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May 10

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? Round 2: the Number 9s.

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops74 comments • 1,800 views

Historical background note: Phase One of “Which Decade”, which ran for seven years on my old blog, was nearly always timed to coincide with my birthday week in mid-February. So I’m glad that Phase Two has shifted to May – partly because February’s charts tend to suffer from the back end of the post-Christmas dip, but mainly because they rarely capture the musical essence of the forthcoming year, which usually takes a little longer to define itself.

Looking at Monday’s opening selections, all of which possess at least some discernible measure of merit, it looks as if the decision might have been justified. But as we count our way up our six Top Tens, will quality prevail? Only one way to find out! Let’s wheel out the Number Nines.

1960: Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s A Dustman (video) (Tom’s post on Popular)
1970: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band (video)
1980: Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It (video)
1990: Heart – All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You (video)
2000: Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers (video)
2010: Professor Green – I Need You Tonight (feat. Ed Drewett) (video)


(Download the MP3 medley)

He might have made his name as the King of Skiffle, but twenty-one chart entries down the line, Lonnie Donegan had begun to sound a lot more music hall – doubtless to the dismay of the purists, but when did chart pop ever give two hoots about what they thought?

Fittingly, the song was recorded in front of a live audience – and I’m proud to report that the venue in question was the Gaumont cinema (later renamed the Odeon) in my home town of Doncaster. (I’d love to know whether my dear old Dad knew anyone in the audience, but I never thought to ask.) Twelve years later, Chuck Berry deployed the same tactic with “My Ding-A-Ling”, which was recorded live in Coventry – and eight years after that, a live recording at the very same venue topped the charts for The Specials. But I digress.

What bugs me the most about “Dustman” – and Lord knows, there’s a long enough list to choose from – is the way that it so blatantly signposts its punchlines, as both performer and audience build up to crescendos of forced mirth that explode over the song like a salvo of sneezes. Perhaps that was the tradition – but oh, how grating it sounds to modern ears.

There is one moment that does tickle me, though, and you’ll hear it on the MP3 medley. It comes at the end of the intro, when a lone audience member shrieks with laughter at the word “flipping”. Ooh-er missus! Sounds a bit RUDE! I’m so glad it’s not 1960 anymore.

And speaking of the bafflingly dated: what was it about the amiable but unremarkable bar-room boogie of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Travelin’ Band” that sent it scuttling into so many Top Tens around the world? I’ve nothing against amiable bar-room boogie per se – although I prefer its toughed-up mid-Seventies pub rock mutations, from the likes of Eddie & the Hot Rods and Dr Feelgood – but as an actual song, “Travelin’ Band” is slight stuff indeed.

Not to mention derivative; its similarity to Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” gave rise to a threatened lawsuit, which was settled out of court. Can’t say I noticed the resemblance myself, but my partner spotted it instantly, and without any prompting.

The bafflement continues! I’ve never fully understood how Hot Chocolate managed to sustain their hit-making career for so long, notching up twenty-five hits over fourteen years, given their seeming lack of any identifiable fan base. I’ve never met a Hot Chocolate fan, and I’m not convinced they ever existed in any significant numbers. Did any form of anticipatory buzz surround their releases, or were they only ever as good as their last hit, perpetually having to prove themselves anew with every single? And if this was the case, then did this free them from the pressures of stylistic consistency, as their eclectic run of hits would suggest?

Here in May 1980, we find them flirting with sci-fi lite, like The Real Thing (“Can You Feel The Force?”) and Sarah Brightman (“I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper”) before them. Aliens and spaceships and related extra-terrestrial matters were a big deal at the time (the first Star Trek movie was still big at the box office, and The Empire Strikes Back was due out at the end of the month) and so the band picked its moment well – but once again, I’m fair itching to type the “dated” word.

Perhaps you’ve just caught me in a particularly jaded mood, but my memory of “No Doubt About It” – as a burbling, surging disco-pop curio – fails to match the somewhat strained and limping track which I hear today.

Oh crap, it’s a bloody power ballad. This isn’t going to lift my spirits one little bit, I fear. And yet, and yet… despite a long-held and unyielding aversion to the form, I find myself warming to Heart‘s hoary old schlock in a most peculiar way. Perhaps it’s the Glee effect, as I enjoyed the show’s reworking of Heart’s first UK hit “Alone” – very much against my better judgement, but that’s Glee for you – or perhaps I’m finally on the verge of shedding an unhelpful prejudice. That said, I do feel that the song would be improved by an uplifting Eurodance/NRG cover version – but wouldn’t they all?

(UPDATE: I have found an uplifting Eurodance/NRG cover version! But it isn’t very good! Oh well!)

But my main suspicion with Heart – and I have much the same problem with Starship – is that they were never really committed to the genre in which they found themselves operating, choosing commerical pragmatism over artistic preference. So it’s interesting to find this quote from Ann Wilson, who sings the track, in the liner notes for a 1995 live album: “Actually we had sworn off it because it kind of stood for everything we wanted to get away from […] but there was a lot of pressure on us to do the song at the time.” If that’s the case, then all credit to her for turning in a credible performance, cast in the role of baby-hungry hitchhiker-picker-upper. (No, I never listened that closely to the lyrics before, either. Surprising, isn’t it?)

Happily, there’s nothing remotely dated about Sweet Female Attitude‘s lone hit, which sounds as every bit as life-affirmingly glorious today as it did ten years ago. One of UK Garage’s finest ever moments, this is difficult for me to talk about without defaulting to dribbling gush – but I love its freshness, its urgency, its drive, its innocence, its spontaneity, and most of all its overwhelming sense of joy. I also like the contrast between the roughness of the rhythm track and the unforced sweetness of the vocals, and the way that the tumbling vocal cut-ups propel the track forwards.

Of the various mixes, the Sunship Edit was the one which got all the airplay, and frankly it’s the only one you need. Six points all round, then? Please don’t let me down.

Although I’m banking on unanimous love for “Flowers”, I’m a good deal less certain as to which way you’ll bend for our 2010 selection. On the evidence of “I Need You Tonight” (for I am a stranger to his earlier work), Professor Green is the sort of chirpy cheeky cockney chappie to whom many of you might well take violent exception – but I find myself mostly won over by his shtick.

The track is a cutely turned comic fable of come-uppance, with Green cast as the player who gets played right back. And “play” is the operative word here; this is dating viewed purely as a game, which leaves Green strolling away with a shrug and a grin and a can’t-blame-a-boy-for-trying attitude. The phone conversation at the start of the track is nicely done, as is Green’s disclaimer at the end – and while nothing particularly clever is achieved with the INXS sample that runs all the way through the track, the riff is still strong enough to withstand the repetition. Sure, it’s more Just Jack than Jay-Z – but there’s room for that, isn’t there?

Over to you, then. Kelis and The Undertones have pulled decisively ahead of the pack in Round One, with Steve Lawrence and The Move still battling it out for last place – but will this be a tighter race? Does Lonnie make you laugh? Is there room in your bar room for Creedence’s boogie? Are you that Hot Chocolate fan? Do power ballads float your boat? Does 2-step make you quickstep? (Look, it’s been a LONG DAY and I have a HANGOVER.) Or has Professor Green mapped your personal emotional landscape with almost unbearable accuracy? Tell me, do!

(Note: As before, I’ll keep a running total of the scores in the first comment of this thread.)

Comments

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  1. 1
    Mike Atkinson on 12 May 2010 #

    FINAL SCORES:
    230 points: Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers
    193 points: Professor Green – I Need You Tonight
    184 points: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band
    166 points: Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It
    155 points: Heart – All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You
    122 points: Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s A Dustman

    My votes:
    Six points – Sweet Female Attitude
    Five points – Professor Green
    Four points – Heart
    Three points – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    Two points – Hot Chocolate
    One point – Lonnie Donegan

  2. 2
    JonnyB on 12 May 2010 #

    I’m sorry Mike. Much as I respect your popness – and much as I agree with you in many respects about the band – ‘No Doubt About It’ is one of the great tracks of the (admittedly narrow) sci-fi/pop genre. I am constantly baffled that the band tend to get remembered for the lame ‘You Sexy Thing’ – presumably that movie was to blame for this state of affairs.

    Once more, I shall be settling down tomorrow to give each track my full consideration before voting – – but that bass intro, the electric piano – the space-age synth presets, the arms to the heavens chorus – you can take it it’ll get a six from me.

  3. 3
    Mike Atkinson on 12 May 2010 #

    OK, I’ll grant you that bassline! Although I’d still argue that Wings’ sublime “Goodnight Tonight” mined a similar seam a year earlier, to richer effect. Now, there’s a burbling, surging pop-disco curio I can get with…

  4. 4
    lonepilgrim on 12 May 2010 #

    Evidence (if it was needed) that the old ones aren’t always the best
    My votes:
    6 points – Sweet Female Attitude
    I don’t recall hearing this before but love it’s clattering energy and sweet vocal
    5 points – Professor Green
    There’s an echo of ‘My old man’s a dustman’ in this with his self-deprecating cheeky-chappy persona. I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much without the video – and perhaps in 50 years time this will appear just as embarrassing.
    4 points – Heart
    I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy this more without the video which captures the mood of what I’d imagine those Black Lace ‘women’s erotica’ must be like – interspersed with gurning band members
    3 points – Hot Chocolate
    Another one to be enjoyed with eyes closed – the music reminded me a little of Thriller in it’s mood and spooky narrative
    2 points – Lonnie Donegan
    I think I gave this an extra point for nostalgic reasons – memories of Junior Showtime. I sang it as a kid and enjoy LDs energy – even if the humour and live ambience does sound very creaky now
    1 point – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    I like other stuff by CCR and this ain’t so bad. However many of the original rock ‘n’ roll hits that this calls to mind were shorter, more intense bursts of energy and this outstays its welcome a little

  5. 5
    Lionel d'Lion on 12 May 2010 #

    Not the best set of ditties to choose from (and I really don’t think SFA are three times better than Lonnie), but given the 1-6 structure I have finally settled on:

    6 points – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    5 points – Heart
    4 points – Hot Chocolate
    3 points – Sweet Female Attitude
    2 points – Professor Green
    1 point – Lonnie Donegan

  6. 6
    lockedintheattic on 12 May 2010 #

    6 – Sweet Female Attitude – this really is an absolute classic
    5 – Heart – I have a funny relationship with power ballads. I often hate them, but when they’re done well, I love ’em. And Anne Wilson does a brilliant job on the vocal here (especially when she has such awful lyrics to contend with).
    4 – Professor Green – love him, but the sample screams novelty a little bit
    3 – Lonnie Donegan
    2 – Hot Chocolate
    1 – CCR

  7. 7
    wichita lineman on 13 May 2010 #

    6 – Sweet Female Attitude – endlessly joyous
    5 – Heart – not quite Alone, what is? But then it isn’t really a ballad either. Chugging. Saucy.
    4 – Lonnie D – wins points for inventing “gor blimey trousers”. I wish I owned a pair.
    3 – Hot Choc – I’d definitely call myself a fan, own several albums indeed, but this was dull-o. You wait for the punchline. There isn’t one.
    2 – CCR – their dreariest hit. Isn’t it Long Tall Sally rather than Good Golly Miss Molly? The flip, and a double A-side in the US, was the atmospheric, southern-Spector-sounding Who’ll Stop The Rain
    1 – Prof Green – please! Closer to MC Hammer than it is to I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles!

  8. 8
    asta on 13 May 2010 #

    6 pts- Sweet Female Attitude- It’s sweet and it flirts with cloying but the bassline saves it from that and just makes it a delight.

    5 pts- Professor Green- Despite EMI’s efforts to prevent me, or anyone else in Canada, from hearing this song, I did manage to find it on the net and I’m glad I did. I dislike novelty songs and this is most certainly a novelty song, but…the INXS sample is the bait and the reversal of regular hip hop braggadocia appeals to me, eventhough this fellow’s cadences borrow heavily from Eminem.

    4 pts- Heart- I think this song got played every 20 minutes on the radio when it was released. I know I grew to despise it. Now? S’ok. I still think the guy in this song has grounds for a hell of a lawsuit.

    3 pts- CRR- It’s Chuck Berry and Little Richard and even Jerry Lee Lewis lite

    2 pts- Hot Chocolate- Close Encounters of the Ridiculous Kind.

    1 pt-Lonnie- It’s almost pure vaudville. Vauudville,novelty acts. UGH.

  9. 9
    Billy Smart on 13 May 2010 #

    6 – CCR – One of the only two songs about how hard it is to be a rock musician on tour that I like. And the other one ‘Pump It Up’ owes a debt to Travellin’ Band.

    5 – Sweet Female Attitude – Ah that blippy, cut-up texture! Means that you can really lose yourself into the fabric of the single when it plays.

    4 – Heart – A bit rockist, really, lacking the fantasy and sheen that made These Dreams or Alone so great.

    3 – Professor Green – Mainly for the way that he will irritate INXS fans.

    2 – Hot Chocolate – A very silly song that blots the copybook of one of my favourite singles groups ever. That bassline deserved to be used on something better than this.

    1 – Lonnie Donegan – Funny, on his great records, he sounds like the fiercest man alive… But when he’s eager to please he’s like an unfunny person in a pub telling jokes.

  10. 10
    pink champale on 13 May 2010 #

    6: SFA – delicate, skittering loveliness. i never knew i liked uk garage so much.
    5: professor green – more restraint with the inxs would’ve been classier, but i guess the prof isn’t after classy.
    4: lonnie – appreciation of gor blimey trousers seconded.
    3: hot chocolate – it’s like hot chocolate, only more boring.
    2: hear – it’s no ‘alone’, it’s no good.
    1: ccr – horrible. can imagine it described approvingly as “raunchy”. bad moon apart, ccr surely the worst band in the world.

    great feature, by the way.

  11. 11
    punctum on 13 May 2010 #

    6 points – Sweet Female Attitude

    Sometimes one listens to the Saturdays droning on about egos and issues and wonder whether female UK pop has been catapulted back to 1971. Then I remember things like “What’s It Gonna Be?” and correct myself. “Flowers” was certainly one of the paths which led to the latter; there’s something psychedelic about the relative absence (and alternating sudden irruptions) of bass and propulsion, except you realise that the rhythm is tickling, caressing like the pinkest, most carefree rose in the field. Like finding a spring flower, perfect, in a cracked vase on a rotting sill in a slum estate and looking beneath the grey gravel to unearth the fields beneath.

    5 points – Professor Green

    It’s Lonnie Donegan innit? Chirpy Jack-the-ladding meets inevitable self-deprecating knockdowns, the pauses as he wonders transiently about where he’s headed, before he shrugs it all off with the carefree chip/shoulder-discarding shrug of a “Sunshine Superman” Donovan. The sample’s so obvious that it’s brilliant. A potential Terence Stamp to Plan B’s Albert Finney.

    4 points – Hot Chocolate

    Blimey! Errol’s driving down the Edgware Road one night, sees a light in the sky, goes home, wonders and writes this amazing song with its (intentional?) nods to Joy Division and Moroder, cranial whispers of verses alternating with mock-bold choruses; Brown as ever sounding as though one microbreath on his nose would knock him over with the force of a Matterhorn.

    3 points – Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Down here only because of the strong competition; no need to reiterate what I wrote about them (including this song) here, but see also the opening two pages of Marcus’ Mystery Train.

    2 points – Lonnie Donegan

    I have no problems with the Professor Green of his age in any setting. Turn-of-the-century Victorian music hall rave-up? As “credible” as any delta blues adaptation if you ask me (what do you mean, you’re not?); Donegan was a folk singer, above all else, and stretches back to the minstrel show days (the proper stuff, not the pallid George Mitchell traductions) with this; a responsive audience, most of whom probably recalled Max Miller first-hand (well, Max was still with us in 1960!), up for it, the deliberately dreadful but finally rather charming crosstalk, the busking bashouts by acutely skilled pros. A dustbowl acknowledged by Glasgow, Blackpool and Lewisham alike.

    1 point – Heart

    Love Heart, love the Wilsons, love their rockers and their dissolute epic ballads of the eighties (especially “Alone”), but this was Heart in relatively dreary mode, yet another of the million “Every Breath You Take” ripoffs its decade spawned, Dale’s idea of What We Loved.

  12. 12
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    Punctum – That’s a very fair defence of Lonnie, and I second the Prof Green comparison. Pleased also that you suggested a link between “Flowers” and “What’s It Gonna Be”, as the former very much puts me in mind of the latter.

    Re. “Dustman”, the knickers-alluding spoken interlude also reminds me of Billy Cotton’s WWII morale-booster, “We’re Going To Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line”, which pulls a similar trick. I wonder how many other vaudeville songs paused in the middle for a knickers gag?

  13. 13
    Martin Skidmore on 13 May 2010 #

    Six points – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    I always loved them, and while this is one of their least interesting singles, my love for John Fogerty’s voice and the basic rock ‘n’ roll gets it top marks.

    Five points – Sweet Female Attitude
    I didn’t remember this at all, but it’s lovely.

    Four points – Hot Chocolate
    As with Creedence, not one of their most interesting numbers, but I am a fan.

    Three points – Professor Green
    Jolly enough, and only just edging above…

    Two points – Lonnie Donegan
    I liked his energy, even on nonsense like this.

    One point – Heart
    Dreary.

  14. 14
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    That’s a second “dreary” for Heart, but in its defence: come on, it’s a song about a married woman who bags a hitchhiker for inseminatory purposes! As Dale might say: it’s a little bit different, but that’s why we loved it…

  15. 15
    punctum on 13 May 2010 #

    I love how Dale once did a chart from September 1981 full of fine New Pop-friendly stuff and the Radio 2 website blurb highlighted “hits by the Nolans, Modern Romance and Genesis*.” Only in the Hallowed Death-Rays of Compliance that comprise Radio 2 could you find a “DON’T LISTEN” blurb like that.

    *To be fair, I really like “Abacab.”

  16. 16
    Jonathan Kiehlmann on 13 May 2010 #

    Six Points – Sweet Female Attitude
    I may be showing my age, but I’d forgotten how good this was.
    Five Points – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    Excellent for what it is
    Four Points – Lonnie Donnegan
    As someone in my early twenties, I naturally have a lot of love for Music Hall.
    Three Points – Professor Green
    It’s got energy, but there’s not much between my bottom three here
    Two Points – Heart
    Bland.
    One Point – Hot Chocolate
    That it took me four listens to remember what it sounded like did not bode well. Music slipping off my mind like water off a duck’s back

  17. 17
    Tom on 13 May 2010 #

    There was a whole half-show of Lollards going on about how amazing/WTF/forgotten Hot Chocolate were/are.

    Squeezed for time so if I elaborate on the marks it’ll be in other replies but yes, I was perhaps a bit harsh on Lonnie and it wouldn’t get a 1/10 if I was doing it now. However it might get the 1 pointer here.

    6 – Sweet Female Attitude
    5 – Hot Chocolate
    4 – Professor Green
    3 – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    2 – Heart
    1 – Lonnie Donegan

  18. 19
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    I have just permitted myself a look at your Popular write-up, Tom! In order to avoid being unduly influenced, I’m keeping well away from them until I’ve written my own blurbs – so I’m pleased to see that you picked up on “flipping” as well. And there’s a good observation from wichita lineman: one of the song’s punchlines is, indeed, a tumbleweed moment. (I nearly said “Grumbleweed moment”, arf.)

  19. 20
    jeff w on 13 May 2010 #

    CCR is a band whose popularity I just Do. Not. Get. At. All. And goodness knows, I’ve tried. I will follow Marcello’s links and advice natch, but for now they’re a shoe-in for the 1 point. Lonnie D I like a lot but it feels somehow wrong for this particular song to be a real actual proper hit single. Of course, it’s entirely possible that without Lonnie making it a hit it wouldn’t have become the folk memory and Junior Choice staple I first encountered it as, but still.

    6pts – Sweet Female Attitude
    5pts – Professor Green
    4pts – Hot Chocolate
    3pts – Lonnie Donegan
    2pts – Heart
    1pt – Creedence

  20. 21
    punctum on 13 May 2010 #

    Why is it “wrong” for any song to be a hit?

  21. 22
    Pete on 13 May 2010 #

    6 – Hot Choc
    5 -SFA
    4 – Prof Green
    3 – Heart
    2 – Lonnie
    1 – Creedance

    No time to speak except that the 9’s would have faired pretty badly against the tens, and Hot Chocolate are legends.

  22. 23
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    After all these years, I feel like I’ve unearthed a secret cache of Hot Chocolate fans!

  23. 24
    Erithian on 13 May 2010 #

    6 pts – 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival: A good old rocker and I enjoyed it more than the rest put together. You can say it’s derivative of Good Golly Miss Molly, but no more so than many a blues classic that uses the standard template – it’s what you do within that context that counts.

    5 pts – 1960 Lonnie Donegan: This was before I was born, but if you’re my age Stewpot’s Junior Choice and Jimmy Savile’s Old Record Club made it familiar listening throughout childhood, so I do have a certain fondness for this. Hokey but well constructed and well played. After the pioneering skiffle tunes that inspired a generation to take up guitars, this move towards showbiz/comedy is the kind of thing the Beatles initially thought they might have to do after a few years. Apologies if this is a bit of a spoiler – I haven’t looked up that week’s chart – but “Dustman” was involved in a Joe Dolce/Vienna scenario with a certain ex-GI’s first release since leaving the army, so kudos for that.

    4 pts – 2010 Professor Green: I get the same thought hearing this as I did with “Original Pirate Material” – nicely done, but thank Christ this isn’t my lifestyle. It sounds like a day in the life of a Zoo reader – just hope he doesn’t read Danny Dyer’s advice column! I don’t usually approve of samples, but this one works well: as for being Just Jack rather than Jay-Z, frankly I prefer wit to braggadocio, so that suits me fine.

    3 pts – 1980 Hot Chocolate: like the Carpenters, their close-encounter record was by a distance the worst thing they ever did. I used to mishear part of the lyric as “this sh!t from outer space” which is somehow apt. It’s one where you can really follow the story and listen carefully to the lyric, which is a shame because the lyric itself is so insubstantial. “I’m gonna tell you ‘bout the other night” – now that’s a clunker.

    2 pts – 2000 Sweet Female Attitude: Someone asked me a trivial question while I was listening to this, and when I came back to the track a few seconds later, nothing new was happening, which is pretty much the case for the duration. Sorry, but it leaves me totally cold.

    1 pt – 1990 Heart: Funny, I don’t remember this one at all. Oh. My. God. Awful lyrics, and as for the plot – it’s that scene with Geena Davis and Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise (the following year – any connection?) with a corny twist at the end. I hitched a lot myself in the 80s, and while nothing like this scenario ever took place, I’d be pretty alarmed if I heard a song suggesting to male hitch-hikers that women who picked you up also wanted to, well, pick you up. Not too bad musically, as generic power ballads go, but I feel like I need a shower after listening to it.

  24. 25
    scott woods on 13 May 2010 #

    6 – Sweet Female Attitude – People referring to them as SFA makes me think “Super Furry Animals.” Haven’t been so confused about an acronym since the great OMD wars (Ozark Mountain Daredevils vs. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark).

    5 – Professor Green – Never heard of this before! Love the original, played the absolute shit out of it at the top 40 club I worked at during those years, haven’t admittedly listened closely or repeatedly to this new version but Professor works that riff hard, as required.

    4 – CCR – Was prepared to say, much as I love CCR, tracks like this seem a little too aggressively let’s-acknowledge-our-roots, but listening to it here (particular in the “medley” version)… wow, Fogerty was a demon on the mic.

    3 – Heart – What punctum said, basically, though it has enough of their sound from the period that I don’t mind it so much. Recall it being a pretty decent album opener, though it’s not a great single.

    2 – Hot Chocolate – Some nice synth buzzes and swooshy underlay, but I’m pretty unmoved.

    1 – Lonnie Donovan – Hard to sit through once, though I’ve heard better stuff by him.

  25. 26
    David Belbin on 13 May 2010 #

    Six points – Creedence – I’m not going to start on how wrong you are about them. John Fogerty is a genius songwriter and CCR are one of my top ten favourite bands of all time. While this is by no means one of my favourites, it’s still wonderful and always brings a smile to my face. (PS, I’ve just read the other comments and am glad to see that I’m far from alone in my view of this song)

    Five points – Sweet Female Attitude – pretty good but hardly a classic imho
    Four points – Hot Chocolate – The only record of theirs I really like is ‘It Started With A Kiss’
    Three points – Professor Green
    Two points – Lonnie Donegan
    One point- Heart

  26. 27
    jeff w on 13 May 2010 #

    @21 IDK, but I’d feel the same if Bryn Terfel singing the National Anthem stormed the Top 10. Too much baggage maybe?

  27. 28
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    Oh, I’m not denying that Creedence/Fogerty were capable of much better than “Travelin’ Band” – so I was careful to restrict my comments to this song only. Trying to sidestep a minefield there!

  28. 29
    Steve Mannion on 13 May 2010 #

    6: Sweet Female Attitude (manic love joy whereas MJ Cole went too cool for school – to explain why I like this much more over that)
    5: Professor Green (entertaining on a v basic level, can’t quite resist the INXS hook)
    4: Hot Chocolate
    3: Creedence Clearwater Revival
    2: Heart
    1: Lonnie Donegan

  29. 30
    Lex on 13 May 2010 #

    As before all but two of these are the first time I’ve heard them.

    6 – SWEET FEMALE ATTITUDE. One of the finest songs, like, EVER. Like “music sounds better with you”, “I’ll bring you flowers in the pouring rain” is such an odd but sweet way of saying something romantic – it makes it so much more intimate, like it’s a private reference between the two of them. I love the way the song dances between tentativeness (the skippy beats, constantly reverting to those cut-up “oh baby” and “did I say to you?” vocals) and full-on all-encompassing tell-it-to-your-face joy (“and I – will never ever LET YOU GO!”). By the end, the “oh baby”s are revelling in the situation, not skirting around it. Will honestly lose a bit of respect for anyone not giving the full six points to it. I miss the days when music like this would chart :(

    5 – Hot Chocolate – don’t think I’d heard anything by them except “You Sexy Thing”, which comes prepackaged with horror of its own these days, so to hear something as smooth and relatively classy as this is a pleasant surprise. Don’t love it but there’s not much else competition.

    4 – Heart – yeah, this sounds like diminishing returns on a once-great formula. But more listenable than anything else left.

    3 – Lonnie Donegan – Jesus actual Christ, obviously I knew this song but I was never knew it was an actual single that people bought rather than, I dunno, some music hall standard that everyone came to know via some sort of cultural osmosis. Not last because a) I have good memories of a drunken bus singalong last year wherein the lyrics were changed to “my old man’s a diplomat, he lives in Kazakhstan/he wears cor-blimey trousers and he knows Kofi Annan,” b) the other two songs being so fucking appalling.

    2 – Professor Green – so depressing listening to this and Sweet Female Attitude together; what the hell has UK urban music become over the past decade? Instead of amazingly fresh underground sounds being recast effortlessly into high-charting pop songs, we’ve got lazy samples with no purpose other than to hook in idiots who only like songs when they literally are songs they already know, nasty trebly production which is pretty much the opposite of the forward-looking, gorgeous-sounding innovative beats that UK urban music has tended to provide, and watered-down feelgood lyrics designed to offend no one. It’s all so insipid and cheap. ENOUGH of this ropey old shit, seriously.

    1 – Creedence Clearwater Revival – ew, pub rockers get ideas above their station. Completely embarrassing, especially those ill-advised yelps and “waaagh”s that punctuate it.

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