Sunday, 3 August 2008

Retro Blast - Week Ending 10 August 1968

This is something I've wanted to do here for a while but there hust weren't enough archive resources available - now I think there are. This is especially after I was pointed in the direction of the Chart Stats site which is a monumental effort of catalogueing the UK music charts from the early 1950s to the present day. Where it scores over others is by having the entire chart for each week online, both singles and albums. Bravo to the webmasters there as this will provide the foundations for my new feature. Also indebted to YouTube, Wikipedia and others.

My choices will come from the first 40 years of my life and will flit all over the decades. The only other restriction is that consecutive choices must be at least five years apart. I've a schedule drawn up until the end of the year which I hope to follow. The feature will be dated for the Sunday, but may appear before then, depending on my internet access.

I'm starting, not entirely randomly with this week in 1968. For arguements sake it's the one ending Saturday 10 August. It's made more complicated in this era as the week ending dates on the charts are Thursdays. That's on top of matching them up to the right week of 2008!

Second highest climber (to no4) are Simon & Garfunkel with "Mrs Robinson", from "The Graduate" (as well as the album "Bookends" which itself had just climbed to the runner-up spot in the album chart).

Richard Harris' epic version of "MacArthur Park" was on the slide at No8 in the singles chart. It came from the film musical, "Camelot"

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch enjoy a "Last Night in Soho", also slipping to no9.

Highest new entry at no27 are The Bee Gees with the death row anthem, "I've got to Get A Message To You"

Meanwhile Tom Jones was at No1 in the album charts as well as climbing to no7 in the singles with the jaunty "Help Yourself"

This was also the week that "X Files" actress Gillian Anderson was born and the second episode of "Dad's Army" was broadcast on BBC1.

Can't really go without a "Doctor Who" mention for the closing Saturday of this week saw a season launch. Though two later seasons began at the tail end of August this was doubly unusual as it made for a very short break between seasons - the previous one had only bowed out on 1st June for a repeat of the previous year's "Evil of the Daleks" 7-parter. In fact season six was being split in two to accomodate the Mexico City Olympics in the autumn and the first ten episodes had been pulled forward. The opening story, "The Dominators" has not got a great reputation among fans, mainly for its inept handling and anti-pacifist message. It's best known for those little fellas to the left - the Quarks - one of two squat monster races brought in to attempt to replace the Daleks (Terry Nation had taken his ball away basically) and failing. They're a nice curiosity but never really menace the viewer as they look even more like condiments.

At five episodes "The Dominators" was indicative of the sprawling nature of the coming season where the average episode count for each story was greater than six - there's only one four parter in it!

Back in the real world Richard Nixon won the US Republican Party's nomination for President and the Clint Eastwood film "Hang 'Em High" was released in this week.


Anonymous said...

As much as I love Richard Harris and MacArthur Park, it's not from "Camelot!"

Graeme said...

Oops - seem to have built up my own urban myth there!


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