The History of Pop Music – 1974

Featured song:

 Mud – Tiger Feet

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 1974: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was aboutThe three-day week, the miners’ strike.  Lots of IRA bombs going off and the start of terrorism changing our way of life.  Lord Lucan went missing.  Another General Election. A lot of doom and gloom, but at least Abba came to our attention, and more glam rock (yay).

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 17 and a half, fed up of the morning and evening bus ride to work, money was tight as my wages dipped down during the 3-day week.  I joined the Army, Corps of Royal Engineers.  Best thing I ever did.

TV programmes included:

Being from the Midlands, I could watch “Tiswas”, it did not go fully networked until 1979.  Up until the end of February, there was no TV broadcast after 22:30 hrs.  On the 6th April – The 19th Eurovision Song Contest is won by ABBA with the song “Waterloo”.  The fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) makes a brief appearance.  The BBC teletext service Ceefax goes live with 30 pages of information.  It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Porridge and Rising Damp all started.


Prime Minister – Edward Heath (Conservative) (until 4 March), Harold Wilson (Labour) (starting 4 March)

1 January – 7 March – The Three-Day Week was introduced by the Conservative Government as a measure to conserve electricity during the period of industrial action by coal miners.

4 February – M62 coach bombing: 11 people were killed when a bomb planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army exploded on a coach on the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire. Eight of the dead were off-duty British Army soldiers, and two were children. 12 other people were seriously injured.

7 February – The Prime Minister, Edward Heath, called a General Election for 28 February to try and end the dispute over the miners’ strike.  During the campaign, the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress agree a ‘Social Contract’ intended to produce wage restraint.

27 February – Enoch Powell, the controversial Conservative MP who was dismissed from the shadow cabinet in 1968 for his “Rivers of Blood” speech opposing mass immigration, announced his resignation from the party, in protest against Edward Heath’s decision to take Britain into the EEC.

28 February – The general election resulted in the first hung parliament since 1929, with the Conservative government having 297 seats – four fewer than Labour, who have 301 – and the largest number of votes. Prime Minister Ted Heath hoped to form a coalition with the Liberal Party in order to remain in power.  By the 4 March – Ted Heath failed to convince the Liberals to form a coalition and announced his resignation as Prime Minister, paving the way for Harold Wilson to become Prime Minister for the second time as Labour formed a minority government.

6 March – The miners’ strike came to an end due an improved pay offer by the new Labour government.

7 March – The Three-Day Week comes to an end.

29 March – The government re-established direct rule over Northern Ireland after declaring a state of emergency.

6 April – The 19th Eurovision Song Contest is held at the Dome in Brighton, produced and transmitted by the BBC. Katie Boyle hosts the event for the fourth time. Sweden wins the contest with the song “Waterloo”, performed by ABBA, who become the first group to win the Contest. They go on to achieve huge international success.

1 May – Alf Ramsey, who guided England to World Cup glory in 1966, was dismissed by the Football Association after 11 years in charge.

8 June – Jon Pertwee left Doctor Who in the final episode of Planet of the Spiders citing the death of his close acting friend Roger Delgado (who played ‘The Master’) the previous year as the reason. He was replaced by Tom Baker.

17 July – A bomb planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) exploded in the White Tower at the Tower of London, killing one person and injuring 41. Another bomb exploded outside a government building in South London.  One of many bombs.

15 August – Collapse of Court Line and its subsidiaries Clarksons and Horizon Holidays leaves 100,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.

12 September – Brian Clough was dismissed after 44 days as manager of defending league champions Leeds United following a disappointing start to the Football League season.

18 September – Harold Wilson confirms that a second general election for the year will be held on 10 October.

5 October – The Guildford pub bombings at The Horse and Groom and The Seven Stars killed five people.

10 October – The second general election of the year resulted in a narrow victory for Harold Wilson, giving Labour a majority of three seats. It was widely expected that Edward Heath’s leadership of the Conservative Party would soon be ended, as he had now lost three of the four General Elections that he had contested in almost a decade as leader.  The Scottish National Party secured its highest to date Westminster party representation with 11 seats. Enoch Powell was elected to parliament in Northern Ireland for the Ulster Unionist Party.  Powell, had recently rejected an offer to stand as a candidate for the National Front.

16 October – Rioting prisoners set fire to the Maze Prison in Belfast.

22 October – The Provisional IRA bombed Brooks’s club in London.

28 October – The wife and son of Sports Minister Denis Howell survived a Provisional IRA bomb attack on their car.

7 November – Lord Lucan disappeared after the murder of his children’s nanny.

7 November – A Provisional IRA bomb exploded at the Kings Arms, Woolwich.

21 November – Birmingham pub bombings: in Birmingham, bombs planted by a Provisional IRA member exploded, killing 21 people and injuring many others.

24 November – The Birmingham Six were charged with the Birmingham pub bombings.

25 November – Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announced the government’s intention to outlaw the IRA in the UK.

27 November – The Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed.

5 December – the final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, was broadcast on BBC2.

22 December – The London home of Conservative Party leader and former Prime Minister Edward Heath was bombed in a suspected Provisional IRA attack. He had been away from home when the bomb exploded but returned just 10 minutes afterwards.

24 December – Former government minister John Stonehouse was found living in Australia having faked his own death. He was quickly arrested by Australian police, who initially believed that he was Lord Lucan

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

Top Hits of 1974
   1 Mud Tiger Feet
   2 Terry Jacks Seasons In The Sun
   3 Paper Lace Billy, Don’t Be A Hero
   4 Three Degrees When Will I See You Again
   5 George McCrae Rock Your Baby
   6 David Essex Gonna Make You A Star
   7 Carl Douglas Kung Fu Fighting
   8 Charles Aznavour She
   9 Rubettes Sugar Baby Love
   10 Ken Boothe Everything I Own

What a year for Glam rock, and one of my all-time favourite bands (second only to Smokie), I give you The Rubettes. Suzi, Abba, the start of Showaddywaddy (yay), Alvin Stardust, Slade and the Bay City Rollers.  Not forgetting Killer Queen from Queen!

The song: “Tiger Feet” is a popular song by the English glam rock band Mud, released in January 1974. Written and produced by the song-writing team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn (ChinniChap), it was the band’s first number No. 1 single in the UK.

More writings on this song here:  Tiger Feet.

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

Mud – The Cat crept in – These guys were owning TOTP

ABBA – Waterloo – I have linked the Eurovision video, introduced of course by Terry Wogan.

The Rubettes – Sugar Baby Love – Their debut single, what a cracker and not in the least bit ghey.

The Rubettes – Jukebox Jive – Just before I joined the Army, I had long hair and was bigly tempted to get a white hat like they wore.

Mud – Lonely This Christmas – Last year (1973) we had Slade And Wizzard, it’s now time for Mud.

Showaddywaddy – Hey Rock n Roll – The start of Showaddywaddy, not their best song but as soon as I heard them and saw them, I just knew I would like them forever.  Buddy who took lead vocal on this sounded to false American for my liking.

Suzi Quatro – Devil Gate Drive – A one, a Two, a One, Two Three…..

Queen – Killer Queen – A very special moment when they came on TOTP, you just knew they were special.

Golden Earring – Radar Love – Introduced by none other than Little Richard!

Slade – Far Far Away – a gentler Slade, still a bit shouty from Noddy though.

Bay City Rollers – Shang-A-Lang – OK a group for the girls but liked them. (Not in a ghey way though).

The Hollies – The Air That I Breath – I have always been a big fan of the Hollies, this song I think is their finest.

Alvin Stardust – Jealous Mind

David Bowie – Rebel Rebel

Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted – Big hit in 1965 but re-released

Glitter Band – Angel Face – Does not involve GG, this is a great track.

Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo – Shane Fenton again.

Leo Sayer – The Show Must Go On – I think he an awesome talent.

Leo Sayer – Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) – He is not so shy now, out of the clown make-up.  Another tune that I still know all the words for.

Bachman Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us – Ron Mael – Russell Mael, great tune, snearing Ron and lookalike Hitler Russell, what’s not to like!

Sylvia – Y Viva Espana – go on, singalong.

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap – Young Girl – originally from 1968 but re-released.

Sweet – Teenage Rampage

Paper Lace – The Night Chicago Died

Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run

Slade – Everyday – One of my favourites.

Bay City Rollers – Summerlove Sensation – I still say I am not ghey.

Eddie Holman – Hey There Lonely Girl – You probably do not remember the name, but his high voice you will.

Lobo- I’d love you to want me

Bay City Rollers – All of me loves all of you – I am telling you, I am not ghey.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Judy Teen – Classic

John Denver – Annie’s Song – not pop, but I liked him.

The Drifters – Kissin’ In The Back Row Of The Movie’s

Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House

Bay City Rollers – Remember (Sha La La La) – Still not ghey

Fun song: The Wombles – The Wombling Song

Fun song: Ray Stevens – The Streak

38 songs for 1974 in my favourite lists.  It gets better and better. Thank you ChinniChap and RAK.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1975.

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

© Phil the test manager 2019

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