Oct 06

Popular ’70

Popular21 comments • 1,655 views

Appearing briefly on the front page while I finish the next entry!

Every Popular entry gets a mark out of 10: here’s your opportunity to say which of the No.1s of 1970 you’d give more than 6 to. Highest marks from me this year went to Freda Payne and Smokey Robinson (both 8s); lowest was a 2 for Dana.

Which of these Number One Singles of 1970 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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Singles are listed in reverse chronological order for once.


  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 23 Sep 2010 #

    There were a whopping seven ‘phantom’ number ones in 1970, that topped the NME chart, but not the BBC one

    Marmalade – Reflections Of My Life – 1 week
    The Jackson Five – I Want You Back – 1
    The Moody Blues – Question – 1
    Free – All Right Now – 3
    The Kinks – Lola – 1
    Deep Purple – Black Night – 1
    McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead & Gone – 1

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I feel pretty well disposed to all of these apart from Dana but felt I had to demonstrate some kind of discrimination and so voted for 8.
    Thanks for the NME phantoms Billy. I’d have loved to see Lola at number 1.

    I used to do an appalling impression of Lee Marvin’s ‘Wandrin Star’ as a kid – happy days

  3. 3
    wichita lineman on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Same here, and I ended up only plumping for 6. The phantoms seem very in keeping with the Band drum pattern/sludge rock/prog sound of ’70. But the relatively small tally reflects how sloooow the singles chart was moving in 1970 – rock speed, not pop speed

  4. 4
    swanstep on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I voted for 8. Too bad that the Jackson 5’s I want you back is a phantom – it would have fit beautifully with Freda Payne and Tears of a Clown.

  5. 5
    Mark G on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I’m amazed that Smokey and Jimi aren’t running at 100%, are there really people who wouldn’t give them 6 or more?

  6. 6
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I have always been mildly annoyed by Tears of a Clown: and was marking v.grumpily as I have horrible back ache at the moment (just 4! an all-time low i think!)

  7. 7
    LondonLee on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Probably being overly generous with some for nostalgia reasons (Elvis, Christie) but I voted for 11 of ’em.

    What nihilist voted “none of them”?

  8. 8
    Conrad on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Voted 5, Band of Gold my favourite on the list, and have a soft spot for Love Grows

  9. 9
    ace inhibitor on 23 Sep 2010 #

    voted for 7 – the top 8 apart from hendrix – just not a favourite of his at all. I want you back would have been an 11, possibly a 12 (and a rare unanimous vote in this household as well)

  10. 10
    wichita lineman on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Re 5: I just never got Voodoo Chile – any other JHE single would get a 7 or more from more. In isolation, or up against All Kinds Of Everything at any rate, it sounds fierce and eventful, but I think the Experience had been far more concise (Crosstown Traffic), melodic (Little Wing), atmospheric (Castles Made Of Sand, Wind Cries Mary), iconoclastic (All Along The Watchtower) or rhythmically out there (Manic Depression, Fire).

    And, at the risk of sounding dumb, I don’t get the lyrical gist of the song (esp. as it was deemed significant enough to be printed on the sleeve).

    I don’t think it’s awful by any means, but I wouldn’t automatically give a Beatles/Stones/Who/Kinks single 6+ either.

    Mildly shocked by the lack of love for Ian Matthews’ English pastoral take on Woodstock, which blurrily evokes my 5 yr old experience of 1970 – going up Box Hill, looking at the bikers and hippies sitting on the grass, while eating (if I was lucky) a 99.

  11. 11
    wichita lineman on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Those Billboard 1970 US no.1s in full:

    Diana Ross & the Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together
    BJ Thomas – Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
    Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
    Shocking Blue – Venus
    Sly & the Family Stone – Everybody Is a Star/Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
    Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
    The Beatles – Let It Be
    Jackson 5 – ABC
    Guess Who – American Woman
    Ray Stevens – Everything Is Beautiful
    The Beatles – The Long And Winding Road
    Jackson 5 – The Love You Save
    Three Dog Night – Mama Told Me Not To Come
    The Carpenters – Close To You
    Bread – Make It With You
    Edwin Starr – War
    Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain Enough
    Neil Diamond – Cracklin’ Rosie
    Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There
    Partridge Family – I Think I Love You
    Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Tears Of A Clown
    George Harrison – My Sweet Lord

    Wot, no “things of the sea”?

  12. 12
    swanstep on 24 Sep 2010 #

    @Wichita. Jesus, the US #1 list for 1970 is utterly superb – that’s a knockout playlist anytime. If only crowds were always that wise!

  13. 13
    Tom on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Well, when the playlist + sales equation works, it really works, I guess.

  14. 14
    punctum on 24 Sep 2010 #

    The list is wholly great with the exception of the dreadful Tea Party shill in the middle.

  15. 15
    rosie on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Amazingly, I find myself for the first time in any of these year surveys completely in sync with the Populistariat. I voted for 9 and they are the first 9 listed. (But I wouldn’t necessarily rank them in that order)

    Yes, I love MSC’s Woodstock for reasons I think I outlined in the entry – it’s partly personal (autumn closing in after an awesome summer) but it’s the way the interpretation catches the broader anticlimax of autumn closing in on the gloriously optimistic 60s. (The Yom Kippur War and attendant oil crisis was yet to come of course)

  16. 16
    Waldo on 25 Sep 2010 #

    Yes, this is a wonderful list, as is the one in the US. Guess Who’s “American Woman”, for example, is a blinding track and cruely became a torment for Gordon Brown, after he abused that sweet kindly old lady up in Rochdale:

    “Bigoted woman, stay away from me
    Bigoted woman, mama let me be
    Don’t come hanging around my door
    I don’t want to see your face no more
    I got more important things to do
    Than spend my time a-listenin’ to you
    Now woman, stay away
    Bigoted woman, listen what I say…”

    # 1 – Some wonderful “phantoms” there, the pick for me being The Moodies’ spectacular “Question”.

    # 10 – I too remain puzzled as to why “Voodoo Chile” was selected as the tribute. Any of Lino’s suggestions would have worked better, although one or two he lists had already been released as singles, of course. I would have suggested the most appropriate choice to have been “I Don’t Live Today”.. but then again, perhaps not.

    # 10(2) – That’s funny. I also associate MSC’s “Woodstock” with memories of Box Hill. My primary school organised an Autumn camp at Marchants Hill when this record was in the charts. I would have been 9 but I can’t recall running into any bikers or hippies. I do however have a clear recollection of dancing in the camp hall to Bobby Bloom’s “Montego Bay”.

    I shall gladly join the chorus of slating 1970’s Eurovision winning song, which had the temerity to knock BOTW off the top but will not indulge in any Dana-bashing for reasons I think you can probably guess!

  17. 17
    Mark G on 27 Sep 2010 #

    Thanks for the “not 100% related” comments above, all fair enough..

    Has any number one gained 100% on these surveypolls, or has that backache been contagious?

  18. 18
    lonepilgrim on 15 Apr 2012 #

    the BBC returns to the 1970s in this new series, starting tomorrow. Details here:


    There will also be some 70s music being shown, as noted here:


  19. 19
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Apr 2012 #

    Lonepilgrim has beaten me to it. This is all looks very good indeed. Get the Watney’s Red Barrel in, folks!

  20. 20
    wichitalineman on 28 May 2014 #

    I was about to point out there were SEVEN phantom number ones in 1970, from the NME chart, but there it already is in comment number one!

    Nothing more to be said, then, other than all seven would get a tick from me, and that “kind faced” Dana failed to make the grade in the NME – she stuck at no.2 for three weeks, behind Simon & Garfunkel and then Norman Greenbaum.

  21. 21
    mapman132 on 15 Jun 2014 #

    I guess the year that American Top 40 began is as good a place as any to note the passing of long-time US chart broadcaster Casey Kasem. Without AT40 (which used the actual Billboard Hot 100 in its heyday), I doubt I’d have the interest of pop music charts that I have today.

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