Songs to Learn and Sing Golden Years #14: 1972

by George_East on October 28, 2014

This post is long long overdue.   With the posting by Jackie South of his Bobby Womack tribute song, the great Across 110th Street all the way back at #907, 1972 became the 14th year to have had 20 songs posted in our Songs To Learn and Sing feature and thereby enter our Golden Years pantheon.  The others (with the total number of songs overall to be posted at the time the year reached the landmark in brackets) are:   1967 (411),1969 (440), 1980 (495),1977 (539),2011 (543),1979 (561),2012 (641),1978 (706),1981 (730),2008 (758), 2013 (790), 1994 (848) and 1988 (855).

Looking back now 1972 was the last year of the post-War economic boom, the like of which had not been seen before or after. The “1970s” of popular (particularly right wing press) imagination – industrial unrest, stagflation, political and economic inertia were about to kick in, as in the wake of the Yom Kippur war in 1973, OPEC doubled oil prices, which with the end of the Bretton Woods system and the floating of the dollar (itself a consequence of US debt from the Vietnam War), saw a massive inflationary shock into the economies of the west.

1972 was the year of President Richard Nixon’s surprise visit to China, as Henry Kissinger played a diplomatic chessboard as part of the cold war, exploiting the bamboo curtain that had arisen in the light of Mao’s cultural revolution, as détente led to the SALT and ABM treaties. While Nixon was triumphant abroad and was heading for a landslide victory in the November election, he was sowing the seeds of his own downfall with the Watergate break-ins and the ordering of their covering up.

Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik saw the mutual recognition of West and East Germany, and the Federal Republic’s opening of diplomatic relations with Poland, including the recognition of the Oder-Neisse line which had been agreed at the Potsdam conference as the post-war border.

It was a year of terrorism. The Munich Olympics saw the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by the Black September group.  Ulrike Meihhof and Andreas Baader of the Red Army Faction were arrested and in London the Angry Brigade went on trial.  It was also one of the worst years of the troubles, as Northern Ireland exploded following the Bloody Sunday massacre on January 30.  Governor George Wallace was shot in Alabama, in one of the last notable events of the civil rights era.

In Uganda, Idi Amin expelled 50,000 of citizens of Asian origin.

In Japan Atari release the first arcade video game, Pong, in where a two lines moving parallel bat a dot between them. Apollo 17 became the last manned Moon mission to date.

Musically, 1972 saw the peak of art-school glam rock with Roxy Music’s first album, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and T-Rex’s The Slider. Some of the other great albums released that year were:  Aretha FranklinYoung Gifted and Black; Al GreenLet’s Stay Together; Linda Rondstadt – Linda Rondstadt; Jackson Browne – Jackson Browne;  Crazy Horse – Loose;  Dave Edmunds – RockpileCaptain BeefheartThe Spotlight Kid;  Jimmy Smith – Root Down;  The Allman Brothers Band – Eat A PeachNeil YoungHarvest; Nick DrakePink MoonJohn Lee HookerNever Get Out of These Blues Alive; Brinsley Schwarz – Silver Pistol; Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything?Stevie WonderMusic of My MindCreedence Clearwater RevivalMardi Gras;  Graham Nash & David Crosby – Graham Nash David Crosby; Stephen Stills & Manassas – Manassas; Fleetwood Mac – Bare TreesRichard ThompsonHenry The Human FlyBig Star – #1 RecordLou ReedLou ReedThe Rolling StonesExile On Main StreetRandy NewmanSail AwayJim CroceYou Don’t Mess Around With Jim;  Alice Cooper – School’s Out; Harry NilssonSon of Schmillson; Curtis MayfieldSuperfly;  The Band – Rock of Ages; The O-Jays – Back Stabbers; Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes;  Sandy Denny – Sandy;  Brinsely Schwarz – Nervous On The Road;  Stevie WonderTalking Book; Al GreenI’m Still In Love With You; Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill; Captain BeefheartClear SpotScott Walker The Moviegoer; Tim BuckleyGreetings From LA; Stealer’s Wheel –Stealer’s Wheel; The Bee GeesTo Whom It May Concern; Can – Ege Bamyasi; Lou ReedTransformer; Marvin GayeTrouble Man; Bobby WomackAcross 110th Street.

The first 20 Songs To Learn and Sing from 1972 (in order of appearance) were:

  1. #9: Townes Van Zandt, Pancho and Lefty;
  2. #28: The Temptations, Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone;
  3. #52: Big Star, Thirteen;
  4. #179: Roxy Music, Virginia Plain;
  5. #245: Lou Reed, Vicious;
  6. #340: Van Morrison, Jackie Wilson Said;
  7. #343: David Bowie, Jean Genie;
  8. #373: Stevie Wonder, Superstition;
  9. #389: The Eagles, Take It Easy;
  10. #590: David Bowie, Suffragette City;
  11. #639: Paul Simon, Mother and Child Reunion;
  12. #664: Aretha Franklin, Climbing Higher Mountains;
  13. #678: Lou Reed, Walk on The Wild Side;
  14. #763: Slade, Mama Weer All Crazee Bow;
  15. #787: Lou Reed, Hangin’ Around;
  16. #802: Stevie Wonder, Tuesday Heartbreak;
  17. #820: Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come;
  18. #865: Curtis Mayfield, Pusherman;
  19. #892: America, A Horse With No Name;
  20. #907: Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street.



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