TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 5 CHM 635

Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 5 Hallmark CHM 635.
  • Release Date:  1969
  • Cover Girl:  Unknown

Volume 5 of this series was issued in the early summer of 1969. The track-listing for this LP presented quite a challenge for the session musicians enrolled to cover the twelve songs chosen for them.
The LP kicks off with a faithful rendering of ‘Get Back’. The band and singers deliver a note perfect copy of The Beatles’ own version. The track is let down though by the producer, who inexplicably sends the rather prominent keyboard licks right to the back of the mix, rendering them almost inaudible.
There are no other obvious errors on the album and all in all it’s difficult to choose a poor cover version on this particular issue. Session singer Danny Street* in particular, really earned his session fee for his contributions to this LP. He proved without a doubt on this album what a talented and versatile vocalist he was. As well as appearing on the throwaway pop of ‘Dick-A-Dum’ and a faithful cover of Paul Simon’s ‘The Boxer’, Danny also turns in a very passable performance of the highly emotional ‘Man Of The World’ along with the two big production numbers on the album, ‘Love Me Tonight’ and ‘My Way’.
Elsewhere on the LP we get to hear Elvis Costello Snr (Ross McManus*) deliver a very proficient ‘Galveston’ and future Blue Mink front-man Roger Cook*, who was drafted in to emulate the rather high range of Ron Isley on ‘Behind A Painted Smile’.
The voice on ‘My Sentimental Friend’ is believed by some to belong to a certain David Bowie. It’s been suggested by many that Bowie was an occasional contributor to these and other cover version LPs during the late sixties, something that Bowie himself has so far refused to admit or deny. Personally, I’m somewhat doubtful that it is Bowie on this particular track (have a listen to the sample on the mp3 player below to see what you think) but I’m not ruling it out completely.
One thing we can be certain of is that ‘Snake In The Grass’ is performed by none other than Elton John. Although, to the best of my knowledge, this is the only ‘Top of the Pops’ LP that Elton appeared on, he was a regular contributor to other cover version LPs, and a collection of twenty suchlike cover versions featuring Elton were compiled in 1994 and released on the CD ‘Chartbusters Go Pop‘.

TRACK LISTING – Side 1

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Get Back

Lennon McCartney

The Beatles

2

My Way

Fran├žois-Revaux-Anka

Frank Sinatra

3

Snake In The Grass

Howard-Blaikley

Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich

4

Man Of The World

Green

Fleetwood Mac

5

Ragamuffin Man

Murray-Callander

Manfred Mann

6

Galveston

Webb

Glen Campbell

TRACK LISTING – Side 2

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Love Me Tonight

Pace-Pilat-Panzeri-Mason

Tom Jones

2

The Boxer

Simon

Simon And Garfunkel

3

Come Back And Shake Me

Young

Clodagh Rodgers

4

My Sentimental Friend

Carter-Stephens

Herman’s Hermits

5

Behind A Painted Smile

Hunter

Isley Brothers

6

Dick-A-Dum-Dum

Dale

Des O’Connor

CHOICE OF SONG – SUCCESS RATE

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. Apparently, in a lot of cases, the original songs would have been released no more than a month before being chosen for inclusion. Don’t forget, this was back in the day when a single would usually take anything up to eight weeks to achieve its highest chart position.

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

Get Back – No.1
My Way – No.5
Snake In The Grass – No.23
Man Of The World – No.2
Ragamuffin Man – No.8
Galveston – No.14
Love Me Tonight – No.9
The Boxer – No.6
Come Back And Shake Me – No.3
My Sentimental Friend – No.2
Behind A Painted Smile – No.5
Dick-A-Dum-Dum – No.14

MOST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

To cover a big production number like ‘My Way’ in a couple of hours is no mean feat. The arrangement, production and vocal performance on this track is so impressive to my ears that I’ve just had to choose this one.

Comparison Sample – My Way

LEAST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

There are a few tracks on this LP that I personally hate, but it would be unfair to say that any of them were covered badly.
This is definitely one of the best ‘Top of the Pops’ LPs performance wise, and it’s the first one I’ve reviewed where I am unable to choose a track that deserves the title ‘Least Convincing Cover Version’. So this time, I’m gonna leave this section blank.

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.

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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