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The Seventies Music Archives
  • UK Top 20: December 16, 1972 Ft. The Moody Blues 2019-08-02T17:23:00.000+01:00
    The Moody Blues
    New at Number 15: The Moody Blues

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 16 December, 1972

    With the festive season of 1972 now in full swing, the British charts began to reflect the celebrations with the appearance of one of the first classic Christmas pop songs to show in the listing: Happy Xmas (War is Over) courtesy of John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Harlem Community Choir. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards also contributed to the Yuletide festivities with their rendition of Little Drummer Boy.

    Elsewhere, Chuck Berry was enjoying his fourth and final week at Number 1 as Little Jimmy Osmond waited in the wings to claim the crown the following week.

    The Moody Blues made a welcome return to the UK hit parade as did The Four Tops with their first hit single on their new record label.

    These four new entries meant that it was farewell to singles by The Shangri-Las, Gilbert O'Sullivan, The Stylistics and Shag.

    Read on...

    Image: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 923-9509 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (03) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 03 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 04 (08) - T. Rex - Solid Gold Easy Action 
    • 05 (09) - Little Jimmy Osmond - Long Haired Lover From Liverpool 
    • 06 (06) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 08 (07) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 09 (04) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 10 (16) - Roy C - Shotgun Wedding 
    • 11 (13) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 12 (10) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 13 (11) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 14 (12) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 15 (21) - The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin 
    • 16 (23) - John and Yoko/Plastic Ono Band With the Harlem Community Choir - Happy Xmas (War is Over) 
    • 17 (17) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (25) - The Four Tops - Keeper of the Castle 
    • 19 (18) - Gladys Knight and the Pips - Help Me Make It Through the Night 
    • 20 (28) - The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Little Drummer Boy
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's Number 1 and New Hits:

    15: The Moody Blues: Nights in White Satin

    A welcome re-release brought The Moody Blues back into the UK Top 20 with their 1967 single Nights in White Satin, taken from the album Days of Future Passed.

    Having previously peaked at Number 19, the track had already surpassed that position and was about to crack the Top 10 at Number 9.

    In the States, it would perform even better. The 1967 release didn't even break into the Hot 100, but on this occasion it would manage to climb all the way to Number 2 for a couple of weeks - only kept off the top by Johnny Nash's hit, I Can See Clearly Now.

    16: John and Yoko/Plastic Ono Band: Happy Xmas (War is Over)

    And so to one of the first specific Christmas songs to become a hit on the British chart - even though it had to hang around a year before its UK release.

    Originally released in the USA the previous December, Happy Xmas (War is Over) had to wait until December 1972 before it could be released, due to a disagreement with Northern Songs, a music publisher.

    It was an instant success, eventually reaching Number 4 and turning into a Christmas classic in the process. Apart from its appearance in the charts of 1972, it has resurfaced on numerous occasions over the years - most notably following Lennon's death when it peaked at Number 2 in 1980. Of course, it has also featured on many Christmas compilations over the years helping it to remain in the public conscience.

    18: The Four Tops: Keeper of the Castle

    The Four Tops were making their third appearance on the British charts during 1972, but significantly, this was the quartet's first hit on their new record label, ABC-Dunhill, following their departure from Motown.

    It performed respectably, as well. In the States, it was their first Top Ten hit since 1967's Bernadette - which, incidentally, had reappeared on the British chart to fair success just months earlier.

    This week's Number 18 would be its high point in the UK before hastily falling away.

    20: Royal Scots Dragoon Guards: Little Drummer Boy

    The Pipes and Drums and the Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - to give them their full artist title - returned to the charts following the staggering success of their Number 1 single, Amazing Grace.

    This time, to help celebrate the Christmas season, they were on point with their rendition of the oft recorded, Little Drummer Boy.

    Although this would reach Number 13, it is probably best remembered sung in duet by David Bowie and Bing Crosby as part of a medley coupling it with Peace on Earth.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: December 9, 1972 Ft. Gladys Knight 2019-07-19T21:45:00.002+01:00
    Gladys Knight
    New at 18: Gladys Knight along with her Pips

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 9 December, 1972

    Christmas 1972 was just around the corner and it seemed as if  Chuck Berry would continue to maintain the Number 1 position over the festive period. However, a challenger had just appeared on the horizon and My Ding-A-Ling's days at the top of the pile were now numbered. 

    Berry's challenger came in the form of a nine-year-old, a member of a family which was all over the charts at this time, The Osmonds. Nevertheless, Little Jimmy's new single was not the highest new entry on the chart as T. Rex's latest release came crashing into the Top 10 at Number 8. Further, with two re-releases disappearing from the Top 20, another 1960s hit reappeared while Gladys Knight and the Pips returned for the first time in five years.

    So four new entries this week meaning we said farewell to hits by 10cc, Lieutenant Pigeon, Neil Sedaka and Chris Montez.

    Read on...

    Image: Kingkongphoto & from Laurel Maryland, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (04) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 04 (06) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 05 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (03) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (16) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 08 (---) - T. Rex - Solid Gold Easy Action 
    • 09 (27) - Little Jimmy Osmond - Long Haired Lover From Liverpool 
    • 10 (09) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 11 (18) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 12 (13) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 13 (12) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 14 (07) - Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 15 (10) - The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 16 (21) - Roy C - Shotgun Wedding 
    • 17 (17) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (28) - Gladys Knight and the Pips - Help Me Make It Through the Night 
    • 19 (15) - Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 20 (08) - The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's Number 1 and New Hits:

    08: T. Rex: Solid Gold Easy Action

    The latest in a long line of hit singles by Marc Bolan and T. Rex was a new entry to the UK chart this week in 1972.

    Solid Gold Easy Action was a stand alone single release by the group, not having been featured on any album up to this point.

    With such a strong debut, one would have expected the single to leap to the Number 1 slot in no time, but instead it would take another four weeks to reach its peak position of Number 2.

    Barring re-releases, it would also mark the final time that T. Rex would have one of their records finish in the Top 2 - the last of eight original releases to do so.

    09: Little Jimmy Osmond: Long Haired Lover From Liverpool

    With the popularity of the Osmond family gathering apace, it was now the turn of the youngest sibling, Jimmy, to take on the British Singles Chart.

    Written by Christopher Kingsley whose own 1969 version had flopped, Osmond's record company decided to record his version and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Having leapt eighteen places this week, it would be at Number 1 in two weeks time. Staying there for five weeks it was 1972's Christmas Number 1, eventually selling over a million copies.

    At the time, Jimmy Osmond was just nine years old and still holds the record as the youngest person to have a chart topper on the UK Singles Chart. IMHO, it's quite possibly one of the worst.

    16: Roy C: Shotgun Wedding

    Roy C is Roy C Hammond, an American soul singer and songwriter whose major claim to fame is this 1966 recording, Shotgun Wedding.

    With the burgeoning popularity for re-releases in the UK, this was the latest in a long line of Sixties records finding renewed success during the early to mid-1970s.

    Although a Top 20 hit on the Billboard R&B chart during the mid 60s, British record buyers seemed to really enjoy the ricochet element of the recording and sent it to Number 6 in 1966, nearly repeating the feat in 1972 when it settled at Number 8.

    18: Gladys Knight and the Pips: Help Me Make It Through the Night

    One of Kris Kristoffersons's most recorded songs following Sammi Smith's 1970 cover is Help Me Make It Through the Night.

    Smith's recording made no impact in the UK, so it wasn't until the end of 1972 that the song would climb the British Top 20 - courtesy of Gladys Knight and the Pips.

    Instead of the country flavour of Smith's recording, Knight gave it a soulful rendition which was more in step with British tastes. As a result, the single would climb to a peak of Number 11, spending 17 weeks on the Top 50.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 25 Rockin' and Rollin' Greats

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: December 2, 1972 Ft. Blue Mink 2018-08-13T11:05:00.002+01:00
    Blue Mink / Stay With Me
    New at Number 12: Blue Mink

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 2 December, 1972

    With Christmas 1972 fast approaching, it was perhaps not a big surprise that Chuck Berry continued to hold on to the Number 1 spot for a second week with his novelty tune, My Ding-A-Ling

    Further down the listing, you can't help but notice the increasing collection of teenage heartthrobs (both contemporary and past) cramming the Top 20 - singles by the Osmond family, the Jackson family, David Cassidy and - from the 1950s and 1960s - Neil Sedaka and Chris Montez all featuring.

    Four new entries this week, though, meaning we said goodbye to The Carpenters, Alice Cooper, Junior Campbell and Archie Bell and the Drells.

    Read on...

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (04) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 04 (08) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 05 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (10) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 07 (03) - Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 08 (06) - The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 09 (13) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 10 (09) - The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 11 (11) - Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 12 (31) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 13 (20) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 14 (12) - Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 15 (07) - Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 16 (25) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 17 (19) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (28) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 19 (22) - Neil Sedaka - Oh Carol / Breaking Up Is Hard to Do / Little Devil 
    • 20 (16) - 10cc - Donna
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    12: Blue Mink: Stay With Me

    Making an impressive 19 place jump into this week's Top 20 was Blue Mink, the six-piece combo which included the likes of Madeline Bell, Roger Cook and Herbie Flowers.

    Co-written by Flowers, Stay With Me was the group's fifth consecutive Top 20 hit - a slow, melodic ballad which would eventually peak at Number 11 during an initial 15-week run on the charts.

    16: Michael Jackson: Ben

    While still a major player in the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson's solo had taken off with singles such as Got to Be There and Ain't No Sunshine.

    However, it was a song originally intended for Donny Osmond which took Jackson to the top of the charts in the USA and into the UK Top 10 for the fourth consecutive time.

    Ben was the title song to the movie of the same name, a horror film about a young boy and his pet rat.It was nominated for an Oscar in 1973 for Best Original Song (losing out to Maureen McGovern's The Morning After), but won a Golden Globe for Best Song.

    In the UK, the single would eventually peak at Number 7.

    18: David Cassidy: Rock Me Baby

    By this time, David Cassidy's chart career was faring much better in the UK than it was in his homeland. His heartthrob status, passionately nurtured by his British fans, almost inevitably guaranteed him a high placing on the hit parade.

    This time, the sales for Rock Me Baby were not quite as enthusiastic as they had been for his previous two solo singles - probably due to the fact that it was the title track to his latest album and that it was not the syrupy ballad that fans had come to expect from him.

    The track was uptempo, trying to be more rock'n'roll and less middle of the road, but Cassidy's vocals - while good - did not really suit this type of song.

    Consequently, it peaked at a lower Number 11 in the UK and proved to be his final US Top 40 hit (No.38) of the 1970s.

    19: Neil Sedaka: Oh! Carol/Breaking Up is Hard to Do/Little Devil

    In a year full of re-releases, it was Neil Sedaka's turn to return to the British charts bringing Oh! Carol back into the listing for the first time since it peaked at Number 3 in 1959/60.

    One of the main reasons for its reappearance was because of RCA's MAXI-Million series of releases, which brought together a small collection of an artist's previous hits on one 45rpm record.

    While Oh! Carol was the lead track, it was backed with Breaking Up is Hard to Do (No.7, 1962) and Little Devil (No.9, 1961) - all well-known songs from Sedaka's back catalogue.

    It afforded him his first UK Top 40 hit in a decade, bringing him back to the British public's attention just ahead of the relaunch of his 1970s chart career.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 25 Rockin' and Rollin' Greats

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: November 25, 1972 Ft. The Strawbs 2018-08-05T19:13:00.000+01:00
    Lay Down / The Strawbs / 1972
    New at No.20: The Strawbs with Lay Down

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 25 November, 1972

    Having completed two weeks as the UK's Number 1 record, Gilbert O'Sullivan relinquished the top spot in favour of Chuck Berry the artist with the nation's new best seller: My Ding-A-Ling

    Further down the listing, we lost Top 20 hits from Python Lee Jackson, Family, Johnny Nash and Harley Quinne as the latest releases from The Strawbs, The Jackson Five, Rod Stewart and Slade entered the top section of the charts.

    Read on...

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (02) Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (07) The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (01) Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 04 (06) Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 05 (08) Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (03) The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 07 (04) Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 08 (---) Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 09 (10) The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 10 (23) Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 11 (09) Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 12 (05) Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 13 (21) The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 14 (14) Archie Bell and the Drells - Here I Go Again 
    • 15 (15) The Carpenters - Goodbye to Love 
    • 16 (13) 10cc - Donna 
    • 17 (11) Alice Cooper - Elected 
    • 18 (17) Junior Campbell - Hallelujah Freedom 
    • 19 (20) Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 20 (26) The Strawbs - Lay Down
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    08: Slade: Gudbuy T'Jane

    Taken from the album Slayed?, Gudbuy T'Jane was Slade's fifth consecutive Top 5 UK hit and one of a few of the group's single releases during this period not to make Number 1.

    It peaked at Number 2 - kept from the top by this week's Number 1 by Chuck Berry.

    It fared well across Europe too, as well as becoming the band's biggest hit in the United States where it reached Number 68.

    10: Rod Stewart: Angel/What Made Milwaukee Famous

    Rod Stewart's latest release was issued as a double A-Side in the UK, coupling a cover of the Jimi Hendrix song Angel (included on his Number 1 album, Never A Dull Moment) with another cover - the country flavoured What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) listen here, originally recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1968.

    Stewart brought soul to Angel, while watering down the country characterisation of Milwaukee, instead giving it a more pop/country feel.

    It all worked, as the single continued to climb the chart, giving Stewart another Top Five record, peaking at Number 4.

    13: The Jackson Five: Lookin' Through the Windows

    The Jackson Five's previous single, Little Bitty Pretty One, had failed to make an appearance on the British listings but the the title track from their latest album had no such problem.

    Lookin' Through the Windows marked a change in Michael's voice, moving from the boyish soprano to the more recognisable tenor of his later career.

    It also changed the family's fortunes in the UK, as it became their first Top 10 single since I'll Be There in late 1970 - eventually reaching a peak placing of Number 9.

    20: The Strawbs: Lay Down

    Generally known for their folk rock roots, it would take around three years since the release of their first album for The Strawbs to appear on the singles listing.

    Lay Down would be the song to bring them into the charts - in fact, their record label A&M confirmed that this was the band's first real attempt to crack open the singles market.

    It worked; no doubt helped by their appearance on Top of the Pops, dressed as glittery glam rockers resplendent in accompanying make-up.

    The song would climb to Number 12, ultimately starting a short-lived, but memorable, singles chart career.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 20 All Time Greats of the 50s

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: November 18, 1972 Ft. The Osmonds 2018-07-27T19:00:00.000+01:00
    The Osmonds 1971
    The Osmond Family raid the UK Top 10

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 18 November, 1972

    Under increased pressure, Gilbert O'Sullivan managed to maintain his grip on the UK Singles Chart with his affectionate composition for his manager's daughter, Clair.

    Further down the chart, Osmondmania was responsible for the two highest new entries as both Donny and his brothers claimed neighbouring spots within the Top 10. Just two other "new" songs slipped into the listing (one a re-release, the other a cover song) as singles by Judge Dread, Elvis Presley, Gary Glitter and Peter Skellern fell out of the Top 20.

    Read on...

    Gilbert O'Sullivan at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 02 (06) Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 03 (08) The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 04 (05) Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 05 (02) Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 06 (21) Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (27) The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 08 (20) Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 09 (15) Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 10 (19) The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 11 (04) Alice Cooper - Elected 
    • 12 (07) Python Lee Jackson - In a Broken Dream 
    • 13 (03) 10cc - Donna 
    • 14 (11) Archie Bell and the Drells - Here I Go Again 
    • 15 (09) The Carpenters - Goodbye to Love 
    • 16 (13) Family - Burlesque 
    • 17 (10) Junior Campbell - Hallelujah Freedom 
    • 18 (12) Johnny Nash - There Are More Questions Than Answers 
    • 19 (23) Harley Quinne - New Orleans 
    • 20 (22) Jeff Beck - Hi Ho Silver Lining
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    06: Donny Osmond: Why

    Osmondmania in the UK continued to gather pace as Donny returned to the British Top 10 for the third time in a row, this time with yet another cover song: Why.

    Originally a Number 1 hit in the USA for Frankie Avalon at the cusp of the 1960s and topping the UK chart for Anthony Newley in January 1960, Osmond revived the song for his adoring fans - most of whom would have never heard the original(s).

    The result was a UK Number 3 hit - achieving a 20-week run on the listing - while it stalled at Number 13 in the singer's homeland.

    07: The Osmonds: Crazy Horses

    Even though Donny's much more sugary solo offering only just beat his brothers (and himself) into the Top 10 this week, The Osmonds' rockier Crazy Horses would finally become the bigger British hit peaking at Number 2.

    Instantly recognisable by its 'wah! wah!' intro, the song's subject matter now seems more than a little ahead of its time: the environment, ecology and particularly, large petrol-thirsty cars harming the planet with choking fumes.

    It became the brothers' debut British hit, while it peaked at Number 14 in the States to become their sixth Top 20 entry there.

    19: Harley Quinne: New Orleans

    A group of session musicians was brought together to promote a production from the Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway songwriting team - namely New Orleans.

    When the song began to climb the charts on the back of the glam rock phenomenon, faces had to be added for TV appearances. Thus, Harley Quinne was born.

    While New Orleans managed a Top 20 placing (this week's No.19 peak), its two follow-ups failed to ignite public interest and the Harley Quinne venture was ditched.

    20: Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining

    Some might call this a cover version as a band called The Attack released this song in March 1967, a few days earlier than the Jeff Beck rendition.

    In a year full of re-releases, Hi Ho Silver Lining was another single revisiting the British charts, this time managing a peak position of No.17 (originally No.14 in 1967).

    It would make yet another sojourn to the listing in 1982, but failed to make much headway on that occasion (No.62).

    For comparison, here's The Attack's version.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 20 All Time Greats of the 50s

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

    The song at Number 8 in the USA this week was by The Delegates and called Convention '72, a parody record about the American Presidential contenders - and unavailable to stream.

The Eurovision Song Reviews
  • 2020: United Kingdom: My Last Breath: James Newman 2020-03-01T17:02:00.002+00:00

    United Kingdom
    Artist: James Newman
    Song: My Last Breath
    Automatic Finalist

    These days the announcement of the United Kingdom's Eurovision songs comes with a large serving of trepidation and so it was with mixed feelings that I awaited the arrival of 2020's offering, James Newman's My Last Breath.

    United Kingdom Flag
    To find this year's hopeful, the British public was bypassed in favour of a collaboration between the BBC and a major record label. This change was a concerted effort to prise the UK out of the bottom five and lift the nation onto the left hand side of the scoreboard. The task was taken on by BMG which approached award-winning songwriter James Newman - the brother of successful vocalist John - who decided to accept what must seem like a daunting prospect. Having collaborated with some of the biggest names in recent music business history, he now steps into the spotlight as a featured vocalist.

    As we all know, it has been in excess of twenty years since the Brits have stood on the winner's podium and various (sloppy) explanations have been given as to why - ranging from Iraq to neighbourly voting to, more recently, Brexit. In truth, it's been because the songs have just not been good enough. So, can James  change the UK's fortunes in 2020?

    The simple answer is probably not. But that comes with a caveat: it was always going to take something astounding to bring the Brits back to the top of the scoreboard - although not astounding, My Last Breath feels like a huge leap in the right direction.

    The song feels very current - a blend of what has been popular over the past few years: elements of Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi are woven into the structure of this mid-tempo, drum pounding ballad. There's a clever (hesitant) hook in the chorus which, after a couple of plays, sticks in the memory - so repeated promotion is going to be vital to draw interest.

    However, that could be part of the problem with My Last Breath. Does it possess sufficient impact for first time listeners in May to remember it enough to vote for it? Fantastic staging and a credible live performance should enhance its chances greatly.

    If that's achieved, it could mean the UK hands the wooden spoon to someone else in May. That said, it's also highly unlikely to be the winner.

    What do you think?

  • Eurovision 2019: Abbreviated Song Reviews 2019-05-11T18:57:00.001+01:00


    Srbuk: Walking Out 

    Strong chorus, weaker middle section. Srbuk gives a dynamic performance. Likely to be one of the casualties from semi-final 2, though.


    Pænda: Limits

    Kate Bush meets Ellie Goulding. In any other environment, this would do well - but the Eurovision Song Contest doesn't feel like its natural home. Perhaps too delicate for the competition and another entry that could fail to qualify.


    Chingiz: Truth

    Contemporary, catchy and radio-friendly. Combines ethnic flavours with modern Western sounds. Likely to qualify easily and, if there's any justice, climb high on the left-hand side of the scoreboard.


    Zena: Like It

    Typical Euro dance-pop delivered by a pretty young singer and which should bring the stadium to life in Tel Aviv. Whether that will translate to enough votes to allow it to qualify is debatable. Generic Eurovision fodder, though. Borderline qualifier.


    Eliot: Wake Up

    Another credible entry from Belgium although Eliot's vocal sounds rather laboured. It feels as if the song is about to take off but then suddenly stalls, the chorus somehow not rescuing it. It's good, just not spectacular. Likely to qualify, but could struggle at the Final.


    Roko: The Dream

    Roko sings The Dream well and the song possesses a stirring chorus. Nevertheless, it sounds like a failed national final entry from the 1980s. Got to hand it to Roko though, he has the balls to wear a pair of ridiculous wings. Sadly, they only add to the overall out-of-date whiff of stale cheese. Non-qualifier.


    Tamta: Replay

    Cyprus continue the club theme already offered up by last year's Fuego. In some respects, it is a better example of the genre with its brass riffs and mesmerisingly catchy chorus. This should perform very, very well but it could hinge on the staging and Tamta's live vocal abilities. Easy qualifier and could finish in the Top 5.


    Leonora: Love is Forever

    One of the early front runners, Denmark has dipped back in the betting. Not surprising, really. The song is way too twee, formulaic and safe. Leonora is a little difficult to watch as well. Sitting on a oversized chair/platform high above the stage, I'm not sure if her fixed stare is from the fear of falling or the fear of failing. Very borderline.


    Darude ft Sebastian Rejman: Look Away

    House music come to Eurovision courtesy of the highly successful DJ/record producer. If you've heard his Sandstorm then you kinda know what to expect. Unfortunately, this is way too repetitive but could still qualify from a weaker semi-final 1 (or from his credentials, alone). Can't see it doing too well in the Final, though.


    Oto Nemsadze: Keep On Going

    Already touted as the entry that will be stuck to the bottom of the scoreboard when all is sung and done. It goes without saying that Oto may have an uphill struggle to garner many votes - particularly from the public. The song is a dark, dramatic ballad sung at full tilt - there's no denying Oto has a set of lungs on him - but the song may suffer from being TOO ethnic as well as TOO difficult to love (and comprehend)! An easy non-qualifier, I feel.


    Katerine Duska: Better Love

    Compelling voice, compelling vocal and compelling production. Co-written by Fame Academy winner David Sneddon, Better Love feels as if it has a Top 10 finish about it. As long as the ideas behind the video translate well to the Tel Aviv stage then Greece can expect a ton of votes. Compelling (of course!)


    Joci Pápai: Az én apám (My Father)

    Joci returns to Eurovision with a mid-tempo ballad that captures elements of Hungarian folk music. Enhanced by his plaintive vocal, the song relates the joy and sadness of his boyhood memories. It's one of the few entries to be sung in a native language, thus could accomplish a reasonable result. Joci achieved ninth in 2017 and this latest effort could do as well or better.


    Hatari: Hatrið mun sigra (Hatred Will Prevail)

    One of possibly two entries with its own USP (possibly Portugal as well). BDSM techno/punk comes to Eurovision and it has really divided listeners/viewers. Very much a Marmite song, Hatari try to deliver shock visuals - writhing women in chicken wire together with sex shop rubber gear - alongside snarling shouty vocals over an, admittedly, irresistible backing rhythm. Entries with bizarre USPs tend to do well these days, although how the more conservative voters in Eastern Europe will react is anyone's guess. Could do very, very well or fall flat on its face!

    Thanks for reading!

  • 2019: Latvia | Carousel | That Night 2019-04-09T17:54:00.002+01:00
    Carousel | That Night | Latvia | 2019 Eurovision
    One night in Tel Aviv: Carousel travel to Israel
    As one of the Contest's most incessantly under performing countries, Latvia's Eurovision entries are prone to fluctuate between pleasantly dodgy and thoroughly awkward. In essence, the Latvian's have been accountable for some enjoyable entries but, over the last few years, the votes have not come their way. Their last final was in 2016 when Justs managed a lowly 15th place, hot on the heels of one one their best entries, Animata's 6th placed Love Injected.

    It's natural when nations experience an unusually bad run of results that urgent deliberations about withdrawing from the competition surface, but no such discussions among the Latvians appear to have taken place this year. Even so, there has possibly been some added pressure on them to get their 2019 entry just right and it is evident from That Night - a laid-back, bluesy type of song - that the direction of travel is the right one.

    Out of the forty one songs taking part this year, it’s very probably not the first of them to immediately come to mind, but I have to concede a canny soft spot for this song. Where many entries emit a calculated stratagem, Carousel's That Night possesses an undeniably straightforward relaxing appeal. It’s also quite annoyingly catchy, drawing in the listener with a strange intensity.

    There's scant support for this one, but as a stylish composition it may well be given a lift by the juries. My heart feels that it should qualify but my head says that Latvia will probably be overlooked once again.

    Artist: Carousel
    Song: That Night
    Semi-Final 2: First Half

    Image: Courtesy Carousel Facebook page

  • 2019: Estonia | Victor Crone | Storm 2019-03-17T16:24:00.002+00:00
    Victor Crone | Estonia | 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
    Victor Crone brings a different Storm to Israel
    Estonia is a nation which really seems to understand Eurovision. You don't always find them on the left hand side of the scoreboard but their appreciation and undeniable passion for the competition usually promises a slick production.

    Flag Estonia
    This year they have gone all Swedish as the charismatic Victor Crone will be flying the flag for the country with his rather captivating entry, Storm. It has absolutely nothing to do with the UK's 2018 entry, only that it is pure pop with a strong build and chorus.

    This is one of a few outright pop tunes in the first semi-final, and Victor is a more than capable vocalist who possesses bucket loads of charm. His performance at Eesti Laul was thoroughly captivating and juries are inclined to appreciate this type of catchy, well performed entry. Not only juries, but the voting public, too.

    Estonia may benefit from performing in the second half of their semi-final - people tend to remember the later performing entries. What may spoil their prospects are the songs from countries such as Australia, Iceland and Portugal - all possessing a quirkiness which may pull votes away from Victor. Faced with that, could it be the type of song that a great deal of viewers will appreciate, but only a handful will be especially motivated to vote for?

    This feels a strong enough entry to qualify - particularly as it possesses a Swedish connection. A really impressive performance should garner it plenty of support, even if there is some stiff competition in its semi. My inkling is that a place in the Grand Final beckons.

    Artist: Victor Crone
    Song: Storm
    Semi-Final 1: Second Half

  • 2019: Italy | Mahmood | Soldi 2019-03-09T15:43:00.002+00:00
    Mahmood | Italy | 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
    Mahmood will perform Soldi in Tel Aviv
    Over the years, particularly since their return to the Contest in 2011, it has been Italy’s undaunted attitude in sending entries which feel as if they refuse to cater to a Eurovision audience which has been the country's strength. It has also helped that they have delivered respected, proven acts with a genuine ability to perform live; big shoes newcomer Mahmood will have to fill when he takes to the stage in Tel Aviv.

    Flag Italy
    He'll be performing Soldi (Money), a song which has already proved popular on streaming services such as Spotify and iTunes, and which has become a favourite among many of Eurovision's core fans.

    Up until now, Mahmood's CV has consisted of appearances on Italy's version of The X-Factor in 2012, from which he was eliminated relatively early on. His victory at Sanremo was a surprise too, seemingly having been shunned by the public vote in the opening show. Even his final night votes came mainly from the press and jury rather than the public, leading to questions about his song's appeal to a wider Eurovision crowd.

    Mahmood has said that Soldi is a very personal track which he relates to his father's departure from his life when he was a young child and how money can affect family ties. Compared to the majority of 2019's entries, it's probably the most contemporary, relevant and radio-friendly.

    It's hip-hop without much hop, sounds as if it's a rap song - but isn't. Creatively, it suggests a poetic beginning moulded seamlessly to a backing track; Mahmood's vocal monotone in nature, imbued with emotive inflections.

    Soldi could be one of those songs which is not only very dependent on the running order, but also on its promised Eurovision revamp. Picked to perform at the sweet spot or nearby and Mahmood could do very well. Ultimately, it probably isn’t the winner, but I think if he brings a convincing vocal and stage performance it will win through and maintain Italy’s sequence of creditable results.

    Picture: Bart Ryker [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Artist: Mahmood
    Song: Soldi
    Big 5 Finalist

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