My 1970 Charts – July

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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.

1 ( 1 ) EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL Ray Stevens
2 ( 2 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
3 ( 3 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
4 ( 5 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 4 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
6 ( 10 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
7 ( 6 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
8 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
9 ( 7 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
10 ( NEW ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley

http://youtube.com/v/NQH_Wj5lj5g

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
16 ( 18 ) REACH OUT AND TOUCH (SOMEBODY’S HAND) Diana Ross
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

http://youtube.com/v/ZgMEPk6fvpg


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!).

http://youtube.com/v/DEFxejz3g18


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
2 ( 1 ) EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL Ray Stevens
3 ( 3 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
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
9 ( 7 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
10 ( 9 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie

 

http://youtube.com/v/wiWu7Csn2HY

11 ( 14 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
12 ( NEW ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
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
19 ( 16 ) REACH OUT AND TOUCH (SOMEBODY’S HAND) Diana Ross
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.

http://youtube.com/v/Po1ffbk5JA0

1 ( 3 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
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
9 ( 9 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
10 ( 10 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie

http://youtube.com/v/zxexKLsLpw0

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
18 ( NEW ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
19 ( 16 ) SOMETHING Shirley Bassey
20 ( NEW ) (IT’S LIKE A) SAD OLD KINDA MOVIE Pickettywich

http://youtube.com/v/cbKVfq49tII

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.

1 ( 1 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
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

http://youtube.com/v/MeMS8SuHPs0

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

http://youtube.com/v/HsI-DB-25e8

16 ( 12 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
17 ( 18 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
18 ( 15 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
19 ( NEW ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
20 ( 17 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys

http://youtube.com/v/WLiuMkGCOC4


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!

http://youtube.com/v/0d4ahG7kh-Y

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My 1970 Charts – May

Me and choc ice and beach

Me and choc ice and beach

youtubers click here


5th May 1970

2 weeks for The Beatles on top as The Long And Winding Road winds on, but in at 2 it’s an instant fave from Christie, Yellow River being a sort of poppier version of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a very catchy song indeed and often played on Singapore radio. Once upon a time it was very well-known, these days it’s fallen a bit out of favour, but for me it has such strong nostalgia associating with great Singapore days that I still have great fondness for it.

Julie Felix, If I Could, goes top 10, and there is only one more new entry, The Moody Blues have a Question at 18. My question is, why I never rated it enormously when I finally got to hear it once or twice (not a radio fave in Singapore), but it’s grown on me over the years as I got more familiar with it’s Alone Again Or vibe, like most of the Moody’s songs having finally got to see them in concert recently. Still good!

1 ( 1 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
2 ( NEW ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
3 ( 3 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
4 ( 2 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
5 ( 5 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
6 ( 4 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
7 ( 7 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension
8 ( 19 ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
9 ( 6 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
10 ( 11 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones

11 ( 9 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
12 ( 10 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
13 ( 14 ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
14 ( 13 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
15 ( 18 ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
16 ( 12 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
17 ( 16 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
18 ( NEW ) QUESTION The Moody Blues
19 ( 17 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
20 ( 15 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink

In world events the Kent University, Ohio shooting of students by troopers shocked the world. The Vietnam War and other such student protests, such as environmentalism, were not looked on kindly by the establishment. The very famous photo of a victim with a woman kneeling over his body affected me, and if anything made me even more anti-violence, pro-peace, and pro-environment, pro-equal-rights and many other pro’s. It all seemed very simple and logical to this 12-year-old that some things were just plain wrong, and using deadly force against students was one of them. Vietnam was a lot closer to home in Singapore, and always loomed large on the news.

At the RAF cinema, which was always a bit behind the times, we weren’t yet watching the big movies A Man Called Horse, but mum and dad went to see when they got hold of a copy, very much in line with the mood of the times as Native Americans were no longer just baddie injuns for cowboys to shoot dead at every opportunity in the movies. The Aristocats also came out, but for some reason we never got to see that one, leaving a Disney hole in my childhood experiences, ditto Bedknobs And Broomsticks. After that, there was only really the next animated movie (Robin Hood) before I stopped altogether until Robin Williams voiced Aladdin 20 years later.


12th May 1970

Yellow River gets it’s first week at number one, fab! Tom Jones is up to 9, keeping his run of top 10 singles of at least one a year intact, and it’s the dramatic Daughter Of Darkness. New at 3, though, it’s a record I was insanely mad on, Honey Come Back was a huge hit for Glen Campbell and even though in retrospect it’s not his best single by any means, it was sweetly touching, tuneful and popular, and I just became obsessed by the hook and by Glen Campbell. Some of mum and dad’s friends had an album by Glen with it on, so I got to hear it when we went round, and this became the album I most wanted for Christmas, so I could get my own copy of the single. When they bought me an Australian mash-up of tracks from his previous two albums I was disappointed to say the least (they couldn’t find a copy), though I’m glad they did as This Is Glen Campbell had Wichita Lineman, Galveston, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and was a bloody timelessly brilliant album – even if I’m probably one of few to own an existing copy of those track-listings.

In at 18, Up The Ladder To The Roof, and The Supremes return without Diana Ross. I’ll be honest, I saw the split as a good thing, Diana Ross solo records were fantastic, and the new Supremes line-up was also fantastic, both were releasing terrific singles throughout the early 70’s. Sadly, public perception is that the Supremes dies without Diana Ross, but that’s not true, they had some classic singles to come, easily among the best, and the new girls (along with Mary Wilson) were great singers – Jean Terrell and Cindy Birdsong. This again was a single I barely heard at all at the time, and didn’t pick up on properly until 1975 on “5 Years Ago” charts on the radio in the UK. I won’t mention the host DJ. He’s already poisoned enough childhood memories for a generation.

1 ( 2 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
2 ( 1 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
3 ( NEW ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
4 ( 3 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
5 ( 5 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
6 ( 8 ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
7 ( 6 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
8 ( 4 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
9 ( 10 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
10 ( 7 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension

11 ( 9 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
12 ( 15 ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
13 ( 11 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
14 ( 18 ) QUESTION The Moody Blues
15 ( 12 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
16 ( 13 ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
17 ( 14 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
18 ( NEW ) UP THE LADDER TO THE ROOF The Supremes
19 ( 16 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
20 ( 19 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin


19th May 1970

Glen Campbell gets his first number one, Honey Come Back, the only record in the summer of ’70 that I was more mad on is in at 3, Ray Stevens Everything Is Beautiful. Ray up to this point was largely known for novelty hits in the States, but was little-known in the UK even though some of them were rather amusing, such as Gitarzan. He also had dabbled with some straight songs though, like Mr. Businessman, but this gospel-flavoured kiddie-chorused, religious-tinted ballad propelled him into the big league. These days it’s seen as too saccharine to get much airplay, but I care not a jot – for some years into the late 70’s this was my all-time favourite record: the kids chorus start gave me goosebumps, the positive sentiment registered strongly with me, and the big choir finish was music to my ears. Plus it was a big family fave in Singapore, and I just hear it blaring out from the house one exotic sunny tropical morning into the street and garden as dad turned it up loud on the radio. Bliss!

In at 8 another Singapore fave, but one that left me frustrated: Butterscotch and Don’t You Know, one of those White Plains soundalike pop bands featuring songwriters Arnold, Martin and Morrow – who went on to write for Guys And Dolls, Barry Manilow, and others. It had a great tune, but I woke up one morning while dreaming of this song I’d never heard in my life before, as far as I was aware, only to go into the living room and switch the radio on and hear it suddenly coming out of the speakers. Now either I am psychic (nah, just perceptive) or I guess someone in a neighbouring house must have put the radio on accidentally loudly which interrupted my dream enough to wake me up, and I just managed to catch half of it on the radio. Or did I, doo doo doo doo Twilight Zone! Anyway, I sang the tune to myself for weeks and months afterwards but I never did get to hear it again, despite loving it, until I found a copy of the single in 1975, second-hand. Hooray! OK it was dated by then, but still pleasant.

At 15, The Jackson 5 have a soundalike, much-less-good, follow-up to I Want You Back, my least-fave of all their early singles, but hey-ho, still good and marvel at young Michael. In at 18, an instrumental novelty (sort of) the fab Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe, a cover of a Wind featuring Tony Orlando B side (without Tony Orlando), Elton John was involved, Dick James music was involved, and Elton John band musicians were involved. You might say it was Elton John’s breakthrough (on the other tracks which he wrote – his piano was re-recorded for the A side). You might not. I say yes, as Reg was busy singing Top Of The Pops cover album tracks of current hits at the time. Anyway it still sounds great fun and quirky. Finally, at 20, Marvin Gaye is back with a cover of Dion’s recent US hit Abraham Martin And John, done in a soul-style rather than folk-style, a tribute of course to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr and John Kennedy, violently murdered American political leaders.

1 ( 3 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
2 ( 2 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
3 ( NEW ) EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL Ray Stevens
4 ( 1 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
5 ( 4 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana

6 ( 6 ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
7 ( 5 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( NEW ) DON’T YOU KNOW Butterscotch
9 ( 9 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
10 ( 7 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum

11 ( 8 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
12 ( 12 ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
13 ( 14 ) QUESTION The Moody Blues
14 ( 10 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension
15 ( NEW ) ABC The Jackson 5

16 ( 18 ) UP THE LADDER TO THE ROOF The Supremes
17 ( 15 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
18 ( NEW ) GROOVIN’ WITH MR. BLOE Mr. Bloe
19 ( 16 ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
20 ( NEW ) ABRAHAM MARTIN AND JOHN Marvin Gaye

me wallowing beach near Changi 1970ish

me wallowing beach near Changi 1970ish


26th May 1970

2 weeks for Glen and his Honey on top. Sweet! The Jackson 5 make it 2 consecutive top 10’s, Mr Bloe grooves his way to 10, and The Beach Boys enter at 15 with an old Lead Belly blues song from 1940, Cottonfields being a rather different harmony version and pretty much drawing to a close the Beach Boys classic Capitol years and the hits after an awesome 8 year run. Ahead lay a succession of comebacks over nearly 45 years, some better than others, some solo, some collaborations, some new stuff, some covers, and even after the deaths of 2 of the Wilson Brothers. Not quite as great as the 60’s classics, but never bad.

1 ( 1 ) HONEY COME BACK Glen Campbell
2 ( 3 ) EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL Ray Stevens
3 ( 2 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
4 ( 4 ) YELLOW RIVER Christie
5 ( 8 ) DON’T YOU KNOW Butterscotch
6 ( 5 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
7 ( 7 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( 15 ) ABC The Jackson 5
9 ( 6 ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
10 ( 18 ) GROOVIN’ WITH MR. BLOE Mr. Bloe

11 ( 9 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
12 ( 10 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
13 ( 13 ) QUESTION The Moody Blues
14 ( 11 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
15 ( NEW ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys
16 ( 12 ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
17 ( 20 ) ABRAHAM MARTIN AND JOHN Marvin Gaye
18 ( 14 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension
19 ( 16 ) UP THE LADDER TO THE ROOF The Supremes
20 ( 17 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder

In Singapore, the end of term wasn’t far off and English was all about preparing for the end of term play. Mum had to get involved in making a middle-eastern Sinbad-type-frock-smock for me to stand on stage looking and feeling stupid, chanting some lines as part of a chorus, and a couple on my own. Mum and dad travelled over to RAF Seletar one evening to watch it, and I’m sure mum was proud as punch she never criticised only encouraged school stuff I did. It was my first taste of being on stage in front of an audience, a very shy boy, and I made sure it was the last time for another 16 years! My next audience of adoring fans was on national Radio One on the Roadshow in Bournemouth. May as well look an idiot in front of as many folk as possible if you’re going to do it…!

My 1970 Charts – April

record plastic bag from Singapore

record plastic bag from Singapore

1970 videos


7th April 1970

It’s a first Eurovision song chart-topper for Dana, All Kinds Of Everything won the first of many victories for Ireland and the pretty teenager with the pretty voice and pretty song. Everybody say aaaahh! I did love it at the time, less so these days though. The UK’s entry has to make do with 4, as Knock Knock Who’s There shockingly fails to go on top after 3 singles in a row to hit my number one. Not so shocking, actually, as it got very little airplay in Singapore, and Dana was always on 2-way Family Favourites. The classic Bridge Over Troubled Water is at 3, and the also classic Spirit In The Sky is up to 8.

New at 17, Blue Mink are back with another good single, Good Morning Freedom, I loved Madeleine Bell and happily caught her on TV the other day talking about her days as Dusty Springfield’s backing vocalist during Dusty’s classic period. The single is SO catchy! At 18, and Stevie is really on a roll, Never Had A Dream Come True is a great single towards the tail-end of his early Motown soul-crooner days, and before he became a serious album’s artist on top of hitmaker of singles. Creedence were also on a roll, Travelling Band being one of their big UK hits, but one I like less than some of their minor UK hits which hit it big in the USA around 1970 and 1971. Always good though.

1 ( 2 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 1 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 4 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 9 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
5 ( 3 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
6 ( 8 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
7 ( 5 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
8 ( 16 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
9 ( 6 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
10 ( 7 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell

11 ( 13 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
12 ( 12 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
13 ( 17 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
14 ( 20 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
15 ( 15 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb

16 ( 14 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
17 ( NEW ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink
18 ( NEW ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
19 ( 18 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
20 ( NEW ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival


In Singapore, I had a new friend from an adjacent bungalow to the rear of the house, Robert Gough, who went to the Grammar School at Changi, had a warrant officer dad (all my dad’s mates were low-ranking so this was virtual hob-nobbing with the elite!) and he got sent home to private school in the UK for a while. When it was his birthday I got a real treat in a Katong upstairs restaurant, my first-ever banana split, and some money to spend in the big Robinson’s store in the city – where I got a brand new copy of Action Comics 386, which featured an ageing immortal Superman in a continuing story set in the far future, and a legion Of Super-Heroes back Zap Goes The Legion! which had a fave minor villainess Uli Algor, who plotted to turn their super-powers against the featured legionnaires – she got beaten by a punch. Always poor planners, villains! It was a great evening out though, and of course I still have that comic, still precious to me and in good condition, with the 55 cents Singapore price-tag stamped on it. These things matter when you’re 12 (or 57)!

action-comics-386

At the Oscars, it was Midnight Cowboy, John Wayne (in True Grit, which I loved), and Maggie Smith – sadly, not for Sister Act, that was still nearly 20 years away! On TV I was watching reruns of The Ice Warriors Doctor Who (well re-runs to me, having watched them 2 years earlier in the UK), while the UK was stuck with Jon Pertwee episodes – he just wasn’t the Doctor! I was also watching The Banana Splits which aired just before it, I loved the cool Drooper, the animated cartoons, the crap gags, and especially the theme tune and funky songs. Oldies on TV? Gilligan’s Island, My Favorite Martian, The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, Car 54 Where Are You? and other US 60’s sitcoms. My pop culture is pretty much American pop culture, British sitcoms were dull in comparison. All of ‘em. The first sitcom that appealed to me was just out in the UK – Up Pompeii – and that was very much in the Carry On tradition. Carry On films still came out regularly and played at the RAF Changi cinema – I remember going to see Carry On Loving in 1971 and not getting the “cooking fat” gag for a cat’s name. Cos he spits, I thought, naively!

our TV and fish tank

our TV and fish tank


14th April 1970

2 weeks for Dana on top, and Spirit In The Sky hits 5, but a quiet week overall, just The Band’s Rag Mama Rag at 20 (not even their best single) and The Archies EP at 9: this was an EP mum and dad bought with my own pocket money. I’d asked them to get me The Partridge Family EP – EP’s were quite pricey, but you got 4 good quality tracks as I was mad on the new TV show and songs, but they knew I was also mad on The Archies songs from TV shows, too – I even took to recording them direct from the TV with a hand-held microphone on our reel-to-reel recorder, tinny quality but they also happened to be generally pretty good, and many of them remain unreleased to this day, to my ongoing annoyance. Anyhoo, Sugar Sugar had already topped, but the other tracks were also good, I already knew the theme tune (which was fun) and Bang Shang A Lang was jolly bubblegum pop that had hit the US charts before Sugar Sugar. Of course, I also bought the comics if I had spare cash after grabbing every DC superhero comic I could find from second-hand bookstalls and shops. The cover of the EP (the first I ever bought) is also the one used by the youtube link

1 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 2 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 3 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 4 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
5 ( 8 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum

6 ( 7 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
7 ( 5 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
8 ( 6 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
9 ( NEW ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
10 ( 10 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell

11 ( 9 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
12 ( 13 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
13 ( 12 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
14 ( 11 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
15 ( 17 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink

16 ( 18 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
17 ( 14 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
18 ( 16 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
19 ( 20 ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival
20 ( NEW ) RAG MAMA RAG The Band

In the news world, there were 2 major stories around the world, and very much in Singapore too: The Beatles split up! Paul McCartney announced the unthinkable, the fab four were no more, they were an ex-world-conquering-megastar-act. These days we are used to seeing bands fold, even big ones, and even at the height of their success, but back then there had never been a band as big as The Beatles (and never would be again), and they really were rewriting all of the rule books, including ending at the top of their game. For me personally, it all seemed a bit distant (quite literally), and as I’d already loved Give Peace A Chance the prospect of solo Beatles singles seemed to still be a very good thing, and to be honest I’m not sure I (or the media, or anyone else) thought that it would be forever. I just seemed so unlikely that the biggest pop group in the world as far back as I could remember would not be back. Good thing I didn’t know the reality!

The other event was Apollo 13. It gripped the world media over the next 2 weeks, as it lifted-off on it’s doomed (but ultimately heroic) voyage to the moon. Apollo 11 had been Earth-shattering, Apollo 12 was a bit like watching a repeat, only without a camera – the lack of images was a major PR disaster and was the start of the grumbling backlash from critics and taxpayers. Apollo 13 was different. We honestly had no idea what would happen, and I recall one of mum’s friend’s soberly offering an opinion that she thought they would die, which kind of brought it all home how serious the situation was. I can’t do better than suggest watching the Tom Hanks movie Apollo13, that pretty much tells the whole story of Jim Lovell and co, and perfectly captures what 1970 looked like and sounded like, the fashions, the media. My mum was 30-ish and wore mini-skirts, so did her friends. I was mad on the space missions and was gutted when they cancelled them. I cut out colour splash photos of Apollo 14 on the moon, as it got a temporary boost and subsequent missions had the cool Lunar Rover to motor about as well as proper decent colour video pictures. Awesome then, awesome now, and as part of history now taken for granted. I suggest taking a look at the recent high-def images of the moon’s surface, taken from satellite, they are incredible, you can make out every rover trail, footprints and every bit of equipment left on the surface of the moon. They will stay there, barring return visits which look less likely with every passing decade, for centuries, long after all of the crackpot “Moon-landing hoax” money-making charlatans have been forgotten. For every event there is a conspiracy theorist jumping out of the woodwork to get rich on other people’s paranoia and naivety.

mobile brush and carpet man, mum and ahtchoo

mobile brush and carpet man, mum and ahtchoo


21st April 1970

3 weeks for Dana, summertime, wintertime, spring and autumn too, nothing is shifting her, not even The Archies at 3, or Stevie Wonder up to 8. Highest new entry, though, is a personal obscure fave of mine written by blue-eyed soul/gospel singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. She was a fantastic songwriter but never made it as an artist, but her songs were often covered successfully by acts of the time, and especially by The Fifth Dimension, the ultimate sweet soul harmony band. Like contemporaries The Carpenters, considered a bit too MOR and uncool, I think they are long overdue a critical re-appraisal. Save The Country was a social-conscience gospel song with lyrical sentiments that still apply. I’d like to see it covered, modern-stylee, and not just because it evokes strong feel-good nostalgic memories of 1970 Singapore (which it does, the group were often on US variety shows broadcast) or the general music-scene vibes of 1970 (which it should, not being a million miles away from Hair – and their hit version of Aquarius).

Tom Jones is back, 2 years of popchartfreak-hit-making (pah! 2 years! Currently on about 46 years…) and Daughter Of Darkness was one of his more sombre darker-story-songs, and it packed a punch enough. Arguably his last record to do that for, ooh, 18 years. The Hollies meanwhile can’t tell the bottom from the top, not a problem I generally have, and it’s a decent enough pop song (as always). Finally House Of The Rising Sun is back, very famous, one of those songs that always seemed to have existed in pop culture, but not The Animals! No, it’s a hippie prog rock version from Frijid Pink. Alecia Moore might have something to say about that, I’d hazard a guess!

1 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 2 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 9 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
4 ( 3 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 5 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum

6 ( 4 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
7 ( 6 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
8 ( 16 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
9 ( 8 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
10 ( NEW ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension

11 ( 12 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
12 ( 7 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
13 ( 15 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink
14 ( 10 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
15 ( 14 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin

16 ( 19 ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival
17 ( NEW ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
18 ( 17 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
19 ( NEW ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
20 ( NEW ) HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN Frijid Pink

the garden plants, me and baby brother

the garden plants, me and baby brother


Back in home-life anecdote vogue, we had local gardeners come round to cut the lawn – not exactly grass in the European sense, the plants had broader leaves and were quite tough under-foot as they needed to be to avoid getting washed away in monsoon rains. The main gardener was usually a Malay man with a couple of kids tagged on, and they planted a few decorative shrubs with pink and white flowers around, one they called the poo-poo tree. Maybe they were having us on, it was quite nice! The garden was quite exposed to the sun at this time, little natural shade, so I was fascinated to see them stick a twig in the ground by the fence and monsoon drain behind it in the front garden facing our fold-out door – the front room had no windows at all, basically the whole frontage just folded into wooden doors that folded inward and opened up the room to the garden (and insects and chit-chat geckos). More fascinating was the twig actually growing rapidly, sprouting leaves, and within a year or 18 months it was shady tree big enough to climb into (at least for me and my brother). I also became interested in growing exotic fast-growing plant-pot plants and seeds outside. Still am. Still do.


28th April 1970

It’s a new entry, the only act that can stop The Archies from topping my chart – yes it’s The Beatles getting a 3rd Number One, all of them Paul McCartney songs, and the Fabs replace themselves in the chart as Let It Be prematurely vacates the UK singles chart but The Long And Winding Road heads to the top of the US chart, and gets plenty of Singapore exposure. Paul wasn’t that keen on the Phil Spector strings arrangement, but I was a huge 12-year-old fan of it, and the climactic emotional build. Sentimental? Absolutely. Mushy? A bit. Brilliant? Too right! It was the end of the Long And Winding Road for The Beatles, and a good one to go out on as much as Let It Be was. Not a UK single of course, like so many classic Beatles tracks, though it did eventually top the UK charts, err for Gareth Gates and Will Young. Better late than never.

The World Cup was apparently a thing in 1970. I say that as I had no inkling about anything to do with it, other than the song Back Home which was listed in the Daily Mirror Top 30 charts when we got a massive bundle of newspapers all glued and packaged together like a telephone book every month or so. At least I got to hear about some of the hits even if not actually hear them. So, in at 18 an actual decent World Cup song, and it’s from the England squad on their way in the summer to not actually winning for a second time in a row. Ne’er mind, sure there’ll be another victory soon, lads…. No? In at 19, a folk singer often on UK TV, Julie Felix does a quick cover of the Simon And Garfunkel album track. I liked Julie, but let’s be honest, not as good as the S&G version. Which leaves The Move returning after a number one in 1969 with Blackberry Way, but with a difference – Roy Wood had inducted his Brummie mate in the band, name of Jeff Lynne, and The Brontosaurus was a monster combo. A bit heavy, not one of my fave Move tracks, but it was essentially the seeds of The Electric Light Orchestra being sown before our eyes. Nobody remembers the Move anymore (sadly), but ELO and Roy Wood are still a bit famous!

1 ( NEW ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
2 ( 3 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
3 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
4 ( 5 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
5 ( 4 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel

6 ( 6 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
7 ( 10 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension
8 ( 7 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
9 ( 9 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
10 ( 8 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder

11 ( 17 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
12 ( 11 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
13 ( 12 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
14 ( 19 ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
15 ( 13 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink

16 ( 14 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
17 ( 15 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
18 ( NEW ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
19 ( NEW ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
20 ( NEW ) BRONTOSAURUS The Move

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

My 1970 Charts – February

vids 1970…. click!

4th February 1970

Love Grows gets 2 weeks on top of my last ever top 10, from here-on it’s Top 20’s as in Singapore we move house to a bungalow with very high ceilings located next door to the rear of the infamous wartime Changi Prison. 122F Tanah Merah Besar was opposite barbed wire fencing, and our house was overlooked from that fence by a tall guard tower, manned by armed prison officers. Burglary didn’t really go on much round here! We were also pretty much a short walk from the end of RAF Changi’s forces airfield runway, so we had regular drowning-out of the TV and radio from loud aircraft taking off, especially the VC10’s. On the plus side I got to see plenty of airplanes for nearly 2 years.


changi prison viewed from our garden

changi prison viewed from our garden

Speaking of jet planes, in the chart, Peter Paul & Mary take John Denver’s song to 2, as Mary Hopkin takes the tropical Temma Harbour to 4, and yes we could see banana plants and coconut trees from our house, hooray! Keeping on with the singer-songwriter cover version theme, in at 7, the pure-voiced folk-ish Judy Collins enters with a gorgeous harpsichord-flavoured cover of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, a song I randomly found already recorded on a reel-to-reel tape accompanying our first ever second-hand 4-track tape recorder, which revolutionised my pop music experiences cos I could now repeat-listen to songs as often as I wanted to hear them. Paradise! Buying blank reel-to-reel tapes became important to me, immediately! Both Sides Now is a flawless song, much-covered, but probably only bettered in this version by a male act who charts soon with it. The great white soul songwriter Laura Nyro never achieved any chart success herself, but she provided songs for many others to cover successfully, especially The Fifth Dimension, who had been having hits for 3 years already, including my top 3 Hair track, Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine from 1969. I love their versions of her songs, starting with Wedding Bell Blues, harmony soul delight in at 10.

Which leaves only one other new entry, a kiddie/teen Motown family pop-soul all-male band called The Jackson 5, jointly-fronted by a precociously talented kid who was only 6 months or so younger than 12-year-old me, and his name was Michael. They were sometimes on variety shows imported from the States on TV, so I got to see them sing, and they looked so cool. I Want You Back is brilliant, of course, so good it’s been a hit on several occasions over the decades, a great song, production and passionate vocals from a boy. I wonder what happened to The Jackson 5…

1 ( 1 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
2 ( 4 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
3 ( 2 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
4 ( 7 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
5 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies

6 ( 8 ) HITCHIN’ A RIDE Vanity Fayre
7 ( NEW ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
8 ( 5 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
9 ( NEW ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
10 ( NEW ) WEDDING BELL BLUES The Fifth Dimension

RAF Changi hospital from the swimming pool

RAF Changi hospital from the swimming pool


11th February 1970

At 1, and completing her hat-trick of consecutive chart-toppers, it’s Mary Hopkin and the lovely Temma Harbour. Notable for being the longest-span to get a hat-trick (3 calendar years), for being the first act to do it, and for doing it with her first 3 releases. It would another 14 years before the next act did that (Frankie Goes To Hollywood).

Vanity Fayre go top 5 for the second time, and a load of re-entries peppered about the expanded top 20, but it’s the new entries that count: Actor Lee Marvin growls his way in at 13 with the fab Wanderin’ Star from the movie Paint Your Wagon, a future UK chart-topper, a film loved so much by my family that dad bought the soundtrack album which we played to death. Most famous these days for the brilliant song They Call The Wind Mariah, from which Ms Carey was named. True fact. Also infamous for an even worse vocal performance than Lee Marvin’s endearing growl, yes it’s Clint Eastwood in at 18 with the B Side, I Talk To The Trees. It’s kinda sweet, but Clint never repeated the experience, though to be honest I’ve heard much worse on X Factor’s final shows.

At 15, Glen Campbell was on a roll, and his muse Jimmy Webb was behind him, but ti mattered not as he was hot on country-pop hit gems like Try A Little Kindness, a romping great song, which was a discovery on the afore-mentioned reel-to-reel tape we acquired. I loved it, I played it. A lot. Glen Campbell was pretty much my most favourite pop star in the world in 1970, hot off seeing him True Grit and singing the fab movie theme (not eligible for my chart but it would have been a number 1). At 16, the now-obscure follow-up to huge hit Saved By The Bell, Robin Gibb was still mad at his 2 brothers and on a wistful waltzing-ish ballad groove, another song I loved. It’s pleasant, sweet, nice. Not bad words to me! At 20, Jonathan King starts his long run of whimsical multiple alter-ego hits using his own name, the fun Let It All Hang Out.

1 ( 4 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 1 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
3 ( 2 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
4 ( 6 ) HITCHIN’ A RIDE Vanity Fayre
5 ( 3 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
6 ( 7 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
7 ( 9 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
8 ( 5 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
9 ( 10 ) WEDDING BELL BLUES The Fifth Dimension
10 ( RE ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger

11 ( 8 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
12 ( RE ) FRIENDS Arrival
13 ( NEW ) WANDERIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
14 ( RE ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
15 ( NEW ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
16 ( NEW ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
17 ( RE ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
18 ( NEW ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
19 ( RE ) I CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU The Temptations
20 ( NEW ) LET IT ALL HANG OUT Jonathan King


Back in sunny Singapore, I was on a new ghari (white RAF bus) to RAF Seletar, on a new route up Tampines Road, which was a bit more rural than the Bedokville route, though on Singapore island (17 miles wide) all things are relative. Next to our hilly road adjacent Changi Prison we had Lloyd Leas Estate, which had a great monsoon river running through it, a great place to re-stock my tropical fish tank with plainly-coloured guppies (multi-colours and frilly fins not being that helpful for survival in monsoon streams). I loved them anyway, been fascinated by fish in rivers since my 6-year-old stickleback-catching days. And lollipop sticks floating down monsoon drains, around obstacles, the shapes the mud flats made. Ah we had to make our entertainment then, no computer games to waste a life away on….

swimming lessons RAF Changi

swimming lessons RAF Changi


18th February 1970

2 weeks for Mary on top, giving her the most weeks on top in total for any artist in the whole 18 months of pre-teen charting. Judy Collins goes top 3, and Lee Marvin is Wandrin’ up the top 10, and there are 4 new entries: Sacha Distel gets yet another movie Western song into the top 20 (the third) as he covers Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s song from Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and enters at 16. From this distance the very French crooning isn’t a patch on the much-superior film version by B.J.Thomas, a big American pop star of the period who had a long string of great pop hits, one of them later covered by Jonathan King (at 17 this week) Hooked On A Feeling, which in turn was covered by Blue Swede and as featured in Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014. At 19, The Brotherhood Of Man debut, though not the Eurovision line-up of singers, it was instead Tony Burrows (at 2 with Edison Lighthouse) leading the way in the early days. This is a great Tony Hiller ballad (creator of the group and co-writer of their later biggest hits), very Eurovision, but in a good way. Lastly, veteran soul group The Tams debut at 20 with the sweet Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy, as the Northern Soul circuit was about to rescue the seeming has-beens from obscurity in a big way in 1971, long after their career had more-or-less faded away and they were looking quite elderly to teenagers like me who were buying their records suddenly.

At 18, it’s John and Yoko, with their second solo hit, and it’s terrific, Instant Karma, complete with Yoko knitting while on Top Of The Pops (not that I saw it at the time, of course, being out of the country and all). The hook We All Shine On is fab, John is in great voice, and we had no idea that The Beatles were actually over, just over 7 years of chart hits from start to finish. Or to put it into perspective, that would be like a musical act dropping out of the blue with new innovative, creative, timeless, and influential material in late 2008, releasing 3 or 4 singles a year, all chart-toppers and usually not on albums, while also releasing a record-breaking 1 or 2 albums a year, giving songs away, making 3 movies, TV specials and touring before calling it a day around now. No wonder they burnt out quickly, that sort of intense career is unthinkable in the modern era. Rihanna comes closest, co-incidentally now working with Paul McCartney. I love a nice link.

1 ( 1 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 2 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
3 ( 6 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
4 ( 7 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
5 ( 3 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
6 ( 4 ) HITCHIN’ A RIDE Vanity Fare
7 ( 5 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
8 ( 13 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
9 ( 16 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
10 ( 15 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell

11 ( 10 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger
12 ( 11 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
13 ( 9 ) WEDDING BELL BLUES The Fifth Dimension
14 ( 18 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
15 ( 14 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
16 ( NEW ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
17 ( 20 ) LET IT ALL HANG OUT Jonathan King
18 ( NEW ) INSTANT KARMA The Plastic Ono Band
19 ( NEW ) UNITED WE STAND Brotherhood Of Man
20 ( NEW ) BE YOUNG BE FOOLISH BE HAPPY The Tams

In Singapore, my swimming badges were coming along nicely, and we getting them sewn onto our swimming gowns – actually that sounds a bit gay now I say it, but they were really just towels you could wear, and it was early evening so the temperatures sometimes dropped as low as ooh the upper 70’s (25C) and it felt a bit chilly after the heat of the day. Perhaps that’s why I still prefer those sort of temperatures, and loathe the cold to this day. Hey, ho, anyway, distance badges were nearly done, and we were by now moving on to learning how to blow up our pyjamas (for life-belt purposes) and diving for bricks – which as we all know is a very useful skill to develop. Who hasn’t accidentally dropped a brick into a river or pond or pool that they just had to retrieve?! Anyways, considering I couldn’t swim 5 months earlier, I did OK.

me n my comics and drawing

me n my comics and drawing


25th February 1970

3 weeks for Temma Harbour anchored on top, Judy Collins is still looking at both sides now, while Robin Gibb looks at his calendar and gets a second solo top 3 hit. There are only two new entries, but my word they are great: At 15, Bridge Over Troubled Water is the title track to one of the greatest albums of all time, and pure genius in it’s own right, talk about going out on top! Yes, The Beatles weren’t the only ones splitting at the top of their game, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were also going it alone, admittedly because Paul Simon felt as the songwriter he could do whatever he wanted, and did. Paul Simon is a poet, and he’s a gifted folkpop songwriter, but in this case Bridge Over Troubled Water was basically Paul’s gospel tour-de-force sung as a solo by Art, and what a combination that made. The word Epic is over-used, but it’s totally deserved for Bridge Over Troubled Water, future UK chart-topper singles and albums charts, and in the case of the album for 2 years or so on and off. For me, Simon and Garfunkel were big with the young married RAF crowd, we borrowed the album from our next-door neighbours, and recorded it onto reel-to-reel, plus Bridge was regularly on 2-Way Family Favourites, so it remains a huge record for me – without ever being my single-fave record of the moment until I bought the album myself in 1976, played it to death, and would say it’s comfortably one of my top 10 of all-time.

Venus, by Dutch band Shocking Blue and in at 20, was fantastic too, a sort of hippie rock pop anthem, so good it got covered kitschtastically by Bananarama 16 years later.

1 ( 1 ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
2 ( 3 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Judy Collins
3 ( 9 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb
4 ( 4 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
5 ( 2 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
6 ( 8 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
7 ( 5 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
8 ( 10 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
9 ( 7 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
10 ( 14 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood

11 ( 6 ) HITCHIN’ A RIDE Vanity Fare
12 ( 11 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger
13 ( 16 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD Sacha Distel
14 ( 12 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
15 ( NEW ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
16 ( 17 ) LET IT ALL HANG OUT Jonathan King
17 ( 18 ) INSTANT KARMA The Plastic Ono Band
18 ( 19 ) UNITED WE STAND Brotherhood Of Man
19 ( 13 ) WEDDING BELL BLUES The Fifth Dimension
20 ( NEW ) VENUS Shocking Blue

My 1970 Charts – January

My fish tank and mum - and my first ever single (Dizzy by Tommy Roe) is on the rack under the tank

My fish tank and mum – and my first ever single (Dizzy by Tommy Roe) is on the rack under the tank


youtube video links can be found with my charts here


6th January 1970

A new year a new decade, and the futuristic-sounding 1970 heralded the best year of my life by far, to date. Two Little Boys had a 2nd week at 1, The Archies go top 5, and the only new entry was the goodbye single from Diana Ross and The Supremes. Someday We’ll Be Together, sings Ms. Ross. She lies, no way no how not ever ever have she and Mary Wilson patched things up enough to arrange that (barring one-off performances), to my disappointment. I saw Mary Wilson in concert a few years back and she was great fun. Fun and Diana Ross, aren’t necessarily concepts that sound right, I guess, which is a shame as she had a fantastic honey-sweet vocal ability that set off an epic ballad a treat, not to mention the odd powerful uptempo stomper, dance or otherwise, and I would have loved to see them (and Cindy Birdsong) do a proper 60’s-inspired album together. Sadly, it was increasingly mundane post-1986 for our Diane, till she just gave it all up.

1 ( 1 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
2 ( 3 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
3 ( 2 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 4 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
5 ( 6 ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies

6 ( 7 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
8 ( 5 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
9 ( 9 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
10 ( NEW ) SOMEDAY WE’LL BE TOGETHER Diana Ross And The Supremes

In Singapore, I could mention we still lived in our 4-bedroom rented house in Bedokville, but the cost was becoming an issue and we had our name on the waiting list for a cheaper place nearer RAF Changi. Which was a great pity, I enjoyed the suburban feel of the estate, the neighbours – we went to a wedding of a tall RAF lad and his much-shorter pretty young Chinese girlfriend, and they moved in diagonally opposite out place. Big RAF do’s involved lots of booze, mini-skirted other-halves, and kids running around everywhere, and with few above 35 in attendance. I also loved Bedok Junction, there was a furniture-maker where we eventually bought some hand-carved ornate Chinese-styled designs on coffee tables of various sizes and shapes, lamp stands, newspaper racks and a linen chest, all made of teak, which looked gorgeous. I love them all still 40 years later, though of course we now know that teak is very much a no no, being rainforest and old timber, and devastating to the environment to chop down. In those days information on such things was few and far between, or else I would have nagged my parents not to buy them, being increasingly anti-war, social-equality and environmentally-friendly as I had now hit the advanced age of 12, virtually grown-up, and had opinions on a world that seemed all unfair.

In the world, The Beatles last studio recording (while all were still alive) was the day after my birthday, though as yet we all thought they would go on forever, so much were they part of 60’s life. Back in the UK we had a new Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee, though it meant nothing to me as Patrick Troughton’s run was still being run in Singapore hooray!

The 1970 wedding, mum and friends seated - pregnant Jill, Pete, Lofty

The 1970 wedding, mum and friends seated – pregnant Jill, Pete, Lofty


13th January 1970

3 weeks for Rolf presiding over a still-short and inactive chart, but at least Marmalade’s fab Reflections goes up to 2, equalling their cover of Paul McCartney’s Beatles Ob La Di Ob La Da. Talking of Paul McCartney covers, he wrote a jolly poprock track for The Iveys, now known as Badfinger and signed to The Beatles Apple Records. Come And Get It was a great pop track, and introduced the very good (and ill-fated) Badfinger to the chart-world. They ended up getting more great hits (self-written), writing Without You for Nilsson, and recently had the closing song on Breaking Bad’s TV series. Sadly by then, following the legal mess of Apple Records, they had struggled commercially and the two main songwriters/singers had both killed themselves at ages 27 and 36 respectively.

More happily, a reggae track pops in at 8, instrumental The Liquidator, which is not actually a Singapore track I recall hearing or liking but when I heard it on returning to the UK it sounded so familiar I included it in my charts of the time, so Harry J & The All Stars get their only hit (barring re-issues). Harry was a Jamaican record producer who went on to hit with the classic Bob & Marcia hit Young Gifted And Black, but was one of the key tracks for skinheads, a youth movement that had started up. By the time I got back UK-bound in late 1971, skinhead’s were fairly obvious in those longer-haired times and had based their movement around reggae music, which in the 80’s had morphed into a racist-fringed aggressive cult. Irony?

1 ( 1 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
2 ( 4 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
3 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 2 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
5 ( NEW ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger

6 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 8 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
8 ( NEW ) THE LIQUIDATOR The Harry J All Stars
9 ( 7 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
10 ( 5 ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies


My DC comics hobby was getting pretty exciting as I got random 1969 (and older) issues of Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman, Supergirl, Teen Titans, Justice League Of America, Batman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Superboy and World’s Finest in particular. To be honest, though, if I had the cash available I’d take anything labelled DC. Marvel Comics? I don’t recall them even being about, never mind being an attraction. I look back at the cover issues and get massive pangs of nostalgia transporting me back to the happy tropics.

Singapore got it’s constitution this week, and the Biafran War ended after several bloody and famine-stricken years in Nigeria, around a million dead, and after watching the awful images on television as I was growing up. Biafra was a wannabe breakaway state, and Nigeria (independent in 1960 from the UK) wasn’t keen. It’s worth repeating that a MILLION people died and then despair over human nature. For all of the current terrible problems in the world, there is at least an awareness these days of foreign events unfolding which can put pressure on them ending before they escalate to ever-more terrible conclusions and atrocities. The roots of the conflict? Religious, oil and historical (the British Empire boundary-defining). No change there then in basic causes of conflicts that continue elsewhere in the world…


20th January 1970

Things finally start to happen in my charts, as Marmalade grab their first well-deserved chart-topper with the touching Reflections Of My Life. Badfinger go up to 4 and there are 4 new entries, the highest from Edison Lighthouse, the fantastic (or “Ace” as we tended to say then) Love Grows, a huge pop UK chart-topper that was pretty popular on Singapore radio and Forces network shows. Showcasing (of course) the great pop vocals of Tony Burrows who famously appeared on Top of the Pops around this time as lead singer for Edison Lighthouse, White Plains and Brotherhood Of Man. Pretty successful! Written by Tony Macauley and Geoff Stephens who each had a massive string of hit songs in the 60’s and 70’s (loads of them are still well known), it couldn’t really go wrong, and didn’t.

In at 7 it’s a John Denver debut – as songwriter. Peter Paul and Mary were pretty well-known in the 60’s, with folk-hits like Blowin’ In The Wind and Puff The Magic Dragon, the latter a kiddie tearjerker loved by all, and here they were with a last hurrah with the lovely Leaving On A Jet Plane. Sweet. As I’d been on a jet plane recently, it spoke to me. At 9, one that has grown with the years for me, these days I absolutely love the Temptations in their funk heyday from 1969 through to 1973, and especially the brilliant I Can’t Get Next To You, a record I love more and more the older I get. I liked it, then by the 80’s I liked it a lot, in the 90’s I loved it, and now I’ve REALLY gone big on it. The psychedelic youtube live performance video is great but the recorded record on loud? Awesome! At 10, a pleasant-enough ballad from group Arrival, Friends, unless you’re typing too fast, in which case Fiends.

1 ( 2 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
2 ( 1 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 5 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger
5 ( NEW ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse

6 ( 4 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
7 ( NEW ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
8 ( 7 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
9 ( NEW ) I CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU The Temptations
10 ( NEW ) FRIENDS Arrival


One of the first purchases to reflect our Forces-overseas affluence (relative to being at home, only, of course) was a proper actual record-player/FM radio with 2 actual speakers for actual stereo, which was a revelation in sound for me. The old blue portable record-player dad bought in Aden was functional, but it was tinny in sound to say the least. This was black plastic, wooden framed class in comparison, and music suddenly was wide-screen. Dad started buying appropriately wide-screen albums and EP’s, like Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl EP, which had the big Don’t Rain On My Parade for me to singalong to. Radio also benefitted though, it just sounded so much better! Hooray!

fish tank brother mother records and all from a polaroid instamatic camera photo new miracle invention and chemical smells that linger 45 years later

fish tank brother mother records and all from a polaroid instamatic camera photo new miracle invention and chemical smells that linger 45 years later


27th January 1970

Edison Lighthouse get that number one, one-hit wonders in actual fact here, but singer Tony Burrows would eventually get another under the name First Class. Peter Paul And Mary also go up, to 4. At 8, Vanity Fayre return with another catchy pop ditty, Hitchin’ A Ride, I loved the tune, though the version I was more familiar with (off the radio) was a version by Frank Ifield of all people, early 60’s yodelling favourite. I suppose in truth I should replace Vanity Fayre with Frank in my chart – I did get a tape copy of it off the local radio in Singapore, but it’s been utterly unavailable on vinyl, CD, download, streaming youtube or anyplace in the whole wide world for 45 years or so: till I just googled it and found it on a vinyl album in Brighton for £25. Hmmm, how much do I want it….?

The big news is the belated 3rd hit for big fave singer Mary Hopkin, who was still trying for her hat-trick of number ones, though very much not in a hurry, Those Were The Days in 1968 and Goodbye in 1969, averaging one single a year! Temma Harbour was gorgeously tropical and evocative, sort of calypso-flavoured in a honey-sweet folk coating with lush strings taking me to an aural tropical paradise. Actually, I heavily associate the record with Singapore, the lyrics make references to sunshine, sea, waves, catching fish and coconut trees and that pretty much summed up my way of life at the time. So, not very Asian, more Caribbean, but still tropical images for me.

1 ( 5 ) LOVE GROWS (WHERE MY ROSEMARY GOES) Edison Lighthouse
2 ( 1 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
3 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 7 ) LEAVING ON A JET PLANE Peter, Paul And Mary
5 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris

6 ( 4 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger
7 ( NEW ) TEMMA HARBOUR Mary Hopkin
8 ( NEW ) HITCHIN’ A RIDE Vanity Fayre
9 ( 10 ) FRIENDS Arrival
10 ( 6 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry

Talking of catching fish… it wasn’t to kill, though, it was for my tropical fish tank, which we got at Bedok Junction fish shop, whole tanks of multi-coloured fish of all shapes and sizes just waiting to be put together in one tank – on the one hand I have brilliant vivid memories of shiny green neon tetra, exotic angel face, nippy tiger barb’s, cleaning sucker fish loach, grey catfish, zebra fish, black mollies and especially guppies to devote hours of watching on, on the other hand I also have traumatic memories of the fast-growing angel fish bullying other fish and on one horrendous occasion watch one chop a guppy in half, the poor thing had a horrible slow death because I couldn’t bear having to put it out of it’s torment. Angel fish are not cute, trust me. Guppies are. I used to go fishing for guppies in monsoon drains some months later – the wild males weren’t as multi-coloured as the shop ones, and had smaller tails, but I liked to think I was giving them a good home. Plus it reminded me of days by the river in Chesham, when I was 6 years old and used to catch sticklebacks to keep as pets. At least till they died overnight in the bucket, the inconsiderate little things just didn’t return my love by staying alive and eating bread! Happily the guppies all survived, by and large. Hooray!