“Family Affair” is a 1971 number-one hit single recorded by Sly and the Family Stone for the Epic Records label. Their first new material since the double a-sided single “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”/ “Everybody Is a Star” nearly two years prior, “Family Affair” became the third and final number-one pop single for the band. Rolling Stone magazine later ranked the song #138 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song version by John Legend, Joss Stone, and Van Hunt, won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at 49th Annual Grammy Awards.
“Theme from Shaft”, written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, is the soul and funk-styled theme song to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, Shaft. The theme was released as a single (shortened and edited from the longer album version) two months after the movie’s soundtrack by Stax Records’ Enterprise label. “Theme from Shaft” went to number two on the Billboard Soul Singles chart and to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in November 1971. The song was also well received by adult audiences, reaching number six on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart.
The following year, “Theme from Shaft” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category), as well as the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song. Since then, the song has appeared in numerous television shows, commercials, and other movies, including the 2000 sequel Shaft, for which Hayes re-recorded the song. In 2004 the original finished at #38 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.
“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” was a #1 single in 1971 by American singer-actress Cher from the album of the same name, her seventh solo album. It was her first chart-topper as a solo artist in the United States. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA for its sales of over 1 million copies.
“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” was the first single from Cher’s 1971 eponymous album Cher with instrumental backing by L.A session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. The album was subsequently renamed and re-released as Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves after the success of the single. The song was written by songwriter Bob Stone as a story-song called “Gypsys, Tramps and White Trash”. Producer Snuff Garrett advised that the title be changed and Stone then changed it to “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”. The album of the same name got very positive reviews.
Released four years after her last top ten hit “You Better Sit Down Kids”, this song was a comeback single for Cher—it was her first single in four years to chart higher than #84—not only returning her to the top ten of the charts but also giving her two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1971. It knocked off “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart which had spent the previous month at number one. The single also reached #1 in Canada and #4 in the United Kingdom. It became Cher’s best-selling single at that point, selling more than 3 million copies worldwide. As of November 2011, Billboard reported the digital sales of “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” to be 212,000 in the US.
The song describes the life of a girl, the narrator of the song, who was “born in the wagon of a traveling show”. Her mother “used to dance for the money they’d throw”, while her father would do “whatever he could; preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good”. Although the people of the town insulted them with such terms suggested in the title of the song, the men paid them well “every night” for their services.
When a young man is picked up in Mobile, the narrator is 16, while he is 21. Her family took care of him for a while and allowed him to travel with them to Memphis, although her father “would have shot him if he knew what he’d done” when he has sex with the narrator. Three months later, the narrator describes herself as a “gal in trouble”, and her young man has disappeared.
Echoing the beginning of the song, the narrator’s own daughter was “born in the wagon of a traveling show”, while the narrator now dances “for the money they throw” and “Grandpa” — the narrator’s own father — supported them in just the same way as before.
The title of this song has also been shown with the alternative spelling “Gypsies”, this being a correct spelling of this word.
“Reason to Believe” is a song written, composed, and first recorded by American folk singer Tim Hardin in 1965. It has since been recorded by artists including the Carpenters in 1970 and Rod Stewart in 1971 and 1993.
After having had his recording contract terminated by Columbia Records, Tim Hardin achieved some success in the 1960s as a songwriter based in Greenwich Village. The original recording of “Reason to Believe” comes from Hardin’s debut album, Tim Hardin 1, recorded in 1965 and released on the Verve Records label in 1966 when he was 25.
Tim Hardin’s original recording of the song is also on the soundtrack to the 2000 film Wonder Boys.
The Carpenters recorded “Reason to Believe” for their second LP, Close to You, in 1970. On television, they performed it on the The 5th Dimension Travelling Sunshine Show on August 18, 1971 and Make Your Own Kind of Music on September 7, 1971.  Richard Carpenter remixed the song for the release of the 1995 compilation, Interpretations: A 25th Anniversary Celebration.
“Maggie May” is a song written by singer Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton and recorded by Stewart in 1971 for his album Every Picture Tells a Story.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song #131 on their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Maggie May” expresses the ambivalence and contradictory emotions of a 16-year-old boy involved in a relationship with an older woman, and was written from Stewart’s own experience. In the January, 2007 issue of Q magazine, Stewart recalled: “Maggie May was more or less a true story, about the first woman I had sex with, at the 1961 Beaulieu Jazz Festival.” The woman’s name was not “Maggie May”; Stewart claimed that the name was taken from “… an old Liverpudlian song about a prostitute.”
The song was recorded in just two takes in one session. Drummer Micky Waller often arrived at recording sessions with the expectation that a drum kit would be provided and, for “Maggie May”, it was – except that no cymbals could be found. The cymbal crashes had to be overdubbed separately some days later.
It was initially released as the B-side of the single “Reason to Believe,” but DJs in the United States (reportedly in Cleveland, Ohio, and at WMEX in Boston) became fonder of the B-side and the song was reclassified, with “Maggie May” becoming the A-side. However, the single continued to be pressed with “Maggie May” as the B-side. The song was Stewart’s first substantial hit as a solo performer and launched his solo career. It remains one of his best-known songs. A live performance of the song on Top of the Pops saw the Faces joined onstage by DJ John Peel, who pretended to play the mandolin (the mandolin player on the recording was Ray Jackson of Lindisfarne).
Most versions of “Maggie May” (especially on some Stewart compilations) incorporate a 30-second solo guitar intro, “Henry”, composed by Martin Quittenton. The original recording has appeared on almost all his compilations, and even appeared on the Ronnie Wood retrospective, Ronnie Wood Anthology: The Essential Crossexion, complete with “Henry” intro. A version by the Faces recorded for BBC Radio appeared on the four-disc box set Five Guys Walk Into A Bar…. A live version recorded in 1993 by Stewart joined by Wood for a session of MTV Unplugged is included on the album Unplugged…and Seated. During concerts, in her introduction, Suzanne Vega refers to “Maggie May” before playing her feminist response, “I’ll Never Be Your Maggie May”.
“Go Away Little Girl” is a popular song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee for Liberty Records on March 28, 1962. The lyrics consist of a young man asking a young woman to stay away from him, so that he will not be tempted to betray his steady girlfriend by kissing her. The song is notable for making the American Top 20 three times: for Steve Lawrence in 1962 (US number 1), for The Happenings in 1966 (US number 12), and for Donny Osmond in 1971 (US number 1). It is also the first song, and one of only nine, to reach US number 1 by two different artists.
In late 1962, Steve Lawrence released the second recording of this song (Bobby Vee recorded it first in March 1962). The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1963 and remained in the top position for two weeks. This recording also spent six weeks atop the U.S. Easy Listening chart. It also went to number 1 on the New Zealand Lever chart and number 18 in Canada.
Mark Wynter’s 1962 cover of the song on the Pye Records label also made the UK Singles Chart, reaching number six in Britain.
Donny Osmond’s cover version of “Go Away Little Girl” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 11, 1971. It remained in the top position for three weeks. Osmond’s version also went to number 36 on the Australian Go-Set chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA on October 13, 1971.
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is a song by Paul and Linda McCartney from the album Ram. Released in the United States as a single on 2 August 1971, but premiering on WLS the previous week (as a “Hit Parade Bound” (HPB)), it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 4 September 1971, making it the first of a string of post-Beatles, McCartney-penned singles to top the US pop chart during the 1970s and 1980s. Billboard ranked it number 22 on its Top Pop Singles of 1971 year-end chart. It became McCartney’s first gold record as a solo artist.
“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is a song released by the Bee Gees in 1971. It was written mainly by Barry and Robin Gibb. It was the lead and first single on the group’s 1971 LP Trafalgar. The B-side, a Maurice Gibb composition “Country Woman”. It was their first US No. 1 single. The song also reached #1 in Cashbox magazine in two weeks. The song is also in American Hustle and on its soundtrack.
In the US, Atco Records issued both mono and stereo versions of the song on each side as a promo single.
“You’ve Got a Friend” is a 1971 song written by Carole King. It was first recorded by King, and included in her album Tapestry. Another well-known version is by James Taylor from his album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. His was released as a single in 1971 reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The two versions were recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.
“You’ve Got a Friend” won Grammy Awards both for Taylor (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance) and King (Song of the Year). Dozens of other artists have recorded the song over the years, including Dusty Springfield, Michael Jackson, Anne Murray and Donny Hathaway.
“Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” is a song written by John D. Loudermilk. The song was first recorded by Marvin Rainwater in 1959 and released on MGM as “The Pale Faced Indian”, but that release stayed unnoticed. The first hit version was a 1968 cover by Don Fardon, a former member of The Sorrows, that reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles Chart.
In 1971 Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded the song on the Columbia Records label, and it topped the Hot 100 on July 24. The RIAA gold certification followed on 30 June 1971 for selling over a million copies. It was later certified platinum for selling an additional million copies. The song was the group’s only #1 US Billboard hit, and their final Top Twenty song.
“I Feel the Earth Move” is a song written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King, which first appeared on her album Tapestry; additionally, the song is one half of the double A-sided single, the flip side which was “It’s Too Late”. Together, both “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” became among the biggest mainstream pop hits of 1971.
A showcase for King’s upbeat piano style, “I Feel the Earth Move” has lyrics with the same percussive feel:
I feel the earth – move – under my feet
I feel the sky tum-b-ling down – tum-b-ling down
I feel my heart start to trem-b-ling –
Whenever you’re around
Jon Landau’s review of the album Tapestry (1971) for Rolling Stone praised King’s voice on this track, saying it negotiates turns from “raunchy” to “bluesy” to “harsh” to “soothing”, with the last echoing the development of the song’s melody into its chorus. Landau describes the melody of the refrain as “a pretty pop line.” 40 years later, Rolling Stone stated the King’s “warm, earnest singing” brought “earthy joy” to the song. Music journalist Harvey Kubernik wrote that “I Feel the Earth Move” was “probably the most sexually aggressive song on the Tapestry album” and a “brave” opening to an album whose mood is mostly “mellow confessionality.” Allmusic critic Stewart Mason describes the song as “the ultimate in hippie-chick eroticism” and writes that it “sounds like the unleashing of an entire generation of soft-spoken college girls’ collective libidos.”
Author James Perone praised the way the lyrics and music work together. As a prime example, he notes the syncopated rhythm to the melody on which King sings “tumbling down.” This rhythm, putting the accent at the end of the word “tumbling” rather than at the beginning, produces a “musical equivalent of a tumble.” Perone also notes that the fast tempo allows the listener to feel the singer’s excitement over being near her lover, and that the lyrics also express sexual tension even though that tension is left implicit. Perone attributes some of the song’s success to producer Lou Adler’s decision to highlight King’s piano playing in the mix, giving it a different feel from the guitar-based singer-songwriter approach King took in her prior album. Mason also attributes the song’s success to the “piano-led groove” and to King’s vocal delivery.
King’s version of “I Feel the Earth Move” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated June 19, 1971. It remained there for five consecutive weeks. It also peaked at #6 in the United Kingdom.
Given its upbeat nature, Ode Records selected “I Feel the Earth Move” as the A-side to Tapestry’s first single. It achieved airplay, but then disc jockeys and listeners began to prefer the slower, lamenting B-side “It’s Too Late”. Both sides received airplay for a while, but eventually “It’s Too Late” dominated. In fact, on the concurrent Cash Box singles chart, which still tracked the progress of both sides of a single separately, “It’s Too Late” spent four weeks at number one while “I Feel the Earth Move” did not chart at all. Regardless, since Billboard had declared the record a double A-side and their chart gradually became seen by many as the “official” singles chart, it is generally listed in books and articles that both “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” reached #1.
Together with “It’s Too Late”, “I Feel the Earth Move” was named by the RIAA as number 213 of 365 Songs of the Century.
On March 18, 2008, King performed the song on The Colbert Report.
“It’s Too Late” is a song from Carole King’s 1971 album Tapestry. Toni Stern wrote the lyrics and King wrote the music. It was released as a single in April 1971 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. Sales were later certified Gold by the RIAA. Billboard ranked “It’s Too Late” and its fellow A-side, “I Feel the Earth Move”, as the No. 3 record for 1971.
The lyrics describe the end of a loving relationship without assigning blame. Music critic Dave Marsh noted the implicit feminism in the fact that the woman has left the man. Marsh also remarked on the maturity of the theme. Music critic Robert Christgau claimed that “if there’s a truer song about breaking up than ‘It’s Too Late,’ the world (or at least AM radio) isn’t ready for it.” Marsh describes the melody as Tin Pan Alley and the arrangement as a cross between light jazz and “L.A. studio craftmanship.” Rolling Stone Magazine stated the King’s “warm, earnest singing” on the song brought out the song’s sadness. According to author James Perone, the feeling of the song is enhanced by the instrumental work of Danny Kortchmar on guitar, Curtis Amy on saxophone and King on piano. Kortchmar and Amy each have an instrumental solo.
The sadness of the song is emphasized by the music being in a minor key. Perone also notes several melodic techniques King uses in the song which helped make the song such a hit. She builds the melody out of syncopated rhythmic motifs which are modified and combined over the course of the song, in contrast to many songs in which the rhythmic phrases are simply repeated. Perone also believes that she makes the melody easy to remember by establishing the highest note in the melody by repeating it several times before the melody descends to the tonic. This establishes the highest and lowest notes in the listeners ear, aiding recognition. An important element of the melody from an emotional standpoint is that rather than ending on the tonic, as most songs do to establish a final resolution, “It’s Too Late” ends on the mediant, which is related to the tonic but still leaves a sense of inconclusiveness. This effectively contrasts with the lyrics, which imply that the singer has fully accepted the end of the relationship.
Toni Stern told author Sheila Weller that she wrote the lyrics in a single day, after her love affair with James Taylor was over. The recording won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1972, and the song is included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Want Ads” was a million-selling Number 1 pop and R&B hit recorded by female group, Honey Cone for their third album Sweet Replies and also appears on their fourth album Soulful Tapestry (both 1971 releases). The song on the Detroit-based Hot Wax label was written by Greg Perry, General Norman Johnson and Barney Perkins. It was produced by staff producer, Greg Perry, and features a young Ray Parker, Jr. (“Ghostbusters”) on rhythm guitar.
“Want Ads” was released as the first single from Soulful Tapestry in the United States in the spring of 1971 (see 1971 in music). It reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for one week and topped the R&B singles chart for three weeks in the United States, becoming the group’s most successful single and their only number one placement on the pop charts.
“Brown Sugar” is a song by The Rolling Stones. It is the opening track and lead single from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 495 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and at No. 5 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.
Though credited, like most of their compositions, to the singer/guitarist pair of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song was primarily the work of Jagger, who wrote it sometime during the filming of Ned Kelly in 1969. Originally recorded over a three-day period at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama from 2–4 December 1969, the song was not released until over a year later due to legal wranglings with the band’s former label, though at the request of guitarist Mick Taylor, they debuted the number live during the infamous concert at Altamont on 6 December. The song was written by Jagger with Marsha Hunt in mind; Hunt was Jagger’s secret girlfriend and mother of his first child Karis. It is also claimed it was written with Claudia Lennear in mind. Lennear made this claim on BBC’s Radio 4 (25 February 2014, Today), saying that it was written with her in mind because at the time when it was written, Mick Jagger used to hang around with her.
In the documentary film Gimme Shelter (1970), an alternative mix of the song is played back to the band while they relax in a hotel in Alabama.
The song, with its prominent blues-rock riffs, dual horn/guitar instrumental break, and danceable rock rhythms, is representative of the Stones’ definitive middle period and the tough, bluesy hard-rock most often associated with the group. In the liner notes to the 1993 compilation album Jump Back, Jagger says, “The lyric was all to do with the dual combination of drugs and girls. This song was a very instant thing, a definite high point.” The song is in compound AABA form.
In the Rolling Stone interview (14 December 1995, RS 723) with Jagger, he spoke at length about the song, its inspiration and success — including claiming credit for writing the lyrics. He attributed the success of the song to a “good groove”. After noting that the lyrics could mean so many lewd subjects, he again noted that the combination of those subjects, the lyrical ambiguity was partially why the song was considered successful. He noted, “That makes it… the whole mess thrown in. God knows what I’m on about on that song. It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go… I never would write that song now.” When Jann Wenner asked him why, Jagger replied, “I would probably censor myself. I’d think, ‘Oh God, I can’t. I’ve got to stop. I can’t just write raw like that.'”
The lyrical subject matter has often been a point of interest and controversy. Described by rock critic Robert Christgau as “a rocker so compelling that it discourages exegesis”, “Brown Sugar”‘s popularity indeed often overshadowed its scandalous lyrics, which were essentially a pastiche of a number of taboo subjects, including slavery, interracial sex, cunnilingus, and less distinctly, sadomasochism, lost virginity, rape, and heroin.
An alternative version was recorded on 18 December 1970, at Olympic Studios in London, after (or during) a birthday party for Richards. It features appearances by Al Kooper on piano, and Eric Clapton on slide guitar. Richards considered releasing this version on Sticky Fingers, mostly for its more spontaneous atmosphere, but decided on the original. The alternative version, which had previously been available only on bootleg recordings, was released in June 2015 on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions of the reissued Sticky Fingers album.
“Joy to the World” is a song written by Hoyt Axton, and made famous by the band Three Dog Night. The song is also popularly known by its opening words, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”. Three Dog Night originally released the song on their fourth studio album, Naturally in November 1970 and subsequently released an edited version of the song as a single in February 1971.
The song, which has been described by members of Three Dog Night as a “kid’s song” and a “silly song”, topped the main singles charts in North America, was certified gold by the RIAA, and has since been covered by multiple artists.
The song is featured prominently in the film The Big Chill. It is sung by a child character at the beginning and the Three Dog Night recording is played over the end credits. It is also featured in the end credits of the 2016 adult animated comedy film Sausage Party.
It is also played at the end of every Denver Broncos victory at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and, before it, Mile High Stadium. Notable playings of this song after Broncos victories included then-Chicago Bears head coach Abe Gibron’s singing along with the song in 1973, as immortalized by the Football Follies; and at the end of Super Bowl XXXII, played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
“Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” is a song by American soul group The Temptations. Released on the Gordy (Motown) label, and produced by Norman Whitfield, it features on the group’s 1971 album, Sky’s the Limit. When released as a single, “Just My Imagination” became the third Temptations song to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single held the number one position on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart for two weeks in 1971, from March 27 to April 10. “Just My Imagination” also held the number-one spot on the Billboard R&B Singles chart for three weeks, from February 27 to March 20 of that year.
Today, “Just My Imagination” is considered one of the Temptations’ signature songs, and is notable for recalling the sound of the group’s 1960s recordings. It is also the final Temptations single to feature founding members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. During the process of recording and releasing the single, Kendricks left the group to begin a solo career, while the ailing Williams was forced to retire from the act for health reasons. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed “Just My Imagination” as number 389 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Me and Bobby McGee” is a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller. Others performed the song later, including the Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition and most famously by Janis Joplin, whose posthumously released version topped the U.S. singles chart in 1971, making the song the second posthumously released No. 1 single in U.S. chart history after “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. Billboard ranked Joplin’s version as the No. 11 song for 1971.
The suggestion for the title came from [producer and Monument Records founder] Fred Foster.  Kristofferson did not write the song for Joplin, but it became strongly associated with her after her death.
“One Bad Apple” was a number-one hit single released by The Osmonds on November 14, 1970. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 2, 1971. It hit the top of the chart on February 13, 1971 and stayed there for five weeks. It also reached number six on the R&B chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1971. Both “One Bad Apple” and the Donny Osmond-credited single “Sweet and Innocent” are on the 1970 album Osmonds. It was certified Gold by the RIAA on February 4, 1971.
The song was written by George Jackson, who originally had the Jackson 5 in mind when he wrote it. The Osmonds’ version coincidentally sounded like the Jackson 5 to the point many mistook the Osmonds for the Jacksons on the song when first hearing it. According to Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson later told him that the Jackson 5 almost recorded this song first, but chose to record “ABC” instead.
“One Bad Apple” was also used as the theme to The Osmonds cartoon show on ABC-TV.
“Knock Three Times” is a popular song credited to Tony Orlando and Dawn. The actual singers were Tony Orlando, Toni Wine, and Linda November, prior to the creation of “Dawn” with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson. The song was released as a single in November 1970, paired with Orlando’s other hit song, “Candida” (also written by Toni Wine). The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1971 and eventually sold six million copies, also claiming the number-one spot on the UK Singles Chart. The song registered well at Adult Contemporary stations, reaching #2 on Billboard’s “Easy Listening” survey.
The composers of this song, L. Russell Brown and Irwin Levine, were thinking of the song Up on the Roof and they wanted to write a song with that kind of lyrical flavor, about tenement living. In the song, the singer has fallen in love with a woman who lives directly below him but has no clue as to her interest, so he asks her to respond by either knocking three times on the ceiling (yes) or banging twice on the pipe (no), and the chorus includes sound effects of the two choices. (However, the song never states her response.)
Tony Orlando was, at the time of the recording, working as a producer/singer for a rival record label. Tony first heard the tune recorded by another artist and immediately knew the song could be a hit produced as he envisioned. Orlando cut the track under the name “Tony Orlando” and had to do the studio sessions on the “down low” to ensure his current record label wasn’t aware. The result? Tony’s insight into how the song should sound (in his mind), basically as produced, rocketed it to success.
Knock Three Times actually sold more than 100,000 records a day in New York City alone for ten straight days. The song appears in several motion pictures including Now and Then.
The song was covered by Billy “Crash” Craddock in 1971 and became a number three country hit.
Manny de Leon of the Philippines sold out in the market when he made his version under Alpha Records.
Dolly Parton performed the song on a 1976 episode of her variety series Dolly!.
In 1994 the Mexican group Banda Zeta recorded a Spanish versión called “Toca tres veces” for their album Jacarandosa.
Several Larry Craig-themed parodies (all titled “Tap Three Times”) were recorded by various artists such as Paul and Storm and The Capitol Steps in 2007 following the senator’s notorious sex scandal in which he was arrested for tapping his foot (to allegedly solicit gay sex) in a public airport restroom.
“Isn’t It a Pity” is a song by English musician George Harrison from his 1970 solo album All Things Must Pass. It appears in two variations there: one the well-known, seven-minute version; the other a reprise, titled “Isn’t It a Pity (Version Two)”. Harrison wrote the song in 1966, but it was rejected for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. In many countries around the world, the song was also issued on a double A-side single with “My Sweet Lord”. In America, Billboard magazine listed it with “My Sweet Lord” when the single topped the Hot 100 chart, while in Canada, “Isn’t It a Pity” reached number 1 as the preferred side.
An anthemic ballad and one of Harrison’s most celebrated compositions, “Isn’t It a Pity” has been described as the emotional and musical centrepiece of All Things Must Pass and “a poignant reflection on The Beatles’ coarse ending”. Co-produced by Phil Spector, the recording employs multiple keyboard players, rhythm guitarists and percussionists, as well as orchestration by arranger John Barham. In its extended fadeout, the song references the closing refrain of the Beatles’ 1968 hit “Hey Jude”. Other musicians on the recording include Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Gary Wright and the band Badfinger, while the reprise version features Eric Clapton on lead guitar.
The song appeared as the closing track on Harrison’s career-spanning compilation Let It Roll (2009), and a live version, from his 1991 tour with Clapton, was included on Live in Japan (1992). Clapton and Preston performed the song together at the Concert for George tribute in November 2002. “Isn’t It a Pity” has been covered by numerous artists, including Nina Simone, Matt Monro, Cowboy Junkies, Paul Young, Elliott Smith, Galaxie 500, Jonathan Wilson and Graham Nash, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Roberta Flack.
“My Sweet Lord” is a song by English musician and former Beatle George Harrison that was released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. Also issued as a single, Harrison’s first as a solo artist, “My Sweet Lord” topped charts worldwide and was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the UK. In America and Britain, the song was the first number one single by an ex-Beatle. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; this version, which Harrison co-produced, appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.
Harrison wrote “My Sweet Lord” in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while at the same time intending the lyrics to serve as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his deliberate blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of “Hare Krishna” and Vedic prayer. The recording features producer Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound treatment and heralded the arrival of Harrison’s much-admired slide guitar technique, which one biographer described as being “musically as distinctive a signature as the mark of Zorro”. Preston, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and the group Badfinger are among the other musicians appearing on the recording.
Later in the 1970s, “My Sweet Lord” was at the centre of a heavily publicised copyright infringement suit, due to its similarity to the Ronnie Mack song “He’s So Fine”, a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. In 1976, Harrison was found to have subconsciously plagiarised the earlier tune, a verdict that had repercussions throughout the music industry. He claimed to have used the out-of-copyright “Oh Happy Day”, a Christian hymn, as his inspiration for the song’s melody.
Harrison performed “My Sweet Lord” at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, and it remains the most popular composition from his post-Beatles career. He reworked the song as “My Sweet Lord (2000)” for inclusion as a bonus track on the 30th anniversary reissue of All Things Must Pass. Many artists have covered the song including Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Edwin Starr, Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Richie Havens, Megadeth, Boy George, Elton John, Jim James, Bonnie Bramlett and Elliott Smith. “My Sweet Lord” is ranked 460th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The song reached number 1 in Britain for a second time when re-released in January 2002, two months after Harrison’s death.