60 years of UK singles

It was the bright idea of one Percy Dickins of the New Musical Express (now better known by its obligatory acronym NME) in 1952, publishing a chart based on record sales rather than sales of sheet music, as had previously been the norm. He would gather the information himself by telephoning select record shops and asking for their biggest-selling records, and compile the charts in the paper he had co-founded each week. It would become the Top 20 and its very first number one, on 14 November 1952, was Al Martino’s ‘Here in My Heart’. Remember it? Me neither. Let’s move on.

Today, the Official Charts reflect sales across a range of retailers, now including the internet, supermarkets, and, since 2004, downloads. As such, they reflect an estimated 99 per cent of all UK singles sold.

Since the singles chart began in 1952, an estimated 32,000 tracks have entered the chart, yet only 123 of them have registered a million sales or more. When the chart celebrated its 50th birthday back in 2002, only 76 singles had and, what’s more, it didn’t look as though any single would ever again sell close to a million copies. Singles sales had reached a 15-year peak of 77.76 million in 1997, but by 2002 had slumped to a worrying 43.03 million.

Last year, however, UK singles sales reached nearly 178 million, their highest level in music history, almost entirely due to downloads. That’s almost six times as many as were sold in 2003 (30.88 million), a year before the advent of downloads, their lowest level since the 1950s.

Indeed, sales of physical formats now account for less than one per cent of singles sales.

This decade is expected to see more singles sell a million copies than any previous decade and whatever the current decade is known as, it remains on course to surpass both the ’70s, with its 27 ‘million-sellers’, and the ’90s, with its 32; 10 singles have notched up sales of a million copies in its first three years. Rihanna, for example, has three ‘million-sellers’ to her name already and she’s only 24.

To put that into some perspective, Elvis Presley remains the most successful artist in UK singles chart history, yet only one of his 21 chart-topping, finger-popping tunes – ‘It’s Now Or Never’, not one of the finger-popping ones, to be fair – sold more than a million copies. Shame. (The King was 25 then, by the way.)

In the US, ‘It’s Now Or Never’, released in July 1960, sold 700,000 copies in its first week, topping the charts three weeks later and staying there for five. The UK release was delayed due to legal wrangling over copyright of the Neapolitan semi-operatic ‘O Sole Mio’, yet an incredible and record 548,000 advance orders were taken. It entered the singles chart at the very top in October 1960 and within just 45 days sales had passed one million. If you need another related fact, it was also the last UK No.1 to be available on 78.

The Beatles achieved three million-selling singles – ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘We Can Work It Out’/’Day Tripper’ – in 1964. This was when a record would need to sell in excess of 750,000 copies to reach the coveted top spot in the charts. Within a decade, with singles sales in decline and albums favoured instead, sales of 150,000 copies could achieve the same result. The seven-inch 45 rpm record was by now, of course, the dominant format favoured by the young (it had overtaken 78s in 1958). Priced at 6s 8d, that’s about 33.3p in new money. Single downloads are around 99p, so singles now cost three times as much. Too right you got more for your money back in the old days.

And yes, I know; to keep pace with inflation since 1964, singles would actually need to cost £5.84 today. Cor, just imagine it. Don’t encourage the record companies, for goodness sake.

Here are the 123 singles that have sold a million copies in the UK. How many of them did you buy? It could be a single that you bought somebody as a gift, could even be one that you received as a gift if you can’t bear the shame of admitting that you purchased it voluntarily, as I did with ‘Ghostbusters’ by Ray Parker Jr in 1985. Some of you might remember that the first record David ever bought was the pioneering Bill Haley & His Comets classic, ‘Rock Around the Clock’, which appears at #34 – the very first million-seller in 1955/6 – and which you also might recall met an unfortunate end when his nanny sat on it. It stayed at Number One for five weeks, spending a total of 57 weeks on the chart across 1955 (19 weeks), 1956 (17 weeks), 1968 (11 weeks) and 1974 (10 weeks), with total sales of 1.42 million, fact fans. The first record I ever bought is at #107.

Returning to the list, take away all those buoyed by recent television talent shows or blockbuster movies, as well as the odd novelty single, and try to pick out the genuine classics. That’s probably too easy and shouldn’t take too long, so instead let me know which are your guilty pleasures and of course feel free to curse all the ones you wouldn’t be sorry if you never heard again if you lived to be 123. Are there any surprise omissions?

I can’t help but feel quite nauseous at the thought of how submerged the few genuinely timeless tunes will be 60 years from now, when the ever-rushing tide of download sales swell the banks of the million-sellers with more and more recent popular and, to my eardrums, mostly bland and repetitive songs, drowning the far superior efforts from decades gone by.

Alright, enough with the water imagery. You get the idea.

If you have half an hour or so to spare once you’ve lost at least twice that on the above list of 123 and associated tasks (do include your own water metaphors, I’d like that), you really should have a look in the archives which include every Number One single. So, for example, if you were to chose 1979 from the drop-down list, you would find right at the bottom of the table that ‘Another Brick In the Wall (Part II)’ spent five weeks occupying the top spot and was, in fact, the cherished Christmas Number One that year. But you probably knew that already.

Alternatively if you’d like to lose an entire day (Wednesdays and/or Thursdays are rubbish anyway) you can see every single chart, week by week, starting at March 1960 right up until the present, which is very illuminating and should jog a few memories.

If you search by artist, try Pink Floyd and you’ll find a surprising 10 singles from a band that rarely released singles; all but three made the Top 40. I think their chart positions are fairly impressive, all things considered.

The seven-inch single, the 12-inch with its extended versions and remixes, the cassette tape, the CD. We bought them all. Ah, the cassette tape. Who remembers the cardboard slipcase – I’m going back to the early 1990s with this one, when plastic wasn’t considered quite so evil – that soon became something of a liability because the more you slipped that often see-through chunk of creaking plastic in and out of its cardboard sheath, the looser it became and the shabbier the edges appeared. How much time we whiled away marvelling at the colourful displays at Woolworth’s, God rest her soul, that seemed to go on and on and on. Delighting in the sensation of crisp paper bag between our tingling fingertips. Merrily swinging the ridiculously thick plastic bag that our brand new 12-inch-so-obviously-better-than-the-seven-inch-because-it-was-bigger-and-sometimes-included-a-poster record slotted into so perfectly, as if it were meant to be. Loitering in booths where you could listen on huge headphones and try to look cool when you should have been in class.

Those precious Sunday afternoons spent listening to the Top 40 on the radio, singing along, counting down to the all-important position has been a big part of many a childhood, and I vividly recall refusing to budge from the back of various cars until a break in the chart no matter who I kept waiting. It mattered. You’d watched Top of the Pops on Thursday evening in anticipation of your favourite acts, cursed those you believed had no right to be in competition with them, and privately hated the fuddy-duddy parents and grandparents who had ruined everything and quite possibly your whole life by buying bloody Cliff Richard or Elaine Paige. Who gave them the right to meddle in such young people’s affairs, anyway? Hadn’t they had their time to influence their own generation already? You argued about the unfairness of it all at school the following day, split into loyal camps in defence of the day’s largely media-driven ‘Battle of the Bands’. You felt that buying a record made all the difference and mattered greatly to people just like you, all over the land, who were similarly poised with their fingers hovering over the record button of their chunky tape decks for a couple of hours on a Sunday, anxious and edgy.

(We shouldn’t admit to recording songs off the radio any more than we should admit to making mix tapes for the car or illegally downloading online, of course, but we all did it and would obviously buy many of them once we’d played our amateur recordings a few times just to be sure we liked the song, not to mention once we had grown tired of not having the song’s beginning or end thanks to inconsiderate DJs reminding us of which station we were listening to at regular intervals, as if we couldn’t remember. We hadn’t bought Cliff Richard or Elaine Paige, for goodness sake.)

It was as if with a few considerably larger coins we held some influence over the entire careers, lives even, of our favourite musicians back then. They were counting on us. They’d pop up every now and then between songs and plead with us to help them achieve their dream of a second consecutive hit single. And no, silly, it wasn’t about making them rich. That thought didn’t even cross our minds. Take a look again at the million-sellers’ list and you’ll see that the innocent enthusiasm we lost in place of creeping cynicism is still true to this day for Beliebers everywhere and those who must see The Wanted triumph over One Direction even if it’s the last thing they live to see. It’s so much easier for them to partake in the fantasy nowadays, but take cruel comfort from knowing that they’ll never cherish the delightful accidental rustling of a paper bag’s serrated top.

The last song I downloaded was ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Gerry & The Pacemakers just a few weeks ago. It originally spent a month at Number One in October 1963. The next one I download, I expect, will be a cover of ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ for the same cause. Rage Against the Machine showed in 2009 that it is possible to prevent whoever has rolled victoriously off the X-Factor conveyor belt in time to expect exclusive right to the Christmas Number One when ‘Killing In the Name’ became a surprise and defiant festive hit. This despite completely lacking in the sleigh bells department, even more so than Pink Floyd in ’79. The song didn’t even make the Top 20 upon its original release in February 1993. The power of social media and convenience of downloads.

A belated and somewhat begrudging convert to downloads, I haven’t purchased a CD single since ‘Arnold Layne’. David’s second of only two singles, it entered the chart at a highly respectable #19 in January 2007. Just look at who he was up against in that week’s Top 20.

As always, I’d love to share your observations. Is anyone else sickened that a cover of ‘Unchained Melody’ by two nondescript television personalities who were briefly popular for a spell in the 1990s appears much higher in the list than the Righteous Brothers’ magnificent original? #SMH, as the youngsters are fond of adding to the end of their tweets.

What’s also interesting is the number of Michael Jackson songs that appeared in the charts following his death in 2009. His were the 12-inch singles I most proudly carried back to my grandfather’s house of a Saturday afternoon in the ’80s with a cousin who carried Madonna’s. Happy memories.

The BBC (if I can mention them, I know I’m also sick to the back teeth of hearing about them lately) has some programmes coming up that might be of interest. The first is called ‘Pop Charts Britannia: 60 Years of the Top 10’ and will trace the history of the chart, with contributions from past Radio 1 DJs. Footage of Jimmy Savile will probably not feature.

The second is called ‘Joy of the Single’ and will feature musicians reminiscing about glorious 45s. These will be broadcast on BBC Four on Friday 16 and Friday 23 November, so look out for those if I’ve left you eager for more chart nostalgia.

I shall now return to listening to those of the 123 million-selling singles that I’d never heard of, starting with Gotye.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

62 thoughts on “60 years of UK singles”

  1. I will say this, with the above clues Fed. You are of the age between 45 to 50 years.

    And on the Top of the Charts for the last two years in the field of journalism in my mind anyway. Bravo! Bravo!

  2. can i claim to be proud of the fact that of the top 126 million sellers i can claim to have bought only 2? ‘another brick’ and ‘hit me with your rhythm stick’ by ian dury (rip).

    1. I think you can be proud of that. I bought eight and received one as a gift. I probably shouldn’t include ‘Imagine’, though, as it was the ‘special enhanced CD’ in 1999 (with the classic video), not the original 1975 release.

      1. Just looked up John Lennon out of curiosity. As well as 1975, ‘Imagine’ charted in 1980 (obviously), 1988, 1999 and earlier this year, when it got to #18.

    2. I can be proud of the fact that I have only ever bought one single …. And that was a 12 inch of ‘Drive’ by The Cars which became a sort of unofficial Live Aid single back in the heady days of 1985 when we thought we could just possibly feed the World with a bit of youthful optimism and a loud-mouthed rude Irishman.

      I suppose this means by extension that I should be ashamed of all the other worthy charity singles I have not bought … But I am prepared to promise that if David would like to release a single of any song he likes in aid of some suitable cause (perhaps making David Cameron homeless would be a nice twist) I will double my tally.

  3. When Mr Blobby hit number one in “The Hit Parade” I lost all interest…I was very quick hitting the pause button on a Sunday afternoon mind you!

    1. Paul, I have a confession to make. I bought that (it was a gift, though) and I still know all the words. Don’t hate me.

      ‘No hill too high, no desert too dry…’

    2. FEd…If David reads this you might be looking for another blog to run…and!! admitting to knowing all the words…it’s just not right!! 😉

      1. 😛

        But surely you bought the ‘Anfield Rap’ in 1988? I bought that as well as their 1996 Cup Final song, but the less said about that final, the better. Still gives me nightmares.

  4. Can’t believe ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ is there and ‘Puppy Love’ isn’t! Anyway, I bought both.

    Found this while I was perusing the charts. Seems Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas were #1 on the day I was born. If only I’d waited a week it would have been The Beatles.

  5. A very interesting read, this music post. A fount of information (fount -> fountain -> what do I win for mentioning something that sounds like a mini water metaphor? 😉 )

    Singles. Maybe off topic but my problem is that most radio stations (at least here) usually only play singles, which are of course sent by music labels, they are just another marketing tool and rarely make us discover genuine independent artists. Even worse they sometimes play truncated versions, because normal length for songs played on the radio is about 3 minutes. A shame. (For example, I know I hated listening to On An Island edit version on the radio: about 4 minutes instead of the normal beautiful 7 minutes.)

    To answer your question, the sad (or happy?) reality is that I didn’t buy any of the 123 singles that have sold a million copies in the UK. I don’t buy or download singles, for me there’s no point in listening to the same song over and over, there’s the radio for that. 😉 I prefer albums.

    But I’m curious and will be happy to spend time exploring the Official Charts website, above all the ‘artists’ section. (Have already looked for David Gilmour, of course. Also Leonard Cohen, how is it possible there’s only one single ‘Hallelujah’?)

    I also read: “3.7 billion singles sold since the Official Singles Chart began in 1952”. Mon Dieu! Apparently, in 7-inch vinyl format, this total would equate to the length of 6 million football pitches! A joy, eh? :)) But actually, what a waste of money.

    1. A fount of information (fount -> fountain -> what do I win for mentioning something that sounds like a mini water metaphor? 😉 )

      Excellent. You can have a ‘Why Pink Floyd?’ T-shirt, if you like. Let me know which size, and where it should be sent, and it shall be sent. What the hell? It’s Friday.

    2. Another T-shirt?? FEd must have won the EuroMillions or possibly won a substantial compensation for mis-sold PPI insurance.

      Of course I can think of very few people I would be happier to imagine wearing such a prestigious T-shirt than Michèle but we have to accept the possibility that it will become another blanket for Cachou. I’m not jealous, really I’m not … No, not one bit … *sob*

      1. Sadly, neither scenario is true. The truth is, I received a batch of them; they don’t stack well because they’re in slippery plastic wrapping; I’m sick of them falling on my head each time I open my wardrobe; and I’m being pressurised into throwing away a box full of packaging I’ve received and kept to re-use, so I’m glad to have an excuse to rid myself of one more T-shirt and one padded envelope.

        More soon, but only skinny people need apply as I seem to have mostly Small and Medium sizes.

        Yes, I probably should just sell them on eBay…

    3. Oh, I hope you know I was only joking. I’m a bit embarrassed now, but also so happy! Thank you so much!

      Fridays are great, this one is even better. I’ll remember it forever.

      Bon weekend et encore merci.

    4. Yes, I probably should just sell them on eBay…

      Or… you could get your needle and thread out and do this instead.

      1. Ooh, clever. I struggle to sew buttons back on, though. Actually, I struggle even getting the cotton to go through the needle.

    5. … so I’m glad to have an excuse to rid myself of one more T-shirt

      And I thought you just wanted to be kind to me… Will throw myself off a bridge into deep water and drown myself. (Another T-shirt? :)) )

      Better, will console myself by listening to the Top single #2 in France last week: ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy. Good fun. :)) I wonder if it will sell a million copies in the UK. 😉 Who knows?

      1. I wonder if it will sell a million copies in the UK. 😉 Who knows?

        If it’s bloody awful, it probably will. Kids today…

    6. I’ll definitely second Michèle’s point re the editing of singles.

      Being a devotee from an early age of the Deep Purple “Made in Japan” Live album (go get it, boys and girls), which is of course the very opposite of a singles concept being a double album with 7 tracks, imagine my initial thrill at finding a single of the definitive version of “Smoke on the Water” only to find that it is an edit of the 7:37 minute track presumably executed by a drunken baboon with a blunt pair of scissors … no wonder Ritchie Blackmore gave up and went to live in a forest somewhere playing a mandolin and hurdy gurdy.

    7. If Gangnam Style doesn’t sell a million copies, it WILL get a billion views which will make it the most viewed YouTube video to-date. I’m floored! There have already been 834,481,172 million odd views, 5-million plus likes and 342,000 plus dislikes which begs the [scarier] question, did people watch it multiple times and if so, how many times? Allow for about 800 million people (perhaps more) who made no comment/s at all and my guess is that several million (yes million) people have actually watched it four or more times. May I sound like my Grandmother for a moment and ask, “What is the world coming to?” 😉

  6. Oh boy – that’s quite a list…

    First, Congrats Michèle!

    Well it looks like I have purchased 7 of these bubbly tracks from that list and you might be able to figure out when I started buying singles, went to the full LPs and then began downloading for my kids. 🙂

    Your The One That I Want in ’78, Another Brick in the Wall Pt2 in ’79, Eye of the Tiger and Come on Eileen in ’82… I Got a Feeling in ’09, Party Rock Anthem and Moves Like Jagger in ’11. Ouch…

    I do like to break out the vinyl every now and then as a wave of show and tell for the kids. Other than better artwork, possible lyrics and maybe a poster enclosed they seem to always go back to their iPods to get their musical fix.

    It is funny how my kids do the same as you (and I also did) FEd… they listen to the charts in the car on the weekend drives and won’t get out until they hear what’s the next song… and so on.

    Thanks for the memories – good and bad, LOL, and have a great weekend everyone!

  7. In this ocean of songs, waves of bad taste overflowed the few sparkling good examples… I recognised a lot, but found none that I bought, which didn’t surprise me, to be honest. 😉

    As for Pink Floyd’s entries, I must agree with you FEd. Very interesting, and I wouldn’t have thought that “Not Now John” made it. It may have to do something with the Asian economical threat in the mid eighties, though.

    Best regards

    Taki

    1. In this ocean of songs, waves of bad taste overflowed the few sparkling good examples…

      :)) For that, please allow me to send you a T-shirt too, Taki. I think I only have a choice of sizes Small, Medium or Extra Large, though.

      I won’t be giving away any more T-shirts this post/month, so any more delightful water imagery will go unrewarded, I’m afraid, but don’t let that put you off if you’re feeling poetic.

      Please let me know which size you’d like and where I should send it.

    2. … what a surprise! Probably unbelievable: I received a guitar magazine per mail today and saw that they’re doing a tombola for Christmas. Being ages that I won something, I mentioned that to my wife, but only to find out later that I lied to her. 😉

      Thanks a lot for your generosity, FEd and be sure that I will wear it until it fells into pieces…

      Taki

    3. Hi FEd,

      today I received a very early next year’s birthday gift. 😀

      The T-shirt fits and is perfect and will be used to replace my avatar. 😉

      Thanks again,

      Taki

      PS. I saw you recycled the packaging. Well done for that!

  8. I have to say that the Pink Floyd list does not include all the singles that they released. Maybe just the ones that charted.

    I still have my See Emily Play 45 (which is in the list) along with another 45 only song called It Would Be So Nice.

    I still have the first 45 single I owned… Man of Mystery by The Shadows. Also remember buying singles like Day Tripper by the Beatles and Do Wah Diddy Diddy by Manfred Mann.

    Must get a look at your One Million Sellers list but have a lot of happy memories from back then.

    1. According to Wikipedia, “It Would Be So Nice” didn’t chart… Its B side is “Julia Dream”, and as far as I’m correct informed, the first PF recording with David Gilmour on lead vocals.

    2. Agreed Fed: Music for me, and I would guess millions of others, is an incredibly powerful thing. I can hear a song and it just triggers a memory, good or bad, from a short time ago or from as far back as I can remember. Amazing really.

      Taki – not sure the band would agree but I have always thought those songs make up a great 45.

    3. … I agree. Julia Dream is mesmerising and one of my wife’s favourites, and one year older than she is. 🙂

  9. … any more delightful water imagery will go unrewarded, I’m afraid, but don’t let that put you off if you’re feeling poetic.

    How to obtain a T-shirt, ‘Why Pink Floyd’?
    Acquire ‘David Gilmour in Concert’ for Android.
    So, I went to Google Play
    Five Ninety Nine I did pay
    Which afforded me time for a nap
    Whilst I downloaded the very large ‘app’
    At one point two gig
    Just like my T-shirt size, it is very big
    Once installed on my Samsung Galaxy S3
    The quality imagery shines on in HD
    The sound through headphones fills me with glee
    And makes me feel like I’m floating out at sea
    I realise this poem is really quite squiffy
    But it might just relieve you of another jiffy.

  10. I must confess this was more difficult than I anticipated, having not bought a single 7-single on the list of 123. In fact, I only recall ever buying one 7-single – Don McLean’s, Vincent. It was a gift for my Mom as it was one of her favourite songs. Couldn’t for the life of me remember what was on the flip side and my husband reminded me that it was Castles in the Air. This of course necessitated me ‘cheating’ a bit and tapping my husband’s brain. His musical acquisitions have been many, being an audiophile and a (sometimes) DJ in his youth.

    He picked out about 7 or 8 from the list that he’d bought – some from the 70s and a few from the 80s – the most horrifying, Ghostbusters! Interestingly, one of the first 7-singles he ever bought was Mother of Mine by Neil Reid (for his Mom on Mother’s Day) followed by Softly Whispering I Love You by the [English?] Congregation in 1972 and T-Rex’s Metal Guru – quite a contrast. He also had a brief foray into 12-inch extended singles in the 80s (I didn’t even know such things existed) and his favourite purchases were Parisienne Walkways (Gary Moore, of course) and Nightshift (Commodores). I still have to check where these featured on the charts.

    Like Michèle and Tim, I prefer an album although I have to admit to purchasing a few track downloads … alas, I suspect they will likely never see sales of a million or even half (views don’t count, do they?). My first ever digital download was by a now defunct South African group called Fetish and the song was Pure (the vocalist, Michelle Breeze has a wonderful voice). Don’t even attempt to ‘Google’ that, I tried and some scary stuff came up! My second was Shinedown’s The Crow and the Butterfly. This was followed by Awolnation’s Sail, Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks and then The Blue Van’s Woman of the Wrong Kind.

    Is anyone else sickened that a cover of ‘Unchained Melody’ by two nondescript television personalities who were briefly popular for a spell in the 1990s appears much higher in the list than the Righteous Brothers’ magnificent original?

    Absolutely! Unchained Melody and the Righteous Brothers are synonymous – it would be like separating Ferry Cross the Mersey from Gerry and the Pacemakers, right?

    1. Unchained Melody and the Righteous Brothers are synonymous – it would be like separating Ferry Cross the Mersey from Gerry and the Pacemakers, right?

      It sure would.

      I’m glad that somebody else has confessed to buying the Ghostbusters theme. 🙂

  11. Hi Fed, a little bird told me you’re giving T-shirts away. Medium please, I’ll pay for the postage.

    Damian

    1. Little bird’s misled you. I’ve given away two in an oh-so subtle contest. I have a few more, though, so next time, perhaps. (Keep your eyes peeled, don’t listen to little birds.)

      1. Apologies, Ralph. I was too slow to grasp the original message.

        I hope you had a brilliant birthday and I will belatedly raise a glass of Duvel to your good name. Many happy returns.

  12. Speaking of poetry, this blog post was such great fun, so…

    There once was a Features Editor
    Also known as The Blog creator
    He* sure was a true fount of knowledge
    So we said: f**k you, stupid college
    Here’s a far better educator

    He* always did a good job
    And had a messy wardrobe
    So on a lucky Friday
    I could say: You made my day!
    Not fair! Tim said with a sob

    FEd, just to let you know
    It arrived today, wow!
    Top-class heartbeat logo
    Thanks a lot, amigo
    You are the best, you know.

    (*or She)

    Plus simplement, un grand merci. 🙂

    1. Thanks very much.

      It’s really not a messy wardrobe, though; it’s just got too much stuff in it. The clothes are arranged beautifully, it’s all the other stuff that’s been thrown in, up high, out of sight, and occasionally falls out.

  13. FEd,

    Don’t get mad but I thought you were a little bit older than 50 for I thought you were closer to my age. But that doesn’t mean that we feel a lot younger than that. 🙂

    Take Care, Thomas

  14. Climbing up the subway stairs this morning, a random song popped into my head – Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind. We didn’t own it in our house (I think it might have belonged to an Aunt and it was a single) but my Mom just loved it (as she did a lot of his songs)! I doubt it sold 1-million copies in the UK (it did worldwide) but did chart somewhere in the Top 30 or 40. So I took a listen all these years later and surprised myself that I actually knew the lyrics (we really are sponges us humans). The next logical step was to listen to Sundown which led to Cat Stevens. Sometimes I get nervous traveling down memory lane …

  15. Totally off topic, but I’m so glad that Israel and the US had no veto power last night and therefore couldn’t stop the UN Assembly from voting the recognition of Palestine as a (non member observer) state. More than 130 countries voted ‘yes’. Just hoping that it won’t bury forever the fragile, quite dormant peace process in the Israeli/Palestinian complex conflict.

  16. I just found this blog site in looking up my guitar hero, musical idol Sir David.

    Your writing is most entertaining. My mother was born an Eade, roots from Cornwall. My enjoyment of your essay, and finding myself chuckling alone in my bed to it, makes me wonder what I’ve been missing here in the U.S.

    I remember my first purchased vinyl, was Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters. I was, I believe, ten. I did not buy it for “Feeling Groovy”. My pianist vocalist daughter and I to this day jokingly tink that out on occasion. She followed my path – happy songs – blech.

    And my first vinyl, outside topics again of “singles”, was a full LP. I’m thinking at that age I should be proud of that.

  17. I am convinced that Pink Floyd was the greatest rock band of all time. It saddens me to say “were” because it means that they will never perform together again but I believe they were in a league of their own because of the heart and soul of the band which was David Gilmour. This is not meant take away from the valuable contributions of the very talented Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright (may he rest in peace) or the other late Syd Barrett.

    But Pink Floyd was not the Pink Floyd we all grew to know and love during the Syd years. In fact they were altogether a very different band. I hate to say it but I am glad the he became a “crazy diamond” otherwise Gilnour may never have joined the band.

  18. In my heart, mind and soul Pink Floyd was, is and always will be the greatest rock band of all time. Unfortunately for me, I only caught onto PF during the Dark Side explosion here in the US. I have gone back and listened to Syd’s music, but can’t quite get some of it, or imagine it fitting into the PF I know. I love the PF of David, Roger, Nick and Richard. I love the music, David’s guitar especially, which when listened to with headphones (or is it earbuds now?) on in the evenings, alone, take me somewhere I think is quite close to heaven. And…the lyrics which taught me to THINK.

    Hate to hear what happened to Syd, but as said previously, what would we have been deprived of if David hadn’t joined the band. OMG, can’t even stand to think of it!

    Anyway, thank you David for sharing your amazing talent with the world, I cannot imagine the years of my life without it.

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