Monday, February 21, 1972

Led Zeppelin released “Rock and Roll”

Rock and Roll

Led Zeppelin

Writer(s): John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant (see lyrics here)

Released: February 21, 1972

First Charted: March 11, 1972

Peak: 47 US, 38 HR, 1 CL, 38 CN, 51 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 52.33 video, 131.8 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In a review of a 1972 Led Zeppelin concert, rock critic Robert Christgau called the band “the personification of heavy rock,” RC specifically referring to “Rock and Roll” as “simply the most dynamic hard-rock song in…music.” RC Rolling Stone said “the music recasts rock & roll as something fierce and modern.” RS In 2002, Q magazine selected the song as one of the 50 most exciting tunes ever. From 1972 to 1975, Led Zeppelin used “Rock and Roll” as the opener for their concerts. WK

The song “is based on one of the most popular structures in rock and roll; namely the 12-bar blues progression in A.” SF Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page said the song grew out of a spontaneous jam session. Drummer John Bonham started playing Little Richard’s “Keep A-Knockin,’” which became “the now-famous snare and open-high-hat drum intro to ‘Rock and Roll.’” RS Page followed with a Chuck Berry-style guitar riff. WK Page says the song was “written in minutes and recorded within an hour.” SF

Singer Robert Plant wrote the lyrics in response to critics who said their previous album, the more acoustic-folk-sounding Led Zeppelin III, wasn’t really rock and roll. SF He told Creem in 1988, “We just thought rock and roll needed to be take on again…It was time for actually kicking ass.” SF He made references to the Monotones’ 1958 doo-wop classic “The Book of Love” as well as an old dance called The Stroll. RS

The song features Ian Stewart, who’d played piano with the Rolling Stones since their 1962 beginning. Led Zeppelin were using the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording unit to record the Led Zeppelin IV album. Stewart came as a technician to assist in recording, but came in handy when the band “needed some serious boogie-woogie piano.” SF


Related Links:

First posted 11/5/2021; last updated 8/4/2022.

Saturday, February 19, 1972

Harry Nilsson “Without You” hit #1

Without You

Harry Nilsson

Writer(s): Tom Evans, Peter Ham (see lyrics here)

Released: October 11, 1971

First Charted: December 10, 1971

Peak: 14 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 12 HR, 15 AC, 12 CL, 15 UK, 11 CN, 15 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.84 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 25.3 video, 120.55 streaming

Without You

Mariah Carey

Released: August 31, 1993 (album cut on Music Box)

First Charted: January 28, 1994

Peak: 3 US, 12 CB, 14 GR, 2 RR, 4 AC, 14 UK, 4 CN, 3 AU, 20 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.89 US, 0.56 UK, 3.5 world (includes US+UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 656.70 video, 146.25 streaming

Awards (Nilsson):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Carey):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Guitarist Pete Ham and bassist Tommy Evans of Badfinger wrote “Without You” for their group’s 1970 album No Dice. While they didn’t release it as a single, it became a twice-over, transatlantic chart-topper, reaching #1 for Harry Nilsson in 1972 and Mariah Carey in 1994. It has been recorded more than 100 times. HL However, “far from being the men with the Midas touch” HL Ham and Evans “became two of rock ‘n’ roll’s most tragic casualties.” HL Both were hit with financial problems and committed suicide – Ham in 1975 and Evans in 1983.

Ham wrote the verses after letting down his girlfriend when he’d promised they’d go out and hit the studio instead. HL Meanwhile Evans had written a song called “I Can’t Live” after his girlfriend (and future wife) Marianne left him. WK They ended up merging Ham’s verses with Evans’ chorus to create “Without You.”

Harry Nilsson was “a hard-boozing rocker” TB and singer from America. When he heard “Without You” from the latter album, he liked it but thought it was a Beatles’ song. There was, in fact, a link between the two groups. Badfinger, formerly known as the Iveys, were signed to the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968. Paul McCartney then wrote “Come and Get It” for Badfinger and it became a top 10 in the U.S. and UK.

“Without You” “gained in stature with Nilsson’s stately interpretation” HL although the dripping-with-sentiment ballad has also been described as being full of “overwrought emotion…with tears to spare.” DT More than 20 years later, Mariah Carey recorded it for her 1993 Music Box album. It was released as the third single – a week after Harry Nilsson died of a heart attack. WK Billboard called it “a faithful rendition of the eternally sweet pop ballad” WK while The Washington Post’s Mike Joyce said, “Unlike Nilsson, Carey has the pipes to pull of this anguished pop aria.” WK However, Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne described it as a “by the numbers remake.” WK


Related Links:

First posted 4/10/2023.

Tuesday, February 15, 1972

50 years ago: Ray Miller “The Sheik of Araby” hit #1

The Sheik of Araby

Ray Miller

Writer(s): Ted Snyder, Harry B. Smith, Francis Wheeler (see lyrics here)

Released: November 18, 1921

First Charted: February 15, 1922

Peak: 3 US, 11 GA, 14 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The New York City music publishers and songwriters known as Tin Pan Alley were “ever vigilant to cash in on popular trends” JS and the 1921 movie The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, “was perfect fodder.” JS Valentino was a screen icon who made women swoon. The movie was based on a 1919 Edith Maude Hall romance novel about an English girl kidnapped and seduced by an Arab sheik.

“On the heels of its release music publishers Waterson, Berlin and Snyder published ‘The Sheik of Araby.’” JS Composer Ted Snyder said he wrote the song as a romantic number called “The Rose of Araby” but was persuaded to change the title because of the success of the Valentino film. SM The song was introduced late in 1921 with a Victor record by the Club Royal Orchestra (#3). JS The group was led by saxophonist Clyde Doerr, who rose to fame via his work with Art Hickman’s Orchestra. JS

Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler added lyrics to the song. It is sung from the perspective of the sheik with him “introducing himself and proclaiming ‘your love belongs to me.’” TY2 The first vocal version was sung by Eddie Cantor in his Broadway revue show Make It Snappy in April 1922. WK The Huntington Press wrote that the song was “being sung and played by music lovers throughout the country. The melody has the whole town by the ears.” WK

The version done by Ray Miller’s Orchestra ranks as the most successful, reaching #1 according to chart historians Howard Foote Gardner and Sharon Mawer. Little is known about him, but it is believed he came from Reading, Pennsylvania in 1896 and formed his band, the Black & White Melody Boys, after World War I. SM

Trombonist Jack Teagarden also charted with the song (#14, 1939). He was “undoubtedly a big reason for the song’s jazz standard status.” JS He first recorded the song in 1930 with cornetist Red Nichols and then in 1939 with his own big band version. JS Others to chart with the song included Spike Jones (#19, 1943) and the Super-Sonics (#22, 1953). It was also featured in the 1940 film Tin Pan Alley as performed by Betty Grable and others. DJ It also appeared in 1943’s Heaven Can Wait and 1977’s Valentino. WK The Beatles, the Everly Brothers, and Louis Prima, have covered the song. WK F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes a verse from the song in his classic novel The Great Gatsby.


First posted 1/28/2023.

Saturday, February 12, 1972

The Allman Brothers Band released Eat a Peach

First posted 4/2/2008; updated 10/17/2020.

Eat a Peach

The Allman Brothers Band

Released: February 12, 1972

Charted: March 18, 1972

Peak: 4 US, -- UK, 12 CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: blues rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (4/29/72, #77 US)
  2. Les Brers in A Minor
  3. Melissa (8/12/72, #86 US)
  4. Mountain Jam (live)
  5. One Way Out (live) (12/2/72, #86 US)
  6. Trouble No More (live)
  7. Stand Back
  8. Blue Sky
  9. Little Martha

Total Running Time: 69:24

The Players:

  • Duane Allman (guitar)
  • Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards)
  • Dickey Betts (guitar, lead vocals on “Blue Sky”)
  • Berry Oakley (bass)
  • Jai Johannny Johanson (drums, congas)
  • Butch Trucks (drums, percussion)


4.292 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


About the Album:

“A tribute to the dearly departed Duane, Eat a Peach rambles…through a side of new songs, recorded post-Duane, spending a full album on live cuts from the Fillmore East sessions, then offering a round of studio tracks Duane completed before his death.” STE

“On the first side, they do suggest the mellowness of the Dickey Betts-led Brothers and Sisters, particularly on the lovely Melissa, and this stands in direct contrast with the monumental live cuts that dominate the album. They’re at the best on the punchier covers of One Way Out and Trouble No More, both proof of the group's exceptional talents as a roadhouse blues-rock band, but Duane does get his needed showcase on Mountain Jam, a sprawling 33-minute jam that may feature a lot of great playing, but is certainly a little hard for anyone outside of diehards to sit through.” STE

“Apart from that cut, the record showcases the Allmans at their peak, and it’s hard not to feel sad as the acoustic guitars of Little Martha conclude the record, since this tribute isn't just heartfelt, it offers proof of Duane Allman’s immense talents and contribution to the band.” STE

On the deluxe edition, “disc two stands as a virtually unreleased concert of the ABB’s final performance at the Fillmore on June 27, 1971 – with Duane, who was killed in October of that year. Two of the disc’s tracks had been previously released – Midnight Rider (on Duane Allman Anthology, Vol. 2) and ‘One Way Out’ (on the original Eat a Peach, which means the track shows up on both discs here).” TJ These two tracks also show up on the deluxe version of At Fillmore East. However, with the exception of those two tracks, this collection serves as At Fillmore East, Vol. 2, capturing the June 27, 1971 performances while the original At Fillmore East gathered recordings from the March 12-13, 1971 shows.

Notes: A 2006 deluxe edition added a second disc of live material – “Statesboro Blues,” “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’,” “Done Somebody Wrong,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Midnight Rider,” “Hot ‘Lanta,” “Whipping Post,” “You Don’t Love Me,” and another version of “One Way Out.”

Resources and Related Links: