How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Son Of My Father

A few years back my Dad decided he’d had enough of vinyl, and invested in a sleek and modern stereo system, which, as usual with such systems these days, was purely digital and did not include anything as quaint as a turntable. He therefore spent several months recording his LPs onto MiniDisc, with the eventual aim of banishing the vinyl to a distant corner where it wouldn’t get in the way, and wouldn’t be destroyed by over-enthusiastic grandchildren.

When he’d finished (with impressive speed, considering the number of records) I took the opportunity to raid the collection myself and so acquired a large box of selected highlights from his thirty years of vinyl buying. I have kept these separated from my own collection, just in case he ever comes to his senses and demands their return.

All of this has now proved rather useful. For the time being I have passed over Elvis and the Beatles on the grounds that it got a bit complicated, but even without these chart behemoths the box has contributed 14 Number Ones.

My Dad’s big thing is 60s pop and rock, so in the main that’s what we’ve got here. In fact only one of these tracks (Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the 506th Number One from 1982) was recorded later than 1971. I now have the complete set of Rolling Stones Number Ones*, as well as the only Number Ones by The Byrds (Mr Tambourine Man), The Animals (House Of The Rising Sun – an especially fine record) and The Monkees (I’m A Believer).

There’s also Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, a classic One Hit Wonder from 1968. This song (and, in fact, Arthur Brown’s whole stage performance) was inspired by the purchase of a helmet/mask combination which had been rigged up to shoot jets of fire out of various orifices. This should give you a pretty good idea of just how crazy Arthur’s world was, and arguably makes this the first novelty record in the collection.

I now have the first of the four versions of Unchained Melody I will need to acquire. This is the most famous (and in my opinion the best) version, by The Righteous Brothers**, which didn’t make Number One until 1990, after its appearance in the film ‘Ghost’ ensured the song would forever be associated with pottery.

Of this latest batch, my favourite record would have to be Rod Stewart’s Maggie May, the 305th Number One from 1971. I don’t normally like Rod (in fact some of his later stuff is unbearable), but this particular record is wonderful enough to allow me to forgive him for Sailing and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, which I will unfortunately have to own at some point in the future.

My total now stands at 91, so I am looking forward to passing the magic 100 mark over the next week. And my Dad still has a whole load of old records up in the loft.

* 8 in total, and I bet you can’t name them all.

** And the other three? You’ve got two questions for the price of one this week, you lucky people.


  • I'm proud to be mentioned in your blog, thank you. I'll try the quiz privately by email. In the meantime, I suppose you know, do you, that Arthur Brown was once rushed to hospital when his famous hat set fire to his head?

    By Anonymous David, at 3/05/2005 9:00 pm  

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