Saturday, 20 December 2014

UK Music Chart: September 4, 1971 Featuring Curved Air


Number 12: Curved Air
Diana Ross with I'm Still Waiting continued to outsell all comers in the UK Top 20 this week in September 1971, as the track completed its third straight week at Number 1.

Elsewhere in the chart, three new songs appeared for the first time, as tracks by Curved Air, The Supremes and duo Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood made their debuts.

Image: Retrospective - Curved Air 




Diana Ross at Number 1


The Chart: 

  • 01 (01) Diana Ross - I'm Still Waiting 
  • 02 (02) The New Seekers - Never Ending Song Of Love 
  • 03 (09) The Tams - Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me 
  • 04 (05) Family - In My Own Time 
  • 05 (03) Dawn - What Are You Doing Sunday? 
  • 06 (06) The Pioneers - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah 
  • 07 (08) Buffy Sainte-Marie - Soldier Blue 
  • 08 (15) Carole King - It's Too Late 
  • 09 (07) Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer 
  • 10 (04) T. Rex - Get It On 
  • 11 (10) George Harrison - Bangla Desh 
  • 12 (21) Curved Air - Back Street Luv 
  • 13 (11) New World - Tom-Tom Turnaround 
  • 14 (12) Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up 
  • 15 (14) The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again 
  • 16 (20) Gilbert O'Sullivan - We Will 
  • 17 (25) Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood - Did You Ever? 
  • 18 (17) Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog 
  • 19 (26) The Supremes - Nathan Jones 
  • 20 (16) St. Cecilia - Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air) 
*Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold
 

12: Curved Air: Back Street Luv

Although Curved Air only ever once managed to crack the British Singles Chart, Back Street Luv is one of those tracks that is truly unforgettable if you were around in the early 1970s.

Curved Air may not be a band name that automatically springs to mind when you think of the music of the era, but the band's female lead singer, Sonja Kristina, left a lasting impression on many a teenage boy's mind.

She fronted the band through this, their most commercially profitable era, when not only Back Street Luv was a favourite with record buyers, but also their first three albums took the group into the UK Top 20. This single was included on their second, the uninspiringly named Second Album, peaking at Number 4 later in September.



17: Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood: Did You Ever?

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood's innuendo-laden Did You Ever? appealed to the Carry On/Benny Hill-style comedy that was so popular in the UK at the time.

The lyrics to this country pop song were...unintentionally...possibly...probably entirely innocent, but there was no doubt that you could read more into them if you so wanted.

Although country has generally never had much lasting impact in the UK, this twangy novelty certainly found its legs and raced all the way to a peak position of Number 2.



19: The Supremes: Nathan Jones

In a week when Diana Ross was heading the UK listing, her old group, The Supremes, entered at the other end of the chart with their latest hit, Nathan Jones.

Taken from their album Touch, the single employed some wonderful sychronised vocals from all three of the girls, as well as the use of intermittent phasing in order to give the record a unique sound.

However, Motown was not as enthusiastic about the group as it once was, instead preferring to promote some of its proven acts over The Supremes. As a consequence, the girls' records lost a lot of commercial traction in the States, where this song peaked at Number 16. Nevertheless, they remained a hot item in the UK and Nathan Jones became one of their most successful post-Ross singles.



The American Top 10 (w/e September 4, 1971)
*Press play > to listen to each track

  • 01 (12) Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey - Paul & Linda McCartney 
  • 02 (01) How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? - The Bee Gees
  • 03 (08) Smiling Faces Sometimes - The Undisputed Truth
  • 04 (09) Spanish Harlem - Aretha Franklin
  • 05 (10) Go Away Little Girl - Donny Osmond
  • 06 (13) Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
  • 07 (02) Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • 08 (03) Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
  • 09 (07) Liar - Three Dog Night
  • 10 (18) I Just Want to Celebrate - Rare Earth

The UK Number 1 album this week:

  • Top of the Pops Vol.18 - Anonymous Various Artists

Friday, 19 December 2014

UK Music Chart: August 28, 1971 Featuring Curtis Mayfield

This week in August 1971, Tamla Motown's Diana Ross completed her second week at the top of the UK Singles Chart with the ballad I'm Still Waiting, continuing to outsell The New Seekers who remained at Number 2 for a fourth straight week with their cover of Delaney and Bonnie's Never Ending Song of Love.

Further down the chart, three legendary singer/songwriters of the era entered the Top 20, as hits by Curtis Mayfield, Carole King and Gilbert O'Sullivan maintained their progress up the listing.





Diana Ross at Number 1


The Chart: 
  • 01 (01) Diana Ross - I'm Still Waiting 
  • 02 (02) The New Seekers - Never Ending Song of Love 
  • 03 (06) Dawn - What Are You Doing Sunday? 
  • 04 (03) T. Rex - Get It On 
  • 05 (05) Family - In My Own Time 
  • 06 (17) The Pioneers - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah 
  • 07 (04) Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer 
  • 08 (11) Buffy Sainte-Marie - Soldier Blue 
  • 09 (19) The Tams - Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me 
  • 10 (15) George Harrison - Bangla Desh 
  • 11 (07) New World - Tom-Tom Turnaround 
  • 12 (22) Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up 
  • 13 (08) Middle of the Road - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep 
  • 14 (09) The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again 
  • 15 (24) Carole King - It's Too Late 
  • 16 (12) St. Cecilia - Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air) 
  • 17 (10) Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog 
  • 18 (16) Slade - Get Down and Get With It 
  • 19 (13) Lobo - Me and You and a Dog Named Boo 
  • 20 (23) Gilbert O'Sullivan - We Will 
*Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold  

12: Curtis Mayfield: Move On Up

In 1970, Curtis Mayfield decided to quit his previous group, The Impressions, in favour of pursuing a solo career.

Already having enjoyed a string of gospel-tinged soul hits with the band in the US, Mayfield strengthened his emphasis on social commentary in his music with the release of his debut eponymous album.

Much of his output concerned the struggles among certain sections of the black population, wherein poverty, drug abuse and political activism were rife.

Move On Up was one the tracks included on this first album and demonstrated Mayfield's progression into a more rhythmic funk music, rather than the smoother soul with which he had previously been associated. It proved successful in the UK where it peaked at this week's Number 12, but failed to chart upon its release in the US.



15: Carole King: It's Too Late

It had been nine years since Carole King had cracked the British Top 20 with It Might As Well Rain Until September, but she returned with a bang when she followed up her immense American success with It's Too Late in the UK.

The track was taken from King's sophomore album Tapestry, which has since sold approximately twenty-five million copies around the world, making it one of the best-selling long players of all time.

Both the album and It's Too Late hit the top of their respective US charts in mid-June 1971, with the single remaining there for five weeks. In the UK, the latter peaked at Number 6 and marked the last time (to date) that a Carole King vocal featured in the British Singles Chart.



20: Gilbert O'Sullivan: We Will

After the success of Nothing Rhymed, Gilbert O'Sullivan's follow-up, Underneath the Blanket Go, failed to impress many British record buyers. Although it reached Number 1 in the Netherlands, it could only struggle to Number 40 in the UK.

It was his third single, another self-penned ode called We Will, which brought him back into the Top Twenty, although not charting as highly as his subsequent releases would prove to do. It would eventually peak at Number 16.

We Will was among the few early hits that O'Sullivan promoted during his 'street urchin' era, when he was clad in a flat cap, short trousers and sporting a pudding-basin haircut. His biggest triumphs - and a change of image - were yet to come.



The American Top 10 (w/e August 28, 1971)

*Press play > to listen to each track

  • 01 (01) How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? - The Bee Gees 
  • 02 (03) Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • 03 (08) Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
  • 04 (04) Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye
  • 05 (02) Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
  • 06 (06) Sweet Hitchhiker - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • 07 (10) Liar - Three Dog Night
  • 08 (12) Smiling Faces Sometimes - The Undisputed Truth
  • 09 (14) Spanish Harlem - Aretha Franklin
  • 10 (24) Go Away Little Girl - Donny Osmond

The UK Number 1 album this week:


  • Top of the Pops Vol.18 - Anonymous Various Artists


Thursday, 18 December 2014

UK Music Chart: August 21, 1971 Featuring George Harrison

George Harrison Performing at a Rock Concert Benefiting Bangladesh, aka Kampuchea
After four weeks as the UK's best selling single, Get It On by T. Rex vacated the Number 1 spot and was replaced by Diana Ross with I'm Still Waiting.

This was the first of two singles by the ex-Supreme to top the British chart - the second came in 1985 with the release of Chain Reaction - and eventually sold enough copies to feature among Motown's best sellers in the UK.

Further down the chart, George Harrison returned with the charity single Bangla Desh, while reggae outfit The Pioneers and soul vocalists The Tams entered the Top 20 for the first time.

Image: George Harrison : Buy This at Allposters.com


1: Diana Ross: I'm Still Waiting





The Chart: 

  • 01 (03) Diana Ross - I'm Still Waiting 
  • 02 (02) The New Seekers - Never Ending Song of Love 
  • 03 (01) T. Rex - Get It On 
  • 04 (04) Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer 
  • 05 (05) Family - In My Own Time 
  • 06 (13) Dawn - What Are You Doing Sunday? 
  • 07 (07) New World - Tom-Tom Turnaround 
  • 08 (08) Middle of the Road - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep 
  • 09 (09) The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again 
  • 10 (14) Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog 
  • 11 (18) Buffy Sainte-Marie - Soldier Blue 
  • 12 (12) St. Cecilia - Leap Up and Down (Wave Your Knickers in the Air) 
  • 13 (06) Lobo - Me and You and a Dog Named Boo 
  • 14 (10) The Sweet - Co-Co 
  • 15 (27) George Harrison - Bangla Desh 
  • 16 (17) Slade - Get Down and Get With It 
  • 17 (25) The Pioneers - Let Your Yeah Be Yeah 
  • 18 (11) Dave and Ansel Collins - Monkey Spanner 
  • 19 (26) The Tams - Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me 
  • 20 (15) Greyhound - Black and White 
*Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold  

15: George Harrison: Bangla Desh

Harrison's UK follow-up to his best-selling track My Sweet Lord was probably pop's first large scale charity single, Bangla Desh. It was written in response to a request from Indian musician Ravi Shankar to aid the war torn region of (then) East Pakistan (now the independent Bangladesh), which had also been ravaged by one of the worst tropical cyclones ever in the region the previous November.

The situation also prompted Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh performances in New York, where he was joined on stage by the likes of Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton.





17: The Pioneers: Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

Popular with skinheads at the time, Jamaica's The Pioneers were another Trojan Records success story, scoring three UK reggae hits between 1969 and 1972. This catchy cover of Jimmy Cliff's Let Your Yeah Be Yeah became the trio's biggest amongst them, peaking at Number 5 during September.





19: The Tams: Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me

The Northern Soul scene was flourishing at this time in the UK and it was responsible for pushing some otherwise obscure and forgotten American soul tracks into the British singles chart.

Among them was this 1964 recording of Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me by vocal group The Tams. A minor hit in the US on its initial release, it completely failed to register in the UK, but suddenly fell into favour when it was regularly played in British soul clubs.

It surprised even its most staunch supporters when it eventually went all the way to Number 1, remaining there for three weeks. [The video below shows a performance by the group on Top of the Pops at the time. Notice how one member suddenly disappears halfway through].




The American Top 10 (w/e August 21, 1971)

*Press play > to listen to each track

  • 01 (01) How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? - The Bee Gees 
  • 02 (02) Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
  • 03 (03) Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • 04 (09) Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye
  • 05 (05) You've Got A Friend - James Taylor
  • 06 (15) Sweet Hitchhiker - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • 07 (07) Beginnings / Color My World - Chicago
  • 08 (10) Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
  • 09 (04) Draggin' the Line - Tommy James
  • 10 (14) Liar - Three Dog Night

The UK Number 1 album this week:


  • Top of the Pops Vol.18 - Anonymous Various Artists