• Bobo Coen

45 Revolutions & the most Epic of Epic Quests

So I recently went to gig by Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats , who were supported by Blood Ceremony. 

Now Blood Ceremony had tour only edition of new single out so I bought a few...ahem

Singles have never meant much to me but I seem to be acquiring a few.....make that quite a few. Not in to the realms of a lot but that is about to change as I undertake the most epic of epic quests. That's a capital EPIC!!!! but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The fact that singles are still being produced in physical format is or seems a futile exercise in 2019.......... right?

In an Interview in the Guardian Paper a spokesperson from the Official Charts Company  stated the average for physical sales accounts for only 2% of the total.  (The Stone Roses reissue of Elephant Stone still hasn't managed to chalk up 500 physical sales).  Florence and the Machine's Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) sold 64 copies & still managed to reach 16 in the chart.

This from the Headline act of Glastonbury? It does show  you how little physical media sells & how much streaming impacts on the charts. To put this in context lets look at it in ten year increments starting with 1975

1975 the biggest selling single was"Bohemian Rhapsody" with sales of 1,300,000.

1985 it was Jennifer Rush "power of love" which sold 1,400,000.

1995 it was unbelievably  Robson & Jerome with "Unchained Melody/White Cliffs of Dover" with sales of 1,844,000 .

The Official UK Chart is now calculated by sales as well as both music and video streams, with a variable streaming ratio depending on whether the user has a free or paid subscription. This means that 100 paid streams will equal one sale, as will 600 free streams.


For example, if your track gets 100,000 paid streams across the various online music & video platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and other, they will be counted as 1,000 sales by the charts and included in your final sales total, whereas you'd need 600,000 free streams to generate that same number. Other sales include both paid digital downloads and physical releases.

So what's the reason for singles not selling? Technology has changed so much with steaming replacing  physical sales.

Culture has changed. The average audience for Top of the Pops  at its most popular was 15 million. That's the whole family watching it. kids sitting in awe of latest star & Dad slagging them off "who's that big Jessie then? He wears more make up than your Gran" That many viewers has huge impact on sales.

The B.B.C. Chart show on Radio 1 gets 1.7 million. This is no surprise as it has so much competition. No more sitting around t.v. or radio for that matter. Everyone has their i-pads, lap tops & increasingly smart phones.

What has this got to do with me?

As I said Singles never meant much to me & charts less than zero. Well the thing is Lots of bands in the heavier end of music spectrum are releasing singles.  True they are a calling card but why purchase them when I can youtube song? Well these artifacts are usually in a limited run & on different colored vinyl. They have songs on B side not on album. In some cases A side will not be on album either but Single will be stand alone release. These makes them highly collectible.  I would be lying if I didn't admit that is appealing to me, In general I don't go mad I buy the color that calls most but I did once buy every version of Uncle Acid & Deadbeats single "Mind Crawler" which was insane but very, very, satisfying.

The more idealistic side of me feels I'm supporting the bands too...that's my excuse

I am not really one for nostalgia as a rule, the thing is In my pre-teen years I was part of one of the Family's that watched top of the pops. In pre-M.T.V.  years looks didn't matter or certainly not as much as now.  Great songs did & some not so great. In fact some so bad it gave them a unique greatness of their own!! 

Where else could you see diversity like Atomic Rooster, then Clive Dunn? How else could there be explanation for the success off Demis Rossos ?

I only realized how many of these songs I know when music rounds come up on the quiz show pointless. No bare with me. As much as the Music of my teens (Metallica , Slayer) are part of my musical d.n.a. the songs from my childhood inexplicably have ingrained themselves in my brain too .I can't recall what I had for breakfast yesterday or were I left my keys but I can remember a chart hit from 1974 word for word!!!

My good lady wife & myself were watching pointless as we do when we arrive in from a long day in the salt mines. Its relaxing & keeps brain ticking over but not necessary connected to my mouth as proven by the words that spilled from said orifice off their own accord.

"Wouldn't it be great to buy every number one single of the 1970's" says I . "yes that would be fun" says my Wife. She must have been enthusiastic as She looked up from candy crush saga or whatever game she was swearing at on her phone. This was a green light for me


So begins as promised the most epic of epic quests.  I set some simple  rules

1: they have to be bought in chronological order from January 1970 to December 1979

2: They have to be first press U.K. releases. Reprints or re-releases are not allowed.

3: I have to play them in order

Rule 3 seems most straight forward till I looked at list. There is 169 of them!!!  Some are brilliant pieces of pop/rock genius Then there is  St Winifred's School Choir & worst of all Mull of Kintyre I think I may be violently ill or go completely psycho by end of that one

So first on the list is Edison Lighthouse "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"

which was number one for five weeks , it was the fastest climbing number one to that point in chart history & the eleventh biggest selling single of the year . It was basically a manufactured band created to back session singer Tony Burrows who went on to be in first line up of Brotherhood of Man.

Oooh! I feel like a top of the pops presenter throwing out factoids to the pop pickers.... minus the sexual assault, Christmas jumpers, & comb over.

the next one on list is Lee Marvin "wand'rin star" then Simon & Garfunkel "Bridge over troubled water" So far great songs. Then its first slice of downright schmaltzy weirdness.  Dana "All kinds of Everything".... oh feck!!!

Well it wouldn't be a epic quest without some  horrific evil force to conquer  &  let's face it, they don't come more evil than Dana.

It took me guts of a year to nail down all of 1970 releases....now on to 1971 Up first Clive Dunn - Grandad....oh dear

I will keep you posted on my progress...if I survive

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