MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS
After 1967, 1968 was a bit of a disappointment. There were no new trends in music, and few new stars arrived on the scene with real lasting success. Two solo performers emerged in 1968: sweet-voiced Mary Hopkin had her first (Number One) hit in this year, and gravel-voiced Joe Cocker started his chart career, also enjoying a chart-topper. The new bands that arrived on the charts in this year included Marmalade, who had hits into the early 1970s, and Status Quo, who began as a Psychedelic group but turned to Rock, and had enormous success in the 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Most other new bands did not last any where near as long. The group Love Affair, with lead singer Steve Ellis, had three Top 10 hits in 1968 including a chart-topper. Only two hits followed in 1969 and that was that. Amen Corner, with Andy Fairweather-Low at the helm, followed their smaller hits of 1967 with a couple of Top 10s each in 1968 and 1969, but they also came to an end at the close of the decade. The Equals had a great start with a Number One in May, and they did manage to get into 1970 for their final hit. From America, Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett enjoyed three hits in this year, but no more came their way. Several one-hit wonders lit up the charts briefly in 1968, but it was largely down to the existing groups and artists to carry on making the hits.
Of the established groups it was Manfred Mann who had the most success in the UK charts, with three Top 10 hits, including a Number One. The Beatles only issued two singles in 1968, but predictably they both went to the top of the charts. The Rolling Stones only issued one single in the UK, and that too climbed to Number One. The Hollies managed one Top 10 plus another that reached eleven, whilst Herman's Hermits had four Top 20 hits with two of those reaching the Top 10.
Of the solo artists Tom Jones continued his success from 1967 with two Top 10 hits, and Lulu, who had been brought back to hit-making ways by producer Mickie Most, enjoyed two Top 10s and a number 15 hit. Cliff Richard, who celebrated ten years in the charts during 1968, hit Number One with the aptly named "Congratulations" which he performed at the Eurovision Song Contest, coming second in that event. Elvis Presley was finishing off his series of poor films, and made headlines with his televised "Comeback Special" shown on American TV, which re-launched his career. It was not until the next year, however, that he returned to the British Top 10, no less than three times!
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.
Title: Walk Away Renee
The Four Tops are a vocal quartet from
Detroit, USA. The original members were Levi Stubbs (1936-2008), Abdul "Duke" Fakir (born 1935), Renaldo "Obie" Benson (1936-2005) and Lawrence Payton (1938-1997). They remained together for over four decades, performing from 1953 until 1997 without a change in personnel, until the death of Lawrence Payton. They began as the Four Aims, but changed the name to the Four Tops in 1956 when they signed with Chess records. No hits were forthcoming until they joined Tamla Motown in 1963, following which they enjoyed a string of hits through the 1960s. They left Motown in 1972, but the success continued into the 1980s and beyond. Their first Number One in the USA came in 1965 when "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" topped the charts there. Motown, as a music genre was not established in the UK at that time, and the recording stalled at number 23 in the UK. Their first major hit in Britain, and Number One, arrived in 1966 with "Reach Out I'll Be There", followed by more Top 10 entries in 1967 and 1968. In the end they had more Top 10 hits in the UK than in the USA - eleven to seven - the last British entry coming in 1989. The members who have passed away have been replaced, and the group continues to perform, with Abdul "Duke" Fakir the only original member.
Title: The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde
Georgie Fame was born on 26 Jun 1943 in Lancashire,
England. He is a keyboard player and vocalist, mainly in the R&B genre of music. He went to London at just 16 and was able to get a contract with impresario Larry Parnes, who put him on tour with Marty Wilde, Joe Brown and others, playing in the backing band. He then played piano in Billy Fury's backing band which was called The Blue Flames. They were sacked by Fury in 1961, so Fame took the lead and the band toured the UK as Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames. They played mostly American R&B material and became big enough to get a recording contract with EMI. The first successful recording was "Yeh! Yeh!" (see year 1965, song 2), and this was followed by a series of hits through to 1971. He continued performing, but also played organ on all Van Morrison albums from 1989 to 1997. His two sons now play with him on concert tours, and he most recently toured in 2017.
Title: Gimme Little Sign
Brenton Wood was born on 26 Jul 1941 in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. He moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was a child. After high school he began songwriting and learning piano. Early singles he recorded failed to reach the charts, but he had his first small hit in 1967. Late 1967 saw him enjoy a substantial hit with "Gimme Little Sign" which reached number nine on the USA charts. In the 1970s he formed his own record label, and he has continued to record and perform up to the present time.
Title: She Wears My Ring
Solomon King (13 Aug 1931 - 21 Jan 2005 was born in Kentucky, USA. He studied classical music as a teenager, but started singing popular music in 1952. Recordings he made in the 1950s did not enter the charts, but in 1968 he had a hit in the UK with "She Wears My Ring", which was also a hit in some 40 other countries, but did not reach the charts in the USA! King had one more (small) hit in the UK, and relocated to England where he lived with his family until 1980. He then returned to the USA and continued as a supper club singer for the next couple of decades.
Title: Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)
John Fred (8 May 1941 - 14 Apr 2005) was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. Fred formed this band when he was just 15, and they had some success with minor charting singles and TV appearances. They did not have any impact in the UK until 1968 when this, their only British hit, reached the Top 10. The recording was a Number One in the USA, but they were branded a novelty act, and follow-up singles failed to reach the charts. However they remained popular in their hometown area, and Fred even hosted a radio show
Title: Everlasting Love
The group Love Affair was formed in 1966 with lead singer Steve Ellis (born 7 Apr 1950, Greater London, England). A single released in 1967 failed to chart, but in early 1968 the band reached Number One with "Everlasting Love", which began a two-year chart career. They enjoyed two more Top 10 hits in 1968 (see song 35), with their final hits coming in 1969. This recording became somewhat controversial when the press revealed that only Ellis performed on the single, all instrumentation and
backing vocals being provided by session musicians. This did not detract from their popularity, and all band members played on live performances. Ellis decided to leave at the end of 1969, and although some more recordings were made, there were no more hits.
Title: Bend Me, Shape Me
Amen Corner was formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1966. The lead singer and front man was Andy Fairweather Low (born 2 Aug 1948 in south Wales). They gained a recording contract with Decca's Deram label and had a couple of small hits in 1967. In 1968 they scored with a cover of the American hit "Bend Me, Shape Me". This started a run of Top 10 hits until mid 1969 when the band broke up. Low quickly formed a new band called Fair Weather which had one Top 10 hit in 1970. Low then embarked upon a solo career, and he enjoyed a couple of Top 10 hits in the mid-1970s. Low has continued performing into the 2010s.
Title: Suddenly You Love Me
The Tremeloes is a beat music group formed in Dagenham, Essex,
England in 1958. Originally the group included vocalist Brian Poole, and they had several hits from 1963 to 1965 as Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. Poole decided to leave for a (unsuccessful) solo career in 1966. Although there were personnel changes both before and after, at the time of this hit the members were Len "Chip" Hawkes and Dave Munden, who shared the lead vocals, Rick Westwood and Alan Blakley. Their first couple of singles failed to chart, but "Here Comes My Baby" in 1967, written by Cat Stevens, set them off on a successful chart career up to 1970.
They continued to perform on 1960s revival tours with other bands of
the era, with Dave Munden as the only original member. Munden
died in October 2020.
The Beach Boys are an American band formed in California, USA, in 1961. The group's original lineup comprised brothers Brian (born 20 June 1942), Dennis (4 Dec 1944 - 28 Dec 1983), and Carl Wilson (21 Dec 1946 - 6 Feb 1998); their cousin Mike Love (born 15 March 1941); and their friend Al Jardine (born 3 Sep 1942). They began as a Surfing Rock group on the west coast of America, with vocal harmonies that promoted the Californian lifestyle of surf, cars and romance in the sunshine. But with the increasingly complex writing and production of Brian Wilson in the mid-1960s, they became one of the the leading innovators of popular music. Their first recordings from 1961 did not score in the UK, and many were not even released in Britain. But in 1963, they had their first hit ("Surfin' USA"), although it peaked at a lowly number 34. Even their now-regarded classic hits of late 1964 to the end of 1965 only achieved Top 30 status. They were in the Top 10 from 1966, and regular hits continued until 1970, with sporadic entries in the following decades.
Title: Mighty Quinn
This group had the same name as the founder and leader of the band. Manfred Mann was born on 21 October 1940 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied music at University in South Africa, and worked as a jazz pianist at a number of clubs in Johannesburg from 1959 to 1960. In 1961 he moved to the UK and began work as a music journalist, as well as helping form a jazz band, in which he played keyboards. This evolved into the pop music five-piece which was named after Mann. In 1964 the group was asked to provide a new theme tune for the TV pop music programme "Ready Steady Go". This resulted in the song "5-4-3-2-1" which rose to number five in the UK charts. From 1964 to 1969 they enjoyed 17 hits, 13 of which were Top 10 entries, which included three number ones. The lead singer from 1964 to mid-1966 was Paul Jones, and from mid-1966 to 1969, the lead vocals were taken over by Mike d'Abo. Mann decided to disband the group in 1969, so that he could move on to other projects. He had hits in the 1970s with a group named Manfred Mann's Earth Band.
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
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 (7 Feb 1949 - 26 Sep 2021), and John Coghlan. They had a deal with Pye Records and had their first hit, "Pictures Of Matchstick Men", in early 1968. They followed that with similar releases and 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 became a major Rock act in the UK and opened the "Live Aid" fund-raising event in 1985. They have continued with recording and live concert work into the 2010s despite forced personnel changes.
The Bee Gees were brothers Barry Gibb (born 1 Sep 1946, Isle of Man), and twins Robin Gibb (22 Dec 1949 - 20 May 2012) and Maurice Gibb (22 Dec 1949 - 12 Jan 2003), also born on the Isle of Man. The three brothers grew up in Manchester, UK, but in the mid-1950s the family moved to Australia. They began performing at a young age, and by 1960 they were appearing on TV. After achieving their first chart success in Australia as the Bee Gees with "Spicks and Specks", they returned to the UK in January 1967, when producer Robert Stigwood began promoting them to a worldwide audience. In 1967 they had their first UK hit, the somewhat morbid song "New York Mining Disaster 1941", which reached number twelve. Hits continued through the remainder of the 1960s, when they enjoyed success in the USA as well. Things went quiet in the early 1970s, but in the mid-1970s they jumped on the Disco bandwagon and became superstars. They wrote several songs for the 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever" which starred John Travolta, and singles as well as the soundtrack album were worldwide hits. Their success continued through the following decades, and they also wrote and produced many hits for other artists. Their final new album came in 2001, but with the death of Maurice two years later, the other two embarked on solo projects apart from a couple of charity events where they performed together. Robin died in 2012, and Barry has since performed and recorded solo.
Title: Fire Brigade
The Move was a five-piece band formed in Birmingham, England in 1965, comprising the former members of other Midlands bands. The main members were Roy Wood (born 8 Nov 1947) and Carl Wayne (18 Aug 1943 - 31 Aug 2004). Wood wrote most of their hits and Wayne was the lead vocalist, although from 1968 Wood often performed the lead vocals instead. In 1966 they signed a contract with Decca's Deram label, and their first release, "Night Of Fear" climbed to number two in the UK charts early in 1967. Two further Top 10 hits graced the UK charts during 1967, and they eventually scored ten hits by 1972. In 1968 their original bassist departed, and the band continued as a quartet, and some other personnel changes took place. Wayne left in 1970, and Jeff Lynne joined the group that year. After their final hit in 1972, Wood and Lynne evolved the band into the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). However, Wood left after the release of ELO's first album, and he went on to form the band Wizzard, which is most famous for the 1973 Christmas hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". That recording reappears every December on radio and in shopping centres. Jeff Lynne went on the have enormous success with ELO through the 1970s and 1980s.
Title: Green Tambourine
The Lemon Pipers were a group from Oxford, Ohio, USA which included guitarist Bill Bartlett who had been born in Harrow, England in 1946. They formed in 1966 and played a mixture of Blues and Rock in local venues. They made a record and came second in a band competition. They gained a contract with Buddah records in 1967 who steered them towards 'Bubblegum' Pop music. Their recording of "Green Tambourine" was a major hit, reaching Number One in the USA and selling two million copies worldwide. However follow-up singles fared badly and the band left Buddah in 1969, breaking up shortly afterwards.
Title: The Legend Of Xanadu
This five-piece group came from Wiltshire, England. They formed in 1961, and played the same Hamburg club that the Beatles appeared in. In 1965 they were seen by songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, who decided they would like to write for the group. A recording contract with Fontana records was signed, and during the next three years, a series of Top 10 hits were produced, including the chart-topper "Legend Of Xanadu" in 1968. Their last (minor) hits came in 1969. Dave Dee decided to leave in 1969 for a solo career but it was not particularly successful. He became a record producer, but reunited with the others a few times for concerts. A later new career mostly took him away from music, and he died from cancer in 2009 at age 67. The other four members continued after Dee's departure, calling themselves D, B, M & T, and they had a small hit in 1970. With and without Dee, they continued performing for many years.
Title: Cinderella Rockefella
Esther & Abi Ofarim were an Israeli husband and wife singing duo. Esther (born 13 Jun 1941) was originally a solo performer who began singing as a child. In 1963 she sang at the Eurovision Song Contest, representing Switzerland, and coming second. She began singing with Abi (5 Oct 1937 - 4 May 2018) in 1966, and they enjoyed several hits in Germany with most songs sung in the German language. 1968 brought them fame in the UK with the novelty song "Cinderella Rockefella" which topped the charts for three weeks. They did not have lasting success in Britain, but they embarked upon a world tour in 1969. They divorced in 1970, and Esther resumed her solo career, with most of her output aimed at Germany. Abi also performed solo, but began artist management in Germany.
Title: Jennifer Juniper
Donovan was born on 10 May 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland. His simple Folk music style became popular in the mid-1960s, and some commentators dubbed him as Britain's Bob Dylan. He and his family moved to southern England when he was 10, and he developed an interest in music, particularly Folk music. He learned to play guitar and spent some time busking during 1964, as well as writing songs. He was offered a recording deal by Pye records late in 1964 and his first single, "Catch The Wind" was a Top 10 hit. As time went on his songs turned more to "flower power" and Psychedelia, which were popular movements of their time. From 1965 to 1968 he enjoyed nine hits, seven of which reached the Top 10, and he had much success in the USA as well. Hit albums reached the chart until 1973. He continued performing and occasionally recording through the following decades, and still makes some appearances in the 21st century.
Title: (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding (9 Sep 1841 - 10 Dec 1967) was born in Georgia, USA. He became an iconic singer and songwriter of Soul music. He quit school at 15 and began performing in talent shows in Macon, Georgia. In 1962 he signed a contract with Stax records in Memphis, Tennessee. He began performing in larger venues and released several albums and singles. He wrote this song on a houseboat in California, and recorded it late in 1967. He was touring with others in the USA during December 1967, and took a flight in a small aircraft to Wisconsin for a concert. The plane crashed into a lake four miles short of the destination airport, killing all including Redding, except for one passenger. The single was released in the USA during January 1968, and it reached Number One in the charts there.
Title: Me The Peaceful Heart
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 with three other countries. 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.
Tom Jones was born on 7 Jun 1940 in Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales. For over six decades he has been an international star with TV series in the UK and USA, and seasons in Las Vegas. In his seventies he continues to perform and act as a judge on a TV talent contest. He began singing with a group called Tommy Scott & the Senators in the early 1960s. They performed in local venues and even made a couple of records. Then in 1964 Jones was spotted by artist manager Gordon Mills. He took Jones to London and arranged a contract with Decca Records. Jones' first hit, "It's Not Unusual", started a life-long career in showbiz. In 1966 he recorded the theme to the James Bond film "Thunderball", and had his second Number One "Green Green Grass Of Home". 1967 saw him jet off for his first of many seasons in Las Vegas. The big hits continued through the 1960s, but chart entries were thinner after that. Nevertheless he remained immensely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and in 1999 he released an album of duets, "Reload", which went to Number One in the UK album chart. Several singles were released from the album, including "Sex Bomb" which peaked at number three on the singles chart in May 2000 when he was almost 60 years old. He continues to perform on TV, issue albums, and since 2012 has been a judge/coach on the UK version of the talent show "The Voice".
Title: Kiss Me Goodbye
Petula Clark was born on 15 Nov 1932 in Surrey, England. She became a child star at the age of nine when she broadcast on radio for the first time. This led to numerous singing opportunities on wartime radio. In 1944 she was given her first film role, and she had appeared in 14 films by 1950. In the early 1950s she began making records, and her first hit came in the summer of 1954 when she was 21 years old. Clark went on to become a major international star with numerous world-wide hits, particularly in the 1960s with songs written and produced by Tony Hatch. In the 1990s and 2000s she went into stage musicals, both in the UK and America. She was still recording and performing in the 2010s, and issued a new album in 2016.
Here In My Heart
The Paper Dolls were a female vocal trio, formed in Northampton, England, and with lead singer Susie Mathis (born 29 Apr 1947 in south London, England). They had this one hit, and made many appearances on TV, but further releases failed to reach the charts and they split up in 1970. Susie Mathis eventually became a radio presenter in Manchester, and was involved in charity fund raising for a local children's hospice.
Take My Eyes Off You
Andy Williams (3
Dec 1927 - 25 Sep 2012) was an easy-listening crooner, who issued
several songs during the 1960s and 1970s that entered the UK charts,
three of them making the Top 10 during the sixties. He was
born in Iowa, USA, but he and his family moved to Los Angeles while
he was at high school in 1943. He and his three brothers
formed a vocal quartet in the 1940s, and they soon found themselves
in demand from record producers and film makers. They had
parts in several musical films, and in 1947 they made their debut in
Las Vegas. However, in 1953 the brothers went their separate
ways and this gave Williams the opportunity to start a solo career.
He began appearing on TV, and by 1957 he was at the top of the UK
charts with his recording of "Butterfly". He hosted
his own TV variety show, The Andy Williams Show, from 1962 to 1971,
and recorded over forty albums. He continued recording and
performing until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, and he died
from the disease in 2012 at the age of 84.
I Only Had Time
John Rowles is a
New Zealander, born 26 Mar 1947. He became a professional singer and
achieved considerable success in his native New Zealand, as well as
Australia, and then began seasons in Las Vegas, and other locations
in the USA. He is known in the UK for this sole Top 10 hit,
although his follow-up did reach the Top 20. No more hits came
his way in the UK.
Cilla Black (27 May 1943 - 1 Aug 2015) was born in Liverpool and
joined the Merseybeat scene along with the many groups coming from that city in 1963, although she remained a solo
performer. She got a job in the Cavern Club in the early 1960s, where the Beatles and others were performing
and soon was able to get singing jobs in different venues in Liverpool. John Lennon introduced her to the
Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who duly signed her up and arranged a recording contract with EMI and producer George
Martin. Her first release peaked at a rather modest number 35 in the UK charts during autumn 1963.
However, her next two releases both went to Number One, and she enjoyed several Top 10 hits throughout the 1960s.
In 1968 she began a TV variety show called "Cilla", which ran for eight series until 1976. In the 1980s
and 1990s she was a TV game show host, and became one of the most popular personalities of the era. She died
following a fall at her holiday home in Spain, aged 72.
On 16 January 2017 a bronze statue of Cilla Black was unveiled on Mathew Street in Liverpool,
outside the entrance of the Cavern Club where Black was discovered.
I Were A Carpenter
This was the
group's follow-up to "Walk Away Renee" (song 1), and was
another composition from outside of the Motown corporation,
following the departure from Motown of the Holland-Dozier-Holland
writing and production team. This was the band's final Top 10
hit in the UK during the 1960s, although they did reach number
eleven in September 1969, and had three Top 10 hits in 1970.
This group was
formed in New Jersey, USA in 1966, under the name of Jeckell and The Hydes.
They signed with Buddah records in 1967 and changed their
name. Their first release was this Bubblegum Pop song which
reached number four in the USA. They soon began touring,
opening for big acts such as the Beach Boys. The band recorded
five albums over the next couple of years and had three Top 5
singles in the American charts. This was their only entry in
the UK charts. They disbanded in 1970, but in 1999 they
reunited for sixties nostalgia shows.
Like A Baby
The Box Tops was a Rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, USA in 1967. It was a five-piece band with lead vocalist Alex Chilton (28 Dec 1950 - 17 Mar 2010). They had started under a different group name, but as the Box Tops they recorded the song "The Letter" which went to Number One in the USA and number five in the UK. The follow-up, "Neon Rainbow" was not as successful (failed to chart in the UK), but in spring 1968 they were in the American Top 10 and UK Top 20 with "Cry Like A Baby". They had one further minor UK hit in 1969. In the USA subsequent releases were only moderately successful, and the band was dissolved in 1970.
Can't Let Maggie Go
Honeybus was a British pop music quartet which included the writer of this hit, Pete Dello. They formed in the spring of 1967 and signed with Decca's Deram label. Two singles were released but they failed to enter the charts. However, their third release, "I Can't Let Maggie Go", became a Top 10 hit. Unfortunately, follow-up singles were not successful and Dello left the group in August 1968. He was replaced but they split up in 1969. Dello reunited the band in 1971 and new recordings were made, but none reached the UK charts.
Of Your Ship
Reparata & The Delrons was an American female trio led by Mary Aiese who went by the name of Reparata. They formed in the early 1960s and began recording in 1964. They had some modest success in the USA initially, but as time went on their recordings were failing to reach the charts. In 1968, however, they recorded this song which became a Top 20 hit in the UK and was successful in several other European countries also. Strangely, it failed to reach the charts in the USA! The group performed in the UK and other countries, but in 1969, Aiese left to raise a family, and her place was taken by Lorraine Mazzola who assumed the name Reparata. Aiese later began recording solo with some success, and the new band lineup continued as well for another couple of decades. No more hits reached the UK charts.
The Beatles were a pop group from Liverpool, England who became the most
popular and well-known music group in the world during the 1960s. They also conquered America, becoming the biggest
band there. The members were John
Lennon (9 Oct 1940 - 8 Dec 1980), Paul McCartney (born 18 Jun 1942), George Harrison (25 Feb 1943 - 29 Nov 2001), and
Ringo Starr (born 7 Jul 1940). All four were born and raised in Liverpool, England. They began with live
performances in Liverpool, then Hamburg in Germany. Brian Epstein saw them, and offered to be their manager.
He arranged a record deal with EMI's Parlophone label, which had producer and arranger George Martin in charge.
During the following seven years, The Beatles and Martin crafted a string of new and innovative singles and albums
that kept them at the top of the charts worldwide, and inspired countless other musicians.
They went on to have 21 consecutive Top 4 singles from 1963 to 1970, with 17 reaching
Number One - eleven of
those consecutive. However, internal differences between band members
led to the band's breakup in April 1970. All four members went on to have successful solo careers.
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 continues in the 21st century and issued a new
album in 2018 ("Rise Up"), which reached number four in
the album chart.
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 teamed up with guitarist Stephen Stills (formerly with
Buffalo Springfield), and David Crosby (formerly with the Byrds) to form one of the first
super groups, Crosby, Stills & Nash. With some changes of personnel, the group 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
Don't Want Our Loving To Die
The Herd was
founded in 1965. They had three releases with Parlophone, but
they were all unsuccessful. With that disappointment, three of the members
left, and were replaced by others, including the then sixteen-year-old Peter
Frampton. Parlophone did not wish to continue with them, so
they signed with Fontana. They also enlisted the help of
songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, who had written the recent
hits for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Their recording "From The Underworld" became a Top 10 hit, and
although the follow-up, "Paradise Lost" peaked at number
15, they were back in the Top 10 for a second time in April 1968
with "I Don't Want Our Loving To Die". However,
further hits eluded them, and Frampton left the group late in 1968
to join Steve Marriott (from the group the Small Faces) to form the
band Humble Pie. Another single failed to garner any interest,
and the various members all drifted away to join other bands.
Peter Frampton went on to have a successful solo career in the
Wheel's On Fire
was a collaboration between two individual acts. Julie
Driscoll (born 8 Jun 1947), made her first recording in 1963. She
first met organist Brian Auger when she joined the Blues band
Steampacket, along with Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart. Driscoll with Auger and his band
(the Trinity) recorded this Bob Dylan
song which was a big hit, but further recordings failed to
chart. She continues to record and perform, but now under her
married name of Julie Trippets.
This was the group's follow-up to the debut and Number One hit "Everlasting Love" in January (song 6). "Rainbow Valley" was written by the same composers who provided the earlier hit. The band were back with their third Top 10 hit in September (song 77).
The Small Faces
was a group formed in east London, England in 1965, by Steve
Marriott and Ronnie Lane, along with two others. They signed a
recording contract with Decca and released a couple of singles with
moderate success. Their third single was "Sha La La La
Lee" (year 1966, song 13) which became a Top 10 hit and started a successful career
for a couple of years. They went on to have seven Top 10 hits,
including the chart-topper "All Or Nothing" in late summer
1966. Marriott left the group in late 1968 to join
the band Humble Pie. The other three joined with Ronnie Wood
and Rod Stewart (both formerly with the Jeff Beck Group), and formed the
Faces. They enjoyed their first hit in 1971. Ronnie Lane
eventually went to live in the USA, and died there in 1997 aged 51
from the effects of multiple sclerosis. Steve Marriott died in
1991 in a house fire, at age 44.
This band was
formed by Gary Puckett (born 17 Oct 1942 in Minnesota, USA), under a
different group name, in 1965, but they became the Union Gap in
early 1967. A contract with CBS records was signed, and the
first release "Woman Woman" was a hit, reaching number
four in the USA charts. The next single, "Young
Girl" was their biggest hit reaching number two in the USA as
well as being a Number One in Britain. The follow-up
"Lady Willpower" (song 68) reached the Top 10 on both
sides of the Atlantic. In the UK their first American release
crept into the charts at number 48 for just one week in late August
1968, and there were no more hits after that. In the USA they
had six Top 20 hits. They disbanded in 1971. Puckett
remained in the music business, and is now on the sixties revival
circuit, but he has recorded some new material in recent years.
Man Without Love
Humperdinck was born on 2 May 1936 in Madras, India to British
parents while his father was serving in the British army in that
country. They all returned to England in 1946 where he
completed his schooling. He began singing in his late teens
using the stage name Gerry Dorsey, and had the opportunity to start
recording in 1958, but none of his output reached the charts.
In 1965 he changed management to Gordon Mills who was Tom Jones'
manager. Mills suggested changing his name to that of a 19th
century German composer. So as
Engelbert Humperdinck, he started a
new career. His breakthrough came in 1967, when having
recorded "Release Me", he was able to perform the song on
the popular TV show "Sunday Night At The London
Palladium", standing in for the unwell Dickie Valentine.
This instantly changed his life. The record climbed to Number
One in the UK charts, remaining on the charts for an amazing 56
weeks, and keeping the Beatles off the top spot in March 1967.
Two more major hits followed in the same year, and by the end he had
the top three best-selling singles of 1967. Success continued
through the following decades, and from the mid-1970s onwards he
spent a great deal of time performing in the USA, much of it in Las
Vegas. He has continued to perform and record into the 21st
century, giving concerts in most parts of the world. An album
celebrating his 50 years in the charts was released in 2017, which
reached number five in the UK album chart. He splits his time
between homes in Leicestershire, England and Los Angeles,
Scott Walker (9 Jan 1943 - 22 Mar 2019) was born in Ohio, USA. He first became known to British record buyers when he was part of the successful Walker Brothers, who had several hits in the UK during 1965 and 1966. The act broke up in mid 1967, and Scott, and the other two, pursued solo careers. Scott had his first solo hit in December 1967, which was followed by this recording which was his only Top 10 entry. However, he was very popular and he scored four Top 10 albums in the UK album chart from 1967 to 1969, one of which topped the chart. He had lived in the UK since 1965 and became a British citizen in 1970. The 'brothers' reunited in 1975 for three years, but parted again, leaving Scott to continue solo. He began recording again in the 1980s and his most recent album release was in 2012. He then took to composing film scores, but died in March 2019 at the age of 76.
This was the
group's follow-up to the January hit "Suddenly You Love
Me" (song 8). This one missed out on a Top 10 placing but
they were at number six in the autumn of this year (song 79).
English lyrics were provided by two members of the Tremeloes.
The Equals was a mixed race, five-piece band from north London, England. The founder and leader was Eddy Grant who was born on 5 Mar 1948 in British Guiana (Guyana since 1966). They began with live gigs in 1966, and soon had a strong following in north London. They began issuing records in 1967, and one release, "Hold Me Closer", had "Baby Come Back" on the B-side. However, DJs in Germany and the Netherlands began playing that B-side, and the recording quickly reached Number One in those countries. As a result, "Baby Come Back" was released in the UK as an A-side, and it zoomed up to the Number One spot in Britain too. Further releases had only moderate success until "Viva Bobby Joe" reached the UK Top 10 in 1969. A third Top 10 in 1970, "Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys", proved to be their final entry in the UK charts. The band had been involved in a vehicle crash in late 1969, with all members being injured. Grant was the worst effected and he had to leave the group, returning to Guyana to recover. He later returned to performing solo, and he enjoyed a number of hits during the 1980s. The remainder of the group continued to perform and record, although they did not have any further chart success.
You Know The Way To San Jose
was born on 12 Dec 1940 in New Jersey, USA. After completing
high school, she went to a music college in Connecticut, and at the
same time, she got some work singing backing vocals for recording sessions in
New York City. During one session, Warwick met Burt Bacharach, who hired her to record demos
of songs written by him and lyricist Hal David. This led to a
recording contract and a unique partnership with Bacharach and
David. Over the next several years 30 of her American Top 40
hits were written by Bacharach and David, which Bacharach mostly
arranged and produced. In the UK much of her output was
covered by British singers such as Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and
Dusty Springfield. This limited Warwick to only three Top 20
hits during the 1960s, although she did have more hits in the
1980s. In the early 1970s Bacharach and David went their
separate ways, leaving Warwick to continue with new writers and
producers over the next decades. She was still recording well
into the 21st century.
Marmalade was a
five-piece band formed in 1961 in Glasgow, Scotland originally
called the Gaylords. In the mid 1960s they went to London
where they changed their name and signed with the same management as
the Tremeloes. A recording deal with CBS was arranged.
Their first releases failed to reach the charts but they became a
popular act in the clubs of central London. Finally in 1968
they broke through with "Lovin' Things". This started
a run of seven Top 10 hits until 1972, with a one-off number nine
hit in 1976. There was a large turnover of personnel
throughout the years, although the original inspiration, Junior
Campbell was with them from 1966 to 1971, and he enjoyed a solo Top
10 hit in 1972. The band still performs, with the lead singer
Sandy Newman who has been with the band since 1975.
Donovan's follow-up to his hit of February, "Jennifer
Juniper" (song 17). "Hurdy Gurdy Man" turned
out to be his last Top 10 hit in the UK. His next release,
"Atlantis", in December this year stalled at number 23 in
Britain, although it reached number seven in the USA during
1969. Also in 1969 he had a number 12 UK hit in collaboration
with the Jeff Beck Group. No more singles reached the charts
after that. See also song 17 for more info.
Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp
O. C. Smith (21
Jun 1932 - 23 Nov 2001) was born in Louisiana, USA, but later moved
with his mother to Los Angeles. In the first half of the 1950s
he was in the US Air Force, serving in Europe and Asia. In
1955 he became a musician, first playing Jazz, but after gaining a
record contract, he was singing Rock n Roll. No hits came from
this, and in 1961 he joined Count Basie's big band as a vocalist,
remaining there until 1965. Further solo recordings were made,
but none reached the charts until 1968 when "The
Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp" reached number two in the UK and
the Top 10 in Canada and Australia. It peaked at number 40 in
his USA homeland. Following that he had several hits in the
USA until 1974. He had only one further small hit in the UK,
and that was in 1977. In the mid 1980s he became a pastor and founder of
The City Of Angels Church in Los Angeles, California.
He died from a heart attack at the age of 69.
The Rolling Stones debuted on the British charts in 1963, and started a
career which challenged the Beatles for the "top band" accolade during the 1960s. The band comprised lead
singer Mick Jagger (born 26 Jul 1943), guitarists Keith Richards (born 18 Dec 1943) and Brian Jones (28 Feb 1942 - 3 Jul 1969),
bassist Bill Wyman (born 24 Oct 1936) and drummer Charlie Watts (2
Jun 1941 - 24 Aug 2021).
Brian Jones drowned in a swimming pool during 1969, and was replaced by Mick Taylor,
formerly of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Taylor left in 1974 and was replaced by Ronnie Wood
(formerly of the Faces) who remains in the band at the present time.
Bill Wyman left in 1997 and has since toured and recorded with his own band. The Stones clocked up 15 hits during
the 1960s, including eight number ones. Hits continued in the singles and album charts through the following
decades up to the present time. They still embark on world tours in the 21st century,
and toured the UK in 2018.
This was Lulu's follow-up to her hit "Me The Peaceful Heart" of March 1968 (song 19). Although this release peaked at number 15, she was back in the Top 10 in November. Certainly producer Mickie Most was having a very positive effect on her chart success after her hit-and-miss time with Decca early on.
This band was
formed in Michigan, USA by Tommy James (born 29 Apr 1947 in Dayton,
Ohio, USA). Band origins go back as far as 1959 when James was
only 12 years old. The first recordings were made in
1962. In 1964 they recorded "Hanky Panky" which
became a hit in the mid-west of America. In 1966 the recording
was picked up by DJs and it then raced up to Number One on the
national USA charts. It only just scraped into the Top 40 in
the UK. They had several more hits in America, but in 1968,
their recording of "Mony Mony" broke through in the UK,
reaching Number One, although it peaked at number three in the
USA. More American hits followed into 1969. The group
broke up in 1970 when James went solo. From the mid-1980s he began
appearing on 1960s package shows, and is still active.
Nothin' Like The Real Thing
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.
Name Is Jack
This was the
group's follow-up to their Number One hit of January, "Mighty
Quinn" (song 10). They were back in the Top 10 again
during December this year (song 99).
This group was
formed in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England with lead singer Terry
Rice-Milton. They enjoyed this Top 10 hit, but their next
release stalled at number 33 later the same year. Rice-Milton
left in 1970 and there were several personnel changes over the
following years. They continued performing for a couple of
decades with new members. However, some of the original band members have reunited for concerts in recent years.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was a band led by Arthur Brown (born 24 Jun 1942 in North Yorkshire, England). The band were performing live in 1967, and released their debut recording in 1968. The eccentric Brown, with a flaming bowl on his head became a sensation, and the single raced up to the Number One spot. Their accompanying album reached number two in the album chart, and it looked like they were heading for a long career. Sadly that was not the case. There were no further hits. The recording was a hit in the USA as well, but during an American tour in 1969, two members left the band, and it dissolved at that point. Brown largely remained in the entertainment industry both in the UK and America. In the 21st century he has performed with other bands, often at outdoor festivals, and was in concert in London as recently as 2017.
Bruce Channel was born on 28 Nov 1940 in Jacksonville, Texas, USA. Channel began his career on the Louisiana Hayride radio show, and joined with harmonica player Delbert McClinton to sing Country Music. Channel wrote his debut hit "Hey! Baby" with Margaret Cobb during 1959, and performed the song for some two years before making a recording of it. The single rose to Number One in the USA, and just missed out by one place in the UK during 1962. Further releases in America failed to reach the Top 50, and none made the UK charts until his number 12 hit, "Keep On", in 1968. Following his initial hit, he toured the USA and Europe, but he disliked touring, and eventually settled as a songwriter in Nashville, USA, where he wrote a number of hits during the 1970s and 1980s. He was recording again during 2002.
Guy's In Love With You
Herb Alpert was
born on 31 March 1935 in Los Angeles, USA. His parents were
musicians, and Alpert learned to play the trumpet from the age of
eight. By his teens he was playing at school dances.
From 1957 he was writing songs, and in 1962 he set up his own record
company, called A&M, with partner Jerry Moss. Following a
trip to Mexico he decided to form the Tijuana Brass which would play
in the style of Mexican marching bands. This led to a series
of singles and albums which became very popular on both sides of the
Atlantic. His album "Going Places" became a
multi-million seller, and eventually spent a total of 138 weeks on
the UK album chart. He was a vocalist too, and his ballad
"This Guy's In Love With You" was a number three hit in
the UK during 1968. He has continued to perform, tour and
record, and he released a new album in 2017.
Close My Eyes And Count To Ten
Dusty Springfield (16 Apr 1939 - 2 Mar 1999) was born in London,
England. She began singing in the late 1950s, first with an all-girl group and then with her brother in the Folk
group The Springfields. The trio enjoyed a couple of Top 10 hits, but in late summer 1963, Dusty went solo and
began a very
successful career throughout the 1960s, becoming one of the top vocalists of that decade. From 1963 to 1969 she
enjoyed a total of 16 hits, ten of which made the Top 10 including her 1966
Number One "You Don't Have To Say
You Love Me". During the late 1960s she had her own TV series, and she made albums in the USA, where she had
achieved three Top 10 hits as well. Things went quiet during the 1970s although she continued to record and
perform. In 1987 she came back to prominence when she recorded new material with Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop
Boys. The single "What Have I Done To Deserve This" reached number two - her first Top 10 hit since
1968, and the album from which it came reached the Top 20. She developed breast cancer in the mid-1990s, and
died from the disease in 1999, aged 59.
duo comprised Paul Simon (born 13 Oct 1941) and Art Garfunkel (born
5 Nov 1941), both from New York,
USA. They first met in 1953 and began singing harmonies
together. They cut a couple of records as teenagers under the
name of Tom & Jerry but with no lasting success. It was
not until 1963 that they began recording as Simon & Garfunkel.
Their first album sold badly, but one song on the album "The
Sound of Silence" was later remixed and it climbed to Number
One in the USA, early in 1966. This established them as a major
act, and subsequent albums and singles all sold very well, many
topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Their
musical relationship was strained at times, and they went their separate
ways in 1970. Art Garfunkel followed a solo career and he had
a couple of Number One hits during the 1970s in the UK. Paul
Simon went on to become a superstar with major successes in the
album charts into the 1990s.
To The Music
Sly & The Family Stone was a Soul-Funk band formed in San Francisco in 1966. It was fronted by Sly Stone (born 15 Mar 1943), and included family members Freddie and Rose Stone, and was one of the first multi-racial groups in the USA. This release was their first major hit which led to a successful career. They had five Top 10 hits, including three Number Ones, in the USA between 1968 and 1971. In the UK the follow-up singles only reached minor positions on the charts. As the 1970s went on they tended to concentrate on the Funk sound, but by 1975 Sly's drug-taking, and squabbles between group members led to the band splitting up. Sly was declared bankrupt in 1976, but he continued performing with a changing roster of band members until 1987 when his worsening drug problem forced retirement.
The Kinks were a
four-piece band formed in north London, England by the brothers Ray and Dave
Davies. Ray Davies, born 21 June 1944, and Dave Davies, born 3
Feb 1947 were joined by Mick Avory on drums and Pete Quaife on bass
to complete the original lineup. Ray had been at art school in
the early sixties and had played guitar with different R&B bands
in London. He joined the Ravens in 1962 which included his
brother Dave on lead guitar and drummer Avory. They signed a
contract with Pye Records, but changed their name to the Kinks with
encouragement from their management. Their first two releases
failed to chart, but their third single, "You Really Got
Me" (year 1964, song 67), zoomed all the way to Number One in the UK
and was a Top 10 hit in the USA. They went on to
enjoy twelve further Top 10 hits in the UK by 1970, including
another Number One in 1965 - all written by Ray Davies. The
band continued recording and performing on and off over the
following years, albeit with some personnel changes, but finally
broke up in 1996. The Davies brothers have recorded solo
albums, and some past members have regrouped for live performances
as the Kast Off Kinks, up to the present time.
were formed in Manchester, England in early 1964, with lead singer
Peter Noone (born 5 Nov 1947). Their debut single, "I'm
Into Something Good", a cover of an American song, rose up
the charts and was at Number One by the end of September 1964. It
was released in the USA and reached number 13. They soon
became a major band on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK
they amassed ten Top 10 hits by 1970, and eleven in America by
1967. In the USA they issued several old music hall style
songs, such as "I'm Henry The Eighth I Am", which were very
successful there. Such recordings were not issued in the
UK. Noone left the band in 1971 for a solo career. The
remainder recruited a new lead singer and they have toured for many
years. Noone now tours as Herman's Hermits starring Peter
Noone. The rival group, with only one original member, tours
as Herman's Hermits. Peter Noone is now a naturalised US citizen, currently living in Santa Barbara, California.
This was Jones'
follow-up to his number two hit of February,
"Delilah". This release did not get so high in the
charts, but its stay of 26 weeks is the longest of any Tom Jones hit
either before or since. Although it missed the top spot in the
UK, it went to Number One in Australia, Germany, Ireland and South
Africa. It reached number 35 on the USA pop chart, but number
three on the American easy-listening chart. His next Top 10
hit came in May 1969.
group began in 1965 as Take 5 in Lancashire, England. They
went to London in 1966 and began to make live appearances.
They changed the band's name when they gained a recording contract
in 1967. They began issuing singles but none charted, and
there were several changes of personnel. A move to Decca's
Deram label resulted in more singles, but this cover was the only
one to reach the charts, and that was at a lowly position.
More failures were followed by more departures, and the band ceased
This was the group's follow-up to the January hit "Darlin'" (song 9), which had peaked at number eleven in the UK. This release gave them their second and final Number One in Britain. The song harks back to the band's early days of surfing and spending-time-on-the-beach records. Released in the summer, it had the good-time feeling that may have boosted sales. The group's next Top 10 hit came in February 1969.
In The Sky
This was Amen Corner's follow-up to the January hit "Bend Me Shape Me" (song 7), which had reached number three on the UK charts. This song by the British composer gave them another Top 10 hit, with another two coming in 1969. Their debut album, "Round Amen Corner", was a disappointment in only reaching number 26 on the album chart, and remaining for just seven weeks during spring 1968. However, their single release of January 1969 went to Number One.
Say A Little Prayer
Aretha Franklin (25 Mar 1942 - 16 Aug 2018) was born in Memphis, Tennessee,
USA. She relocated north with her family when she was two, finally
settling in Detroit. She began singing at a local Baptist
church as a child, and by the age of twelve she was recording Gospel songs. In 1960 she signed with Columbia records to
record a wide range of music including standards and ballads, as
well as some R&B and Pop. She had a few hit records with
Columbia, but with such a mixed output it was difficult for her to
establish herself on the music scene. In 1966 she left
Columbia for Atlantic records and a Soul/R&B career. Her
first recordings for Atlantic took place at the FAME studios in
Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Her output was soon producing hits,
and she was dubbed The Queen of Soul. In April 1967 she issued
"Respect" which became a Number One hit in the USA.
She remained with Atlantic until 1980 when she signed with Arista
records. More hits followed as well as concert appearances,
and she became a Soul superstar throughout the world. In 1987
she reached Number One in the UK in a duet with George Michael
titled "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". She
continued recording and performing into the 21st century, and
famously sang at the inauguration of American President Barack Obama
in January 2009. She died at her home in Detroit on 16th
August 2018 at the age of 76.
Gotta Get A Message To You
The Bee Gees had
their second Number One with this recording,
their fifth and final chart-topper coming in 1987. Their
previous Top 10 hit was in January (song 12). A release in
March, the double-sided "Jumbo" and "The Singer Sang
His Song" peaked at a lowly number 25. Their next hit
came in February 1969 which was also a Top 10 entry.
Johnny Nash (19 Aug 1940 - 6 Oct 2020) was born in Houston, Texas, USA. He started recording in the latter part of the 1950s, releasing his debut album in 1958. He issued numerous albums and singles over the next decade, with modest success in the USA. He travelled to Jamaica in early 1968, and was impressed by the local Reggae music (sometimes known as Rocksteady at that time). Nash actually recorded a couple of songs whilst there, and the trip inspired him to write his first UK hit "Hold Me Tight" which had a Rocksteady (Reggae) beat. This led to a series of UK hits through to the mid-1970s, including his Number One "Tears On My Pillow" in 1975. He was still recording in the early 2000s, but he died in October 2020 at the age of 80.
This was the group's follow-up to their debut hit "Young Girl" in April this year (song 38). It was written by the same composer, and had a similar sound. Their initial release in America, "Woman Woman", appeared in the UK charts for one week at number 48 at the end of August. There were no more hits until the re-release of "Young Girl" in 1974. See song 38 for more info.
group was established in Lincoln, England in 1961. The band spent
several years in Italy recording Italian-language covers of British
hit songs for the local market. They also recorded in England and issued several
singles but none charted until 1968 when they recorded "Jesamine".
It was a huge hit, but the follow-up single "Toy" stalled
at number 30, and there were no more hits. They continued
recording into the 1970s, but without success. The group
disbanded in 1976.
A Little Dream Of Me
Mama Cass (19
Sep 1941 - 29 Jul 1974) was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, and
became famous as a member of the American group the Mamas &
Papas (see year 1966, song 40). With the group she enjoyed
several hit singles and albums, and this recording was made when the
group was still active. Cass sang solo on the recording, and
in the USA it was credited to Mama Cass with the Mamas & the
Papas. In the UK, however, credit was given just to Mama
Cass. This recording was a reasonable success, but in 1969 she
reached the Top 10 with "It's Getting Better".
Unfortunately there were no further hits in the UK. She
continued to perform in the USA, on two occasions in Las Vegas, and
appeared on TV as well. She was in London for a series of
concerts during 1974, where she died in her sleep from heart
failure, at the age of just 32.
In The Sun
This was the group's second hit, following their debut chart entry in January (song 11), "Pictures Of Matchstick Men", which had reached number seven. A single released in April had failed to chart. This song, co-written by the British Rock 'n' Roll singer Marty Wilde reached the Top 10, but was the last such hit until January 1973. Nevertheless, they became very popular performers, and as their style moved from Psychedelia to Rock they became major artists by the mid-1970s.
Live For The Sun
Vanity Fare is a
British band formed in Rochester, Kent, England in 1966 under a
different name. They went through a further name before
becoming Vanity Fare in early 1968. The band's first release
was "I Live For The Sun", which just scraped into the UK
Top 20. Their next two releases failed to chart, but in the
summer of 1969 they reached the UK Top 10 with "Early In The
Morning". The recording peaked at number 12 in the
USA. A further Top 20 hit came in late 1969, which turned out
to be their final hit in the UK. In 1972 they moved to perform
in central Europe, where they were having a few hits. They are
still performing at the present time, albeit with different
personnel to the original lineup. However, drummer Mark Ellen
only retired in 2015 after playing in the band for 43 years.
guitar-based instrumental recordings, such as those by the Shadows,
had gone out of favour by 1968, Mason Williams enjoyed this guitar
instrumental hit in both the UK and USA (where it reached number
two). Williams was born on 24 August 1938 in Texas, USA.
Following his education he served in the US Navy from 1961 to
1963. He started as a stand-up comedian in 1964, and wrote a
number of comic songs, which he recorded and performed live.
This resulted in him writing songs and jokes for the American TV
series "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" which ran from 1967
to 1969. In 1968 he wrote and recorded the instrumental "Classical
Gas" which was very successful on both sides of the Atlantic
and elsewhere. He continued recording and performing both
music and comedy well into the 21st century, but no further hits
reached the UK charts.
This was the group's second of two releases in this year, and it followed their chart-topper, "Lady Madonna" (song 31). With a running time of seven minutes and ten seconds, it is one of the longest singles to appear in the UK charts. In the the USA it reached Number One and remained in that position for nine weeks. In the UK, the recording was at the top for only two weeks, having its stay cut short by the Paul McCartney-produced Mary Hopkin debut single (see song 75 below). The band's next hit came in April 1969.
Were The Days
Mary Hopkin was
born on 3 May 1950 in south Wales. She had singing lessons as a child, and
in her early teens became a Folk singer with a local group. She also
released an EP of Welsh-language songs for a local record label.
She came to national prominence when she appeared on the TV talent
show "Opportunity Knocks", which she won. This
brought her to the attention of Paul McCartney, who signed her to
the new Beatles record label, Apple. Hopkin was the first
artist to sign with Apple. Her first recording was an English
language version of a Russian song, titled "Those Were The
Days". With her popularity from TV appearances, this
debut recording quickly climbed to Number One in the UK charts, ironically
replacing the Beatles recording of "Hey Jude". Her
next release, "Goodbye", was written by Paul McCartney,
and it peaked at number two in the spring of 1969. She had
another Top 10 hit early in 1970, then later that year represented
the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest with "Knock Knock Who's
There", coming second in the contest. That was her final
Top 10 hit. Three smaller hits followed. In 1971 she
married and went into semi-retirement to raise a family. She
resumed her recording career in 1976, but only one release grazed
the charts. She has continued to record and make public
appearances from time to time, and has recorded with her son and
daughter in the 2010s.
Good, The Bad And The Ugly
(2 Sep 1925 - 6 Feb 1981) was an American orchestra leader,
arranger, and composer of film soundtracks. He was born in New
York City and later joined the US Navy where he began arranging
music for the military band on his base. After leaving the
navy in the early 1950s he began arranging music for the dance bands
and performers of the day. In the late 1950s he became an
arranger for Time Records, but moved to Los Angeles in the early
1960s, joining RCA records to produce a series of albums and
soundtracks for film and TV. He began scoring for films from
1964, but in 1968 recorded a version of the theme to the 1966 movie
western "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" which starred
Clint Eastwood. Montenegro's recording was a great success,
reaching number two on the American charts. By the mid-1970s
he had moved on to electronic music, and was one of the first users
of the Moog Synthesiser. In the late 1970s ill health forced
his retirement, and he died from lung disease in 1981 at the age of
Day Without Love
This was the band's third Top 10 hit of the year. It was written by the British singer-songwriter Phillip Goodhand-Tait. The group's next release in February 1969 stalled at number 16, but they returned to the Top 10 for a final time in July 1969.
The Dave Clark Five was a beat group from
Tottenham, north London, England. The band's origins go back to 1957, and several personnel changes were made
before their hits began. By the time the hits began, the group
comprised leader Dave Clark
on drums, and Mike Smith on keyboards and lead vocals, plus three others on guitars and saxophone. Smith was also
responsible for writing many of their hits, although Clark was always given joint composing credits. They became
known for their "thump-thump" drumming style early on, but
this mellowed as time went on. They remained popular throughout the
1960s and into the early 1970s with eight Top 10
hits by the end of 1970. The band also enjoyed success in the USA during the "British Invasion"
years, where they had eight Top 10 hits. Dave Clark was a shrewd businessman, keeping the copyright on his
recordings, which he re-released sparingly during the following decades.
This was the group's third Top 20 hit of the year. It was an Italian song with the original title "Non Illuderti Mai" (never delude yourself). The English lyrics were provided by two members of the Tremeloes. This was the band's second Italian song of the year (see song 8). Their next release stalled at number 29, but they were in the Top 10 again in November 1969, with a recording in between reaching number 14.
The Marbles was a duo of cousins Graham Bonnet and Trevor Gordon, who were born in Lincolnshire, England. However, Gordon grew up in Australia where he got to know the Bee Gees. He made some recordings of their songs in Australia. In 1967 Gordon returned to the UK to join Bonnet who had put together a group. However, they formed a duo and the Bee Gees provided them with this song. It was a big hit, but the follow-up only reached number 28, and there were no more hits. They split in 1969. After the split, Bonnet started a solo career, but from 1978 to 1980, he was the lead singer with Ritchie Blackmore's rock group Rainbow. He also had a solo Top 10 hit in 1981. Since then he has recorded solo but formed a new band in the 2010s and was touring as recently as 2018. Gordon released one solo album and later became a music teacher. He died during 2013 in London.
A Little Help From My Friends
Joe Cocker (20
May 1944 - 22 Dec 2014) was born in Sheffield, England. He
took an interest in music from an early age, and by 1960 he had
formed his first group called the Cavaliers. The group was
short-lived, but Cocker continued to perform, and in 1964 he signed
his first record contract, but no hits followed and the contract
lapsed. Early in 1968 he had another recording opportunity,
and decided to record "Marjorine" which he co-wrote
himself, and which was a modest success in the UK and USA.
Later that year he put a unique interpretation on his recording of
the Beatles' song "With A Little Help From My
Friends". It went to Number One in the UK, but only
reached number 68 in America. He toured the UK and USA in 1969
and performed at the famous Woodstock music festival. Another
couple of hits followed, but tired of touring and recording he cut
back on both and did not have another hit until he teamed up with
Jennifer Warnes to record the duet "Up Where We Belong" for the soundtrack of the 1982 film An
"Officer and a Gentleman". It was a Top 10 hit in
the UK but went to Number One in America. This led to a couple
of hit albums in the 1990s with some moderately successful singles taken
from them. He continued to perform almost up to his
death. He died from lung cancer in Colorado, USA at the age of
All I Need To Get By
This was the
duo's follow-up to their hit from earlier in the year "Ain't
Nothin' Like The Real Thing" (song 50). This one did far
better in the UK charts, reaching number 19 as opposed to the number
34 peak of the previous hit. The pair had further hits in
1969, including a Top 10 entry, despite Terrell's deteriorating
health. See song 50 for more info.
Long John Baldry
(12 January 1941 - 21 July 2005) was born in Northamptonshire,
England. He had the nickname Long John, as at 6ft 7in he was
one of the tallest performers of the time. He got into Blues
music as a teenager, and in the early 1960s he sang with Alex
Korner's band Blues Incorporated, and recorded with them also.
In 1963, Baldry joined the Cyril Davies' R&B All Stars. He took over in 1964 after the death of Cyril Davies, and the group became Long John Baldry and his Hoochie Coochie Men featuring Rod Stewart on vocals.
In 1965 the band was renamed Steampacket, but it broke up in
1966. Baldry then formed Bluesology, which featured an unknown
Elton John on piano, but that broke up in early 1967. Baldrey
then recorded as a solo artist, and his recording of "Let The
Heartaches Begin" went to Number One in November 1967. A minor hit followed, but in autumn 1968 he had a number
15 hit in the UK with "Mexico", which tied in with the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The hits
dried up, however, and in 1978 he emigrated to Canada, and became a
Canadian citizen. He continued performing and recording in
Canada, where he also did voiceover work for animated feature
films. He died from a severe chest infection in Vancouver at
Old Heart Of Mine
Brothers are a Soul and R&B group from Cincinnati, Ohio,
USA. They began by singing Gospel music, but moved to New York
City in 1957 and began recording R&B tracks. In 1959 they
had a moderate hit with their song "Shout", which was
later a hit for Lulu. They first appeared in the UK charts in
1963 with "Twist And Shout", although it was only a minor
hit for them. "This Old Heart Of Mine" first charted
in 1966, when it peaked at number 47. However, it became a
number three hit two years later. By the time of this hit the
Isley brothers were: Ronald, Rudolph, O'Kelly, plus Chris
Jasper. During the 1970s and early 1980s they enjoyed enormous
success in the USA and elsewhere, during which period they were
joined by Marvin Isley and Ernie Isley. In 1984,
however, Chris Jasper and Marvin left the band which was dissolved.
reformed in 1991, with Ronald, Ernie, and Marvin. In 1996
Marvin left due to ill health, leaving Ronald and Ernie as a
duo, and the pair have continued performing until the present time.
The Turtles was
an American six-piece band, formed in Los Angeles in 1965.
Their first USA hit came in late 1965, but following singles fared
badly until they recorded "Happy Together" in early 1967,
which became a Number One on the American charts (number 12 in the
UK). The follow
up "She'd Rather Be With Me" was a Top 10 hit on
both sides of the Atlantic. It was late 1968, however, before
they reached the Top 10 again. No more hits came for them in
the UK after 1968, but they were in the American Top 10 in 1969 for
a final fling. They disbanded in 1970. Two of the
members (Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman) continued recording, under
the name of Flo & Eddie, and they have put together Turtles
reunion tours into the 2010s, most recently in 2015.
In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song)
(23 Nov 1939 - 19 Aug 2001) was born in Greenwood, Mississippi,
USA. She moved to Chicago in 1957 to chase her dream of
becoming a recording artist. She made a few recordings with
local labels before signing with Vee-Jay Records in 1963. Her
third release for the label was this recording which had been
issued, unsuccessfully, in 1963 by Merry Clayton. Everett's
version reached number six in the USA charts in 1964, but it was not
released in the UK at that time. Finally issued in Britain in
1968, it became a modest hit there, but has since gained the status
of a classic Northern Soul recording. In the USA she became
very successful, with several hit records, although much of her
output was covered by British artists, which stifled her success in
the UK. She continued to record and perform spasmodically into
the 1990s when ill health resulted in her retirement. She died
in 2001 at the age of 61.
This was Lulu's follow up to "Boy" which reached the Top 20 in June 1968 (song 48). This gave her a total of three Top 20 hits (two Top 10) for 1968, which was her best performance in a calendar year since she first charted in 1964. 1969 would see her represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, where she came joint first with three other countries.
were a poetry and novelty Folk music trio from Liverpool,
England. The group consisted musical performer Mike McGear (real name Peter Michael McCartney,
the brother of Paul McCartney), poet Roger McGough and comic entertainer John Gorman.
The band was formed in 1964, and performed a mixture of novelty
songs, comic sketches and the poetry of Roger McGough. They
had a recording contract with EMI's Parlophone label and made a few
recordings, with their first hit coming in November 1967. The
recording of "Lily The Pink" was their biggest, picking up
sales over the Christmas period, as it was a good sing-along song at
parties. They continued recording and performing into the
1970s, but disbanded in 1977. There have been some reunion
concerts over the years, most recently in 2015.
The Urban Spaceman
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band was formed during 1962 in London, England by a group of art students. The band performed a mix of Trad Jazz and surreal humour, which had a niche following during the mid to late 1960s. The main members were Vivian Stanshall (21 Mar 1943 - 5 Mar 1995) and Neil Innes (9 Dec 1944 - 29 Dec 2019), although some six or so others were in the band at different times for recording and performing. As their popularity increased, they were asked by Paul McCartney to appear in The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" film at the end of 1967, which they did. At a similar time they also became the resident band on "Do Not Adjust Your Set", a children's television comedy show. In 1968 they released "I'm The Urban Spaceman" which proved to be their only appearance in the UK singles charts, although they had a couple of Top 40 albums in the album chart during the late 1960s. However, internal differences and disagreements with their record company led the group to disband in 1970, following a farewell tour of the UK. There have been a few reunion concerts involving various permutations of former members, into the 21st century.
singers were brought together by their record company Stax of
Memphis, Tennessee. Judy Clay (12 Sep 1938 - 19 Jul 2001) was
born in North Carolina, and by her early teens she was singing in
the family Gospel group. In 1960 she began a solo recording
career but there were no hit singles until she teamed up with singer
Billy Vera, and they had a couple of hits together. Stax
Records then put her in a duet with William Bell. The
recording was called "Private Number", which was very
successful in the UK but only reached a lowly number 75 in the
USA. From 1970 she worked as a backing singer for a number of
artists, then returned to Gospel choir singing in the 1980s.
She died from injuries sustained in a car crash at the age of 62.
The Supremes was
trio, by the time of this recording, comprising Diana Ross (lead singer, born 26 Mar 1944),
Cindy Birdsong and Mary Wilson (6 Mar 1944 - 8 Feb 2021). In 1964 they recorded "Where Did Our Love
Go" (year 1964, song 75). The recording went to Number
One in the USA and
number three in Britain. They became so successful that their
first six releases in the USA went to Number One, and they ended up
with eleven chart-toppers there by 1969. In the UK they only
had one Number One, "Baby Love" (1964, song 89), but amassed 18
hits by the end of the 1960s, seven of which reached the Top
10. In 1970 Diana Ross
left to pursue a solo career. She was replaced by Jean Terrell.
This version of the trio did enjoy success, with five of their
recordings hitting the UK Top 10 from 1970 to 1972. With some
more personnel changes, the trio continued recording, after 1972,
but with little chart success. They remained a popular live act,
however, continuing to 1977, when they performed their farewell
concert (in London), and then disbanded.
Me Up Buttercup
was a mixed race British group which had members from the West
Indies, the UK and Sri Lanka. All the members were experienced
musicians, having been in other groups and Jazz bands. They
began gigging around west London in early 1967, with two lead singers, Clem Curtis and Raymond Morrison.
They signed a contract with Pye Records during the year. Their debut release,
"Baby Now That I've Found You" (see year 1967, song 79) was picked up by the new
BBC Radio 1, and the resultant airplay took it up to Number One in
the UK charts. It reached number eleven in the USA. Clem
Curtis left during 1968 and was replaced by Colin Young. With
Young they went on to have more hits during 1968 and 1969. In
the mid-1970s Clem Curtis reformed a new group called the
Foundations, despite Colin Young still touring with the original
Foundations. Young was allowed to continue, using the name New
Foundations. Clem Curtis died on 27 March 2017 at age 76.
Forget To Catch Me
big hit of 1968 had been "Congratulations" (song 32) in
March. Two following releases peaked at numbers 27 and 22
respectively. This was his fourth single of the year, which,
like the two forerunners, did not reach the Top 20. 1969 would
be a good year for Cliff, however, with a number 12 hit and two Top
Of A Preacher Man
This was Dusty's
follow-up to "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten" (song 56),
which had reached number four in the UK charts during the summer of
this year. "Son Of A Preacher Man" turned out to be
her last UK Top 10 hit until 1987 when she teamed up with Neil
Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. During the 1970s and early 1980s
she mostly lived a private life in the USA, although she did record
occasionally during that time. See song 56 for more info.
debuted on the UK charts in May this year with "Lovin'
Things" (song 44), which had reached number six. A single
released in October had stalled at number 30, but this Beatles' song
gave them a Number One hit. The song, written by Paul
McCartney (but credited to Lennon & McCartney), was on the album
"The Beatles" (known as the White Album). Although
the Beatles' own version was released as a single in some countries,
it was not released in the UK or USA. This gave Marmalade the
opportunity to record the song, which became the band's only chart
topper. They were back in the Top 10 during June 1969.
Her On Sight (S.O.S.)
Edwin Starr (21
Jan 1942 - 2 Apr 2003) was born in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, but he
was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He began singing as part of a
group in 1957, but he moved to Detroit in the mid-1960s and began
recording for a small company. Tamla Motown purchased that
company which made Starr part of the Motown stable. His
biggest hits came in the 1970s, with his output often condemning the
Vietnam war which was taking place at the time. He continued
to record and perform into the early 2000s. He died from a
heart attack at the age of 61.
Once In My Life
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
Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby, he
(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 a dozen 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 the group's follow-up to their summertime hit "Sunshine Girl" (song 60). It was an Italian song with English lyrics provided by Jack Fishman, who had written English words to two other foreign-language songs in 1968 (songs 24 and 61 above). Despite their earlier popularity in the USA, and a short tour of America during the summer, the single failed to reach the Top 100 in that country. They were next in the UK Top 10 during April 1969.
On The Run
Manfred Mann followed their hit of June 1968 (song 51), with another Top 10 hit, making three in total for the year. 1969 saw them have just one (number eight) hit, after which the group disbanded. See song 10 for more info.
This was the Move's second hit of the year - the earlier one, "Fire Brigade", coming in February (song 13). However, their recording issued in the summer, "Wild Tiger Woman" failed to enter the charts, mainly because it was banned by BBC Radio 1 for the lyric content. They bounced back from that disappointment when the next release, "Blackberry Way", took them all the way to Number One. They only managed just one Top 20 hit in 1969, but were in the Top 10 again in April 1970.
Acts with most appearances in this list:
Love Affair: 3
Composers with most appearances in this list:
John Lennon & Paul McCartney: 5
New Names in 1968
One-hit Wonders in 1968
There are a large number of One-hit Wonders included in the listing for this year.
Brenton Wood: one Top 10 hit only.
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