My 1970 Charts – July

7th July 1970

5 weeks and Everything Is still Beautiful for Ray Stevens. Simon & Garfunkel go up to 4 with Cecilia up in my bedroom, Lady D’Arbanville gives Cat Stevens a royal climb to 6, and Lola gives The Kinks a manly leg-up into the top 10. New at 10, and The King is back, fresh from a run of classic 1969 singles, including chart-topper In The Ghetto, but this time it’s not cool soulful gospel Elvis, it’s the start of Las Vegas live cabaret Elvis who covers other people’s records for a living. This one is 1959 Ray Peterson hit The Wonder Of You, and is still his best cabaret period track, well OTT but a bit of fun, and Elvis had yet to become a caricature of himself.

In at 14, and back in the chart groove, Jimmy Ruffin keeps those Motown soul-sounds going with I’ll Say Forever My Love, a terrific record in a run of great singles from Jimmy. In at 19, Joni Mitchell finally charts in her own right, having been covered by others prior to Big Yellow Taxi. It’s a great song, still popular, but not by any means my favourite Joni song, not even close. 5 years on she took a re-recorded version into my charts, and it would be 4 years before she actually got a follow-up chart track enter my charts.

2 ( 2 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
4 ( 5 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 4 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
6 ( 10 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
8 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
9 ( 7 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
10 ( NEW ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley

11 ( 8 ) SALLY Gerry Monroe
12 ( 9 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
13 ( 12 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
14 ( NEW ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
15 ( 14 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys
17 ( 15 ) GROOVIN’ WITH MR. BLOE Mr. Bloe
18 ( 19 ) SOMETHING Shirley Bassey
19 ( NEW ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
20 ( 16 ) WHO’S YOUR BABY?/SENORITA RITA The Archies

So, as they like to start sentences with these days, Singapore lazy hazy days of summer. My school popcorn transfer collection was becoming pretty comprehensive – I’d covered my cardboard hardboard suitcase-style school bag (everyone had them) in them, inside and out, and I’d decided to save them for posterity in a DIY mini-album made from A4 sheets cut in half and folded over, and stapled together. I still have it of course, and I am right now gazing at my gorgeous Neal Adams figures of Superman, Batman, Batgirl and Robin, still the best DC Comics artist of all time. I also had my el cheapo Far east rip-off versions of Batman/ Superman which had the hair the wrong colour, the costumes the wrong colour, and other hilarity I guess was intentionally done to avoid copyright prosecution. Either that or the artist was colour-blind. Then there’s my 2001: A Space Odyssey transfers, still sexy and still futuristic even though it’s 14-years beyond 2001 now. Not to mention my “Monkey” animation transfers (I’m sure I have already mentioned these, but y’know, whatever!) as Far East culture was just as much fair game as American to kids like me. Think of it as an early version of Kung Fu Panda! Then there’s the Cowboy transfers (think Toy Story’s Woody), the Daktari TV show transfers (Clarence The Cross-Eyed Lion was a hit long before The Lion King), and loads of Anime superheroes in the style of hit Japanese TV show Marine Boy. Anime was big news in Singapore for kids, and I have vague memories of an obscure series called Phantoma so I googled and I youtubed and he looks nothing like I recall (see link) so I’m thinking it may have been a local TV station rename for Space Ghost who does look like I recall (a Hanna Barbera cartoon) so here’s the Japanese language version. Anyways, all in all, a big yah-boo-sucks to later trends and cults for kids, beat ya all to it, so there hah (raspberry!).

14th July 1970

Mungo Jerry finally get on top in the summertime, or in Singapore where it’s perpetually summer, summer sounds seemed doubly appropriate. Once upon a time it was fresh and new and unusual, before a plethora of adverts, TV spots, film slots and a cover by Shaggy rendered it all a bit old hat, but I retain affection for it as long as I don’t hear it too often! Highest new entry at 12 is Hotlegs with the insistent plodding beat of Neanderthal Man. It seemed like a novelty record, which is not quite right as the band went on to become 75% of 10CC, who also started off with what seemed to be a novelty record, before it became quite clear that they specialised in musical pastiches, witty lyrics and versatility of sound. Prior to Hotlegs, Eric Stewart was in and sang lead vocal on the Mindbenders gorgeous Groovy Kind Of Love, another of many childhood faves of mine. After leaving the chart, Graham Gouldman joined Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Eric (joint owner of Strawberry Studios, where they recorded, along with Graham) and that was essentially 10CC formed.

1 ( 2 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
4 ( 4 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 8 ) LOLA The Kinks
6 ( 6 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
7 ( 5 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
8 ( 10 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
10 ( 9 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie

11 ( 14 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
13 ( 11 ) SALLY Gerry Monroe
14 ( 12 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
15 ( 13 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
16 ( 18 ) SOMETHING Shirley Bassey
17 ( 15 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys
18 ( 19 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
20 ( 17 ) GROOVIN’ WITH MR. BLOE Mr. Bloe

Around about this time dad started buying colour slide films for the new half-frame camera – this was quite a revelation, as once he’d got a screen and slide projector we had the multicolour 60’s experience recorded for posterity at 72 shots a roll of film, and shown in glorious multicolour afterwards as big as you wanted. This was amazing, as it just captured everything about a largely-disappearing period-piece, our youth, and in the years (and decades) afterwards it kept the whole tropical Singapore world fresh and vivid. I still have boxes and boxes of slides (now sometimes looking worse for wear as time starts to let fungus and the like creep in) and no way of transferring to digital which does them justice – the focus is not quite right, the colours too pastel, the bits of dust and stuff on them stands out too much. What I need is time and expensive kit to have them back to life and saved. Here’s one of mum, dad, brother and life then ins Singapore city: mum’s crocheted handbag (arts and crafts were big with the housewives), the bottle of fanta (you needed lotsa bottles of fizzy drinks on a day out), the umbrella (when it rained it poured), the cool fashions: I’m sorry, for me fashion peaked in 1970 and it has been at it’s best since when it’s returning to similar styles of the late 60’s and very early 70’s. Call me old-fashioned…!

21st July 1970

Cliff gets his first chart-topper after a couple of number 2’s. I say first, actually Cliff’s career was the same age as me (still is, obviously!) and he’d moved over into family pop fairly early into his career and pretty much stayed there, but with an increasingly bubblegum tendency that didn’t go down well with music critics. Goodbye Sam Hello Samantha was melodic pop that appealed well enough to 12 year-old’s, about a boy dumping his mates for girls, not about tomboys blossoming into women, or boys going the Lola route (sadly, as that would have been quite a media sensation). In a hypothetical world where I started my pop charts at age 5, not 10, Cliff would have had Summer Holiday, Bacholer Boy, All My Love, The Day I Met Marie and maybe Congratulations hit the top spot, cos I loved them all. The Day I Met Marie eventually did top my chart, and there’s still time for The Next Time (double A with Bacholer Boy) to do the same, though the others have all passed that point now.

Simon & Garfunkel get yet another single fall just short of the top spot, the fab Cecilia at 2, as Elvis and Cat go top 5, Hotlegs go top 10, and the highest new entry at 13 is one I was mad on, recorded direct off the TV with a hand microphone from The Archies Fun House show. Love Vibrations inexpicably remains unreleased 45 years later, and of course is therefore the record I most want to be available on download, or CD, or vinyl. It’s just a great tune, and much better than a number of their rather odd singles choices following the monster that was Sugar Sugar. Pretty sure it never appeared in any chart, therefore, on the whole Planet Earth, so I’m singing it’s praises a lone voice in the wilderness, albeit through childhood rose-tinted specs. At 18, and much better-known, it’s Stevie Wonder again, Signed, Sealed, Delivered he’s yours. Even covered by Stevie himself in 2003 with Blue (it wasn’t an improvement on the original) it gave him a 21st century UK chart hit that wasn’t Superstition (it usually is). The youtube clip is a gem, cool Stevie and spot missus Syreeta on backing vocals. At 20, Pickettywich sneak in briefly again with a sad old movie, kinda. S’OK.

2 ( 4 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
3 ( 1 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
4 ( 6 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
5 ( 8 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
6 ( 5 ) LOLA The Kinks
7 ( 7 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
8 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
10 ( 10 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie

11 ( 11 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
12 ( 18 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
13 ( NEW ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
14 ( 14 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
15 ( 15 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
16 ( 13 ) SALLY Gerry Monroe
17 ( 17 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys
19 ( 16 ) SOMETHING Shirley Bassey
20 ( NEW ) (IT’S LIKE A) SAD OLD KINDA MOVIE Pickettywich

What was reading at this time, apart from comics? Just William books (very British), The Bobbsey Twins books (very American), Enid Blyton books (still) though I’d moved more into the “Secret” and “Adventure” books and away from The Famous Five and The Secret Seven (very Dorset). I’d already dipped into Arthur C. Clarke (Dolphin Island, a long-forgotten pro-dolphin sci-fi yarn aimed at kids) which whetted my appetite for science-fiction, without actually being aware that was what it was, or that more was available in that genre. My fave books of all-time, though were The Secret Island (Blyton) and Dolphin Island (Clarke) and the 1858 R. M. Ballantyne novel The Coral Island. Hmmm, I seem to have a thing for being marooned on/or living on isolated islands, particularly tropical ones, and ones with animals I can love (as opposed to eat). It all seemed so glamorous being able to do exactly what you want, in co-operation, on a marvellous adventure. Or maybe I just liked living in my own world cos the real one is quite cruel. No change there then….

28th July 1970

2 weeks for Cliff and Samantha, Cat hits 3 with his lady, and Jimmy Ruffin gets a 2nd top 10 in a row. In at 12 it’s another country-flavoured melodic ballad from the under-rated Scottish band Marmalade, Rainbow is another sweet-sad pop song in the style of The Hollies or Crosby Stills & Nash, and follows-up my chart-topper Reflections Of My Life. Like The Monkees they generally (against their wishes) were forced to record songs by professional songwriters, (good records all the same) but in 1969 switched to Decca and produced their own songs. Their line-up had Junior Campbell, later of solo gospel-tinged singles success, and they rather sensibly changed the band name from The Gaylords. Pity they didn’t choose The Jam rather than The Marmalade though! Hendrix was an early supporter, little-known fact.

At 14, it’s an oldie, and a classic. Yes, shockingly, Tears Of A Clown was an obscure 1967 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles album track which Motown bizarrely failed to recognise as a smash hit classic. The UK was a big supporter of 60’s Motown tracks well into the 70’s, and this one actually topped the UK singles chart before happening in the USA – it also stopped Smokey leaving the band for another 2 years! The record? It’s perfect. The circus-themed riffs, the clever lyrics, the great vocal, and the tune, all perfect. No cover version, including the hit ska cover by The Beat, comes close to matching the sheer beauty of the original. Smokey is a much-admired songwriter by other professional songwriters, and he even had a song all about him: ABC’s When Smokey Sings. Nuff said. In at 19, Chicago are back with 25 Or 6 To 4 – no I still have no idea what it means either. It’s a great jazz-tinged rock groove though, with some mighty riffs. The future held decades of tedious ballads (mostly) but in 1970 they were still cool.

2 ( 2 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
3 ( 4 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
4 ( 5 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 3 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry

6 ( 8 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
7 ( 7 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
8 ( 6 ) LOLA The Kinks
9 ( 11 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
10 ( 9 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles

11 ( 10 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
12 ( NEW ) RAINBOW Marmalade
13 ( 13 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
14 ( NEW ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
15 ( 14 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops

16 ( 12 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
18 ( 15 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
19 ( NEW ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
20 ( 17 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys

The youtube clip of Tears Of A Clown is taken from The Andy Williams Show, Andy was coolest of the crooners and a family fave, his variety show had his extended family on it (actual wife Claudine Longet, and unrelated regulars The Osmond Brothers) and big big Hollywood and TV superstars, and big singers and up and coming upstarts like Elton John and The Jackson 5. The Cookie Bear was a running gag beloved of kids like me, and in this clip you have Ray Stevens doing his novelty hit Along Came Jones with Andy doing the female role, comic Danny Thomas joining in, and 7-year-old Jimmy Osmond as cowboy hero Jones. Cute!

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