Now, we come to the year 1978 in Music to My Years. I turned 7 years old and music really started to play a big part in my life. My parents started to buy me Smash Hits (I cannot believe I was only 7 when I got this!) and I learned ALL of the words to many tracks including a number of songs on this chart (that is how I know this was the year I started to get it!). My sister, Harriette, was born and we also lost both my Grandma (my mum’s mum) and my Grandad (my dad’s dad). I can remember my mum being really ill and needed a lot of support. It wasn’t an easy time.
Unlike last week, they are SO many songs I could have chosen. Any of the honourable mentions could have been put into my chart and I could have shared a top ten at least twice over!
- Summer Night City by Abba
- Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle
- What A Waste by Ian Dury
- A Taste of Aggro by The Barron Knights
- Talking In Your Sleep by Crystal Gayle
- Instant Replay – Dan Hartman
- Lovely Day – Bill Withers
- More Than a Woman – Tavares
- Hangin’ On the Telephone – Blondie
- Man with the Child in His Eyes – Kate Bush
- Pretty Little Angel Eyes – Showaddwaddy
- It’s a Heartache – Bonnie Tyler
- Too Much Heaven – Bee Gees
- Sweet Talkin’ Woman – ELO
- Blame it on the Boogie – The Jacksons
- Follow You Follow Me – Genesis
- Love is in the Air – John Paul Young
- Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
- I Can’t Stand the Rain – Eruption
- Oh What a Circus – David Essex
- Grease – Frankie Valli
- Hopelessly Devoted to You – Olivia Newton John
- Sandy – John Travolta
- Never Let Her Slip Away – Andrew Gold
- D’Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
- Rasputin – Boney M
- Rat Trap – The Boomtown Rats
- Take a Chance on Me – ABBA
- The Smurf Song – Father Abrahams and The Smurfs
- Three Times a Lady – The Commodores
- Night Fever – Bee Gees
- Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
- Rivers Of Babylon / Brown Girl In The Ring – Boney M
As I am now a radio presenter on Radio Ninesprings, and I will be sharing my Top 10 all week and sharing 1 track from the list each day, Monday to Friday, on my show from 3pm. Plus, there is now a compilation show on Sunday’s at 6pm.
10. MatchStalk Men and MatchStalk Cats and Dogs By Brian and Michael
Brian and Michael are one of the only one-hit wonder acts to feature on my Music to My Years chart so far. They wrote the song as a tribute to the artist L. S. Lowry, who had died two years before. It resonated with me – partly because my parents had a couple of Lowry paintings hanging in our house at the time and I was always intrigued as the song told the story of his life. It may be a bit emotional each time I heard it.
For the song, Coleman drew on his own memories of Salford and Ancoats as well as the paintings of Lowry. St Winifred’s School Choir appeared on the record – who went on to have a hit with ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’!
9. I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper By Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip
This was a song that really made me want to be a dancer, thanks to Hot Gossip and Top of the Pops! I even had a Top of the Pops album with a photograph of them on the front walking in space. The song also incorporated sound effects and lines referencing Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Close Encounters of a Third Time and came at a point when everyone was a little bit obsessed with outer space.
It is hard to believe that Sarah Brightman was just 18 at the time and went on to become the lead female in Phantom of the Opera. This track is light years away from that (excuse the pun!).
8. The Boy From New York City By Darts
My second Darts track on my Music to My Years and this was sung by the lady of the group, Rita Ray. It was a cover hit and I really loved the harmonies. I can remember my Uncles (who I have previously mentioned had a disco), making me mix tapes all of the time. This was one of the tracks and I would play it on my tape player in the garden whilst dancing!
7. Substitute By Clout
This song was originally recorded by The Righteous Brothers and released as a single in 1975 – but it went nowhere. It was then revived by Clout, a 5-member, all-girl band from South Africa who were managed and produced by Graeme Beggs. The first proper girl band that I can remember – a bit like The Bangles except that whilst Clout sang on the track they didn’t play any of their own instruments. Still a great song though!
6. Wild West Hero By ELO
Probably one of my most favourite ELO tracks and one I could listen to over and over again. I just love the words about someone dreaming wishing they were something more exciting!
The song was written reputedly by lead singer Jeff Lynne in 4 minutes while on holiday. It entered the Top 40 at No. 31 in June 1978 but then went down to number 36 the following week. But, thanks to a quick release 12″ format on yellow vinyl, it did much better and, within six weeks it had risen to a peak position of number 6.
5. YMCA By The Village People
This is the very first song I learned the lyrics to, thanks to Smash Hits magazine. I love the video, I loved the actions – and I still love them to this day. I was able to see the Village People live at The Rewind Festival 10 years ago – and did all the actions again then!
This track appeared in the pantomime I directed and was used as a comedy turn by the Pantomime dog – it was Ross’ idea! It was Max the dog’s party trick to perform it together with the actions!
4. You’re The One That I Want – John Travolta & Olivia Newton-Johns
This is the only song that made my top ten. I would have loved to have put all the songs from Grease in – but then, it would have been overkill – so I had to select one and this is it! I can recall going to see Grease at the cinema at the ABC in Woking. I was far too young to understand some of what they were talking about. I just knew that I loved the music.
My father bought the album for me in Selfridges in London. I still have the price sticker inside – it was £4.99. It was a double spread, open out album with two discs and I can remember that my friend, Hannah, came over to my house JUST to see the LP.
This is the track where I just wanted to be Olivia Newton-John. Sassy, in control and full of confidence. And I still love the song to this day!
3. Wuthering Heights By Kate Bush
This is probably one of the most memorable performances on Top of the Pops for me (which, by this time, I was watching religiously every week!). She was just beautiful and mystical and her voice was incredible.
I loved the fact that she turned an old-fashioned romantic novel into a timeless song and encapsulated the whole book into just one song!
2. Forever Autumn By Justin Hayward
When I was 7, I was in Class 8 at Goldsworth First School and my teacher was Mrs Ferguson. She loved musicals and decided to allow volunteers to stay in during lunchtime to listen to The War of the Worlds soundtrack. It was set in Horsell in Woking where I lived so it had a real meaning to me. I loved it. This particular track was sung by the lead singer of the Moody Blues (another group my dad always listened to) and I was enthralled by the haunting beauty of it.
Years later, Jeff Wayne recreated the soundtrack with Gary Barlow of Take That singing this song. It just wasn’t the same for me. Justin Hayward’s voice is perfect for this song.
1. Mr Blue Sky By ELO
Without doubt, this was the clear winner this week. I can remember when my father would play ELO every Sunday morning and, even if it wasn’t sunny, this song always made it so. You cannot help but listen to it with a huge smile on your face. I nearly didn’t choose it for my Pantomime as I was worried that we wouldn’t do it justice. How wrong I was! My musical director, Stephen Johnson, did a spectacular job. It was our big dance number at the end and we had backing singers and everything!
On a BBC Radio interview, ELO leader Jeff Lynne talked about how he came up with this song after he locked himself away in a Swiss chalet attempting to write ELO’s follow-up to A New World Record. “It was dark and misty for two weeks, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ and 13 other songs in the next two weeks.”
Find my playlist over on Spotify: