My 1974 Charts – December

outside Gloucester cinema

outside Gloucester cinema


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3rd December 1974

Winter draws on, christmas shopping for gifts starting, and the annual inrush of christmas classic pop songs had started. No it’s not 2014, it’s my charts in 1974 as I start the tradition of classic pop oldies invasions of the charts. I’m going to put modesty aside and declare I did it ahead of the UK charts, as John & Yoko drop to 2 behind new entry at 1 for christmas classic Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, a whole 12 months actual old! That gives it 3 weeks at 1 in total, and the first time a record came back in under a year to top my chart again. Of course it charts every single year in the UK for the last decade, but you can see why I don’t chart it highly anymore – been there done that many times already.

In at 4, and it’s an influential disco classic, pumping up the bpm’s, a disco diva in the making in Gloria Gaynor, and an exciting cover of The Jackson 5’s Top 5 (in my chart) 1971 ballad, given a very different treatment. I loved it immediately, and I loved Gloria. In at 6, it’s one of those “eh?” moments as an odd reggae obscurity announces itself with echo-effects, whooping, and unusual lyrics, to say the least. I also loved this Rupie Edwards track as it sounded like nothing before, except maybe a more laid back sort of Dave And Ansel Collins. Ire Feelings (Skanga). Skanga! Skanga! I’m feeling high…you know I suspect it might have something to do with substances now I think about it…

Disco Tex, Hot Choc and The Supremes pop up a few mid-table places, as George McRae is back at 16 with another very-KC (of Sunshine Band) disco hit, You Can Have It All, his third in 6 months, and KC’s 5th song. Ringo takes his Only You cover to 20, his 5th solo hit, ahead of his old band’s tracks, The Wombles pop up a christmas place, and TV’s family-friendly comedy-troop The Goodies move over to the singles chart with some very christmassy naughtiness, Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me. Actually the nominal A side was The Inbetweenies, Bill Oddie’s song which grabbed the airplay by default, basically a kiddie novelty hit. The other side was for the grown-up’s, Pythonesque rabble-rousing drunken-singing, as the lads sing the chorus each time omitting a word or syllable. I still find it funny, and the final line sort of puts it into moral context: he’s a most immoral Santa, they aren’t promoting that sort of behaviour! Honest! Finally John Christie pops in with 60’s fave Everybody Knows, a cover of the tuneful Dave Clark 5 big hit from 1967. Dave didn’t mind, I know that cos he produced the record.

1 ( NEW ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
2 ( 1 ) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir
3 ( 2 ) YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET Bachman-Turner Overdrive
4 ( NEW ) NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Gloria Gaynor
5 ( 3 ) PEPPERBOX The Peppers
6 ( NEW ) IRE FEELINGS (SKANGA) Rupie Edwards
7 ( 4 ) KILLER QUEEN Queen
8 ( 8 ) HOLD ME TIGHT Johnny Nash
9 ( 7 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
10 ( 6 ) JUKEBOX JIVE The Rubettes

11 ( 5 ) OH YES YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL Gary Glitter
12 ( 14 ) GET DANCING Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
13 ( 18 ) CHERI BABE Hot Chocolate
14 ( 19 ) WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO? The Supremes
15 ( 10 ) SOUND YOUR FUNKY HORN KC And The Sunshine Band
16 ( NEW ) YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL George McRae
17 ( 9 ) SHBOOM (LIFE COULD BE A DREAM) Sha Na Na
18 ( 13 ) JUNIOR’S FARM Paul McCartney & Wings
19 ( 21 ) ON THE RUN Scorched Earth
20 ( 26 ) ONLY YOU Ringo Starr

21 ( 25 ) THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Lulu
22 ( 11 ) GOODBYE NOTHIN’ TO SAY The Javells featuring Nosmo King
23 ( 24 ) WOMBLING MERRY CHRISTMAS The Wombles
24 ( 16 ) I AM THE WALRUS The Beatles
25 ( 17 ) GET BACK The Beatles
26 ( 15 ) BABY COME BACK The Equals
27 ( 27 ) CANDY BABY Beano
28 ( NEW ) THE INBETWEENIES/ FATHER CHRISTMAS DO NOT TOUCH ME The Goodies
29 ( 20 ) O.K. CHICAGO Resonance
30 ( NEW ) EVERYBODY KNOWS John Christie

31 ( 12 ) DRACULA’S DAUGHTER Thunderthighs
32 ( 22 ) EVERYTHING I OWN Ken Boothe
33 ( 23 ) GAUDETE Steeleye Span
34 ( 28 ) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Elton John
35 ( 29 ) WILDCAT Merlin
36 ( 30 ) FOOL ON THE HILL The Beatles
37 ( 36 ) YOU’RE THE FIRST, THE LAST, MY EVERYTHING Barry White
38 ( 31 ) TELL HIM Hello
39 ( 33 ) SHA LA LA LA (MAKES ME HAPPY) Al Green
40 ( 32 ) HOW LONG Ace

In real life, musician Nick Drake had quietly passed away with little publicity, Python was drawing to a close on TV, and the IRA had been outlawed. In my world of hobbies, DC Comics had kept on getting more fun and glossy, the Legion especially with new artist Dave Cockrum just getting better and better – at least until his strop with DC Comics, before pissing off to Marvel with his great costumes, artwork and ideas for X-Men, the classic years. I loved it so much I started buying multiple copies and keeping them in mint condition in bags. Fanboy!! Still got them mint though.

Big film at the cinema was the third disaster movie blockbuster in three months, and the best one, as Irwin Allen followed up Poseidon Adventure with the spectacle of The Towering Inferno. If a film ever inspired a fear of disaster in me it was this one, the thought of being trapped above a burning fire helpless in a skyscraper. Never felt comfortable with the thought of living or working way on high, subsequently. The film had Steve McQueen and Paul Newman together for the first time, a host of golden oldies like Fred Astaire, and it became an instant fave, though it wouldn’t make my lists these days. Scene of the film was poor old veteran Jennifer Jones falling out of a glass lift just after helping a kiddie. There’s gratitude for you, do a good deed etc.!


10th December 1974

After 2 weeks shoved down by xmas oldies, Bachman-Turner Overdrive reassert themselves on top, it was pretty popular at school and still sounded exciting. You Ain’t Seen N-n-n-n-nothing Yet! 2 weeks at 1 instead of 4 thanks to the oldies, it seems strange saying oldies for records that were 1 and 2 years old! These days records stay in the chart for 1 to 2 years! Those days they were golden oldies!

The christmas records keep on coming though, The Goodies get listed separately on the chart, and brand new christmas songs from Mud, at 20, with UK chart-topper Lonely This Christmas, and Les Grey doing a whimsical Elvis impersonation for their 4th hit of the year, but a major change in sound as they see the Glam Rock writing on the wall for all pop stars, this time it’s a charming, sad love song, and one that still hangs about at christmas time. The Wombles shoot up to 7, Wombling Merry Christmas giving them their biggest Wombling hit, and one of many songs written by Mike Batt in my charts this year. Showaddywaddy come back with a follow-up hit to Hey Rock ‘n’ Roll (I wasn’t keen on previous singles) with the sweet Hey Mr. Christmas, a xmas record you never hear anywhere these days. Mr. Big debut at 29 with the charming cockney Christmas with Dicken, a xmas flop, though Mr. Big finally got a UK chart hit with the fab Romeo in 1977.

Phil Spector’s classic early 60’s xmas album gets it’s first chart entry as Darlene Love takes Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) in at 30 as radio plays quite a few of it’s tracks. Darlene was actually the singer of He’s A Rebel, the brilliant cover of Gene Pitney’s song masterminded by Phil Spector, but it was credited to another entirely different act, The Crystals. In my charts she’d already appeared on backing vocals on Be My Baby, Monster Mash and Da Do Ron Ron, but she wouldn’t get another new go till the 90’s, following U2 grabbing her for backing vocals on their cover of the song – and it was another christmas goodie from Home Alone movies.

Away from christmas, Abba come back with their only single to fail to chart in the UK, So Long. It wasn’t playlisted by the BBC, though Radio Luxembourg did and it was fab, should have been a glam-tastic hit, in at 17 for their 4th hit of the year, 5th as songwriters. I had faith in Abba. Also The Faces, and what turned out to be their last record with Rod Stewart – You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything (etc) might have been amusingly titled but it was more groovy Rod than rocky Faces, and the writing was on the wall for the split. In at 13, a forgotten gem, the single from Deep Purple’s Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball album, a thematic work with guest vocalists and an animated video. The great vocalist on Love Is All is Ronnie James Dio, of Rainbow and other metal bands – spot the connections? Ex-Deep Purple members mostly! It was a kids TV fave and bubbled under the charts but never broke into the 50, sadly.

Finally, Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus, a very naughty 1969 UK number one that I’d never heard in my life (it had been banned) started to get plays on Radio Luxembourg after being reissued and a hit all over again. Jane Birkin was the actress partner of French cult star Serge Gainsbourg, and they both provided a lot of breathy noises over the top of a lovely sultry melody. I rather liked it, and as I’d never be able to tape it onto my reel-to-reel tape recorder off the BBC I bought the single – Radio Luxembourg, being so far away, tended to be a medium-wave fading in and fading out and whining and hissing and screeching of broadcasts – but it was worth persevering to get to hear new songs not chosen by the BBC. At 40, one classic I didn’t get until years later, Ralph McTell’s Streets Of London, busker-song-classic, and already 4 years old or so before it charted. It’s a lovely lyric and wistful melody.

1 ( 3 ) YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET Bachman-Turner Overdrive
2 ( 2 ) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir
3 ( 1 ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
4 ( 4 ) NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Gloria Gaynor
5 ( 12 ) GET DANCING Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
6 ( 6 ) IRE FEELINGS (SKANGA) Rupie Edwards
7 ( 23 ) WOMBLING MERRY CHRISTMAS The Wombles
8 ( 28 ) THE INBETWEENIES The Goodies
9 ( 16 ) YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL George McRae
10 ( 5 ) PEPPERBOX The Peppers

11 ( 9 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
12 ( 8 ) HOLD ME TIGHT Johnny Nash
13 ( NEW ) LOVE IS ALL Roger Glover and Guests (featuring Ronnie Dio)
14 ( NEW ) FATHER CHRISTMAS DO NOT TOUCH ME The Goodies
15 ( 7 ) KILLER QUEEN Queen
16 ( NEW ) YOU CAN MAKE ME DANCE SING OR ANYTHING (EVEN TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK MEND A FUSE FOLD AWAY THE IRONING BOARD OR ANY OTHER DOMESTIC SHORTCOMINGS) The Faces featuring Rod Stewart
17 ( NEW ) SO LONG Abba
18 ( 14 ) WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO? The Supremes
19 ( 13 ) CHERI BABE Hot Chocolate
20 ( NEW ) LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS Mud

21 ( NEW ) HEY MR CHRISTMAS Showaddywaddy
22 ( 24 ) I AM THE WALRUS The Beatles
23 ( 21 ) THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Lulu
24 ( NEW ) JE T’AIME…MOI NON PLUS Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
25 ( 17 ) SHBOOM (LIFE COULD BE A DREAM) Sha Na Na
26 ( 26 ) BABY COME BACK The Equals
27 ( 34 ) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Elton John
28 ( 10 ) JUKEBOX JIVE The Rubettes
29 ( NEW ) CHRISTMAS WITH DICKEN Mr. Big
30 ( NEW ) CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME) Darlene Love

31 ( 11 ) OH YES YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL Gary Glitter
32 ( 15 ) SOUND YOUR FUNKY HORN KC And The Sunshine Band
33 ( 18 ) JUNIOR’S FARM Paul McCartney & Wings
34 ( 19 ) ON THE RUN Scorched Earth
35 ( 20 ) ONLY YOU Ringo Starr
36 ( 22 ) GOODBYE NOTHIN’ TO SAY The Javells featuring Nosmo King
37 ( 25 ) GET BACK The Beatles
38 ( 27 ) CANDY BABY Beano
39 ( 29 ) O.K. CHICAGO Resonance
40 ( NEW ) STREETS OF LONDON Ralph McTell


School was about to break up any week now, and I’d made some newer friends that I didn’t really know the previous school year, which was great, and I’d obviously turn the conversation over to pop given the opportunity, though cards was the main social activity still. Given my enthusiasm for Queen, Gloria Gaynor, Abba and the very camp Disco Tex at this time, it was just as well I had Beatles, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and others to point to my less-girlie tastes in music. Not that I considered them girlie at all, who cares about categories anyway!

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17th December 1974

It’s a new number one for Disco Tex and his Sex-o-lettes, one of the great pop band names of all-time, Tex was on Top Of The Pops on film in his hat and flamboyant scarf, camping it up something cruel, it was great fun, funny, and tongue-in-cheek all in one, not to mention falsetto-catchy backing singing. Some people hated it, of course. The ones with no sense of humour. Gloria Gaynor, meantime, is in runners-up spot with a serious disco classic.

The christmas songs keep on a-coming, as I really get into the christmas spirit big-time on newies and oldies alike: Showaddywaddy hit the top 10, Gilbert O’Sullivan enters with Christmas Song, his first chart entry in over a year, and his best record since Alone Again (Naturally). As Gilbert has always been over-protective of his back catalogue you won’t find it on any compilation albums I suspect, or else it might have become better known as a christmas classic. Wizzard, meanwhile, stay top 5 with you-know-what as their last UK hit single enters my chart at 14 – are you ready to rock? Too right!

All four Beatles find themselves in the top 40, both all together, and solo, as George enters at 30 with Ding Dong, one of the few New Year pop singles to pop up over the years. I heard it on Radio 2 New Years Eve (2014) so hooray for keeping it vaguely-known, as it’s decent enough. My other fave band, other than The Beatles, and Roy Wood/Wizzard, who were on the decline after a hot streak, was soon to be Abba, doing well at 7 with So Long, their highest chart position since Waterloo hit 1.

KC goes back up to 11, Ray Stevens gets his 3rd hit of the year, this time with the very serious, slightly twee, Everybody Needs A Rainbow, Status Quo enter at 29 with their future UK chart-topper, the fabulous Down Down, and The Trammps debut at 28 with a romping disco version of the 30’s standard Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart. Judy Garland had the first well-known version, though the 50’s doo-wop flavour to The Trammps version shows where they took it from. Fab!

As school term ended, daytime TV was about to open to me – not that there was much in those days – as well as the evenings so that meant The Virginian, a great Western series, Tom & Jerry, still classic, Josie And The Pussycats In Outer Space (cartoon singing all-girl group on a spaceship with a cat. Honest!), the new animated Star Trek series (which I loved), The Generation Game (with Bruce Forsyth, of course, good game, good game), bald cop Kojak (Telly Savalas was huge in the UK), Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads, Cannon (US PI), Top Of The Pops (of course), Jackanory had Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man (one of my future all-time fave films), Johnny Morris was still producing Animal Magic for kids, and had been my whole life as far as I could recall by then, Mission:Impossible was still chock full of plot-twisting, and The Magic Roundabout was still wondering about Florence.

1 ( 5 ) GET DANCIN’ Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
2 ( 4 ) NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Gloria Gaynor
3 ( 1 ) YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET Bachman-Turner Overdrive
4 ( 2 ) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir
5 ( 3 ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
6 ( 7 ) WOMBLING MERRY CHRISTMAS The Wombles
7 ( 17 ) SO LONG Abba
8 ( 8 ) THE INBETWEENIES The Goodies
9 ( 13 ) LOVE IS ALL Roger Glover and Guests (featuring Ronnie Dio)
10 ( 21 ) HEY MR CHRISTMAS Showaddywaddy

11 ( 32 ) SOUND YOUR FUNKY HORN KC And The Sunshine Band
12 ( 16 ) YOU CAN MAKE ME DANCE SING OR ANYTHING (EVEN TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK MEND A FUSE FOLD AWAY THE IRONING BOARD OR ANY OTHER DOMESTIC SHORTCOMINGS) The Faces featuring Rod Stewart
13 ( 14 ) FATHER CHRISTMAS DO NOT TOUCH ME The Goodies
14 ( NEW ) ARE YOU READY TO ROCK Wizzard
15 ( 24 ) JE T’AIME…MOI NON PLUS Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
16 ( 11 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
17 ( 12 ) HOLD ME TIGHT Johnny Nash
18 ( 6 ) IRE FEELINGS (SKANGA) Rupie Edwards
19 ( 9 ) YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL George McRae
20 ( 20 ) LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS Mud

21 ( 30 ) CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME) Darlene Love
22 ( 38 ) CANDY BABY Beano
23 ( 22 ) I AM THE WALRUS The Beatles
24 ( 18 ) WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO? The Supremes
25 ( NEW ) EVERYBODY NEEDS A RAINBOW Ray Stevens
26 ( NEW ) CHRISTMAS SONG Gilbert O’Sullivan
27 ( 25 ) SHBOOM (LIFE COULD BE A DREAM) Sha Na Na
28 ( NEW ) ZING WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART The Trammps
29 ( NEW ) DOWN DOWN Status Quo
30 ( NEW ) DING DONG George Harrison

31 ( 15 ) KILLER QUEEN Queen
32 ( 19 ) CHERI BABE Hot Chocolate
33 ( 23 ) THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Lulu
34 ( 26 ) BABY COME BACK The Equals
35 ( 27 ) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Elton John
36 ( 28 ) JUKEBOX JIVE The Rubettes
37 ( 29 ) CHRISTMAS WITH DICKEN Mr. Big
38 ( 33 ) JUNIOR’S FARM Paul McCartney & Wings
39 ( 35 ) ONLY YOU Ringo Starr
40 ( 40 ) STREETS OF LONDON Ralph McTell


24th December 1974

It was Christmas Eve and all through the house not a thing was stirring not even a mouse. Well, a hamster was, my brothers pet. I was doing my charts, meanwhile, and Gloria Gaynor gets her first week on top with the awesome Never Can Say Goodbye, a hectic dance with a tune and soaring strings, even better than the original achingly sweet and mournful Jackson 5 version, which had peaked at 2 in my charts. The Wombles go christmassy at 4, and Abba go top 5 for the second time. So Long? No chance!

George Harrison rings in the new, just behind old mucker John at 7, his 4th hit in 4 years, and biggest since My Sweet Lord hit 1. Never was prolific, George. It wouldn’t be christmas without Slade would it? Of course not! So it’s back in at 18 a year after hitting my top 3 – remember it all started here in popchartfeak world. Just saying it like it is, you can blame me it’s still doing the same 40 years later if that helps! Another regular classic bubbling under the UK 75 is The Ronettes fabulous Sleigh Ride. Ronnie Spector undoubtably glad she got away from Phil in the end, but here’s her 2nd hit of the year, after Be My Baby hit 1, with the track off A Christmas Gift For You, and just ahead of the other track at 20 for Darlene Love.

At 21, David Essex gets his 4th hit of 1974 with the title track from his 2nd movie Stardust, almost menacing and serious, in contrast to Gonna Make You A Star. David continues to be under-rated as a writer and performer, what he lacked in vocal dexterity he made up for in spades with conviction. The thinking schoolgirl’s popstar was Mr. Essex. Mud take a shock tumble, peaking at 20 after a run of 6 top 3’s (including 4 chart-toppers), I just preferred them glam and laddy to be honest at the time, though it will be back in christmas future to make amends. Billy Swan’s country-pop classic, covered by Elvis, and a minor anthem, I Can Help enters at 30, and it’s still a great song. Finally The Tymes scrape in at 40 with their UK number one in January 1975, Ms Grace. I like it now, but then it pissed me off for keeping Gloria Gaynor off the UK charts top spot. Bah!

1 ( 2 ) NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Gloria Gaynor
2 ( 1 ) GET DANCIN’ Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
3 ( 3 ) YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET Bachman-Turner Overdrive
4 ( 6 ) WOMBLING MERRY CHRISTMAS The Wombles
5 ( 7 ) SO LONG Abba
6 ( 4 ) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir
7 ( 30 ) DING DONG George Harrison
8 ( 10 ) HEY MR CHRISTMAS Showaddywaddy
9 ( 9 ) LOVE IS ALL Roger Glover and Guests (featuring Ronnie Dio)
10 ( 5 ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard

11 ( 16 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
12 ( 8 ) THE INBETWEENIES The Goodies
13 ( 13 ) FATHER CHRISTMAS DO NOT TOUCH ME The Goodies
14 ( 14 ) ARE YOU READY TO ROCK Wizzard
15 ( 15 ) JE T’AIME…MOI NON PLUS Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
16 ( 12 ) YOU CAN MAKE ME DANCE SING OR ANYTHING (EVEN TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK MEND A FUSE FOLD AWAY THE IRONING BOARD OR ANY OTHER DOMESTIC SHORTCOMINGS) The Faces featuring Rod Stewart
17 ( 11 ) SOUND YOUR FUNKY HORN KC And The Sunshine Band
18 ( NEW ) MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY Slade
19 ( NEW ) SLEIGH RIDE The Ronettes
20 ( 21 ) CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME) Darlene Love

21 ( NEW ) STARDUST David Essex
22 ( 17 ) HOLD ME TIGHT Johnny Nash
23 ( 26 ) CHRISTMAS SONG Gilbert O’Sullivan
24 ( 20 ) LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS Mud
25 ( 25 ) EVERYBODY NEEDS A RAINBOW Ray Stevens
26 ( 22 ) CANDY BABY Beano
27 ( 29 ) DOWN DOWN Status Quo
28 ( 18 ) IRE FEELINGS (SKANGA) Rupie Edwards
29 ( 19 ) YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL George McRae
30 ( NEW ) I CAN HELP Billy Swan

31 ( 23 ) I AM THE WALRUS The Beatles
32 ( 24 ) WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO? The Supremes
33 ( 27 ) SHBOOM (LIFE COULD BE A DREAM) Sha Na Na
34 ( 28 ) ZING WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART The Trammps
35 ( 31 ) KILLER QUEEN Queen
36 ( 32 ) CHERI BABE Hot Chocolate
37 ( 33 ) THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Lulu
38 ( 36 ) JUKEBOX JIVE The Rubettes
39 ( 35 ) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Elton John
40 ( NEW ) MS GRACE The Tymes

TV at christmas was always a huge treat for me, so many great films and specials – this week there was The Time Machine, still a fave film version of the H.G. Wells novel, and The Marx Brothers in Go West. I love the Marx Brothers, especially Groucho, a major hero of mine at the time with his one-liners and put-downs. Top Of The Pops, of course, and future christmas regular (for a decade or so at any rate) The Goodies And The Beanstalk, a repeat of brilliant TV western comedy Alias Smith And Jones, and some bonus holiday Star Trek episodes (hooray!) each day. On BBC2, the fantastic MASH, the watchable Call My Bluff, Film Night has interviews with the Python team on location for The Holy Grail (that would be good to see again, probably wiped like everything else from this era, though), and I first watched the disturbing film “If” with Malcolm McDowell, which had an effect on me in more than one way, not the violence, which shocked, but the elite school life scenes.

The Radio Times, from whence this information comes (I don’t have THAT good a memory) had printed a letter from 15-year-old Peter Capaldi earlier in the year praising Doctor Who, though I take issue with the insistence of the BBC calling the TV animated great Top Cat “Boss Cat”. On every day, the title theme is Top cat, the cat is called Top cat and TC in the show, and it was called Top Cat when first shown in the early 60’s (inspired by Sgt Bilko), but no, there was a cat food called Top Cat and they wouldn’t want to be seen advertising. Mad BBC, absolutely insane. No idea what was on ITV, but probably a James Bond film at sometime and an episode of Rising Damp, a great cast, great script, great characters.


31st December 1974

New Years Eve, and I was at home watching TV. I know this because I saw the new year in (for the first time, almost sweet seventeen years old) watching Billy Wilder’s classic bittersweet comedy The Apartment on my black & white TV in my bedroom. It became an instant tearjerking (yet feelgood) fave, and I loved Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon already anyway (and Fred MacMurray playing a non-Disney nastier role than we were used to). I’d also bought myself a brand new proper spiral-bound notepad to make my charts more official-looking, and to be able to incorporate more records in my first official top 50 – just like Record Mirror which published all the charts that mattered at that time, including the UK Top 50 singles chart, and which was my must-buy bible.

So, first top 50 number one? I bought the record, and made it my top record in protest at the BBC not playing it (it was just outside the top 30), and cos I loved it anyway: naughty Je T’Aime..Moi Non Plus, completely absent from my 1969 charts age 11, completely owned 5 years on aged 16. Yay! With the extra 10 places lots of new entries for records that would otherwise not have charted, and quite a few re-entries showing just how many records were missing out on decent chart runs with the restricted slots available. To be honest even 50 wasn’t enough, really, but it was good enough for the BBC….

David Essex gets his 5th consecutive top 10 single, Billy Swan his first, christmas records suffer a decline, and highest new entry is Australian MOR I Am Woman and Delta Dawn big American star, Helen Reddy. Not eligible for my charts pre-1974 (as she’d had no UK hits) but Angie Baby changed all that, a spooky, swirling, disturbing minor classic and US number one. In at 16. At 18, Stevie Wonder gets his 5th chart hit of 1974 with the groovy Boogie On Reggae Woman, while actual reggae men popped in lower down, Ken Boothe’s follow-up to Everything I Own (Crying Over You) and John Holt’s jolly version of Gladys Knight’s weepy 1972 ballad hit Help Me Make It Through The Night.

The Jackson 5 near the end of their Motown career, with Life Of The Party, a flop single, in at 29 and almost 5 years of hits. For the first time (and last?) I chart an extended dance record twice, as the second half was on the B side (as was the fashion in those days, it was cut in half, faded out, and faded in on the B side) – Disco Tex’ Get Dancin’ Part 2. At 40, it’s a genuine huge American hit, his 2nd chart entry of the year for Harry Chapin, and the powerful, touching song Cats In The Cradle, the story of a dad with no time for his kid getting his comeuppance when old. I loved it to bits, and still do, despite the UK hit version being the trashy 1992 Ugly Kid Joe bloated monster. It lacks the subtlety and feeling of the original entirely.

Also in, Kenny with The Bump, a monster dance craze of the time, and this was the buttock-clashing cash-in pop single from the Bay City Rollers writer-producers Martin and Coulter, they of Puppet On A String, and many a hit record fame. They had even had a great 1973 number one for me with Irish singer Kenny, Heart Of Stone. Knowing they were onto a good thing, they nicked the name, gave it to a young band, and new pop stars were born. I wasn’t a huge fan though. The Carpenters I was a huge fan of, but the sudden change to jolly pop instead of classy ballad pop (like jolly Top Of The World and Jambalaya) had disappointed me, so this jolly cover of the Marvelettes 60’s song took a bit of getting used to, but it won me over in the end.

1 ( 15 ) JE T’AIME…MOI NON PLUS Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
2 ( 1 ) NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE Gloria Gaynor
3 ( 2 ) GET DANCIN’ Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
4 ( 3 ) YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET Bachman-Turner Overdrive
5 ( 6 ) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with The Harlem Community Choir
6 ( 7 ) DING DONG George Harrison
7 ( 5 ) SO LONG Abba
8 ( 9 ) LOVE IS ALL Roger Glover and Guests (featuring Ronnie Dio)
9 ( 21 ) STARDUST David Essex
10 ( 30 ) I CAN HELP Billy Swan

11 ( 4 ) WOMBLING MERRY CHRISTMAS The Wombles
12 ( 10 ) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY Wizzard
13 ( 8 ) HEY MR CHRISTMAS Showaddywaddy
14 ( 14 ) ARE YOU READY TO ROCK Wizzard
15 ( 16 ) YOU CAN MAKE ME DANCE SING OR ANYTHING (EVEN TAKE THE DOG FOR A WALK MEND A FUSE FOLD AWAY THE IRONING BOARD OR ANY OTHER DOMESTIC SHORTCOMINGS) The Faces featuring Rod Stewart
16 ( NEW ) ANGIE BABY Helen Reddy
17 ( 17 ) SOUND YOUR FUNKY HORN KC And The Sunshine Band
18 ( NEW ) BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN Stevie Wonder
19 ( 11 ) I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Marvin Gaye
20 ( 12 ) THE INBETWEENIES The Goodies

21 ( 13 ) FATHER CHRISTMAS DO NOT TOUCH ME The Goodies
22 ( 27 ) DOWN DOWN Status Quo
23 ( 22 ) HOLD ME TIGHT Johnny Nash
24 ( 18 ) MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY Slade
25 ( 19 ) SLEIGH RIDE The Ronettes
26 ( 26 ) CANDY BABY Beano
27 ( 23 ) CHRISTMAS SONG Gilbert O’Sullivan
28 ( 20 ) CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME) Darlene Love
29 ( NEW ) LIFE OF THE PARTY The Jackson 5
30 ( 28 ) IRE FEELINGS (SKANGA) Rupie Edwards

31 ( 39 ) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS Elton John
32 ( 29 ) YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL George McRae
33 ( 38 ) JUKEBOX JIVE The Rubettes
34 ( RE ) OH YES YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL Gary Glitter
35 ( 24 ) LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS Mud
36 ( 25 ) EVERYBODY NEEDS A RAINBOW Ray Stevens
37 ( NEW ) GET DANCIN’ PART 2 Disco Tex and The Sex-o-lettes
38 ( NEW ) CRYING OVER YOU Ken Boothe
39 ( NEW ) HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT John Holt
40 ( NEW ) CATS IN THE CRADLE Harry Chapin

41 ( RE ) GONNA MAKE YOU A STAR David Essex
42 ( NEW ) THE BUMP Kenny
43 ( NEW ) PLEASE MR POSTMAN The Carpenters
44 ( RE ) MY BOY Elvis Presley
45 ( RE ) WILDCAT Merlin
46 ( 37 ) THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Lulu
47 ( RE ) ONLY YOU Ringo Starr
48 ( RE ) SHA LA LA LA (MAKES ME HAPPY) Al Green
49 ( 34 ) ZING WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART The Trammps
50 ( 36 ) CHERI BABE Hot Chocolate


On TV Christmas day Top Of The Pops had Jimmy Saliva hosting so I guess it’ll never be broadcast ever again, though it is in the vaults. Ditto Part 2 as DLT was hosting, convicted of the ban-worthy crime of copping a feel. Santa had brought me gifts, though none of them spring to mind – I think Partridge Family Greatest Hits was probably one, record vouchers another (grandma often used to get me those), and on telly a fave film from Singapore RAF cinema days, True Grit, with John Wayne, the fab Kim Darby, and even fabber when non-acting Glen Campbell. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Race, were other film feast faves and the great Harry O David Janssen TV detective show was on along with some Doctor Who repeats.

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