Which decade is Tops for Pops? – THE WINNER.

1st place – The 1960s. (34 points)

2006: 2nd place, 37 points.
2005: 2nd place, 33 points.
2004: 1st place, 36 points.
2003: 3rd place, 28 points.

10. Mellow Yellow – Donovan. 5 points.
9. Matthew And Son – Cat Stevens. 3 points.
8. Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron – Royal Guardsmen. 1 point, least popular.
7. Peek-A-Boo – New Vaudeville Band. 3 points.
6. Let’s Spend The Night Together – Rolling Stones. 5 points.
5. Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane – The Beatles. 5 points, most popular.
4. Here Comes My Baby – The Tremeloes. 4 points.
3. I’m A Believer – The Monkees. 5 points.
2. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck. 2 points.
1. This Is My Song – Petula Clark. 1 point.

wd60topAnd so, for the second time in five years, to the 1960s: a decade which has only once finished below second place. 1967 picked up our highest share of top scores, with Donovan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Monkees all finishing in first place. These more than compensated for the rare occasions (Royal Guardsmen, Engelbert Humperdinck, Petula Clark) when it fell out of favour.

Whereas our 2007 Top 10 was consistently OK but rarely spectacular (unless you count “Same Jeans” and “Grace Kelly” as “spectacular”), our 1967 Top 10 veers wildly between godawful corniness and genre-defining transcendence, rarely pausing for half measures. It’s also our most optimistic selection, as befits the relative innocence of the times.

wd60botHowever, perhaps we are once again drinking in the Last Gasp saloon. If 1997 represented the end of the road for post-Britpop “credibility”, and if 1987 sounded the death knell for “style” pop, and if 1977 marked the overthrowal of the Boring Old Farts by the New Wave, then maybe 1967 marked the end of the first rush of creative energy that had been set in motion by Merseybeat. Could something like “Here Comes My Baby” have existed in 1968, after the schism created by the Summer of Love? For in the post-psychedelic world, as the Serious Artists graduated to the albums format, the singles chart rapidly became the target of their sneers: a playground for the very young, or a graveyard for the middle-aged. Bubblegum and MOR flourished, as the concept of the “beat group” more or less died overnight.

Congratulations, 1967. You sat on the cusp, hinted at the best of what was to come, and reaped the benefits accordingly. Just be warned, though: you might not find things quite so easy in a year’s time.

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