My June 1969 Retro Charts

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One of the few remaining song lyric cuttings from Weekend magazine that I used to cut out and keep, and in a moment of madness in my teens dumped cos I was “too old for that sort of thing” as you get told by parents keen to see you get rid of stuff. It’s had the opposite effect on me. I regret dumping stuff in my teens and now can’t dump anything much I quite like, oops!

14th June 1969

OK, this week 50 years ago, I “published” my 2nd official chart of my fave 20 songs within the UK top 30 singles, 11 years old, and seriously starting to get into noting songs down in notepads, including this chart. That’s it at the bottom of this 75, I can only excuse myself for loving Cliff & Des at 2 and 3 by virtue of being not even a teenager! That said, Glen Campbell, Chicken Shack, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel & Sinatra show a bit of sophistication for Primary School young John.

This week in 2019, it’s yet another classic on top as The Ballad Of John & Yoko gives The Beatles a 6th chart-topper in this retro run. In my actual charts of the time it had to wait until 1976 and 1989 to top my charts. That, for the moment, keeps off my 3rd-single-bought-ever at 2, and first album and first EP ever bought at 6. Mama Cass gets a 2nd top 10 solo, and Marmalade a 2nd top 20. The Youngbloods get a leap into the 30, and highest new entry is Neil Diamond’s signature song, the one that regularly recharts in the 21st century in the UK as a steady download/streaming classic that everyone knows. Back in ’69 I had never heard of it: I had to wait until 1971 when it’s UK chart success crossed-over onto radio in Singapore, at which point I taped it and went mad on it. So to me, it’s 2 years early and is indelibly linked with nostalgia for ’71! Sweet Caroline, take an early bow!

The Impressions get a big climb into the 40, and new songs are thankfully low in number to give my packed charts a bit of a breather. The Grass Roots goodie is one I bought on a greatest hits CD of theirs in Florida around 20 years ago after hearing it on oldies radio, I didn’t wait a million years to hear it, it was a mere 30 years or so. Ray Stevens at 66 is another of his novelty songs which is actually amusing still, some 44 years since I bought his Greatest Hits on vinyl: Along Came Jones is a sort of homage to the early movie westerns, gently taking the Michael at the cliches. Key moment: Ray as tied up heroine on the train tracks snapping at her hero to shut up cos she’s trying to sing. It’s funnier in his voice, trust me. Joni Mitchell gets a 2nd Clouds track, Steppenwolf re-chart 6 months on, Procol Harum get a 3rd entry, and Flying Burrito Brothers a second.

1 ( 4 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN & YOKO The Beatles # 1
2 ( 3 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman # 2
3 ( 1 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 (EXORDIUM AND TERMINUS) Zager & Evans # 1
4 ( 5 ) CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION Tommy James & The Shondells # 4
5 ( 2 ) A WAY OF LIFE Family Dogg # 1
6 ( 8 ) SUGAR, SUGAR The Archies # 6
7 ( 7 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys # 7
8 ( 13 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass Elliot # 8
9 ( 6 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver # 1
10 ( 9 ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 1

11 ( 22 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade # 11
12 ( 16 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition # 12
13 ( 11 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
14 ( 15 ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 3
15 ( 19 ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 15
16 ( 10 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull # 10
17 ( 14 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
18 ( 12 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 2
19 ( 18 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
20 ( 24 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt # 20

21 ( 17 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
22 ( 51 ) GET TOGETHER The Youngbloods # 22
23 ( 20 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 9
24 ( 21 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1
25 ( NEW ) SWEET CAROLINE (GOOD TIMES NEVER SEEMED SO GOOD) Neil Diamond # 25
26 ( 23 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
27 ( 36 ) WHERE’S THE PLAYGROUND SUSIE Glen Campbell # 27
28 ( 29 ) HIGHER AND HIGHER (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) Jackie Wilson # 28
29 ( 30 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones # 29
30 ( 34 ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 30

31 ( 25 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 10
32 ( 27 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1
33 ( 38 ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 33
34 ( 54 ) CHOICE OF COLORS The Impressions featuring Curtis Mayfield # 34
35 ( 26 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 9
36 ( 37 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Joni Mitchell # 36
37 ( 48 ) YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK IN THE RAIN The Turtles # 37
38 ( 31 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
39 ( 42 ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells # 39
40 ( 33 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5

41 ( 32 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 12
42 ( 28 ) BLACK PEARL Sonny Charles & The Checkmates # 13
43 ( 35 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
44 ( 39 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
45 ( 40 ) LODI Creedence Clearwater Revival # 32
46 ( 55 ) I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER Sly & The Family Stone # 46
47 ( 53 ) I TURNED YOU ON The Isley Brothers # 47
48 ( 64 ) LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker # 48
49 ( 44 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2
50 ( 43 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4

51 ( 46 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
52 ( 56 ) LET ME Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay # 52
53 ( 60 ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees # 53
54 ( 47 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin # 1
55 ( 59 ) PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Jackie DeShannon # 55
56 ( 52 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING The Righteous Brothers # 1
57 ( 41 ) MAMA SOUL The Soul Survivors # 14
58 ( 62 ) CAPTAIN GROOVY AND HIS BUBBLEGUM ARMY Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army # 58
59 ( NEW ) I’D WAIT A MILLION YEARS The Grass Roots # 59
60 ( 71 ) HELLO SUZIE Amen Corner # 60

61 ( 65 ) I’M STILL A STRUGGLING MAN Edwin Starr # 61
62 ( 58 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe # 1
63 ( 49 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers # 5
64 ( 57 ) DON JUAN Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 4
65 ( 67 ) GIRL YOU’RE TOO YOUNG Archie Bell & The Drells # 65
66 ( NEW ) ALONG CAME JONES Ray Stevens # 66
67 ( 63 ) I CAN’T QUIT HER The Arbors # 63
68 ( 69 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard # 68
69 ( 70 ) THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL AND JOHN THE DIVINE (SIX-SIX-SIX) The Cowsills # 69
70 ( 72 ) MELODY HILL The Archies # 70

71 ( 66 ) IT DIDN’T EVEN BRING ME DOWN The Sir Douglas Quintet # 39
72 ( NEW ) CHELSEA MORNING Joni Mitchell # 72
73 ( NEW ) BORN TO BE WILD Steppenwolf # 73
74 ( NEW ) A SALTY DOG Procol Harum # 74
75 ( NEW ) SIN CITY The Flying Burrito Brothers # 75

MY 2ND ACTUAL OFFICIAL CHART of that week

1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 3 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
3 ( 6 ) DICK A DUM DUM Des O’Connor
4 ( 2 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell
5 ( 5 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann
6 ( 9 ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack
7 ( 4 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
8 ( 8 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
9 ( 13 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
10 ( 7 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel

11 ( 11 ) GET BACK The Beatles
12 ( 12 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones
13 ( 19 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
14 ( 15 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
15 ( 18 ) (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) HIGHER AND HIGHER Jackie Wilson
16 ( 14 ) AQUARIUS/ LET THE SUN SHINE IN The Fifth Dimension
17 ( 17 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers
18 ( 16 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits
19 ( NEW ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
20 ( NEW ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker

 

7th June 1969

It’s yet again another classic key track taking a turn at number one – Zager & Evans woulda been the first record I ever bought had it been available in Singapore. Compare this “charting anything as soon as it was available anywhere in the world” chart (as in the same as current music biz) vs what my chart was that week 50 years ago and there are only 3 tracks in both charts. That isn’t all: most of the key singles for the rest of 1969 that I charted back in the day are already in the chart, all at once, meaning everything is underperforming on what they deserve.

In at 3, it’s the 3rd record I ever bought, again in Singapore Changi evening market record stall one balmy evening a couple of weeks after buying Elvis & Tommy Roe, and with a picture sleeve, far and away the best designed of any they had, and it was Singapore-only by the look of it. This link isn’t to mine but it’s exactly the same:

www.rootsvinylguide.com/ebay_items/rare-thunderclap-newman-7-something-in-the-air-polydor-singapore

Thunderclap Newman’s was a revolutionary record in more ways than one, Something In The Air being produced by Pete Townsend epic-stylee, social commentary still applies, only without the optimism these days, it’s a revolution of forces working to help destroy us all against all sanity. I was a kiddie enthusiast of all-things green, yet here we are 50 years later, pollution, environment, climate all being devastated, and human beings doubled in numbers having learned nothing from In The Year 2525, or even the bloody Archies’ kiddie-pop tracks like Mr. Factory. Talking of which…

The Archies Sugar Sugar enters at a lowly 8 cos it’s months early – The Archies EP (cardboard picture sleeve, 4 tracks) was the first EP I bought for the lead track (Sugar Sugar) and Everything’s Archie was the first album I bought myself after Xmas/birthday cash allowed me to, lead track Sugar, Sugar. I have about 10 or 15 copies on various formats. So I was a fan of the TV show music, and rhe single, co-written by Andy Kim, dropping this week. The B side is on the album when it’s released later in the year and enters lowly.

In at 7, The Beach Boys Breakaway, co-written by The Wilson brothers dad, and not just Brian, one of their most tuneful, harmonising and largely forgotten hits. One of my faves of theirs, and another one I had gifted to me a few years later by friends of mum and dad. Others: The Youngbloods future Dave Clark 5 hit, The Impressions, a track new to me, but very in tune with my opinions then and now about equality, and a fab track, Scott Walker with his last solo hit, Amen Corner doing a Roy Wood song (and one which I loved at the time, being as my pregnant cat was called Suzie), with minor Smokey & Valli singles sneaking in at the bottom. Phew!

1 ( 2 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 (EXORDIUM AND TERMINUS) Zager & Evans # 1
2 ( 1 ) A WAY OF LIFE Family Dogg # 1
3 ( NEW ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman # 3
4 ( 4 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN & YOKO The Beatles # 4
5 ( 5 ) CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION Tommy James & The Shondells # 5
6 ( 3 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver # 1
7 ( NEW ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys # 7
8 ( NEW ) SUGAR, SUGAR The Archies # 8
9 ( 6 ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 1
10 ( 13 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull # 10

11 ( 7 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
12 ( 8 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 2
13 ( 15 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass Elliot # 13
14 ( 12 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
15 ( 9 ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 3
16 ( 16 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition # 16
17 ( 10 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
18 ( 14 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
19 ( 22 ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 19
20 ( 11 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 9

21 ( 18 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1
22 ( 24 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade # 22
23 ( 20 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
24 ( 26 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt # 24
25 ( 17 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 10
26 ( 19 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 9
27 ( 23 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1
28 ( 21 ) BLACK PEARL Sonny Charles & The Checkmates # 13
29 ( 33 ) HIGHER AND HIGHER (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) Jackie Wilson # 29
30 ( 36 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones # 30

31 ( 27 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
32 ( 30 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 12
33 ( 29 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5
34 ( 38 ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 34
35 ( 31 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
36 ( 28 ) WHERE’S THE PLAYGROUND SUSIE Glen Campbell # 28
37 ( 42 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Joni Mitchell # 37
38 ( 43 ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 38
39 ( 34 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
40 ( 32 ) LODI Creedence Clearwater Revival # 32

41 ( 25 ) MAMA SOUL The Soul Survivors # 14
42 ( 53 ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells # 42
43 ( 35 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4
44 ( 37 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2
45 ( 46 ) GROOVY BABY Microbe # 45
46 ( 41 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
47 ( 40 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin # 1
48 ( 48 ) YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK IN THE RAIN The Turtles # 48
49 ( 39 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers # 5
50 ( 44 ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack # 44

51 ( NEW ) GET TOGETHER The Youngbloods # 51
52 ( 45 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING The Righteous Brothers # 1
53 ( 55 ) I TURNED YOU ON The Isley Brothers # 53
54 ( NEW ) CHOICE OF COLORS The Impressions featuring Curtis Mayfield # 54
55 ( 59 ) I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER Sly & The Family Stone # 55
56 ( 60 ) LET ME Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay # 56
57 ( 52 ) DON JUAN Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 4
58 ( 56 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe # 1
59 ( 61 ) PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Jackie DeShannon # 59
60 ( 65 ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees # 60

61 ( 51 ) BABY I LOVE YOU Andy Kim # 51
62 ( 63 ) CAPTAIN GROOVY AND HIS BUBBLEGUM ARMY Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army # 62
63 ( 64 ) I CAN’T QUIT HER The Arbors # 63
64 ( NEW ) LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker # 64
65 ( 67 ) I’M STILL A STRUGGLING MAN Edwin Starr # 65
66 ( 47 ) IT DIDN’T EVEN BRING ME DOWN The Sir Douglas Quintet # 39
67 ( 69 ) GIRL YOU’RE TOO YOUNG Archie Bell & The Drells # 67
68 ( 62 ) I STARTED A JOKE The Bee Gees # 1
69 ( 71 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard # 69
70 ( 70 ) THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL AND JOHN THE DIVINE (SIX-SIX-SIX) The Cowsills # 70

71 ( NEW ) HELLO SUZIE Amen Corner # 71
72 ( NEW ) MELODY HILL The Archies # 72
73 ( 57 ) YOU CAME YOU SAW YOU CONQUERED The Ronettes # 9
74 ( NEW ) DOGGONE RIGHT Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 74
75 ( NEW ) THE GIRL I’LL NEVER KNOW (ANGELS NEVER FLY THIS LOW) Frankie Valli # 75

7th June Retro-Then
1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 2 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell
3 ( 13 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
4 ( 17 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
5 ( 3 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann
6 ( 6 ) DICK A DUM DUM Des O’Connor
7 ( 5 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel
8 ( 12 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
9 ( 11 ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack
10 ( 4 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin

11 ( 7 ) GET BACK The Beatles
12 ( 8 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones
13 ( 14 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
14 ( 9 ) AQUARIUS/ LET THE SUN SHINE IN The Fifth Dimension
15 ( 16 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
16 ( 10 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits
17 ( 15 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers
18 ( 20 ) (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) HIGHER AND HIGHER Jackie Wilson
19 ( NEW ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
20 ( 18 ) COME BACK AND SHAKE ME Clodagh Rodgers

 

21st June 1969

It’s up to number for my 3rd-ever single bought, the classic, epic Something In The Air, and it’s also the 3rd-ever chart I compiled down below, the week after the second-ever. My “original” charts in between my actual charts of the time were compiled a few years later to fill-in gaps, and they tended not to be volatile – cos how can they be if you don’t do them at the time? You can recall how much you liked a track, but now WHEN you liked it or went mad on it, or got a bit fed up with it. So this is the first indication of how volatile my tastes were: the two highest new entries would go on to become the 2nd and 3rd singles I bought, Family Dogg I went mad on overnight, Dizzy still wouldn’t budge, and Des O’Connor drops from 3 and out of the chart. Plenty of classic singles entering to replace the kiddiepop.

Back in “If 1969 was 2019 streaming and downloading” territory, and what I like now, it’s Crystal Blue Persuasion up to 2, with Kenny Rodgers getting his first top 10, and Marmalade their 1st as well. Neil Diamond gets his biggest track to date, though not his biggest song, as Sweet Caroline goes top 20, and Dave Dee & co get their final top 20 with Snake In The Grass making it their 6th.

Highest new entry is the supergroup debut of David Crosby (ex-Byrds), Stephen Stills (ex-Buffalo Springfield) and Graham Nash (ex-Hollies) with their harmony-specialising Marrakesh Express, hippie melodic delight, at 27, Neil Young not yet having joined them. I didn’t know the record at the time (when it was charting I was in not in the UK), liked it 5 years later when I heard it, and eventually bought it in 1981 by which time I was loving it and it would have topped my charts had I allowed oldies in.

At 37, Irish crooner Joe Dolan enters with the Albert Hammond song, one of many hits for him before and after, Make Me An Island. This was another record I was big on, not least cos my Aunty Eileen was also a big fan of it – my dad’s younger sister had been dating his RAF mate (often at our house on weekends during the chart show), and who became Uncle Tony around about this time when they got married. Aunty Eileen bought the record, and I still associate it with her in happier times – she died in April aged 74 of an aggressive cancer that spread rapidly.

Cilla’s back with another hit single, another I was a fan of, but Conversations is likely to be her last-but-one to chart reasonably well, I think. Desmond Dekker gets his follow-up It Mek, Billy Preston is still on Apple Records but minus the Beatles (at least in terms of a credit) on his gospel solo debut hit, Waylon Jennings takes House Of The Rising Sun and turns it effectively into a Murder Ballad with new lyrics – never heard it before in my life but I will be playing it a lot, it’s a goodie for his chart debut Delia’s Gone. Joe South is back again with yet another song that is better known in other versions – The Raiders had a US hit with it in 1971, and I bought it in January 1972 with birthday cash as it was the only way I was going to ever hear it again after I’d become obsessed with it on one listen on either Dave Cash’ Music Box, or Lift Off With Ayshea, the ITV late afternoon pop shows aimed at kids. Johnny Nash also later covered it reggae stylee. Paul Revere is still with The Raiders at this time, but not for much longer!

Finally, Dusty’s back with Dusty In Memphis out-take, Jim Reeves is still releasing smooth country ballads years after his death, Wilson Pickett covers Hendrix, and Tony Joe White returns with another future Elvis hit, the swamp country-blues-rock Polk Salad Annie, that Elvis massacred in 1973. This original version of his own song is muuuuch better.

1 ( 2 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman # 1
2 ( 4 ) CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION Tommy James & The Shondells # 2
3 ( 3 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 (EXORDIUM AND TERMINUS) Zager & Evans # 1
4 ( 6 ) SUGAR, SUGAR The Archies # 4
5 ( 1 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN & YOKO The Beatles # 1
6 ( 5 ) A WAY OF LIFE Family Dogg # 1
7 ( 7 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys # 7
8 ( 9 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver # 1
9 ( 12 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition # 9
10 ( 11 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade # 10

11 ( 8 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass Elliot # 8
12 ( 10 ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 1
13 ( 13 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
14 ( 14 ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 3
15 ( 18 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 2
16 ( 25 ) SWEET CAROLINE (GOOD TIMES NEVER SEEMED SO GOOD) Neil Diamond # 16
17 ( 17 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
18 ( 22 ) GET TOGETHER The Youngbloods # 18
19 ( 19 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
20 ( 30 ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 20

21 ( 21 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
22 ( 29 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones # 22
23 ( 20 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt # 20
24 ( 16 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull # 10
25 ( 34 ) CHOICE OF COLORS The Impressions featuring Curtis Mayfield # 25
26 ( 15 ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 15
27 ( NEW ) MARRAKESH EXPRESS Crosby, Stills & Nash # 27
28 ( 24 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1
29 ( 26 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
30 ( 33 ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 30

31 ( 23 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 9
32 ( 36 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Joni Mitchell # 32
33 ( 39 ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells # 33
34 ( 48 ) LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker # 34
35 ( 32 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1
36 ( 37 ) YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK IN THE RAIN The Turtles # 36
37 ( NEW ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan # 37
38 ( 31 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 10
39 ( 35 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 9
40 ( 47 ) I TURNED YOU ON The Isley Brothers # 40

41 ( 27 ) WHERE’S THE PLAYGROUND SUSIE Glen Campbell # 27
42 ( 28 ) HIGHER AND HIGHER (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) Jackie Wilson # 28
43 ( 38 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
44 ( 40 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5
45 ( 41 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 12
46 ( 44 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
47 ( 43 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
48 ( 52 ) LET ME Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay # 48
49 ( 53 ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees # 49
50 ( 59 ) I’D WAIT A MILLION YEARS The Grass Roots # 50

51 ( 55 ) PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Jackie DeShannon # 51
52 ( 49 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2
53 ( 42 ) BLACK PEARL Sonny Charles & The Checkmates # 13
54 ( 60 ) HELLO SUZIE Amen Corner # 54
55 ( 58 ) CAPTAIN GROOVY AND HIS BUBBLEGUM ARMY Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army # 55
56 ( 51 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
57 ( 50 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4
58 ( 46 ) I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER Sly & The Family Stone # 46
59 ( 66 ) ALONG CAME JONES Ray Stevens # 59
60 ( NEW ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black # 60

61 ( NEW ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 61
62 ( 45 ) LODI Creedence Clearwater Revival # 32
63 ( 54 ) GOODBYE Mary Hopkin # 1
64 ( 56 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING The Righteous Brothers # 1
65 ( NEW ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston # 65
66 ( NEW ) DELIA’S GONE Waylon Jennings # 66
67 ( 68 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard # 67
68 ( NEW ) BIRDS OF A FEATHER Joe South # 68
69 ( 69 ) THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL AND JOHN THE DIVINE (SIX-SIX-SIX) The Cowsills # 69
70 ( 70 ) MELODY HILL The Archies # 70

71 ( 57 ) MAMA SOUL The Soul Survivors # 14
72 ( NEW ) WILLIE AND LAURA MAE JONES Dusty Springfield # 72
73 ( NEW ) WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE Jim Reeves # 73
74 ( NEW ) HEY JOE Wilson Pickett # 74
75 ( NEW ) POLK SALAD ANNIE Tony Joe White # 75

wot I liked that week then, my actual 3rd-ever compiled chart 

1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 19 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
3 ( 8 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
4 ( 10 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( NEW ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
6 ( 9 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
7 ( 13 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
8 ( 2 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
9 ( 7 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
10 ( NEW ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman

11 ( 14 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
12 ( 17 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers
13 ( NEW ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys
14 ( 11 ) GET BACK The Beatles
15 ( NEW ) PROUD MARY Creedence Clearwater Revival
16 ( 6 ) I’D RATHER GO BLIND Chicken Shack
17 ( NEW ) TIME IS TIGHT Booker T & The MG’s
18 ( NEW ) GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVING Crazy Elephant
19 ( NEW ) THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
20 ( NEW ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull

 

28th June 1969

It’s 2 weeks on top for Thunderclap Newman, the first chart-topper in ages to manage more than one week as the same records continue to dominate. 50 years ago and the top of my chart was quite volatile, with records going up and down and back up again, and plenty of newies except the unshiftable Dizzy which dominated my life that summer as my Primary School days frittered away to the news soon that I had failed my 11-Plus. Not to worry, everyone else in the small village school also failed, bar one child of a teacher funnily enough – too many supply teachers, no consistency. I was genuinely surprised I had failed, to be honest, I was quite bright. No matter, RAF Seletar Secondary Modern in Singapore streamed kids and I passed the following year for Grammar School. My other new love was a teenage superhero group called The Legion Of Super-Heroes, published by DC Comics in Adventure Comics, set 1000 years in the future. Around 30 superheroes, they had been going strong since 1958, and on into the future, and were so exciting and groundbreaking Marvel Comics ripped most of them off. Wolverine? Nah, Timber Wolf had been going a decade by the time he turned up. Among many….

Highest new entries come from Clodagh, her second chart hit Goodnight Midnight was another fave, while Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay seeped it’s way into my awareness in Singapore later in the year without me really noticing – it was my fave Dylan track for many years once I did notice, though. These days Like A Rolling Stone anyday. Lower down and a second Tommy track pops in for The Who – I’m Free was a US hit, but didn’t hit in the UK until 1973, for Roger Daltrey: he completely reinvented it, a masterpiece of orchestral powerhousing, and vastly under-rated. I blame John Inman. At 58, it had been a UK flop in 1968 (despite being a huge radio hit) but Marty Wilde gets a US chart hit with Abergavenny – who’d a thunk it! He had to alter his name to Shannon though. 15 years later he had a change of sex and ethnic grouping and became a massive influential dance diva. Who knew!? :)

The 5th Dimension are back with a song Patti Drew popped into my charts in my retro 1968 rundown, and as usual they improve on a cover, this time the Neil Sedaka song Working On A Groovy Thing. There is one melody line that he re-used in Laughter In The Rain for himself 5 years later, after his career took off all over again. Toots And The Maytals debut, Roger Miller is back with the folk song Me & Bobby McGee which the soon-to-be-late Janis Joplin would cover and posthumously hit with. I prefer Roger’s version of the Kris Kristofferson song. He was great. At 74, another debut for 70’s and 80’s West Coast Rockers The Steve Miller Band. My Dark Hour is pretty much Steve and Paul McCartney rocking it up, after Macca had a fall-out at a Beatles recording session and threw himself into doing the drums and bass on this to get rid of the stress-aggression left-over. Finally, at 75, it’s another Hair song. There can’t be many left to chart….!


1 ( 1 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman # 1
2 ( 3 ) IN THE YEAR 2525 (EXORDIUM AND TERMINUS) Zager & Evans # 1
3 ( 7 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys # 3
4 ( 4 ) SUGAR, SUGAR The Archies # 4
5 ( 2 ) CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION Tommy James & The Shondells # 2
6 ( 6 ) A WAY OF LIFE Family Dogg # 1
7 ( 5 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN & YOKO The Beatles # 1
8 ( 9 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition # 8
9 ( 15 ) AH, HA, HA, DO YOUR THING The Hit Parade # 2
10 ( 8 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver # 1

11 ( 16 ) SWEET CAROLINE (GOOD TIMES NEVER SEEMED SO GOOD) Neil Diamond # 11
12 ( 13 ) BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE The Isley Brothers # 1
13 ( 12 ) WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE) Junior Walker & The All Stars # 1
14 ( 11 ) IT’S GETTING BETTER Mama Cass Elliot # 8
15 ( 18 ) GET TOGETHER The Youngbloods # 15
16 ( 10 ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade # 10
17 ( 14 ) LISTEN TO THE BAND The Monkees # 3
18 ( 17 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley # 1
19 ( 23 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt # 19
20 ( 20 ) SNAKE IN THE GRASS Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich # 20

21 ( 27 ) MARRAKESH EXPRESS Crosby, Stills & Nash # 21
22 ( 25 ) CHOICE OF COLORS The Impressions featuring Curtis Mayfield # 22
23 ( 37 ) MAKE ME AN ISLAND Joe Dolan # 23
24 ( 19 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison # 1
25 ( 21 ) RING OF BRIGHT WATER Val Doonican # 5
26 ( 34 ) LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker # 26
27 ( 32 ) BOTH SIDES NOW Joni Mitchell # 27
28 ( 33 ) I CAN SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE The Dells # 28
29 ( 24 ) LIVING IN THE PAST Jethro Tull # 10
30 ( 28 ) THE BOXER Simon & Garfunkel # 1

31 ( 29 ) FIRST OF MAY The Bee Gees # 1
32 ( NEW ) GOODNIGHT MIDNIGHT Clodagh Rodgers # 32
33 ( 36 ) YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK IN THE RAIN The Turtles # 33
34 ( NEW ) LAY LADY LAY Bob Dylan # 34
35 ( 54 ) HELLO SUZIE Amen Corner # 35
36 ( 26 ) TRACKS OF MY TEARS Smokey Robinson & The Miracles # 15
37 ( 30 ) THE APRIL FOOLS Dionne Warwick # 30
38 ( 22 ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones # 22
39 ( 40 ) I TURNED YOU ON The Isley Brothers # 39
40 ( 35 ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell # 1

41 ( 31 ) BAD MOON RISING Creedence Clearwater Revival # 9
42 ( 50 ) I’D WAIT A MILLION YEARS The Grass Roots # 42
43 ( 51 ) PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Jackie DeShannon # 43
44 ( 38 ) MY SENTIMENTAL FRIEND Herman’s Hermits # 10
45 ( 39 ) RAGAMUFFIN MAN Manfred Mann # 9
46 ( 60 ) CONVERSATIONS Cilla Black # 46
47 ( 44 ) MY CHERIE AMOUR Stevie Wonder # 5
48 ( 59 ) ALONG CAME JONES Ray Stevens # 48
49 ( 43 ) GET BACK The Beatles with Billy Preston # 6
50 ( 66 ) DELIA’S GONE Waylon Jennings # 50

51 ( 46 ) HURTING EACH OTHER Ruby & The Romantics # 5
52 ( 65 ) THAT’S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT Billy Preston # 52
53 ( 61 ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 53
54 ( 47 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac # 10
55 ( 55 ) CAPTAIN GROOVY AND HIS BUBBLEGUM ARMY Captain Groovy And His Bubblegum Army # 55
56 ( NEW ) I’M FREE The Who # 56
57 ( 45 ) JUST A LITTLE LOVIN’ Dusty Springfield # 12
58 ( NEW ) ABERGAVENNY Shannon aka Marty Wilde # 58
59 ( NEW ) WORKING ON A GROOVY THING The 5th Dimension # 59
60 ( 52 ) HARLEM SHUFFLE Bob & Earl # 2

61 ( 42 ) HIGHER AND HIGHER (YOUR LOVE KEEPS LIFTING ME) Jackie Wilson # 28
62 ( 56 ) AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN (THE FLESH FAILURES) (MEDLEY) The 5th Dimension # 1
63 ( 69 ) THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL AND JOHN THE DIVINE (SIX-SIX-SIX) The Cowsills # 63
64 ( 70 ) MELODY HILL The Archies # 64
65 ( 49 ) TOMORROW TOMORROW The Bee Gees # 49
66 ( 68 ) BIRDS OF A FEATHER Joe South # 66
67 ( 57 ) ISRAELITES Desmond Dekker & The Aces # 4
68 ( 72 ) WILLIE AND LAURA MAE JONES Dusty Springfield # 68
69 ( 73 ) WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE Jim Reeves # 69
70 ( 74 ) HEY JOE Wilson Pickett # 70

71 ( 75 ) POLK SALAD ANNIE Tony Joe White # 71
72 ( NEW ) 54-46 WAS MY NUMBER Toots & The Maytals # 72
73 ( NEW ) ME AND BOBBY MCGEE Roger Miller # 73
74 ( NEW ) MY DARK HOUR The Steve Miller Band featuring Paul McCartney # 74
75 ( NEW ) WHERE DO I GO/ BE-IN (HARE KRISHNA) The Happenings # 75

My 4th Actual Chart this week 1969

1 ( 1 ) DIZZY Tommy Roe
2 ( 5 ) IN THE GHETTO Elvis Presley
3 ( 2 ) WAY OF LIFE The Family Dogg
4 ( 7 ) FROZEN ORANGE JUICE Peter Sarstedt
5 ( 3 ) OH HAPPY DAY The Edwin Hawkins Singers
6 ( 8 ) BIG SHIP Cliff Richard
7 ( 6 ) MY WAY Frank Sinatra
8 ( 4 ) THE BOXER Simon And Garfunkel
9 ( 9 ) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO The Beatles
10 ( NEW ) GALVESTON Glen Campbell

11 ( NEW ) BABY MAKE IT SOON Marmalade
12 ( NEW ) HELLO SUSIE Amen Corner
13 ( 10 ) SOMETHING IN THE AIR Thunderclap Newman
14 ( NEW ) IT MEK Desmond Dekker
15 ( RE ) LOVE ME TONIGHT Tom Jones
16 ( 11 ) MAN OF THE WORLD Fleetwood Mac
17 ( 14 ) GET BACK The Beatles
18 ( 18 ) GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVING Crazy Elephant
19 ( NEW ) THE LIGHTS OF CINCINATTI Scott Walker
20 ( 13 ) BREAKAWAY The Beach Boys

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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 – January

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

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


youtube video links can be found with my charts here


6th January 1970

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


13th January 1970

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

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

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

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


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

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


20th January 1970

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


27th January 1970

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
7 ( 5 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
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
6 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
7 ( 8 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
8 ( 7 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
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……

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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
4 ( 6 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
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
5 ( 4 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder

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
4 ( NEW ) REFLECTIONS OF MY LIFE Marmalade
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
9 ( 5 ) YESTER-ME, YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
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…