The Chart Archive
1. Paul Simon : Paul Simon
2. Cat Steven : Teaser And The Firecat
3. Neil Reid : Neil Reid
4. T.Rex : Electric Warrior
5. The Faces : A Nods As Good As A Wink….To A Blind Horse
6. Simon And Garfunkel : Bridge Over Troubled Waters
7. Neil Young : Harvest
8. Gilbert O’Sullivan : Himself
9. Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson
10. John Lennon : Imagine
1. Don McLean : American Pie
2. George Harrison : Concert For Bangladesh
3. Carole King: Music
4. Yes : Fragile
5. Rolling Stones : Hot Rocks
6. Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson
7. The Faces : A Nods As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse
8. Led Zeppelin : IV
9. Paul Simon : Paul Simon
10. Bread : Baby I’m-A Want You
click links to tees
By 1972 we were fully into the era of the reflective singer/songwriter as the charts on both sides of the Atlantic show with Carole King (the Music album is much under-rated), Don McLean, Neil Young and …er…Neil Reid – a kid who had won the Opportunity Knocks talent show with saccharine paeans to his mam, all having great success.
Paul Simon was in a rich vein of commercial form with his first solo album, a record recorded with some top notch session guys, none more so than Brazilian percussionist Airto who also recorded with Weather Report, Chick Corea and Stomu Yamashta.
A high class record, it featured hits ‘Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard’ and ‘Mother And Child Reunion’. For anyone doubting his ability to make great records after the split from Artie Garfunkel (still hugely popular as a duo in UK where Bridge….was still riding high in the charts two years after its release), this album set them straight. I wonder whose idea it was to have a shot of Paul in a big parka on the cover. Not that there's anything wrong with it, it just seems a left-field, almost accidental photograph.
Also worthy of mention here is the triple box set Concert For Bangladesh. A forerunner of the hey-we’re-all-rich-rock stars-let's-raise-money-and-awareness gigs of the 80s and 90s, it was put together by George Harrison, raised $243,418.51 for UNICEF to use to relieve suffering in Bangladesh and features George, Clapton, Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, Ringo and many more. Dylan’s ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’ is a stand out moment as is seeing the brilliant Leon Russell take on Jumping Jack Flash. There’s a cracking DVD of the show now available along with a documentary about how it all came together.
The Faces 'Nods As Good As A Wink..' was to be their penultimate album and a cracker it is too with the swagger of Stay With Me and the romping Miss Judy's Farm along with a barnstorming version of Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee.
Cat Stevens was at the peak of his powers as a writer on Teaser & The Firecat. Easy to forget just how big Cat was at this time, especially in America. His brand of introspection and inspiration really struck a popular chord at the time. It contains big hits Peacetrain and Moonshadow along with a gorgeous lilting version of Morning Has Broken which we loved singing in junior school.
Also worthy of mention is Gilbert O'Sullivan's album. Much derided at the time by rockristocracy, largely because he appeared a bit wholesome on Top Of The Pops and could turn out a slightly twee hit. However, 'Himself' contains a superb ballad 'Nothing Rhymed' which had it been written by James Taylor would have been regarded as very cool and clever.
Over the Atlantic, Yes were playing their Fragile album to massive audiences hungry for new prog. Fragile contains some of their most enduring songs, such as Roundabout - complete with superb gloopy Squire bass playing and a limber Steve Howe performance on Long Distance Runaround. Along with its predecessor, The Yes Album and the next album Close To The Edge, Fragile forms a triumverate of progressive rock brilliance.
Looking back at these charts, its clear how important the self–penned song had become. Ten years previously it was still the era of Tin Pan Alley, but now, if you didn’t write your own stuff, you were nothing.