This Week on Top 40 August 1972

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In the news during the summer of 1972… George Carlin was arrested in Milwaukee for reciting his now-famous “seven words you can never say on television.”

The Democrats had held their national election nominating candidate George McGovern. Just weeks later, his VP nominee, Thomas Eagleton, would withdraw from the race after reports that he had been treated for mental illness. In a few weeks, the Republicans would re-nominate incumbent ticket of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

Bubbling under this week: Harry Nilsson debuted at #23 with “Coconut.” The song would go on to become the singer-songwriter’s third Top 10 single.

Jumping from #38 to #21 was Argent with “Hold Your Head Up,” which was their only charting U.S. hit. The song features a great organ solo by its co-writer Rod Argent. Let John Denver tell you all about it…

Also climbing fast (#19 to #14) was the Hollies with what would be the biggest U.S. hit of their career, “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” The song became their sixth U.S. Top 10. The group from Manchester, England, had no less than 17 Top 10 hits in the U.K.

At #10 this week was Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla,” often cited as Eric Clapton’s signature song. It’s long been known that the song’s lyrics were written by Clapton as a tribute to George Harrison’s then-wife, Pattie Boyd, whom Clapton would later marry.

The song was the title track of the Dominos’ only studio album, 1971’s Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. Though “Layla” the single, stiffed on its initial release, it was included the very next year on a Clapton compilation album and re-released as a single. This time, it struck a chord with radio and became a bonafide top 40 hit. (Its coda was memorably used years’ later in a certain Martin Scorsese film.)

Alice Cooper enjoyed the biggest hit of his career with “School’s Out,” which though it peaked at only #3, remains a defining classic rock anthem. It’s ironic that a song with that title and theme became a hit in late summer as a new school year loomed.

This week’s chart also includes some memorable soul tracks: the beautiful Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway duet, “Where Is The Love,” jumped from #17 to #6 and Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” was #5.

Many who came of age in this era forever link two of the tracks in this week’s Top 10 together, as both hits have held up well and remain popular re-currents on Oldies stations. That would be Gilbert O’Sullivan’s plaintive “Alone Again (Naturally)” and “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” from the Looking Glass.

This was the then-25-year-old O’Sullivan’s first U.S. chart hit; its follow-up, “Clair,” peaked at #2 and the Irishman never returned to the Top 10 after 1973’s “Get Down.” New Jersey’s the Looking Glass were essentially one-hit wonders; “Brandy” would reach #1 later that summer.

10 “Layla” – Derek and the Dominoes (Atco)

9 “How Do You Do” – Mouth & MacNeal (Philips)

8 “Lean On Me” – Bill Withers (Sussex)

7 “School’s Out” – Alice Cooper (Warner Bros.)

6 “Where Is The Love” – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (Atlantic)

5 “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” – Luther Ingram (Koko)

4 “Too Late To Turn Back Now” – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (United Artists)

3 “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” – The Looking Glass (Epic)

2 “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” – Wayne Newton (Chelsea)

1. “Alone Again (Naturally)” – Gilbert O’Sullivan (MAM)

(Chart courtesy of www.musicradio77.com)

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