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In recent years this uniquely British tradition has been monopolized by TV talent shows. But the backlash is well under way. And the great race for the Christmas No.1 is back. The Christmas No.1 Story, BBC 2012
1952: Al Martino: Here in my Heart. ibid.
1955: Dickie Valentine: Christmas Alphabet. ibid.
1957: Harry Belafonte: Mary’s Boy Child. ibid.
1963: The Beatles: I Want to Hold Your Hand. ibid.
1969: Rolf Harris: Two Little Boys. ibid.
The Christmas Top of the Pops was the perfect arena for this gladiatorial glitter-off. ibid.
1973: Wizard: I Wish It Could Be Christmas v Slade: Merry Christmas, Everybody. ibid.
1976: Johnny Mathis: When a Child is Born. ibid.
1978: Bony M: Mary’s Boy Child. ibid.
1981: The Human League: Don’t You Want Me. ibid.
Wham: Last Christmas: the highest selling single ever not to make it to Number One. ibid.
1984: Band Aid: Do They Know It’s Christmas? ibid.
1985: Shakin’ Stevens: Merry Christmas, Everyone. ibid.
1988: Cliff Richard v Jason & Kylie. ibid.
1990: Cliff Richard: Saviour’s Day. ibid.
The big ballads took over. ibid.
1994: E17: Stay Another Day. ibid.
2000: Bob The Builder: Can We Fix It? ibid.
2009: Rage Against The Machine. ibid.
The first priest to denounce the Beatles. Father Ted s1e6: Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest, Dougal of Jack, Channel 4 1995
[Marc] Bolan himself seemed to be the ultimate pinup. Dominic Sandbrook, The 70s I: Get It On 70-72 ***** BBC 2013
Bowie saw gender-bending as a kind of performance. ibid.
I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.
So bye bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys was drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, This’ll be the day that I die.
This’ll be the day that I die. Don McLean, American Pie, 1972 song on death of Buddy Holly
Sergeant Pepper – a decisive moment in the history of Western Civilisation. Kenneth Tynan, English theatre critic
Before Elvis there was nothing. John Lennon
I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen. Timothy Leary
I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to. Elvis Presley
Rihanna: there’s something not right with it. Richard D Hall, Richplanet TV with Neil Sanders
This is the story of how modern Britain went Pop. At first British youth had no voice of its own. But in the ’60s British Pop captured the nation and went on to rule the world. And for the past forty years successive generations of stars have continually re-imagined the great British Pop dream. Pop Britannia: Move It, BBC 2008
In Britain singers like Alma Cogan, Dickie Valentine, and Joan Regan stepped off the bandstand and down to Denmark Street and bought themselves a ballad. ibid.
If you wanted to hear it, you had to hunt it down on European stations like Radio Luxembourg. ibid.
The rise of Tommy Steele is often described as the earliest true British Pop event. ibid.
One of the first shows on the new TV was Oh Boy. Pop television for teenagers. ibid.
Adam Faith died in 2003. And in his autobiography he revealed his frustrations about trying to express himself in the music business. ibid.
Acker Bilk’s Stranger on the Shore became the first British recording to reach number one in the US billboard one hundred. ibid.
None of the Beatles had been abroad before when they headed to Hamburg. ibid.
The old guard were oblivious to the revolution that was about to engulf them. With the coming of the Beatles the ’60s would see the arrival of a new generation of artists and managers determined to take control of their lives and careers, and they built a whole new British Pop business that went on to conquer the world. ibid.
Brian Epstein had shacked up the London-centric establishment by building a stable of working-class Liverpudlian acts. Pop Britannia: A Well Respected Man
Tin Pan Alley: where professional writing teams crafted the Pop hits that dominated the world’s charts. ibid.
And the two worlds met: with the Mods, a tribe of working class kids, who liked nothing better than a good scrap with the greasy older Rockers. The house band of the Mods were The Who led by art student Pete Townsend. ibid.
Jimi Hendrix was American. But he owed his very pop existence to British creative forces. He had been spotted by Animal’s bassist Chad Chandler while touring the USA. ibid.
Hendrix stormed the UK and US charts with Hey Joe in the summer of ’67. ibid.
British pop was now growing up. Bands like Pink Floyd and Cream brought Britain into the Rock era. Rock was conceptual. For grown-ups. And made three-minute pop seemed passé. The very currency of British pop seemed to change overnight. ibid.
Marc Bolan had been both a thwarted Mod and a frustrated singer-songwriter. But when 1970 arrived he put down his acoustic, plugged in and put the fun back into Pop. ibid.
Roxy Music, led by former art student Bryan Ferry, brought some art-school magic back into Pop with their 1972 hit Virginia Plain. ibid.
In the space of twelve years Britain had gone from being a country with no Pop industry to being the Pop capital of the world. ibid.
But around the corner lay something that would rip British Pop up and start again. ibid.