Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 1972

February 29, 1972: 

 (click to enlarge)

10. Heart Of Gold - Neil Young: 
Neil Young didn't really have a lot of "pop" success as a solo artist ... only three of his solo releases made The Top 40 ... but this one was HUGE ... and it went all the way to #1. The on-again, off-again member of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young) also topped the LP chart with "Harvest", the album from whence this single came!

9. Joy - Apollo 100: 
Here's another FINE example of "classic" (or would that be "CLASSICAL") rock.  Apollo 100's "popped-up" arrangement of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (retitled simply as "Joy") went all the way to #1 here in Chicago ... and peaked at #6 nationally.  

8. Sweet Seasons - Carole King: 
After writing literally hundreds of hit songs for other artists, Carole King released her "Tapestry" album in 1971 and finally enjoyed some MAJOR chart success of her very own. (It was the Album Of The Year in fact ... and remains one of the best-selling and most popular albums of all time!) The follow-up LP, "Music", spawned the hit single "Sweet Seasons" in 1972.

7. Let's Stay Together - Al Green: 
Four decades before President Barrack Obama crooned it at a political gathering, Al Green scored the BIGGEST Hit of his entire career when "Let's Stay Together" went all the way to #1. Seriously ... has a day EVER gone by since 1972 when you HAVEN'T heard this one on the radio?!?!? Reverend Al hit a universal nerve when he recorded THIS tune.

6. Everything I Own - Bread: 
I always thought that this was one of Bread's most beautiful love songs ... then, after seeing them in concert, and learning that David Gates actually wrote the song not about one of the lost loves of his life but rather his father's recent death ... the lyrics take on a whole new, even more powerful meaning in that context. Listen closely to the words the next time you hear this song with that thought in mind ... and I'm sure you'll come away with a whole new feeling about this song. (Better yet, why not give Scott Shannon a call today and ask him to play it!!!  He's been counting down Leap Year Favorites all day long!) An absolute Bread favorite.

5. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Robert John: 
Although the definitive version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" will always be the one recorded by The Tokens (who took it to #1 in 1961), Robert John didn't do too badly with his 1972 remake ... it peaked at #2!!! 
In fact, he had a little bit of "inside help" on this one ... former Tokens member Hank Medress produced John's version.  Robert John first hit the pop charts back in 1958 under his REAL name, Bobby Pedrick, Jr., when, at the ripe old age of 12, his song "White Bucks And Saddle Shoes" went to #74 on the Billboard Chart. His high falsetto voice was the perfect tool for some other popular remakes after the success of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ... his version of The Mystics' hit "Hushabye" went to #77 later that same year and, after topping the charts with his biggest hit, an original tune called "Sad Eyes" in 1979, remakes of "Hey There Lonely Girl" (#31, 1980), "Sherry" (#70, 1980) and "Bread And Butter" (#68, 1983) followed.

4. Down By The Lazy River - The Osmonds: 
I don't care what you say ... The Osmonds rocked out pretty good on this one. It topped the charts here in Chicago (as did their two previous singles, "One Bad Apple" and "Yo-Yo".)  In fact, brothers Merrill and Alan wrote "Down By The Lazy River", proving that the boys COULD rock when they wanted to! (This ALSO gives me yet ANOTHER excuse to tell my ALL-TIME favorite Osmonds Brothers Story: According to Alan Osmond, Led Zeppelin's road manager once invited The Osmonds to come backstage and meet the band. After a short visit, "One of the band members asked us if we would like to come up on stage with them for their final song, when they played 'Stairway To Heaven'."  Their manager didn't think it was a very good idea, concerned about the image of Led Zeppelin having ANYTHING at all to do with The Osmonds!  But the members of Led Zeppelin insisted. A production assistant "escorted us up the back stairs and to the right side of the stage. The audience, which never stopped applauding to get Zeppelin to come back for an encore, were surprised as The Osmonds revealed themselves from the back of the stage with Zeppelin following. We stood stage right and watched the greatest performance of their song.") Now that's even cooler than the time The Osmonds hired world champion karate guru Chuck Norris to teach them some new, "masculine moves" that could be incorporated into their dance choreography! (Also true!) And all this time you thought these guys were just a bunch of wimps!

3. Precious And Few - Climax: 
At one time or another, we've featured ALL of the hit songs recorded by The Outsiders, the band that Sonny Geraci fronted back in the '60's. You may recall that "Precious And Few" nearly came out as an "Outsiders" track, too, but a lawsuit between former band members as to who really had the rights to the name caused Geraci to change the name on his release to Climax. It was worth it ... "Precious and Few" went all the way to #1, something The Outsiders were never able to do themselves!
2. Hurting Each Other - The Carpenters: 
Certainly one of the hottest recording acts of the '70's, "Hurting Each Other" was just one of 13 songs released by The Carpenters that went into The National Top Ten in an all-too-brief recording career.

***1***  Without You - Nilsson: 
Here's another one of my '70's favorites ... originally written and performed by Badfinger on their "No Dice" album, Nilsson really made this one his own. (It became a HUGE hit again 22 years later for Mariah Carey.)  Badfinger was ALSO on this week's Top 40 Chart with their new single, "Day After Day"  Many years ago, we did a special Forgotten Hits feature, tracing this song from its inception ... starting with the original Pete Ham demo track through the Badfinger recording ... into the Nilsson chart-topping monster power ballad masterpiece and up through the Mariah Carey remake. A good song is a good song is a good song ... no matter WHO does it ... and THIS is a GOOD song!