TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 18 SHM 745

Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 18 Hallmark SHM 745.
  • Year of Release:  1971
  • Cover Girl:  Unknown

Volume 18 turned out to be a milestone LP for the ‘Top of the Pops’ team when, in August 1971, it became the first one in the series to make it to the top of the UK albums chart. This accomplishment was repeated two issues later with Volume 20. It obviously played a pivotal role in the chart compilers’ decision in January 1972 to exclude all budget priced LPs from the chart from that point on.
The album gets off to a fairly good start with TOTP regular Martin Jay* honing his Marc Bolan impersonation skills on a very passable cover (sans saxophonist) of the T.Rex classic ‘Get It On’. This is followed by an awful version of ‘River Deep Mountain High’, on which session singer Jacqui Baxter* and her male counterpart combine to provide an extremely cabaret version of what was already a poor cover version by The Four Tops and The Supremes. Martin Jay* re-emerges on track three with a very inoffensive cover of ‘Me And You And A Dog Named Boo’.
Legendary record producer, Norman Smith, released his first solo single in 1971 as Hurricane Smith. Hurricane had what can only be described as a unique singing voice. The singer given the task of impersonating Hurricane does a marvellous job here. The result, for me at least, is the LP’s highlight, a really great cover of ‘Don’t Let It Die’.
With the exception of some rather dodgy slide guitar, The Move’s ‘Tonight’ is also covered very well. Side one of the LP comes to a close with future Piglet (AKA Mavis) Barbara Kay* providing a very convincing impersonation of Sally Carr with a solid performance of the Middle of the Road bubblegum smash ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’.

The opening track on side 2 is ‘Co-Co’. Both the musicians and vocalists on this track do an excellent job of reproducing The Sweet’s version perfectly. I would have probably chosen this as the most convincing cover version on the album if it weren’t for the inexplicable absence of a bass player. Actually, there is a bassist on this recording, but producer Bruce Baxter, for whatever reason, has decided to send him or her so far back in the mix, that he or she is totally inaudible. Speaking of Bruce Baxter*. When it came to finding a bass voice for the opening two verses of ‘Tom Tom Turnaround’, Bruce nominated none other than himself for the role. And a fine job he does too! He makes way on verse three for another session singer who takes over for the first of four whole tone key changes that occur during the song. This track may well have been another highlight of the LP for me if it weren’t for the return of the dodgy slide guitarist who doodles his way through most of the song.
Elsewhere on side 2, The Delfonics track is destroyed by a less than convinving performance from a vocalist who struggles to sing in key throughout the whole track. Both ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Black And White’ are below average. The album ends on a more positive note with Martin Jay* returning to deliver an enthusiastic ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. I can’t help wondering how many people who purchased this LP in 1971, considered this closing song title to be wholly appropriate.

TRACK LISTING – Side 1

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Get It On

Bolan

T.Rex

2

River Deep Mountain High

Barry-Greenwich

The Supremes and Four Tops

3

Me And You And A Dog Named Boo

Lavoie

Lobo

4

Don’t Let It Die

Smith

Hurricane Smith

5

Tonight

Wood

The Move

6

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Stott

Middle Of The Road

TRACK LISTING – Side 2

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Co-Co

Chinn-Chapman

The Sweet

2

La-La Means I Love You

Hart-Bell

The Delfonics

3

Street Fighting Man

Jagger-Richard

The Rolling Stones

4

Tom Tom Turnaround

Chinn-Chapman

New World

5

Black And White

Robinson-Arkin

Greyhound

6

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Townshend

The Who

CHOICE OF SONG – SUCCESS RATE

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

Get It On – No.1
River Deep Mountain High – No.11
Me And You And A Dog Named Boo – No.4
Don’t Let It Die – No.2
Tonight – No.11
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep – No.1
Co-Co – No.2
La-La Means I Love You – No.19
Street Fighting Man – No.21
Tom Tom Turnaround – No.2
Black And White – No.6
Won’t Get Fooled Again – No.9

MOST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

An easy choice for me this time. Don’t Let It Die.

Comparison Sample – Don’t Let It Die

LEAST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

It was touch and go between this one and The Delfonics’ track, but it just had to be River Deep Mountain High this time.

Comparison Sample – River Deep Mountain High

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

Top of the Pops albums, Nos SHM 735 and 740 both hit the No. 1 spot on the "Record Retailer" National LP charts, topping such fabulous super stars as the Rolling Stones, and Simon & Garfunkel.

We’re so thrilled we want to climb the highest mountain and shout the good news to all the world.

Thanks again, you lovely Pop fans, for making possible this wonderful double.

On this album we feel we’ve made the best ever selection. So help us to complete a fabulous hat trick by rocketing this issue to No. 1.

THE CD

Apart from the thirteen ‘Best Of’ editions, this is one of only four individual editions of the series to so far get a CD issue.
At the time of writing this post (May 2010) this and the other sixteen Top of the Pops CDs are still in print.
All seventeen CD issues are available at dirt cheap prices on Amazon.
If you aim to collect them, get them now!

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 once again to Chris for his much appreciated ‘vocal-identification’ work.

PICKWICK POPS MENU


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One Response to “TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 18 SHM 745”

  1. xanadu500 Says:

    This is also one of the best TOTP lp. I can imagine why they put it on cd. 10 out of 12 songs are even “better” than the originals. I mean that an average person cannot hear the difference. That is really good work.
    I did a test on YouTube by the way to find out what people do know about music. Can they tell the difference? I must say that 8 out of 10 people could not hear the difference. I created my own TOTP cd’s similar to those of Pickwick. I started with volume 93 where Pickwick ended.
    I put on these cd’s originals and covers. Posted them on Youtube and I obtained the following results:

    * People saw the TOTP sleeves (which I created all by myself) and they said that it was NOT the original song. But…it WAS the original song! I could not convince them that it really WAS the original song. (I stopped discussing them now by the way.)
    * People saw the TOTP sleeves in the slideshow and their reaction was positive. They thought it was a good cover, which was TRUE.
    * People hated the song because the cover WAS bad.

    So what does this say?
    It says that some do not know what they are talking about. They just do not know anything about music. When you show the sleeve it MUST be a cover, no matter what! Even if you hear the original song.
    And this really amazed me! My conclusion: people can be programmed (I study psychology by the way, that’s why I love these tests) to love or to hate a song. You can teach them to love or to hate a song, whether it’s a cover or not.
    If you show a sleeve from an original album (let’s say K-Tel) and they hear a cover which is very good, people think it’s the original singer.
    When people learnt that TOTP lp’s were covers people stopped buying them. And still today people can be fooled.

    I had to tell you this 🙂
    Aren’t people fascinating?

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