Monday, December 10, 2007

The Only Chart That Counted: 1977

Because we like a good Christmas chart, here's what was going on in the days long before semi-ironic Radio 1 DJ campaigns, download virals and novelty efforts, the British Market Research Bureau-bothering top 40 of Christmas week thirty years ago. It was semi-ironic Radio 2 DJ campaigns then.

40 The Emotions - I Don't Want To Lose Your Love
Earth, Wind & Fire associates who did The Best Of My Love, later plundered by many a girl band wanting to sound soulful and wear low-cut dresses rather than leather but not go for the hard stuff.

39 Neil Diamond - Desiree
Essentially the sweet tale of his one night stand with an older woman, and he still makes it schlocky.

38 Baccara - Yes Sir I Can Boogie
Awkwardly dancing Spanish duo who'd "already told you in the first verse and in the chorus". Both now tour their own Baccara. Lawsuits have been launched for less.

37 Santana - She's Not There
Latin rock cure for sleeplessness wails all over the Zombies' song and inevitably turns out with the far more popular version.

36 The Banned - Little Girl
Not the band formed by Sharon, Kelvin and Wicksy after being barred from the Vic, leading to Fairlight fantasy hit Something Outta Nothing but a single minor hit for some also ran London punks.

35 Abba - The Name Of The Game
The start of the complex structural period people like Paul Morley have always raved about, currently being covered very well live by Charlotte Hatherley.

34 Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking
On its slow way to number one. Under-representing themselves on both pop and style, we feel.

33 Boz Scaggs - Hollywood
One of those people the middle aged-aiming music magazines used to toss in as a comparison a lot without ever explaining what they sound like, we've never knowingly heard anything Scaggs has ever done.

32 Barron Knights - Live In Trouble
Redoing Angelo, Float On, Loving You, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, D.I.V.O.R.C.E. and Lucille. We need a new Barron Knights, really.

31 Carl Douglas - Run Back
Kung Fu Fighter goes pretty much legit to little effect.

30 Diana Ross - Gettin' Ready For Love
Where's a Bee Gee when you really need one?

29 John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett - Really Free
Self-proclaimed "Rock and Roll's greatest failure" back when peoplem thought he was a punk rather than a loon.

28 Bob Marley - Jamming/Punky Reggae Party
Half thought out commercialisation of early glories backed with actual tribute to the 100 Club kids and their idols. "No boring old farts will be there!"

27 The Muppets - Don't Dilly Dally/Waiting At The Church
Lew Grade aside, an odd decision for the globe colonising Hensonites to go all music hall for their vinyl debut. The first track is better known as My Old Man (Said Follow The Van), and Miss Piggy gives it the full Eliza Doolittle.

26 Donna Summer - I Love You
The love theme from her album Once Upon A Time, "a modern-day Cinderella-themed story through means of disco music". And they laugh at Tarkus. Because they're right to.

25 Status Quo - Rockin' All Over The World
John Fogerty finds his work taken away from him.

24 Julie Covington - Only Women Bleed
As Leona Lewis is now reinsisting. Covington was among other things in the original cast of The Rocky Horror Show. She was the original Janet Weiss. Oh, no, that was Lora Macfarlane.

23 Dooley Wilson - As Time Goes By
By the Lord Jesus Christ, I name this child Dooley. In fact Wilson was Sam in Casablanca and As Time Goes By was the song he'd played for her and would now be playing for him. Why this now? Who knows.

22 Queen - We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You
Never was a record so precisely aimed at a single demographic, that is PA announcers at sports grounds.

21 Yannis Markopoulos - Who Pays The Ferryman
Him out of Foals, possibly, does the theme to a long forgotten BBC drama of the same name.

20 Electric Light Orchestra - Turn To Stone
Let's boogie with the synths! One thing you can say about Jeff Lynne, he didn't keep still with their sound that much.

19 Chic - Dance Dance Dance
The clue's in the title.

18 Crystal Gayle - Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
We're sure we're not alone in getting her confused with Crystal Waters (GYpsy Woman (La Da Dee)? Please yourselves), but Gayle was Loretta Lynn's sister and this was uncalled for.

17 David Soul - Let's Have A Quiet Night In
Soul, like David Cassidy and Lionel Richie, now destined to be one of those people who turns up on chat shows every so often to get screamed at by middle aged women, which is of course the worst sound in the world.

16 Boomtown Rats - Mary Of The Fourth Form
Fourth form? She'd be fifteen, Bob!

15 Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives
He's invented a new music called reggae. This was Declan's first charting single and has virtually added itself to the language, albeit very specifically.

14 Elvis Presley - My Way
Especially posthumously, doesn't this sound like the worst thing in the world?

13 The Dooleys - Love Of My Life
"The Dooleys were 'possibly' the best of all MOR type pop groups from the 70s and 80s. Not only were they good looking, they could sing, play their own instruments and were among the 'NICEST' people you could ever hope to meet." To be honest, it's not selling us.

12 Showaddywaddy - Dancin' Party
We nearly met Dave Bartram earlier this year. There's one to tell the kids. We have a soft spot for them, largely due to their pissing off teddy boys, who scare us, but it's not great development from Under The Moon Of Love, is it?

11 Boney M - Belfast
It's Boney M, and by extension Frank Farian, with a compassionate hymn for the Troubles. How well do you suspect this would go?

10 Hot Chocolate - Put Your Love In Me
Subtle. Well before crooning Imagine at Tory grandees he was making sure not every one of his band's run of hits was wedding reception disco-bound with this extended unfunky thing.

9 Jonathan Richman - Egyptian Reggae
It can't just be us who didn't realise this now much used Egyptcentric underscore library music was by one and the same person as the Velvets-obsessed faux-naiveatollah. Malcolm Middleton is probably getting ready to feel like Richman must have.

8 Darts - Daddy Cool
If only Javine and Harvey had been in a musical based on this Daddy Cool.

7 Bonnie Tyler - It's A Heartache
Gravel-gargling Welsh vixen whose arse, crucially, nobody has seen on a tabloid front page, although on last year's greatest hits cover she does look disconcertingly like Emma Bunton's mum might.

6 Donna Summer - Love's Unkind
Although obviously Sophie Lawrence off Eastenders later did the definitive version.

5 Bing Crosby - White Christmas
Crosby's cash-in next film, Premier Travelodge, bombed. Crosby had in fact just died, which explains this, and this was the biggest selling single in the world before Candle In The Wind '97.

4 Ruby Winters - I Will
A soul cover of a Billy Fury song Have you, less-than-30-year-old young buck, ever heard of Ruby Winters in your life? We hadn't. She's not even on Wikipedia.

3 Bee Gees - How Deep Is Your Love?
Tearing ourselves away from the detail that in 1969 Maurice Gibb and Ringo Starr made an album of primitive synth experiments that would have been called Modulating Maurice, this was their first single from Saturday Night Fever, which went on show on December 14th. What idea of the film would you have got from this?

2 Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band - The Floral Dance
Sit back, everyone. The Floral, or Furry (much better), Dance is a tradition of the small Cornish town of Helston. In 1911 musician Katie Moss, whom records do not suggest ever dated a model called Petra Doherty, put words and music to a slightly altered version of the tune. Terry Wogan's to blame for this becoming a hit - six weeks at number two! - and if you must know, Brighouse and Rastrick are both towns in the Calderdale borough of the Yorkshire East Ridings. Wogan's own vocal version came out a month later, which seems a missed opportunity to us.

1 Wings - Mull Of Kintyre/Girl's School
"Girl's schoooool/Socks rolling up to the knee..." Anyway, don't know that one, but everyone has memories imprinted of Paul, Linda, Denny and some others plus three score and ten bagpipe wielders of the Campbeltown Pipe Band paying tribute to a peninsula in western Scotland near where the Maccas were then living and everybody in the country buys it, sending it top for nine weeks. Apparently, it went rhodium. Don't ask us. Glen Campbell once covered it. God knows what that ended up like.

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