Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forgotten # 1's: Uk Edition (The 1970's)

The decade of Glam Rock and Disco is upon us! Let us see what the UK has in store at the top of their charts.

1.) Coz I Love You - Slade (November 13, 1971)

Slade may have needed a dictionary every once in awhile, but they had six number one hits in the decade, compared to Glam's King Bowie, who only managed one. I love this song's laid back feel of sleaze and sweetness all wrapped up in a eye-lined package!

2.) Angel Fingers (A Teen Ballad) - Wizzard (September 22, 1973)

Roy Wood got tired of Jeff Lynne almost as soon as the two formed ELO, so he went off to concoct his own little group in Wizzard. Wizzard captured the spark of the nascent glam scene, adding in elements of Phil Spector production and Wood's own eye for studio flair. "Angel Fingers" is perfect in those respects, but the US wasn't quite into the whole retro thing yet, so this UK chart topper missed the American charts entirely.

3.) Ms. Grace - The Tymes (January 25, 1975)

This is why I love this project. A Carolina Beach classic that only made it to 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 is a number one hit in the British Isles. Go figure, cause this soul classic should have been a number one everywhere, including Luxembourg! It makes you wanna dance, which is hard to make me want to do (And listen to that production!). BEST FORGOTTEN HIT OF THE DECADE!!!!!!

4.) I Don't Want To talk About It/ The First Cut Is the Deepest - Rod Stewart (May 21, 1977)

Maybe the stories are true and this double A-Side's performance was beefed up to keep The Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" off of the Top Of the Pops. Regardless, Stewart's one-two punch of Danny Whitten's somber ballad and Cat Stevens' early flash of brilliance show that long before he squandered his talents singing Gershwin, Stewart was one of Rock's finest interpreters of the genre's songbook.

5.) Mississippi - Pussycat (October 17, 1976)

Of course a Dutch band recorded a song about the history of Rock And Roll becoming more popular than country music, and of course it would top the British charts. This is the 70's after all.

6.) Matchstalk Men & Matchstalk Cats & Dogs (Lowry's Song) - Brian & Michael (April 8, 1978)

Well, it has to do with a beloved English painter, so that explains its absence from our charts....and its got a long picaresque title, which explains why it topped the UK charts!
It's also gorgeous, and is one of the last gasps of the seventies singer/songwriter movement as a commercial force.

7.) Angelo - Brotherhood Of Man (August 20, 1977)

The Eurovision Song Contest has given us many pop culture icons: Abba......and bands that sound like Abba! Brotherhood Of Man take the cake, scoring three number one hits that all sound like different Abba songs. "Fernando" is called to mine with "Angelo", but it is a delightful carbon copy just the same!

8.) Mull Of Kintyre/Girls' School - Wings (December 3, 1977)

Before "Do They Know It's Christmas?", this was the biggest selling single ever in the UK ( I can assure you it didn't have much to do with the "Girls' School" side either!). Amazingly, it never even entered the charts on this side of the pond. Regardless, it makes my Scotch/Irish blood stir every time I hear it. If not McCartney's masterpiece, it is definitely in his top ten, which is quite heady company indeed.

9.) Show You The Way To Go - The Jacksons ( June 25, 1977)

After The Jackson family left the fruitful shores of Motown, they took up brief residence at Philadelphia International with resident geniuses Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. While there, they recorded this "quiet storm" classic that shows how quickly Micheal's voice was turning into the one that would change pop music forever. A number 28 hit here in The States, it is the only number one single by the brothers to ever top the UK charts.

10.) Woodstock - Matthews' Southern Comfort (October 31, 1970)

We know this song through its writer Joni Mitchell, who played it as a keyboard ballad, and the spectacular cover by Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, who turned it into a rock anthem. What a pleasure it is to hear yet another interpretation of the song that differs so from its predecessors. Matthews (formerly of Fairport Convention) makes this sound more Southern California than either its writer or her band of lovers ever did..... AND THEY LIVED THERE!! While it can't compete with "Ms. Grace", this is definitely quite the undiscovered diamond and a fitting way to end the post.

The 80's await...Don't worry, I'll hold your hand.

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