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1. Joe Cocker – Delta Lady (Regal Zonophone RZ3024 – 1969)

At just 12 years old, my initial interest in the current pop music of the day, which included singles by such groups as Marmalade, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich, Amen Corner and The Monkees, was beginning to move forward, possibly after seeing the Jimi Hendrix Experience on Top of the Pops performing “Purple Haze”.  Throughout the 1960s the Beatles seemed to be in a category of their own and remained so even after their eventual break up, which has continued through their legacy to this day.  It would have been easy for me to choose a Beatles song to kick start this series of releases.  I’ve chosen however, a song that came to me after watching a local rock band perform the song during one of their regular Sunday afternoon rehearsals at the guitarist and drummer’s dad’s house in Doncaster.  The band was called Swamp and their repertoire was made up of such rock classics as “Sunshine of Your Love”, “Badge” and a pretty faithful version of Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady”, which was most famously covered by Joe Cocker and which featured on the Sheffield singer’s self-titled second LP.  Released in 1969, the same year that Cocker made his iconic appearance at the Woodstock Festival, performing his soulful version of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends”, complete with air guitar, star-spangled boots and tie-died granddad vest, “Delta Lady” provided this young 12 year-old with a musical start that would develop into a large collection of grown up songs, after bidding farewell to the Bubblegum of “Ha Ha Said the Clown” forever.

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2. Thunderclap Newman – Something in the Air (Track Records 604031 – 1969)

If there was one record that captured the spirit of 1969, then it was Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air”.  The single was played constantly on the radio at the time, despite it only spending three weeks at the top of the charts.  Although jazz pianist Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman played his familiar honky tonk piano on the single, it was drummer Speedy Keen (incorrectly spelled Keene on the label) who wrote the song and provided it with his distinctive vocal, augmented by Jimmy McCulloch on guitar, who went on to play with Paul McCartney’s Wings in the 1970s.  The single, which was produced by The Who’s Pete Townshend who also plays bass, became something of a one-hit wonder for the band and is still played frequently on the radio to this day.  The song was also famously used in a scene in the Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr film The Magic Christian, where city gents were invited to wade through a vat by the Thames, containing 100 gallons of blood, 200 gallons of urine and 500 cubic feet of animal manure, in search of ‘free money’.  

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3. Jr Walker and the All Stars – Sweet Soul (Tamla Motown TMG637)

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Sweet Soul is the B side to “Come See About Me” by Jr Walker and the All Stars, released in 1968 on the Tamla Motown label.  Not to be mistaken for Sweet Soul Music by Arthur Conley, this short instrumental was one of the staple records played at the Top Rank on Silver Street in Doncaster during their thriving soul and Motown nights at the club and features Walker’s distinctive wailing tenor sax.  I can’t listen to the record without it transporting me back to my youth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the only long-haired boy in the club wearing all the current clobber, from the bottom up: brown brogues, ankle socks, Levis Sta-Prest strides, Ben Sherman gingham shirt and v-neck green sweater with the obligatory Yorkshire rose badge sewn on.

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4. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around the Bend (Liberty LBF15354 – 1970)

I don’t know why the American rock and roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival meant so much to me in the late 1960s while I was still at school, but my little orange cuboid singles box had more CCR singles in it than any other artist at the time, each on the familiar vivid blue Liberty label. Written by John Fogerty, “Up Around the Bend” has a memorable high-pitched guitar riff, which permeates throughout the three-minute song and goes hand in glove with Fogerty’s trademark sneering vocals. The lyrics seem to suggest a ‘calling on’ song, as Fogerty beckons the listener to join him at the end of the highway, in the woods rather than the city, another early 1970s song that suggests the ‘back to the garden’ myth. The song was also included on the band’s fourth studio LP Cosmo’s Factory as did the flip side “Run through the Jungle”. As with many bands of the era, it didn’t end well.

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5. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Chile (Track 2095 001 – 1968)

I remember marching up to the counter at Foxes Records in the Arndale Centre in Doncaster with six shillings in my hand, to almost demand that they hand over the latest single release by the Jimi Hendrix Experience just a short time after the death of the guitarist in a London flat. The single, which might be categorised as an EP, the record having two tracks on the B side, the Billy Roberts/Dino Valenti/Whoever song “Hey Joe” and Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, was released as a tribute to the late musician and was one of the first records to be added to my growing collection of singles that ventured outside the confines of what could be described as pop music, stepping into full blown rock territory. It was also one of the first records of mine that dad just couldn’t cope with and this alone made me love it even more.

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6. Bob and Marcia – Young, Gifted and Black (Harry J HJ6605 – 1970)

If you don’t remember this thoroughly engaging reggae version of Nina Simone’s gospel-tinged song “To Be Young Gifted and Black” released back in 1970, then you were simply not there, that’s for sure.  It was played almost relentlessly on the radio, reaching number 5 in the UK charts in the March of that year and was a hit on both the radio and on dance floors up and down the country.  Remember, a number 1 in 2021 is but a fraction of the sales of a number 5 in 1970.  It begins with a short gentle piano run up, followed by three simple words ‘young, gifted and black’ and then that killer single bass note, but what a note it is.  It sends a warm shiver every time I hear it.  Bob and Marcia, the Jamaican duo Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, had already bowed out of the music business by the middle of the decade and we didn’t hear much of them subsequently, but like most of the singles in my little orange box, it only takes a couple of seconds after the needle hits the groove, to be transported right back there as if by magic.  Certain fragrances do this and certain tastes of course, but records do it best of all, especially that divine bass note.  I get an inexplicable feeling of complete joy upon each hearing, even fifty years on.

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7. The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset (Pye 7N 17321 – 1967)

As a ten year-old, I was fortunate enough to spend a swinging week in Swinging London with my eleven year-old school pals in the summer of 1968.  These were the days long before the Sony Walkman, yet I distinctly remember hearing pop songs throughout the week, possibly the leakage of sounds coming from the boutiques along Carnaby Street, or from transistor radios of market stall holders along Pettycoat Lane or maybe it’s possible that one of us had a portable radio with us, I’m not quite sure.  I spent the week singing, whistling or humming some of these songs to myself as we walked along the streets of London, possibly in a feeble attempt to impress one of my female class mates; a fat lot of good that did!  The song I remember most of all from this time was the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”, which illustrates this period so well.  The Ray Davies song not only evokes this particular period, it also conjures up visions of the very heart of the city, with its dirty old river, its taxi lights shining at dusk and its chilly chilly evening time, while Terry and Julie keep a tight hold of one another as they cross Waterloo Bridge, possibly imagining their lives ahead.  There’s an entire novel in these three verses and gorgeous chorus, possibly the best single ever.

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8. Scott McKenzie – San Francisco (CBS 2816 – 1967)

In the so-called Summer of Love, I was ten years old and pretty much consumed with the pop music of the era, from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to their American counterparts, such bands as The Turtles and The Loving Spoonful, not to mention The Monkees.  I still recall sitting on a hill in the misty Yorkshire Dales on a camping trip with my fellow cub scouts, sitting in a circle around Akela, who sang “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” accompanying herself on an Spanish guitar with a daisy chain crown atop her head.  The appeal was infectious, especially to a ten-year old away from home, creating a distraction that would last for the rest of the decade and probably well into the next.  Records and girls were inextricably linked.  The following year, when I made my first visit to London with school, I distinctly remember hanging around Piccadilly Circus watching hippies gather, while whistling – possibly the most irritating pursuit of my childhood – Scott McKenzie’s most famous song, which was written for him by the Mamas and Papas’ leader John Phillips.  I had no idea where San Francisco was but I knew I wanted to go there with or without flowers in my hair.

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9. Ten Years After – Love Like a Man (Deram DM299 – 1970)

In 1970, Ten Years After was a band still recovering from the landmark event of the previous year in upstate New York, in fact some believe the band never actually recovered from Woodstock at all.  The band’s drummer Rick Lee told me some years later that the band had already begun to implode well before their helicopter landed on the hillside on Max Yasgur’s farm just outside Bethel in upstate New York, but we tend to go with the myth with these things.  The song that first attracted me to this British blues band led by Alvin Lee was “Love Like a Man”, with its instantly memorable guitar riff, which leaned more towards the rock music of the day than the band’s previous twelve bar blues repertoire.  The single was also notable for featuring a live version of the song on the flip side (shown here), recorded at the Fillmore East and because of the length, was to be played at 33.1/3, which provided much fun when selected to play on the jukebox at the Silver Link, our regular haunt back in the day.

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10. Three Dog Night – Mama Told Me Not to Come (Stateside SS8052 – 1970)

The first time I became aware of Randy Newman was probably when he released “Short People” as a single, from his Little Criminals album back in 1977, which I thought he’d written especially for me.  His songs however, I knew well before through cover versions without realising they were actually Newman songs. These included “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear” by Alan Price, “Just One Smile” by Gene Pitney and notably, “Mama Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night.  In 1970, there were dozens of records that seemed to frame the era perfectly, most of which I would first hear on the radio, then go out and buy, then anally number and cross reference, before filing them away in the legendary little orange box, which I kept in close proximity to my newly acquired Fidelity Music Master twin speaker stereo system.  Three Dog Night’s cover of this song, which featured Cory Wells’ almost panic-ridden voice and the future disco queen Donna Summer on backing vocals, was released on the orange Stateside record label and became a much played record at the time, a song that seemed to sum up how I felt about the late night parties I was attending at the time, when I really should’ve been practicing my algebra.

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11. Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well Parts I and II (Reprise RS27000 – 1969)

In the same year that saw the release of the first Led Zeppelin LP, the Woodstock Festival and the Manson Family slayings in Beverley Hills, 1969 also saw some very definite changes in music, with the beginnings of what we now think of as Heavy Metal.  When I first heard Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well Part I”, I was instantly taken by the interplay between acoustic and electric guitars, with its memorable riff and isolated unaccompanied verses, courtesy of the song’s author Peter Green.  The A side of the single was played a lot during the early 1970s, clearly audible from at least three bedrooms in the street where I lived, although not so much the less fussy B side, which leaned far more towards Classical Spanish guitar and featuring Sandra Elsdon on recorder.  I always remember my pal Malc, home on leave from serving in the army in Germany, sitting on the little wall by the front door, playing the opening riff on my acoustic guitar.  “Show me that again” I demanded.  

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12. Curved Air – Back Street Luv (Warner Brothers K16092 – 1971)

In 1971 Prog Rock had taken hold and just about anything with a cleverly designed LP sleeve was filed in record shops under that banner, whether it was Prog or not.  Prog was pretty much confined to the long playing record, yet record companies still insisted that there was chart potential in the genre.  All I seem to remember about Curved Air on the two or three times I saw them during the early days, was Darryl Way’s extended violin solos, with or without cannons, while the velvet and satin-clad Goddess known as Sonja Kristina swayed across the stage.  Curved Air’s “Back Street Luv” was every bit as Prog as anything else they recorded at the time but the song definitely had a catchy sing-a-long chorus and was just long enough to keep the daytime radio DJs from having a nose bleed.  The single still holds the distinction of being the only record to hit number 4 in the hit parade that starts with an ascending stereophonic fart.  I did get to chat to Sonja Kristina a few years later, the interview of which can be found in our ‘Interviews’ section.

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13. Focus – Sylvia (Polydor 2001-422 – 1972)

I first became aware of the Dutch Prog Rock band Focus after their memorable appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1972 performing a pretty delirious version of “Hocus Pocus” from their then current album Moving Waves, coupled with their then current single “Sylvia”, from their forthcoming Focus 3 double LP set.  The single was one of the few instrumental tunes that managed to enter the charts during this period, popular largely due to Jan Akkerman’s highly melodic Gibson Les Paul guitar solo.  It was the early 1970s, the age of Progressive Rock and therefore the single was destined to find its way into the little orange singles box.  Some years later I spoke to the band’s keyboard player Thijs van Leer after a Focus gig, who claimed during the interview that the band has never been Progressive, but rather Regressive.  It’s just good rock to my ears. 

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14. Free – All Right Now (Island WIP 6082 – 1970)

Once again, a rather obvious choice for this series in fact, I can’t imagine even considering a soundtrack to go with my youth without the inclusion of Paul Kossoff’s classic opening riff.  In the late Sixties and early Seventies, there seemed to be an abundance of great songs, great bands and great record labels and once those three ingredients merged, sparks would inevitably fly.  The members of Free were thrown into the limelight at a very young age, who between them, came up with a raw yet soulful sound, which would become known around the world, largely due to the distinctive voice of Paul Rodgers, possibly one of our greatest rock voices, if indeed not the greatest.  The version that appeared on the band’s third studio album Fire And Water, had an extended guitar solo brilliantly performed by Kossoff, though this was trimmed down for the single version.  By 1990, twenty years on from the single’s original release, “All Right Now” was recognised by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), after reportedly being played in access of over a million times on American radio alone.

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15. Family – In My Own Time (Reprise K14090 – 1971)

Third record in a row with a band whose name is a single word beginning with an F, which is a coincidence.  By the mid-1970s, the bulk of singles that I’d managed to collect in the little orange box were from around the mid-1960s onward, a period I describe as my ‘singles years’ and which encompass a varied range of musical genres, not least from the British Rock scene.  The Leicester band Family was formed in late 1966 and featured the unmistakable rasping voice of frontman Roger Chapman, who would later influence such singers as Peter Gabriel.  The band’s eighth single, “In My Own Time”, released in 1971, begins with an excrutiating wail, so excrutiating, Chapman had to repeat it.  The single quickly rose to number 4 in the UK charts, just a couple of years before the band called it a day, largely due to the well documented wind of change in popular music by the mid-1970s, with the arrival of Pub Rock, the New Wave and of course Punk.  Why everything that went before had to go still baffles me to this day.

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16. Jethro Tull – The Witch’s Promise (Chrysalis WIP 6077 – 1969)

In 1970 is was virtually impossible to ignore Jethro Tull.  Not only was the band wildly different from all the other bands that fell under the Prog Rock banner, they were also totally accessible and even enjoyed some success in the singles chart, something other such bands tried their best to ignore, much to the dismay of their respective managers and record company executives.  “The Witch’s Promise” was the band’s seventh single and reached number 4 in the UK charts, just one place behind the band’s biggest chart success “Living in the Past” of the previous year.  Anyone who remembers this period will also recall Ian Anderson topping the music polls every year in the best ‘other instrument’ category for his distinctive flute playing, something very much to the fore from the very beginning of this memorable song and then on throughout.  So hairy were the members of this band that I didn’t know what any of them actually looked like until the mid-1980s.  

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17. Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five (Fontana H339 – 1959)

An unusual choice for this section granted and by far the earliest recording in this series, but significant nevertheless.  Recorded in 1959, a couple of years after I was born, The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s single “Take Five” could almost be described as the soundtrack to my early childhood, a very familiar, yet almost awkward tune, an instrumental you couldn’t possibly whistle or hum without getting yourself tied up in an aural knot.  The infectious little instrumental was written in 5/4 time by the saxophonist Paul Desmond and the shorter single version went on to become the biggest selling jazz record of all time and is still played often on the radio to this day.  Though the single version of “Take Five” is a good deal shorter than the album version, both versions belong to the smoother, less edgy side of cool jazz, with that instantly recognisable sax riff and prominent drumming courtesy of Joe Morello. 

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18. Eric Burdon and War – Spill the Wine (MCA 14118 – 1970)

The 1960s saw some dramatic changes in music in a relatively short ten year period, from the beat groups of the early part of the decade to the totally transformed rock stars of the late Sixties and early Seventies.  Who could really have seen Sgt Pepper coming, while watching The Beatles perform at the Royal Command Performance in 1963, let alone “Revolution 9”?  The Animals were the scruffy untidy end of the blues-based beat groups of the mid-1960s but by 1970, lead singer Eric Burdon emerged as quite possibly the very first Latin rapper in pop music, according to War band mate Lonnie Jordon.  I first heard the single “Spill the Wine” in the early 1970s on the United Artists sampler LP It’s All Good Clean Fun and was immediately attracted to its infectious groove.  The inspiration for the song apparently came from an amused Burdon, when finding an upturned wine glass on the mixing desk in the recording studio.  Burdon and Jordon both found it so funny that they decided to write and record the song there and then.

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19. The Move – Brontosaurus (Regal Zonophone RZ 3026 – 1970)

The Move was one of the few pop bands of the mid to late 1960s whose singles had the credibility to cross over to rock audiences.  It was with the band’s heavy riff-laden single “Brontosaurus”, that saw the first flowering of the rock outfit they soon became – if just for a short period – before the band morphed into the Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard respectively.  The Birmingham-based band also managed to look the part, with Roy Wood’s tinted shades and hair of unprecedented length being an outstanding feature.  With Roy Wood stepping into the shoes of the recently departed lead singer Carl Wayne, the single was notable as being the first to feature Jeff Lynne.  Wildly different from the band’s previous single “Curly”, “Brontosaurus” was destined for repeat plays on the Dansette through that year and it still comes out to play even now.  I still to this day, have no idea how to do the ‘Brontosaurus’.

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20. Redbone – Witch Queen of New Orleans (Epic SEPC1154 – 1971)

Written by the Native American brothers Lolly and Pat Vegas of the California-based band Redbone, the subject of the song is said to be the 19th-century practitioner of Voodoo, Marie Laveau, or Marie La Voodoo Veau, according to the song’s lyrics.  The record was played often on the radio throughout the early 1970s, although not much was known of the band at the time and indeed still to this day.  Redbone, whose name derives from a Cajun term for a mixed-race person, was inspired initially by Jimi Hendrix, who the band empathised with due to his own part-Cherokee heritage.  The song, released in 1971, was taken from the band’s third album Message from a Drum and might be described as a ‘one hit wonder’ although the band did score a couple of other hits in the US with “Maggie” in 1970 and “Come and Get Your Love” in 1973. The weird wailing effect featured throughout the song was made by ‘bowing’ the guitar strings with a drumstick. They have machines to do this today.

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21. Alice Cooper – School’s Out (Warner Bros K16188 – 1972)

Quite by coincidence, I left school in the summer of 1972 just as Alice Cooper’s aptly titled record “Schools Out” was enjoying some chart success in the UK, the song reaching the number one spot in June of that year.  The significance of the song at that particular time cannot be overstated; a defining rite of passage song.  Who else has left school to such an school leaving anthem other than those in the summer of ’72?  But it was the year before when I first became aware of the LA band, which was led by the charismatic sword-wielding, snake charming, mascara wearing son of a preacher man, Vincent Furnier, when I heard the opening song to the band’s previous album Killer, released in the winter of 1971.  It was “Under My Wheels” that first caught my attention, a rock and roll song with attitude, which also opened the Warner Bros sampler album Fruity, the first circular shaped album sleeve I had ever come across.  Both songs would be played repeatedly at a friend’s house every Saturday night as we two 15 year-olds enjoyed a bottle of Guinness and a night of rock music, possibly the original Bill and Ted, recently of Balby High School. 

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22. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – I’m the Urban Spaceman (Liberty LBF 15144 – 1968)

The first time I became aware of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band was back in the late 1960s when they appeared each week as the resident band on the children’s comedy TV show Do Not Adjust Your Set, a weekly programme that would launch the careers of some of the members of the Monty Python team.  Much of my fondness for surreal humour began with this show and it was fitting that the Bonzos were part of the fixtures.  Neil Innes wrote many of the songs for the band including this novelty song, which was released in 1968, reaching number five in the UK charts.  Produced by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth and with an equally popular b side “Canyons of Your Mind”, written by Viv Stanshall, the single went on to win an Ivor Novello Award in the same year.  To my regret, I never did get to see the Bonzos live, though I did get to see Neil in the guise of The Rutles in York a few years ago, when we were given the opportunity to relived the golden days of the Pre-Fab Four with two sets of Rutles hits performed by original members Ron Nasty and Barry Wom (John Hasley), together with a band of fab musicians.  It was good to hear once again such classics as “Cheese and Onions”, “Piggy in the Middle”, “Doubleback Alley” and “Get Up and Go”.  The Rutles have the second best story in the history of pop.

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23. Area Code 615 – Stone Fox Chase (Polydor 2066-249 – 1970)

Fifty years on from the first edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test, possibly the most influential music magazine show ever shown on British television, it still intrigues me why this instrumental track by Area Code 615, a relatively little known Nashville-based session band made up of some of the leading players of the day, was chosen for the theme tune for this long-running show.  As familiar to viewers as the show’s most memorable host Bob Harris, the tune is basically a drum and harmonica duet, featuring Charlie McCoy, a notable session musician who had already worked on such classic Dylan albums as Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline.  The much sampled track is particularly remembered for its opening few seconds, but has later drawn attention by samplers for its hypnotic breakdown midway through, featuring a mixture of congas, drum set and cowbell with additional kalimba.  “Stone Fox Chase” is one of those singles that you can’t listen to without thinking about the OGWT and we can’t think of the OGWT without thinking about Charlie McCoy’s memorable harmonica riff.

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24. James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend (Warner Bros K16085 – 1971)

Two specific events drew me to the songs of James Taylor, firstly his appearance on Top of the Pops back in 1971, performing his version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”, which I always considered to be a much better version than the original.  Secondly, I recall a student from High Melton Teacher’s Training College sitting down next to me one evening and singing “Sunny Skies”, a James Taylor original from his previous album Sweet Baby James, accompanying herself on a classical guitar, which I considered the sweetest sound I’d ever heard.  “You’ve Got a Friend” is a song that seems to have been with me throughout my entire life, though I was all of 14 when I first saw this awkward looking lanky Boston-born singer songwriter, slumped over an acoustic guitar on that edition of TOTP, while I awaited patiently for the weekly appearance of Pan’s People.  There was something in Taylor’s gentle voice that caught my attention and it wasn’t long before I was bothering the assistant at Foxes Records for Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, from which this song had been lifted.  It was the beginning of my obsession for the ‘singer songwriter’ as a genre, which also included the likes of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Randy Newman.

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25. Strawbs – Lay Down (A&M AMS7035 – 1972)

Who could ever forget Dave Cousins and his cohorts in Strawbs (no definite article), resplendent in their glitter suits and mascara, keeping up with all things ‘glam’, while miming to this earlier hit on the telly back in 1973?  If the folky Strawberry Hill Boys looked slightly uncomfortable alongside such major exponents of Glam as David Bowie, Marc Bolan and the lads from Sweet (though they looked a little too comfortable it has to be said), drummer Richard Hudson made every effort to smile throughout, albeit with what looked like a missing incisor the size of the moon.  The year before, the single “Lay Down” became the band’s first top 20 hit, reaching number 12 on the UK chart, a record that was played frequently on the jukebox at the Silver Link, where I was drinking illegally throughout that same year, having barely left school.  The song’s memorable opening guitar riff, which is repeated a couple of times in show-stopping fashion, together with its hymn-like singalong chorus, was a welcome sound as I sipped nervously on half a lager, while keeping my eye on the pub’s door in case Mr Plod walked in.  In an attempt to keep up the momentum, which in all fairness worked, the band’s follow up release went as far as number 2, with the utterly dreadful “Part of the Union”, which was kept off the prime spot by both “Blockbuster” by the aforementioned Sweet and “Cum on Feel the Noize” by the literacy challenged Slade.  Many years later, I interviewed Dave Cousins in his dressing room, while he was changing his trousers.

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26. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – Fire! (Track 604022 – 1968)

In 1968 I was probably just as shocked as the next person, the next person in this case being my dad, who sitting right next to me, when during Top of the Pops, the kids’ weekly half hour TV concession, up jumped onto our screens a wide-eyed and white-caped Arthur Brown, complete with tribal painted face and with his head on fire.  I seem to recall dad grunt, put down the evening paper and head towards the kettle in a mixture of mild irritation and disgust.  Fortunately he didn’t stay around long enough to see the singer remove his fire helmet, disrobe and the spend the rest of the performance gyrating manically while warning us all that we were ‘gonna burn’.  Even my two sisters looked at me in silence as they waited for The Love Affair to come on.  Today, the video and song seem quite tame in comparison to the musical exhibitionism that was to come in the subsequent years, but in 1968, it was totally ground breaking and forced parents into considering whether it was time to lock away their sons as well as their daughters.

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27. Humble Pie – Natural Born Bugie (Immediate IM 082 – 1969)

I had a huge admiration for any band that Steve Marriott was involved with, particularly The Small Faces and then again with the super group Humble Pie, which in their early days also featured Peter Frampton, Greg Ridley and Jerry Shirley.  Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore remains one of my all-time favourite live albums to this day, due in no small part to the sheer energy captured on the two disc set.  “Natural Born Bugie”, sometimes “Natural Born Boogie” or even occasionally referred to as “Natural Born Woman”, was the band’s debut single released in 1969 on the pink Immediate label, shortly before the label’s demise in 1970.  The single managed to get to number 4 in the British singles chart and clearly marked the beginning of a fruitful career for a band that went on to record almost a dozen albums over the next decade.  Steve Marriott’s untimely death in a house fire in the early 1990s put an end to any serious notion of reforming the band, although Jerry Shirley made an attempt to re-launch a version in 2002 releasing just one album.  

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28. Badfinger – Come and Get It (Apple 20 – 1969)

Written and produced by Paul McCartney in 1969, “Come and Get It” was another song originally composed for the cult film The Magic Christian, which starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, the song featured in both the opening and closing sequences of the film as well as being the opening song on Badfinger’s debut album Magic Christian Music.  The song was originally recorded as a demo with Paul McCartney playing all the instruments, which the Beatle then passed on to Badfinger, then still known as The Iveys, demanding that the band record the song precisely to his arrangement on the demo.  In subsequent years the band suffered much turmoil in terms of personal relationships and business difficulties, which resulted in not one, but two suicides, most notably Peter Ham, who wrote some of the band’s most memorable songs including “Without You”, which became a huge hit for both Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

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29. The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (Capitol CL15475 – 1966)

I often wonder what it must have been like to have been in Brian Wilson’s circle in the mid-1960s, sitting around the poolside with Van Dyke Parks dangling his little legs in the cool water, while Mike Love directs hippy dippy lyrics in the general direction of a bloated musical genius busily emoting at a grand piano, albeit standing in an indoor sand pit.  I remember seeing photographs of Brian in the studio, wearing a red fireman’s helmet, while twiddling with the knobs and faders on a huge sound desk, creating astonishing sounds that I’d only previously heard on the theme tune to Dr Who.  I later discovered this was the sound of the Theremin, the only musical instrument I’m aware of that requires no physical contact to get a sound out of it.  The multi-layered sounds that were poured into “Good Vibrations”, allegedly over ninety hours of tape, had an enormous effect on me, a song I first heard on the radio in the same year as England’s one and only victory in the World Cup.  The sound of mad cellos permeated the back alleys of my hometown, augmented by rich human voices in harmony, emphasising the word ‘good’ as if it were a message from the Gods.  Strangely, I never really took much notice of the lyrics, only to discover much later that I was singing a completely different song.  ‘I hear the sound of the church bells ring’ appears nowhere in the song after all.

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30. Small Faces – Itchycoo Park (Immediate ZS7 501 – 1967)

Of the records released by the Small Faces in the mid to late 1960s, “Itchycoo Park” was the only one that jumped out as me as something slightly more adventurous than their previous singles such as “Watcha Gonna Do About It”, “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” and the band’s number one smash “All Or Nothing”.  The fact that the band had moved from Decca to the Immediate label seemed to give the Small Faces a little more credibility as the single joined a growing collection of psychedelic records, which included the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”, Traffic’s “Hole in My Shoe” and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.  Ronnie Lane, who co-wrote the song with Steve Marriott, claims that the title refers to the stinging nettles in a local Ilford park, where they used to play as kids.  Despite the song’s assumed drug references and psychedelic leanings, which included one of the first uses of the ‘flanging’ or ‘phrasing’ studio technique, “Itchycoo Park” remains one of the most accessible and memorable pop records of the Summer of Love.

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31. The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women (Decca F.12952 – 1969)

Originally written as a country song, influenced by both Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers, “Honky Tonk Women” has become one of The Rolling Stones’ signature tunes over the last six decades.  You wouldn’t want to attend a Rolling Stones gig and not hear this song.  The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and was released as two quite different versions; the single version and a country honky tonk version, which appeared on the Let It Bleed album in the same year 1969. On the single version our heroine was discovered in a bar room in Memphis, whilst on the album, the action moved to Jackson, some 210 miles away.  Brian Jones was at the sessions when the original country version was recorded, but by the time the band came to release the single version, Mick Taylor had joined the band after Jones’ tragic and untimely death, the song becoming something quite different, with its familiar guitar riff and one of Charlie Watts’ finest moments, a casual cowbell motif intro that is now instantly recognisable around the world and probably beyond.

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32. Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes (CBS S8271 – 1972)

In 1972, things began to change dramatically in the world of rock and roll.  In the previous year it would be quite normal to see members of our rock bands wearing Levis, white tennis shoes, maybe a floral shirt and tank top, or possibly army surplus wear, and most of the audience would be suitably attired to match.  Come 1972 though, things started to look quite different with glitter, satin and sequins as Glam Rock infiltrated our concert halls.  Mott the Hoople was one such band whose initial LP releases were the former through and through, yet by 1972 and with a little help from David Bowie, Mott the Hoople changed dramatically, with platform shoes, unusually shaped guitars and a distinctly different attitude on stage.  “All the Young Dudes” was both written and produced by Bowie as was the album which followed shortly afterwards.  The lyric referring to stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks had to be changed for radio to stealing clothes from unlocked cars, but the original is still widely played nevertheless.  I first saw the band in 1972 and called for “Thunderbuck Ram”, the opening song from their second album Mad Shadows, whereupon the bloke next to me, dressed from head to foot in bacofoil said ‘oh they won’t play that honey, they’ve definitely moved on’.  He was right.

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33. Neil Young – Heart of Gold (Reprise K14140 – 1972)

It was hard to escape the sound of Neil Young in the early 1970s, which was largely due to his hugely successful third solo album After the Goldrush and its follow up Harvest.  The now familiar acoustic sound of this era was as a result of a back injury Young suffered, which effectively forced him to sit for a while with an acoustic guitar instead of standing with an electric guitar.  The harmonica playing was so similar to Bob Dylan’s style that Dylan was allegedly disdainful of the record, especially in view of the fact that it had reached the number one spot in the US charts.  “Heart of Gold” was one of the first songs in my growing collection to feature the pedal steel guitar (played by Ben Keith), which would be joined by countless others in the years to come.  With both James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt singing on the record, “Heart of Gold” remains one of the most played singles in my collection.  

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34. Steve Miller Band – The Joker (Capitol CL583 – 1973)

It took The Steve Miller Band a good five years to break through in the UK with “The Joker”, a single that went to the number one spot in the British charts in 1973.  After seven great rock albums, which were hardly noticed in the UK at all, starting with Children of the Future in 1968 Sailor (1968), Brave New World and Your Saving Grace (1969), Number 5 (1970), Rock Love (1971) and Recall the Beginning A Journey from Eden in 1972, it took a catchy little pop song using the nonce word pompatus, the syrupy term lovey-dovey, together with a wolf-whistling guitar lick, to garner the attention of the Brits.  I became a firm fan of the band in the early 1970s, playing the aforementioned records regularly after rehearsals with a local theatre group, whose male members were all strangely enough into this band.  The personnel at the time of recording “The Joker” included Gerald Johnson, Dick Thompson and John King and Ahmet Ertegun takes a writing credit along with Miller and Eddie Curtis.

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35. Brian Protheroe – Pinball (Chrysalis 2043 – 1974)

I first heard this single when it was first released back in 1974 on Radio One during one of the insipid daytime radio shows, possibly hosted by Simon Bates.  It was like a breath of fresh air to me as I was at the time spending a great deal of time in a one room bedsit with a female friend and the song seemed to fit in with the bedsit ethos.  Aside from his singer-songwriter credentials, Brian Protheroe was also a stage actor who could be seen in the odd TV drama at the time, who also had a bit part in the blockbuster Superman film, released four years later in 1978.  Listening to the song today is pure nostalgia.  Fact: A couple of years ago I attended a sing-a-round at a local folk club after spending the day re-learning the song in preparation for performing it that night.  As I waited for my turn to come around the singer immediately before me played the bloody song!  How’s that for a coincidence?

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36. Tommy James and the Shondells – Mony Mony (Major Minor D469 – 1968)

It wasn’t so much the smell of toffee apples and candyfloss that drew me to the fair along Sandford Road, nor was it the tempting sizzle of the hot dogs and burgers on the hot plate.  I confess, it may have been the girls or perhaps even one or two of the rides, notably the waltzers and the speedway, but I have a strong feeling after all these years, that it might have been something else, even for an eleven year street urchin.  It was the loud pop music that they played as the waltzers spun and the speedway rotated and the dodgems crashed.  Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony” created the greatest impression as steady beat and hand claps built to the song’s infectious chorus, perfectly complemented by the swirling colours of the painted rides and inviting smells of the aforementioned culinary delicacies.  “Mony Mony” was later covered by Billy Idol who attempted to inject some energy into the song while simultaneously taking all of the energy out.

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37. The Byrds – Chestnut Mare (CBS 5322 – 1971)

There was a man who ran a stall on Doncaster Market in the late 1960s, who sold exclusively 45rpm singles, usually good quality second hand records or ex-jukebox singles with the middles punched out, all of which occupied several small cardboard boxes along three lengthy tables, to form a square, which placed the owner right in the middle, always alert to either the rain or the sun, both of which threatened the safety of his treasured stock.  I bought many records from this stall and was always on the look out for affordable rock gems.  On this stall, I remember seeing what could almost constitute an abundance of records by the Byrds, including this one, which he always seemed to have several copies at any given time.  I think I actually bought “Chestnut Mare” simply due to the record turning up so many times during each browse.  Written by founder member Roger McGuinn along with Jacques Levy for a stage musical that didn’t actually come to fruition, “Chestnut Mare” features spoken word passages and an infectious chorus, with a longer version included on the band’s 1970 album Untitled.

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38. Paul McCartney – Another Day (Apple R5889 – 1971)

Probably my favourite of all the post-Beatles singles.  “Another Day”, credited to ‘Mr and Mrs McCartney, was recorded around the same time as Paul and Linda’s first album together, Ram in New York back in 1971, but wasn’t included on the album, but was released as a single instead, much in the same manner as many of his former band’s single releases.  The song has McCartney written all over it; everyday events such as taking a morning bath, drying off, slipping into stockings, dipping into shoes etc., and all to a fine McCartney standard melody.  Similar in feel to the middle section of “A Day in the Life”, with its breathless first person narrative of running for the bus being replaced by the third person dreariness of the office environment, while our heroine dreams of her ideal partner coming along to whisk her away at any given moment, or at least in her daydream that is.  It’s just a brilliant and simple song that never grows old or tired.

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39. Isaac Hayes – Theme From Shaft (Stax STXS2010 – 1971)

I first became aware of Isaac Hayes when I came across a second hand copy of his third LP The Isaac Hayes Movement, which features just four tracks, two of them coming in at just under twelve minutes, George Harrison’s “Something” and Jerry and Bill Butler’s “I Stand Accused”, which features a smouldering, if somewhat sprawling, five minute spoken intro.  It was an odd thing for me to be listening to when my musical diet at the time consisted of the Edgar Broughton Band and Hawkwind. If the name Isaac Hayes was pretty much unknown generally in 1970, barely a year later his name was known by many, as a direct result of his work on the soundtrack to the popular blaxploitation movie Shaft, in which he appeared in a cameo role.  The theme tune was released as a single, which went to the top of the Billboard charts and reached number four in the UK charts in 1971.  There was something intriguing about the single, which was lifted from the double soundtrack album released in the same year, which probably had a lot to do with the funky wah-wah guitar intro.  A treat for fans of the single was seeing the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain perform their version of the song at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2007, with the memorable line ‘What’s the most important thing about a coal mine apart from coal? (audience – ‘Shaft!’)  ‘No, no, no, it’s the Humphry Davy Safety Lamp’.  

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40. Ike and Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits (United Artists UP35582 – 1973)

It would have been the incredibly funky guitar licks, the clavinet and the early synthesizer solo, that first drew me to “Nutbush City Limits” back in the early 1970s when I first heard the song on daytime radio.  I was already very much aware of the Phil Spector produced “River Deep, Mountain High” and one or two other Ike and Tina songs at the time, but it was this single that sealed the deal for me.  Semi-autobiographical, the song was written by Tina about her home town of Nutbush in Tennessee, where she would go to the store on Fridays and go to church on Sundays.  It wasn’t long after the release of this single back in 1973 that Tina had the good sense to escape the stranglehold of her abusive husband and musical partner, making this the duo’s final hit single together.  Once Tina got her life back together, things changed and the singer reinvented herself as a pop diva and found her place in history as one of the truly great performers of our time.

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41. Delaney and Bonnie – Comin’ Home (Atlantic 594308 – 1969)

Recorded and released in 1969, “Comin’ Home” is a fine collaboration between the husband and wife duo Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, together with an assortment of friends, notably the British guitarist Eric Clapton.  Clapton invited Delaney and Bonnie and Friends to join his then band Blind Faith while on tour during 1969 and allegedly found their band much more interesting than his own combo, which prompted him to quit Blind Faith in the same year.  A live album from this period was released later in the year, featuring a live version of this song.  “Comin’ Home”, a love song that describes homesickness and lovesickness, features some fine guitar sparring between Eric and Delaney, with some soaring and soulful vocals from both Delaney and Bonnie.  The single version was featured as the opening track to the Age of Atlantic sampler LP, released on the Atlantic label back in 1970, with D and B and Clapton sculpted in plasticine on the front cover along with fellow labelmates Yes, Led Zeppelin and Dr John.

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42. Pentangle – Light Flight (Transatlantic Big 128 – 1969)

It seems that Pentangle’s “Light Flight” has always been with me from the beginning despite the fact that it was recorded in 1969, a clear twelve years after I first waddled into the world.  I vaguely recall the TV show Take Three Girls, for which the song appeared as the theme tune and I guess the infectious melody lodged itself in my subconscious for a couple of years until I found the song on the Basket of Light LP.  With writing credits going to all five prongs of the Pentangle, messers Jansch, Renbourn, Thompson, Cox and McShee, with a clear nod towards Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, it’s the Shel Talmy produced single that takes pride of place among some of my all time favourite discs.  Incidentally, whenever I trawl the singles bins in record shops, charity shops or car boot sales, if ever I see a 45 on the Transatlantic label, ninety-nine times out of a hundred its sadly “The Floral Dance” by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band and hardly ever this surprisingly enough.

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43. Atomic Rooster – Devil’s Answer (BC Records CB 157 – 1971)

Although the LP was the main domain of British Prog Rock bands in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the 45rpm single format did provide some of the less stubborn bands with one or two lucrative hits.  The three-piece Atomic Rooster scored a couple of those hits, “Tomorrow Night” in January 1971 which reached number 11 and then again with “Devil’s Answer” in June of the same year which reached number 4, being the band’s biggest hit.  The band was led by former Crazy World of Arthur Brown keyboard player Vincent Crane and was notable for having drummer Carl Palmer in its ranks before he joined Keith Emerson and Greg Lake to form Emerson Lake and Palmer.  “Devil’s Answer” was recorded and released after Palmer’s departure with the new line up of Vincent Crane on keyboards, John du Cann on guitar and Paul Hammond on drums.

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44. Traffic – Hole in My Shoe (Island WIP 6017 – 1967)

In 1967, the entire rock and pop world seemed to be preoccupied with mind expanding experimentation, each following the lead created by the Beatles.  More and more the Indian sitar was to became a prominent feature on both singles and albums alike.  When Dave Mason presented “Hole in My Shoe” to his band Traffic, the rest of the band hated it, feeling it didn’t quite fit their musical agenda.  Adding to the weirdness of the song was the inclusion of a child’s voice reciting pretty hippy rhetoric, not unlike The Nice’s version of Leonard Bernstein’s “America” released around the same time.  In the case of “Hole in My Shoe”, the voice belonged to the step-daughter of Island boss Chris Blackwell.  Despite the mellotron, the flute, the sitar and some kid’s talk, “Hole in My Shoe” remained Traffic’s biggest selling single, which went on to reach number 2 in the UK singles charts.

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45. Stealers Wheel – Star (AM AMS7094 – 1973)

In the 1970s I became a huge fan of the Scots band Stealers Wheel, which featured songwriters Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty, the Paisley-born singer-songwriter who had previously enjoyed a stint playing with Billy Connolly in The Humblebums and who later came to prominence as a solo performer, scoring a smash hit with his song “Baker Street”.  Stealers Wheel had some success in the early Seventies, notably “Stuck in the Middle With You”, the Dylanesque classic that unfortunately found notoriety in a memorable scene from Quentin Tarrantino’s gritty heist-gone-wrong film Reservoir Dogs.  Stealers Wheel’s second album Ferguslie Park was produced by the American songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, whose penchant for catchy tunes was legendary.  This standout song about anti-celebrity soon found its way onto both the British and American singles charts in 1973 and remains one of the band’s most radio friendly songs.

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46. Dave Edmunds Rockpile – I Hear You Knocking (MAM 1 – 1970)

I turned into a dreaded teenager in May 1970 and the leap from the age of 12 to 13 was life changing.  At the time I was unaware of how lucky I had been to live through the entire career span of The Beatles, from beginning to end, even though during those years the iconic band co-existed with the likes of Marmalade, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich and The Scaffold, together with a whole shed load of variety entertainers whose records leaved a lot to be desired, Ken, Des, Val and the like.  The proverbial transistor radio under the bed covers was a reality for me, its antenna poking out from under the covers, attempting to keep up with the ebbs and flows of a pirate radio station out in the middle of the North Sea.  Towards the end of the 1960s, my musical tastes had begun to change and were indeed developing. I was already aware of some of the great rock acts of the day such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream and Led Zeppelin, all of whom up to this point would rarely be heard on the standard BBC radio station and almost never on the TV.  By 1970, the music I was turning to was finally getting some air play and the radio airwaves would be saturated with songs such as George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and by December, taking the much sought after Christmas Number One spot, it was Dave Edmunds Rockpile with this memorable cover of a 1955 Smiley Lewis hit.

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47. McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead and Gone (Capitol CL15662 – 1970)

Although most of the music I was listening to in 1970 centred around the growing underground popularity of rock music with the emergence of such bands as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Free and Wishbone Ash to name but a few, there was always room for bands with a strong acoustic sound.  Most of the singles that I was steadily collecting at the time had an acoustic guitar in there somewhere, and now and again the mandolin was included, bringing with it a more distinctive style.  Led Zeppelin were using acoustic guitars and mandolins as were the Faces.  When Manfred Mann’s Tom McGuinness and John Mayall’s Hughie Flint teamed up with songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, together with keyboard player Dennis Coulston, a new and very distinct acoustic sound was born with McGuinness Flint’s debut single, a song that would be frequently heard on the pop radio channels of the day, and a song that is still regularly played today.  

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48. Family – The Weavers Answer (Reprise Records – RS 27009 – 1970)

Family was one of the rock bands of the late 1960s whose music came to me first and foremost through 45rpm singles, rather than the unaffordable albums of the time.  For a kid with a paper round and a hunger for records, the format suited me just fine until real life, real work and extra cash came along. I was lucky enough to have on my doorstep a couple of decent record stalls on Doncaster Market, where ex-jukebox records were quite plentiful and the choice eclectic.  “The Weavers Answer” was Family’s seventh single release and appeared as an EP under the title of Strange Band, named after one of the two songs that appeared on the B side, the other being “Hung Up Down”.  I remember buying the single immediately, not for the name of the band nor indeed the label, two important elements to any record purchases at the time, but because it had three songs on it rather than just the two.  A bargain.  Despite Roger Chapman’s voice being something of an acquired taste, the band soon became one of my own personal favourite bands at the time.  After seven years together and seven albums to show for it, the band disbanded in 1973 and “The Weavers Answer” became the final song that was played at their last gig.

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49. Argent – Hold Your Head Up (Epic S EPC 7786 – 1972)

I was in my last year at secondary school when I first heard this single by Argent, after an extraordinarily brave DJ played it in between wall to wall Northern Soul records at the school dance.  Shortly afterwards, the song was frequently played on airwaves, the sound of the former Zombies’ keyboard player’s atmospheric Hammond B3 dominating the single, while songwriter Russ Ballard took the lead vocal.  “Hold Your Head Up” wasn’t the sort of record that would normally chart during this period, its highly infectious sound clearly borrowing from Progressive Rock, complete with a memorable rock riff throughout.  Though the band was at the time led by the strong partnership of Rod Argent and Russ Ballard, this song was actually written by the band’s bass player Chris White, whose pulsating bass dominates the song’s rhythm.  The single went on to sell over a million copies, a great achievement for a Prog song at the time and a song I will stop and listen to whenever it comes on the radio.

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50. Canned Heat – On the Road Again (Liberty LBF15090 – 1968)

It’s all a little bit hazy really, but I’m sure the first time I became aware of the California-based blues band Canned Heat was when I heard my elder sister singing “Let’s Work Together” in the bathroom.  Shortly afterwards I would read articles in the music press about the band and I soon became familiar with the lead singer Bob Hite’s mountainous frame, otherwise known as The Bear – for obvious reasons.  The Bear can be seen bouncing about on the stage at Woodstock in some of the now familiar outtakes from DA Pennebaker’s iconic film.  A year before the Woodstock festival, the band released this single, which featured the band’s guitarist Alan Wilson providing the falsetto vocal.  A couple of years later Wilson was dead, his death being somewhat overshadowed a couple of weeks later by the death of Jimi Hendrix and four weeks after that, the death of Janis Joplin.  1970 had a lot to answer for.   

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51. Lennon/Ono – Instant Karma (Apple 1003 – 1970)

When I first heard John Lennon’s single “Instant Karma”, performed on Top of the Pops way back in 1970, I was immediately struck by the power of the performance and its dominating drum fills, courtesy of Alan White, not to mention the song’s uncompromising lyrics, while the freshly shorn Yoko attempted something typically ‘arty’ on a stool between her husband and bass player Klaus Voorman.  Once I got hold of the single itself, which I picked up from Fox’s Records shortly afterwards, I was delighted with the fact that Apple had printed ‘play loud’ in bold capitals on the label, as if I had to be asked twice, and something I certainly did once I had the record on the turntable.  The B side however, Yoko’s “Who Has Seen the Wind?” had ‘play quiet’ printed on the ‘cut apple’ side to which I took one step further and didn’t play at all.  The single seemed to herald in the end of the Beatles and the arrival of a new musical dawn, which as we all know, wasn’t to last that long, with all the in-fighting and animosity between Lennon and McCartney and finally the tragic murder of the musician in New York just ten years later.

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52. Frijid Pink – The House of the Rising Sun (Deram DM288 – 1970)

I first became aware of the Detroit band Frijid Pink in the late 1960s when I first heard their re-working of this old American folk song.  Bob Dylan had a bash at the song on his debut LP back in 1962, which was apparently based on an arrangement by Dave Van Ronk.  A couple of years later, The Animals recorded possibly the definitive version of the song, which featured the late Hilton Valentine’s guitar arpeggios and Alan Price’s driving Vox Continental organ.  However, tastes were changing by the late 1960s and rock music had reached a new level, with a much harder sound beginning to develop.  Frijid Pink, a band formed in 1967, recorded this psychedelic version of the song as an almost throw away recording, having found some spare time left over in the studio.  The single went on to be played on UK radio quite a lot in 1970 the year of its release and reached number four in the UK charts.

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53. Duncan Browne – Journey (RAK 135 – 1072)

I was just fifteen when Duncan Browne’s uplifting acoustic classic “Journey” hit the charts in 1972.  Trained as a Classical guitarist, the English singer-songwriter’s unusual style seemed to provide a welcome change to some of the pop fodder around at the time, in fact the single was voted the most unusual single of the year.  During the summer of 1972 I was on holiday in North Wales with a bunch of friends from my local youth club and this bedsit song became pretty much the soundtrack of that life-changing week; little wonder that the song, with its beautifully cascading classical guitar patterns still resonates with me to this day.  Duncan Browne released five albums in his short life and is also responsible for the music for the TV series Travelling Man in 1985.  Many of his songs have also been covered by such artists as Patti Smith, Ian Matthews, Colin Blunstone and most notably David Bowie, who recorded his song “Criminal World” back in 1983.  The singer died from cancer in 1993 aged just 46.

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54. Carly Simon – You’re So Vain (Elektra K12077 – 1972)

The first time I heard Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was without doubt on Radio One in 1972, yet my abiding memory of the song was listening to it almost constantly via the jukebox in the subterranean bar beneath the  Silver Link pub along Bradford Row every Friday night throughout 1973.  There was something about the song that found favour among everyone around that time, inviting multiple suggestions of who the song might be about. Carly Simon herself revealed Warren Beatty to be the most likely candidate, though rumour has it that it may also have been Mick Jagger, in part confused by the fact that the Stones’ front man also sings on the chorus.  Produced by Richard Perry and taken from Simon’s best selling album No Secrets, the iconic guitar solo was played by Jimmy Ryan, who claims it was recorded in one take, though Perry disputes this.  The equally iconic bass part was played by Klaus Voorman, which has subsequently been sampled, notably on Janet Jackson’s “Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)”.  “You’re So Vain” is one of those songs that immediately transports me back to 1972 quicker than a DeLorean DMC-12.

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55. Fairport Convention – Now Be Thankful (Island WIP6089 – 1970)

The first time I heard the folk rock outfit Fairport Convention was via a Track sampler LP, which featured the earlier “If I Had a Ribbon Bow”  featuring the voice of the late Judy Dyble.  The Island sampler Bumpers, released a little later, featured the infectious chorus of “Walk a While”, both songs which drew me in as a curious observer.  Within a short period of time I had the band’s retrospective double LP set, The History of Fairport Convention, which in turn introduced me to such songs as “Fotheringay”, “Crazy Man Michael” and “Matty Groves”.  One of the songs included on History was Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick’s hymn-like “Now Be Thankful”, with Swarb taking the lead vocal.  Tony Palmer’s contemporary film documentary Live in Maidstone 1970 featured the Full House line-up performing this song, while army helicopters circled above the festival site.  The single, which was released on the original pink Island label, is curious in that the B-side has one of the longest titles in the history of 45s, (deep breath) “Sir B. McKenzie’s Daughter’s Lament For The 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat From The Straits Of Loch Knombe, In The Year Of Our Lord 1727, On The Occasion Of The Announcement Of Her Marriage To The Laird Of Kinleakie”.  The A side however restricted its title to the much more label conducive three words, thankfully.

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56. Matthews Southern Comfort – Woodstock (UNI UNS526 – 1970)

I always believed that it was something of a bold move to cover this Joni Mitchell song, but over the years the song has been done rather successfully on numerous occasions and a complete failure on others.  Matthews Southern Comfort, fronted by ex-Fairport Convention singer Iain Matthews, did surprisingly well with their cover of “Woodstock”, the song written by Mitchell in celebration of the iconic festival that she didn’t actually manage to attend. When the film came out, Crosby Stills Nash and Young provided a rock version of the song, which was used over the closing credits.  Apparently Matthews discovered the song on Mitchell’s then latest album release, Ladies of the Canyon, the week before a BBC In Concert special was aired, which featured the band who had added the song to their set list at the last minute.  So good was the response, the song was then recorded and released as a single shortly afterwards, becoming possibly the definitive and most accessible version of the song.

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57. Lindisfarne – Meet Me on the Corner (Charisma CB173 – 1971)

I could never understand why the North East band Lindisfarne was labelled under the Progressive Rock banner in the early 1970s, other than the band having a tenuous connection of being signed to the famous Charisma label, a notable Prog label, which also had on its roster Genesis, The Nice, Van der Graaf Generator, Rare Bird and curiously Monty Python. I first discovered Lindisfarne when they appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1971, which featured the classic line-up of Ray Jackson on lead vocals and harmonica, the song’s author Rod Clements on bass, Simon Cowe on acoustic twelve string, Ray Laidlaw on a big bass drum and hidden away somewhere in the background Alan Hull on piano, sporting a Newcastle United football shirt.  The song, which tipped its hat somewhere in the direction of Bob Dylan’s “Mr Tambourine Man” was memorably played on my transistor radio on the school bus on the way to some sporting event or other across town.

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58. Jefferson Starship – Count on Me (Grunt GB-11506 – 1978)

I never completely (or indeed dutifully) followed Jefferson Airplane into the space age era after Starship rose out of the ashes of the popular sixties San Francisco-based psychedelic outfit.  This was largely down to my ongoing disdain for the sort of music that would be commonly labelled ‘soft rock’, a genre that was alarmingly plentiful during the mid to late 1970s, stretching well into the 1980s.  The lighter-waving rock anthems that came with it, such as the awful “We Built This City” could stay in the record shop as far as I was concerned, along with countless others.  However, a slightly earlier incarnation of the Jefferson Starship did release one rather engaging and highly melodic Jesse Barish ballad as a single in the spring of 1978, taken from the band’s fourth album Earth.  The lead vocal on “Count on Me” was delivered by the late Marty Balin, with the rest of the band joining in on the chorus, to which Mrs W and I would croon along to on long journeys.

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59. Carole King – It’s Too Late (AM AMS849 – 1971)

In 1971, as the musical climate rapidly changed, a time when the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, Sly and the Family Stone and BB King were all likely to appear on the same bill, my own musical sensibilities somehow kept it all pretty much in context, largely due to a willingness to understand the rock press at the time as well as enjoy pop radio and whatever John Peel was dishing out every night on Radio One. Radio was actually an important medium back then as it is now.  Carole King’s Tapestry LP was one of the albums at the time that managed quite effortlessly to appeal to rock and pop audiences alike and the single “It’s Too Late” became one of the most played records of the year.  Both the album and the single became important additions to my record collection. The lyrics of which apparently allude to the end of a relationship King had just had with fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor.

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60. Bob Marley and the Wailers – No Woman, No Cry (Island WIP6244 – 1974)

My own introduction to the music of Bob Marley came through the Old Grey Whistle Test (no surprise there then?) in the early 1970s, although my appreciation for reggae started much earlier through the more pop oriented 45s of Desmond Decker, Dave and Ansil Collins and The Pioneers amongst others, which I would often spin on the Dansette at parties.  The Wailers’ music didn’t seem out of place on the Whistle Test as the mixture was always fairly eclectic, a show where Bob and co would share a cupboard of a stage with the likes of Ry Cooder, Bill Withers and Vinegar Joe.  The appearance of the band was also my introduction to dreadlocks, which was something of a culture shock, or perhaps that should be culture wake up.  I was eager to find out more.  I soon became familiar with the music through albums such as Catch a Fire, Burnin’ and Natty Dread, the album that featured the song “No Woman, No Cry” credited to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley’s who apparently ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown in Marley’s Jamaican homeland.  The single version of the song, which would soon be heard around the UK, was in fact a live version taken from the band’s Lyceum Theatre set, recorded on July 19th 1975, almost a year after the song’s initial release on the album.  The song remains one of the best loved of all reggae songs.

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61. Nicky Thomas – Love of the Common People (Trojan TR7750 – 1970)

Nicky Thomas’s reggae version of the folk ballad “Love of the Common People”, written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, was the only version that held any sway with me back in the early 1970s.  Pop reggae, as opposed to what might be considered the more serious side of the genre, was making a big impact on the UK charts at the time and I tended to stick with the more commercial singles that were around at the time, which included releases by the likes of Desmond Dekker, Bob and Marcia, The Pioneers and Dave and Ansil Collins, not to mention such fine and memorable instrumentals as Harry J. All Stars’ “The Liquidator” and The Upsetters’ “Return of Django”.  Subsequently covered by everyone from Stiff Little Fingers, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Young and even Leonard Nimoy, this version of “Love of the Common People” will always be considered the definitive version, by me at least.

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62. Colin Blunstone – Say You Don’t Mind (Epic EPC7765 – 1972)

Orchestrations often get in the way of a good song, unless we’re talking about the likes of “Eleanor Rigby”, “McArthur Park”, “Wichita Lineman” or indeed “Say You Don’t Mind”, where the strings are in fact integral to the arrangement.  There’s something very much appealing about this Denny Laine song, which has a lot to do with Christopher Gunning’s arrangement, which in turn appears to suit Blunstone’s soulful voice perfectly.  Best remembered for his role as the singer with The Zombies in the 1960s, Blunstone subsequently carved out a pretty successful solo career in the early 1970s scoring one or two major hits, this included, before going on to collaborate with Dave Stewart and the Alan Parsons Project.  The opening few bars of this song will always make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, in a similar manner to those other aforementioned songs.

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63. Fleetwood Mac – Albatross (Blue Horizon 57-3145 – 1968)

For those who were around at the time of the first couple of albums by Fleetwood Mac, later to become known as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, mainly to differentiate between the earlier blues band and the later and infinitely more successful rock outfit, the instrumental “Albatross” would have come as something of a surprise.  Gone was the Robert Johnson and Elmore James blues influence in favour of a much more soothing composition, which relates more to the sound of the sea than the urban reality of such earlier songs such as “Shake Your Money Maker” and “Black Magic Woman”.  It was only when the young eighteen year-old Danny Kirwan came onboard that Peter Green was able to complete the composition, having struggled to work with the band’s regular slide guitar player Jeremy Spencer, who didn’t actually play on the single, despite appearing on Top of the Pops at the time miming to the piece.  Played almost constantly on the radio across the UK at the time, “Albatross” holds the distinction of being the band’s only UK number one single.  The tune also gave The Beatles the inspiration for their own instrumental “Sun King”, which would appear on their Abbey Road album almost exactly a year later.

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64. Emmylou Harris – Here, There and Everywhere (Reprise K14415 – 1976)

In true Simon Bates fashion (cue sickly saccharine sweet background music), number 64 in this series is ‘Our Tune’, a 45 jointly enjoyed by both Mrs W and I when we first met in the mid 1970s.  Over the years, our mutual music appreciation has differed wildly, yet when our eyes locked in the autumn of 1975, country star Emmylou Harris was heard on the radio singing this old Beatles tune, which prompted this young teenager to go out and buy the single.  Being a huge Beatles fan at the time, it seemed only right to find our mutual ground in McCartney’s lyrics.  They sang ‘her’ and she sang ‘him’, but essentially it’s the same song and (this is where it gets syrupy sweet), whenever I hear Emmylou’s version, I seem to be transported right back to that hot summer, discovering the woman I would spend the rest of my life with, going together here, there and everywhere.

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65. Juicy Lucy – Who Do You Love (Vertigo 6059001 – 1969)

Inspired by the name of a character in The Virgin Soldiers, the popular novel by Leslie Thomas, Juicy Lucy were a British blues-based rock band, formed from the ashes of The Misunderstood after their break-up in 1969.  Shortly afterwards, the band immediately enjoyed some success with the first single from their self-titled debut, an LP notable for its cover as well as the hard hitting music.  The single came my way by means of the outdoor record stall on Doncaster market, the 45 being an obvious choice, first and foremost due to the label, the appealing black and white spiral Vertigo label, later to be replaced by the comparatively dull Roger Dean spaceship design.  “Who Do You Love” was a popular song, originally released by Bo Diddley in 1956 and subsequently a staple in the repertoires of such as Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, Quicksilver Messenger Service and George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

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66. The Faces – Stay With Me | Warner Brothers K16136 – 1971

It’s hard to believe that fifty years have passed since I first heard this song for the first time back in 1971.  A Ronnie Wood/Rod Stewart co-write, “Stay With Me” would serve as a backdrop to the proverbial mime I would act out before the bedroom mirror back in my early teenage years, yelling these raunchy lyrics into a hairbrush tied to the end of a stick, whilst simultaneously wielding a Fender tennis racquet, assuming the roles of both Rod and Ronnie in one go.  If Rita, the subject in question, was to indeed ‘stay with me’, then I would probably not have had the first clue as to what to do next.  The song was one of the first UK top ten singles to reflect the trashy rock and roll lifestyle of the time, with Rita’s red lips, hair and fingernails very much on display as Rod invites her upstairs to read Tarot cards!  Ah, a new world of euphemisms to explore at playtime.  This is Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones at their shambolic best.

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67. Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee | CBS 7019 – 1971

Though written by the singer-songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson, “Me and Bobby McGee” has become very much associated with the late Janis Joplin, who recorded the song for inclusion on her 1971 LP Pearl, a few days before her untimely death at the age of 27.  The song’s lyrics were apparently inspired by Boudleaux Bryant’s Music Row secretary Barbara ‘Bobby’ McKee, who was referred to in a joke by Bryant, claiming that the only reason the song’s co-writer Fred Foster came to Bryant’s office was to see his secretary.  Foster pitched the idea to Kristofferson, who subsequently changed the subject’s name to McGee, and a song was born.  Kristofferson had no idea that Joplin had recorded the song until the day after her death.  The song went to number one in the US Hot 100 in the wake of Joplin’s death and became something of an unexpected classic.

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68. The Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine |Pye International 7N25444 – 1967

Whenever I go through the motions of sifting through the singles collection here at Northern Sky, especially those from the mid to late 1960s section, there’s always the danger of pulling out an item that might be considered ‘bubblegum pop’.  In 1967 I was but ten years old, a mere nipper, therefore I can’t pretend that I would have been listening to progressive rock, modern jazz or the sort of floaty folk music that was around at the time, but instead, I would have been very much embroiled in a world of teeny bopper culture, with pop records as seen each Thursday night in black and white on Top of the Pops or heard on the newly established BBC pop radio channel Radio One.  The Ohio-based pop group The Lemon Pipers were actually quite distinctive from other such outfits though, in that unlike such bands as The Monkees, this band had their own songwriters within the band itself.  It was their producer however, Paul Leka, who penned the band’s biggest hit, in fact their only hit, which is to this day still regularly included at the top end of many a ‘one hit wonder’ list, not bad for a song about busking.

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69. Fairfield Parlour – Bordeaux Rose | Vertigo 6059 003 – 1970

Fairfield Parlour was one of those relatively obscure UK bands that emerged in the late 1960s having already had some success under the name of Kaleidoscope, a name already taken by a psychedelic band from California.  Their style was pretty much in the same vein as early Pink Floyd and Traffic, with some folk elements.  Their debut album From Home to Home seemed to pop up in every record shop browser back in 1970, the year of its release and there was a tendency to confuse the band with Fairport Convention, alphabetically their closest neighbour, though they had little in common musically.  Prior to the release of this album, which was released on the iconic swirling Vertigo label, the band released “Bordeaux Rose” (or Bordeaux Rose-ay!) as their first single as Fairfield Parlour, though they had already released seven singles as Kaleidoscope, again on the Vertigo label.  Although the single didn’t appear on the original album, it did appear as a bonus track, together with a further alternate version on the 2001 double reissue.  I first came across the album in a record shop in North Wales in the early 1970s and sadly left it in the shop; I say sadly, as copies of the original LP now fetch the same sort of sums as a good second hand car.

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70. Mick Ronson – Billy Porter | RCA 2482 – 1974

The Hull-born singer and guitarist Mick Ronson was probably best known for his work with David Bowie during Bowie’s most creative and critically acclaimed period as a key member of the Spiders from Mars.  Watching Top of the Pops every Thursday evening was a family thing back then, and there would always be something for all ages.  When Bowie and Ronson got close up and personal during their TOTP debut with “Starman”, it was just a little too much for dad, who lurched out of the room to the kitchen to swill out his teacup, return moments later, pick up the evening post and grumble under his breath, as I continued to gaze at the TV with my mouth agape.  Ronson was also known for his work as a guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer and throughout the 1970s until his untimely death in the early 1990s, worked not only with Bowie but also Ian Hunter and at one point Bob Dylan during the noted Rolling Thunder tour, making a string if solo albums along the way.  It was in the mid-1970s however when local cover bands who were then dominating the working men’s clubs of the north of England latched onto “Billy Porter”, one of Ronson’s most memorable songs, although it never achieved the chart topping status it thoroughly deserved. 

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71. The Kinks – Dead End Street | PYE 7N.17222 – 1966

To a nine-year old from the north of England, the Kinks usually represented all the glamour of a ‘Swinging London’, with tinted specs, brightly coloured union jack tunics and frilly shirt cuffs, all of which seemed a world away from the dreary mid-Sixties North.  By April 1966, Time magazine had declared London ‘The Swinging City’, with a feature on its cover, letting America know where its epicentre was, whilst The Kinks lampooned Carnaby Street in their Music Hall inspired hit “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”, which went on to reach number four in the UK charts.  By the end of the year though, Ray Davies had penned a rather bleak antidote to the forthcoming Summer of Love with “Dead End Street”, a song I could actually relate to, living on a dead end street myself.  The promo film that accompanied the single, shot on Little Green Street in Kentish Town, remains one of the most unusual pre-video age promo music films, which was considered to be in bad taste at the time by the BBC.  Despite its rather bleak subject matter, the song remains one of the band’s best loved songs of the mid-Sixties along with “Sunny Afternoon” and “Waterloo Sunset”.

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72. Wilson Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances | Atlantic 584039 – 1966

Occasionally, a certain sound comes along, whether that be Liverpool’s Merseybeat, the Phil Spector Wall of Sound, famously of the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, the country sound of Nashville, Tennessee, or Detroit’s very distinctive Motown sound, each location is almost defined by its sound and the same can be said for Muscle Shoals in Alabama.  Muscle Shoals was the home of the late Rick Hall’s FAME studios, located on East Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, FAME being an acronym for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, which opened for business in the 1950s.  Artists such as Percy Sledge, Arthur Alexander and Solomon Burke cut their teeth at the studios and producer Jerry Wexler brought in some of Atlantic Records’ soul stars such as Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, in order to rekindle some of the fire in their music, both of whom cut some defining records at the FAME studios, backed curiously enough by white session musicians such as Chips Moman, Jimmy Johnson, Spooner Oldham and Roger Hawkins amongst others.  Duane Allman persuaded Wilson Pickett to record the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, which at the time would have been considered madness.  It was also during his time in Muscle Shoals that Pickett recorded one of his best remembered songs, “Land of 1000 Dances”, which went on to become Pickett’s biggest pop hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Rhythm and Blues Singles charts in 1966.  If you can’t quite place the song, it’s the one with more ‘na na’s than the aforementioned Beatles song.

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73. Upsetters – Return of Django | Upsetter US-201 – 1969

When the Upsetters hit the UK charts with this infectious instrumental, few really knew much about the band.  Reggae was still in its infancy as a notable presence on British culture and singles such as the Harry J All Stars’ hit “The Liquidator” and Dave and Ansil Collins’ “Double Barrel” were seen pretty much as novelty tunes.  Reggae wouldn’t really take off until Bob Marley arrived a few years later with The Wailers.  Formed by the late Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Upsetters also included bassist Aston Barrett and his brother Carlton on drums, both who would go on to join The Wailers.  This tune was also featured in a popular chocolate commercial at the time, directed by Terry Gilliam, whose animations were widely known through the Monty Python’s Flying Circus television show.

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74. Johnny and the Hurricanes – Red River Rock | London HL8948 – 1959

The Toledo-based instrumental band Johnny and the Hurricanes had a penchant for re-arranging familiar traditional songs from the past, effectively ‘rocking’ them up for the then current pop market of the late 1950s and early 60s.  With a sound pretty much dominated by the organ and saxophone, Johnny Paris and his band were well known on the early Sixties music scene, playing headline shows at the Star Club in Hamburg with the then unknown Beatles opening for them.  “Red River Rock” is a reworking of the old traditional song “Red River Valley”, and along with the later single “Rocking Goose”, which honked and squawked throughout, the single became a constant presence on the Dansette in our front room for its novelty value if nothing else.

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75. Edgar Broughton Band – Apache Drop Out | Harvest HAR 5032 – 1970 

For some, this single might be far too whimsical to take all that seriously, though the band probably had no intention of treating it seriously at all when it was first released back in 1970.  A mash-up of sorts, the band stitch together two very different tunes, from barely seven years between, yet musically a whole world apart, with the opening guitar riff of The Shadows’ 1960 masterwork “Apache”, together with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s “Drop Out Boogie”, which appears on the their 1967 debut Safe As Milk.  The pairing was bound to raise eyebrows at the to e when it was first released on the Harvest label by a band so inextricably linked with the underground music scene.  Nevertheless, “Apache Dropout” would become a staple of the band’s live set, along with “Out Demons Out”, the band’s other notable single release, a sort of homage to The Fugs’ song “Exorcising the Demons Out Of the Pentagon” from a couple of years earlier.  “Apache Drop Out” hardly constitutes a classic, but it does have a place in my musical world, if only for its novelty value.

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76. George Harrison – My Sweet Lord | Apple R5884 – 1970 

During the early months of 1971 you couldn’t go anywhere to escape the  lilting chorus of “My Sweet Lord”, which spilled out over the airwaves like honey, with its acoustic guitars, allegedly six of them, played by Eric Clapton, Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, Peter Frampton and Harrison himself, who also played the iconic slide bits, ringing out just about wherever you went.  With its strong spiritual message, intended for Harrison’s chosen Hindu god Krishna, the song would be universally claimed by everyone for their own purpose, choose what your religious persuasion might be.  The song unfortunately ran into trouble once it’s tenuous similarity to The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” became a potential sacred cash cow for its original author, putting something of a dampener on the ex-Beatle’s first solo single.  Nevertheless, the single would go on to become a huge hit worldwide and the biggest. selling single of the year, with one of the most recognisable two chord intros of any pop song.

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77. The Who – Join Together | Track 2094-102 – 1972

This was one of the most played singles on the jukebox that I used to pour coins into at the Speedy Bar on St Sepulchre Gate in Doncaster, which stood at the entrance of the Trafford Way subway (now gone), the building now occupied by a beauty business, sandwiched between a barber’s and a funeral parlour.  The bar was a frequently visited establishment that I would go to after work in the early 1970s, where one or two of us had become devotees of The Who and would engage in several discussions about the band and their then current album releases, including Quadrophenia, Odds and Sods and The Who By Numbers, while listening to “Join Together” on repeat, a single that was evidently written the night before it was recorded along with its follow up “Relay”, both songs originally intended for the aborted Lifehouse project, the originally planned follow up to Tommy.  The single involves a Jews Harp intro, with several harmonicas, an unusual combination for a pop song at the time.  There is a promotional video of the band miming to a playback in the studio, which shows both Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon playing Jew’s harps, while Pete Townshend and John Entwistle are seen playing both chord and bass harmonicas respectively, though Townshend apparently played the lot.

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78. The Move – Tonight (Harvest HAR5038 – 1971)

I don’t know how true it is, but legend has it that Roy Wood wrote the 1971 pop song “Tonight” for the then current middle of the road band The New Seekers.  The Move had gone through various changes since their inception in 1965 and had scored a number of successful singles on Regal Zonophone, such as “Fire Brigade”, “Blackberry Way” and “Flowers in the Rain”, the very first song to be played on Radio 1 in 1967.  By 1971 however, the band had been reduced to a trio made up of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, who signed for the Harvest label and released a trio of hits including “Chinatown”, “California Man” and the heavily acoustic “Tonight”.  There is a video from 1971 featuring this line-up miming to the song, with possibly the only film or photographic footage of Lynne without his familiar shades on and Roy Wood doubling on acoustic and electric lap slide guitar for the now familiar, if not iconic, instrumental break.  

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79. Free – Wishing Well (Island WIP 6146 – 1972)

Whether right or wrong, good or bad, sensible or stupid, I was straight out of school in 1972 aged just 15 and thrown into an adult world of pubs, bedsits and the bohemian underworld of a Northern English town. Records topped the list of priorities at the time and my own particular record buying habit was informed by the radio, the music press and the jukeboxes in the local underground pubs that I would regularly visit at the weekend. Although the pop charts were loaded with pap in those days (as in any other period really), the proprietors of the establishments I would frequent had the good sense to load their jukeboxes with decent stock.  In Doncaster those pubs would be the Silver Link on Bradford Row, Beethams on St George Gate, The Blue Bell on Baxtergate and The Yorkist on St Sepulchre Gate.  During this time, the single that was played almost on repeat was “Wishing Well” by Free, one of the band’s last singles before their final split. Like the smell of patchouli oil and the sight of maroon corduroy loons, the sound of this single takes me right back there.

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80. Paul Simon – Mother and Child Reunion (CBS S7793 – 1972)

Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica with Jimmy Cliff’s backing group, Paul Simon’s first single as a solo artist since “I Am A Rock” in 1965, came as a bit of a surprise after seven years spent with Art Garfunkel in the hugely successful duo Simon and Garfunkel.  Simon was interested in Reggae music and had previously tried his hand at the genre in the earlier song “Why Don’’t You Write Me”, which appeared on the hugely successful Bridge Over Troubled Water album released a couple of years earlier.  With “Mother and Child Reunion”, the title allegedly inspired by a chicken and egg dish on a Chinese menu, Simon managed to create a more authentic feel, largely due to the guitar playing of Hux Brown and Jackie Jackson’s bass, two of Jimmy Cliff’s sidemen who were also long serving members of Toots and the Maytals.  The single, which also featured Cissy Houston, appeared as the opening track to Simon’s eponymous second solo album released in the same year of 1972.

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