TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 21 SHM 770

Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 21 Hallmark SHM 770.
  • Year of Release:  1971
  • Unknown

The main benefit of having your latest hit covered by the Top of the Pops team was that it meant an extra payday for both the publishers and composers of the original hit record. Although few would admit it at the time, most artists were more than happy to see their latest hit single appear on any number of budget label cover LPs. This was certainly not the case however for a certain Benny Hill. While Benny was no doubt delighted to see his latest novelty hit ‘Ernie’ clinging to the top of the UK singles chart at the end of the year, giving him the much-coveted Christmas number 1, he was absolutely furious to find a cover version of his song appearing on this particular issue of Top of the Pops. After threatening to sue, Benny was horrified to discover that it was perfectly legal for anybody to record and release cover versions of absolutely any song whatsoever without having to obtain permission from the original composer. Benny was so outraged by this discovery that he vowed never to release another record again.
As it happens, the cover version of ‘Ernie’ that appears on this LP courtesy of Top of the Pops regular Ken Barrie,* is actually very good. In fact, the LP as a whole is quite impressive.
The album kicks off with a convincing cover of the T.Rex hit ‘Jeepster’. This was the fourth time that session singer Martin Jay* had been given the task of impersonating Marc Bolan for Top of the Pops, and he was getting pretty darn good at it.
Jay was also invited on this volume to impersonate Slade frontman ‘Noddy Holder’. A vocalist that Jay described in 2009 as having ‘A voice made of granite that goes up where only dogs can hear it’. The version of ‘Coz I Luv You’ is handled brilliantly by Jay, co-vocalist Mike Trounce* and a very enthusiastic backing band, making it one of the stand-out tracks of the album.
Another Top of the Pops regular, Jane Marlowe,* appears on no less than four tracks on this LP. Three of them, ‘Something Tells Me’, ‘Surrender’ and ‘You Gotta Have Love In Your Heart’ are all handled with ease. When it came to ‘Johnny Reggae’ though, Jane seemed to flounder somewhat. Her lack of enthusiasm for this track is evident throughout.
The two ‘Easy Listening’ titles (Amarillo and Till) are both performed faultlessly. Danny Street* taking ‘Amarillo’ and an unknown session singer giving a blistering performance of Tom Jones’ ‘Till’.
The Middle of the Road hit ‘Soley Soley’ is pleasant enough but the Cher track suffers from a slightly off-key vocalist.
The best cover version for me on this particular LP (pipping Jeepster at the post) has to be ‘Tokoloshe Man’. The backing band are obviously enjoying themselves here and once again the lead vocals are nailed brilliantly by Martin Jay*.



Song Title


Original Artist






Gypsys Tramps And Thieves




(Is This The Way To) Amarillo


Tony Christie


Something Tells Me


Cilla Black


Coz I Luv You




Johnny Reggae


The Piglets



Song Title


Original Artist


Soley Soley


Middle Of The Road




Tom Jones




Diana Ross


Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)


Benny Hill


Tokoloshe Man


John Kongos


You Gotta Have Love In Your Heart


The Supremes & The Four Tops


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

Jeepster – No.2
Gypsys Tramps And Thieves – No.4
Amarillo – No.18 (When re-released in 2005 it got to number 1)
Something Tells Me – No.3
Coz I Luv You – No.1.
Johnny Reggae – No.3
Soley Soley – No.5
Till – No.2
Surrender – No.10
Ernie – No.1
Tokoloshe Man – No.4
You Gotta Have Love In Your Heart – No.25


A bit of John Kongos for ya this time.

Comparison Sample – Tokoloshe Man


On paper, Johnny Reggae should have been the easiest track on this album to cover. For some reason though (I’m guessing it’s a total disdain for the song), Jane Marlowe shows no regard for timing or phrasing whatsoever. The original may be a perfect example of a throwaway pop song. This version would definitely have benefited from instant deletion.

Comparison Sample – Johnny Reggae


  • 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.


Yet again Hallmark’s ‘Top of the Pops’ series has proved our claim to be consistently Britain’s best selling L.P. record by hitting the No. 1 Spot once more with our last issue (SHM 755).
How is it that time after time we can outsell the greatest artistes and groups on the International Scene? We’ll tell you.
We use the finest recording techniques available to-day to give you that incomparable sound you all want to hear. We have the most talented session musicians and vocalists in the business to record our cover hits. We employ the greatest studio engineers in the country to ensure that technical perfection is obtained. We have a sleeve designer who is a ‘natural’ for the job. All this, plus lots and lots of hard work trying to calculate what are going to be the hit numbers when our record is released.
That’s what makes a Hallmark ‘Top of the Pops’ album. Then it’s up to you pop fans to prove us right or wrong.If you like the sound we’re tremendously thrilled and grateful. If not, we try all the harder next time.Just look at the list of tracks on this latest album! We’ve pulled out every stop to give you what you want to hear.You want to make us Tops again? Please?


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, or the identity of the cover girl, 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.


* A big thank you as always to Chris for his priceless ‘vocalist-identification’ work.


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4 Responses to “TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 21 SHM 770”

  1. James Says:

    I love your reviews. I bought all the albums when they came out and am fascinated by your perspective. Keep up the good work.

  2. Colin R Richardson Says:

    Very strange that Benny Hill was unaware of copyright regarding his compositions as his Harvest of Love was covered in 1963 and he did not refuse his royalties then. This is a great site long may it continue Colin R.

  3. Keith Says:

    Thank you Colin.
    Yes, I too find it strange as to why Benny was so upset by this particular cover version.
    His objections were discussed in detail on the excellent 2009 Radio 2 documentary, ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’.

  4. Keith Says:

    Thank you for your comment James.
    I’ll try to get back on track with regular updates ASAP.

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