Archives » 1970s

Reelin’ in the Years 179: Bang Bang

Glasgow’s own B A Robertson’s first UK hit. From 1979.

After a small flurry of hits he graduated to writing songs for others including hits for Cliff Richard and Mike and the Mechanics.

Here he is “performing” the single on Top of the Pops.

B A Robertson: Bang Bang

Reelin’ in the Years 178: RIP Emitt Rhodes

Emitt Rhodes died this week. He never made much of an impact on the charts in the UK despite being championed on Alan Freeman’s radio show. It’s still sad to see him go.

There’s a mellotron sound here (I’m a sucker for a bit of mellotron) and echoes of Barclay James Harvest.

Emitt Rhodes: Till the Day After

This one’s a bit more rocky.

Emitt Rhodes: Really Wanted You

Emitt Lynn Rhodes: 25/2/1950 – 19/7/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 177: Only You Can. RIP Kenny Young

The song-writer and producer of 1970s band Fox died earlier this week. He also wrote Captain of Your Ship – a hit for Reparata and the Delrons in the 60s – Under the Boardwalk and some hits for Clodagh Rodgers.

A list of his hit songs is on Wikipedia.

The biggest of those in the UK were recorded by Fox. This looks like a Top of the Pops appearance.

Fox: Only You Can

Shalom Giskan (Kenny Young,) 14/4/1941 – 14/4/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 176: Run For Home

Just because I’ve been posting about the island from which the band Lindisfarne took its name.

The band had split after their third LP Dingly Dell in 1972 but reformed in 1978. Run For Home was taken from their punningly named comeback album Back and Fourth which featured a photograph of Lindisfarne Castle on its sleeve.

Back and Fourth cover sleeve

This is a Top of the Pops appearance from 1978.

Lindisfarne: Run for Home

Friday on my Mind 192 and Reelin’ in the Years 175: The In Crowd

I give you two for the price of one this week. (Not that either of them actually costs anything.)

The In Crowd was hit in both these decades, first for Dobie Gray in 1965, then for Brian Ferry in 1974.

Here’s Dobie Gray in a US TV appearance.

Dobie Gray: The In Crowd

Ferry’s treatment of the song is a little different.

Brian Ferry: The In Crowd

Reelin’ in the Years 174: Burning – RIP Steve Priest

So, farewell then, Steve Priest, bass guitarist with The Sweet.

On one of the band’s Top of the Pops performances Steve managed to outrage my father with his make-up and pouting to the camera. I just thought all of that was an in-joke, a very muted kind of rebellion.

I’ve already featured what I think of as the band’s good hits; the ones that weren’t mere bubblegum fluff.

The Sweet’s B-sides were their attempt to show that they were serious musicians. Some see them as forerunners of and influences on later heavy metal bands. At the time most of my acquiantances thought they were maybe trying a bit too hard.

On this one (the B-side of Hell Raiser) it sounds like they were trying to channel Led Zeppelin, specifically The Immigrant Song.

The Sweet: Burning

Stephen Norman (Steve) Priest, 23/2/1948 – 4/6/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 172: Wuthering Heights

This was the song that introduced Kate Bush to the world.

And over forty years later I finally got round to reading the book which inspired it.

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights

Reelin’ in the Years 171: Ain’t No Sunshine. RIP Bill Withers

Another 1970s songwriter gone.

Writing a love song, or at least a good love song, is a difficult trick to pull off. That Bill Withers managed to tread the line between enuine feeling and mawkish sentimentality on the right side speaks of his talent.

He had very few hits but the songs for which he’ll be remembered in the UK, Lean on Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine, do just that. Lovely Day is one of the few examples of a feel-good song that is pitch perfect.

The last of those four seems more appropriate to mark his passing though.

Bill Withers: Ain’t No Sunshine

William Harrison (Bill) Withers: July 4/7/1938 – March 30/3/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 170: Match of the Day

“Match of the Day’s the only way to spend your Saturday.”

Not at the moment it isn’t.

A song from simpler times. “We paid four hundred thousand pounds for him. You realise that?” Nowadays that wouldn’t go near buying you a top player’s big toe.

Curiously this isn’t the only football reference in a Genesis song (‘a goal can find you a role on a muddy pitch in Newcastle, where it rains so much, you can’t wait for a touch of sun and sand,’ from Mad Man Moon on the Trick of the Tail album.)

Genesis: Match of the Day

Reelin’ In the Years 169: Samba Pa Ti

This seems to have been Santana’s first hit in the UK though if asked I’d have thought Black Magic Woman or Oye Como Va had got there before it. Memory is a funny thing.

Santana: Samba Pa Ti

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