Category Archives: Almost Top of the Pops

almost top of the pops – carole bayer sager

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

13th June 1977

(Carole Bayer Sager)

Perhaps because I was never really ‘big’ on popular chart acts (other than during the Glam period) writing this series of articles on artists / songs that were ‘Almost Top of the Pops’ has provided me with some enlightening and surprising background facts.

None more so though, than Carole Bayer Sager, whose one and only UK chart hit as a solo artist spent nine weeks in the Top 40 at a time when Punk and New Wave music were making their mark.

It was easy to dismiss ‘You’re Moving Out Today,’ as the archetypal, upbeat, fun, ‘novelty’ song. And so I did. I loved the song, for the clever lyrics; the story it told; the hooky chorus; the bounce and sort of twee delivery. But I thought no more of Ms Bayer Sager.

Forty five years later, mention the song title to most people of a certain age, and we’ll instantly recall the performer’s name. No need for Google on this one, I reckon.

However, ask what else she is known for and I’d have been stumped… which is where Google does enter the picture.

In her own right, between 1977 and 1981, Carole released just three albums. There were also nine singles (with ‘You’re Moving Out Today’ being the third) issued from 1977 and 1985.

So I could perhaps be forgiven for thinking she was not exactly a prolific performer. And she wasn’t. It is for her song writing that she made her name. Remember this?

This would be credited as Carole’s first hit, having written the lyrics in 1965, whilst collaborating with Toni Wine who based the music on a classical piece by Muzio Clemente. The song would eventually be offered to the Manchester based band The Mindbenders. (Singer Wayne Fontana had recently left to go solo, his position as lead vocalist being inherited by Eric Stewart – yeah, he of 10CC fame.)

This time around, the song reached #2 in both the UK and USA charts, only to be bettered by Phil Collins taking it to #1 in both countries (and several others) in 1988.

So while we all (well, I speak for myself, perhaps) welcomed Carole Bayer Sager as both a ‘newcomer’ and ‘one hit wonder’ in 1977, we were already incorrect on both scores.

**Toni Wine also wrote hits for Tony Orlando & Dawn, and provided the female vocals for cartoon group, The Archies; think of the line, ‘I’m gonna make your life so sweet.’)**

Over the years, Carole would collaborate with, and write lyrics for Melissa Manchester; she wrote Leo Sayer’s hit, ’When I Need You’; she wrote Broadway musicals with her composer (first) husband Marvin Hamlisch; she received an Oscar nomination with her husband, ‘Nobody Does It Better,’ the theme to the James Bond film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ sung of course by Carly Simon.

After their marriage ended, Carole would team up with, and later marry, none other than Burt Bacharach, with whom she’d then receive an Academy Award for ‘Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)’ the #1 hit for Christopher Cross.  

Probably their most successful collaboration though, was the composition of ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ which was revived in 1986 to raise money for Aids Research. The track, sung this time by Dionne Warwick & Friends – including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight – quickly reached #1 in USA and raised over a million dollars for the charity.

Amongst others, Carole has also worked with Carole King and had songs recorded as hits for likes of Neil Diamond, Patti Labelle and Michael MacDonald, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

Carole Bayer Sager also worked with Bette Midler, back in the ‘70s. It was this collaboration, which also included Bruce Roberts, that actually spawned the song prompting this post: ‘You’re Moving Out Today.’ Interestingly, there were two recordings of the song released.  Ms Midler released the song in USA during February 1977, reaching only #42, with Ms Bayer Sager faring bettter in the UK some three months later, peaking at #6 … almost Top of the Pops.

This may well have been her only UK chart hit in her own name, but Carole Bayer Sager, a ‘one hit wonder?’ – I don’t think so!

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – June 2022)

almost top of the pops – john miles.

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

18th April 1976

John Miles

Right – we’re talking ‘classic’ here. None of your twee pop stuff performed by session musicians and presented by pretty boys with toothy smiles. I‘ll bet everyone reading this post has heard this song before. Which is perhaps a little strange, given that it spent marginally over two months in the UK charts, peaking at #3, where it remained this week in 1976.

I’m not saying it was a particular favourite of mine. Yet, though I wasn’t convinced by the overblown production and pomp, I enjoyed it as ‘something completely different’ when I first heard it on the radio.

However, being quite fickle as far as music is concerned, (Ok – I have the attention span of a fruit fly) I soon grew bored of it. One of my pals was already a confirmed John Miles fan and played this track to absolute death! In his house or in the changing room at athletics training or on the pub juke-box….
“Music of the future, Music of the past.” Aaaargh! Those words kept me awake at night!

Credit where it’s due though – John Miles was (he sadly passed away in December 2021, aged 72) a ‘proper’ musician, well respected in all circles of the music industry.

He came from Jarrow, not far from Newcastle Upon Tyne, and was initially in a band called Influence, though at that time still performing under his original name of John Herrrington. Paul Thomson who would later join Roxy Music, and Vic Malcolm who would become an original member of Geordie, were fellow members; as was Chris Warren, who would go on to join Pickettywitch. (See? These articles aren’t just thrown together you know!)

When the band broke up, John Miles formed his own outfit, not so imaginatively called John Miles Band. They built a decent following in their native North East, and cut a few singles on the Orange label.

However, still chasing the dream, John moved to London in 1975 with bass player Bob Marshall, added Barry Black and Gary Moberly to the band, secured a deal with Decca, released ‘High Fly’ – and spent six weeks in the charts, rising to #17. Simple – just like that.

However, John’s big moment came around five months later with the release of ‘Music.’ This track, like ‘High Fly’ before it, was lifted from the band’s debut album ‘Rebel.’

The follow-up single ‘Remember Yesterday’ a pleasant ballad came from the band’s second album to be released in 1976, but only scraped into the Top Forty at #32. This album, ‘Stranger In The City’ also spawned the last chart entry of The Seventies for John Miles – ‘Slow Down.’ Nothing could be much further from what was already being viewed as the classic ‘Music.
(‘High Fly‘and ‘Music’ did scrape the USA charts, but it was this, ‘Slow Down’ that was his best effort Stateside, reaching #34 in as well as #2 in the Disco charts.)

In fact the whole album is pretty diverse in the style of tracks it offers, incorporating elements of disco, metal and soul at various points.

And this was perhaps the school-boy error. As we’ve seen with other bands before and after, if an early reputation is built on such an iconic song, it’s difficult to further cultivate that almost tribal fanbase with different styles.

A few albums followed in the Eighties, but nothing could match the early success, though he did work on projects with Alan Parsons and Jimmy Page and toured with Tina Turner and Joe Cocker. Indeed, he played on several of Tina’s albums and was music director on some of her tours.

Tina Turner and John Miles
B-Side from JOHN MILES’ ’79 single, “You Cant Keep A Good Man Down”.

I do have to confess to being one of those who, perhaps unfairly, considered ‘Music’ to be on the pretentious side. It was a tag that John Miles struggled to shake off, but maybe if people like me had bothered to listen to the rest of his output, as I’ve only just done, some forty-six years later, then he may have found even greater success.

Still, there’s not many can say that for a short while in 1976, they were ALMOST Top of the Pops…. and in all honesty, deserved even better.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – April 2022)

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almost top of the pops – kenny

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

12th April 1975

Kenny

‘Fancy Pants’ was the second of four chart hits for Kenny, the band who four months earlier had peaked at #3 in the UK charts with their version of ‘The Bump.’ We’ll come back to that, shall we?

As with their other three singles successes, ‘Fancy Pants’ was written by the successful Bill Martin and Phil Coulter partnership. It was they who had penned Sandie Shaw’s 1967 Eurovision Song Contest winner, ‘Puppet on a String,’ and Cliff Richard’s runner-up the following year,‘Congratulations.’ So, a decent pedigree, then.

The band though were not all they seemed.

Let’s take a step back.

In October 1974, the Bay City Rollers released what would become their fifth hit, ‘All Of Me Loves All Of You.’ The B-side, which was also written and produced by Martin and Coulter, was ‘The Bump.’ However, it did not feature the band playing their instruments. Instead, seasoned session musicians were used.   

Bay City Rollers earlier version of ‘The Bump’ – though attributing it to them may be stretching it a bit.

Around that time, an Irish vocalist from the Martin / Coulter stable decided to retire. His performing name was Kenny. The writers then opted to give some of their songs to a ‘band’ and used their former artist’s moniker as a vehicle for their own compositions. One of the first they released was ‘The Bump.’

With the song already known and having had airplay as the Bay City Rollers’ B-side, it sold well and entered the charts in December of that year. Success though brought the necessity of promotion and public appearances. But of course, there was no such band as Kenny. And the track that had proved so popular was actually just the backing track from the Bay City Rollers’ version, with new vocals added! (You see, The Rollers hadn’t played on their version either!)

So began a frantic search for a band to ‘front’ the song on Top of the Pops and other shows / teen magazines.

What led Martin and Coulter to a banana warehouse in North London, I have no idea – but that’s where they found a bunch of likely looking lads rehearsing under the name Chuff.

Kenny (and bananas.)

Signing them there and then, changing their name to Kenny and bringing in a new lead vocalist in Richard Driscoll, the writers / producers managed to secure them a contract with Mickie Most’s RAK label, and they were off. Their other three singles of the time hit the higher echelons of the chart: ‘The Bump’ reached #3 in December of ’74; ‘Baby I Love You OK’ (which I’d completely forgotten about) peaked at #12, and ‘Julie Anne’ at #10.

You’ll recognise it when the chorus kicks in!

In all, they spent thirty-nine weeks in the Top 40 between December 1974 and August ’75 – there was some overlap between ‘The Bump’ and ‘Fancy Pants,’ just in case anyone was counting!

Their success was short lived, but for most of 1975, they were everywhere. I remember their pictures on my sister’s bedroom wall and their catchy, bouncy, fun songs were hugely popular at the school disco.

They released one album towards the end of 1975 which was basically made up of their singles and some ‘filler’ material. Interestingly, one track is the original version of what would later become a #1 for Slik‘Forever and Ever.’ Indeed, Slik frontman, Midge Ure, would later confess his surprise that all he had to do was sing over the top of the same backing track the Martin / Coulter session musicians had produced for the version on the Kenny album!

What was it Johnny Rotten once said: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

However, as they didn’t write their own hits and didn’t play their instruments on their hits, there was very little money to be made. They tried to break free from the Martin / Coulter arrangement, and a court case ensued when the writers stood firm on their assertion that they ‘owned’ the band name ‘Kenny.

The court ruled in favour of the band though, and freed of their shackles, they signed with Polydor, released another single ‘Hot Lips’ and an album ‘Ricochet’ – before vanishing completely. (Although they did rather ironically, provide the backing to the theme tune of ‘Minder’ over which Denis Waterman sang the lyrics.)

Kenny had surfed the tail end of the Glam Rock wave. I have to say, I’ve always enjoyed a bit of cheesy glam. They were fun while they lasted, although with all the controversy over not playing their instruments on their hits, I can sympathise with the words of Vernon Joynson who states in his excellent ‘Tapestry of Delights’ book … ‘they are eminently forgettable.’

A tad harsh, methinks, for this day in 1975, Kenny and their ‘Fancy Pants’ were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – April 2022)



almost top of the pops – hot chocolate

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

3rd April 1974

Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate – ‘Emma.’

It started with a miss …

In 1969, friends Errol Brown and Tony Wilson decided to form a band. Based in Brixton, London, the singer and bass player initially brought in Franklin de Allie (guitar) Larry Ferguson (keyboards) Ian King (drums) and Patrice Olive (congas.)

Their first official release was quite fortuitous: the band prepared a demo to hawk around the record companies – a reggae tinged version of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance.

Errol had changed some of the lyrics, only to be subsequently told he could not do so without Lennon’s express permission. And so it was more in hope than expectation that the, as yet unnamed, band submitted the demo to The Beatles‘ label, Apple

As it happened, Lennon loved the version and the track was released, under the band’s label-given name of The Hot Chocolate Band.

It bombed.

Here’s why.

The Hot Chocolate Band: ‘Give Peace A Chance.’

Towards the end of the year, Mickie Most of the RAK label, signed Errol and Tony as songwriters and they went from strength to strength, penning songs for likes of Mary Hopkins, Julie Felix and even Herman’s Hermits.

Come 1970, and it was Mickie who pushed Errol and Tony into writing material for their own band, whose name had by now been shortened to the more familiar, Hot Chocolate.

‘Love Is Life’ was a pretty good opening effort, reaching #6 in the UK charts that summer. Who could possibly have thought then that this song would herald a fifteen year period in which the band would score a hit in each consecutive year – the only group in the UK to have done so.

Their brand of pop /soul / disco with heavier beats and percussion was very unique and became hugely popular over the years.

Hot Chocolate

Including re-issues, Hot Chocolate amassed a staggering 35 hits prior to the turn of the century. In doing so, they became part of the nation’s musical fabric, permeating the subconscious and being admired by many who would normally listen to other styles of music.

They are not a band I myself would have considered a ‘favourite’ but looking through the list of hits, I realise just how much I did / do enjoy them – this one being the stand-out for me. From August 1971, I recollect it (well, a session musicians version) being on a Top of the Pops compilation that I played to death;

‘I Believe (In Love)’ – peaked at #8 in the summer of 1971
This one!

Amazingly, the band only recorded one #1 hit – ‘So You Win Again‘ in 1977, but as with so many others over the years, this week in 1974 saw Hot Chocolate ALMOST Top of the Pops.

Hot Chocolate – Emma.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie” Jackson from Glasgow – April 2022)

almost top of the pops – detroit emeralds

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

24th March 1973

DETROIT EMERALDS – photo by General Loney

The Shirelles it was who sang, ‘Mama Said (There’d Be Days Like This’) back in 1963. How very right Mama was!

When I set myself this challenge of working through bands / artists and songs that were ‘ALMOST Top of the Pops’ on this day throughout each year of The ’70s, there were a few conditions to be met:

  • The band / artist did not reach #1 in the UK singles chart with that particular song;
  • The band / artist had to be in the Top 10 of the week in question;
  • The band / artist could not be one of the one of the popular ‘big hitters.’

For one or more of these reasons, the following had to be discounted from this piece:

Slade / Donny Osmond / T Rex / Cliff Richard / Gilbert O’Sullivan / Alice Cooper / The Faces.

That left me with Roberta Flack, Jimmy Helms ….. and Detroit Emeralds!

Being into Glam Rock, Blues / Hard Rock / Punk throughout The ’70s, the music of the three bands and artists I was left with, had more or less escaped me. So this piece is likely more of an education for me than of interest to you, dear reader!

Actually, in recent years I have been listening to Craig Charles’s Funk & Soul Show at teatime on a Saturday, as I cook up my curry. I do now have an appreciation of Funk … and am working on my Soul.

Right – yeah. The Detroit Emeralds:

The Emeralds, were formed as a vocal harmony group by four brothers from Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid-Sixties. However, before moving to Detroit (and expanding their name) then releasing their debut single ‘Show Time‘ on the Ric-Tic Records label, Cleophus and Raymond Timon had left the band. leaving just Ivory and Abrim. They were then joined by childhood friend James Mitchell.

A rare clip of the Detroit Emeralds performing their first single, Show Time in 1968

Now a trio, they scraped into the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #89 on 20th April 1968.

A run of charting hits followed in the United States, but it was not until the 1973 UK hit ‘Feel The Need In Me’ that they really came to the fore. Peaking at #4 in the UK, they failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100, but did score at #22 in the US R&B Chart.

Riding the success of ‘Feel The Need In Me,‘ Westbound Records in USA, with whom they’d signed in 1970, decided to re-release the earlier minor (R&B Chart) hit, ‘You Want It, You Got It,‘ in the UK – a shrewd move as it too sold well, reaching #12 in May of ’73.

This is a TV ‘Soul Train,’ recording of the track from its initial US release in 1971 – have you got the moves?

The Detroit Emeralds scored one more minor hit in the UK, also in 1973 – ‘I Think Of You’ which managed a high of #27 in August.

The band started to fall apart in 1974, and in 1976 James Mitchell formed The Floaters, with his brother Paul – and of course, Larry, Charles and Ralph. (Boy, I sure hope their hit falls into a week I can cover within this series – sheer class!)

In 1977, Abe Tilmon hired three others to form a quartet version of the band. ‘Feel The Need In Me’ was re-released in the UK (an expanded version, I believe) and it too charted, rising to #12 and remaining in the Top 40 for eleven weeks.

‘Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)’ from Detroit Emeralds’ second of five albums, ‘You Want It, You Got It.’

I have to say, I’m glad I settled on writing about the Detroit Emeralds. From being in virtual ignorance of their music, I must confess to having added each of the four tracks highlighted here to my streaming playlist.

They may not have reached #1; they may not have achieved super-stardom…. but for a while back in 1973, Detroit Emeralds were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – March 2022)

almost top of the pops – lindisfarne

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

18th March 1972

Lindisfarne – 1972 . (Photo from Melody Maker)
Lindisfarne: ‘Meet Me On The Corner’ – from a 1971 performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

This week in 1972 saw Newcastle band Lindisfarne rise one place in the charts to #9, with their third UK single release, ‘Meet Me On The Corner.’ It would eventually peak four place higher.

Essentially a folk-rock band, they were initially named Downtown Faction and were then known as Brethern before changing their name to Lindisfarne when they signed to the Charisma label in 1968. The following couple of years saw them cement their reputation as a formidable ‘live’ and Festival type band before their first releases in 1970.

The debut album ‘Nicely Out Of Tune‘ contained two ‘classics’ in ‘Clear White Light – Part 2’ and ‘Lady Eleanor.’ Although the album didn’t sell particularly well, it did establish Alan Hull as a credible and accomplished songwriter. Actually, several of the album’s songs were written before the band’s formation, while Alan was working in a hospital as mental health nurse.

The album also included this, my personal favourite of the eleven tracks.

Lindisfarne – ‘Jackhammer Blues.’

The follow-up album of 1971 was the seminal ‘Fog On The Tyne.‘ This time, all the band members contributed to the song-writing process and so evidences a bit more diversity. Of course, the chart success of ‘Meet Me On The Corner’ helped raise the band”s profile and although they would never achieve a #1 hit with a 7″ release, the LP did reach that pinnacle and was actually the biggest selling UK album of 1971 / 1972.

Riding high on this success, it was decided in May of ’72, to re-release what had been the band’s second single, ‘Lady Eleanor.’ This would become Lindisfarne’s highest ranking position in their own right.**

Lindisfarne – ‘Lady Eleanor.’

A further three ‘charting’ singles would follow during The ’70s:

‘All Fall Down‘ would reach # 34 in September 1972;

‘Run For Home’ peaked at (the surprisingly low, in my opinion) #10 in June 1978, and,

Juke Box Gypsy‘ just managed #56 in October 1978.

Lindisfarne performing ‘Run For Home’ on Top of the Pops, 1978.

In 1973 however, three of the original members left (Rod Clements, Simon Cowe and Ray Laidlaw) to form Jack the Lad (who I know from personal experience were an amazing ‘live’ band.) Since then, although there were annual reunions for the famous Christmas shows at Newcastle City Hall, there have been numerous changes in band members and sad to say, they were never able to rise t the heights they achieved in the early 1970s.

They can though boast that for a few months in 1972 two of their singles were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

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** Somewhat ironically, Lindisfarne‘s highest singles chart position was achieved in the autumn of 1990, with the ‘help’ of cheeky Geordie football star, Paul Gascoigne.

I had decided against adding the video for this version of ‘Fog On The Tyne’ ….. but,oh, sod it!

Enjoy!

Lindisfarne and Gazza – ‘Fog On The Tyne (Revisited)

almost top of the pops – ashton, gardner & dyke

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

14th March 1971

ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke.
Ashton, Gardner & Dyke on Top of the Pops

Hanging on to their Top Ten status, but only just, Ashton Gardner and Dyke were this week in 1971 heading back down the UK chart with ‘Resurrection Shuffle,’ never to darken the Top 40 again.

Forever since saddled with the ‘one hit wonder’ moniker, piano / keyboard player Tony Ashton, bassist Kim Gardner and drummer Roy Dyke had so much more to offer.

Formed in 1968 as what could be termed a ‘supergroup,’ they released six singles and four albums in their five years together, one of which was soundtrack to the 1971 film ‘The Last Rebel,’ about American football star, Joe Nemeth.

Formerly with The Remo Four (Ashton and Dyke) and The Birds**(Gardner) the band had pedigree, and covered various styles and genres from R&B, to soul , to blues rock and jazz rock. This however would ironically prove their eventual downfall.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke – brilliant, but this perhaps illustrates why prospective fans were a bit bemused! (Almost Alex Harvey-esque, I think.)

The intention was to make their mark as an ‘album’ band, but the success of their fourth single, ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ actually backfired, with crowds turning up at their shows expecting much of the same, and leaving a tad bemused by the multi-genres played.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke: ‘Mister Freako’ – the band’s third single and pre-cursor to ‘Resurrection Shuffle.’

Poor album sales forced the band to consider their future in 1973, the outcome being to call it a day.

Tony Ashton moved on to play with Medicine Head, then briefly also with Family before teaming up with Deep Purple’s Jon Lord to release a couple of singles. This would be a precursor to hooking up with another of Deep Purple’s number, Ian Paice in Paice, Ashton & Lord.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke with the title track from their fourth and final album, 1972’s ‘What A Bloody Long Day It’s Been.’

Resurrection Shuffle’ peaked at #3 in the UK Charts, a position it maintained for two weeks, and for a while, back in February 1971, Ashton, Gardner and Dyke were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

Ashton, Gardner & Dyke: ‘Resurrection Shuffle.’

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – March 2022)

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(** The Birds were a British R&B band, formerly known as The Thunderbirds and counted within their ranks, one Ronnie Wood who would go on to do alright for himself. Following a legal dispute with the American Byrds, they changed their name in 1966 to Birds Birds.)

almost top of the pops – pickettywitch

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

9th March 1970

PICKETTYWITCH

Pickettywitch
Pickettywitch on Top of the Pops.

This week in 1970 saw London based band Pickettywitch jump eleven places in the UK singles chart to #8, with their second release, ‘That Same Old Feeling.’ It would peak at #5, the highest position reached by any of their three singles to break into the Top Forty.

The band, fronted by Polly Browne, first came to the nation’s attention in 1969, when they appeared on television’s ‘Opportunity Knocks,’ playing ‘Soloman Grundy,’ a song composed and arranged by Tony Macauley and John McLeod. (The writing partners also wrote hits for The Foundations while Macauley on his own would write for Marmalade, Long John Baldry and David Soul amongst others.)

John McLeod had by this time signed the band to Pye Records and ‘Soloman Grundy’ was actually the B-side to their debut release, ‘You Got Me So I Don’t Know,’ which failed to chart.

Pickettywitch – ‘Soloman Grundy.’

It was the follow-up though that saw the band break through. ‘That Same Feeling’ is a classic of its time, and is a standard for any self-respecting ‘70s Compilation CD.

In addition to a UK high of #5, it also broke the USA Hot 100, stalling at #67.

Pickettywitch would chart on two more occasions in 1970, reaching #16 in July, with ‘(It’s Like A) Sad Old Kinda Movie’ and #27in November with ‘Baby I Won’t Let You Down.’

Pickettywitch – ‘(It’s Like) A Sad Old Kinda Movie’

Line-up changes followed, but the band’s sound had always been augmented by seasoned session musicians and so remained relatively constant. However, several subsequent, (mainly) Macauley / McLeod penned songs failed to impact the charts and the band drifted into the cabaret circuit.

Polly Browne had been pressured for a while by labels and management to pursue a solo career and when she eventually took that step in 1972, Pickettywitch staggered on for one more release before disbanding the following year.

Sweet Dreams – ‘Honey Honey.’

Actually, Polly’s first post-band success came as part of a duo with Tony Jackson, when in July 1974, as Sweet Dreams, they had a UK #10 hit with a cover of Abba’sHoney Honey.’

Two months later, this time in her own name alone, ‘Up In A Puff Of  Smoke,’ may have only breached the UK charts at #43, but in the USA it peaked at #16, and even at #3 in the US Disco Chart.

Polly Browne – ‘Up In A Puff Of Smoke.’

Polly remained popular and respected throughout the Disco era on both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s a while ago now, of course, but for a time Pickettywitch and Polly Browne were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – March 2022)

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