The song of the month for January 1975 January by Pilot (peak chart position: No.1)It was wholly appropriate that this song should be released in January and find itself in the upper echelons of the UK singles list before the month’s end. Before long it was at the pop summit, which is not surprising as this radio-friendly light rocker couldn’t fail to arouse the interest of pop aficionados. Unfortunately for Pilot, they could not navigate their next 2 singles into the British Top Thirty and thus any hopes of a durable pop career crash landed when January ‘disappeared’ in March. The song of the month for February 1975 Number Nine Dream by John Lennon (peak chart position: No.23)Released a few months previously on his ‘Walls And Bridges’ album, John Lennon’s under-rated masterpiece made an all-too-brief appearance in the British singles chart in early 1975. With the help of Phil Spector, Lennon draws attention to the significance of the number 9 in his life. He was born on the ninth of October 1940 in the midst of a Luftwaffe air raid upon Liverpool. Fortunately the Luftwaffe missed Julia Lennon, or we would never have been treated to this piece which surely surpasses the hyped ‘Imagine’.
The song of the month for March 1975 Honey by Bobby Goldsboro (peak chart position: No.2)‘Honey’ had previously made its sweet presence felt back in the spring of 1968 when it fell agonisingly short of the Number One position. History actually repeated itself when this beautiful item again came close to the coveted top spot. As a consequence of these two chart runs, this popular single spent a total of 27 weeks in the British singles lists. It was clearly Bobby Goldsboro’s most successful release. Regrettably, the folks ‘back then’ had a stronger preference for ‘Bye Bye Baby’ by the Bay City Rollers. Dear oh dear.
The song of the month for April 1975 Lovin’ You by Minnie Riperton (peak chart position: No.2)Loving this is easy ‘cos it’s beautiful. Minnie Riperton excels here with a vocal performance that takes the breath away. Aside from the notable singing, the song is remembered for the bird constantly chirping in the background. For all the incurable romantics for whom flowers and chocolates are the order of the day, this American chart-topper would have been essential listening. Tragically, Minnie Riperton passed away in July of 1979 at the age of 31, a victim of breast cancer. What a waste.
The song of the month for May 1975 I’m Not In Love by 10CC (peak chart position: No.1)10CC had been among the most consistent hit-makers in the last few years, having previously climbed onto the UK singles summit with ‘Rubber Bullets’ in 1973. It therefore came as little surprise when they reached the pop heights again, though the material this time was radically different. ‘I’m Not In Love’ is a deliciously mellow recording which would have found favour with both young and old. It sounded considerably more mature and sophisticated than their previous Number One and it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 1970s.
The song of the month for June 1975 Tears On My Pillow by Johnny Nash (peak chart position: No.1)American singer Johnny Nash had previously had an association with Bob Marley so it was hardly surprising that he should flirt with reggae music. Yet again the British singles-buyers were clearly feeling sorry for themselves as they took a shine to this tearjerker which enjoyed one week at the ‘top of the pops’. This was the sixth time that a Nash release had invaded the UK Top Ten but hereafter the absence of any further successes would have been reason enough for more tears on his pillow.
The song of the month for July 1975 Barbados by Typically Tropical (peak chart position: No.1)British music lovers engaged in a flight of fancy as they warmed on that hot summer to the sounds of ‘Barbados’ which nudged the Bay City Rollers off the Number One perch. The artists responsible were Typically Tropical who can lay a credible claim to having provided one of the best tunes from a ‘one hit wonder’. The song includes a mock address from the aeroplane pilot at the start of the ‘flight’ as the singer shares his excitement at the prospect of travelling to the attractive island in the Caribbean.
The song of the month for August 1975 Sailing by Rod Stewart (peak chart position: No.1)Not a year seemed to go by without Rod Stewart making his presence felt in the world of pop. This time he stepped forth with a song whose popularity probably eclipses his ‘Maggie May’ offering. This smash hit demonstrated his knack of sourcing a good song from elsewhere – in this instance from the Sutherland brothers. The musical accompaniment is first class as Rod sings from the heart. This is one of the few records that emerge in any era which retains its appeal through the march of time. Its sales figures speak for themselves.
The song of the month for September 1975 Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1 to 5 by Pink Floyd (album track)The album opener to the newly-released ‘Wish You Were Here’ represents the very best of the Floyd. It evolves in characteristically languid style with a fine contribution from Dave Gilmour’s guitar. The ‘hero’ of the song, one Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett just happened to venture into the Abbey Road recording studios during its creation for a brief and typically bizarre reunion with his former ‘colleagues’. Barrett explained to his horrified (former) friends that his overweight condition was due to the large pork chops that he had in his fridge – a crazy diamond indeed.
The song of the month for October 1975 Space Oddity by David Bowie (peak chart position: No.1)It was indeed something of an oddity that David Bowie’s first hit single from six years ago should land once more on planet pop and then soar into orbit – or to Number One to be precise. Such a success for the ever-changing Bowie was overdue, though this ‘sixties artefact was a surprise package. Bowie had also previously tasted American charts glory in collaboration with John Lennon on ‘Fame’ and Bowie’s own fame was enhanced by this ‘new’ success. Bowie remained a chart regular over the next few years in spite of a spiralling drug habit.
The song of the month for November 1975 Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (peak chart position: No.1)Freddie Mercury and his troops took the British charts by storm at the end of 1975 when ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ took up a phenomenal nine-week residence at the top of the pop tree. Not since the 1950s had any single monopolised the lists to such an extent. It was widely accepted that the exposure of the song’s video was a major factor in its success. The tune itself typified the eccentric brand of rock that Queen represented, with piano one moment and electric guitar the next, culminating in a gong being hit at the tune’s conclusion. This was predictably the lead single from the ‘A Night At The Opera’ project which is only narrowly defeated by ‘Wish You Were Here’ for album of the year. The song of the month for December 1975 Mamma Mia by Abba (peak chart position: No.1)After the triumph of ‘Waterloo’, Sweden’s finest foursome experienced a couple of false starts before their pop career resumed in earnest. It took the success of ‘S.O.S’ to indicate that Abba had more to offer than merely a ‘one-hit wonder’. The next item in the Abba assembly line of smash hits was ‘Mamma Mia’. This single mercifully relieved ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ of its occupation of the British pop summit whilst laying the foundations for a year of world domination. The song (or at least its title) has since inspired both a musical and a popular film.
Listed Below are the Top 10 Best Selling UK Singles of 19751 Bye Bye Baby The Bay City Rollers2 Sailing Rod Stewart3 Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)The Stylistics4 Whispering Grass Windsor Davies and Don Estelle5 Stand By Your Man Tammy Wynette6 Give A Little Love The Bay City Rollers7 Hold Me Close David Essex8 I Only Have Eyes For You Art Garfunkel9 The Last Farewell Roger Whittaker10 I’m Not In Love 10CC
1975’s CONCERTS OF THE YEARA new rock group called the Sex Pistols shocked audiences in London with an unprecedented display of amateurism and aggression that kick started punk rock in the United Kingdom. Punk was held aloft as the yoof generation’s challenge to the rock dinosaurs who had taken live shows away from the intimacy of clubs and concert halls in favour of stadium venues. The biggest culprits were perhaps the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Both outfits were ‘back by popular demand’ in the United States as the former introduced their new team member, Ronnie Wood, whilst the latter were trying to market their acclaimed double album, ‘Physical Graffiti’. After completing their tenth invasion of Uncle Sam’s home, Zeppelin took Earls Court in west London by storm, with five gigs there in the spring. Punk rock and the new wave may have just been around the corner, but they would have to wait until the Zeppelin exited the stage. Meanwhile, Bob Marley and the Wailers entertained the assembled mass at the Lyceum in London, thereby confirming them as one of the hottest acts on planet pop. The accompanying live album provided Robert Nesta with another incursion into the UK album charts, whilst ‘No Woman No Cry’ (performed live) would be his first British hit single.
1975’s ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (released in September; reached No.1 in the UK)After ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ began to accumulate record sales that were beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, the Floyd became victims of their own success. Just how, after all, were they supposed to match or improve upon their ‘dark moon’ project? Indeed in many quarters, ‘Wish You Were Here’ was indeed viewed as a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’, but it is held in high regard by most Pink Floyd aficionados. Once again the group (and Roger Waters in particular) were expressing their negative outlook of how society was evolving, or indeed deteriorating. ‘Welcome To The Machine’ was the obvious example of a band that was both world-weary and bored with the trappings of ‘stardom’. ‘Meanwhile ‘Have A Cigar’ (with lead vocals from Roy Harper) is a more amusing but ironic swipe at the music industry. The title track is simply an exquisite acoustic guitar track. The centre piece of the album is ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, which is characteristically divided into nine ‘parts’. It isn’t so much a case of the foursome pining for the impossible return of the unhinged Syd Barrett, but more a case of the quartet offloading their guilt at jettisoning their former friend several years previously when he became something of an ‘acid casualty’. ‘Wish You Were Here’ is not instantly likeable, but it grows in appeal with every listen.
SPORT IN 1975English Division One football champions: Derby County; runners-up: LiverpoolEnglish FA Cup final: West Ham United 2 Fulham 0English League Cup Final: Aston Villa 1 Norwich City 0Scottish Division One football champions: Glasgow Rangers; runners-up: HibernianScottish FA Cup final: Glasgow Celtic 3 Airdrieonians 1Scottish League Cup final: Glasgow Celtic 6 Hibernian 3Irish League football champions: Linfield; Irish Cup final: Coleraine 1 Linfield 0 (in a replay)League Of Ireland football champions: Bohemians; cup winners: Home FarmEuropean Cup final: Bayern Munich 2 Leeds United 0European Cup-Winners’ Cup final: Dynamo Kiev 3 Ferencvaros 0UEFA Cup final: Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Twente Enschede 5-1 on aggregateEnglish county cricket champions: LeicestershireFive Nations’ rugby union champions: Wales (six points)Formula One world drivers’ champion: Niki Lauda (Austria) in a Ferrari carGaelic football All-Ireland champions: Kerry; runners-up: Dublin British Open golf champion: Tom Watson (at Carnoustie)US Masters golf champion: Jack NicklausUS Open golf champion: Lou GrahamUSPGA golf champion: Jack NicklausRugby league Challenge Cup final: Widnes 14 Warrington 7Wimbledon men’s singles tennis final: A Ashe beat J Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4Wimbledon ladies’ singles tennis final: B-J King beat E Cawley 6-0, 6-1World snooker final: Ray Reardon (Wales) beat Eddie Charlton (Australia) 31-30The Aintree Grand National steeplechase winner: L’Escargot; price 13-2The Epsom Derby winner: Grundy; jockey – Pat Eddery; price 5-1The Ryder Cup golf contest: United States 21 Great Britain And Ireland 11
1975’s DEATHSFebruary 4th: Louis Jordan (US musician), aged 66February 14th: Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (British scientist), aged 87February 14th: Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (British author), aged 93February 24th: Nikolai Bulganin (Soviet statesman), aged 79February 28th: Sir John Frederick Neville Cardus (British writer), aged 85March 14th: Susan Hayward (US actress), aged 56March 15th: Aristotle Onassis (Greek tycoon), aged 69March 16th: T-Bone Walker (US musician), aged 64March 28th: Sir Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss (British composer), aged 83April 5th: Chiang Kai-shek (Chinese statesman), aged 87April 12th: Josephine Baker (US entertainer), aged 68April 15th: Michael Henry Flanders (British actor), aged 53April 24th: Pete Ham (British musician), aged 27May 6th: Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty (from Hungary), aged 83May 20th: Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth (British sculptor), aged 72July 2nd: James Robertson Justice (British actor), aged 70August 9th: Dmitri Shostakovich (Soviet composer), aged 68August 15th: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Bangladesh’s President), aged 55August 27th: Emperor Haile Selassie (of Ethiopia), aged 83August 29th: Eamon de Valera (ex-Irish Taoiseach), aged 92October 1st: Al Jackson (US musician), aged 39October 22nd: Arnold Joseph Toynbee (British historian), aged 86November 7th: Cardinal Heenan (ex-Archbishop of Westminster), aged 70November 20th: General Francisco Franco (Spain’s dictator), aged 82November 27th: Ross McWhirter (British journalist), aged 50November 29th: Norman Graham Hill (British Formula 1 driver), aged 46December 7th: Thornton Wilder (US author), aged 78