Thursday, February 24, 2005

Top 5: Singles Only

As I noted over at my other blog, I've been rereading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by the late Hunter S. Thompson this week. And as I often do when I'm reading history, I frequently try to remember where I was and what I was doing while that history was being made. While Thompson was following the Democratic primary fight as February turned to March in 1972, I seem to have been buying 45s by the bundle. Here are five of them:

"Bang a Gong (Get It On)"/T. Rex. I had a bit of a T. Rex thing going at a relatively tender age. I bought (and still cherish) "Hot Love," which roared all the way to Number 72 on the Billboard chart in the summer of 1971, and snapped up "Bang a Gong" pretty quickly, too. I think it was the rhythm guitar backbeat that made me love "Bang a Gong"--and it still is.

"Stay With Me"/Faces. In early '72, I discovered a magazine that featured sheet music for four or five current hits in each issue--a real step up from Hit Parader, which had only the lyrics. (It may have been Sheet Music, which still exists today.) It seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me, and I was especially psyched to find "Stay With Me" in the issue that was current in February 1972. I'd already bought the single and looked forward to learning how to play it on my tenor saxophone--until I discovered it was written in D-flat major: a key with five flats.

"Heart of Gold"/Neil Young. I had not shown any predilection toward records with mournful harmonica noises until this came along. Even though it was a Number One record and a huge hit, I like to think it represents fairly hip taste for somebody who'd just turned 12. Much different from those Partridge Family records I'd been buying, for damn sure.

"My World"/Bee Gees. Lest you think I was rockin' out all the time with the likes of T. Rex, Faces, and Neil Young, there was also this, which is not even a major entry in the Bee Gees' catalog, let alone the rock pantheon. Not a very profound lyric either:
My world is our world
And this world is your world
And your world is my world
And my world is your world
Is mine
Strictly speaking, though, I suppose it's true.

"Joy"/Apollo 100. A rock version of J. S. Bach's "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" played at about triple speed, and thus the bane of piano teachers everywhere.

I am sure I listened to reports from the campaign trail on my favorite Top 40 station's newscasts, as I was fairly well-informed for a kid my age. But I was all about the music at that moment--as crazed as I'd ever be, and have always been.


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