Tuesday, 10 June 2008

That 70s post (part 2)

I´m still sweating away under the Andalucian sun. Music-wise most of the chart stuff comes via TV. The radio here is mainly talk since that´s where Spainiards get a lot of their news. It means the radio stations playing music tend to play only the BIGGEST hits. And at the moment, that seems to be Duffy with Mercy, but Amy Wino´s Rehab and Shaikira´s Hips Don´t Lie are still on permanent rotation. And on the French language station Medi 1 from North Africa, I found out that Shayne Ward is the new number 1 en France. Who would have thunk it?

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks ago I posted a load of songs from the seventies, the decade where I had no idea of what was cool or not. It was all about the song for me. And funnily enough it was usually melodic and a little bit (or a LOT) camp. By '79 I'd started to work out who I liked as bands and singers, which is why there's no Blondie or Pretenders here but there is Cliff Richard.

A Glass of Champagne - Sailor (zShare)

UK Chart position: 2 - December 1975
This song sounded like the party going on downstairs you were too young for where everyone was singing along because of the champagne in the chorus. Babycham glasses go clink. Years later, it becomes a Duckie club favourite and it has the same effect. A load of happy pissed people dancing and clinking glasses. Sailor's other big hit was that strange 20s-sounding Girls, Girls, Girls which can be found amongst a right old mixture here on iTunes.

January - Pilot (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - January 1975
The girls used to sing this in our school. Just the first verse though. And the "Don't go, don't go" I'd join in with because it was the only bit I could remember. I was a simple child. Listening to it now, the strings are a revelation and it's still a really jolly-sounding SAD song.

We Don't Talk Anymore - Cliff Richard (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - July 1979
The Cliff Richard of this track looked about 25 but was probably knocking on for 35 when this got to number 1. With the pink satin bomber, the skinny jeans and white wayfarer sunnies, he'd be on trend these days, but then he was a bit naff. But I didn't care. My sister had this record and we'd both play it constantly, to the point where anyone around would come running into the room screaming "ENOUGH!".

I Can't Give You Anything - The Stylistics (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - July 1975
This sound is soooo grown-up. Picture the scene, it's one of the last records being played at the wedding do. You're weary, falling asleep slightly and then that trumpet intro begins. And suddenly you're awake. The harmonies are like nothing on earth, following exotic melodies that are so obviously from hotter climes. This song was the beginning of the Stylistics 2.0. The previous version had burnt out in the US, the hits having dried up with the split from Philly soul producer Thom Bell, but in Europe, especially the UK, the band enjoyed huge success for another few years and are better known for this, their biggest hit to date.

Sugar Baby Love - The Rubettes (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - May 1974
Like The Stylistics, the falsetto is the hook. It sounds amazing on AM radio stations and fair grounds: "The louder you scream, the faster we'll go!". Brilliant. The Rubettes, hot dogs, candy floss and waltzers. This is the start of the doo-wop fifties-sounding stuff that permeated the whole of the seventies.

Bye Bye Baby - The Bay City Rollers (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - March 1975
This lot were MASSIVE. My cousin loved them. Eric was her favourite but I always thought he looked like a gonk. She once camped outside their hotel after a show in Newcastle and got to see them the next morning. They were bleary-eyed and a bit rude apparently. This song was a real tartan scarf-waving track and the biggest-selling of 1975.

The Boy From New York City - Darts

UK Chart position: 2 - May 1978
Darts were unlike all the doo-wop bands of the seventies. For one, they had a female singer, Rita Hay, who does lead vocal on this cover. And secondly they were young. Mud and Showaddywaddy seemed like they were full of dads. Again, this was another favourite band of the Bay City Rollers-loving cousin. She had such an eclectic collection of 7-inch singles: Darts, Christopher Cross, Human League, Elkie Brooks, The Jam...

Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - March 1974
Now I knew this was a sad song and still I loved it: "Goodbye, papa, it's hard to die / When all the birds are sing in the sky". Everyone presumes this was a one hit wonder, but he did have a follow-up hit with a English version of Jaques Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas, called If You Go Away.

Ma Baker - Boney M. (zShare)

UK Chart position: 2 - June 1977
Another Boney M. track. I like the story behind this track: the story of Ma Baker, the meanest cat from all Chicago town who really mowed them down. She never could cry, but she knew how to die. The band looked fab dressed like 20s gangsters and molls on TV.

Uptown Top Ranking - Althea and Donna (zShare)

UK Chart position: 1 - February 1978
I never knew that John Peel had championed this record, but it made number 1 for a week. It's such a happy record that would get everyone up at the school disco. Althea and Donna are the genuine one-hit wonders, and still, quite rightly, proud of their achievement. I saw them on a documentary recently and they are already telling their gradndkids (!) about the time they were number one in the UK.

1 comment:

xolondon said...

We are dating ourselves with our childhood love of Seasons In The Sun! I remember hearing that as I sat in the backseat of the car, being taken to kindergarten.