Which decade is Tops for Pops? – the results.

3rd place – The 1970s. (30 points)

Last year: 2nd place, 31 points.
Two year ago: 1st place, 35 points + 1 tiebreak point.

10: Black Superman – Johnny Wakelin. 5th place, 1 point, least popular.
9: Footsee – Wigan’s Chosen Few. 4th place, 2 points.
8: Angie Baby – Helen Reddy. 1st place, 5 points, most popular.
7: Shame Shame Shame – Shirley & Company. 1st place, 5 points.
6: Goodbye My Love – The Glitter Band. 4th place, 2 points.
5: The Secrets That You Keep – Mud. 3rd place, 3 points.
4: Sugar Candy Kisses – Mac & Katie Kissoon. 3rd place, 3 points.
3: Please Mr. Postman – The Carpenters. 4th place, 2 points.
2: January – Pilot. 4th place, 2 points.
1: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. 1st place, 5 points.

As the 1970s slowly slips from first to second to third place, so does any sense of purpose and direction about its pop music. Take away the three undeniable classics from Steve Harley, Helen Reddy and Shirley & Company – distinctive, unique, pushing at the edges of their genres – and you’re left with seven rather ploppy, soppy pieces of feather-light inconsequence. The relative paucity of your comments on songs such as Sugar Candy Kisses and January says it all: with nothing much to love or to hate, your overall reaction was a resounding “so what”.

Not a great year, 1975. With glam-rock all played out and disco still finding its feet, 1975 was the year when the Bay City Rollers went stratospheric, while an ever more pompous and facile prog-rock emerged from the underground, smoothed over its trippier edges, and started shifting serious units in the album charts. Snobbery was rampant. Albums were “serious”, singles were “for kids”, and the divide between the two had never been greater. Even as a 13-year old at the time, I felt that the singles charts were getting a bit beneath me. Who still needed Mud and The Glitter Band when you had Roger Dean gatefold sleeves and Rick Wakeman performing The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur on ice?

With the singles chart regularly being denounced by the more haughty members of the then all-powerful music press, a paradigm shift was badly needed. Luckily, we got two, as the combined forces of punk/new wave and disco eventually pulled the Top 40 out of the mire during 1978, thus restoring some measure of legitimacy to the form. As for poor little 1975, the session men had well and truly taken over the asylum.

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