July 7, 1972: When the Music’s Over

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(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.

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June 10, 1972: Grand Slam

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(Pictured: what you might have seen from the stage in 1972 if you were David Cassidy.)

(Correction below, thanks to a reader.)

June 10, 1972, was a Saturday. In Rapid City, South Dakota, a series of thunderstorms drops 15 inches of rain in six hours, causing a flood that kills 237 people. In Madison, Wisconsin, the National Weather Service records a killing frost, the latest one ever. President Nixon officially submits the SALT Treaty with the Soviet Union to the Senate for ratification. The Baader-Meinhof terrorist group blows up a bomb at the West German embassy in Dublin, Ireland. No one is hurt. The rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun officially retires from NASA. In Texas, state senator Barbara Jordan is governor for a day. The event features a swearing-in ceremony attended by high school students from her Senate district, fellow legislators, family, and friends. To make the honor legal, Jordan was elected Senate president pro tem and the sitting governor and lieutenant governor arranged to be out of the state for the day. Jordan’s father suffers a stroke after the ceremony and dies the next day. In November, Jordan will be elected the first black woman to serve in Congress.

Kentucky Derby winner Riva Ridge, who had finished fourth at the Preakness, wins the Belmont Stakes. There hasn’t been a winner of horse racing’s Triple Crown since Citation in 1948. Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves becomes the National League’s all-time home run leader when he hits the 694th 649th of his career, a grand slam, as the Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia 15-3. The CBS-TV lineup tonight includes All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Arnie, and Mission: Impossible. On NBC, it’s Emergency! and McMillan and Wife. ABC devotes all of primetime to the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May.

Jazz pianist Bill Evans plays in Ljubljiana, Yugoslavia. Elvis Presley plays his first-ever concerts in New York City, at Madison Square Garden, one in the afternoon and another in the evening. John Lennon and Bob Dylan both attend. David Cassidy plays Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, David Bowie plays Leicester, England, while Gordon Lightfoot plays the Royal Albert Hall in London, and Badfinger plays in Whitchurch. The Rolling Stones, one week into their epic 1972 American tour, play in Long Beach, California, the same day Exile on Main Street hits #1 on the U.S. album chart. At WCFL in Chicago, the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” is at #2 on the singles chart, behind only  the new #1 song, “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook. Last week’s #1, “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens, is down to #6. “It’s Going to Take Some Time” by the Carpenters makes a strong move from #13 to #7, although Billy Preston’s “Outa-Space” is the hottest record on the survey, moving from #30 to #17. The WCFL list includes David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Wayne Newton, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards doing a bagpipe version of “Amazing Grace,” but also has Millie Jackson (“Ask Me What You Want”) and J. J. Cale (“After Midnight”). The Chicago Tribune reports that popular WLS DJ Larry Lujack will be leaving the station by the end of the year. Although his agent won’t say, Lujack is expected to land at WCFL. And he will—within about a month.

March 22, 1972: Fever

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(Pictured: Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner, surrounded.)

March 22, 1972, is a Wednesday. The big headline on the morning papers is Ed Muskie’s Illinois primary win over Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern yesterday. Today, Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment and sends it to the states for ratification. Later today, Hawaii will become the first state to ratify. In Montana, a convention adopts a new state constitution and sends it to the voters. The United States Supreme Court rules in the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird, striking down a Massachusetts law forbidding the sale of contraceptives to unmarried people. It will be considered an important case in establishing a right to privacy. The National Commission on Marihuana [sic] and Drug Abuse issues its report, which recommends relaxing marijuana laws, including the decriminalization of simple possession. The Nixon Administration opposes the commission’s conclusions, and it will not implement its recommendations. Nixon nominates a number of federal judges; the New York Central Railroad closes a number of stations. New York Congressman Ogden Reid announces that because the Republican Party has moved to the right and he can’t support Nixon for reelection in November, he will become a Democrat. An article in the Wall Street Journal announces that Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner plans to launch another magazine, Oui, which will have a “European slant.” In Wisconsin, a law goes into effect lowering the age of adulthood, including the drinking age, from 21 to 18. Future pro athletes Shawn Bradley (basketball), Cory Lidle (baseball), and Elvis Stojko (figure skating) are born.

On TV tonight, guests on the PBS series Soul! are Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. NBC presents a Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart, and follows it with a repeat of Night Gallery. CBS broadcasts an episode of The Carol Burnett Show; Burnett is also a guest on ABC’s Password this week. ABC’s primetime lineup includes The ABC Comedy Hour, featuring a group of impressionists known as the Kopykats, who include Rich Little, Frank Gorshin, Fred Travalena, and Charlie Callas. On ABC after the late local news, Dick Cavett’s guests include Diahann Carroll, Fran Tarkenton, and Michigan Congressman John Conyers. Joe Cocker and Dave Mason play Philadelphia, the Grateful Dead plays New York City, Black Sabbath plays Detroit with opening act Yes, the Mahavishnu Orchestra plays Los Angeles, and Emerson Lake and Palmer play Long Beach, California.

At WISM in Madison, Wisconsin, the new Music Guide comes out tomorrow, with morning DJ Clyde Coffee pictured on the cover. “A Horse With No Name” by America will hold at #1 for another week; “Puppy Love” by Donny Osmond moves up to #2. The biggest mover in the Top 10 is “I Gotcha” by Joe Tex, moving from #8 to #5. Two songs will debut in the Top 10: “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack (#7, up from #14) and “Rockin’ Robin” by Michael Jackson (#8, up from #18). “Jungle Fever” by the Chakachas is up 10 spots, from #27 to #17. Four songs are new in the Top 30: “Day Dreaming” by Aretha Franklin, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” by Wings, “Betcha By Golly Wow” by the Stylistics, and “The Family of Man” by Three Dog Night.

About an hour south of Madison, a sixth-grader is immersed in the second-semester grind of Mr. Schilling’s class at Northside School, with Easter vacation sparkling in the near distance. He’s gone to Northside since the middle of second grade, so the place is as familiar as the weather. Outside the classroom, he’s turned his attention to baseball spring training now that the state basketball tournament is over, but he also obsessively follows the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks as they wind down the regular season before their pursuit of a second straight championship. He frequently listens to Bucks games on the radio, and more frequently listens to WLS from Chicago, which has already made clear to him who he is, and what he’s supposed to be.