MONDAY, MAY 11, 2015
WEEK 19: SECRET PLEASURES OF SEVENTIES POP
As soon as I hit the pop road to Damascus, I would fall asleep with a tiny transistor stuck to my ear blasting out the latest smashes on Radio Luxembourg. So I find it kind of ironic that most of those very same songs have been exorcised from pop history and are now considered as nothing more than mere Secret Pleasures. They have become the songs we hate to love or rather, the songs we hate to admit we love.
Despite putting together playlists like this for years, the whole concept of Secret Pleasures still strikes me as a strange one. The Oxford dictionary definition is straightforward enough: ‘Something one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard’. But that much has always been obvious hasn’t it? What’s far more interesting is the realisation that actually, all Secret Pleasures are dictated by personal taste and the self-perceived notion of what is or isn’t cool. And that’s where it can get a little tricky. No doubt everyone would agree that Neil Diamond or Gilbert O’Sullivan are Secret Pleasures, but what about Nilsson or 10cc? D’you see what I mean?
One thing I do know is that the seventies was the greatest Secret Pleasures era of them all. These days it’s viewed not just as a different country but as another planet ruled by aliens in beards, flares and stack heels. The only positive thing I ever hear about the seventies is the nostalgia fuelled celebration of its kitsch cool, from Curly Wurlys to chopper bikes, space hoppers to hot pants. And pop’s Secret Pleasures were an essential part of all that!
The seventies were an absolute goldmine of the Goddamn things largely because pop music itself was cast adrift, quietly forgotten as the LP and a far heavier, more serious musical age was ushered in. In the early years pop was heard as outdated, manufactured, lightweight fluff, and to a certain extent it was, although I can’t help feeling that was also the moment its naïveté and beautiful innocence were lost forever. Not that I took any notice because mid-decade, deep within the onslaught of punk, I pissed on all of these songs. Little did I realise that forty years later I would be returning as a far more open minded, retro treasure seeker determined to hunt them down.
01 RAY STEVENS ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ (A Side May 1970)
02 ASHTON, GARDNER & DYKE ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ (A Side January 1971)
03 NEIL DIAMOND ‘I Am I Said’ (A Side May 1971)
04 WHITE PLAINS ‘When You Are A King’ (A Side June 1971)
05 GILBERT O’SULLIVAN ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ (A Side February 1972)
06 NILSSON ‘Coconut’ (A Side June 1972)
07 HIGHLY LIKELY ‘Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?’ (A Side April 1973)
08 MEDECINE HEAD ‘One And One Is One’ (A Side April 1973)
09 HOT CHOCOLATE ‘Emma’ (A Side March 1974)
10 TERRY JACKS ‘Seasons In The Sun’ (A Side March 1974)
11 BRIAN PROTHEROE ‘Pinball’ (A Side September 1974)
12 GARY SHEARSTON ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’ (A Side October 1974)
13 MURRAY HEAD ‘Say It Ain’t So Joe’ (A Side October 1975)
14 DOOBIE BROTHERS ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’ (A Side March 1976)
15 10CC ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’ (A Side March 1976)
16 ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA ‘Livin’ Thing’ (A Side November 1976)
17 ANDREW GOLD ‘Lonely Boy’ (A Side April 1977)
18 CARLY SIMON ‘Nobody Does It Better’ (A Side August 1977)
19 GERRY RAFFERTY ‘Right Down The Line’ (A Side May 1978)
20 SUPERTRAMP ‘Goodbye Stranger’ (A Side September 1979)