10 Great Songs from One Great Year
For this 10-year-old Dallas Cowboys fan, this year was THE year the team finally won it all, defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI. Had I been an adult at the time, I probably would have been mortified by the appointment of former SS guard Kurt Waldheim as Secretary General of the United Nations. January also brought multi-billionaire Howard Hughes out of his own hideaway as he – via telephone hookup – denounced Clifford Irving’s autobiography of Hughes. Although
In the Movies, the Godfather was all the rage as it became cool to be a gangster again. But Richard Nixon took it too far as in May; the break-in in the Watergate Hilton Hotel soon became the story that took down his administration.
This was the year that Jane Fonda toured
But the true black mark on 1972 was on September 5th and 6th, when 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage and subsequently slaughtered by Arab terrorists during the Summer Olympics in
Brandy - Looking Glass
Lead singer and guitarist Elliot Lurie wrote this song based on a girl he knew. He made up the story about falling in love with a sailor who cannot be with her because he loves the sea. The band was signed by Clive Davis, a legendary record executive who has nurtured the careers of many successful artists, including Santana, Billy Joel and Whitney Houston. Davis has a knack for knowing a hit song when he hears one, but he got this one wrong, releasing it as the B-side of their song "Don't It Make You Feel Good." Harv Moore, a disc jockey in Washington DC, flipped the record and played "Brandy" instead. It became very popular in the DC area, and quickly spread nationwide. This was not typical of the band's sound, which caused a problem at concerts. While audiences expected Pop songs like this, the Looking Glass played Rock, which left the crowds disappointed. The band broke up less than 2 years later.
Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan
This was Irish singer Gilbert O'Sullivan's only American #1. It sold 2 million copies, spent 6 weeks at the summit in
Sons of American fathers and British mothers, their fathers being military personnel stationed at the USAF installation at RAF West Ruislip, London, the three original members of America – Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek – met while playing for different local bands. After Peek left for the United States for an abortive attempt at college in 1969, he returned to the UK the following year, the three hooked up and began to collaborate on making music. Starting out with borrowed acoustic guitars, they developed a sound which incorporated three-part vocal harmony in the vein of contemporary folk-rock acts like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Eventually the trio dubbed themselves America, honoring the name of the homeland they had hardly ever seen during their many travels around the world. The liner notes to the 1975 compilation album History- America's Greatest Hits, state the band took their name while listening to an Americana juke box. They played their first gigs in pubs and clubs in the London area, including some highlights at the Roundhouse, where Pink Floyd had played at the beginning of its career. Their first LP was produced by Ian Samwell, best known as Cliff Richard's lead guitarist and the writer of his 1958 breakthrough hit, "Move It". Jeff Dexter, Ian's roommate and a fixture in the London music scene, co produced the album and became the trio's manager. Dexter also gave them their 1st major gig, December 20, 1970, at "Implosion" at the The Roundhouse Chalk Farm as the opening act to The Who, Elton John, Patto and The Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band & Choir for a Christmas charity event. Although the trio initially envisioned recording the album along the lines of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Samwell steered them toward perfecting their acoustic style instead. The album, simply titled America, was released in 1971 to only moderate success, although it took off in Holland where Dexter had taken them as a training ground to hone their stagecraft. Samwell and Dexter subsequently brought the trio to Morgan Studios to record several additional songs. One of them was a piece written by Bunnell called "Desert Song", which Dexter previously demoed during studio rehearsals in Puddletown, Dorset at the home of Arthur 'God of Hellfire' Brown. The song had its public debut at The Harrogate Festival, four days later, to great audience response. After several performances and a TV show, it was re-titled "A Horse with No Name". The song became a major worldwide hit in early 1972. America's debut album was re-released with the hit song newly added, and quickly went platinum. The album spawned a second major chart hit with Beckley's "I Need You", which peaked at #9 on the U.S. charts. “Sandman,” while not officially released as a single, received significant airplay (and still does) because it was on the flip side of “Horse” and was included in their first “Greatest Hits” package.
Sauvecito – Malo
Malo was a Latin tinged rock and roll group. The San Francisco, California based ensemble was led by Jorge Santana, the brother of famed Latin-Rock guitarist, Carlos Santana. Four of the original members (Santana, Garcia, Tellez, and Bean) were previously in a band called the Malibu's. The other three founding members (Abel Zarate, Roy Murray, and Richard Spremich) were in a band called Naked Lunch together. The band had a huge Top 20 hit single with this song that was written by timbale player Richard Bean, who initially wrote it as a poem for a girl in his high school algebra class. The song has been called "The Chicano National Anthem" and was arranged for Malo by Richard Bean, bassist Pablo Tellez, and Abel Zarate. Tellez and Zarate also received co-author credits on Suavecito. In addition, guitarist Abel Zarate gave Malo a distinctive two-guitar sound, with intricate harmony and dual solos the norm. The band featured full horn and percussion sections, in the style of contemporary bands Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago and others. Some of the best musicians in the bay area played in Malo, including Forrest Buchtel, Jr., Ron Smith, Luis Gasca, and Tom Harrell in the trumpet section. Malo's music also had a huge following in Central and South America, especially the songs "Chevere", "Nena", "Pana", "Cafe" and "Oye Mama". After the release of its first album, Malo had a well-documented rift that saw the group eliminate many of its band members. Buchtel went on to play with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Jaco Pastorius and Woody Herman - Harrell has become one of the most lyrical trumpet soloists of all-time, working often with saxophonist Phil Woods. Abel Zarate went on to play with Latin-jazz legend Willie Bobo and continues to play Latin/Brazilian Global jazz in San Francisco with his group Zarate Pollace Project. Richard Bean formed the group "Sapo" with his brother Joe, and is still touring throughout Northern California. Jorge Santana has embarked on a solo career, and still plays frequently with the current Malo band. Malo is also still touring, with only two of the original members, including Arcelio Garcia Jr., who took over the band in the late '70s.
Heart Of Gold - Neil Young
This song is one of a series of soft, acoustic pieces which Young wrote 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 guitar, which he could play sitting down. Originally, this song was meant to segue with the song "A Man Needs a Maid", and was therefore played on piano. It was played in this manner during Young's solo shows in 1971, but he abandoned this approach midway through the tour and began to play it on guitar as it is now known. Additionally, one line that was cut when the two songs became separate entities was "Afraid/A man feels afraid." An example of the segued version appears on Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 release. James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt sang backup, though they don't come in until the end of the song. In 1999, Young used the guitar riff again on CSN&Y's "Slowpoke." After “Heart of Gold” topped the chart, in March,
I Saw the Light – Todd Rundgren
This song is about a mixed-up young man, perhaps a teenage boy, who stumbles into his first affair and doesn't know if he loves the girl. This was the first song on the album. According to the liner notes of Something/Anything?, Rundgren thought it would be a hit, so he placed it first just like Motown used to do with their records. Rundgren began his career in Woody's Truck Stop, a Philadelphia-based group created on the model of Paul Butterfield Blues Band. However, he wanted to pursue a more pop/rock-oriented sound and left the band to form the garage rock group Nazz in 1967. The group gained minor recognition with the songs "Open My Eyes" and "Hello It's Me" (#41 Canada) - (He later recorded a solo, uptempo version of "Hello It's Me"; it became a Top Ten hit and remains one of his signature songs). After a moderately successful solo career, Rundgren established a band called Utopia. This band featured an interesting character completely disguised in a silver suit, M. Frog Labat (Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi) on synthesizers, who also put out his own electronics/keyboards-based solo album. In late 2005, rumors began circulating that The Cars were planning to re-form despite bass player Benjamin Orr's death and the oft-mentioned refusal of former lead singer Ric Ocasek to even consider any reunion. Eventually it was revealed that The New Cars were to complete their lineup with veteran bass player and former Rundgren bandmate Kasim Sulton and studio drummer Prairie Prince of The Tubes, who had played on XTC's Rundgren-produced Skylarking and who has recorded and toured with Rundgren. They were joined by original Cars band members Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes. The New Cars' first single, "Not Tonight," was released on
(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All – The Fifth Dimension
In the early 1960s, Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo, a former beauty pageant winner, got together with two other friends from
Oh Girl – The Chi-Lites
This was written and sung by group leader Eugene Record. The other three Chi-Lites contributed a few wordless harmonies and one line per verse. Of the many cover versions (by Paul Young, Leo Sayer, Smokey Robinson among others), nearly everyone swipes the harmonica part, proof of how key it is to the song's arrangement. According to the Independent newspaper from
Day After Day – Badfinger
Badfinger was a formed in
How Do You Do? – Mouth & Macneal
Mouth & MacNeal was a pop duo from The
Day By Day – Godspell
Godspell was a musical created by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on