Saturday Single No. 468

Having touched on the autumn of 1972 in yesterday’s post about being awakened at 6:42 each school morning, I thought I should look today at the music of that same autumn.

I know what I was listening to: In the car, Top 40 from KDWB; in the basement, my nearly complete collection of the Beatles along with bits of Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Mountain, the Moody Blues, and Stephen Stills on his own as well as with his partners Crosby, Nash & Young; and in my room as I fell asleep, either the progressive album rock sound of St. Cloud State’s KVSC-FM or the Top 40 of WLS in distant Chicago.

(My late evening radio listening had dwindled in the year since I’d bought a used TV from my janitor friend Mike. I now watched The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson while I ate my bedtime snack of vanilla ice cream topped with Quik and switched to the radio when I became sleepy.)

We’ve covered a lot of that here already (even my bedtime snack choice, which I noted in a post in early 2008), so how can we make a search for a single tune from that season interesting and different? Well, we can take a look at the Billboard charts for that autumn, check out the records that were at No. 72 for the first six weeks of that season, and go from there. As I check out the charts and sort through that long-ago autumn, I’ll no doubt begin to recall more of what life was like for me in late 1972, so these bits are likely to get longer as we go.

A couple days after autumn began, and not long after St. Cloud State’s fall quarter began, the No. 72 spot on the Hot 100 of September 23 was held down by an artist who’s been mentioned just once in this space: Lyn Collins. Her funky “Think (About It)” fit with both her work as a member of the James Brown Revue and her being tagged with the nickname of “The Female Preacher.” “Think (About It)” would peak at No. 66.

A week later, as what seems to have been an uneventful September closed its books, the No. 72 record was “Money Back Guarantee” by the Five Man Electrical Band, a fun and hooky pop-rock record taking on consumerism and hucksterism and then shifting into a love song two-thirds of the way in. The record, which I doubt I ever heard until today, went no higher than No. 72.

As October started, I settled into my sophomore year. (I recall taking speech communications and music theory that quarter – and doing well in both – but I’d have to work to remember my two other courses, in which I was likely not as successful.) During that month’s first week, the No. 72 spot in the Hot 100 was still occupied by the Five Man Electrical Band.

Another week passed, and I was no doubt distressing over the Minnesota Vikings, who were 1-3 en route to a 7-7 season. On October 14, the No. 72 record in the Billboard Hot 100 was “So Long Dixie” by Blood, Sweat & Tears. The record, a mid-tempo paean to a southern nightspot and its lady of the house (if I’m hearing and reading things accurately), just missed the Top 40, peaking a few weeks later at No. 44.

By the time the third Saturday in October rolled around in 1972, I’d probably begun to realize – as I wrote here at least once – that the kids I hung around with during my freshman year had gone various directions, none of which was mine. I began to bounce between groups of folks, and as that bouncing began in earnest, the No. 72 record was one that seems to have left a lemon in my mouth: “Something’s Wrong With Me” by Austin Roberts. Maybe that taste was because I had no one, not even a departed love, about whom to obsess at the time. Anyway, the record went to No. 12.

October’s end in 1972 was probably about the time when I began what would be a slow-motion (and eventually unsuccessful) courtship of a young lady who tended the main entrance to the library portion of St. Cloud State’s Centennial Hall during the same hours I was assigned to the nearby equipment distribution office. Sitting at No. 72 during the last week of that month was “Dialogue (Part I and II)” by Chicago, a five-minute edit of the seven-minute pair of similarly named titles on the group’s Chicago V album. I know the album pieces, but I don’t recall hearing the single on the radio at all, although it went to No. 24.

So we have five records to consider from this brief jaunt through a six-week slice of 1972. The only one of them I recall hearing on the radio is “Something’s Wrong With Me,” and although it’s not as unpleasant this morning as it seemed forty-three years ago, I’m still not fond of it. Although I’m tempted by the Blood, Sweat & Tears single, the idealist in me (who was actually hopeful as he sat down to watch the election returns that autumn after casting his first presidential vote for George McGovern) insists on “Dialogue (Part I and II),” which is, sadly, still pertinent:

We can make it happen.
We can change the world now.
We can save the children.
We can make it better.
We can make it happen.
We can save the children.
We can make it happen.

So here, from 1972, is Chicago’s “Dialogue (Part I and II),” and it’s today’s Saturday Single:

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