Friday, August 22, 2014

In The 1970s Drifters

Originally formed back in 1953 and still surviving in the 1970s. The Drifters moved to the UK in 1972 and went through many different group members.

  • Johnny Moore (1954-1957, 1964-1978, 1980, 1983, 1987-1998)
  • Rick Sheppard (1966-1972)
  • Ray Lewis (1978-1983)
  • Terry King (1978---
  • and others too.

UK single hits during the 1970s went like this.

Saturday Night At The Movies originally a hit in the U.S in 1964. Reached No. 3 in the UK.

The next hit was Come On Over To My Place a hit from 1965. In 1973 came one of their best hits called Like Sister And Brother. All about unrequited love and nothing to do with keeping it in the family. The song reached No. 7.

Moving on to 1974 and the Drifters were Kissing in the Back Row of the Movies with lead singer Johnny Moore who also sang on the follow up hit Down on the Beach Tonight. A small hit reached No. 33 in 1975 called Love Games.

The next single in 1975 jumped to No. 3 in the UK charts with There Goes My First Love another great classic sing a long song. The last hit that year was Can I Take You Home Little Girl.

Moving on and after two decades the group are still scoring single hits. 1976 and Hello Happiness, which was followed by a smaller hit called Every Nite's A Saturday Night With You.

The very last single of the decade was You're More Than A Number In My Little Red Book. After that the Drifters drifted out of chart success.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

In The 1970s Free

Free formed in 1968 in the UK when they were all in their teenage years. Paul Rodgers was also in Bad Company in the 1970s and was the vocalist on Free's iconic singe All Right Now. Paul Kossoff another band member was the son of actor David Kossoff. Tragically  Paul died in 1976 following a drug overdose in the states.

Band member Andy Fraser produced and co-wrote All Right Now for the band. Drummer Simon Kirke also went on to join Bad Company in the 1970s. It was in 1970 that the group had their biggest hit with All Right Now. This song really took off after Free's performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31,1970 at the East Aftom Farm, Aftom Down, where over 600,000 people attended the festival. Los Angeles disc jockey Joe Benson told Paul Rodgers during an on air interview that "All Right Now" is playing over the airwaves somewhere around the world once every 45 seconds.

The second hit came in 1971 with My Brother Jake, which was the same year the group split up. 1972 Free still had a hit in the charts with A Little Bit Of Love from the album Free At Last recorded in 1970.

In 1973 All Right Now charted in the Top Twenty again along with a new single called Wishing Well from the album Heartbreaker.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In The 1970s Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones formed back in 1962 and at the time of writing are still touring as a mega group. Brian Jones founded the group but was forced to leave in 1969 because of his drug habit that also killed him the same year. Mick Jagger was another founder member of the group and is now a "SIR". Ian Stewart died in 1985 aged only 47 and also worked with Led Zeppelin.

Kieth Richards started writing songs with Mick in 1963 and is still in the group today. Bill Wyman even had solo success in 1981 with Ju Suie Une Rock Star. Along with Charlie Watts and and Ronnie Wood the group has become bigger year after year.

The groups first UK single hit in the 1970s was Brown Sugar in 1971 from the Sticky Fingers LP and inspired by Claudia Lennear an American Soul Singer.This was followed by Tumblin Dice in 1972 a song about a cheating gambler.

1973 and the beautiful Angie became a top 5 hit and written by Jagger and Richards


1974 and the guys got into a large plastic bubble for Its Only Rock And Roll (But I Like It). The meaning of the lyrics was summed up by Jagger in the liner notes to the 1993 compilation Jump Back; "The idea of the song has to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, 'oh, it's not as good as their last one' business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a lighthearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing."
If I could stick my pen in my heart, And spill it all over the stage;
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya, Would you think the boy is strange? Ain't he strange?
If I could win ya, if I could sing ya, a love song so divine,
Would it be enough for your cheating heart, If I broke down and cried? If I cried?
I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it
Suicide right on the stage...

In The 1970s R. Dean Taylor

R. Dean Taylor  was born in Canada in 1939.Taylor joined Motown in the mid 1960s and had most of of his single hits in the 1960s. But in the UK his chart success came in the 1970s with hits like Gotta See Jane which was co-written by Eddie Holland. The reissue made No. 17 in 1974, on the B side was the song that would become another 1970s UK hit single. There's A Ghost In My House.

"There's a Ghost in My House" is a song written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland of Motown Records, together with R. Dean Taylor. It was originally recorded by Taylor in 1966. It was released as a single on the Motown subsidiary V.I.P. label in April 1967, but was not a hit. However, after it had become a popular dance song in Northern soul clubs in Britain, R. Dean Taylor's record was reissued on EMI's Tamla Motown label with a B-side of "Let's Go Somewhere", and reached no. 3 on the UK singles chart in 1974.
"There's a Ghost in My House"/"Don't Fool Around" - V.I.P. 25042 - USA - 1967
"There's a Ghost in My House"/"Let's Go Somewhere" - Tamla Motown TMG 896 - UK - 1974

It was back in 1971 when R. Dean first broke into the 1970s UK chart with Indiana Wants Me which is a song about a man wanted for murder. Written after Taylor had watched Bonnie and Clyde at the cinema.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In The 1970s Beach Boys

Formed in 1961 and reaching their peak in the mid and late 1960s the Beach Boys made little impact on the 1970s charts, But what they did was memorable. In 1970 they joined the Reprise label and released Sunflower LP which had the single Cotton Fields which was a 1940s hit by Lead Belly.

Their next big hit came in 1979 and was called Lady Lynda written by band member Alan Jardine and Ron Altbach based on the music of Johan Sebastian Bach.


The group had a hit in 1976 with a re-release of Good Vibrations getting to No. 18.

Late March 1965 – February 1972
With supporting musicians at select concerts from 1967–1972:

March 1972 – April 1972
With supporting musicians at select concerts:

May 1972 – 1973
With supporting musicians at select concerts:

With supporting musicians at select concerts:

1975 – August 1978
With supporting musicians at select concerts:

September 1978 – 1980
With supporting musicians at select concerts:

In The 1970s Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac are legends of pop music from the 60s onwards.They formed back in 1967 and have had so many changes of group members and directions, which is probably why they have lasted so long. The group was formed by Peter Green along with the now longest surviving member Mick Fleetwood.
Mick was born in Cornwall in 1947 and the groups first UK singles hit in the 1970s came in May and was called The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown).  Peter was high on LSD when he wrote this and he left the group very shortly after.

In 1973 the group reissued the instrumental Albatross originally a hit in 1968 and again written by Peter.

Moving on to 1975 and from the album Fleetwood Mac came a batch of U.S. huge hits. The first getting to   Over My Head written and performed by Christine McVie who joined the group in 1970. She was also married to the groups bassist John McVie who divorced in 1977 when they had just made Rumours together .US 1976 saw the No. 11 (46 in uk in 1978) hit Rhiannon written by Stevie Nicks who joined the group in 1975 along with Lindsey Buckingham. The song is based on a welsh novel.

Say You Love Me reached No. 40 the same year (1976) and written by Christine and was thought to be about her marriage after five years in the band. The next single peaked at No. 38 that year and was written by Buckingham and was called Go Your Own Way from the album Rumours. Incredibly the next single Dreams only got to No. 24 and Dont Stop No. 32. Infact the last top twenty hit in the UK charts in the 1970s for the band was Tusk in 1979 coming from the album of the same name and again written by Lindsey.

Past members

Grammy Awards


Won Grammy Award
category Album of the Year for "Rumours" 


Got nomination for Grammy Award
category Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Rumours" 

Read more:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In The 1970s Ray Stevens

Ray Stevens born in 1939 as Harold Ray Ragsdale  in Georgia USA. At the age of 16 he was signed up by a record company in the 1950s, and went on to become famous for comedy songs and a regular guest on the Andy Williams show in the 60s and 70s. His first single hit of the 1970s was a Grammy winner called Everything is Beautiful written by Ray himself.

His next British hit in 1972 was the comedy song Bridget The Midget (The Queen of the Blues)  amazingly reaching No.2. But the next song would get to No.1!!!

In the 1970s one of the fads was for someone to strip naked at big televised events and run around trying to get in front of the camera. This led to running around cities naked. The word for this was streaking. So  in 1974 Ray had a fun No.1 by acting as a TV reporter who reported on those streaking events. Great song- honest!

In 1975 he climbed the charts once again with the No.2 hit Misty. Originally a hit in 1954 by Erroll Garner and has charted many times including by Johnny Mathis in the 1970s. The song also became famous for appearing in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me.This was followed by a minor top 30 hit called Indian Love Call and Ray's version of Young Love which was also a hit for Donny Osmond.

  • 1970: Gold Single — "Everything Is Beautiful"
  • 1970: Grammy — "Everything Is Beautiful" (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance)
  • 1974: Gold Single — "The Streak"
  • 1975: Grammy — "Misty" (Best Arrangement of the Year)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Memory Gerry Goffin

Gerry Goffin was married to Carol King and was born in 1939 and died June 2014. Although best known for his writing of big hits in the 1960s he also had several big hits in the 1970s too as a writer and co-writer.

Here are just a few of those songs we will never forget.

Mahogany by Diana Ross.

Go Away Little Girl by Donny Osmond

Oh No Not My Baby by Rod Stewart

Monday, June 9, 2014

In the 1970s Charts May 1970

Here are the BBC charts from May 1970

Music Charts May 2nd 1970  no.1 Norman Greenbaum

Music Charts 9th May 1970 No. 1  as above

Music Charts 16th May 1970 No. 1 England World Cup Squad 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

In The 1970s April 1973

Here are the BBC charts for April 1973.

April 7th 1973        No. 1 Gilbert O'Sullivan

April 14th 1973      No. 1 Gilbert O'Sullivan

April 21st 1973      No.1 Dawn

April 28th 1973     No.1  Dawn

Monday, March 31, 2014

In The 1970s White Plains

Formed from the Flowerpot men of the 1960s and featuring the legendary Tony Burrows.

Nothing more than a great pop band with their first hit being in 1970 with My Baby Loves Lovin written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway getting as high as No. 9 in the UK charts. This was followed by I've Got You On My Mind and other 1970 top twenty hit.The last hit of 1970 was Julie Do Ya Love Me (covered by Bobby Sherman in the States).


 There last top twenty hit of the 1970s came in 1971 with When You Are A King.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In The 1970s April 1972

More from the BBC charts for the month of April 1972.

April 8th 1972      No.1 Royal Dragoon Guards

April 15th 1972    No.1 Royal Dragoon Guards

April 22nd 1972   No.1 Royal Dragoon Guards

April 29th 1972    No.1 Royal Dragoon Guards

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

In The 1970s April 1970

Now we take a look at the BBC charts from April 1970.

April 4th 1970    No. 1   Simon And Garfunkel

April 11th 1970  No. 1 Simon And Garfunkel

April 18th 1970  No. 1 Dana

April 25th 1970  No. 1 Dana

Friday, March 7, 2014

In The 1970s Michael Jackson

We are looking here at the 1970s solo success for the king of pop Michael Jackson. The legend was born in 1958 and after becoming a star with his brother in the Jackson 5 it was inevitable that Michael would become the front man of the group. Although it caused friction at the time within the family, everybody could see it was for the greater good.

But Michael was not just a group singer, he quickly established himself as a colossal solo artist too. He also was a film star in the 1978 musical The Wiz based on the Wizard Of Oz. Not a great film, but it kept Michael in the minds of his adoring public.

1971 saw Michael break into the top five on both sides of the Atlantic with Got To Be There and was written by Elliot Willen who used to be a research scientist. He died in 2010. The strength of that success gave Tamla Motown the courage to release his next single in 1972, again a top five hit on both sides of the pond with Rocking Robin form the album Got To Be There. It was a copy of a 1958 hit by Bobby Day in 1958.

But Michael was so popular a bad record did not seem to matter now. He was a solo singer; he was also singing with his brothers and was on TV all around the world with the cartoon series. So the next single was going to be a success whatever it was.  In the U.S. it was I Want To Be Where You Are and in the UK it was the cover of Aint No Sunshine.

But now it was the turn of a Rat to make Michael even more popular.  No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 7 in the UK with Ben. What was Ben? Ben was a rat from the film of the same name. The song was written by Don Black who also wrote the lyrics for Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever.

The song won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award and was originally offered to Donny Osmond who did not have time to do the recording. So by default Michael got it. Michael was alleged to have been fourteen at the time of recording and he is one of only a few people to have chart success at such a young age.

1973, 74 and 1975 were non single hit years for Michael. It was not until 1979 that Michael came back with a huge disco type hit called Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, which got to No. 1 in the U.S. (No. 3 UK). Michael was no longer on Tampa but on now on Epic Records and this hit came from his acclaimed album Off The Wall. This song went Gold in the U.S. and won Michael another Grammy too. The album went on to sell over twenty million copies and made even a bigger star of the producer Quincy Jones.
Also that year from the same album came Rock With You written by Jackson and Rod Temperton. Rod went on to write Thriller in the 1980s and he was also working with the pop group Heatwave in the 1970s. A busy man indeed.

The single Off The Wall was the last hit of 1979 and again came from the same album.  Again Rod Temperton wrote this song and again it charted worldwide. In the 1980s Michaela would have eighteen top twenty hits in the UK and a host of albums making Michael the King of pop. Michael died of a heart attack in 2009. In his time he sold millions and mad billions. It is estimated a year after his death he earned another billion dollars.

Friday, February 21, 2014

In The 1970s Neil Diamond

Forty eight million records sold in the U.S. makes Neil Diamond the third most successful Billboard adult contemporary artist. Worldwide he has sold over 120 million. Not bad for a guy from New York and who was born in 1941. By the time he had got to the 1960s he had been in bands and was writing great songs like I’m A Believer, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, The Boat I Rowed Ashore and of course his own Sweet Caroline.

In 1970 Neil signed up with MCA and had five top twenty hits with Shilo, Until It’s Time For You To Go, Soolaimon, Solitary Man and He Ain't Heavy He’s My Brother. But one record was a hit in the UK and the USA that year which was Cracklin’ Rose from the album Tap Root Manuscript. The song is about a sparkling wine from Canada. The single was mono, but the sound was great.

More singles in 1971, and the biggest being I Am..I Said for which Neil got a Grammy nomination. The song was in fact about Neil being torn in many directions, including where he wanted to live. LA or New York?
1972 several U.S. hits including Play Me and Walk On Water. But the big hit in UK and U.S. was  Song Sung Blue and gave Neil two more Grammy nominations, although he did not win. This was inspired by Mozart's "Piano Concerto no. 21."

1973 several singles but none made the top thirty, and in 1974 only one did and that was Longfellow Serenade that got to No. 5 in the U.S. and No.29 in the UK. The title of the song is a reference to the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

1975 no UK, but 1976 he came back with If You Know What I Mean from the album Beautiful Noise which became a single hit itself later in the same year. The title came from the fact that Neil’s daughter was listening to a parade outside the window and turned to her dad and said "What a beautiful noise daddy”. And it was truly a beautiful noise.

1977 and Desiree was the biggest single hit for Neal.
It was the third of June
On that summer's day
When I became a man
At the hands of a girl
Almost twice my age

1978 he had a worldwide hit with a duet with Barbra Streisand and You Don’t Bring Me Flowers a Platinum selling single. The song was in fact supposed to be a theme to a TV show called All That Glitter, but the show failed. Neil had the song on a 1977 album and the next year Barbra had it on one of her albums. The reason the song was made was because of a divorce by a radio jock. He spliced the two songs together to make one recording and gave it to his wife. The song got airplay, and an official single was made. The power of the people!

1979 and still the singles followed on. Forever In Blue Jeans. The song came out of a radio commercial for jeans by a man pretending to be Neil Young. He was so good at it, that Neil did it himself and had a worldwide hit.

The very last single of the 70s for Neil was September Morn from the album I’m A Believer. The song was out about the same time Neil collapsed on stage and had to have an emergency operation on his back. It was a tumor, but they managed to remove it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In The 1970s Elvis Presley

The King is dead, long live the king. In fact Elvis died professionally in the 1960s, but made a spectacular come back in a 1968 with a global broadcast that brought him back in time for the 1970s. Elvis Arron Presley was born in 1935 and had sold countless millions of records pre 1970. Six bestselling albums, and numerous single hits in the 1970s and a fantastic career as a Las Vegas showroom with huge sell out concerts. Elvis was back.

The Wonder Of You was the very first proper UK hit for 1970, which was written by Baker Knight back in 1959. Elvis sang his version live in Las Vegas in February 1970, and that is the version that is heard on the single.

Later in March Elvis had a hit with Don’tCry Daddy written by Scott Davis in 1969. The song was about a man who lost his wife and his sadness for him and his kids. Later this year he would perform in-front of President Nixon. Around this time of the big stage cabarets Elvis was getting constant death threats. One threat was taken so seriously that the FBI had to get involved. In fact the threat was so real Elvis was performing the shows on stage with a gun in his costume. Nothing happened and nobody was arrested.

Also in 1971 he charted with Rags to Riches.

Whilst with Nixon, Elvis made derogatory comments about the Beatles and their drug use. Paul McCartney was not impressed and when Elvis was found taking drugs must have thought who is calling who what here?
Elvis had so many awards in his 70s career, including in 1971 being voted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the Most Outstanding Young Men of the Nation. Surprisingly for a man in his forties. He had a UK hit this year with I've Lost You along with You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.

Elvis had been a big film star in the 1960s. So in the 70s he became a film star again, but this time it was in the form of musical documentaries that saw raw footage of Elvis behind the scenes, and of course that would all be interlaced with great music too.  Elvis On Tour from 1972 was one such film that in itself won the Golden Globe Award and had a UK hit with I Just Can't Help Believing.

Elvis was touring the big venues, including Madison Square Gardens. He was releasing singles and albums at the same time; he also won a Grammy for a gospel album called He Touched Me. The professional Elvis was doing very well, the Elvis at home was not doing so good, as his marriage to Priscilla was now in name only, and he was having affairs with other women.

In 1973 Elvis did a live global broadcast from Hawaii and went out to over one and a half billion people. Elvis did the concert for a charity. The album of the concert went to No.1 straight away with sales of five million. That year Elvis did over 150 concerts, got his divorce from Priscilla and started taking pain killing drugs and went into hospital a few times. He was burning out his life to fast.

By 1974 Elvis was performing on stage with the drugs affecting his performance and his speech.
Here are just some of the single hits from Elvis during the 1970s. Burning Love was written by Dennis Linde and was not written for Elvis. My Boy, Always On My Mind and the single Promised Land came from the album called Promised Land. Promised Land was written by 50s rocker Chuck Berry and released by him in 1965. Always On My Mind was originally a hit by Brenda Lee a few years before.
My Way the Elvis version charted twice in the 1970s, and was written for Frank Sinatra by Paul Anka. The Elvis version is a much more powerful version. Suspicious Minds entered the charts twice too, the last being in 1977 a few months before his death. This was followed by a great 70s single called Moody Blue which was recorded in a studio in Graceland, and was written by the same person who wrote Suspicious Minds. He was Mark James.

Elvis had twelve billboard top twenty hits during the 1970s, and the albums produced are so hard to count. But it went into dozens. The whole world was producing different compilations. Some high quality some low quality like the Pickwick collections. In 1976 he had a hit called Hurt.

By 1977 Elvis was fat. He was on drugs and in pain. He started cutting the length of time he was on stage and cancelled concerts. His speech was becoming very slurred. He had enlarged liver and colon problems.
Elvis was going downhill fast and in August 1977 Elvis slumped on to his bathroom floor and a few hours later was pronounced dead. For those of us in the UK was watching ITN News At Ten where the newscaster announced that Elvis was dead it was a huge shock. There was no 24 hour news stations then, and most people tuned in to Tony Prince on 208 Radio Luxembourg who played Elvis hits for the hours after. It was a “where were you” event for sure.


Elvis had a single in the charts at the time of his death called Way Down written by Layng Martine Jr. The song ends with such a low note that it appeared in the Guinness Book of Records.  The songs from Elvis filled up the 70s charts, from brand new material to classics from his back catalogue. Thirty years later Elvis would be No. 1 again.  Elvis had more single hits in the Billboard charts than any other performer ever. Elvis had SEVEN No.1 albums in 1977.  In the UK alone in his whole career Elvis had over TWENTY No.1s, with making the top of the charts after he died.

Thanks to TV and his films and the never ending sound of Elvis coming from your music collection and the radio, it is unlikely that Elvis will ever lose his appeal. In 2012 a hologram of Elvis will be used for a concert show. If that works well, there will be generations and generations of new admirers who will follow the King. Long live the King. Amazing.