1972, its our penultimate year in school, the year before the O levels, the 4th form, we’re all in black blazers now befitting our status as almost senior members of the Grammar School and Rodney stopped wearing shorts a few weeks ago, we are all of us, absolute experts in popular chart music and yet none of us had ever seen an act like Alice Cooper when he appeared on these shores, on our Top of the Pops, and yes Patrick, I will make mention of your appearance as Alice on the balcony of the school hall at our wonderfully organised end of year school disco , mascara hastily borrowed from a random girl (I hope) and a single spotlight highlighting the balcony thus giving away the fact that we were all in on the conspiracy and making it not-so-random and deserving of a bollacking.
One pertinent fact to note here – its fairly obvious that the week that this was recorded is not a week in which Jimmy Savile would have been presenting TOTP, for those girls on stage would have been locked in his wardrobe by now.
How could we so easily forget Lieutenant Pigeon, yes kids this actually was a number one popular music chart hit in 1972 mainly for its wonderful rhythmic beat which made it perfect for the dance craze of that year “The Stomp”, a dance in which you did nothing but stand there and stamp your feet, one at a time, in time to the drum, even I almost managed that one although this TOTP audience has problems finding the beat when they are all encouraged to clap their hands at the end of the song, matched only by the musician who hasn’t yet mastered the recorder.
But at least he got his mother on TV, at christmas too, so thats nice.
Did we really look like this ?
Recorded live in the Locarno Ballroom in Coventry one night, “My Ding-A-Ling” also got to number one in the Uk popular beat music combo charts in 1972 despite being banned by the BBC for being “overly suggestive”, I didn’t know what they meant in 1972 and I really don’t know what they mean by that today, so its a song about a man who plays with his willy a lot, the BBC used to employ men like that in the 1970s.
I actually used to have this record in my collection (until the wife threw them all away but thats another sad story in my museum of recollection and will be the epitaph for her headstone “She threw away my record collection”), but I never went out and bought the record, oh no, my lovely old Great-Aunt Beattie gave it to me.
You’ve all leaned back from the keyboard in horror haven’t you, “What?” you are all exclaiming, “You’re lovely old Great-Aunt Beattie gave you the slightly porno Chuck Berry hit from 1972 “My Ding-a-Ling, but how ?”
Well, she didn’t exactly go out and buy it for me and she sure as hell had never heard it played nor had she played it herself for she didn’t own a record player and her transistor radio in the kitchen was permanently tuned to “Womans Hour” and my Ding-a-Ling was certainly not on the Womans Hour play list, no, what happened was that one of the old ladies who lived in the same terrace of old stone houses that my Great-Aunt Beattie lived in had bought the No 1 hit record for her own grandson, had given it to her grandson, and then the grandsons mother had huffily given it back to the grandmother with a haughty, “Mother, you can take that FILTH back to the shop from which you bought it…”
Now severely embarrassed that she’d bought her grandson an ABSOLUTELY FILTHY record for his birthday and being too ashamed to return it to the record shop from which it had been transacted, the old lady a few doors down from my Great-Aunt Beattie gave it to my Great-Aunt Beattie with the explanation “You’ve got some Great-Nephews haven’t you Mrs Atkinson ?” (they always called each other by their surnames, they’d lived on the same row for 60 years but never used their christian names), and I was the lucky nephew out of four who visited her house first to be given the FILTHY record – sorry Al and all that, but you missed out.