(Pictured: Elton John, dressed conservatively by his standards, on Top of the Pops in 1972.)
Last week’s post about the American Top 40 show from December 16, 1972, is followed, as night follows the day, by a post about some of the bottom 60 songs on the chart in that same week.
42. “And You and I (Part 2)”/Yes
58. “Let It Rain”/Eric Clapton
71. “Woman to Woman”-“Midnight Rider”/Joe Cocker
74. “The Jean Genie”/David Bowie
75. “The Relay”/The Who
Just as the top of this week’s chart was full of great soul music, there’s lots of respectable English rock down below (and up at #20 with Jethro Tull and “Living in the Past” as well).
43. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul”/Grand Funk Railroad
67. “Good Time Sally”/Rare Earth
88. “One Way Out”/Allman Brothers Band
Respectable American rock, too.
45. “Why Can’t We Live Together”/Timmy Thomas
48. “Oh Babe What Would You Say”/Hurricane Smith
54. “Dancing in the Moonlight”/King Harvest
62. “The World Is a Ghetto”/War
85. “Cover of the Rolling Stone”/Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
98. “Last Song”/Edward Bear
These songs are strongly associated in my head with the winter of 1973 and one particular image: looking out at the world through a frosted window. It’s not necessarily a school-bus window, although it could be. I heard these songs and other memorable ones every morning as the bus wound its way through the back roads of Clarno and Cadiz townships, WLS playing on the radio.
46. “Crocodile Rock”/Elton John
53. “Rocky Mountain High”/John Denver
A pair of future iconic hits on the way up. Elton was in his second week on the chart on his way to #1, Denver in his fourth on his way to #9.
52. “In Heaven There Is No Beer”/Clean Living. “In Heaven There Is No Beer” is a rock version of a song familiar to those of us who grew up in polka-band country. Back when I was doing a Top 40 morning show, I used to close my Friday shows with it.
63. “You’re a Lady”/Peter Skellern
79. “You’re a Lady”/Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando
Peter Skellern was a British singer and pianist whose success with “You’re a Lady” led to a long career in which he scored TV and radio programs, wrote for the stage, and even created some sacred choral pieces toward the end of his life. “You’re a Lady” was a #3 hit in the UK and reached #50 in the States. The Dawn cover got to #70 on the Hot 100; it was the first single from the Tie a Yellow Ribbon album, the title song of which would create an earthquake in the spring of 1973.
65. “Day and Night”/The Wackers. The liner notes to the Wackers’ album Shredder claim that members of Monty Python were on a Canadian tour and visited the studio while the album (which contains “Day and Night”) was being recorded in Montreal, but the Pythons didn’t tour Canada until 1973, so I dunno. “Day and Night” was a big hit in Canada but this was its Hot 100 peak.
68. “We Need Order”/Chi-Lites. “We Need Order” has the most confusing lyrics you’ll ever come across. I can’t figure out what the point is supposed to be, but it’s the Chi-Lites, so it sounds pretty good.
69. “Special Someone”/Heywoods. The Heywoods were from Cincinnati. They got their big break thanks to the Osmonds, who put them on as an opening act, which led to a record deal. As Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, they would hit #1 with “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” in a couple of years. “Special Someone” had peaked at #64 during the week of December 9, 1972.
72. “Reelin’ and Rockin'”/Chuck Berry. This live version of a song Berry first recorded in 1957 was on The London Chuck Berry Sessions, and was released as the followup to “My Ding-a-Ling.” It’s immeasurably better, but it would have to be.
83. “I Just Want to Make Love to You”/Foghat
87. “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”/Slade
This chart also contains some English rockers not from the A list.
91. “You Can Do Magic”/Limmie and Family Cookin’. A group formed in Canton, Ohio, that was co-produced by Sandy Linzer, best known for a number of co-writing some Four Seasons hits, most famously “Working My Way Back to You.” Lead singer Limmie B. Good was still an adolescent when the group made its lone album, and in an era when pre-pubescent Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson became huge stars, you can’t blame a kid for trying. “You Can Do Magic” was a sizable hit in the UK but got only to #84 on the Hot 100, despite going to #1 at WKWK in Wheeling, West Virginia during Christmas week in 1972.