Rock 'n' roll has had more than its fair share of high points over the years — eras in which it seemed to be one smash album after the next, striking like lightning so that the charts could hardly keep up with the next hottest release. But there's a case to be made that 1973 might be one of the most fruitful periods of rock ever.

Starting off strong at the top of the year, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen both released their debut albums, self-titled and Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., respectively — no going back now.

A bit later came landmark albums like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy and David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, records that would ultimately go down as some of the most influential of all time.

"The primary reason [for Dark Side's success]," drummer Nick Mason wrote in his 2004 book Inside Out, "which is true of any great album, is the strength of the songwriting. Dark Side contained strong, powerful songs." (There was, of course, the added power of its production, the rise of Hi-Fi listening and memorable artistic packaging.)

READ MORE: When the 1973 Watkins Glen Summer Jam Outdrew Woodstock

And then there were LPs that said to hell with the status quo. Mike Oldfield released Tubular Bells, a primarily instrumental project that the 19-year-old recorded almost entirely by himself. Meanwhile Funkadelic's fifth album, Cosmic Slop, was nothing short of a trip, a funk fusion offering unlike anything else of its time.

Below are some of the very best releases of 1973 – 40 to be exact – all of which have stood the test of time.

Top 40 Albums of 1973

Undeniably one of the strongest years in rock. 

Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

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