Researched and written by Sharon Mawer

Number one as we moved into 1972 was T Rex Electric Warrior, going on to spend a total of 8 weeks at the top and by May they had achieved a further 2 no.1 albums, the first time that any artist had three no.1 albums in one year since the Beatles had achieved this feat in both 1964 and 1965, prompting even more comparisons between the two groups and claims that T Rex were the new Beatles. Bolan Boogie, a no.1 compilation culled from the period between 1969 and 1971, and featuring the hit singles Ride A White Swan, Hot Love, Get It On and Jeepster, the electric, rather than folk style of the Beard Of Stars album. Bolan Boogie hit the top for three weeks in May and was preceded two weeks earlier by a reissue and repackaging of Tyrannosaurus Rex's first two albums Prophets Seers And Sages And Angels Of The Ages and My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair But Now They're Content To Wear Stars On Their Brow, both more folk and acoustic albums than the T Rex fanbase were expecting. The double album had 26 tracks, including the re-issued single Debora, recorded both forwards and backwards. However comparisons to the Beatles were premature as Bolan Boogie and the single Metal Guru were to mark the last appearance at the summit of either chart, albums or singles. They did release another album in August, The Slider which could only reach no.4 even though it contained both the 1972 number one singles Telegram Sam and Metal Guru, and their former record company attempted another double repackaging with their 3rd and 4th albums Unicorn and Beard Of Stars but this limped in to no.44.

Simon & Garfunkel may have departed the number one position for the last time, but for one week in March, Paul Simon had his first week at the top as a solo artist with his eponymous debut album. What a difference to the last Simon & Garfunkel project, no soaring ballads which were the hallmark of Garfunkel but a variety of musical styles including reggae on the opening track Mother And Child Reunion, South American influenced Duncan, the acoustic Everything Put Together Falls Apart, blues on the track Paranoia Blues and the lively Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard. Bridge Over Troubled Water was once again, one of the biggest sellers of the year spending 2 weeks at no.2, one in January and one in May, bouncing around the positions between 2 and 8 and ended the year as the sixth best seller overall, not leaving the top 10 until August. The third best seller overall and best selling single artist album was Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits, compiled from all six of their previous albums.

Also enjoying their first no.1 albums with their debut releases were Neil Reid who was just 12 years old when he spent three weeks at the top in February and March with his self titled album after his appearance on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks, peaked at no.2 on the singles charts with Mother Of Mine which was the final track on the album, unusual for a child star to have a more successful album than single, and Lindisfarne with Fog On The Tyne. Lindisfarne finally reached the top in March having first appeared in the chart in October 1971. By the end of 1972, they had a further two top 10 albums Nicely Out Of Tune and Dingly Dell. With three albums in the top 10 of 1972, Lindisfarne were one of the hottest folk rock bands of the early 1970s rivalling Jethro Tull for a while, although they did not use a flute as a main instrument, nor have Ian Anderson's eccentricity. Featuring vocalist Alan Hull, guitarist Simon Cowe, bassist and violinist Rod Clements, mandolin player Ray Jackson and drummer Ray Laidlaw, all from Newcastle on Tyne, they were previously known as Downtown Faction and Brethren but had to change that to avoid clashing with an American group. They chose Lindisfarne, the name of an island off the coast of Northumberland famous for medieval monasteries and manuscripts which fitted the group's image perfectly. Nicely Out Of Tune was the first album released in 1970, an upbeat collection of hippy folk music and folk ballads, although Hull had written one track, the first on the album as a love song, Lady Eleanor which would go on to become their biggest hit single at the height of their popularity in 1972. Their second album, Fog On The Tyne, released in 1971, marked their commercial breakthrough, more folk and singalong pub songs including another hit single Meet Me On The Corner and the title track Fog On The Tyne. Later in 1972, after a frantic period of success, the band released their third album, Dingly Dell was aimed at both the British market but also at achieving international success. There were no hit singles, but rousing singalongs like All Fall Down and Poor Old Ireland and even the country styled Bring Down The Government, aimed almost exclusively at the US market. By losing their essential English quality, Lindisfarne fell between two stools and never recovered, splitting up soon after.

After his initial breakthrough the previous year, Rod Stewart hit the top for a second time for 2 weeks in September with Never A Dull Moment, a rocking reprise of Every Picture Tells A Story, featuring another number one single You Wear It Well and other Rod Stewart compositions True Blue and Lost Paraguayos but also several cover versions of classic songs, Angel, I'd Rather Go Blind and Twistin The Night Away, done in a specifically Rod Stewart style. After the success of Rod Stewart as a solo artist, The Faces finally broke through to the top 10 with A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse, one of five albums released between 1970 and 1974 and featuring the hit single Stay With Me along with rockers Miss Judy's Farm, Too Bad and a cover of Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee. The band ran alongside Rod Stewart's solo career, but as he developed into a superstar, the band became superfluous and drifted apart.

Also achieving a second no.1 this year were Deep Purple with Machine Head, top of the charts for three weeks in April and May and one of the major works of British heavy rock with the tracks Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, Space Truckin and Pictures Of Home. Enjoying their 7th no.1 album however were the Rolling Stones with Exile On Main Street, which although greeted at the time with mixed reviews, has become regarded as one of their finest moments. A double album with the tracks Rocks Off, Torn And Frayed, Let It Loose and the hit single Tumbling Dice.

For 5 months from August 1971, the album chart had experimented with no minimum price for eligibility which had resulted in an influx of budget cover version compilations nearly all priced at 77p. On the 8th of January 1972, this policy was reversed and albums such as Hot Hits 8 and Top Of The Pops Volume 20 were ejected from the chart. The weekly mid price and monthly budget charts were re-introduced, the mid price titles topping the chart in 1972 included Emerson Lake & Palmer's Pictures At An Exhibition, Jim Reeves-Young And Country, King Crimson-Earthbound, Jack Jones-Simply, Man Live At The Padget Rooms Penarth, Elvis Presley Burning Love and the longest running no.1 of the year off the back of the best selling single of 1972, The Pipes And Drums & Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards who spent 14 weeks at the top with Farewell To The Greys. Also reaching the top in the mid price chart were volumes 1 3 & 4 of World Of Your 100 Best Tunes, and the label Samplers Nice n Easy, New Age Of Atlantic which featured artists on the Atlantic records roster, including Dr John, Buffalo Springfield, Yes and Led Zeppelin and Greasy Tuckers Party which included tracks from Man, Brinsley Schwarz and Hawkwind.

The monthly budget albums chart was again dominated by the two series on Hallmark and Music For Pleasure. With just twelve charts produced, Top Of The Pops volumes 21 22 23 24 26 & 27 all reached no.1, as did Hot Hits volumes 9 10 11 12 & 13, between them shutting out all other titles.

What proved to be unpredictable to the chart committee at that time, was that before the year was halfway through, several new record companies came up with the idea of full-mid price albums featuring the hit singles of the day, but the original hit versions, advertising them on TV for a short period and in chart terms, selling enough copies to dominate the top positions. From 17th June 1972 all the way through to 13th January 1973, apart from a 2 week break for Rod Stewart's Never A Dull Moment, the no.1 album spot was taken by one of these TV compilations, beginning with an 8 week run for K Tel's 20 Dynamic Hits, the best selling album of the year and was immediately followed by a six week run for Arcade's 20 Fantastic Hits. 20 Dynamic Hits was far from dynamic with no number one hit singles on it at all, the biggest hits being Hurricane Smith's Don't Let It Die, Redbone's Witch Queen Of New Orleans and Black Night by Deep Purple, all number two singles and all from last year or even the year before. In fact, virtually all the tracks were from 1971,the biggest hits from 1972 included were Argent's Hold Your Head Up and the other Hurricane Smith hit, Oh Babe What Would You Say. 20 Fantastic Hits was slightly better with number one singles Maggie May-Rod Stewart, Coz I Luv You-Slade, Love Grows-Edison Lighthouse and also the big summer hit from this year, Donny Osmond's Puppy Love. It also included Beg Steal Or Borrow by The New Seekers and Blue Is The Colour by The Chelsea Football Team from 1972, and strangely, some tracks that were hardly hits at all, The Hollies-The Baby and Barry Ryan's Can't Let You Go, although again, the majority of tracks were taken from 1971 including The Pushbike Song, Johnny Reggae and Brand New Key.

These albums were replaced by newer titles as soon as the sales dropped sufficiently, which was quite fast as soon as the album advertising was completed, compared to traditional LPs. Arcade placed 20 Fantastic Hits Volume 2 at no.2 as did K Tel with 22 Dynamic Hits Volume 2 and Ronco with 20 Star Tracks. These albums rather took the spotlight away from the Motown Chartbusters series which were not TV advertised and up until now, the only original artist compilations eligible for entry into the charts, the latest volume 7 only reaching no.9. As the months moved along, the budget titles competing with main full price and mid price titles in the combined chart became less and less, until by September there were only three titles that showed inside the combined top 50, Hot Hits 12 & 13 and Top Of The Pops 25. From October, only one title appeared, the most recent volume of Top Of The Pops, the budget album sales had been virtually killed off by the slightly higher priced TV compilation record companies who released albums containing the original hit versions.

If K Tel could sell compilations of current and recent hits in this way, could they sell older hits using the same method? Of course they could and their second release, after 20 Dynamic Hits was 20 All Time Hits Of The 50s, concentrating on the more mellow ballad hits of the decade with tracks from Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray and Eddie Fisher and ending the year as the second best seller overall with 11 weeks at no.1 between October and January. Then they released an album from the same era but featuring Rock n Roll rather than crooners and MOR hits, 25 Rockin And Rollin Greats which wasn't really a Rock n Roll album at all, despite opening with Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock and including Be Bop A Lulu, Long Tall Sally, Blue Suede Shoes and Shake Rattle And Roll, it also featured The Beach Boys' Surfin USA, Dave Clark Five-Glad All Over, Remember Walking In The Sand-Shangri Las and Oh Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison, hardly Rock n Roll.

Two other compilations which did well in 1972 were the studio cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar and the no.1 album in January, Concert For Bangladesh, the album of live recordings from New York. India was at war with Pakistan and the latter had split in two, forming the new country of Bangladesh with the inevitable result of countless refugees. It was on the request of his friend and mentor, Ravi Shankar that George Harrison was spurred into action to organise a concert featuring Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Badfinger, Ringo Starr and himself. In the first major organised charity record release, there were the expected controversies. Despite a blanket wide record store no-discount policy, were all the royalties collected reaching the intended refugees, and questions were also asked about the deal that allowed Bob Dylan's participation that saw the LP released by Capitol but Dylan's label Columbia handling the cassette. The album featured all the tracks expected by George Harrison, My Sweet Lord, Here Comes The Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and the song Bangla Desh. Ringo Starr sung It Don't Come Easy, Billy Preston, That's The Way God Planned It and Bob Dylan A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Blowin In The Wind and Mr Tamborine Man. After George Harrison had introduced the guests however, the album began with a 17 minute Sitar and Sarod duet on the track Bangla Dhun.

New albums by singer songwriters came thick and fast in 1972. Neil Young enjoyed his only no.1 album with Harvest, as did Gilbert O'Sullivan with Back To Front, the follow up to the debut album Gilbert O'Sullivan Himself, although Back To Front would not actually reach the top until 1973. Neil Young, born in Canada was a former member of Buffalo Springfield and Crazy Horse and began his solo career while still recording with Crosby Stills Nash & Young. His most popular solo work, Harvest is mostly filled with country rock tracks, Heart Of Gold, Old Man and Out On The Weekend, but there are also a couple of guitar rock tracks and even a couple of tracks accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, There's A World and A Man Needs A Maid.

Singer songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan was born Raymond O'Sullivan in Waterford in 1946, and based his early career on the image of a northern working class street urchin in short trousers, braces and a flat cap covering a pudding basin haircut. His debut album Himself, featured his 1970 single Nothin Rhymed and the track Matrimony but later versions of the album included the hits We Will and the 6 week no.1 US single Alone Again Naturally. The lesser known tracks included January Girl, Permissive Twit and Susan Van Heusen, tracks with witty lyrics and all sung poignantly by O'Sullivan in an Irish brogue. Back To Front included the no.1 single Clair as well as typically British tracks What Could Be Nicer Mum The Kettle's Boiling, Who Was It and But I'm Not.

Number two albums were achieved by Don McLean, Elton John and Cat Stevens with American Pie, Honky Chateau and Catch Bull At Four respectively. Don McLean was born in New York in 1945. His most famous recording American Pie was in fact his second album, the first Tapestry had sunk without trace, although one of the tracks later was to become a major hit for Perry Como, And I Love You So. American Pie the single was a nine minute pop epic inspired by the death of Buddy Holly, the day the music died and the follow up Vincent was another tribute record, this time to Vincent Van Gogh. McLean himself became the subject of a tribute record, Killing Me Softly With His Song. Elton John's Honky Chateau is a collection of ballads, rockers, blues, country-rock and soul, everything that Elton John could possible do, on one album and considerably lighter than the previous Madman Across The Water. It features the hit single Rocket Man as well as lesser well known tracks Honky Cat, I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself, Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters and Hercules. Catch Bull At Four opened with the track Sitting, an introspective look at where Cat Stevens was heading and included the usual mix of folk and rock originating from both England, Freezing Steel and 18th Avenue and Greece, O Caritas and its hit single Can't Keep It In.

There were also top 10 albums from Nilsson with Nilsson Schmilsson and Neil Diamond Moods. Harry Nilsson's debut album Pandemonium Shadow Show and its follow up Aerial Ballet established him as a singer songwriter, however it was rather ironic that his two biggest hits were actually written by others, Everybody's Talking, brought him to public notice after being used in the film Midnight Cowboy, but the song had in fact been written by folk singer Fred Neil. Even more amazing was his defining song Without You, a number one single in both the UK and the USA, a track from his seventh album Nilsson Schmilsson was an old Badfinger track written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, the album also featuring his own tracks Gotta Get Up, Driving Along and Coconut.

Neil Diamond was born in New York in 1941 and began his career in the very early 1960s with the unsuccessful release of several singles and albums but had to wait until 1966 for his first commercially successful releases. He continued throughout the mid 1960s to perform songs and write chart hits for other people, the first big breakthrough coming with the Monkees version of his I'm A Believer and A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You in 1967. His debut album The Feel Of Neil Diamond released in 1966 was not a success but by 1970 he was enjoying hit singles of own with Sweet Caroline and Cracklin Rosie. Moods in 1972 was his ninth album and featured all his own compositions including Song Sung Blue, High Rolling Man and Play Me. Johnny Cash hit no.8 with A Thing Called Love, another country flavoured album with only the title track making the singles chart and Elvis Presley had the live album Elvis At Madison Square Gardens, one of several live albums by Elvis during the early 1970s and featured his recent singles Polk Salad Annie, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and American Trilogy, and also many of his older hits Love Me, All Shook Up, Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog.

New rock albums successful in 1972 included Alice Cooper's Schools Out, David Bowie's The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Emerson Lake & Palmer's Trilogy, Wishbone Ash Argus, Jethro Tull with Thick As A Brick and Living In The Past, Yes Close To The Edge, Jimi Hendrix, Hendrix In The West, Roxy Music, the latest albums by the Moody Blues Seventh Sojourn, Pink Floyd Obscured By Clouds, Black Sabbath Vol 4, Santana Caravanserai, Groundhogs Who Will Save The World, Free Free At Last, the compilation by The Who Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy and the first and only top 10 album by Rory Gallagher, Live In Europe.

Alice Cooper was originally the name of a band with Vincent Damon Furnier as its leader. Under his direction, they pioneered a grand, theatrical brand of rock that was designed to shock. Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, heavy metal, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood, and huge boa constrictors, all coordinated by the heavily made-up Furnier. By that time, Furnier had adopted the name for his androgynous on-stage personality. A nice pretty name to contrast the band's image, but in fact it was the name of a 17th century witch. The first two albums, Pretties for You, and Easy Action both failed to chart and it wasn't until the sixth album School's Out, released in the summer of 1972 to coincide with the school summer holidays that they achieved the breakthrough into the big time reaching no.5 during the holiday period. School's Out featured the number one single title track and other hard rock epics such as Gutter Cat vs The Jets, Street Fight and My Stars.

David Bowie, born David Jones, changed his name when the Monkees' Davy Jones became an international star. He'd been releasing recordings under his new name as early as 1966 but with no effect until the single Space Oddity at the time of the first moon landing in 1969. Several albums followed, none of which enjoyed much success including The Man Who Sold The World and Hunky Dory, both of which would go on to greater things in 1973 and then Bowie developed a character from another planet, an androgynous, bisexual rock star named Ziggy Stardust. Taking the lead from glam rocker Marc Bolan, he died his hair orange, began wearing outrageous make up and even announced he was bisexual in the days when this was quite shocking. The album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars was a sensation upon release, although it never reached higher than no.5 and that was during its second run in the charts the following year. It included the title track plus other hit songs, Starman, Suffragette City, Hang On To Yourself and Rock And Roll Suicide, all based on the theme of Bowie's alien alter ego.

Emerson Lake & Palmer's Trilogy, was the trio's attempt to put together a few songs, rather than the extended showcases as featured on previous albums Tarkus and the debut album and the classical work that was Pictures At An Exhibition. There was still plenty to please the committed prog rock fans with the three part Endless Enigma and the nine minute title track and there were also the classical showpieces Fugue and Abaddon's Bolero. The album peaked at no.2 for one week in mid July, behind K Tel's 20 Dynamic Hits. During the early and mid 1970s, Wishbone Ash was among England's most popular hard rock acts. The group formed in 1966 when drummer Steve Upton, guitarist Glen Turner and bassist Martin Turner formed a band called Empty Vessels who soon changed their name to Tanglewood and moved to London, adding members Andy Powell and David Alan "Ted" Turner and the name Wishbone Ash was adopted. Their self-titled debut album appeared in 1970 followed by Pilgrimage and then Argus. Seemingly unable to agree what sort of band they actually were, a prog rock band like Yes, a rock harmony band like Crosby Stills and Nash or a heavy metal band in the mould of Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin and not interested in hit singles they found themselves unable to really break through into the mainstream. Argus, their most successful and only top ten album included songs with medieval themes The King Will Come and Warrior as well as exploration in lengthy compositions Time Was and Sometime World.

Jethro Tull mixed hard rock with English folk on the concept album Thick As A Brick. With just one track on each side of the album, the song meandered around several themes for 43 minutes. The album reached no.5 in the UK but the Americans took this album of particularly English prog rock to their hearts, sending it all the way to no.1. To capitalise on their current popularity, Jethro Tull also released a compilation of their earlier work called Living In The Past and included one side of their hit singles to date including Love Story, Sweet Dream, Teacher, Witches Promise, Life Is A Long Song and a second side a live recording from Carnegie Hall. Yes 1972 album, Close To The Edge comprised just three tracks, the title track split into sections rather than separate songs entitled The Solid Time Of Change, Total Mass Retain and I Get up, another track And You And I, also split into four distinct sections and Siberian Khatru. The arguments among the band members were beginning to show on this album with Bill Bruford publicly commenting unfavourable about Jon Anderson's mystic lyrics and Rick Wakeman appearing not too involved with the Close To The Edge project although he did provide some very heavy organ chord work on the title track.

Jimi Hendrix, Hendrix In The West is a collection of live performances between 1968 until his death in 1970 including his own Voodoo Chile and Red House but also unexpectedly, versions of Blue Shede Shoes, Johnny B Goode and even Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Roxy Music was formed by Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, with Graham Simpson. An advert was placed in Melody Maker which recruited drummer Paul Thompson and guitarist Davy O'List, who had previously played with the Nice. O'List left by the beginning of 1972 and was replaced by Phil Manzanera, They set out to be a very fashion conscious and arty rock band and on the debut self titled album, they achieved their goal, all tracks being written by Bryan Ferry. Later versions of the album included the hit single, not originally on the album, Virginia Plain but all tracks had that slightly seedy feeling of a town in decay, none more so that The Bob Medley or Chance Meeting.

The latest album by the Moody Blues Seventh Sojourn, included the singles Isn't Life Strange and I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) with John Lodge coming to the fore as a writer of the band's material. Justin Hayward showed he still knew how to write romantic ballads with New Horizons and You and Me. Pink Floyd's Obscured By Clouds is the soundtrack to the Barbet Schroeder film La Vallée, and it is an obvious musical score, as is much of Pink Floyd's early 1970s albums, moody and floating pleasantly but not really going anywhere. The track Free Four, a bouncy pop number was a throwback to their late 1960s days and Absolutely Curtains with its African praying also did not really fit. The track Childhood's End however, maybe pointed to the shape of things to come for Pink Floyd.

Black Sabbath Vol 4, has almost as many memorable guitar riffs as its predecessors and it finds Sabbath experimenting successfully with their trademark sound on tracks like the ambitious, eight minute, multi-part Wheels Of Confusion and the heavy rock Supernaut and Snowblind. There was also a piano backed ballad called Changes that Ozzy Osbourne would revisit decades later. Santana's Caravanserai was a mostly instrumental album, built around jazz guitar solos and organ sounds in the background. It includes the tracks Waves Within, Eternal Caravan Of Reincarnation and Every Step Of The Way. The Groundhogs Who Will Save The World, now credited to The Mighty Groundhogs added prog rock style keyboards as well as the expected mellotron and harmonium. Free's Free At Last followed Paul Rodgers' unsuccessful project Peace and Andy Fraser's equally unsuccessful Toby. Free rebuilt themselves and released Free at Last in the summer of 1972, returning to the blues-rock numbers such as Sail On, Soldier Boy and Travelling Man as well as the hit single Little Bit Of Love.

The compilation by The Who, Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy was the first compilation released by the band, focusing on the singles from the 1960s from I Can't Explain to Pinball Wizard including all the major hits in between, Happy Jack, I Can See For Miles, Pictures Of Lily, I'm A Boy, Substitute and of course My Generation.

Rory Gallagher born in County Donegal in 1948 based his sound on the blues of Muddy Waters, Albert King and John Lee Hooker. It was fitting that his only top 10 album was a live album. A former member of the hard rock band Taste, he went solo after several unsuccessful group albums. Gallagher was only 23 when Live In Europe, his third solo album was released, including three Junior Wells' stage favourites Messin' With The Kid, I Could've Had Religion and Hoodoo Man.

The new breed of pop stars crossing over from the singles charts to the albums charts included David Cassidy with Cherish, Donny Osmond with Portrait Of Donny and Too Young, Slade with their live album Slade Alive, Gary Glitter's Glitter and The New Seekers We'd Like To Teach The World To sing.

David Cassidy was the son of actor Jack Cassidy and stepson of actress/singer Shirley Jones. He got his break on the family TV series The Partridge Family in which he played the part of a typically early 1970s teenage rebellious eldest son of his real life stepmother Shirley Jones, travelling around in a multi coloured touring bus to play gigs at obviously reasonably local venues as they were always based at the family home. Cassidy quickly became the heart throb and most popular member of the fictitious Partridge Family. When the Partridge Family actually began recording and releasing records in the real world, they were more successful in their native US than in Britain, never climbing higher than no.14 in the album charts, and it was a matter of time before David Cassidy embarked on a solo musical career which he began while still appearing on the weekly TV series, thus ensuring a ready audience, despite the solo material not airing on the show. The same real life musicians who were hired to play the Partridge Family music on the show were also in place for Cassidy's first solo album Cherish. The title track had been a number one single in the US for The Association six years previously and the album also included his first solo hit single, Could It Be Forever as well as I am A Clown, Ricky's Tune and I Just Wanna Make You Happy.

The main competitor for the devotion of young teenage girls in 1972 was Donny Osmond, born the seventh son in 1957 to a family of strict Mormons in Utah. The Osmonds began as a quartet, before Donny was ready to sing professionally, as a light entertainment group specialising in barbershop close harmony singing and got their break on the weekly Andy Williams show, appearing as weekly guest performers for over five years in the mid 1960s. By the mid 1960s younger brother Donny had joined the singing quartet, the two oldest brothers Verle and Tommy not part of it due to deafness, and he quickly became the cute focal point of what was now a quintet in direct competition with the Jackson 5 and also the Partridge Family for lightweight, easy on the ear, bubblegum pop songs. As well as being the focal point of the group, and in the same way as Michael Jackson, Donny began a solo career, concentrating on classic 1950s and early 1960s love songs. His first US no.1 in 1971 was a cover of Steve Lawrence's Go Away Little Girl and in the UK, his first hit was the Paul Anka song Puppy Love which spent five weeks at no.1 in the summer. Both Portrait Of Donny and Too Young were top 10 albums in 1972, Portrait containing Puppy Love as well as All I Have To Do Is Dream, Hey Girl, Big Man, Hey There Lonely Girl and This Guys In Love With You, while Too Young featured Donna, Pretty Blue Eyes, Run To Him, Take Good Care Of My Baby, the title track Too Young as well as his third hit Why.

Slade finally charted an album with their live set Slade Alive peaking at no.2 behind K Tel's 20 Dynamic Hits. They began as The InBetweens in the late 1960s, changing their name to Ambrose Slade and finally shortening it to Slade before their first hits in 1971 Get Down Get With It and the number one single Coz I Luv You. Their manager, Chas Chandler, ex of the Animals, suggested they combine the new glam rock style with the other craze that was prevalent in Britain in the very early 1970s, the skinhead look of big boots, braces and extremely short hair. By the time they began to achieve mainstream hits, they'd dropped the skinhead look but retained the boots and braces and added very tall glittery top hats. Noddy Holder, Dave Hill, Jimmy Lea and Don Powell would go on to become one of the top groups of the 1970s and by mid 1972, they'd already achieved two of their eventual 6 number one singles, but had failed to significantly sell any of their album releases to date, until the live album, showcasing their loud live style on the handclapping Hear Me Calling, the usual show closer, a cover of Born To Be Wild and how Noddy Holder doesn't strain his voice or break something on this live version of Get Down Get With It, only he knows. Perhaps he did. By the end of 1972, they'd achieved their third number one single with the deliberately mis-spelt Mama Weer All Crazee Now, but 1973 was going to be even better.

Gary Glitter epitomises the excess of the glam rock movement of the early 1970s, an outrageous stage persona, dressing in silver foil and inviting his audience to join him in his gang. Although the 1990s and 2000s have seen Glitter fall far from public favour, following child sex offences, from 1972 to 1974 he could do no wrong and was indeed the Leader Of The Gang. Born Paul Gadd, he had been recording for over a decade without success, it was his eventual collaboration with Mike Leander and transformation into glam rock star that ignited his musical career. The first single Rock and Roll, split into two halves, a vocal and instrumental (with grunts and chants of the title) and surprisingly it was the instrumental side that really caught on in the summer of 1972, followed quickly by the album Glitter which featured both sides of the Rock And Roll single as well his the follow up I Didn't Know I Loved You Till I Saw You Rock And Roll and the 1973 number one that would become his trademark title I'm The Leader Of The Gang I Am, as well as several 1950s and 1960s covers Baby Please Don't Go, The Wanderer, Aint That A Shame and Donna, all updated in the Glitter style.

When the Seekers disbanded, Keith Potger put together a completely new band with vocalists Eve and Sally Graham (not related) Laurie Heath, Marty Kristian and Chris Barrington. He named them the New Seekers but almost as soon as the debut album was released, virtually the entire band left to be replaced by Lyn Paul, Paul Layton and Peter Doyle. Even Potger officially left the band and became their manager, leaving no link to the original Seekers at all. The second album included a cover of Melanie's Look What They Done To My Song Ma and the major hit single Never Ending Song Of Love. It was however for their third album, We'd Like To Teach The World To Sing that the New Seekers achieved worldwide fame, chiefly through the title track, a re-worded former Coca Cola TV advert. The New Seekers were ideal for catchy lightweight pop songs, not unlike the Partridge Family and were chosen to represent the UK in 1972's Eurovision Song Contest with a song that became another big hit for them, Beg Steal Or Borrow. We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing is actually their earlier New Colours album with the Coca Cola jingle added. The song was deliberately re-recorded with all the product references changed, however it was impossible to tell whether the group were still singing 'It's the real thing' in the background chorus.

Jack Jones, born in Los Angeles in 1938, had been recording and winning Grammy awards since the early 1960s with his cover version and easy listening albums to compare with Andy Williams, but had never been successful in the UK charts until 1972 when he placed two albums in the top 10, A Song For You and the Bread cover versions album Bread Winners. Bread themselves also had two top 10 albums Baby Im A Want You and the first of their many greatest hits compilations Best Of Bread. Bread was one of the most popular pop groups of the early '70s, with a string of well-crafted, melodic soft rock singles, all of which were written by keyboardist/vocalist David Gates. Gates had teamed up with James Griffin, Robb Royer and although they released a couple of albums in the late 1960s with the same soft rock ballads they would become famous for, it would take until the third album Baby I'm A Want You before they would finally crack the UK top 10. This album, showcasing the soft rock song writing of David Gates at its peak, including the title track plus Diary, Dreamy Lady and Everything I own.

Max Bygraves hit with the first of his sing-along medley albums Sing Along With Max. Walter Bygraves, singer, comedian, actor and all round entertainer for over half a century was born in London in 1922 and appeared in the very first ever singles chart with his comic rendition medley send up of western hits of the early 1950s, Cowpunchers Cantata, but had to wait 20 years before he charted an album, the first of a series of old fashioned sing a long albums in the style of Mitch Miller. Sing Along With Max hit no.4 in 1972 and was inspired by his mum's low opinion of present day music, so Max went even further back than his first hit, to the music of the 1920s and 30s and brought out a medley of approximately 50 of them, a format that would work very well for him over the next few years. The Goons hit no.8 with The Last Goon Show Of All, the first time they had hit the album charts for 12 years and Benny Hill also hit with Words and Music on the back of his Christmas no.1 single, Ernie The Fastest Milkman In The West. Although Chuck Berry could sell novelty singles, there was no album crossover, nor were there any hit albums for Chicory Tip or Lieutenant Pigeon, all with no.1 singles in 1972.

Every US no.1 album from 1972 reached the UK charts somewhere, albeit some not very successfully. America by America and Carole King's Music both reached the top 20, but Chicago V could only peak at no.24., Curtis Mayfield's Superfly at no.26 and Roberta Flack's First Take could only get as high as no.47. The rest of the US top 5 albums The Temptations All Directions hit no.19, Carole King's Rhymes And Reasons peaked at no.40, Roberta Flack & Donny Hatheway at no.31, The Carpenters A Song For You, no.13 as did Graham Nash & David Crosby, Michael Jackson's Ben at no.17, Janis Joplin In Concert and Stephen Stills Manassas both at no.30 and Procol Harum Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at no.48. The Moody Blues finally hit no.3 in the US with their 1968 album Days Of Future Passed but there was no room in the UK charts for Leon Russell's Carney, Cheech & Chong's Big Bambu, Chicago At Carnegie Hall, Allman Brothers Band-Eat A Peach, Al Green-I'm Still In Love With You, Rolling Stones-Hot Rocks 1964-1971, Bill Withers-Still Bill, Chilites-Lonely Man or Grand Funk Railroad's E Pluribus Funk.


Top albums of 1972
1 Various - (K-Tel) - 20 Dynamic Hits
2 Various - (K-Tel) - 20 All Time Hits Of The 50's
3 Simon & Garfunkel - Simon And Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
4 Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment
5 Various - (Arcade) 20 Fantastic Hits
6 Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
7 Slade - Slade Alive
8 Lindisfarne - Fog On The Tyne
9 Various - (K-Tel) 25 Rockin' And Rollin' Greats
10 Don McLean - American Pie

(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company

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