Orange Bicycle; Solomon King; Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera; The Equals; Don Partridge – Top Of The Pops – April 5, 1968 – BBC Radio 1 –
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Ending up the week with another Top Of The Pops program – this one from April 5, 1968 and features Orange Bicycle, Solomon King, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, The Equals and Don Partridge – all broadcast on BBC Radio and available internationally via the BBC Transcription Service.
With the exception of The Equals, most of these acts might be unfamiliar with American audiences. As was the case with much of the Pop music of the 60s; there was a flood of it, and even though radio was pretty far-reaching as far as musical genres, the sheer number of singles and albums issued was overwhelming and not everything that came out was destined for airplay or even recognition. The nature of the beast.
A quick rundown on who is who via the ever-handy Wikipedia:
The Equals were a British pop, R&B and rock group formed in North London, England in 1965. They are best remembered for their million-selling chart-topper “Baby, Come Back” (which they play on this episode live), though they had several other chart hits in the UK and Europe. Eddy Grant founded the group with Pat Lloyd, John Hall, and brothers Derv and Lincoln Gordon, and they were noted as being “the first major interracial rock group in the UK” and “one of the few racially mixed bands of the era”.
Orange Bicycle was an English psychedelic pop band, which existed between 1967 and 1971. The band played a style influenced by The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the hippie counter culture. Previously, they acted as support, and backing band for the duo Paul and Barry Ryan as well as completing sessions for other vocalists, recording over 100 BBC Radio One sessions and appearing on UK TV.
Solomon King (born Allen Verner Levy, August 13, 1931 – January 21, 2005) was an American 1960s and 1970s popular music singer. He is best remembered for his 1968 British hit single, “She Wears My Ring”, which charted in 40 countries.
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera emerged from a soul/blues band called ‘The Five Proud Walkers’. After supporting Pink Floyd on tour, they were inspired to change their approach and become a more psychedelic outfit. The band consolidated as Richard Hudson on drums, John Ford on bass, Colin Forster on lead guitar, Jimmy Horrocks (Horovitz) on organ and flute (who left early in the band’s history), and Dave Terry on vocals and harmonica. Initially just calling themselves Velvet Opera, they developed their full name when Terry took to wearing a cape and preacher’s hat in the style of the title character in the 1960 film adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Elmer Gantry.
Donald Eric Partridge (27 October 1941 – 21 September 2010) was an English singer and songwriter, known as the “king of the buskers”. He performed from the early 1960s first as a folk singer and later as a busker and one-man band, and achieved unexpected commercial success in the UK and Europe in the late 1960s with the songs “Rosie”, “Blue Eyes” and “Breakfast On Pluto”. He later was a founder of the group Accolade, which released two albums. He continued writing music, playing, busking and recording, mainly as a solo artist, until 2008.
So now you know – sit back, hit “play” and figure out how you’re going to isolate this weekend. I’ll be here, so don’t worry.