My 1969 Charts – December

school book

school book


videos click here

2nd December 1969

4th week on top for The Archies, holding off my Youtube dilemma for a while, as Rolf gets to 2. Bobbie Gentry joins herself in the top 5 with a cover duet of the Everley Brothers All I Have To Do Is Dream, with the great Glen Campbell. I’ll be honest, despite a catalogue of great songs, and apart from Cathy’s Clown, I much prefer the cover versions of Everley Brothers hits, including this one. In at 10, it’s Elvis with his 3rd Top 10 of the year, with what is generally regarded as his best record post-50’s. Suspicious Minds is a classic, but I barely got to hear it at all in Singapore, which is why it under-performs first time round. Not to worry, it has a second, third, fourth and fifth run to make up for it… cos it IS a classic after all.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 4 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 2 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 3 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
5 ( NEW ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry

6 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
7 ( 5 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
8 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
9 ( 7 ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
10 ( NEW ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley

Talking of Singapore, at school in geography we were learning about kelongs which were dotted around the coast in those days – it’s a Malayan word and structure, wooden huts and poles sticking out into the sea and used for fishing. We even built a mini-model structure on a painted coastal scene, which I really enjoyed, it was bringing geography (and history) to life and certainly wouldn’t have featured in any UK syllabus in those days. The schools still followed the UK exam systems for 11plus, CSE’s, O Levels, A levels, but there seemed to be a bit more flexibility for teachers to pick topics they enjoyed and could be enthusiastic about. Mind you, Mrs Canavan, the English teacher, embarrassed me in front of the class when she found out I was still reading Enid Blyton books at 11 years old. There was always this horrible pressure to “grow up” in those days, as opposed to just tactfully suggesting there are other exciting books out there too. As it turned out I pretty much leaped straight into adult science fiction via forgotten children’s science-fiction adventure writer Hugo Walters within a year, but I didn’t need to be shamed into doing it, found those books in the library on my own. In the meantime I moved onto Just William books, and found the words to Bad Moon Rising written out in one of the pages. Hooray!

exotic letter-writing paper corners - ah letters, memories...!

exotic letter-writing paper corners – ah letters, memories…!


9th December 1969

5 weeks on top for Sugar Sugar – how sweet! Better get used to seeing the Archies, and in fact, vocalist Ron Dante in my charts. In at 9 it’s the Cuff Links with Tracy. Aka Ron Dante. Although in the UK the Archies are regarded as the ultimate one-hit wonders, that’s not quite accurate as The Cuff Links sounded like The Archies fairly obviously, both being studio projects with the same hired singer – Ron. They also had 2 hits in the UK and US, while The Archies had a 2 or 3-year run of chart entries in the States. Don’t be fooled by the hip and groovy video, the singer isn’t Ron Dante – he signed up with Don Kirshner Archies’ mastermind – and the group threatened to hold back royalties unless he agreed to tour. Rupert Holmes, of Pina Colada fame, was also hired for the album.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 5 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
5 ( 4 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
6 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
7 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
8 ( 7 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
9 ( NEW ) TRACY The Cuff Links
10 ( 10 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley


I mentioned the school library for last week’s chart: I remember we had a visit from a small group of RAF Gurkhas in the small hall next to the library which impressed me. Short and stocky and affable, the Gurkhas had a fabulous awed reputation amongst British troops for loyalty and bravery, so it was great to have a lesson devoted to a question and answer session. The history of them: British Empire in Nepal, fighting against the Empire (one can see why they might be pissed off) they so impressed the elite they ended up becoming a historic part of the British forces throughout the centuries since. well, at least until the recent cutbacks decided they were no longer of requirement, nor were they entitled to live in the country they spent their lives serving from a country with links going back 200 years. Joanna Lumley, thanks for being more than Ab fab and Purdey, say I, as she rightfully put the politicians to shame.

I’ll just repeat the story that was bandied about at the time about Gurkhas in the RAF, even though it may or may not be apocryphal: The commander of the Gurkhas troop on a mission plane asked for volunteers to jump out of the plane. All of the soldiers stepped forward instantly. The commander was impressed with the loyalty shown, but was puzzled when the group ranking soldier looked a bit apologetic some minutes later when he came up to ask a question. “What is it?” asked the commander. “Will we be wearing parachutes?” he asked……

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school popcorn transfers and Neal Adams artwork (the correctly coloured ones not the pirate copies wrongly coloured)

school popcorn transfers and Neal Adams artwork (the correctly coloured ones not the pirate copies wrongly coloured)

16th December 1969

Christmas was coming, and The Archies were having a 6-week run on top. There were, of course, no such thing as christmas pop classics in those days, more a case of TV crooners covering standards or hymns. To be honest, though everyone knew the songs – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, O Little Town Of Bethlehem – there wasn’t that joyous sense of familiarity you get with modern pop songs, just some tunes you liked more than others when you had to sing them at school, or heard them on TV. On the plus side, some great records hit chart peaks: Glen and Bobbie at 3, Stevie at 4, Kenny Rogers at 5. It’s worth pointing out that Stevie Wonder had been having hits for years at Motown and he was still a teenager at this time, and co-writing some of his own songs, such as My Cherie Amour, currently about to hit the UK top 2 charts (January 2015) in a butchered helium-induced form). Good to know teenagers can write songs that last!

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 4 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
5 ( 7 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
6 ( 5 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 9 ) TRACY The Cuff Links
8 ( RE ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (S.K.O.O.B.Y.D.O.O) The Archies
9 ( 10 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
10 ( 8 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson


I don’t recall putting up the christmas trimmings at home, but I’m sure we did have a good go for the novelty of a sunny, sweltering christmas on the equator (give or take 85 miles), and I know mum tried to explain snow to Tan, our amah, by showing her the frozen stuff in the freezer of the fridge. She also did the same later on with Ah Choo our second, young amah (married with kiddie), who was related to Tan, I think. I googled her today, you never know, might still be out there in her mid-60’s. That would be great to find out.

Ah Choo 1970

Ah Choo 1970


23rd December 1969

7 weeks at 1, for The Archies, as they get another song in at 8, giving Ron dante 3 out of 10. Jingle Jangle was available on the back of a cereal packet imported from America, but I didn’t actually get hold of that one sadly, as it was a bonafide American single and actual hit – which I guess is why it didn’t find it’s way over to Singapore. In terms of imported stuff, Singapore was quite awesome, being a shipping crossroads for the region, you could get stuff from the USA, Australia, India, Malaya, Hong Kong, the UK and more. It was quite a fabulous multi-cultural jumble of bits from each. The UK, in the 60’s, was pretty much not noticeably international except for imported TV and some foodstuffs from Europe and the West Indies, and hi-tech products that were worldwide.

The other new entry is a bit of an afterthought cheat as I was running out of tracks for the chart. Creedence were very much of the period, and Green River sounds like it belongs in my chart, but I didn’t get to hear it for years afterwards – that I recall, at any rate. It may well have gotten some plays as follow-up to a big hit, but it didn’t stick in my mind if that’s the case. Good swamprock though.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 5 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
5 ( 4 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder

6 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 9 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
8 ( NEW ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies
9 ( 7 ) TRACY The Cuff Links
10 ( NEW ) GREEN RIVER Creedence Clearwater Revival

buying actual stuff at christmas and beyond!

buying actual stuff at christmas and beyond!

30th December 1969

Rolf scrapes in at the end of the year with the huge hit beloved by everyone young at the time, Two Little Boys. It would have been his 3rd or 4th chart-topper had I been charting as a toddler and infant, being as I loved Sun Arise, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, and Jake The Peg. Two Little Boys, despite everything (Thatcher choosing it for Desert Island Discs, Rolf’s conviction for underage stuff) was a sweet, touching story of war and brotherly love, pretty unique for a hit record to this day, and as at that time Rolf was guilty of nothing illegal I’m not going to retroactively rewrite history, though I won’t be showing any photos or videos, just the record. It does leave a regretful bitter taste in the mouth now sadly though so I’m demoting it to the end. In at 4, it’s Marmalade, not bubblegum anymore, it’s the gorgeous ballad Reflections Of My Life, harmonytastic and largely forgotten these days, but once well-thought of. Still is by me. It’s a bloody brilliant tune.

1 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
2 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
3 ( 3 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
4 ( NEW ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
5 ( 7 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
6 ( 8 ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies
7 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
8 ( 4 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
9 ( 5 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
10 ( 9 ) TRACY The Cuff Links

Christmas week, and for christmas brother and me got a brand new bike each with colourful plastic tassles sticking out of the handlebar ends. I still miss that bike, it was great riding up and down the local housing estate hills, not entirely unlike Elliot and ET and co. Only much much hotter. And no alien. School was out for a few weeks, I had loads more comics I was adoring, having scoured more and more of the second-hand book stalls in Changi Village, and having got hold of some more classic Adventure Comics Legion Of Super Heroes and many other new and old DC Comics. My collection was growing quite fast, pop music for the moment not eating into my pocket money, comics getting all of it! I can’t understate how exciting the Legion was to me, it was almost physically palpable, and the covers of DC superheroes at this time, and especially Batman, were designed and drawn by the fantastic acclaimed artist Neal Adams. His Batman and Superman remain the definitive versions, those were the ones I got in the popcorn transfers for my school bag and my own made-up transfer books, and those are the ones that command the top prices in archive comic shops for this period. His comic covers are works of Art, at least as good as many over-rated bullshit “serious” artists. Suddenly comics were getting more adult, and dealing with serious adult themes amongst the superhero stuff…

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