By Jack Sharkey, November 24, 2017

 

1972

As recording technology advanced (thank you Beatles, Brian Wilson and Frank Sinatra) music began to evolve as artists were able to transfer all of the music in their heads onto tape. Nineteen Seventy-Two was a watershed year for studio recordings that was only matched up until that time by the one year period from mid-1966 through mid-1967.  

 

Family Affair - Sly Stone In his later years he became a casualty of his genius but at the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s Sly Stone was the consumate musician and rock star. Hassling with his band and record label, Stone recorded There's A Riot Going On in his basement studio (an expensive proposition in the day) and used his clout to force his record label to release the album as it was recorded. Today that's kind of normal, in 1972 it was heresy.    

 

Roundabout - Yes Normally for the 50 years - 5 Songs - 50 weeks series we try to find a video that shows the artist performing the song at the time it was released, but Roundabout is the stunning result of what happens when five musicians have the time and money to create a studio masterpiece that really can't be recreated live, so only the original will really work. This is certainly not the first example of that kind of recording but whether you like the song or not, if you're ever curious how instruments and voices are supposed to sound - this is the recording to listen to.     

 

American Pie - Don McLean The entire history of rock and roll from Buddy Holly's 1959 death in a plane crash to McLean's apparent antipathy toward Mick Jagger in one seven minute song.     

 

Popcorn - Hot Butter Originally recorded in 1969 on a hi-fidelity record meant to show off the power of the Moog synthesizer, Hot Butter's 1972 version is quite possibly the worst song ever (and it most definitely spawned the worst dance routine ever), but it was a huge smash and the song that made the music industry pay attention to the potential of the synthesizer.

 

Rockin' Robin - Michael Jackson Every bubblegum star was just a poor rip-off of Michael Jackson who could do no wrong in the early 1970s (I mean, he sung a love song to a rat which charted higher than this ode to a bird). The Jackosn 5's remake of the 1958 Bobby Day hit was credited solely to Michael Jackson as he began to assume the superstar status that would some forty years later consume him.   

 

 

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