My 1969 Charts – December

school book

school book

videos click here

2nd December 1969

4th week on top for The Archies, holding off my Youtube dilemma for a while, as Rolf gets to 2. Bobbie Gentry joins herself in the top 5 with a cover duet of the Everley Brothers All I Have To Do Is Dream, with the great Glen Campbell. I’ll be honest, despite a catalogue of great songs, and apart from Cathy’s Clown, I much prefer the cover versions of Everley Brothers hits, including this one. In at 10, it’s Elvis with his 3rd Top 10 of the year, with what is generally regarded as his best record post-50’s. Suspicious Minds is a classic, but I barely got to hear it at all in Singapore, which is why it under-performs first time round. Not to worry, it has a second, third, fourth and fifth run to make up for it… cos it IS a classic after all.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 4 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 2 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 3 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
5 ( NEW ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry

8 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
9 ( 7 ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
10 ( NEW ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley

Talking of Singapore, at school in geography we were learning about kelongs which were dotted around the coast in those days – it’s a Malayan word and structure, wooden huts and poles sticking out into the sea and used for fishing. We even built a mini-model structure on a painted coastal scene, which I really enjoyed, it was bringing geography (and history) to life and certainly wouldn’t have featured in any UK syllabus in those days. The schools still followed the UK exam systems for 11plus, CSE’s, O Levels, A levels, but there seemed to be a bit more flexibility for teachers to pick topics they enjoyed and could be enthusiastic about. Mind you, Mrs Canavan, the English teacher, embarrassed me in front of the class when she found out I was still reading Enid Blyton books at 11 years old. There was always this horrible pressure to “grow up” in those days, as opposed to just tactfully suggesting there are other exciting books out there too. As it turned out I pretty much leaped straight into adult science fiction via forgotten children’s science-fiction adventure writer Hugo Walters within a year, but I didn’t need to be shamed into doing it, found those books in the library on my own. In the meantime I moved onto Just William books, and found the words to Bad Moon Rising written out in one of the pages. Hooray!

exotic letter-writing paper corners - ah letters, memories...!

exotic letter-writing paper corners – ah letters, memories…!

9th December 1969

5 weeks on top for Sugar Sugar – how sweet! Better get used to seeing the Archies, and in fact, vocalist Ron Dante in my charts. In at 9 it’s the Cuff Links with Tracy. Aka Ron Dante. Although in the UK the Archies are regarded as the ultimate one-hit wonders, that’s not quite accurate as The Cuff Links sounded like The Archies fairly obviously, both being studio projects with the same hired singer – Ron. They also had 2 hits in the UK and US, while The Archies had a 2 or 3-year run of chart entries in the States. Don’t be fooled by the hip and groovy video, the singer isn’t Ron Dante – he signed up with Don Kirshner Archies’ mastermind – and the group threatened to hold back royalties unless he agreed to tour. Rupert Holmes, of Pina Colada fame, was also hired for the album.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 5 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
5 ( 4 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
9 ( NEW ) TRACY The Cuff Links
10 ( 10 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley

I mentioned the school library for last week’s chart: I remember we had a visit from a small group of RAF Gurkhas in the small hall next to the library which impressed me. Short and stocky and affable, the Gurkhas had a fabulous awed reputation amongst British troops for loyalty and bravery, so it was great to have a lesson devoted to a question and answer session. The history of them: British Empire in Nepal, fighting against the Empire (one can see why they might be pissed off) they so impressed the elite they ended up becoming a historic part of the British forces throughout the centuries since. well, at least until the recent cutbacks decided they were no longer of requirement, nor were they entitled to live in the country they spent their lives serving from a country with links going back 200 years. Joanna Lumley, thanks for being more than Ab fab and Purdey, say I, as she rightfully put the politicians to shame.

I’ll just repeat the story that was bandied about at the time about Gurkhas in the RAF, even though it may or may not be apocryphal: The commander of the Gurkhas troop on a mission plane asked for volunteers to jump out of the plane. All of the soldiers stepped forward instantly. The commander was impressed with the loyalty shown, but was puzzled when the group ranking soldier looked a bit apologetic some minutes later when he came up to ask a question. “What is it?” asked the commander. “Will we be wearing parachutes?” he asked……


school popcorn transfers and Neal Adams artwork (the correctly coloured ones not the pirate copies wrongly coloured)

school popcorn transfers and Neal Adams artwork (the correctly coloured ones not the pirate copies wrongly coloured)

16th December 1969

Christmas was coming, and The Archies were having a 6-week run on top. There were, of course, no such thing as christmas pop classics in those days, more a case of TV crooners covering standards or hymns. To be honest, though everyone knew the songs – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, O Little Town Of Bethlehem – there wasn’t that joyous sense of familiarity you get with modern pop songs, just some tunes you liked more than others when you had to sing them at school, or heard them on TV. On the plus side, some great records hit chart peaks: Glen and Bobbie at 3, Stevie at 4, Kenny Rogers at 5. It’s worth pointing out that Stevie Wonder had been having hits for years at Motown and he was still a teenager at this time, and co-writing some of his own songs, such as My Cherie Amour, currently about to hit the UK top 2 charts (January 2015) in a butchered helium-induced form). Good to know teenagers can write songs that last!

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 4 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
5 ( 7 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
6 ( 5 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 9 ) TRACY The Cuff Links
8 ( RE ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (S.K.O.O.B.Y.D.O.O) The Archies
9 ( 10 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
10 ( 8 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson

I don’t recall putting up the christmas trimmings at home, but I’m sure we did have a good go for the novelty of a sunny, sweltering christmas on the equator (give or take 85 miles), and I know mum tried to explain snow to Tan, our amah, by showing her the frozen stuff in the freezer of the fridge. She also did the same later on with Ah Choo our second, young amah (married with kiddie), who was related to Tan, I think. I googled her today, you never know, might still be out there in her mid-60’s. That would be great to find out.

Ah Choo 1970

Ah Choo 1970

23rd December 1969

7 weeks at 1, for The Archies, as they get another song in at 8, giving Ron dante 3 out of 10. Jingle Jangle was available on the back of a cereal packet imported from America, but I didn’t actually get hold of that one sadly, as it was a bonafide American single and actual hit – which I guess is why it didn’t find it’s way over to Singapore. In terms of imported stuff, Singapore was quite awesome, being a shipping crossroads for the region, you could get stuff from the USA, Australia, India, Malaya, Hong Kong, the UK and more. It was quite a fabulous multi-cultural jumble of bits from each. The UK, in the 60’s, was pretty much not noticeably international except for imported TV and some foodstuffs from Europe and the West Indies, and hi-tech products that were worldwide.

The other new entry is a bit of an afterthought cheat as I was running out of tracks for the chart. Creedence were very much of the period, and Green River sounds like it belongs in my chart, but I didn’t get to hear it for years afterwards – that I recall, at any rate. It may well have gotten some plays as follow-up to a big hit, but it didn’t stick in my mind if that’s the case. Good swamprock though.

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
3 ( 3 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
4 ( 5 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

6 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
7 ( 9 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
8 ( NEW ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies
9 ( 7 ) TRACY The Cuff Links
10 ( NEW ) GREEN RIVER Creedence Clearwater Revival

buying actual stuff at christmas and beyond!

buying actual stuff at christmas and beyond!

30th December 1969

Rolf scrapes in at the end of the year with the huge hit beloved by everyone young at the time, Two Little Boys. It would have been his 3rd or 4th chart-topper had I been charting as a toddler and infant, being as I loved Sun Arise, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, and Jake The Peg. Two Little Boys, despite everything (Thatcher choosing it for Desert Island Discs, Rolf’s conviction for underage stuff) was a sweet, touching story of war and brotherly love, pretty unique for a hit record to this day, and as at that time Rolf was guilty of nothing illegal I’m not going to retroactively rewrite history, though I won’t be showing any photos or videos, just the record. It does leave a regretful bitter taste in the mouth now sadly though so I’m demoting it to the end. In at 4, it’s Marmalade, not bubblegum anymore, it’s the gorgeous ballad Reflections Of My Life, harmonytastic and largely forgotten these days, but once well-thought of. Still is by me. It’s a bloody brilliant tune.

1 ( 2 ) TWO LITTLE BOYS Rolf Harris
2 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
3 ( 3 ) (ALL I HAVE TO DO IS) DREAM Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
5 ( 7 ) SUSPICIOUS MINDS Elvis Presley
6 ( 8 ) JINGLE JANGLE The Archies
7 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
8 ( 4 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
10 ( 9 ) TRACY The Cuff Links

Christmas week, and for christmas brother and me got a brand new bike each with colourful plastic tassles sticking out of the handlebar ends. I still miss that bike, it was great riding up and down the local housing estate hills, not entirely unlike Elliot and ET and co. Only much much hotter. And no alien. School was out for a few weeks, I had loads more comics I was adoring, having scoured more and more of the second-hand book stalls in Changi Village, and having got hold of some more classic Adventure Comics Legion Of Super Heroes and many other new and old DC Comics. My collection was growing quite fast, pop music for the moment not eating into my pocket money, comics getting all of it! I can’t understate how exciting the Legion was to me, it was almost physically palpable, and the covers of DC superheroes at this time, and especially Batman, were designed and drawn by the fantastic acclaimed artist Neal Adams. His Batman and Superman remain the definitive versions, those were the ones I got in the popcorn transfers for my school bag and my own made-up transfer books, and those are the ones that command the top prices in archive comic shops for this period. His comic covers are works of Art, at least as good as many over-rated bullshit “serious” artists. Suddenly comics were getting more adult, and dealing with serious adult themes amongst the superhero stuff…


My 1969 Charts – November

My 1969 Song Book 1

My 1969 Song Book 1

click here for youtube videos from my charts

NOV 1969

4th November 1969

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

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

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

music book 2

music book 2

11th November 1969

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

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

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

schoolbook RAF Seletar

schoolbook RAF Seletar

18th November 1969

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

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

1 ( 1 ) SUGAR SUGAR The Archies
2 ( 2 ) I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Bobbie Gentry
3 ( 4 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
5 ( 8 ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
6 ( 10 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
8 ( 9 ) I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE Lou Christie
10 ( 5 ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (SKOOBY DOO) The Archies

popcorn transfers

popcorn transfers

25th November 1969

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

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