Jul 06

Popular ’67

FT + Popular/16 comments • 1,161 views

Your chance to vote on the songs you would have given 6 or more out of 10 to from 1967’s chart-toppers.

Number Ones of 1967: Which would you have given 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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And use the comments box to talk about the year in general, if you like!


  1. 1
    rosie on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Not a vintage year for number ones then. I’d be interested in seeing a number twos list.

  2. 2
    Tom on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Move – Night Of Fear
    Cat Stevens – Matthew And Son
    Vince Hill – Edelweiss
    Beatles – Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever
    Harry Secombe – This Is My Song
    Mamas & The Papas – Dedicated To The One I Love
    Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
    Engelbert Humperdinck – There Goes My Everything
    Vikki Carr – It Must Be Him
    Monkees – Alternate Title
    Tom Jones – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
    Keith West – Excerpt From A Teenage Opera
    Move – Flowers In The Rain
    Traffic – Hole In My Shoe
    Dave Clark Five – Everybody Knows
    Tom Jones – I’m Coming Home
    Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour EP

  3. 3
    Tom on 29 Apr 2008 #

    This year got my lowest average post-50s marks, I think

  4. 4
    Lena on 30 Apr 2008 #

    A great year, but then it’s my birth year so of course I like a lot of the #1s (and #2s)!

  5. 5
    DJ Punctum on 30 Apr 2008 #

    One of the greatest of years and a year slightly belied by its number ones. I went for “I’m A Believer” because (a) it was number one the day my wife was born and (b) the words are true true TRUE! :-)

    Meanwhile, the American list of ’67 chart toppers is as follows:

    Monkees – I’m A Believer
    Buckinghams – Kind Of A Drag
    Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday
    Supremes – Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone
    Beatles – Penny Lane
    Turtles – Happy Together
    Frank n’ Nancy – Somethin’ Stupid
    Supremes – The Happening
    Young Rascals – Groovin’
    Aretha Franklin – Respect
    Association – Windy
    Doors – Light My Fire
    Beatles – All You Need Is Love
    Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe
    Box Tops – The Letter
    Lulu – To Sir, With Love
    Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints
    Monkees – Daydream Believer
    Beatles – Hello Goodbye

  6. 6
    Billy Smart on 30 Apr 2008 #

    The Buckinghams? Who they?

  7. 7
    DJ Punctum on 30 Apr 2008 #

    “Kind Of A Drag” really is a stinker; the Buckinghams were four Chicago accountants pretending to be a garage band and they played at Dubya’s last inauguration do so that gives you a fair idea of their rottenness.

  8. 8
    vinylscot on 9 May 2008 #

    Once again, the Americans had better number ones than we did; and our number twos were better than our number ones.

    I often find it odd that this year, which is often held out to be THE year as far as popular music is concerned, should have such a high proportion of turkeys at no1 (&2).

    IIRC Englebert had the three biggest selling singles of the year; add that to Vince Hill, Harry Secombe, and Petula Clark, and it makes you wonder…..

    Maybe 1967 is fondly remembered because it was seen as the beginning of something, rather like the second half of 1976 would later be.

  9. 9
    DJ Punctum on 9 May 2008 #

    The year’s Top 10 best selling singles also included Anita Harris’ “Just Loving You” (apparently the biggest selling #6 hit ever) and Frankie Vaughan’s “There Must Be A Way” which despite peaking at #7 was on the chart forever. The number of times either gets played on contemporary radio probably tells its own story.

  10. 10
    DV on 9 May 2008 #

    Puppet on a String is easy to dislike, but still merits a vote, unlike All You Need Is Wuv, which is not actually that good.

  11. 11
    wichita lineman on 19 Jul 2008 #

    Re 6/7: One of those mediocre, mysterious no1s that seems inexplicable, especially as the Buckinghams followed it with the dynamite sunshine pop of Don’t You Care and the barking Susan. Unwitting forerunners of ‘brass rock’ (Chicago, Blood Sweat And Tears).

    Linking musical rottenness and political alliances is a bugbear of mine, DJP. Wot, no Beach Boys? Even The Turtles – who’d have made a list of UK no.3s in ’67 – played Trisha Nixon’s birthday party at the White House.

    But I’ll grant you Anita Dobson.

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 5 Aug 2008 #

    Only one single achieved the minor accolade of getting no further than number 40 on the same chart that year, but it’s better than a lot of the number ones;

    20 Sep Train To Skaville – The Ethiopians – 1 week

  13. 13
    DJ Punctum on 5 Aug 2008 #

    If you take the whole Top 50 into account, you get one week at number 50 for “Hang On To A Dream” by Tim Hardin – his only UK hit single as a performer.

  14. 14
    Billy Smart on 5 Aug 2008 #

    Memorably covered by Orlando – their only hit, too!

    Another tremendous number 50 smash is ‘If You Can Want’ by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.

  15. 15
    wichita lineman on 16 Nov 2011 #

    Here’s a clip of the launch of Radio 1! Apologies if someone has posted this elsewhere but I was quite excited to find it:


    More related to Lena’s excellent blog at the time of writing.

  16. 16
    IJGrieve on 28 Feb 2015 #

    My capsule reviews & ratings out of 10 for the chart-toppers of 1967…

    THE MONKEES – “I’m A Believer”
    Manufactured for a TV show they may have been, but in recording Neil Diamond’s “I’m A Believer” the Monkees are responsible for a definitive pop record. Love it or hate it, almost fifty years later there’s no escaping this song. Taking into account the covers by EMF with Reeves & Mortimer and Smash Mouth, I think it might actually be the Sixties song I hear in passing more than any other. It just seems like one of those songs that couldn’t possibly fail to be a huge hit, its joy and excitement are so infectious 9

    PETULA CLARK – “This Is My Song”
    We encountered Petula Clark in the very first post in this thread, where I described 1961’s “Sailor” as a tedious plodder that couldn’t possibly be recommended. Well, this is so much worse still. Accompanied by the music from the worst Eurovision entry you’ve ever heard, Clark drags out every fluffy line as the listener rapidly loses the will to live. The worst chart-topper we’ve encountered so far 1

    I remarked in last year’s post that the people of Britain generally sent the right records to the top of the charts in ’66. Well, something went horribly wrong this year. This plaintive divorce anthem at least has some semblance of a tune, and a point. That’s about as much kindness as I’m prepared to send its way, though. Songs like this showing up at the top of the charts puzzle me – it’s such a single-purpose record: unless you identify with the singer’s predicament, why on earth would you want to listen to it? 3

    FRANK AND NANCY SINATRA – “Something Stupid”
    The first chart-topper of the year excepted, 1967 feels so far like a year that’s taken a big step backwards. In terms of this record, that applies particularly to Nancy Sinatra. In ’66 she stomped across the stage in those no-nonsense walkin’ “Boots”. Just over a year later and she’s hiding away in that shadow of her father’s that she sounded so convincingly as though she’d escaped in that previous #1. For this is no duet (it’s probably just as well given that it’s a romantic love song!) but perhaps Nancy’s credit led younger record-buyers to pay it more attention than they otherwise would have 4

    SANDIE SHAW – “Puppet On A String”
    The Eurovision Song Contest has seldom been a venue for innovation or indeed much taste, and “Puppet On A String” was clearly expertly pitched to become the UK’s first winning song. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cheesiness and camp of Eurovision – but even in its mid-60s context this song sounds dated and cheap. Supposedly Sandie hated her “Puppet” and the newfound fame it brought her; one can sympathise, especially since her two previous #1s were both far better songs than this 4

    THE TREMELOES – “Silence Is Golden”
    What a difference four years can make – who’d have thought that the same group whose “Do You Love Me?” was one of the brashest stompers of that most exciting year ’63 could come out with something so drab as this? The irony of a song with such an inauspicious title topping the charts and the injustice of its keeping a record so superior in every conceivable request as “Waterloo Sunset” off the top are far more remarkable than the song itself 3

    PROCOL HARUM – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
    ‘Evocative’ is surely one of the most overused words in the dictionary when it comes to music reviews, but if there’s any #1 hit whose cover should accompany its entry it’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale”. That combination of swirling, Bach-inspired organ and the enigmatic lyrics so rich with imagery has proven equally irresistible almost fifty years on as in its year of release. The vocals are unspectacular, but such is the strength of the song that it’s almost irrelevant – at least as of a few years ago, it remained the single most-played track across all British broadcasting 9

    THE BEATLES – “All You Need Is Love”
    The Beatles were certainly masters at writing catchy, immediate pop songs that just under the surface are suffused with complexity and mystery. We’ve seen some great examples of this already, but this might just be the single most notable instance. It’s impossible to do it justice in a brief capsule review. What we do know is that it was written, in quite a tight timeframe, for broadcast on a pioneering international live satellite TV link-up. But why does it start with a clip from La Marseillaise? Why does it use such unusual time signatures? What do the verses actually mean? Why the segue into “She Loves You”? The unanswered questions are endless! 8

    SCOTT MCKENZIE – “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)”
    Whereas the previous #1 came along at just the right time to be adopted by the hippies of 1967’s Summer of Love, this record was made for them. Specifically, it was released to promote the Monterey Pop Festival that marked the start of that historic Summer. As predicted by the song’s lyrics, tens of thousands travelled to Northern California for the festival and many stayed in SF for the summer. While few Brits would have had the means to travel to the West Coast, clearly this hippie anthem captured the imagination of enough to take it to the top of the charts (it reached only #4 on the US Billboard chart) 7

    As a vehicle to showcase Humperdinck’s appreciable vocal talents, this song at least serves its purpose. Beyond that, it’s barely worthy of comment, an aberration of formulaic drabness in what is otherwise a strong run of chart-toppers 3

    THE BEE GEES – “Massachusetts”
    If someone who’d never heard of the Bee Gees were played this record I’m sure they’d swear that the brothers Gibb are American, so convincing is the pastiche of the ‘Summer of Love’ sound and the last-but-one record in particular. Like several of this year’s hits it is very much of its time, reflecting the mood as the love-in inevitably came to an end as surely as Scott McKenzie and the Beatles soundtracked the pilgrimage. The strength of the song is such, however, that it has endured despite its sepia-tinged lyrics 7

    THE FOUNDATIONS – “Baby Now That I’ve Found You”
    With the Motown sound by now a familiar feature of the music landscape on both sides of the Atlantic, it was inevitable that British imitators would begin to gain a foothold. The Foundations were among the most successful, though it’s unfortunate that of their two major hits it’s by some distance the weaker song that gave them their only #1 (more on the other record next year…). “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” is a satisfactory pop record, one that is unlikely to provoke a strong opinion either way 5

    LONG JOHN BALDRY – “Let The Heartaches Begin”
    Listening to this set of #1s consecutively, the smoothest segue is between this and the previous song. On the face of it, that seems strange given the tracks’ contrasting subject matter and the dissimilarity of the recording artists. It turns out, though, that it’s no surprise at all: the same songwriters (Tony Macauley and John Maclead) wrote both songs. For me this is easily the stronger song of the two – perhaps the lyrics here suit their musical style better. There’s a rather theatrical feel to “Let The Heartaches Begin”, a musical arrangement that approaches over-egged without ever quite tipping over the edge and those hammy backing vocals in the final chorus, but what’s pop about if not entertainment? 8

    THE BEATLES – “Hello Goodbye”
    Over on Tom’s Popular blog, there’s a comment on the entry for this #1 suggesting that when people who profess to dislike the Beatles think about the Beatles this is what they have in mind. Indeed, of all of their chart-toppers up to this point this is easily my least favourite. Once again, the amount of musical variety that they manage to fit into the three-and-a-half minutes of “Hello Goodbye” is impressive. Unfortunately, this time it doesn’t compensate for the song’s lack of substance. This is weak indeed, especially when we all know they were capable of far, far better – indeed there is something far, far more interesting (though outside the scope of this project) in “I Am The Walrus” on the other side of this disc 4

    Other hits worth a mention

    The Beatles – ‘Penny Lane’ – Easily the best of the Beatles’ three singles this year (together with its flipside “Strawberry Fields Forever), and arguably their finest hour of all, is the one that didn’t officially reach #1 (the Melody Maker chart dissented from the consensus in this respect). On the face of it a whimsical pen-portrait of Liverpool suburban life, but with more than enough musical complexity beneath the observational lyrics, “Penny Lane” is truly a wonderful record, and would have given the Beatles their first 10-score had Englebert Humperdinck just not sold quite so many copies of “Release Me”.

    The Move – ‘Flowers In The Rain’ – The song that’s made its indelible mark on British music history as the first record to be played on BBC Radio 1, “Flowers In The Rain” is another great track that was unfortunate not to top the charts. “Flowers In The Rain” is one of several British records with a broadly ‘natural’ theme, as the hippie philosophy and psychedelic experiences inspired songwriters… “Itchycoo Park” (The Small Faces), “Autumn Almanac” (The Kinks) and “Hole In My Shoe” (Traffic) are all great songs from this period that didn’t quite reach #1.

    Aretha Franklin – ‘Respect’ – Aretha Franklin did eventually get her name on a UK #1, but none of her deservedly highly-regarded solo singles achieved the feat. If Nancy Sinatra’s chart-topper last year was the first great female empowerment hit single, this must surely be the second. If anything it has aged better than that song: an enduring classic indeed.

    The Rolling Stones – ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ – The sexual revolution may have been in full swing by this point over in San Francisco, but 1967’s arbiters of taste and decency in popular culture hadn’t quite kept up. Quaint as it may seem in this era of Minaj and Cyrus, but the Stones’ suggestion of pre-marital sex was truly controversial. The resulting lack of airplay may well have contributed to the failure of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to reach the top spot.

    The Supremes – ‘The Happening’ – If you’ve never heard “The Happening” before, familiarity with the Supremes’ other big hits won’t prepare you for it. This is a whirling, bucking carnival ride of a song, the soulful harmonies replaced by a haphazard and at times discordant melee. And, I love it. I’ve never heard anything else quite like it – it’s certainly not going to be to everyone’s taste, but this is one of my all-time favourite pop songs.

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