Culture & Entertainment

Sounds on Sunday: 50 years ago/14

FIFTY YEARS AGO the Charts recorded the best-selling “singles” of each week. Have the hits of 1971 stood the test of half a century of time slipping by since they were released? Sadly, in most cases the top selling singles have not: with only some exceptions the number one hits of 1971 are either not memorable – or memorable for the wrong reasons. Join us as we look back and ask ourselves: “what were we thinking???”

The second half of 1971 brought better number one singles than the first half. In late July, T.Rex scored their second number one of the year, with the Bolan classic “Get It On”. It’s a catchy tune, with a catchy hook: “get it on” had echoes of the free love of the sixties. The lyrics made no sense, so they could mean whatever you wanted them to – though, even being generous, they are at least a bit pervy.

The song brought together ordinary jobbing musicians who were on their way to being famous. The saxophone solos were played by Ian McDonald of King Crimson; some of the piano parts were played by Rick Wakeman; and this Top of the Pops performance saw Bolan’s mate Elton John drop in to mime the piano part.  Bolan was still experimenting with glam rock – and more than a little influenced by Mick Jagger (that strut! the pout!). You couldn’t make it up.

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