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The Top 10 Songs of 1972 in the UK

Updated on May 17, 2020

The UK's Top 10 Best Selling Songs of 1972

The UK's Top 10 best selling songs of 1972 certainly made for strange companions considering what music was on offer during this particular year.

You probably could not create a list of ten songs as diverse as those that captured the attention of the record buying public during 1972. Who would have thought that Gary Glitter, Don McLean and The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards could end up appearing on the same countdown? But, that is exactly what happened.

Note that these songs have not been picked as my favourites of this year, but to show which records sold the most during 1972.

Number One

Amazing Grace: The Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

This hymn has been recorded by many artists over the last century. All Music Guide lists over 1800 recordings.

Two versions have made the Official UK Chart: Between 1970 and 1972, a single by Judy Collins spent 67 weeks on the listing - a record for a female artist. The track peaked at Number 5.

In 1972, this instrumental version by the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards spent five weeks at Number 1 - also reaching the top spot in Australia and entering charts around the world.

Number Two

Mouldy Old Dough: Lieutenant Pigeon

Lieutenant Pigeon achieved two UK hits: Mouldy Old Dough - the track became the second best selling single of the year, peaking at Number 1 in October and was followed by the 1973 Top 20 entry, Desperate Dan.

Both songs were piano-driven boogie-woogie style instrumentals - written by Rob Woodward and band mate Nigel Fletcher - and featured Woodward's mother Hilda at the keyboard. Hence, Mouldy OId Dough became the only UK Number One record to feature a mother/son combination.

In all, the track sold in excess of three quarters of a million copies, pushing the track into the runners-up position for the year. It gave 1972 the distinction of featuring a pair of novelty instrumentals as the two best selling songs in the UK.

Number Three

Puppy Love: Donny Osmond

Puppy Love was written by Paul Anka in 1960 for Annette Funicello and twelve years later it was revived by American teen idol, Donny Osmond.

He took it to Number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, but all the way to Number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks in July 1972.

Number Four

Without You: Nilsson

Originally recorded by Badfinger for their album No Dice in 1970, this song was written by band members Pete Ham and Tom Evans.

Badfinger's recording of the track - which is more brusque than its successors' versions - languished as an obscure album track until it was noticed a year later by Harry Nilsson. In an ironic twist to the lyrics both Ham and Evans later committed suicide by hanging.

Without You became a hit single after being covered by Harry Nilsson for his album Nilsson Schmilsson in 1971. It stayed at Number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and at the top of the British charts for five weeks.

Number Five

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing: The New Seekers

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing began life as a collaboration by UK hit songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. The melody was based on a Cook/Greenway jingle originally called Mom,True Love and Apple Pie. It was then rewritten by Cook, Greenaway, Coca-Cola account executive Bill Backer and Billy Davis and recorded as a Coca-Cola radio commercial, with the lyric I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

It was first aired as an American radio commercial on February 12, 1971, sparking public demand for its release as a single.

Reworked by Bill Backer and Billy Davis to remove the brand name references, the song climbed to Number 1 in the UK and Number 7 in the US during 1971 and 1972.

The song has since been recorded more than 75 times by various different artists.

Number Six

Son of My Father: Chicory Tip

Originally written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte in Italian as Tu sei mio padre, Son of My Father is notable as the first UK Number 1 single to prominently feature a synthesizer - in this case a Moog synthesizer played by Chris Thomas.

The track reached Number 1 in the UK for three weeks in February 1972 but, in an attempt to get his own hit, Moroder re-recorded it in English shortly thereafter, but it failed to chart in the UK. However, it made the Top 50 in the United States.

Number Seven

Rock & Roll Part 2: Gary Glitter

Rock and Roll (Parts 1 & 2), also known as The Hey Song, was featured on the album Glitter and co-written by Glitter and Mike Leander. The song is in two parts and both were popular, reaching Number 2 on the British charts.

In the US, the instrumental portion attracted most of the attention, hitting Number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the years since, Part 2 of the song has often been played at various sporting events in Canada and the United States.

Number Eight

Metal Guru: T.Rex

Metal Guru was the fourth and final Number 1 single on the UK Chart for the British glam rock band T.Rex. It topped the chart for four weeks in May/June 1972.

However, despite coming only ten months after the success of Get It On (Bang A Gong), it failed to chart in the United States.

Number Nine

Mother of Mine: Neil Reid

Neil Reid was a former child singing star and winner of the British TV talent series Opportunity Knocks. He won the show on 13 December 1971 singing his version of Mother of Mine, which when released went to Number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.

Reid's self-titled album fared even better by going all the way to Number 1 for three weeks, making him the current holder of the title of the youngest person ever to reach Number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.

Number Ten

American Pie: Don McLean

American Pie, by singer-songwriter Don McLean is about his life from the mid-1950s up until he wrote the song in the late 1960s.

Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a Number 1 US hit for four weeks in 1972, but reached only Number 2 in the UK.

The 1972 Poll

Of these songs, which is your favourite?

See results

Meanwhile, in the United States

1. Roberta Flack
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
2. Gilbert O'Sullivan
Alone Again (Naturally)
3. Don McLean
American Pie
4. Nilsson
Without You
5. Sammy Davis Jr.
The Candy Man
6. Joe Tex
I Gotcha
7. Bill Withers
Lean on Me
8. Mac Davis
Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me
9. Melanie
Brand New Key
10. Wayne Newton
Daddy, Don't You Walk So Fast

The Top 10 Best Selling Songs in the USA: 1972

Major Grammy Winners of 1972

  • 1972's Grammy For Best New Artist: America
  • 1972's Grammy for Record of the Year: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack

© 2007 Richard

What Are Your Memories of 1972?

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    • livingelysian profile image

      Elysia Valdivia 

      5 years ago from Loveland, Colorado

      I was very young in 1972 but music was always playing at home and this is just a delighful list of wonderful tunes! Thank you Richard!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 

      5 years ago from California

      American Pie has always been one of my favorites. I remember that my 6th grade teacher explained the events and people in the song. It was fascinating to see what the cultural references meant.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I graduated high school in America in 72", Great list . My gosh , I'm going down memory lane now . Roberta Flck's" The first time ........hauntingly beautiful . !

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      9 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I love Amazing Grace and IMO this is the most beautiful rendition of all. I also love Don McLean's American Pie. Thanks for sharing these memories. Blessed!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      1972 was the year I was born -- of course it would be unusual, even in terms of musical hits, lol -- Amazing Grace in scottish bagpipes was a lovely surprise, and Mouldy Old Dough too, I didn't know the song. And then comes Donny Osmond and things begin to degrade faaaaast, and not even T-Rex can save the day. Anyway -- one more informative lens, good job!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      9 years ago from Southampton, UK

      1972 was definitely a year for some very unusual #1 hits in the UK, I remember them all, some more fondly than others though. I think with all the Coke adverts on tv, many people grew to loath "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing": You did an excellent job on this, blessings coming your way.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens. I love this very much.

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 

      10 years ago

      I enjoyed visiting this lens, and thought I had left a comment...but it didn't confirm, so if I left two, sorry. I;m familiar with all these tunes...I am class of '72 from Falls High School.

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 

      10 years ago

      this was my class year in high school, I know remember all of these songs, both UK and US. fun lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the memories! Great lens :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow, you sure must love music. This is awesome! Thumbs-UP!

    • FunGifts4All profile image


      11 years ago

      Great job. I loved 70s music myself.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      I remember some of these. Great lens.

    • freaknoodles1 profile image


      13 years ago

      Another great lens! You now have your own featured lenses module in the SquidVids Music group. :)


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