My September 1970 Charts

1st September 1970

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

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

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

8th September 1970

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

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

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

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

15th September 1970

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

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

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

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

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

22nd September 1970

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

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

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

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

Kids remember these things!

29th September 1970

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

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

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

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

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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 1995 Charts – April

fast-disappearing Old Singapore and new Singapore 1995

fast-disappearing Old Singapore and new Singapore 1995



2nd April 1995

Take That get a second chart-topper and it’s their best record, still, the brilliant song that is Back For Good. I seriously didn’t believe Gary Barlow had it in him, as most of his own songs (bar the sublime Pray) just hadn’t impressed me until this one came along. I never let preconceived opinions get in the way though, and was thoroughly convinced by this, their only US hit of significance, and a big UK chart-topper. Simple Minds get a quick number 2 to add to a number 1, and I was Hypnotised enough to rate it. The Beatles get their first “new” single top 10 in 13 years, though I’ll Follow The Sun on the B Side was an actual Beatles song and a better choice for an A side, I thought.

Mica Paris has a big jump to 14 with U2’s One, Rednex inexplicably get a second top 20, as do Love City Groove (for the first and last time) the UK’s Eurovision biggest UK entry since the 70’s, most likely. In at 27, and it’s Bobby Brown’s best record, a remix of Two Can Play That Game belatedly making it big, while Australia’s Tina Arena is in Chains at 28, a great drama ballad. As always, The Lightning Seeds are Marvellous, at 30, and competing with Pet Shop Boys for those one-word very British song titles. We go on Strike at 34, well U sure do anyway, a good dance track, at 36 Massive Attack return with a cover of Karma Chameleon. not. The soulful Brownstone harmonise with passion at 37, If You Love Me, Bitty McLean is Over The River and still having a surprisingly long run of reggae singles charting, Roxette are still vulnerable at 60, Corona go pop with Baby Baby, and Tin Tin Out cover Sandie Shaw (or Dionne Warwick dpending on which Bacharach/David version you regard as the definitive) in a dance-stylee a few years ahead of breaking through with an actual hit.

1 ( 4 ) BACK FOR GOOD Take That
2 ( 7 ) HYPNOTISED Simple Minds
3 ( 1 ) LET IT RAIN East 17
4 ( 6 ) THE FIRST THE LAST ETERNITY Snap! featuring Summer
5 ( 3 ) ORIGINAL Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday
6 ( 2 ) ONE MAN IN MY HEART Human League
7 ( 9 ) THE BALLAD OF PETER PUMPKINHEAD Crash Test Dummies
8 ( 8 ) PERFECT DAY Duran Duran
9 ( 5 ) TURN ON TUNE IN COP OUT Freak Power
10 ( 18 ) BABY IT’S YOU/ I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The Beatles
11 ( 14 ) GET WILD New Power Generation
12 ( 10 ) I’VE GOT A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU MN8
13 ( 12 ) I KNOW Dionne Farris
14 ( 45 ) ONE Mica Paris
15 ( 15 ) WHOOPS NOW! Janet Jackson
16 ( 11 ) WAKE UP BOO The Boo Radleys
17 ( 13 ) SHE’S A RIVER Simple Minds
18 ( 37 ) OLD POP IN AN OAK Rednex
19 ( 19 ) BELIEVE Elton John
20 ( 27 ) LOVE CITY GROOVE Love City Groove

21 ( 21 ) AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B. Hawkins
22 ( 25 ) DON’T GIVE ME YOUR LIFE Alex Party
23 ( 17 ) IT’S A LOVING THING C.B. Milton
24 ( 16 ) REACH UP (PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIGBAG) Perfecto Allstarz
25 ( 29 ) HOLD MY HAND Hootie And The Blowfish
26 ( 26 ) YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT FEELS Tom Petty
27 ( NEW ) TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME Bobby Brown
28 ( NEW ) CHAINS Tina Arena
29 ( 20 ) NO MORE ‘I LOVE YOU’S Annie Lennox
30 ( 58 ) MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds

31 ( 23 ) LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
32 ( 22 ) CLOSE TO YOU Brand New Heavies
33 ( 63 ) I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU Barry White
34 ( NEW ) U SURE DO Strike
35 ( 31 ) DON’T STOP (WIGGLE WIGGLE) The Outhere Brothers
36 ( NEW ) KARMACOMA Massive Attack
37 ( NEW ) IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone
38 ( 49 ) BUBBLIN’ HOT Pato Banton featuring Rankin’ Roger
39 ( 48 ) JULIA SAYS Wet Wet Wet
40 ( 34 ) THINK TWICE Celine Dion

41 ( 36 ) WE’VE GOT TONIGHT Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
42 ( 24 ) I’M NOT IN LOVE (1995) 10CC
43 ( 28 ) HERE I GO 2 Unlimited
44 ( 39 ) GLORY BOX Portishead
45 ( 38 ) TELL ME WHEN Human League
46 ( 30 ) YOU GOTTA BE Des’ree
47 ( 40 ) AXEL F Clock
48 ( 32 ) PURPLE MEDLEY Prince
49 ( NEW ) OVER THE RIVER Bitty McLean
50 ( 60 ) FUNTIME Boy George

51 ( 33 ) OUR RADIO ROCKS PJ & Duncan
52 ( 50 ) WHATEVER Oasis
53 ( 53 ) PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
54 ( 41 ) INDEPENDENT LOVE SONG Scarlet
55 ( 55 ) MISS YOU NIGHTS/ ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Cliff Richard and Phil Everley
56 ( 54 ) TAKE A BOW Madonna
57 ( 44 ) COWBOY DREAMS Jimmy Nail
58 ( 43 ) THIS COWBOY SONG Sting featuring Pato Banton
59 ( 47 ) THE ONLY ONE Gun
60 ( NEW ) VULNERABLE Roxette

61 ( 35 ) SOME PEOPLE SAY Terrorvision
62 ( 51 ) WHEN I KISS YOU (I HEAR CHARLIE PARKER PLAYING)/ THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US (BBC VERSION) Sparks
63 ( NEW ) BABY BABY Corona
64 ( 64 ) DANCING QUEEN/EAGLE Abba
65 ( 74 ) HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN Bryan Adams
66 ( 70 ) I’M JUST YOUR (PUPPET ON A STRING) Londonbeat
67 ( 67 ) TRUE FAITH 94 New Order
68 ( 65 ) A GIRL LIKE YOU Edwyn Collins
69 ( 69 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING The Righteous Brothers
70 ( 68 ) RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B. Hawkins

71 ( 71 ) WITHOUT YOU Nilsson
72 ( NEW ) ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE TO REMIND ME Tin Tin Out featuring Espiritu
73 ( 72 ) STARS China Black
74 ( 62 ) ONE NIGHT STAND Let Loose
75 ( 75 ) 20TH CENTURY BOY T.Rex

poole harbour

poole harbour


9th April 1995

2 weeks Back For Good and Take That still on top, as Crash Test Dummies grab a sudden double A sided single peak of 2, their biggest single and even bigger than XTC’s original top 10 Pumpkinhead. Love City Groove leap to 3, and in one fell swoop is officially the biggest Eurovision entry from the UK since the New Seekers hit 1 in 1972 with Beg Steal Or Borrow. Bobby Brown gets a 3rd top 10 track, and highest new entry is Guaglione, Prez Prado’s 1950’s instrumental hit pushed in a TV advert and becoming a most unlikely hit. Actually, it’s a re-entry as it charted in my charts in January, but with a bit of a gap between.

Grace, Not Over yet, in at 18, one of the great dance records of the 90’s, no less. It just gets better with age, and this wasn’t the last time it would chart by any means, yes it’s that good, passionate, exciting, great production (Paul Oakenfold wasn’t lacking in that department, he was in the band), great tune, great vocal from Patti Low (original singer with the band) who was later blended in with regular jazz singer band member Dominique Atkins on later versions. Let Loose also return, with a good ballad, Best In Me at 30. From memory think they mean bringing out (The Best In Me), rather than, it’s (The Best In Me). 33 and Weezer arrive with a bang and a fantastic Happy Days TV sitcom tribute video to their terrific Buddy Holly. Weezer were consistently good, and consistently under-rated commercially. As with all bands, critics regard being witty as in some way inferior to being intense. It’s not. Both are equally valid.

Terence Trent D’Arby returns at 37 some 8 years on after being a huge new act that never managed to really follow it up, sadly. Corona make the top 40 with Baby Baby, Sleeper drop in on Vegas at 46, and a Duran Duran snippet fires a new entry at 61, Shut Up And Dance, I say, and BoyzIIMen thank me for that at 63.

1 ( 1 ) BACK FOR GOOD Take That
2 ( 7 ) GOD SHUFFLED HIS FEET/ THE BALLAD OF PETER PUMPKINHEAD Crash Test Dummies
3 ( 20 ) LOVE CITY GROOVE Love City Groove
4 ( 2 ) HYPNOTISED Simple Minds
5 ( 4 ) THE FIRST THE LAST ETERNITY Snap! featuring Summer
6 ( 27 ) TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME Bobby Brown
7 ( 3 ) LET IT RAIN East 17
8 ( RE ) GUAGLIONE Perez ‘Prez’ Prado and His Orchestra
9 ( 5 ) ORIGINAL Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday
10 ( 6 ) ONE MAN IN MY HEART Human League

11 ( 8 ) PERFECT DAY Duran Duran
12 ( 9 ) TURN ON TUNE IN COP OUT Freak Power
13 ( 14 ) ONE Mica Paris
14 ( 11 ) GET WILD New Power Generation
15 ( 10 ) BABY IT’S YOU/ I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The Beatles
16 ( 30 ) MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds
17 ( 16 ) WAKE UP BOO The Boo Radleys
18 ( NEW ) NOT OVER YET Grace
19 ( 28 ) CHAINS Tina Arena
20 ( 12 ) I’VE GOT A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU MN8

21 ( 15 ) WHOOPS NOW! Janet Jackson
22 ( 37 ) IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone
23 ( 13 ) I KNOW Dionne Farris
24 ( 17 ) SHE’S A RIVER Simple Minds
25 ( 36 ) KARMACOMA Massive Attack
26 ( 38 ) BUBBLIN’ HOT Pato Banton featuring Rankin’ Roger
27 ( 33 ) I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU Barry White
28 ( 21 ) AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B. Hawkins
29 ( 34 ) U SURE DO Strike
30 ( NEW ) THE BEST IN ME Let Loose

31 ( 19 ) BELIEVE Elton John
32 ( 49 ) OVER THE RIVER Bitty McLean
33 ( NEW ) BUDDY HOLLY Weezer
34 ( 25 ) HOLD MY HAND Hootie And The Blowfish
35 ( 18 ) OLD POP IN AN OAK Rednex
36 ( 24 ) REACH UP (PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIGBAG) Perfecto Allstarz
37 ( NEW ) HOLDING ON TO YOU Terence Trent D’Arby
38 ( 23 ) IT’S A LOVING THING C.B. Milton
39 ( 63 ) BABY BABY Corona
40 ( 29 ) NO MORE ‘I LOVE YOU’S Annie Lennox

41 ( 32 ) CLOSE TO YOU Brand New Heavies
42 ( 35 ) DON’T STOP (WIGGLE WIGGLE) The Outhere Brothers
43 ( 40 ) THINK TWICE Celine Dion
44 ( 22 ) DON’T GIVE ME YOUR LIFE Alex Party
45 ( 39 ) JULIA SAYS Wet Wet Wet
46 ( NEW ) VEGAS Sleeper
47 ( 26 ) YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT FEELS Tom Petty
48 ( 41 ) WE’VE GOT TONIGHT Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
49 ( 31 ) LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
50 ( 44 ) GLORY BOX Portishead

51 ( 45 ) TELL ME WHEN Human League
52 ( 42 ) I’M NOT IN LOVE (1995) 10CC
53 ( 53 ) PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
54 ( 52 ) WHATEVER Oasis
55 ( 47 ) AXEL F Clock
56 ( 55 ) MISS YOU NIGHTS/ ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Cliff Richard and Phil Everley
57 ( 46 ) YOU GOTTA BE Des’ree
58 ( 56 ) TAKE A BOW Madonna
59 ( 48 ) PURPLE MEDLEY Prince
60 ( 65 ) HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN Bryan Adams

61 ( NEW ) SAVE IT TILL THE MOURNING AFTER Shut Up And Dance
62 ( 62 ) WHEN I KISS YOU (I HEAR CHARLIE PARKER PLAYING)/ THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US (BBC VERSION) Sparks
63 ( NEW ) THANK YOU BoyzIIMen
64 ( 64 ) DANCING QUEEN/EAGLE Abba
65 ( 43 ) HERE I GO 2 Unlimited
66 ( NEW ) SUDDENLY Sean Maguire
67 ( 69 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING The Righteous Brothers
68 ( 68 ) A GIRL LIKE YOU Edwyn Collins
69 ( 67 ) TRUE FAITH 94 New Order
70 ( 70 ) RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B. Hawkins

71 ( 71 ) WITHOUT YOU Nilsson
72 ( 54 ) INDEPENDENT LOVE SONG Scarlet
73 ( 59 ) THE ONLY ONE Gun
74 ( 73 ) STARS China Black
75 ( 75 ) 20TH CENTURY BOY T.Rex

img967


16th April 1995

3 weeks for Take That on top, as Let Loose are looking for the Best In Me at 7, their 3rd top 10 and The Lightning Seeds have an even longer run of top 10 entries and that’s Marvellous, at 9. Brownstone strut into the top 10, too, fabbily, leaving Mary J. Blige chasing fast highest new entry at 13 with the equally soulful attitudinal I’m Goin’ Down, and equally good.

Paul Young’s 60’s cover returns to the 40, Grazing grass as Portishead enter at 29 with some Sour Times. In a quiet week, the only other new entry of note is an early 70’s track from Bob Marley, Keep On Moving, written by Curtis Mayfield and remixed 1995 stylee.

1 ( 1 ) BACK FOR GOOD Take That
2 ( 3 ) LOVE CITY GROOVE Love City Groove
3 ( 2 ) GOD SHUFFLED HIS FEET/ THE BALLAD OF PETER PUMPKINHEAD Crash Test Dummies
4 ( 4 ) HYPNOTISED Simple Minds
5 ( 6 ) TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME Bobby Brown
6 ( 5 ) THE FIRST THE LAST ETERNITY Snap! featuring Summer
7 ( 30 ) BEST IN ME Let Loose
8 ( 7 ) LET IT RAIN East 17
9 ( 16 ) MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds
10 ( 22 ) IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone

11 ( 18 ) NOT OVER YET Grace
12 ( 19 ) CHAINS Tina Arena
13 ( NEW ) I’M GOIN’ DOWN Mary J. Blige
14 ( 8 ) GUAGLIONE Perez ‘Prez’ Prado and His Orchestra
15 ( 13 ) ONE Mica Paris
16 ( 10 ) ONE MAN IN MY HEART Human League
17 ( 9 ) ORIGINAL Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday
18 ( 12 ) TURN ON TUNE IN COP OUT Freak Power
19 ( 32 ) OVER THE RIVER Bitty McLean
20 ( 15 ) BABY IT’S YOU/ I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The Beatles

21 ( 14 ) GET WILD New Power Generation
22 ( 11 ) PERFECT DAY Duran Duran
23 ( 33 ) BUDDY HOLLY Weezer
24 ( 29 ) U SURE DO Strike
25 ( 17 ) WAKE UP BOO The Boo Radleys
26 ( 26 ) BUBBLIN’ HOT Pato Banton featuring Rankin’ Roger
27 ( RE ) GRAZING IN THE GRASS Paul Young
28 ( 21 ) WHOOPS NOW! Janet Jackson
29 ( NEW ) SOUR TIMES Portishead
30 ( 20 ) I’VE GOT A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU MN8

31 ( 39 ) BABY BABY Corona
32 ( 37 ) HOLDING ON TO YOU Terence Trent D’Arby
33 ( 34 ) HOLD MY HAND Hootie And The Blowfish
34 ( 63 ) I THANK YOU BoyzIIMen
35 ( 24 ) SHE’S A RIVER Simple Minds
36 ( 23 ) I KNOW Dionne Farris
37 ( 27 ) I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU Barry White
38 ( 36 ) REACH UP (PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIGBAG) Perfecto Allstarz
39 ( 25 ) KARMACOMA Massive Attack
40 ( 42 ) DON’T STOP (WIGGLE WIGGLE) The Outhere Brothers

41 ( 28 ) AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B. Hawkins
42 ( 31 ) BELIEVE Elton John
43 ( 35 ) OLD POP IN AN OAK Rednex
44 ( 40 ) NO MORE ‘I LOVE YOU’S Annie Lennox
45 ( 38 ) IT’S A LOVING THING C.B. Milton
46 ( 46 ) VEGAS Sleeper
47 ( 41 ) CLOSE TO YOU Brand New Heavies
48 ( 43 ) THINK TWICE Celine Dion
49 ( 61 ) SAVE IT TILL THE MOURNING AFTER Shut Up And Dance
50 ( 47 ) YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT FEELS Tom Petty

51 ( 51 ) TELL ME WHEN Human League
52 ( 60 ) HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN Bryan Adams
53 ( 50 ) GLORY BOX Portishead
54 ( 53 ) PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
55 ( 56 ) MISS YOU NIGHTS/ ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Cliff Richard and Phil Everley
56 ( 44 ) DON’T GIVE ME YOUR LIFE Alex Party
57 ( 54 ) WHATEVER Oasis
58 ( 52 ) I’M NOT IN LOVE (1995) 10CC
59 ( 58 ) TAKE A BOW Madonna
60 ( 48 ) WE’VE GOT TONIGHT Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

61 ( 65 ) HERE I GO 2 Unlimited
62 ( 62 ) WHEN I KISS YOU (I HEAR CHARLIE PARKER PLAYING)/ THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US (BBC VERSION) Sparks
63 ( 49 ) LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
64 ( 64 ) DANCING QUEEN/EAGLE Abba
65 ( NEW ) YOU AND I WILL NEVER SEE THINGS EYE TO EYE Kingmaker
66 ( 67 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING The Righteous Brothers
67 ( 55 ) AXEL F Clock
68 ( NEW ) KEEP ON MOVING Bob Marley And The Wailers
69 ( 68 ) A GIRL LIKE YOU Edwyn Collins
70 ( 70 ) RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B. Hawkins

71 ( 69 ) TRUE FAITH 94 New Order
72 ( 71 ) WITHOUT YOU Nilsson
73 ( 45 ) JULIA SAYS Wet Wet Wet
74 ( NEW ) CALLING OUT YOUR NAME Jimmy Nail
75 ( 75 ) 20TH CENTURY BOY T.Rex

Raffles..

Raffles..


23rd April 1995

4 weeks at 1 for Back For Good, as the charts go a little weird. That’s because I went on a 3-week holiday adventure around the world with mum and my brother, booked myself by fax, and multiple plane connections. Consequently current UK chart hits not that much in evidence, and all sorts of odd tracks (mostly American) getting airplay in odd places. So plenty don’t move, drop unexpectedly, or climb after peaking previously. Mary J. Blige goes top 10, Portishead top 20, and highest new entry is MC Saar and The Real McCoy at 15 with Love And Devotion. I wouldn’t put money on it going up though as I heard no UK radio for almost a month and a lot of the hit tracks of those weeks are either unknown or forgotten from lack of hearing them!

In at 20, and overshadowing their own current UK single, it’s BoyzIImen and their previous single On Bended Knee, heard somewhere between Heathrow Airport and Singapore City – I’ve misplaced the holiday diary for the moment so no expanded stories and anecdotes and details. Suffice to say it was a voyage of nostalgia for us, returning to our old house at Bedokville and old haunts around the former RAF Changi , and a very modern metropolitan city much-changed around Orchard Road, hot, humid, sunny. Rather lack0lustre singles take on a false lease of life in such circumstances – which explains BoyzIImen at 20. That’s my excuse anyway!

Annie Lennox, former number one, climbs again after I heard it in an orange juice kiosk on Orchard Road, air-conditioned relief from the humidity, and in at 27 it’s Richard Marx covering a Tom Jones country-music cover from 1967 (at least for me) which was a US hit in 1969 when I lived in Singapore, and the lyrics of which I bought in a songbook of current pop hits sheet music aged 11 or 12. Sometimes life is so circular… Meanwhile Sleeper go top 40, and Mark Morrison debuts in my charts with Crazy at 34, and what looked to be a promising classy Brit soul career.

At 40, it’s 20 fingers and Gillette, Mr. Personality, a eurodance hit that missed in the UK but made it in North America (as a minor hit). Taylor Swift might approve of it’s Toni Basil-esque Mickey rhythms. At 43 TLC return with the naughty Red Light Special, some other US chart ballads, and REM with some strange currencies. In my case, the Singapore dollar. Which I used to buy LOADS of nostalgia-driven souvenirs in Changi Village from a Sikh shop-owner who was about my age, and who excitedly introduced us to his family when we told him we were there in 1969 through 1971, when he was a boy helping his dad run a shack shop. All of the shacks in Changi Village had been knocked down and replaced with brick things, somewhat better to work in, but charmless. I missed all the smells and bustling village that it once was. These days, it was a very quiet hotel stopping place near new Changi International Airport, but off the beaten track. I missed the old Singapore. Remarkably, 24 years on, I still easily found our old house, and school, and swimming pool, everything was as clear as day to me, and still is vivid, despite diversions from new builds, new roads and building out into what was coastal waters.

1 ( 1 ) BACK FOR GOOD Take That
2 ( 2 ) LOVE CITY GROOVE Love City Groove
3 ( 3 ) GOD SHUFFLED HIS FEET/ THE BALLAD OF PETER PUMPKINHEAD Crash Test Dummies
4 ( 4 ) HYPNOTISED Simple Minds
5 ( 5 ) TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME Bobby Brown
6 ( 6 ) THE FIRST THE LAST ETERNITY Snap! featuring Summer
7 ( 7 ) BEST IN ME Let Loose
8 ( 8 ) LET IT RAIN East 17
9 ( 13 ) I’M GOIN’ DOWN Mary J. Blige
10 ( 9 ) MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds

11 ( 12 ) CHAINS Tina Arena
12 ( 11 ) NOT OVER YET Grace
13 ( 10 ) IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone
14 ( 29 ) SOUR TIMES Portishead
15 ( NEW ) LOVE AND DEVOTION Mc Sar and The Real McCoy
16 ( 18 ) TURN ON TUNE IN COP OUT Freak Power
17 ( 19 ) OVER THE RIVER Bitty McLean
18 ( 14 ) GUAGLIONE Perez ‘Prez’ Prado and His Orchestra
19 ( 24 ) U SURE DO Strike
20 ( NEW ) ON BENDED KNEE BoyzIIMen

21 ( 15 ) ONE Mica Paris
22 ( 23 ) BUDDY HOLLY Weezer
23 ( 16 ) ONE MAN IN MY HEART Human League
24 ( 28 ) WHOOPS NOW! Janet Jackson
25 ( 32 ) HOLDING ON TO YOU Terence Trent D’Arby
26 ( 44 ) NO MORE ‘I LOVE YOU’S Annie Lennox
27 ( NEW ) I’M NEVER GONNA FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Richard Marx
28 ( 20 ) BABY IT’S YOU/ I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The Beatles
29 ( 17 ) ORIGINAL Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday
30 ( 21 ) GET WILD New Power Generation

31 ( 22 ) PERFECT DAY Duran Duran
32 ( 34 ) THANK YOU BoyzIIMen
33 ( 46 ) VEGAS Sleeper
34 ( NEW ) CRAZY Mark Morrison
35 ( 38 ) REACH UP (PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIGBAG) Perfecto Allstarz
36 ( 42 ) BELIEVE Elton John
37 ( 26 ) BUBBLIN’ HOT Pato Banton featuring Rankin’ Roger
38 ( 25 ) WAKE UP BOO The Boo Radleys
39 ( 43 ) OLD POP IN AN OAK Rednex
40 ( NEW ) MR. PERSONALITY 20 Fingers featuring Gillette

41 ( 48 ) THINK TWICE Celine Dion
42 ( 30 ) I’VE GOT A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU MN8
43 ( NEW ) RED LIGHT SPECIAL TLC
44 ( 59 ) TAKE A BOW Madonna
45 ( 35 ) SHE’S A RIVER Simple Minds
46 ( RE ) WONDERFUL Adam Ant
47 ( 31 ) BABY BABY Corona
48 ( NEW ) LOVE OF MY LIFE Fun Factory
49 ( 67 ) AXEL F Clock
50 ( 27 ) GRAZING IN THE GRASS Paul Young

51 ( 51 ) TELL ME WHEN Human League
52 ( 52 ) HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN Bryan Adams
53 ( 55 ) MISS YOU NIGHTS/ ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Cliff Richard and Phil Everley
54 ( 36 ) I KNOW Dionne Farris
55 ( 33 ) HOLD MY HAND Hootie And The Blowfish
56 ( 54 ) PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
57 ( 49 ) SAVE IT TILL THE MOURNING AFTER Shut Up And Dance
58 ( NEW ) ETERNAL LOVE PJ & Duncan
59 ( 57 ) WHATEVER Oasis
60 ( 53 ) GLORY BOX Portishead

61 ( 64 ) DANCING QUEEN/EAGLE Abba
62 ( RE ) SUDDENLY Sean Maguire
63 ( 63 ) LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
64 ( 41 ) AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B. Hawkins
65 ( 37 ) I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU Barry White
66 ( 66 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING The Righteous Brothers
67 ( NEW ) I BELIEVE Blessid Union Of Souls
68 ( 61 ) HERE I GO 2 Unlimited
69 ( 73 ) JULIA SAYS Wet Wet Wet
70 ( 71 ) TRUE FAITH 94 New Order

71 ( 70 ) RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B. Hawkins
72 ( 69 ) A GIRL LIKE YOU Edwyn Collins
73 ( 72 ) WITHOUT YOU Nilsson
74 ( NEW ) STRANGE CURRENCIES REM
75 ( 75 ) 20TH CENTURY BOY T.Rex

Green Island Queensland

Green Island Queensland


30th April 1990

5 weeks on top, Back For Good, Take That preside over a static chart with only returns for some recent records and big climbs for recent biggies that get a renewed lease of life as they crop up on flights, in shops, on TV and seem fresher in the new exotic surroundings. Frankly I was far too busy with days out, jetlag and checking in! Just a quick mention that Crash Test Dummies 1994 track God Shuffled His Feet is back up to 2 second time around, Madonna and Edwyn Collins get big boosts back into the 40, with Pato Banton and Rankin’ Roger, and Richard Marx all adding to their run of top 20 hits. Other than that I’m featuring some oldies I heard on the holiday as video links, as there’s nothing much new to feature.

1 ( 1 ) BACK FOR GOOD Take That
2 ( 3 ) GOD SHUFFLED HIS FEET/ THE BALLAD OF PETER PUMPKINHEAD Crash Test Dummies
3 ( 2 ) LOVE CITY GROOVE Love City Groove
4 ( 5 ) TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME Bobby Brown
5 ( 4 ) HYPNOTISED Simple Minds
6 ( 8 ) LET IT RAIN East 17
7 ( 6 ) THE FIRST THE LAST ETERNITY Snap! featuring Summer
8 ( 9 ) I’M GOIN’ DOWN Mary J. Blige
9 ( 7 ) BEST IN ME Let Loose
10 ( 11 ) CHAINS Tina Arena

11 ( 10 ) MARVELLOUS The Lightning Seeds
12 ( 15 ) LOVE AND DEVOTION Mc Sar and The Real McCoy
13 ( 13 ) IF YOU LOVE ME Brownstone
14 ( 12 ) NOT OVER YET Grace
15 ( 22 ) BUDDY HOLLY Weezer
16 ( 16 ) TURN ON TUNE IN COP OUT Freak Power
17 ( 14 ) SOUR TIMES Portishead
18 ( 37 ) BUBBLIN’ HOT Pato Banton featuring Rankin’ Roger
19 ( 27 ) I’M NEVER GONNA FALL IN LOVE AGAIN Richard Marx
20 ( 20 ) ON BENDED KNEE BoyzIIMen

21 ( 18 ) GUAGLIONE Perez ‘Prez’ Prado and His Orchestra
22 ( 26 ) NO MORE ‘I LOVE YOU’S Annie Lennox
23 ( 32 ) THANK YOU BoyzIIMen
24 ( 19 ) U SURE DO Strike
25 ( 72 ) A GIRL LIKE YOU Edwyn Collins
26 ( 44 ) TAKE A BOW Madonna
27 ( 43 ) RED LIGHT SPECIAL TLC
28 ( 24 ) WHOOPS NOW! Janet Jackson
29 ( 21 ) ONE Mica Paris
30 ( 17 ) OVER THE RIVER Bitty McLean

31 ( 23 ) ONE MAN IN MY HEART Human League
32 ( 34 ) CRAZY Mark Morrison
33 ( 36 ) BELIEVE Elton John
34 ( 25 ) HOLDING ON TO YOU Terence Trent D’Arby
35 ( 28 ) BABY IT’S YOU/ I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN The Beatles
36 ( 31 ) PERFECT DAY Duran Duran
37 ( 35 ) REACH UP (PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW PIGBAG) Perfecto Allstarz
38 ( 45 ) SHE’S A RIVER Simple Minds
39 ( 29 ) ORIGINAL Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday
40 ( 40 ) MR. PERSONALITY 20 Fingers featuring Gillette

41 ( 33 ) VEGAS Sleeper
42 ( 30 ) GET WILD New Power Generation
43 ( 49 ) AXEL F Clock
44 ( 60 ) GLORY BOX Portishead
45 ( 52 ) HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOVED A WOMAN Bryan Adams
46 ( 46 ) WONDERFUL Adam Ant
47 ( 38 ) WAKE UP BOO The Boo Radleys
48 ( 48 ) LOVE OF MY LIFE Fun Factory
49 ( RE ) COTTON EYE JOE Rednex
50 ( 42 ) I’VE GOT A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU MN8

51 ( 41 ) THINK TWICE Celine Dion
52 ( 39 ) OLD POP IN AN OAK Rednex
53 ( 53 ) MISS YOU NIGHTS/ ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM Cliff Richard and Phil Everley
54 ( 51 ) TELL ME WHEN Human League
55 ( 58 ) ETERNAL LOVE PJ & Duncan
56 ( 62 ) SUDDENLY Sean Maguire
57 ( 56 ) PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE Kylie Minogue
58 ( 54 ) I KNOW Dionne Farris
59 ( 59 ) WHATEVER Oasis
60 ( NEW ) LOVE ME FOR A REASON Boyzone

61 ( 47 ) BABY BABY Corona
62 ( 50 ) GRAZING IN THE GRASS Paul Young
63 ( 61 ) DANCING QUEEN/EAGLE Abba
64 ( 66 ) YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING The Righteous Brothers
65 ( 57 ) SAVE IT TILL THE MOURNING AFTER Shut Up And Dance
66 ( NEW ) TOTAL ECIPSE OF THE HEART Nicki French
67 ( 67 ) I BELIEVE Blessid Union Of Souls
68 ( 69 ) JULIA SAYS Wet Wet Wet
69 ( 55 ) HOLD MY HAND Hootie And The Blowfish
70 ( 70 ) TRUE FAITH 94 New Order

71 ( 71 ) RIGHT BESIDE YOU Sophie B. Hawkins
72 ( 73 ) WITHOUT YOU Nilsson
73 ( 63 ) LOVE CAN BUILD A BRIDGE Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton
74 ( 64 ) AS I LAY ME DOWN Sophie B. Hawkins
75 ( 75 ) 20TH CENTURY BOY T.Rex


In Singapore: a walk up Mount Faber (on foot, exhausting in the hot sun) and a sweaty cable car ride over to Sentosa (which had aircon hooray!), a boat ride round Singapore harbour (cloudy, but got sunburnt) still as busy with worldwide shipping as it ever was, and some joy with the odd monsoon torrential downpour – no kidding I love warm downpours of rain in the tropics (as long as they aren’t prolonged)! The next step in the holiday was a flight from Changi to Cairns in Australia, with a refuelling stop in Darwin. It was a surprisingly long flight, and Australia is both bigger and further away than you think!

Cairns customs gave us a hard time for the crime of trying to import such vastly hazardous materials through customs as long-life milk (imported to Singapore from Australia, I mean really! Returning it from where it came…?!) Then there was the packets of instant hot chocolate drinks: who knew these were riddled with mad cow disease and that people in the UK were all headed for an old age of slowly dying from it from packets of cocoa. Not to mention the souvenir bamboo coasters we’d bought, which qualified as alien plant products bringing disease into the country. Who knew industrial-processed bamboo was so lethal?! It was reassuring to know that no Australian shops in any way import anything containing bamboo from outside Australia, oh no, that’s 100% for sure. Or food. Or wood. After threats to prosecute us for so flagrantly flouting Australian customs, and their sarcastic, stress-inducing, patronising attitude to tourists where they could have just gently explained and disposed of products, I decided pretty much then and there that I would never go back to Australia. They don’t want my tourist money, and I don’t want the stress, fair exchange. I’ve stuck to that and never been back.

Cairns, though, was a delight, more like Singapore in the 60’s and early 70’s than modern-day Singapore in mood. Largely quiet, far away from the pace of modern life, and locals were friendly and chatty and upfront, which I like. The Barrier Reef was nearby, my brother disappeared for a few days diving, and I took mum to Green Island by boat, and snorkelled happily amongst the coral and fish and golden sands. Bliss. An old steam train trip to Kuranda was like the olden days, and the netted coves of nearby coastal settlements fascinating (to keep out the box jellyfish). I bought some Australian cd’s, some souvenirs, and we stayed in actual ground floor apartment with cooking and fridge and bedrooms and TV so it was much more relaxing than Singapore. I really liked it, just regretted that there was no time to travel the huge distance to Sydney.

My 1970 Charts – April

record plastic bag from Singapore

record plastic bag from Singapore

1970 videos


7th April 1970

It’s a first Eurovision song chart-topper for Dana, All Kinds Of Everything won the first of many victories for Ireland and the pretty teenager with the pretty voice and pretty song. Everybody say aaaahh! I did love it at the time, less so these days though. The UK’s entry has to make do with 4, as Knock Knock Who’s There shockingly fails to go on top after 3 singles in a row to hit my number one. Not so shocking, actually, as it got very little airplay in Singapore, and Dana was always on 2-way Family Favourites. The classic Bridge Over Troubled Water is at 3, and the also classic Spirit In The Sky is up to 8.

New at 17, Blue Mink are back with another good single, Good Morning Freedom, I loved Madeleine Bell and happily caught her on TV the other day talking about her days as Dusty Springfield’s backing vocalist during Dusty’s classic period. The single is SO catchy! At 18, and Stevie is really on a roll, Never Had A Dream Come True is a great single towards the tail-end of his early Motown soul-crooner days, and before he became a serious album’s artist on top of hitmaker of singles. Creedence were also on a roll, Travelling Band being one of their big UK hits, but one I like less than some of their minor UK hits which hit it big in the USA around 1970 and 1971. Always good though.

1 ( 2 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 1 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 4 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 9 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
5 ( 3 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
6 ( 8 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
7 ( 5 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
8 ( 16 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
9 ( 6 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
10 ( 7 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell

11 ( 13 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
12 ( 12 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
13 ( 17 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
14 ( 20 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
15 ( 15 ) AUGUST OCTOBER Robin Gibb

16 ( 14 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
17 ( NEW ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink
18 ( NEW ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
19 ( 18 ) I TALK TO THE TREES Clint Eastwood
20 ( NEW ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival


In Singapore, I had a new friend from an adjacent bungalow to the rear of the house, Robert Gough, who went to the Grammar School at Changi, had a warrant officer dad (all my dad’s mates were low-ranking so this was virtual hob-nobbing with the elite!) and he got sent home to private school in the UK for a while. When it was his birthday I got a real treat in a Katong upstairs restaurant, my first-ever banana split, and some money to spend in the big Robinson’s store in the city – where I got a brand new copy of Action Comics 386, which featured an ageing immortal Superman in a continuing story set in the far future, and a legion Of Super-Heroes back Zap Goes The Legion! which had a fave minor villainess Uli Algor, who plotted to turn their super-powers against the featured legionnaires – she got beaten by a punch. Always poor planners, villains! It was a great evening out though, and of course I still have that comic, still precious to me and in good condition, with the 55 cents Singapore price-tag stamped on it. These things matter when you’re 12 (or 57)!

action-comics-386

At the Oscars, it was Midnight Cowboy, John Wayne (in True Grit, which I loved), and Maggie Smith – sadly, not for Sister Act, that was still nearly 20 years away! On TV I was watching reruns of The Ice Warriors Doctor Who (well re-runs to me, having watched them 2 years earlier in the UK), while the UK was stuck with Jon Pertwee episodes – he just wasn’t the Doctor! I was also watching The Banana Splits which aired just before it, I loved the cool Drooper, the animated cartoons, the crap gags, and especially the theme tune and funky songs. Oldies on TV? Gilligan’s Island, My Favorite Martian, The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, Car 54 Where Are You? and other US 60’s sitcoms. My pop culture is pretty much American pop culture, British sitcoms were dull in comparison. All of ‘em. The first sitcom that appealed to me was just out in the UK – Up Pompeii – and that was very much in the Carry On tradition. Carry On films still came out regularly and played at the RAF Changi cinema – I remember going to see Carry On Loving in 1971 and not getting the “cooking fat” gag for a cat’s name. Cos he spits, I thought, naively!

our TV and fish tank

our TV and fish tank


14th April 1970

2 weeks for Dana on top, and Spirit In The Sky hits 5, but a quiet week overall, just The Band’s Rag Mama Rag at 20 (not even their best single) and The Archies EP at 9: this was an EP mum and dad bought with my own pocket money. I’d asked them to get me The Partridge Family EP – EP’s were quite pricey, but you got 4 good quality tracks as I was mad on the new TV show and songs, but they knew I was also mad on The Archies songs from TV shows, too – I even took to recording them direct from the TV with a hand-held microphone on our reel-to-reel recorder, tinny quality but they also happened to be generally pretty good, and many of them remain unreleased to this day, to my ongoing annoyance. Anyhoo, Sugar Sugar had already topped, but the other tracks were also good, I already knew the theme tune (which was fun) and Bang Shang A Lang was jolly bubblegum pop that had hit the US charts before Sugar Sugar. Of course, I also bought the comics if I had spare cash after grabbing every DC superhero comic I could find from second-hand bookstalls and shops. The cover of the EP (the first I ever bought) is also the one used by the youtube link

1 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 2 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 3 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
4 ( 4 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
5 ( 8 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum

6 ( 7 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
7 ( 5 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
8 ( 6 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
9 ( NEW ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
10 ( 10 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell

11 ( 9 ) NA NA HEY HEY KISS HIM GOODBYE Steam
12 ( 13 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
13 ( 12 ) I WANT YOU BACK The Jackson 5
14 ( 11 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
15 ( 17 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink

16 ( 18 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
17 ( 14 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
18 ( 16 ) EVERYBODY GET TOGETHER The Dave Clark 5
19 ( 20 ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival
20 ( NEW ) RAG MAMA RAG The Band

In the news world, there were 2 major stories around the world, and very much in Singapore too: The Beatles split up! Paul McCartney announced the unthinkable, the fab four were no more, they were an ex-world-conquering-megastar-act. These days we are used to seeing bands fold, even big ones, and even at the height of their success, but back then there had never been a band as big as The Beatles (and never would be again), and they really were rewriting all of the rule books, including ending at the top of their game. For me personally, it all seemed a bit distant (quite literally), and as I’d already loved Give Peace A Chance the prospect of solo Beatles singles seemed to still be a very good thing, and to be honest I’m not sure I (or the media, or anyone else) thought that it would be forever. I just seemed so unlikely that the biggest pop group in the world as far back as I could remember would not be back. Good thing I didn’t know the reality!

The other event was Apollo 13. It gripped the world media over the next 2 weeks, as it lifted-off on it’s doomed (but ultimately heroic) voyage to the moon. Apollo 11 had been Earth-shattering, Apollo 12 was a bit like watching a repeat, only without a camera – the lack of images was a major PR disaster and was the start of the grumbling backlash from critics and taxpayers. Apollo 13 was different. We honestly had no idea what would happen, and I recall one of mum’s friend’s soberly offering an opinion that she thought they would die, which kind of brought it all home how serious the situation was. I can’t do better than suggest watching the Tom Hanks movie Apollo13, that pretty much tells the whole story of Jim Lovell and co, and perfectly captures what 1970 looked like and sounded like, the fashions, the media. My mum was 30-ish and wore mini-skirts, so did her friends. I was mad on the space missions and was gutted when they cancelled them. I cut out colour splash photos of Apollo 14 on the moon, as it got a temporary boost and subsequent missions had the cool Lunar Rover to motor about as well as proper decent colour video pictures. Awesome then, awesome now, and as part of history now taken for granted. I suggest taking a look at the recent high-def images of the moon’s surface, taken from satellite, they are incredible, you can make out every rover trail, footprints and every bit of equipment left on the surface of the moon. They will stay there, barring return visits which look less likely with every passing decade, for centuries, long after all of the crackpot “Moon-landing hoax” money-making charlatans have been forgotten. For every event there is a conspiracy theorist jumping out of the woodwork to get rich on other people’s paranoia and naivety.

mobile brush and carpet man, mum and ahtchoo

mobile brush and carpet man, mum and ahtchoo


21st April 1970

3 weeks for Dana, summertime, wintertime, spring and autumn too, nothing is shifting her, not even The Archies at 3, or Stevie Wonder up to 8. Highest new entry, though, is a personal obscure fave of mine written by blue-eyed soul/gospel singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. She was a fantastic songwriter but never made it as an artist, but her songs were often covered successfully by acts of the time, and especially by The Fifth Dimension, the ultimate sweet soul harmony band. Like contemporaries The Carpenters, considered a bit too MOR and uncool, I think they are long overdue a critical re-appraisal. Save The Country was a social-conscience gospel song with lyrical sentiments that still apply. I’d like to see it covered, modern-stylee, and not just because it evokes strong feel-good nostalgic memories of 1970 Singapore (which it does, the group were often on US variety shows broadcast) or the general music-scene vibes of 1970 (which it should, not being a million miles away from Hair – and their hit version of Aquarius).

Tom Jones is back, 2 years of popchartfreak-hit-making (pah! 2 years! Currently on about 46 years…) and Daughter Of Darkness was one of his more sombre darker-story-songs, and it packed a punch enough. Arguably his last record to do that for, ooh, 18 years. The Hollies meanwhile can’t tell the bottom from the top, not a problem I generally have, and it’s a decent enough pop song (as always). Finally House Of The Rising Sun is back, very famous, one of those songs that always seemed to have existed in pop culture, but not The Animals! No, it’s a hippie prog rock version from Frijid Pink. Alecia Moore might have something to say about that, I’d hazard a guess!

1 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
2 ( 2 ) LET IT BE The Beatles
3 ( 9 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
4 ( 3 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel
5 ( 5 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum

6 ( 4 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
7 ( 6 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
8 ( 16 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder
9 ( 8 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
10 ( NEW ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension

11 ( 12 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
12 ( 7 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
13 ( 15 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink
14 ( 10 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
15 ( 14 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin

16 ( 19 ) TRAVELLIN’ BAND Creedence Clearwater Revival
17 ( NEW ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
18 ( 17 ) I CAN’T HELP MYSELF The Four Tops
19 ( NEW ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
20 ( NEW ) HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN Frijid Pink

the garden plants, me and baby brother

the garden plants, me and baby brother


Back in home-life anecdote vogue, we had local gardeners come round to cut the lawn – not exactly grass in the European sense, the plants had broader leaves and were quite tough under-foot as they needed to be to avoid getting washed away in monsoon rains. The main gardener was usually a Malay man with a couple of kids tagged on, and they planted a few decorative shrubs with pink and white flowers around, one they called the poo-poo tree. Maybe they were having us on, it was quite nice! The garden was quite exposed to the sun at this time, little natural shade, so I was fascinated to see them stick a twig in the ground by the fence and monsoon drain behind it in the front garden facing our fold-out door – the front room had no windows at all, basically the whole frontage just folded into wooden doors that folded inward and opened up the room to the garden (and insects and chit-chat geckos). More fascinating was the twig actually growing rapidly, sprouting leaves, and within a year or 18 months it was shady tree big enough to climb into (at least for me and my brother). I also became interested in growing exotic fast-growing plant-pot plants and seeds outside. Still am. Still do.


28th April 1970

It’s a new entry, the only act that can stop The Archies from topping my chart – yes it’s The Beatles getting a 3rd Number One, all of them Paul McCartney songs, and the Fabs replace themselves in the chart as Let It Be prematurely vacates the UK singles chart but The Long And Winding Road heads to the top of the US chart, and gets plenty of Singapore exposure. Paul wasn’t that keen on the Phil Spector strings arrangement, but I was a huge 12-year-old fan of it, and the climactic emotional build. Sentimental? Absolutely. Mushy? A bit. Brilliant? Too right! It was the end of the Long And Winding Road for The Beatles, and a good one to go out on as much as Let It Be was. Not a UK single of course, like so many classic Beatles tracks, though it did eventually top the UK charts, err for Gareth Gates and Will Young. Better late than never.

The World Cup was apparently a thing in 1970. I say that as I had no inkling about anything to do with it, other than the song Back Home which was listed in the Daily Mirror Top 30 charts when we got a massive bundle of newspapers all glued and packaged together like a telephone book every month or so. At least I got to hear about some of the hits even if not actually hear them. So, in at 18 an actual decent World Cup song, and it’s from the England squad on their way in the summer to not actually winning for a second time in a row. Ne’er mind, sure there’ll be another victory soon, lads…. No? In at 19, a folk singer often on UK TV, Julie Felix does a quick cover of the Simon And Garfunkel album track. I liked Julie, but let’s be honest, not as good as the S&G version. Which leaves The Move returning after a number one in 1969 with Blackberry Way, but with a difference – Roy Wood had inducted his Brummie mate in the band, name of Jeff Lynne, and The Brontosaurus was a monster combo. A bit heavy, not one of my fave Move tracks, but it was essentially the seeds of The Electric Light Orchestra being sown before our eyes. Nobody remembers the Move anymore (sadly), but ELO and Roy Wood are still a bit famous!

1 ( NEW ) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD The Beatles
2 ( 3 ) THE ARCHIES EP (Sugar Sugar/Bang Shang A Lang/ Everything’s Archie (Archie’s Theme)/Over And Over) The Archies
3 ( 1 ) ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING Dana
4 ( 5 ) SPIRIT IN THE SKY Norman Greenbaum
5 ( 4 ) BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER Simon And Garfunkel

6 ( 6 ) KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S THERE Mary Hopkin
7 ( 10 ) SAVE THE COUNTRY The Fifth Dimension
8 ( 7 ) WAND’RIN’ STAR Lee Marvin
9 ( 9 ) (TO BE) YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK Bob And Marcia
10 ( 8 ) NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE Stevie Wonder

11 ( 17 ) DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Tom Jones
12 ( 11 ) GIMME DAT DING The Pipkins
13 ( 12 ) RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD B.J. Thomas
14 ( 19 ) I CAN’T TELL THE BOTTOM FROM THE TOP The Hollies
15 ( 13 ) GOOD MORNING FREEDOM Blue Mink

16 ( 14 ) TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS Glen Campbell
17 ( 15 ) FAREWELL IS A LONELY SOUND Jimmy Ruffin
18 ( NEW ) BACK HOME England World Cup Squad
19 ( NEW ) IF I COULD Julie Felix
20 ( NEW ) BRONTOSAURUS The Move

My 1969 Charts – 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
4 ( 2 ) GOOD MORNING STARSHINE Oliver
5 ( 7 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
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
3 ( 5 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
4 ( 6 ) SOMETHING The Beatles
5 ( RE ) FEELIN’ SO GOOD (SKOOBY DOO) The Archies
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
4 ( 3 ) EVERYBODY’S TALKING Nilsson
5 ( 8 ) (CALL ME) NUMBER ONE The Tremeloes
6 ( 10 ) RUBY DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
7 ( NEW ) YESTER-ME YESTER-YOU, YESTERDAY Stevie Wonder
8 ( 9 ) I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE Lou Christie
9 ( RE ) HE AIN’T HEAVY…HE’S MY BROTHER The Hollies
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

My 1969 Charts – October

mum n dad looking cool

mum n dad looking cool

OCT 1969

7th Oct 1969

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

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

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

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

swimming pool (me on the board) RAF Changi

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

14th October 1969

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

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital

view from RAF Changi pool of Changi Hospital


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

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

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

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

21st October 1969

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

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

28th October 1969

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

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

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

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

Changi beach and views of the islands

Changi beach and views of the islands


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

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