Friday, December 28, 2007

Artifact: Britain’s biggest hits of 1970

I recently acquired a neat audio artifact (from here): BBC Radio’s year-end countdown of the Top 50 songs of 1970!

This combines three of my personal obsessions: popular music, foreign media, ’70s nostalgia.

In the early 1970s, during my pre-adolescence, I loved listening to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40.” The U.K. equivalent was called “Pick of the Pops.” (Compared to Casey Kasem, I say the British host sounds rather corny.)

I’m streaming the final three songs of the 1970 British countdown on my Vox blog. I shan’t ruin the drama by revealing those titles here, except to say that the No. 1 song you probably remember fondly (but not that fondly).

I will say that “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “All Right Now” and “Spirit in the Sky” were further down on the Top 10.

Also, there’s a cool extra bit at the very end of the show. So if you have 11 minutes to kill, click here and enjoy a trip back in time.


offby1 said...

Well, I certainly recognize #3 and #1. #2 I recognize the singer, but not the song.

You must be older than I thought!

Undercover Black Man said...

You must be older than I thought!

I'm definitely on the downhill side...

estiv said...

Just serves as a reminder that in any given year, the best-selling single is likely to be a novelty number. And what are later seen as the classics are not necessarily big hits at the time.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Indeed, Estiv. I was surprised most of all by the lesser placement of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

I just now bothered to check Wikipedia. Turns out "In the Summertime" was a worldwide smash, selling 23 million copies. (Although it didn't reach No. 1 in the USA.)

And that Elvis live version of "The Wonder of You" only reached No. 9 in the USA, but was one of Elvis's biggest hits ever in the UK, topping the charts for six weeks. (Matter fact, it knocked "In the Summertime" off the perch.)

Jeff said...

I started listening to American Top 40 in 1971, and from 1972 until 1977 I maintained a list of all the #1 songs. I still think that growing up on AM radio is one of the main reasons that my tastes are so varied and diverse. Where else could you conceivably hear a classic Stones rocker followed by a sublime Stylistics song followed by some dreck by the Osmond Brothers?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I'm with you, Jeff. Early-'70s Top 40 radio was fantastic! We even got the best of country music, like "Help Me Make It Through the Night."

Chicago Mike said...

Say what you will about #1 and #2 but Band of Gold is one of my all time favorites.