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May 10

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

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops74 comments • 1,833 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

  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.

  30. 31
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    Interesting to note that just over half the votes for Creedence thus far have been either 6s or 1s. How very polarising they are.

  31. 32
    Erithian on 13 May 2010 #

    Lex #30 – love “My Old Man’s A Diplomat”. Try this version from England’s Barmy Army referring to an Australian cricket betting scandal:

    “Mark Waugh is an Aussie / He wears the baggy cap / And when he saw the bookie’s cash / he said “I’m having that” / He shared it out with Warnie / They went and had some beers / And when the ACB found out / They covered it up for years”.

  32. 33
    Alan on 13 May 2010 #

    “depressing listening to this and Sweet Female Attitude together”

    apples and oranges tho innit. SFA is a lot of awesome, prof green is ‘just a bit of fun’ (yes, your least liked thing) and there’s ALWAYS been high charting “lazy samples with no purpose…” since like samples ever. high-profile examples (ice ice baby) are exactly why rockists despise samples in general.

    6 sfa – smashing
    5 hot chocolate – love it
    4 prof green – i heart london grimepop
    3 ccr – good example of stuff from an unliked genre/band
    2 heart – i don’t heart dismal reminder of better stuff
    1 lonnie – eye roll

  33. 34
    Steve Mannion on 13 May 2010 #

    FYI Vampire Weekend’s ‘Diplomat’s Son’ is a sequel to ‘My Old Man’s A Diplomat’.

  34. 35
    Lex on 13 May 2010 #

    @33 I first heard Professor Green doing a really great guest verse on Ny’s reggae-grime ballad “No One Ever Cared” – I was actually enthusiastic about hearing what he’d come up with solo. Until I actually heard it. It’s not just a bit of fun, it’s a lot of bullshit. Hideous production, terrible lyrics, no character at all. Prof Green has access to some of the best beat-makers in the UK right now and the ability to craft better verses than this so why does this even exist?

    And I love samples but there’s a massive difference between one repurposed in an effective way (whether obvious or not) and one which is literally just there so that casual listeners go “oh, I liked that other song”.

  35. 36
    Abe Fruman on 13 May 2010 #

    6 SFA – No recollection of this at all but quite comfortably the best of today’s 6.

    5 Hot Chocolate – Hot Chocolate did a song about a UFO encounter? Why was I not informed of this before?

    4 CCR – Good all round rock tune. Solid.

    3 Prof Green – Absolute genius sample but sorry, can’t thole that wee nyaff in the video.

    2 Lonnie – Chirpy.

    1 Heart – Snooze.

  36. 37
    Steve Mannion on 13 May 2010 #

    The ‘Need U Tonight’ sample is a bit unusual because it’s combined two different loops from the original and pushed them into one, then ran this all the way through the track (with the title then shoved in over that here and there kinda ropily) rather than trying to match the guitar sequences in the INXS song, or varying the loops in a similar way. Doing this or just fiddling with the hook more in general would certainly have made me like it more and wouldn’t even have taken that much work.

  37. 38
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    For those of you with access to Spotify, here’s the Eurodance/NRG cover of “All I Wanna Do”. Better than Heart, or worse than Heart?

  38. 39
    lonepilgrim on 13 May 2010 #

    re 25 I love the idea of Ozark Mountain Daredevil fans turning up to an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark gig (or vice versa)

  39. 40
    Dan on 13 May 2010 #

    I think “Travelin’ Band” sounds more like “Long Tall Sally” than “Good Golly Miss Molly,” but maybe that’s just me

  40. 41
    Mike Atkinson on 13 May 2010 #

    I agree, Dan! And I’m amused to discover that Creedence’s John Fogerty was later sued by his record label for allegedly plagiarising one of his own songs

  41. 42
    Alan on 13 May 2010 #

    @35 I agree with you. It’s not a great use of sampling at all. But I’m saying it also makes it a bad example to bemoan the state of urban uk music. tho it’s an example of the current fad for mash-up level sampling(in grimepop) it’s at the stupider end. I suspect you’re not keen on any of that shenanigans at all tho. I’m more than happy with the poppier success of wiley with White town, tinchy (and others!) w olive, going back to dizzee w capt sensible. I understand it grates w plenty others tho

  42. 43
    thefatgit on 13 May 2010 #

    This choice seems a little more clear cut to me:

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

    Lonnie, a warning from history. Well, not Lonnie himself but MOMAD and those lamely delivered “jokes”.
    Erroll Brown and Hot Chocolate. Even your Gran likes ’em and that’s their problem really, Brit-Soul Status Quo with me Bannister head on.
    CCR do Rock ‘n’ Roll quite well actually, and John Fogerty has a fine voice. This is fun.
    Pro-Green, Wiley, Tinchy Stryder and the like pushing the Grime-Pop crossover with wit and style. And I love the INXS riff.
    SFA bring “Flowers” and although I barely remember this without the YouTube prompt, it’s charming, breezy and thoroughly likeable UKG.
    Finally the 6 goes to Heart. I’m holding my hands up here…good grief they were sexy, weren’t they? But the song stands up by itself, bridging the gap between Whitesnake and Shania Twain, which is no bad thing.

  43. 44
    Tina on 13 May 2010 #

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

  44. 45
    lockedintheattic on 13 May 2010 #

    Mike – that cover is awful. And I speak as someone who has enjoyed many a Hi-NRG cover in my time (and she does a very bad Ann Wilson impersonation, which I think is the problem)

  45. 46
    taDOW on 14 May 2010 #

    6 – sfa
    5 – hot chocolate
    4 – ccr
    3 – prof green
    2 – lonnie donegan
    1 – heart

  46. 47
    weej on 14 May 2010 #

    6 – SFA – Don’t love this as much as some others, but it’s still pretty great.

    5 – Professor Green – I like the basic idea, it’s kind of like this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csAVx-oSLUM – only, obviously, nowhere near as good.

    4 – CCR – Derivative, not particularly special, but it “rocks” fairly convincingly, so I can give it a pass

    3 – Hot Chocolate – Very hard to have any sort of opinion about this.

    2 – Lonnie Donnegan – Is there any other great artist whose reputation has been so sullied by their biggest, worst hit?

    1 – Heart – Just plain horrible.

  47. 48
    Erithian on 14 May 2010 #

    “Is there any other great artist whose reputation has been so sullied by their biggest, worst hit?” – Chuck Berry for one!

    Mike #41, the record label head who sued Fogerty for plagiarising himself (as you no doubt know but for others’ information) was Saul Zaentz, later the Oscar-winning producer of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Amadeus” and “The English Patient”. I’m guessing Fogerty didn’t send him congrats for those.

  48. 49
    JonnyB on 14 May 2010 #

    Chuck Berry probably more so, as Lonnie was a repeat offender.

    So:

    6 – Hot Chocolate. I am heartened that I’m not alone in this. I’m really not a fan of the band, but this is a pop classic for me. A pop classic.

    This now begins to get difficult, as I can’t say I’d have any of the others on my desert island.

    5 – SFA. It’s got that summer thang.

    4 – Prof Green. Yep – this drives along nicely.

    3 – CCR. Really nothing special, but I can see myself liking it in certain circumstances and when pissed.

    2 – Lonnie. Truly this is our country’s ‘Wichita Lineman’

    1 – Heart. I almost marked this up, as it’s so frighteningly efficient. But I listened to it again, and it gets 1 as a punishment.

  49. 50
    Amanda S on 14 May 2010 #

    6 Points: Sweet Female Attitude – The stand out
    5 Points: Professor Green – This could become very annoying if heard too often but it’s fun for the first few times
    4 Points: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Couldn’t they just have covered Good Golly, Miss Molly?
    3 Points: Lonnie Donegan – I’d prefer another song but you can still tell that he was a great performer
    2 Points: Hot Chocolate – Bit boring
    1 Point: Heart – Not boring, just OTT

  50. 51
    jo on 14 May 2010 #

    6 points: 1970: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band (video) – Love Creedence. Love this track. Its jhappy times in the 70’s for me.

    5 points: 1990: Heart – All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You (video) – Worst video ever with HAIR and scary CORSETED clothes, but I still adore her voice.

    4 points: 1960: Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s A Dustman (video) (Tom’s post on Popular) – Husband of course started singing along in his not very melodious voice, but I like the Donegan as well.

    3 points: 1980: Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It (video)

    2 points: 2000: Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers (video) – I can’t even listen to this. It makes me anxious like a song out of phase.

    1 point: 2010: Professor Green – I Need You Tonight (feat. Ed Drewett) (video) – A sad waste of a good INXS song. Michael would be rolling in his closet.

  51. 52
    DietMondrian on 14 May 2010 #

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

    I found these much harder to rank than the number 10s as I can find little to like about any of them.

  52. 53
    Nick on 14 May 2010 #

    Hmm. Right.

    6 points – Hot Chocolate. Yes, I am surprised, too.
    5 points – Heart (although it has the most questionable lyrics in any song, ever. As I recall, it’s about being impregnated by a stranger in a motel. Nice!)
    4 points – Creedence
    3 points – Lonnie Donegan
    2 points – Professor Green (for the riff, only)
    1 point – SFA. No, ta.

  53. 54
    Simon C on 14 May 2010 #

    6. Professor Green
    5. Heart
    4. Creedence Clearwater Revival
    3. Hot Chocolate
    2. Lonnie Donegan
    1. Sweet Female Attitude (I really don’t get it… sorry!)

  54. 55
    Al Ewing on 15 May 2010 #

    Another clear win for the NOW, with second place being a hard-fought WAR OF THE RIDICULOUSNESSES, fourth place going in a battle of two tunes that could easily be mashed together into one and the 70s coming bottom again, which can’t be right, surely.

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

  55. 56
    Ciaran Gaynor on 15 May 2010 #

    6 points – Professor Green
    I love this record despite it being so reliant on a sample (I can’t help feeling there’s something a tad lazy about relying on such a great riff). It’s a funny record, I love the Prof’s protesting at the end “This is just a song, this wouldn’t happen in real life! I am a pimp!” etc.

    5 points – Lonnie Donegan
    This is just the sort of record that gets young kids (i.e. under tens) excited about pop music for the first time, and that’s no bad thing. It’s not really that overexposed and at least serves as a reminder of the skiffle scene. The jokes aren’t very strong but is nevertheless good fun.

    4 points – Hot Chocolate
    Although Hot Chocolate never really excited me – even at their number one hitting peak, I’ve actually quite liked this since I was a kid. Very dark and strange, not much like any of Hot Chocolate’s other big hits. The chorus ruins it, mind you. What possessed them to write a song about aliens anyway?

    3 points – Sweet Female Attitude
    The most striking thing for me about this is how dated it sounds. It just screams 2000 doesn’t it. I’d completely forgotten about this. It’s alright but doesn’t really grab me to be honest.

    2 points – Heart
    This is corny as hell. Alone, There’s The Girl and These Dreams were all ace singles, but this just sits awkwardly with me. The lyrics are cringeworthy. The performance is nothing special, and the production is too bombastic for my taste.

    1 point – Credence Clearwater Revival
    I don’t like this sort of “revivalist” (sorry) sweaty, rock ‘n’ roll. It sounds stodgy and, for a rave record, strangely joyless and workmanlike.

  56. 57
    intothefireuk on 15 May 2010 #

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

  57. 58
    Lena on 17 May 2010 #

    Difficult, but here goes:

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

    If it was another song by any of the latter three, it would have been different!

  58. 59
    The Lurker on 17 May 2010 #

    6 – CCR – yes, it’s not their best song and it rips off Good Golly Miss Molly, but it’s still streets ahead of the rest of this round

    5 – Professor Green – quite surprised by this, good use of the sample

    4 – Hot Chocolate – the verse is better than the chorus

    3 – SFA – forgettable

    2 – Heart – not a great fan of Heart but this is a long way short of Alone

    1 – Lonnie – the song I’d least like to hear again.

  59. 60
    Gordon on 17 May 2010 #

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

    Sentimentality wins through for Lonnie, but SFA easily best of bunch.. ahhh the memories

  60. 61
    grange85 on 20 May 2010 #

    Dustman is dreadful, but I knew every lyric and gag so I guess I grew up with it and probably liked it when I did – sounds awful now. I found a list I made in the 80s that had Creedence’s Travellin’ Band as one of my fave songs, which is terrible – it was on a list with The Clash and Motorhead FFS! Listening now I get a nagging feeling that I still quite like it but can’t figure out why! The rest are all pretty poor too – this is such a hard round…

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

  61. 62
    Martin on 22 May 2010 #

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

    In the number 10s there was something to like about every track. Here there’s something to dislike about every track, even though the overall quality probably isn’t that much different. Very diverse group. Not a CCR fan, but that track is present as hell and rocks out. Poor Lonnie gets points for authenticity. The last two just don’t stick with me.

  62. 63
    Martin on 22 May 2010 #

    Mike @31: The thing is, this is popland. CCR fails on any pop metric, but they succeed on rock terms. If you like rock, you’ll prefer CCR to all the others. If you like pop, you’ll prefer all the others to CCR.

  63. 64
    Mark Davis on 22 May 2010 #

    6p: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band
    5p: Heart – All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You
    4p: Professor Green – I Need You Tonight
    3p: Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s A Dustman
    2p: Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers
    1p: Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It

    If I could give zero points to the last two I would. I don’t get how you guys like the sweet female attitude song at all.

  64. 65
    Ben on 23 May 2010 #

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

  65. 66
    Clair on 25 May 2010 #

    6 points – CCR
    5 points – lonnie donnegan
    4 points – sweet female attitude
    3 points – heart
    2 points – professor green
    1 point – hot chocolate

  66. 67
    Z on 29 May 2010 #

    Ooh, this is more like it – keen competition for last place. The final three could have come in any order, really. And a sixth track just makes it harder to decide.

    My husband has just come in the room and is giving me a funny look. Heh.

    6 points – Creedence Clearwater Revival – I’m not saying this is particularly good, just that it’s the one I enjoyed listening to most. Even on the third hearing.
    5 points – Heart – Yes, quite liked this
    4 points – Hot Chocolate – a bit off-key at the start, aren’t they?
    3 points – Professor Green – hated it first time, but it’s growing on me.
    2 points – Lonnie Donegan – oh dear, hasn’t worn well.
    1 point – Sweet Female Attitude. Sweet FA? Did they do that on purpose?

  67. 68
    crag on 31 May 2010 #

    pretty poor pickings IMO..
    6 Hot Chocolate
    5 Creedence
    4 Professor Green
    3 Heart
    2 Lonnie Donegan
    1 SFA

  68. 69
    Rachiesparrow on 3 Jun 2010 #

    Ooh, tough one this. At least 3 of them should get no points at all.

    6 SFA
    5 Professor green (I can’t help but love this – it’s a mystery to me why, but I do)
    4 Heart
    3 CCR
    2 Hot chocolate
    1 Lonnie Donnegan – nooo, I am going to be earworming this for DAYS

  69. 70
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 5 Jun 2010 #

    6: Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers
    5: Professor Green – I Need You Tonight (feat. Ed Drewett)
    4: Heart – All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You
    3: Hot Chocolate – No Doubt About It
    2: Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band
    1: Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s A Dustman

    haha, in exact reverse order of time’s passing! I AM MERLIN PH34R ME

    i would have marked HC a lot higher until it slumped out of the quite taut and intriguing black-science-fiction intro into the chorus, and i suddenly realised i knew it quite well and it’s dull dull dull

    ccr are a parody of themselves in this song

    i am a bit of a sucka for prof green’s kind of jilted john indie-uselessness: “it was meant to be GRATE but it’s rubbish” — the shadow side of any genre whatever! except actual indie obv

  70. 71
    i alex on 5 Jun 2010 #

    6p. All I Wanna Do is Make Love To You
    5p. I Need You Tonight
    4p. My Old Man’s A Dustman
    3p. Travelin’ Band
    2p. No doubt about it
    1p. Flowers

  71. 72
    RobMiles on 6 Jun 2010 #

    6 – Sweet Female Attitude. Funky but slightly melancholic.
    5 – Heart. Silly but irresistible.
    4 – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    3 – Hot Chocolate
    2 – Lonnie Donegan
    1 – Professor Green

  72. 73
    Tom Lawrence on 9 Jun 2010 #

    6 points – Sweet Female Attitude! AMAZING
    5. Heart – BOMBAST
    4. Creedence Clearwater – I have a lot of time for this sort of thing
    3. Professor Green – this thing is kind of pointless
    2. Lonnie Donergan – because my dear old grandad taught it to me!
    1. Hot Chocolate – just sits there

  73. 74
    sarlitchin on 10 Jun 2010 #

    6 points – SFA (the best of this bunch by a considerable margin)
    5 points – Hot Chocolate
    4 points – Professor Green
    3 points – Creedence Clearwater Revival
    2 points – Lonnie Donegan
    1 point – Heart

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