The History of Pop Music – 1975

Featured song:

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

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 1975: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  Miners’ strike ending with a 35% pay rise, unemployment reaching 1 million, then 1.25 million, more IRA bombings. Harold Bloody Wilson and the sainted Brian Clough (I forgive him his sins). The only good bit, apart from the Glam Rock music was Maggie becoming leader of the Conservatives.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 19 and had finished basic training in the Army, also my basic training to become a Royal Engineer and was posted to Hameln in Germany. Wow, those were really, really happy days. Even the training for a forthcoming tour of NI was good fun.

TV programmes included:

The Sweeney starts, loved that. 6 January – Due to cutbacks at the BBC, BBC1 stops broadcasting programmes on weekday early afternoons. Consequently, apart from schools programmes and live sport, the channel now shows a trade test transmission between 2pm and the start of children’s programmes. It was better in them days. Good series Edward the seventh. Meg Richardson married Hugh Mortimer in crossroads (what a dire soap that was). May saw the first Jim’ll Fix it (cough, he certainly did). The Good Life also started with sweet felicity Kendall.   September saw the start of one of the great classic, Faulty Towers. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour also started. In December this year we also saw “The Naked Civil Servant”. I also loved Space: 1999


Prime Minister – Harold Bloody Wilson

6 January – Brian Clough, the former manager of Derby County and more recently Leeds United, was appointed manager of Football League Second Division strugglers Nottingham Forest. I had a lot of time for Brian, used to go to the Trent End every home match.

14 January – Seventeen-year-old heiress Lesley Whittle, daughter of the late bus operator George Whittle (1905–1967), was kidnapped from her home near Bridgnorth in Shropshire by Donald Neilson

11 February – Margaret Thatcher (All hail) defeated Edward Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election, becoming the party’s first female leader.

13 February – Britain’s coal miners accepted a 35% pay rise offer from the government. Harold playing a blinder there.

7 March – The body of teenage heiress Lesley Whittle, who disappeared from her Shropshire home in January, was discovered in Staffordshire. She had been strangled on a ledge in drains below Bathpool Park near Kidsgrove.

9 April – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, was released, still one of the best comedies ever made.

24 April – Unemployment exceeded the 1,000,000 mark for March 1975

26 April – A conference of Labour Party members voted against continued membership of the EEC. Not sure how that worked out.

31 May – The European Space Agency was established, with the UK being one of the ten founding members. One of the very few things that are good about the EU. (*holds pint, stands back*)

5 June – 67% of voters supported continuing membership of the EEC in a referendum – I am sure it is fair to say that they really did not know what they were voting for.

19 June – A coroner’s court jury returned a verdict of wilful murder, naming Lord Lucan as the murderer, in the inquest on Sandra Rivett, the nanny who was found dead at his wife’s London home seven months previously.

1 August – The Government’s anti-inflation policy came into full effect. During the year, inflation reached 24.2% – the second-highest recorded level since records began in 1750, and the highest since 1800. Well played Harold, well played.

21 August – The unemployment rate reaches the 1,250,000 mark

5 September – The London Hilton hotel was bombed by the IRA killing two people and injuring 63 others

9 October – An IRA bomb explosion outside Green Park tube station near Piccadilly in London killed one person and injured twenty people.

December – Donald Neilson, 39, was arrested in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on suspicion of being the “Black Panther” murderer who was believed to have carried out five murders in the last two years

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

Top Hits of 1975
   1 Bay City Rollers Bye Bye Baby
   2 Rod Stewart Sailing
   3 Stylistics Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)
   4 Windsor Davies & Don Estelle Whispering Grass
   5 Tammy Wynette Stand By Your Man – With lyrics, so you can singalong
   6 Bay City Rollers Give A Little Love
   7 David Essex Hold Me Close
   8 Art Garfunkel I Only Have Eyes For You
   9 Roger Whittaker The Last Farewell
   10 10CC I’m Not In Love

Surprisingly Bohemian Rhapsody not there. Possibly because it was a big hit over Christmas and well into January, so some sales will not count in 1975.

What a year for Queen of course, Rod Stewart becoming anthemic. Some of my favourite bands appear regularly in the charts, Bay City Rollers (stop laughing at the back), The Rubettes, Showaddywaddy, Sweet. My most favourite band of all where making appearances though. Smokie, I absolutely love their tunes and I watch them regularly on You Tube, in particular their concerts for which they are still going strong to this day.

The song:

“Bohemian Rhapsody” – The four members of the band sit together in front of a sandy-coloured background wearing predominantly black clothing. Mercury appears to be the dominant figure, sat in front of the other three members. From left to right, John Deacon, Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor. All four individuals are looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression on their face. Above the band is some black text, printed in an elegant, italic font face. The word “Queen” followed by “Bohemian Rhapsody”. From the album A Night at the Opera.  At 5 minutes and 55 seconds, a very long record indeed, which is why so many DJ’s on the radio request shows do not like playing it.

Written by Freddie Mercury

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It is a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock part and a reflective coda. The song is a more accessible take on the 1970s progressive rock genre.

When it was released as a single, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became a commercial success, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976. It reached number one again in 1991 for another five weeks when the same version was re-released following Mercury’s death, eventually becoming the UK’s third-best-selling single of all time. It is also the only song to be the UK Christmas number one twice by the same artist.

More writings on this song here: Bohemian Rhapsody

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are (best to right click and open in a new window):

Smokie – If You Think You Know How to Love Me

Status Quo – Down Down – Here it is, the proper sound of Quo.

The Rubettes – I Can Do It

Showaddywaddy – Three steps to heaven

Bay City Rollers – Bye Bye Baby

Sweet – Fox On The Run – Always liked this band.

Glitter Band – goodbye my love – (Band, not Gary)

Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

5000 Volts – I’m On Fire – Loved this song so much I bought the album, it was pretty rubbish.

Kenny – The Bump – Always good on the dance floor this.

Windsor Davies & Don Estelle – Whispering Grass

Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man

ABBA – S.O.S – Don’t look at me like that, you know you like a bit of ABBA as well.

Linda Lewis – It’s In His Kiss

David Essex – Hold me close

Ralph McTell – Streets of London – another timeless classic

Art Garfunkel- I Only Have Eyes for You

Brian Hyland – Sealed With A Kiss

Jim Capaldi – Love Hurts – Check out what he is wearing.

Leo Sayer – Moonlighting

Bay City Rollers – Give a little love

10cc – I’m not in love – Most interesting how they got their name. Really top band.

David Bowie – Space Oddity – I bet a lot of you play this.

Hot Chocolate – You sexy thing – Another great band, Errol a great singer in my view

Mud – Oh Boy

Mud – The Secrets That You Keep

Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes – I wanna dance wit’ choo – Well I liked it anyway

Shirley & Company – Shame, Shame, Shame

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) – as fresh now as it was then, a classic.

Carpenters – Please Mr Postman – I was never a big lover of these, but I do lke this song.

Bee Gees – Jive Talkin’

Imagine by John Lennon did not make the cut, dreary dirge of a song.

Fun song: Laurel & Hardy With The Avalon Boys featuring Chill Wills

Fun Song: Billy Connolly – D.I.V.O.R.C.E. – I have put the link with lyrics, because, Scottish and all that. Was funny though.

Fun Song – Jasper Carrot – Funky Moped, so bad am I not prepared to link it.

33 songs for 1975 in my favourite lists.  It keeps getting better and better.

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 1976.

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

© Phil the test manager 2019

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