Sep 06

Popular ’69

Popular/55 comments • 2,226 views

Back in the Summer of 69. And the Spring, Autumn and other bits too. A missing Popular year poll for you to keep your spirits up while Tom regroups. Tom’s standing orders are:

I give a mark out of 10 to every single featured on Popular. This is your chance to indicate which YOU would have given 6 or more to, by whatever standard you wish to impose. And if you have any ‘closing remarks’ on the year to make, the comments box is your place!

Which of the Number Ones of 1969 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 31
    Tommy Mack on 26 Jan 2012 #

    The lyrics are quite funny. I just find the music and singing pretty boring and the self-absorption repellent as it is fascinating.

  2. 32
    Tommy Mack on 26 Jan 2012 #

    Lord sukrat @ 28: What would you reccomend to a Yoko-sceptic? I’ve always felt that she deserved a fair hearing because anyone who pissed Paul McCartney off that much had to be worth a listen, but what I’ve heard and seen of her output (very little!) hasn’t convinced me that she was anything other than an ambitious chancer who got herself seen in the right places.

  3. 33
    thefatgit on 26 Jan 2012 #

    BofJ&Y kind of lays the groundwork for “Through The Wire”. I say “kind of” simply because Kanye suffered a whole lot more pain than John did. Although John wasn’t ultimately allowed to survive, I doubt having to endure the aftermath of a car crash compares IN THE SLIGHTEST to running away from a relentless and remorselessly nosey Press.

  4. 34

    At the moment I’m listening to 2007’s “Yes! I’m a Witch!” on Spotify, which is excellent (in parts)* — but what I had in mind, and more relevantly, is stuff off Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band and Fly, where she nudges an all-star group of 60s luminaries to invent Sonic Youth a decade before schedule, sounds they really weren’t making anywhere else. (There’s stuff on the live Derek and the Dominoes LP that pushes this way also, maybe…) . Her voice is the stopping point for many, though well within Slits/Riot Grrrl tolerance limits.

    I’m at work so I can’t give you the best pointers to fluxus stuff — and a great deal of it really was (as I said) very deliberately contextual intervention, which makes little sense and loses most of its flavour in bald description years after the fact. But Cut Piece is terrific: prescient (including personally prescient), superbly simply concieved, and genuinely unsettling I think.

    *This rider always applies with YO! I generally find her breathy spoken-word sections the places where i fast forward.

  5. 35

    s/b conceived <-- sub-editor on the loose :(

  6. 36
    wichita lineman on 26 Jan 2012 #

    Yoko’s Mind Train is a Barabajagal-esque floorfiller. I used to hear it at Danny Ladytron’s club in Liverpool in the mid 90s.


  7. 37
    wichita lineman on 26 Jan 2012 #

    Those US 1969 no.1s in full:

    Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Though the Grapevine (7 weeks)
    Tommy James & the Shondells – Crimson and Clover (2)
    Sly & the Family Stone – Everyday People (4)
    Tommy Roe – Dizzy (4)
    5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (6)
    Beatles – Get Back (5)
    Henry Mancini – Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet (2)
    Zager & Evans – In the Year 2525 (6)
    Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women (4)
    Archies – Sugar Sugar (4)
    Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You (2)
    Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (1)
    5th Dimension – Wedding Bell Blues (3)
    Beatles – Come Together (1)
    Steam – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (2)
    Peter Paul & Mary – Leaving On a Jet Plane (1)
    Diana Ross & the Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together (1)

    A couple that didn’t make the UK Top 50 at all (Tommy James and Henry Mancini, both rather surprisingly) and one that barely did (Sly & the Family Stone – I’ve never really got the appeal of that one). Otherwise, a fair bit of crossover (6 were transatlantic no.1s) compared to 1968 (only Hey Jude).

  8. 38
    swanstep on 27 Jan 2012 #

    A thought about BoJ&Y: I rate it about a 6 but I’m aware that I’m not being completely objective about it when I do so. I think of BoJ&Y as *essentially* a late Beatles song and *specifically* as the soundtrack to Lennon transitioning out of the band/moving on. I’m pretty sure that I first heard BoJ&Y in the background of various Beatles documentaries/tributes, accompanying montages of disgruntled-other-Beatles shots interleaved with shots of ever-more-beardy Lennon and Ono. Its casualness (but with a bit of groove to it) works very well as an underscore of that specific extra-musical stuff I find. It’s almost outro music for the band. Thus, BoJ&Y isn’t the sort of song I want to hear much aside from those cases when I’m on a Beatles jag per se, or watching a band documentary etc., still less do I really want to hear BoJ&Y done by anyone else (so some of my usual, objectivizing tests of whether something’s a good song don’t apply here). But when I’m in an ‘absorbing the whole Beatles story’ context BoJ&Y works a treat I find, and I feel a lot of affection for it because of that. I know that that’s giving the song all sorts of special consideration that I don’t give others, which is a little subjective and unfair, but so be it (I probably do something similar with early and late works of Abba or The Smiths too now I think about it).

    @wichita. That US #1s list is ace too. And look at the first 8 US #1s of 1970:
    Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head
    I Want You Back
    Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
    Bridge Over Troubled Water
    Let It Be
    American Woman

    This has to a peak time for a pop music that channeled the whole culture, that almost everyone liked.

  9. 39
    karen d tregaskin on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Sugar Sugar by The Archies is pretty much the greatest single ~OF ALL TIME~ and I will smite anyone who dares disagree!

  10. 40
    Elsa on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Thinking of the casual spontaneous feel of BofJ&Y, it occurs to me that this was the period when Lennon got into the practice of making “instant” records – writing a song, recording it, and releasing it as an a-side within a month’s time. Beatle historians correct me if I’m wrong, but “BofJ&Y,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Cold Turkey,” and “Instant Karma” all fit this pattern.

  11. 41
    wichita lineman on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Swanstep – good call on BofJ&Y’s place in the Beatles story. Likewise, I like Sheila Take A Bow and Girlfriend In A Coma as ’87 singles more than I would’ve done if they’d followed, say, This Charming Man.

    Elsa – think yr right but wouldn’t many of the earlier Beatles singles have followed a similar pattern? I suppose the difference here is the personal content of the songs (Instant Karma aside), which Mark has almost certainly identified correctly as Fluxus inspired.

    I love you smart people.

  12. 42
    Elsa on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Wichita – I think it’s the writing part of the process that usually predates the record by a few months if not a year or more… although I seem to recall that “Help” was written at the final hour, so that one might qualify. Maybe there are others. The Stones’ “Satisfaction” was turned out in about three weeks.

  13. 43
    tom on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Early Beatles and Stones singles were written and recorded quickly as it was standard industry practise at the time (the Swinging Blue Jeans apparently ran out of songs during the recording of their debut album so just worked through lunch to write a few more!) Whereas Lennon recording his Bag-era stuff was done quickly thru choice, as Elsa pointed out above, as an artistic and political statement. Still don’t really enjoy it as music.

    Latter period Smiths has grown on me, but I can take or leave the slick, subdued sound of Strangeways…

  14. 44
    Elsa on 27 Jan 2012 #

    Yeah, I think what was largely unprecedented was the clout that would enable a pop artist to say, “This is the single and I want it released right now.”

  15. 45
    Tommy Mack on 27 Jan 2012 #

    And the fact he was singing so frankly about his own life, aims and even personal flaws. That is interesting, although it walks a knife-edge between honesty and narcissism.

  16. 46

    Also a knife-edge between ordinary-bloke snapshot “this is just stuff we all think and feel, no?” and “I AM THE MOST FAMOUS POP BRAIN ON THE PLANET RELEASE IT THIS INSTANT”

  17. 47
    Dan Quigley on 28 Jan 2012 #

    41-44, The early Beatles singles might have been recorded quickly, but if I recall my Beatles books right, they were still usually subject to a bit of redrafting from the group and George Martin, in the form of speeding things up, adding a few ‘woohs’ and ‘yeahs’, putting the middle 8 at the beginning to maximise impact, etc.

    The sense I have with TBoJ&Y and other Lennon things at the time is that such editing was not only absent, but scorned by him as artificial.

    All that said, I agree that TBoJ&Y is quite amiable. I like that even when he’s not trying to make the music interesting, Lennon can’t help but end the bridge on a couple of his irregular added beats.

  18. 48
    weej on 28 Jan 2012 #

    Re #47 – I listened to “Two Virgins” for the first time a few weeks ago, and you’re spot on with the anti-editing thing! TBoJ&Y is Bohemian Rhapsody by comparison.

  19. 49
    stand for phil on 6 Feb 2012 #

    Wow, US has Steam and that is a great song! In either country I’m going with Marvin though.

  20. 50
    Alan not logged in on 14 Feb 2012 #

    I’ll shunt this back in time into the right order of popular posts in a couple of days

  21. 51
    lonepilgrim on 15 Feb 2012 #

    any chance of polls for 1968, 1966 and 1964?

  22. 52
    Alan not logged in on 16 Feb 2012 #

    The great missing popular polls are coming – but they are mostly fall-back posts for Tom’s busy times. I’ll pop up another if a 3 week plus gap is looking likely

  23. 53
    lonepilgrim on 17 Feb 2012 #

    no problem Alan – thanks for all your work in making this site work so smoothly

  24. 54
    wichita lineman on 14 Apr 2012 #

    Those South African number ones in full. Impressive loyalty to both sides post-Bee Gees split. Only One woman was another Gibb song, sung by Graham Bonnet:

    10-Jan-69 You Can Cry If You Want – Troggs (4)
    07-Feb-69 Only One Woman – Marbles (1)
    14-Feb-69 Cry To Me – Staccatos (3)
    07-Mar-69 Crimson And Clover – Tommy James & The Shondells (4)
    04-Apr-69 Dizzy – Tommy Roe (2)
    18-Apr-69 Indian Giver – 1910 Fruitgum Company (2)
    02-May-69 Sorry Suzanne – Hollies (2)
    16-May-69 Where Do You Go To My Lovely – Peter Sarstedt (1)
    23-May-69 Games People Play – Joe South (2)
    06-Jun-69 Hair – Cowsills (1)
    13-Jun-69 Proud Mary – Creedence Clearwater Revival (2)
    27-Jun-69 My Sentimental Friend – Herman’s Hermits (4)
    25-Jul-69 Little Yellow Aeroplane – Leapy Lee (1)
    01-Aug-69 Time Is Tight – Booker T & The MGs (3)
    22-Aug-69 Sugar, Sugar – Archies (3)
    12-Sep-69 Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1)
    19-Sep-69 Saved By The Bell – Robin Gibb (3)
    10-Oct-69 Put A Little Love In Your Heart – Jackie de Shannon (2)
    24-Oct-69 Don’t Forget To Remember – Bee Gees (4)
    14-Nov-69 Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley (6)

  25. 55
    Billy Smart on 17 Aug 2012 #

    There were four ‘phantom’ number ones in 1969, reaching the top of the other (NME) chart, but not the one Tom’s using. All four were number one for one week, and all four are absolutely terrific:

    In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley
    Oh Well – Fleetwood Mac
    Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday – Stevie Wonder
    Ruby Don’t take Your Love To Town – Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

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