Grapefruit/Cherry Red [Release date : 17.06.22]

To give this 3 CD Boxset its full title:
Bubblerock Is Here To Stay: Volume 2: The British Pop Explosion, 1970-73.

In the world of sixties and seventies pop, the single was the king. And what the original Bubblerock compilation (2020) told us has been reinforced by Bubblerock Vol 2… that the era had something for everyone.

The pop music of that time was classless. It cut across all ethnic groups, all economic groups and indeed, all social groups. Unlike today where the majority of UK pop musicians are privately educated. But that’s a whole other story.

So much of the era’s rich pop heritage exists below the surface, or behind the band names and the 79 hits that make up this 3 CD set. There just isn’t enough room here to address them all.

Some artists were “one hit wonders” … their hit song was the end as well as the beginning.
For others it was their initial step on a long journey. We’ll focus on a few of them first.

1964, and Wolverhampton boys, Slade, were starting to get it together. Like Andrew Loog Oldham did with Jagger and Richards, manager Chas Chandler, ex of the Animals, started by locking Holder and Lea in a room. You don’t get out until you’ve written a decent song.

And so, they did. ‘Coz I Love You’ – second single and first Holder/Lea collaboration became the first of their six UK number one hits. The band have gone on to sell 50 million albums worldwide.

The Sweet’s partnership with the Chinn Chapman writing team blossomed into a solid string of UK and US hits in the lates sixties and seventies. ‘Alexander Graham Bell’ comes from their 1971/ 72 purple patch, when they enjoyed seven UK Top Twenty hits, four of them Top Five. Their album sales now top the 35 million mark.

Lesser known names from that era, like Blue Mink, have enough back and front story to fill a book.

Essentially they were Madeleine Bell, a US soul singer decamped to the UK, who provided backing vocals for the Stones, Jeff Beck, Joe Cocker and more. And Roger Cook – a prolific hit writer, who went on to write and produce for Don Williams and Crystal Gayle in Nashville, eventually becoming the only British songwriter to be inducted into The Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

The band’s ‘Good Morning Freedom’, a Top Ten hit, was later covered by Albert Hammond and Elton John, and featured in the “Breaking Bad” TV series.

And those are only three of many on this compilation who went on to further prove their quality and durability, carving out best selling careers in the Music biz.

Artists here a-plenty had a huge impact on the singles’ chart of the time, but lacked staying power. Christie, Liverpool Echo, The Big Three, Marmalade, Gilbert O’Sullivan, The Tremeloes, these were all fine artists who had more than a day in the sun, but eventually went out of fashion.

Others came and went quickly, but will still be fondly remembered for brightening up the UK charts (and occasionally the US charts too). Who of that era could forget Lieutenant Pigeon’s ‘Mouldy Old Dough’; The Pipkins’ ‘Gimme Dat Ding’, written by Albert Hammond; Summer Wine’s ‘She Is Still A Mystery’, a Lovin Spoonful cover. And, just for fun, Nemo’s version of the evergreen ‘The Sun Has Got Its Hat On’, a song covered by more artists than we can count. All UK Top Ten singles.

And many many more.

Roll on Bubblerock, Volume 3. *****

Review by Brian McGowan

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 22 May.

Next session: Sunday 26 June.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 12 June 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 14 June 2022.

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More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 13 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
IVORY SKIES – Bring Me Up (indie)
HONG FAUX Feign Death To Stay Alive (Golden Robot Records)
OVERLAPS Mind Over Matter (indie)
SOLE SYNDICATE – Brave Enough (Scarlet Records)
DAVID PAICH Spirit Of The Moonrise (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS The River (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 13 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 DEF LEPPARD Diamond Star Halos (BMG)
12:00-13:00 LONERIDER Sundown (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 VANDERWOLF 12 Little Killers (Vandermax Music)

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