Various Artists

Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1972

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The 1972 edition of Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits is immediately challenging, forcing the listener to reexamine the Dickens pop of that irascible Irish urchin songsmith Gilbert O'Sullivan with its very first track. Things stay relatively straightforward after that, what with the warm tones of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" and the bearded AM classic "Brandy" with its ever-faithful heroine forever losing to the call of the high seas. But there's an undercurrent of a-trouble brewing on this set. Three Dog Night's "Black and White," the O'Jays' "Back Stabbers," and the Temptations' amazing "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" all, in their own way, point toward the ongoing social issues that America was grappling with in the fallout from the flower power era.

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