Friday On My Mind: 1972

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

Today as the 2012 Fall Fundraising Drive draws to a close, we are also wrapping up our countdown of the greatest albums of the last 40 years as voted on by our listeners. Many have asked why we chose to countdown albums from the last 40 years as opposed to all time. Well, glad you asked… this is a celebration of our 40th year of existence. Yes. It’s true. We are turning the big 4 0. Happy Birthday to us. We look pretty good for our age, don’t we? Before we blossomed into the mature KEXP you see before you now, we began humbly in 1972 as KCMU. KCMU was the brainchild of four determined University of Washington students, who persevered though obstacles economical, technical, and otherwise to begin a student run radio station from a 10-watt transmitter at McMahon Hall on the UW campus. So today, to commemorate our 40th, we’re looking at a few of our favorite songs from the year of our birth, 1972.

David Bowie – Starman

In 1972 when David Bowie performed as Ziggy Stardust on various television programs like the UK music variety show, Top of the Pops, it was the first glimpse many were getting of Bowie. Originally released in April of 1972 as a single with Suffragette City as the B-side, Starman is one of the tracks from the epic album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The song is sung from the perspective of a listener tuning into and hearing a ‘starman’ via the radio.

Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

A classic through and through. Let’s Stay Together has been immortalized in movies such as Pulp Fiction and is a staple at many a weddings and rightfully so. The music was written by session drummer Al Jackson Jr. and Al Green’s producer Willie Mitchell. Jackson and Mitchell presented the song to Green, who as legend has it wrote the lyrics within 5 minutes, which may be part of the reason why he didn’t feel inclined to record the song at all. It took much arguing and convincing on the part of Jackson and Mitchell to get Al Green to finally record the song days later, and the rest as they say is history.

Neil Young – Heart of Gold

Taken from the album Harvest which was originally released in February of 1972, Heart of Gold was written by Neil Young while he was recovering from a back injury. He was physically unable to play an electric guitar, so while laid up, he began recording songs acoustically and Heart of Gold was one of the results. Linda Rondstadt and James Taylor provided backup vocals, which isn’t too shabby.

Honorable Mentions:

Stevie Wonder – Superstition (on Sesame Street)

It’s Stevie Wonder. On Sesame Street. Yes.

T. Rex – Metal Guru (on a Christmas episode of Top of the Pops)

Long flowing hair. Metallic colored bell bottoms. Yes.

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