December 29th 2012

Numbers 30-21 of the countdown, with some perhaps more familiar names as the chart gets closer to the top.

30) MARVIN GAYE – That Stubborn Kind Of Fella

Marvin Gaye’s first album consisted of jazz standards sung in a “black Sinatra” style which didn’t really pay off.

This single signalled a style change to a more soulful delivery, which paid off immediately after the mawkish “Soldier’s Plea”. It was Marvin’s first big hit, reaching No 8 in the US R&B chart and grazing the bottom end of the pop top 50.

29) MARY WELLS – I’m Gonna Stay

Mary Wells was the major female star at Motown during 1962, with the cruelly dubbed “No-hit Supremes” unable to produce a hit despite the label’s best attempts.

It’s a shame she’s only really remembered for “My Guy”, as she made so many other great records

This was the B-side to “The One Who Really Loves You” and is an equal, if not superior song. Peel would definitely have flipped the disc and played this more, as was his inclination.


The first Mersey Beat band to make an album.

This would have been seized on by Peel’s Merseybeat-hip listeners.

(NB – the reason why very few Beatles songs are included here despite the Fabs doing three sessions in 1962 is because the tapes no longer exist. I could swing for the BBC sometimes, I really could.)

27) EVERLY BROTHERS – I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail

A surprising selection showing that the older listeners who had grown up the first wave of with rock’n’roll had (a) not abandoned the show and (b) developed more “mature” musical tastes.

The subject matter of the song would not really have reflected the lives of most of the Everly’s fans, but the delivery and passion are, as always, exemplary.

26) ELVIS PRESLEY – She’s Not You

Elvis achieves an operatic performance on this song, while maintaining genuine emotion.

I still maintain his baritone / basso profundo had the potential to wow ‘em at Bayreuth

Imagine him, dressed in robes, singing the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Go on, imagine it.

Ah yes. No, you’re right. He couldn’t have sung opera. But this is better than bloody opera, anyway.

25) BOB DYLAN – You’re No Good

Side One, Track One of Bob Dylan’s first album.

This cheeky, raw take on Jesse Fuller’s song of rejection only lasts one minute and forty seconds but manages to define Dylan’s template for the next couple of years, complete with falling over the words, giggling, and an audacious harmonica solo.

24) DUANE EDDY – Dance With The Guitar Man

Duana Eddy’s “Peter Gunn” was, famously, John Peel’s second favourite record (I forget the first placed record) and he would have featured Duane Eddy’s work heavily.

This record, if you think about it, features backing vocals but no lead vocal, only Eddy’s trademark twangin’ gitar.

23) DEL SHANNON – Cry Myself To Sleep

“Runaway” reached Number One in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
This scraped into the Top Thirty in the UK and only reached No. 99 in the US, which was actually a slightly better performance then his previous two singles.

Seemingly, boys singing about their emotions didn’t strike much of a chord with record buyers.


22) BEACH BOYS – 409

Although for shorthand purposes the Beach Boys are generally called a “surf band” they did songs about cars too.

This paean to the early 60s boy racers’ dream car, the Chevrolet 409, was the flip to the massive hit “Surfin’ Safari” and, in the days when B-sides were counted separately to A-sides, actually made the Hot 100 in its own right.

Not as well-known as their later hot rod song “Little Deuce Coupe” but still a great tune.


Peel loved the occasional novelty record. Never forget that it was he who was responsible for getting Laurel and Hardy into the charts in the Seventies.

This one would have delighted as many of his listeners as it infuriated, I think.

That’s all for now. Back for the countdown of numbers 20-11 at 8pm on Saturday on Twitter (hashtag #festive50yearsago).

Stay cool, hep cats.

Top Twenty Olympic Songs #15 – #11

Don’t tell my sport-phobic wife or she will never let me live it down, but after a day of obsessively switching between football, swimming, archery (yes, archery!), rowing and equestrianism (which sounds a Bit Rude frankly) I have room for this thought.

The Olympics may have actually peaked with the admittedly magnificent Opening Ceremony.

Maybe I will rekindle my love for sport on the days to come, who knows?

Numbers 15 down to 11 of the Top Twenty Olympic songs are as follows.

15 – Rowing

I have to admit I enjoyed watching the women’s rowing this morning. Coxless pairs.

There aren’t too many songs about rowing out there and it was either Patty Griffin’s loverly “The Rowing Song” or the only tangentially rowing-related “Misery Is The River Of The World” by Tom Waits.

It took me quite a while to make the final choice but I finally decided that Tom Waits for no man.

14 – Sailing

Continuing on the watery theme, another sport we are quite good at is Sailing. And by “we” I mean the 1%, obviously. Plenty of songs to choose from here. The obvious one is the Rod Stewart number but I won’t go there – may give you the full reasons why I hate that song so much in a future blog entry.

I’m going with an early 70s song by the Beach Boys which doesn’t get played so often. Its not really up to their sixties heyday but it’s still better than bloody “Sailing”.

13 – Swimming

Finally in this evening’s aquatic segment – Swimming.

Glad to see while watching tonight’s pool action that they’ve outlawed those stupid full-length body armour swim-bling costumes, ostensibly because they give an unfair speed advantage but of course we all know that the only reason 95% of us tune in at all is to see some well-toned flesh, only they’re not allowed to admit that is the reason.

I never really appreciated this band when they were ubiquitous and played far too much on the radio, but much like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, when they come on the radio its always a pleasant surprise how good they could be – when you don’t hear them all the bloody time.

12 – Table Tennis

Who doesn’t love a bit of ping-pong? All sports should be named after the noise they make. Archery would be “phht-thud”, swimming would be “splish-splosh” and rugby would be “thwack-ouch”.

Gilberto Gil was the man who introduced reggae to Brazil (a Good Thing) with his version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” (a Bad Thing).
But we can forgive him because he also did this charming and catchy song about a table tennis table.

All together now “Table tennis table, ping pong, I and I”

11 – Weightlifting

Weightlifters are hard. They train until their hands and arms bleed, literally (or it isn’t counted as a good session).

I am particularly looking forward to seeing Khadija Mohammed competing for the UAE – a country which is a bit less hardline in its attitudes to women than, say the Saudis. Good luck to her – she won’t win, but her presence is symbolically more important than any medal.

And I’m going with a slightly less mainstream song to end with today from experimental collective The Residents. Not as weird-sounding as it was in 1971, but still pretty odd. “Weighlifting Khadija” would havebeen perfect, but its called “Weightlifting Lulu”.

That’s it for now. Numbers 10 down to 6 next time, as well as a few of the sports that didn’t make it, and why. Handball, my arse.