Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Man's inhumanity to Man

Eurovision old chart number two is from 27th March 1976, and as that's the week before this run of Top Of The Pops on BBC4 started you can guess what's number one, but even so...

40 Gary Glitter - You Belong To Me
With the BBC4 run in mind, sniggering ironists please note that this was Glitter's only hit that year and it didn't get any higher than this. We, meanwhile, wonder what the story is with number 41, La Booga Rooga by Surprise Sisters. What, like on Surprise Surprise?

39 The Doors - Riders On The Storm
In fact the breakout hit thus far, Fox's Goldacre-surprising S-S-S-Single Bed, was played as a potential chart hit, their previous two singles having gone top 20 (in fact the first, Only You Can, got as high as number three, higher than this one managed, yet there being no room for your sweet head is the only Fox record anyone remembers) and didn't reach its height until mid-May. Meanwhile there seems to have been no reason at all for this to be reissued five years after original release - no tie-in best of, no film use, no rejuvenation of the band's legend, and it didn't even achieve the peak of original issue.

38 Rainbow Cottage - Seagull
What a horrible band name, redolent of no musical scene but of restored B&Bs run by retired accountants.

37 Chris White - Spanish Wine
"Not the one from the Zombies" is about the best the online sources can muster.

36 Mary Hopkin - If You Love Me
Fascinating character, Hopkin. Set for big things with Paul McCartney's backing, after Apple fell apart she withdrew from the front line of music to start a family with Tony Visconti but continued to sing backing for him - that's her on Bowie's Sound And Vision, for instance - and returned only here for a guest appearance on a Steeleye Span album and a solitary charting single, an Edith Piaf cover at that. She was in a band called Oasis, sang on the soundtrack of Blade Runner and with the Chieftans, recorded a light classical album in 1989, did the theme for a Billy Connolly series, guested with the Crocketts and "re-recorded Those Were The Days with Robin Williams rapping", and we never want to find out more about that.

35 Dana - Never Gonna Fall In Love Again
Hopkin entered the 1970 Eurovision that Dana won. Five years later Dana was named Best Female Singer In Britain by an NME for which punk well and truly hadn't happened.

34 Pluto Shervington - DAT
Would've been quite disappointing if he turned out to be from Cheshire, wouldn't it? It's a song about a Rasta who loves pork too much and may be the sort of reggae Paul Nicholas had in mind.

33 The O'Jays - I Love Music
It's actually quite difficult to write about soul in this ironic detached style, partly because 90% of the bands have the same backstory - from the eastern seaboard, had someone you've vaguely heard of writing songs for them, had three US R&B Chart hits, still touring with one original member. In this case it's Ohioans taking a turn for the disco with a Gamble and Huff song and they have two original members.

32 Emmylou Harris - Here There And Everywhere
A McCartney song - one John, Paul and George Martin all call one of their very favourite Beatles songs, in fact - given the delicacy treatment.

31 Status Quo - Rain
Twelve bar blues stomp with pouting, as per. But with Rick singing! We can never decide which of Rossi and Parfitt is the more oleaginous.

30 Hot Chocolate - Don't Stop It Now
We feel like we've been writing about Hot Chocolate for most of our lives, and the truth is there is next to nothing interesting about them when it's not one of the songs everybody knows.

29 Harold Melvin And The Bluenotes - Wake Up Everybody
Not a title you can really announce straight after playing someone else's record.

28 The Stylistics - Funky Weekend
The weekdays are just collective letdowns, really.

27 Hank Mizell - Jungle Rock
Intriguing story, Hank's - this was recorded in 1958 and only rediscovered in 1971 when it appeared on a bootleg rockabilly compilation. By that time Mizell had retired and when a label boss heard the album and decided to give it a shot he couldn't be found for weeks. The Fall covered it in the way that the Fall generally do. As we've been saying for weeks in another place, this - the costumes, the facial expressions, the set - is one of humanity's greater achievements. Fox, rabbit, camel and kangaroo in a jungle, Hank?

26 Yvonne Fair - It Should Have Been Me
Perhaps the greatest insult to a Motown African-American and Norman Whitfield protege is to have people on hen nights thinking you're Tina Turner.

25 Manuel And The Music Of The Mountains - Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez
Actually Max Bygraves' bandleader Geoff Love with one of a number of easy listening cash-ins that predated the John Williams reign, and a track that in February was announced as the new number one before it was realised a computer error had taken hold and it should have been number three. You don't get that with iTunes. Though one day you will. Perhaps even now.

24 David Essex - City Lights
In which David gets the funk and makes the girls, erm, quizzical?

23 Be-Bop Deluxe - Ships In The Night
Reticent guitar hero Bill Nelson and co take a moment out of taking glam in prog directions to attempt a head-on collision between glam stomp, Eno art-rock weirdness and arena keyboard stack indulgence. That got them on pop


22 Peters And Lee - Hey Mr Music Man
A lot of artists requesting specific heys off people in those days.

21 Elton John - Pinball Wizard
He plays by sense of smell, apparently. Has Elton been in many amusement arcades? Tommy would have tried to flee the building due to the acridity.

20 Eddie Drennon And BBS Unlimited - Let's Do The Latin Hustle
Hustling, as we'll see, was very much the in thing.

19 The Drifters - Hello Happiness
It's a four-four beat, it shouldn't be that difficult to clap along to.

18 10cc - I'm Mandy Fly Me
The great subtle satirists of adult pop bid their farewell as a four-piece with a song about dreaming of getting off with an air hostess from an advert poster, Godley and Creme off after this album campaign to invent morphing. With Kevin and Lol, Art For Art's Sake. Without, Dreadlock Holiday.

17 The Four Seasons - December 1963 (Oh What A Night)
Written about the end of prohibition, allegedly, and Frankie Valli's last song with some sort of lead vocal. Given it was his name above the door that was bound to end badly.

16 M And O Band - Let's Do The Latin Hustle
Van McCoy's The Hustle had been number one the previous June, see, and everyone fancied a piece of that flute-driven library music made good. And yes, this is the same song as number 20.

15 Cliff Richard - Miss You Nights
Cliff's revival hit after a barren couple of years, from an album with the he'd-like-to-think-self-deprecating title I'm Nearly Famous. This was subsequently what nearly everything he released in the 1980s would sound like, bar Wired For Sound and I Just Don't Have The Heart.

14 The Fatback Band - (Do The) Spanish Hustle
Not the same, and not much to do with any previous hustling at all, in fact. There was a UK Hustle, by the way. With that innate sense of British timing, it came out in 1978.

13 John Miles - Music
Four people are John Miles, if his TOTP countdown picture is to be believed. Not keen on music of the present, is he/are they?

12 The Eagles - Take It To The Limit
Randy Meisner gets his way.

11 Randy Edelman - Concrete And Clay
Film and TV score composer has a dig with Unit 4+2's 1965 number one, later the single from Kevin Rowland's infamous My Beauty (an album, by the way, that got four and five stars across the board on release)

10 The Beatles - Yesterday
Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, Daffy Duck.

9 Marmalade - Falling Apart At The Seams
Having kind of kicked around pop for a decade, having a number one with a cover of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, they split, reformed with one original member (the bassist) and had a top ten single out of nowhere that sounded like Bay City Rollers without the commitment.

8 CW McCall - Convoy
Nothing says mid-70s like a hit based on a fad rather than vice versa. CW McCall was a character that appeared in a series of bread adverts like this, where an assumed tobacco-chewing truck driver narrated his fresh bread-punctuated day. Those were written and sung by one Bill Fries, and when the opportunity for a spinoff came up he took it in a way late 80s Levis copywriters can only wonder at. And in 1978 a

film based on the flimsy premised song! Laurie Lingo And The Dipsticks' Convoy GB was a month away, and that's a whole other world of pain.

7 Gallagher And Lyle - I Wanna Stay With You
They were Scottish, they weren't golfers, they were very supper club.

6 Guys 'n' Dolls - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Dusty's signature hit ridden roughshod by six people in jumpsuits, two of whom became Dollar.

5 Glitter Band - People Like You People Like Me
Nothing much really changed chart-wise in two years, did it? More silver trousered wateryness.

4 Barry White - You See The Trouble With Me
Baritone disco-lite later embuggered by Black Legend.

3 Tina Charles - I Love To Love
Do you think she quite emphasises the baby dance loving enough?

2 Billy Ocean - Love Really Hurts Without You
First single straight up there for well meaning disco yearner who would after the following year go seven years without a hit before catching onto the wine bar funk wave. You don't reckon Frank Ocean's name is a reference, do you?

1 Brotherhood Of Man - Save Your Kisses For Me
As previously mentioned an entirely different line-up to that which launched the band seven years earlier, they beat Tony Christie and Frank Ifield to the UK nominacy and then essentially pissed it on the night in The Hague. Note the tremendous behind-you reaction of the females and Bill 'no, he isn't, despite what Wiki says and much as you might like to believe she is' Cotton lurking at the back. Sweden withdrew due to expense and the demonstrations of the previous year, Turkey withdrew when Greece put forward a song about the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, and Save Your Kisses For Me won a record percentage of the possible maximum score and had the worldwide biggest sales of a winner. And despite all that, given what you know about STN, which version were we likely to post here? Also, don't some people just suit longer hair?

1 comment:

23 Daves said...

Re - Hot Chocolate. I actually think their single "Go Go Girl" is an interesting one, being a funky rock-out with a lot of fuzzy guitar which (if you really want to push the RAK boat out) has slight Sly and the Family Stone elements to it. It's labelled as prime "freakbeat" these days and tends to get airings in some clubs. As for the rest of their work - you're quite right, me neither.