My 1974 Charts – May

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Me and the neighbours 1974

7th May 1974

Exams were very much flavour of the month, both CSE’s and GCE O Levels. I ended up doing CSE’s, on the grounds that I’d changed schools inconveniently about 7 months before and the syllabus wasn’t the same as North Kesteven. Boo hoo for me, though it did spread out the revising times (of the few notes I had) over a longer period which meant I could stay at home and revise to Radio One and Radio Luxembourg (many of the obscure chart entries come from them). How did I do? Glad you asked. Took months to get the results, but I got grade 1 for CSE Maths and French (O level equivalent grades) and passed in O levels, English Language, Geography, I think.

My fave comic book Legion Of Super Heroes was well revitalised by now, so it came as a shock to me that they actually killed off one of the heroes, Invisible Kid. Sounds petty, but heroes just didn’t killed in comic books, it wasn’t the done thing when they’d been around for over 10 years. These days they kill off superheroes on a monthly basis and re-invent them monthly too. Invisible Kid, however, stayed dead, despite being previous leader of the Legion and a popular character. He’s still dead. Of course so is the rest of the Legion now, those DC toads killed them off years ago in a pathetic attempt to start from scratch which failed, not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times in 20 years. Think Marvels’ Avengers and X-Men movies, combined, and that’s the Legion, who were there first. Marvel were the copies, there’s no justice sometimes…

Pop music: (at last). Sparks finally do it, after playing subordinate to Abba and Wizzard for 4 weeks, overhaul them both and properly start their career. Fab! Barry White gets to 11 with his flop UK single (it’s good) just ahead of the UK success of Seals & Croft’s song as performed (way better) by the Isley Brothers, Summer Breeze highest new entry at 12 and it’s still brilliant guitar-soul.

In at 13, The Locomotion. Not Kylie, no. Not Little Eva either (she’d peaked Top 3 in 1972 already). No, this was a plodding heavy pop metal cover from Grand Funk that inexplicably hit big in the USA and my charts – I think it was the novelty value of being a totally different cover version. Smiffy at 15, Tranquility at 20, Melanie at 30, all obscure radio faves that sold about 6 copies each. I never managed to find copies, and haven’t heard them for 40 years, so I’m going to treat myself right now – if I can find them on youtube. Back in a jiffy!

Smiffy is pedestrian glam rock. Tranquility is not on the net, sadly, but was their final single release (harmony folkrock) before splitting up. Songwriter Terry Shaddick apparently went on to co-write Physical for Olivia Newton-John, so he prob made a few bob out of it. Melanie’s track is OK, and her final john-chart-hit for 9 years. Showaddywaddy. TV talent-show winners with a record deal, who’d’a thought of that eh? 50’s throwback stylee, this debut hit was actually glamtastically stomping singalong fun. In other words utterly unlike 21st century talent show winners, give or take the odd Olly Murs.

Quo drop by trying to break the rules, but sounding like their earlier boogie hits instead, so pretty much sticking to the rules. Gigliola Cinquetti finally charts some weeks after Eurovision. This one was the main opposition to Abba and Mouth Macneal in the contest (and Olivia) and it was a slow ballad, so I hated it on principle for doing so well against my newly-beloved Abba. After it became the latest of 4 eurovision big hits in 1974, it kinda grew on me. It’s very MOR Italian big ballad, but it’s gorgeous!! Still.

1 ( 3 ) THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US Sparks
2 ( 1 ) ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WINTER Wizzard
3 ( 2 ) WATERLOO Abba
4 ( 4 ) T.S.O.P. (THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA) M.F.S.B. (featuring the Three Degrees)
5 ( 5 ) JUDY TEEN Cockney Rebel
6 ( 6 ) SUGAR BABY LOVE The Rubettes
7 ( 8 ) LUCINDA Howard Werth
8 ( 7 ) RED DRESS Alvin Stardust
9 ( 9 ) HOOKED ON A FEELING Blue Swede
10 ( 22 ) BENNY AND THE JETS Elton John

11 ( 24 ) HONEY PLEASE CAN’T YA SEE Barry White
12 ( NEW ) SUMMER BREEZE The Isley Brothers
13 ( NEW ) THE LOCOMOTION Grand Funk Railroad
14 ( 34 ) ONLY FOR THE CHILDREN The Stylistics
15 ( NEW ) SEE YA LATER (LITTLE BABY LOVE) Smiffy
16 ( 30 ) A TOUCH TOO MUCH Arrows
17 ( NEW ) HEY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Showaddywaddy
18 ( 10 ) TEEN WAVE Ricky Wilde
19 ( 12 ) THE YEAR OF DECISION The Three Degrees
20 ( NEW ) MIDNIGHT FORTUNE Tranquility

21 ( NEW ) BREAK THE RULES Status Quo
22 ( RE ) I’LL TAKE YOU HOME AGAIN KATHLEEN Lieutenant Pigeon
23 ( NEW ) GO (BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART) Gigliola Cinquetti
24 ( 26 ) I SEE A STAR Mouth and MacNeal
25 ( 21 ) SPIDERS AND SNAKES Jim Stafford
26 ( 29 ) RHODE ISLAND RED Ike & Tina Turner
27 ( 16 ) THE CAT CREPT IN Mud
28 ( 15 ) THE MAN WHO TURNED ON THE WORLD Friends Of St Francis
29 ( 28 ) THE JARROW SONG Alan Price
30 ( NEW ) LOVE TO LOSE AGAIN Melanie

31 ( 11 ) I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE THE FEELING Buffy Sainte-Marie
32 ( 13 ) MISSTRA KNOW IT ALL Stevie Wonder
33 ( 15 ) ON THE LINE Graham Nash
34 ( 14 ) SHANG A LANG Bay City Rollers
35 ( 17 ) PAPER MOON Nemo (aka Jonathan King)
36 ( 19 ) SEASONS IN THE SUN Terry Jacks
37 ( 18 ) DOCTOR’S ORDERS Sunny
38 ( 20 ) ON THE RUN Scorched Earth
39 ( 27 ) BAND ON THE RUN Paul McCartney & Wings
40 ( NEW ) THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED Paper Lace

14th May 1974

2 weeks on top for Sparks, but it’s straight in at 2 for Cozy Powell’s drumming instrumental follow-up to Top 3 Dance With The Devil. I loved the hook, it reminded me of a 60’s instrumental hit I’m struggling to recall the name of. The even better Judy Teen goes up to 3, and the Isleys get their biggest hit in 5 years with Summer Breeze at 6, while runner-up to Abba overtakes them, shocker! Yes Gigliola up to 7. Melanie goes Top 20, the rest shuffle about overtaken by all the new entries.

In at 12, one of David Essex’ minor hits, but it’s cool, all bluesy, saxey and multi-track-delayed-vocaley (made up words). I also had a thing about America, the land of my dreams – the pop culture was so much more exciting than the dreary UK pop culture, mostly. Only another 5 years to wait for the reality of it. Even better, though, Bryan Ferry had another solo album of covers out, oldies done modern stylee, and the 60’s soul dance hit The In Crowd is turned into a glam sax-full finger-snapping thundering guitar gem. Love it love it.

4 years before the Jacksons Blamed It On The Boogie, and 9 years before Michael Jackson warned of the Thriller, The Jackson released a great funky warning about The Boogie Man (he’s gonna get you). Obviously too scary as it bombed except in my chart. It’s a goodie. Three Dog Night turn up 5 years after Joy To The World, and show just how good Leo Sayer is by doing an inferior cover (and huge US hit). I was listening to the American charts on the American Forces radio network by this time, in the evenings, which is why there’s so many popping up in my charts. Talking of: the fab Staple Singers made 3 in 1972 in my chart (I’ll Take You There), so good they decided to do a soundalike follow-up (and huge US hit) 2 years later, popping in at 29 just behind my favourite novelty record maker Ray Stevens. He had loads of funny records, including the one new at 28, The Streak. The craze of taking your clothes off and running round naked in public was big news, so he naturally took the piss. It was hilarious for 2 or 3 weeks, then saturation set in and it stopped being funny. Then annoying. That’s the problem with novelty records when you hear them too much.

1 ( 1 ) THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US Sparks
2 ( NEW ) THE MAN IN BLACK Cozy Powell
3 ( 5 ) JUDY TEEN Cockney Rebel
4 ( 7 ) LUCINDA Howard Werth
5 ( 6 ) SUGAR BABY LOVE The Rubettes
6 ( 12 ) SUMMER BREEZE The Isley Brothers
7 ( 23 ) GO (BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART) Gigliola Cinquetti
8 ( 4 ) T.S.O.P. (THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA) M.F.S.B. (featuring the Three Degrees)
9 ( 2 ) ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WINTER Wizzard
10 ( 3 ) WATERLOO Abba

11 ( 11 ) HONEY PLEASE CAN’T YA SEE Barry White
12 ( NEW ) AMERICA David Essex
13 ( NEW ) THE IN CROWD Bryan Ferry
14 ( NEW ) THE BOOGIE MAN The Jackson 5
15 ( 15 ) SEE YA LATER (LITTLE BABY LOVE) Smiffy
16 ( 13 ) THE LOCOMOTION Grand Funk Railroad
17 ( 17 ) HEY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Showaddywaddy
18 ( 30 ) LOSE TO LOVE AGAIN Melanie
19 ( 8 ) RED DRESS Alvin Stardust
20 ( 18 ) TEEN WAVE Ricky Wilde

21 ( 21 ) BREAK THE RULES Status Quo
22 ( 16 ) A TOUCH TOO MUCH Arrows
23 ( 14 ) ONLY FOR THE CHILDREN The Stylistics
24 ( 24 ) I SEE A STAR Mouth and MacNeal
25 ( 26 ) RHODE ISLAND RED Ike & Tina Turner
26 ( 19 ) THE YEAR OF DECISION The Three Degrees
27 ( NEW ) THE SHOW MUST GO ON Three Dog Night
28 ( NEW ) THE STREAK Ray Stevens
29 ( NEW ) IF YOU’RE READY (COME GO WITH ME) The Staple Singers
30 ( 22 ) I’LL TAKE YOU HOME AGAIN KATHLEEN Lieutenant Pigeon

31 ( 9 ) HOOKED ON A FEELING Blue Swede
32 ( 10 ) BENNY AND THE JETS Elton John
33 ( 20 ) MIDNIGHT FORTUNE Tranquility
34 ( 25 ) SPIDERS AND SNAKES Jim Stafford
35 ( 27 ) THE CAT CREPT IN Mud
36 ( 28 ) THE MAN WHO TURNED ON THE WORLD Friends Of St Francis
37 ( 29 ) THE JARROW SONG Alan Price
38 ( 31 ) I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE THE FEELING Buffy Sainte-Marie
39 ( 39 ) BAND ON THE RUN Paul McCartney & Wings
40 ( 40 ) THE NIGHT CHICAGO DIED Paper Lace

21st May 1974

A big leap to 1 for Ray Stevens comedy hit, his second number one 4 years after his previous whopper, Everything Is Beautiful, not even a novelty hit that one, it’s a gospel song with a gorgeous tune and a kiddie refrain intro. I was mad on that one for years. I was mad on The Streak for at least one week. Sadly, it stops Cozy Powell getting to the top. Boo!

3 classic new entries though, in at 5 1968 Motown flop, now a Northern Soul re-issue, and the best ever record to come out of that scene, R. Dean Taylor’s There’s A Ghost In My House is fabulous. One of the very few white singers on Motown, he was a busy songwriter and had a 1968 hit with Gotta See Jane. So good, The Fall covered this song, but the original is the best, stonkingly dancetastic and frantictastic. At 6, a Lynsey De Paul song, a cinematically epic record by popular back-up singers Thunderthighs (see Walk On The Wild Side, Mott The Hoople etc) it’s a dramatic story song, sweeping strings and it’s a forgotten classic. Lynsey, meanwhile, is in at 27 herself with a delightful 50’s-pop-styled ditty, but it was generous to give away the better song.

At 15 it’s a debut for First Class and the equally epic-sounding Beach Baby, a retro Beach Boys harmonies, Summer Of Love vibing and referencing, sweeping gem. Just as cinematic as Thunderthighs, it’s much poppier, romping along and reminding one of Let’s Go To San Fransisco by The Flowerpot Men, which featured Jon Lord of Deep Purple fame. Actually it samples it, virtually. Actually it’s the same bandmembers, John Carter (who wrote this hit with his wife), and Tony Burrows on vocals. Actually it’s not a debut hit at all for Tony Burrows, who’d topped my chart as Edison Lighthouse in 1970, charted as White Plains, Butterscotch, The Pipkins and long-before-Eurovision Brotherhood Of Man, and sung lead on all of them. His early band links with massive pop songwriters Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook obviously didn’t hurt his career, and to be fair he was a great singer. Still love this summer-sounding record, pure summer of 74 for me.

Other stuff: The Locomotion shoots up to 4. Mystifyingly. Bryan Ferry goes Top 10, 5th in a row for Roxy/Ferry. Aretha Franklin pops in at 28 with a sweet soul ballad, and Showaddywaddy almost get a top 10 hit at 11. They went no higher, at least not till 1975.

 

1 ( 28 ) THE STREAK Ray Stevens
2 ( 2 ) THE MAN IN BLACK Cozy Powell
3 ( 1 ) THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US Sparks
4 ( 16 ) THE LOCOMOTION Grand Funk Railroad
5 ( NEW ) THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE R. Dean Taylor
6 ( NEW ) CENTRAL PARK ARREST Thunderthighs
7 ( 6 ) SUMMER BREEZE The Isley Brothers
8 ( 3 ) JUDY TEEN Cockney Rebel
9 ( 4 ) LUCINDA Howard Werth
10 ( 13 ) THE IN CROWD Bryan Ferry

11 ( 17 ) HEY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Showaddywaddy
12 ( 12 ) AMERICA David Essex
13 ( 7 ) GO (BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART) Gigliola Cinquetti
14 ( 18 ) LOSE TO LOVE AGAIN Melanie
15 ( NEW ) BEACH BABY First Class
16 ( 14 ) THE BOOGIE MAN The Jackson 5
17 ( 5 ) SUGAR BABY LOVE The Rubettes
18 ( 10 ) WATERLOO Abba
19 ( 9 ) ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WINTER Wizzard
20 ( 23 ) ONLY FOR THE CHILDREN The Stylistics

21 ( 8 ) T.S.O.P. (THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA) M.F.S.B. (featuring the Three Degrees)
22 ( 24 ) I SEE A STAR Mouth and MacNeal
23 ( 11 ) HONEY PLEASE CAN’T YA SEE Barry White
24 ( 19 ) RED DRESS Alvin Stardust
25 ( 26 ) THE YEAR OF DECISION The Three Degrees
26 ( 15 ) SEE YA LATER (LITTLE BABY LOVE) Smiffy
27 ( NEW ) OOH I DO Lynsey De Paul
28 ( NEW ) I’M IN LOVE Aretha Franklin
29 ( RE ) GETTING OVER YOU Andy Williams
30 ( 37 ) THE JARROW SONG Alan Price

31 ( 20 ) TEEN WAVE Ricky Wilde
32 ( 21 ) BREAK THE RULES Status Quo
33 ( 22 ) A TOUCH TOO MUCH Arrows
34 ( 25 ) RHODE ISLAND RED Ike & Tina Turner
35 ( 27 ) THE SHOW MUST GO ON Three Dog Night
36 ( 29 ) IF YOU’RE READY (COME GO WITH ME) The Staple Singers
37 ( 30 ) I’LL TAKE YOU HOME AGAIN KATHLEEN Lieutenant Pigeon
38 ( 31 ) HOOKED ON A FEELING Blue Swede
39 ( 32 ) BENNY AND THE JETS Elton John
40 ( 33 ) MIDNIGHT FORTUNE Tranquility

28th May 1974

There was quite a strong Northern Soul movement around the lads who tended not to stay on at school after 16 (ROSLA kids who wanted to go at 15 – Raising Of School Leaving Age – and get an apprenticeship at the local big employer, or other stuff) so it was sort-of cool. R. Dean Taylor was cool. Deservedly a 60’s classic at the top, and joined by another 2- both of them The Monkees. I was getting fed up with limiting my charts with rules so I opened them up to anything that was available or new. I’d just bought The Monkees budget hits album and was loving every track, revisiting old faves from when I was a kiddie, and finding new gems. The single was out again, and the TV show may even have been having one it’s regular Beeb-edited selective repeats (so many episodes they never broadcast, so many they did broadcast had different songs). Net effect: I’m A Believer in at 4, as perfect as the day it was born, and Monkees Theme (from the TV show) at 22, incredibly every single classic record pre-dated my charts, so this was their chart debut, and the start of my voyage of 60’s rediscovery and discovery which is still ongoing.

Cozy Powell, 3 weeks at 2, all behind a different chart-topper…and he never did get there! The Streak proving to be a flash in the pan drops to 5, and Ronnie Lane’s gorgeous Poacher in at 9, already bigger than How Come. Band On The Run makes a proper entrance at 13 under the new rules, giving a belated follow-up to number 1 Jet for Macca & co. Deservedly, it’s brilliant, sprawling, varied and melodic. Lynsey gets her 4th top 20 hit (and at least 6th or 7th as songwriter), and soul classic Be Thankful is in at 23. Very much in the style of Timmy Thomas’ 1973 classic Why Can’t We Live Together, and almost as good. Smooth, jazzy, soulful, gospelly and wonderful.

Chart notes: 3 eurovision side by side 18,19,20, and two Elton side by side 38, 39. Yet another new underwhelming Elton turgid ballad (though I grew to love it 20 years later) being overshadowed by the ongoing brilliance of Bennie & The Jets, US monster hit single.

1 ( 5 ) THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE R. Dean Taylor
2 ( 2 ) THE MAN IN BLACK Cozy Powell
3 ( 3 ) THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US Sparks
4 ( NEW ) I’M A BELIEVER The Monkees
5 ( 1 ) THE STREAK Ray Stevens
6 ( 6 ) CENTRAL PARK ARREST Thunderthighs
7 ( 7 ) SUMMER BREEZE The Isley Brothers
8 ( 10 ) THE IN CROWD Bryan Ferry
9 ( NEW ) THE POACHER Ronnie Lane
10 ( 12 ) AMERICA David Essex

11 ( 11 ) HEY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Showaddywaddy
12 ( 8 ) JUDY TEEN Cockney Rebel
13 ( RE ) BAND ON THE RUN Paul McCartney & Wings
14 ( 4 ) THE LOCOMOTION Grand Funk Railroad
15 ( 15 ) BEACH BABY First Class
16 ( 14 ) LOSE TO LOVE AGAIN Melanie
17 ( 27 ) OOH I DO Lynsey De Paul
18 ( 18 ) WATERLOO Abba
19 ( 13 ) GO (BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART) Gigliola Cinquetti
20 ( 22 ) I SEE A STAR Mouth and MacNeal

21 ( 19 ) ROCK ‘N’ ROLL WINTER Wizzard
22 ( NEW ) MONKEES THEME The Monkees
23 ( NEW ) BE THANKFUL FOR WAHT YOU’VE GOT William De Vaughan
24 ( 28 ) I’M IN LOVE Aretha Franklin
25 ( 16 ) THE BOOGIE MAN The Jackson 5
26 ( 17 ) SUGAR BABY LOVE The Rubettes
27 ( 30 ) THE JARROW SONG Alan Price
28 ( 29 ) GETTING OVER YOU Andy Williams
29 ( 36 ) IF YOU’RE READY (COME GO WITH ME) The Staple Singers
30 ( 35 ) THE SHOW MUST GO ON Three Dog Night

31 ( 9 ) LUCINDA Howard Werth
32 ( 20 ) ONLY FOR THE CHILDREN The Stylistics
33 ( 21 ) T.S.O.P. (THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA) M.F.S.B. (featuring the Three Degrees)
34 ( 23 ) HONEY PLEASE CAN’T YA SEE Barry White
35 ( 24 ) RED DRESS Alvin Stardust
36 ( 25 ) THE YEAR OF DECISION The Three Degrees
37 ( 26 ) SEE YA LATER (LITTLE BABY LOVE) Smiffy
38 ( 39 ) BENNY AND THE JETS Elton John
39 ( NEW ) DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME Elton John
40 ( 31 ) TEEN WAVE Ricky Wilde

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2 thoughts on “My 1974 Charts – May

  1. Great charts, John!
    SUMMER BREEZE is such an amazing song!!!
    I remember Dance With The Devil, but never listened to The Man In Black.

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