Back after an extended break, we’re finally ready to tackle the Top Three – but before we do that, let’s check the cumulative scores so far:

1(1) The Eighties – 29.20 points.
2(2) The Nineties – 27.65 points.
3(3) The Noughties – 23.32 points.
4(5) The Sixties – 22.56 points.
5(4) The Teens – 22.46 points.
6(6) The Seventies – 21.82 points.

Since the last round was basically all about Blondie and Adamski, it’s no surprise to find the Eighties and Nineties increasing their lead over the rest of the pack. And while it might seem strange that the Sixties have gained a place on the Teens, straight after a round in which the King Brothers are currently placing last, that’s down to some of the late votes that we’ve been receiving in earlier rounds, which have worked in the favour of our 1960 chart.

So, will our Number Threes upset any apple carts, or will they merely confirm the emerging status quo? Let’s take a look.

1960: Adam Faith – Someone Else’s Baby (video)
1970: The Moody Blues – Question (video)
1980: Paul McCartney – Coming Up (video)
1990: Alannah Myles – Black Velvet (video)
2000: Craig David – Fill Me In (video)
2010: Plan B – She Said (video)

Listen to all six songs on Spotify.

(Download the MP3)

Lurking beneath the surface sweetness of 1960 pop, we’re beginning to unearth some right old players: Jimmy Jones and his on-call love-on-the-rebound service, the King Brothers drooling over their “imaginary dish”, and now Adam Faith, preparing to make a move on his mate’s girlfriend and openly relishing the upset that he is about to cause.

Commenting on this year’s Eurovision final over at The Singles Jukebox, I found myself observing – no longer in the full flush of sobriety, it should be said – that Lena, the German singer of this year’s winning entry, had the “strangest enunciation since Adam Faith”. Exaggerated as that claim might be, it does provide me with a tenuous link to another Lena: long-standing citizen of the FT comments box, and author of the fine Music Sounds Better With Two blog (a sister project to Popular, which is reviewing all of the UK’s Number Two singles in chronological order).

Since Lena’s write-up of “Someone Else’s Baby” says everything that I could wish to say about it – and at more length and with more eloquence besides – I hope she will forgive me for lifting a lengthy extract.

“John Barry did the arrangements for this song and their pizzicato insouciance is miles away from the four-square hog-calling no-need-for-microphones from the previous decade. Faith sings this song with a grin in his voice and a very Buddy Holly “bayyyyehby” on his mind (not to mention his pronunciation). Lyrics like “I wonder who’s in the loveseat/Who’s got a heartbeat, like thunder” sounds as if Meatloaf is just around the corner; “If I acted bad/I could steal his fairy queen” on the other hand, is just so English as to be nearly a cliche. It’s a song about wanting another guy’s girl, stealing her practically from his arms – being a cad or a knave, at the least, but Faith makes it sound as if he just can’t help himself and is going to be a love opportunist and have his tryst in his lovenest (or backseat) because he can’t resist the idea of doing the act in the first place. Would Cliff ever be so bold?”

According to BBC4’s archive clip compilation Prog at the BBC, The Moody Blues cobbled together “Question” – the second biggest hit of their career – from the fragments of two other songs which they didn’t know how to finish. This makes for a peculiar structure, as the opening section gives way to a slower passage that you think is going to be an early middle eight, but which turns out to form the bulk of the track. This eventually segues into a reprise of the introduction, so that you’re left with a kind of ballad sandwich, bookended by a protest song.

While this kind of approach can sometimes yield amazing results – “A Day In The Life” springs immediately to mind – “Question” strikes me as a somewhat awkward marriage. Although they share a similar air of doe-eyed, abstracted profundity, the two sets of lyrics don’t fully hang together. If this was an attempt to fuse the political (the opening and closing sections are said to reference the war in Vietnam) with the personal (could the singer be another returning soldier, mourning the loss of his comrades and searching for new meaning in his life?), then perhaps it would have benefited from being less self-consciously “deep and meaningful”. But that’s 1970 all over for you: an era of earnest if well-intentioned overreach, easy to mock with hindsight. Hell, at least they were trying.

Paul McCartney was always fond of his whimisical little genre excursions. A year earlier, on “Goodnight Tonight”, his acoustic-led disco-tinged dabblings had resulted in one of my favourite Wings singles – but as with Hot Chocolate and David Essex before him, the funky disco-pop of “Coming Up” doesn’t quite match up to my memories. Still, John Lennon was reportedly sufficiently inspired by it to come out of retirement and commence work on Double Fantasy, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh.

The track’s light-hearted silliness is emphasised by its video, in which Paul variously impersonates Buddy Holly, Ginger Baker, Andy Mackay, Frank Zappa, Ron Mael and his early Sixties self. In the US, radio stations seized upon its live flipside, which topped the Billboard charts in June. But it’s the studio version which we shall be voting on today.

So unenamoured was I of Alannah Myles‘s sole UK hit, that I never twigged until a couple of weeks ago that “Black Velvet” was in fact a tribute to Elvis Presley. As tributes go, there have been far worse – I still shudder at the memory of Danny Mirror’s 1977 cash-in job, for instance – but “Black Velvet” still strikes me as little more than hack-work, offering scant insight.

“Every word of every song that he sang was for you”, she claims, over an agreeably swampy, bluesy backing that reminds me of contemporaneous offerings by Robbie Robertson and Daniel Lanois. My co-workers at the time thought this was great, and I remember a copy of Alannah’s album being passed between them – but then, we never agreed on much.

Poor old Craig David. Before Leigh Francis turned him into a national laughing stock, he enjoyed a brief period as UK Garage’s golden boy, hoovering up critical acclaim and commercial success alike (and being snubbed at the 2001 Brits for his troubles, despite being nominated in six categories). “Fill Me In” was composed and produced by The Artful Dodger, whose “Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)” launched David’s career. It’s a showy yet easy-going affair, blending skittering cross-rhythms with laidback acoustic guitar, and giving David the best possible platform from which to showcase his talents.

Dazzled by his dexterity – the ease, the flow, the effortless discipline of it all – we thought we were witnessing the birth of a major new force. Little did we know that in ten years’ time, he would be flogging a collection of over-familiar soul covers (“with a modern twist”), but them’s the breaks. Poor old Craig David!

Intially, having adored “Mama (Loves A Crackhead)” from 2006, I wasn’t too sure about Plan B‘s relaunch as a pop artist – but once I’d got past the post-Winehouse/Ronson retro-tinged leanings and the oh-oh-oh-oh-OHs, and started homing in on the sparingly constructed courtroom mini-drama of “She Said”, all remaining doubts melted away. Shamefully, Radio 2 have been playing an edit of this track which dispenses with the crucial central rap, without which the song is rendered meaningless. (They’ve been doing the same with the current Keane single, snipping out K’Naan’s rap so as not to scare their listeners with anything so dangerously modern.) But once the rap is factored back into the equation, we’re left with a brilliantly told tale of obsession and recrimination, that casts Plan B’s “Strickland Banks” character as the victim of a spurned and vengeful fan, pleading his innocence in the witness box as the pressures mount up against him. I particularly love the way that the arrangement of the refrain gathers in oppressive intensity as the track progresses, leaving in you in little doubt as to the verdict.

Over to you, then. I’m hoping for a strong showing for our two most recent decades, who could do with a boost as we enter the final stages – but you may well have other plans. Listen carefully, and vote wisely!