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Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 3 - The 1970s

Started by daf, August 02, 2021, 01:55:00 PM

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gilbertharding

Also the theme music for the brilliant (apart from the obvious bits which weren't) tv show Fantasy Football League.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 18, 2021, 02:18:05 PM
Also the theme music for the brilliant (apart from the obvious bits which weren't) tv show Fantasy Football League.
I think in the first episode Skinner sang a "here's what going on so far this season" number to the tune of 'Back Home', which was thankfully quickly dropped as a regular turn.

Gulftastic

17th May -Gulftastic says hello world.
19th May - Stewart Cable out off of the Stereophonics is born.

daf

Cheers - I just managed to squeeze you in before the editing window closed!

gilbertharding



daf

286b. (NME 288.)  The Moody Blues – Question



From :  27 May - 2 June 1970
Weeks : 1
B-side : Candle of Life
Bonus 1 : 'It's Lulu' TV Performance
Bonus 2 : French TV Performance
Bonus 3 : Album version

The Story So Far : 
QuoteJustin David Hayward was born in Dean Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, England. He aspired to become a musician from an early age.

Justin Hayward : "I got my first guitar when I was 10, and I hustled a few kids at school to get a group together. I recall how much I loved all of us being in someone's front room, trying to work out the chords to some songs. It probably included Rock Around The Clock. And then when I heard Buddy Holly for the first time, that brought everything into focus. I knew what I wanted to do."

He was playing in several bands as early as age 15 when he bought his Gibson 335, a guitar that appears on nearly all of his records throughout his career, and a Vox AC30 amplifier. He performed with local Swindon groups in clubs and dance halls playing mostly Buddy Holly songs. One of Hayward's early groups was The Whispers, who as All Things Bright, opened for The Hollies and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

Justin Hayward : "In my home town, it was quite an active music scene, and people were forever asking, "How have you gone professional yet?" Which usually meant that you just stay in bed in the morning. You didn't have to do a job. You could try and support the payments on your guitar and that kind of stuff through doing music work."



Aged 18, he signed an eight-year publishing contract as a songwriter with the skiffle artist and record producer Lonnie Donegan, a move Hayward later regretted, as it meant the rights to all his songs written before 1974 would always be owned by Donegan's Tyler Music. In 1965 he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker and auditioned as guitarist for Marty Wilde, and went on to work with Wilde and his wife in The Wilde Three.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In 1966, after answering another ad in Melody Maker, this time placed by Eric Burdon of The Animals, Hayward was contacted by Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues after Burdon had passed on Hayward's letter and demo discs to Pinder. Within a few days, Hayward had replaced departing Moody Blues vocalist and guitarist Denny Laine. Bassist John Lodge replaced temporary deputy Rod Clarke, who had stood in for departed bassist Clint Warwick at the same time.

After beginning by singing the old blues-inspired repertoire of the Moody Blues' 1964–1965 era, Hayward's initial artistic contribution to the Moody Blues was his song "Fly Me High", which was a Decca single early in 1967. It failed to chart, but gave the revised band a new direction forward from the R&B sound they had been largely producing up to that point.



Justin Hayward : "Because the music belonged to Denny Laine, and I don't think any of us had our hearts in it until we began to do our own songs. Once that happened, then things began to change. But until then, nobody thought the band could last long."

In 1967, Hayward's driving rocker "Leave This Man Alone" was then used as the B-side of their next single on Decca, backing Pinder's "Love And Beauty", the first Moody Blues record to feature the Mellotron. Hayward and Lodge's integration into the Moody Blues along with Pinder's use of the Mellotron sparked greater commercial success and recognition for the band, transforming them into one of pop music's biggest-selling acts.

Justin Hayward : "In 1967 and early '68, as Mike developed his Melltron style and the songs came along with our vocal identity all I wanted was my 335 back. In 1968 I hired one from Selmers in Charing Cross Road.  It was well used, though less than five years old, with a Bigsby that was fitted at the Kalamazoo factory, and with two great humbucking pick-ups. I fell completely in love from the moment I touched it and I had to have it. Selmers didn't want to sell it saying it was their 'most popular hire guitar', and things like 'but everyone loves it'."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In September 1967, the group were asked by their record company, to record an adaptation of Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 for Decca's newly formed Deram Records division in order to demonstrate their latest recording techniques, which were named "Deramic Sound".

Decca had experimented with stereophonic sound for classical recordings, and hoped to capture the pop market in the same way, by interweaving classical recordings with the group's interpretation of the same music. Instead, the band decided to focus on an album based on an original stage show that they'd been working on, and mix that with classical arrangements of those songs. Keyboardist Mike Pinder had purchased a Mellotron, a tape replay keyboard, and written a song, "Dawn Is a Feeling" as a starting point for a concept piece about a day in the life of everyday man.

The 1967 album 'Days of Future Passed', one of the first and most influential symphonic rock albums, gave rise to the Hayward-penned singles "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin". The latter record went on to sell over two million copies.



Justin Hayward : "Our songs were recorded quickly and quite economically within two or three days, although Nights had been recorded several months before the album was released. But we were never in the studio with The Orchestra. There were a lot of people involved. I wish we could take the credit. But in reality, we were a small part of that idea. I think it just became a Moody Blues album that is beautiful and seems to define us, really, in a wonderful way. I'm very grateful for that. None of us in the group could take the credit. We had no idea how that was really going to turn out. There was no plan or anything like that. It was just a wonderful gift to us from Decca, who had that concept. But even they had no idea how it would turn out. They really wanted a demonstration stereo record to demonstrate their stereo systems. That was their whole purpose in making Days of Future Passed. We were just lucky that the arranger that they commissioned for it was Peter Knight, who was the best romantic string arranger I've ever known, really, and as a composer as well, right up there."



The 1968 follow-up LP, 'In Search of the Lost Chord' was another concept album, this time based on a broad theme of quest and discovery, including world exploration ("Dr. Livingstone, I Presume"), music and philosophy through the ages ("House of Four Doors"), lost love ("The Actor"), higher consciousness ("Legend of a Mind"), imagination ("The Best Way to Travel"), and space exploration ("Departure").



Justin Hayward began playing sitar and incorporating it into Moody Blues music having been inspired by George Harrison. Hayward's "Voices in the Sky" charted as a single in the UK (#27 in August 1968), as did Lodge's "Ride My See-Saw" which reached #42 in December 1968.



On 1969's 'On the Threshold of a Dream', Hayward, Edge and Pinder share the opening narration on Edge's "In The Beginning", leading into Hayward's "Lovely To See You".



His "Never Comes the Day" was issued as a UK single, but made no impact on the charts.



The band's music continued to become more complex and symphonic, with heavy amounts of reverberation on the vocal tracks, resulting in 1969's 'To Our Children's Children's Children's Children's Children's Children's Children' – a concept album inspired by the first moon landing.



The opening track "Higher and Higher" saw Pinder simulate a rocket blast-off on keyboards, then narrate Edge's lyrics. Thomas' "Floating" and "Eternity Road" stood out, as did Hayward's "Gypsy" and a rare Pinder-Lodge collaboration "Out and In".



The album closed with "Watching and Waiting" which was issued as a single on their own newly created Threshold label, but again failed to chart.



In August 1970, the group lost some of their full-blown orchestral sound for 'A Question of Balance', having decided to record an album that could be played in concert.



The album reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and #3 in the United States, Hayward's "Question", in a slightly different arrangement, was issued as a single, becoming their second UK number 1 . . .

The Single :
Quote"Question" was written Justin Hayward, and performed by The Moody Blues.



"Question" was first released as a single in April 1970. While it reached number 2 in the official UK chart, it topped the NME chart at the end of May, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.

Justin Hayward : "With Question, the song, recorded before the album, there's no double-tracking, just echo and a big old 12-string guitar. We learned to play that the old-fashioned way and just recorded it one Saturday. It was a deliberate attempt to try and pull back to something more real. It was a great time for us, with the Isle of Wight Festival and all that kind of stuff going on. It carried us along, Question. The whole album did."



The song reached number 21 on the Billboard Top 40 in the USA, and was later featured as the lead track on the 1970 album 'A Question of Balance'.

Other Versions include : "Hunderttausend Fragen" by Vicky Leandros (1971)  /  Danny Cox (1971)  /  Marcia Griffiths (1975)  /  James Last (1975)  /  Anne Kirkpatrick (1978)  /  Fish (1993)  /  Nada Surf (2010)  /  The Tribute Co. (2010)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Frankie G (2016)  /  Dave Bowie (2020)  /  Christen Ball (2021)

On This Day :
Quote27 May : Joseph Fiennes, actor, born Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (!!!) in Salisbury, Wiltshire
30 May : "Minnie's Boys" closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 80 performances
1 June : Soyuz 9 launched into Earth orbit for 18 days

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :
Quote

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Previously :
185.  |  The Moody Blues - Go Now!

gilbertharding

The trouble is, I have a set idea in my head of what a Moody Blues fan looks like... well, what a specific Moody Blues fan looked like in 1991. A forty-something thickie from St Neots who drove a Ford Cortina and was prepared to admit that Sadness Part 1 by Enigma was 'quite good'.

famethrowa

Quote from: daf on August 16, 2021, 02:00:00 PM
285.  Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky


Top stuff, great tune. Extremely influential on glam rock too?

The guitar fuzz is perfect and beguiling, it was some homemade effect so no-one's even been able to perfectly find that sound (though you can get close by putting a nearly-flat battery in a fuzz pedal).

Jockice

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 20, 2021, 02:48:22 PM
The trouble is, I have a set idea in my head of what a Moody Blues fan looks like... well, what a specific Moody Blues fan looked like in 1991. A forty-something thickie from St Neots who drove a Ford Cortina and was prepared to admit that Sadness Part 1 by Enigma was 'quite good'.

I know someone from St Neots who must be in her 40s by now. Don't know what she drives or what her musical tastes are but she has a PhD so can't really be described as a thickie.

And that Moody Blues song is a real rarity in my mind. A chart-topping single that I've never heard of yet alone knowingly heard before. I reckon from about 1965 (when I was born) until the turn of the century (or probably about four or five years into it) I could name just about every other number one single within a few bars. How have I missed this one?

daf

287.  Christie – Yellow River



From : 31 May – 6 June 1970
Weeks : 1
B-side : Down The Mississippi Line
Bonus 1 : Promo film 1
Bonus 2 : Promo film 2

The Story So Far : 
QuoteChristie were formed by vocalist, bassist and songwriter Jeff Christie, guitarist Vic Elmes, and drummer Mike Blakley.

Jeff Christie : "By the time I was 13, I knew I wanted to somehow earn a living as a musician, it would be just the coolest thing I thought, and I was starting to get tired and bored of piano lessons when I heard Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel on the radio and the sound and the singer just sounded so exciting: rock'n'roll had arrived and the excitement of what I felt listening to it reminded me of how I felt when I first heard Flamenco so I nagged my dad for a cheap Spanish guitar and took to it like a duck to water, improving quickly and formed a group and within a couple of years, started playing small gigs and progressing nicely until we were good enough to try to get a record contract but we were playing other peoples songs as were most bands that didn't have a contract. It was now in the mid-sixties and I remember an A&R guy once told me "you're not going to get a record contract by playing other people's songs, you've got to write your own songs"."

Jeff Christie had initially worked with several bands, including The Outer Limits, who released "Just One More Chance" (b/w "Help Me Please") in 1967, and "Great Train Robbery" (b/w "Sweet Freedom") in 1968).

Jeff Christie : "At the University of Leeds with my band The Outer Limits we played alongside Bluesology and they had this keyboard player who was as quiet as a mouse, and so under the radar called Reg Dwight who a couple of years later morphed into Elton John."

In 1970, Jeff Christie offered his composition "Yellow River" to The Tremeloes. They recorded it to release as a single but changed their minds as they were going more progressive as the seventies started. Alan Blakley's brother Michael had a group called The Epics, and after inviting Jeff Christie to come down from Leeds to sing over the Tremeloes' backing track, The Epics became Christie with Jeff as the lead vocalist. The resulting single, Yellow River", became a UK number one hit in June 1970, and was a Top 30 hit on the Billboard singles chart in the US.



The follow-up single from October 1970, "San Bernadino" (b/w "Here I Am"), reached #7 in the UK, and was a Number 1 in Germany, but only reached #100 in the US. Both tracks featured on their debut album, enigmatically titled 'Christie Featuring San Bernadino And Yellow River', released in 1970.



Jeff Christie : "In the early 70s, now with Christie, we had death threats in Africa, because we were playing in Lusaka. The security was so bad and there was a mighty thunderstorm and it was outdoors in a football stadium with no overhead shelter so we had to abandon the concert as there was a real fear of electrocution."

In 1971, drummer Mike Blakley was replaced by Paul Fenton just before the release of the band's second album, 'For All Mankind'.



The single "Man Of Many Faces" (b/w "Country Sam") was released in March 1971, followed in August 1971 by a three track 'maxi-single', featuring "Everything's Gonna Be Alright", "Freewheelin' Man" plus "Magic Highway".



In 1972 they released two singles : "Iron Horse" (b/w "Every Now And Then") in January 1972 - which peaked at #47 in the UK charts, and "Fools Gold" in October 1972.



Lem Lubin (ex-Unit 4 + 2) joined in 1972, but the departure of Fenton and Lubin hastened the demise of the original line-up. Jeff Christie returned with new members Terry Fogg (drums), Roger Flavell (bass), and Danny Krieger (guitar). "The Dealer (Down And Losin')" (b/w "Pleasure And Pain") was released in July 1973, and "Alabama" (b/w "I'm Alive") in January 1974.



New members Tony Ferguson (guitar) and Roger Willis (drums) were brought in to join Christie and Flavell. "JoJo's Band", written by Elmes, was a hit for Christie in Argentina and Brazil, while the last Christie hit, "Navajo", was Number 1 in Mexico.

Jeff Christie : "I had a good five years working with Christie in the 70s, and once the band finished in 1975, I stopped playing for about 14 or 15 years, and then I started playing again in the 90s as there were a lot of people telling me there was a nostalgia circuit interested in hearing my songs again. I resisted it at first, but then I kind of fell in with the idea."

The Single :
Quote"Yellow River" was written by Jeff Christie and recorded by his band Christie.



Originally offered to The Tremeloes, who recorded it with the intention of releasing it as a single early in 1970. However, after the success of their then most recent single, "Call Me Number One", they decided not to release it, considering it too pop-orientated for their future direction. Producer Mike Smith took their vocals off the recording and added those of Jeff Christie.

The actual location of Yellow River in this song is not specified, although Christie is on record as saying that it was inspired by the idea of a soldier going home at the end of the American Civil War. As the song was released during the Vietnam War, it has been interpreted as being about a soldier leaving the U.S. Military at the end of his period of conscription.



Released on 23 April 1970, it became an international hit, reaching number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for one week in June 1970 and number 23 on the Billboard singles chart in the US. It was also a number one in Finland, Ireland, Mexico, and Norway, with global sales of over 30 million.

Jeff Christie : "I would never have predicted that after 50 years that song would still be playing! It is a lovely feeling after 50 odd years. If somebody would have told me when I wrote the song that 50 years from now that I'd be driving along, I would turn on the radio, and then I'd hear my song playing, I would have been like "oh, come on!". But that's, that's what's happened, and it's fantastic, it's just wonderful. The other two big hits from Christie were Iron Horse and San Bernardino that still get airtime too. Every year that goes by, I never would have thought radio would still be playing my songs 50 years later. But somehow, it doesn't stop and that river keeps on rollin'."

In Australia, Christie's version of Yellow River gained only limited airplay due to the 1970 radio ban. Local bands Jigsaw from Melbourne and Autumn from Sydney both had success with cover versions.

Other Versions includeThe Tremeloes (1969)  /  The Fevers (1970)  /  Springbok (1970)  /  Leapy Lee (1970)  /  Jackie Mittoo (1970)  /  "Fremde Augen" by Bernd Spier (1970)  /  "L'Amérique" by Joe Dassin (1970)  /  Reg Dwight (1970)  /  "Tuulensuojaan" by Danny (1970)  /  Middle of the Road (1971)  /  "Valuri albe" by Aurelian Andreescu (1972)  /  Schytts (1977)  /  R.E.M. (2001)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  a robot (2020)

On This Day :
Quote1 June : Soyuz 9 launched into Earth orbit for 18 days
3 June : Blue-chinned ghoul U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced that American troops would be pulled out of Cambodia
4 June : Tonga declares independence from UK
4 June : Richie Hawtin, Canadian electronic musician (Plastikman), born Richard Hawtin in Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK

gilbertharding

Quote from: Jockice on August 22, 2021, 03:13:26 PM
I know someone from St Neots who must be in her 40s by now. Don't know what she drives or what her musical tastes are but she has a PhD so can't really be described as a thickie.

She wasn't in her 40s in 1991 though, was she? And called Des (can't remember his last name...).

Jockice

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 23, 2021, 02:08:10 PM
She wasn't in her 40s in 1991 though, was she? And called Des (can't remember his last name...).

Certainly wasn't. Could have been her dad though. Or more likely her grandad. She's the only person I've ever known from St Neots but I've never met any of her family except for her sister. So there we go.

Follow up single, San Bernadino, misspelled the city's name (San Bernardino). Who's the nutter dancing behind the band in front of some TV screens?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAAqAho_BsU&ab_channel=NoMadU55555

Interesting also that the Tremeloes gave Christie the backing track for Yellow River in exchange for him taking Alan Blakley's brother's band as his musicians.

The name Christie always reminds me of 10 Rillington Place, which I believe was filmed in 1970.

daf

Quote from: Satchmo Distel on August 23, 2021, 11:55:19 PM
Who's the nutter dancing behind the band in front of some TV screens?

I'm pretty sure this is from the German pop show 'Disco' - which, according to wikipedia, was hosted by the actor and comedian Ilja Richter. My guess is that it's probably him.



I've done a bit more digging, and I've found the complete episode this is from : Disco 71 - Edition 1 - and, as suspected, it is Richter doing a sort of 'Mr Bean' type character.

Also has Dana being driven around London from 24:00. Some of the singing might be live (Dana, Lulu, Petula Clark, Kinks).

The Culture Bunker

Though if the question "who had a #1 hit with 'Yellow River'?" came up in a quiz I'd know the answer, I don't think I've knowingly heard the song before. Maybe it's one of those I'll hear and go "oh, that" but I can't be arsed to find out.

gilbertharding

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on August 25, 2021, 09:44:47 AM
Though if the question "who had a #1 hit with 'Yellow River'?" came up in a quiz I'd know the answer, I don't think I've knowingly heard the song before. Maybe it's one of those I'll hear and go "oh, that" but I can't be arsed to find out.

This period is very unexplored in terms of actual popular music for young people, isn't it? The end of an era before a new one has properly begun. For some reason it's only the ROCK music which has stood the test of time.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 25, 2021, 09:49:01 AM
This period is very unexplored in terms of actual popular music for young people, isn't it? The end of an era before a new one has properly begun. For some reason it's only the ROCK music which has stood the test of time.
I'm flattered you think I might be young (sadly, I'm 40) - I could probably hum you all the rest of the #1 hits of 1970 (or growl, in Lee Marvin's case) and one of my all time favourite chart toppers is coming up soon, but Christie have bypassed me completely, or the song is so bland as to never register enough to form a lasting memory. I can't say the Edison Lighthouse number does a lot for me, but it's catchy enough so that I can instantly recall the chorus.

bigfatheart

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 25, 2021, 09:49:01 AM
The end of an era before a new one has properly begun.

That's definitely how I'd describe it, the big 60s bands have split up or aren't singles bands anymore, your reliable b-listers are plugging away but not coming out with too much that's memorable, and glam's not started yet. Subsequently, it feels like the vacuum's being filled by a lot of pleasant but unremarkable Shakin' Creedence/Shakin' Band types, including Christie.

The Culture Bunker

I might ask my dad (who was in his last week of being 16 when this was #1) whether he remembers the song when I speak to him tonight. I imagine he will as he was at his first job, in the office of a paper factory in Workington, at the time and told me the radio was a constant presence.

gilbertharding

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on August 25, 2021, 09:53:33 AM
I'm flattered you think I might be young (sadly, I'm 40) - I could probably hum you all the rest of the #1 hits of 1970 (or growl, in Lee Marvin's case) and one of my all time favourite chart toppers is coming up soon, but Christie have bypassed me completely, or the song is so bland as to never register enough to form a lasting memory. I can't say the Edison Lighthouse number does a lot for me, but it's catchy enough so that I can instantly recall the chorus.

I'm 52 myself - so I'm also working from what has passed into popular memory. My early exposure to music came from a big sister who was 10 when I was born, and my mum listening to Radio 2. So I am familiar with a lot of Album Rock from the mid to late 70s and this kind of middle of the road stuff. Wandering Star is, as you say, a touchstone. I don't have first-hand memories of TotP until about 1974 or 5.

daf

288.  Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime



From : 7 June – 25 July 1970
Weeks : 7
B-side : Mighty Man
Bonus 1 : Stereo album version
Bonus 2 : Promo film
Bonus 3 : Street film
Bonus 4 : Beat Club
Bonus 5 : Italian TV Performance
Bonus 6 : Ray Dorset Tutorial

The Story So Far : 
QuoteRaymond Edward Dorset formed The Blue Moon Skiffle Group as a teenager. He worked as an apprentice hairdresser for nine months after leaving the school without qualifications. After this he studied for a City and Guilds qualification at Twickenham College of Technology and worked for Radio Control Specialists Ltd, National Works, Bath Road, Hounslow, a firm that manufactured Radio Control equipment for models and film work.

In his spare time, he played with The Buccaneers, whose line-up included bass player, Dave Hutchins and drummer, Derek 'Degs' Sermon, who was later to play on Screaming Lord Sutch's, 'Jack The Ripper' single. The Buccaneers became The Conchords a year later cutting their first demo's at Tony Pike's studio in Putney. Another name change transpired after a gig at a 'Tramps Ball' at a London club. The band adopted the stage clothes that they had been wearing that night, and became The Tramps and their first taste of recognition came when they won the 1964 Loughton Beat Contest, in Essex.

In 1968, Dorset formed the group Good Earth, which included Colin Earl on keyboards, Dave Hutchins on bass, and Ray Bowerman on drums. They recorded the album 'It's Hard Rock And All That' on the Saga record label, before bassist Dave Hutchins left to join Bobby Parker's band.

Ray Dorset : "I started playing regularly when I was fourteen years old in pubs and clubs. I ended up backing a guy named Jack Edwards. He wrote "Keep On Running", "Somebody Help Me", "Goin' Home". I was playing in a band with him. The drummer left and joined Savoy Brown. The bass player left and joined Bobby Parker. He did something called "Watch Your Step". Roger Earl was the drummer. He joined Savoy Brown. His brother, who used to come and see me play on a Sunday, played the piano. We formed a Rock 'n' Roll band because we loved Rock 'n' Roll. We were playing Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard."



Having fired the drummer, Dorset and Earl decided to fulfil the one remaining gig, an Oxford University Christmas Ball in December 1968, as a three-piece with Joe Rush, one of Dorset's colleagues, on double bass. Though booked for only one set, Good Earth were asked to perform another after the bands had finished, playing a selection of American folk/blues/skiffle/jug band music from Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie and others, plus some of Dorset's songs.

Ray Dorset : "Then we decided to fire the drummer, but we got a gig booked at Oxford University for a Christmas Ball. I was already fiddling around with this kind of junk band, Skiffle music. I saw Jesse Fuller on TV, playing "San Francisco Bay Blues", like a one band thing. He also used a harmonica harness 'round his neck and played the kazoo So, I was kind of doing that stuff. I had a jam session with Colin Earl and I got a guy that I worked with who played stand-up bass and a bit of percussion and washboard. We did the gig at Oxford University without a rehearsal, playing this funny music and they loved it. They loved it so much that we decided to carry on like that and not bother to get a drummer. That was the end of 1968. But, we were then called The Good Earth."

The trio played more gigs and landed a regular slot at the Master Robert Motel in Osterley, Middlesex, where they soon built up a following, including banjo, guitar and blues harp player Paul King who eventually joined the band, making it a four-piece. The were signed to the newly created Pye subsidiary, Dawn Records.

Ray Dorset : "When Barry Murray, who was an old friend of mine, saw an advertisement we had in Melody Maker looking for some more gigs, he called me up and was starting a new company called The Red Bus Co. He also had a job as a house producer for Pye Record Company and they started up a new label which was supposed to be their avant garde label. The name of the label was Dawn. He gave me a call and asked me what I was doing. I told him about the kind of music I was playing and he hired a rehearsal room and we came down with a band and played some music for him to listen to with a musical arranger, a guy that he had. They really loved what we played and they said "Would you like to make an album?" Of course we jumped at the chance."

Booked to play at the Hollywood Festival, the group were encouraged to change their name from The Good Earth.

Ray Dorset : "And at the same time the companies that he had decided to make a big launch of their company by putting on a festival in England. And this was in a very small village in the midlands. The name of the village was Hollywood. They called it the Hollywood Festival and they booked The Grateful Dead, Jose Feliciano, Black Sabbath, Free, Traffic, Ginger Baker's Airforce, Tony Joe White, Screamin' Lord Sutch and there were probably some others. They said "You guys should play at the festival, but you need to change your name. So, we couldn't agree on a name."

The new name of the band, Mungo Jerry, was based on Mungojerrie, a cat from T.S. Elliot's book, Old Possums Book Of Practical Cats.

Ray Dorset : "Barry pulled a name out of a hat, that happened to be Mungo Jerrie, which comes from T.S. Elliot's book, Old Possums Book Of Practical Cats. The spelling that we have is incorrect, because in the book, the Jerry part is spelled Jerrie. And that was it."



After Rush left, Mike Cole was recruited on double bass, and this line-up recorded the first seventeen Mungo Jerry tracks. A live favourite, the song "Mighty Man" was originally planned to be their first single.

Ray Dorset : "This song was written onstage whilst playing a gig at an R.A.F nurses venue in Swindon, Wiltshire. We were going down really great with the audience and the guys in the band asked me what we were going to play next? I had no idea, but as I had a harmonica harness around my neck which contained a C-blues harp, and a kazoo, I immediately started to bash out a rhythmic groove on the guitar. And for some reason or other the melodic hook on the kazoo. After twelve bars of this, I launched into the lyric which came immediately into my head. The crowd loved it, I did not even write down the text of the song. After that gig the song became a highlight at every gig that we subsequently performed at. And because it was such a popular item in the band's repertoire, we thought that it would be the obvious choice for a single if we ever got the opportunity to record one. When we were invited by Barry Murray to record a couple of songs at the Pye Recording studios as a recording test. This, along with Peace in the Country, another of my compositions, was the song that we recorded."

However, it was another song, "In The Summertime", featuring the delightful sound of someone farting into a demijohn, that was eventually singled out for the A-side . . .

Ray Dorset : "We went into the recording studio and recorded seventeen titles. Barry said "In The Summertime" was a hit single. Of course he was right. We recorded the song, just the four instrumentalists. We put down the grand piano, the stand-up bass, banjo and electric guitar. Then, I dunno what order I did it, I obviously put on the vocal. I decided to double-track the vocal. I picked up an acoustic guitar and gave it more or less this Latin groove, because the left hand of the piano is playing the boogie bass line, which technically the whole record is out of order. It shouldn't work. Then I play that rhythm on the acoustic guitar and then I picked up a cabasa and I played the same thing with the cabasa. There's no drums on there. I got this idea from watching John Lee Hooker. John Lee Hooker stomps on the floor, yeah? You just need that on beat groove. I stomped on a piece of wood in the studio and the engineer kind of messed around with the EQ to give it a bit more depth. Paul King put the jug on. It was absolutely, totally unique."



The single was released in May 1970, and was an instant smash hit.

Ray Dorset : "It was released on the 22nd of May, 1970. We did a show at the Hollywood Music Festival on the 23rd of May. There were about 35,000 people there. We tore the place apart. They said it would be a good idea if you play again the next day, which we did and the same thing happened again. The record went straight into the charts at number 13 on a Wednesday. Did my first TV show on Sunday and the following Tuesday we went to number 1. I asked my boss if it was OK to have an afternoon off to do Top Of The Pops and he said yes. And that was it."

They released their first album, 'Mungo Jerry' later in 1970. The initial British release featured lettering on the front of the sleeve and a group photo inside which appeared to be three-dimensional when viewed through a pair of 3D red and green lenses included in the packaging. It reached No. 14 in the British charts that summer.



Most of the songs were Dorset originals, including : "Johnny B. Badde", "Maggie", "Peace in the Country", "See Me", and "My Friend". Jug blower Paul King contributed three songs : "Sad Eye Joe", "Movin' On" and "Tramp". Pianist Colin Earl wrote "Daddies Brew", and the instrumental "Mother *!*!*! Boogie" was a group effort. The album also feature two covers : "Baby Let's Play House" and "San Francisco Bay Blues".

As was often the case, throughout the 60's, singles and albums were kept separate, so "In The Summertime" was was not included on the debut album in the UK. Sensibly, it was added to the versions of the album sold in other countries.



Sensing a missed opportunity, the hit single was eventually included on their second UK album, 'Electronically Tested' released in March 1971 . . .

The Single :
Quote"In the Summertime" was written by Ray Dorset, and performed by his band Mungo Jerry. The song celebrates the carefree days of summer, when you could have a drink and a drive without getting tutted at by "politically correct" conker-banning fusspots!



"In the Summertime" took Dorset only ten minutes to compose.

Ray Dorset : "I probably wrote it during the springtime of 1969, and came up with the melody in the evening. I was living in the maisonette that I bought from my dear friend Joe Rush who sadly passed away this year. We had seen a salmon pink Fender Stratocaster in a music shop in West London, it was seventy five pounds. Joe lent me the deposit so that I buy it on hire purchase. The guitar cost more than the three piece suit that I had bought for thirty nine guineas in the Feltham branch of Tescos supermarket. I was messing around on the guitar in the key of D major when the melody came into my head. The next day when I was at my desk in the Timex research laboratory where I was working at the time the melody surfaced again and as I was early for work that day I decided to write the text for the song. With little thought, I found that the lyric flowed immediately and without any alterations, I had written all of the verses. And that is why I always say that the physical side of the song, both words and music probably took about ten minutes to compose."

At producer Barry Murray's suggestion, a false ending was added to stretch the song out a bit . . .

Ray Dorset : "Barry said "It's a bit short. If we could make the track longer, we'd get double the performance money when it's played on the radio." So, it's not a bad idea, as I wrote the song. He said "How can we make it longer?" I said "We'll just get a recording of a motorcycle, stick it on the end of the song and then re-edit the front and then put the front off to the motorcycle so it starts up again." But I couldn't find a motorcycle. Howard Barry, the engineer had an old, well, it wasn't old then, a Triumph sports car, which he drove past the studio while Barry Murray was holding the microphone. So, he got the stereo effects from left to right or right to left, whatever. And that was it. So, they put that on there. That's how the whole thing was put together."

The initial UK release was on Dawn Records, a new label launched by Pye. It was unusual in that it was a maxi single, playing at 33 ⅓ rpm, whereas singles generally played at 45 rpm. It included an additional song also written and composed by Dorset, "Mighty Man", on the A-side, and a much longer track, the Woody Guthrie song "Dust Pneumonia Blues" on the B-side. As the record was sold in a picture sleeve, also not standard at the time, and sold at only a few pence more than the normal 45 rpm two-track single, it was considered value for money. A small quantity of 45 rpm discs on the Pye record label, with "Mighty Man" on the B-side, and without a picture sleeve, were pressed for use in jukeboxes. These are now rare collector's items.



Ray Dorset : "It became the first maxi-single in the world as well, which was a seven inch vinyl played at 33 1/3 RPM, in a paper bag. We were in a thing called an EP in England, which was in a colour sleeve, four tracks running at forty-five RPM. They decided to release a maxi-single, sell it the same price as a normal single."

It reached number one in charts around the world, including seven weeks on the UK Singles Chart, two weeks on one of the Canadian charts, and number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the US. It became one of the best-selling singles of all-time, eventually selling 30 million copies.

Ray Dorset : "This song has brought pleasure, and extremely fond memories to literally millions of folks throughout the world. These folks now span five generations. The underlining sentiment of the song is primarily that of Love, Peace, Happiness, and the celebration of life."



Other Versions include :   The Idle Race (1970)  /  The Peddlers (1970)  /  Ken Boothe (1970)  /  Reg Dwight (1970)  /  Os Carbonos (1970)  /  "Rok s Monikou" by Stanislav Hranický (1970)  /  "På en sommerdag" by Otto Brandenburg (1970)  /  "Kesäaikaan" by Ernos (1970)  /  "Wenn der Sommer kommt" by Crickets Five (1970)  /  Tomorrow's Children (1970)  /  Corben Simpson (1972)  /  Buckwheat Zydeco (1983)  /  Bobby Ox (1983)  /  Frank Sidebottom (1985)  [oh yes it is, it really is . . . thankyou!]  /  Grabbarna (1993)  /  Shaggy feat. Rayvon (1995)  /  X-COVER (2011)  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Soluna Samay & G.G. Kettel (2016)  /  George Ezra (2018)  /  Wanderlust Menorca & Friends (2018)  /  Scott Bradlee ft. Casey Abrams (2019)

On This Day :
Quote7 June : E. M. Forster, English writer and novelist, dies aged 91
9 June : Argentine military junta under Juan Carlos Lanusse ousts President Juan Carlos Onganía
11 June : Camille Bombois, French circus wrestler/painter, dies aged 87
12 June : Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood marries Jenny Boyd
13 June : The Beatles' "Long & Winding Road" single goes to Number 1 on the US charts
13 June : Rivers Cuomo, musician (Weezer), born in NYC, New York
18 June : Edward Heath's Conservative Party win the General Election in UK, replacing the Labour Party
19 June : Soyuz 9 returned to Earth at a site 47 miles west of Karaganda. Cosmonauts Nikolayev and Sevastyanov returned after a then-record 17 days, 16 hours and 59 minutes in outer space
21 June : Doors singer and Lizard Oaf, Jim Morrison, "marries" author Patricia Kennealy in a celtic pagan hand fasting ceremony, but the marriage is not legally binding, the dozy twat!
21 June : FIFA World Cup Final in Mexico City: Brazil and Pelé become the first team and player to win World Cup 3 times, beating Italy, 4-1
22 June : Steven Page, musician (Barenaked Ladies), born Steven Jay Page in Scarborough, Ontario
23 June : Prince Charles received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, Cambridge.
24 June : Glenn Medeiros, pop singer, born Glenn Alan Medeiros in Lihue, Hawaii
24 June : "Catch 22" film, featuring Art Garfunkel, opens in movie theaters
25 June : Lucy Benjamin, actress (EastEnders), born Lucy Jane Baker in Reading, Berkshire
27 June : The first Gay Pride march in history took place in Chicago
27 June : Following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, intense riots erupt in Derry and Belfast
27 June : Festival Express opens in Toronto, Canada - The Grateful Dead, The Band, Janis Joplin, Flying Burrito Bros, Buddy Guy, The Brumbeats, Great Speckled Bird, and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends cross Canada together by train, for 5 shows in 3 cities
28 June : Around 500 Catholic workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard are forced to leave their work by Protestant employees as serious rioting continues in Belfast
29 June : US ends 2 month military offensive into Cambodia
1 July : British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling visits Northern Ireland and is reported as saying: "For God's sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country!" [Arf!]
2 July : Monie Love, rapper, born Simone Johnson in Battersea, London,
3 July : The British Army impose curfew on Falls Road area of Belfast as they search for weapons
3 July : Wimbledon Women's Tennis: Margaret Court beats Billie Jean King 14-12, 11-9 for her third and final Wimbledon singles title
4 July : Wimbledon Men's Tennis: In an all-Australian final, John Newcombe beats Ken Rosewall 5-7 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
4 July : Chartered Dan-Air Comet crashes into mountains north of Barcelona, Spain killing 112 British holidaymakers
8 July : Beck, musician, born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles, California
10 July : John Simm, actor, born John Ronald Simm in Leeds, West Yorkshire
10 July : Jason Orange, musician (Take That), born Jason Thomas Orange in Wythenshawe, Manchester
12 July : Thor Heyerdahl crosses the Atlantic ocean on the raft Ra II, arrives in Barbados from Morocco after 57 days
15 July : Denmark beats Italy 2-0 in 1st world female soccer championship
16 July : 9th British Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
17 July : Mandy Smith, singer, born Amanda Louise Smith in Tottenham, London
18 July : Gruff Rhys, musician, born Gruffudd Maredudd Bowen Rhys in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales
18 July : "The Boy Friend" closes at Ambassador Theater NYC after 119 performances
19 July : Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, born Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon in Irvine, Scotland
19 July : 57th Tour de France: Defending champion Eddy Merckx of Belgium wins general, mountains and combination categories
21 July : Day of Revenge : Libya orders confiscation of all Italian and Jewish property

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :
Quote

gilbertharding

I can't wait until next year to find out the answer to the perennial Popmaster teaser "...what was their other number 1?"

famethrowa

Quote from: daf on August 25, 2021, 02:00:00 PM

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

Aw, a nice show of support for troubled pop moppet Scott Walker there.

gilbertharding

I want to think of Susan Howie of 7 Beech Close Pattingham Wolverhampton (it's still there - is she?) eagerly heading to Our Price to buy her pre-ordered copy of The Drift.

jamiefairlie

Quote from: gilbertharding on August 25, 2021, 10:25:28 AM
I'm 52 myself - so I'm also working from what has passed into popular memory. My early exposure to music came from a big sister who was 10 when I was born, and my mum listening to Radio 2. So I am familiar with a lot of Album Rock from the mid to late 70s and this kind of middle of the road stuff. Wandering Star is, as you say, a touchstone. I don't have first-hand memories of TotP until about 1974 or 5.

I'm 54 and I remember my mum dancing to it at a wedding. They did "the slosh" to it, a kind of line dancing thing very common in Scotland at the time.

Gulftastic

Quote from: jamiefairlie on August 25, 2021, 05:37:09 PM
I'm 54 and I remember my mum dancing to it at a wedding. They did "the slosh" to it, a kind of line dancing thing very common in Scotland at the time.

They did that at things I went to as kid with my Mum too here in Leeds. No idea how it went, but always remember the name.

The Culture Bunker

Update: both my parents could sing 'Yellow River' from memory, so I guess it was a significant song from the time, though I did listen to it and my reaction was "this was number one?". I mean, Mungo Jerry I get - it's catchy and encourages us to enjoy the Summer. But 'Yellow River' is a mystery - to my ears it's an absolute nothing song and even only 30 minutes later I can't remember how it went.

bigfatheart