My 1970 Charts – March

mum on the bus to Changi Village, Changi Beach Road

mum on the bus to Changi Village, Changi Beach Road

youtubers…


3rd March 1970

4 weeks for Mary Hopkin’s Harbour on top, still holding off another folk-stylee singer Judy Collins at 2. Lee Marvin wanders his way to 3, Painting his Wagon along with Clint’s tree-talking at 8, while Simon & Garfunkel keep that folk theme going with a gospel detour for the perfect Bridge Over Troubled Water.

B.J. Thomas is the third movie record in the chart entering just behind the Sacha Distel cover, and it’s WAY better, taken straight from the bicycling sequence in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, a great film for those sunshine-themed days, cool cowboy outlaws and a great Bacharach/David song, what’s not to like! B.J. is also an under-rated singer in the UK, he had some great US hits, many of them covered by others in the UK and US (see Elvis, JK, Blue Swede). Shame!

At 17, future Bananarama hit Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye enters for Steam, actually a 1969 US hit, regarded as bubblegum (and therefore not worthy) but it’s bloody fantastic, and still the definitive version, great tune, great vocal, great production. Kenny Rogers is back, and Something’s Burning at 19. Smoldering for the first half of the country track, mostly, but it packs a wallop later on, and is a cut above some of his more famous later country story songs. Finally, it’s Polly Brown at 20, 4 years ahead of 2 later versions of her pop toons, but this time it’s Pickettywich, who have a sweet enough ditty getting that same old feeling.

1 ( 1 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 2 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
3 ( 6 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
4 ( 3 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
5 ( 5 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse

6 ( 4 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
7 ( 8 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
8 ( 10 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
9 ( 15 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
10 ( 7 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary

11 ( 13 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
12 ( NEW ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
13 ( 12 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger
14 ( 17 ) INSTANT KARMA The Plastic Ono Band
15 ( 18 ) UNITED WE STAND Brotherhood Of Man

16 ( 14 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
17 ( NEW ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
18 ( 20 ) VENUS Shocking Blue
19 ( NEW ) SOMETHING’S BURNING Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
20 ( NEW ) THAT SAME OLD FEELING Pickettywich

This week in the news, it was the funeral of Lee Kuan Yew (March 2015) and it’s impossible to mention 1970 Singapore without reference to the giant of Far east politics. Singapore was well under-way on the route to modernisation and prosperity, largely thanks to his way of doing business, politics and social planning. I have very mixed feelings about this (and him) – on the one hand he created a genuine melting pot of cultures, dominated by a sort of Chinese Britishness with generous dashes of Malay and Indian culture, all really dating back to the British Empire in the Far East and trading links between them. I loved the historic styles that old Singapore still had, but the bulldozers were busy levelling much and rebuilding new high rise megacity Singapore. That said, some of the more poverty-stricken areas had their own odours hitting you as soon as you got in range!

On the other hand, Lee kept Singapore relatively stable despite the chaos politically in the immediate region. I never agreed with the death penalty, the anti-gay laws, and the banning of much western youth culture, even as a kid, but it has to be said even Singapore had terrorism problems. That’s not something you got to hear about back in the UK, and it was mostly imported in from neighbouring countries, and directed against the British – even though they were leaving, winding down in 1970 through 1972. The worst moment was when 2 kids from my brothers infants school were blown up by booby-trapped flag-bombs at Suicide Village, one of them dying. This was deliberate targeting of children, the red flags left in scrubland adjacent the largely British housing estate where we had friends we visited. After that, all kids were told not to go away from Changi Village/RAF Changi on their own. Not that I took notice, but that’s another story…

mum sitting by a monsoon drain and our house over the road

mum sitting by a monsoon drain and our house over the road


10th March 1970

5 weeks for Mary Hopkin on top, now beating Goodbye’s 4 weeks, but still lagging behind Those Were The Days 7 weeks, but the total of 16 weeks is way ahead of any other act in the 18 months of charting so far. Glen Campbell meanwhile gets yet another record peaking at 2, something of a habit by now, his 4th Top 5. Try A Little Kindness is terrific, and like Galveston and Wichita Lineman should have hit number one too. Raindrops is in the top 10, too, twice! The best version at 5, t’other at 10.

New at 11, it’s…The Beatles and a gospel ballad classic you may have heard? Let It Be. 5th top 20 since Hey Jude debuted on top of my first chart, a Paul McCartney gem, and yes, I loved the Phil Spector-produced strings n all version. No apologies, it’s brilliant any way the Fabs want to do it, but this is the version I heard, and loved. Of course, on April 10th Paul announced that the boys had already in fact Let It Be, and he left what had already disbanded, and the greatest popular music act of the 20th century moved into history after a mere 7 years or so. They crammed more into 7 years than any act has managed in a lifetime, creatively, inspirationally, popularly, culturally and critically. True fact. Lots of people don’t like them (mad!) but no-one can offer up a credible alternative argument. When dad told me the news, in far off Singapore, it seemed just so unlikely! I literally (in the true meaning of the word) could not recall a time when there was no Beatles, and it didn’t seem as if it would stay that way, that one day they would realise the error of their ways and get back together. Eep!

At 15, Andy Williams returns with an Elvis cover, all sweeping strings. Andy was huge in our house in 1970/1, his TV show was the bees knees and I loved The Cookie Bear and frequent guests The Osmond Brothers, not to mention his missus Claudine Longet. Have I mentioned I’ve seen Andy, and Paul, and Glen in concert? Fab, Awesome and awesome, respectively. At 18 and 20, 2 records that came back bigger in my charts in 1974, as technically they didn’t get played much in Singapore (Bob and Marcia was a reggae classic, but not one that made even 2-way family favourites that I heard) – Young Gifted And Black, and Farewell Is A Lonely Sound. Love ‘em, love ‘em. Which leaves childhood faves The Dave Clark 5 returning after a year away with their final good record, the sweet Everybody Get Together, a love and peace pop song with a fab toon. Dave & co would have likely have grabbed at least 3 chart-toppers if I’d started earlier: Bits And Pieces, Glad All Over and Everybody Knows.

1 ( 1 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 7 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
3 ( 3 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
4 ( 2 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
5 ( 12 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas

6 ( 5 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
7 ( 9 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( 6 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
9 ( 4 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
10 ( 11 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel

11 ( NEW ) LET IT BE The Beatles
12 ( 8 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
13 ( 17 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
14 ( 10 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
15 ( NEW ) CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE Andy Williams

16 ( 19 ) SOMETHING’S BURNING Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
17 ( 16 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
18 ( NEW ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
19 ( NEW ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
20 ( NEW ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin

So, life at Tanah Merah Besar, by Changi prison. It meant a longer bus ride to school at RAF Seletar, and at school I’d been moved up a grade into a higher Maths class, while still in English class 2. The other subjects were mixed ability with the rest of my classmates in 1H2 – I was doing pretty well, actually, I enjoyed being at school, I had friends, a best friend in Stephen Game, and was actually not that rubbish at athletics, a first for me being good at any sort of sports. The roasting sun and humidity obviously affected me less than everyone else, hooray! For some reason, oddly, when we all sat down for 12 Plus exams I tried to do well. 12 Plus? Actually 11 Plus exams, where kids were streamed according to passing (Grammar Schools) or failing (Secondary Modern Schools). Obviously I, along with all kids at my previous British Primary School bar 1, was a failure, as was the norm for oiks in those days. trouble was the Secondary School in Seletar was over-subscribed, and the Grammar School in Changi was under-subscribed, so each term a couple kids from each year were upgraded to Grammar, usually the swots that had slipped through the net unexpectedly. A bit like me then. Not sure, in retrospect, that I should have tried, cos I only went and bloody passed (it turned out a few weeks later) which really made my heart sink. I loved it at Seletar and didn’t want to leave. Damn!

mark, mark, front porch

mark, mark, front porch


17th March 1970

6th and final week on top for Mary Hopkin – she would have had longer, but sadly I gave records a chart run that matched the UK singles chart, and once they dropped out of that one they were ejected (and non-chart runs were limited to 10 weeks). Judy Collins also gets the boot this week for the same reason, giving Canned Heat a brief chance of a 3rd hit, Let’s Work Together, an old blues track that was to become definitive for Bryan Ferry in 1976, under it’s new title Let’s Stick Together.

1 ( 1 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 3 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
3 ( 2 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
4 ( 5 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
5 ( 7 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
6 ( 10 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
7 ( 11 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
8 ( 6 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
9 ( 13 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
10 ( 8 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5

11 ( 14 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
12 ( 9 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
13 ( 18 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
14 ( 15 ) CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE Andy Williams
15 ( 19 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
16 ( 12 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
17 ( 20 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
18 ( 17 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
19 ( 16 ) SOMETHING’S BURNING Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
20 ( NEW ) LET’S WORK TOGETHER Canned Heat


The Beatles Steam into the 10, Lee Marvin peaks at 2, the rest shuffle about a bit. At RAF Changi we were having quite the social whirl, as neighbours the Wainwrights spent a lot of time with us, Dale and Gary being slightly younger than me and my brother, and baby Jamie being adored by mum, so we often did stuff together, such as ten pin bowling on camp. I still love 10-pin bowling, one of the games I’m actually good at, and no-nonsense attitudes to it, fits perfectly for anyone capable of holding a heavy ball and chucking it at some pins. Fab. We attended a lot of stamp auctions, too, as I now specialised in getting mint and first day cover 1960’s UK stamps, and recent and current Singapore stamps. Singapore had some gorgeous designs on theirs – the various traditional dresses of ethnic female Singaporeans featured heavily, and became the template for copper beatings, a big artistic pastime of the mums, framed for wall display and all. This truly was a lifestyle of leisure and creativity completely alien to 1960’s UK. Mum’s works still hang on the wall. We also bought paintings on silk cloth from a deaf Chinese lady, madame Teo, who came round the house one day, Chinese ships in traditional harbours, the sort of views very-much disappearing in the modern Singapore. Fab.

me on bed

me on bed


24th March 1970

Mary Hopkin gets evicted for her protege, the one that signed her to Apple Records, wrote her a follow-up hit, and produced her huge number one – that’ll be Paul McCartney then, as The Beatles get their second number one, and Paul McCartney becomes the first songwriter to write 3 number ones (credited also to John Lennon, but Paul wrote them – John and Paul credited each other on songs after their teenage agreement, even if the other had nothing to do with it). The Beatles become the first band to get 2 number ones. Mary Hopkin, in the meantime, is the UK’s Eurovision singer and here she is at 13 – Knock Knock Who’s There? Mary. Mary who? I just told you, use your ears! It’s not as good as her first three singles, but she was on a roll!

BJ hits 2, Raindrops tended to fall on our heads too – well monsoon raindrops in Singapore, deluges of warm exciting floods of rain, filling the monsoon drains, and running down into our new house patio, giving us temporary paddling pools to play in. Hooray! I digress. Bob and Marcia hit the 10, and Joe Dolan gets a second hit, following his 1969 biggie Make Me An Island which I adored. You’re Such A Good Looking Woman is a nice slice of upbeat Irish pop balladry, so yay!

1 ( 7 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
2 ( 4 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
3 ( 2 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
4 ( 5 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 3 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
6 ( 9 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
7 ( 6 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
8 ( 8 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
9 ( 13 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
10 ( 10 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5

11 ( 15 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
12 ( 12 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
13 ( NEW ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
14 ( 11 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
15 ( 17 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
16 ( 14 ) CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE Andy Williams
17 ( 19 ) SOMETHING’S BURNING Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
18 ( 16 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
19 ( 20 ) LET’S WORK TOGETHER Canned Heat
20 ( NEW ) YOU’RE SUCH A GOOD LOOKING WOMAN Joe Dolan

Talking of rain, the monsoon drains all ran to bigger drains, which ran downhill from Changi Prison onto the Lloyd Leas Estate huge drain, mostly a stream or river, dependent on volume – where I used to fish for guppies. On the way downhill, there was this overhanging tree on the footpath just by the junction to the main road, and it had giant ants living on it, Clingers we called them, cos they sowed up the elongated leaves of the tree into oval-ish hollow balls where they lived. The downside was you had to not hang around cos they had a tendency to drop on you from above, and had a hurty nip. Just behind the tree was a Kampong, Malay this time I think, with a shop fronting the road selling bits and bobs. The worst visit I had to make to the shop was when mum was poorly in bed and needed some lady products, and I had to ask for some hoping they spoke English well enough. Very embarrassing for a 12-year-old!


31st March 1970

2 weeks for Let It Be on top, as the Eurovision winner for Ireland, teenage sweet-faced sweet-voiced Dana enters at 2 with her sweet ditty All Kinds Of Everything. This is bad news for Mary Hopkin up to 9 with her UK entry! Not that I got to see the contest, the first I’d missed since I first watched Sandie Shaw win in 1967, being as Singapore and Malaya TV didn’t broadcast it. In at 16, it’s a future 3 times UK chart-topping song, the awesome Spirit In The Sky, but the best version by far is the original from Norman Greenbaum, the fab riffy guitars, the singalong gospel-tinged chorus, the tune…fantastic! I finally bought the single in 1974, which is when I fell in love with it, but I was sort of aware of it at the time, which is why it was allowed in these charts. Gimme Dat Ding at 17 – yes, it’s him again, Tony Burrows singing (unrecognisably) assisted by David & Jonathan man Roger Greenaway, and written by Albert Hammond & Mike Hazelwood. It’s falsetto fun, almost 20’s jazz in style. At 20, The Four Tops are back (even though their substantial classic period predated my charts, with the awesome Levi Stubbs vocals, they were still having reissued Holland Dozier Holland hits – this time with early single I Can’t Help Myself.

1 ( 1 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
2 ( NEW ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
3 ( 2 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
4 ( 4 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 3 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin

6 ( 6 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
7 ( 5 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
8 ( 9 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
9 ( 13 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
10 ( 8 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse

11 ( 7 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
12 ( 10 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
13 ( 15 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
14 ( 11 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
15 ( 12 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb

16 ( NEW ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
17 ( NEW ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
18 ( 18 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
19 ( 16 ) CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE Andy Williams
20 ( NEW ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops

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2 thoughts on “My 1970 Charts – March

  1. Hi, John!
    Nice to see Let It Be headed your Chart in 1970. It is unfair that it stopped at No.2 in the British Charts. I used to like “Goodbye” and “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkin. Don’t remember “Temma Harbour”.

    • Hi Andre, how you doing? Hope all good! Let It Be was robbed by a Wanderin Star, I think 🙂 Temma Harbour is very tropical, and forgotten these days, sadly. Sad so many great oldies get forgotten with time, though films are good for giving them new and ongoing life. yay!

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