Middle of the Road: With Sally Carr
The pop band Middle of the Road (featuring Sally Carr) was one of my musical guilty pleasures when I was growing up in the 1970s. I suspect the group was the the guilty pleasure of many others considering the amount of records it sold for a short time during the decade.
Part of the reason - actually a lot of the reason - had to do with Middle of the Road's lead singer, Sally Carr. As you will see from the following videos, Ms Carr loved her hot pants - and so did most of the male population of Europe. Tall and blond, knee high leather boots and with legs that seemed to go on forever, she was the epitome of Seventies style and fashion. And her voice was pretty good too!
In the UK, the band ruled the pop music charts for a couple of years, but then faded away from public view. On continental Europe, Middle of the Road's star continued to shine a little longer, particularly in Germany where the group continued to produce hit records up until the mid-1970s.
Although there have been personnel changes over the years, Middle of the Road continue to perform live. The band's performances are now restricted to the Oldies circuit, and these days Sally Carr has long since hung up her hot pants.
YouTube has created an upsurge in interest in the group, so for now, let's travel back to the early 1970s and relive the days when hot pants were in fashion and Middle of the Road were all over the radio.
1971: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep: Middle of the Road
The summer of 1971 would never be the same as Middle of the Road hit to the top of the music charts in the UK and across Europe with what has become the band's signature tune. You either loved it or hated it, but there was no getting away from it.
It became the UK's third biggest seller of the year, but American visitors may remember a version of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Mac and Katie Kissoon which hit the Billboard chart around the same time in 1971.
1971: Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum: Middle of the Road
No sooner than Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep had left the UK Top 20, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum arrived.
Another nonsense title to a song with a catchy chorus propelled Middle of the Road to near the top of the best sellers list in the Autumn of 1971.
1971: Soley Soley: Middle of the Road
Middle of the Road's third single broke away from the silly titles, although what Soley Soley exactly means is anyone's guess. Nevertheless, the song's style was in complete contrast to the previous hits and showcased Sally Carr's tremulous vocals excellently.
Soley Soley would be the group's last Top Ten hit in the UK, peaking there in early 1972.
1972: Sacramento (A Wonderful Town): Middle of the Road
The band's penultimate UK Top 40 hit was its tribute to Californian city, Sacramento.
Judging by the promotional video here, Middle of the Road would have preferred to have been in sunny California, rather than on a canal in a dismal looking Amsterdam.
1972: Samson & Delilah: Middle of the Road
The last hit in the UK by Middle of the Road was an ode to the biblical characters, Samson and Delilah. Although the band's popularity was waning in the UK, it continued to be popular across Europe, particularly in Germany, where this song was yet another big seller.
Middle of the Road: The European Hits
Although Middle of the Road did not sell enough copies of these songs in the UK for them to become popular, in Germany the group continued to be a main attraction. These are their European hit tracks:
Bottoms Up (1972)
Yellow Boomerang (1973)
Kailakee Kailako (1973)
Samba D'Amour (1973 - no video)
Honey No (1973)
Rockin' Soul (1974)
1976: Everybody Loves A Winner: Middle of the Road
Middle of the Road's final hit anywhere was this song written by ex-Bay City Roller, Neil Henderson.
He had joined the group as a guitarist, but even his input could not change the fortunes of the band which never graced the music charts again. Like the previous few hits, this track only managed to register success in Germany.
Middle of the Road in 2009
Although the band continued to work into the 1980s, its appearance was restricted to television and live retro music concerts. At that time, Sally Carr had left the group, but during the 2000s it was asked to reform to take part in live music festivals in Europe.
Here's how the band appeared in 2009 at one of these appearances.
© 2010 Richard
What Are Your Memories of Middle of the Road?
Joe-Yamaha on April 17, 2014:
Hey, a great Website to MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. A beautiful reminder of the 70s. The band accompanied me all my life. After the big hits were past, I have discovered the many great songs on the B-sides and LP's of MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. EVE; UNION SILVER; SEE THE SKY; READ BETWEEN THE LINES; GONE'S THE TIME; WINTER'S SUN and many more. This is the other side of MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Great and imperishable.
Bernie from Corbin, KY on September 25, 2011:
never heard of them, but i like them.
Jerryjg62 LM on July 02, 2011:
When I was 8 or 9 in 1971 Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep was my favorite song. My father wound up buying the 45 record for me but it was not the Middle of the Road version. Until I finally came online I had never found or heard that version again.
I always remembered that as the version that had "the lady with the ruffle in her voice" but I didn't know who she or the group was until I finally found it on YouTube a few years ago.
Was incredible to hear it again after all these years.
vernessataylor lm on December 05, 2010:
Never heard of them, but the 70s were a rocking time! And yep, those thigh-high leather boots were all the rage. Great lens!
Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on October 23, 2010:
Oh my, yes, guilty pleasures indeed for someone who was into progressive rock! Great lens here! :)
Addy Bell on October 12, 2010:
OK ... I finally understand the title of that Father Ted episode "Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Sheep". It's been bugging me for years.
justholidays on October 11, 2010:
Ah, thank you Rich, once again, you brought me back to my childhood when my parents used to listen to the Middle of the Road.
Most excellent lens, once again.
julieannbrady on October 10, 2010:
My dear ... I do not remember "Middle of the Road" and may I say that I honestly thought this was 'middle of the road' -- in between music. That might make a great complementary lens. Do dah!
anonymous on October 10, 2010:
Oh dear Rich - I think I am going to have one of those moments when I cant get a song out of my head - here I am cooking a traditional English roast on a Sunday night with that bl***y song Chrpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep going through my head - you rotter you!
What a blast from the past! You have a great niche here matey :)