MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS
The major acts of 1972 continued their success in 1973. Those included the British artists Elton John and Rod Stewart plus bands the Sweet, Slade and T Rex who kept Glam Rock going. They were joined by newcomers David Essex, Alvin Stardust and Leo Sayer. Status Quo, who had a few hits in the late 1960s, returned in 1973, beginning a long and successful career that went on into the 2000s. The band 10cc had their first Number One in this year, and went on to have a string of hits through the 1970s. Member Graham Gouldman has been mentioned in these lists previously when he wrote songs for the Yardbirds, Hollies and others. The former Beatles all had solo hits during 1973.
American artists David Cassidy and Donny Osmond continued their hit-making ways, the latter also featuring in his family group the Osmonds. They were joined by sister Marie Osmond who had her first hit in the UK, and went on to duet with brother Donny in 1974. The year also witnessed the return of 1960s recording star Neil Sedaka. He changed to a more mellow sound, and enjoyed several hits as a result. Perry Como, a major force during the 1950s, who had returned in 1971, enjoyed two Top 10 hits in 1973 despite having turned 60 years of age. American group Dawn, who had reached Number One in 1971 with "Knock Three Times", were back with another chart-topper, although it was their final year of Top 20 chart entries.
Following the outlawing of the North Sea pirate radio stations in 1967 (under the Labour government of the day), the Conservative government of 1970 made plans to introduce commercial radio in the UK. This became a reality in 1973. The first broadcaster was London-based news radio station LBC, which began in October 1973. This was quickly followed by pop music station Capital Radio. Also broadcasting to Greater London, the station became very popular, and even had some ex-pirates on the schedules such as Kenny Everett and Dave Cash. More pop music stations gradually opened throughout the UK, providing competition to the BBC's Radio 1.
These are my personal favourite recordings from this particular year, listed in the order in which they entered the UK hit singles chart. You may not agree with my choices, but these were UK chart hits* that had plenty of air play on the music radio stations of the day, such as BBC Radio 1 and Radio Luxembourg.
*two songs not a hit in the UK.
The Sweet was a British Glam Rock band that
found fame in the early 1970s. The original lineup comprised lead vocalist Brian
Connolly (5 Oct 1945 - 10 Feb 1997), bass player Steve Priest (23 Feb
1948 - 4 Jun 2020), guitarist Andy Scott (born 30 Jun 1949), and drummer Mick
Tucker (17 Jul 1947 - 14 Feb 2002). The band was formed in London in 1968 and achieved their first hit, "Funny Funny", in
early 1971 after teaming up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.
They went on to have considerable chart success, achieving ten Top
10 hits by 1978, including a Number One and no less than five number
twos in the UK charts. They also had success in other parts of
Europe, and in the USA where they enjoyed four Top 10 hits. Sweet had their last international success in
1978 with "Love Is Like Oxygen".
Connolly left the group in 1979 to start a solo career and the remaining members continued as a trio until
disbanding in 1981.
From the mid-1980s, Scott, Connolly and Priest each played with their own versions of Sweet at different
Connolly died in 1997, Tucker in 2002 and Priest in 2020.
Andy Scott, with a new line up, still tours the UK and the rest of
Title: Papa Was A Rolling Stone
The Temptations were one of Tamla Motown's most popular and
successful groups. It was a five-piece vocal band which originally included David Ruffin (18 Jan 1941 - 1 Jun 1991)
and Eddie Kendricks (17 Dec 1939 - 5 Oct 1992). They were in the American Top 10 from 1965 with the
song "My Girl" which reached Number One in the USA and a lowly number 43 in the
UK (when reissued in 1992, it reached number two). Their first appearance in the British Top 10 was the
collaboration with Diana Ross & The Supremes on the song "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" in
January 1969. This was followed by a series of UK hits until the end of the 1980s. There were a
number of personnel changes during their hit-making period which saw David Ruffin leave in June 1968, and
Kendricks leave the group in November 1970. With new members they continued making hit singles and
albums, with a new album released in 2018, albeit with a different lineup to the mid-1960s.
Title: If You Don't Know Me By Now
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
was an American soul and R&B vocal group, and one of the popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s.
They had begun in the early 1960s under a different group name, but
found international success when they moved to the Philadelphia
International record company. The group was founded by Harold
Melvin, but in 1970 he recruited Teddy Pendergrass as lead singer,
and the hits began in late 1972 when this song reached the USA Top
10. They did not score a huge number of hits, even in the USA,
although they did appear frequently on the American R&B
chart. In the UK they had four further Top 40 hits up to 1976,
but then reached the Top 10 again in 1977, a year after Pendergrass
quit the band to go solo. He had success in the USA, achieving
five Top 20 albums from 1977 to 1981. With more personnel
changes the group had some more small British hits in 1984.
Melvin died in 1997, and Pendergrass in 2010.
Title: Me And Mrs Jones
Billy Paul (1
Dec 1934 - 24 Apr 2016) was born in Philadelphia, USA. He
began singing at a young age, and by his teens he was performing at
local venues. He first recorded in 1952, but his career was
interrupted by national service in the US army from 1957 to
1959. He resumed his singing career after that, but it was not
until he began recording with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia
International records that he hit the big time. This was his
first major hit which reached Number One in the USA. He went
on to make several albums and singles, but none reached the heights
of "Me And Mrs Jones", often because some of his output
was perceived to be controversial, such as his 1976 song "Let's
Make A Baby". His final album was released in 1988, but
he continued to perform almost until his death at the age of 81.
Title: Paper Plane
Status Quo found fame as a Psychedelic band,
but had lasting success through the 1970s, 1980s and beyond as a Rock band, sometimes referred to
as a Boogie band. The origins of the group go back to 1962. They performed under
different names for five years, but became Status Quo in 1967 with members Francis Rossi
(born 29 May 1949, south London), Rick Parfitt (12 Oct 1948 - 24 Dec 2016), Alan Lancaster (born 7 Feb 1949), and John
Coghlan. They had a deal with Pye Records and had their first hit, "Pictures Of
Matchstick Men", in early 1968. They accrued five hits by the end of 1970.
There was then a gap of two hitless years until they emerged as a Rock band in 1973 with the
hit recording "Paper Plane" on the Vertigo label, where they remained for a couple
of decades. Their first Number One came in 1974 ("Down Down"), and they have
had over sixty hits in the UK singles charts, continuing well into the 2000s. They opened
the "Live Aid" fund-raising event in 1985, and have continued with recording and live
concert work into the 2010s despite forced personnel changes.
was born on 25 Mar 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex (north-west
London). He learned to play piano at an early age, and by 1962 had formed
Bluesology, an R&B band with whom he played until 1967. He met his longtime musical partner
Bernie Taupin in 1967, after they both answered an advert for songwriters.
For two years, they wrote songs for artists including Lulu, and John worked as a session musician for artists
including the Hollies and the Scaffold.
Elton John was also one of several singers in the late 1960s and
early 1970s who recorded covers of hit songs for sale as
budget-priced albums in shops like Woolworths. In 1971, his first hit single, "Your Song",
taken from his second album, "Elton John", reached the top ten in the UK and the
From that point he gradually became a star and by the end of the
20th century he had achieved over seventy hit singles in the UK
charts and some 36 albums in the album chart. In the USA he
has had more than 50 Top 40 hits and seven consecutive number-one albums.
His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over
33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and USA singles
charts. He has also composed music for the musical film and
stage presentation "The Lion King", as well as for several
other musicals. Elton John owned Watford Football Club from 1976 to 1987 and from 1997 to 2002, and is
an honorary Life President of the club.
In 2019 a biographical film tilted "Rocket Man", about
Elton John's life from childhood to the 1980s, was released.
Focus is a Dutch Rock band formed in Amsterdam in 1969 by Thijs van Leer. They were the live band for the Dutch production of the Rock musical "Hair" that year. They declined to join the touring version of the show, and issued their debut album in 1970. Their follow-up album, called "Moving Waves" in 1971 provided the single "Hocus Pocus" which became a number 20 hit in the UK in early 1973 after the band appeared on the TV show "The Old Grey Whistle Test". The recording reached number nine in the USA. Entering the UK charts just one week later, "Sylvia" reached number four, but bombed in the USA. The band's albums "Moving Waves" and "Focus 3", were Top 10 entries in the UK album chart. The band was dissolved in 1978, but there were reunions in 1985, 1990 and 1998. In 2002 van Leer reformed the band with a new lineup and four new albums were issued up to and including the 2018 release "Focus 11", following which a tour of Europe, including the UK, took place.
Title: Part Of The Union
The Strawbs is a British Rock band that dabbled in Folk-Rock during the 1970s. Origins of the band go back to 1964. It was founded by Dave Cousins (born 7 Jan 1945). They gained a recording contract, and issued their first album in 1969. After their folk-tinged album "Dragonfly" in 1970, new members were recruited, comprising Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Richard Hudson on drums, and John Ford on bass. The new line-up had their London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, where they recorded their third album. Wakeman stayed with them for one further album, then departed to join progressive rock band Yes. Their best-known recording "Part Of The Union" charted in January 1973, but a little later that year, during a tour of the USA, Hudson and Ford decided to leave the band to form the duo Hudson-Ford and they had a UK Top 10 hit "Pick Up The Pieces" (different song to the instrumental hit by the Average White Band") in August 1973. The band was dissolved in 1980 when Dave Cousins left. However, in the early 2000s, Cousins with others formed Acoustic Strawbs and more material was recorded. Despite that, Cousins and others have reunited for the original (electric) Strawbs to record and perform. The band toured the UK in 2014 and the USA in 2019.
Stevie Wonder was born on 13 May 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan,
USA, but he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He was blind almost from birth, but began singing in a
church choir as a child. He was signed to Tamla Motown records at the age of eleven, and made several
records. In 1963, when he was 12, he had his first hit, "Fingertips", which went to Number One
on the USA charts. His next few releases, however, did not reach the charts, and there was a danger that
Motown might drop him. However, he was given one last chance to produce a hit, and with his musical mentors,
Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby, he wrote "Uptight (Everything's Alright)".
The single reached number 3 in the USA, peaking at number 14 in the UK - his debut hit there. His career grew from there
with a series of hit singles and albums over the following years. By the end of the 20th century, he had scored 54 hit singles and
17 Top 30 hit albums in the UK. He has continued to record and perform until the present time, although at
greater intervals than in the earlier decades. His most recent original album release was in 2005.
Title: Peaceful Easy Feeling
The Eagles are an American Country Rock band formed in Los Angeles in
September 1971. The founding members were Glenn Frey (6 Nov 1948 -
18 Jan 2016), Don Henley (born 22 Jul 1947), Bernie Leadon and Randy
Frey and Henley first played together when they joined Linda Ronstadt's backing band
for her tour in 1971. Leadon and Meisner were in the band as
well, and the four decided to form their own band. They
released their first album ("The Eagles") in 1972, and
this track is taken from that album.
None of the band's early American hits reached the UK charts. In fact,
the band's first British hit did not come until 1975, after they had
enjoyed eight hit singles in the USA. However, all of their
American hits were included on the album "Their Greatest Hits
1971-1975" (released 1976) which reached number two on the UK album chart,
where it remained for 77 weeks. Guitarist and vocalist Joe Walsh joined the band in 1975, replacing
Leadon. The Eagles hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of the album "Hotel California",
which went on to sell more than 26 million copies in the USA alone and more than 42 million copies worldwide.
The Eagles broke up in July 1980, but reunited in 1994 for the album "Hell Freezes Over", a mix of live and new
They toured consistently and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2007, the Eagles released "Long Road Out of Eden", their first full studio album in 28 years and their sixth
American Number One album. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album.
In 2013, they began the extended History of the Eagles Tour in conjunction with the band's documentary release,
"History of the Eagles".
Glenn Frey died in January 2016, but they reformed in 2017, with Deacon Frey (Glen Frey's son) and Country singer
Vince Gill sharing lead vocals for Frey's songs.
Title: Feel The Need In Me
The Detroit Emeralds were formed in Little
Rock, Arkansas, USA, by the four Tilmon brothers, which included the
writer of this song, Abrim. They moved to Detroit in the late
1960s, but two of the brothers left and were replaced. They
had their first modest USA hit in 1968, with their most successful
period coming in 1971 to 1973. There were numerous personnel
changes after that, but they continued performing around the USA for
several years. Abram Tilmon died in 1982 from a heart attack
at the age of just 37.
Title: Killing Me Softly With His Song
Roberta Flack was
born on 10 Feb 1937 in North Carolina, USA, but grew up in
Arlington, Virginia, USA. She learned to play piano as a
youngster and decided to study music. She graduated from
Howard University at the age of 19, and went into teaching
music. She began her professional singing career at a restaurant
at Capitol Hill, Washington DC in 1968. Her reputation grew
and she soon had a recording contract. Her recordings did not
sell particularly well until she recorded Ewan MacColl's "The
First Time I Ever Saw Your Face". Her version went to
Number One on the USA charts, and she enjoyed two further
chart-toppers in the USA. Her career flourished, and she
recorded a number of duets, notably with Donny Hathaway and Peabo
Bryson. She has continued to record and perform - her most
recent album was released in 2018.
Title: Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't
Jimmy Helms was
born on 27 Sep 1941 in Florida, USA. He took an interest in
music at an early age and was playing trumpet in his high school
band during his teens. He issued his first recording in 1963,
but it did not reach the charts. After national service during
the early 1960s he went the the UK where he recorded a couple of
singles, but again, they failed to reach the charts. Back in
Boston, USA, in 1970 he took a part in that city's production of the
rock musical "Hair". He returned to London after
that and made more recordings which resulted in his only entry in
the UK charts, "Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't
Refuse". He subsequently recorded songs for film sound
tracks, collaborated with other performers, and even recorded radio
station jingles for some UK broadcasters. In 1988 he joined
with others to form the UK-based group Londonbeat who enjoyed
several hits, including the UK number two and USA Number One
"I've Been Thinking About You" in 1990. Helms
continues in the music business, and still performs with Londonbeat
from time to time.
Title: That's When The Music Takes Me
Neil Sedaka was born on 13 Mar 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Since his music career began in 1957, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500
songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody. When Sedaka was 13,
a neighbour heard him playing piano and introduced him to her 16-year-old son, Howard Greenfield, an aspiring poet and lyricist.
They became two of the legendary Brill Building's composers in New York City. Sedaka co-wrote several hit songs for
Connie Francis as well as others, and began his own singing career in 1958. His first UK hit came in 1959, which led to a
run of Top 20 hits in the early 1960s. After his Rock 'n' Roll style went out of fashion, he reinvented himself in
the early 1970s with a series of ballads which charted between 1972 and 1975. He continues to perform in concert in the USA
and overseas in the 21st century.
Title: The Look Of Love
& The Pips was a Tamla Motown group initially, but their
greatest success came with a move to Buddah records in 1973.
The group started as family group, the Pips, in 1952, when Gladys
was just seven! They changed the group name in 1961 to
showcase their lead singer, Gladys Knight (born 28 May 1944 in
Atlanta, Georgia, USA). They had a few local hits in Georgia,
but it was in 1966 when they signed with Motown that they began
USA-wide and international success. They did not reach the
level of popularity as other Motown acts such as the Supremes and
Four Tops, however. Following contractual disagreements, the
group left Motown for Buddah in 1973, and they enjoyed several hits
including "Midnight Train To Georgia" which was an
American Number One (number 10 in the UK). The group disbanded
in 1989 when Gladys went solo. In 1989 she recorded "License to Kill" for the James Bond movie
of the same title, which was a Top 10 hit in the UK and Germany.
In the 2010s she is still making occasional concert appearances, and
she performed at an outdoor festival in London during 2018.
Title: Cum On Feel The Noize
Slade was a Glam
Rock band formed in Wolverhampton, England during the late 1960s
(under a different name) by Noddy Holder (born 15 Jun 1946), Jim Lea
(born 14 Jun 1949), with lead guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell.
As Slade they obtained a deal with Polydor records, and from 1971 to
1977 they had 19 hit singles, with twelve consecutive Top 10 hits
which includes six Number Ones. They were the most successful
group of the 1970s in terms of singles sales. Their most
successful recording is "Merry Xmas Everybody" which
reached Number One in 1973, but has become a seasonal perennial,
being played on radio and in shopping centres every December
since. They lost some momentum in the late 1970s, but bounced
back in 1980, enjoying hits for most of that decade. However,
with falling sales and general disillusionment in the band, it broke
up in 1992. Noddy Holder then moved into acting and radio DJ
work. Lee continued writing songs and making occasional
recordings. Hill and Powell formed Slade II and began touring
and recording into the 2010s.
Title: Love Train
The O'Jays were an
R&B vocal group from the USA state of Ohio, formed as far back
as 1958. They made an appearance in the USA charts in 1963,
but found international fame in 1972 when they joined the
Philadelphia International record company. They became part of
the 'Philadelphia Sound' along with other bands and artists such as
Barry White. They enjoyed considerable success during the
1970s, as the Disco sound became dominant, reaching Number One in
the USA (number nine in the UK) with their 1973 release "Love
Train". They remained a popular live act into the 2000s,
and even featured in a film in 2003.
Title: Never Never Never
Shirley Bassey was born on 8 Jan 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales. She went on to become an international star with
countless hit singles and albums throughout the world. She began singing professionally in 1953, and performed up
and down the UK. She signed a recording contract in 1956, and had her first Top 10 hit in 1957 ("Banana Boat
Song"). She enjoyed a string of hits during the 1960s, and recorded three James Bond movie themes. She had
her own TV series during the 1970s, and continued performing into the 21st century. By 2015 she had scored 33 hit
singles and 39 hit albums. She was honoured with a Damehood in 2000, and was back in the recording studios in 2014.
Title: Twelfth Of Never
Donny Osmond was born on 9 Dec 1957 in Utah,
USA. He was a member of the Osmonds family group who had
considerable success in the early 1970s. Donny was just 14
years old when he had his first hit, and he had three solo Number
Ones in the UK before his 16th birthday. He had six Top 10
hits until the end of 1973, and with his brothers (the Osmonds), he
had five Top 10 hits by 1975. He also had hits in duet with
his sister, Marie, in the 1970s, and the pair went on to have their
own TV show in America from 1975 to 1979. Donny in particular
was a teenage heart-throb, and concerts were all sell-outs to screaming
girls. In more recent times he has performed on stage and made
numerous TV appearances, both as a guest, and as a host of game
shows in both the UK and USA.
Title: 20th Century Boy
Rex was a British Glam Rock band formed in 1967 by vocalist and
guitarist Marc Bolan (30 Sep 1947 - 16 Sep 1977). The band was
originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and they released a few Psychedelic
tracks in 1968-9. They changed their style to a more mainstream
sound and shortened the name in 1970 which resulted in their first
Top 10 hit, "Ride A White Swan" in the autumn of that
year. They went on to enjoy enormous success in the first half
of the 1970s, and became one of the biggest bands in the UK during
that time. From 1970 to 1973 they had a run of eleven Top 10
singles, with four of those reaching Number One. They also had
three consecutive Number One albums in the early seventies.
However, their popularity began to wane after about 1975, and sadly,
Marc Bolan will killed in a car crash in 1977, just before his 30th
birthday, which brought the band to an end.
Title: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole
Dawn is a vocal trio, led by Tony Orlando (born on 3 Apr 1944 in New York
had been a modest hit maker in the 1960s (see year 1961, song 76),
with two female singers, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson.
They went on to enjoy considerable success,
achieving two Number Ones in the UK and USA. Their final
British chart entry came in 1974, but they have continued to perform
live shows, with some prolonged breaks, up to the present
time. Orlando has often performed solo in the 21st century.
Title: Get Down
O'Sullivan was born on 1 Dec 1946 in Waterford, Ireland. When
he was just seven years old his family moved to England where he
grew up. He began playing when at art college in the
1960s. He signed a recording contract in 1967, but no hit
recordings came from that. It was not until 1970 when he came
under the management of Gordon Mills that things took off. To
gain publicity, he went for an unusual appearance comprising a pudding basin haircut, cloth cap and short trousers.
This did attract attention, and by late 1970 he was in the UK charts
with his debut hit "Nothing Rhymed". His style and
songs were certainly unique, and he enjoyed enormous success for the
first half of the 1970s. He changed his appearance to a
college boy look after a year or so, and the hits continued.
He had eleven Top 20 hits up to the end of 1974, two of which were
Number Ones, and he achieved four Top 10 albums during that period
as well. He also enjoyed three Top 10 hits in the USA
including a Number One. Later in the 1970s however, he
realised that he had not received a fair proportion of his earnings
from his management company. He sued them, but it was not
until 1982 that the courts found in his favour and awarded him seven
million pounds. His career had been on hold for most of the
second half of the 1970s, but he had another Top 20 hit in
1980. He has continued to record and perform, issuing four new
albums between 2007 and 2018. He has also toured the UK and
Ireland in recent years.
Title: Break Up To Make Up
The Stylistics was a smooth Soul five-piece vocal
group that was formed in Philadelphia, USA in 1970. The group
was characterised by the falsetto voice of Russell Thompkins Jr
(born on 21 Mar 1951 in Philadelphia, USA) and the smooth sound
created by producer Thom Bell. This combination resulted in a
series of six UK hits until the summer of 1974. Thom Bell
stopped working with the group at that time, but production was
taken over by record label owners Hugo & Luigi with arrangements by Van
McCoy. This resulted in another run of ten hits in the UK,
with seven of those reaching the Top 10. However, this second
run of hits over the years 1974 to 1976, did not do well in the USA
where the new Disco sound was becoming dominant. In addition
to the singles success in the UK, the group's greatest hits album
went to Number One on the British album chart, where it eventually
stayed for 63 weeks. The group continued for the next two
decades, but Thompkins left in 2000. He released a solo album
in 2002, but in 2004 Thompkins formed a new group, Russell Thompkins
Jr & The New Stylistics. They are still performing (as a
trio) at the present time.
Title: Power To All Our Friends
#This was Cliff's first Top 10 hit since the summer of 1970. It was also the UK's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1973, where it come third, losing out to winners Luxembourg. It was the second time that Cliff had represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, having come second in 1968. Cliff's next Top 10 hit did not come until 1976, although he had four Top 30 hits during the intervening time.
Title: God Gave Rock And Roll To You
# This track was recorded in 1971, but not released on album or single until 1973.
# The song was recorded in 1991 by American Rock band Kiss, whose version was used on the soundtrack of the 1991 film "Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey". The recording reached number four in the UK charts early in 1992.
Title: I Am A Clown
# This was his first hit of the year, and was a double A-side with song 27 below. His next release went to Number One in the UK during September (song 84).
Title: Some Kind Of A Summer
# Writer Dave Ellingson was an on/off member of the USA Folk group the New Christy Minstrels who had considerable success in America. They had no hits in the UK, although their recording "Three Wheels On My Wagon" was a favourite on radio request shows.
MORE TO COME
Acts with most appearances in this list:
Composers with most appearances in this list:
Kenny Gamble: 4
(3 with Leon Huff; 1 with Thom Bell & Linda
New Names in
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