January 8 – British Rail authorities restrict Pipe Major Gordon Speirs to playing his bagpipes just one minute in every fifteen on Liverpool Street station, London, on grounds that his playing (part of a holiday campaign by the Scottish Tourist Board) “interferes with station business”.
January 9 – Mick Jagger’s request for a Japanese visa is rejected on account of a 1969 drug conviction, putting an abrupt end to The Rolling Stones’ plans to perform in Japan during their forthcoming tour.
Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite television special is broadcast in over 40 countries around the world.
Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh is arrested for drug possession at his Marin County home.
January 18 – The Rolling Stones’ benefit concert for Nicaraguan earthquake victims raises over $350,000. On December 22, 1972, an earthquake destroyed Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.
January 21 – The Rolling Stones open their Pacific tour of Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand in Honolulu, Hawaii.
January 30 – Kiss perform their first concert, at the Coventry Club in Queens.
February 2 – The Midnight Special makes its debut as a regular series on NBC. Helen Reddy is the featured artist.
February 14 – David Bowie collapses from exhaustion after a performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
February 18 – The King Biscuit Flower Hour is first broadcast with performances by Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and new artist Bruce Springsteen.
Leonard Bernstein conducts Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s Violin Concerto for the first time in his career, with soloist Isaac Stern and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Joffrey Ballet’s Deuce Coupe Ballet opens. The ballet is set entirely to music by The Beach Boys.
Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon, which goes on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time. The album debuts on the Billboard 200 on March 17, reaches #1 on April 28, and eventually logs the all-time record of 741 weeks on that chart.
March 5 – Jimi Hendrix’s former personal manager, Michael Jeffery, is killed in a plane crash. Jeffery was travelling from Majorca to England. All passengers on board the plane were killed.
March 6 – The New York Office of the US Immigration Department cancels John Lennon’s visa extension five days after granting it.
March 7 – The director of talent acquisition at Columbia Records, John H. Hammond, suffers a non-fatal heart attack following a performance by one of his most recent finds, Bruce Springsteen.
March 8 – Paul McCartney is fined $240 after pleading guilty to charges of growing marijuana outside his Scottish farm.
March 14 – The singers Stephen Stills and Véronique Sanson are married near Guildford, England.
March 24 – Lou Reed is bitten on the buttocks by a fan during a concert in Buffalo, New York.
April 2 – Capitol Records releases two collections of The Beatles’ greatest hits, The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970 (commonly referred to as the “Red Album” and the “Blue Album”, respectively).
April 7 – In Luxembourg, the 18th Eurovision Song Contest is won by Luxembourg for the second consecutive year, this time with “Tu te reconnaîtras”, sung by Anne-Marie David. Spain finish in second place with “Eres Tú”, sung by Mocedades; the United Kingdom finish third with Cliff Richard singing “Power to All Our Friends”. The top three placed songs become international hits.
April 8 – Opening of the first La Rochelle Festival of Contemporary Music, under the direction of Claude Samuel. Featured composers include Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis
April 15 – Tenth Royan Festival of International Contemporary Art begins, including concerts featuring music by Jean Barraqué and Horațiu Rădulescu, amongst others.
April 16 – Paul McCartney’s first solo television special, James Paul McCartney, airs on ABC. The special includes performances by McCartney and Wings.
April 18 – Violinist Jascha Heifetz deposits parts from his prized Guarnerius violin in the newly poured wet concrete of the foundation for the new Virginia Ramo Hall of Music, under construction at the University of Southern California, in order to ensure the building will be “in tune”, and to bring luck.
May 4 – July 29 – Led Zeppelin embarks on a tour of the United States, during which they set the record for highest attendance for a concert, 56,800, at the Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The record was previously held by The Beatles. Performances for the movie The Song Remains the Same are also filmed.
May 9 – Mick Jagger adds $150,000 of his own money to the $350,000 raised by The Rolling Stones’ January 18 benefit concert for the victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake.
May 12 – David Bowie is the first rock artist to perform at Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
May 13 – Daniel Barenboim collapses with a gastric upset during a concert at the Brighton Festival, but later had sufficiently recovered to be driven home.
May 23 – Don Robey sells Duke Records, Peacock Records and Backbeat Records to ABC Dunhill Records.
May 25 – Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells becomes the first release on Richard Branson’s newly-launched Virgin label.
June 4 – Ronnie Lane plays his last show with Faces at the Edmonton Sundown in London. Lane had informed the band three weeks earlier that he was quitting.
June 15 – The first Istanbul International Music Festival opens.
June 16 – Benjamin Britten’s opera Death in Venice, receives its première at Snape Maltings.
June 29 – The Scorpions play their first gig with Uli Roth at a festival in Vechta. Roth was originally intended as a temporary replacement for Michael Schenker, who had just been snapped up by U.F.O. earlier in the month.
June 30 – Ian Gillan quits Deep Purple.
July 1 – Slade play a sell-out Earls Court in London after two number one singles this year.
July 3 – David Bowie ‘retires’ his stage persona Ziggy Stardust in front of a shocked audience at the Hammersmith Odeon at the end of his British tour.
July 4 – Slade drummer Don Powell is critically injured in a car crash in Wolverhampton; his 20-year-old girlfriend is killed. With his life in danger, the band’s future is left in the balance. Powell recovered after surgery, and was able to join the band ten weeks later in New York, to record “Merry Xmas Everybody”.
July 13 – The Everly Brothers break up.Queen releases their debut album.
July 15 – Ray Davies of The Kinks makes an emotional outburst during a performance at White City Stadium, announcing he is quitting the group. He later recants the statement.
July 28 – Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival is attended by 600,000, who see The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and the Grateful Dead.
July 30 – Soviet officials grant permission for Gennadi Rozhdestvensky to accept a three-year appointment as chief conductor of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the first time a Soviet orchestra conductor has been allowed to take up such a position outside of the Eastern Bloc.
August 6 – Stevie Wonder is seriously injured in a car accident outside Durham, North Carolina, spending the next four days in a coma.
August 20 – The London Symphony Orchestra becomes the first British orchestra to take part in the Salzburg Festival.
August 25 – The Allman Brothers nearly suffer another tragedy when Butch Trucks crashes his car near Macon, Georgia, not far from where Duane Allman was killed two years earlier. Trucks survives with only a broken leg.
September 1 – The Rolling Stones open their European tour in Vienna, Austria.
September 20 – Jim Croce, Maury Muehleisen and four others die in a plane crash in Louisiana.
September 22 – Benita Valente makes her debut with the Metropolitan Opera, singing Pamina in The Magic Flute.
September 23 – The Roxy Theatre opens in West Hollywood, California.
September 27 – Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert premieres on syndicated television with a performance by The Rolling Stones.
October 6 – Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band become the national brass-band champions of Great Britain by defeating 18 other bands at the Albert Hall in London.
October 12 – Genesis releases their 5th studio album Selling England by the Pound, one of there most commercially successful albums
October 13 – Family play their last concert at De Montfort Hall at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) before splitting up for good. A farewell party at a local Holiday Inn after the show ends in a good-natured melee, with people jumping in or pushed into the motel pool.
October 17 – The 1973 oil crisis begins, causing shortages of the vinyl needed to manufacture records. A number of new albums are either delayed or only available in limited quantities until after the holiday season.
October 19 – The Who release Quadrophenia, one of their most critically acclaimed albums.
October 20 – Queen Elizabeth II opens Sydney Opera House.
November 1 – Kiss becomes the first act signed to Neil Bogart’s new label, Casablanca Records.
November 5 – Cellist Jacqueline du Pré is forced to retire because she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
November 7 – Harold Holt Ltd., agent for Jacqueline du Pré, deny newspaper reports that she will never perform again, while at the same time confirming she has been diagnosed with “a mild case of multiple sclerosis” and has no definite plans for future performances.
November 20 – The Who open their Quadrophenia US tour with a concert at San Francisco’s Cow Palace, but drummer Keith Moon passes out and has to be carried off the stage. 19-year old fan Scot Halpin is selected from the audience to finish the show.
December 3 – CBGB music club opens in Manhattan.
December 15 – Jermaine Jackson marries Hazel Gordy, daughter of Motown Records executive Barry Gordy.
December 25 – Universal Pictures releases The Sting, reviving interest in the ragtime music of Scott Joplin.
Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young perform under the name AC/DC at the former Sydney nightclub ‘Chequers’ for their New Year’s Eve party.
The second annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve airs on NBC, with performances by Tower of Power, Billy Preston and The Pointer Sisters.