My September 1970 Charts

tanah merah exterior

122F Tanah Merah Besar – now under the new Changi Prison I think, tragically. Note no tree at the front of the house. By the time we left it was 2 or 3m tall. 

 

1st September 1970

1 year to the day since leaving for Singapore and Desmond Dekker tops my chart for a second week – when I left it was It Mek that I was just getting in to before cruelly not being able to hear it for another few years! This one though got some radio airplay. 2 new entries, Canadians The Poppy Family became better known as Terry Jacks – well, one of them did anyway. Bobby Bloom pops in with another Caribbean-flavoured song for 1970, following Mary Hopkin’s Temma Harbour.

1 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
2 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
3 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 5 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
6 ( 9 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
7 ( 8 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( 7 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
9 ( 6 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 11 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board

11 ( 10 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
12 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
13 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
14 ( 17 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
15 ( NEW ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
16 ( 14 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
17 ( NEW ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
18 ( 15 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
19 ( 16 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
20 ( 19 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin

 

8th September 1970

3 weeks on top for Desmond, 3 weeks at 2 for Hot Chocolate, 4 weeks at 3 for Bread… not much happening!

The Poppy Family leap into the top 5, and Bobby Bloom to 7, but the big news is THREE new entries, whooo! At 12, Jimmy Cliff’s lovely Cat Stevens cover is in, It’s A, It’s A, It’s A Wild World as Jonathan King covered it post-Pet Shop Boys not-guilty but not entirely dissimilar It’s A Sin. Holland-Dozier-Holland, ex-Motown Masterminds of brilliance (or Tamla Motown as we called the label in the UK in those days, let’s be accurate about it) set up their new label/production company Invictus – Chairmen Of The Board and Freda Payne were on it – cue the sheer brilliant Band Of Gold, a heart-rending tale of a newly-wed who’s husband isn’t up to the job on the wedding night, or thereafter. Gotta feel for her, what a rat! That leaves Three Dog Night, back with a Randy Newman cover. Like all their covers it’s not as good as the original. Or any other cover, though it’s a close call in this case with the Tom Jones and Stereophonics 90’s hit cover.

1 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
2 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
3 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 15 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
6 ( 8 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
7 ( 17 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
8 ( 7 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 10 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
10 ( 9 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies

11 ( 11 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
12 ( NEW ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
13 ( 14 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
14 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
15 ( NEW ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
16 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
17 ( 16 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
18 ( 20 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
19 ( 18 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
20 ( NEW ) MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME Three Dog Night

 

15th September 1970

There’s some actual chart movement as the Tremeloes enter at 1 with the fab stomping guitar-riffed Me And My Life, their only chart-topper, though I’d known the band for years – ironically this was pretty much their last fling as far as big hits were concerned, though they had further chart hits with me for another 4 years. Jimmy Cliff climbs to 6, his biggest hit here, and Diana Ross not only covers Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell’s song, she turns it into a monster dramatic ballad and gets her second solo hit. It’s an epic version that sets the template for the next 2 years of fab singles, and another 4 years of lesser singles before an abrupt change was called for.

2 metal classics enter at 15 and 20, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, both of them to chart again in 1980. Paranoid is the best of the two, and Deep Purple aren’t technically debuting as in my “retro” charts of 1967 and 1968 (ie ones I’m doing now to comprehensively survey the weekly music scenes of that era) they more or less charted as Episode Six (with Morning Dew) and also with a cover of Joe South’s Hush, a bigger hit for Kula Shaker into the future.

1 ( NEW ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
3 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 5 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
6 ( 12 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
7 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
8 ( NEW ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
9 ( 10 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 8 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel

11 ( 6 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
12 ( 15 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
13 ( 11 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
14 ( 9 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
15 ( NEW ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
16 ( 7 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
17 ( 14 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
18 ( 16 ) LOLA The Kinks
19 ( 13 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
20 ( NEW ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple

Life then…
A week or so into yet again playing the “new boy” at yet another school, this time RAF Changi Grammar, with my new brown leather school bag for all the extra books and work I had to do (much more homework at this school, so I had to up my game to do well, rather than just comfortably coast). I was in the second year, and fellow RAF Seletar transferee Stephen Mears joined at the same time, the two new boys in Mr Chapman’s form. My best friend at Seletar (Stephen Game) was sporty, so that the was the gang I hung in, new friend Stephen was more into chess – so that was the gang I hung in here. Suited me, as apart from running, rounders, volleyball, swimming, team games really didn’t agree with me, rugby and cricket in particular. Another new mate called Stephen (bit of a trend here!) who I knew from 2 terms at Seletar was also here, he was taller and a bit clumsy, not at all sporty, and also into chess and Snagglepuss impressions – so that was it really, I was in with what they called “the swots” in those days, rather than “one of the boys”. To be fair, though, there was very little bullying going on in either RAF school, which completely left me blissfully unaware of the reality of the average British non-forces Secondary Schools. Frankly one of the teachers was more scary…but that’s another tale.

2005_0813slides0103

RAF Changi Grammar School, the building is still there. The art block is at the front near the road, the school hall just behind it. It had aircon! This was a step up from RAF Seletar Secondary Modern which still had outlying classrooms with no aircon and just room fans, some along the sports pitch, some on some land to the rear of the bus gathering area. My concentration wandered when I was sweating profusely. My form room was to the right of the entrance on the first floor I think, above the library which was adjacent the school hall. 

 

22nd September 1970

2 weeks on top for The Trems, as The Carpenters debut at with the Bacharach/David gem Close To You. Just. Gorgeous. Karen’s angelic voice just fit into Singapore culture and radio beautifully, being as it was regarded as “Easy Listening” as they called it in those days. Class, I call it. Ditto Simon & Garfunkel having the fourth top 10 off possibly the greatest album of all-time, which my neighbours had, and had loaned to dad to record the top tracks, including this definitive version – note not the UK hit version by Julie Felix. Freda Payne goes top 10, as I hadn’t actually rated it as highly as I do now.

1 ( 1 ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 2 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
3 ( NEW ) (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU The Carpenters
4 ( 8 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
5 ( NEW ) EL CONDOR PASA Simon And Garfunkel
6 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
7 ( 3 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
8 ( 6 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
9 ( 9 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 12 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne

11 ( 15 ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
12 ( 7 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
13 ( 5 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
14 ( 11 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
15 ( 13 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
16 ( 20 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
17 ( 17 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
18 ( 14 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
19 ( 16 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
20 ( 19 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams

Back at RAF Changi, it was getting to know the teachers and schoolmates, like outgoing and assertive Lee Kleinhans, a kid from South Africa, my best friend next-door was also there, in the first year, along with his older sister a couple of years up from me. Short Gary was likeable – the same couldn’t be said for the fearsome Mr Mynett, the Physics teacher, who put the fear of God into kids with his OTT Sgt-Major-styled methods – short and sharp in appearance and nature. Mr. Magnet we called him. Put me off Physics pretty much. I preferred the nice Biology teacher lady, though I am still waiting for an answer to a question I asked (I never asked questions in class) when she said all fruits had seeds and I asked about bananas. “I’ll tell you later” she said, and never did.

Kids remember these things!

 

29th September 1970

3 weeks on top for The Trems, rather amazingly their only chart-topper in my charts, even in my retrospective charts (I’ve started from January 1967 charting songs new to me and old to me, comprehensively top 50’s – and they don’t come close even though I loved them as a kid). The Carpenters are up to 2, and Simon & Garfunkel at 3 with the track covered by Julie Felix, and highest new entry is at 6 – The Archies are back with a minor US hit, and a track I adored at the time (taping it off their TV show) the joyous bubblegum of Sunshine, which deserves to be better known – or rather known at all. Written by Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom, that’ll be Sugar Sugar and the chap at number 16 with the also-tropical-sounding Montego Bay.

Black Sabbath are a bit Paranoid at being leap-frogged by a cartoon band, but then they DID have their own cartoon character in Ozzy…. In at 17, the soul-funk powerful social commentary of The Temptations’ Ball Of Confusion, Chicago pop back in at 19, and in at 20 one of my recent raves Our World. Blue Mink were fab, but tend to be under-appreciated, quite unfairly as they had a variety of singles, all great quality – this track was written by Herbie Flowers, later of “Grandad” success and Walk On The Wild Side bassline fame, and Kenny Pickett. Madeline Bell did the original version of I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, pre-Diana Ross & Co, which has made my retro 1968 charts – see my wordpress popchartfreak account for those shortly.

1 ( 1 ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 3 ) (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU The Carpenters
3 ( 5 ) EL CONDOR PASA Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 2 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
5 ( 4 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
6 ( NEW ) SUNSHINE The Archies
7 ( 11 ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
8 ( 10 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
9 ( 6 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
10 ( 7 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate

11 ( 8 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
12 ( 13 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
13 ( 12 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
14 ( 16 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
15 ( 15 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
16 ( 19 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
17 ( NEW ) BALL OF CONFUSION The Temptations
18 ( 18 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
19 ( RE ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
20 ( NEW ) OUR WORLD Blue Mink

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My September 1970 Charts

1st September 1970

1 year to the day since leaving for Singapore and Desmond Dekker tops my chart for a second week – when I left it was It Mek that I was just getting in to before cruelly not being able to hear it for another few years! This one though got some radio airplay. 2 new entries, Canadians The Poppy Family became better known as Terry Jacks – well, one of them did anyway. Bobby Bloom pops in with another Caribbean-flavoured song for 1970, following Mary Hopkin’s Temma Harbour.

1 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
2 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
3 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 5 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
6 ( 9 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
7 ( 8 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( 7 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
9 ( 6 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 11 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board

11 ( 10 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
12 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
13 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
14 ( 17 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
15 ( NEW ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
16 ( 14 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
17 ( NEW ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
18 ( 15 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
19 ( 16 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
20 ( 19 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin

8th September 1970

3 weeks on top for Desmond, 3 weeks at 2 for Hot Chocolate, 4 weeks at 3 for Bread… not much happening!

The Poppy Family leap into the top 5, and Bobby Bloom to 7, but the big news is THREE new entries, whooo! At 12, Jimmy Cliff’s lovely Cat Stevens cover is in, It’s A, It’s A, It’s A Wild World as Jonathan King covered it post-Pet Shop Boys not-guilty but not entirely dissimilar It’s A Sin. Holland-Dozier-Holland, ex-Motown Masterminds of brilliance (or Tamla Motown as we called the label in the UK in those days, let’s be accurate about it) set up their new label/production company Invictus – Chairmen Of The Board and Freda Payne were on it – cue the sheer brilliant Band Of Gold, a heart-rending tale of a newly-wed who’s husband isn’t up to the job on the wedding night, or thereafter. Gotta feel for her, what a rat! That leaves Three Dog Night, back with a Randy Newman cover. Like all their covers it’s not as good as the original. Or any other cover, though it’s a close call in this case with the Tom Jones and Stereophonics 90’s hit cover.

1 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
2 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
3 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 15 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
6 ( 8 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
7 ( 17 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
8 ( 7 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 10 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
10 ( 9 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies

11 ( 11 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
12 ( NEW ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
13 ( 14 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
14 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
15 ( NEW ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
16 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
17 ( 16 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
18 ( 20 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
19 ( 18 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
20 ( NEW ) MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME Three Dog Night

15th September 1970

There’s some actual chart movement as the Tremeloes enter at 1 with the fab stomping guitar-riffed Me And My Life, their only chart-topper, though I’d known the band for years – ironically this was pretty much their last fling as far as big hits were concerned, though they had further chart hits with me for another 4 years. Jimmy Cliff climbs to 6, his biggest hit here, and Diana Ross not only covers Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell’s song, she turns it into a monster dramatic ballad and gets her second solo hit. It’s an epic version that sets the template for the next 2 years of fab singles, and another 4 years of lesser singles before an abrupt change was called for.

2 metal classics enter at 15 and 20, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, both of them to chart again in 1980. Paranoid is the best of the two, and Deep Purple aren’t technically debuting as in my “retro” charts of 1967 and 1968 (ie ones I’m doing now to comprehensively survey the weekly music scenes of that era) they more or less charted as Episode Six (with Morning Dew) and also with a cover of Joe South’s Hush, a bigger hit for Kula Shaker into the future.

1 ( NEW ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 1 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
3 ( 2 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
4 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 5 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
6 ( 12 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
7 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
8 ( NEW ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
9 ( 10 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 8 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel

11 ( 6 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
12 ( 15 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
13 ( 11 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
14 ( 9 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
15 ( NEW ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
16 ( 7 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
17 ( 14 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
18 ( 16 ) LOLA The Kinks
19 ( 13 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
20 ( NEW ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple

Life then…
A week or so into yet again playing the “new boy” at yet another school, this time RAF Changi Grammar, with my new brown leather school bag for all the extra books and work I had to do (much more homework at this school, so I had to up my game to do well, rather than just comfortably coast). I was in the second year, and fellow RAF Seletar transferee Stephen Mears joined at the same time, the two new boys in Mr Chapman’s form. My best friend at Seletar (Stephen Game) was sporty, so that the was the gang I hung in, new friend Stephen was more into chess – so that was the gang I hung in here. Suited me, as apart from running, rounders, volleyball, swimming, team games really didn’t agree with me, rugby and cricket in particular. Another new mate called Stephen (bit of a trend here!) who I knew from 2 terms at Seletar was also here, he was taller and a bit clumsy, not at all sporty, and also into chess and Snagglepuss impressions – so that was it really, I was in with what they called “the swots” in those days, rather than “one of the boys”. To be fair, though, there was very little bullying going on in either RAF school, which completely left me blissfully unaware of the reality of the average British non-forces Secondary Schools. Frankly one of the teachers was more scary…but that’s another tale.

22nd September 1970

2 weeks on top for The Trems, as The Carpenters debut at with the Bacharach/David gem Close To You. Just. Gorgeous. Karen’s angelic voice just fit into Singapore culture and radio beautifully, being as it was regarded as “Easy Listening” as they called it in those days. Class, I call it. Ditto Simon & Garfunkel having the fourth top 10 off possibly the greatest album of all-time, which my neighbours had, and had loaned to dad to record the top tracks, including this definitive version – note not the UK hit version by Julie Felix. Freda Payne goes top 10, as I hadn’t actually rated it as highly as I do now.

1 ( 1 ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 2 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
3 ( NEW ) (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU The Carpenters
4 ( 8 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
5 ( NEW ) EL CONDOR PASA Simon And Garfunkel
6 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
7 ( 3 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
8 ( 6 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
9 ( 9 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
10 ( 12 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne

11 ( 15 ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
12 ( 7 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
13 ( 5 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
14 ( 11 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
15 ( 13 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
16 ( 20 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
17 ( 17 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
18 ( 14 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
19 ( 16 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
20 ( 19 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams

Back at RAF Changi, it was getting to know the teachers and schoolmates, like outgoing and assertive Lee Kleinhans, a kid from South Africa, my best friend next-door was also there, in the first year, along with his older sister a couple of years up from me. Short Gary was likeable – the same couldn’t be said for the fearsome Mr Mynett, the Physics teacher, who put the fear of God into kids with his OTT Sgt-Major-styled methods – short and sharp in appearance and nature. Mr. Magnet we called him. Put me off Physics pretty much. I preferred the nice Biology teacher lady, though I am still waiting for an answer to a question I asked (I never asked questions in class) when she said all fruits had seeds and I asked about bananas. “I’ll tell you later” she said, and never did.

Kids remember these things!

29th September 1970

3 weeks on top for The Trems, rather amazingly their only chart-topper in my charts, even in my retrospective charts (I’ve started from January 1967 charting songs new to me and old to me, comprehensively top 50’s – and they don’t come close even though I loved them as a kid). The Carpenters are up to 2, and Simon & Garfunkel at 3 with the track covered by Julie Felix, and highest new entry is at 6 – The Archies are back with a minor US hit, and a track I adored at the time (taping it off their TV show) the joyous bubblegum of Sunshine, which deserves to be better known – or rather known at all. Written by Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom, that’ll be Sugar Sugar and the chap at number 16 with the also-tropical-sounding Montego Bay.

Black Sabbath are a bit Paranoid at being leap-frogged by a cartoon band, but then they DID have their own cartoon character in Ozzy…. In at 17, the soul-funk powerful social commentary of The Temptations’ Ball Of Confusion, Chicago pop back in at 19, and in at 20 one of my recent raves Our World. Blue Mink were fab, but tend to be under-appreciated, quite unfairly as they had a variety of singles, all great quality – this track was written by Herbie Flowers, later of “Grandad” success and Walk On The Wild Side bassline fame, and Kenny Pickett. Madeline Bell did the original version of I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, pre-Diana Ross & Co, which has made my retro 1968 charts – see my wordpress popchartfreak account for those shortly.

1 ( 1 ) ME AND MY LIFE The Tremeloes
2 ( 3 ) (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU The Carpenters
3 ( 5 ) EL CONDOR PASA Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 2 ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
5 ( 4 ) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH Diana Ross
6 ( NEW ) SUNSHINE The Archies
7 ( 11 ) PARANOID Black Sabbath
8 ( 10 ) BAND OF GOLD Freda Payne
9 ( 6 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
10 ( 7 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate

11 ( 8 ) WILD WORLD Jimmy Cliff
12 ( 13 ) WHICH WAY YOU GOING BILLY? The Poppy Family
13 ( 12 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
14 ( 16 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
15 ( 15 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
16 ( 19 ) MONTEGO BAY Bobby Bloom
17 ( NEW ) BALL OF CONFUSION The Temptations
18 ( 18 ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
19 ( RE ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
20 ( NEW ) OUR WORLD Blue Mink

My August 1970 Charts

4th August 1970

3 weeks for Cliff on top, and Elvis is on his heels at 2, how appropriate since Cliff modeled himself on early Elvis! Marmalade go for a 4th top 5, a melancholy Rainbow, and The Archies get a 5th Top 10 with a record that still has never been officially released in either the UK or the USA. Smokey Robinson gets a top ten song about tears, no not The Tracks Of My, this time it’s the equally classic Of A Clown.

Motown labelmates The Jackson 5, the hottest pop group around, enter at 13 with a third hit The Love You Save, a big improvement on ABC for me. They were the darlings of US variety shows of the time, not least the Ed Sullivan Show, which we had on TV in Singapore, albeit a while later. Look at the clip and marvel at Michael’s precociousness as performer. Fab. The other new record is at 20, Fairweather’s Natural Sinner. I’ve added it in retroactively as I didn’t hear it until 1975 while Andy Fairweather-Low was undergoing a solo career revival, having already had the hit pop group success with Amen Corner, including topping my charts in 1969 with Half As Nice. Not his finest hour, in all honesty.

1 ( 1 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
2 ( 4 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
3 ( 3 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
4 ( 2 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 12 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
6 ( 5 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
7 ( 13 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
8 ( 14 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
9 ( 8 ) LOLA The Kinks
10 ( 10 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles

11 ( 9 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
12 ( 6 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
13 ( NEW ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
14 ( 17 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
15 ( 16 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
16 ( 15 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
17 ( 19 ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
18 ( 18 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
19 ( 20 ) COTTONFIELDS The Beach Boys
20 ( NEW ) NATURAL SINNER Fairweather


Talking of Ed Sullivan. As I’ve said before, in many ways my TV world of the 60’s and early 70’s was much more American than British, and that held true especially in Singapore – there were UK shows but they tended to be the sci-fi shows like Doctor Who and UFO, which was the latest, most exciting. mind-blowing show for me to get hooked on. Gerry Anderson had gone into live action TV, keeping the model-making for the space-age vehicles and flying saucers, as we called them in those days. I loved it. I also loved American variety shows like Ed Sullivan, though he was very, very dull. He also regularly had an awful cute mime mouse on far too often (once was more than enough, never mind 50 times in 8 years) Topo Gigio. If I’ve repeated myself here, apologies, just take it as a warning as it’s still on youtube! Avoid!

11th August 1970

A second number one from The Archies, Love Vibrations was featured on Archie’s Funhouse, an hour-long mix of songs and sketches and short stories, with a supposed live audience of kids. See lower down for more info! On an otherwise still-dull chart, Smokey Robinson goes top 5, Jackson 5 top 10, both Motown, and there are 2 new entries, both songs Tom Jones has recorded. Just as well as his version of I (Who Have Nothing) is in at 16, a terrific dramatic ballad, with The Voice on fine form. Shirley Bassey had the UK 1963 hit version (produced by George Martin) but this was a cover of Ben E. King’s US original English-language version of an Italian hit 1961 song by Joe Sentieri.

At 20, is another cover by Three Dog Night, this time Randy Newman’s Mama Told Me Not To Come, typically lyrically quirky and interesting and 2 or 3 decades before he became a big-deal movie composer for Pixar and others. I’d prefer to hear Randy, but this passed the time till Tom Jones covered it for his Reloaded album with Stereophonics.
1 ( 7 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
2 ( 2 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
3 ( 3 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
4 ( 5 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
5 ( 8 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
6 ( 4 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
7 ( 1 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
8 ( 6 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
9 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
10 ( 13 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5

11 ( 9 ) LOLA The Kinks
12 ( 10 ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
13 ( 14 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
14 ( 11 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
15 ( 16 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
16 ( NEW ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
17 ( 15 ) BIG YELLOW TAXI Joni Mitchell
18 ( 18 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free
19 ( 17 ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
20 ( NEW ) MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME Three Dog Night


Archie’s Funhouse and Love Vibrations: I’ve bought the series DVD in haze of rose-tinted bliss, and it’s excruciating to sit through – except for the songs. I enjoyed the Archie comics, but I loved the cartoon band pop to bits and recorded this direct off the TV at the time, tinny and all from a hand microphone onto my mid-60’s reel-to-reel (well, technically dad’s recorder but my need was greater and I acquired it pretty much so I could record every song I loved from that moment on. That was a LOT of songs and a lot of blank reel-to-reel tapes for me to save up to buy for the next 20 years. I’m obviously biased but I still love this song, written by one Neil Brian Goldberg, a songwriter who never made it but who impacted me and I hope other young kids of the time.

What happened was that music maestro and Archies producer/songwriter Jeff Barry was moving on (he of hit songwriting married couple Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich, many a legendary song like Be My Baby, Da Do Ron Ron, Leader Of The Pack, River Deep Mountain High, and of course Sugar Sugar also for the Archies without Ellie). He took on Neil who ignored instructions to dumb down the hit machine and aim for 7-year-olds – instead his subject matter for songs was the world, the environment, civil rights, fairly serious topics for kiddie-pop. I noticed. I also noticed the promo cartoon videos to accompany and the fab tunes still sung by Ron Dante. Only 4 of the dozens of songs ever made it to limited release and none are available to buy to this day, including this one. So this will be the only chart it has ever appeared in. Boo! Hiss! It’s sweet (or twee), ever-so-slightly hippie psychedelic and melodic bubblegum.

18th August 1970

It’s Elvis on top, with his second number one in just over a year, following on from In The Ghetto. The Wonder Of You was originally a 1959 hit for Ray Peterson, but Elvis notched up the drama, now entering his Las Vegas phase and it was essentially Showbiz City from here on. I was still mad on Elvis and it would be another 2 years before the increasingly naff singles caused me to lose my love – in retrospect it all started here, really, give or take, as Parody Elvis killed off Gospel Elvis. These days, The Wonder Of You is nowhere near the top of my list of classic Presley.

Cat Stevens gets to 2, just ahead of a new entry for a new act, Bread. Bread was essentially David Gates, a great songwriter with an angelic sweet vocal, which I loved, but which provoked the same reaction amongst musos as The Carpenters – sweet equals sickly in their eyes, totally unable to appreciate the song quality. Make It With You is gorgeous, and was covered in the 90’s by Let Loose, to reasonable effect.

In at 5, one of my all-time fave bands of the 70’s debut – Hot Chocolate, fresh off The Beatles Apple label, and now with Micky Most’s RAK Records, loved that yacht logo on the vinyl. Errol Brown led the mixed race combo, in itself a statement at that time, and Errol and bandmate Tony Wilson showed they were nifty songwriters pretty much immediately (writing for other acts like Mary Hopkin). The organ and strings riffs of Love Is Life and that shuffling percussive rhythm were irresistible to me, and that soaring melody just fabulous. Still love it to bits.

Also in, at 19, Andy Williams is back with It’s So Easy, my top-rated crooner of the time. Andy was never bad, and I loved that he covered current hits on his show and albums. Just look at him singing this bouncy joyous pop ditty live – effortless and stylish.

1 ( 2 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
2 ( 3 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
3 ( NEW ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 7 ) GOODBY SAM HELLO SAMANTHA Cliff Richard
5 ( NEW ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate

6 ( 1 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
7 ( 4 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
8 ( 6 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 5 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
10 ( 8 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry

11 ( 10 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
12 ( 9 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
13 ( 11 ) LOLA The Kinks
14 ( 13 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
15 ( 16 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones

16 ( 19 ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
17 ( 15 ) IT’S ALL IN THE GAME The Four Tops
18 ( 14 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
19 ( NEW ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
20 ( 18 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free

Back in Singapore, time for some end-of-holiday musings and summary: the long summer holiday from school was pretty literal there, hot days, comics, music, TV, swimming pool, beach, catching fish for my tank, and yet more comics. I was getting a pretty good set of new Action Comics by this time, as well as back issues of Adventure Comics, all featuring my beloved Legion Of Super-Heroes (and Superboy and Superman). I can’t understate how shaky and sweaty I would get when I came across a new issue – the surge of excitement overcame everything else. I had to have them, no matter what. By this time I was off on longer bus journeys, to Katong and Siglap bookstores and roadside kiosks, to Changi Village second-hand bookstores, and to Singapore City plush department stores newsagent sections (with grown-ups, that one, it was just that bit too daunting to go into the city on my own). Just as well I didn’t always tell where I’d been (I used to say Bedok, near where we first lived, and bring back fish from the tropical fish store for the tank as proof). Ah happy days, and I even got friend Dale to accompany me too, eventually – his parents also didn’t know. Given the red-flag bombs left locally aimed at us kids, as I’ve already said, I had to get my priorities right. I knew the risks, took no chances straying from the main bus route and the shops, and I wouldn’t have trusted strangers, but those comics were meant for me, I had to have them! I still have them….

I noticed by now that the comics I brought over from the UK were getting a bit brown and stained round the edges, so hot and humid was it, constantly. I had moth balls in the draw I kept them in, but that didn’t stop it. The expensive new ones needed to be kept as mint as possible in my obsessive eyes. I came up with a solution. Bread rolls. Or rather the bags the rolls came in, labelled with Bakers logos and so on, but otherwise transparent – I washed them out, dried them off for a day or two, and stored my comics in them one in each bag. Then inside a larger bag. It worked – they are still inside the same bags 46 years later, fairly airtight and stacked in my childhood wooden box. Some might call that anal retentive and they’d be right. But my comics are still near mint and worth a bob or two now.

25th August 1970

School hols nearly over, and it’s a reggae new entry at 1 for Desmond Dekker, finally getting the top spot after peaking at with Israelites the previous year. Written by Jamaican reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, You Can Get It If You Really Want was a fab melodic pop groove released on the super-cool reggae label Trojan. Back in 1970, though, Desmond was the big reggae star. Hot Chocolate go up to 2 with the fantastic Love Is Life, and Marmalade hold at 3 with the lovely Rainbow. New at 11, a future Kylie cover, the soulful funk of Chairmen Of The Board, starting their string of hits with one of their great singles, Give Me Just A Little More Time. Lead singer General Johnson had a terrific voice, and the creative team was ex-Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland on their new Invictus record label. Funkier, but still fab.

1 ( NEW ) YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT Desmond Dekker
2 ( 5 ) LOVE IS LIFE Hot Chocolate
3 ( 3 ) MAKE IT WITH YOU Bread
4 ( 1 ) THE WONDER OF YOU Elvis Presley
5 ( 2 ) LADY D’ARBANVILLE Cat Stevens
6 ( 6 ) LOVE VIBRATIONS The Archies
7 ( 7 ) RAINBOW Marmalade
8 ( 8 ) CECILIA Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 10 ) IN THE SUMMERTIME Mungo Jerry
10 ( 9 ) TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

11 ( NEW ) GIVE ME JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME Chairmen Of The Board
12 ( 12 ) NEANDERTHAL MAN Hotlegs
13 ( 13 ) LOLA The Kinks
14 ( 11 ) THE LOVE YOU SAVE The Jackson 5
15 ( 15 ) I (WHO HAVE NOTHING) Tom Jones
16 ( 14 ) SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Stevie Wonder
17 ( 19 ) IT’S SO EASY Andy Williams
18 ( 16 ) 25 OR 6 TO 4 Chicago
19 ( 18 ) I’LL SAY FOREVER MY LOVE Jimmy Ruffin
20 ( 20 ) ALL RIGHT NOW Free


Back in the tropics, what kind of games were popular in our house? I got a fab game called Battling Tops for christmas which dad and his RAF mates also pissed themselves over – it was like an old amphitheatre but curved. Basically you wrapped up to 4 spinning tops in nylon rope, placed them in the 4 starter blocks at 90 degrees around the arena, and pulled hard. They then went mad, spinning towards each other and colliding, and the winner was the one who didn’t get chucked out the arena and who spun the longest.

The grown-ups were big on Canasta, very much a social thing among young married couples, or a ladies-only bit of fun – I still adore card games but they seem to be a thing of the past generally these days. Anyway, I watched avidly behind each grown-up watching how they played till I picked it up, and eventually I got to play too. Yay!

The other big social do, again for couples, but also men’s beer-drinking gatherings at our house (cos we had a dartboard) was darts. Mum and dad went onto the main RAF camp for nights out (we stayed on our own, brother & I, locked indoors with neighbours opposite keeping an eye on the house), I was quite sensible from an early age, these days you’d be done for child abandonment but at 12 or 13 years old I certainly didn’t feel I needed a baby sitter to control my younger brother and a bit of squabbling now and then. Anyway, they won loads of team darts awards, albeit some as runners-up (still have the little wooden plaques and cups) and I got to play darts as much as I wanted. Never did get great at it, though, preferred DC Comics and pop music and American TV.

Other board games: Monopoly (of course), Careers, Scrabble, Mouse Trap, and minor ones like draughts, snakes and ladders, ludo and so on. My big new board game, though, was Chess. I joined the chess club at Seletar Secondary Modern in my first year, and liked it, and ended up getting my own super-funky magnetic chess board (still have it) which I took to my new upcoming school, where I basically spent breaks with the other nerds playing chess. Yes my days of hanging about with the cool kids running round school playgrounds and playing fields were over, the new RAF Changi Grammar School was a whole different ball game, so to speak, and I pretty quickly got labelled a “swot” which was the social kiss of death for any shy boy. To be continued in September, and day one at school…

 

My 1970 Charts – July

me162
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

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