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1972: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1972 was! 1972 was a wonderful year in terms of novelty music and subjects.

1972 brought us many TV shows that became classics including the long-running family series "The Waltons" and an even longer-running series "M*A*S*H", the return of "The Price is Right" which at last count was the longest-running game show in daytime history at 26 years this month, and the "Bob Newhart Show", but the theme song of the #1 show that year, "All in the Family", whose TV show premiered in 1971 and became a favorite, charted on the pop charts in 1972...

  • "Those Were The Days", by Carroll O'Connor & Jean Stapleton (As The Bunkers)

    this was the second biggest so-called novelty single of 1972...

  • "Troglodyte (Cave Man)", by The Jimmy Castor Bunch

    a pop-art painter turned songwriter came out with an album with his own set of comedy songs, in fact, the first of a series of albums as it turned out that would make this man somewhat famous. He co-starred with Fred Willard in the successor to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, called "Fernwood Tonight", was featured in his own HBO special in the late 1970s, a gay partner in Roseanne later on and is currently seen in "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" as the principal, along with dozens of other comedy projects along the way.

    He would make a half-dozen more albums in the years to come as well as being a television star.

  • "Dancing In The Nude", by Martin Mull

    and in the background, "Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey

    This National Lampoon song is from their album "Radio Dinner" and it's the first track from their first album, which is still not out on CD as of 1998 oddly enough.

  • "Deteriorata", by National Lampoon featuring Norman Rose the narrator and Melissa Manchester singing before she became famous later on

    In 1971 we heard this duo's hit "Ajax Liquor Store", but in 1972, we hear this comedy bit from the duo.

  • "Ajax Airlines", by Hudson & Landry from the CD "The Best of Hudson and Landry"
  • "Let's Make A Dope Deal", by Cheech & Chong from the biggest comedy album of the year, "Big Bambu"

    In 1972, there was the Watergate break-in, Vietnam war was still going on, the death of J. Edgar Hoover; we had rock album classics like Neil Young's "Harvest Album", the Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street", and "American Pie". For many people, 1972 was just one giant party. A lot of things we associate in the 1960's like long hair on men and certain drugs really hit America hard in the 1970's and for some people, the party went out of control.

    This song was a hit in 1972 and was a hit all over again a few years later

  • "Once You Understand", by Think

    and in the background we hear "Outta Space", by Billy Preston

    Chuck Berry is one of the inventors of Rock and Roll. He was one of the charter members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oddly enough, the only #1 record he ever had was this novelty hit in 1972....

  • "My Ding-A-Ling", by Chuck Berry

    This classic bit is from the album "Class Clown", where 26 years later, you still can't say most of these words on television, except on the pay channels even in 1972. That edit below was made by Damascus especially for airplay on The Dr. Demento Show, and they played this for George Carlin when he was a guest and he was amazed at the job...

  • "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television (edited)", by George Carlin

    Events in 1972

    01/09, "Zoom" TV Children's show premiered on PBS as it introduced America's kids to the Ubbi-Dubbi language, Fannee Doolee, all kinds of items kids sent in, and a cast of kids known by their first names only. Thibbis wabbus abba fabbavorbboribbite obbof thebboe abbuthobbor. Public television station WGBH invites kids all over the nation to help provide material for a television series making its debut that's "for kids and by kids" just by sending their ideas to ZOOM. "That's Zoom, zee double-oh em, box three five oh, Boston Mass, Oh-Two-One-Three-Four." If selected among the vast pool of submissions from the alarmingly cheap (unpaid) child labor, your suggestions, craft ideas, and jokes will be performed by Zoomers (original cast Tommy, Nina, Joe, John, Nancy, Kenny, Tracy), then gradually replaced by Maura, David, Ann, Jay, Edith, Luiz, Bernadette, Danny, Lori, Mike, Hector, etc. etc. etc.

    01/13, it's essentially Garry Marshall's version of prime time for Bonzo with CBS's "Me and the Chimp" starring Ted Bessel and Anita Gillette as new owners of a runaway chimp named "Buttons." Once again proving the old showbiz axiom you should never intentionally work with animals, or Anita Gillette. One of the worst TV series ever made a monkey's uncle out of CBS, and was recaged months later.

    01/14, Comedian Red Foxx, whose last name was really Sanford, debuted on NBC-TV this night in: "Sanford & Son". Demond Wilson starred as Fred Sanford's son. Quincy Jones composed the catchy theme song. Sure there's a lot of junk on TV, but the junk on NBC's "Sanford and Son" is funny.

    01/14, in a Brady Bunch episode called "Dough Re Mi", Greg dreams of getting rich with a song he wrote, but needs $150 to pay for the recording session, Peter suggests that the six Brady children do the vocal since family groups are so successful, and that they share the costs. The plan goes sour when Peter's voice changes and they can't reset the recording date. In the episode the Brady Bunch kids sing two original songs, "Time to Change" and "We Can Make the World a Whole Lot Brighter." Editor's note: D.T. taped the audio portion on his old tape machine when it was rerun in July, and ironically enough, it's still there!

    01/15, R.C., "Once You Understand" by Think peaked at #23 on the pop singles chart.

    01/16, David Seville died on this day in Beverly Hills, CA. Born Ross Bagdasarian, the musician was the force -- and artist -- behind the Alvin and the Chipmunks novelty songs of the '50s, '60s and '70s. Some may remember that Seville appeared in the films, "Viva Zapata", "Stalag 17" and "Rear Window". Seville first claimed fame, not through the novelty impact of the hit, "The Chipmunk Song" (it sold 3.5 million copies in five weeks); but by writing Rosemary Clooney's biggest hit, "Come On-a My House", in the early '50s and the number one hit, "Witch Doctor", in 1958. Ross was a singer under the stage name of David Seville, a songwriter and a producer for Liberty Records in the 50's and the creator of The Chipmunks when he experimented with variable speed tape recorders. Ross named the Chipmunks after the 3 record executives at Liberty who didn't want him to release The Chipmunk's first hit.

    02/05, R.C., "Another Puff" by Jerry Reed peaked at #65 on the pop singles chart.

    02/11, David Bowie first performed as "Ziggy Stardust," at a show in Tollworth, England.

    02/19, R.C., "Ajax Airlines" by Hudson & Landry peaked at #68 on the pop singles chart.

    03/03, Paul Gadd, a.k.a. Gary Glitter, has the first of his three number one U.K. hits, "Rock and Roll Part 2." The song makes it to #7 in the U.S. later in the year. A parody of that song, "Dr. Who" by The Timelords, hit #1 in 1988 in the U.K.

    03/09, Peter Bogdanovich's "What's Up Doc?" starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal and Madeline Kahn premiered at Radio City Music Hall.

    03/11, R.C., "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath peaked at #52 on the pop singles chart.

    03/15, Los Angeles Radio station KHJ was raided by L.A. police after calls from listeners who feared there'd been a revolution at the station from 6:00 to 7:30 in the morning. DJ Robert W. Morgan had played Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" over and over. The police left without making any arrests. What a relief it was only Donny Osmond, now come on, it would have been worse if he played the George Carlin "Seven Dirty Words" routine over and over again...

    03/22, "I Gotcha" single by Joe Tex was certified Gold by the RIAA

    04/25, D.T. received a cassette tape recorder a day before his birthday.

    04/28, Ralph Bakshi's X-rated animated movie "Fritz The Cat" opened at the Fine Arts and United Artists East. Comedy Central's TV show "South Park" debuting 25 years later, is Peanuts compared to this movie.

    05/01, "Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow, Right?" album by Bill Cosby was released

    05/01, "School's Out" album by Alice Cooper was released

    05/06, R.C., "I Gotcha" by Joe Tex peaked at #2 on the pop singles chart.

    05/29, long accused of possessing a knack of schmaltz, Paul McCartney releases "Mary Had a Little Lamb," based on the nursery rhyme. The single is one of his worst "successes," just cracking the Top Thirty.

    06/03, R.C., "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen peaked at #9 on the pop singles chart.

    06/06, David Bowie's classic "The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" was released.

    06/24, R.C., "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" by Jimmy Castor Bunch peaked at #6 on the pop singles chart.

    06/30, "Troglodyte" single by Jimmy Castor Bunch was certified Gold by the RIAA

    07/08, "Coconut", by Nilsson entered the Top 40 chart.

    07/10, Harry Nilsson's Son of Schmilsson is released. It features George Harrison, using the name George Harrysong, and Ringo Starr, using the name Richie Snare, on some of the tracks.

    07/21, George Carlin discovered that the seven words that performers are prohibited from saying on television were also taboo on stage. The comedian was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and profanity in Milwaukee, WI.

    07/29, R.C., "School's Out" by Alice Cooper peaked at #7 on the pop singles chart.

    08/11, it was declared "Cheech & Chong Day" in San Antonio, Texas, by the mayor. Their album "Big Bambu" was near the top of the U.S. album chart. The city's mayor learns of the comic duo's pledge to donate a free concert to the winners of a local high school's voter-registration contest.

    08/21, "Big Bambu" album by Cheech & Chong was certified Gold by the RIAA

    08/26, R.C., "Coconut" by Nilsson peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart.

    09/09, R.C., "Rock And Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter peaked at #7 on the pop singles chart; the Timelords redid the song their way with "Doctor in' The Tardis" in 1989.

    09/17, the comedy-drama series "M*A*S*H" premeiered on CBS-TV beginning a 11-season run. The TV version of the hit movie becomes one of CBS's longest running comedies, gaining high ratings until its climactic episode 10-1/2 years later.

    09/27, "FM and AM" album by George Carlin was certified Gold by the RIAA

    10/01, "Kung Fu", TV Western Drama; debut on ABC.

    10/14, R.C., "Ben" by Michael Jackson peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart; it was a song about a rat. Pretty scary, huh?

    10/21, Seventeen years after writing and recording the first of his many rock & roll classics, Chuck Berry gets his first U.S. Number One pop hit with "My Ding-a-Ling." It's a singalong novelty song derived from grade-school level private parts jokes.

    11/04, R.C., "Deteriorata" by National Lampoon featuring Melissa Manchester before her singing career BLOSSOMMED peaked at #91 on the pop singles chart; it was a parody of "Desiderata" by Les Crane.

    11/18, R.C., "Convention '72" by The Delegates peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart; it featured excerpts of some top 1972 hits as answers to the interviewer questions.

    11/30, the BBC bannned the Wings's single "Hi, Hi, Hi" for a supposedly subliminal drug message. However, the song is a hit, making #5 in the U.K. and #10 in the U.S. in early 1973.

    12/02, Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is released. Background vocals include Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.

    12/02, Dr. Hook's "Cover of the Rolling Stone" was released.

    12/09, R.C., "In Heaven There Is No Beer" by Clean Living peaked at #49 on the pop singles chart.

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