Plastic Penny, Manfred Mann, Kaleidoscope, Amen Corner, Herman’s Hermits – Top Of The Pops 1968 – Past Daily Nights At The Round Table
Another dive into Top Of The Pops and the 60s tonight. In lieu of the events, these past few days, a good excuse to provide the soundtrack to an escape, even if it is for just 40 minutes.
Interesting episode of this all-live studio program from the BBC and available worldwide via the BBC Transcription Service. Of all the bands represented, only Manfred Mann’s Mighty Quinn became the huge hit. The others, sadly either had moderate hits or were winding up their tenures or got lost in the weekly crush of new records. Whatever it was, a lot of good music that hasn’t been heard very much over here by bands that may have fallen under the radar over the years.
Herman’s Hermits had become more popular in the U.S. than the UK by this point. Their 1967 album Blaze wasn’t issued in the UK and was only available in the US. This follow-up single to No Milk Today and There’s A Kind Of Hush; I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving, reached 22 on the U.S. charts yet reached 11 on the UK charts. By 1969 the situation reversed and MGM in the US stopped releasing their albums and singles, leaving them only available in the UK.
Manfred Mann issued Mighty Quinn, which was one of the biggest hits the group had. They had undergone personnel changes, beginning in 1966 when singer Paul Jones was replaced by Singer-songwriter Mike D’abo. The band scored two more hits before calling it a day in 1969 and re-emerging as Manfred Mann Chapter Three with a radical change in musical direction.
Kaleidoscope sadly never made much dent over here. however they did acquire a cult following that has stayed that way ever since. They never charted, either in the UK or the US (I am not certain either of their two Fontana albums were issued in the US – I never saw them), and the band pretty much dissolved by 1969. Still, they had fans in high places; John Peel was one and the BBC in general were the other, and their albums have been reissued over the years, because the originals are going for stupid amounts of money.
Amen Corner and Plastic Penny both had some singles issued in the U.S., but neither group managed to make a dent. They were more popular in the UK and Amen Corner singer Andy Fairweather-Low went on to a successful solo career in the 70s. Plastic Penny achieved one-hit wonder status in the UK before breaking up in 1969. The individual members went on to successful careers.
All told, a good cross-section of what was going on, in February 1968 via the BBC.
Hat-tip to Gray Newell for taking my mind off the week.