MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS
1969 was similar to the previous year, in that there were few new acts of a long-lasting nature. However, from America we had the first hits from Glen Campbell, who had Country music leanings, and a penchant for songs written by Jimmy Webb. Two new American groups had hits in this year. Creedence Clearwater Revival, who specialised in the rhythms of the Mississippi Delta region, and Rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, whose enormous success in the USA did not cross the Atlantic to any great extent. One of the big successes in 1969 was "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, which was a cartoon group, so they didn't really exist! Marvin Gaye, who had several modest hits from 1964 finally hit the big time in the UK with a Number One and two further Top 10 entries in 1969. But perhaps the biggest news was the return of Elvis Presley who had four hits in this year, two of which reached number two! This started a consistent run of hits in the 1970s until his untimely death in 1977.
British artist and future superstar, David Bowie, had his debut hit in 1969. Peter Sarstedt, the brother of early 1960s hit maker Eden Kane, scored a couple of Top 10 hits in this year, but he was unable to sustain the success. Northern Ireland brought us the voice of Clodagh Rodgers, who enjoyed several hits from 1969 to 1971. Cliff Richard had four hits in 1969, two of which reached the Top 10, completing his achievement of having Top 10 hits in every year during the 1960s. Groups the Hollies, the Tremeloes, the Bee Gees and Herman's Hermits all had chart hits, whilst Manfred Mann had a final Top 10 entry before calling it a day at the end of the year. The Rolling Stones continued to be very sparing with their single releases, having just one in this year, although it was a chart-topper. The Beatles had their final two Number One hits, before breaking up in the following year. Solo performers Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Cilla Black and Lulu all enjoyed chart success in this year.
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: You Got Soul
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"
(year 1968, song 67) 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.
Title: Dancing In The Street
& The Vandellas was an American girl group, who found fame when
they signed with Tamla Motown records in 1962. Martha Reeves,
born 18 Jul 1941 in Alabama, USA, joined an existing group and began
making records, although none were successful. Once signed to
Tamla Motown, they changed the group name and began by backing other
singers. They had their first American Top 10 hits from 1963, but those
recordings failed in the UK. Their recording of "Dancing
In The Street" reached number two in the USA charts during
1964, which was the group's first UK hit, peaking at number
28. However, when the single was reissued in 1969, it rose to
number four in the British charts. Unfortunately further
releases were less successful, and disagreements within
the group resulted in them splitting up in 1973.
Title: I Guess I'll Always Love You
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.
Title: Soul Sister, Brown Sugar
Sam & Dave
were Sam Moore, born 12 Oct 1935 in Florida, USA, and Dave Prater, 9
May 1937 - 9 Apr 1988, born in Georgia, USA. They became the
most successful Soul music duo, performing together from 1961 to
1981. They were both originally
Gospel singers, but met when they were performing R&B/Soul
songs in the same club at Miami, Florida. They made some
records early on, but it was in 1964 when they recorded for the famous Stax record
company in Memphis, Tennessee that their
act took off. They had numerous hits on the American R&B
charts, but their biggest hit was "Soul Man" which reached
number two on the American Pop charts. They toured the USA and
Europe during the late 1960s, and continued recording until 1981,
when artistic differences resulted in them going their separate
ways. Prater died in 1988, but Moore has continued solo, and
performed in London during 2017.
Title: (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice
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: Move In A Little Closer
was a short-lived British pop group formed in Essex, England in
1968. The nucleus of the band was taken from Tony Rivers &
The Castaways. Tony Rivers (born 21 Dec 1940, County Durham,
England) was the leader of this group too. They recorded this
debut single and one album. The single was a modest hit, but
the album did not reach the album chart. They had no more
hits, and they broke up in 1970. Tony Rivers became a session
singer, and appeared on several hit singles for a variety of
artists. During most of the 1970s and the whole of the 1980s
Rivers was a backing singer for Cliff Richard, appearing on Cliff's
recordings, and joining him on world concert tours. He was
still working as a backing singer in the early 2000s.
Title: Wichita Lineman
Glen Campbell (22 Apr 1936 - 8 Aug 2017)
was born in Arkansas, USA. He was the son of a poor farmer,
but he was taught to play guitar at a young age by his uncle.
At the age of 17 he joined his uncle's band, and performed at local
venues. A year later he formed his own band. In 1960 he
moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician. He worked
on the hit recording of many stars of the time, and by 1965 he was
making records of his own. His first substantial hit came in
1967, the year that also gave us "By The Time I Get To Phoenix"
(written by Jimmy Webb) which was a Top 30 hit in the USA, although
it did not reach the charts in the UK. He finally entered the
British charts in 1969 with another Jimmy Webb song, "Wichita
Lineman". This started a run of successful singles and
albums in the USA and UK for several decades. Sadly he was
diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011. He decided to go
on a final world concert tour in 2012, and to record his final
album. He died in Nashville, Tennessee, USA at the age of 81.
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
The Supremes was
trio, at 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). They became so successful in the USA that their
first six releases 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, and this version of the trio enjoyed success, with five of their
recordings hitting the UK Top 10 from 1970 to 1972. They remained a popular live act,
continuing to 1977, when they performed their farewell
concert (in London), and then disbanded.
Title: Gentle On My Mind
Dean Martin (7
Jun 1917 - 25 Dec 1995) was born in Ohio, USA into an Italian
immigrant family. In his late teens he began singing with
local dance bands. It was in the early 1940s that he changed
his name to Dean Martin, then after world war two he teamed up with
comedian Jerry Lewis, and they performed as a singing-comedy duo.
His recording career began in 1948, and his first chart entry in the
UK came in 1953, followed by a succession of hits during the 1950s.
In 1965, Martin launched the weekly Dean Martin Show on American TV,
which ran until 1974. By this time he was a major
international star with numerous films under his belt as well.
He became part of the so-called 'rat pack' along with Frank Sinatra
and Sammy Davis Jr. The three frequently performed together in
Las Vegas and they starred in the movie "Ocean's 11" in
1960. He continued performing in cabaret until the end of the
1980s, and died from lung cancer in 1995 at the age of 78.
Title: Where Do You Go To My Lovely
(10 Dec 1941 - 8 Jan 2017) was born in Delhi, India, whilst his
British parents were working for the civil service in that
country. The family returned to the UK in 1954, settling in
south London. He formed a family Skiffle group in the late
1950s, but he had little success until his song "Where Do You
Go To My Lovely" became a big hit in 1969. He had a Top
10 follow-up single (song 49) in June 1969, but he had no further
hit singles, although he did have a Top 10 album in March
1969. He continued to perform and in the 1980s and 1990s he
toured in sixties nostalgia shows. He also continued to record
and his final album was released in 2013. He became unwell in
2013 and he spent his final years in a retirement home. He
died in 2017 at the age of 75.
Title: The Way It Used To Be
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,
Title: Surround Yourself With Sorrow
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.
Title: I Heard It Through The Grapevine
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.
Title: First Of May
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: Good Times (Better Times)
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.
Title: Windmills Of Your Mind
Noel Harrison (29 Jan 1934 - 19 Oct 2013) was born in central London, England. He was the son of actor Rex Harrison. Noel's first love was skiing and he represented Great Britain at the Winter Olympics of 1952 and 1956. He also had a strong interest in music, and began playing professionally in the mid 1950s, making TV appearances as well. In the early 1960s he began acting and had small parts in a few British films. In 1965 he moved to the USA where he continued with both singing and acting. In 1968 he recorded the song "Windmills Of Your Mind" which was used in the film "The Thomas Crown Affair" which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. The song won the Academy Award (Oscar) for best original film song of 1968. Harrison continued to record and perform for several decades, and after a spell living in Canada, he returned to England in 2004. He still acted and sang, and appeared at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2011. No other singles or albums reached the UK charts after his 1969 success. He died from a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 79.
Title: If I Can Dream
The King of Rock
'n' Roll (8 Jan 1935 - 16 Aug 1977) was born in Tupelo, Mississippi,
USA. He and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when he was
13 years old. Soon afterwards he acquired his first guitar and
began playing and singing. He started his recording career at
Sun Records in Memphis, USA. It took several attempts to get
Sun owner Sam Phillips to let Presley record, but eventually a
session was arranged with guitarist Scotty Moore and upright bass
player Bill Black providing backing. The resultant track
"That's Alright" was soon on local radio in Memphis, and
it became a local hit. Public performances followed, including
numerous appearances on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio show
which was broadcast to half the USA. Eventually he became
famous enough for RCA records to buy out his Sun contract and take
him to Nashville, in 1956. He rose to be arguably the biggest
music star of the 20th century, with world-wide record sales of over
one billion. Also in 1956 Elvis made his movie debut in the
film "Love Me Tender". By the end of 1969 he had
completed 31 films. He made no more movies after that, instead
concentrating on live concert performances, including many in Las
Vegas. His home in Memphis, "Graceland", is now a
museum and major tourist attraction, and his recordings continue to
be heard throughout the world.
Title: I Can Hear Music
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: Get Ready
The Temptations had been in the UK Top 10 for the first time in January 1969 when they collaborated with Diana Ross & The Supremes on the recording of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (song 8). "Get Ready", which was written by singing star Smokey Robinson, was made and issued in 1966. As happened with other Tamla Motown recordings (see songs 2 and 3), the original releases did not become substantial hits, but when reissued in 1969, they sold well and mostly reached the Top 10. The Temptations went on to have three Top 20 hits by January 1970, including another hit with Diana Ross & The Supremes in September (song 78). See song 8 for more info about the Temptations,
Title: Games People Play
Joe South (28 Feb 1940 - 5 Sep 2012) was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. By the time he was 18 he had made his first record. He wrote many songs, and two of his earliest were recorded by Gene Vincent for one of his albums. He moved to Nashville in the early 1960s and continued writing as well as performing as a session musician on numerous recordings. His big hit, "Games People Play", came in 1969 which reached number 12 in the USA charts. He had no more hits in the UK, although he wrote the Lynn Anderson hit "Rose Garden" which reached number three in the UK charts during February 1971. He continued writing for several decades despite problems with drugs, but died of heart failure at the age of 72.
Title: Sorry Suzanne
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
Title: Harlem Shuffle
& Earl were Bobby Byrd (1 Jul 1930 - 27 Jul 1990) and Earl Nelson
(8 Sep 1928 - 12 Jul 2008). They were in a Doo-Wop group
called the Hollywood Flames in the late 1950s. Byrd had
started a parallel solo career, going by the name of Bobby Day, and
he had a couple of hits. As the duo there was little success,
and Byrd/Day quit to continue a solo career. In 1962, Earl Nelson
recruited a second "Bob", Bobby Relf (10 Jan 1937 - 20 Nov 2007), who also used the stage names of Bobby Garrett and Bobby
Valentino, and had been in at least three other groups. They
issued the recording of "Harlem Shuffle" in 1963, but it
was only a modest hit in the USA. Both members of the duo were
performing solo or were in other groups when "Harlem
Shuffle" was re-released. Following its success in the
UK, Nelson and Relf reunited for concert tours, but went their
separate ways again in the early 1970s.
Title: Boom Bang-A-Bang
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. 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.
Title: In The Bad Bad Old Days
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.
Title: Pinball Wizard
The Who are a
four-piece Rock band originally comprising lead singer Roger Daltrey
(born 1 Mar 1944), guitarist and singer Pete Townshend (born 19 May
1945), bass guitarist John Entwistle (9 Oct 1944 - 27 Jun 2002), and
drummer Keith Moon (23 Aug 1946 - 7 Sep 1978). The band was
formed in the early 1960s in west London, England under a different
group name, but settled on the name The Who in 1964. They
began performing in local pubs and other venues in west London
They gained a recording contract in late 1964, and their first hit
came in early 1965, "I Can't Explain", which reached the
UK Top 10, followed by another Top 10 hit in spring 1965.
"My Generation" reached number two and became their joint
highest-placed hit with "I'm A Boy" in 1966. They
never managed to reach Number One. During the 1960s they
achieved nine Top 10 hits out of 14. The hits continued into
the 1980s with another four original Top 10 hits. Although
personnel deaths have forced changes to the line up, the band have
continued to perform up to and including a tour in 2017.
Daltry and Townshend remain, and in recent years drums have been
played by Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr's son.
Title: Come Back And Shake Me
was born on 5 Mar 1947 at Warrenpoint, County Down, Northern Ireland.
She began singing professionally when only 13 years of age, and she
had a recording deal with Decca in 1962. She moved to EMI in
1965, but no hits came from either contract. Despite that she
appeared on TV numerous times and became a very popular
performer. Her breakthrough in the UK charts came in 1969,
after she was seen on TV by songwriter Kenny Young who offered to
write her a song. That song was "Come Back And Shake
Me", which was a Top 5 hit. She had two further Top 5
hits by 1971, but faded from the charts after that.
Nevertheless she continued with TV and live performance appearances
for the rest of the decade.
Title: (I'm A) Road Runner
(14 Jun 1941 - 23 Nov 1995) was born in Arkansas, USA, but he grew
up in Indiana, USA. He learned to play the tenor saxophone as
a teenager, and by the mid-1950s he has his own R&B band.
With several personnel changes, the band evolved into the All Stars,
and when they were signed to the Tamla Motown label in 1964 they
Junior Walker & The All
Stars. Their first hit in the USA came in April 1965 when
"Shotgun" reached number four in the American
charts. The band's first hit in the UK came in 1966 with a
recording of the song "How Sweet It Is", which had been
recorded by Motown singer Marvin Gaye in the previous year.
Walker was unable to find a follow-up hit to this in the UK until
1969, when "Road Runner", which had been a hit in the USA
before "How Sweet It Is", was released, reaching number
12. He continued performing through the 1970s and 1980s, but
he died from cancer in 1995 at the age of 64.
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.
followed-up his hit of January, "You Got Soul" (song 1)
with this reworking of the Sam Cooke song from 1961. Cooke had
reached number seven in the UK charts with his original (see year
1961, song 58). Nash went just one position better with his
Reggae beat version. Despite Nash's three consecutive Top 10
hits in 1968-1969, it was 1972 before he was back in that category
again. See song 1 for more info.
Tommy Roe was born on 9 May 1942 in Atlanta,
Georgia, USA. He was part of a
band at high school, but he signed a recording deal as a solo artist in 1960. No recordings charted until 1962,
when "Sheila" was released which hit Number One in the
USA and number three in the UK (see year 1962, song 72). He had a handful of hits in the UK in the 1960s, culminating in the
British Number One "Dizzy" in 1969. The hits tailed off after that, but he continued recording and
performing, and was appearing at various American venues in 2016.
Title: Behind A Painted Smile
This was the brothers' follow-up to their January hit "I Guess I'll Always Love You" (song 3). Like that previous hit, this recording was made earlier (in 1967) as an album track. It was not issued as a single in the USA. They had two more UK hits in 1969, the higher reaching number 13 (song 71).
Title: Aquarius - Let The Sun Shine In
The 5th Dimension
was a five-piece easy-listening Soul group which was formed in Los
Angeles during 1966. The group included Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn
McCoo who married in 1969, but left in 1975 to perform as a
duo. The group's first hit came in early 1967, and by the
summer of that year they were in the USA Top 10 with "Up, Up
And Away". That song was covered by the Johnny Mann
Singers, and it was their version which charted in the UK (see year
1967, song 55). The 5th Dimension finally reached the UK
charts in 1969 with this medley of two songs from the Rock musical
"Hair", which was a Number One in the USA. They only
had one more hit in the UK, "Wedding Bell Blues", which
peaked at number 16, early in 1970. That recording was also a
Number One in the USA, where they enjoyed seven Top 10 hits until
1972. They are still performing, although with mostly new
Title: Get Back
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.
Title: My Sentimental Friend
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.
Title: The Boxer
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.
Title: Mr Ragamuffin Man
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 by
new-comer 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: You've Made Me So Very Happy
& Tears is a Jazz-Rock group, originally comprising eight
musicians, and including a small brass section. It was formed
in New York City during 1967. The original leader was Al
Kooper, but following the first album, and with unrest in the band,
Kooper left, and was followed by two other members. David
Clayton-Thomas was recruited as leader singer, and others joined,
swelling the numbers to nine. With this new lineup, a second
album was recorded which went to Number One in the American album
chart. It provided the singles "You've Made Me So Very
Happy", "Spinning Wheel" plus "And When I
Die". Amazingly they all peaked at number two in the USA
singles charts. The latter two were not hits in the UK, and
"You've Made Me So Very Happy" remains their sole entry in
the UK singles charts. The band continued to record and
perform, and eventually David Clayton-Thomas was the only original
member, with an ever-changing band backing him. He finally
retired in 2004, but the band continues to tour with a new lineup of
followed his song about the "Wichita Lineman" (song 7)
with a song about the American city of Galveston. Both songs
were written by Jimmy Webb who specialised on the easier-listening
side of pop music. Later in the year Campbell recorded a duet
with Country singer Bobby Gentry, which reached number three in the
UK charts during December 1969 (song 95). 1970 saw him
enjoying four UK hits, two of which reached the Top 10.
Title: The Tracks Of My Tears
was born on 19 Feb 1940 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. As a
teenager he formed a Doo-Wop group called the Five Chimes.
This group evolved into the Miracles. When Tamla Motown
records was established, the Miracles was signed up, and Robinson
became their songwriter and producer. He also wrote songs for
many other Motown performers. As the Miracles, they had their
first American Top 10 hit in 1961. "The Tracks Of My
Tears" was a number 16 hit in the USA during 1966, but as with
other Motown recordings, it did not find success in the UK until
1969. By the mid 1960s he was a vice president of Motown, and
in 1969 he declared that he was ready to retire from recording and
performing. However, further success meant that he stayed with
the group until 1972. After a break of one year he was back in
the studio, recording as a solo artist. However, his output
did not do particularly well in the American charts. Things
improved in the latter part of the 1970s, and he had several hits in
the early 1980s, notably the British Number One hit "Being With
You" in 1981. He was also in the USA Top 10 twice in
1987. He has continued to record and perform into the 2010s.
Title: Happy Heart
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.
Title: Love Me Tonight
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: Higher And Higher
Soul singer Jackie Wilson (9 Jun 1934 -
21 Jan 1984) was born in Detroit,
USA. In his early teens Jackie joined a quartet, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, which became a popular feature of
churches in the area. Jackie was not particularly religious, but enjoyed singing, and this provided an
opportunity. In his late teens he formed a group called the Falcons,
which included his cousin Levi Stubbs, who later went on to lead the
Motown group The Four Tops. He worked with other groups, but
went solo in 1957. He became noted for his dynamic stage
performances, and during one such a performance in 1975 at Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Wilson suffered a heart
attack when only aged 41. Although he was rushed to hospital, he mostly remained in a coma for 9 years until his
death in 1984.
Title: Oh Happy Day
This was a mixed ensemble of Gospel singers, lead by Edwin Hawkins. Hawkins (19 Aug 1943 - 15 Jan 2018) was born in California, USA. He joined the family Gospel choir as a child, and in his early twenties he formed his own Gospel choir. They began recording albums of hymns and other Gospel music. The song "Oh Happy Day" was picked up by a radio DJ in California, and it became a local hit. This resulted in the recording being played across the USA, and it crossed over to the American pop charts, where it reached number four, selling over a million copies. The recording was played on UK radio as well, and soon climbed to number two on the British charts. They were largely confined to the USA Gospel music charts for their following albums, which were made until the end of the 1990s.
Title: Big Ship
Cliff followed his hit of earlier in the year ("Good Times, Better Times", song 15) with a Top 10 entry - his first since March 1968. He was back in the Top 10 in September in a duet with Hank Marvin of the Shadows (song 75).
Title: A Way Of Life
Family Dogg was a mixed-gender harmony vocal group with Folk music leanings. The group was formed in London, England during 1966 by Steve Rowland, a successful record producer of American origin. Singles were issued in 1967 and 1968, and a debut album was released in 1969. None of that output made the charts, but the song "A Way Of Life" became a Top 10 hit in the UK during 1969. They had a hit single in the Netherlands in 1970, but no other recordings reached the charts and the group had split by the mid 1970s.
Title: Proud Mary
Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American
four-piece band comprising John Fogerty, his brother Tom Fogarty,
Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford. They got together in 1959 under a
different name, and became Creedence Clearwater Revival in
1967. Although they originated from California, they performed
in a musical style reminiscent of the Mississippi delta
region. Some commentators referred to this as Swamp
Rock. They became very successful, enjoying nine Top 10 hits
in the USA from 1969 to 1971. Oddly, five of those hits peaked
at number two, and they never had a Number One in their
homeland. In the UK they scored four
Top 10 hits, including a Number One, plus five others. They
toured extensively, and appeared at the Woodstock music
festival. However, disagreements within the band led to Tom
Fogerty resigning in late 1970. John assumed total control of
the group which continued as a trio for another year or so, but the
frictions remained, and the band formally broke up in 1972.
Title: Are You Growing Tired Of My Love
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.
Title: On Days Like These
Matt Monro (1 Dec 1930
- 7 Feb 1985) was born in London, England. He began singing on talent shows while in the British Army in the early
1950s. He made some records in the mid-1950s, but none met with any success. In 1959 he was asked to record a demo
record for EMI, and when producer, George Martin heard the track, he arranged for Monro to record a new song, "Portrait
Of My Love". It reached number three on the UK charts and started his international career. He recorded several film
themes, but some like "Born Free" failed to enter the charts. He spent some time in America during the mid-1960s,
making albums of standards and new ballads, and was hailed as the new Frank Sinatra. He toured the world extensively,
especially during the 1970s and early 1980s. He died from liver cancer at age 54.
Title: Frozen Orange Juice
This was Sarstedt's follow up to his Number One hit "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" (song 10) of February. This was also a success in the charts, but unfortunately he had no further hits. See song 10 for more info.
Title: The Ballad Of John And Yoko
the band's hit of April, "Get Back" (song 33). This
was quite unlike any other Beatles song in that it was an
autobiographical account of John Lennon's marriage to Yoko Ono in March 1969, and their publicly held
honeymoon activities, including their "Bed-In" at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
George Harrison and Ringo Starr did not take part in the
recording. All instrumentation was played by John Lennon and
Paul McCartney, with Paul providing harmony vocals in the latter
part of the song. Although the recording went to Number One in
the UK and several other countries, it peaked at number eight in the
USA, possibly as a result of a ban by many American radio stations
for the use of the words 'Christ' and 'crucify' in the lyrics.
Title: Spinnin' Wheel
The band followed their hit "You've Made Me So Very Happy" (song 37) with this offering from the same album. Despite being another success in the USA, where it reached number two, the recording failed completely to enter the UK charts. "Spinning Wheel" was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 1970 ceremony, winning in the category Best Instrumental Arrangement. The arranger for the song was the band's saxophonist, Fred Lipsius. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year; but the album won the Grammy for Album of the Year. All the more strange that the single did not take off in the UK. The album from which it was taken, "Blood, Sweat & Tears", did appear in the British album chart, peaking at number 15. For more info see song 37.
Title: Baby Make It Soon
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.
Title: Break Away
This was the Beach Boys' follow-up to their number 10 hit of February, "I Can Hear Music" (song 18). In the USA "Break Away" only reached a lowly number 63. At this time the group was not having much success in their American homeland, as demonstrated by their next release in 1970 ("Cotton Fields"), which was another Top 10 hit in the UK and other countries, but stalled at number 103 in the USA. Both this recording and "Cotton Fields" were the final Beach Boys singles issued by Capitol Records, with whom the group had been since 1962. This was the last Beach Boys hit of the 1960s, and despite the chart entry in 1970, the band was all but done as a regular hit-making act.
Title: In The Ghetto
Elvis Presley continued his resurgence with this major hit and first Top 10 entry for nearly three years. It followed his number eleven hit of February, "If I Can Dream" (song 17). Written by Country musician Mac Davis, it is a story of hope and despair in an inner city ghetto. The recording was a big hit in the USA as well, reaching number three, and becoming his first Top 10 hit there for four years. Two more UK hits came later in the year - the next in September (song 74).
Title: Something In The Air
This was a band
put together by Pete Townshend of the Who. The band comprised Speedy Keen,
Jimmy McCulloch and Andy "Thunderclap" Newman. On
the recording of this song, Pete Townshend played bass guitar.
The lead singer was Speedy Keen, with Newman on piano. The
success of the single surprised everyone, and with live performances
beckoning, additional personnel were quickly added to the
band. Townshend never played live with the group. They
recorded an album which was issued in 1970, but it failed to reach
the charts. A follow-up single, "Accidents", peaked
at number 46 for one week, also in 1970. As a result, the band
folded in April 1970. The musicians continued in the music
industry, either solo or with other bands. Sadly, all three
have now died - McCulloch in 1979, Speedy Keen in 2002, and Newman
Title: That's The Way God Planned it
Billy Preston (2 Sep 1946 - 2 Jun 2006) was born in Houston, Texas, USA. He taught himself to play electric organ at a young age, and was a professional player by the age of 10. He joined Little Richard's band in 1962, and when the band visited Hamburg, Preston met the Beatles there. Returning to the USA, he released a couple of solo albums and played on the hit recordings of several other artists. Preston was back in London in 1969 when he hooked up with the Beatles again, and took part in the recording of "Get Back" (song 33). Preston was then signed to the Beatles Apple recording label, and issued the single "That's The Way God Planned It", taken from the album of the same title. Following the break up of the Beatles in 1970, Preston worked with George Harrison on several of Harrison's recordings and other projects. Preston formed his own band in the early 1970s, recording and touring with them. In 1979 he had a British number two hit in duet with American vocalist Syreeta ("With You I'm Born Again"). By the 1990s Preston was having problems with drug and alcohol addiction, but he overcame these issues and continued recording and performing almost until his death at age 59.
Title: Goodnight Midnight
This was her follow-up to "Come Back And Shake Me" (song 26) which had reached number three in March. It was another Top 10 hit, but unfortunately, her next release in November stalled at number 22. The single after that did even worse in the charts, but finally she was back in the Top 10 in March 1971 with the UK's entry in that year's Eurovision Song Contest.
her February Top 10 hit, "Surround Yourself With Sorrow"
(song 12). She had a number 20 hit late in the year (song 96),
but she had no UK chart entries during 1970. November 1971,
however, saw her enjoy her last ever Top 10 hit.
Title: Honky Tonk Women
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).
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. For more details see year 1968,
Title: My Cherie Amour
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.
Title: Bringing On Back The Times
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.
The recording of "Everlasting Love" 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.
They enjoyed three Top 10 hits in 1968, with two final hits coming in 1969.
Ellis decided to leave at the end of 1969, and although some more recordings were made, there were no more hits.
Title: Early In The Morning
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 still 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.
Title: Too Busy Thinking 'Bout My Baby
This was Gaye's
second major hit of the year, following his Number One "I Heard
It Though The Grapevine" (song 13) of February. The song
had been recorded by the group the Temptations in 1966, and looking
for a follow-up to his earlier Number One, Gaye decided to record
the song, which reached number four in the USA charts. Marvin
Gaye was next in the Top 10 during November 1969 in duet with Tammi
Terrell, with the recording "Onion Song" (song 89).
Title: Viva Bobby Joe
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" (year 1968,
song 42) 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.
Title: Good Morning Starshine
Oliver (22 Feb 1945 - 12 Feb 2000)
was born in North Carolina, USA. He began singing in the early
1960s and was a member of two different groups. This recording
of a song from the hit Rock musical "Hair" brought him
international fame. He had some further success in the USA
into the early 1970s. He then turned to session recording, and
appeared on several hit albums as backing vocalist and
guitarist. By the end of the 1970s he had left the music
business. This was his only hit in the UK.
Title: In The Year 2525
This duo was Denny Zager and Rick Evans who both came from Nebraska, USA. They were first in a local band, but it was as a duo that they recorded this song. They paid for the recording themselves, and hawked it around all the record companies until finally RCA records agreed to take on the recording and distribute it nationally and internationally. It soon reached Number One in the USA as well as being a chart topper in the UK and three other countries. Sadly, further recordings failed to reach the charts in either the USA or UK. The duo has the distinction of being the only act to have a Number One in both America and Britain and no other hits at all. Both left the music business in the mid 1970s. Zager builds custom guitars at Zager Guitars in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Evans died in 2018.
Title: Bad Moon Rising
This was the band's follow-up to the earlier hit "Proud Mary" (song 46). Both recordings were taken from the group's album "Green River", which was a chart-topper in the USA but had a more modest peak at number 20 in the UK album chart. The song "Green River" (song 91) was released in November this year, but it just managed to creep into the Top 20 at number 19. However, they had two more Top 10 hits in 1970.
Title: Don't Forget To Remember
This recording was the band's second Top 10 hit of 1969, with "First Of May" (song 14), having reached number six in February. "Don't Forget To Remember" was a solo performed by Barry with Maurice providing some harmonies. Robin had temporarily left the group after a disagreement, and he had issued a solo recording in July called "Saved By The Bell". That single reached number two in the UK charts. However, by mid-summer 1970, Robin was back in the group where he remained. Despite all that, the trio did not have another substantial hit until 1972, followed by another gap until 1975 when they began their Disco era, becoming international superstars in the process.
Title: It's Getting Better
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. As a solo artist she issued
seven albums in the USA, but they did not sell as well as might have
been expected. Her debut solo album only reached number 87 in
the USA album chart, and the others did not get even that
high. Similarly, her debut single peaked at number 12, but
subsequent releases reached much lower positions. She had two
entries in the UK singles charts and no hit albums.
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.
Title: Marrakesh Express
& Nash were one of the so-called supergroups that were becoming prevalent
in the late 1960s. A supergroup comprises prominent members of
other bands that have enjoyed considerable success, who join
together in a new band. In this
case, the members were David Crosby (born 14 Aug 1941 in Los
Angeles) from the American group the Byrds, Stephen Stills (born 3
Jan 1945 in Dallas, Texas) from the American band Buffalo
Springfield, and Graham Nash (born 2 Feb 1942 in Blackpool, England)
from the British group the Hollies. They came together in
1968, after they had an informal jam session at a party in
California. They organised a record deal and released their
first album in early summer 1969. The album, simply titled
"Crosby, Stills & Nash" reached number six on the
American album charts, but only made it to number 25 in the
UK. One of the tracks, "Marrakesh Express",
a song written by Nash in his Hollies days, was released as a
single. It reached number 28 in the USA and number 17 in the
UK. By late 1969 the group had been joined by Neil Young, also
from Buffalo Springfield, and the act was renamed Crosby, Stills,
Nash & Young. As a quartet they released an album in each
of the years 1970 and 1971. Both albums reached Number One in
the USA and number five in the UK. As might be expected with
so many egos, frictions began in the group and several members went
off to make solo albums during the early 1970s. They reunited
in 1977 and another album was recorded. Their most recent
album was released in 1999, but they have embarked on several
concert tours since 2000, the most recent in 2015. The only
other hit single in the UK came in 1989, which reached number 55 in
Title: Put Yourself In My Place
This was another
older recording which was released belatedly in the UK. The
song had been recorded by Motown group The Elgins in 1965, with the
Isley Brothers version dating to 1966. This gave the Isley
Brothers their third British Top 20 hit of the year. It was
their last hit of the 1960s, and they did not have another UK hit
until 1973. For more info about the group, see song 3 above.
Title: I'll Never Fall In Love Again
Bobbie Gentry is
an American singer-songwriter, born 27 Jul 1942 in Mississippi,
USA. She first came to public attention when she recorded her
song "Ode To Billy Joe" which was a UK Top 20 hit in 1967,
but reached Number One in the USA. The recording gave her
three Grammy awards, and started a successful career. She made
numerous TV appearances as well as performing in concert. She
even had a BBC TV series which ran from 1968 to 1969. In 1969
she recorded this song written by the Bacharach & David team,
and later that year charted again in duet with Glen Campbell (song
95). Although her career continued through the 1970s, things
went quiet in the 1980s, and she is now retired and living in
Title: Space Oddity
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 also continued acting; his roles including Major Jack Celliers in
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (1983), Jareth the Goblin King in
"Labyrinth" (1986), Pontius Pilate in "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), and Nikola Tesla in
"The Prestige" (2006). 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,
Title: Clean Up Your Own Backyard
This was Presley's follow-up to his number two hit "In The Ghetto" (song 54) of June 1969. This song was featured in Presley's penultimate feature film "The Trouble With Girls" which had been filmed in 1968. The movie was poorly received, but Presley was invigorated by his successful 'Come Back Special' on American TV, and by his improved showing in the music charts, so was not particularly concerned about the film. There were only five songs in the movie, and no soundtrack album appears to have been issued. He was back in the UK Top 10 in November this year (song 94).
Title: Throw Down A Line
This release was credited to 'Cliff & Hank'. Hank Marvin was lead guitarist in Cliff's backing band the Shadows. Hank had frequently provided backing vocals for Cliff as part of the Shadows, and the group had issued a couple of vocal singles. However, this was the first time that Hank Marvin had been given a personal credit on a single release. The single gave Cliff Richard a third Top 20 hit in 1969. His next two releases disappointed but he was in the Top 10 again in June 1970.
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Lou Christie was born on 19 Feb 1943 in Pennsylvania, USA. He studied music at high school, and it was thought that he might follow a classical music career, but Christie wanted to write and perform pop music. After graduation he went to New York, and was able to get work as a backing singer in recording studios. He cut his first record in 1962 and had a moderate hit with it on the American charts. He had a couple of other hits in the USA, but he then joined the US Army for National Service, which interrupted his music career. He returned to civilian life in 1965 and signed a new recording deal with MGM. His first release under his new contract was "Lightnin' Strikes" (see year 1966, song 17), which reached number 11 in the UK and Number One in the USA. A few smaller hits followed, but he was eventually dropped by MGM. He returned with another major hit in 1969 ("I'm Gonna Make You Mine"), which was a Top 10 entry on both sides of the Atlantic. He had no significant hits after that, but continued in the business, mostly as a songwriter with Twyla Herbert, but he has recorded a few albums from time to time, and he performs on the oldies circuits.
Title: Lay Lady Lay
Bob Dylan was
born on 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. He became one
of the most influential singer-songwriters in the world during the
1960s with his thought-provoking "protest" songs. He
started playing Rock 'n' Roll at high school, but when he enrolled
at the University of Minnesota in 1959 he got into Folk music.
He dropped out of university and went to New York early in 1961 and
began playing around the clubs in Greenwich Village where there was
a vibrant Folk music scene. By the end of 1961 he had a record
contract and his first album was released in March 1962. His
influence grew and by March 1963 when his second album "The
Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was released, he was well-known in the
USA, and he was gaining attention in the UK. It was not until
1964, however, that his recordings began to sell in quantity, and
his first British hit single came in March 1965. He performed
at a number of Folk festivals, often with other performers such as
Joan Baez. His album tracks were soon being recorded by others
and released as singles which only increased his popularity and
standing. He continued to write and perform throughout the
following decades, and in the 2000s began radio broadcasting.
In 2017 he announced a new tour of Europe, the USA and Canada.
Title: I Second That Emotion
This was the
second hit of the year for Diana Ross & The Supremes in
collaboration with The
Temptations (see song 8). This release did not do as well as
the previous one, but a Top 20 position is still acceptable.
Both tracks were taken from the album "Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations"
which had reached Number One on the album charts of the UK and USA
earlier in the year. Written by Smokey Robinson, the song was
a hit for him and his group The Miracles in December 1967 when it
reached number 27 in the UK charts (number 4 in the USA).
Title: Delta Lady
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
Title: Everybody's Talkin'
Harry Nilsson (15 Jun 1941 - 15 Jan 1994) was born in New York City, USA. His father abandoned the family when Nilsson was three, and he was largely brought up by his grandparents who were circus performers. Once in his teens he moved to Los Angeles and took work as a computer programmer. He wrote songs in his spare time, and had some recorded by popular artists in the late 1960s. He recorded his first album in 1967. Looking for songs to fill his second album, he recorded "Everybody's Talkin". It was selected for the soundtrack of the 1969 film "Midnight Cowboy", starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Released as a single, it reached number six in the USA charts. His most successful album came in 1971. Titled "Nilsson Schmilsson", it included the single "Without You" which went to Number One in both the UK and USA during early 1972. From the beginning of the 1980s he did little recording, and during the early 1990s he suffered from ill-health. He died from a heart attack early in 1994 at the age of 52.
Title: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
was the group's follow-up to the hit of March 1969, "Sorry
Suzanne" (song 21). Whilst it reached number three upon
its 1969 release, the recording did even better in 1988 when it went
all the way to Number One. The renewed interest was caused by
its use in a TV commercial for the American beer Miller Lite.
The Hollies were back in the UK Top 10 in April 1970 with "I
Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top".
Title: Sugar Sugar
The Archies was
a cartoon series that appeared weekly on American TV but was never
seen in the UK. The recording was masterminded by Don Kirshner
who had been involved with the Monkees TV shows. Kirshner
recruited session singers Ron Dante and Toni Wine to be the singing
voices of the Archies. When the song was performed on the
cartoon series, the single raced up to Number One in the USA.
Released in Britain, it did the same thing, staying in the Number
One spot for eight weeks. The cartoon characters were shown
singing the hit on the BBC TV show "Top Of The Pops" for
those eight weeks. Although the cartoon band had a few more
hits in the USA, this was their sole entry in the UK charts.
Title: What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)
This was the group's follow-up to their hit of April, "(I'm A) Road Runner" (song 27). It seems they liked brackets in their song titles! This song reached number four on the American charts, and was voted Top USA Soul Record of 1969. Their next UK Top 20 hit came in 1972.
Title: Wonderful World, Beautiful People
Jimmy Cliff was born on 1st Apr 1948 in Jamaica. He started writing songs as a young teenager, and he had his first hit in Jamaica when he was just 14. As Reggae music became more popular in the UK, Cliff moved to London and signed with Island records in 1967. His international breakthrough came in 1969 when his composition "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" reached the UK Top 10 and even reached number 25 in the USA. Several of Cliff's songs were recorded by other performers, and in 1970 Jimmy was in the UK Top 10 with "Wild World" which was written by Cat Stevens. In 2003 Cliff was awarded the Order of Merit, the highest honour that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences. Cliff has continued to record and perform into the 2010s, and was touring in 2019.
Title: (Call Me) Number One
The Tremeloes is a beat music group formed in
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.
Title: Durham Town
was born in Nairobi, Kenya on 22 Mar 1936. His parents were
from Staffordshire, England, but they emigrated to Kenya to run a
farm there when Kenya was still a British colony. Upon completing
his education, and serving in the army in Kenya, Whittaker moved to
the UK in 1959 to study, where he gained a Batchelor of Science
degree. He was singing in local clubs during this time, and
having acquired a recording contract he began appearing on TV as
well. He moved to EMI's Columbia label in 1966, and had his
first hit in 1969 with "Durham Town". He scored a
Top 10 hit in 1970 ("I Don't Believe In If Anymore"), but
he was mostly an album artist, having eleven charting albums by
1996. He became very popular in other parts of Europe, and had
25 albums issued in Germany, many sung in the German language.
He is now retired apart from occasional appearances at special
events, and has been living in France since 2012.
This was the
group's follow-up to their final Number One in the singles charts,
"The Ballad Of John & Yoko", in June.
"Something" is taken from the Beatles' album "Abbey Road"
which reached Number One in both the British and American album
charts. This single release, the first Beatles' A-side not to
have been written by Lennon & McCartney, reached Number One in
the USA. The group officially disbanded in April 1970; their
next singles chart entry ("Let It Be") coming in March
1970 just ahead of the announcement.
Title: Melting Pot
Blue Mink was a
British six-piece group formed in autumn 1969. The band
comprised vocalist and songwriter Roger Cook, American-born Madeline Bell (vocalist),
Alan Parker (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bassist), Barry Morgan
(drummer) and Roger Coulam (keyboards). Most of the songs were written by Cook and Roger
Greenaway. The members were session musicians or songwriters,
and they continued in that role despite the success of the
band. They were next in the UK Top 10 in 1970 with "Good
Morning Freedom", and the hits continued until 1973.
Singles and an album failed during 1974, and the band broke up in
autumn that year, all members returning to their 'day jobs'.
Title: Onion Song
This was a
follow-up to Gaye's solo hit in July, "Too Busy Thinkin' 'Bout
My Baby" (song 63). Along with Tammi Terrell, Gaye had
been in the UK charts during October 1968 with the duet "You're
All I Need To Get By" (year 1968, song 82). Sadly this
was Terrell's final appearance in the UK charts, and she died in
March 1970 from a brain tumour at the age of just 24.
Title: Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday
This recording followed Wonder's hit of July, "My Cherie Amour" (song 60). This was his biggest hit so far, and it performed better in the UK than in the USA where it peaked at number seven. Wonder was next in the Top 10 in March 1970.
Title: Green River
This was the band's third single lifted from their album also titled "Green River". It followed their Number One hit "Bad Moon Rising" of August. Unfortunately this release did not perform as well as its predecessors in the UK charts, but it reached number two in the USA. The band was back in the UK charts in 1970 with three hits, two of which reached the Top 10.
Title: Winter World Of Love
This was Humperdinck's eighth Top 10 hit (including two Number Ones), but sadly it was also his last. He did continue to have hits until 1973, with two making the Top 20, but most achieving only minor positions. Nevertheless, his career continued to flourish, especially in Las Vegas, where his easy-listening, crooning style went down well. For more info, see song 11 above.
The Cuff Links
started as a studio arrangement, using the voice of Ron Dante who
had voiced the Archies "Sugar Sugar" hit (song 82).
Dante was born on 22 Aug 1945 in New York, USA, and he became a
session musician, songwriter and record producer. In the
mid-1960s he was recording as a member of the Detergents, a parody
group that made novelty songs. In 1969 he was recruited to be
the male singing voice of the American TV cartoon group The Archies.
The song "Sugar Sugar" was a major success in several
countries. Concurrent with the Archies single release, Dante
recorded an album of songs written by
Lee Pockriss & Paul Vance.
Dante provided all the voices by way of overdubbing, making it sound
like a group, which was named the Cuff Links. The lead track,
"Tracy", was issued as a single, and it became a Top 10
hit in the USA and UK. With the hit on their hands,
and Vance quickly recruited musicians who could make live and TV
appearances. Dante opted not to be part of that touring
group. A second track from the album was released in early
spring 1970 which reached the UK Top 10. A second album was
produced, but Dante declined to participate. The voices were
provided by Rupert Holmes who had a couple of UK hits in 1980.
Title: Suspicious Minds
This was Presley's fourth hit of the year, and second Top 2 entry. It represented a remarkable come-back, after several years of poor performance on the charts. The last time he had anything like this level of success was back in 1963/1964. The recording reached Number One in the USA, but was his final chart-topper in that country. 1970 would see him with two UK Top 10 entries plus a Number One.
Title: All I Have To Do Is Dream
performers were enjoying solo careers, but came together on this
revival of the old Everly Brothers hit. Bobbie had been in the
UK charts in late August with "I'll Never Fall In Love
Again" (song 72), and Glen was in the charts in May with
"Galveston" (song 38). They had been brought
together by their record company to record an album of duets in
1968, although this recording was not on the album. After this
success they resumed their solo careers.
Title: If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your
This was Cilla's
third hit of the year, but it failed to perform on the charts as
well as the previous two which both reached the Top 10 (songs 12 and
58 above). As mentioned earlier, Cilla failed completely to
enter the UK charts during 1970. She was back for a final Top
10 hit in 1971, but only one minor hit followed, which was her last
appearance in the charts until 1993 when another couple of minor
hits grazed the UK charts. For more info on Cilla Black, see
song 12 above.
Title: Someday We'll Be Together
The group had
been in the Top 10 earlier in the year in collaboration with the
Temptations on the song "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (song
8), but all other releases were Top 20 entries at best. This
was the last of twelve Number One hits that the group had in the
USA. It was billed as the last release by the group to feature
Diana Ross before she left for a solo career. However, as had
been the case several times previously, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong
did not sing on the recording, although they did perform on the B-side of the record.
The female background voices are Motown session singers. The
occasional male voice is co-writer Johnny Bristol. Diana Ross was
replaced by Jean
Terrell, and the new Supremes lineup had their first British Top 10
entry in May 1970.
Title: Without Love
Tom Jones' last
hit of the decade was this revival of a song originally recorded by
Clyde McPhatter in 1957, and which had reached number 19 on the USA
charts. Jones' version was very successful, reaching number
five in the USA as well as the Top 10 in the UK. He was back
in the UK Top 10 in April 1970.
Title: Reflections Of My Life
This rounded off a very successful twelve months for the band, who had three Top 10 hits from the previous December to December 1969. The recording reached number ten in the USA during early 1970. They were next in the UK Top 10 in the summer of 1970. For more info about Marmalade, see song 52 above.
Title: Hitchin' A Ride
This was the band's third and final hit. It was the follow-up to their hit of July 1969 "Early In The Morning" (song 62). As mentioned with song 62, although the hits stopped in the UK the band has continued to perform, albeit with changing personnel.
Acts with most appearances in this list:
Composers with most appearances in this list:
Cook & Roger Greenaway: 5 (2 with Jerry Lordan; 1
New Names in
of Appearances in these lists during the 1960s decade:
hits credited to Diana Ross & The Supremes, and the hits they
had with the Temptations.
Comments and corrections to: firstname.lastname@example.org