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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Top 65 of 1972

In 1972, reggae starts to get much bigger.  Hell, even Paul Simon does a reggae song.  If Paul Simon does it, it’s gotta be for real, no?  The “real” glam rock also gets bigger.  Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly soundtrack extends funk passed James Brown, and oh yeah, the Stones release Exile on Main St.   

65.  Mama Were All Crazee Now – Slade (Glam Rock) – 1972

The existence of Quiet Riot isn’t there fault but they really should’ve been more proactive on not letting Quiet Riot exist because it makes them sound worse.  What was Quiet Riot anyway, a Slade cover band?  They like Slade so much, they just emulated them as much as possible to the point where they covered their songs?  I don’t get why American teens accepted Quiet Riot so readily in the early 80s.  Someone should’ve smacked them with Slade records.    

64.  Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon (Reggae) – 1972

Here’s the proof that reggae has crossed over.  It’s no longer about actual reggae performers playing their music.  Here we have a bona fide pop folk rock artist trying his hand at the genre.  (He’s bona fide!)

63.  Free Four – Pink Floyd (Pop Rock) - 1972
62.  Stop Breaking Down – The Rolling Stones (Blues) – 1972

It started with Robert Johnson in the 30s, here we have the Stones in the 70s and next we’ll have The White Stripes at the turn of the millennium. 

61.  Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield (Funk) – 1972
60.  Get on the Good Foot – James Brown (Funk) – 1972
59.  In the Street – Big Star (Pop Rock) – 1972

Where the hell have I heard this song before? 

58.  Childhood’s End – Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock) – 1972

Obscured By Clouds always sounds better than I expect it to.  Here we have a song that seems like it’s the same exact groove as “Have a Cigar.”

57.  Which Will – Nick Drake (Folk) – 1972
56.  Old Man – Neil Young (Alt-Country) – 1972

I’m an idiot, seriously.  When I reviewed 1970 and Neil’s song “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, I had confused the fact that he starts out that song with “Old man” just as he does this one.  It’s almost like he ripped himself off, but it’s more probable he didn’t care that he wrote the same song twice. 

55.  Your Turn Me On I’m a Radio – Joni Mitchell (Folk Rock) – 1972
54.  Peace Like a River – Paul Simon (Folk Rock) – 1972
53.  Suffragette City – David Bowie (Glam Rock) – 1972
52.  Her Eyes are a Blue Million Miles – Captain Beefheart (Rock) – 1972
51.  Sweet Black Angel – The Rolling Stones (Alt-Country) – 1972

The politically correctness of 1972 was much different than that of 2011.  The Stones do drop the “N” word in this song, which prevents it from being a classic unfortunately.   

50.  All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople (Glam Rock) – 1972
49.  Melissa – The Allman Brothers (Slow Rock) – 1972
48.  The Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young – 1972

Like an idiot, I never knew this song was about heroin.  I never cared to know the lyrics but the title … man alive, why didn’t I just read the title? 

47.  Torn and Frayed – The Rolling Stones (Alt-Country) – 1972
46.  Wot’s … Uh the Deal – Pink Floyd (Folk Rock) – 1972
45.  Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy (Rock) – 1972
44.  Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire – Joni Mitchell (Folk Rock) – 1972
43.  Big Eyed Beans From Venus – Captain Beefheart (Psychedelic Rock) – 1972

I have to say something about this guy because he just died right? 

42.  Heart of Gold – Neil Young (Alt-Country) – 1972
41.  Do It Again – Steely Dan (Rock) – 1972

Call me crazy, but Steely Dan could still make it in the current musical climate. 

40.  Draw Your Breaks – Scotty (Reggae) – 1972

Another reason why I would like a reggae song: Sampled by Beastie Boys. 

39.  Horse With No Name – America (Folk Rock) – 1972

This is definitely a “van down by the river” song.  In the earlier part of my life, I thought this was a Creedence song, and it probably should have been. 

38.  Obscured by Clouds – Pink Floyd (Instrumental) – 1972
37.  School’s Out – Alice Cooper (Hard Rock) – 1972
36.  Happy – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1972
35.  Stuck in the Middle With You – Stealer’s Wheel (Rock) – 1972

This song is apparently about cutting someone’s ear off. 

34.  Why Can’t We Live Together – Tim Thomas (Rhythm & Blues) – 1972

Does My Morning Jacket know they stole their organ part from “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part 2” from this song, and to a lesser extent does everyone know that Tim Thomas left Villanova as freshman and never really gave it his all in the NBA despite his talent? 

33.  Starman – David Bowie (Glam Rock) – 1972

Many years ago I wrote an email about Ratt’s “Round and Round” and called it glam rock and my friend Scottish Pete (he was from Scotland) taunted me for not knowing the difference between the long haired bands of the 80s and the real glam rock of 70s.  Pete, I apologize for the inconvenience. 

32.  When You’re In – Pink Floyd (Hard Rock) – 1972

The power guitar in this is almost enough to convince me that this is Floyd’s 6th best album.  The Top Five are obviously …

31.  Rocket Man – Elton John (Slow Rock) – 1972
30.  Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple (Hard Rock) – 1972

This song isn’t really doing anything Zeppelin hasn’t already done, but man, what a great power rock riff. 

29.  You’re So Vain – Carly Simon (Pop) – 1972

I wonder if I ever would have heard this song if it weren’t for Faster Pussycat remaking it.  Probably, but still …

28.  Rip This Joint – The Rolling Stones (Rock ‘n Roll) – 1972
27.  Rock and Roll Part Two – Gary Glitter (Glam Rock) – 1972
26.  Perfect Day – Lou Reed (Glam Rock) – 1972

Aside from Wild Side, I’ve never really been a fan of Lou Reed’s solo stuff right after the VU broke up.  I didn’t understand it I guess.  I read that David Bowie produced the Transformer album and now it all of a sudden makes sense. 

25.  Little Child Running Wild – Curtis Mayfield (Rhythm & Blues) – 1972

This is one of those album intro songs that’s so good it dupes you into believing the rest of the album is great. 

24.  I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash (Reggae) – 1972

Reggae is busting wide open with such ferocity that there’s now “pop” reggae such as this Johnny Nash number. 

23.  Lean on Me – Bill Withers (Rhythm & Blues) – 1972

Two things that never happen when I listen to the original version of this song; 1) It never turns into some cheesy 80s synthetic beat, and 2) I never feel like a teacher is going to hit me with a baseball bat. 

22.  Shine a Light – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1972

I believe this was the only track on Exile written by Martin Scorsese. 

21.  Blue Sky – The Allman Brothers (Rock) – 1972
20.  Highway Star – Deep Purple (Hard Rock) – 1972  

So “Smoke on the Water” isn’t best Deep Purple song, who woulda thunk it? 

19.  Go All the Way – The Raspberries (Rock) – 1972

This sounds like a combination between Roy Orbison and 60s rock, but it’s awkward difference amongst early 70s songs works in its favor. 

18.  Pusherman – Curtis Mayfield (Funk) – 1972
17.  Pink Moon – Nick Drake (Folk) – 1972

Has any artist ever been brought back from the dead so successfully by a car commercial?  He’s like Jesus, only if Jesus had actually risen from the grave in the same way a cobra rises from a basket in Eastern hemisphere folklore (and not the real way he rose from the grave, which was because he was indeed infected with a zombie virus RIGHT before he died). 

16.  The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff (Reggae) – 1972

I wonder how much of an impact this rastacrimesaga had to do with the reggae explosion.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say lots. 

15.  Rocks Off – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1972

I love hearing this most when I know all of Exile on Main St. is going to follow. 

14.  Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie (Glam Rock) – 1972

I’m not the biggest Bowie fan, after all I’m ‘Merican, not some bleeding Englishman, but I have to say his brand of early 70s rock is much fresher than everyone else’s. 

13.  Willin – Little Feat (Alt-Country) – 1972

I cannot believe I don’t listen to Little Feat.  This song is amazing. 

12.  Papa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations (Funk) – 1972

I have to give it to these Motown gents, they really got gangsta in their later years. 

11.  You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder (Rhythm & Blues) – 1972

I’m not sure if this is a bad attribute or not, but one of my ginger friends once told me this was her wedding song, so now every time I hear it, I can only think of the couple smiling and dancing.  I probably should be happy that this song brought joy to friends of mine, but now I have no chance to enjoy this song on its own merits.  That knowledge has robbed me of having a memory for this song.  All I think of is gay smiling and dancing. 

10.  Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan (Rock) – 1972  

I can’t pretend I’ve ever been a Steely Dan fan and never really understood what all the quote unquote hype was about, but now I do.  Sometimes all it takes is listening to one’s music amongst what has happened so far, and Steely’s got his own thang going on.                                                        

9.  Sweet Virginia – The Rolling Stones (Alt-Country) – 1972

This song is especially interesting after you’ve just walked a dog. 

8.  Superfly – Curtis Mayfield (Funk) – 1972  

How come there was never a Superfly versus Shaft movie?  Who wouldn’t watch this?  We’ve had Alien vs Predator (yawn), and Freddy vs. Jason (glad it happened but made me dumber).  Isn’t it time for the two kings of black exploitation? 

7.  Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed (Slow Rock) – 1972

It’s obvious the bass line kicks ass and the song in general is wonderful, but that damn chorus line saying “All the colored girls go.”  Nowadays, I appreciate the 70s in a different light.  Times were different.  The politically correct police weren’t nearly as funded, and these goddamn liberals weren’t ruining this country with their equality crap sensitivities.  Never trust the book-learners.  

6.  Ain’t Wasting Time No More – The Allman Brothers (Rock) – 1972
5.  Superstition – Stevie Wonder (Funk) – 1972

At some point in every music lover’s life, you discover Stevie Wonder and it’s most likely because of this song.  Then you realize he never had a complete album his entire career and you become puzzled. 

4.  Across 110th Street – Bobby Womack (Funk) – 1972

Not that I’ve ever dealt drugs, but some songs are so cool they make we want to be involved in a drug deal, and this is one of those.  If I was ever going to be involved in a drug deal, this may be the song I listen to on the way … or “Waiting for the Man” by Velvet Underground, which was actually written about a drug deal.  Wilco’s “Handshake Drugs” would probably not be on list, even though it’s decent tune. 

3.  Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1972
2.  Let It Loose – The Rolling Stones (Slow Rock) – 1972

It’s a toss up between this and “Tumbling Dice” for the 2 spot, but this one gets it because when those horns kick in, man oh man.

1.  Loving Cup – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1972

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this song.  I can’t deny it.  A girl I once knew once tried to convince me this song was about heroin.  I never believed her and accused her of ruining the song’s true beauty.  Fact of the matter is, pretty much every song on Exile is about heroin one way or another, so I guess she was right.  

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