The UK's Top 10 Best Selling Songs of 1974
The best selling songs of 1974 in the UK continued to see the domination of the Glam Rock boom that had started back in late 1970. This was reflected in huge sales by artists such as Mud, Suzi Quatro, Sweet and Alvin Stardust.
However, although the Glam Rock artists were racking up sales, new artists and styles were also beginning to show their presence. One of the biggest bands in the UK of the next two to three years began an enviable chart run: the Bay City Rollers. Although they had seen chart success three years earlier with Keep On Dancing, nothing had been seen of them since. A change of management and image altered all of that and Rollermania had arrived!
Other fads that took the charts by storm were The Wombles (created by Mike Batt), Ray Stevens with his homage to streaking and Carl Douglas cashed in on the Kung Fu craze.
Other notable entries saw first hits for ABBA with their winning Eurovision song Waterloo, George McCrae and the Three Degrees leading the fledgling disco boom, and the return of reggae to the charts courtesy of Ken Boothe and John Holt among others.
It was a very good year for Mud, however. They took the honours for the best selling song of 1974, and after more hits during the year, accomplished the coveted Christmas Number One spot with the perennial Lonely This Christmas.
1. Mud: Tiger Feet - No.1: Week Ending Jan. 26 - Week Ending Feb. 16
Mud was a very successful band in the UK for a time during the mid-Seventies, achieving around a dozen hit singles. Most of them made the UK Top Ten and three went all the way to the top, including this one, Tiger Feet, which became the best selling British song of 1974.
It was written by the very successful '70s songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who followed up this top seller with the succeeding Number One, Devil Gate Drive by Suzi Quatro.
2. Terry Jacks: Seasons in the Sun - No.1: Week Ending Apr. 6 - Week Ending Apr. 27
Terry Jacks had rewritten part of the lyrics, but his revisions tended to add a bit of ambiguity as to the nature of the storyteller's demise, allowing listeners the option to choose whether the death is from suicide or from natural causes. References to a cheating wife were also removed.
Jacks decided to release it on his own record label, and it soon topped the music charts selling over six million copies worldwide.
3. Paper Lace: Billy, Don't Be A Hero - No.1: Week Ending March 16 - Week Ending March 30
Billy, Don't Be a Hero was recorded by Paper Lace in the UK and then by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods in the US.
Paper Lace's version of the song hit Number One on the UK Singles Chart, and was released in America at the same time as Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods' interpretation. Whereas Paper Lace had the chart topper in the UK, their version stalled in America, while Bo Donaldson went to Number One - while Bo Donaldson's version failed to chart at all in the UK.
Paper Lace had a US Number One later in the year with The Night Chicago Died.
4. Three Degrees: When Will I See You Again - No.1: Week Ending Aug. 17 - Week Ending Aug. 24
Written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, When Will I See You Again was one of the most successful recordings in the "Philly Soul" sound.
In the UK, the song spent two weeks at the top of the charts in August 1974. Although the trio never had a Number One single in their own name in the USA, they had hit the top earlier in the year, providing the vocals on MFSB's TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia).
5. George McCrae: Rock Your Baby - No.1: Week Ending July 27 - Week Ending Aug. 10
Written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC and the Sunshine Band, Rock Your Baby was one of the landmark recordings of early disco music.
A massive international hit, the song reached Number One on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks there in July 1974 and repeated the feat on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the USA, spending two weeks at the top in the same month.
6. David Essex: Gonna Make You A Star - No.1: Week Ending Nov. 16 - Week Ending Nov.30
Essex's pop idol looks gave him a strong female fan base, and his British tours created scenes of hysteria reminiscent of Beatlemania.
7. Carl Douglas: Kung Fu Fighting - No.1: Week Ending Sept. 21 - Week Ending Oct. 5
Kung Fu Fighting was released as a single at the cusp of a Kung Fu film craze, and quickly rose to the top of British and American charts..
The song remains one of the most fondly remembered one hit wonders. It was rated Number 100 in VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders. It also appeared at Number One in the UK's Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000, and again in a 50 Greatest One Hit Wonders poll in 2006.
8. Charles Aznavour: She - No.1: Week Ending June 29 - Week Ending July 20
This, the original version, sung by Frenchman Aznavour, reached Number One on the UK Singles Chart in 1974.
By reaching Number One, it made Charles Aznavour the oldest living male chart topper (at fifty years old), a record which has not since been beaten.
9. The Rubettes: Sugar Baby Love - No.1: Week Ending May 18 - Week Ending June 8
The Rubettes' first and biggest hit was Sugar Baby Love which became a UK Number One. The distinctive falsetto lead vocal to the song was performed by Paul Da Vinci, who declined the opportunity to actually become a member of the band.
Their most successful self composed hit was the 'country rock' styled ballad Baby I Know, which hit the Top 10 in the UK in 1977.
10. Ken Boothe: Everything I Own - No.1: Week Ending Oct. 26 - Week Ending Nov. 9
Everything I Own, written by David Gates of Bread, was given a light reggae feel in 1974, finding favour in the UK over the original recorded two years earlier.
The oddest thing about Boothe's cover version is that he sings Anything I Own throughout, rather than Everything I Own, making this record one of the few in which the title is never sung.
In 1987, Boy George released his version of the tune, and duly got a UK Number One himself. Thus the song has the very rare distinction of twice being a UK chart topper by two different artists.
The 1974 Poll
Meanwhile, in the United States...
1. Barbra Streisand
The Way We Were
2. Terry Jacks
Seasons in the Sun
3. Love Unlimited Orchestra
Come and Get Your Love
5. The Jackson 5
6. Grand Funk Railroad
T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)
8. Ray Stevens
9. Elton John
Bennie and the Jets
10. Mac Davis
One Hell of a Woman
Major Grammy Winners of 1974
Record of the Year
- I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
Album of the Year
- Fulfillingness' First Finale - Stevie Wonder
Song of the Year
- The Way We Were
Best New Artist of the Year
- Marvin Hamlisch
About Your Author
With each article, Richard invites you to step into his world of music, television and entertainment. He will introduce you to British Glam Rock, share The 20 Scariest Film Scores Ever? and even give you an up close look at some classic actors such as Christopher Lee as Dracula.
For a complete list of Richard's articles, please visit Richard's profile.
© 2007 Richard
Your Thoughts About the Music of 1974
anonymous on June 27, 2011:
Rock You Baby has to be my #1 pick out of all of theses. Nice selection, Rich.
JoolsObsidian LM on April 13, 2011:
My favourite band in 1974 was SPARKS and they were the first band I ever saw live in November of that year! Happy days !!
Malu Couttolenc on March 26, 2011:
1974 was a wonderful year for music. I remember these songs. Everything I Own was so romantic!
I liked Deep Purple and Cat Stevens. The Doobie Brothers and Chicago were among my favourites as well.
samluies on March 23, 2011:
Very nice work i love your work i just love the old tracks because the Lyric of the old numbers are awesome.So thanks for the lens.
outsource123 on January 30, 2011:
I like this lens, Since I love music.
unstucktheory on September 30, 2010:
Awesome lens! And a great year, if I do say so myself ;-) The Osmond's Love Me For A Reason was UK #1 the day I was born.
Bus Stop Toy Shop on September 15, 2010:
Tiger Feet was at number one the week I was born - great song! Loads of other classics here too - great lens!
Holley Web on September 13, 2009:
Rock the Boat! I was a young kid when this came out and even my own son loves this song now. 1974 was great year!
Tonie Cook from USA on July 12, 2009:
Love the 70s. This is a great and informative lens. Excellent presentation.
Eklectik1 on July 12, 2009:
I remember 1974--I feel old. Nice lens 5*****
julieannbrady on December 30, 2008:
A nicely presented lens on an interesting topic -- AND, your lowest ranking lens today??? How can that be? ;) PS OMG, I remember 1974!