December 1972 – I Am Woman by Helen Reddy

December 1972 – a song popular in this month – I Am Woman by Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy wrote this when she couldn’t find enough songs to include on her first album, I Don’t Know How To Love Him.

Interesting facts about I Am Woman & Helen Reddy

Included on the 1971 album, Reddy didn’t like the way this version came out and neither did her producer (he thought she sounded “too butch”), but they put it on the album anyway.

Movie producer Mike Frankovitch wanted to use it in his “feminist comedy” Stand Up And Be Counted. Reddy agreed on two conditions: That she would re-record the song, and that he would donate $1000 each to Women’s Centers in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

When this song got a makeover in 1972, the arrangement was changed, as were some lyrics (“I can face anything” became “I can do anything”), and a verse was added. These tweaks helped the song become a huge hit.

This song was a cultural touchstone in America, as it underscored the feminist movement. Like the movement, the song proved divisive, generally split along gender lines with women loving the song (or at least appreciating its message) and some men hating it.

Reddy is Australian, and this song became the first Hot 100 #1 by an Australian-born artist. Some of her other hits include “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),” “Angie Baby,” “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” and “Delta Dawn.”

Reddy won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for this song. In her acceptance speech, she thanked “God, because She makes everything possible.”

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November 1972 – Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond

November 1972 – a song popular in this month – Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond

This was inspired by Mozart’s “Piano Concerto no. 21.” It’s probably the bounciest hit inspired by the classical composer.

Interesting facts about Song Sung Blue & Neil Diamond

Diamond: “This is one to which I never paid too much attention. A very basic message, unadorned. I didn’t even write a bridge to it… I had no idea that it would be a huge hit or that people would want to sing along with it.”

He wears shiny shirts adorned with beads on stage. This can come off as cheesy, but he does it to make himself easier to see.

Neil Diamond gets asked to play “Sweet Caroline” all the time, but he revealed during a Reddit AMA that his favorite song to perform is “I Am…I Said.”

Other artists to record this song include Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Wayne Newton, and the Scottish Punk band Altered Images.

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November 1972 – I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash

November 1972 – a song popular in this month – I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash

This is not a song about suicide, as has been hypothesized. It is a song of hope and courage for individuals who have experienced adversity in their lives but have overcome it.

Interesting facts about I Can See Clearly Now & Johnny Nash

Nash wrote this song himself. He recorded it in London with members of The Average White Band, who in 1974 had a hit of their own with “Pick Up The Pieces.”

This was #1 in the US for four weeks late in 1972.

Born in Houston, Texas, he started his career as a pop singer in the late ’50s with his first charting hit, “A Very Special Love.”

“There are three artists who’ve really influenced me in my singing career,” Nash told Melody Maker in 1969. “They are the late Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Harry Belafonte. They all have something I wish I had.”

A cover version by Jimmy Cliff (for a time, a bigger reggae star than Bob Marley) went to #18 in the US in 1994. His version was used in the John Candy movie Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team.

This was featured in the opening sequence of the 1997 John Cusack film Grosse Pointe Blank. It was also used in the movie Thelma And Louise.

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October 1972 – Ben by Michael Jackson

October 1972 – a song popular in this month – Ben by Michael Jackson

This song is one of Michael Jackson’s favorites, and it was his first #1 hit as a solo artist. Motown recorded him as a solo artist when The Jackson 5 stopped selling well.

Interesting facts about Ben & Michael Jackson

Jackson was 14 when he recorded this. He became the youngest artist to top the US charts both as a solo artist and as a member of a group (The Jackson 5).

Despite being about a rat, the lyrics are touching and sentimental, and make no reference to rodents. This made it a sturdy song about friendship:

They don’t see you as I do I wish they would try to

I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Ben

This was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. Jackson sang it at the ceremony in 1973.

Michael was the seventh of nine children (Janet and Randy are younger). They grew up in a two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana. The six boys slept in one room, while the three girls shared the other with the parents, Joe and Katherine.

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October 1972 – Do It Again by Steely Dan

October 1972 – a song popular in this month – Do It Again by Steely Dan

This was the breakout hit from Steely Dan’s first album.

Interesting facts about Do It Again & Steely Dan

Like many of their songs, it’s hard to make sense of the lyrics, which seem to be about some combination of addiction, second chances and the inevitability of fate. It’s an example of a Steely Dan song that doesn’t make literal sense, but creates a mood.

This was Steely Dan’s first single. It became a hit in both the US and UK, earning the group a lot of press coverage. The group’s sound was very unusual, and when asked to explain it, they sometimes described it as “smart rock.”

They’re named after a dildo from the William Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. Donald Fagen recalled to Mojo magazine: “We had to come up with a name in a hurry and Walter and I were both Burroughs fans, though he was not known at the time. It was an in-joke- who’s going to know what Steely Dan was? And we figured that, like most of our bands in the past, it would fall apart after three months, so we didn’t think much about it.”

In 1981, they stopped recording. They got back together in 2000 and released Two Against Nature, which won the Grammy for Album Of The Year.

Waylon Jennings, Falco, Tori Amos and Smash Mouth have all covered this song.

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September 1972 – Black and White by Three Dog Night

September 1972 – a song popular in this month – Black and White by Three Dog Night

This song is about racism, and was inspired by a US Supreme Court ruling that segregation in public schools is illegal.

Interesting facts about Black and White & Three Dog Night

When Three Dog Night recorded this, it came at a time when civil rights was a big issue in America. The message of racial equality was emphasized by their use of a children’s choir in the repeated chorus during the closing moments of the song.

Three Dog Night had three lead vocalists: Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells. Hutton sang lead on this track.

An influential American folk singer named Earl Robinson wrote this in 1954 with lyricist David Arkin (who is the father of actor Alan Arkin).

The Jamaican reggae group Greyhound recorded this in 1971; their version made #6 in the UK.

Other artists to record this include Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor and Inner Circle.

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September 1972 – Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

September 1972 – a song popular in this month – Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Denver started writing this song during the Perseid Meteor Shower which happens every August.

Interesting facts about Rocky Mountain High & John Denver

Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. in Roswell, New Mexico, John Denver was a 1970s music icon. His music was difficult to classify, touching Pop, Country, and Folk genres.

Although not a native, Denver proclaimed Colorado to be his favorite state and the song is an ode to the Rocky Mountain State.

Some radio stations initially banned the song, erroneously thinking it referred to marijuana.

Denver guest hosted The Tonight Show many times, hosted the Grammy Awards five times in the 1970s and 1980s, and starred in Oh, God opposite George Burns in 1977.

On October 12, 1997, Denver died when his two-seat light plane crashed off the coast of California, near Monterey Bay.

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August 1972 – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass

August 1972 – a song popular in this month – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass

The four members of Looking Glass are alumni of Rutgers University, and the Spring 2009 Rutgers alumni magazine carried an article about this song and the band itself.

Interesting facts about Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) & Looking Glass

Released as the B-side of ‘Don’t It Make You Feel Good,’ the song was overlooked, as was the A-side, for that matter, until Harv Moore, a Washington DC disc jockey took it up as a personal cause.

The band, appearing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and at Carnegie Hall, never came close to matching ‘Brandy’s’ success.

There was a song called “Brandy” by an artist named Scott English that was popular around the same time in the UK. When Barry Manilow recorded it, he changed the title to “Mandy” to avoid confusion with this song.

“The band recorded the song seven times before they got it right. ‘Brandy’ – based on the name of (lead singer) Elliot Lurie’s high school sweetheart ‘Randy’ – tells the story of a musician torn between his love for a life at sea and his love for a barmaid.

‘Brandy’ was part of the sound track for the film Charlie’s Angels, for which band members and Peter Sweval’s estate each received a royalty check of $30K.

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August 1972 – Garden Party by Rick Nelson

This past Monday, I had surgery.  Prior to the surgery, when I scheduled my posts for this week, I had no idea how my recovery would be going.  I felt I would need all week for some recovery before I would post about my status.  My plan is to update you on how I am feeling and the status of my recovery in the next few days.

For today,

August 1972 – a song popular in this month – Garden Party by Rick Nelson

As a child, Nelson starred with his parents on The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet and became a teen idol as a singer in the ’50s.

Interesting facts about Garden Party & Rick Nelson

On October 15, 1971, he played a “Rock & Roll Spectacular” show with fellow ’50s stars Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Bobby Rydell at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was expected to play his hits, and at first he obliged, opening with “Be-Bop Baby” – not one of his more meaningful songs but a consistent crowd-pleaser. After delivering a few more hits and getting rousing ovations, he started playing newer material, including his country-rock cover of “Honky Tonk Women” from his yet-to-be-released album Rudy the Fifth. For that one, he moved to the piano, and when he finished the song and walked back to his guitar, he heard an unusual sound: booing.

This experience prompted the former teen idol to write “Garden Party,” which became his first US Top 10 hit since 1963’s “For You.”

Nelson was one of the biggest stars during the era 1957-1963, second only to Elvis Presley among American solo artists in terms of popularity and chart success. He was a teen idol, but unlike Elvis, he didn’t move much on stage.

In 1967, his wife Kristin Harmon gave birth to twin boys, Matthew and Gunnar, who later formed the group Nelson. When they scored a #1 hit with “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” in 1990, the Nelson clan became the only family with #1 hits spanning three generations: Ozzie Nelson (with his orchestra) had a #1 in 1935 with “And Then Some.”

He died in a plane crash in 1985 at age 45.

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I will be in ICU for a couple of days and then the recovery begins.  

I appreciate everyone taking the time to stop by, read and leave many wonderful comments.  Due to my surgery and not knowing how I will be feeling; I am disabling the comments on my post today.  I need a few days of recovery and to grow accustom to the new me.  But know soon I will have comments enabled and I will be ready to respond to each one of them. 

December – Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney

December – a popular holiday song this time of year – Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney

This was recorded during the sessions for the McCartney II album, where Paul once again retreated to his farm and laid down all the tracks himself.

Interesting facts about Wonderful Christmastime & Paul McCartney

This continues to receive substantial airplay every year. “The song is what we in the industry call an evergreen, because it gets played all the time,” explained entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick.

Although the members of Wings do not feature on the song, they do appear in the song’s music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.

McCartney is the wealthiest rock star ever. His estimated worth over $1.5 Billion, and He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful musician and contemporary songwriter in history.

Martin Sheen, John Spencer, and Stockard Channing of The West Wing covered this for the NBC Celebrity Christmas album in 2000. Also Eli Young Band recorded a version on the 2011 compilation The Country Christmas Collection. Their cover peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in January 2012.

McCartney performed the song on the December 15, 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live.

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