ALBUM CHART HISTORY
Researched and written by Sharon Mawer
It had become something of a tradition that The Beatles would have an album ready for the Christmas market, but when they delivered Revolver in August 1966, they were nowhere near ready for another LP before Christmas. Parlophone had the idea of putting together a greatest hits which would surely be the biggest album of 1966 and they released the compilation A Collection Of Beatles Oldies, but in one of the biggest miscalculations of the pop charts, the album only peaked at no.7 and spent just three weeks in the top 10, unheard of for The Beatles with seven previous albums, all no.1 hits and this album which was effectively the first hits collection of the group although strangely missing the first two hits, Love Me Do and Please Please Me and including instead the US no.1 single Yesterday, which was not released as a single in the UK, Michelle an album track that was taken to number one in the singles chart by The Overlanders and Bad Boy, an album track only featured on the US album Beatles VI. It also featured all 13 number one singles to date, including both sides of all the double sided hits, so it was a mystery how poorly it sold apart from the Beatles fans already having the singles and not being prepared to buy an album duplicating the same tracks. The era of the successful Greatest Hits compilation was not yet with us.
The eighth official album was ready in June and was worth waiting for, as Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band entered the chart at no.8 and climbed to the top the following week, spending a total of 27 weeks at no.1 over the next eight months and becoming one of the biggest ever selling albums in the UK. Although Paul McCartney has admitted being influenced by the Beach Boys Pet Sounds and Frank Zappa's Freak Out, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is like nothing before it. Mixing several different styles of music on one album, Psychedelia, Indian, Music Hall and Pop like only the Beatles could produce in the mid 1960s, it was supposed to be an album featuring a fictional group, four members with different characters, all with facial hair, looking a little, but not totally like The Beatles, playing songs on their own tour to an ecstatic audience, something The Beatles had stopped doing the previous year, but this concept was only developed on the title track which segued into Ringo Starr's With A Little Help From My Friends. Then the album diversified into many themes, the ultimate psychedelic song Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, Music Hall with Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite and When I'm Sixty Four, Indian music on Within You Without You recorded solely by George Harrison playing the sitar and singing solo, having taking personal lessons from the Indian master of the sitar, Ravi Shankar. The climax of the album is the track A Day In The Life which is several songs in one, individual parts written by either John Lennon or Paul McCartney. The 1967 singles Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever were not included as tracks on the LP as was the custom of the Beatles at the time, although both would have been equally at home as part of the album as tracks that did make the finished version such as Getting Better, She's Leaving Home, Fixing A Hole or Lovely Rita. Whether or not it was about LSD, one of the most famous tracks, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was banned by the BBC from receiving any radio play. The music was not the only innovative part of the album project, as it was released in a gatefold sleeve, originally because the plan was to release a double album, until it was decided there was not enough music of sufficient quality to record 2 LPs. The album cover was an art design by Peter Blake featuring the images of famous people, both dead and alive, standing together behind the Beatles dressed as the Sgt Pepper band. Over 70 people eventually made it into the photo after several legal wrangles with stars still alive including a comment originally from Mae West asking "What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?" In spite of John Lennon's wishes, it did not include the images of either Jesus Christ or Adolf Hitler, both considered too controversial after the previous year's LP, Yesterday And Today "butcher" sleeve. The final cost of the cover alone was £2868/5s/3d which was more than 100 times the average for a record sleeve in 1967. The lyrics were also printed on the back cover and there was a cardboard cut out sheet of pieces to fit the concept of the Sgt Pepper band including a moustache, sergeant's stripes, badges, a picture card and a free standing Sgt Pepper group, more economical than the original idea of free pencils, pins and assorted merchandise.
Since January 1963, the only artists to top the charts had been Cliff Richard & The Shadows, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, with constant interruptions by the Sound Of Music Soundtrack. On the 4th of February 1967, a new name joined this very exclusive list as The Monkees hit the top with both their first two albums, The Monkees and More Of The Monkees, The Monkees for 7 weeks in February and March and More Of The Monkees for 2 weeks in May.
The idea for The Monkees came from television producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson who wanted to re-create the zany antics of The Beatles in the film A Hard Days Night for television and needed a group of four good looking young lads to play the roles of the musicians. They did not need to be musical but television actors and that's exactly what they got, Mickey Dolenz who would play the part of a drummer, Michael Nesmith, the guitarist, Peter Tork the bass and Davy Jones the lead singer, although Nesmith was actually a serious musician as well as an actor. It was particularly tough for him when the policy of complete musical control was decided by the television producers and the members, although allowed to sing on the records, were not allowed to actually play the instruments even though the series depicted them doing so. The TV show was a big hit with thin plot lines banded together by a running thread of humour, super fast editing and slapstick comedy routines.
By the time the debut album, The Monkees was released they were already superstars and the LP could do no wrong. Phil Spector was approached to produce the record but turned it down, but Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart made a decent job, creating a pop record with many shades, a mixture of jangling guitar and beat numbers Saturday's Child, Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, Papa Gene's Blues, This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day, Sweet Young Thing, The Theme From The Monkees and the debut single Last Train To Clarksville, the wistful ballad, I Wanna Be Free, the zany Gonna Buy Me A Dog which sounded as if the dialogue had come directly from the TV show, Let's Dance On which could have originally been Twist And Shout and I'll Be True To You which was the same track as Yes I Will by The Hollies. The public did not seem to care who was playing in the background. It sounded like the TV show and the Monkees vocals were obviously originals.
The four lads still had no say whatsoever on the musical direction of the albums which was totally controlled by Don Kirshner who hired several writers and producers to rush out a second LP within three months of the debut to strike while the band was still very hot. Despite the success of the first LP, Kirshner sacked Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart who only contributed two songs to the second album, I'm Not Your Steppin Stone and the album opener, She. Some of the tunes feature more harmonies and are somewhat more sophisticated than those of the debut album. Mike Nesmith, the only member of the group with any sort of musical background was allowed to write two tracks for the second LP, Mary Mary and The Kind Of Girl I Could Love. Neil Diamond contributed two tracks, Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow and one of the biggest selling singles of the decade, I'm A Believer. Neil Sedaka provided the song When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door and Goffin & King wrote the track Sometime In The Morning, but the producers maybe went over the top with The Day We Fall In Love with Davy Jones speaking his devotion to a lover over a background of violins.
But yet again, that was it for chart topping albums in 1967. The other 17 weeks were taken up by The Sound Of Music which added this total to the 51 weeks already spent at the top since 1965.
There were only five albums that peaked at no.2 during 1967. The year began with The Best Of The Beach Boys at no.2 for all of January, adding four weeks as runner up to the five it had already achieved the previous year. In November, they returned with two further top 10 LPs, Best Of Volume 2 and Smiley Smile.
When Good Vibrations did not make it onto the Pet Sounds album, there was much anticipation surrounding the next Beach Boys project titled Smile and if Good Vibrations was an example of where the band was heading, even since Pet Sounds was released, it was no wonder the Smile was eagerly awaited. A big disappointment followed however when in May 1967, the album project was cancelled. A second volume of greatest hits was released instead by Capitol records, desperate to keep the band in the public eye and at the end of the year, a totally different album, Smiley Smile was released which was not as good as was originally hoped for and spend just four weeks in the top 10, not getting any higher than no.9. It included both the recent singles Heroes And Villians and Good Vibrations an obvious highlight of the album, the instrumental Fall Breaks And Back To Winter and several tracks conjuring up psychedelic images, Vegetables, Wind Chimes, She's Goin Bald and Little Pad.
A second volume of hits from any artist was never going to do as well as the first, but Best Of The Beach Boys Volume 2 did not sell badly. Featuring the hit singles Good Vibrations and Then I Kissed Her from the post Pet Sounds era, the album mainly showcased the fun, early surf sound which was the Beach Boys past with tracks like Surfer Girl, When I Grow Up To Be A Man, Dance Dance Dance and The Girl From New York City, rather than where Brian Wilson had envisaged the group going in competition to The Beatles and their new sophistication.
The Monkees third LP, Headquarters stopped at no.2 for 6 weeks in July and August. The tensions between the four members of The Monkees and their production company and musical directors came to a head after the album More Of The Monkees. The group had admitted to their fans that they hadn't played any of the music on the first two albums and were determined that the third album called Headquarters would be different. Michael Nesmith brought in his friend, the folk musician Chip Douglas, a member of the Turtles to produce the album and the four lads were able to persuade Don Kirshner to allow them to play most of the instruments and indeed between them, they wrote seven of the 14 tracks including all four collaborating on the very short and even more eccentric tracks, Band 6 and Zilch. Nesmith took solo writing credit on three tracks, You Told Me, You Just May Be The One and Sunny Girlfriend. They recorded three more tracks by professional songwriters Boyce and Hart, I'll Spend My Life With You, I Can't Get Her Off My Mind and Mr Webster and the album closed with the Micky Dolenz song, Randy Scouse Git which he heard as a phrase on the TV show Till Death Do Us Part, not having a clue what it actually meant. The British establishment knew though and when the track was released as a single, the band were told to either change the title or not face any radio play. Unable to come up with a suitable Alternate Title, they called it exactly that and it became their biggest singles hit next to I'm A Believer.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience hit no.2 with their first LP, Are You Experienced. Jimi Hendrix appeared as if from nowhere in 1967, but in fact he had been performing with many of the R&B and soul stars from the early 1960s including Little Richard and The Isley Brothers but it wasn't until Chas Chandler saw one of his solo performances and persuaded him to come to England, that he came to the public attention. Chas Chandler was attempting to move into artist management after the break up of the original line up of The Animals and saw the wild man Jimi Hendrix as an ideal vehicle for the late 1960s fusion of rock and psychedelia. Born in Seattle in 1942, Hendrix was never going to make it as part of a group with his individual showmanship, playing his guitar with his teeth or behind his back or even setting it on fire to produce unusual sounds that were hard to believe came from a guitar. He was joined by regular musicians Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding who became known as The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Surprisingly he appeared on Middle Of The Road television programmes as the guest star with such unlikely singers as Lulu introducing him as the next big thing but his debut album and first few singles endeared him to a different kind of audience altogether. They appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, but by then they had already achieved three top 10 singles, Hey Joe, Purple Haze and The Wind Cries Mary, setting the scene for the debut album, Are You Experienced which showcased Jimi Hendrix' songwriting and guitar playing on the psychedelic tracks Foxey Lady and Manic Depression, Blues on Red House, the ballad May This Be Love, or guitar jamming on I Don't Live Today, Third Stone From The Sun, Love Or Confusion and the title track, Are You Experienced.
Just one week each at no.2 was achieved by two compilations, Breakthrough and British Motown Chartbusters. Breakthrough was a demonstration record on the Studio 2 label, owned by EMI and included the orchestral versions of This Is My Song by Frank Pourcel Manual & The Music Of The Mountains-Somewhere My Love, Ron Goodwin-633 Squadron, Woot Steenhuus-Silhouette Hula, Joe Loss-Poppa Yo Quero and Pepe Jaramillo-Michelle. British Motown Chartbusters was the first in a series on the Motown label. Containing 16 tracks in total and all of them top 30 hits, it was both an ideal introduction to the Motown label and its artists and also for those who already knew and loved the label's output and wanted a number of hits by a selection of their stars at the time on one LP. It included major hits such as the Supremes' The Happening and You Keep Me Hangin On, Stevie Wonder's I Was Made To Love Her, Jimmy Ruffin's What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted and the Four Tops-Standing In The Shadows Of Love alongside lesser hits, The Temptations-I Know I'm Losing You, Gladys Knight & Pips-Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me, Stevie Wonder's Blowin In The Wind and The Marvellettes' When You're Young And In Love.
The Sound Of Music spend twenty eight weeks as the runner up LP during 1967, finally dropping as low as no.3 for the first time since May 1965 on the 10th June 1967, the first week at the top for Sgt Pepper, almost as if it was the passing of an era from what albums were, to what they would be now.
The future of album product could well be forged by two newcomers to the charts of 1967, Cream, the new group formed by Eric Clapton after he had departed John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Pink Floyd. Cream hit the top 10 with both Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears. Eric Clapton could not find the musical freedom within either the Yardbirds nor John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and finally found the freedom to express himself as he really wanted with the group Cream, a band he formed with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, former members of an R&B/Jazz band, The Graham Bond Organisation. Although often referred to as Eric Clapton's band, it was in fact Jack Bruce who wrote most of the tracks on the debut album, Fresh Cream. The album was hardly surprisingly influenced by the blues of people like Willie Dixon who wrote Spoonful, one of the tracks, and the blues could be heard on the tracks, Sleepy Time Time, Rollin and Tumblin and the instrumental Cat's Squirrel. The album's opening track, I Feel Free became an instantly recognisable rock track. There was however also a couple of tracks that were most definitely not blues, but psychedelic rock including Dreaming, I'm So Glad and the final track Toad which contained a three and a half minute drum solo as its centrepiece.
One would never know from the second album that Cream had ever been a blues band. Disraeli Gears was a rock album with track after track taking its influence from the psychedelic sounds of 1967. It included the singles Strange Brew and Sunshine Of Your Love, although Cream were one of the first bands to shun the singles chart, and none of their releases ever reached the top 10. It also included the psychedelic rock tracks, World Of Pain, We're Going Wrong and Dance The Night Away, but if anybody ever wonders if Cream had a sense of humour, listen to the final track, Mother's Lament with the lyrics "Your baby has gone down the plug hole, your baby has gone down the plug, the poor little thing was so skinny and thin, it should have been washed in a jug". They don't write them like that anymore.
Pink Floyd's debut album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn hit no.6 in September. One of the all time great rock bands started their days as an experimental psychedelic outfit led by guitarist and singer, Syd Barrett, together with Roger Waters on bass, Rick Wright on keyboards and Nick Mason on drums. The name was derived from two blues legends Pink Anderson and Floyd Council and they were known as The Pink Floyd for the first two albums only. With Syd Barrett writing most of the material, they began their journey, adding any sounds to the music that sounded interesting, whether or not they were harmonic, including electronic feedback, reverb and screeching voices breaking up long instrumental passages and came up with two very different singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, Arnold Layne about a man who stole female clothing from washing lines, not the average subject matter for songs in 1967. By the end of the year however, the band were in trouble, their leader and founder had become more and more eccentric, sometimes going into a trance on stage and either playing nothing at all or a totally different piece to the rest of the band. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was written almost entirely by Syd Barrett who made no secret of his hallucinogenic experiences with LSD that helped him to see the gnomes, scarecrows and fairy tale characters that populated the lyrics of each track. Syd Barrett was also fascinated by space travel and the tracks Astronomy Domine and the nine minute Interstellar Overdrive were both on this theme, although Syd Barrett's notion of space was probably very different to the real thing. After all, there are no electronic bleeps and sweeping organ chords in space. With discordant sound effects both musical and vocal, intermingled with pleasant harmonies, tracks such as Flaming, Pow R Toc H, were never going to be hit singles or even attain much, if any radio play. Syd Barrett could also write snappy two or three minute pop songs, The Gnome, Matilda Mother, The Scarecrow and Bike taking him and the listener back to their childhood. Even the title of the album had an extra spiritual meaning and was taken from The Wind In The Willows as Syd Barrett interpreted the children's story as only he could, when Rat and Mole are searching for a lost animal and are discussing a place where music played, a holy place where, if anywhere, surely we shall find him.
After Eric Clapton had left The Bluesbreakers, John Mayall recruited a new member in Peter Green and hit the top 10 with both Hard Road and Crusade. Peter Green only lasted however for the first of these two LPs, Hard Road and by the time of the recording of Crusade, he too had left, to be replaced by Mick Taylor. For the second top 10 album, Hard Road, Peter Green played lead guitar and contributed two of his own compositions, The Same Way and the instrumental Supernatural. The album was not only a blues based LP with the tracks A Hard Road, You Don't Love Me, Another Kinda Love, Dust My Blues and Living Alone but featured more lighthearted Rock n Roll on It's Over and Leaping Christine, a 60s beat track, The Stumble and even a Negro spiritual, There's Always Work. So long as they could play the guitar and had the feeling of the blues in their playing, it didn't really matter who was the featured guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. For three albums in a row, they had had three different guitarists, for the third top 10 album, Crusade it was Mick Taylor who featured prominently on the tracks Oh Pretty Woman (not the Roy Orbison standard), and what sounded like the ultimate blues numbers, Tears In My Eyes, Me And My Woman and The Death Of JB Lenoir, even containing a mournful harmonica and the instrumental, Snowy Wood.
Harking back to the era that evoked what LPs were about before rock music, two instrumental, orchestral band leaders hit the charts for the first time in 1967 with very different album chart careers, Raymond Lefevre from France with his one and only top 10 eponymous album featuring his light orchestral versions of A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Release Me, Puppet On A String and several original French tracks. James Last, born Hans Last in Bremen, Germany in 1929 and hit the top 10 with This Is James Last, the first of many top 10 albums over the next 25 years. He may have missed the boat as the leader of a big band, but he became one the most popular album recording artists with a style of his own that sometimes defied belief as to how he managed to sell so many LPs. Virtually every album was filled with cover versions of hits of the day with an orchestral background and anonymous chorus singing. He personally played both the piano and bass guitar and began his career as a member of Gunter Oesterreich's Radio Bremen Dance Orchestra immediately after the end of the war. He also became the in house arranger for Polydor records and helped to arrange recordings by Helmut Zacharius, Caterina Valente and a number of European based artists. His debut album released under his own name in 1965, called Non Stop Dancing, set the trend for the next quarter of a century with a dance beat and crowd noises in the background. This Is James Last, released in 1967 featured the tracks I Got You Babe and Yesterday, intermingled with hits from the 1950s, Delicado, April In Portugal, Sail Along Silvery Moon and La Bamba and tracks from much further back, American Patrol, Adagio and Greensleeves. Another bandleader, Mantovani also had his second top 10 LP, Mantovani's Golden Hits which was a compilation of film music including his own hits Charmaine, Moulin Rouge and Swedish Rhapsody as well as Exodus, Moon River, True Love, Around The World and Some Enchanted Evening,
The biggest selling artist in the singles market in 1967 was Engelbert Humperdinck with two number one singles, Release Me and The Last Waltz, both of which were used as title tracks for his two 1967 LPs, peaking at nos.6 and 3 respectively. Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey in 1936 in India, the son of an engineer in the British army. The family returned to England while he was still a child. His early career as a singer was interrupted by his own military service but when he returned, he took up singing again, touring with Marty Wilde and appearing on the Oh Boy television show, but his career was again put on hold when he contracted TB. When he recovered and throughout the 1960s, he struggled to make a living as a singer but he contacted a former room-mate of his, Gordon Mills who had moved into artist management and was just beginning to have some success with another big ballad singer in the face of domination by beat groups, Tom Jones. Mills persuaded him to adopt the name of the Austrian composer Engelbert Humperdinck as it was a name that could never be forgotten and this time, he finally had success in the charts with a cover version of an old R&B hit, Release Me which he turned into a big standard ballad. The debut album, Release Me opened with the number one hit and featured a couple of tracks written by Gordon Mills, Take My Heart and Ten Guitars as well as cover versions of There's A Kind Of Hush and This Is My Song. Six months later he had another number one single, The Last Waltz and a second LP was released with this track as its opening number.
His label stablemate on Decca, Tom Jones also broke through to the album top 10 in 1967 with two LPs, The Green Green Grass Of Home which hit no.3 and Live At The Talk Of The Town which bounced around positions 8, 9 and 10 in the summer, but re-entered the charts throughout 1968, eventually peaking at no.6. Tom Jones was also managed by Gordon Mills and had broken through to the charts two years earlier. He was born Thomas John Woodward in Pontypridd in 1940 and began performing under the name Tommy Scott. None of the singles he made with producer Joe Meek achieved any degree of success and he returned to singing in local clubs in South Wales where he was noticed by Mills who recommended he change his name to one of the biggest films of 1963, Tom Jones. Signing to Decca records, he perfected the style of belting out big baritone numbers to accompany a hip swinging, microphone throwing, sexy stage act. Almost immediately, this style caught on and Tom Jones enjoyed great success in the singles charts with tracks like It's Not Unusual and What's New Pussycat. By the end of the second year, Mills attempted to soften his singer's image to appeal to the massive MOR market and with the country ballad, Green Green Grass Of Home, it worked an absolute treat. Finally, two years after he had first hit the singles charts, and had several albums only reach the lower regions of the LP charts, he broke through to the top 10 with an album based around the no.1 hit Green Green Grass Of Home and featuring Tom Jones' typically powerful performances on A Taste Of Honey, Georgia On My Mind, That Old Black Magic, My Prayer and When I Fall In Love.
The Talk Of The Town was a club venue in London's West End that used to be known as The London Hippodrome since the turn of the century. In 1958, the Hippodrome was totally refitted as The Talk Of The Town in the style of a Las Vegas show bar with guests sitting at tables, eating and drinking and watching the show. It became famous for booking big name stars who liked the intimate atmosphere of a close audience with the opportunity to have a meal in civilised surroundings and even dance to a resident band or orchestra after the show. Tom Jones was an ideal star to appear and in 1967 he recorded an album of his performance at the club which included his singles It's Not Unusual, Green Green Grass Of Home, Not Responsible, What's New Pussycat and the James Bond film theme Thunderball. It also featured his versions of Hello Young Lovers, I Believe, That Lucky Old Sun, Land Of 1000 Dances and strangely My Yiddishe Momma.
In the same vein, another ballad singer emerged as Scott Walker released his first solo LP, Scott, and the Walker Brothers also had two top 10 LPs, Images and the compilation The Walker Brothers Story. Scott Walker was the lead singer and well known voice on all the Walker Brothers hits and when the band went their separate ways, Scott recorded a solo album, I Only Came To Dance With You, but despite the familiar voice, the LP missed the charts altogether. Taking inspiration from the big ballad crooners, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Jack Jones rather than the current trend for rock and psychedelia, he pressed on in this vein and released a second LP simply entitled Scott which made no.3 at the end of September. The album was full of dramatic songs with sweeping arrangements, big ballads, Mathilda, Montague Terrace In Blue, Such A Small Love and Amsterdam, the country flavoured, The Lady Came From Baltimore, the dramatic, My Death and the mournful songs, all in a minor key, Through A Long And Sleepless Night, Angelica, When Joanna Loved Me and The Big Hurt.
Even more heavy production could be heard on the Walker Brothers final album before their acrimonious split, Images, a strange mixture of Walker Brothers original ballads, Everything Under The Sun, Genevieve, Turn Out The Moon and Baby Make It The Last Time, the classical sounding Orpheus and I Will Wait For You with its Moonlight Sonata intro, the German oom pah track, Experience and some very strange choices of cover versions including a laid back Blueberry Hill and Stand By Me with exactly the same arrangement as Ben E King. Both the singles from 1967 were also included but these showed the Walker Brothers career was nearly over as Stay With Me Baby and Walking In The Rain both peaked at no.26 in the singles chart. The Walker Brothers Story was a lavish double album in a gatefold sleeve which hit the charts on the same week as the solo hit by their former lead singer Scott Walker. It featured all three of their big hits from their peak period of Autumn 65 to Spring 66, Make It Easy On Yourself, My Ship Is Coming In and The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore, as well as their two minor hit singles from 1967, Stay With Me Baby and Walking In The Rain from the Images album, the heavy organ beginnings of In My Room and Archangel and a cover of Wilson Pickett's Land Of 1000 Dances.
Harry Secombe released a top 10 album, Secombe's Personal Choice. Having already hit the top 10 as a member of The Goons and having had a couple of solo albums reach the lower positions in the LP charts, both an album of religious songs and a political satire album released to coincide with the 1964 general election, Harry Secombe returned to straight ballads and reached no.6 with his album Secombe's Personal Choice, following his biggest single release to date, the big ballad This Is My Song which would undoubtedly have topped the singles chart had Petula Clark not released her version a few months previously. The double album also included Secombe covering 1950s hits such as Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing, Stranger In Paradise, Be My Love, The Song From Moulin Rouge and Here In My Heart as well as continuing his interest in religious based songs, Abide With Me, O Come All Ye Faithful, Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us and Bless This House.
More soulful was Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band who hit the top 10 with Hand Clappin Foot Stompin Funky Butt Live and Hipsters Flipsters and Finger Poppin Daddies. Geno Washington was more famous for his live shows than the albums he recorded, both his charting LPs hitting their peaks during 1967. He began performing while stationed in England for the American Air Force in the early 1960s and formed the group, The Ram Jam Band with John Roberts, Herb Prestige, Jeff Wright, Lionel Kingdom and Buddy Beadle. He would play dozens of R&B standards in a fast moving live show, usually lasting no more than half an hour, no wonder he always sounded out of breath. The first album, Hand Clappin Foot Stompin Funky Butt Live opened as a live gig with the DJ Dave Cash introducing the Ram Jam Band on the first track, Philly Dog with shouts from the audience of Geno Geno. Geno Washington appeared for track 2, Ride Your Pony which led straight into energetic versions Stevie's Wonder's Uptight Everything's Alright, Junior Walker's I'm A Roadrunner and Sam & Dave's Hold On I'm Comin. The non stop gig then went through soul classics, Land Of A Thousand Dances, Respect and a version of Que Sera Sera Whatever Will Be Will Be that was about as far away from Doris Day's version as one could imagine.
The second album, Hipsters Flipsters and Finger Poppin Daddies was more of the same, Dave Cash at a live gig introducing the Ram Jam Band who open the album with the instrumental Herks Works, before Geno Washington arrives on stage to tumultuous applause as he belts through more soul classics, In The Midnight Hour, Shotgun, Hi Heel Sneakers and tracks done in the Geno Washington style that could have been soul originals, The Beatles-Day Tripper and The Troggs-Wild Thing.
The Four Tops hit no.4 with Four Tops Live and The Equals reached no.10 with Unequalled Equals as did various Stax artists on the compilation Hit The Road Stax. The Four Tops Live included live versions of their singles It's The Same Old Song, Reach Out I'll Be There and I Can't Help Myself as well as other Holland Dozier Holland compositions recorded by their fellow Motown artists, Baby I Need Your Loving, You Can't Hurry Love and cover versions of other recent hits, It's Not Unusual, If I Had A Hammer, The Girl From Ipanema, Climb Every Mountain and I Left My Heart In San Francisco. Eddy Grant was born in Guyana and moved to England as a child with his family. The Equals consisted of his school friends Pat Lloyd, John Hall and twin brothers Dervin and Lincoln Gordon and based on Eddy's West Indian roots, were one of the first bands to have any chart success with ska and bluebeat, different forms of reggae. Notable for the fact that although the brothers were Jamaican and Eddy Grant was also of Caribbean origin, both Pat Lloyd and John Hall were white and were born in north London. The band first had success in Europe, particularly Germany and the Netherlands where Hold Me Closer was released as a single but DJ's preferring the b side, Baby Come Back, turned that track into a major hit including eventually a number one single in the UK. The album, Unequalled Equals opened with a cover of the Rock n Roll track Giddy Up A Ding Dong and also included I Get So Excited, Hey Baby, I Wont Be There, You Lied Just To Save Your Name and Can't You Hear That Melody. Hit The Road Stax was a compilation album, showcasing the artists signed to the Stax label based in Memphis featuring tracks by Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and the in house band Booker T & The MGs.
Other newcomers to the album charts of 1967 included Cat Stevens who charted with Matthew And Son and The Bee Gees with their debut UK release Bee Gees 1st.
Cat Stevens was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in London in 1947 and was interested in both Rock n Roll and Folk music while at Hammersmith College and began performing a mixture of the two styles using the name Steve Adams in the mid 1960s. He was discovered by Mike Hurst, a former member of The Springfields who had become a producer and got him a contract with Decca records singing his own composition I Love My Dog. His next single however, Matthew And Son, was a major hit and was followed quickly by the album featuring both the singles plus his original recording of Here Comes My Baby, taken into the singles charts by The Tremeloes. His next single release, I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun closed the album. Just like the Kinks, there was an evocative feel of the city of London on some of the tracks, Portobello Road, I See A Road and The Tramp and also on this album was a nod to the psychedelic music of 1967 with the tracks When I Speak To The Flowers, Hummingbird and Lady.
The Bee Gees were brothers Barry Gibb, born in Manchester in 1946 and twins, Maurice and Robin Gibb, born on the Isle Of Man, three years later. They were originally moulded by their father as a white version of The Mills Brothers, a black vocal harmony group from the 1930s and 40s. Just as they were beginning to make a name for themselves singing in movie theatres in the Manchester area, the family moved to Australia and settled in Brisbane. Appearing again at local talent shows, they were spotted by DJ Bill Gates (not the same man as the computer tycoon) and led to them being engaged to perform regularly at the Beachcomber Nightclub and eventually their own TV show on a local Brisbane station. Despite their growing popularity, their debut album The Bee Gees Sing And Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs was not a commercial success and during 1963 and 1964, virtually every act to break through to the charts internationally, was British and despite the brothers musical similarity to The Beatles, writing and playing their own original songs, based on Rock n Roll but with the emphasis on harmony, Australia was half a world away and they remained unheard of outside the Australian market. They followed the example of The Seekers and sent some demos of their recordings ahead of a return to England and signed to Robert Stigwood's Polydor records. Their debut album released in the UK, The Bee Gees 1st featured songs all written by either all three of the brothers or just two of them, all with haunting melodies and vocal harmonies, a trademark of the Bee Gees throughout the years, even in their disco period including Holiday, Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You, I Can't See Nobody and the two hit singles To Love Somebody and the strangely titled New York Mining Disaster 1941.
Traditional Irish folk music was heard from The Dubliners who hit the top 10 with both A Drop Of The Hard Stuff and More Of The Hard Stuff. The Dubliners never changed their style from one sounding like they were singing live in an Irish pub. Originally formed by Ronnie Drew as The Ronnie Drew Folk Group, the band also included Luke Kelly and Barney McKenna both playing the banjo and Ciaren Bourke with the backing sounds of tin whistle, harmonica and guitar. Several personnel changes followed including the adding of John Sheahan playing an assortment of instruments including the fiddle, harmonica, tin whistle and concertina. Their earliest recordings were of live appearances at the Hootenanny Show and the Irish Folk Festival, but finally they broke through to mainstream chart success in Britain with the release of the risqué single Seven Drunken Nights in 1967. The single, based on Child Ballad number 273 told the story of a man who arrived home drunk each night and thought he saw something, usually to do with his wife having an affair, and her logical excuses and reasons for him seeing what really was there, had he been sober. This record opened their album, A Drop Of The Hard Stuff which was filled with traditional Irish folk songs including The Galway Races, Weila Waila, The Travelling People, the instrumental jig Colonel Fraser And O'Rourkes Reel. More Of The Hard Stuff was exactly what one might expect, more drinking songs and traditional Irish folk songs including Muirsheen Durcan, Whiskey In The Jar, The Old Triangle and A Pub With No Beer.
Two new soundtracks hit the top 10 this year, the film score to Dr Zhivago and yet another Julie Andrews film, Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie starring as Millie Dillmount a young lady from Kansas who sets off around the world to experience life in the roaring 20s. The music from the film Doctor Zhivago was a lush, rich orchestral score, composed by Maurice Jarre and perfect for the Russian backdrops in the film with folk themes and male voice choirs. The central piece, Lara's Theme was composed in just a few minutes and the complete score was just under 70 minutes long.
The best selling cast recording this year was the London cast version of Fiddler On The Roof which reached no.4 and was the seventh best selling album of 1967. Fiddler On The Roof told the story of Russian Jewish milkman Tevye, his wife and five daughters and his struggle uphold the religious traditions in the face of turn of the 20th century Russian politics. Every song moved the story along and developed the characters from the opening ensemble number Tradition, through Matchmaker Matchmaker, If I Were A Rich Man, To Life, Sunrise Sunset, Far From The Home I Love and the forced eviction from their home village at the end, Anatevka. The performance of Topol of If I Were A Rich Man was strong enough to take it out of context of the show and send it into the top 10 singles chart.
Both Cliff Richard and The Shadows had new albums in the top 10, Cliff with Finders Keepers and The Shadows with Jigsaw. Cliff Richard playing himself and the Shadows, playing themselves discover a deserted town in Spain when they arrive to a concert. They soon discover that the Americans had accidentally dropped an atom bomb on the town and although it failed to detonate, the town is nevertheless evacuated. In order to get the people back to the town, to attend their concert no doubt, they agree to search for the bomb, in opposition to foreign agent Mr X, played by John Le Mesurier. It gives both Cliff and The Shadows a chance to play some songs around the town however as they hunt for the missing atom bomb, songs with a Spanish flavour such as Oh Senorita, Spanish Music and Fiesta and Paella. The hit single Time Drags By was also taken from this film. The summer of love and the singles chart, if not the albums chart was dominated by old fashioned crooners, Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones. On the albums chart, you could also still rely on The Shadows to reach the top 10 with whatever they release and this year's offering was no exception, Jigsaw spending 3 weeks at no.8 in the late summer. The Shadows, still wearing their early 1960s suits, still doing their early 1960s dance routines and the songs were cover versions of Jimmy Dorsey hits from the 1940s, Green Eyes and Maria Elena, the Hoagy Carmichael standard, Stardust from even further back and a few contemporary songs, Winchester Cathedral, Friday On My Mind, Trains And Boats And Planes and Cathy's Clown, all played by Hank Marvin in his distinctive twangy style, although the band were obviously aware of the humour they could generate with their version of the New Vaudeville's Band's Winchester Cathedral.
As for last years' newcomers, The Mamas & Papas hit no.4 with Mamas & Papas Deliver as did The Who with A Quick One. Herb Alpert reached no.5 with SRO and The Troggs just scraped into the top 10 with Trogglodynamite.
John Phillips spent much of 1967 organising the Monterey International Pop Festival which launched the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and many San Francisco based artists. He wrote the song San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair), one of the defining moments of the hippy culture and flower power, but rather than record it himself or as a member of The Mamas & Papas, he gave it to unknown singer Scott MacKenzie who hit no.1 on the singles chart in the late summer. The Mamas & Papas own album from 1967 included the hits Dedicated To The One I Love, Creeque Alley, the happy pop songs Sing For Your Supper and Look Through My Window and a rather slowed down version of Twist And Shout.
All the individual members of The Who contributed songs to their second album A Quick One, Roger Daltrey with See My Way, Keith Moon with the discordant I Need You, and the madness of the instrumental Cobwebs And Strange, John Entwhistle with Whiskey Man and the bass dominated Boris The Spider and Pete Townshend with the pop songs, Run Run Run, Don't Look Away and So Sad About Us. The direction that The Who were taking however was shown in the final track, the 9 minute epic with several themes running through it, A Quick One While He's Away.
The Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass album SRO, initials indicating Standing Room Only, making a reference to the bands sold out concerts. The album is packed with standard instrumental tracks with the trumpet taking the lead melody, The Work Song, Wall Street Rag, Blue Sunday, Our Day Will Come and Bean Bag which was used as the theme to the TV series It's A Knock Out. A rare treat was Herb Alpert himself taking lead vocals in the track Mame from the hit show, although the backing vocals make the track sound like it could be from a Black & White Minstrels album.
The Troggs second album, Trogglodynamite hit no.10 for two weeks in March and it was obvious that after such a short period of time, the band had run out of decent material, their year being 1966. Although they would return late in 1967 with the single Love Is All Around which was not on the Trogglodynamite LP, the tracks on this album did not make much impression, barring the ballad Cousin Jane, a cover of Them's I Can Only Give You Everything and Albert Hammond's Meet Jacqueline.
After a gap of four years, Trini Lopez returned to the chart with Trini Lopez In London, an album of current songs, Lady Jane, Strangers In The Night, Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now, and some older standards too, Fever, Love Letters, Mame and It Had To Be You.
Donovan had another top 10 album, Universal Soldier reached no.5, his final album to hit the top 10, but there was no new product this year from Bob Dylan who had to be content with a Greatest Hits package, his only top 10 entry during 1967. The Rolling Stones hit no.3 with Between The Buttons and The Kinks hit no.9 with the budget compilation Sunny Afternoon.
The Marble Arch label was a subsidiary of Pye records, specialising in budget releases and Donovan was the latest artist to have an album re-packaged and released. Universal Soldier contained his older material from 1965 including his hits Catch The Wind and Colours and was also the first LP to include tracks from the Universal Soldier EP and the track Turquoise, Universal Soldier seeming even more relevant now than in 1965 with the contradictions in each line of the song and the building resentment against the Vietnam war.
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits featured just 10 tracks taken from his previous seven albums including the singles The Times They Are A Changin, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Like A Rolling Stone, Rainy Day Women nos.12&35, the track released solely as a single to date, Positively Fourth Street and several album track originals which other artists had turned into big hit singles, Blowin In The Wind, Mr Tambourine Man and Just Like A Woman.
Between The Buttons was the final album produced for The Rolling Stones by Andrew Loog Oldham following a fall out over creative differences in mid 1967. Conscious of the direction rock music had been taking, the Stones felt they had to compete, or at least keep up. The album is a mixture of styles as the Rolling Stones searched for a musical direction, a Bo Diddley style Rock n Roll track, Please Go Home, an acoustic ballad, Backstreet Girl, a psychedelic track with Brian Jones playing the sitar in the background, All Sold Out, a few driving 1960s rock tracks, Yesterday's Papers , My Obsession, Connection and Complicated, a Bob Dylan style track, Who's Been Sleeping Here, The band also showed their humourous side with a couple of ragtime tracks, Cool Calm & Collected and Something Happened To Me Yesterday.
After The Kinks hit number one in the singles chart the previous summer with Sunny Afternoon, the Marble Arch label brought out an album with the same title, featuring the hit single as well as two of their other defining hits from 1966, Dead End Street and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion. It also included the band's version of Louie Louie and the original b side of Dead End Street, Big Black Smoke, a dark vision of London in the mid 60s.
Of the US number one albums not previously mentioned, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass could only reach no.21 in the UK with Sounds Like and Bobbie Gentry did not chart at all with her LP, Ode To Billie Jo. Other US top 5 albums that did not reach the UK charts included two titles by The Doors, Doors and Strange Days, Bill Cosby's Revenge, Rolling Stones-Flowers, Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, Best Of Lovin Spoonful, Ed Ames-My Cup Runneth Over, Aretha Franklin-Aretha Arrives, Young Rascals-Groovin, The New Vaudeville Band-Winchester Cathedral, Mamas & Papas-Farewell To The First Golden Era and Barbra Streisand's Je M'Appelle Barbra. Another Aretha Franklin LP, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You reached no.36, The Temptations Greatest Hits, no.17 and Andy Williams Born Free no.22.
As For the artists who achieved a number one single in the UK during 1967, Petula Clark had three albums in the chart, but none could climb higher than no.16, Frank Sinatra had two chart albums, the highest placed one at no.22. The Tremeloes peaked at no.15 with Here Come The Tremeloes The Complete 1967 Sessions, but there was no room at all, even in a top 40 chart for Sandie Shaw, Procol Harum, Scott McKenzie, The Foundations or Long John Baldry.
NUMBER OF TOP 10 ALBUMS - 62
NUMBER OF #1 ALBUMS - 4
Top albums of 1967
1 Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2 Soundtrack - Sound Of Music
3 Beach Boys - Best Of The Beach Boys
4 Monkees - Monkees
5 Soundtrack - Doctor Zhivago
6 Monkees - More Of The Monkees
7 Original London Cast - Fiddler On The Roof
8 Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass - Going Places
9 Seekers - Come The Day
10 Tom Jones - Green Green Grass Of Home
(c) 2007 Text: Sharon Mawer / Contact: Sharon Mawer
(c) 2007 All chart information: The Official UK Charts Company