WEST MIDLANDS ALL TIME TOP 20 MUSIC CHARTS
Go on then…what's your favourite? Pete Millington has had his i-pod clamped to his head for the last 6 months and his ears are starting to bleed. No matter, it's all in the line of duty, as he draws up an all-time West Midlands musical Top 20. Find out if you agree with his selection.
1. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners with the Emerald Express
With UK sales of over 1.20 million and 4 weeks at number 1, Come on Eileen is the 48th best selling single in the UK ever. Described as one of the most time enduring pop songs along with the likes of Dancing Queen by Abba or Kool and the Gang's Celebration, the irony is that Kevin Rowland and Dexysare otherwise remembered for shunning commercialism in favour of artistic integrity.Come on Eileen bridged the gap during a decade (1980s) where commercialism generally dominated.
2. Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade
At number 74 on the best ever UK singles sales, Slade's annual festive favourite has sold over 1.01 million copies. The song's author and Slade lead singer Noddy Holder refers to the track as his pension scheme.
3. Can't Help Falling In Love - UB40
UB40 have successfully taken three different singles to number one in the UK hit parade which were previous number ones for the original artists, the first was the Sonny & Cher track I Got You Babe(1965) which was a number 1 for UB40 with Chrissie Hynde in 1985.Next was the classic 1962 Elvis track Can't Help Falling in Love which UB40 took to number 1 in 1993. The 3rd UB40 track to achieve this unusual feat was Baby Come Back, a number 1 for The Equals in 1968 and a number 1 again for UB40 with Birmingham reggae star Pato Panton in 1994.
4. Three Lions - Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds
Another track that has reached number 1 on two separate occasions but this time with different versions of the same song was soccer anthem Three Lions by the Lightning Seeds with David Baddiel and Oldbury born comedian Frank Skinner. Three Lions topped the charts in 1996 and with revised lyrics in1998. Incidentally, the Lightning Seeds are from Liverpool and David Baddiel was born in New York.
5. Mouldy Old Dough - Lieutenant Pigeon
Coventry band Lieutenant Pigeon have an unusual place in British pop history for being the only band to reach number 1 with a hit performed by a son and his mom. In 1971 Lieutenant Pigeon made number one with Mouldy Old Dough which featured Rob Woodward and his mum, Hilda. Both played keyboards.
6. Keep on Running - Spencer Davis Group
Brummie mega star Steve Winwood has been banging out good sounds for over 40 years, but one of his best known hits was back in the early 1960s with the group that he co-founded with Spencer Davis, Pete York and his own brother Muff Winwood. Keep On Running was taken from the band's 3rd album Beat With Soul made when Winwood was just 15 years old!
7. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
Released in 1971 on their fourth studio album, Led Zeppelin IV, Stairway has never been released as a single but is generally agreed to be the greatest rock song ever recorded. 35 years later, the track is still the most frequently requested track on American rock stations.Famously lampooned in the movie Wayne's World when a salesman in an electric guitar shop points to a sign in the shop reading "No Stairway", indicating that the track is annoyingly the first thing that customers attempt to play when they pick up a guitar.
8. Mr Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra
Surprisingly this much loved ELO track was not their best selling single, that feat goes to Xanadu their 1980 hit with Olivia Newton John which reached number 1 in the UK and number 8 in the US. However, Mr Blue Sky is the track that perhaps epitomises this world famous Brummie band, reaching number 6 in 1978, it enjoyed a resurgence in 2003 after being used in an advert for Volkswagen Beetle and was also used in a number of films and tv shows including the movie adaptation of The Magic Roundabout. According to a top 100 poll carried out by the Guinness Book of Hit Singles, Mr Blue Sky is the 77th most popular single in the UK ever.
9. Mull of Kintyre - Paul McCartney & Denny Laine (Wings)
You may not automatically think that there is a connection between the West Midlands and the world's most famous Scouser singing about a remote Scottish island but... since The Beatles split upover threeand a half decades ago, perhaps one of Paul McCartney's greatest song writing collaborators has been Tyseley born Denny Laine. Laine was bornBrian Hines and throughout the 1960s was involved in a long list of Brummie groups including The Diplomats and The Moody Blues. He teamed up with Paul and Linda McCartney in 1970 to become a founder member of Wings and co-wrote Mull of Kintyre, released in 1977 it became the 4th best selling single in the UK everwith 2.05 million records sold.
10. Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran
Filmed in Sri Lanka in 1982, the video for Hungry Like The Wolf was one of the great pioneering pop videos of the early 80s.It became an early favourite with MTV who claim that it is one of thetop 15 played pop videos ever. The single had massive success in the States where it reached number 3 in the Billboard charts in December 1982, making Duran Duran instant global superstars.
11. Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
Another classic rock track from a world famous Brummie band. These guys started life as the M&B Five before changing their name to the Moody Blues. This track was first released in 1967 fromthealbum Days of Future Passed but was not a popular track because of it's length (7 minutes 38 seconds). However, when it was re-released in 1972 the record buying public werenow more open to lengthier singles (following Hey Jude and Layla), especially in the States where it reached number 2 in the Billboard charts.
12. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
Arguably the best and most played heavy metal record of all time, Paranoid was from the 1971 Black Sabbath album of the same name. The track was famouslyperformed by Aston-born former Sabbath lead-man Ozzy Osbourne in front of the Queen at her Buckingham Palace jubilee garden party in2002.
13. Pass The Dutchie - Musical Youth
Released in September 1982, this was the single that launched the career of Birmingham reggae band Musical Youth. A cover of the Mighty Diamonds' Pass The Kouchie, this was the first song that the boyswrote and produced themselves. Replacingthe original song reference to a Jamaican ganja smoking pipe (kouchie) with the rhymingJamaican word for acooking pot (dutchie) also ensured it's commercial success. The infectious enthusiasm of the boys from Duddeston Manor School caught the public imagination and the track was propelled to number 1.
14. Funky Moped - Jasper Carrott
Local comic genius Jasper was as surprised as anyone when his novelty song Funky Moped reached number 5 in 1975. Jasper had recruited support from his pals in ELO to be his studio backing band on Funky Moped and ironically Jasper's novelty recording achieved bigger success than any of ELO's recordings to that date.The B sidewas a parody of the children's TV show The Magic Roundabout.
15. Nelson Mandella - Special AKA
When Coventry ska band The Specials split up in 1981, some members of the group joined legendary 2-Tone boss Jerry Dammers in reforming the Special AKA, which was the original name of the band in the late 1970s.Working with members of the Birmingham ska band, The Beat, and production support coming from Elvis Costello, Special AKA released this passionate foot-stomping protest anthem calling for the release of Nelson Mandella in 1984. The song helped to fuel the growing international campaign for Mandella's release and an end to apartheid in South Africa and Dammers himselfwas primarily behind the 1988 Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday concert at Wembley featuring Stevie Wonder, Dire Straits, Whitney Houston and Simple Minds. Two years later the event was repeated at Wembley with Mandela now free and able to attend in person.
16. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
Bearwood born Christine McVie jonedFleetwood Mac as keyboard player and vocalist in 1970. The band was already well established as a rock-blues group and Christine's husband John was a founding member with Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and Jeremy Spencer. With a new line-up which nowincluded Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac released their most celebrated and one of the greatest selling albums of all time, Rumours in 1977. The album provided four hit singles but the most successful was Dreams which reached number 1 inthe USA.
17. The Riverboat Song - Ocean Colour Scene
The Riverboat Song wasn't the biggest hit of this greatly acclaimed modern Brummie rock band, but perhaps it is their bestknown track having been used on Chris Evans' TFI Friday television show as the rousingtheme tune played every time a guest walked into the studio.The Riverboat Song reached number 15 in the UK charts and was taken from the album Moseley Shoals which reached number 2 in the UK album charts.
18. Tulane - Steve Gibbons
Cool and charismatic, Steve Gibbons has been a stalwartperformer on Brum's local rock circuit for as long as there has been a local rock circuit in Brum but above this hasachieved international acclaim through dozens of albums over a 40 year period. It was back in 1977 that the Steve Gibbons Bandgot into the top 10 with the Chuck Berry classic Tulane. The original track wasissued in 1970 on Chuck Berry's album Back Home.
19. Flowers in the Rain - The Move
Released in September 1967 by Birmingham band The Move, Flowers in the Rainwas given enduring notoriety not just by being the first ever record to be played on Radio One by Tony Blackburn at 7 a.m. on 30th September 1967, but also because the band were taken to court by Prime Minister Harold Wilson who objected to a cartoon image of himself in a compromising embrace with his secretary featured on promotional postcards issued by the band's record company. When Wilson won his libel case The Move agreed to give him the royalty rights to Flowers in the Rain which he donated to his favourite charities. Founding members of The Move included Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton, Carl Wayne and Chris Kefford.
20. Handsworth Revolution - Steel Pulse
Before 1975 the genre of reggae music was produced exclusively in Jamaica, but with the emergence of one or two notable black British bands, led by Steel Pulse from Birmingham and Aswad from London, English cities were suddenly pulsing with home grown roots reggae. Steel Pulse were formed by a group of friends from Handsworth Wood Boys School, during the rasta / punk era they aligned themselves with the Rock Against Racism campaign and began to command aracially diverse fanbase. The album Handsworth Revolutionwas released in 1978, it is now considered a landmark in the evolution of British reggae and the title track remains a haunting reminder of those revolutionary times.
Tell us your favorite West Midlands track or tracks in the message boards here at The Stirrer. Who will make me wince in embarrassment and bang my forehead repeatedly with my fist as they point out the ones I have glaringly overlooked? Or maybe the clever ones with the unobvious West Midlands link?
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