TOP OF THE POPS LP – Volume 64 SHM 998

Top Of The Pops LP Sleeve - Volume 64 Hallmark SHM 998.
  • Year of Release:  1978
  • Cover Girl:  Unknown

It was after listening to this particular album in 2005 that my 33 year hatred of these LP’s finally ended. The musicianship is top notch throughout, the vocals are consistently great, and production wise, this has got to be one of the best albums in the series. It’s not as if I love the songs chosen for inclusion on this LP, in fact, some of them I absolutely hate. But I have to admit that if I’m going to judge this album for what it is (a collection of cover versions of big hits of the day) then I would have great difficulty in faulting it.
The album starts off with a bang. Abba’s ‘Take A Chance On Me’ is spot-on, followed by a very convincing performance of Bill Wither’s ‘Lovely Day’. I don’t particularly like the Althea & Donna song ‘Up Town Top Ranking’ but have to concede that it’s covered very well here.
All of the disco tracks sound great, especially if we consider the big production budget afforded the originals. I especially enjoyed the Odyssey and Bee Gees numbers. Even the cheesy attempt at re-creating scenes from Casablanca on ‘As Time Goes By’ had me suitably charmed.
Definitely one of the best LP’s in the series.

TRACK LISTING – Side 1

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

Take A Chance On Me

Andersson-Ulvaeus

Abba

2

Lovely Day

Withers-Scarborough

Bill Withers

3

Up Town Top Ranking

Thompson-Forest

Althea & Donna

4

Native New Yorker

Linzer-Randel

Odyssey

5

As Time Goes By

Hupfeld

Dooley Wilson

6

Sorry I’m A Lady

Soja-Dostral

Baccara

TRACK LISTING – Side 2

 

Song Title

Composer(s)

Original Artist

1

The Groove Line

Temperton

Heatwave

2

Figaro

Sheridan-Hiller-Lee

Brotherhood Of Man

3

Let’s Have A Quiet Night In

Macaulay

David Soul

4

Jamming

Marley

Bob Marley

5

Love’s Unkind

Summer-Bellotte-Moroder

Donna Summer

6

Stayin’ Alive

Gibb-Gibb-Gibb

Bee Gees

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.

With this volume, the producers chose their twelve songs well. Ten tracks made it into the UK top 10, with the other two getting very close. This particular LP also managed to include three UK chart toppers.

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

Take A Chance On Me – No.1
Lovely Day – No.7
Up Town Top Ranking – No.1
Native New Yorker – No.5
As Time Goes By – No.15
Sorry I’m A Lady – No.8
The Groove Line – No.12
Figaro – No.1
Let’s Have A Quiet Night In – No.8
Jamming – No.9
Love’s Unkind – No.3
Stayin’ Alive – No.4

MOST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

I’m gonna have to go with the opening track this time. A very impressive cover of Abba’s ‘Take A Chance On Me’.

Comparison Sample – Take A Chance On Me

LEAST CONVINCING COVER VERSION

It was very difficult to pick a bad-un here. It’s not that this track is awful, but for me ‘Love’s Unkind’ is probably the least convincing cover version on this LP.

Comparison Sample – Love’s Unkind

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

The room was semi-darkness and through the grey haze of cigarette smoke, the vague shapes of people could be made out, some lounging against walls, others draped over odd bits of furniture. The somewhat subdued hum of voices, interspersed with the clinking of glasses and occasional bursts of laughter could be heard in the background. Suddenly, a blast of music shattered the calm and filled room with its vibrant, swinging sound. The reaction was instantaneous – everybody rose as one and started dancing to their favourite Top Tunes.

Yes, you’ve guessed it – someone had started playing the latest Top of the Pops album. A sure way of making any party swing.

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.

PICKWICK POPS MENU


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