours marked a turning point in the music industry, with rock and roll becoming a mainstream phenomenon that generated billions of dollars in revenue. There was even a book published in 2003 by author Michael Walker aptly called “ What You Want is in the Limo” ! That's the famous line from the David Bowie song “Fame"…how perfect!
The popularity of these events was fueled by the growing sense of community among rock fans. People from all walks of life came together to share their love of music, and the sense of unity and belonging created by these concerts was truly remarkable and unmatchable and there was no where else to get it. "We found our tribe" seemed to be the mantra of rock fans and it still holds true today.
If you ever feel like you missed out as many did, check Rock and Roll Gallery, we have plenty of iconic images from some of the 1973 tours for sale from the photographers that documented the rise and decadence of live concerts with their cameras. Have a browse on the link below to be transported back 50 years!
1969 art gallery art poster art print art prints online Authentic rock photography prints classic rock Classic rock and roll icons Classic rock art photography Classic rock legends photography Classic rock posters Collectible rock and roll art Exclusive rock photography Famous rock band photos fine art prints Fine art rock photography Iconic rock and roll images john bonham Led Zeppelin Limited edition rock art prints Musician portraits photo gallery prints for sale Rare music photographs Rare rock and roll artwork Rock and roll concert posters rock and roll gallery Rock and roll memorabilia Rock band memorabilia studio Unique rock and roll artwork Vintage music memorabilia Vintage rock photography,