Chart Music #10: February 5th 1970 – Tony Blackburn’s World-Famous Kneecap-Warmers

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The tenth episode of the podcast which asks: when did vest and pants go from being an instrument of self-expression to a punishment for leaving your games kit at home?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us going back further than we’ve ever been before, to a time where Beatle wigs are still in Woolworths and nobody seems to mind that the BBC have taped some horse racing over their coverage of the Moon Landings. And what delights await us, as we see a show still in its embryonic stage and groping – but not in a DLT manner – towards the format we all know and love.

As always, the music therein is a proper lucky bag of randomness – the serious bands are away doing albums, so the void is filled with loads of songs that never even get a sniff of the Top 30, a folky Sixtiesness that refuses to go away, and tons and tons of the purest pop. The Jackson Five cause an older-than-usual audience to do berserk and forget that a cameraman is looking up their micro-minis, John Lennon allows us to be a fly on the wall at an Apple board meeting, Pans People let the Dads down big style, and Cheryl Vernon stands outside a church, waving flowers about with a face like a smacked arse. And Tony gets a silver cup. And Peter Marinello is intimidated by a girl with eyelashes like huntsman spiders.

Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes for a Stan-out-of-On-The-Buses-like leer at the dawn of the Seventies, breaking off to talk about our fathers’ love of dog food, why Country Dancing was a thing in West Midlands schools, the toys we never got and still want, and being disappointed to discover that colour TV was just a load of dots, really. And all the swearing you could possibly want.

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Chart Music #9: April 11th 1974 – She’s A WILF

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The ninth episode of the podcast which asks: were England’s international failures of the 1970s caused by an insistence on playing football on beaches in massive flares and stack heels while pretending to be Marvin Gaye?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees us making another Sam Tyler-like voyage to Spangleland in an attempt to see if 1974 could keep up the quality levels of the year before, or if it was already lurching into the hell of 1975. What we discover is a Bizarro-world in which Noel Edmonds stands out as a bouffanted, proto-Medallion Man object of genuine teenage lust amongst the sullen, lank-haired youth.

Musicwise, we see ‘new’ bands taking wing (Mud, in their Glam-Ted Vishnu phase), older bands calming themselves down (Slade, doing a ballad) or on their way out (Mungo Jerry, we’re looking at you), and people absolutely losing their shit over The Wombles. Pans People cause your Dad’s tea to slide right off his lap as they don the flounciest, bounciest nighties ever, Bill Haley is unearthed and put on display, the Terry Jacks Deathwatch drags on for another week, and history is made as Abba yomp all the way from Brighton to Shepherds Bush to begin their glacial reign over the Seventies.

Al Needham is joined by Simon Price and David Stubbs to discuss all of this, as well as rubbish funeral songs, supporting a football team that looks like your favourite mug, BBC Families v ITV Families, believing that pop songs are actually news bulletins, and the Celtic ritual of Crisp Sacrifice. And all the swearing you could possibly want.

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Chart Music #6: April 10th 1975 – Woody Looks Like Edward Heath

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This sixth episode of the podcast which asks: a Lego submarine full of maggots? Really?

This episode sees us throwing ourselves between two stools marked ‘GLAM/FUNK’ and ‘PUNK/DISCO’ and sprawling awkwardly in the space marked ‘1975’, in order to check whether it really was one of the tawdrier years for Pop. Spoiler alert: yes, it rather is, actually.

Emperor Rosko (looking for all the world like a Transatlantic Stu Francis) empties out a massive lucky bag of Pop-rammel, which includes people in silhouette pretending to have oral sex with Telly Savalas, someone who wasn’t brave enough to be Alvin Stardust hiding behind a dog, Chicken-In-A-Basket (but really decent chicken, not Findus) soul, And Pan’s People are dressed like sexy, sexy Vileda SuperMops.

It’s not all bad, however: The Sweet come back hard on their tottery platform heels one last time, the Goodies wear matching dungarees with a ‘G’ on them, like radical-feminist Crips, Susan Cadogan drops one of the greatest reggae tunes of the decade, and it’s 1975 and Bohemian Rhapsody hasn’t come out yet, so you already know what’s No.1.

Al Needham is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price for a proper snuffle around the bell-bottomed, tartan-fringed crotch of April ’75, veering off to sing disgusting variations of Bay City Roller songs, discuss why pirate radio was a bit crap, actually, the thrill of Snuff Delivery Day in old peoples homes in Coventry, and being bequeathed platform shoes by your father. The longest episode yet, full to the brim with swearing.

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Chart Music #3: November 15th 1973 – Ken, Ken, Ken, Ken and Donny

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The third edition of the podcast which asks: is that an apple or a strawberry on Pans Peoples’ arses?

In this episode – the chunkiest yet – we set the controls of the Time Sofa smack into the heart of the Glam era and get down to ’73. The charts are caked with the bland mung of Osmond, but it’s also rammed out with mid-Sixties chancers suddenly finding themselves in the Big Time in strange trousers, and milking their opportunity dry. And Tony Blackburn is on hand to vibrate with excitement, suggest that records about failed relationships make great Christmas presents, and abuse a Womble.

Highlights of this episode include Alvin Stardust debuting the Satanic sound of the Mansfield Delta, Mott The Hoople demonstrating that if you’re on a three-day week, have a four-day weekend,  Paul McCartney wallowing in his Style Council period, Kiki Dee flinging disgusting filth at our Pop Kids, and the Bacofoiled Elephant In The Room crashing straight in at No.1.

Al Needham is joined by Melody Maker veterans Taylor Parkes and Simon Price for a good old hack at the face of the Velvet Tinmine, breaking off every now and then to discuss who we fancied at the age of 5, the difference between cheesecloth and gingham, and what happens when you mention Gary Glitter at a pub quiz.

(Warning: lots of swearing, occasional seagull interference, and a long conversation about Gary Glitter which goes beyond fist-shaking and arguing over which one of us would pull the lever first)

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