TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 27 SHM 805

Penny Irving - Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 27 Hallmark SHM 805.

Top of the Pops stalwart Tony Rivers would often claim that if any of these LP’s were played at a party, nobody would notice the difference. Personally, I’ve never allowed myself to agree with that statement. To my ears, the aural differences between the two are even more blatant now than they were almost forty years ago when I first discovered these records. However, listening today to this volume’s opener ‘Clair’, I finally find myself (if only for this one particular track) in agreement with Tony’s bold claim. Not only does session singer Ken Gold* provide an impeccable impersonation of Gilbert O’ Sullivan, but the track also clearly demonstrates what an excellent producer Bruce Baxter was. Despite time and budget constraints, Bruce managed to produce a cover version here which I’m convinced would have fooled me and most others had it been played at a disco party in 1972.
This high standard continues on track two with Lee Vanderbilt* delivering a great vocal performance on the Chairmen of the Board hit ‘Elmo James’. Although it’s unlikely that this version would also have fooled me back then, if It had, the game would have definitely been up on track three.
Despite a superb performance from former Congregation frontman Brian Keith*, Python Lee Jackson’s ‘In A Broken Dream’ is completely murdered by the inclusion of probably the worst lead guitar track ever contributed to these albums. The first five bars of this song sound promising enough, but just as you’re expecting to hear Mick Liber’s SG Custom come screeching in on bar six, we are presented instead with a laughable schoolboy grade guitar solo that completely kills the song dead before it’s started. This doesn’t stop Keith from delivering a highly enjoyable vocal on the first two verses, but when he’s rejoined by the lead guitarist on verse three for some guitar-vocal interplay, the whole song becomes an unlistenable farce.
Track four sees Tony Rivers* comfortably tackling ‘Donna’ the first of many 10cc numbers to get the TOTP treatment.
Jane Marlowe* provides one of the highlights of this LP for me on ‘Leader of the Pack’. The roles of all three Shangri-Las are played extremely well by Jane. She does over-egg the American schoolgirl accent a little, but for me at least, this just adds to the charm of the already highly quirky original.
Side one comes to a close with a note perfect yet very half-hearted performance of Lieutenant Pigeon’s novelty hit ‘Mouldy Old Dough’.
Ken Barry* (AKA Postman Pat) gets side two off to a blistering start with a very impressive performance of ‘Avenues And Alleyways’. The Producers were obviously expecting this follow-up to Christie’s biggest hit, ‘Amarillo’, to achieve similar chart success as its predecessor.As it turned out, this track ended up being the only flop chosen for inclusion on this album. Tony Christie’s version would fail to chart until four months later, and even then it only managed to achieve a very modest No.37 placing in the UK singles Chart.
Elvis Presley, as usual, gets adequately impersonated on ‘Burning Love’. The Johnny Nash track is pleasant enough. ‘Loop Di Love’ is every bit as unlistenable here as it is on the original Jonathan King version. However, the high quality is soon restored for the two closing tracks on this LP. Tony Rivers* and his regular vocal team along with Jane Marlowe* produce a brilliant version of ‘Hallelujah Freedom’. This is followed by ‘Elected’. On any other issue I’m sure this track would get my ‘most convincing cover version’ award. Martin Jay* gives a high energy vocal delivery along with a top notch backing band who together could no doubt have fooled many a party goer in 1972.



Song Title


Original Artist




Gilbert O’ Sullivan


Elmo James


Chairmen Of The Board


In A Broken Dream


Python Lee Jackson






Leader Of The Pack


The Shangri-Las


Mouldy Old Dough


Lieutenant Pigeon



Song Title


Original Artist


Avenues And Alleyways


Tony Christie


Burning Love


Elvis Presley


There Are More Questions Than Answers


Johnny Nash


Loop Di Love




Hallelujah Freedom


Junior Campbell




Alice Cooper


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

Clair – No.1
Elmo James – No.21
In A Broken Dream – No.3
Donna – No.2
Leader Of The Pack – No.3 (This record peaked at No.11 on its original release in 1965)
Mouldy Old Dough – No.1
Avenues And Alleyways – No.37
Burning Love – No.7
There Are More Questions Than Answers – No.9
Loop Di Love – No.4
Hallelujah Freedom – No.10
Elected – No.4


The harmonica solo on the original version was provided by Gilbert’s then manager Gordon Mills. The little girl’s chuckles came courtesy of Mills’ daughter Clair about whom the song was written. Even these two cameos are perfectly copied on this very impressive cover version.

Comparison Sample – Clair


With so many great session musicians appearing on these LP’s, I have no idea how or why this guitarist was chosen to play on this otherwise great track.

Comparison Sample – In A Broken Dream


  • 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.


We are proud to present this, the twenty-seventh volume of “TOP OF THE POPS” consistently the best selling album of its kind in recording history.
Without massive T.V., press or radio advertising, this budget L.P. keeps at the top on its own merits, for pop fans throughout the world recognise good pop music, good orchestrations, good vocalists and good value wherever it may be.
This album, recorded specially by us in London is a humdinger. It’s a meaty, beaty, swinging, ring-a-dinging, hopping, popping selection of all that’s best in to-day’s charts; and don’t just believe us – try it for yourselves.
If you’ve a party, a celebration of any kind; or for no reason at all, this is the album to get you way, way up on top of the world.
Please believe us.


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, 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 ‘vocal-identification’ work.


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2 Responses to “TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 27 SHM 805”

  1. Philip Shaw Says:

    Hi. I recently played my own copy of this LP and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have most of the series now, only requiring Volumes 78, 88 and 91. My first was Volume 7, in 1969 when I was 7 years old. My favourite covers on 27 are Elmo James and Hallelujah Freedom.

  2. xanadu500 Says:

    I listen regarly to these albums.
    Not all issues were released in Holland and I feel sad about this because I have always been a huge fan of the series.
    I managed to get some “extra” issues though by seeking on the internet. I have posted quite a lot of songs on YouTube by the way.
    This edition is one of the best, although I’ve always wondered why “The leader of the pack” is missing a part.
    The song has been shortened and that is a shame because it is a very good cover!

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