A History of Pop Music – 1971

Featured song:

Slade: Cuz I Love You

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So on we go with memories from 1971: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about setting up to join the EEC. The new-fangled decimal currency. A lot about “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 15, still hating school, but I will be able to leave on my 16th Birthday, as by law. you could.  Budgie starring Adam faith started, probably the coolest man around (apart from James Bond). I had to beg, borrow and steal to get a Budgie jacket.  I also discovered girls could be fun too.

TV programmes included:

BBC Open University broadcasts begin. BBC2 airs Elizabeth R, a drama serial of six 85-minute plays starring Glenda Jackson in the title role. The Two Ronnies debuts on BBC1. 21 September – The Old Grey Whistle Test premieres on BBC2. Debut on BBC1 of The Generation Game, presented by Bruce Forsyth. Upstairs, Downstairs debuts on ITV. The Onedin Line starts. One of my favourite shows at the time started in April – Budgie (1971–1972), only ran 2 series, but was a big hit, bit of sex, and everyone needed to buy a Budgie Jacket.


Prime Minister – Edward Heath (Conservative)

1 January – The Divorce Reform Act 1969 came into effect, allowing couples to divorce after a separation of two years (five if only one of them agrees). A divorce can also be granted on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and it is not essential for either partner to prove “fault”. It is revealed on 19 January 1972 that the number of divorces in Britain during 1971 exceeded 100,000 for the first time.

2 January – Ibrox disaster: a stairway crush at the Rangers vs. Celtic football match at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow killed 66 and left many more injured

4 February – Rolls-Royce went bankrupt and was nationalised.

15 February Decimalisation: Decimal Day: the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland both switched to decimal currency.

Enoch Powell predicted an “explosion” unless there was a massive repatriation scheme for the immigrants

8 March – The Postal workers’ strike ended after 47 days

1 April – The United Kingdom lifted all restrictions on gold ownership. Since 1966 Britons were banned from holding more than four gold coins or from buying any new ones, unless they held a license.

11 April – Ten British Army soldiers were injured in rioting in Derry, Northern Ireland.

2 May – The Daily Mail was re-launched as a tabloid.

7 June – The children’s show Blue Peter buried a time capsule in the grounds of BBC Television Centre, due to be opened on the first episode of the year 2000. – and I missed the 2000 episode!

15 June – Several Labour run councils threatened to increase rates in order to continue the free supply of milk to school children aged over seven years, in reaction to Thatcher’s plans to end free milk supply to school children of that age group. Thatcher defends her plans, saying that the change will free more money to be spent on the construction of new school buildings

21 June – Britain began new negotiations for EEC membership in Luxembourg.

24 June – The EEC agreed terms for Britain’s proposed membership and it was hoped that the nation will join the EEC next year

29 July – The United Kingdom opted out of the Space Race with the cancellation of its Black Arrow launch vehicle.

6 August – Chay Blyth became the first person to sail around the world east to west against the prevailing winds

15 August – Show jumper Harvey Smith was stripped of his victory in the British Show Jumping Derby by judges for making a V sign. – I think this made him as popular as ever.

1 September – The pre-decimal penny and threepence ceased to be legal tender

21 September – The television music show The Old Grey Whistle Test was aired for the first time on BBC 2 – It was not TOTP, but they had some brilliant people on the show.

13 October – The British Army began destroying roads between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a security measure

28 October – The House of Commons voted in favour of joining the EEC by a vote of 356-244.

10 November – The 10-route Spaghetti Junction motorway interchange was opened north of Birmingham city centre, incorporating the A38 (M) (Aston Expressway) and the southern section of the M6 motorway. The interchange would have a total of 12 routes when the final stretch of the M6 was opened the following year

29 December – The United Kingdom gave up its military bases in Malta.

30 December – The seventh James Bond film – Diamonds Are Forever – was released. Sean Connery, who appeared in the first five films before being succeeded by George Lazenby for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, returned to the role for one final appearance

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top Hits of 1971
   1 George Harrison My Sweet Lord
   2 Rod Stewart Maggie May
   3 Middle of the Road Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
   4 Dawn Knock Three Times
   5 T Rex Hot Love
   6 Mixtures The Pushbike Song
   7 New Seekers Never Ending Song Of Love
   8 Diana Ross I’m Still Waiting
   9 T Rex Get It On
   10 The Tams Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me

A terrific year for T-Rex and Marc Bolan, Neil Diamond had three top hits this year, the Bay City Rollers had a hit and they went on to become massive. Another very hard choice for my favourite, could so easily have been Ride a White Swan from T-Rex, Maggie May from Rod Stewart or Brown Sugar from the Rolling Stones, all top bands. Shame that Ashton, Gardner & Dyke did not do more than Resurrection Shuffle, which is a great tune. Also wish Middle of the Road had a few more hits.  Slade though did some great pop-music throughout the decade, so get my pick.

The tune: Coz I Luv You” is a song by the British rock band Slade, released in 1971 as a non-album single. It was written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler. It reached No. 1 in the UK, giving the band their first number one single, and remained in the charts for fifteen weeks.

In 1972, a compilation album of the same name would be released outside of the UK. The song was included on the compilation and would also feature on the band’s 1973 compilation album Sladest. I remember buying this.

Slade achieved their commercial breakthrough with the release of their version of Bobby Marchan’s “Get Down and Get with It” in May 1971. Deciding to capture their strong reputation as a live act onto record, “Get Down and Get with It” was seen as the perfect choice as the band frequently played it live to a great response. Successfully breaking the band into the UK and Europe, it reached No. 16 in the UK. “Coz I Luv You” was soon recorded as the follow-up single.

“Coz I Luv You” features electric violin played by Lea. The song was written after Chandler insisted the band write an original song as their next single. One evening, Lea turned up Holder’s home with his violin and an idea for a song after hearing “Nine By Nine” by the John Dummer Blues Band. Lea suggested that he and Holder write a song which had a Django Reinhardt/Stephan Grapelli “Hot Club”-influence. The pair wrote the song in half an hour and began the successful songwriting partnership of Holder/Lea, which would go on to write the bulk of Slade’s material. The following day, the band played the song acoustically to Chandler, who responded: “I think you’ve written your first hit record. In fact, I think you’ve written your first No. 1

More writings on this song here: Cuz I Love You

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are:

T Rex – Ride A White Swan

Ashton Gardner & Dyke – Resurrection shuffle

Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You – Proper Northern Soul

Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline – Classic, wonder how many baby girls where names after this song.

Neil Diamond – Cracklin Rosie

Neil Diamond–I Am I Said

Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking – I am a big fan of Dave.

Dave & Ansell Collins – Double Barrel

Dave & Ansel Collins – Monkey Spanner

The Marmalade – Cousin Norman

The Supremes – Stoned Love

Carole King – It’s Too Late – wrote a lot of top tunes.

Middle Of The Road – Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar

  1. Rex – Jeepster

Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Soldier Blue

Olivia Newton John – Banks of the Ohio – another soppy one I like.

The Kinks – Apeman (full length live version) – brilliant band.

Deep Purple – Strange Kind Of Woman

Bay City Rollers – Keep On Dancin – Get your tartan out.

The Temptations – Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)

The Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There and Feelin’ Alright – Diana Ross TV Special – little Michael does not look very white at this point.

McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead and Gone

CCS – Tap Turns On The Water

Tony Christie – I did what I did for Maria

R Dean Taylor – Indiana Wants Me

Redbone – Witch queen of New Orleans – great tune

Perry Como – It’s Impossible – I just like this, pleasant little ditty, great voice.

James Taylor – You’ve got a Friend – One of those songs that if you sing it, it makes you feel depressed. I have no idea why I like this.

Fun song: – Clive Dunn – Grandad – cringworthyness indeed

Fun Song: Benny Hill – Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)

Fun Song: Ray Stevens – Bridget the Midget (The Queen of the Blues)

Fun Song: St Cecilia – Leap up and Down (wave your Knickers in the Air) – admit it, you liked this one. Now I will tell you it’s another Jonathan King song.

34 songs for 1971 in my favourite lists. Yet another golden decade.

Hat tips to:

http://www.uk-charts.top-source.info/  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year

http://www.everyhit.com/chart1.html   these give the top 10 songs for each year

https://www.youtube.com/  you know them.

Next Time 1972.

Featured Image: AVRO [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

© Phil the test manager 2019

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