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Tops on this Day in 1972: “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”

The top song this week in 1972 was The Temptations’ great “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” It really is a very sad song. Check out the lyrics.

The video above is from VH1. However, I am almost sure that the original is from Soul Train, since Don Cornelius’ voice is hard to mistake. It isn’t marked, however, as far as I can tell in the commentary.

There were a great number of memorable songs released in 1972, including “American Pie,” “Lean On Me,” “Alone Again (Naturally)”, “Rockin’ Robin,” “City of New Orleans,” “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to be a Long Long Time)” and others. Check out this list.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.