Pick of the Pops 40 (13.11.75)

Pick of the Pops
November 13th 1975

1975 was a really terrible year for chart music.
Rock dinosaurs, cabaret bands and really crappy cover versions were the order of the day (plus ça change, I suppose), and if you were looking for teenage kicks there was very, very little that reflected anything about your world or your life in the Top 30 (as it was then).
1975: isn't it any wonder why Denise and Denis from Auf Wiedersehn Pet's lad's band is so shite?

David Bowie and Roxy Music held the torch for those who liked something a bit more esoteric in pop, but it would take a few more years for younger artists to escape the shackles of 'producer music', and neither Bowie nor Ferry were in the flush of youth when they mage it big. Still, for brightening up a mid-70s Sweeneyesque Britain, I'll always hold them dear.

In we go, then....

Rod Stewart - This Old Heart of Mine
If it's Saturday, it must be Gambaccini and RAHHHHHHHHHD STOOOO-WAHHHHT.
TOHOM is an OK, if pedestrian version of The Isley Brothers' splendid 1968 hit.
Rod says he now regrets all of that meaningless sex he's had for the past few decades.
Not as much as his 'lovers', I'd wager.

John Miles - High Fly
This song and artist sort of typifies 1975. John Miles was obviously a talented musician, but without some sort of movement to channel his ideas, he ended up producing crap like this - a melange of Bee Gees' falsetto and nominal 'rock' that served little purpose as it was music without mystery, magic, threat or the promise of enlightenment. On the plus side, at least it's not his horrid, never-ending muso nightmare 'Music', but on the negative side - everything else.
When I attended my perverted bullyboy secondary school, I remember my Maths teacher putting some kid on detention for suggesting that he (Mr Angry-Sums) looked like John Miles. Harsh, but at least he didn't get battered (as was the norm).
Years later, I remember taking over a class of year elevens and a group of kids saying that they thought I really looked like 'Joe'. As my son was only about three at the time and I had no pictures of him on display, I asked them how they reckoned upon this notion.
"Because he's always on the telly."
I shrugged.
"On Corrie," they said.
I hadn't watched The Street of Shame in years, so I checked it out that night.
I came in all disappointed.
"Oh, NOT Reece Dinsdale," I said, all crestfallen.
"Who's that?" one of them asked.
But they all agreed that I was 'deffo' the 'spit' of 'Joe'.
Nothing against Reece - he's a fine-looking fellow, but those kids didn't understand the psychological damage that the awfulness of Reece's performance in poor quality hoolie film 'ID' and (much more importantly) his mullet-sporting 'Matthew' from 'Home to Roost' had inflicted on my delicate psyche.
No one got detention or battered, though.

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
I've said it before, but this is my musical kryptonite. A record I should hate, but don't.
A few things, though:
1How come Queen's squeaky-voiced drummer - or their Anita Dobson-coiffed guitarist - are always so keen to move the conversation along when the subject of John Deacon pops up in interviews? Didn't he make them enough money as the writer of some of their biggest-selling songs? The bastards.
2 Nobody will ever be able to fathom how much I hate the headbanging scene in 'Wayne's World'. Or indeed the rest of Wayne's World. Or the Austin Powers' 'trilogy'.
3 Or how much I love:
"Busst, Pogatetz, Kuyt -
Busst Pogatetz, Ride-out, Kinnear."

Maxine Nightingale - Get Right Back
A bit 'stompy' and a staccato, but OK. 4/10

Jigsaw - Sky High
One of those essentially cabaret bands who dreamed of being the cock of the Northern clubs, and would be offered songs which were often turned down by their equally Opportunity Knocks-style contemporaries such as Black Lace or Candlewick Green. A fine melody and production, but ultimately just a bit...shit. 4/10

George McCrae - I Ain't Lyin'
I really like his big hit 'Rock Your Baby', but as a huge fan of seventies women soul singers, I much prefer the work of his wife Gwen McCrae (née Mosley - and sadly never a spouse of outsize 'Corrie' actor and Gateshead car park freefaller, Bryan). This is OK, but nothing special. 4/10

Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Nothing against Hot Chocolate; they're just not for me. Oh, and I f***ing hate this song. 1/10

Hello - New York Groove
It sounds very much like Smokie, steals a basic Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley riff, and then spends the next three and a bit minutes being '1975'. Loads of handclaps (very popular that year), lots of stomping (again very popular in the mid seventies when people had a collectively lower IQ; but - give them their due - they didn't vote Brexit and voted in a Labour government on two occasions), and football-style chants on this fairly rubbish record. (I wish I could work out which Skids song it reminds me of). 3/10

Justin Hayward/John Lodge - Blue Guitar
Quite pleasant. Nothing more. 4/10

John Lennon - Imagine
I live round the corner from Paul McCartney's boyhood home and I perform poetry at Calderstones Park, the location of John and 'Aunty' Mimi's frequent naked frolics. My children went to John and George's primary school, my son was chosen as the school's representative to meet and greet Yoko Ono, and I once guessed a Beatles question correctly whilst appearing Radio 4's Brain of Britain. (Well done Liverpool's own Karl Whelan on being the 2021 champion.) So with those impeccable Beatles credentials, every time I see John singing 'Imagine no possessions" as he sits there at his white piano in his mansion located in his own Tittenhurst estate, I - like all right-thinking people - think: "Oh fook off, John!"
A lovely song. 8/10

Jim Capaldi - Love Hurts
A nice, if somewhat imagination-free version of a decent enough Everly Brothers' song. 4/10

Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy
Don't get me wrong, I love this song, but it's the runty, meffy, underdeveloped , smelly brother of Jimmy Webb's infinitely superior 'Wichita Linesman'.
I think the song might have been further spoiled by popular comic Edward's Large's comedic take on the lyrics. 5/10

Roxy Music - Love Is The Drug
Being a contrary sort of f****er, 'Siren', Roxy's fifth album is my absolute favourite in their 'canon'. And similar contrariness means that LITD is my least favourite track on the album. This was easily skipped on the CD version (what a good idea - I'll replace/'back up' all of the vinyl albums I have with CD's - because the sound is "infinitely better" and Kieran Prendeville said you can spread jam on them), but it meant trying to find track two on the vinyl version (not so good if you developed a serious tremor as a child) so that you aren't reminded of your older brother's filthy (but excellent) 'alternative' first line lyric. Kudos to the eighties indie band We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Going to Use It for their feminist take - 'Love is the Slug' - before they went all girlie and glam and became the chart-friendly 'Fuzzbox' (but were still great). 7/10

Billy Connolly - DIVORCE
Not quite sure what the audience are laughing at here (I think it's because they just LIKE Billy), and this improbable number one's highlight is when the narrator relates the story of his ex-wife to be biting his "B.U.M" (considered quite risque in its day. Indeed). It's not very good, but far more acceptable a record than his homophobic 1979 hit 'In the Brownies'. 3/10

David Bowie - Space Oddity
When this song made the top ten in 1969, it looked like David Bowie would be a one-hit wonder, as he had to wait another three years before his next hit. Have to admit, I don't play this very often, but...it's great. One of two David Bowie songs directly referenced in The Young Ones - so that makes it extra special in my book. Song of the week. 9/10

So, all in all, not a bad chart at all - and nowhere near as bad as I'd feared. No really hideous songs - and some ace ones. I made a few preliminary scribbles for last week's programme (1988), but it was just too depressing and awful a chart for my barely adequate psychic defences to contemplate.

Gambaccini: 3/10 (the usual)
Programme as a Whole: 7/10
Worst song: Hot Chocolate
Best: DB (Click on the pic to hear the song.)