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MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS

1973

 

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.

 


1

Title: Blockbuster
Artist: The Sweet
Writer(s): Nicky Chinn & Mike Chapman
Entered chart 13 Jan 1973; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

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 times.  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 Europe.
# This track followed two Top 10 hits in 1972.  They went on to have two further Top 10 hits during 1973 (songs 36 and 79).


2

Title: Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Artist: The Temptations
Writer(s): Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong
Entered chart 13 Jan 1973; Highest Position 14; Weeks on chart: 8.

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.
# This song was first recorded by a Motown group called the Undisputed Truth in early 1972 which was a modest hit.  The Temptations version reached Number One in the USA, and was awarded a Grammy.


3

Title: If You Don't Know Me By Now
Artist: Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes
Writer(s): Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff
Entered chart 13 Jan 1973; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 9.

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.
# In 1989 the British band Simply Red recorded "If You Don't Know Me By Now", and their version reached number two in the UK charts and Number One in the USA that year.


4

Title: Me And Mrs Jones
Artist: Billy Paul
Writer(s): Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff & Cary Gilbert
Entered chart 13 Jan 1973; Highest Position 12; Weeks on chart: 9.

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.
# The songwriters and producers, Gamble and Huff, had this and song 3 above enter the UK chart on the same day.


5

Title: Paper Plane
Artist: Status Quo
Writer(s): Francis Rossi & Bob Young
Entered chart 13 Jan 1973; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 11.

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.
# This marked their permanent return to the UK charts after a hiatus of two years.  There was no more Psychedelia, but instead a 12-bar boogie rock sound that served them for years to come.  It was also the band's first release on the progressive label Vertigo.  Their next Top 10 hit came in September (song 75).


6

Title: Daniel
Artist: Elton John
Writer(s): Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Entered chart 20 Jan 1973; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 10.

Elton John 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 USA.  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.
# This recording, taken from his 1973 album "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player", reached number two in the USA.  The album reached Number One in both the UK and USA.  He was back in the Top 10 in July (song 55).


7

Title: Sylvia
Artist: Focus
Writer(s): Thijs van Leer
Entered chart 27 Jan 1973; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 11.

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.


8

Title: Part Of The Union
Artist: The Strawbs
Writer(s): Richard Hudson & John Ford
Entered chart 27 Jan 1973; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 11.

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.


9

Title: Superstition
Artist: Stevie Wonder
Writer(s): Stevie Wonder
Entered chart 3 Feb 1973; Highest Position 11; Weeks on chart: 9.

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.
# This was Wonder's first UK Top 10 hit since spring 1970, although he had four Top 30 hits during that time.  This recording was taken from his album "Talking Book" which reached the Top 20 of the UK album chart.  The single "Superstition" reached Number One in the USA.  Wonder was next in the UK Top 10 in May this year (song 38).


10

Title: Peaceful Easy Feeling
Artist: The Eagles
Writer(s): Jack Tempchin
Entered chart 3 Feb 1973; Highest Position 22 (USA chart data - not a UK hit).

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 Meisner.  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 studio tracks.  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.
# The next Eagles song in this list is "Tequila Sunrise" (song 42).


11

Title: Feel The Need In Me
Artist: Detroit Emeralds
Writer(s): Abrim Tilmon
Entered chart 10 Feb 1973; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 15.

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.
# The Detroit Emeralds re-recorded "Feel The Need In Me" with a Disco beat in 1977.  That version reached number 12 in the UK charts that year.
# The song has been in the UK charts for two other artists.  They are Leif Garrett (1979, number 38), and Shakin' Stevens (1988, number 26).


12

Title: Killing Me Softly With His Song
Artist: Roberta Flack
Writer(s): Charles Fox & Norman Gimbel
Entered chart 17 Feb 1973; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 14.

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.
# The song is said to have been inspired by a live performance by American singer Don McClean, when seen by singer Lori Lieberman.  Lieberman contacted writers Fox and Gimbel, who interpreted her feelings about the McClean performance with this song.  Lieberman recorded the song in 1972, but it was not a hit for her.  The Roberta Flack version, on the other hand, was a Number One in the USA and Canada, giving Flack her second American chart-topper.  Flack was back at the USA top spot in 1974 with "Feel Like Making Love", which peaked at number 34 in the UK.
# The song has been recorded by numerous easy-listening artists for album tracks.  However, in 1996 it was recorded by American Hip-hop group, the Fugees.  Their version reached Number One in the UK that year, selling over a million copies.


13

Title: Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse
Artist: Jimmy Helms
Writer(s): John Worth
Entered chart 24 Feb 1973; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 10.

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.
# The songwriter John Worth (sometimes known as Johnny Worth) wrote numerous hits for Adam Faith, Eden Kane and others, under the pseudonym of Les Van Dyke, during the early 1960s.


14

Title: That's When The Music Takes Me
Artist: Neil Sedaka
Writer(s): Neil Sedaka
Entered chart 24 Feb 1973; Highest Position 18; Weeks on chart: 10.

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.
# This recording was Sedaka's first Top 20 hit with new material since 1962.  It is taken from his 1972 album "Solitaire".  Whilst this track has music and lyrics written by Sedaka, many of the album tracks were co-written with his new writing partner, Phil Cody.  No songs on the album were written with Howard Greenfield, although they collaborated for a final time later in the year.  The album was recorded in the UK with musical support from the members of British band 10cc.


15

Title: The Look Of Love
Artist: Gladys Knight & The Pips
Writer(s): Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Entered chart 3 Mar 1973; Highest Position 21; Weeks on chart: 9.

Gladys Knight & 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.
# The song was written as far back as 1966, and was used in the 1967 spoof James Bond film "Casino Royale".  The first recording was by jazz performer Stan Getz as an instrumental in December 1966.  The song with lyrics was originally recorded by Dusty Springfield for the "Casino Royale" soundtrack,  receiving an Oscar nomination and reaching the US Top 40.  It was not a hit in the UK.  The Gladys Knight version was the first appearance of the song in the UK charts.  The song has been recorded by numerous easy-listening and Jazz artists for album tracks.
# This recording was one of the group's final releases on Tamla Motown.  Their next substantial hit came in 1975 after their move to Buddah records.


16

Title: Cum On Feel The Noize
Artist: Slade
Writer(s): Noddy Holder & Jim Lea
Entered chart 3 Mar 1973; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 12.

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.
# This was the band's first hit of 1973, and was their third Number One.  Their next hit, and Number One, came in June (song 52).


17

Title: Love Train
Artist: The O'Jays
Writer(s): Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff
Entered chart 3 Mar 1973; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 13.

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.
# This was the band's only Top 10 hit in the UK.  It reached Number One in the USA and was the second of six Top 10 hits they had in that country.  The group's next UK hit came in 1976 - "I Love Music" which reached number 13.


18

Title: Never Never Never
Artist: Shirley Bassey
Writer(s): Alberto Testa & Tony Renis with English lyrics by Norman Newell
Entered chart 3 Mar 1973; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 19.

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.
# This is an Italian song with the original title "Grande Grande Grande".  Norman Newell provided the English translation.  He was an A&R man and producer, as well as a songwriter at EMI for several decades.
# This was Bassey's final Top 10 hit, and indeed her last hit single of any size until 1987 when she had a minor hit in collaboration with the Swiss duo Yello.  During that time she had several hit albums in the UK album chart.


19

Title: Twelfth Of Never
Artist: Donny Osmond
Writer(s): Jerry Livingston & Paul Francis Webster
Entered chart 10 Mar 1973; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 14.

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.
# This song dates from 1956 and it was first recorded by Johnny Mathis in the following year.  It was released as the B-side to his American hit single "Chances Are".  In 1964 the song was recorded by Cliff Richard who took it into the UK Top 10 that year (see year 1964, song 82).  A version by Elvis Presley (recorded in 1974) became a UK number 21 hit for him in 1995.


20

Title: 20th Century Boy
Artist: T Rex
Writer(s): Marc Bolan
Entered chart 10 Mar 1973; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 9.

T 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.
# This followed the band's hit of December 1972, "Solid Gold Easy Action" (year 1972, song 95).  They had just one more Top 10 hit to come, "The Groover" in June (song 49).


21

Title: Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree
Artist: Dawn featuring Tony Orlando
Writer(s): Irwin Levine & L Russell Brown
Entered chart 10 Mar 1973; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 40.

Dawn is a vocal trio, led by Tony Orlando (born on 3 Apr 1944 in New York City), who 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.
# This group had enjoyed three UK Top 10 hits in 1971, but no hits at all during 1972.  This year saw them have this huge hit (also Number One in the USA) with a follow-up hit in August that reached the Top 20 (song 63).
# The the use of a yellow ribbon to welcome men back home from the civil war is written in American folklore.  The matter was revived in the early 1970s in a newspaper article.  This may have prompted the composers to write this song.   It is unclear from the lyrics whether the man returning from prison is a military person.  To this day, yellow ribbons are used to welcome home returning military personnel in the USA. 


22

Title: Get Down
Artist: Gilbert O'Sullivan
Writer(s): Gilbert O'Sullivan
Entered chart 17 Mar 1973; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 13.

Gilbert 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.
# This gave O'Sullivan his second of two Number Ones.  It followed his previous chart-topper of October 1972 (year 1972, song 84).  His next hit only reached a disappointing number 18 (song 77), although he was back for his final Top 10 hit in November (song 91).


23

Title: Break Up To Make Up
Artist: The Stylistics
Writer(s): Thom Bell, Linda Creed & Kenny Gamble
Entered chart 17 Mar 1973; Highest Position 34; Weeks on chart: 5.

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.
# Following the group's hit of November 1972, "I'm Stone In Love With You" (year 1972, song 85), which reached number nine, this was somewhat of a disappointment in the UK peaking at only number 34, whilst reaching number five in the USA.  However, 1974 saw them with three British Top 10 hits.


24

Title: Power To All Our Friends
Artist: Cliff Richard
Writer(s): Guy Fletcher & Doug Flett
Entered chart 17 Mar 1973; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 12.

Cliff Richard was born on 14 Oct 1940 in Lucknow, India, whilst his parents were working in that country.  He returned to England with his family in 1948.  He formed a band in 1957 and a year later he was chosen as a singer for the TV Rock 'n' Roll show "Oh Boy!".  His first hit came in 1958, which started a career that continued into the 21st century, with more than 130 hit singles and over 50 original albums, spanning 50 years plus.  In the early 1960s he also starred in several musical films, notably "The Young Ones" and "Summer Holiday".  He also achieved a number one single in five different decades, and is the most successful British recording artist of all time.  He was honoured with a knighthood in 1995.  He continues in the 21st century and issued a new album in 2018 ("Rise Up"), which reached number four in the album chart.
#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.


25

Title: God Gave Rock And Roll To You
Artist: Argent
Writer(s): Russ Ballard
Entered chart 24 Mar 1973; Highest Position 18; Weeks on chart: 8.

Argent was an English Rock band formed in 1969 by Rod Argent, formerly of the group the Zombies.  The band also included Russ Ballard, formerly of Adam Faith's Roulettes and Unit 4 Plus 2.  The band had three hit singles and two hit albums, but they broke up in 1976.  Rod Argent went solo after the split, recorded a few albums and wrote music for television.  He is still occasionally performing.  Russ Ballard mostly concentrated on songwriting, and he composed Hot Chocolate's 1977 UK chart topper "So You Win Again", and Rainbow's 1979 hit "Since You Been Gone".  He has also written many songs which have appeared on the albums of several artists.
# 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.

26

Title: I Am A Clown
Artist: David Cassidy
Writer(s): Tony Romeo (American songwriter)
Entered chart 24 Mar 1973; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 12.

David Cassidy (12 Apr 1950 21 Nov 2017) was born in Manhattan, New York City, USA.  His parents were singers/actors and spent much time touring the USA.  This resulted in Cassidy being raised mainly by his grandparents.  His father divorced his first wife (Cassidy's mother), and in 1956 he married singer and actress Shirley Jones.  In 1968 Cassidy moved in with his father, Shirley Jones and his half-siblings, in New York City.  Cassidy's father fixed him up with a manager, and by 1969 he was acting on the Broadway stage.  In 1970 Cassidy took a role in the TV musical sitcom The Partridge Family, which starred his step mother Shirley Jones.  The show ran from 1970 to 1974.  With Jones and others he recorded several songs as the Partridge Family, and these became hits on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 1970s.  Simultaneously he was recording solo, and he enjoyed several hits during the first half of the 1970s in the UK.  He became a teen idol, and his concert tours in the USA and UK were sell-outs, often with mass hysteria amongst the audience.  By the mid-1970s he had decided to quit touring and acting to concentrate on songwriting and recording.  By the 1980s he was performing in musical stage shows and had another UK Top 10 hit in 1985.  Some sporadic performing and acting took place until his death at age 67 from liver failure.
# 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).

27

Title: Some Kind Of A Summer
Artist: David Cassidy
Writer(s): Dave Ellingson (American singer-songwriter)
Entered chart 24 Mar 1973; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 12.

This was part of a double A-side with song 26 above.  It was his third Top 10 hit.  His next release which charted in September was a double A-side as well (songs 84/5).
# 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:

David Cassidy: 4
David Bowie: 3
Elton John: 3

Donny Osmond: 3
Gilbert O'Sullivan: 3
Neil Sedaka: 3
Slade: 3
The Sweet: 3

Composers with most appearances in this list:

Kenny Gamble: 4 (3 with Leon Huff; 1 with Thom Bell & Linda Creed)
Neil Sedaka: 4 (1 with Howard Greenfield; 1 with Phil Cody)
Leon Huff: 3 (all with Kenny Gamble)
Elton John & Bernie Taupin: 3 (all for Elton John)
Jim Lea & Noddy Holder: 3 (all for Slade)
Gilbert O'Sullivan: 3 (all for himself)

New Names in 1973
To qualify, new acts must have gone on to have at least three entries in these lists.  One-hit Wonders do not qualify.

David Essex
Leo Sayer
Alvin Stardust
10cc

 


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Comments and corrections to: mjs@onlineweb.com

Compiled October 2020
Updated 19/10/2020

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