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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My 1969 Charts – November

My 1969 Song Book 1

My 1969 Song Book 1

click here for youtube videos from my charts

NOV 1969

4th November 1969

Bobbie’s 5th and final week on top, as Nilsson’s brilliant Midnight Cowboy song goes top 5, and The Beatles are the sole new entry courtesy of a George Harrison ballad at 6. Something quickly became a standard, but as a Beatles song in the UK it was a shock (relative) failure peaking at 4, the first Beatles record to fail to hit the top 2 bar their first single. It was an odd choice of double A side as Come Together got no airplay at all in Singapore, in fact it took me 5 years to get to hear it, and even then I wasn’t that bothered about it. Something, great as it was, seemed a bit too MOR for the Fabs, so pretty much my least fave Beatles single. Little did we know that it was actually the last Beatles single ever, chronologically-recording-wise, until the 2 Anthology John Lennon songs finished by the other three Beatles.

OK, so back at home in Bedokville, Singapore new suburbia, one evening mum and dad went out to some do on camp, and left me and brother Mark alone (but under the eye of the neighbours Irving & Mary, who popped their head over the fence occasionally). We had chit-chat’s tut-tutting up and about the walls while we watched TV, they just got into any handy crevice in houses and grabbed insects, which for me is a blessing, mozzies being my mortal enemy and all. This night something quite big started walking jerkily and slowly across the living room floor – I recognised it from TV shows as a Preying Mantis, though I’d never seen one in real life, and neither had Mark. We shouted for Irving and Mary, eventually, after chucking cushions at it from a distance, trying to persuade it to go out the door. Didn’t work, and nobody came round, so we really just waited feet up on the bamboo chair/sofa till mum and dad came home. By then, a chit-chat had apparently had a bit of a do with it – and won. I say apparently, as there wasn’t much left in the way of evidence. Not as scary as the huge spiders though, or the supersized hornets buzzing round flowers in the day, or the snakeskins one occasionally found shed in bedrooms, and on the plus side, not as revolting as mosquitos and cockroaches that were a daily nuisance. We lifted up a garden grate, and it was LITERALLY teaming with roaches of all sizes scuttling away like mad. I think the worst thing, though, was finding insects in your food – half a bug, especially, as you never got to be sure if you’d eaten the other half. Cereals imported from the USA were fun (I loved the cardboard Archies records on the back of the packet, with a coating of plastic for the grooves, you could cut out and play on a record player) but the boll weevils inside (or whatever they were) were offputting. So were local biscuits cooked with ants firmly inside them. Exotic fruits though, like oddly-prickly-looking red-coloured rambutan’s, a Malayan peninsula fruit on sale on market-stalls everywhere, were eye-openers – who woulda known there were so many fruits you had never seen, never mind tasted….!


1 ( 1 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
2 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
3 ( 4 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
4 ( 2 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
5 ( 7 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
6 ( NEW ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 5 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
8 ( 9 ) OH ME OH MY (I’M A FOOL FOR YOU) Lulu
9 ( 6 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
10 ( 8 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees

music book 2

music book 2

11th November 1969

First week on top for Sugar Sugar, The Archies EP also containing Feelin So Good, which re-enters at 5. I still love Sugar Sugar, simple and perfect sugar confection bubblegum pop, which is why it’s sold a million and still trickle sells. It had a whopping 8 week run at 1 in the UK charts, I think, so let’s see if it can match that in mine! The chart gets some action, as Tremeloes re-enter, and 3 new tracks pop in: Nobody’s Child is a very MOR ballad, and I’ll be honest the Traveling Wilburys did a better version 20 years later. George Harrison of course involved in that one, and also at 4 with Something. Lou Christie had one of those “oh that’s who he is” moments whenever the fantastic Lightning Strikes grabbed an occasional radio play back in the day. The Lou falsetto is immense on Lightning, but not much in evidence on this bubblegum pop delight at 9, I’m Gonna Make You Mine. At 10, it’s Kenny Rogers debuting, the start of a long country career, and by far his best record, the amazing Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town, a song about a veteran back from the Vietnam war, paralysed and unable to please his wife in that way any more, and her forays into town to find someone who can. Oddly touching.

Singapore times? How about swimming lessons? Saturday mornings were a trip into Changi Village on the bus, and a walk to the swimming pool at the Padang on camp (or a quick SZ taxi-ride – taxis used to cram as many people in as possible, so often it was more like a bus ride with strangers people getting on and off en route). I pretty much did OK at swimming, picking up distance badges early on and moving onwards and upwards to badges of more merit. We had robes the badges were sewn onto – hey we all did it, it was the fashion! Pretty sure I also picked up bloody varrucas at the pool too, by the time I left Singapore I had warts in many bodily places. For those not in the know, they have a comforting way of popping up years later and developing nicely into Hollywood-style witch-warts which you can share with the rest of the world whenever you go the beach. How sweet! Not to mention the hard bits of skin on your feel soles left when you get them burnt off, just to remind you occasionally that they once shared your feet with you. If that sounds a bit ewwww I actually loved swimming (eventually) though it was sometimes a case of “do we have to?!”. Best thing though: the comics in the Changi Village book shops, as I started to fill-in some of my missing back issues of DC comics. I became obsessive in my search for the Legion Of Super-Heroes.

1 ( 2 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 1 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
3 ( 5 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
4 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
5 ( RE ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (SKOOBY DOO) The Archies
6 ( 9 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
7 ( NEW ) NOBODY’S CHILD Karen Young
8 ( RE ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
9 ( NEW ) I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE Lou Christie
10 ( NEW ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

schoolbook RAF Seletar

schoolbook RAF Seletar

18th November 1969

2 weeks for The Archies on top, The Beatles get up to 3 with their 4th hit, The Hollies re-enter future (1988) number one He Ain’t Heavy at 9, and Stevie Wonder gets his 3rd Top 10 of the year, the less-remembered but fab Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday, an under-rated Motown gem.

How about a naughty John tale? I was actually a goodie-goodie child, rarely did anything wrong, but for some reason I’d managed to get a catapult as a new toy, and was quietly enjoying the sheer speed that little bits of gravel from the road flew off in it, it was pretty powerful. I was under the balcony of the house happily aiming at the road so nothing would get hit, when a taxi went by with a passenger in it. I waited till it was almost out of the way and the let one go. Unfortunately I didn’t wait quite long enough, it smacked right into the rear light of the black and yellow taxi and smashed it as the car drove away. Not for long, though, it reversed and a livid Chinese driver jumped out shouting at me as I dashed indoors and up to my room. He was having none of that, got my dad, ranted a bit, dad gave him 25 dollars for the damage and that was the end of my pocket money for a while. I tried to explain it was an accident (which it was) but I guess with hindsight, claiming something is an accident (even when it is) is no excuse. What was worse though was not being believed! Bad bad John!

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
3 ( 4 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
4 ( 3 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
5 ( 8 ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
6 ( 10 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
7 ( NEW ) YESTER-ME YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
8 ( 9 ) I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE Lou Christie
9 ( RE ) HE AIN’T HEAVY…HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies
10 ( 5 ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (SKOOBY DOO) The Archies

popcorn transfers

popcorn transfers

25th November 1969

3 weeks for Sugar Sugar on top, but the only movement of note is the new entry from Rolf Harris at 4. I’m going to ignore all of the recent nastiness and pretend it never happened cos in the 60’s Rolf was loved by kids. He brought Australia into the living room, along with Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, and ethnic aboriginal-flavoured delights like the great Sun Arise alternated with his jokey hit records like Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport and Jake The Peg (diddle iddle dum). Biggest of all, though, was the touching Two Little Boys, a tale of brothers, both as youngsters, and serving in a war as adults. Like Sugar Sugar, much derided, and like Sugar Sugar missing the point: 11-year-olds like me loved them. I still do. Two Little Boys was a huge record, pretty much on 2-way Family Favourites every other week with messages of “missing you much” from family members back home, and then again on Juniors Choice over the years, till the BBC decided pre-teens no longer needed their own pop-music show. Yes they do!

This (Last) / Peak / wks
1 ( 1 ) 1 7 SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) 1 12 I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
3 ( 3 ) 3 4 SOMETHING The Beatles
4 ( NEW ) 4 1 TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
5 ( 4 ) 3 5 EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
6 ( 7 ) 6 2 YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
7 ( 5 ) 5 4 (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
8 ( 6 ) 6 3 RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
9 ( 9 ) 9 5 HE AIN’T HEAVY…HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies
10 ( 8 ) 8 3 I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE Lou Christie

My 1969 Charts – October

mum n dad looking cool

mum n dad looking cool

OCT 1969

7th Oct 1969

It’s a new number one, Bobbie Gentry’s gorgeous version of the Bacharach/David song, and again a version that improves on the Dionne Warwick recording, Bobbie’s husky singing voice just being so emotive. This was the 4th single I ever bought, sadly I bought it off an evening market record stall again (I think this time though, it was one near Siglap in the middle of a housing estate, bizarrely), and it was clearly well-played (an 11-year-old-kid’s a a good opportunity to dump used product) cos it forever got stuck in the same spot on the record. For anyone not used to vinyl, sometimes the needle either refused to follow a groove due to a blockage and just went into an endless loop till you forced it onwards, or it jumped a couple of seconds as it slipped out of a groove. I still expect to hear the same line repeated…

My chart gets reduced to a top 10, as I’d run out of new records. A new entry at 10, though, for a record I was aware of, thanks to a couple of sheet music books I bought for the lyrics of some of my top-notch fave songs, and He Ain’t Heavy was in it. They were pretty good value actually, 15 or 20 sheet music current American hits per book. Fab! Still got them, of course. The Hollies of course would eventually get a proper chart run in 1988 when it hit the UK number one, but first-time round, I liked it. Now I love it, a terrific ballad, and Allan Clarke is an under-rated singer these days (along with the Hollies, who were huge at the time, and were a few hits into my charts already).

Singapore memories? I was at my first Secondary School, a 3-storey white building with air con. Hooray for Seletar Secondary Modern! OK, some of the classrooms were old-fashioned huts with fans on the ceilings and no glass in the windows, sweltering-muchness going on, but at least they were mixed in with some lessons inside the main building so you could cool down. On my first day there were two of us starting new, Stephen Game being the other wavy-black-haired kid, and he became my new best friend for the next year, which was great cos he was cool and likeable, he wore hipster shorts, and I got lots of friends and got to be in with the coolish kids who spent breaks and lunchtimes running extended versions of British Bulldog around the large school-site. We were constantly hot, sweaty, and good at long-distance running in equatorial heat, no sunscream, no hats, lots of sweat. Before that, though, we were introduced to our new class: Form 1H2, short for Hannah. The forms were all named after RAF heroes: Gibson, Cheshire and, I think, Malcolm – need to check on that one in the school yearbook, though! They were allocated colours, Hannah was red, Gibson green, Cheshire blue, the other was yellow. Very handy for sports day competitions. Mrs Gibson was our form tutor, slim and shoulder-length black hair. I’ll be honest, at the end of the school year we all signed each other’s books so I still have names of some of the school-mates, and as is often the way in RAF life I ran into some of them again in years in the future. It’s a small Forces world…

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

1 ( 2 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
2 ( 3 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
3 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
4 ( 5 ) HARE KRISHNA MANTRA Radha Krishna Temple
5 ( 6 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
6 ( 4 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
7 ( 7 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
8 ( 9 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
9 ( 12 ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
10 ( NEW ) HE AIN’T HEAVY..HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies

14th October 1969

2 weeks for Bobbie at 1, 2 weeks for Oliver at 2, and Mama Cass up to 3, but not much movement at all really, save the very famous million-selling, 8-weeks as the UK number one, Sugar Sugar, by cartoon band The Archies. Lots of people hate the record, but they are all SO wrong. It’s simplicity is it’s charm, it’s bubblegum, a hint of soul, nicely-produced, and with great vocalists for pure pop. Largely regarded as bubblegum novelty, that it continues to sell 45 years later should tellingly beg to differ. People buying it have never heard of, never mind seen, the TV show. For the record, and to repeat: Sugar Sugar was the first EP I bought, the first album I bought, and I used to record the songs from the show onto reel-to-reel tape. I recently bought the DVD’s of The Archie Funhouse, which is the series after the ones being made circa 1969/70, and errr…they are godawful. I never DID like the cartoon segments much, but they are just terrible. Nostalgia just can’t change that fact! The music, though, oh just sweeeet. With songwriters like Jeff Barry and Andy “Rock Me Gently” Kim, though, they should have something to contribute musically – largely rip-offs, granted, but catchy enough tunes, with a bit of social commentary thrown in. Not kidding there, either, pollution, racism and other topics happily resting there amongst the love songs, and odes to Hot Dog (the pet dog) and rock n roll music. You’ll never find them in the Critics Hall Of Fame, but as kiddie music goes, a cut above all those that followed in their kiddie music footsteps.

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital


Meanwhile, back at school, my first week at school introduced me to breaktime popcorn and cherryade fizzy drinks from the tuck shop, streaming for English and Maths (Band 2 for both I think, based on whatever quick test they threw at me and Stephen on the first day): these were monitored term by term, and kids moved up or down each term based on how well you were doing. I’ll be honest, I liked the competitive element, I moved up in Maths, and it tended to be good for the smarter kids who moved ahead faster. All other subjects were mixed ability, which meant progress was more leisurely as you had to take into account the kids who struggled more. I was also introduced to two things that caused me stress:

Homework. Groaaan! Lost leisure time as far as I was concerned, though I was pretty good at doing it. The other one was sports. More specifically, Stephen & I had to sit in the changing room while the boys changed, then played cricket, or athletics, and then showered. That came as quite a shock to me, and very anxiety-creating, the thought of having to parade around naked in front of other boys stressed me out more than the team games did. My “kit hadn’t arrived” from the UK for a few weeks (Stephen took the plunge earlier than I did) till I couldn’t get away with it anymore, and had to join the throng. I was in and out of that shower faster than you could say “Streaker”.

Got used to it eventually, of course, and was pretty damn good at long-distance running (second to Lee Green, in the Hannah house. Lee turned up again in Gloucester in the 5th year, 5 years on, by which time I was absolutely rubbish at running the freezing UK weather to be avoided at all costs, give me scorching sweaty humidity any day). Cricket was loathsome though, punishingly-hard balls, lumps of wood to hit it with and numb your hands, running up and down a stupid bit of short grass, and the dumbest rules of any game ever invented. I took a dislike to it right away, and as the school-years went by, dislike turned to hatred at the pointlessness of it all. Volleyball or Rounders/Baseball, though, yay! Proper games, fast, points, running, balls don’t kill you or give you major bruises. Cricket is a British Empire anachronism that needs to be dumped in the nearest skip. Just my opinion of course (ptui!).

1 ( 1 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
2 ( 2 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
3 ( 5 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
4 ( 3 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
5 ( NEW ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
6 ( 4 ) HARE KRISHNA MANTRA Radha Krishna Temple
7 ( 6 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
8 ( 8 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
9 ( 7 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
10 ( 10 ) HE AIN’T HEAVY..HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies

21st October 1969

3 weeks for Bobbie at 1, 3 weeks for Oliver at 2, yes so little new UK chart music about, though Dylan goes up to 6, a chart position he didn’t beat until the reissue of Like A Rolling Stone 35 years on.

1 ( 1 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
2 ( 2 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
3 ( 3 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
4 ( 5 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
5 ( 6 ) HARE KRISHNA MANTRA Radha Krishna Temple
6 ( 8 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
7 ( 9 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
8 ( 7 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
9 ( RE ) A BOY NAMED SUE Johnny Cash
10 ( 10 ) HE AIN’T HEAVY..HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies

28th October 1969

…and 4 weeks for Bobbie at 1, poor old Oliver should have grabbed at least one week on top instead of 4 at 2 (I certainly loved it enough to do so) but I loved Bobbie just a little bit more. Hooray, though, 3 new entries! Nilsson debuts at 7 with the utterly brilliant and gorgeous Everybody’s Talking, from the film Midnight Cowboy. Obviously far to young to see the film till years later, I was a bit miffed to find the version I knew wasn’t quite the same in the film – these things matter to me, I don’t rate “wrong versions”. Regardless Harry Nilsson was a supreme and under-rated vocalist, and this record is spine-tingling.

At 9, Lulu’s back, and my word what a change! Months ago it was all teenpop I’m A Tiger and Boom Bang A Bang, and now it’s slick soul, and a huge American hit to follow-on from the sublime US-only hit To Sir With Love, one of the criminally-ignored British single greats of the decade in the UK. I may not have loved Oh Me Oh My as much as I’m A Tiger at the time, but it’s dated much better! Lastly, The Trems are back with another song I was aware of from the Daily Mirror Top 30 charts, but frustratingly didn’t get to hear for some time: (Call Me) Number One. Catchy and singalong, like most Tremeloes singles, they have been banished into the mists of time, save the occasional Chesney Hawkes reference or Four Seasons footnote for Silence Is Golden, but they had a good ol’ run of pop singles, and this one is fun.

1 ( 1 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
2 ( 2 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
3 ( 4 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 3 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
5 ( 8 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival

6 ( 6 ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
7 ( NEW ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
8 ( 7 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
9 ( NEW ) OH ME OH MY (I’M A FOOL FOR YOU) Lulu
10 ( NEW ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes

Changi beach and views of the islands

Changi beach and views of the islands


Back at home in Bedokville, I’d gotten into little plastic boxes of sweets, hexagon, square, circular, with transparent covers, from the shack shop at the back of the house on the other side of the monsoon drains that ran down every street. I liked the boxes. Monsoon drains were essential on the equator, as we found out fairly quickly. When it rained, it POURED. It was like the shower being on full everywhere, and torrents of temporary rivers ran downhill wherever they could. Quite thrilling, not remotely cold, you could (and we did) quite happily dance about getting soaking wet in the garden. I still love a good tropical thunderstorm.

A big discovery was the mobile chinese magazine seller, a motorbike and sidecar-box, which had newspapers, and COMICS! New DC Comics. OMG! Talk about trembling with excitement, I talked dad into buying me the coverless legion Action Comics 378 which was there with a cover, brand new for 55 cents, along with Adventure Comics 381, in which it suddenly became clear why the Legion featured only in the back-up story in Action: some twat had gone against all common commercial sense and moved the Legion of Super-Heroes from the main feature in Adventure so that Supergirl could get her own comic. This was disastrous! To state it clearly, the Legion were the most fan-based popular DC comic of the 60’s (the fans got it brought back by demanding it when it had all but fizzled out) and sales of the Legion comic were stunning my modern standards. A comic in 2014 sells a few tens of thousands if they’re lucky, worldwide. In 1969 Adventure Comics with the Legion was pushing a million. The first Supergirl comic was great (featured Batgirl as guest) but it was no substitute for epicness! She limped on through declining sales for 4 years and then it was all over. The Legion, revived, took over Superboy’s comic in 1973 and became one of the 2 big DC sellers of the 80s’, creatively brilliant. Editors: listen to the kids!

My 1969 Charts – September

Changi Village

Changi Village



SEPT 1969

2nd Sept1969

Not much happening music-wise, just shuffling positions, and a second week at one for Zager And Evans, by virtue of being on an RAF DC10 heading for the Far East 1st Sept. Flights on those days were LONG. The first leg was to Bahrain (Muharraq), which was night-time when we landed and very humid and warm. I read my precious 30th Century superheroes Legion comic on the way, The Tornado Twins were the debut guest stars. Aka Super-speed descendant twins of The Flash, Barry Allen, who is getting a hot new TV series any day now.

Second Leg was to Gan, an RAF island base in the Indian Ocean, which closed in 1976 and is now part of the Maldives. It had a huge impact on me, as the first real view I had of land from the air was of this green tropical jewell in a blue sea of bright sunshine. I fell in love with palm trees, sunshine, beaches pretty much from that moment on. This wasn’t grey black and white TV UK, this was gorgeous widescreen tropical technicolour life. The RAF lads wore shorts as their uniform, we got served orange sherbet drinks in the waiting room, hot with ceiling fans spinning, and I was amazed to watch a giant fruit bat soaring through the sky. Awesome!

The final stage to RAF Changi and we landed 2nd Sept, late afternoon-ish, I think, bundled together and sitting with luggage in a very crowded small waiting room, until the RAF bus (pure white, known as Ghari’s, an Indian word) took us to the Cameron Hotel, the main stop-off for newly arrived families waiting to find lodgings. A short walk from Bedok Junction shop-shacks, and my first impression was of Chinese girls buzzing about the small hotel outside eating area. Turns out they weren’t girls, they were ladies, just shorter than I was used to seeing adults, hotel staff. we had one-room for the four of us, plus a shower-room, the first-time I’d ever seen a shower. Yes, honestly! The hotel menu was unusual, I think we had shark one day, it was a bit tough, and I would very much be against any hotel serving shark these days.

I also had my first introduction to my life-long battle with my nemesis: the mosquito. They were everywhere in Singapore, and smoking coils, electric aroma pads were only minor inconveniences to them. Being as my sweet body odour continues to be irresistible to the little buggers, in a football crowd of people I’m the one they zoom in on, and some nights I got eaten alive by any dashing in through the air vents above windows, the slatted windows during cleaning, or any door left open, sitting outside, standing at bus stops, playing in gardens. One night I woke up with 70-odd swollen bites from craftily-hidden stalking mozzies, looking like I’d been beaten up. No exaggeration the teachers thought I’d been beaten up, swollen eyes, puffy face, red arms and legs, dad took photos of it. I hate the little blood-sucking gobshites. The main armory in those days was flit. That sounds so sweet. It’s actually a now-banned toxic poison called DDT and it was liberally sprayed everywhere to kill them and the zillions of cockroaches, which were also everywhere and detestable. On a happier note, the walls of the hotel inside and out had dozens of chit-chats zipping about eating the insects: wall geckos were so cute, but had a nasty habit of leaving their tail twitching in your hand if you tried to grab one. Oops!

TBC

1 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
2 ( 3 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
3 ( 5 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
4 ( 6 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
5 ( 7 ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
6 ( 2 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
7 ( 4 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
8 ( 8 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
9 ( 11 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
10 ( 10 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black

11 ( 12 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
12 ( 13 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
13 ( 14 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
14 ( 17 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe
15 ( 9 ) SI TU DOIS PARTIR Fairport Convention
16 ( 16 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
17 ( 18 ) I’M A BETTER MAN Engelbert Humperdinck
18 ( 15 ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affiar
19 ( 20 ) TOO BUSY THINKING BOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye
20 ( 19 ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells

Changi Road and a white ghari (bus)

Changi Road and a white ghari (bus)

9th September 1969

3 weeks for In The Year 2525, a record I was truly mad on in a futuristic sci-fi way. Tommy Roe gets a Top 5 follow-up, based on memory more than actually hearing it, cos there was no radio and no TV so no music for me, and as we settled in to finding a house, dad still had to go to work, though we managed to avoid going to school right away. The only new entry is Bobbie Gentry, which did find it’s way onto 2-way Family Favourites, broadcast in Singapore for the forces abroad and on Radio 2. Only MOR or inoffensive pop ever found it’s way onto the show, so much of the stuff in the UK charts, like Space Oddity, Marrakesh Express and other classic future faves weren’t known to me until the mid-70’s or even early 80’s in some cases. “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” though was a Burt Bacharach cover that was just gorgeous, I loved her husky voice, and the melody, and it became my 4th ever single purchase at an evening market record-stall, a month or two later. The concept of being able to shop in the evening was also a novelty to post-war UK which was firmly shut all over every evening and Sundays. It was fab and bustling.

This was the week I was introduced properly to two things: swimming, and severe sunburn, both connected. The RAF brochure to newbies stated quite firmly not to stay in the sun, cos it’s on the equator and You. Will. Burn. We must have missed that warning, cos after going to RAF Changi swimming pool with our new friends from the hotel The Marshalls and their 2 girls, we ended up horrifically sunburnt to the point where just moving was sooo painful, especially on the back, lying on the front suffering was about the size of it for a few days. Swimming was also new to me, really, apart from a few traumatic forced sessions when I was 6 or so in Chesham when I really wasn’t happy being taken out of my depth! So, 11-years-old, and a rubber ring in the baby pool. So not cool! Once everyone left me to my own devices though, essentially I taught myself to swim, at first with the help of the ring, then on my own bit by bit, ringless. I was quite proud of that. Yay for young me!

1 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
2 ( 2 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
3 ( 3 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
4 ( 14 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe
5 ( 5 ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
6 ( 4 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
7 ( 6 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
8 ( 8 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
9 ( 13 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
10 ( 9 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers

11 ( 10 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black
12 ( 11 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
13 ( 16 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
14 ( 12 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
15 ( NEW ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry

Changi Village buses old and new

Changi Village buses old and new


16th September 1969

4 weeks for Zager & Evans on top, Bobbie Gentry being the only real challenge for my love. A bit of music was to filter through from the British charts though, notably fave Mama Cass’ fab It’s Getting Better, as she tended to be a family friendly radio and variety show guest, especially the American variety shows which were all over the TV – Andy Williams, Dean Martin and black comic Flip Wilson were the biggest, but The Osmond Brothers and The Jackson 5 and the likes of them were regulars along with big names like Frank, Sammy and their cronies. More relevant was Hare Krishna Mantra, George Harrison-backed Radha Krishna Temple Indian chanting pop hit, which might not have been typical of the sort of Indian music widely heard on Singapore TV and radio, but it was an introduction to me of world music. The other major style of music was Chinese Mandarin-language, either modern pop-styled or more authentic. I wouldn’t say I ran out to buy either types of music, but they slowly got through in terms of hearing them regularly and having an impact on me in later years.

In Singapore for week 2, still in the hotel, still avoiding school, and getting more used to travelling by buses, all single-deckers, regularly running between Changi Village, past the infamous World War 2 Changi Prison and the RAF airport, and Singapore City. The buses were either new and cool or ricketty things from the 50‘s, which were a real pain to ride on. We went to view a brand new 4-bedroom house built on a very American-looking new housing estate called Bedokville. 42 Jalan Limau Perut, it wasn’t cheap but new friends the Marshalls were taking the house next door and we needed to get out of the hotel, so it was looking good, it was HUGE (to us) compared to every flat and house we’d ever lived in, and it had a fridge! Luxury! OK there was a smelly monsoon drain and sewerage works behind the house, but the Malay kampong (wooden house settlement) behind that was interesting. Quite a variation from the middle class houses, too. I was keen, cos it looked so much like every American suburban TV and movie film I’d seen, houses running up the short hill into the distance until the non-urban tropics popped back just over the brow of the hill. Incredibly, it’s all still there, on google map, just looking a lot more burglar-alarmed and walled, as opposed to wire fenced and open in 1969, and our house (as it became) still stands. Yes, modern technology gives good nostalgia!

1 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
2 ( 3 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
3 ( 2 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
4 ( 15 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
5 ( 4 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe
6 ( 9 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
7 ( 6 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
8 ( 13 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
9 ( 7 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
10 ( 8 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan

11 ( 5 ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
12 ( 10 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
13 ( NEW ) HARE KRISHNA MANTRA Radha Krishna Temple
14 ( NEW ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass
15 ( 12 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones

RAF Changi swimming pool with the Marshalls

RAF Changi swimming pool with the Marshalls

23rd September 1969

5 weeks for Zager And Evans, and a late surge by Robin Gibb to signify mum buying Saved By The Bell (once our basic record player/radio arrived from the UK in a crate of clothes and stuff sent over – dad bought it in Aden when he was sent on a year’s unaccompanied service in 1966, and we lived in a Liverpool slum flat with mice scuttling about the place, and fleas). Good Morning Starshine hits the top 5, I adored that melody. New in? Johnny Cash’s San Quentin prison-track, an album we borrowed eventually, and a sort of novelty hit, A Boy Named Sue. I was about the right age, and was glad I hadn’t been named Sue, being a sweet (wet) boy and all. Bob Dylan also sneaks in with a record that had once-in-a-blue-moon radio plays, but for Dylan, at that time, it was more pop-friendly (if naughty).

In the Cameron Hotel, named for the Cameron Highlands in Malaya, I think, an upland holidaying cooller area for Europeans seeking some heat-relief, we were in the process of moving out. Into our new luxury home. Me and my brother dashed upstairs to claim a bedroom each, the first time we’d had our own, he grabbed the first one he went into, I got the bigger front one I think, next to mum and dad’s, it had a balcony over the front garden. The back ones looked over the Kampong and sewerage works. I say garden – as it was a new house it was basically a lawn (not grass as the UK knows it, a sort of wide-leaved variation) plus a few random flowering weeds on the driveway up to the covered verandah/car port. I was fascinated by the teeny tiny titchy lil’ butterflies fluttering round these flowers. So tiny! In contrast to the effing huge spiders on the wall. Massive! I mean, REALLY big, they virtually stared at you. The little ones were just as bad, cos they had a nasty habit which my brother found out about when he started tormenting one – it jumped right at him. He jumped pretty well himself, then. Funny.

We also had a cleaner. She was very nice, a slim older Chinese lady called Tan, and the whole concept of having someone else do the housework was really a leftover from the Stiff Upper Lip colonial days, which were very much in their closing days. British women were too frail to do housework in the humid heat (it was thought in the olden days, and it sort of hung over into the 60’s) and local labour wasn’t that expensive relative to increased income (for being posted abroad). I really never felt at ease Tan doing the work as an Amah (as they called it), so I tended to feel sorry for all the workers and be nice to them and help. I’m sure the extra cash was helpful, but that’s besides the point, I was and am working class from a poor background. This was luxury! We had a fridge with a freezebox and we could make ice-lollies! It was sunny! It was hot! It was exotic…

On the downside, a school bus picked kids up on the corner outside, a white Ghari and there was no getting away from heading for my first secondary (Big) school at RAF Seletar (on the other side of the island), and my brother to his junior school at RAF Changi….

1 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
2 ( 9 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
3 ( 4 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 8 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
5 ( 2 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
6 ( 6 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
7 ( 13 ) HARE KRISHNA MANTRA Radha Krishna Temple
8 ( 7 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
9 ( 10 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
10 ( 14 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass

11 ( 5 ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe
12 ( 11 ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
13 ( 15 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
14 ( NEW ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan
15 ( NEW ) A BOY NAMED SUE Johnny Cash

Bruv, school uniform and our new house

Bruv, school uniform and our new house

My 1969 Charts – August

AUG 1969

On TV, it was the changing of the guard for me – Patrick Troughton’s final episodes bringing to an end the domination of Doctor Who in my affections, because by now a brand new American Science-fiction TV show had debuted in the UK. It was called Star Trek, and it blew my fecking mind. I became obsessed by the show immediately, but the shocking thing is to realise that the number of episodes I saw were very minimal, but oh they left a strong impact on me! The biggest was the first broadcast, Where No Man Has Gone Before, with Kirk, Spock and 2 characters who died, but I loved them both! MASH’s Sally Kellerman and 2001’s Gary Lockwood had telekinetic powers and telepathic powers like my beloved Saturn Girl from my beloved Legion Of Super-Heroes. Their eyes glowed and it was SO cool. And tragic that they died! I’m convinced I also saw the Jeffrey Hunter episodes too, but regardless, one of my first major disappointments on getting to Singapore was Star Trek was not broadcast. I’d have to make do with books for the next 2 years! Doh!

On the plus side, I got to see the Patrick Troughton Doctor Who episodes all over again cos they WERE being broadcast in Singapore. Hooray! It was just frustrating that I never got to see the final episode till the 80’s, cos just as they were getting near it in Singapore, we were leaving! Doh! These things mattered to me! Home: the house was emptied of our stuff, leaving only the RAF furniture and dishes etc all ready for inspection on leaving (everything had to be spick and span or you got charged for the cleaning), cases were being packed, I was saying sad goodbyes to friends, especially Ann Barber my friend from over the road, who looked so sad I was going. I felt sad, for her and for me. The cat and kittens were dropped off with my grandma in Liverpool, mum’s mum who wasn’t looking forward to us going away at all, and I’m fairly sure around this time Aunty Eileen and Uncle Tony got married in Mansfield, so that was a big family do and get together for the last time in 2 years, and some sad goodbyes to mum and dad’s elderly relatives, cos 2 years was a long time.

That’s a lot of goodbyes for 11 years old! Then, in the last week of August, the start of the adventure began: we saw the Flying Scotsman at Newark. We went to London and stayed with some RAF friends – The Deebanks – who had been posted from Swinderby, me and my brother had to share the bunkbeds with the younger kids. Then we went to Swindon, and dropped by the Railway Museum, which made an impact on my younger brother more than me, because I was already in 7th Heaven: we’d gone by a newsagent, an old corner shop affair, and they had a rack of American Comics. I pestered dad because I absolutely HAD to have a Legion Of Super Heroes comic they had, Adventure Comics 373, The Tornado Twins, and it was goooorgeous looking. I got it! I still have it! As bonus, dad also bought some Giant bumper DC comics, Supergirl (which had the Legion!), Superman, and some black and white 50’s pulp sci-fi comic reprints. I wasn’t allowed to read any of them, though, they were for the aeroplane. It was 31st August, we stopped over night at RAF Brize Norton and tomorrow was a very new day….

TBC

5th August 1969

Music: 2 weeks for Thunderclap Newman on top, and Joe Dolan almost gets to the top, chased by 2 of my fave girl singers of the moment, Clodagh and Cilla. The Love Affair go top 10, as the similarly-sounding Vanity Fayre enter at 17 with the melodic and catchy Early In The Morning, a tune I loved. Like all of the new records from here-on, my access to new records was limited, and very much cut short, it was like going into withdrawal as I loved them and couldn’t get to hear them in September and beyond, for the most part. That goes in spades for the record at 19, Zager And Evans, the utimate one-hit wonders, with the very futuristic sci-fi social commentary song In The Year 2525. Not to mention folkies Fairport Convention’s version (en Francais) of Dylan’s If You Gotta Go Go Now, Si Tu Dois Partir. As I’d been doing French at school over the last year, it was fun working out some of the words….

1 ( 1 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
2 ( 4 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
3 ( 3 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
4 ( 12 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
5 ( 16 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black
6 ( 2 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
7 ( 10 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
8 ( 6 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
9 ( 17 ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affair
10 ( 5 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones

11 ( 7 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
12 ( 8 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
13 ( 9 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
14 ( 11 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
15 ( 19 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
16 ( 20 ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees
17 ( NEW ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
18 ( 14 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
19 ( NEW ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
20 ( NEW ) SI TU DOIS PARTIR Fairport Convention

12th Aug 1969

Elvis is back up on top! Well, it is great! Vanity Fayre and Stevie Wonder’s gorgeous My Cherie Amour (keeping up the French-language theme) both go Top 10, Donovan pops back in, and Marvin Gaye enters with Too Busy Thinking Bout My Baby, a song which meant much more to me in a cover version in the early 70’s.

1 ( 3 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
2 ( 2 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
3 ( 1 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
4 ( 7 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
5 ( 4 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
6 ( 5 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black
7 ( 6 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
8 ( 17 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
9 ( 8 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
10 ( 15 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder

11 ( 20 ) SI TU DOIS PARTIR Fairport Convention
12 ( 9 ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affair
13 ( 10 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
14 ( 19 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
15 ( 12 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
16 ( 14 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
17 ( 13 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
18 ( 18 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
19 ( RE ) BARABAJAGAL Donovan and The Jeff Beck Group
20 ( NEW ) TOO BUSY THINKING BOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye

19th Aug 1969

4 weeks for Elvis at 1, and only one new entry, snuggling up to Robin Gibb at 6…are his brothers, The Bee Gees lovely country song Don’t Forget To Remember. I still preferred Robin’s Saved By The Bell, but only just! This was my last official chart of the 60’s, as I had no access to new UK music (though I got to follow the Top 30 in Daily Mirror bumper packages delivered as a mega-book to the Forces, they were songs and titles tempting me, but out of reach).

1 ( 1 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
2 ( 3 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
3 ( 11 ) SI TU DOIS PARTIR Fairport Convention
4 ( 8 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
5 ( 4 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
6 ( NEW ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
7 ( 14 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
8 ( 2 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
9 ( 10 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
10 ( 9 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner

11 ( 7 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
12 ( 6 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black
13 ( 5 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
14 ( 15 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
15 ( 12 ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affair
16 ( 17 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
17 ( 13 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
18 ( 20 ) TOO BUSY THINKING BOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye
19 ( 18 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
20 ( 19 ) BARABAJAGAL Donovan and The Jeff Beck Group

26th Aug 1969

And my last chart in the UK for 2 years has my record of the moment on top, the epic In The Year 2525. This was the first record I intended to buy with the 10 shillings my great grandparents had given me (now Singapore dollars) but it wasn’t available so I had only the memory of my love for it bar the occasional play on 2-way family favourites Forces radio show. Aaaagh! I still love it though. Robin Gibb, at 2, my mum bought though a few weeks later, and I still love that one.

The Equals, future hit-maker Eddy Grant, have a big new entry with Viva Bobby Joe, which I loved, and a host of other great singles, Bad Moon Rising (which I would get to hear again, and find the lyrics hand-written to, inside a Just William library book at my new school. Don’t remember the book, very much recall finding the lyrics. I had my priorities right, even then!) was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 2nd hit, Engelbert was back again, and The Dells had a heavy version of 2 very MOR songs – Cilla and others had sung I Can Sing A Rainbow, and Eurovision’s Love Is Blue (Vicky Leandros) had become a standard within 2 years thanks to the instrumental hit version by Paul Mauriat. A tune I’d learnt to play on my melodica. Melodica’s were all the rage, a sort of mouth-organ-piano-synth, and girls in particular had them. If only I’d hung onto it I might have become the first world-famous melodican pop star. Hey ho!

Tommy Roe, my hero, managed to get a new record out just as I left the country, I don’t think I heard it more than once or twice, but I really liked the tune anyway, and enters here at 17, just behind a song I really WAS mad on, that glibby glib gloopy hook was heaven on earth to me, I loved the ticking, the crystal-clear instruments and Oliver’s fab vocals. I didn’t even know Good Morning Starshine was from Hair, I suspect, following on from previous chart biggies Nina Simone and Fifth Dimension. I played the tune over and over in my head for weeks so I wouldn’t forget it, till I could get to hear it again. I can’t describe how pleasurable it is getting to hear a song you love again after you’ve been deprived of it for years. Fab! And that, as they say, is the end of the UK music scene, as I entered a cut-down family-friendly version of it on the 1st September…

TBC

1 ( 7 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 Zager And Evans
2 ( 5 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
3 ( 4 ) EARLY IN THE MORNING Vanity Fayre
4 ( 1 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
5 ( 6 ) DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER The Bee Gees
6 ( 9 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
7 ( NEW ) VIVA BOBBY JOE The Equals
8 ( 8 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
9 ( 3 ) SI TU DOIS PARTIR Fairport Convention
10 ( 12 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black

11 ( 13 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
12 ( 17 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
13 ( 11 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
14 ( NEW ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival
15 ( 15 ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affair
16 ( NEW ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
17 ( NEW ) HEATHER HONEY Tommy Roe
18 ( NEW ) I’M A BETTER MAN Engelbert Humperdinck
19 ( NEW ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells
20 ( 18 ) TOO BUSY THINKING BOUT MY BABY Marvin Gaye

Man On The Moon – July 1969 as recalled by a then-11-year-old

20th July 1969

In my run-through of the songs, I neglected to mention a key moment (my ditties are all off the top of my head, not researched, I’m sure it’s no surprise to find out!).

Yes, small matter of the Moon Landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. There had been a long build-up to this, with the deaths of early Apollo astronauts and then the xmas 1968 Round-the-moon trip was a huge event in itself, even though the crew of Apollo 10 tend to be footnotes these days, they should be revered for being the first men in history to see the far side of the moon (24 in total by my reckoning have done it), orbiting another world. Apollo 11 is, as far as I’m concerned, still mankind’s greatest achievement. To set foot on another world, and return. I was 11, and unusually TV wasn’t closing down as usual that evening, it was staying live on air after a few tense days of updated news bulletins as they made their way to the moon.

What everyone who wasn’t around needs to bear in mind is…we had no idea if they were going to live or die, it really was a bold new frontier, a very risky enterprise (as we saw with Apollo 13) and it really genuinely was a positive moment in history for the whole planet to share live, for the first time ever. Not counting sporting events and other trivial events like royal weddings, of course. For me, mum wouldn’t let and my brother stay up to watch the coverage (they were due to land in the middle of the night UK time) but I got her to agree to wake me up when it was time. The TV and the living room at 3 Sheepwalk, RAF Swinderby as seen in the photo…

Next morning I got up and they were already on the bloody moon. Aaaaaargh! Not to take away from the import of seeing men bounding about on the moon on TV, but parents who think it’s more important that the kids get a good night’s sleep instead of sharing in the greatest moment in history, need a slap! The TV footage itself was disappointingly murky, the later missions in 1972 (with the moon rover) were technically more exciting, and in colour, but hey Neil Armstrong. Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins, poor poor Michael Collins, so close, yet so far, watching but not able to join in. Heroes! I did however get to watch the blast-off from the moon’s surface which was live (at tea-time I think) and tense.

I don’t wish to be rude to all those non-believer moon-hoaxer theorists who have popped out the woodwork over the last 30 years, thanks to charlatans writing books and TV shows to get rich on other people’s gullibility and willingness to accept lies and rumours and scientific nonsense as proof of it all being a fake that fooled a whole planet (and I’ve spent exasperating time trying to explain to loved ones who weren’t around then why it’s a historical scientific fact, we weren’t all dupes taken in by scientists, they were the dupes taken in by non-scientists, to no avail). I’m going to be rude to the ones who perpetuated the myth though – the world doesn’t need any more lying, conniving, snivelling muck-spreaders who see an easy way to get rich. Get a job in an investment bank like the other ones and leave science alone. You clearly don’t understand it…

I can say that now, without fear of contradiction, now that the yawnsome argument “so why don’t they go back to then moon then and prove it happened” has been conclusively and definitively settled. They have been back, there’s a lunar satellite in orbit, and they have crystal-clear beautiful (and awesome) photos of every single footprint, lunar rover track, flag, piece of equipment and vehicle left on the surface of the moon, where they will stay perfectly preserved for centuries, if not thousands of years (assuming Man doesn’t pop back to the moon for a walkabout salvage operation in the meantime – Kerching! Genuine historical souvenirs!)

So, enough already with the nut-job theories! Appreciate the achievement for a change!

My 1969 Charts – July

JULY 1969

1st July1969

Tommy Roe’s 9th and final week on top, and the 4th actual bona-fide “what I wrote down” chart I did. School was in the process of drawing to an end, the end of my primary school years fresh with the news that I’d failed my 11-plus exams. I say I failed, what I mean to say is that Bassingham Primary School had had a succession of replacement teachers all year, which made lessons great fun, but not that focused on exams. One kid (son of two teachers, funnily enough) passed the exam in our year. In those days that meant no Grammar School for me or the other kids. Not that it mattered, as we were also packing our stuff into crates to be stored for 2 years as we were being shipped off to RAF Changi in September, the tropics adventure loomed.

Packing also meant that other childhood trauma – having to dump stuff every time we moved. It’s no wonder that I turned into a hoarder having to wave goodbye to beloved toys each year (not that we had that many to begin with) – the main casualty this time was my collection of Sparky comics, I still lament the adventures of the metal-globe-shaped ark that saved animals as the world drowned. Happily, I only had a few DC comics, so my beloved Legion Of Super Heroes, Superman, Batman comics were saved, even if it meant 2 years without reading them, a lifetime at 11. On TV it was Top Of The Pops with all my fave pop stars and hits, and Doctor Who entering into a marathon 10-episode goodbye for Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury – yes a real end of an era for me as the hot summer shined on the Lincolnshire countryside.

Of more concern, our cat (one of grandma’s cat’s offspring from Liverpool) Susie (Watch for the Amen Corner song which I still associate with her) had got herself pregnant, and she climbed inside one of the boxes in our bedroom and had a litter of kittens. All very complicated and worrying to me, knowing we were off to Singapore, and Susie and any kittens we couldn’t home before then would be taken to live with grandma (near Stanley Park, a run-down urban area of Liverpool), her partner, Dinah the dog and Smokie the cat, both serial reproducers. My late dog Toby had been one of Dinah’s many many pups. That’s what turned out to happen, and I never saw Susie or the kittens again, so anxieties fulfilled then, a valuable lesson that sometimes the expectations and worse-case scenarios are very much “life’s a bitch” moments.

Hey, what about the music? Elvis is up to 2, so that’s the 2 first singles I bought on top, Galveston is back for Glen Campbell, the first album I had bought on request, and Hello Susie (see above) enters for Amen Corner, with a Roy Wood song, then of the Move, and 4 years later my teen pop hero: life is just so co-incidental at times, it looks almost fated! Others: Marmalade were back again with a great ballad, Desmond Dekker followed-up with It Mek, a record that was even harder to work out than Israelites (but catchy).

 

1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 5 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
3 ( 2 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
4 ( 7 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
5 ( 3 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
6 ( 8 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
7 ( 6 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
8 ( 4 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 9 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
10 ( RE ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell

11 ( NEW ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
12 ( NEW ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
13 ( 10 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
14 ( NEW ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
15 ( RE ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones
16 ( 11 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
17 ( 14 ) GET BACK The Beatles
18 ( 18 ) GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVING Crazy Elephant
19 ( RE ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker
20 ( 13 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys

 

8th July 1969

A new number one! It’s Elvis’ first (official) chart-topper – he would have had loads earlier, of course, had I been charting. In The Ghetto remains a powerful gospel track, and the B Side Any Day Now is one I still have ambitions to update 2015-stylee. The Beach Boys shoot up to 3 with one of the their most-melodic hits, while the third single I ever bought goes up to 5 for Thunderclap Newman. Jethro Tull re-enter at 10, and new in at 13 the first (virtually) solo Beatles record, the peace anthem Give Peace A Chance from John Lennon (with the missus Plastic Ono Band) to add to the Ballad Of John And Yoko. Heroes, even if everyone slagged them off at the time. Another Apple Records spin-off from the only act to get a credit with The Beatles, too, as Billy Preston enters with the gospel That’s The Way God Planned It, and the Rolling Stones classic Honky Tonk Women pops in at 20 to give them their first chart hit. Beatles or the Stones? Beatles every time!

1 ( 2 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
2 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
3 ( 20 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
4 ( 3 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
5 ( 13 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
6 ( 11 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
7 ( 4 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
8 ( 12 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
9 ( 5 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
10 ( RE ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull

11 ( 9 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
12 ( 14 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
13 ( NEW ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
14 ( RE ) PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
15 ( 6 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
16 ( 18 ) GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVING Crazy Elephant
17 ( RE ) TIME IS TIGHT Booker T & The MG’s
18 ( 19 ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker
19 ( NEW ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
20 ( NEW ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones

15th July 1969

2 weeks for Elvis on top with Beach Boys as runners-up, these days I would switch them round, but the lads had to make do with a peak of 2. Plastic Ono Band and famous mates in the choir, meanwhile shoot up to 4, Desmond Dekker gets his 2nd top 10, and Donovan gets together with Jeff Beck to come out with a distinctively less-folky, less-whimsical, more prog-rock single. Sadly, every one of his great tracks pre-dated my charts so this was his only chart entry for some decades. In at 20, Irish crooner Joe Dolan with a record I was mad on, Make Me An Island. My Aunty Eileen (who is about 10 years older than me, and visited regularly while courting Tony) bought the record around the time of their wedding, so I always associate it with them. Tony, who was a mate of dad in the RAF, was mad on The Beach Boys and had all their albums. That’s a LOT of albums even up to 1969 – 2 albums a year wasn’t uncommon in those days, as opposed to 2014 flogging 12 tracks to death over a 2-year-period to maximise profits before sticking 8 sub-standard tracks on the album to flog it even more till there’s no spark of life left in it. Happily, the first festival I ever saw was the classic Beach Boys line-up. Sadly Tony passed away 2 years ago.

1 ( 1 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
2 ( 3 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
3 ( 2 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
4 ( 13 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
5 ( 8 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
6 ( 4 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
7 ( 5 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
8 ( 6 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
9 ( 12 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
10 ( 11 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles

11 ( 19 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
12 ( 7 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
13 ( 20 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
14 ( 10 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull
15 ( 9 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
16 ( 18 ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker
17 ( 14 ) PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
18 ( 17 ) TIME IS TIGHT Booker T & The MG’s
19 ( NEW ) BARABAJAGAL Donovan and The Jeff Beck Group
20 ( NEW ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan

22nd July 1969

The last of my original 1969 charts has a Beatle on top, the fabs at 3, their “with” Get Back partner at 5 (Billy Preston). It would have come as a shock to realise that The Beatles were in their final throws as a band after a mere 7 years ruling the musical world. That’s not hyperbole, by the way, it’s an easily substantiated fact. The world’s biggest album of the 21st Century, 30 years after they ceased to exist, and 15 years into the new century? The Beatles 1.
Rivals, the Stones, meanwhile get their first Top 10, and new in the late Jim Reeves (a family favourite, and on Forces Radio a 2-way Family Favourite as they used to call acts they played a lot), Clodagh’s great follow-up single (another one I loved), and Robin Gibb’s first solo record. The Bee Gees had had a drug-fuelled spat and Robin had left the group, leaving Barry and Maurice as a duo. First off the mark, Saved By The Bell was a plaintive OTT ballad classic, it was terrific. It was also the first single (of two) that mum ever bought, in Singapore 3 months later, so it’s one I acquired and loved, and the B Side Mother And Jack is pure 60’s charm. Classic.

1 ( 4 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
2 ( 2 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
3 ( 10 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
4 ( 5 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
5 ( 11 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
6 ( 13 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
7 ( 1 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
8 ( 17 ) PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
9 ( 8 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
10 ( 19 ) BARABAJAGAL Donovan and The Jeff Beck Group

11 ( 20 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
12 ( 12 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
13 ( NEW ) WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE Jim Reeves
14 ( 7 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
15 ( 18 ) TIME IS TIGHT Booker T & The MG’s
16 ( 14 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull
17 ( NEW ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
18 ( 16 ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker
19 ( NEW ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb
20 ( 15 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers

29th July 1969

The 3rd single I ever bought gets to number one, the epic Something In The Air, one-hit wonders if ever there was one (Thunderclap Newman) – though lead singer Speedy Keen would eventually pop up again in 1975. I still find this record inspirational, a social commentary and optimistic anthem in the same spirit as the one it knocks off the top, Give Peace A Chance. Pity no-one listened to the sentiments. The people spitting venom and bitterness still seem to dominate and the nice folk get stepped-on. Time we had a Nice Revolution. Hey ho, pop music influences attitude, at least for me it did. New in? Cilla’s back with a good ballad, The Love Affair get their final pop hit, and Steviw’s back with a crooner classic, My Cherie Amour, just ahead of the Bee Gees Tomorrow Tomorrow – a forgotten Bee Gees hit, to say the least. It appeared as though Robin was the more talented Gibb at this point….!

Weekend magazine clipping 1969

Weekend magazine clipping 1969

1 ( 14 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
2 ( 1 ) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE Plastic Ono Band
3 ( 7 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
4 ( 11 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan
5 ( 6 ) HONKY TONK WOMEN The Rolling Stones
6 ( 4 ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
7 ( 2 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
8 ( RE ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
9 ( 5 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston
10 ( 19 ) SAVED BY THE BELL Robin Gibb

11 ( RE ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
12 ( 17 ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers
13 ( 3 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
14 ( 9 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
15 ( 10 ) BARABAJAGAL Donovan and The Jeff Beck Group
16 ( NEW ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black
17 ( NEW ) BRINGING ON BACK THE GOOD TIMES The Love Affiar
18 ( 8 ) PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
19 ( NEW ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder
20 ( NEW ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees