Pick of the Pops 54 (February 26th 1969)

A rare excursion to the 60s this week - and it's (mostly) ace.

Sandie Shaw - Monsieur Dupont

Some strange productions choices (particularly the backing vocals in the chorus), but a charming record nevertheless. 7/10

Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grape Vine

This was the number one single in Dave Hill's late eighties epic 'The Heart of Rock and Soul - The 1001 Best Singles of All Time. It's lost a bit of its power due to overfamiliarity (perhaps) - and to tell the truth I prefer The Slits' version these days - but an awesome record, and rarely was male insecurity and angst rendered so perfectly. 10/10

Sam and Dave - Soul Sister, Brown Sugar

The Stax/Atlantic sound is just not for me, but I quite like this one. 6/10

Dean Martin - Gentle on My Mind

A great song and a fabulous, laid-back (almost horizontal) delivery from Mr Crocetti.

Fooking tremendous! 8/10

Nina Simone - To Love Somebody

Barry Gibb. Genius. And a brilliant version of a great song from the wonderful Nina. 9/10

The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Loving Feeling

Again, a record that's lost some of its power due to a billion listens - and of course Paul 'The Guvnor' Shane's epic version - but it's (obviously) a slice of pop genius. 10/10

The Isley BrothersI Guess I'll Always Love You

It's another boss chart this week, that's for sure.

"Excuse me, Mrs Isley - is your Jasper playing out?" 8/10

Stevie Wonder - For Once In My Life

I prefer Stevie's funkier seventies stuff, but this is the sound of my childhood. Ace. 8/10

Cilla Black - Surround Yourself With Sorrow 

A great song which Cilla (and George Martin) do their level best to annihilate. Belfast songwriter Phil Coulter was a big Toffees' fan, so this makes George and Cilla's vandalism extra painful. 6/10

Marv Johnson - A Rose for My Rose

Really vulgar children in my school using to sing "I'll pick a crow from my nose" ('crow' being a local dialectical for 'bogey') to Marv's excellent Motown love song. 7/10

Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

"I am a linesman for Notts County," sang Edward 'Eddie' Large, thus spoiling (in my delicate and tragically easily bruised mind) one of the greatest records ever for all time. This song contains one of the greatest lyrical couplets in the English language. 10/10

The Move - Blackberry Way

What started off as an attempt to rewrite Strawberry Fields, Roy Wood's brilliant song took on a life of its own and is yet another great record in this week's brilliant POTP. 9/10

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas- Dancing in the Street

Putting aside the David Bowie/Mick Jagger monstrosity, this is a smashing, life-affirming song and record. 8/10

Englebert Humperdinck - The Way It Used To Be

I bet Englebert would try to have your pants off before he seated you at the restaurant table. 3/10

Donald Peers - Please Don't Go

This was such a great chart - up to about four minutes ago - what the holy fuck is this? The creepy Donald adds 'modern' lyrics to a Tales from Hoffman melody to create what sounds like a serial killer 'classic'. 0/10

DianaRoss and the Supremes/The Temptations - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

Phew - that's better. It's Motown-berserk this week on POTP - and all the better for it. A lovely record. 8/10

Amen Corner - If Paradise is Half as Nice

A decent little pop song - no more, no less. 6/10

Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To My Lovely?

There ARE more hateful singles out there, but excluding such vile fare as Hughie Greene's right-wing call to arms 'Stand Up For Your Rights' and Skrewdriver's entire recorded career, few records bring me out in hives in such profusion as this vinyl horror from 'Sarse'.

I don't know how many people I've fallen out with over this record. 

I remember one very angry woman saying:

"This is our favourite record! I give my son Jason his bath on a Friday, then I dry him off and put talc on his bum before he puts his jarmies on and gets into bed. I always give him a little kiss before singing him off to sleep with this song."

Which was all well and good until I remembered that Jason was 37 at the time

Anyway, heir to his vinegar empire, Peter Sarsons never worked a day in his life and spent his life trying to come up with the worst line in popular music history.

He came so close to pop immortality with "Your carefully-designed topless swimsuit" (and indeed, every other line in WDYGTML), and was hearbroken when Rod Stewart released 'Your in My Heart, You're in My Soul' and unleashed the line "the big bosom'd lady with the Dutch accent" to huge popular acclaim and opprobrium.


Gambaccini: couldn't work out how to pronounce 'Monsieur'. Twice. 3/10

Best Song: Glen

Worst: I'll let you work that one out.

Programme as a whole: another ace programme: 9/10


Click on the pic to hear the song: