Having spent four weeks delving back into the Sixties I thought it was about time that I moved forward, though I still have so many Sixties songs I could have shared – another time, maybe. I’ve said a couple of times that towards the end of the Sixties I began the move towards buying albums instead of singles, and my Seventies choices will reflect that. However, to get us moving into that decade I thought I’d begin with a round up of some of my favourite singles. All of these were in my collection – three of the five on their respective albums, as befitted my growing maturity in purchasing habits. My list of singles currently stands at ten, so I’m dividing them over two weeks, and then we’ll move onto the albums.
Let’s get things off to a rousing start, shall we:
Status Quo are one of those bands who have been enormously popular here and in many other countries, but have never had any kind of hit record in the US, either albums or singles, as far as I know. I’ve never understood that, as I’d have thought that they were made for the US market, but I doubt the band is that bothered, as they have sold millions of records everywhere else. Their most recent release was last year, but sadly without Rick Parfitt, who plays rhythm guitar on this song – he died in 2016. This was their only UK #1 single, a peak that it reached in January 1975. The album that it came from – On The Level – was also a UK #1. Whenever I hear this song I’m taken back to my university days: around eight of us were in our communal kitchen playing air guitar to this, with lots of flowing long hair and head banging, when the cleaner walked in. Poor Stella – we all loved her to bits but I think this confirmed her belief that her ‘boys’ were all crazy!
Another classic rock song from this era next:
This was released in June 1970 and reached #2 in the UK charts, and #66 in the US. It is still Deep Purple’s highest UK chart placing for a single: although they were primarily an albums band they did have several further single hits, Strange Kind Of Woman, Fireball and Smoke On The Water (a US #4) being the best known. At the time of its release this wasn’t included on an album, but it did feature in 1995 on the 25th anniversary re-release of their breakthrough album In Rock. The song was written to promote In Rock, but the record company chose to leave it off the album: a common trick in those days, to get us to buy a single as well as an album!
My next selection also made it into the Seventies by the skin of its teeth, being first released as an album track in April 1970:
That was on Elton John’s eponymous second album, and was subsequently released as a single on 26 October 1970 (i.e. 50 years ago yesterday!), reaching the charts in January 1971: it peaked at #7 in the UK and at #8 in the US. Even after all this time I still think this is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. It has such a haunting quality about it, and the whole album is superb. Unfortunately, that clip cuts out the piano intro, but I couldn’t find a better one: I definitely wasn’t going to share the live version in which Reg was dressed as Donald Duck!
I couldn’t really leave David Bowie out of my first Seventies collection, and he may well be appearing later, too. This is my favourite of all of his singles:
That was released in April 1972, reaching #10 in the UK and #65 in the US. I’ve written about it before, so I apologise if you feel like you’re seeing a repeat, but it is such a great song! That video is also notable for the remarkable sideburns sported by Trevor Bolder, the band’s bass player. I bought that on the album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, which was released in June 1972, just before I went to university: needless to say, the album went with me! The album peaked at #5 here, and also managed to sneak in at #75 the following year in the US – I’m not sure why it took so long, though.
I can’t find an official, original video for this week’s final song, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to make do with a fan’s ‘themed’ version, with lots of big cats:
The song was on Jethro Tull’s War Child album, which was released in 1974 and peaked at #14 here, though it fared better in the States, where it got to #2. As a single, this one reached #12 in the US and #4 in Canada, but did little outside North America. Even my purchase couldn’t propel it into the UK charts! Jethro Tull had a spell in the late Sixties and early Seventies during which they had a number of hit singles, including Living In The Past, The Witch’s Promise and Life’s A Long Song, but I think their days as a UK singles band were largely over by the time of this one, though they did have a few more hits in the US.
This first step into the Seventies seems to have flown by – rather like those intervening fifty years. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trawl through my record collection of that time – there is plenty more to come! In the meantime, stay safe and well and do as your government says – if you can work it out, that is.
See you next time 🤘