Albums turning 50 in 2022 that everyone should hear
Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Albums turning 50 in 2022 that everyone should hear

Oldies stations exist for a reason. People still enjoy classic rock, pop, and other types of music. In 1972, there was a fine selection of albums that came out. This was now 50 years ago. If you are looking for a blast from the past, here are the albums of 1972 that are still worth a spin.

 
1 of 20

“Let’s Stay Together”

“Let’s Stay Together”
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Al Green’s soul power was in high demand in the early ‘70s. In fact, he released two albums in 1972. The better of the two, though is “Let’s Stay Together,” mostly on the strength of the title song.

 
2 of 20

“Jackson Browne”

“Jackson Browne”
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

We don’t have to tell you who released this album. Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut album was a hit at the time. It was folky and showcased both Browne’s voice as well as his lyrical skills.

 
3 of 20

“Harvest”

“Harvest”
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The top-selling album of 1972? That would be Neil Young’s “Harvest.” That’s with good reason, too. It features several iconic Young songs, including the big hit “Heart of Old.”

 
4 of 20

“Pink Moon”

“Pink Moon”
Island Records

Drake, unfortunately, became a cult figure due to his death from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental at the age of 26. “Pink Moon” is his final album, which gives it extra punch. This is not about morbidity, though. The reason Drake is so adored is that the music he made was so good.

 
5 of 20

“Thick as a Brick”

“Thick as a Brick”
Dana Nalbandian/WireImage

Listening to “Thick as a Brick” by Jethro Tull is mostly a novelty. Well, unless you’re a prog-rock fan. There are two sides to the album. Both contain one song. Well, the songs are technically part one and part two of the same song. So yeah, it’s 44 minutes of one song and you had to flip the record over in the middle. You’re curious, aren’t you?

 
6 of 20

“Mardi Gras”

“Mardi Gras”
Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images

Oftentimes, the albums worth checking out from an anthropological perspective are the first and last by an act. This is the last album from Creedence Clearwater Revival. The reviews were mixed, and John Fogerty himself isn’t a fan, but some people really liked it, and it was the end of an error.

 
7 of 20

“Lou Reed”

“Lou Reed”
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

After the collapse of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed went out on his own. In 1972 he released two albums, including the acclaimed “Transformer.” However, we wanted to showcase his self-titled debut instead. It’s not as famous, but it’s not a step down quality-wise.

 
8 of 20

“You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”

“You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Jim Croce, the artist of this album, is not the titular Jim you don’t mess around with. He seems like a nice enough guy, actually. His big hit “Time in the Bottle” is quite a gentle song, in fact, but a great one.

 
9 of 20

“Exile on Main St.”

“Exile on Main St.”
Robert R. McElroy/Getty Images

The Beatles were out of the picture by 1972, but the Rolling Stones were still at it. Of course, that remains true all these years later. Many people consider this double album the Stones’ best offering. In facing “Rolling Stone,” the magazine, called it the 14th-best album in 2020.

 
10 of 20

“Honky Chateau”

“Honky Chateau”
Ron Howard/Redferns

Elton John’s “Honky Chateau” also made that “Rolling Stone” list in 2020, finishing 251st. Sure, that’s not as good as 14, but when you consider all the albums ever made that’s quite impressive. Plus, John gave us “Rocket Man” with this album.

 
11 of 20

“Sail Away”

“Sail Away”
Michael Putland/Getty Images

If you don’t like Randy Newman’s thing, you may not be enthused to listen to “Sail Away.” Still, a selection of the albums from 1972 worth listening to 50 years later needs to include it. Hey, Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys loved it, and he knows a thing or two about music.

 
12 of 20

“Eagles”

“Eagles”
RB/Redferns

In 1972, Linda Ronstadt released an album. So did her former backing band. Eagles made their debut with this self-titled release. They opened with “Take It Easy” and “Witchy Woman” and just went from there.

 
13 of 20

“The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars”

“The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars”
Michael Putland/Getty Images

David Bowie was, as you likely can tell, in his Ziggy Stardust persona at this time. This is a quasi-concept album about the alien rocker sent to Earth, but you don’t need to know that. The album is full of killer songs and classic Bowie tracks.

 
14 of 20

“Roxy Music”

“Roxy Music”
David Redfern/Redferns

Roxy Music is one of those bands that has an intense following. There don’t seem to be many casual fans of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno’s group. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Listening to their debut album.

 
15 of 20

“School’s Out”

“School’s Out”
Steve Morley/Redferns

We don’t know if we’ve heard any other song from this Alice Cooper album. We don’t care. We’ve heard the title song. It’s a classic. It’s one of the biggest songs of 1972. You can check it out, and see what else is on the album with it.

 
16 of 20

“Never a Dull Moment”

“Never a Dull Moment”
Ron Howard/Redferns

Rod Stewart was massive at the time. “Never a Dull Moment” features covers of songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke. And yet, it was the number-two album of 1972 and was also critically adored. That was the power of Rod.

 
17 of 20

“Super Fly”

“Super Fly”
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Blaxploitation films were big in the ‘70s, and they often featured popular soundtracks. Think of Isaac Hayes's “Shaft” soundtrack, and then of course there is the “Super Fly” soundtrack. This is probably Curtis Mayfield’s best album, and the title track is a real banger.

 
18 of 20

“Rocky Mountain High”

“Rocky Mountain High”
Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

John Denver makes slightly different music from Curtis Mayfield. He’s more the “strumming an acoustic guitar” type. This album is all about nature, from the title song to the “Season Suite” that makes up the bulk of the second side.

 
19 of 20

“Music is My Life”

“Music is My Life”
Joe Bangay/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The breakout star of the “Get Back” documentary about the Beatles? None other than Billy Preston. Why not check out some of his own output? In 1972 he released “Music is My Life.” Plus, there’s a cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” on it.

 
20 of 20

“For the Roses”

“For the Roses”
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Joni Mitchell followed up “Blue” with an album that isn’t liked quite as much but still got selected by the Library of Congress. There are songs about her relationship with James Taylor, who was dealing with heroin addiction. There’s also her sarcastic “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio,” which she wrote in protest of being asked to write a “radio-friendly” song by her record company. It hit top-25 on the charts.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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