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This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1972.
- January 17 – Highway 51 South in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, is renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard."
- January 20 – The début of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon at The Dome, Brighton, is halted by technical difficulties. Dark Side of the Moon would be played in its entirety the following night, but it would be a full year before the album was released.
- January 21 – Keith Richards jumps on stage to jam with Chuck Berry at the Hollywood Palladium, but is ordered off for playing too loud. Berry later claims that he did not recognize Keith and would not have booted him if he did.
- January 29–31 – The first Sunbury Music Festival is held in Sunbury, Victoria. Performers include Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Wendy Saddington, Chain and The La De Das.
- January 31 – Over 40,000 mourners file past Mahalia Jackson's open casket to pay their respects in Chicago's Great Salem Baptist Church.
- February 9 – Paul McCartney's new band, Wings, make their live debut at the University of Nottingham in England. It's McCartney's first public concert since The Beatles' 1966 US tour.
- February 13 – Led Zeppelin's concert in Singapore is canceled when government officials will not let them off the airplane because of their long hair.
- February 14–18 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-host an entire week of The Mike Douglas Show.
- February 15 – The United States gives federal copyright protection to sound recordings. Prior to this, phonograph records were only protected at state level, and not in all states.
- February 19
- Paul McCartney's single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (inspired by the "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Ireland on January 30, 1972) is banned by the BBC. The controversy caused by the banning only increases the song's popularity and it ends up in the Top 20 in England.
- Sammy Davis, Jr. makes a guest appearance on the television show All in the Family.
- February 23 – Elvis and Priscilla Presley separate.
- February 29 – John Lennon's U.S. immigration visa expires, beginning his three-and-a-half-year fight to remain in the country.
- March 15
- At the 14th Annual Grammy Awards, winners include Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Colin Davis, Michel LeGrand, Isaac Hayes, Julian Bream, Vladimir Horowitz, the Juilliard String Quartet and Bill Withers.
- L.A. disc jockey Robert W. Morgan plays Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" non-stop for 90 minutes. Police are called, but no arrests are made.
- March 21 – Terry Knight announces he is launching a $5 million lawsuit against Grand Funk's new manager John Eastman, one week after being fired as Grand Funk's manager. It triggers a series of suits and counter-suits between Knight and the band throughout the coming months.
- March 25 – The 17th Eurovision Song Contest, held in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland, is won by German-based Greek singer Vicky Leandros, representing Luxembourg with the song Après Toi. The song is subsequently released around Europe, having been recorded in several languages, including in English as Come What May.
- March 31 – Official Beatles fan club closes down.
- April 2 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold a press conference in New York. The Lennons discuss their appeal against the US Immigration Department's decision to deport John.
- April 9 – First solo concert of Valery Leontiev.
- April 16 – Electric Light Orchestra make their live debut at the Fox and Greyhound pub in Park Lane, Croydon, England.
- April 29 – New York City mayor John Lindsay announces that he is supporting John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their fight to remain in the United States.
- May 2 – Stone the Crows lead guitarist Les Harvey is electrocuted on stage during a show in Swansea, Wales, by touching a poorly connected microphone. Harvey died in a hospital a few hours later. The band's lead singer, Maggie Bell, Harvey's longtime girlfriend, was also hospitalized, having collapsed on stage after the incident.
- May 8 – Billy Preston becomes the first rock performer to headline at New York's Radio City Music Hall
- May 27 – The Opryland USA country music theme park opens in Nashville, Tennessee.
- June – Founding member Roy Wood leaves the Electric Light Orchestra line-up just as the band scores its first hit single.
- June 3 – The Rolling Stones open their North American tour in Vancouver, Canada.
- June 10 – Elvis Presley does the first of four concerts at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. He sells out all the shows in one day.
- June 14 – Simon & Garfunkel reunite briefly to perform live at Madison Square Garden at a campaign benefit for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Other performers include Peter, Paul and Mary and Dionne Warwick.
- July 24 – Bobby Ramirez, drummer for Edgar Winter's White Trash, is beaten to death in a Chicago bar fight, reportedly because his hair was too long.
- August 5 – Clive Davis signs Aerosmith to Columbia Records at Max's Kansas City in New York City.
- August 30 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono headline the "One To One Concert" at Madison Square Garden to benefit mentally handicapped children. Elephant's Memory, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder and Sha Na Na also perform.
- September 1–7 – Karlheinz Stockhausen directs performances of his works at the Shiraz Arts Festival, including Mantra, Hymnen, an all-day performance of Aus den sieben Tagen, and world premieres of two compositions from Für kommende Zeiten
- September 21 – ABC premieres the new TV series In Concert. The first episode features Alice Cooper.
- September 29 – Miles Davis unveils his new nine-piece band at the Lincoln Center Philharmonic Hall.
- October 12 – Diana Ross makes her acting debut in the successful film Lady Sings the Blues, garnering her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
- November 3 – James Taylor and Carly Simon are married in a tiny ceremony in Simon's Manhattan apartment.
- November 12 – 51,778 fans pack San Diego Stadium for a concert promoted by KGB-AM to see J. Geils Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Foghat and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.
- November 25 – The 1st OTI Song Contest, held in the Congres and Expositions Palace, Madrid, Spain, is won by singers Tobias and Claudia Regina, representing Brazil with the song Diálogo ("Dialogue").
- November 26 – Family, touring North America as the warmup act for Elton John, play their last concert on U.S. soil in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- December 23 – Grand Funk Railroad, completing its 1972 Tour, with a sold out concert at NYC's Madison Square Garden, with the proceeds from the concert benefiting the Phoenix House Drug Rehabilitation Program, and with the show being filmed for ABC-TV's "In Concert" Series, the band is met by a lawsuit taken out by their former manager, Terry Knight, who attempts to block the show from going on, attempting to seize their equipment. Fortunately, a court injunction is given later in the day, allowing the concert to take place.
- December 31 – The first New Year's Rockin' Eve, with host Dick Clark, airs on NBC (before moving to ABC) with Three Dog Night as the featured act. Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy and Al Green also perform.
- unknown date
- Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Jefferson Airplane
- Martha and the Vandellas
- The Velvet Underground
Biggest hit singles
The following songs achieved the highest chart positions in the charts of 1972.
|1||Harry Nilsson||Without You||1972||23x15pxScript error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".||UK – 1 for 5 weeks, Australia – 1 for 5 weeks, USA – 1 for 4 weeks, Ireland – 1 for 3 weeks, New Zealand – 1 for 2 weeks, Canada – 1 for 1 week, South Africa – 2, Italy – 3, Brazil – 9 of 1972, Netherlands – 10, Germany – 12, Belgium – 14|
|2||T.Rex||Telegram Sam||1972||23x15pxScript error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".||UK – 1 for 2 weeks|
|3||Hot Butter||Popcorn||1972||23x15pxScript error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".||Switzerland – 1 for 10 weeks, Norway – 1 for 9 weeks, Australia – 1 for 8 weeks, Netherlands – 1 for 7 weeks, France – 1 for 3 weeks, Germany – 1 for 3 weeks, Canada 3 – September 1972, UK – 5, USA – 9, Austria – 10, South Africa – 13, Italy – 19|
|4||T.Rex||Metal Guru||1972||23x15pxScript error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".||UK – 1 for 4 weeks|
|5||Neil Young||Heart of Gold||1972||23x15pxScript error: No such module "Check for unknown parameters".||USA – 1 for 1 weeks, CAN – 1 for 1 week, Norway – 4, Germany – 6, Netherlands – 9, UK – 10, Australia Goset – 15, Belgium – 25|
1972's selected singles
Published popular music
- "Alone Again (Naturally)" w.m. Raymond O'Sullivan
- "Alone at a Drive-In Movie" w.m. Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey
- "American Pie" w.m. Don McLean
- "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" w.m. Jim Croce
- "Beautiful Through and Through" w. Bob Merrill m. Jule Styne from the musical Sugar
- "Beauty School Dropout" w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "The Beauty That Drives Men Mad" w. Bob Merrill m. Jule Styne from the musical Sugar
- "Bein' Green" w.m. Joe Raposo from the television series Sesame Street.
- "Blues for Newport" m. Dave Brubeck
- "Born to Hand Jive" w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "Burning Love" w.m. Dennis Linde
- "C is for Cookie" w.m. Joe Raposo
- "Clair" w.m. Raymond O'Sullivan
- "Come Dream With Me" w. Sammy Cahn m. Jimmy Van Heusen
- "Corner of the Sky" w.m. Stephen Schwartz from the musical Pippin
- "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her" – Simon & Garfunkel
- Greased Lightning w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "I Can See Clearly Now" w.m. Johnny Nash
- "Killing Me Softly with His Song" w. Norman Gimbel m. Charles Fox
- "Liza with a Z" w. Fred Ebb m. John Kander from the television production Liza with a Z
- "Magic To Do" w.m. Stephen Schwartz. Introduced by Ben Vereen in the musical Pippin
- "Maybe This Time" w. Fred Ebb m. John Kander from the musical film Cabaret
- "Mooning" w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "The Morning After" w.m. Joel Hirschhorn & Al Kasha from the film The Poseidon Adventure
- "No Time at All" w.m. Stephen Schwartz from the musical Pippin
- "The Old Fashioned Way" w. Charles Aznavour, Joel Hirschhorn & Al Kasha m. George Garvarentz
- "Ring Them Bells" w. Fred Ebb m. John Kander from the television production Liza with a Z
- "Rock and Roll" – Led Zeppelin
- "Shakin' at the High School Hop" w.m. Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey
- "Sing" w.m. Joe Raposo. Introduced by Bob McGrath on Sesame Street
- "Speak Softly, Love" w. Larry Kusik m. Nino Rota from the film The Godfather
- "Summer Nights" w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" w.m. Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs from the musical Grease
- "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" w.m. L. Russell Brown & Irwin Levine
- "Vincent" w.m. Don McLean
- "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" w.m. Stevie Wonder
- January 3 – Nichole Nordeman, American singer
- January 17 – Aqualung, singer-songwriter
- January 26 – Christopher Boykin, American rapper
- January 27
- February 2 – Dana International, Israeli Eurovision-winning singer
- February 11 – Craig Jones, sampler/keyboardist for Slipknot
- February 14 – Rob Thomas, singer (Matchbox Twenty)
- February 16 – Taylor Hawkins, American rock musician (Foo Fighters)
- February 17 – Billie Joe Armstrong, American rock musician (Green Day)
- February 20 – K-os, rapper/musician
- February 24 – Chris Fehn, percussionist/backing vocalist for Slipknot
- March 4 – Alison Wheeler, British singer (The Beautiful South)
- March 6 – Jaret Reddick, American musician (Bowling for Soup)
- March 8 – Angie Hart, Australian pop singer
- March 9 – AZ, rapper
- March 11 – UA, singer
- March 13 – Common, rapper
- March 15 – Mark Hoppus, American rock musician (blink-182)
- March 17 – Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole)
- March 20 – Alexander Kapranos, British rock singer and guitarist (Franz Ferdinand)
- April 1 – Sukshinder Shinda, bhangra singer-songwriter and record producer
- April 8 – Paul Gray, bassist for Slipknot
- April 10 – Sami Yli-Sirniö, Finnish rock and metal guitarist
- April 12 – Şebnem Ferah, Turkish singer and songwriter
- April 13 – Aaron Lewis, American nu metal musician (Staind)
- April 20 – Stephen Marley, reggae musician
- April 24 – Corey Cerovsek, Canadian violinist and pianist
- April 28 – Violent J, American rapper
- April 29 – Fredrik Kempe, Swedish songwriter and opera and pop singer
- May 4
- May 7 – Felix da Housecat, American house music DJ and record producer
- May 19 – Jenny Berggren, Swedish singer (Ace of Base)
- May 21 – The Notorious B.I.G., rapper (d. 1997)
- May 27 – Ivete Sangalo, Brazilian female singer
- June 12 – Bounty Killer, reggae/dancehall singer
- June 25 – Mike Kroeger, Canadian rock bass guitarist (Nickelback)
- June 26 – Garou, singer
- July 1
- July 4 – Rogue, lead singer of The Crüxshadows
- July 12 – Brett Reed, drummer (Rancid)
- July 17
- July 20 – Vitamin C, American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress (Eve's Plum)
- July 26 – Wayne Wonder, reggae singer
- July 29 – Anssi Kela, Finnish rock musician
- August 6 – Geri Halliwell, British singer (Spice Girls)
- August 8 – Lüpüs Thünder (Bloodhound Gang)
- August 9 – A-mei, singer
- August 12
- August 15 – Mikey Graham, Irish singer (Boyzone)
- August 16 – Emily Robison, American country music performer (Dixie Chicks)
- August 18 – Keiko Yamada, Japanese singer (Globe)
- August 27 – Jimmy Pop, American musician (Bloodhound Gang)
- September 4 – Carlos Ponce, singer and composer
- September 21 – Liam Gallagher, British singer (Oasis)
- September 23 – Jermaine Dupri, rapper
- September 26 – Shawn Stockman, American singer (Boyz II Men)
- September 30 – Shaan, Indian singer
- October 17
- October 6 – Anders Iwers, Swedish musician
- October 19 – Pras Michel (Fugees)
- October 20 – Stephan Moccio, pianist, composer, producer, arranger and conductor
- October 27 – Elissa, Lebanese singer
- October 28 – Brad Paisley, American country music performer
- November 17 – Kimya Dawson, American singer/songwriter
- November 25 – Mark Morton, American musician
- November 28 – Jesper Strömblad, Swedish musician
- December 1 – Greg Upchurch (Puddle of Mudd)
- December 9 – Tré Cool, drummer (Green Day)
- December 10
- December 11 – Easther Bennett, British singer (Eternal)
- December 12 – Kevin Parent, Canadian singer-songwriter and actor
- December 13 – Niki Evans, English actress and singer
- December 16 – Ben Kowalewicz, Canadian rock lead singer (Billy Talent)
- December 18 – DJ Lethal, Latvian-born rock musician (Limp Bizkit, House of Pain)
- December 19 – Alyssa Milano, singer and actress
- December 22 – Vanessa Paradis, French singer and actress
- December 23 – Morgan, Italian singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist
- December 27 – Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer)
- December 31 – Joey McIntyre, American singer (New Kids on the Block)
- January 1 – Maurice Chevalier, 83, French singer and actor
- January 16 – David Seville, 52, voice of the Chipmunks
- January 19 – Michael Rabin, 35, violinist (fell downstairs)
- January 20 – Jean Casadesus, 44, French pianist (car accident)
- January 23 – Big Maybelle, 47, singer and pianist
- January 24 – Gene Austin, 69, singer-songwriter
- January 27 – Mahalia Jackson, 61, gospel singer
- January 29 – Margherita Grandi, 77, operatic soprano
- February 8 – Markos Vamvakaris, 66, Greek composer
- February 19 – Lee Morgan, 33, hard bop trumpeter
- February 21 – Marie Dubas, 77, French music-hall singer
- March 2 – Erna Sack, 74, coloratura soprano (cancer)
- March 17 – Linda Jones, 27, soul singer (diabetic coma)
- March 27 – Sharkey Bonano, 67, jazz musician and bandleader
- April 4 – Stefan Wolpe, 69, composer
- May 2 – Les Harvey, 25, guitarist (Stone the Crows) (electrocuted on stage)
- May 5 – Reverend Gary Davis, 76, blues and gospel singer and guitarist
- May 12 – David Hughes, 43, operatic tenor (heart failure)
- June 8 – Jimmy Rushing, 70, blues and jazz singer
- June 13 – Clyde McPhátter, 39, R&B singer
- July 3 – "Mississippi" Fred McDowell, 68, blues musician
- July 9 – Robert Weede, 69, operatic baritone
- July 10 – Lovie Austin, 84, American pianist, composer, and bandleader
- July 24 – Bobby Ramirez, drummer (Edgar Winter's White Trash)
- July 28 – Helen Traubel, 73, operatic soprano
- August 2
- August 14 – Oscar Levant, 65, pianist and composer
- August 21 – Yvonne Gall, 87, operatic soprano
- August 29 – Lale Andersen, 67, Danish singer
- August 31 – Dalva de Oliveira, 55, Brazilian singer (internal bleeding)
- September 28 – Rory Storm, 33, English singer (appendicitis)
- September 30 – Grigore Cugler, 69, Romanian riter, artist, composer and violinist
- October 3 – Kari Marie Aarvold Glaser, 71, Norwegian pianist and music teacher
- October 24 – Thelma Votipka, 67, operatic mezzo-soprano
- November 3 – Harry Richman, 77, US singer, actor and composer
- November 6 – Billy Murcia, 21, drummer of New York Dolls (suffocation)
- November 11 – Berry Oakley, 24, bass player (The Allman Brothers Band) (motorcycle accident)
- November 12 – Rudolf Friml, 92, Rose-Marie composer
- November 18 – Danny Whitten, 29, guitarist (Crazy Horse) (drug overdose)
- November 28 – Havergal Brian, 96, English classical composer
- December 3 – Bill Johnson, 100, African American dixieland jazz double-bassist
- Grammy Awards of 1972
- Grammy Album of the Year: The Concert for Bangladesh
- Grammy Best New Artist: America
- Grammy Best Album Design: "School's Out" – Alice Cooper
- Grammy Best Pop Duo or Group: "Where Is the Love" – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
- Grammy Best Pop Female Vocal: "I Am Woman" – Helen Reddy
- Grammy Best Pop Male Vocal: "Without You" – Harry Nilsson
- Grammy Best R&B Duo or Group: "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" – The Temptations
- Grammy Best R&B Female Vocal: "Young, Gifted And Black" – Aretha Franklin
- Grammy Best R&B Male Vocal: "Me And Mrs. Jones" – Billy Paul
- Grammy Record of the Year: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – Roberta Flack
- Grammy Song of the Year: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" – Roberta Flack
Country Music Association Awards
Eurovision Song Contest
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