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> The 1974 Radio One All-Time Top 100, As voted for by listeners in 1974
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 04:08 PM
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THE 1974 RADIO ONE ALL-TIME TOP 100


OK. I can't find any evidence of this existing on the internet, but I wrote down the list of songs at the time, so it's about time it went up. Why? Because as far as I can tell it was the first pop music rundown in the UK of listeners faves during the Rock Era. Radio One at the time was aimed at 15 to 35-year-olds, pretty much, with older listeners going to Radio 2, and that was it bar the fading-in-and-out far-off Radio Luxembourg and some new commercial stations starting up in big cities.

I found it quite interesting at the time, not least because some of my all-time faves were on the list. I don't recall the voting system, but it would have been my mail, and either just one track or a top 3 fave tracks. I'm inclined to think it was the latter, due to the proliferation of some artists that appealed largely to girls or women, and who would've been voting more for their fave pop stars as much as voting for their fave records. I'm looking at you Elvis & Cliff.

Clearly records were banned unless they were at least 2 years old (nothing from 1972 or 1973) and there is a clear cut-off point of 1955, and Rock Around The Clock. There's nothing pre-dating that, which would make sense for an audience that was in their teens in the 50's, 60's or early 70's. But there will be, shockingly, just two Beatles tracks on the list. To be clear, that's not cos they weren't the greatest band of all-time, it's more likely that this is a chart voted for mostly by girls, and also that The Beatles just had so much classic material votes would have been spread out over a huge back catalogue, rather than concentrated on just 5 or 6 tracks.

That said, there are some huge 60's tracks that don't feature, and nothing Glam Rock at all. No Kinks, Who, Stones, Small Faces. No "Imagine". No "Let It Be". No "Paint It Black". No "California Dreamin'". Nor many others now-regularly voted-amongst the best of the various decades. What this says to me is that what is popular at any given time is not necessarily an accurate reflection of what will be valued in 50 years time, either by the people who were around then, or those from subsequent generations.

Anyways, I'll do an ongoing analysis of each batch, and you can say to yourselves (or in response) "Wot! People actually thought death-songs where actually a great thing?!" to which the answer is a big, "Oh Yes indeed they did!"


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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 04:18 PM
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100. THE MORE I SEE YOU - Chris Montez (1966)



Chris was a youthful Latino American popstar, who'd hit the big teen time as teen idol in 1962 with the terrific "Let's Dance", which was a hit all over again in 1972, it was so good. That would have been a great inclusion on the list. Sadly, listeners preferred this number 2 that was covered by Frank Sinatra and other crooners of the era, being as it's all cocktail jazz-styled with a slight bossa-nova feel to it. I mean, yes I liked it, I loved the tune as a kid, all very nice, all very pleasant, but this is never going to be quoted amongst the greatest 100 records of 1955 to 1971 these days! Chris is still around, happily, though now in his 70's he no longer pops up on 60's package nostalgia tours like he used to in the UK until, ooh, not that long ago.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 04:28 PM
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99. SPANISH EYES - Al Martino (1966)



OK, so why is this on the list?! Al Martino topped the first-ever UK singles chart as crooner, and then had a US come-back in 1966 with this jaunty crooner ballad which never became a hit in the UK, though it was fairly well-known. My mum & dad loved it, along with loads of other mums and dads, who started buying it in large numbers in the summer of '73, to the extent that it went top 3 in the UK singles charts, and then hung around until voting started, I guess. So, really it was a currently popular tune amongst the 30-somethings who might have voted that slipped in because it was a 60's track. Trust me, teenagers at that time did NOT go for old crooners and wouldn't have voted for this in a million years.



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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 04:41 PM
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98. ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK - Bill Haley with His Comets (1955)



The one that changed the face of popular music. The one that started Rock 'n' Roll. A mature bloke with a kiss-curl, adapting swing, adding beats, and whoosh, a popular music wildstorm. It was famous throughout the latter half of the 20th Century. It might well still be known. It was certainly still popular in 1974, cos it made the charts again and Bill Haley turned up on Top Of The Pops to promote it. That episode still exists because the tit tasked with erasing the tapes of 70's Top Of The Pops decided this was an important episode because it had a 50-something singing a 20-year-old song, while, say, David Bowie, Queen's debut and Abba weren't a good enough reason not to scrub. I've never been a fan of this one. I know it's important, it's quite jolly and easy to sing after one listen, and it rocks for those keen to jive...but not even Jive Bunny could transform into a piece of fun for me. Actually, I should say "despite Jive Bunny's efforts to kill it off, it still isn't that much fun for me". This also would never be listed amongst the best records of anyone voting for songs from that period. We would just appreciate it for what it did, and what it is, and move on to classic Elvis instead, or Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and others who are absent from the rundown.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 04:54 PM
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97. APACHE - The Shadows



Hooray! A cool track at last, a tune that's still popular, albeit in adverts featuring The Sugar-Hill Gang 80's rap version. The Shads were Cliff's backing group, the biggest British band and the biggest British pop star in 1960. In fact, The Shads were the only significant British band, specialising in instrumental rock numbers that sounded American. Yes they were that good! For such a key band, it's surprising that this is their only track on the list, no "Wonderful Land" even, their biggest hit. Unlike a lot of the tracks on the list, though, this has never been a hit again - though the tune remains fairly well-known, and is generally critically-rated. It still sounds fab to me, though it was only ever a "golden oldie" on radio to me.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 17 2021, 06:52 PM
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96. BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP - The Foundations (1968)



And so onto the first track which would have made my all-time top 100 in 1974, I was mad on this over Xmas/New Year 1968/1969, loved the soulful song, and an actual British band, British songwriters (including Mike D'Abo, then-lead-singer of Manfred Mann, who knocked this one off the top of my charts with Fox On The Run). By 1977, my Uni room-mate was forced to listen to my latest 12" vinyl EP single of this and ventured the opinion that it sounded a bit old-fashioned, at 9 years old. Which it did. It was pure 60's popsoul. Then it got stuck in a 90's movie, There's Something About Mary (which I've still never seen) and became a minor hit again, and also became a party classic all over again after having been forgotten about for 20 years. It's still famous, and deservedly so, and I was right when I was 10 to love it, and I'm still right to love it (along with millions of others). Period charm, great song, sung beautifully by Colin Young on vocals.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 18 2021, 09:45 AM
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95. HEY PAULA - Paul & Paula (1963)



A 60's record that sounds mid-50's teen appeal slushy pop, I've always had a soft spot for this mostly one-off. No, not the local heathland bog. It's a nice tune, it's twee, period-charm, even if the period was about 8 years earlier than 1963. By 1965 it was all over, "Paul" went off to College, and "Paula" eventually got married and gave up singing. Not their real names, of course, but once in a while they've got back together for an oldies show. That this track never crops up on "greatest hits of the 60's" lists, despite topping the US charts, nor been covered successfully, or re-issued, means I can put this in the "it was popular once but not so much long-term" camp.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 18 2021, 09:56 AM
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94. IT'S OVER - Roy Orbison (1964)



Now this is moving things up a league! Roy may be the greatest singer in pop, the man had a magnificent range and a talent for writing heart-wrenching ballads that climbed to major climax. None more-so than "It's Over", which topped the UK charts in 1964, smack-dab in the middle off Beatlemania and the UK invasion of the US. The UK always adored The Big "O", as did musicians influenced by him - look to his supergroup membership Traveling Wilburys or his 1989 posthumous big album comeback with songs donated by the likes of Bono. A major timeless talent, and still popular among those of a certain age (40+). The song probably isn't his most-popular these days, and it wasn't then either (more to come), but it's right up there in my opinion. It's a brave act who covers a Roy Orbison song, but Morrissey and LP recently topped my personal charts in 2019 with their version - Mozza can sing shocker!

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Popchartfreak
post Apr 19 2021, 06:40 PM
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93. LITTLE CHILDREN - Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas (1964)



Merseybeat star, Beatles-linked, Billy J. Kramer was a huge fave of mine aged 6, and I loved this record - as did, apparently, lots of other people, as the big number one from 1964 was still popular a decade later. Not that I would have voted it my all-time fave in 1974, but I certainly loved it nostalgically, and it was a pretty tune, but it was very-much sounding of it's time a decade on. Sadly, largely forgotten in the History of Rock these days, but Billy & the gang had a pretty good run for a couple of years, not least helped by a couple of gifted Lennon/McCartney tunes - it didn't hurt sharing the same manager and producer with The Beatles! Little Children, wasn't a Beatles track, but is still quite endearingly old-fashioned with it's social observation of a dating couple being pestered in the living room by kids so they can't get a little bit cuddly. As I like co-incidences, I lived in Chesham when this was huge, a London suburb to all intents and purposes (being on the London underground) when London was swinging the pop world and the George Martin stable of acts were recording at Abbey Road/ We moved to Liverpool a year or so later, where Merseybeat was still a big thing and Billy came from Bootle which was next to Waterloo (the area we lived in), and then we ended up in the Bournemouth area - where Billy J. Kramer ended up around the same time - in the mid 80's. Funny ol' world.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 19 2021, 06:50 PM
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92. MAGGIE MAY - Rod Stewart (1971)



The second-most-recent recording on the countdown, Rod The Mod's big breakthrough came as I was settling into being back at RAF Swinderby, across the road from the house we left to go to Singapore just over 2 years earlier. The UK music scene was alive and exciting, and this was climbing the charts on it's way to a long run on top - and I wasn't really a fan! So many other great records around, it wasn't even amongst my top 20 faves. By 1976, when it was a hit again, I realised the error of my ways and loved this mandolin folkrockish tale of getting it off with an older woman. Rod had a unique writing style, and talent, that he spent a lot of his career ignoring in favour of bland covers. These days, Sailing would likely be the one sneaking into a top 100 songs of the 70's, for example, but that would be wrong. Maggie May is a classic record and is the second track so far likely to be still rated enough to make a popularity poll 50 years on of that era. Sadly the fab Top Of The Pops version of Rod singing this with legendary DJ John Peel on drums isn't available because it's not making the record company any dosh, so this is the best Rod will let you have.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 19 2021, 07:04 PM
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91. (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU - Carpenters (1970)



The Carpenters' Greatest Hits collection was huge in early 1974 in the UK, so that no doubt helped this debut classic Easy Listening Bacharach/David cover make the top 100, but to be fair, time has been very kind to Richard & especially tragic Karen Carpenter and their lush gems. Karen had the voice of an angel, warm and gorgeous, but always sad, perhaps due to her general insecurity and unhappiness with being in the spotlight, and subsequent anorexia. This is still a very great recording, still popular, and it's still not even the best, or saddest, or optimistic of their hits: Those would be Goodbye To Love, Superstar & We've Only Just Begun, respectively. I loved it in 1970, I love it now, and I never gave a flying fig that the Rock critics looked down their collective noses at their records at the time, because being trendy is no guide to lasting immortality. Being dead for nearly 40 years, and still popular, is a better guide to quality.
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fiesta
post Apr 20 2021, 11:40 AM
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Interesting countdown. Songs by The Carpenters and The Foundations definitely the stand out songs so far. If it's like alot of these polls the more recent tracks at the time will be higher up, even if in hindsight years later they weren't quite as deserving of a high chart placing
.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 21 2021, 04:11 PM
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QUOTE(fiesta @ Apr 20 2021, 12:40 PM) *
Interesting countdown. Songs by The Carpenters and The Foundations definitely the stand out songs so far. If it's like alot of these polls the more recent tracks at the time will be higher up, even if in hindsight years later they weren't quite as deserving of a high chart placing
.


Yes, you're right, apart from, cough, Elvis there's not a lot from the 50's and it's mostly 60's and 1970/71. I am fascinated by how tastes change though, over the years, like how an obscure ballad from the early 80's is now regarded as an anthem (Don't Stop Believin') smile.gif

There's one hugely oddly high track that isn't that well-known by anyone, either then or today, so I'm guessing a fan club mass mailing to fix the chart, and one big US hit/UK flop that qualified as old enough for a hugely popular teen band in 1974. As I've clearly only heard the former once in my life 47 years ago, that's going to be interesting to revisit as I have no memory of it whatsoever.....
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 30 2021, 01:02 PM
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90. ELOISE - Barry Ryan (1968)



So here's an all-time fave of mine, topped my charts as a ten-year-old, cos it was (and is) EPIC. It starts off pretty big, and 5 minutes it's in the territory of sweeping orchestral choir-filled thumping frantic passionate ballad hysteria. I mean, when I say "hysteria" I mean actual vocal hysteria. No-one has ever approached Barry Ryan's climactic 30 seconds on record that I've heard. The 60's was a time of the sweeping epic cinematic ballad, a format that seems to have largely died out in recent decades give or take the odd McAlmont-Butler, Pet Shop Boys or Trevor Horn production, but Eloise ranks among the very best of the genre, and the teen idol Barry Ryan (his twin brother Paul now doing only songwriting and production) had a run of 4 years of great (minor) hit-singles, and one monster: this one. It was still admired in 1974, and was still admired in 1986 when punk band The Damned put their own spin on it for another top 3 smash - Barry hit 2 in the charts. A decent version, but is it EPIC? Nah. THIS is how you do "Epic"....
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 30 2021, 01:15 PM
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89. RETURN TO SENDER - Elvis Presley (1962)



The first big Elvis hit on the countdown pulls in at 89, fresh from the Girls! Girls! Girls! film, The King being quite the cheesy movie star by this time, bunging out hit film after hit film for a good 12 or 13 years, 2 a year. Basically the extended videos of their era, then. Most of the films were rubbish, but I can tolerate nostalgic efforts like Fun In Acapulco and Speedway, which had Nancy Sinatra doing a duet. An actual duet with Elvis. Sort of. Unheard of! Return To Sender? S'OK. Easy to sing, short n sweet middle of the road pop, not Elvis at his best though, not Pop Elvis, not Ballad Elvis, not Gospel Elvis and not Rock'n'Roll Elvis. It is, however, better than Vegas-Elvis. I think it remained popular as it has a certain quaint charm in the lyrics, but there is much better to come, and plenty of better Elvis tracks that aren't on the list.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 30 2021, 01:32 PM
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88. THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE - The Walker Brothers (1966)



Talking of Eloise, here's another 60's Epic sweeping production from the USA's Walker Brothers, the trio were not brothers, nor named Walker, and were huge in the UK, but not the USA - Scott Walker, though, was the main man and as solo artist moved to the UK/France/Europe music scene and became a cult with Jacques-Brel-inspired solo epic productions like Jackie, which was banned at the time on radio and is more or less banned these days too, but for different reasons. Stupid reasons, but there you go. This Four Seasons cover is an example of taking a decent sad pop record, and transforming into a heart-wrenching, End Of The World-feeling break-up song. When I'm stressed to the nth and needing emotional release, this has been one of a handful of Go-To records for me for the best part of 35 years now. It drips emotion, a guaranteed 3-minute goosebump-fest that has me in tears if I attempt to singalong. Genius. Cher had a go, now there's a woman who can wring emotion out of a song when she tries, but it doesn't even come close. No other version does. Totally deserving of a place in any All-Time Top 100, then and now.
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Popchartfreak
post Apr 30 2021, 01:42 PM
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87. THE TWELFTH OF NEVER - Cliff Richard (1964)



Just as Elvis was going down an MOR pop route in the early 60's so too his UK rival, Clifford of Richard, not yet a Knight of the Order of the Garter. Listen to this and ponder demanding that knighthood and OBE back! What a pile of cack. So what was this mushy pedestrian cover of a lush Johnny Mathis song doing in the rundown? Well, Cliff and Elvis fans were very clearly out in force (the vast majority women in their 20's and 30's) but that still doesn't explain why this track was in and others were out. No Move It. No Summer Holiday. No The Next Time. No The Day I Met Marie. All vastly better records from his back catalogue. The answer is fairly easy: Donny Osmond. Donny had hit the top spot with his not-quite-so-rubbish cover of the song mere months before, so I'm guessing that some Donny fans voted for the song (but forgot to the write the artist name down) and some Cliff fans were pissed off at Donny's version and voted for it out of support for the bachelor boy.
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common sense
post Apr 30 2021, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE(Popchartfreak @ Apr 18 2021, 10:56 AM) *
94. IT'S OVER - Roy Orbison (1964)



Now this is moving things up a league! Roy may be the greatest singer in pop, the man had a magnificent range and a talent for writing heart-wrenching ballads that climbed to major climax. None more-so than "It's Over", which topped the UK charts in 1964, smack-dab in the middle off Beatlemania and the UK invasion of the US. The UK always adored The Big "O", as did musicians influenced by him - look to his supergroup membership Traveling Wilburys or his 1989 posthumous big album comeback with songs donated by the likes of Bono. A major timeless talent, and still popular among those of a certain age (40+). The song probably isn't his most-popular these days, and it wasn't then either (more to come), but it's right up there in my opinion. It's a brave act who covers a Roy Orbison song, but Morrissey and LP recently topped my personal charts in 2019 with their version - Mozza can sing shocker!



I like both It's Over and Only The Lonely better than his most famous song and other No.1 that's overplayed, Oh Pretty Woman.
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Popchartfreak
post May 1 2021, 08:42 AM
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QUOTE(common sense @ Apr 30 2021, 06:31 PM) *
I like both It's Over and Only The Lonely better than his most famous song and other No.1 that's overplayed, Oh Pretty Woman.


Yes I agree (though I loved Pretty Woman most of all as a kid) - so don't be too shocked that Roy will be back, given the popularity of Pretty Woman laugh.gif
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steve201
post May 1 2021, 03:54 PM
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I’m only really catching up with this thread but it is a fascinating read and interesting to see the big songs people loved in the mid point of rock and roll/pop history before punk and new wave.

Love songs like ‘Apache’ which of course I know but didn’t realise it was a Shadows songs so fair dues to them. Other great songs include The Walker Brothers, the Big O, The Carpenters and Rod Stewart (def think this is his most well known and played hit these days for the record)!

These things always make me wonder what music did people listen to before ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and was their actually big hits everyone knew 😅. Or am I being arrogant and of my time as of history only started with the top 40?!
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