1972 was the year in which I finished one of my favorite grades in school, third grade. My teacher continues to be something of a saint in my book. She lives an active life in my town while we stay in touch via Facebook. Her name is Nancy Dix, and she was the correct combination of compassion and toughness that I always craved in educators. Unfortunately, as educators, we will never reach all of our students, but it seems that the students we connect with we end up sharing a special life-long bond.
Mrs. Dix was the first person I remember who encouraged me to embrace all of my quirky sides as my true self. When your peers think you are weird, it makes a young person’s life a little rough. But, when there is an adult who understands you, the world opens up. It’s a shame that I had to wait another four years having another educator who view me through a serious lens.
It was in 1972 that my music affliction began to take a serious turn. I discovered FM radio that year, which increased the colors on my musical palette thanks to the best radio station I ever heard in my life, 93.1 FM WNAP, “The Buzzard.” Their combination of deep rock cuts and Top 40 pop hits was innovative and ahead of its time. And, they had the best combination of on air personalities ever assembled, most of whom went on to bigger fame in bigger markets. Yet, all have stated that their best years were spent in “Naptown,” as Indy used to be called.
In addition to FM radio, my family became a regular presence at the local country club, which gave me access to the musical tastes of the high school kids of the upper middle class. Those tastes coupled with the tastes of my more working class neighbors gave me an interesting mix of great music of the day.
Growing up, I was always drawn to older people, especially those who were in high school while I was in elementary school. I found that I could learn so much from them about socialization. Plus, their experiences were so much better than my peers’ experiences. I don’t know how many days I sat in an inconspicuous place in a neighbor’s garage or family room while the older kids interacted, played music, smoked cigarettes and made out. These teens allowed this bratty kid to sort through their 45s and LPs while there, even occasionally letting do a stack of 45s on the record player.
Those fun, easy days are long gone. Still, they were an important part of my development as a man and a music aficionado. Therefore, those things mix together to make 1972 so special in my personal history.
And, now it’s time for a countdown.
50. Humble Pie – Smokin’
49. Neu! – Neu!
48. Deep Purple – Made in Japan
47. The Temptations – All Directions
46. Eagles – Eagles
45. T. Rex – The Slider
44. Little Feat – Sailin’ Shoes
43. The Doobie Brothers – Toulouse Street
42. Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man
41. Bread – Baby I’m-A Want You
40. Rod Stewart – Never a Dull Moment
39. Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around with Jim
38. The Staple Singers – Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
37. Al Green – I’m Still in Love with You
36. The Band – Rock of Ages
35. Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black
34. Yes – Close to the Edge
33. The O’Jays – Back Stabbers
32. Bill Withers – Still Bill
31. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
30. The J. Geils Band – Live: Full House
29. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath, Vol. 4
28. Elton John – Honky Chateau
27. Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview
26. Slade – Slayed?
25. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together
24. Jackson Browne – Jackson Browne (Saturate Before Using)
23. The Allman Brothers Band – Eat a Peach
22. Carly Simon – No Secrets
21. Stevie Wonder – Music of My Mind
20. War – The World Is a Ghetto
19. Jimmy Cliff (and Others) – The Harder They Come
18. Nick Drake – Pink Moon
17. Randy Newman – Sail Away
16. Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes
15. Lou Reed – Transformer
14. Roxy Music – Roxy Music
13. Deep Purple – Machine Head
12. Chicago – Chicago V
11. Alice Cooper – School’s Out
10. Raspberries – Fresh
9. Paul Simon – Paul Simon
8. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
7. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill
6. Raspberries – Raspberries
5. The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
4. Neil Young – Harvest
3. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars
2. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything?
1. Big Star – #1 Record