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MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS

1974

 

As Glam Rock was beginning to fade in 1974, we saw the first rumblings of the Disco sound from the USA.  Disco would become the dominant form of music in the second half of the 1970s.  Meanwhile, most of the established acts continued as before, including Elton John, David Bowie, Slade, Status Quo and the Bay City Rollers, the latter of whom began to create the hysteria amongst fans, not seen since the days of the Beatles.  1973 newcomers David Essex and Leo Sayer consolidated their arrival with more hits in 1974.  After a gap of four years, 1974 witnessed the return to the charts of Scottish 1960s songbird, Lulu, with a song written and produced by David Bowie.  British newcomers included bands Mud and the Rubettes.

From America, the Osmond family continued hitting the charts in various combinations, as did Diana Ross who scored two hits in duet with Marvin Gaye.  The smooth Soul group, the Stylistics put three hits in the British charts, whilst the Doobie Brothers and the Three Degrees began their chart careers in 1974.  The man who became known as 'the love walrus', Barry White, also started his impressive run of hits in this year.

Perhaps the most important of all was the arrival of Swedish group Abba, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, and with a short gap, went on to dominate the British music scene for the rest of the 1970s.

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, Capital Radio, and Radio Luxembourg.

*four songs not a hit in the UK.

 


1

Title: All Of My Life
Artist: Diana Ross
Writer(s): Michael Randall
Entered chart 5 Jan 1974; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 13.

Diana Ross was born on 26 Mar 1944 in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  She first found fame as the lead singer with the group the Supremes, which was one of the most successful female groups of the second half of the 1960s (see year 1964, song 75).  Ross had decided to leave the group for a solo career early in 1970.  Her first UK solo release "Reach Out And Touch" (year 1970, song 61) performed disappointingly in the UK, but she was soon in the UK and USA Top 10, and she enjoyed her first British Number One in the summer of 1971 with "I'm Still Waiting" (see year 1971, song 58).  She went on to have a highly successful career with numerous hit singles and albums, and was recording into the 2000s.
# This recording was featured on Diana's fourth solo studio album "Touch Me In The Morning", which reached number seven in the UK and number five in the USA on their respective album charts.  The title track from the album had been a UK hit single during the summer of 1973 (see year 1973, song 59).  She was back in the UK Top 10 in March in a duet with Marvin Gaye.


2

Title: Living For The City
Artist: Stevie Wonder
Writer(s): Stevie Wonder
Entered chart 12 Jan 1974; Highest Position 15; 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 recording is taken from Wonder's 1973 album "Innervisions" which peaked at number eight on the UK album chart, where it eventually remained for 55 weeks.  His next hit came in April, which was also from "Innervisions".  


3

Title: Rockin' Roll Baby
Artist: Stylistics
Writer(s): Linda Creed & Thom Bell
Entered chart 19 Jan 1974; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 9.

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 "Best Of" 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.
# This was the first of three Top 10 hits that the group enjoyed in the UK during 1974.  Their next hit came in July (song 54).


4

Title: Tiger Feet
Artist: Mud
Writer(s): Nicky Chinn & Mike Chapman
Entered chart 19 Jan 1974; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 11.

Mud was a Rock band formed in London during 1966 by Rob Davis (born 1 Oct 1947) and Les Gray (9 Apr 1946 - 21 Feb 2004).  They began recording in 1967 but without any commercial success for several years.  But in 1973 they signed with Mickie Most's RAK label, and with help of songwriters Chinn and Chapman (who had written several hits for the band Sweet), hits started coming the way of Mud.  They had three hits in 1973, but 1974 saw them have their first Number One with the catchy "Tiger Feet".  That started a run of Top 10 hits that extended into 1976.  In 1975 the achieved five Top 10 hits, and in 1974 they made Number One with their Christmas hit "Lonely This Christmas", which has enjoyed radio airplay every December until the present time.  As their popularity waned in the late 1970s, they decided to split up in 1979.  Following the break up, Gray formed a new band, Les Gray's Mud, and they continued to perform, with a changing series of musicians, until Gray's death in 2004.  Since then various musicians have continued performing under that band name. 
# They were next in the UK charts in April with "The Cat Crept In" (song 30).


5

Title: Teenage Rampage
Artist: The Sweet
Writer(s): Nicky Chinn & Mike Chapman
Entered chart 19 Jan 1974; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 8.

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 was the group's first of three hits in 1974, and although the first two reached the Top 10, their November release stalled at number 41.  They had a Top 10 entry in March 1975, however.  Their next hit in 1974 came in July (song 56).


6

Title: The Man Who Sold The World
Artist: Lulu
Writer(s): David Bowie
Entered chart 26 Jan 1974; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 9.

Lulu was born on 3 Nov 1948 near Glasgow, Scotland.  She started singing at a young age and by the time she was 13 she had a manager and was singing with a band around Glasgow.  Her manager took her to London in early 1964 and arranged a recording deal with Decca Records.  Her debut single, "Shout", was an American R&B song written by the Isley Brothers.  It was an instant hit, and Lulu's career took off from there.  However, some of her recordings with Decca did not sell as well as was hoped and she missed the charts completely in 1966.  So, in 1967 she moved to EMI's Columbia label, and producer Mickie Most.  This gave her a new start, with hits for the rest of the 1960s.  Lulu was given her own BBC TV series in 1968, which ran annually until 1975.  In 1969 she represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, where she came joint first.  She continued to record and tour in the following decades, and in 1993 achieved her first chart-topper when she duetted with boy band Take That on "Relight My Fire".  She was in the Top 10 again in 2002 when she duetted with Ronan Keating with the song "We've Got Tonight".  Recording and touring continued, and she embarked on another concert tour of the UK during the autumn of 2017.
# This was Lulu's first hit after a gap of four years.  The song was written by David Bowie, the recording was produced by him, and he also provided backing vocals.  The recording did not mark a sustained return to the charts for Lulu, however.  She next had one Top 40 hit in 1975, then no more until the 1980s.  In fact her next solid run of hits did not come until the mid 1990s.


7

Title: The Wombling Song
Artist: The Wombles
Writer(s): Mike Batt
Entered chart 26 Jan 1974; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 23.

The Wombles are fictional furry creatures created by Elisabeth Beresford and originally appearing in a series of children's novels from 1968. The Wombles live in burrows, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish, on Wimbledon Common in London, England.  In the early 1970s the BBC decided to produce a stop-motion animated series of the Wombles and composer Mike Batt (born 6 Feb 1949) was asked to provide songs and music for the programmes.  Batt enlisted the help of session musicians to record the music, which became so popular, singles and albums of the songs were issued.  To promote the recordings, Batt and other musicians dressed up in Womble costumes and performed the songs on TV.  Four singles including the Christmas hit "Wombling Merry Christmas" reached the UK Top 10 during 1974, with three smaller hits in 1975.  Three albums of Wombling songs also reached the UK album chart in 1974.  Batt has continued to write mainstream hits and produce recordings for various artists, especially for Katie Melua, up to the present time.


8

Title: Love's Theme
Artist: The Love Unlimited Orchestra
Writer(s): Barry White
Entered chart 2 Feb 1974; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 10.

The Love Unlimited Orchestra was a 40-piece string-laden orchestra, formed by American singer-songwriter Barry White, that served as a backing unit for White and female vocal trio Love Unlimited.  In the mid-1970s the orchestra also recorded several singles and albums under their own name.  This recording is the only one to appear on the UK charts.  It reached Number One in the USA where the orchestra additionally had a few further hit singles and albums until 1977.


9

Title: Happiness Is You And Me
Artist: Gilbert O'Sullivan
Writer(s): Gilbert O'Sullivan
Entered chart 9 Feb 1974; Highest Position 19; Weeks on chart: 7.

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 recording marked a decline in O'Sullivan's popularity as far as the charts were concerned.  He did however have a Top 20 hit with his Christmas recording "Christmas Song (I'm Not Dreaming Of A White Christmas)" at the end of 1974, which in common with other seasonal recordings of the 1970s, is played on radio stations in the UK over the Christmas period every year.


10

Title: Remember (Sha-La-La)
Artist: Bay City Rollers
Writer(s): Phil Coulter & Bill Martin
Entered chart 9 Feb 1974; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 12.

The Bay City Rollers was a Scottish band from Edinburgh, formed originally in the 1960s under different names.  Although the personnel changed a few times, the best-known line up comprised lead singer Les McKeown (born in Edinburgh on12 Nov 1955),  guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, bassist Alan Longmuir, and drummer Derek Longmuir.  They signed a contract with Bell records and had their first hit in 1971, "Keep On Dancing", which reached the UK Top 10 (see year 1971, song 71).  They did not have another hit until 1974 when they began a run of Top 10 hits until 1976.  Fan adulation for the group during that time was dubbed 'Rollermania', echoing the 'Beatlemania' of the 1960s.  They also had some success in the USA in the mid-1970s, with three of their releases reaching the American Top 10.  After their popularity began to wane, there were several personnel changes, but they continued into the 1980s.  Various regroupings and reunions have taken place since then, with tours at home and abroad in the 2010s.
# As referred to above, this recording was their first hit since 1971, but it marked the start of a run of nine Top 10 hits, including two Number Ones, until the end of 1976.  They also had four Top 10 albums in the UK album chart, two of which were chart-toppers.  Their next hit came in April (song 33).


11

Title: The Air That I Breathe
Artist: The Hollies
Writer(s): Albert Hammond & Mike Hazlewood
Entered chart 9 Feb 1974; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 13.

The Hollies was a beat group from Manchester, England.  It was formed by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash in 1962, and by early summer 1963 they had their first hit.  In the autumn of that year they made their debut in the Top 10 with a recording of a former American chart topper, "Stay".  This started a run of fifteen Top 10 hits by the end of the 1960s, and they continued successfully into the 1970s as well.  They finally broke into the USA charts in 1966, and enjoyed six Top 10 hits there.  In 1968, founding member Graham Nash left the group, moving to California where he became part of the super group, Crosby, Stills & Nash.  With some changes of personnel, the Hollies continued to perform through to the 1990s, mostly in the guise of a sixties revival group.  Clarke finally retired in 2000, but the Hollies still perform on the nostalgia circuit.
# This recording was the group's first Top 10 hit since 1970, although they had five Top 40 hits during that time.  It was also a Top 10 hit in the USA.  However, it was their last hit of the 1970s and their final Top 40 hit with new material.  In 1988 their hit from 1969, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (see year 1969, song 81) went to Number One in the UK charts, after it was used in a TV commercial for Miller Lite beer.
# In 1998 a recording of the song by UK band Simply Red reached number six in the UK charts.
# The song, co-written by Albert Hammond, was originally recorded by him for his 1972 album "It Never Rains In Southern California".


12

Title: The Most Beautiful Girl
Artist: Charlie Rich
Writer(s): Billy Sherrill, Norro Wilson & Rory Bourke
Entered chart 16 Feb 1974; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 14.

Charlie Rich (14 Dec 1932 - 25 Jul 1995) was born in the state of Arkansas, USA.  He was primarily a Country music singer, although early in his career, he preferred Jazz.  He was in the US Air Force from 1953 to 1956 where he formed a small group to play Jazz and Blues music.  In the late 1950s began working at Sun Studios as a session musician.  He left Sun in 1963, and began recording in his own right with RCA, although there was no real commercial success.  He signed with Epic records in 1967 and several albums were issued.  His breakthrough came in 1972 when he began reaching the Top 10 of the American Country music charts.  In 1973/1974 he had the USA Number One "The Most Beautiful Girl", which was followed by five more chart-toppers on the Country chart, three of which reached the Top 30 on the American pop charts.  Sadly, he succumbed to alcoholism in the late 1970s, and he gave up performing.  He returned to recording in the early 1990s, but died in his sleep in 1995 at the age of 62.


13

Title: Jealous Mind
Artist: Alvin Stardust
Writer(s): Peter Shelley
Entered chart 16 Feb 1974; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 11.

Alvin Stardust (27 Sep 1942 - 23 Oct 2014) was born in north London, England.  He first found fame in the early 1960s, when he performed under the name of Shane Fenton.  His real name was Bernard Jewry, and in the early 1960s he was working as a roadie for a band called Shane Fenton & The Fentones.  Unfortunately, the lead singer (real name Johnny Theakstone) died just before the band was asked to audition for the BBC.  With the blessing of the mother of the deceased singer, the band members asked Jewry to take on the role of lead singer so they could attend the audition.  So Jewry became Shane Fenton.  The audition was a success, and this led to a record deal with EMI.  Several smallish hits followed, plus the Top 20 entry "Cindy's Birthday" (see year 1962, song 53).  There were no more hits after 1962 for the band, and Jewry turned to music management for a decade.  However, in 1973 he took on another persona, as Alvin Stardust, after Peter Shelley had written and recorded the song "My Coo-Ca-Choo".  Shelley had used the pseudonym Alvin Stardust on the recording, but did not wish to perform it on TV.  Bernard Jewry was contacted and he agreed to become that singer to promote the song on TV.  The song was a big success and Stardust went on to record several hits from 1973 to 1985.  Following that he went into stage musicals and TV presentation work.  He died from prostate cancer at age 72.
# This was Stardust's only Number One, out of seven Top 10 hits.


14

Title: Billy Don't Be A hero
Artist: Paper Lace
Writer(s): Mitch Murray & Peter Callander
Entered chart 23 Feb 1974; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 14.

Paper Lace was a four-piece band formed during 1969 in Nottingham, England, and they performed at several clubs in the north of England from that time.  In 1973, they appeared on the TV talent show "Opportunity Knocks", which they won for five consecutive weeks.  As a result of this publicity, songwriters Murray and Callander offered to write them a song.  That song, "Billy Don't Be A Hero" went to Number One in the UK.  In the USA the song was covered by a band called Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods, who took their recording of it to Number One in that country.  Paper Lace went on to have two more Top 20 hits during 1974, however their popularity waned in the second half of the 1970s, and they broke up in 1980.  At the present time there are two bands touring the UK with names derived from the original Paper Lace name.
# Their next hit came in May (song 37).


15

Title: You're Sixteen
Artist: Ringo Starr
Writer(s): Robert B Sherman & Richard M Sherman
Entered chart 23 Feb 1974; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 10.

Ringo Starr was born on 7 Jul 1940 in Liverpool, England, and found fame as a member of the Beatles group.  After the breakup of the band, Starr pursued a solo career, as did the others.  His first solo hit came in April 1971 with "It Don't Come Easy" (year 1971, song 29), which reached number four in the UK charts.  He had four Top 10 entries on the UK singles charts, one each in the years from 1971 to 1974.  Two of those reached Number One in the USA.  He also enjoyed two Top 10 albums in the British album chart.  As well as performing and recording music, Starr also narrated the first two series of the children's television programme "Thomas & Friends" and portrayed "Mr. Conductor" during the first season of the PBS children's television series "Shining Time Station".  Since 1989, he has frequently toured with his All-Starr Band.  He has continued recording from time to time, and issued his twentieth album in 2019.  As at 2021, Starr mainly resides in Los Angeles, USA, with his wife, actress Barbara Bach.
# This was Starr's final Top 10 hit in the UK, which went to Number One in the USA, and he went on to have a further three Top 10 hits in America.  This recording was taken from his late 1973 album "Ringo" which reached number seven on the UK album chart, and remaining on the chart for 20 weeks.
# The song dates from 1960, and it was a number three hit for Johnny Burnett in the UK during early 1961 (see year 1961, song 1).


16

Title: Rebel Rebel
Artist: David Bowie
Writer(s): David Bowie
Entered chart 23 Feb 1974; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 7.

David Bowie (8 Jan 1947 - 10 Jan 2016) was born in south London, England.  He developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963.  "Space Oddity" became his first entry on the UK charts after its release in July 1969.  Following a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the Glam Rock era with his flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust.  The character was spearheaded by the success of his single "Starman" and the album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars", which won him widespread popularity and recognition.  After an uneven period in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes", its parent album "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)", and "Under Pressure", a 1981 collaboration with Queen.  He reached his commercial peak in 1983 with "Let's Dance", which topped both the UK and USA charts.  Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles.  He stopped touring after 2004 and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006.  In 2013, Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with the album "The Next Day".  He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer in New York City at age 69, two days after the release of his final album, "Blackstar" (2016).
# This was the lead single from Bowie's 1974 album "Diamond Dogs" which entered the UK album chart at Number One in June.  His next Top 10 hit was a recording of "Knock On Wood", in September (song 74).


17

Title: Jet
Artist: Paul McCartney & Wings
Writer(s): Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney
Entered chart 2 Mar 1974; Highest Position 7; Weeks on chart: 9.

Paul McCartney was born on 18 Jun 1942 in Liverpool, England, and found fame as a member of the Beatles group.  After the breakup of the band, McCartney pursued a solo career, as did the others.  His first solo hit was "Another Day" in 1971, which just missed reaching the top spot of the charts.  Despite this success, in 1972 he formed the band Wings, with his wife Linda on keyboards and former member of the Moody Blues, Denny Laine, on guitar.  This group enjoyed considerable success (sometimes billed as Paul McCartney & Wings) until the end of the 1970s.  In 1981 Denny Laine left the group, which McCartney then decided to dissolve, and all following hits and albums were credited to McCartney as a solo artist.  He also had much success on the album chart, with his most successful being "Band On The Run" which peaked at Number One, and remained on the UK album chart for 124 weeks.  He has been very successful too on the USA charts where he has scored seven Number One albums.  He has continued concert performances throughout the 21st century, and performed at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games in 2012.  His most recent album was released in 2018.
# This recording was taken from McCartney's late 1973 album "Band On The Run" (see above), which also reached Number One on the USA album chart.  The band's next hit single came in July, being the album title track "Band On The Run" (song 52).


18

Title: Candle In The Wind
Artist: Elton John
Writer(s): Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Entered chart 2 Mar 1974; Highest Position 11; Weeks on chart: 9.

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 was Elton's first hit of 1974, which just missed out on a Top 10 position.  However, in 1988 a live version of the song, which Elton had recorded in Australia, was issued as a single and it reached number five in the UK that year.  
# The original lyrics are about American film actress Marilyn Monroe, but in September 1997 Bernie Taupin wrote revised lyrics in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales who had died in August that year.  Elton John performed the new version at Diana's funeral, and a studio recording made earlier was released as a single (titled "Candle In The Wind 1997"), which reached Number One in the UK, USA and several other countries.  All royalties from the recording went to Diana's charities.
# Elton's next single was "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", in June 1974 (song 43).


19

Title: Jambalaya
Artist: The Carpenters
Writer(s): Hank Williams & Moon Mullican
Entered chart 2 Mar 1974; Highest Position 12; Weeks on chart: 11.

The Carpenters were a brother and sister duo from Connecticut, USA.  The act comprised Richard Carpenter (born 15 Oct 1946) and Karen Carpenter (2 Mar 1950 - 4 Feb 1983).  Karen provided the vocals and sometimes drums, while Richard provided the arrangements,  instrumentation (mostly piano), and sometimes backing vocals.  During the 1970s they were an extremely popular easy-listening act with numerous hit singles and albums throughout the world.  Their compilation album "The Singles 1969-1973" reached Number One in the UK and remained on the album chart for well over two years, with seven other albums reaching the Top 10.  They toured the world extensively for a decade, but Karen began to suffer from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, although she always denied the suggestion.  However, in early February 1983 she collapsed and died from a heart attack brought on by anorexia nervosa.  Richard Carpenter then began producing a new album of unreleased Carpenters recordings which was issued later in 1983.  Since then he has produced several compilation albums, and in 2018 an album of the duo's hits with orchestration from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was issued, reaching number eight in the UK album chart.
# This song dates from 1952 when it was co-written and recorded by American Country music singer Hank Williams.  It is named after the Louisiana meat and rice dish.  It has been recorded by numerous artists, including Fats Domino whose version reached number 41 in the UK charts during 1962.
# The Carpenters' next Top 10 hit came in January 1975.


20

Title: Listen To The Music
Artist: The Doobie Brothers
Writer(s): Tom Johnston
Entered chart 9 Mar 1974; Highest Position 29; Weeks on chart: 7.

The Doobie Brothers is a band from San Jose, California, USA, which formed in 1970.  At the time of this hit recording the members were Tom Johnston (lead vocalist), Patrick Simmonds and three others.  They began touring and recording, although their debut album in 1971 was not a success.  The second album, "Toulouse Street", reached number 21 in the USA album chart, and provided their first hit single "Listen To The Music".  This was followed by several Top 30 hits, including the 1974 American Number One "Black Water".  Success in the UK was rather more muted.  By 1975, Johnston was in poor health, and he took a break from the band.  He was replaced by Michael McDonald, whose distinctive voice gave the band a new sound, and they enjoyed even greater success.  The band broke up in 1982, but reformed in 1987 with Johnston back in the fold.  McDonald meanwhile had forged a successful solo career, but he did make a few guest appearances on the band's concert tours during the 1990s and 2000s.  McDonald rejoined on a permanent basis in 2019 for a planned 50th anniversary tour in 2020, although that was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


21

Title: I Get A Little Sentimental Over You
Artist: The New Seekers
Writer(s): Tony Macaulay & Geoff Stephens
Entered chart 9 Mar 1974; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 9.

The New Seekers was a British five-piece vocal group, formed by Australian musician Keith Potger, after the break up of his group the Seekers.  The New Seekers comprised female lead singers Eve Graham (born in Auchterarder, Scotland on 19 Apr 1943) and Lyn Paul (born in Manchester, England on 16 Feb 1949), plus three males.  The first version of the group, formed in 1969, did not include Lyn Paul, but after the first album release, several personnel changes were made, including the addition of Paul.  They had a minor hit in late 1970, but made the big time in the summer of 1971 with their first Top 10 entry "Never Ending Song Of Love".  This was followed later in the year by "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing", which was their first Number One chart hit.  They enjoyed considerable success through to the mid-1970s, but broke up in the second half of 1974.  However, they reformed in 1976, but without Lyn Paul.  They had three smallish hits until 1978, when Eve Graham left.  With new personnel, the group has continued to tour and perform.
# This was the group's follow-up to their hit of November 1973 "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me" (year 1973, song 95).  Despite the success of this recording, it was their final Top 10 hit, as they broke up later in the year (see above).


22

Title: Long Live Love
Artist: Olivia Newton-John
Writer(s): Valerie Avon & Harold Spiro
Entered chart 16 Mar 1974; Highest Position 11; Weeks on chart: 8.

Olivia Newton-John was born on 26 Sep 1948 in Cambridge, England.  Her family moved to Australia in 1954, where she grew up.  She was a member of a short-lived group when she was 14, but after appearing at a few talents contests, she was soon appearing on Australian TV and radio.  She went to the UK after winning the trip as a prize, and was performing there in the late 1960s.  In 1971 she recorded her first album, and the track "If Not For You" was issued as a single.  It rose to number 7 in the UK and number 25 in the USA.  Further hits followed in the UK, and in 1974 she represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.  In the mid-1970s she moved to the USA to live and work.  She had much success there, culminating in her role in the musical film "Grease" in 1978.  Two of her songs from the movie become Number One hits in the UK.  Hits continued on both sides of the Atlantic, and she made more films as well during the 1980s and 1990s.  She has continued to record and perform occasionally up to the present time.  She was honoured with a Damehood at New Year 2020.
# This song, performed by Newton-John, was the UK's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1974.  The entry came fourth in the contest.  The winning country was Sweden, with Abba performing "Waterloo" (song 31 below).
# This was Newton-John's biggest hit since her two Top 10 entries in 1971.  Her next hit came in October (song 77), which only reached number 22 in the UK but went all the way to Number One in the USA.
# This song is different to "Long Live Love" by Sandie Shaw, which was a Number One hit for her in 1965 (year 1965, song 42).


23

Title: Emma
Artist: Hot Chocolate
Writer(s): Errol Brown & Tony Wilson
Entered chart 16 Mar 1974; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 10.

Hot Chocolate is a five-piece Soul band from London, England which became one of the most successful acts during the 1970s and 1980s.  It was formed by Errol Brown (12 Nov 1943 - 6 May 2015, born in Jamaica) and Tony Wilson (born in Trinidad on 8 Oct 1947).  They started in 1968 as a Reggae band, but from 1970, under the guidance of producer Mickie Most, they moved to a Soul/Pop style.  Their first hit was "Love Is Life" in 1970, and this began a run of 25 UK Top 40 singles (12 Top 10) until 1984.  Later in the 1980s, reissues returned them to the charts.  There were some personnel changes from time to time, with Wilson leaving in 1976 and Errol Brown departing in 1986.  The band broke up after Brown's departure for a solo career, but it was reformed with a new vocalist in 1992, with another new vocalist in 2010, and it continues to perform in Britain and Europe until the present.
# This was the band's first Top 40 hit since "Brother Louie" was in the Top 10 during April 1973 (year 1973, song 32).  They had three major hits in 1975, including their celebrated "You Sexy Thing" which became a Top 10 hit in three different decades.


24

Title: Homely Girl
Artist: The Chi-Lites
Writer(s): Eugene Record & Stan McKenny
Entered chart 23 Mar 1974; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 13.

The Chi-Lites were formed in Chicago, USA during 1964 with lead singer and songwriter Eugene Record and Marshall Thompson.  Their first UK hit came in 1971, but in 1972 their recording "Have You Seen Her" reached number three on both sides of the Atlantic.  This was followed by five Top 10 hits in the UK up to the summer of 1976.  In the mid-1970s, most of the group's personnel changed, even seeing the departure of Eugene Record, although Marshall Thompson has remained throughout.  The often-revised band has continued until the present time.  A new album was released in 2006.
# This was the band's first UK Top 10 hit since January 1972 when "Have You Seen Her" reached number three in the charts (year 1972, song 9).  They were in the British Top 10 again in November (song 84).
# In 1989 British band UB40 recorded a Reggae version of the song which reached number six in the UK charts that year.


25

Title: You Are Everything
Artist: Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye
Writer(s): Thom Bell & Linda Creed
Entered chart 23 Mar 1974; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 12.

For information about Diana Ross, see song 1 above.
Marvin Gaye (2 Apr 1939 - 1 Apr 1984) was born in Washington DC, USA.  He joined a Doo-Wop group whilst still at high school, but in 1960 he moved to Detroit, and having been seen singing by Barry Gordy Jr, he was signed to Gordy's record label Tamla Motown.  He had a few smallish hits in the USA from 1962, and his first British hit came in 1964, although it only just entered the Top 50.  His early successes were duets with female performers - first with Mary Wells, then with Kim Weston, and later with Tammi Terrell.  He is probably best remembered for his 1970s and 1980s hits which often contained social commentary and civil rights messages.  Gaye was shot dead by his own father, when Gaye was just 44 and arguably at the peak of his career.
# This song was first recorded by smooth Philadelphia Soul group, the Stylistics.  Their version reached number nine in the USA during 1972 but it did not chart in the UK.
# This version by Ross and Gaye was taken from their 1973 album "Diana & Marvin", which reached number six in the UK album chart.  The pair charted with another duet in the UK during July this year (song 58).


26

Title: A Walkin' Miracle
Artist: Limmie & The Family Cookin'
Writer(s): Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss & Hugo Peretti
Entered chart 6 Apr 1974; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 10.

The leader of this family trio, Limmie Snell was born in Dalton, Alabama, but his family moved to Canton, Ohio when he was very young.  He recorded with Columbia Records from age 11 as a solo artist before joining family members Jimmy (female lead singer) and Martha Snell to form Limmie & Family Cookin'.  They released one single on Scepter Records, then signed with Avco Embassy, where they released three singles which hit the UK singles charts in 1973-74.  The first was "You Can Do Magic" (number 3), followed by "Dreamboat" (number 31), and "A Walking Miracle" (number 6).  Despite their success in the United Kingdom, they entered the USA charts only once, with "You Can Do Magic" (reached number 84).  Because of their popularity in the UK, they continued performing there regularly into the 1980s.  In the mid-1970s they split into two musical groups, the second of which was named Limmie Funk Limited.
# This song was originally recorded by the American group The Essex, which had no real success in the UK.  Their version was a Top 20 hit in the USA during 1963.  The Limmie & The Family Cookin' version was not a hit in the USA.


27

Title: Everyday
Artist: Slade
Writer(s): Noddy Holder & Jim Lea
Entered chart 6 Apr 1974; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 7.

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 first of three Top 10 hits the band enjoyed during 1974.  The recording was taken from their fourth studio album "Old New Borrowed And Blue", which went to Number One on the UK album chart.  The next hit single came in July (song 51).


MORE TO COME


 

Acts with most appearances in this list:

Bay City Rollers: 4
Elton John: 3
Mud: 3

Donny Osmond: 3 (2 with sister Marie and 1 with group the Osmonds)
Diana Ross: 3 (2 with Marvin Gaye)
Rubettes: 3
Slade: 3
Stylistics: 3

Composers with most appearances in this list:

Nicky Chinn & Mike Chapman: 5 (3 for Mud; 2 for Sweet)
Thom Bell & Linda Creed: 3
Elton John & Bernie Taupin: 3 (all for Elton John)
Jim Lea & Noddy Holder: 3 (all for Slade)

New Names in 1974
To qualify, new acts must have gone on to have at least three entries in these lists.  One-hit Wonders do not qualify.

Abba
Doobie Brothers
Mud
Rubettes
Three Degrees
Barry White

 


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Comments and corrections to: mjs@onlineweb.com

Compiled January 2021
Updated 16/01/2021

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