1972 Rock Music Timeline
Don McLean, American Pie #1 single
Paul Simon debut solo album 1972
Al Green, Let's Stay Together single
Neil Young, Harvest album
Hard rock band Deep Purple, Machine Head rock album
America, Horse With No Name
The Spinners
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
Roberta Flack, number one single The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
The Rasberries, hit song Go All The Way
Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street
The Chi-Lites hit single Oh Girl
David Bowie album Ziggy Stardust
The Doobie Brothers song Listen to the Music
Alice Cooper number two hit album Schools Out
The Eagles hit single Take It Easy
Debut album from Roxy Music
Staple Singers number one song I'll Take You There
Curtis Mayfield soundtrack Superfly
Argent hit song Hold Your Head Up
Jimmy Cliff reggae soundtrack The Harder They Come
Bill Withers number one single Lean on Me
Rick Nelson song Garden Party
John Denver top ten single Rocky Mountain High
Harry Chapin song Taxi 1972
J. Geils Band live album Full House
Slade glam rock
Steely Dan debut album
Chuck Berry number one single
Neil Diamond live album Hot August Night
Edgar Winter Group instrumental hit song Frankenstein
Carly Simon number one song You're So Vain
Johnny Nash reggae single I Can See Clearly Now
Lou Reed album Transformer
Helen Ready smash hit I Am Woman
Billy Paul hit song Me and Mrs. Jones
New Rochelle, NY singer / songwriter Don McLean breaks big with his second album American Pie. Going to #1 in the US with both the album and the single of the same name (#2 UK). (more)
Jan '72
Paul Simon's solo debut gives him a top ten hit "Mother and Child Reunion" and a #4 album (#1 UK) and mixes jamaican and latin styles. (more)
Jan '72
Canadian Neil Young has a #1 album in the US and UK with his fourth album Harvest. The single "Heart of Gold" also hits #1 US, #10 UK. The album would be the best selling album of 1972 in the US. (more) 
Jan '72
Forrest City, AR soul singer Al Green's album "Let's Stay Together" goes top ten in the US and the single of the same name hits #1 US, #7 UK.(more)
Mar '72
Mar '72
Harry Nilsson number one song Without You
Mar '72
Brooklyn, NY singer / songwriter Harry Nilsson has a number one single in both the US and UK with his cover of Badfinger's song "Without You". (more)
UK hard rock band Deep Purple release their sixth album Machine Head which goes to #1 in the UK (#7 US) and features the #4 US single "Smoke On The Water". (more)
America, a folk rock group formed in London, release their debut album to moderate success, but after adding the single "Horse With No Name" and re-releasing the album it goes to #1 US along with the single. (more)
Mar '72
Apr '72
After leaving the Motown label, Detroit vocal group The Spinners debut album for Atlantic Records yields two US Top Ten singles including "I'll Be Around" #3 US and "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" #4 US, #11 UK. (more)
Apr '72
Philadelphia, PA soul group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes score a hit on the Philadelphia International label with "If You Don't Know Me By Now" reaching #3 US, #9 UK. (more)
After being featured in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me, the song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" goes to #1 US, #14 UK for Arlington, VA singer Roberta Flack. (more) 
Apr '72
May '72
Cleveland, OH band The Raspberries score a #5 US hit with "Go All The Way" from their debut album. (more)
May '72
The Rolling Stones spend a year recording in Southern France and release the double album Exile on Main Street which goes to to number one in the US and UK. The first single "Tumbling Dice" reaches #5 UK, #7 US. (more)
May '72
Following up on their #3 US hit "Have You Seen Her", Chicago vocal group the Chi-Lites have another smooth soul hit with "Oh Girl" at #1 US, #14 UK. (more) 
Jun '72
UK artist David Bowie releases his breakthrough album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. The album goes to #5 UK (#75 US). (more) 
Jun '72
California band The Doobie Brothers score a hit off their second album Toulouse Street with the single "Listen To The Music" (#11 US, #29 UK). (more) 
Jun '72
Phoenix, AZ hard rock band Alice Cooper have a top five album and a #1 UK, #7 US single with "School's Out". (more)
Jun '72
After touring as Linda Ronstad's backing band, California country rockers The Eagles release their debut album and have two Top 20 US hits with "Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman". (more)
Jun '72
UK art rock band Roxy Music release their debut album which goes to #10 UK and includes the UK #4 hit single "Virginia Plain". (more)
Jun '72
Chicago family band The Staple Singers follow up on their single "Respect Yourself" #12 US and score a #1 US hit with "I'll Take You There". (more)
Jun '72
Curtis Mayfield is back in the charts with his soundtrack for the film Super Fly. The album yields two US Top Ten hits with "Freddie's Dead" and the title track "Super Fly". (more)
Jul '72
Former Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent has a hit album and #5 single in the US and UK with "Hold Your Head Up". (more) 
Jul '72
West Virginia singer songwriter Bill Withers tops the US charts (UK #18) with the single "Lean on Me" from his second album. (more)
Jul '72
Jimmy Cliff stars in the Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come with a soundtrack that helps popularize reggae in the US. (more)
Aug '72
Fifties teen idol Rick Nelson has a US Top Ten hit with "Garden Party" about an audience booing him for playing new music rather than his old hits.  (more)
Sep '72
American singer / songwriter John Denver goes to #4 US, #11 UK with the album and US Top Ten single of the same name - Rocky Mountain High. (more)
Sep '72
New York singer / songwriter Harry Chapin's performance of the song "Taxi" on the Tonight Show two nights in a row leads to a #24 US hit. (more)
Boston's J. Geils Band release their live album Full House which becomes a '70's party favorite. (more)
Sep '72
Sep '72
Wolverhampton, UK band Slade have their third UK #1 with their glam rock single "Mama Weer All Crazee Now". Their third album Slayed? also tops the UK charts and reaches #69 US. (more)
Oct '72
Steely Dan's debut album makes the US Top 20 boosted by the singles "Reelin' In The Years" and "Do It Again" which reach #11 and #6 respectively.
(more)
Beaumont, TX musician Edgar Winter goes to #1 US with the instrumental "Frankenstein" on the album They Only Come Out At Night (#3 US). (more)
Nov '72
Oct '72
50's Rock & Roll pioneer Chuck Berry is #1 in the US and UK with the novelty song "My Ding a Ling". (more)
Nov '72
American singer / songwriter Neil Diamond records his ten sold out concerts at the Greek Theatre in L.A and releases the double live album Hot August Nights #5 US, #21 UK. (more)
Dec '72
Nov '72
Carly Simon releases her #1 album No Secrets (#3 UK) including the single "You're So Vain" which goes to #1 US in early 1973.  (more)  
Long time pop vocalist Johnny Nash has a comeback hit with the reggae influenced "I Can See Cleary Now" #1 US, #5 UK. (more)
Nov '72
Former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed releases his second solo album Transformer, produced by David Bowie, and reaches #10 UK, #16 US with the single "Walk On The Wild Side" in early 1973.  (more)
Dec '72
Australian vocalist Helen Reddy has a #1 US single with the feminist anthem "I Am Woman". Reddy is the first Australian to top the US charts. (more)
Dec '72
Philadelphia soul singer Billy Paul is #1 US for the last three weeks of the year with "Me and Mrs. Jones". (more)
The Hollies hit song Long Cool Woman
Uriah Heep album Demons and Wizards
May '72
May '72
London, UK progressive / hard rock band Uriah Heep break into the US top 40 with their single "Easy Livin" from their fourth album Demons and Wizards (#23 US, #20 UK). (more)
Sixties hitmakers The Hollies have a #2 US, #32 UK hit with the single "Long Cool Woman" with group co-founder Allan Clarke on lead vocals and guitar. (more)
Mott the Hoople single and album All The Young Dudes
Sep '72
Struggling UK band Mott the Hoople get help from fan David Bowie who produces their album and writes them a hit "All The Young Dudes" #3 UK #37 US. (more)
Luther Ingram soul singer
Wattstax music festival
Jul '72
Jackson, TN soul singer Luther Ingram scores a #3 US hit with "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right". (more)
Aug '72
The Wattstax Music Festival is held at the L.A. Coliseum on the seventh anniversary 
of the Watts Riots. The Staple Singers, Carla Thomas and Isaac Hayes headline. (more) 
1972 in Rock & Roll History:

1950's icon Chuck Berry has his first number one single. John Lennon's visa expires and US Immigration asks him to leave the country. ABC premiers the late night show In Concert. James Taylor and Carly Simon marry. The Wattstax Music Festival is held at the Los Angeles Coliseum on the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. The first New Years Rockin' Eve is televised on ABC hosted by Dick Clark.

Top 40 Singles of 1972
Worldwide:

  1   Don McLean - American Pie
  2   Hot Butter - Popcorn
  3   Harry Nilsson - Without You
  4   The Moody Blues
       Nights in White Satin
  5   Neil Young - Heart of Gold
  6   Daniel Boone - Beautiful Sunday
  7   Gilbert O'Sullivan
       Alone Again (Naturally)
  8   Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair
  9   Roberta Flack
       The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
10   Melanie - Brand New Key
11   Dr Hook - Sylvia's Mother
12   Al Green - Let's Stay Together
13   Neil Diamond - Song Sung Blue
14   Derek & The Dominos - Layla
15   America - Horse With No Name
16   The Temptations
       Papa Was a Rolling Stone
17   Mouth & MacNeal - How Do You Do!
18   The Sweet - Little Willy
19   Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now
20   The New Seekers
       I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing
21   The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards        Amazing Grace
22   The Hollies
       Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress
23   Donny Osmond - Puppy Love
24   Gary Glitter - Rock 'n' Roll (Part 2)
25   Michael Jackson - Ben
26   Alice Cooper - School's Out
27   Bill Withers - Lean On Me
28   The Osmonds - Crazy Horses
29   Vicky Leandros - Apres Toi
30   Elton John - Rocket Man
31   Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling
32   Albert Hammond
       It Never Rains in Southern California
33   John Lennon
       Happy Xmas (War is Over)
34   Chicory Tip - Son of My Father
35   Mouth & MacNeal - Hello-A
36   The Sweet - Wig-Wam Bam
37   Elvis Presley - Burning Love
38   Don McLean
       Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
39   The Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice
40   Lieutenant Pigeon -
       Mouldy Old Dough

Top 50 Albums of 1972
Worldwide:

  1   Neil Young - Harvest
  2   The Rolling Stones
      Exile On Main Street
  3   Deep Purple - Machine Head
  4   Simon & Garfunkel - Greatest Hits
  5   David Bowie - The Rise & Fall Of                Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From             Mars
  6   Don McLean - American Pie
  7   Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
  8   Cat Stevens - Catch Bull At Four
  9   Paul Simon - Paul Simon
10   George Harrison & Various Artists                 The Concert For Bangladesh
11   Elton John - Honky Chateau
12   Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment
13   Yes - Close To The Edge
14   The Moody Blues - Seventh Sojourn
15   Alice Cooper - School's Out
16   Stephen Stills - Manassas
17   Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
18   Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
19   America - America
20   Slade - Slade Alive!
21   Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath 4
22   Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Trilogy
23   The Faces - A Nod Is As Good As A             Wink, To A Blind Horse
24   Neil Diamond - Moods
25   Chicago - Chicago V
26   Gilbert O'Sullivan - Himself
27   Gilbert O'Sullivan - Back To Front
28   Jethro Tull - Living In The Past
29   Emerson, Lake & Palmer
      Pictures At An Exhibition
30   Santana - Caravanserai
31   Carole King - Music
32   Roberta Flack - First Take
33   Yes - Fragile
34   Lou Reed - Transformer
35   The Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks - The          Greatest Hits 1964-1971
36   Creedence Clearwater Revival                    Mardi Gras
37   Procol Harum - Live In Concert With           The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
38   Crosby & Nash 
39   Uriah Heep - Demons & Wizards
40   Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds
41   Wings - Wings Wildlife
42   The Temptations - All Directions
43   Santana & Buddy Miles - Live
44   The Band - Rock of Ages
45   Genesis - Foxtrot
46   Roxy Music - Roxy Music
47   Focus - Moving Waves
48   Liza Minnelli - Cabaret
49   Janis Joplin - In Concert
50   Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come



All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.






"Things have been good for me for a long time, so if I look kind of sad, it's bullsh*t, forget it. I'm doing good. It's something about my songs. Everybody thinks I'm, you know, kind of downbeat."

- Neil Young
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Dec '72
The Temptations twelve minute long remake of the 1971 song "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by the Undisputed Truth tops the US charts (#14 UK). (more)
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