Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forgotten # 1's: UK Edition (The 1960's)

How did pop's finest decade fair in the mother country? Strikingly similar to our own in most cases. It was the decade of The Beatles, and they dominated the British charts just as they did here in the states. Still, there are plenty of diamonds to be mined from our neighbor's hits, some familiar, some completely unknown. Today's post has been insanely fun to put together. The 70's are going to have to go quite a distance to top this!

1.) Bad To Me - Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas (August 22, 1963)

While not my favorite Lennon/McCartney track that the two gave away (That distinction goes to "Woman", magnificently covered by Peter & Gordon), "Bad To Me" is still a fine example of how anything associated with The Fab Four turned to gold in '63/'64. Reaching number nine in the US, it holds the distinction of being the first cover song by The Beatles to hit the Billboard Charts. In the UK, it stayed at number one for three weeks before being toppled by "She Loves You".

2.) Nut Rocker - B. Bumble & the Stingers (May 17, 1962)

Ladies and gentlemen, the birth of Prog Rock! Recorded by an American instrumental group with a strange name, it went to #23 here but topped the pops in England, showing an entire generation how the classics could combine with contemporary music seamlessly.

ELP pays tribute to their forefathers!

3.) Blackberry Way - The Move (February 8, 1969)

Dark Psychedelia from future ELO'er Roy Wood. Jeff Lynne would join the group by year's end, setting the stage for those seventies titan's genesis. It is said to be an answer song to "Penny Lane", which would explain the similar cadence. Chris Martin has said that "Strawberry Swing" is Coldplay's answer song to it! The circle continues!

4.) Albatross - Fleetwood Mac (February 1, 1969)

February 1969 was a good month for chart toppers in England! Before the Buckingham/Nicks era of the group, Peter Green ruled the Mac roost with incredible guitar workouts like this, which made it all the way to #104 in the US, showing that our across-the-pond neighbors still had us topped in musical taste!

5.) Go Now - The Moody Blues (January 28, 1965)

Before Denny Laine became the only permanent member of Wings (Besides the McCartneys), he fronted a Justin Hayward-less version of The Moodies, giving them their first success with this heartwrenching Bessie Banks cover. Makes you wish Macca had let him sing lead a few more times doesn't it?

6.) Lily The Pink - The Scaffold (December 14, 1968 & January 11, 1969)

Silly little folk song that captured the British imagination at Christmas time in 1968, becoming the all important number one of that holiday. It also came back to the top position in the following January. Oddly enough, a version by The Irish Rovers charted in America, while this one went nowhere!

7.) Legend Of The Xanadu - Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (March 23, 1968)

Falling in love with this beat group after their inclusion on the Deathproof soundtrack, I am beyond shocked that these guys put out a psych masterpiece that had completely missed my ears!!! Another "no charter" in the US, I believe this is one of the great lost gems from the era, deserving of a revival! Wes Anderson, put this in your next flick! BEST FORGOTTEN SONG OF THE DECADE!!!!!!!!!!

8.) Cinderella Rockefella - Esther & Abi Ofarim ( March 2, 1968)

And what, pray tell, proceeded "Xanadu"? This crazy track from Isreali pop stars! The sixties were awesome!! Fun Fact: This is reportedly the last song broadcast on Radio Caroline of Pirate Radio fame! Fun Fact # 2: it was co-written by Mason Williams, of "Classical Gas" fame!

9.) Out Of Time - Chris Farlowe (July 28, 1966)

The Stones recorded their composition first, but it took Mr. Farlowe's version (Produced by Mick Jagger himself) to make it a number one smash.

10.) Israelites - Desmond Dekker & The Aces ( April 19, 1969)

Herein lies the spark that made Reggae an international phenomenon. It inspired The Beatles, Gus Van Zant and Jimmy Cliff, just to name a few. If not for those darn Dave, Dee and "such"-ers, it would easily be my favorite of the week. However, this transcends lists because it's one of the most important tracks of all time, regardless of chart position. Rest in peace dear Desmond (He passed away in 2006)!

That was incredible! I can't wait to see what the 70's have in store for the UK charts. See ya next week!!

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