Archives » 1970s

Reelin’ In the Years 114: California Man

The roots of both ELO and Wizzard are evident in this, the last of the hits by Birmingham band The Move, which by this time had lost original members Carl Wayne, Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton and reeled in Jeff Lynne from The Idle Race. ELO’s first single 10538 Overture was released only a month or so after this.

The Move: California Man

Reelin’ In the Years 113: Ball Park Incident

It’s that time of year again. I was in a shopping mall yesterday and over the tannoy came the sound of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day. It was the nineteenth of November!

Still, it got me to thinking about the band that recorded it, Wizzard, a project that Roy Wood had (ahem) moved on to from The Move following a brief stint with the earliest incarnation of ELO.

I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day never made it to no 1, among other things having the relative misfortune to be first released in the same year as Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. I don’t suppose Roy Wood will complain. The residuals he gets every year for I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day must keep him in mince pies well enough.

This was the world’s introduction to Wizzard. Their first single.

Wizzard: Ball Park Incident

Reelin’ In the Years 112: I Only Want To Be With You

Longdancer wasn’t the only pre-Eurythmics incarnation of Dave Stewart’s music – and not his first collaboration with Annie Lennox. That came in the late 70s and 1980 with The Tourists and a couple of top ten hits of which only the song below (which is more associated with the 1960s and Dusty Springfield) made any impression in the USA.

The Tourists: I Only Want To Be With You

Reelin’ In the Years 111: The Combine Harvester

From the sublime (Al Stewart, last two weeks) to the gorblimey.

I’d almost forgotten about this till the good lady said she’d heard it on the radio this week

The Wurzels were a band from Somerset – a traditional rural farming county – who dubbed their style Scrumpy and Western after the name for a type of cider and a USian music genre.

A parody of Melanie (Safka)’s Brand New Key from 1971 with lyrics more appropriate to agriculture this, believe it or not, was actually a number one hit in the UK in 1976. For three weeks!

Bits of it are still funny, though. I especially like the spoken, “Just you wait till I get me ‘ands on your laaaaand,” towards the end.

The Wurzels: The Combine Harvester:

Another Wurzels parody, this time of Una Paloma Blanca, got to number three in 1976.

The Wurzels: I am a Cider Drinker

There are clips on You Tube of the Wurzels performing this on TV but on one of them they are introduced by a paedophile and the other is incomplete.

Reelin’ In the Years 110: Roads To Moscow

Another example of Al Stewart’s lyrical eclecticism.

This one is about the Great Patriotic War.

Al Stewart : Roads To Moscow

Reelin’ In the Years 109: On The Border

Not the only “pop” song to be about the Spanish Civil War but the subject certainly marks it out as lyrically unusual. But then Al Stewart’s lyrics tended to the eclectic.

This is a live version.

Al Stewart: On the Border

Reelin’ In the Years 108: Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More

More Steely Dan.

Pity about the poor grammar in the title.

Steely Dan: Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More

Reelin’ In the Years 107: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

Steely Dan’s second UK hit – but it only achieved the heights of no. 58. Though their singles got a lot of airplay I suppose they were more of an albums band this side of the pond.

Steely Dan: Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

Reelin’ In the Years 106: Teenage Rampage

I’ve not done one of these for a while.

The Sweet: Teenage Rampage

Reelin’ In the Years 105: Hazell

Taggart’s wasn’t the first TV theme tune Maggie Bell had taken on. From the previous decade here’s her version of the Hazell theme.

Maggie Bell: Hazell

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