American Top 40 PastBlast, 5/13/72: Neil Diamond, “Song Sung Blue”

This countdown comes six weeks before we moved from Stanford to Walton. It wouldn’t be long before I finished second grade with Mrs. Brown (Amy was in Mrs. Winn’s class—she’d also been my first-grade teacher). I’d guess that by mid-May we would have been told about the upcoming change of venue, but I don’t really know—we never had to have such a conversation with Ben, so I can’t imagine what might be reasonable.

Neil Diamond will always have a special place with me because of “Sweet Caroline,” one of the 45s I remember hearing played on Dad’s hi-fi when I was five or six. His 12 Greatest Hits was the first cassette our family owned; we must have gotten it soon after Amy and I got the tape player for Christmas in 75. The temporal dividing line for me with regard to Diamond’s singles is “If You Know What I Mean,” from 76. After that, I find his work much more hit-or-miss, or at least less interesting.

“Song Sung Blue” is debuting here, at #35. There’s a fragment of a memory where I’m riding in the back seat of Dad’s black 71 LTD, hearing this song on the radio in what I now recognize must be May or June of 72. It’s night, and we’re on US 150, getting close to our home on the way back from Danville. I distinctly recall the willow/pillow rhyme capturing my attention during its run of popularity.

On June 24, the day we moved, “Blue” was #2. It reached the top the following week, but since Casey did a special AT40 for the holiday weekend and it was down to #3 by July 8, no one ever heard it as the final song on the show.

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