Songs from 1972

‘A Horse with No Name’, the debut single from two-thirds American America, was top of the charts in the USA on this day in 1972 – according to Billboard magazine. And here it is for you to enjoy all over again. (Never mind the accusations of glorifying heroin use, how they got away with a line as badly written as &#145'Cause there ain’t no-one for to give you no pain’ amazes me.)

It’s been a while since we racked our brains (we managed it for 2006, 1983, 1975, 1969 and 1966, and this has got to be a more interesting year than the next one open to scrutiny, which will be nineteen ninety-something), so what have you got for this, the year of Obscured by Clouds?

The most well-known tracks are probably ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean, ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young and ‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper, but there was a lot of good music in 1972… obviously ignoring those bloody Hillside Singers, who apparently wanted to teach the world to sing – in perfect harmony, no less – yet whose real ‘achievement’ was in making a sizeable portion of its populace feel sick and compelled to buy a leading brand of cola. And maybe even more sick as a result of drinking too much of the stuff.

Here are some of my favourites from 1972, anyway:

– Al Green, ‘Let’s Stay Together’
– Elton John, ‘Rocket Man’
– The Raspberries, ‘Go All the Way’
– Rolling Stones, ‘Ventilator Blues’
– War, ‘Slippin’ Into Darkness’

I’ll apologise now, as I know that someone’s innocent eyes, in scanning for songs from this year, will inevitably flicker over the name ‘Three Dog Night’; I can’t help but feel responsible that someone, somewhere is therefore highly likely to have ‘Black and White’ playing on repeat inside their head for some time afterwards. (Was anyone else forced to sing this song at school?)

Should you find yourself afflicted by the recurring melody of this loathsome tune or damaged in some slight yet irreversible way by its selfish use of the cowbell, compiling an A to Z of tunes from 1972, as some of us did for 1982, should help.

If not, there’s always the Hillside Singers and sugary carbonated beverages.

Oh, and as it was something we chatted about recently during a rare voyage into ‘The Music of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd’: Which other Obscured by Clouds track do you think would have slotted most easily into David’s 2006 live set?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

57 thoughts on “Songs from 1972”

  1. And was it Paul Rodriguez who said, “You’re in the desert, you’ve got nothing else to do. Name the freakin’ horse?” 🙂

  2. I wish David would have done “Stay” in 2006 (even though he didn’t co-write it), for two reasons:

    1) Rick Wright was still alive and it’s one of his very best songs and one of Pink Floyd’s best ever.
    2) The lazy dreamy Wah Wah Gilmour guitar on it is also some of David’s best guitar playing. Nothing flashy, but just flawlessly easy-livin’ bacon-and-eggs-on-a-Sunday morning wonderful. The guitar sounds like someone having a pleasant conversation with you.

    I remember in 1975, three of us 17 year olds racing to the L.A. memorial sports arena, flying down the freeway rattling off all the songs we hoped we’d hear PF play and “Stay” got whooping applause. (“Burning Bridges” is darned good too.) I hope he does it someday on some future tour–if he ever does one again, just in memory of Rick. That or “Summer of ’68” (what another great song that is).

    I think the first two instrumentals on the album are fantastic. There really isn’t a bad track on Obscured by the Clouds. I like the ominous spacy stuff. I like it all. David could have done ANY song from this album and I would have been happy. It’s a winner. My guess is, that had the cover of the album been more focused/better, this would have been one of the biggest selling PF albums of all times. It’s probably the only real goof of a cover Hypnosis ever made–though I still like it, kinda.

  3. Which other Obscured by Clouds track do you think would have slotted most easily into David’s 2006 live set?

    Without a doubt, ‘Mudmen’. This track demonstrates how beautiful and romantic David’s guitar talk really is. I love this track forever.

    ‘Obscured by Clouds’ is my number one favourite Pink Floyd album too.

  4. Yes “Roundabout,” from the album Fragile. It was their biggest hit in the ’70s and was voted the best song of the decade by the critics of 1980.

    This was recorded by what I consider the greatest lineup of Yes, a band that seemed to change musicians more often than some people change their socks. It is the first appearance of Rick Wakeman (who does a great solo on this track). They were showing off their musical acumen but had not yet gotten too showy (as on later records like “Relayer”).

    1. Are you kidding us NYD!!! ‘Relayer’ showy?

      Prog was at its peak when this album was released and at the time, every big name band were doing their best to ‘give er’ and outdo each other. Well, with this album, Yes ‘gave er’ and blew everybody else out of the park. Can’t blame them for being good musicians and wanting to show off a bit. We are all better off for it just for ‘Soon’ alone.

  5. I’m sure a lot of us will say this: Childhood’s End!

    But the OBC track I would really love to hear live from David (especially if Rick was still around) would be Mudmen. Would be lovely live (and extended).

    Obscured By Clouds/When You’re In is always a must, too.

    1. Yeah, I agree. Obscured–itself–sounds like a freight train about to run over your car. It’s great!!!

  6. 1972, mmmm, memories of that have a definite feel good factor as far as I’m concerned.

    My list is a snapshot of that year for me:

    School’s Out, Alice Cooper
    Run Run Run, Jo Jo Gunne
    Without You, Nillson
    Heart of Gold, Neil Young
    Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues
    Morning Has Broken, Cat Stevens
    Mother and Child Reunion, Paul Simon
    Everything I Own, Bread

    This was certainly a time when I listened to the chart rundown on a Sunday hoping my particular favorite of the moment might still be able to catch the number one spot.

    Fluff Freeman, transistor radios, jerseys for goalposts…

  7. Having been born in 1974 I know that certain songs were from the 1970s, but have no idea of years, looks like I am out of this discussion…

    But history I can do and we had the first miners strikes for 50 years, a three day week, and a lack of electricity. Anyone not able to play their shiny new record for lack of power?

  8. I’m losing the will to live watching The Budget on TV so I thought I’d go for the A-Z (with no X) instead.

    All The Young Duded – Mott The Hoople
    Back Off Boogaloo – Ringo Star
    Crocodile Rock – Elton John
    Diamonds Are Forever – Dame Shirley
    Everything I Own – Bread
    Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone
    Give Ireland Back To The Irish – Wings
    Heart Of Gold – Neil Young
    I Don’t Believe In Miracles – Colin Blunstone
    John I’m Only Dancing – David Bowie
    Keeper of The Castle – Four Tops
    Layla – Derek & The Dominoes
    My Ding-A-Ling – Chuck Berry
    Never Before – Deep Purple
    Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day – Gilbert O’Sullivan
    Puppy Love – Donny Osmond
    Queen Bitch – David Bowie
    Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson
    Silver Machine – Hawkwind
    Tumbling Dice – Rolling Stones
    Until It’s Time For You To Go – Elvis
    Virginia Plain – Roxy Music
    Wig-Wam Bam – Sweet
    You Wear it Well – Rod Stewart
    Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

    I’d go for ‘Mudmen’ or ‘Stay’ for the other track from OBC. I just couldn’t believe my luck when David played ‘Wot’s’ at Glasgow. If I was told I could only listen to one song for the rest of my life, that’s the one I’d choose.

    Thanks for all the birthday wishes. x

    1. Who can forget The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust? A tremendous album. Thanks for reminding me about that, Lorraine!

    2. A valiant effort, Lorraine. Well done… 😉

      Here’s my attempt at an A to Z, with the odd tenuous entry (I struggled hopelessly with K, Q, and Z):

      Amazing Grace – Pipes & Drums of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
      Burning Love – Elvis
      Children of the Revolution – T.Rex
      Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne
      Elmo James – Chairman Of The Board
      (The) First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack
      Goodbye To Love – The Carpenters
      Hold Your Head Up – Argent
      In A Broken Dream – Python Lee Jackson
      Join Together – The Who
      Can’t Keep it In – Cat Stevens
      Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
      Me and Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul
      No One To Depend On – Santana
      Oh Girl – The Chi-Lites
      Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
      ConQuistador – Procul Harum
      Rocket Man – Elton John
      Stay With Me – The Faces
      Take It Easy – The Eagles
      Use Me – Bill Withers
      Ventura Highway – America
      Witchy Woman – The Eagles
      Happy Xmas (War is Over) Plastic Ono Band
      You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
      WiZZard – Ball Park Incident

      As for the OBC track “slotted most easily into David’s 2006 live set?”

      ‘Burning Bridges’ would have seamlessly slotted in, with David’s and Rick’s vocals blending so well together. ‘Stay’ would have also slipped nicely into the groove of the 2006 set.

      As Dr.Rock said earlier, there really isn’t a bad track on OBC.

      It’s amazing how quickly such a fine album came together, in just a couple of weeks during February and March of ’72, I believe.

    3. A valiant effort, Lorraine. Well done… 😉

      A valiant effort, Ken, Well done… 😉

      But you, you cheated five times, didn’t you? 😛


    4. 😛 I forgive your cheating, Ken. I’d have had to cheat a lot more to get my A to Z beyond the half-way point.

      And you did include one of my favourite Eagles songs, ‘Witchy Woman’ (and cleverly left out one of my least favourites, ‘Chug All Night’).

      Great, now I’ll be singing it all afternoon…

    5. But you, you cheated five times, didn’t you? 😛

      Then again, Ken did manage to get some bagpipes in there so I bow to his superior list. 😀

  9. ‘Ben’, Michael Jackson – Cute, sweet, tender, naive, emotional. Always gives me chills even though I know it’s about a killer rat…

    – ‘Old Man’ (actually all songs from the album ‘Harvest’), Neil Young. And didn’t Bob Dylan cover ‘Old Man’ live?

    – ‘Child In Time’ (from ‘Made In Japan’), Deep Purple

    – ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, Lou Reed

    – ‘Layla’, Derek & The Dominos

    – ‘Telegram Sam’, T.Rex (sounds a bit like ‘Get It On’, I think)

    – ‘Aimer à perdre la raison’, Jean Ferrat (singing here beautiful words by Aragon), that I choose as a tribute to this great poet/singer/songwriter who saddly passed away on 13 March. He was a left-wing songwriter with genuine communist convictions even though he always refused joining any communist party.

    And didn’t you forget -on your list of favourites- this one? Released in 1972 by Robert John. 😉

    ‘Obscured By Clouds’ was the last PF album that I bought since I had read so many bad criticisms pointing out a certain weakness. Last but not least since it’s actually one of my favourite PF albums. (and recorded at Château d’Hérouville, France, wow.) Beautiful soundtrack for a less interesting movie ‘La Vallée’, I never found any interest in that film.

    ‘Mudmen’, ‘Childhood’s End’, ‘Wot’s… Uh The Deal’ are my favourites (honest).

    1. And didn’t you forget -on your list of favourites- this one? Released in 1972 by Robert John. 😉

      And I’ve been working so hard with my psychiatrist to forget it. What a horrible song that is. Instant headache material.

  10. Never heard of “those bloody Hillside Singers” and the advert about “a leading brand of cola”, but, speaking of Coca-Cola, have you seen this news?

    Of course, Coca-Cola denied all the allegations…

  11. Childhood’s End is my favourite track from Obscured by Clouds and I was really hoping DG might have slipped that one in during the live tour – maybe next time, eh!

    Anyone read the book by Arthur C Clarke? An SF classic.

    1. Read it and loved it, especially the end. I read it at the same time I read, “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

      It never surprises me how many hard core science fiction fans like Pink Floyd.

    2. Anyone read the book by Arthur C Clarke? An SF classic.

      Yes, I have read it. I have two copies. One from the 60s and an edition from the 80s.

      There is a passage in the book that says: ‘Where do we go from here?’ and ‘Their worlds have become Elysian Islands of effortless content’

      Or see this link which gives you a description of the Overlord Karellen and Ch 20 shows the words as quoted above.

      The novel is a jolly good read.

  12. Which other Obscured by Clouds track do you think would have slotted most easily into David’s 2006 live set?

    Childhood’s End, without a doubt, and I think Burning Bridges would have fit in nicely, as well.

    I’m listening to A Great Day For Freedom at the moment ~ brilliant! 🙂

    Peace and love to you, FEd, and all my Irregular friends! I wonder if David realizes he’s considered an “Irregular” by the likes of me/us? 😛

  13. Another one for Childhod’s End although I do enjoy Free Four and even have a 7″ single of it.

    However another tune I enjoy from 1972 (well, I think it is) is Seaside Shuffle by Terry Dactil and the Dinosaurs. Real good mood song.

  14. Como no recordar esas legendarias rolas: Un caballo sin nombre de América, se acbo la escuela con Alice Cooper o rockett man de Elton Jonh que por cierto tocara en Chichenitza, aca en México.

    Obiamente el disco Obscured by Clouds. Tambien recuerdo en esos años a grupos como Led zeppelin, Deep Purple, Bleck Sabath, Grand Funk y otros mas.

    Saludos desde Morelia, Michoacán. No escribo en inglés por que tardaria mas. :))

  15. Hi Fed,

    today is the 37th birthday of “The Dark Side Of The Moon” and I take advantage of this situation to remember the wonderful music that Richard composed in this outstanding album. Thank you so much David as well…

    Thank you very, very much to Pink Floyd and all the people who worked hard in order to give birth to it. Time is my favourite song and only you could write that music, it’s magic, David.

    I think that “Mudmen” or “Stay” would have been so powerful in Venice, when I attended the show.

    I must admit that I really love “Obscured By Clouds”. Isn’t it a pity that it is very often underrated?

    God bless you all.


  16. This is one of my favourite years for music.

    Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, the first Roxy Music album, Lou Reed’s Transformer, T Rex – The Slider and Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes were all released in 1972, as was Obscured By Clouds.

    I would have loved to have seen any of the songs from Obscured By Clouds in David’s set. It is one of my favourite Pink Floyd albums.

  17. Fortunately I was old enough that I got to watch the younger kids forced to sing “Black and White”. 😉 I actually liked it and sung along myself when it was being heard.

    Back Off Boogaloo by Ringo is a great tune and one that I listened to regularly. Very popular tune.

    Family of Man – 3 Dog Night (Anything 3 Dog Night.)
    Hi Hi Hi – Paul McCartney (An anthem for the seventies.)
    Garden Party – Ricky Nelson (A big hit over here.)
    Go All The Way – The Raspberries (My sister was in love with Eric Carmen… so I got to listen to it quite a bit and can’t believe it’s been so long ago.)
    Nights in White Satin – One of my all time favorite songs.
    Roundabout – Yes, I agree with Dan, a big hit and one always getting airtime.

    I was a big Cat Stevens fan as well as Jim Croce.

    Anything Pink Floyd – Free Four, Stay, Wot’s… Uh the Deal, The Gold, It’s In the.., etc., etc.

    1972 was a very good year for Rock music.

  18. Here are a few of my favorites from 1972.

    Argent – Hold Your Head Up
    Eagles – Take It Easy
    Bread – Guitar Man
    Yes – Roundabout
    Hawkwind – Silver Machine


  19. Most defiinetly Childhood’s End and Mudmen.

    Obscured by Clouds, the bass add on at the beginning is classic. Sends chills up my spine. 8)

  20. Wooowww! I was really surprised that so many of us choosed ‘Mudmen?, although, in the end, it is an obvious choice. The dialogue between David’s guitar and Rick’s key is what Pink Floyd is all about.

    So sad that Rick is no longer with us to play it!

  21. Oh, 1972? Sorry FEd, I wasn’t in this life in that year… 😛

    But my favourite track about “Obscured by Clouds” is “When You’re In”. 8) It’s a great piece of rock, blues, and psychedelic sound.

    What do you think?

    Have a nice day to everyone!

    Bye, Hydrea

  22. A Horse with no name… America
    A Name with no Horse… Shergar!

    Best wishes

  23. wot’s… uh the deal for sure, man. awesome song.

    the song starts with the most mysterious guitar notes (how you invented that?) and ends with rick’s soothing piano…

    i wish if i could create a song like this…

  24. ‘The ink is black, the page is white, together we learn to read and write’

    Best lyric ever?

    Happy Days,
    Simon J

  25. My vote goes to Stay… proof positive that Rick and Roger could work together before all the crap.

    Cheers, Howard

  26. Wot’s… Uh the Deal. 😉

    I was just 10 in ’72 but I remember my sister’s elpee collection:

    1 Round-a-bout – Yes (great)

    Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull
    Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
    School’s Out – Alice Cooper, what a great cover!
    Time Was – Wishbone Ash
    Supper’s Ready – Genesis


    Steely Dan – Do it Again
    Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
    Argent – Hold your Head Up
    Derk & the Dominos – Layla
    Neil Young – Heart of Gold

  27. Hello. I don’t come here very often and I realise this is off topic, but I just had to ask is David taking part in a concert on 9th April 2010 at Club Colosseum in London as part of a concert for Haiti? It’s just that I subscribe to news alerts about David and it came up that Club Colosseum are advertising that David is playing and appearing at this gig.

    All peace and best wishes.
    Denise <3 xxx

    1. I’m sorry for not answering this sooner, Denise.

      There is one Haiti Appeal Project looking to raise funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee with a charity club night (electronica, techno, dance, etc.) and CD. The CD includes an Alan Parsons track that David originally played on: ‘Return To Tunguska’.

      And that’s about it.

      The CD, Haiti Appeal Project, is out on Monday 12 April.

      More details here.

  28. Off topic, but would like to comment on the Gilmour home site.

    I just looked at the Visuals tab and love the arrangement with the photos. Just have not explored everything yet. This was a lovely surprise. Well done.


  29. As I need a bit of a break from my “real life”, I thought taking a stroll down memory lane might be in order.

    Good job, Lorraine and KenF, on your lists ~ my head would surely explode if I even attempted such an undertaking! 8|

    ~ Layla, Derek and the Dominoes
    ~ Take It Easy, The Eagles
    ~ The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Roberta Flack
    ~ Let’s Stay Together, Al Green
    ~ Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress), The Hollies
    ~ Rocket Man, Elton John
    ~ Vincent (Starry, Starry Night), Don McLean
    ~ Without You, Harry Nillson
    ~ Tight Rope, Leon Russell
    ~ Mother and Child Reunion, Paul Simon
    ~ I’ll Take You There, The Staple Singers
    ~ Lean On Me, Bill Withers
    ~ Bang A Gong (Get It On), T. Rex
    ~ Papa Was A Rolling Stone, The Temptations (funky and intense ~ so freakin’ good!)

    Peace, y’all! 🙂

  30. The first part of the seventies seems like a blur to me, for in 72 I turned twenty-one and parties were high on my list along with concerts. But the one thing I can remember is the great albums that came out in 72 like Roxy Music’s self titled album, The Kinks Kronikles, The Eagles’ self titled album, The Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach album, Neil Young’s Harvest, Derek and the Dominos’ album and Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds album. I know there must be many more but these had to be my favorite for that year.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend and FEd thank you for your support, for I know things have to get better.

    Take Care, Thomas

    P.S. I tried to make it to the Chat Room today but was a little late getting there… 🙁

    1. Chin up, mate.

      You know, I still can’t decide which I like best from Neil Young: Harvest or After the Gold Rush.

    1. That’s Parkinson, on ITV (UK TV): December 1999.

      You may well recognise the host, Michael Parkinson, as he appeared on the cover of Wings’ Band on the Run album.

      Ah, that was 1973. Close.

  31. Just cementing my love for ‘Obscured by Clouds’ and am listening to ‘Absolutely Curtains’. Pure Floyd magic! I love this track, it is so classic, magical and absolutely amazing for transcending the universe.

    God bless you, Richard William Wright, I will always love the places your keyboards take me. You are one great magician.

  32. Someone mentioned Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” above. It has the best lines ever: “But she never lost her head/Even when she was giving head.”

    The sax solo also perfectly captures the feel of some NY neighborhoods at night.

  33. Interesting this topic, though I’m a little late to the party here, as I recently listened to Meddle the other day and get to “Pillow of Winds” and start to think this pastoral track would fit in nicely with the On An Island set, you would never know POW is 35 years prior.

    That said, it was very kewl he did Wot’s as it is my fav from OBC, which I enjoy strumming on the Alverez. He even dug out Fat Old Sun which was also great musical fun. “Burning Bridges” and “Mudmen” from OBC seem to fit in as well, as does the title track itself.

    Other old tracks that have a similar vibe to Island are “Narrow Way, Pt 1” and “More Blues”. What do you think of that?

    Gilmour always had this soft folksy romantic side and I start to wonder just how long have pieces from Island been laying around on tape or twirling in the grey matter before they came together in his best solo work.

    Anyway, movin’ on…

  34. I remember we had one of those 22 hit K-Tel albums (yes, record albums) from the best in 1972 of which Rocket Man was one the tunes.

    My favorite was Swamp Witch by Jim Stafford.

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