January 2016

The_Doobie_Brothers_-_Toulouse_Street#7 – The Doobie Brothers – “Listen to the Music” – (1972)

This was the breakthrough hit for The Doobie Brothers. It’s an absolute classic and their best song (although some of the later, blue-eyed soul stuff they did with Michael McDonald is wonderfully melodious). This track (which is a little Southern-sounding) made it to #11 on the Hot 100.

Chicago_-_Chicago_V#8 – Chicago – “Saturday In The Park” – (1972)

Here is one of Chicago’s best songs. It was their biggest hit at the time, peaking at #3 and propelling their album, Chicago V, to #1. This was the only song of note from this album. The opening piano riff here is quite famous and then the horns kick in and take you away.

220px-Hobo's_Lullaby#9 – Arlo Guthrie – “City of New Orleans” – (1972)

Arlo Guthrie, folk music royalty, released his best song in 1972. It’s actually a cover of a song by Steve Goodman, which was released the year before. It’s about a train going from Chicago to New Orleans and it was a top 20 hit for Guthrie – his biggest. It’s great.

Jim_Croce_-_You_Don't_Mess_Around_with_Jim#10 – Jim Croce – “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” – (1972)

This was Jim Croce’s second single from his third album – an album that went to #1 and had some of Croce’s best songs. This song peaked at #17 and is one of his best known hits, still receiving airplay today. It’s about a guy talking to a telephone operator, trying to track down an ex… something people don’t do anymore.

LogginsMessina-SittinInAlbumCover#11 – Loggins & Messina – “Danny’s Song” – (1971)

Ga! I was doing so well, every song up to this point had actually been from 1972. But this album came out in late 1971 and so did this single. This song was written by Kenny Loggins and recorded by another band before he and Jim Messina put it on their awesome album Sittin’ In –  which was supposed to be a Loggins solo album but producer Jim Messina kept providing backing vocals and guitar work and they teamed up and ended up rivaling Seals & Crofts for the crown of soft rock duo kings.

looking_glassf#12 – Looking Glass – “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” – (1972)

We can safely call the Looking Glass as a one-hit wonder as this Billboard #1 hit was far and away their largest hit. The song is about a female bartender in a Northeast port town who waits for her man to return from the sea. It’s soft rock perfected. 

No_Secrets_(Carly_Simon_album_-_cover_art)#13 – Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain” – (1972)

“You’re so Vain” has more legend around it than nearly any other song I can think of. She’s always said she’d never tell who it was about but only recently has she said that it is about three different people, with one of them being Warren Beatty. She’s claimed that it is definitely not about James Taylor… but who the other two people are remain a mystery. Carly has had other hits, but this is what she will always be known for.

corneliusbr_cornelius_101b#14 – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – “Treat Her Like a Lady” – (1972)

This single came out in 1971 but the album came out the following summer. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose were made up of brothers Carter and Eddie Cornelius and their sister Rose. The fourth member is their other sister Billie Jo that joined the group in ’72. This was their first single and, while not their biggest hit, it just might be their best.

Still_Bill#15 – Bill Withers – “Lean On Me” – (1972)

Sorry if this one seems a little low on the list. Considered by some to be one of the greatest songs of all time, “Lean on Me” was a #1 hit for Bill Withers in the summer of ’72. Written by Withers, this song would be covered by Club Nouveau in the late 1980s and would again reach #1.

Cover_of_Sloppy_Seconds#16 – Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – “Cover of the Rolling Stone” – (1972)

Songs like this really aren’t made anymore. It’s a pop rock song that borders on novelty record status. It was written by Shel Silverstein and is about being a rock star and appearing on, well, the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. But, the song is written from the perspective of someone who hasn’t made it yet… which is kind of ironic as this song ended up in the top ten. The band did make it on the cover in 1973 (although it was illustrated). 

220px-Summer_Breeze#17 – Seals & Crofts– “Summer Breeze” – (1972)

Jim Seals and Darrell Crofts were two kings of soft rock in the 1970s. This one is their finest work and it’s been covered many times. Weird fact, their three biggest hits (this included) all peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. Every summer we do a “songs for summer” countdown of basically newer music. This song would fit perfectly on any of those lists.

220px-Talking_Book#18 – Stevie Wonder – “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” – (1972)

Talking Book is one of Stevie Wonder’s greatest albums, producing two #1 singles, including this one. This was also a Grammy Award-winner and remains one of Stevie’s top tracks.

nicetobewithyou#19 – Gallery – “Nice To Be With You” – (1972)

Gallery, of Detroit, was a one-hit wonder with this #4 hit on the Hot 100. It was the longest-charting single of 1972 and it’s one of those songs from one-hit wonder bands of this era that received heavy airplay on “Oldies”-format radio stations over the past 20 years, although, sadly, it’s quickly becoming one of the oldest songs you can still find on FM radio.