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Sounds on Sunday: 50 years ago/2

50 YEARS AGO the Charts recorded the best-selling “singles” of each week. Have the hits of 1971 stood the test of half a century of time slipping by since they were released? Sadly, in most cases the top selling singles have not: with only some exceptions the number one hits of 1971 are either not memorable – or memorable for the wrong reasons. Join us as we look back and ask ourselves: “what were we thinking???”

This week 50 years ago, Clive Dunn remained at number one with Grandad – and we’ve already said we’ll spare you that. Last week’s feature, Marc Bolan’s Ride a White Swan, was the first number two single of 1971. Looking down the chart for 17th January, we can find virtually nothing we dare bring you.

Fortunately, Apeman by the ever delightful The Kinks caught our eye – nestling at number eleven on 10th January. Again, it’s a case of the political message of the 1960s lingering on in a single which could be seen as species-ist by a grumpy listener – but pay close attention to the lyrics, which refute any such worries. Apeman is half way between novelty record and protest song, but let’s not quibble with Ray Davies. “I don’t want to die in a nuclear war,” he sings – and we’re still singing it 50 years later.  Hmph.


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