Brightwell’s Top 10: 1972


The following entry originally appeared on the Amoeblog

In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME “Best of 1990” on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.

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Pruitt-Igoe demolitionThe demolition of Pruitt-Igoe
1972 was a turbulent year. The violence of the Troubles peaked, claiming the lives of more than 500 people.Though comparatively ignored in the west, the Burundian Genocide also began, which claimed the lives of over 500,000. Ferdinand Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law. Black September invaded the Olympic Village and murdered eight Israeli athletes in Munich Members of the German Red Army Faction were arrested in FrankfurtThe Asama-Sansō Incident took place in JapanNative Americans from the The Trail of Broken Treaties took over buildings belonging to the Bureau of Indian AffairsAngela Davis was found not guilty of murder. Missouri‘s notorious Pruitt–Igoe projects were demolished. Health officials admitted that blacks had been used as guinea pigs in a study of untreated syphilis. Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate for US president although the American people instead choose to re-elect fascinating nutjob Richard Nixon.

Outside Earth, humans visited the moon for the last time. The Space Shuttle program began. Mariner 9 became the first artificial satellite to orbit another planet (Mars). The Pioneer 10 launched from Cape Kennedy and would become the first human-made object to leave the solar system. In art, Andrei Tarkovsky‘s science-fiction masterpiece Solaris debuted and although perhaps not masterpieces, Eolomea and Silent Running entertained. With all of that space travel its no wonder it was glam rock‘s’ annus mirabilis. Capitalizing on the space craze, David Bowie‘s 1969 song, “Space Oddity” was re-released and Elton John, doing his best Bowie, released “Rocket Man” (which was later covered byWilliam Shatner which was later covered by Chris Elliott).

HBO 1972 Pong 1972
In technology and entertainment news, HBO was launched, Atari was founded and released Pong. The first scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, was introduced for the price of $395 (about $1,750 in 2015 dollars). Bands including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Martha and the VandellasMC5, Them, and The Velvet Underground all called it a day. ABBA, Cockney Rebel, Devo, The Jam,Mama’s Pride, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Rockets, Rufus, Van Halen and many other bands formed. It was a great year for music, with Neil YoungThe SweetThe Four TopsMott the HoopleYesBig StarTownes Van ZandtGentle GiantMarvin Gaye, Genesis, Lieutenant Pigeon, Lou Reed, Curtis MayfieldRoxy Music, and Hawkwind all releasing amazing songs that barely missed my Top 10.
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10. Bee Gees – Run to Me
9. Hot Butter – Pop Corn
8. The Raspberries – Go All The Way
7. Bread – Guitar Man
6. Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa (Funky Soul Makossa)
5. Chicory Tip – Son of My Father
4. David Bowie – Starman
3. T. Rex – Metal Guru
2. The Dramatics – In The Rain

1. Al Green – I’m Still in Love with You –

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Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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