Did anything good come from 1972?
We got The Godfather, The Poseidon Adventure, Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, and Cabaret in films. Kung Fu, Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H, and Emergency! all premiered on TV. As for albums, Exile on Main Street by the Stones dropped in ’72. So did Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together and Still In Love With You. Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers, Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and The World is a Ghetto by War all came out that year.
And in May, I was born.
Quite a year indeed! Here’s five top five hits from April 1972, just before I entered this world.
“Betcha By Golly, Wow by the Stylistics”
Ah! Pure 70s soul. It climbed up the charts in April, hitting the #4 spot on the R&B charts that month before peaking at #2 the following month. It also topped out at #3 on the Hot 100.
“A Horse With No Name” by America
It was the debut single for the band America, which also became their biggest hit. It was the top song in the country for three weeks, including the first two of April ’72. Detractors thought it derivative of Neil Young (singer Dewey Bunnell sounds like him, too, as well as Young’s buddy Steven Stills) but it’s an enduring song, to say the least. While I wasn’t old enough to know it in its heydey, it was a frequently played song in my memories of the 70s. I remember being in our old Ford Pinto hearing the song and being taken by it’s mystery.
“Look What You Done For Me” by Al Green
The first release from Green’s I’m Still In Love With You album——my favorite of all his albums——this is the master doing what he does best. It peaked at #2 on the R&B charts in April (and #4 on the Hot 100).
“I’ll Take You There” by the Staples Singers
This song hit #3 on the R&B charts in month of April. It would eventually hit the top spot in May and, in June, hit #1 on the Hot 100. Some say it’s a song about the utopian world of racial equality, a song about when the movement is done. All I know is that it’s perfection, plain and simple.
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack was already making amazingly good music but she wasn’t topping the charts before this song. Clint Eastwood chose it for the soundtrack to his 1971 movie Play Misty for Me and it took off from there. It was the #1 song in the country for six weeks from April to May 1972 (which means it was the #1 song on the day I was born). Billboard ranked it #1 for the year. It won the Grammy for best song (for the writer) and best record (for the performance of the single). In short, it was a massive hit. What I didn’t know until right now was that it was written by a British folk singer (Ewan MacColl) in 1957 for his future wife Peggy Seeger, who is the half sister of Pete Seeger.