Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/
Greetings, Glancers. We’re going back through time again today to a when before I was. The world was a different place in 1975, with what we know today as the modern world sticking its bloody head out of the womb. The hippy dream was emitting a death rattle on Watergate’s floor, Thatcherism and Reaganism were on the rise bringing in a wave of wealth and prosperity for the wealthy and prosperous, Spain clambered out of a dictatorship paving the way for drunken sun-worshipers from Blighty, and terrorists continued to maim and kill in the UK, Vietnam, Laos, and everywhere else. On a lighter note, Fawlty Towers was first aired, Jaws reminded drunken sun-worshipers of the dangers of water, Space Mountain opened its doors, Saturday Night Live kicked off, and Ali floored Frazier.
In the music world, Queen released a little song called Bohemian Rhapsody, Iron Maiden was formed, Alice Cooper became a solo act, Fleetwood Mac gained a Buckingham and a Nicks, Led Zep sold out Madison Square Gardens, Pink Floyd wished you were here, and Janis Ian won her first Grammy. From a historical POV, you would think that the beginnings of punk were coming into view while the more overblown rock and prog bands were at or just past their peak, with Disco still on the rise, Motown on the wane, and indie artists influenced by past masters picking up their first instruments. The ten songs below suggest that pop, Disco, folk, Motown were comfortable together in the charts giving a variety rarely seen nowadays. But are the songs any good? There are a few here I don’t recognise so lets plug in the earphones and hit play.
Swirling guitars. Slow beat. Sweet, plain vocals. Ah yes, I know this from Buffy, where it is used in the episode of the same name. This is a different version though. I can’t say this version is too interesting, it’s a little boring and sappy. The violins in the background don’t add anything, which is criminal.
Of course I know this one, but I didn’t until I heard the verses. The introduction is okay, the verses catchy, the singing is a little strained and stretched, and I’m not quite sure what Essex was trying to accomplish singing in this style. Regardless, it’s fun and lighthearted stuff.
Funky horns and cymbals. And yes, I know this one. Big vocals, catchy melodies and lyrics and woo-oohs. A nice, bittersweet song for nostalgia fans of all ages and eras. It’s an unusually cheery song for a topic filled with heartache. Simple, easy, straight to the point, and memorable.
One of my favourite Bowie songs, and years ahead and indescribably different from anything else in this top 10. I know it, you know it, all together now – ‘Ground control to Major Tom’.
I was half expecting this to be some crooning disaster, but it’s a highly melancholy song with an effective acoustic intro. The vocals aren’t very good at the start and the piano doesn’t do anything for me, but the strings are good – need a little more oomph though. Those backing vocals are pretty bad too. Good intro, bad first verse and chorus, much stronger second verse and chorus. With a bit more tinkering to my tastes I’d enjoy this one more.
It’s ABBA so you already know what it’s going to feel like. I’ve always liked how the cascading piano intro merges with the ominous guitar. I think ABBA don’t get enough credit for their verses, but it’s usually the chorus which gets the plaudits – you all know the chorus, but for my money it’s the operatic, wind-swept, moors-evoking, verses which make this one good.
Noise disaster intro. I imagine this sounded like the future at the time, but it’s laughable now. Anyway, onto the singing. Good enough vocals, is there a bloke in there too? Is it a woman? I have no idea. Plain melodies, slow beat, a little tame. Probably a song for slow dances at Prom and then back seat luvin’. But it’s not that good as either of those things. Nor is it as good stretching your calf muscles. And it’s unnecessarily long, too too long.
Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me! No? Oh, this is a different song apparently. Smooth, bland, dire hand claps. But then they have to go and add some strings to make me like it a little bit. Vocals are good in places, but it’s mostly forgettable pap but nice enough to chill to on a Summer’s day.
Assuming this is some sort of remix, taking Frankie Valli and updating with a disco vibe. As awful as that sounds, this isn’t bad. There isn’t a lot to it, but it’s catchy and fun. It has no need at being stretched past four minutes as it’s pretty much the same forty seconds or so repeated over and over, with a funky breakdown in the middle.
Great name for a band, lets see what they sound like. Wait a minute, it’s Black Watch, not Black Witch. Oh lord, no, anything but this. An utter disaster that would sound pretty bad played with any other instrument, but the old strangled cat in a bag gets squeezed for this one. It’s the same twee riff over and over again. How this ever made the charts, nay, how this ever got recorded is a testament to man’s worthlessness.
An unfortunate end then to a decent collection of tunes. When I think of 1975, I think of the giants of rock at their peak, just before most of them began falling apart, but these ten songs do not speak of such things, nor do the top selling singles of the entire year. I get the impression therefore that these songs do not accurately reflect the quality of music released in 1975 – albums such as Blood On The Tracks, Physical Graffiti, Welcome To My Nightmare, Between The Lines, Toys In The Attic, Born To Run, Wish You Were Here, A Night At The Opera, and Horses. To that end, here are ten songs which I feel everyone should listen to at least once from 1975, some famous, some less so. Enjoy!
- One Day In Your Life – Michael Jackson
- Jive Talkin – The Bee Gees
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
- Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
- Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
- Only Women Bleed – Alice Cooper
- At Seventeen – Janis Ian
- Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
- Walk This Way – Aerosmith
- Squeeze Box – The Who
What were you listening to in 1975? For those born after, which songs from this year above or otherwise do you still listen to regularly? Let us know in the comments!