Wednesday, December 12, 2012

40 Year Itch: 1972 in Country Music

1972 was the year 13-year old Tanya Tucker hit the Top 5 with "Delta Dawn". The Fan Fair debuted and Opryland USA opened in Nashville. Countrypolitan was still dominating country music radio-- string sections replacing fiddles and steel guitars. And it was a good year for cross-overs from country to the pop charts especially for newcomer Donna Fargo and Mac Davis.

Johnny Cash is on a roll with his network TV show, White House concerts and recent marriage to June. He celebrates the latter with his 38th album A Thing Called Love which includes his wedding song " I Promise You".

Here's another wedding song. This one, written by Donna Fargo, almost went to 13 year old starlet Tanya Tucker. Good thing for both of them that Tanya wound up recording "Delta Dawn". "Happiest Girl" made Donna Fargo a cross-over a star. She followed it with another smash hit "Funny Face".

1972 was a good year for Merle Haggard. Then California Governor Ronald Reagan pardoned The Hag for his past crimes ( including burglary, robbery, and  larceny) And Haggard released Let Me Tell You About a Song featuring two #1 hits ( "Daddy Frank", "Grandma Harp") as well as the ground-breaking "Irma Jackson", a song about an interracial romance.

The writer of the 6 million selling single "Harper Valley PTA", Tom T Hall hit #1 on his own with "(Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon". The single , released in November of 1972, is a true account of a conversation Hall had with a old black janitor at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami.

George and Tammy renewed their vows on the album Me And The First Lady in the song "The Ceremony". Jones was already such an erratic a performer he was earning the nickname "No Show" Jones. Tammy, on the other hand, at earned the title "First Lady of Country Music".

The same year the Hag released "Irma Jackson", Buck Owens made his first #1 in three years with his own song about an interracial romance. "Made in Japan" is about a girl "made in Japan". Recorded with The Buckaroos, it features a steel guitar which seemed to be an endangered sound on Country radio at the time.

Dolly Parton was on a hit making streak in the early 70's both as a solo artist and with Porter Wagoner. Although some country stations, citing "sexually suggestive lyrics",  refused to play the title cut of her 1972 album Touch Your Woman, the single still hit #6 on the country charts. I guess following it up with the album cut "A Lot Of You Left In Me" was a non-starter.

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