Daily Dirt: Fifty years ago, we were talking about Watergate, Munich and Cat Stevens

President Nixon with his edited transcripts of the White House Tapes subpoenaed by the Special Prosecutor, during his speech to the Nation on Watergate

President Richard Nixon holds edited transcripts of Nixon White House taped conversations during the April 29, 1974 broadcast of his address to the nation. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Daily Dirt for Saturday, Dec. 4, 2022

We’re near the end of Retro Week. We’ve reached 50 years ago, which means today we’re dealing with 1972, which was the year I graduated from high school. I remember the world in general and pop music quite well at that time, so welcome to my world … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 466 of The Daily Dirt.

1. To say ’72 was eventful would be an historical understatement. I think you’ll agree after examining today’s first set of medal winners:  

  • Gold medal: One of the most publicized cases of political impropriety was brought to public light by reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. who introduced America to the abuses of office, overall skulduggery and would-be coverup tied to the legendary Watergate scandal. The two reporters eventually introduced President Richard Nixon to the unemployment line. 
  • Silver medal: Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team are killed in Munich by Palestinian terrorists. Much of this incident played out in real time via worldwide TV broadcasts. It was not only sad but scary that kind of barbaric behavior could exist at this point in history.
  • Bronze medal: “Deliverance” and “The Godfather” were the two big attractions in the movie theaters. Thanks to the Burt Reynolds classic, weekend hunting/fishing trips took on a whole different light in “Deliverance.” As far as “The Godfather” was concerned, it was hard to determine which carried the biggest wallops — the gritty story of organized crime or the cast of superstars, led by Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan and Diane Keaton.

2. Musically, 1972 found itself in an interesting period. A young Michael Jackson was still ascending, while Elvis Presley, to a certain extent, was on the way down. Other key elements of the musical year included:

  • Gold medal: The rising popularity and incredible talent of Cat Stevens, who in 1972 was arguably on his way to being the No. 1 attraction in pop music. Stevens converted to Islam in December 1977 and adopted the name Yusuf Islam the following year. In 1979, he auctioned all of his guitars for charity, and left his musical career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community. Before he left pop music, Stevens/Islam had released such classic collections as “Tea for the Tillerman,” “Teaser and the Firecat” and “Catch Bull at Four” en route to selling 24 million albums. In recent years, Stevens/Islam, now 78, has returned to performing on a limited basis.
  • Silver medal: Australian-born singer Helen Reddy hits No. 1 in the U.S. with the feminist anthem “I Am Woman,” which she co-wrote. The song would sell over a million copies and launch a string of hits for Reddy and cement her place in pop culture history.
  • Bronze medal: We mentioned Elvis was on his way down at this point in his career, but the King had his 38th and final top-10 hit in 1972. For those keeping score, it was “Burning Love.” As in, “hunka hunka.”

3. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, whose opinion I respect, offered his all-time starting fives for the Big Ten and ACC. If nothing else, it’s good conversation fodder. His picks:

Big Ten

  • Jerry Lucas, Ohio State
  • Kevin McHale, Minnesota
  • Magic Johnson, Michigan State
  • Glen Rice, Michigan
  • Isiah Thomas, Indiana


  • Ralph Sampson, Virginia
  • Tim Duncan, Wake Forest
  • Michael Jordan, North Carolina
  • Christrian Laettner, Duke
  • David Thompson, North Carolina State

Steve Thought O’ The Day
Ashley Brewer may be the reigning queen of ESPN SportsCenter, but Nicole Briscoe is a solid runner-up.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He was a hunka hunka burning love back when he graduated in 1972.

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