I’ve been writing a lot about 1972 in 2022. 1972 was the year that Richard Nixon went to China, in February. The Watergate break-in was in June. Yet, in November, Nixon was overwhelmingly re-elected, much to my distress at the time.
I have the vast majority of these hits of 1972, on vinyl or compact discs. But I was not a singles buyer. All of these songs were gold records except the ones marked *. I suspect the lack of the designation is a function of the record companies not submitting the paperwork.
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack, six weeks at #1 – one of the best covers ever, especially if you’ve heard the Ewan MacColl version
Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan, six weeks at #1
American Pie, Parts I and II – Don McLean, four weeks at #1. We sang this at my high school reunion last year
Without You – Nilsson, four weeks at #1. Despite my basic cynicism of romance songs at the time, I was a sucker for this one
I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash. four weeks at #1. there are two songs that made me feel hopeful during the pandemic, and both are on this list
Group named after Vespucci
A Horse With No Name – America, three weeks at #1. Before this became a hit, this group played at SUNY New Paltz for fifty cents admission. I didn’t go, alas.
Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me – Mac Davis, three weeks at #1
Me and Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul, three weeks at #1. A great early Philadelphia International/Gamble and Huff track
The Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr. with the Mike Curb Congregation, three weeks at #1. NOT my favorite song
Lean On Me – Bill Withers. This is the other inspirational song. Unfortunately, both Nash and Withers died in 2020.
My Ding-A-Ling – Chuck Berry, two weeks at #1. His ONLY #1 hit, and one of the WORST #1 songs ever.
One week at #1
Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) – Looking Glass
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green. Ah, cousin Al. (He’s not really my cousin, but I used to say that a lot. He was actually born Albert Greene, but sensibly dropped the last letter.)
I Am Woman – Helen Reddy. ANTHEM
*I’ll Take You There – Staple Singers. I SO love this song and this group
Heart Of Gold – Neil Young. In the liner notes from the 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. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there.”
Oh Girl – Chi-Lites
Ben – Michael Jackson. If you don’t think about the song being about a pet rat…
*Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – the Temptations. Read the intro to this post
Song Sung Blue – Neil Diamond
Black and White – Three Dog Night. I wrote about the history of this song here