(Pictured: George McGovern meets the people—a whole lot of them—in the summer of 1972.)
July 7, 1972, was a Friday. Congressmen Gerald Ford of Michigan and Hale Boggs of Louisiana conclude a trip to China. On a visit to North Vietnam, Jane Fonda is photographed in the gunner’s seat of a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. The first female FBI agents since 1927, Susan Roley and Joanne Pierce, are sworn in, and the state of Pennsylvania graduates its first state-trooper class to contain women. In the women’s final at Wimbledon, Billie Jean King defeats Evonne Goolagong. In Baltimore, Club Hippo opens its doors; at its closing in 2015, it will be the oldest gay bar in the country still operating under its original name. Democratic presidential nominee-apparent George McGovern appears on the cover of Life magazine in advance of the Democratic National Convention, which will begin on July 10; the magazine also contains a photo of Russian chess champion Boris Spassky, who is waiting in Iceland for American opponent Bobby Fischer to show up for their world championship match. In Alabama, Lieutenant Governor Jere Beasley is acting governor for a final day. Beasley became acting governor on June 5 because Governor George Wallace was recovering from an assassination attempt in a Maryland hospital; state law required the lieutenant governor to take over if the sitting governor was out of the state for more than 20 days.
The movie Deliverance premieres in theaters. The last of 267,787 Cadillacs produced in the 1972 model year rolls off the assembly line. The Council of Wisconsin Librarians is officially formed. Montreal Expos outfielder Ken Singleton returns to the lineup for the first time in over a week, wearing a special uniform because he is allergic to some of the material in the Expos’ regular uniform. He drives in three runs and leads the Expos over San Francisco, 7-2. Future football players Michael Westbrook and Darnay Scott, future basketball star Lisa Leslie, and future slasher-film actress Heather Kafka are born.
B.B. King plays Yankee Stadium and the Rolling Stones play Knoxville, Tennessee. That same day, back in England, the Stones appear on The Old Grey Whistle Test, with a 1966 filmed performance of “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow.” Miles Davis completes recording sessions for his album On the Corner, to be released in December. At 1AM, New York’s WCBS-FM plays “When the Music’s Over” by the Doors and goes silent for five hours. At 6AM, DJ Johnny Michaels plays “Runaround Sue” by Dion to launch the first all-oldies radio station. At WLS in Chicago, “Song Sung Blue” by Neil Diamond holds at #1, just ahead of Billy Preston’s “Outa-Space,” “The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr., and “Nice to Be With You” by Gallery. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers and “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose are up to #5 and #6, each making five-place jumps from last week. “Living in a House Divided” by Cher makes a strong move to #16 from #23.
Perspective From the Present: One night during the high summer of 1972—and we might as well call it Friday, July 7—I went on a campout with three of my best friends at the time. We took two pup tents and went into the woods behind one guy’s house, although we decided that the woods were a bit too scary, so we pitched our tents in an adjacent hay field, and then stayed up all night behaving like 12-year-olds. We listened to WLS for something like 14 straight hours, and that meant the week’s top songs over and over—often enough for me to associate several of them with that night forever after.