Wednesday, April 26, 1972

Alice Cooper “School’s Out” released

School’s Out

Alice Cooper

Writer(s): Alice Cooper, Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith (see lyrics here)


Released: April 26, 1972


First Charted: May 27, 1972


Peak: 7 US, 6 CB, 7 HR, 1 CL, 13 UK, 3 CN, 39 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.2 video, 117.46 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Four years after Frank Zappa realized there was something special about Alice Cooper, signing them to his record label, the title track from the band’s 1972 album School’s Out sent the group to the head of the class. Decades later, it still easily aces our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs entrance exam.” UCR

“’School’s Out’ itself is a masterpiece of full on rock and roll. Three and a half minutes of pure loud guitar bliss, with Alice (the man) in full power of his gritty, made-for-rock and roll voice. From the opening call to arms guitar riff through to the cheering school kids at the end, it’s a celebration put to wax.” UCR

“Wisely released just as school was letting out across America, the single hit the Top 10 in June of 1972 and would carry the album all the way to No. 2. The song proved to be an even bigger hit in England, where it shot to No. 1 and made Alice Cooper an sensation. The ever-present controversy surrounding Alice Cooper didn’t hurt. The group’s on-stage use of snakes, hangings, guillotines and a pervading dark, perverse sense of humor made their show a must-see attraction early on.” UCR

“The release of the School’s Out album itself was not without its share of headlines as the initial run was packaged with paper panties in lieu of a sleeve. Turns out, the panties were flammable and had to be recalled. Naysayers howled: Who was this sick Alice Cooper and why were young kids buying a record with panties in it? Of course, this was back when parents would genuinely get upset by such things. Ahh, those were the days!” UCR


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First posted 7/23/2022.

Saturday, April 15, 1972

Roberta Flack hit #1 with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

4/15/1972:
First posted 3/11/2021.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Roberta Flack

Writer(s): Ewan MacColl (see lyrics here)


Released: June 20, 1969 as album cut on First Take


First Charted: March 4, 1972


Peak: 16 US, 14 CB, 15 HR, 16 AC, 4 RB, 14 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 32.66 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

In 1957, Ewan MacColl, a Scottish political singer/songwriter wrote this folk song for his future wife, Peggy Seeger. He says she asked him to write a song for a play she was in and that he taught it to her over the phone WK after writing it in less than an hour. SF She, however, said he sent her tapes to listen to and this song was one one. WK

The Kingston Trio covered the song for their 1962 album New Frontier. Other versions were recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary; the Brothers Four; Joe & Eddie; the Chad Mitchell Trio; and Gordon Lightfoot. WK Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, Leona Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Mel Torme have also covered the song. According to MacColl’s daughter, Ewan hated all of them, saying they “were travesties, bludgeoning, histrionic, and lacking in grace.” WK

Roberta Flack heard the 1963 Joe & Eddie version when she was teaching at Washington DC’s Banneker Junior High School and taught it the girls in the Glee Club. SF She performed the song, a much slower version than the original, regularly at the Pennsylvania Avenue club Mr. Henry’s. SF When she signed with Atlantic Records, this was one of the songs she chose to record for her 1969 debut album First Take. She recorded two more albums before the song became a hit. Clint Eastwood called her about using the song in a love scene for Clint Eastwood’s movie Play Misty for Me. After people saw the movie and hit the record stores to buy the song, Atlantic Records released the two-year-old song as a single. BR1

It took only six weeks to reach #1, where it then spent six weeks. It was the longest chart-topper for a solo female artist since 1956’s “The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant. The song won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Roberta Flack
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 310.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Friday, April 14, 1972

Elton John “Rocket Man” released

Rocket Man (I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long Time)

Elton John

Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)


Released: April 14, 1972


First Charted: April 22, 1972


Peak: 6 US, 11 CB, 6 HR, 39 AC, 1 CL, 2 UK, 8 CN, 13 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.2 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 141.9 video, 633.97 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Honky Ch√Ęteau was Elton John’s fourth top-10 album in the United States and first in a run of six platinum-selling chart-toppers. The album was preceded by lead single “Rocket Man,” which became Elton John’s second top-10 hit in both the United States and UK.

The song traversed similar territory to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” released three years earlier. Both songs were “about a lonely dude drifting through space,” UCR but Bernie Taupin, who wrote the words to Elton’s song, said it wasn’t an influence. Instead, he said he was inspired by the short story “The Rocket Man” in the 1951 anthology The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. The story “is told from the perspective of a child, whose astronaut father has mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job.” SF

That story also inspired the 1970 song “Rocket Man” by Pearls Before Swine, which Taupin acknowledged as an influence. That song took the perspective of “a child [who] can no longer look at the stars after his astronaut father perishes in space. SF Taupin shaped a story of “a man who is sent to live in space as part of a scientific experiment.” SF The Mars-bound astronaut is conflicted about leaving home. Taupin “emphasize the personal over the sci-fi” UCR with lyrics about the astronaut’s wife packing his bags and how Mars isn’t the kind of place to raise your kids. The song has also been interpreted as a commentary on “how rock stars are isolated…from the real world.” SF “John’s melody underscores the words with a melancholy, wistful tone, while the production brings in a light element of futuristic sheen, never abandoning that fragile, perfect melody.” UCR

Kate Bush, who recorded the song for the 1991 Two Rooms tribute album to John and Taupin, said this is her favorite song of all time. She said, “I remember buying this when it came out as a single…I couldn’t stop playing it – I loved it so much. Most artists in the mid seventies played guitar but Elton played piano and I dreamed of being able to play like him.” SF


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First posted 7/23/2022.