More than one music artist raised the ire of authorities and the establishment in 1972. In February, Frank Zappa's concert at London's Royal Albert Hall was cancelled because of Zappa's obscene lyrics. A week later, Led Zeppelin's concert in Singapore was cancelled when government officials wouldn't let them off the plane because of their long hair. Paul McCartney's single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (which was inspired by the "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Ireland on 30th January 1972) wass banned by the BBC. The controversy caused by the ban only increased the song's popularity and it ends up in the Top 20 in England. John Lennon's U.S. immigration visa expired, beginning his three-and-a-half year fight to remain in the country.
In May, Stone the Crows lead guitarist Les Harvey was electrocuted on stage during a show in Swansea, Wales after touching a poorly connected microphone. Harvey died in a hospital a few hours later. The band's lead singer, Maggie Bell, who had been Harvey's longtime girlfriend, was also hospitalized. Bell collapsed on stage after the incident. Billy Preston became the first rock performer to headline at New York's Radio City Music Hall; Diana Ross made her acting debut in the wildly successful Lady Sings the Blues and garnered her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Paul McCartney's new band, Wings, made their live debut at the University of Nottingham in England; The United States gave federal Copyright protection to sound recordings. Prior to this, phonograph records were only protected at state level, and not in all states.
New recording artists: Gilbert O'Sullivan; Don McLean; Blackfeather; Colleen Hewitt; America; Seals & Croft
Top 20 Singles of 1972
1. Puppy Love - Donny Osmond (right)
This ode to young love was written by Paul Anka to Annette Funicello, with whom he was having an affair during a singing tour in 1960. Anka's manager insisted that the affair be kept low-key and out of the media's sight, if possible. After the tour, Annette cut an LP containing a song he wrote for her to sing, entitled 'Train of Love'. Unfortunately for Anka, Annette's train didn't pull into his station - she ended up marrying his manager instead. Donny Osmond's version, made after the Osmonds disbanded, was just as big a hit in 1972 as was Anka's in 1960, and established Donny as a major solo artist.
2. Without You - Nilsson (right)
Though he was a songwriter of considerable note, Harry Nilsson did not write this song, which ironically is the tune he is most remembered for. It was actually written by Badfinger band members Peter Ham and Tom Evans and appeared on that band's second album, No Dice. The song was written after Peter Ham promised his girlfriend that he would take her to a party, but his brother told him that he needed his help in the studio. Peter chose to help his brother, resulting in the girlfriend leaving him. The song reflects his feelings at that time. Both Ham and Evans became despondent when they encountered various legal difficulties and committed suicide. Ham hanged himself in 1975 and Evans did the same in 1983. Nilsson first heard this song in 1971, saw the Apple Label on the record and thought it was the Beatles performing under a pseudonym. Nilsson added an orchestra and gave it a dramatic production. His version won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal in 1973. Mariah Carey's version debuted at No.1 in the UK in 1994. A cover by Air Supply was never released as a single.
3. Popcorn (instrumental) - Hot Butter
Despite the wide range of music Gershon Kingsley has composed, he is most well-known for a 1972 instrumental dance hit, 'Popcorn'. Kingsley recalls that he wrote the primary melody to 'Popcorn' in about 30 seconds. It was first released in 1969 on his solo album called Music To Moog By. While on their nation-wide tour of college and universities, The First Moog Quartet used "Popcorn" as their encore song. In 1972, 'Popcorn' was recorded by a group of musicians under the name Hot Butter. Stan Free, who was a member of the First Moog Quartet, played the Moog on that recording.
4. American Pie - Don McLean (right)
Inspired by his early teenage memories of the death of Buddy Holly in 1959, 'American Pie' is autobiographical and presents an abstract story of Don McLean's life from the mid 1950s until when he wrote the song in the late 1960s. It is almost entirely symbolised by the evolution of popular music over these years and represents a change from the lightness of the 1950s to the darkness of the late 1960s. In Don's life the transition from light (the innocence of childhood) to the darker realities of adulthood probably started with the death of Buddy Holly and culminated with the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. In this four year period, Don moved from a fairly idyllic childhood existence, through the shock and subsequent harsh realities of his father's death in 1961, to his decision in 1963 to quit Villanova University and pursue his dream of becoming a professional singer. For more than 30 years the lyrics of 'American Pie' have been subject to intense scrutiny as people search for the song's real meaning. Analysis continues today on the Internet and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. However one interprets the lyrics, the essence of the song is the degeneration of America and McLean's longing for the wholesome days of the 1950s when musicians were God fearing. Interview with Don McLean | Lyrics
5. The Ranger's Waltz (instrumental) - The Moms and Dads
'The Rangers Waltz', composed by Quentin Ratliff, was made famous by the Jack Daniels Silver Comet Band. The Moms & Dads polka band enjoyed their greatest recording success in Canada and Australia, though they originally hailed from Spokane, Washington. After forming in the early '50s around saxophonist Quentin Ratliff, accordion player Leslie Welch, drummer Harold Hendren and matriarchal pianist Doris Crow, the group became popular first in Alberta, Canada, after a Montana radio station played their very first recording, 'The Ranger's Waltz.' During the 70s and 80s, the group recorded dozens of albums and even managed to hit the album charts twice in the early '70s. The group was named after their main repertoire (music for moms and dads).
6. Boppin' The Blues - Blackfeather
Although Carl Perkins is credited as the songwriter, this song is usually described as a reworking or a makeover of the 1956 Carl Perkins song; when played back-to-back, they have little in common beyond their title. Lyrically, melodically and structurally, they are different songs. Jonathan Sturm, a friend of Blackfeather pianist Paul Wylde, says that neither Paul nor the rest of the band could remember the lyric of the old Carl Perkins song, so they wrote their own, but generously kept the Carl Perkins songwriting credit. John Robinson (lead guitar), Leith Corbett (bass) and Mike McCormack (drums), all from the Dave Miller Set, along with vocalist Neale Johns formed the original line-up of the sydney-based progressive rock band, Blackfeather, although Corbett and McCormack were soon replaced by Bob Fortesque and Al Kash.
7. Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast - Wayne Newton (right)
The half-Indian son of an auto mechanic, Wayne Newton achieved US-wide recognition in September 1962 when he and his brother performed on The Jackie Gleason Show. He would appear on Gleason's show twelve times over the following two years. Newton is still somewhat of an institution in Las Vegas where he has been performing tirelessly for decades. This song, which was written by Peter Callander and Geoff Stephens, was released as his first single on the new label. The song turned out to be a huge hit for him, with more than one million copies of the record sold. The song was already climbing the charts in Great Britain before it was recorded by Newton. The artist with the British hit version of it was Daniel Boone, who later had another hit in the US in the fall of 1972: "Beautiful Sunday." Newton reportedly liked this song because it is emotional and tugs at the heart strings. The lyrics tell of a potential divorce with a small child involved, a theme that Newton felt might resonate with audiences in Las Vegas, where he often performed.
8. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack (right)
Roberta Flack, a notable performer in the areas of jazz, soul and folk, is best known for singles such as "Killing Me Softly With His Song", which won the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year, and "Where Is the Love", the latter being one of her many duets with Donny Hathaway. She began her professional career recording for Atlantic Records without much success, until this song was included on the soundtrack to Clint Eastwood's directorial debut film, Play Misty for Me; it became a No.1 hit in 1972. Flack soon began working with Hathaway, with her second No.1 hit being "Killing Me Softly with His Song" (1973), said to have been written by a fan of singer Don McLean who became infatuated by him when she attended one of his concerts.
9. Cherish - David Cassidy (right)
Though Shirely Jones sang lead in all the songs performed by The Partridge Family on the TV show of the same name, it was David Cassidy who became its biggest star and the darling of teenage girls the world over. To cash in on this popularity, Cassidy recorded and released his first solo album in 1972, Cherish. The album contained a song written by Cassidy, 'Ricky's Tune' which was reportedly about his dog, and the title song, which became a worldwide No.1 hit.
10. Amazing Grace - Judy Collins / The Pipes and Drums & the Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The timeless classic, "Amazing Grace", was first published in 1779 by John Newton, an Englishman who worked on slave ships. On one voyage, he came across a nasty storm and thought his ship was going to sink. After making made it through, Newton became a born again christian and later became a minister. Newton wrote this based on his religious conversion, and how God saved him even though he did not deserve to be saved. To this day, it remains a very popular hymn. This classic hymn was recorded by American folk sonstress Judy Collins in 1970 at St Paul's Chapel, Colombia University. A stunning a capella version, it was a big hit around the world, staying on British charts for 67 weeks, which was at the time and still remains longer than any other single by a female artist. Its success prompted The Pipes and Drums & the Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, who had for years included the tune in its repertoire, to release their version as a single. It was an equally big hit, and has become one of the standards for pipe bands the world over. Joan Baez sang this to open the Philadelphia stage of Live Aid in 1985. There were over 100,000 people in the crowd, and most of them sang it with her. Arlo Guthrie performed it at Woodstock in 1969.
11. Brand New Key - Melanie (right)
Written by Melanie Safka in 15 minutes, she intended it to be a lighthearted novelty to perform in between her more intense material, however it proved to be her most successful song. On the surface, it appears to be about a young girl who gets a brand new pair of roller skates, but the many double-entendres throughout the song (you've got a brand new key ... I'm ok alone but you've got something I need ... I think that we should get together and try them on to see etc) indicate it is really about sex, virginity and her desire to give herself to a particular boy. The story goes that Melanie's search for enlightenment inspired her to go on a 27 day fast, during which she drank nothing but distilled water. Coming off the fast, she was eating transitional food when she felt the urge to get a McDonald's hamburger. On the way back to her house, she started to write the song.
12. Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy) - Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
The title and sentiments of this song reflect both the direction in which Thorpe (right) and his band were heading and the boistrous yobbo-type of audience they were attracting in 1972 when this track was recorded. The Aztecs were the star attraction at the Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1972, and it was there that this song got its first public hearing. On its release as a single a few months later, it became Billy's first top ten hit in seven years. Thorpe also performed as a solo artist, he relocated to the United States from 1976 to 1996 where he released the space opera, Children of the Sun. He worked with ex-Aztec, Tony Barber to form a soft toy company in 1987 and co-wrote stories for The Puggle Tales and Tales from the Lost Forests. Thorpe also worked as a producer and composed music scores for TV series including, War of the Worlds, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Columbo, Eight Is Enough and Hard Time on Planet Earth.
13. Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan (right)
Irish born Gilbert O'Sullivan is best known for his morose ballad "Alone Again (Naturally)" and his boogie pop number "Get Down", written about his dog. His showbiz career began as a songwriter, and though he signed a five-year recording contract in 1967, it wasn't until 1971, with the release of the single, 'Nothing Rhymed', that his recordings made an impact on the charts. At the time, O'Sullivan had created a self-image Akin to that of a British advertising character, "the Bisto Kid" complete with a paperboy cap, an image he soon shed as his music was accepted by the record buying public. He landed two UK chart toppers, with the songs "Clair" (1972); and "Get Down" (1973), which also went into the U.S. Top 10. However, things later turned sour, as O'Sullivan discovered his recording contract greatly favoured the label's owner. Litigation followed, and his recording career was put on hold. O'Sullivan returned after a five year chart absence, making a comeback in 1980 with the single, "What's In A Kiss", which secured a Top 20 spot in the UK, but he has enjoyed limited success since.
14. Long Haired Lover From Liverpool - Little Jimmy Osmond (right)
Little Jimmy Osmond, the youngest member of the showbiz family that had a string of hits in the late 60s/early 70s, had a top ten hit in 1972 with the novelty song, 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool'. The song was a major hit, reaching No.1 in the US and Britain but not faring quite as well down-under. Jimmy has released 20 singles and six albums and picked up six gold records on the way, but 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool' is the only recording of his that made an impact in Australia, where today he is virtually forgotten.
15. Sylvia's Mother - Dr Hook & the Medicine Show (right)
Shel Silverstein wrote this song as a parody of teenage-heartbreak love songs. In 1972, Silverstein told Rolling Stone magazine that there was a real Sylvia: "I just changed the last name, not to protect the innocent, but because it didn't fit. It happened about eight years ago and was pretty much the way it was in the song. I called Sylvia and her mother said, 'She can't talk to you.' I said, 'Why not?' Her mother said she was packing and she was leaving to get married, which was a big surprise to me. The guy was in Mexico and he was a bullfighter and a painter. Her mother finally let me talk to her, but her last words were, 'Shel, don't spoil it.' For about ten seconds I had this ego charge, as if I could have spoiled it. I couldn't have spoiled it with a sledge hammer." Silverstein was a popular author and songwriter, who wrote for both children and adults. He was a writer and cartoonist for Playboy magazine, and a best-selling author of children's poems. He wrote "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash and another hit song for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: "Cover Of The Rolling Stone." He died of a heart attack in 1999 at age 68.
16. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - The Hollies (right)
This song song was a rare miss on the UK charts, where The Hollies were from and where they had enjoyed their greatest success. This is the only Hollies single without any backing vocals. The reason why Allan Clarke is the only singer on this record is that he didn't intend it to be released as a Hollies song, but as the first record of his solo career. When the band learned that he intended to do a solo recording, Clarke was issued an ultimatum - he could either remain with The Hollies or pursue a solo career, but not both. He chose to leave. Clarke had right The Hollies and was replaced by Swedish singer Michael Rickfors when it was released by the group. After it became a hit in the US, Clarke rethought his solo career and came back. The group had released one album with Rickfors, which did not sell well. In terms of its overall feel and almost undecypherable lyrics, is unlike any other Hollies song. It has been speculated that Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Green River' influenced the guitar riffs and even some of the vocal style on this song, as there are distinct similarities. Clarke wrote this song with the Brittish songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. Cook and Greenaway also wrote "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" by The New Seekers.
17. Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) - Benny Hill
This novelty song was originally featured on The Benny Hill Show, which was produced between 1955 and 1989. The show became somewhat of an institution in the UK and Australia, and was the launch pad for a number recordings by TV comedian Benny Hill. Though he never admitted the song was based on personal experience, it is quite likely as Hill used to be a milkman when he was a teenager. Hill only had a few "friends", although colleagues insist he was never lonely but content with his own company. He never married, although he did propose to two women - one the daughter of a British writer - but was rejected by both. Although he owned the family home in Southampton he never owned his own home in London, nor a car, preferring to rent, first a large double apartment in Queensgate, London, for 26 years until 1986, and then a small flat in Teddington, within walking distance of the studios of Thames Television where he taped his shows.
18. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do - The Partridge Family (right)
According to its writer, Neil Sedaka, this song was inspired by the Showmen's "It Will Stand". Neil recorded and released the original version as a single in 1962. The Partidge Family recorded their version a decade later at the height of their TV show's popularity. Neil had the last word on this song in 1978 when he re-recorded it, but slowed it down to give it a totally different feel. All three versions made the top 10, showing what a classic the song really is. This song was featured in the 1985 teen movie "Better Off Dead" starring John Cusack. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, Cusack's character (Lane Meyer) is cruising through town and flipping through channels on the radio.
19. Imagine - John Lennon (right)
Of all the songs that John Lennon wrote or had a hand in, this one stands head and shoulders above all others as the pinnacle of his songwriting. Lennon was asking to imagine a place where things that divide people (religion, possessions, etc.) did not exist. He felt that would be a much better place. The song carries a strong political message that has been sugarcoated in a simple melody so as to bring the song to a wider audience. Years after writing this song, Lennon felt that it should have credited as being a Lennon/Ono collaboration. "The lyric, the concept, came from Yoko, but in those days I was more selfish, more macho, and omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of her Grapefruit book - there's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and imagine that." In 2002, 'Imagine' came in at No.2 in a poll by Guinness World Records to find Britain's favorite single of all time. It was surpassed only be Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
20. Rock and Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter (right)
This is better known as the "Hey" song because of the chant in the chorus ... "da da da da da da da, Hey!" Glitter had been recording since 1958, had been dropped by three record labels, and still did not have a major hit until he came up with this one. For a while, it looked like this would also flop, but it slowly caught on in Europe and gradually became well-known. Glitter had a role on the British music TV show, Ready, Steady, Go. There he met Mike Leander, a producer who helped him write this song. Leander used some studio time booked by David Essex ("Rock On") who didn't show up for a session to record this piece of glam rock. He had Glitter and a bunch of their friends improvise different sounds over a beat he had from a song called "Shag Rag, That's My Bag." They ended up with a 15-minute dance song, which they edited some more and called "Rock And Roll Parts 1 And 2." In 1987, Glitter released "Rock And Roll parts 3 through 6". They were produced by Trevor Horn, who was a member of The Buggles. In the US there hasn't been a backlash against this song as is the case in Britain, since most people don't know who Gary Glitter is, yet alone that he has been convicted of child porn possession and sent to prison.
3. Day By Day - Colleen Hewett (right)
Colleen Hewitt was an up and coming singer in the Australian entertainment industry when she scored a starring role in the stage production of Godspell, which opened at the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne in November 1971. Her first single had been 'Superstar', a reworking of a Joe Cocker song; it was followed up by a song she sang in Godspell - "Day By Day". The recording used full orchestration and the Australian Boys Choir. The single sold in excess of 50,000 copies, reaching No.1 on the charts, and earning Colleen a Gold Record; it was the highest selling record in Australia in 1972. Colleen was also crowned as TV Week's Queen of Pop and Go Set magazine's Best Female Singer in 1972.
4. Captain Zero - The Mixtures
This song, co-written by band members Peter Williams and Mick Flynn, was recorded in England while the group was enjoying success both there and in Australia with 'The Pushbike Song', and to a lesser extent, its follow-up, 'Henry Ford'. By the time 'Captain Zero' was released at the end of 1971, the group had returned to Australia for a quick tour before going back to Britain. The band released two more singles which didn't chart before they disappeared off the music scene in 1976.
5. So Tough - Johnny O'Keefe (right)
By 1972, Johnny O'Keefe had faded from the limelight so Festival Records embarked on a major advertising campaign to support this single's release, which was a revised version of a song Johnny had recorded in 1958. The song became a hit all over again, this time selling to a whole new generation who were unfamiliar with O'Keefe and his music. He followed its release with an Australia-wide tour and the release of his version of 'Mockingbird'.
6. Shame And Scandal - Johnny Chester & Jigsaw
Towards the end of the 1960s, Johnny Chester followed the lead of a number of Aussie rockers and shifted his singing style towards country. With an enlarged repertoire and a new backing band, he made a full assault on the Australian market with a string of singles. Among them was 'Shame and Scandal', a novelty song that reached No.12 and stayed in the charts for over four months. Trinidadian singer Sir Lancelot wrote "Shame and Scandal in the Family" for a Hollywood movie titled, I Walked With a Zombie (1943). In the movie, the song conveys local gossip about a prominent family in a Caribbean island, in keeping with calypso traditions about upper-class scandals. Lancelot recorded "Shame and Scandal in the Family" in the late 1940s; it was subsequently recorded by folksong interpreters Burl Ives and Odetta. In the early 1960s, Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Melody composed a new version of the song. Melody's composition, based on an old comic tale and the melody and chorus of Lancelot's song, was initially called "Wau, Wau," though it quickly became known as "Shame and Scandal." No other calypso song has been more extensively recorded.
7. Ginger Man - Brian Cadd (right)
In March 1971 whilst in England, the supergroup Axiom, of which Brian Cadd was a member and a songwriter, disbanded. Cadd returned to Australia and was in big demand for his song and jingle-writing abilities. The door was now open for him to launch his solo career, which he did with the release of the singles 'Show Me The Way' and 'Don't You Know It's Magic'. In October 1972 he released his first, self-titled album, and the single, 'Ginger Man', which was lifted from it.
8. Marshall's Portable Music Machine - Robin Jolley
Robin Jolley is perhaps one of the most notable Australian one-hit wonders of the 1970s. His fifteen minutes of fame came via songwriters Brian Cadd and Don Mudie who wrote his solitary top ten hit, the light-hearted 'Marshall's Portable Music Machine'. Four singles followed but failed to keep alight the fire his first single ignited. In 1977, Jolley abandoned his solo career to become a vocalist with the Melbourne group, The Echoes.
9. How Do You Do? - Jigsaw
Jigsaw was formed in May 1968 as the backing group for Johnny Chester but they soon became stars in their own right and one of Melbourne's top pub groups. In August 1970, they released a cover of British group Christie's 'Yellow River' (a No.1 hit) and later, 'Albert The Albatross', a song written by Hand Poulsen, ex-Seeker Bruce Woodley and Chris Bonnet. These were followed up by a cover of Mouth and Macneal's 'How Do You Do?' that reached No.11 and charted for 17 weeks.
10. Run To Me - The Bee Gees (right)
After leaving to launch a solo career a year earlier, Robin Gibb returned to The Bee Gees fold in 1970. The band re-invented themselves with a new pop-progressive rock sound, hitting the charts with "Lonely Days" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". The albums 2 Years On and Trafalgar both sold well but their next album, To Whom It May Concern, flopped badly. The single 'Run To Me' from that album was the only bright spot in 1972, a lowpoint in their career. The turnaround came with the huge hit, 'Jive Talkin'' from the album, Main Course, which paved the way for them to become the kings of disco.
A Horse With No Name - America
The group America was formed in England by the sons of US servicemen who were stationed there. Lead singer Dewey Bunnell wrote this song when he was 19; it was based on his memories of exploring the deserts of central California with his brother when he was a child. When it was first released, some radio stations refused to play the song, not because it has the most boring, monotonous tune ever written, but because "horse" is slang for heroin, therefore they thought it was about drugs. The band claims it is not but has never given an satisfactory alternate explanation for the strange lyrics. View the video online
Goodbye To Love - The Carpenters (right)
In the 1940 movie, Rhythm On The River, Bing Crosby played a songwriter trying to come up with a song called "Goodbye To Love." Although the song's title was mentioned several times in the movie, no such song ever existed. Richard Carpenter happened to see this movie on late-night television and decided that it was a great title and that, since there was no such song, he would write one for his sister Karen to sing. The record-buying public loved it, as did Karen - it was her favourite song, perhaps because she deeply related to its sentiments as a result of the disappointments she encountered in her own personal search for happiness and true love. Tony Peluso's guitar licks are extraordinary. View the video online
The Candy Man - Sammy Davis Jr (right)
The song was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and featured in the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Aubrey Woods recorded this song for movie, starring Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson. Co-writer Anthony Newley was so appalled at Woods' performance that he asked producers Stan Margulies and David Wolper to let him perform Woods' role if they could reshoot the scene, but Newley's offer was turned down. As the movie wrapped up production, Mike Curb recorded an instrumental backing for the song with Sammy Davis Jr. in mind. The former member of the Rat Pack didn't like the song at first but decided to do it anyway. The result: the biggest hit of Davis' eight-decade career. Newley wasn't too thrilled with Davis' version either, so much so that he recorded his own version to sell against Davis. View the video online
Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me - Mac Davis (right)
Texan Scott "Mac" Davis' big breakthrough came in 1969-70 when Elvis Presley turned three of the songs he had written - "In The Ghetto," "Memories" and "Don't Cry Daddy" - into top 20 hits. Davis followed these successes with "Everything A Man Could Ever Need" (a hit for Glen Campbell), "Something's Burning" (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition), "Watching Scotty Grow" (Bobby Goldsboro) and "I Believe In Music" (Gallery). In 1972, Davis scored his first No. 1 hit as a singer with "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me", one of his compositions. Over the next several years, he continued to write and record his songs and has acted in a number of movies and Broadway productions. Hear the song online
Baby Blue - Badfinger
"Baby Blue" was lifted from Badfinger's sensational Straight Up album, that was produced by George Harrison and Todd Rundgren (each produced separate songs and did not collaborate on any cuts). The "Dixie" addressed in the song's lyrics was a real person, a former girlfriend of singer/songwriter Pete Ham who he had met whilst on a US tour. In hindsight, many view Badfinger as one of the most underrated bands of all time, whose career was cut short by the tragic suicide of lead singer-songwriter, Peter Ham, in April 1975. On 19th November 1983, former band members Tom Evans and Joey Molland argued on the telephone, reportedly about the publishing royalty division of the song "Without You." Following the argument, Evans hanged himself in the garden at his home in an eerie replay of Pete Ham's 1975 death scene. Drummer Mike Gibbins has also passed away, leaving only one Badfinger member right: Joey Molland. The latter's guitar solo and outro in this song are short, sweet but nothing short of brilliant. View the video online
Mama, Weer All Crazee Now - Slade (right)
Noisy British rock band Slade were the first bad spellers in the pop business and started a trend that continues unabated today. Their bassist Jim Lea wrote the music, however his writing partner Noddy Holder was responsible for the lyrics. They were inspired by standing on stage one night after a typically boisterous London show and surveying the smashed seating right in the auditorium. "I thought everyone must have been crazy tonight," he later said, hence the song. This, the band's first hit, was followed by more misspelt top ten songs - "Look Wot You Dun," "Cum On Feel The Noize", "Skweeze Me Pleeze Me" and "Gudbuy T' Jane". Surprisingly enough, they were never able to break into the US market. View the video online
Double Barrel - Dave and Ansel Collins (right)
Remembered for its introductory line, "I am the magnificent ...", this song is the work of Dave Barker, a session volalist, and Ansel Collins, a keyboard player, both of Kingston, Jamaica. They joined forces in 1971 to record the Ska single 'Double Barrel', which was a hit worldwide. Ska is a form of Jamaican music which began as early as the 1930s. Combining elements of traditional mento and calypso with an American jazz and rhythm and blues sound, it was a precursor in Jamaica to rocksteady and later reggae. This single was the first record ace drummer Sly Dunbar every played on. The similarly styled 'Monkey Spanner' also enjoyed international success. After cutting an album, Collins and Barker parted company; Collins became a top class session player and Barker, a resident in the UK where he sang with a number of undistinguished soul groups. The pair attempted a comeback in 1981 without success. The lyrics of 'Double Barrel' make little sense, but that was nothing unusual back in 1972! View the video online
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
Blessed with one of the most recognisable guitar riffs in rock history, "Smoke On The Water" is about a fire in the Casino at Montreux, Switzerland. The band Deep Purple was going to record Machine Head there right after a Frank Zappa concert, but someone fired a flare gun at the ceiling which set the place on fire. The band was relocated to another hotel and had to record the album in the Rolling Stones' mobile studio. Frank Zappa, who is mentioned in the lyrics, lost all his equipment in the fire. He then broke his leg a few days later when a fan pulled him into the crowd at a concert in England. This prompted Ian Gillan to say "Break a leg, Frank," into the microphone after recording this for a BBC special in 1972. Roger Glover came up with the image of smoke on the water. He thought it was a great title, but was reluctant to use it because it sounded like a drug song, which is what many people still believe it is. View the video online
10538 Overture - Electric Light Orchestra (right)
This was ELO's first recorded and released song; it was written by Jeff Lynne before ELO's formation when he was sill in a band called The Move. This prompted some members of The Move to go ahead with plans to create a new band with string instruments called The Electric Light Orchestra. It was never intended to replace The Move, but to be a side project. For this reason, the label on the first album says "The Move Presents ... The Electric Light Orchestra". Lynne wanted the lyrics of this song to be about a man who had a number rather than a name. 1053 was the serial number of the desk Lynne used to write the song. He added the "8" and included the word "Overture" to make it clear they were an orchestra. ELO's first album, on which it appeared, was released in the UK first; when it was released in the US a few months later, someone from their American record company called to find out the name of the album, but didn't get through. The person taking the message wrote down "No Answer" on the paperwork, and that was accidentally used as the name of the US release. Paul Weller later purloined the descending guitar intro of "10538 Overture" for his 1995 UK No.7 hit, "The Changing Man". He did not delare this in the songwriting credits, but it is fairly obvious where Weller got the riffs from, to the extent that many compilation albums of this era highlighted the similarity in their sleeve notes. Weller later admitteded this in his autobiography, but got away without having pay any royalties to Roy Wood or Jeff Lynne. View the video online
Ben - Michaerl Jackson
Jackson was 14 when he recorded this. He became the youngest artist to top the US charts both as a solo artist and as a member of The Jackson 5. The song was his first No.1 hit as a solo artist. Motown began recording him as a solo artist when The Jackson 5 stopped selling well. It was one of Michael Jackson's favorites, no doubt because he could relate to the song (about a lonely boy who turned to his pet rat for friendship) as he himself had a very unhappy childhood, if indeed he had a childhood at all. Don Black and Walter Scharf wrote it for the 1972 movie of the same name. It was the sequel to a movie called Willard, which was remade in 2003 starring Crispin Glover. In the movie, Ben is a pet rat who a young boy befriends, but the rat turns evil and recruits other rats to attack humans. In the remake of Willard, Ben becomes an enormous super-rat. According to the book Jackson's Number Ones, the song was written for Donny Osmond, but Don Black suggested Jackson, who got the song instead. View the video online
Burning Love - Elvis Presley (right)
Composed by Dennis Linde, the song was first recorded by Arthur Alexander, who included it on his self-titled 1971 album. Presley's version was his 40th and last Top Ten hit. It was also one of the last real rock songs he recorded in the last years of his life; from 1972-1977 the majority of his songs were ballads. "Burning Love" was one of the few exceptions, along with "Promised Land" in 1974. Indeed Elvis never wanted to record the song and only did so to appease his session musicians who repeatedly begged him to do so. In 2005, an Australian woman stabbed her partner in the back, thigh, and shoulder with a pair of scissors because "he played the song too many times". His injuries were classified as "non-life threatening". Hear the song online
Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan
A cleverly crafted song by Irish singer and songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan that became one of his biggest selling singles. Written by O'Sullivan and produced by Gordon Mills, the song at first appears to be a typical love song of an older man for a younger girl. It's only at the very end that we learn it's about a young man's genuine love and affection for his baby niece. This gives the song's lyric a sweetness and depth not usually found in pop songs. The "real" Clair was, in fact, the infant daughter of O'Sullivan's manager and the song's producer, Gordon Mills. View the video online
Day After Day - Badfinger
A huge hit for Apple Records' Badfinger, the band's guitarist Peter Ham wrote the song, Leon Russell played the piano, George Harrison produced it and played lead guitar in his highly recognisable style. The year before, band members Peter Ham and Tom Evans had played on Harrison's first solo album, All Things Must Pass. Many believe this song to be one of the most outstanding and timeless arrangements of words, feeling and music of the rock era, and Harrison's finest hour as a producer. Sounding a lot like The Beatles, rumours persisted for years that The Beatles had not broken up at all, but had done what the St Peppers's album predicted they would do - begin recording under a new identity. Badfinger's name had its origins with The Beatles - the original title listed on the EMI session tracking log refers to "With a Little Help From My Friends" (Sgt.Pepper) as "Badfinger Boogie". This was in 1967, before the "Iveys" (who changed their name to Badfinger when they came under the umbrella of The Beatles) were signed to Apple. It was Paul McCartney who suggested the name change. Badfinger wrote and originally recorded "Without You" which Harry Nilsson took to No.1 in 1972. View the video online
Everybody Plays the Fool - The Main Ingredient
The Main Ingredient is an American soul and R&B group, most popular during the 1970s. The group was founded in Harlem, New York, in 1964. The group affiliated itself with producer Bert DeCoteaux, who crafted the singers' first US Top 30 hit, "You've Been My Inspiration." Follow-up hits such as "I'm So Proud" (a cover of an Impressions song), "Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)," and "Black Seeds Keep on Growing" did even better on the charts. McPherson died suddenly from leukemia in 1971, and The Main Ingredient recruited Cuba Gooding, Sr., the father of actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Omar Gooding, as their new lead singer. Gooding's first single with the group was 1972's "Everybody Plays the Fool". It was successfully covered by Aaron Neville in 1991. View the video online
Heart Of Gold - Neil Young (right)
"Heart of Gold", from the 1972 album, Harvest, is Neil Young's only No.1 hit single in his long musical career. Rolling Stone ranked it No.297 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It features the back-up vocals of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. The song is one of a series of soft, acoustic pieces which were written partly as a result of a back injury. Unable to stand for long periods of time, he could not play his electric guitar and so returned to his acoustic, which he could play sitting down. The song received huge publicity when Young performed it on a variety show taped in Nashville, Tennessee and hosted by Johnny Cash. Ronstadt and Taylor were in Nashville at the time and sang backup for Young on the program. Young wrote in the liner notes of his compilation album, Decade: "This song put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch". This statement was in response to the mainstream popularity that he gained as a result of "Heart of Gold"'s No.1 status. This anthemic song has been covered by many artists. View the video online
Hi Honey Ho - Daddy Cool (right)
Aussie band Daddy Cool caused a major sensation dressed like cartoon characters and singing cute but novel love songs. Daddy Cool's records were produced by Robbie Porter (formerly Rob EG), who was based in America. The band toured America three times, travelling back and forth to Australia to satisfy their legion of fans at home, though in America they were developing only pockets of interest. Despite the success, Ross Wilson was getting impatient creatively, and split up the band in August 1972 to form Mighty Kong, taking career right-hand man Ross Hannaford with him. Gary Young and Wayne Duncan formed rockabilly/country group, Hot Dog. "Hi Honey Ho" was their last hit single. In January 1974 Daddy Cool agreed to reform for that year's Sunbury Pop Festival, but it only lasted a year and two singles. Hear the song online
I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
It is a common misconception that this song was written and/or performed by Bob Marley, possibly based on the fact that The Wailers were the backing band on Nash's original recording. Marley wrote Nash's next single, "Stir It Up." The song experienced a revival in popularity again in 1993 when Jimmy Cliff recorded a version for the soundtrack of the film Cool Runnings. The song also appears in various other films, such as Grosse Pointe Blank, The Break-up, Thelma & Louise, Antz, Deep Blue Sea, Envy and Shrek 2's Far Far Away Idol. Over 100 covers have been recorded. View the video online
I'm Stone in Love With You - The Stylistics (right)
The Stylistics was one of the best-known Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they had their first U.S. hit in 1971 with "You're a Big Girl Now". The Stylistics began working with producer Thom Bell, who had already produced a catalogue of hits for The Delfonics, and songwriter Linda Creed. Bell imported the sweet soul techniques he had perfected with The Delfonics, and his arrangements worked perfectly with Russell Thompkins Jnr's soaring falsetto. The bittersweet lyrics from Creed were a key factor in creating hugely memorable music. Their hits - distilled from three albums - from this period included "Betcha by Golly Wow!", "I'm Stone in Love with You", "Break Up To Make Up", "You Make Me Feel Brand New" featuring a double lead with Love, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" and "You Are Everything". "You Make Me Feel Brand New" was the group's biggest U.S. hit; "I'm Stone In Love With You" made the top ten charts only in the US and Australia. View the video online
It's Going To Take Some Time - The Carpenters
During the first half of the 1970s, The Carpenters' music was a staple of Top 40 playlists and middle-of-the-road, easy listening and adult contemporary radio. The duo produced a distinctive sound featuring Karen's expressive contralto on lead vocals, with both siblings contributing background vocals that were overdubbed to create densely-layered harmonies. Their string of hit singles included "For All We Know", "Rainy Days and Mondays", and "Superstar" (all from the LP Carpenters - their best-selling studio album, with sales of well over 4 million US copies) in 1971; "Hurting Each Other", "It's Going to Take Some Time", and "Goodbye to Love" (an early example of the power ballad, from the LP, A Song for You) in 1972; "Sing" and "Yesterday Once More" (from the oldies-oriented LP, Now & Then) in 1973. This song is a Carole King composition. Hear the song online
Jealous Guy - John Lennon (right)
"Jealous Guy" first appeared on Lennon's 1971 album, Imagine. It is one of the most commonly covered Lennon songs, with at least ninety-two recorded cover versions by musicians like Donny Hathaway, the Black Crowes, Jeff Tweedy, Peter Criss (of KISS), Cueshe, and Deftones. The most notable of the non-Lennon recordings were by Roxy Music and the Faces, issued as tribute singles in 1981. The song's genesis came in India, after The Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi about a "son of the mother nature". This inspired both Paul McCartney and John Lennon to write songs about the same subject. McCartney's composition "Mother Nature's Son" was selected for The Beatles (the White Album), while Lennon's song "Child of Nature" was shelved. After that, Lennon continued to play it into the Get Back sessions.
Eventually, the lyrics were scrapped and replaced by the now well known "Jealous Guy" lyrics, and surfaced on the Imagine album. Although self-explanatory, the subject of the song is Lennon not only apologising to Yoko Ono for his jealousy, but also to explain it away by saying "That's how I am..." The lyrics at the end reflect this: "I'm just a jealous guy - watch out/look out". Though the relationship between John and Yoko is regarded by many as one of the greatest publicised romances of the 20th century, there was a period in the early 1970s - after The Beatles split - where John became entangled in a self-destructive downwards spiral. His drinking became more frequent and his relationship with Yoko became strained. It was during this period that John reworked "Child of Nature" to be "Jealous Guy" as a public apology. John had jealousy problems with his first wife, Cynthia Powell, and when he right her for Yoko, the jealousy continued. Yoko commented, "(The song) said it all! ... After we got together he made me write out a list of all the men I'd slept with before we met. I started to do it quite casually, then I realised how serious it was to John. He didn't even like me speaking Japanese because that was a part of my mind that shut him out." View the video online
Joy - Apollo 100
Apollo 100 was a short-lived British instrumental studio based group that had a moderate hit with this Johann Sebastian Bach-inspired single. Arranger Tom Parker put together the band in 1972; "Joy", based on Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, was their first single and rose to No.6 on the pop singles chart t. None of their subsequent efforts were as successful. They broke up in 1973. View the video online
Lean on Me - Bill Withers
A well known hit song written and performed by Bill Withers for the 1972 album, Still Bill. It is ranked No.205 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has been interpreted by various artists ever since. 'Lean on Me' is often sung at summer camps, churches and other such communities. As its lyrics suggest, it is all about being there for other people. View the video online
Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard - Paul Simon (right)
A song by Paul Simon, written in 1972, from the album, Paul Simon. The song was the first solo release by Paul Simon following his break up with Art Garfunkel. Simon has played this song many times in concert over the years. Simon and Garfunkel also performed it at their Central Park reunion concert in September 1981. It is about a boy who has broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated and has become a matter of some debate. When his mother finds out that he has broken the law, she goes to the police station to report the crime. He is later arrested, but released when a preacher intervenes. The protagonist of the song had to say goodbye to "Rosie, the Queen of Corona", so the events of the song are most likely to have taken place in Corona, Queens. Julio is presumed to be the boy's partner in crime. Some believe the incident in the song refers to an arrest at an anti-war protest on a college campus (the "schoolyard"), with the "radical priest" (whom the singer claims will appear with him "on the cover of Newsweek") being either Philip or Daniel Berrigan who were Jesuit priests noteworthy for their antiwar activity during the Vietnam War.
In a July 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: "What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know." Simon replied "I have no idea what it is ... Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say 'something', I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn't make any difference to me." This has not stopped speculation: Truman Capote said that he believed the protagonist and Julio were involved in a homosexual relationship; other commentators have detected references to recreational drug use, and believe that the mother saw the boy buying drugs. View the video online
Mother and Child Reunion - Paul Simon
Lifted from Simon's self-titled debut album, this song is considered to be one of the first attempts at reggae music by a white musician. The name has its origin in a chicken-and-egg dish which Paul Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant's menu, that was called "Mother and Child Reunion." The song has been interpreted as a meditation on death, specifically the death of a mother and the hope of reunification in the afterlife. The references to a "strange and mournful day" may support this theory. The song was recorded in Jamaica with Jimmy Cliff's backup musicians. Hear the song online
My Ding-A-Ling - Chuck Berry (right)
This novelty song was first recorded by Dave Bartholomew in 1952. Two years later, The Bees released a version entitled "Toy Bell." Berry recorded a version called "My Tambourine" in 1958, but the one which topped the charts was recorded live during the Lanchester Arts Festival at the Locarno ballroom in Coventry, England, on 3rd February 1972. At hat concert, Berr, backed by The Roy Young Band, topped a bill that included Slade and Billy Preston. The song tells of how the singer received two silver bells on a string from his grandmother, who calls them his ding-a-ling. According to the song, he plays with it in school, and holds on to it in dangerous situations like swimming across a creek infested with snapping turtles. The lyrics consistently exercise the double entendre with ding-a-ling standing in for the penis. In the final chorus, Berry gives the game away by admonishing "those of you who will not sing" and concludes that they "must be playing with [their] own ding-a-ling". The lyrics, with their sly tone and innuendo (and the cheerful enthusiasm of Berry and the live audience), caused many radio stations to refuse to play it, and British morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried unsuccessfully to get the song banned.
Moreover, pop critics generally dislike the song (especially the fact that it was Berry's only No.1 single in his career) and say that it is unworthy for someone who was so important in early rock 'n' roll. Nevertheless, Berry still likes it and on the recording calls it "our Alma Mater". According to the flip side of the single (a live version of "Johnny B. Goode"), the crowd refused to leave after Berry's performance, as they demanded an encore. The public address announcer told the crowd that the next act, Pink Floyd, could not perform until the ballroom was cleared. View the video online
Rock Me Baby - John Farnham (right)
John Farnham released two singles in 1972, "Rock Me Baby" and "Don't You Know It's Magic" which both charted. They were part of a run of hits in the early seventies that began with "Acapulco Sun", "Walking The Floor On My Hands" and "Baby Without You" in 1971. The latter was the pick of them, being a duet with Allison Durbin. Farnham and Durbin were crowned Australian King (for the second time) and Queen of Pop in 1971. Farnham's "Rock Me Baby" was a cover of a David Cassidy hit in the US. View the video of David Cassidy's version online
Rocket Man - Elton John (right)
Lifted from the album, Honky Chateau, this song, composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, is loosely based on the short story, "The Rocket Man", in Ray Bradbury's book, The Illustrated Man. It shares a similar theme to the David Bowie song "Space Oddity". Taupin's lyrics describe a Mars-bound astronaut's mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. Musically, the song is a highly arranged pop ballad anchored by John's piano, with atmospheric texture added by synthesizer and processed slide guitar. It was ranked No.242 in the 2004 List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Another "Rocket Man" song (also based on Bradbury's short story) was released by the musical group, Pearls Before Swine, on their 1970 album, The Use of Ashes. In an interview in Billboard magazine, Taupin acknowledged that the original Pearls Before Swine song, written by Tom Rapp, had been a direct inspiration for his own lyrics. View the video online
School's Out - Alice Cooper (right)
Of the title track of Alice Cooper's fifth album, Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" Says Cooper: "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning. I said, 'If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it's going to be so big.'" Cooper has also said it was inspired by a line from a Bowery Boys movie. "School's Out" became Alice Cooper's first big song. It also marked the first time that Alice Cooper became regarded as more than just a theatrical novelty act, it is the artist's most recognized song. In 2004, the song was ranked No.319 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The lyrics of "School's Out" indicate that not only is school year ended for summer vacation, but ended forever, and that the school itself has been blown up. It incorporates the childhood rhyme, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks" into its lyrics. It also featured children contributing some of the vocals, just as in Pink Floyd's 1979 hit "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)". This is likely due to the fact that Bob Ezrin produced both Alice Cooper's "School's Out" and Pink Floyd's The Wall. View the video online
Song Sung Blue - Neil Diamond (right)
"Song Sung Blue", from the album, Moods, was, as far as the singer-songwriter Diamond was concerned, a nice little song but little more than that. Diamond recalls, "This is one to which I never paid too much attention . A very basic message, unadorned. I didn't even write a bride to it. I never expected anyone to react to "Song Sung Blue" the way they did. I just liked it, the message and the way a few words said so many things. I recorded the song strictly for that reason. I had no idea it would be a huge hit or that people would want to sing along with it." Though the song's tune is very similar to the theme of Mozart's Piano Concerto No.21 in C major, Diamond has always denied basing the song's tune on it. View the video online
Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts (right)
Seals and Crofts (Jim Seals and Dash Crofts) were a popular soft rock duo in the early 1970s, best-known for their hits "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond Girl." They were also the most famous Bahai's of the 1970s. With Seals on guitar, saxophone and violin, and Crofts on guitar and mandolin, they released two LPs, which were largely ignored. The pair signed a new contract with Warner Bros. in 1971. Their first album with their new label was also unsuccessful, but their second album, Summer Breeze, charted at No.7. View the video online
Signs - The Five Man Electrical Band
The Five Man Electrical Band, formed in Ottawa, Ontario in 1964, had more than its share of ups and downs trying to break into the US and international music markets before have a huge hit with 'Signs'. Bandmember Les Emmerson had written 'Signs' in 1970 after driving to California along Route 66, where he had noticed the many billboards obscuring his view of the countryside, and had seen them as a perfect metaphor for the frustrations of the band and the times they were living in. The song's initial release failed and in June 1971 the bandmembers finally decided to wind the outfit down. Brian Rading, the bass player, remembers carrying a case of beer back to the others in order to begin the "grieving process", and to help them gather enough courage to call their manager and tell him the sorry news. when they made the call, they were told to seriously reconsider as "Signs" was just taking off in the US. The success of "Signs" brought with it the seeds of the band's destruction; relationships in the band became strained and cracks began to show again. By 1975, Five Man Electrical Band was effectively finished - its collective energies exhausted, the unique and successful combination of personnel, drive, skill and material, gone. Hear the song online
Take It Easy - The Eagles (right)
The Eagles formed in 1971 when Linda Ronstadt's then-manager, John Boylan, extracted Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner from their previous affiliations to back her. They were short a drummer until Frey phoned Don Henley, whom he had met at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. They backed up Ronstadt on a two-month tour then decided to stay together and form their own band. The new group chose the name "Eagles" as a nod to The Byrds (Leadon had been in The Flying Burrito Brothers with former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman). Their first album, Eagles, was filled with natural, sometimes innocent country rock, and yielded three Top 40 singles.
The lead-off single, "Take It Easy", was a song penned by Glenn Frey's friend, neighbour and fellow country rocker, Jackson Browne. Frey heard him playing it and asked if The Eagles could use it. Browne agreed and after a few lyrics were added by Frey, the song was recorded and became a classic, propelling the Eagles to stardom. The single was followed by the bluesy "Witchy Woman" and the soft country rock ballad "Peaceful Easy Feeling". The Eagles became a major force in popularizing the southern California country rock sound around the world. View the video online
Top Of The World - The Carpenters
Originally intended to be only a track on a Carpenters album and not a single, country artist Lynn Anderson first released this song as a single in 1972, taking it to the top of the U.S. country singles charts. The success of Anderson's version prompted the Carpenters to release a new version as a single, which topped singles charts worldwide. The song is equally identified with both the Carpenters and Lynn Anderson in the US but only with the former in Australia. View the video online
Tumbling Dice - The Rolling Stones (right)
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones' 1972 double album Exile on Main Street, "Tumbling Dice" has always been a Rolling Stones' concert favourite. The basic track of the song was recorded in the basement of the French chateau Villa Nellcôte on 3rd August 1971 and was by all accounts difficult to record. Mick Taylor, the Rolling Stones' lead guitarist, played bass on the track, due to bassist Bill Wyman's absence that night, and Mick Jagger plays guitar. The lyrics tell the story of a gambler who cannot remain faithful to any woman. "Good Time Women", an early version of "Tumbling Dice", was recorded during the sessions for the album, Sticky Fingers.
The song is a bluesy boogie-woogie heavy on Ian Stewart's piano work. The two songs are similar in structure in that they have the same chord progression and a similar melody. Also, Jagger sings the hook to the accompaniment of Richards' lone lead guitar. However, "Good Time Woman" lacked an opening riff, a background choir and the beat which propels "Tumbling Dice"'s groove. Jagger has said that the song's theme of gambling and love came from the fact that he "had a lot of friends at that time who used to fly to Las Vegas for the weekend. It's about gambling and love, an old blues trick." Sound engineer Andy Johns said "I know we had a hundred reels of tape on the basic track. That was a good song, but it was really like pulling teeth. It just went on and on and on." Some have said that it may have taken as many as 150 takes to get the basic track of the song. The mixing of the album was also difficult. Jagger has never liked the final mix of the song; in an interview with Melody Maker, he said, "I think they used the wrong mix for that one. I know they did." A cover version by Linda Ronstadt was also a top 40 single in 1978. Cover versions have been created in such diverse styles as reggae, bluegrass and noise rock. View the video online
You Wear It Well - Rod Stewart (right)
Written by Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton, "You Wear It Well" was recorded as a track on Stewart's album, Never a Dull Moment, three years into his solo career at a time when he was still performing with The Faces. A cover of Sam Cook's "Twisting the Night Away" was included on the album as a tribute to Cooke. View the video online
You're All Woman - Sherbet
Australia group Sherbet, which dominated the local music scene in the 1970s, had their first hit in 1971 with "Can You Feel It?" The songs was somewhat nonsensical, but lead singer Daryl Braithwaite's voice showed a remarkable ability to move effortlessly in and out of falsetto, and the overall sound was appealing. More hits followed, including the Ted Mulry composition, "You're All Woman" and another called "You've Got The Gun", which was the band's first self-penned single. In early 1972, Sherbet were the opening act for an Australia-wide concert tour by Creedence Clearwater Revival and were relatively unknown at the time. This song, which had just been released as a single, won the crowds over. View the video online