UK Christmas #1’s

December 23, 2018

Step_Into_ChristmasAnyone who has ever watched the movie Love Actually will know the prestige that is accorded the single to top the UK singles chart on Christmas Day. According to that font of all knowledge – Wiki – “In the United Kingdom, Christmas number ones are singles that are top of the UK Singles Chart in the week in which Christmas Day falls. Novelty songs, charity songs or songs with a Christmas theme have regularly been at the top of Christmas charts. Traditionally the volume of record sales in the UK peaks at Christmas, with the Christmas number one being considered especially prestigious, more so than any other time of year. Many of the Christmas number ones were also the best-selling song of the year.

Not every #1 Christmas single has a Christmas theme and there have been some interesting songs to top the charts.

 list of #1 christmas songs of the 70s

Year Artist Song Title Weeks at #1
1970 Dave Edmunds I Hear You Knocking 6
1971 Benny Hill Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) 4
1972 Jimmy Osmond Long Haired Lover from Liverpool 5
1973 Slade Merry Xmas Everybody 5
1974 Mud Lonely This Christmas 4
1975 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody 9
1976 Johnny Mathis When a Child Is Born (Soleado) 3
1977 Wings Mull of Kintyre / Girls’ School 9
1978 Boney M. Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord 4
1979 Pink Floyd Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) 5

do they know it’s christmas?

Over the years, charity songs have made the list on several occasions, the quintessential example being, Do They Know it’s Christmas?

Band Aid spent five weeks at #1 over Christmas 1984. Band Aid II repeated the feat for three weeks over Christmas 1989. Band Aid 20 took the song to #1 again in 2004 (four weeks).

Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody has made the #1 slot twice – in 1975 and again in 1991.

the beatles & the spice girls

The Beatles and the Spice Girls have both managed to score the #1 slot three years in a row;

The Beatles 1963 – 1965 with I Want to Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine, and Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out.

The Spice Girls with 2 Become 1, Too Much, and Goodbye.

The Beatles had a fourth Christmas #1 in 1967 with Hello, Goodbye.

2018

This year’s #1 is, LadBaby with We Built This City.

christmas treat – step into christmas

Step into Christmas never made it to #1, peaking at #24 on the UK singles chart and #56 in the US. It made the UK charts again in 2017, peaking at #11.

Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and performed by Elton John, Step into Christmas was released as a stand-alone single in November 1973 – the B-side was Ho, Ho, Ho (Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas).

Step into Christmas was later included as a bonus track on the 1995 remastered re-issue of the album Caribou and appears on various Christmas compilation albums.

Two versions of the song exist with different vocals.

In December 2018 the song was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of 400,000 copies.

Step into Christmas lyrics.

step into Christmas – elton john – 1973 – video

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Don’t Give Up on Us – David Soul -1976

October 25, 2018

Dont give up on us david soul 1976Just to prove that it’s not just in the 2000’s that otherwise average singers can achieve hit records simply due to celebrity status gained in other fields of endeavour, this week we visit David Soul, the American-British actor (and avid Arsenal FC fan) who had not one but two #1 UK hits back in the 70s. This is his first hit – Don’t Give Up on Us.

david soul fax

  • David Soul is nothing if not talented… born in Chicago, he turned down a professional baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox in order to study political science. While studying, he learned the guitar and was smitten with music. He began to play clubs and appear on television.
  • Gradually, his acting took over. He appeared on such American classics as The Merv Griffin Show, Flipper and Here Comes the Brides (also featuring Bobby Sherman). On the strength of his television work, Clint Eastwood cast him in the movie Magnum Force.
  • For those of us who remember David in his heyday, we know him as Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson from Starsky and Hutch, a hit television series which aired from 1975 – 1979.
  • During the mid- to late 1970s, David returned to singing. He recorded a number of hits which included, Don’t Give Up on Us (1977) which reached #1 in both the US and UK, and Silver Lady (1977) which reached #1 in the UK, but peaked #52 in the US. Between those two hits, he had a #2 UK single, Going In With My Eyes Open.
  • In all, between 1976 and 1978, David had five UK Top 20 singles and two Top 10 albums. In the late 70s, he toured extensively in the US, Europe, Far East and South America.
  • In the mid-1990s, David moved to London and, in 2004, became a British citizen.
  • David continues to work as an actor and singer.

don’t give up on us fax

  • Don’t Give Up on Us was written by song producer Tony Macaulay and sung by David Soul.
  • A huge hit, the song spent four weeks at #1 on the UK singles chart in January and February 1977, and one week at #1 on the US singles chart in April 1977. It sold 1.16 million copies in the UK. It was the 9th greatest hit of the 1970s in the UK.
  • Don’t Give Up on Us was rated #93 in VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders because, although David had at least two more hits in the UK, he never again broke into the top 40 in the US.
  • In 2004, David recorded a new version of Don’t Give Up on Us. The story goes that he felt embarrassed when hearing the song by chance in an elevator as sung by Owen Wilson in the film version of Starsky and Hutch.
  • The song was also used in the film Johnny English Reborn (2011).
  • Don’t Give Up on Us lyrics.

don’t give up on us – david soul – 1976 – video

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United We Stand – Brotherhood of Man – 1970

August 12, 2018

United we stand - 1970From the very first month of the 70s, a #1 UK hit, Brotherhood of Man’s, United We Stand.

 brotherhood of man fax

  • The original line-up of Brotherhood of Man featured some people pretty well-known in the UK music scene. The band was formed by record producer/composer Tony Hiller, and included his co-writer John Goodison with Tony Burrows, Roger Greenaway, Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie. Roger Greenaway was also a songwriter and had co-written hits such as Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart and Melting Pot. Tony Burrows was a well-known session singer, performing in various line-ups on hit singles such as the No.1 hit Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse. The two female members, Glover and Leslie were an act in their own right, releasing singles as Sue and Sunny.
  • That was back in 1969. The band’s first single was a flop but then came United We Stand which was a hit on the UK, Canada, and US singles charts.
  • Brotherhood of Man had a number of follow-up hits (and a number of personnel changes), including two #1 UK hits, Save all your Kisses for Me, and Angelo.
  • Save all your Kisses for Me was the winner of the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest – it remains one of the biggest selling Eurovision songs of all time.
  • As mentioned, the band went through a number of changes of line-up and eventually split in 1984. In 1986, the band began to perform on the live circuit but decided against trying to make it onto the charts again. They have, however, released two albums since that time, The Butterfly Children (1992) and Greenhouse (1997).
  • Brotherhood of Man continues to tour often playing to venues packed with people who remember with fondness their harmonies and catchy pop songs.

united we stand fax

  • United We Stand was written by Tony Hiller and Peter Simons (aka Johnny Goodison) and recorded by UK band, Brotherhood of Mad.
  • The song was first released in January 1970 – it was their first hit, peaking at #10 on the UK singles chart and at #13 in the US.
  • United We Stand has been recorded by over 100 different artists.
  • The song was later included on an album of the same name.
  • United We Stand lyrics.

united we stand – brotherhood of man – 1970 – video

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Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying – Gerry and the Pacemakers – 1970

July 16, 2018

dont-let-the-sun-catch-you-crying-Gerry and the PacemakersOriginally released in 1964, in 1970, Gerry and the Pacemakers re-released Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying.

gerry and the pacemakers fax

  • Gerry and the Pacemakers formed in 1959 under the name, Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars – a name they were forced to change after a complaint from the Mars company.
  • The band’s initial line-up was Gerry Marsden, his brother Fred Marsden, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon.
  • Gerry and the Pacemakers had a lot in common with The Beatles: they came from Liverpool, they were managed by Brian Epstein, and were recorded by George Martin.
  • They were the first act to achieve #1 on the UK Singles Chart with their first three single releases: How Do You Do It?, I Like It, and You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was 20 years later that fellow Liverpool band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, equalled that record. Amazingly, despite a number of subsequent hits, Gerry and the Pacemakers never had another #1 UK single.
  • By 1966, the band’s popularity was waning and they split. Gerry became a popular cabaret and children’s TV entertainer.
  • The band reformed 1974 and, until recently, still toured. The band’s last show was in Wales on 15 March 2017 when Gerry Marsden collapsed onstage. As he was helped offstage he explained to the audience that he was scheduled to undergo knee surgery the next week.

don’t let the sun catch you crying fax

  • Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying was written by the members of Gerry and the Pacemakers, recorded in 1964, and released in April 1964 in the UK and May 1964 in the US. That first release peaked at #6 in the UK and #4 in the US – it was the band’s highest charting US single.
  • The song was first recorded by Louise Cordet, a singer who had previously toured with both Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Beatles.
  • Gerry and the Pacemakers’ version was produced by George Martin
  • Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying was re-released in April 1970; this time it didn’t bother the charts on either side of the Atlantic.
  • Artists to cover the song include: José Feliciano (1968), Rickie Lee Jones (1989), Gloria Estefan (1994), and Jeff Buckley.
  • Don’t Let the Sun Catch you Crying lyrics.

don’t let the sun catch you crying – gerry and the pacemakers – 1964 and 1970 – video

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Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina – Julie Covington -1976

July 6, 2018

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina - Covington - 1976Originally recorded for a concept album, Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina went on to become the best-known song from the Webber/Rice musical Evita.

julie covington fax

  • Julie Covington is an English actress and singer, known for her appearances in musicals such as, Godspell, The Rocky Horror Show, Evita, and recent versions of Guys and Dolls.
  • Julie rose to fame through her recording of the song, Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina. That wasn’t her only foray onto the UK single charts, however. Julie had two other singles on the UK charts, OK? (peaked at #10 in 1977), and Alice Cooper‘s, Only Women Bleed (peaked at #12, also in 1977).
  • Julie first appeared on television as a schoolgirl, on a 1969 episode of David Frost’s TV show. From that appearance, she secured a recording contract.
  • What followed, was a number of appearances in stage musicals. Her first being Godspell with David Essex and Jeremy Irons.
  • In 1976, Andrew Lloyd Webber saw Julie perform. She was offered the title role in the original studio recording of their musical Evita—a role Elkie Brooks had previously turned down. When the musical itself was in the production stages, Julie was offered the role of Eva Peron, she declined and the role was given to Elaine Paige. Julie later expressed some regret at her decision, but explained that she did not like Eva Peron and that without some positive feeling for the person she had preferred to turn the role down.

don’t cry for me, argentina fax

  • Don’t Cry for Me Argentina is a song recorded by Julie Covington for the 1976 concept album, Evita. It was later included in the 1978 musical of the same name.
  • Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina was written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
  • In the musical, Evita, Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina appears at the opening and near the end of the show, initially as the spirit of the dead Eva exhorting the people of Argentina not to mourn her, and finally during Eva’s speech from the balcony of the Casa Rosada.
  • Released on November 12, 1976, the song hit #1 on the UK singles chart, and in six other countries. It was the #1 selling song in Australia in 1977.
  • The Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, and Sinéad O’Connor all covered the song. It was sung by Lea Michele and Chris Colfer in the TV series Glee. And, Madonna, who played the lead in the movie version of Evita, received positive reviews for her singing of Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.
  • The song was also banned in the Philippines during the dictatorship (1972–86) of President Ferdinand Marcos. The life of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Marcos’ wife, is similar to that of Evita Peron.
  • Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina lyrics.

don’t cry for me, argentina – julie covington – 1976 – video

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Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas – 1974

April 26, 2018

Kung Fu FightingRiding on the crest of the kung fu movie craze of the early-mid 70’s, Carl Douglas scored a massive 1974 hit with Kung Fu Fighting.

carl douglas fax

  • Carl Douglas was born in Jamaica in 1942 and began his music career in 1961.
  • Carl grew up in both Jamaica and California before moving to the UK to study sound engineering.
  • His first foray into performing came in 1964 when he formed the band Big Stampede. They released two singles with no chart impact.
  • By the early 1970s, Carl was a session musician with Pye Records.
  • In 1974, Indian-born music producer Biddu asked Carl to provide the vocals for a song, I Want to Give You My Everything. Biddu then gave Carl some music for lyrics Carl had written about Kung Fu.  It was a smash hit.  So much so that, Carl’s entire music career has been overshadowed by his 1974 hit, Kung Fu Fighting.
  • Carl was the first Jamaican to score a #1 hit in the USA.
  • The follow-up to Kung Fu Fighting—Dance the Kung Fu—bombed in the USA, but made it to #20 in the UK. Despite other minor successes, Carl is considered a one-hit wonder.
  • Carl now lives in Hamburg, Germany and owns a production company that supplies music for films and advertisements.

kung fu fighting fax

  • The writing of Kung Fu Fighting is credited to Carl Douglas, who, it is said, recorded it in ten minutes.
  • It was released as a single in 1974 and rode the crest of the martial arts movie craze of that time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting hit #1 on the singles charts in the UK, US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and New Zealand. It made the top ten in a number of other countries.
  • The song eventually sold eleven million records worldwide and is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting was rated number 100 in VH1’s 100 Greatest one-hit wonders, and number 1 in the UK Channel 4’s Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000.
  • In 1998, British dance act, Bus Stop released a Kung Fu Fighting remix which sampled the original vocals by Carl Douglas and included added rap verses. It peaked at #8 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 2008, American artist, CeeLo Green covered Kung-Fu Fighting. His version appeared on the soundtrack for the movie, Kung Fu Panda.
  • Kung Fu Fighting lyrics.

kung fu fighting – carl douglas – 1974 – video

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We Don’t Talk Anymore – Cliff Richard – 1979

December 28, 2017

We Don't Talk Anymore Cliff Richard 1979 coverLove him or not, no one can deny – when it comes to making hit records, Cliff Richard has been pretty successful. From 1979, We Don’t Talk Anymore was Cliff’s 10th #1 UK hit.

cliff richard fax

  • 250 million records sold world-wide; the third-highest-selling artist in UK singles chart history; behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley; Harry Webb has done pretty good.
  • Born in India, Harry became interested in skiffle and formed his first band, The Quintones in 1957, he was 16.
  • Harry gave his vocals to a couple of local bands before being persuaded to change his name to Cliff Richard – “Cliff” because is sounded strong and “Richard” as a tribute to his musical hero, Little Richard.
  • Cliff had been singing with a band named, The Drifters; this became Cliff Richard and the Drifters. The band’s first single, Move It, was a hit in the UK – John Lennon called it the UK’s first rock ‘n’ roll song.  John also once said, “Before Cliff (Richard) and The Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music.”
  • Around 1959, The Drifters were forced to change their name due to legal challenges from the American band, the Drifters – The Shadows were born.
  • In the sixty years that have followed, Cliff has had more than 130 singles, albums and EPs make the UK Top 20, more than any other artist.
  • This includes, 67 UK Top Ten singles, the second highest total for an artist behind Elvis Presley – Elvis and Cliff are the only two acts to make the UK singles charts in all of its first six decades (1950s–2000s).
  • Cliff has had 14 UK #1 singles and is the only singer to have had a #1 UK single in five consecutive decades: the 1950s through to the 1990s.
  • It’s often said that Cliff has not been successful in the US. That’s not true.  It’s just that, compared to his phenomenal UK success, his US efforts seem rather meagre.  He has, however, achieved 8 US Top 40 singles, including the million-selling Devil Woman and We Don’t Talk Anymore.
  • Cliff Richard is now aged 77, having been born in 1940.

we don’t talk anymore fax

  • We Don’t Talk Anymore was written by British musician Alan Tarney who was a member of the Shadows between 1973 and 1977.
  • The song was recorded by Cliff Richard on May 29, 1979. Cliff took care of the vocals, Trevor Spencer played the drums, and Alan Tarney played all the other instruments.
  • We Don’t Talk Anymore sat at #1 on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It was Cliff’s tenth UK #1, but his first since Congratulations back in 1968.  It also topped the charts in ten other European countries and peaked at #7 on the US charts.
  • It was a timely hit for Cliff. We Don’t Talk Anymore reignited his flagging career.
  • The single sold over four million copies worldwide and was the sixth video aired on MTV on its launch on 1 August 1981.
  • We Don’t Talk Anymore lyrics.

we don’t talk anymore – cliff richard – 1979 – video

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