For the week beginning December 23rd, 1972, a one-hit wonder held the top spot in the country, as the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers won their very first post season game, beating the Oakland Raiders 13-7 on a play in the final seconds that would come to be known as “The Immaculate Reception.”
We lost former president Harry Truman this week in Kansas City, Missouri, and, the baseball world was shocked when Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star Roberto Clemente perished in a plane crash in late December while on a relief mission for Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
M*A*S*H, The F.B.I., The Waltons, Laugh-In, Hawaii 5-0 and The Flip Wilson show were just some of the hit prime-time TV series we were watching this week…AND…here are the TOP TEN Hits we were listening to on the radio, for the week beginning December 23, 1972…
(last week’s position in brackets)
1. Me and Mrs. Jones/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Billy Paul[/lastfm] (1) — spending its second of 3 weeks at the top of the charts, Philadelphia-born Billy (real name, Paul Williams, the same name of a famous songwriter) scored this huge hit and then couldn’t even crack the Top 30 again with three more releases before fading off the charts.
2. I Am Woman/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Helen Reddy [/lastfm](2) – this was her first #1 hit, holding that position for a week before Billy Paul took over the top spot. Helen would score two more #1 tunes within the next two years with “Delta Dawn” and “Angie Baby.” Born in Melbourne, Australia, she is one of the most successful female vocalists of the 70′s. She’d have her last Top Ten hit in the fall of 1975 with “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady,” before slowly fading off the charts by 1981.
3. You Ought To Be With Me/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Al Green[/lastfm] (4) — with 7 top ten songs, including his #1 hit, “Let’s Stay Together” a year ago, Arkansas’ Al Green was one of the biggest R&B singers of the early to mid 70′s. He wrote most of his hits and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. He also won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2002.
4. Clair/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Gilbert O’Sullivan[/lastfm] (7) — this tune would peak at #2 next week and stay for two weeks in the runner-up spot. It was his follow-up to the #1 selling “Alone Again, Naturally” this past summer. Born in Waterford, Ireland, Raymond “Gilbert” O’Sullivan wrote all of his tunes, which were produced by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Tom Jones’ [/lastfm]and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Englebert Humperdinck’s[/lastfm] manager, Gordon Mills.
5. It Never Rains In Southern California/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Albert Hammond [/lastfm](5) — born in London, England and raised in Spain, Albert was a singer-songwriter who had 9 different songs reach the Top 100, but this was his ONLY Top Ten hit, the title track in his current album. Albert also co-wrote the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Hollies’[/lastfm] 1974 hit, “The Air That I Breathe.” Albert was the first to record that Hollies hit, with his version included in the album “It Never Rains In Southern California.”
6. If You Don’t Know Me By Now/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes [/lastfm](3) — this peaked at #3 for two weeks as was sung by the late[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Teddy Pendergrass. [/lastfm] Teddy was the drummer for the group until the lead singer left, leaving Teddy with head vocal chores. He died in January of 2010. This tune was one of the many written by the legendary songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
7. Funny Face/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Donna Fargo[/lastfm] (12) — Donna (real name: Yvonne Vaughan) worked as a high school teacher until June of ’72! She was a country cross-over artist and this was her biggest hit on the mainstream Top 40 charts. She was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina.
8. Papa Was A Rolling Stone/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Temptations [/lastfm](6) — this was the last of 4 #1 hits for the group, who debuted way back in 1964 with “The Way You Do The Things You Do.” The Temptations are the most successful of all of the male Motown vocal groups with those 4 #1′s to their credit and a total of 16 Top Ten hits. They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
9. You’re So Vain/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Carly Simon[/lastfm] (37) — this took a HUGE leap up the charts this week! It will reach #1 on January 6th and stay there for three consecutive weeks, becoming Carly’s biggest hit. The identity of the person Carly was writing/singing about is still only known by Carly and just a few close confidants. Through the years, the names[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Mick Jagger[/lastfm], Warren Beatty, David Geffen and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Kris Kristofferson[/lastfm] have been mentioned as possible targets, but no one really knows for sure except Carly.
10. Rockin’ Pneumonia – Boogie Woogie Flu/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Johnny Rivers[/lastfm] (11) — this will be Johnny’s second to last Top Ten hit. He could never duplicate the success of his 1966 #1 smash, “Poor Side Of Town,” though he’d reach the top ten 8 other times. “Maybelline,” “Midnight Special” and “Summer Rain” reached the Top 20 for Johnny, making him one of the more successful Rock ‘n’ Roll vocalists of the mid 60′s to late 70′s. Talk about a change of scenery; he was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!