Monday, March 5, 2012

Still Reaching For The Stars

Holy cats, apparently the last time I mentioned American Top 40 on this blog was November! I am still listening, though apparently I've not had as much to say lately about it. Let's change that today, with a review of this past weekend's airing of the program for March 4, 1972. Your humble blogger was still a few months from entering this world at the time.

I remember commenting last year about a show where Sister Sledge had two songs on the countdown simultaneously. Well, this one had two hits by Melanie (Safka) at the same time! Point of fact, the prior week had three - "Brand New Key" dropped off the list for the week of this program. Unreal.

I always find it interesting to hear songs on these shows that have been edited from their album version, since these single edits have almost uniformly fallen by the wayside over the years. I mean, Yes' "Roundabout" fitting comfortably into a segment with Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" probably won't happen today, since the full-length version is over eight minutes. The real surprise in this department turned out to be Don McLean's "American Pie". I knew the song had to be split over both sides of a 45, but this edition eliminated the intro and shortened it further! "American Pie" zipping by in 3 minutes flat is unexpected.

There was a nice variety of music on this show, and much of it still holds up reasonably well. You can't say the decade was nothing but schlock when you can have James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon, Carole King, Al Green, and Neil Young among the top hitmakers in a three hour span. The likes of the Chakachas were rubbing shoulders with good company!

There was a lot to love about this show, as it was during a time before the music of the decade descended into pure cheese. Seriously, even I have trouble listening to songs on those shows from 1979. This was nice and balanced. As an added bit of historical context, here's a PDF of a cue sheet from 1972. I find stuff like this fascinating as far as the charting the ebb and flow of the record business.

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