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Number One Singles of 1973 (Part 3)

[… “Number One Singles of 1973” continued from Part II]

July to September

Peters & LeeWelcome Home
Lennie Peters and Dianne Lee first found fame on the ITV talent show “Opportunity Knocks“, winning seven weeks in a row.

Lennie may well have been been sarcastically nicknamed “Lucky” as a teenager. When he was five he was blinded in one eye in a car accident. Then, at the age of sixteen, he was hit by a brick in the other eye.. and ended up completely sightless.

He became a pianist on the London pub scene, where he met Lee, one half of a popular dance act with her sister. They decided to perfom together as a duet.

After the Opportunity Knocks success the pair were signed up by the Philips label and the repeatedly-inspid “Welcome Home” was released. The song – originally a French song translated into English – quickly rose up the charts reaching the Number One slot and staying there for one week. (Is that all? To me, it seemed to be bloomin’-well everywhere during 1973?!)

Gary GlitterI’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am)
It’s a shame that Paul Gadd – aka Gary Glitter – allowed his personal obsessions to completely undermine his undoubted and unmatched success as a 70’s pop star.

Sadly, the very name “Gary Glitter” has now become synonymous with his various convictions for child pornography and illegal sex with a succession of underage girls in Britain, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Back in the 1970’s Glitter – always in trademark silver spandex, platform boots and sparkles – had one of the longest chart runs of any solo singer. He charted 26 singles, twelve of which were consecutive Top 10 hits, and spent a total of 180 weeks in the charts, .

GG - Then and Now (Why the disguise Gary?)

Along with Bowie, the Sweet, Marc Bolan and Slade he was the personification of all things “Glam”

Now, in Britain, you hardly ever hear his music. His reputation precedes him and although not officially ‘banned’ from the airwaves, I think it’s fair to say that he is very much persona non grata.

However, in the USA, I still hear his music regularly! His trademark “Rock and Roll (Part Two)” continues to be adopted as a chant – it’s that “Hey!”  hook – at Reds games to gee up the crowds.

I sit there like I am the only one ‘appalled’ at hearing it, but equally amused by the fact that Major League Baseball has no clue as to its latter-day connotations and, presumably, are still paying public broadcast royalties to a convicted sex offender.

Rock stomper “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I am)” has, since its original release, been covered by Green Jellÿ & Hulk Hogan, Brownsville Station, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, The Methadones and Girlschool… proving that perhaps the legacy of the song will last far longer than the legacy of Glitter himself.

Donny OsmondYoung Love
Of course, in retrospect, there’s extraordinary irony in the fact that Gary Glitter’s tenure at the pinnacle of the charts would be replaced by a song entitled “Young Love”.

Sometimes, you can’t make it up.

It’s Donny. Top of the chart heap. Again. Sales of toothpaste continue to rise.

WizzardAngel Fingers
A second spell at the top for Roy Wood’s Wizzard, talked about a day or so ago.

Rumour has it that the recording of “Angel Fingers” used up more time in the EMI studios than the whole of Paul McCartney & Wings’ 1973 “Band on the Run” album.

Hearing it now you have to wonder how. And why.

Simon Park OrchestraEye Level (Theme to Van Der Valk)

Aaaagh… it’s that bloody earworm again

C’mon everybody… whistle along now!


[“Number One Singles of 1973” concludes in Part IV]


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March 19th 1973

“Got pulled out of assembly by Jim Barry – only a homework check (phew)” / “Went up Nigs in the evng. He lent me Sing Bro Sing + Rainbow Bridge”

I must have had some kind of guilt complex if the “phew” comment is to be believed? What WAS a homework check anyway? Was it to check on me, or the teachers teaching me?

I have already written as eloquently as I can possibly can about the delights of Edgar Broughton Band’s “Sing Brother Sing” album.

Rainbow Bridge” was my 15-year-old introduction to rock god Jimi Hendrix.

Rainbow Bridge” was – supposed to be – the soundtrack to a 1972 documentary film by Chick Wein. The film features footage from a free concert Hendrix performed at on the island of Maui in 1970… just months before his tragic death in a London apartment.

However, the “Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” tag given to the album release is something of a dubious misnomer. The sound recording from the concert itself was of such appalling quality that other Hendrix tapings were instead cobbled together to form the finished result.

Because of this, the album – as was – has never been released on (official) CD or other formats. I’ll guess it’s all mired in what the music industry likes to call “legal difficulties’.

To be honest, I can’t remember much about the album at all… bar two important bits. I do recall that the album started off with Hendrix’s awesome “Dolly Dagger“, but that as good as that opener may have been, it paled in comparison to his immense string-bending interpretation of the “Star Spangled Banner“.

Indeed, so memorable is his version of the USA national anthem (I have a nasty ‘american unfriendly’ habit of calling it the “Star Bungled Spanner“) it is Hendrix’s I judge all other versions against whenever I am ‘forced’ to rise from my seat and ‘turn to the flag’ at the Cincinnati Reds stadium prior to baseball games I attend. Therefore that boy scout troop doing it on trumpets and that elderly ‘operatic’ duo don’t stand a chance.

I don’t think there’s ever been – nor will there ever be – a more gifted and entirely natural guitar player than Hendrix. The guy used to tune his guitar whilst he was playing for goodness sake!

However, I’ve never been entirely convinced his recorded output ever matched his considerable skills and there’s not one Hendrix album I personally consider to be his “best”. Instead, each and every one either seems to cram too many ‘filler’ cuts or, worse, are badly – and muddily – produced. I do have a favourite however, and it is the peculiar posthumous release “Loose Ends“, which is pretty much a compilation of studio outtakes. It’s another album mired in those tenuous “legal difficulties” – for whatever reason – and has likewise been absent from any official release schedule since the advent of CD. I won’t pontificate about it too much – I am sure it will turn up as a feature in a future diary entry – suffice to say that the version of “The  Stars that Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice” that appears on it never fails to blow my tiny little mind whenever my trusty iPod pulls it out of shuffle.

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an aside (II)

I need to clarify something.

I received a handful of e-mails today, more or less asking “Good god man, you first had sex at 14?!”

No, I did not.

Sure, I indulged in some harmless fumbling, but the *ahem* complete ‘sausage in a basket’ thing did not happen to me until much later in life. (I’ll admit I was something of a ‘late developer’ in that regard)

 In American terminology, I think that over this weekend I got to what is commonly known as “third base”, but – and to continue the analogy – then Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Dunn stepped up to the plate.

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