“Me and Mrs. Jones” is a 1972 soul song written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Cary Gilbert, and originally recorded by Billy Paul. It describes an extramarital affair between a man and his lover, Mrs. Jones. In the song, following the opening mention of the title, the next line says: “We’ve got a thing going on”. The singer meets Mrs Jones at the same place, at the same cafe at the same time, where they are holding hands and chatting. Both the singer and Mrs Jones acknowledge that what they are doing is wrong, and that they must be extra careful by keeping their secrets from each other.
“I Am Woman” is a song written by Australian-American artist Helen Reddy and singer-songwriter Ray Burton and performed by Reddy. The first recording of the song appeared on Reddy’s debut album I Don’t Know How to Love Him, released in May 1971, and was heard during the closing credits for the 1972 film Stand Up and Be Counted. A new recording of the song was released as a single in May 1972 and became a number one hit later that year, eventually selling over one million copies. The song came near the apex of the counterculture era and, by celebrating female empowerment, became an enduring anthem for the women’s liberation movement.
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is a psychedelic soul song, written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong as a single for Motown act The Undisputed Truth in 1971. This version of “Papa” was released as a single in early 1972 and peaked at #63 on the Pop Charts and #24 on the R&B Charts, and was included on The Truth’s 1973 album Law of the Land.
Later that year, Whitfield, who also produced the song, took “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and remade it as a 12-minute record for The Temptations, which was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1973. While the original Undisputed Truth version of the song has been largely forgotten, The Temptations’ version of the song has been an enduring and influential soul classic. It was ranked number 168 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of the group’s three songs on the list. In retrospect, The Temptations’ Otis Williams considers “Papa” to be the last real classic the group recorded (it would be the Temptations’ last number one hit and would win them their second and final Grammy Award in a competitive category).
“I Can See Clearly Now” is a song written and recorded by Johnny Nash. It was a single from the album of the same name and achieved success in the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 1972, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was covered by many artists throughout the years, including a 1993 hit version by Jimmy Cliff, who re-recorded it for the motion picture soundtrack of Cool Runnings, where it reached the top 20 at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“My Ding-a-Ling” is the title of a novelty song written and recorded by Dave Bartholomew. In 1972 it was covered by Chuck Berry and became Berry’s only U.S. number-one single on the pop charts. Later that year, in a longer unedited form, it was included on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions. Two members of the Average White Band, guitarist Onnie McIntyre and drummer Robbie McIntosh, played on the single. Nic Potter of Van der Graaf Generator played bass on the track.
“My Ding-a-Ling” was originally recorded by Dave Bartholomew in 1952 for King Records. When Bartholomew moved to Imperial Records, he re-recorded the song under the new title, “Little Girl Sing Ting-a-Ling”. In 1954, The Bees on Imperial released a version entitled “Toy Bell”. Berry recorded a version called “My Tambourine” in 1968, but the version which topped the charts was recorded live during the Lanchester Arts Festival at the Locarno ballroom in Coventry, England, on 3 February 1972, where Berry – backed by The Roy Young Band – topped a bill that also included Slade, George Carlin and Billy Preston. Boston radio station WMEX disc jockey Jim Connors was credited with a gold record for discovering the song and pushing it to #1 over the airwaves and amongst his peers in the United States. Billboard ranked it as the No. 15 song for 1972.
“Ben” is a song written by Don Black and composed by Walter Scharf for the 1972 film of the same name (the sequel to the 1971 killer rat film Willard). It was performed in the film by Lee Montgomery and by Michael Jackson over the closing credits. Jackson’s single, recorded for the Motown label in 1972, spent one week at the top of the U.S. pop chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 20 song for 1972. It also reached number-one on the Australian pop chart, spending eight weeks at the top spot. The song also later reached a peak of number seven on the British pop chart.
“Ben” won a Golden Globe for Best Song. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973, losing to “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure; Jackson performed the song in front of a live audience at the ceremony. The song was Jackson’s first U.S. #1 solo hit.
“Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” is a hit song by country and pop singer-songwriter Mac Davis. From his breakthrough album of the same name, the song reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts in September 1972, spending three weeks atop each chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 8 song of 1972. He wrote the song when the record company demanded he write a tune with a “hook”.
The song was also a modest country hit concurrent with its pop success, reaching number 26 shortly after the peak of its pop success. The “Nashville Edition” provided backing vocals.
“Black and White” is a song written in 1954 by David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson.
The most successful recording of the song was the pop version by Three Dog Night in 1972, when it reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Easy Listening charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 63 song for 1972. This was one of the few hits for Three Dog Night on which Danny Hutton sang the lead vocals.
Earl Robinson’s recording was released on the Folkways album A Walk in the Sun (and Other Songs and Ballads); the title refers to the song written for the 1945 film A Walk in the Sun.
The song was inspired by the United States Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation of public schools. It was first recorded by Pete Seeger in 1956, followed by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1957. The original lyrics of the song opened with this verse, in reference to the court:
Their robes were black, Their heads were white,
The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight,
Nine judges all set down their names,
To end the years and years of shame.
Reggae groups The Maytones, from Jamaica, and Greyhound, from the UK, both recorded the song in 1971, the latter achieving a UK top ten hit. Having heard the Greyhound version, which did not include the verse describing the court, Three Dog Night included the song in their 1972 album Seven Separate Fools. This version of the song peaked at number one on the U.S. pop chart on September 16, 1972, and topped the easy listening chart on October 7. Billboard ranked it as the No. 63 song for 1972.
“Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” is a 1972 pop song written and composed by Elliot Lurie and recorded by Lurie’s band, Looking Glass, on their debut album Looking Glass. The single reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 charts, remaining in the top position for one week. Billboard ranked it as the 12th biggest song of 1972. Horns and strings were arranged by Larry Fallon.
The lyrics tell of Brandy, a barmaid in a port town. She falls in love with a sailor who gives her a locket that bears his name. In the end, Brandy is left in love with “a man who’s not around.” Brandy may have been based on Mary Ellis (1750–1828), a spinster in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“Alone Again (Naturally)” is a song by English-Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan. It was released in 1972 at the same time as (but not on) the album, Back to Front. In total, the single spent six weeks, non-consecutively, at #1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1972. In Casey Kasem’s American ‘Top 40 of the 1970s’, “Alone Again (Naturally)” ranked as the fifth most-popular song of the decade (Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” was #1). “Alone Again (Naturally)” also spent six weeks at number one on the Easy Listening chart. The track reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart.
The song is also featured in the films Under The Skin, The Virgin Suicides, Osmosis Jones, Stuart Little 2, Stuck on You, Lost Islands, Megamind, and Love, Rosie.