My 1970 Charts – January

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

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

youtube video links can be found with my charts here

6th January 1970

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13th January 1970

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

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

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

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

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

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

20th January 1970

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

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

1 ( 2 ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
2 ( 1 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
4 ( 5 ) COME AND GET IT Badfinger

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

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

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

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

27th January 1970

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

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

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

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

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