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Guest Column: In Praise of 1973


Words and music by Jon Rooney, who records as Virgin Of The Birds.

To begin with a broad shot of dubious hyperbole, I declare that things have never been better than they were 1973. By things I mean popular art: art that was neither conventionally entertaining by modern tastes nor particularly coherent yet existed in some sort of hazy, avocado mainstream rather than the academy or the crevices of marginelia (sorry, Jazz). The early 1970’s, thanks to the persistent adolescent myopia of Baby Boomers and their now five decades of self-lionization, are often derided as being a hazy bummer – a depressing, cruel comedown from the halcyon days of Wavy Gravy and the war against the squares. In idealized retrospect, it doesn’t seem like there were any squares left by 1973. 1972 saw both Deep Throat and “Walk on the Wildside” become huge hits, signaling either a total collapse of traditional mores in the popular conscience or just a fashionable interest in lasciviousness. Either year, all bets were off by the following year.

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