Eurovision, Pickettywitch and Another Look At The Chart Hits Of 1970

Well, we’re now coming up to eight weeks in lockdown here in Scotland with no sign yet of an easing of restrictions. We can now go out more than once a day for exercise, however that has somehow lessened its appeal. When something is rationed you make the absolute most of it, but when it is more freely available, it can be squandered. Don’t want to return to my old ways now that I’m feeling so much fitter than I have in years though, so good discipline will have to kick in instead. There is definitely a change in visible activity now with more traffic on the roads and more shops and services finding ways to re-open, but the days of welcoming millions of tourists over the summer months are still a very long way off.

Not many people around here will probably be aware of this, but it should be Eurovision week, culminating with the grand final taking place on Saturday 16th May. The contest this year was to be held in Rotterdam as Duncan Laurence (real name Duncan de Moor) from The Netherlands won last year with his song Arcade, and it is usual for the previous year’s winning country to host the next one.

OIPD7L7O6XD

Sadly the auditorium in Rotterdam is now an overspill hospital for Dutch Covid-19 patients and this will be the first year since the contest’s inception 64 years ago that it hasn’t gone ahead. 2020 will be the year that never happened for large events where the whole raison d’être is the gathering together of lots and lots of people, all there to enjoy the same thing – The Olympics, the Euros, Glastonbury, Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon, the list goes on….

I have been brave enough to mention around here before that a few years ago we went to an actual live contest in Vienna. I’m not going to lie, it was great fun, and although definitely not the “coolest” thing ever to have done, we had a great weekend and found some like-minded fellow Scots to hang around with. If you’re looking for a bit of fluff and nonsense, it can’t be bettered.

Some of my first memories are of watching the contest with my family as a child when our most popular singing stars represented the nation and invariably won or came close to winning – One of my first posts was even about those days (link here). The contest we went to was nothing like the shows I watched as a child, and we of course no longer field the cream of our crop (as it could be career suicide for them), but there have been some worthy and memorable winners over the last few years, Salvador Sobral for one.

salvador 3
Salvador Sobral

This Eurovision themed post comes just at the right time, as I have been manfully making my way through the UK Singles Chart of 1970 in the course of the year as a kind of 50 year retrospective, reflecting simpler times (got that right!). So far we have revisited the hits of Kenny Rogers, Edison Lighthouse, Lee Marvin and Simon & Garfunkel but then the 1970 Eurovision took place and the charts became littered with songs from participating nations as was wont to happen back then.

The song that took over the top spot in the UK Singles Chart from Bridge Over Troubled Water was All Kinds of Everything by very young Irish songstress Dana (the only Eurovision finalist to go on to became an MEP). I would only have been aged nine when this song won the contest and wouldn’t have found it nearly as unbearable to listen to as I do now, but, those sugary sweet songs were just the kind of thing that won back then. In time we would have hard rock winners but that would take a while yet.

The song representing the UK in 1970 was Knock, Knock Who’s There? performed by Welsh songstress Mary Hopkin. She had been the favourite to win on the night but ended up coming second. Most of us in the UK already knew Mary well as she had been one of the first artists to sign with Apple Records, owned by the Beatles. The model Twiggy had apparently seen her winning the British television talent show Opportunity Knocks, and recommended her to Paul McCartney. Her debut single Those Were The Days, produced by McCartney, reached the top spot in the UK in 1968 and yes Mary, the way I’m feeling right now, those definitely were the days.

Lots of Eurovision songs mentioned in this post but what else do I find in that same Singles Chart? Here’s one I haven’t heard in an awful long time but again, it brings back happy memories of watching TOTP with my family as a child. The Same Old Feeling was recorded by the band Pickettywitch and reached the No. 5 spot in 1970. I can still remember watching lead singer Polly Brown in her very short dress, although her immaculately coiffed singing sidekick draws a blank. The band apparently got their moniker after passing a pub of the same name in Yeovil in Somerset. Compared with the wholesome Eurovision ladies, Polly definitely had a bit of an edge.

The Same Old Feeling by Pickettywitch:

Bit of a rambling post this one but a bit sad that we won’t be having our usual get-together for Eurovision this year complete with food and drink of the host nation. As it turns out, Dutch food is not especially noteworthy, so might have been quite a tough one anyway. I did get a chance to revisit the chart of 50 years ago again though, and decided in the end I preferred Pickettywitch to any of the Eurovision entrants. It looks as if the next big chart topper of 1970 was also associated with a major event, but a football one this time. By the time I get round to it, I will have coincided with another cancelled 2020 event.

Until next time….

The Same Old Feeling Lyrics
(Song by John Macleod/Tony Macaulay)

I still get the same old feeling
Tearing at this heart of mine
Telling me that maybe I’m
Not really over you
I still get the same old yearning
Turning my heart inside out
Love, there can’t be any doubt
I’m still not over you

The oak tree where you carved my name
A year ago now
Somehow doesn’t really look the same
I think it closed now
The places we would go
Still play the songs we used to know

The cottage where we used to meet
Is overgrown now
We dreamed we’d live there too someday
Just on our own now
The letters you wrote me
Still bring that sentimental ring

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

12 thoughts on “Eurovision, Pickettywitch and Another Look At The Chart Hits Of 1970”

    1. Yep, I’ve mentioned them just a few times! Currently watching the Saturday night extravaganza they’ve come up with as an alternative – So far so good.

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    2. And, as an added bonus we were back in touch last night with the friends we made out in Vienna, from Dumbarton of all places. Yes, we travelled all that way and the only other people dressed up as Bucks Fizz were Scottish!

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    1. Didn’t know she was big in the US too – Perhaps with the backing of the Beatles it made it easier for her. Thanks for the info from across the pond as ever and hope you’re doing ok.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your “wanted poster” and reminding us all of your days in Bucks Fizz. I had no idea this would have been Eurovision weekend, or that there was some alternative planned on TV. I feel even more divorced from the outside world than ever before. You may be the only thing still connecting me to it in any way, Alyson. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Yes it does look a bit like a “wanted poster” doesn’t it – Have you seen these suspicious looking characters posing as Bucks Fizz?

      We watched the shows on telly last night and they worked surprisingly well. The big one hosted by Graham Norton, as well as being full of the usual weird and wacky, also had some moving performances by past winners – I know you’re not a fan but when the Swede (the other one) Mans Zemerlow performed an acoustic version of his song Heroes from his garden, it really hit home (no pun intended).

      You’re not a football fan either but I think I’m still going to have to post a football song at some point as ties in both with this series and another cancelled event this summer – It doesn’t really matter that you’re divorced from the outside world at the moment as nothing much is going to happen for some time.

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  2. A Facebook friend of mine has been posting videos of every single British Eurovision song in chronological order this weekend. After he posted Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson’s 1959 song “Sing Little Birdie” (I was 8 years old and it scarred me for life having to endure it on the radio for months on end) I threatened to hunt him down and kill him.

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    1. Oh dear – going back that far is not good. Also Kenneth MacKellar represented the UK back in the early 60s and you definitely wouldn’t want to revisit his song again. Of course the contest back then was a very different animal to what it is now and although we invariably finish last nowadays we’ve fielded some pretty good songs in the last decade – We watched all the songs for what would have been this year’s contest last night on telly and there were some really good ones mixed in with the weird and the wacky.

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  3. I love that photo – you must have turned a few heads!
    We watched that ‘A to Z of Eurovision’ programme the other night and just enjoyed the pure wackiness of so many of the performances. Somehow very European, if that doesn’t sound too obvious! There is just a particular type of quirkiness that prevails over here which is just not the same as it would be in the US, for instance. at least I can’t imagine it. I didn’t expect to miss (as in the feeling) the contest this year, but I rather did… it’s such an institution.

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    1. Yes, turns out that dressing up is not de rigour so we ended up being stopped for photos quite a few times. Just to be clear, I only got into it all again when DD was small as it was a fun show to watch as a family. Then our friends started coming round as it was a good excuse to have a get-together with the food and drink of the host nation and they suggested we actually to go to a live contest as they were experts at booking city breaks, so did all the organisation. It was only when our friend told his workmates about it that they said we should really dress up, so we did! Ok, so that’s my excuses out of the way, but yes like you we did watch the A-Z show on Saturday night and the other offerings. As you say, just so European and couldn’t happen in America. Shame we seem to have alienated ourselves from the rest of Europe though, getting “nil points” every year nowadays. With all that’s going on we really need to be pulling together more not pulling apart but hey ho, lets see what happens.

      We’re going to miss a lot this year, things that are just part of the annual calendar. I always like watching Chelsea Flower Show at this time of year as you know it’s time to start planting for the summer – With no Chelsea I’ll be all out of kilter. Will really miss the tennis too and the Olympics. Who knows when such things will return. Sad.

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