Rewind to 1973

This week, we’re setting the dials back to when Elvis was definitely alive

The first mobile phone call was made, the World Trade Centre opened in New York, Watergate kicked off and the Duracell Bunny was born. In New Zealand, they got colour TV for the first time. We had it better…

Gadget – Motorola prototype DynaTAC

You couldn’t buy a cell phone, but the industry race against Bell Labs ended when Motorola made the first analogue mobile call on the DynaTAC prototype. Inventor Dr Martin Cooper demoed the first unit by calling Bell’s head of research. There’s no transcript of the conversation, but we think something along the lines of “in your face” would have been fitting.

Transport – Kawasaki Jet Ski

Jet packs are still struggling to get off the ground, but the arrival of the personal watercraft (PWC) showed that solo transport was capable of making waves. Kawasaki’s Jet Ski (invented by Clayton Jacobson II) unwittingly lent its name to countless imitators and replaced the traditional beach soundtrack of seagull cries with whiny drones and splashy thumps.

Album – Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon

Sod Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Floyd’s seminal 1973 record was a work of studio witchcraft, layered with pioneering tape loops and recording trickery. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s an essential history lesson for any aspiring electronicist.

Movie – The Exorcist

If projectile vomiting is reason to call the doctor, a swivelling head and speaking backwards in a strange voice is a good case for getting the priesthood on the blower. These were among the things that made The Exorcist the most profitable horror flick ever. In fact, it was the highest grossing film of all time until Jaws came along.

TV – Aloha from Hawaii

Elvis donned his jumpsuit for this satellite special and more than a billion people tuned in from 40 countries around the world. It smashed the entertainment TV viewing records of the day, proving that televised concerts were a serious draw. Wonder if a 13-year-old Simon Cowell was watching?

More stories on

- Rewind to 1966

- Rewind to 1969

- Rewind to 1970

- Rewind to 1977

- Rewind to 1980

- Rewind to 1981

- Rewind to 1985

- Rewind to 1986

- Rewind to 1987

- Rewind to 1993

- Rewind to 1994

- Rewind to 1995

- Rewind to 1997

- Rewind to 1998

- Rewind to 2000

- Rewind to 2001

- Rewind to 2003

- Rewind to 2006

- Rewind to 2007