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….

IMG_0793
Bucks Fizz or is it?

I have been brave enough to mention around here before that a few years ago we went to an actual live contest in Vienna, and the picture on the right appears somewhere on an official Eurovision website as we had been caught on camera whilst trying to navigate our way home on the city’s underground system. 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

Salvador Sobral, “Amar Pelos Dois” and Harking Back to Simpler Times

A short post compared to my usual tomes but last week I had a bit of a meltdown, where the very thought of looking at my home computer screen induced the collywobbles. ‘Tis all the fault of this new-fangled, hot desking, paperless office I have to turn up to every day – It’s not for me I’ve decided and Mr WIAA and I have been having very serious talks about what is to be done.

In the meantime, as this is in effect my web-diary, I want to record the fact that a very simple jazz ballad sung by a chap with a dicky ticker won last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest for Portugal. It was written by his sister and after being announced as the winner, the pair got up on stage to perform the song together.

salvador

I am a fan of Eurovision and over the last 12 years we have watched it with the same set of friends who again came round for Saturday night’s show. I had intended to do a series of posts last week about the “Wacky World of Eurovision” (which is why some of you saw that title appear on your sidebar), but after the meltdown, that didn’t come to pass. Also I think I possibly had a bit of a wobble about ruining any music-blogging credibility I may have left!

In the end however, amidst a sea of the usual weird and wonderful big production numbers, it was a simple love song that came out on top. We all scored it in our top three and it seems the rest of Europe agreed. Reassuringly, our own UK entry sung by Lucie Jones also did pretty well (relatively speaking) and here I was thinking that after all the “triggering” that’s been going on around here recently, we would end up at the bottom of the pile.

And so I give you the winning song, Amar Pelos Dois, written by Luisa Sobral and sung by her brother Salvador Sobral. The lyrics were performed in Portuguese but somehow we could still tell that it was the story of a lost love and of the singer’s continuous search to find her.

Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral:

So, “What’s It All About?” – I love what all this new technology can do for us but having just worked out that some days I will now perhaps spend 16 hours in front of a bank of computer screens, something will have to be done. Mr Sobral above has given up all social media and the backdrop for his song was not pyrotechnics but calming scenes from nature. Why did his song win? It was beautiful indeed but I also think that those of us with addled brains found it a real solace to listen to, and for me, it harked back to simpler times. In the short-term I think I’ll have to battle on, but for the longer-term, the life of a robot is not for me – Thank you Salvador for reminding me of that on Saturday night and please, please look after that dicky ticker because I want you, and your sweet songs, to be around for some time to come.

Amar Pelos Dois Lyrics
(Song by Luisa Sobral)

If one day someone asks about me
Tell them I lived to love you
Before you, I only existed
Tired and with nothing to give

My dear, listen to my prayers
I beg you to return, to want me again
I know that one can’t love alone
Maybe slowly you might learn again

My dear, listen to my prayers
I beg you to return, to want me again
I know that one can’t love alone
Maybe slowly you might learn again

If your heart doesn’t wish to give in
Not to feel passion, not to suffer
Without making plans of what will come after
My heart can love for the both of us

Postscript:

Although I initially thought that Salvador’s win at Eurovision was purely down to the simplicity of his song there was most definitely another factor at play – The big winner at this year’s Oscars was the film La La Land (although we have to remind ourselves it didn’t actually win the award for Best Film despite having been announced as such by Warren Beatty on the night). It also harked back in style to the romantic musicals of the ’40s and ’50s, and the musical numbers were simple, jazz influenced, piano-accompanied delights. The “halo effect” is definitely a thing, and one I am always highly influenced by, so it is likely that those of us who enjoyed Salvador’s song subconsciously associated it with the music from La La Land. In case you’re not aware of any of the songs from its soundtrack, here is my favourite, City Of Stars sung by its two stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

City of Stars by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone:

Sunday Dinners, “Super Troupers” and ABBA

Haven’t written a brand new post for over a fortnight now so here is something slightly different for me – “Tipsy blogging”!

I did feel after 91 posts and 100 featured songs that I had perhaps neglected my “real world” family and friends this year but it turns out that in order to cope with the real world, a dip into the “virtual world” of blogging is sometimes just what is needed – Who knew when we were teenagers that once we reached 50-something, we would end up being what is classed nowadays as the sandwich generation. For the first time in years I had wine with the Sunday dinner I had cooked (shock horror), and everyone is having opoplexy. I am always the sensible one who picks up Granny and Grandad and then takes them home, but tonight I decided that it was my turn to unwind on a Sunday night. It doesn’t take much nowadays so after a couple of wines I felt really quite tiddly and you know what, I think it is just what was needed after a weekend of chores, paperwork and playing taxi service to our daughter and her friends.

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What I serve up every Sunday!

So, looking through my iTunes library tonight what jumps out as being just what I want to listen to? Too tiddly to get very far so good that right at the top of Songs listed alphabetically by Artist, is Super Trouper by ABBA. Why? – Because I think we ladies of a certain age are the unsung “Super Troupers” of the new millenium and are often unwittingly taken forgranted. Most of us now still have full-time jobs, look after the house and garden, support adult children still living at home and take care of our “old-folk”. Not complaining, just sayin’….

Super Trouper by ABBA:

There can be no-one over a certain age (on the planet) who will not have heard of ABBA, that Swedish supergroup who burst onto the scene after their Eurovision triumph in a little theatre in Brighton in 1974. The song they won with that year was Waterloo and when watching that particular show I still remember being mighty impressed with those bright blue, satin knicker-bockers that Agnetha wore on the night. Those on-trend trousers with a pair of silver platform boots would have been heaven to own at age 14 but of course they were not deemed suitable by my parents – “You could fall over and break a leg in those!”

Despite being one of the most commercially successful bands ever, with around 500 million records sold, there was always something a bit “uncool” about ABBA. Maybe it was the outfits or maybe just by being Scandinavian and a bit different, they couldn’t be pigeon-holed like so many other bands from that era. Whatever it was I think the passage of time has rendered that judgement obsolete and the jukebox musical Mama Mia! is one of the most successful stage shows ever, so I imagine they no longer care.

Super Trouper was Abba’s ninth and final No 1 in the UK Singles Chart hitting the top spot in November 1980. By this time of course the marriages between the two couples in the band had fallen apart so it was increasingly difficult to keep working together. Their last single to make the top 10 in the UK was One Of Us in December 1981 and as one of their less-familiar songs, now one of my favourites I think.

One Of Us by ABBA:

There was of course news this week that Simon Fuller (erstwhile manager of The Spice Girls) is masterminding an ABBA reunion where the power of hollograms and large screens will bring the Swedish Fab Four back together again “virtually” in concert. Not sure about this at all as I think I prefer to remember these great bands as they were in their heyday and not as they are now – Septuagenarians all of them (bar Agnetha who is a mere 66). We’ll see what happens but if it does come off we’ll no doubt need a second mortgage to pay for a ticket, therefore it’s a no from me I’m afraid.

So, “What’s It All About?” – It turns out that tipsy blogging is a thing, so I might try it out again sometime (I may b mistken but I dn’t think my speling and gramar has suffered unjulie). I have missed writing new posts over the last fortnight so will try and pick up the pace again now that I have realised that the real world is hard work sometimes and the virtual world can be a very nice diversion for a short portion of the day. Key word here is “short” as I think most of us can find ourselves spending way more time than is healthy in this fascinating place. Until next time…..

Super Trouper Lyrics
(Song by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus)

Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

I was sick and tired of everything
When I called you last night from Glasgow
All I do is eat and sleep and sing
Wishing every show was the last show
(Wishing every show was the last show)
So imagine I was glad to hear you’re coming
(Glad to hear you’re coming)
Suddenly I feel all right
(And suddenly it’s gonna be)
And it’s gonna be so different
When I’m on the stage tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

Facing twenty thousand of your friends
How can anyone be so lonely
Part of a success that never ends
Still I’m thinking about you only
(Still I’m thinking about you only)
There are moments when I think I’m going crazy
(Think I’m going crazy)
But it’s gonna be alright
(You’ll soon be changing everything)
Everything will be so different
When I’m on the stage tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

So I’ll be there when you arrive
The sight of you will prove to me I’m still alive
And when you take me in your arms
And hold me tight
I know it’s gonna mean so much tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you