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 1969 Charts – October

mum n dad looking cool

mum n dad looking cool

OCT 1969

7th Oct 1969

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

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

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

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

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

14th October 1969

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

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital


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

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

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

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

21st October 1969

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

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

28th October 1969

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

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

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

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

Changi beach and views of the islands

Changi beach and views of the islands


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

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