TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 1 HM 572

Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 1 Hallmark HM 572.
  • Release Date:  June 1968
  • Cover Girl:  Unknown

So this is where it all began. When this LP was released in June 1968, Easy Listening acts were still enjoying considerable success in the UK single’s chart. It’s no surprise then that the Easy Listening genre is well represented on this album. The first thing that struck me when listening to this LP was that a lot of the keys had been dropped to suit the range of the session singers. I don’t think this practice continued for too long, though I’m not entirely sure. It’s something I’ll be looking out for when I review future issues.
The album gets off to a great start with a rather impressive version of Gary Puckett’s ‘Young Girl.’ It’s followed by a rather disappointing cover of ‘My Name Is Jack.’ the lead vocalist on this track is well respected session singer Roger Cook*. On this occasion though, he comes across rather whiney, and is unable to recreate the warmth of Mike D’Abo’s original. I’m assuming that the very capable crooning on tracks three and four is provided in both cases by the same vocalist. The first track he attempts (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) is lowered by a tone, while the second (Blue Eyes) has to be dropped by a tone and a half to enable him to croon within his comfort zone.
The second side of the album is not as good as side 1. Some of it is quite awful. The band sound as if they’re about to fall apart on Lulu’s ‘Boy.’ We are also treated to a very clipped and clinical attempt at covering Dionne Warwick’s ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose’ along with a terrible cabaret version of Cilla Black’s ‘Where Is Tomorrow,’ which incidentally is performed two whole tones lower than the original.

TRACK LISTING – Side 1

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Young Girl

Fuller

The Union Gap

2

My Name Is Jack

Simon

Manfred Mann

3

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Crewe-Gaudio

Andy Williams

4

Blue Eyes

Kerr-Maitland

Don Partridge

5

Something Here In My Heart

MacLeod-Macauley

The Paper Dolls

6

Jennifer Eccles

Clark-Nash

The Hollies

TRACK LISTING – Side 2

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Do You Know The Way To San Jose

Bacharach-David

Dionne Warwick

2

I Can’t Let Maggie Go

Dello

Honeybus

3

Lovin’ Things

Schroek-Loring

Marmalade

4

Where Is Tomorrow

Bindi-Mason

Cilla Black

5

La La La

De La Calva-Arcusa-Julien

Massiel

6

Boy

Stevens-Blakely

Lulu

CHOICE OF SONG – SUCCESS RATE

Once this series was up and running, part of the challenge for the producers was trying to guess which tracks would be riding high in the singles chart when these LP’s hit the shelves. For this first volume though, the majority of tracks chosen were probably big hits at the time the LP was being made. For that reason, I’m a little surprised to see just one chart topper on this LP. It also seems strange to me why they chose to cover the Eurovision winner ‘La La La’ instead of the runner-up ‘Congratulations’ by Cliff Richard, which was probably at number 1 while this album was being recorded.
The producers did choose to take a punt on a couple of new releases though, and in the case of Cilla Black’s latest offering, they got it very wrong. They were obviously hoping that Cilla’s latest single would be enjoying similar success to its predecessor (Step Inside Love) when this LP hit the shelves.

Here’s a rundown of the highest positions attained by the original artists with these twelve tracks.

Young Girl – No.1
My Name Is Jack – No.8
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – No.5
Blue Eyes – No.3
Something Here In My Heart – No.11
Jennifer Eccles – No.7
Do You Know The Way To San Jose – No.8
I Can’t Let Maggie Go – No.8
Lovin’ Things – No.6
Where Is Tomorrow – No.39
La La La – No.35
Boy – No.15

MOST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

There’s a number of enjoyable tracks on this LP, but the best effort in my book is Track 1, Side 1, ‘Young Girl.’

Comparison Sample – Young Girl

LEAST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

It’s gotta be the naff version of Cilla’s song this time.

Comparison Sample – Where Is Tomorrow

MP3 SAMPLE PLAYER

  • Click Play on the MP3 Sample Player to hear samples of any or all of the tracks that are featured on this LP.
  • All of the tracks featured on the sample player are available (at a price) as MP3 – DRM Free Downloads.

SLEEVENOTES

Welcome to the ‘Pop’ scene, here we present a wonderful bunch of ‘Pop’ goodies. All the songs on this record are Chart-Busters and we take great pleasure in reproducing them for you using the swinging-est bunch of talent on the scene. Switch on and we dare you to try and SIT through both sides.

HELP ME OUT

If anybody is able to help me out with any additional information about this specific edition, especially regarding the names of any musicians who played on this LP, the identity of the cover-girl, or any other trivia, then please leave a comment below or use the ‘Contact Us’ link in the Main Menu.

Of course, everybody is welcome to leave comments about this LP. If you have any memories or opinions (even if they conflict with my personal opinions above), then please feel free to do so.

Keith.

* A big thank you to Chris for his much appreciated ‘vocalist-ID’ work.

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