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> Rating every UK #1 by Scottish artists, Calvin, Capaldi, Wet Wet Wet and many more... [COMPLETED]
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Bré
post Apr 9 2020, 10:42 PM
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Mr Jade Lauren Williams <333
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(thanks Calum for the banner x)

hi.gif welcome to an ambitious countdown type thread that I am gonna have a crack at finishing before this forum expires on Monday, wish me luck!

Over the years since the UK Singles Chart began in 1952, there have been 43* UK #1s by or featuring artists born and bred in Scotland. In this thread I'll be providing a retrospective over these most successful of Scottish musical icons and giving some facts and opinions on each one. I'll post the first 3 tonight (I wanted to start this earlier but blame the quiz finishing so late kink.gif) and will aim to do 10 per day over the next four days!

Feel free to comment along with your own thoughts ohmy.gif I'll be going in chronological order so we're kicking off with some pretty vintage tracks, but this opening trio are all pretty iconic in their own way, for better or for worse xx

*I'm trusting an OCC list on this subject, so if there are any omissions it's their fault; notably Rod Stewart doesn't feature which seems to be because he was born in England despite generally being considered Scottish, I'm not going to complaint that's 6 fewer songs to write about though x

(as such you can look up the article yourself if you want some spoilers of what's to come but it might be more fun if you don't x)
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Jade
post Apr 9 2020, 10:48 PM
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Very excited for this! Michelle.png
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Bré
post Apr 9 2020, 11:19 PM
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01: Marmalade - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
3 weeks at #1 in 1969
Top 75 run: 45-22-9-7-{1}-3-1-1-4-10-9-14-23-23-40-28-34-32-47-48->20



We begin all the way back in 1969 as the first Scots to reach the top of the chart in the UK were pop rock group Marmalade, prior to this they'd had a top 10 hit with 'Lovin' Things' and one further minor hit but they hit the big time by capitalising off a popular song originally by The Beatles (off their iconic White Album) which they never released as a single themselves. They were 1969's Precision Tunes one might say. They'd go on to have a further six top ten hits over the next 7 years before disappearing from the charts.

It's fair to say this is... not the most critically acclaimed song to ever come out of the Lennon-McCartney partnership, often actually considered to be one of the worst Beatles songs and even sometimes named as one of the worst songs ever. Aren't we off to a good start here! I don't really have any particular hatred for it, the sloppy appropriation of reggae has a little bit of a charm to it and it has a nice uplifting singalong chorus. Not a highlight of The Beatles' discog for sure though, and this version of it (which I'm hearing for the first time) is a little more lifeless than the original which I'll dock a point for.

I award this 5 Irn Brus out of 10



~

02: Middle Of The Road - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
5 weeks at #1 in 1971
Top 75 run: 36-16-{1}-1-1-1-1-2-2-3-8-8-13-22-22-29-24-30-35-39-45-49-49-46-42-43-48-38-39-39-41-42-44-48->34



Fast forward to 1971 for our second Scottish chart toppers, although it's still not quite an original as this one is also a cover, originally recorded by the English Lally Stott. That version was only a very minor hit in the US and didn't chart elsewhere, this one is definitely the definitive version, being a big hit worldwide and selling more than 10 million copies worldwide making it one of the biggest selling singles of all time. This was Middle Of The Road's first single to chart in the UK and they coasted off its coattails with 2 other biggish top 5 hits in 1971 but it was a big case of diminishing returns, they charted just 2 more songs lower down the chart in 1972 then were never to be heard from again.

We're still firmly in novelty song territory here and it's another song that doesn't have a particularly great reputation, being named by The Observer in 2006 as #1 in a list of most unintentionally creepy songs, as the lyrics do sound a little pertinent to child abandonment. Whoops. I'm actually shocked to find out this came out as late as 1971 (1970 for the original version), I always thought it was a standard that dated back to the 50s or so! It's not a great artistic piece or anything but I have a soft spot for this, the chorus is just too cute, some of the vocal harmonising gives me a bit of ABBA vibes too or is it just me ~

I award this 6.5 Irn Brus out of 10



~

03: The Pipes & Drums & Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Amazing Grace
5 weeks at #1 in 1972
Top 75 run: 31-3-{1}-1-1-1-1-2-3-8-11-18-23-26-28-32-28-30-31-37-42-39-41-43-42R(15)-42-42->27



Another year on and another track with 5 weeks at the top, yet again though it can't quite be said to be a Scottish original as this is just a version of the standard Christian hymn that dates all the way back to the 18th century and is also English in origin. It doubles as one of the fairly small number of instrumental UK #1 hits. Recorded by the senior Scottish regiment of the British Army, the 'artist' in question naturally doesn't have a huge pop chart history behind them but they did chart 2 other songs in the top 40 following this in 1972 and have made occasional appearances in the album chart over the years.

I don't really know what you want me to say about this, it's just Amazing Grace on bagpipes. It certainly gets points for being very, very Scottish. Your opinion on this probably comes down to whether or not you like the sound of bagpipes - I personally do, and so while it's not a song I'd be bumping frequently in the whip, it's a nice track to have on as background music.

I award this 7 Irn Brus out of 10



More to come tomorrow ohmy.gif
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Wall
post Apr 9 2020, 11:26 PM
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Omg rating by irn bru’s *.*
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Jade
post Apr 9 2020, 11:28 PM
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Well we're off to a memorable start cheeseblock.png

I agree that 'Amazing Grace' is the best of the three! There's such a charm to the bagpipes. 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' is definitely not a Lennon-McCartney highlight (although there's certainly worse on The White Album) but it is irresistibly catchy so that's the case for the Marmalade version too. 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' is also an earworm, although I have to say I never realised the child abandonment thing so childhood ruined tbh sleep.gif
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Calum
post Apr 9 2020, 11:29 PM
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I'm howling at the Irn Bru ratings laugh.gif cheeseblock.png
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HausofGhibli
post Apr 9 2020, 11:36 PM
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Omg this is instantly iconic! *_*
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Chez Wombat
post Apr 9 2020, 11:39 PM
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Three iconic songs to start off with (and Amazing Grace aside, I never knew either were Scottish!), vote Amazing Grace in the ultimate bagpipe poll x Looking forward to seeing more of this.
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Bré
post Apr 10 2020, 02:20 PM
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04: Pilot - January
3 weeks at #1 in 1975
Top 75 run: 27-9-{1}-1-1-2-9-24-36-48->10



We now go forward another three years to 1975, a fruitful year for Scottish chart icons as it saw the total number of Scottish #1s more than double. First up we have 'January' by Pilot, entering the chart appropriately enough in its titular month and grabbing three weeks at the top spot. Pilot are another act who had a very short chart shelf life, this was the second of just four hits for them all in 1974-75, with none of the others making the top 10 (their debut hit 'Magic' peaked at #11 and their 2 follow-up hits to their big success both fell short of the top 30). This is the first song on the list to be a Scottish original rather than a Scottish act covering a song of English origin.

This was the first song on the list that I didn't recognise by its name (a lot of 70s and 80s chart toppers are like this for me, being obviously well before my time), Wikipedia claims it was used in adverts for ASDA in 2016 so I wondered if I might recognise it when I listened to it but I think those ads must have passed me by as it sounds very unfamiliar to me. It's a worthwhile discovery though, a quality bit of classic pop rock, enjoying the incorporation of strings in it as well as the guitar work. My favourite song so far just from the one listen. It's very 'Rolloland BJSC entry' (in a good way). x

I award this 8 Irn Brus out of 10



~

05: Bay City Rollers - Bye Bye Baby
6 weeks at #1 in 1975
Top 75 run: 8-2-{1}-1-1-1-1-1-5-8-19-28-35-37-46-46->16



We reach the first of 5 acts on this list who have had more than one chart topper, as well as the longest running #1 so far as this one topped the charts for 6 weeks. Teen idol band Bay City Rollers had been a regular chart fixture for a few years before getting their first #1, this being their sixth chart hit, all of which made it to the top ten. We're back to the covers here, this one being a version of American group (Frankie Valli &) The Four Seasons' song from 1965.

I definitely know of this song but I'm not sure I've ever heard the Bay City Rollers version, I think it is the original that I'm familiar with even though it wasn't the version that was a hit in the UK. Honestly I think this cover sounds a bit underwhelming and almost amateurish, I much prefer both the vocals and the instrumental on the original, so although it's a perfectly decent song (not one I'm itching to listen to often once again but it'd sit very well on a good 60s classics playlist) I can't really give a high mark to this particular version of it.

I award this 4 Irn Brus out of 10



~

06: Bay City Rollers - Give A Little Love
3 weeks at #1 in 1975
Top 75 run: 7-{1}-1-1-2-4-11-24-33->9



And in quick succession, Bay City Rollers' 7th chart entry made it 7 for 7 on top 10 hits and gave them a second #1 in a row, this time with an original song. Unfortunately for them they wouldn't keep up their hit streak for too much longer - their run would last into 1976 with a further three top 5 hits bringing them up to a neat 10 top 10 hits in a row but they flamed out quickly after that with just two more chart entries before they disappeared from the charts for good in 1977. Their legacy these days is a little tainted due to their association with disgraced manager / producer Jonathan King, though as far as I can tell he had no involvement with either of their #1s and the band in themselves aren't ~problematic~.

This is another song that I'm not recognising at all on listening to it now and I'm coming to the conclusion that Bay City Rollers' music probably just isn't really my thing, this is a pretty plodding and dull by-the-numbers rock ballad for the most part. It does have a pretty decent guitar solo in it at least and sounds a bit less amateur than 'Bye Bye Baby' so I'll give it a slightly higher mark for that but still not hugely impressed.

I award this 4.5 Irn Brus out of 10

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Calum
post Apr 10 2020, 02:21 PM
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Honestly I don't think I can even bring myself to listen to any of these kink.gif
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Jade
post Apr 10 2020, 02:23 PM
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My mum was a Bay City Rollers stan as a young girl cheeseblock.png

I had no idea that ‘Bye Bye Baby’ was a cover ohmy.gif
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King Rollo
post Apr 10 2020, 02:56 PM
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There were lots of screaming girls every time the Bay City Rollers appeared. They were the One Direction of the 70s. I agree January by Pilot is the best song so far.
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Bré
post Apr 10 2020, 06:53 PM
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07: Billy Connolly - D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
1 week at #1 in 1975
Top 75 run: 26-9-2-{1}-3-7-18-35-39-39->10



The fourth and final 1975 #1 from Scotland and it's a slight oddity, coming from a man who's better known as a comedian than a singer (though he has a background as a folk musician as well). This song continues two running themes with plenty of songs in this list so far - 1) it's not an original song, being a parody of the song of the same name by American country legend Tammy Wynette, and 2) it was the only significant hit single for the artist in question. Billy Connolly had three other minor top 40 hits over the next decade, including the intriguingly titled 'Super Gran' which reached #32 in 1985, notably the only post-70s charting hit by any of these artists mentioned so far.

As for the song... I think this one is best left in 1975. Some credit for having a concept that I can see people getting some level of amusement from depending on personal sense of humour (changing a song about hiding things from a child to instead hiding things from a dog) but I think I'm missing some essential cultural context here, not least the context in which the word 'queer' was acceptable as a final punchline. (aside: wasn't able to find a studio version of this on YouTube so I've embedded a lyric video with a rather relevant thumbnail x)

I award this 1 Irn Bru out of 10



~

08: Slik - Forever And Ever
1 week at #1 in 1976
Top 75 run: 39-12-2-2-{1}-2-5-9-22->9



Next we move to 1976 for this song by glam rock band Slik which notched up a solitary week at #1. It was the band's third single but the first to attract any attention, with the first two not managing to place anywhere on the charts, and it's a familiar story again as Slik too flamed out very quickly after their crowning success; the follow-up 'Requiem' stalled at #24 (though spent the same number of weeks in the chart as this one) and they were never to be heard from again after that. Their singer Midge Ure, however, would be sticking around for a while longer.

I don't have a lot to say about this one, I was hoping for something a little more exciting seeing Wikipedia tagging its genres as glam rock & progressive rock, but it's unfortunately just very middle of the road (no chirpy chirpy cheep cheep pun intended), not precisely bad but I'll forget this immediately.

I award this 5 Irn Brus out of 10



~

09: Lena Martell - One Day At A Time
3 weeks at #1 in 1979
Top 75 run: 50-28-9-5-{1}-1-1-2-5-16-27-32-40-40-35-55-59-69->18



We jump ahead three more years to the final Scottish-origin #1 of the 70s (we'll get to some more relevant songs soon I promise!) when one Lena Martell took her version of 'One Day At A Time' to the top spot for three weeks. I've always assumed whenever I've seen this name that she was German, the more you learn. 'One Day At A Time', a 'country and western style Christian song' (sounds right up my street!) has apparently been recorded by over 200 artists, but it's both the only version of the song to chart in the UK and the only time Lena herself ever graced the charts, though she's apparently had a more fruitful career in the world of theatre.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that as a song that combines 2 of my least favourite genres, this is pretty naff. There are some nice harmonies on it, that's the only positive I can really give it. Moving swiftly on.

I award this 2 Irn Brus out of 10



~

10: Kelly Marie - Feels Like I'm In Love
2 weeks at #1 in 1980
Top 75 run: 61-29-16-8-5-3-{1}-1-4-7-12-27-34-50-58-69->16



Into the 80s we go (and with it, the first proper music video unless I missed one for any of the previous songs), and the first Scot to reach the chart summit in the decade was disco singer Kelly Marie who'd released a ton of singles with no one noticing throughout the latter half of the 70s, including this one, but hit the big time when this was re-released in 1980 and went all the way to the top for 2 weeks. She'd swiftly return to no one noticing her as she had just two more top 40 hits over the following year (neither making the top 20) before vanishing entirely.

Listening to those last 5 songs has been a bit rough, this song injects some much needed life, which hopefully the 80s will continue to provide. This is one of those songs that I've always known but didn't know for a long time who the artist was, and I certainly didn't know they were Scottish. A joyful disco classique. We are forced to stan! I think 'January' remains my favourite song so far but this runs it pretty close.

I award this 8 Irn Brus out of 10

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The Snake
post Apr 10 2020, 07:00 PM
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Brilliant thread, this is very King Rollo esque which is great.

Bye Bye Baby is a brilliant tune imo, I am sad you only awarded it four Irn Brus.
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Jade
post Apr 10 2020, 07:03 PM
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OMG that section was painful - especially 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E.' laugh.gif sadly I don't even like your highlight of 'Feels Like I'm In Love' that much because her voice has always slightly irritated me oops. The disco production is good at least! Hope the next section will be better kink.gif
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coi
post Apr 10 2020, 07:11 PM
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This thread is brilliant! biggrin.gif

I echo the disappointment at the Bay City Rollers receiving less than five Irn Brus with both songs but I have to say I didn't realise Bye Bye Baby was a cover either!

And Amazing Grace definitely should be bumped frequently in the whip tbh!

Looking forward to seeing more of these.
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The Snake
post Apr 10 2020, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE(Bré 🐠 @ Apr 10 2020, 07:53 PM) *
Their singer Midge Ure, however, would be sticking around for a while longer.


Oh yes...looking forward to a great song by him possibly appearing on this thread soon.
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Riser
post Apr 10 2020, 07:25 PM
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I am floored to see that a bagpipe song not only got to #1, but had five weeks there and 21 weeks in the top 40! The taste jumped out cheeseblock.png
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Bré
post Apr 10 2020, 07:25 PM
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Surprised that people aren't aware of 'Bye Bye Baby' being a cover, I'm sure the original has been used in adverts? (I'm not entirely sure where I'd know it from if not but I definitely do!)
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coi
post Apr 10 2020, 07:29 PM
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QUOTE(Bré 🐠 @ Apr 10 2020, 08:25 PM) *
Surprised that people aren't aware of 'Bye Bye Baby' being a cover, I'm sure the original has been used in adverts? (I'm not entirely sure where I'd know it from if not but I definitely do!)

I've heard the Bay City Rollers version loads but I have no recollection of hearing the original before!
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