Thirteenth Birthday Singles Chart


I am listening to Lauren Laverne on BBC 6Music and she has Bill Drummond on her Memory Tape feature. His take on this is all about getting older, forgetfulness and the slide into dementia. It follows on from a previous Memory Tape by Hannah Peel, whose selection of music was built around her experiences with dementia, a central theme of her latest album Awake But Always Dreaming

Here is a link to the piece on Lauren’s site –

And here is what Bill has to say;

“Recorded Music was a major force in my life. It pushed and shoved and shaped me.

This pushing, shoving and shaping started with Elvis at the picture house as a child in Newton Stewart. But it was not until I was turning 13 in a town called Corby, did it begin to have its full impact.

It is still the Recorded Music that I heard at that age that has had the longest and deepest impact on my life. It has nothing to do with any sort of objective judgement of this Recorded Music.

It had everything to do with my mind being that of a 13 year old in 1966.

As I turned 50 in and the year was 2003, I became aware that Recorded Music not only had little hold over my emotions, it was also losing its power to affect society, its cultural significance was passing on. It was not only weighed down by its own history, it was being superseded by other ways of communicating in a far more one to one way. Like all other forms of music in previous centuries, Recorded Music was becoming part of a history of a fading century. Recorded Music, whatever the genre it embraced, was the music of the 20th Century, be that music Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Soul etc etc. All of these diverse genres, whatever their history and the genius of individual artists, the music of the 20th Century existed primarily to be consumed in the recorded form, thus existed to be bought, sold and used to hold listener attention between the advertising breaks on commercial radio.

Putting aside the somewhat cynical overview of that last couple of sentences, for me Recorded Music was the greatest art form of the 20th Century. Recorded Music towered above Film and the Paper Back Novel, and far outstripping anything that could be hung in a gallery or collected by a wealthy art collector. Recorded Music was a democratic art form.

For me to attempt to pick my ten favourite pieces of Recorded Music would not only be difficult, it would almost be a lie, as actively listening to Recorded Music no longer plays an active part of my life. That said I still like to hear Recorded Music by accident. As in when walking down a street and I hear some Turkish pop music coming out of a passing shop or car, or maybe when…

Anyway, I know that it was at that age of turning 13 in 1966, and my teenage hormones were kicking in, that recorded music had its biggest and most lasting impact. Thus what I have decided to do is track down, via Google and find out what the Top Twenty was on my 13th birthday in 1966. Once that is done, choose ten records from that chart. As yet I have not checked to see if there were ten records in that weeks Top Twenty, that had a powerful impact on me, but I am very certain there were and are. Not that I think they will have been the greatest records of all time but…

I also know that my own memory is beginning to waver and slide. That I cannot remember what film I saw on television last week, that I too have begun that journey into dementia and all it holds.

So bear with me while I type into Google “UK Top Twenty 29 April 1966”

Two Minutes later.

And this is what I have picked from the Top Twenty on my 13th Birthday and their chart position of that week.”

1: You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield
2: Pretty Flamingo – Manfred Mann
3: Somebody Help Me – Spencer Davis Group
4: Bang Bang – Cher
9: I Put A Spell On You – Alan Price Set
11: Substitute – The Who
12: Homeward Bound – Simon & Garfunkel
13: Sloop John B – The Beach Boys
14: The Sun Ain’t Going To Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers
20: Dedicated Follower Of Fashion – The Kinks

I recommend that if you are caring for or sharing with or just chatting to someone who’s memory is beginning to fail them and they are not particularly engaging with what is culturally happening at the moment, track down the Top Twenty on their 13th birthday and get them to chose ten of the tracks and play them back together on You Tube or whatever.

And then discuss.

Anyway, this intrigued me, not least because my partner’s mother and aunt both suffered from dementia and died because of it. Also, as I get older, I am aware that my short-term memory isn’t what it used to be. So, I looked up the UK singles Top Ten for my thirteenth birthday, which was back in 1968. And here it is;

1 Lily The Pink – The Scaffold
2 Ain’t Got No/ I Got Life – Nina Simone
3 Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
4 1-2-3 O’Leary – Des O’Connor
5 I’m The Urban Spacemen – The Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band
6 The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Hugo Montenegro
7 Sabre Dance – Love Sculpture
8 Race With The Devil – Gun
9 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da – Marmalade
10 This Old Heart Of Mine – The Isley Brothers

courtesy of

Now, I don’t think that overall it is too bad a selection. The oddity is at #10, because it was originally released as a single in 1966, but seems to have been re-released in 1968. I know that it also turned up on the album Motown Chartbusters Volume 3 that came out in 1969.

There is quite a lot of decent stuff outside the Top Ten too, pop-pickers!

Anyway, I made this lot into a YouTube playlist, which is HERE.

So, look up the charts on your birthday and let’s see what was hot.

36 thoughts on “Thirteenth Birthday Singles Chart

  1. Mine’s from the previous year to Bill Drummond, 51 years prior to this week. It has My Generation and Positively 4th Street (which I am very surprised got that high), but also Cliff Richard, Ken Dodd and, at no. 1, The Seekers.Yay!

    (Carole: can you split this into 2 pages please, to reduce scrolling on the Spill home page?)

    • I’m sure I’ve mentioned the film (still not released in the UK) The Music Never Stopped before…
      Based on an Oliver Sacks case, a patient’s memories are deliberately re-awakened by playing music from their youth. The Dead, Dylan and The Beatles mainly.

  2. Ten from the Top 30 of next week a whopping 39 years ago:

    Queen – We Are The Champions
    Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
    Darts – Daddy Cool
    Jonathan Richman – Egyptian Reggae
    Yes – Going For The One
    Tom Robinson – 2-4-6-8 Motorway
    Santana – She’s Not There
    Elvis Costello – Watching The Detectives
    Boomtown Rats – Mary Of The 4th Form
    The Tubes – White Punks On Dope

    Most of those artists – in fact three of those songs – feature amongst the 1800 songs on my present-day Walkman.

  3. DsD and Chris have decent tunes. I’ll approach my birthday list with trepidation.

    I try not to get trapped in the music I listened to as a child but I appreciate every word above.Beautiful.

    But at this point in the thread I have to bring in the following because it supports a lot of what is being mentioned above:

    “An Empty Bliss Beyond this World is an electronic music album from The Caretaker, a project of musician James Kirby.

    “[An empty bliss beyond this World] was inspired by a 2010 study suggesting that Alzheimer’s patients have an easier time remembering information when it’s placed in the context of music. What makes it unique isn’t that Kirby resuscitates old but vaguely familiar source material; it’s how he edits it. Several of the tracks here take pretty, anodyne phrases and loop them mindlessly; several stop in what feels like mid-thought; several reach back and then jump forward. They never feel filled-in from start to finish, and they tend to linger on moments that feel especially comforting or conclusive: the last flourishes of a song, maybe, the pat on the shoulder, the part when we’re assured everything is drawing to a close. Kirby isn’t just making nostalgic music, he’s making music that mimics the fragmented and inconclusive ways our memories work.”

    The Death of Rave by the same man but as V/Vm also explores more recent musical memories.


    “Sadly, the future is no longer what it was” by the same bloke, but as Leyland Kirby is: “An opus of loss, desire and bewilderment at current situations. What happened to the future we were promised and promised ourselves ? Is this the soundtrack of a world in decline?”

    The sound of the disintegration of comforting dreams in the face of an onrushing harsh reality. “Not even nostalgia is as good as it used to be.”

    Pretty sure Shoey got After Sebald listed. See, my memory can’t be that bad, if only I knew where I had put it. 😀

    • Copy/paste sorry about the caps.

      Mine’s a new year/xmas chart and they’re always full of shite but there are gems there if you consider a top 30:

      LE FREAK by CHIC

      I played four of those last Friday during my disco/funk DJ night. And I played songs by seven of the artists… Hmmm! Being 13 might have something to do with my choices. What I do notice about the Jan 5 1979 chart is that the cheese stuff I hated has remained constant, though I tolerate it these days cos I don’t like to piss on people’s memories, so let’s leave the tenth tune open for your fave. .

  4. Had a look at the charts for my birthday week, and most of the songs were shit. But that’s not the whole story at all – here in late 1973 we were listening to albums and deep cuts on FM radio, not the AM radio singles. And they’d play the albums all year round.

    So if you played any of these releases from Jan till mid-Oct 1973, that’s what would set off the trigger, and send me back to a just-learning-how-to-party kid in the south Jersey / greater Philly area. Honestly, it’s probably the only time in my teens that i have any affection for, we moved away the next year.

    Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies
    Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
    Led Zep – Houses of the Holy
    Bowie – Aladdin Sane
    Yes – Yessongs
    Mott the Hoople – Mott
    Rod Stewart – Sing it Again Rod
    Stones – Goat’s Head Soup
    Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    Genesis – Selling England By the Pound

    But you can see what’s happening here. The spilt between AM and FM/ AOR radio here was very pronounced, at the same time folks got wondering if rock had anything left to say. Most on this list were either just at or past peak – we were still listening to Exile and Ziggy and Zep IV as they were better than what had followed. After 1973, and after i moved away in ’74, the action had moved to college radio.

      • Would i be right in guessing the Houses of the Holy isn’t one of them? And if it was, it ended up in the bin? Or maybe you let them slide for another album or two.

        • Wrong. I have everything Zep ever officially released. I had it all on vinyl once, and now I have it all on CD, and that is the deluxe remasters with extras, having previously had the CDs as originally issued.

          The ones I don’t have are Billion Dollar Babes, Mott, Sing It Again Rod and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

          I do have the first four of Rod’s solo albums, though, i.e. the ones he released before he turned crap.

        • No, I prefer the older stuff, but I like everything. I’ve come to appreciate In Through The Out Door in recent years, mainly by listening to Percy’s solo stuff and working backwards. I think that Plant’s solo albums plus ITTOD sort of show what Zep might have sounded like if they’d stayed together.

      • Sing it Again Rod is a compiliation album of a lot of the stuff before he turned to crap. But i’m embarassed to say that i did own Blondes Have More Fun. It’s been long binned.

    • My 13-year-old-self culled most of what went before as being too long and self-indulgent. Hence, I’ve only ever listened through the Stones and Bowie off that list.

      Yep. I’d say 1978 was definitely a musical awakening year for me. But maybe the attitudes formed in 1979 make it my year zero. 😉

      • My year zero was probably around 1967 or 68. The benefits of having friends with big brothers. Before the mid-60’s generally loses me though. I never did get into 50’s – early 60’s rock and roll. Except for blues, where i’m a cliche because i got them first from the Brits.

      • Well, most Brits learnt about the blues the same way, from what I can tell.

        I had a love of short, sharp rock’n’roll and bluesy stuff from my father, poppy but slightly odd 10cc stuff from my mother and those sounds survived my cull. But I found the hippy stuff really too neat, slow and dull in 1979.

  5. A bit of a struggle to get a decent ten from February 1st 1971 but far better than anything you would have got for the past 20 years !

    Stoned Love – The Supremes
    No Matter What – Badfinger
    Ride a White Swan – T Rex
    I’ll Be There – Jackson 5 (Tony Blackburn’s favourite song !!)
    Your Song – Elton John
    I Hear You Knocking – Dave Edmunds
    You Got Me Dangling On a String – Chairman of the Board
    I’m The One You Need – Smokey R + the Miracles
    Apeman – The Kinks
    Resurrection Shuffle – AG+D

  6. June 1983 and I’d still listen to the 4 of the top 10:





    but it took me all of the top 100 to find another 6 tracks I be happy with.







    the ‘indie chart show’ starts here!

  7. Trying to do this on iPad, and it keeps deleting my comment when I try to check another site, so this is going to be a bit sketchy… March 1982 was still within the period of greatness when pop music was innovative and eccentric and yet accessible. Top Ten included Bow Wow Wow’s Go Wild in the Country and ABC’s Poison Arrow (oh, and Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills and Toni Basil’s Mickey…). Top Forty has, among many others, A Town Called Malice, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, Kraftwerk, Visage…

  8. Great post Carole, lots to think about. I’ve often thought as I approach my dotage that I’ll be alright as long as I can listen to music – doesn’t have to be old music, just any music … anyway, the top ten from end of Feb 1972 isn’t too inspiring so I looked at the top 20 and picked:

    *3* American Pie – Don McLean
    *5* Without You – Nilsson
    *6* Have You Seen her – The Chi-Lites
    *7* Storm in a Teacup – The Fortunes
    *13* I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing – The New Seekers
    *17* Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon
    *18* Brand New Key – Melanie
    *19* Horse with No Name – America

    Then it’s a struggle so I’ll pinch:
    *25* Baby I’m a Want You – Bread
    * 32* Morning has Broken – Cat Stevens

    There are loads of others in the top 50 including Colin Blunstone and Lindisfarne, and lots I remember really well (at the moment!!)

  9. I was a Christmas baby so any birthday top ten has to be approached with a degree of caution. Also I seem to be just two months older than Funkbrother so there is a bit of overlap.
    The actual thirteenth birthday top ten includes Clive Dunn’s Grandad, My Prayer by Gerry Munroe (who he?) and a few others that err slightly on the side of sentimentality. If I pick ten from the top 20 as some others have done I end up with:

    Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
    McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead and Gone
    Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There
    Gilbert O’Sullivan – Nothing Rhymed
    Chairman of the Board – You Got me Dangling on a String
    Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
    T-Rex – Ride a White Swan
    Johnny Johnson – Blame it on the Pony Express
    Jimmy Ruffin – It’s Wonderful to be Loved by You
    (Detroit) Spinners – It’s a Shame

    A link if anyone wants one!

    • I was also a Christmas baby. The big question, though – how old were you before you realised you were being diddled out of presents because people told you they’d got you a “bigger” joint Christmas/birthday present?

        • I’d have loved a transistor radio. I had to wait until I was about 13 0r 14. It did sterling service under the blankets at night, for listening to John Peel, Annie Nightingale and Bob Harris, though.

      • Yes I think I must have been about the same age and I certainly made a lot of use of it. Even took it to school a few times. I wasn’t quite sure it was two presents in one though.

  10. I was pretty excited by this idea as I loved the charts at this time and listened live every week to hear the tippety toppety chart countdown, but it seems that November 1989 was a pretty bad time for music. I’ve stretched it to the top 30 but still haven’t been able to pick out ten.

    Here’s a few that I still listen to now:
    Rebel MC & Double Trouble – Street Tuff
    Technotronic – Pump up the Jam
    De La Soul – Eye Know
    808 State – Pacific State

    And some that I liked at the time but wouldn’t listen to now:
    Black Box – Ride on Time
    Kaoma – Lambada (it may have been the girl in the video…!)
    New Kids on the Block – You Got It (The Right Stuff) (still know most of the words)
    Jive Bunny – That’s What I Like (come on….it was…erm……)

      • Pete Waterman always likes to make the point that SAW was an indie label, but I know what you mean. They weren’t making indie music, well not with guitars and stuff.

      • S.A.W stuff from ’89 was really non memorable – their number one charting songs were charity single of Ferry Cross the Mersey; Jason Donavan with about 3 number ones; plus Kylie ‘Hand on Your Heart’ I don’t remember any of them to have an opinion of quality. It seamed to be the first year they really dominated.

        I wasn’t really worried that they qualified for Indie music chart – they did so more than a lot of others, the trend was for majors to have an ‘indie off shoot’ subsidiary ‘qualifying label’, which wasn’t as independent as S.A.W – I just didn’t like the sound they produced and it always took away a spot on the ITV indie chart run down that could have included a band I actually liked.

        “Youth of today ‘ave got it so easy with music and videos on tap” (he says grabbing his zimmer frame and contemplating the fact that unless a universal income is quickly implemented – music will only be produced by those wealthy enough to pay for it themselves) !

      • Some top tracks indeed – I even like the Jason Donovan ones!

        Pixies, Spacemen 3, Stone Roses is a pretty peerless three in a row.

      • The Renée and Renato, Anti-Nowhere League, Crass featuring ‘indie ’82 album: Woman, How Does It Feel To Save Your Love For The Mother Of 1000 Dead?’ was a top seller!

  11. Here’s the actual top 10 from my 13th birthday. I think you’ll immediately see that the problem with my birthday is the time of year


  12. Despite being mostly rubbish that list does make me very nostalgic.
    Best Years Of Our Lives was my mum’s favourite record at the time (she wasn’t particularly a big music fan it has to be said).
    I once had the opportunity to own a large signed photo of Renee and Renato but passed it up, which I regret. The financial value was probably nil, but the kitsch value incalculable.

  13. Picking a top 10 was surprisingly difficult and I’ve dropped quite a few that could’ve been on there (even the Banshees!) including some that were big favourites of mine at the time (Rio!)

    Old – Dexys Midnight Runners (AA side of Let’s Get This Straight which to be honest was a let down)
    Where The Heart Is – Soft Cell (commercially suicidal seasonal release about domestic misery)
    Desperate But Not Serious – Adam Ant (ridiculously dramatic flop single)
    European Female – The Stranglers
    Hymn – Ultravox (one of my favourites at the time)
    Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange (ditto)
    Let’s Go To Bed – The Cure
    Beat Surrender – The Jam (everybody was suddenly trying to sound like they were doing 60s soul – probably Dexys fault)
    Mirror Man – The Human League (ditto)
    Our House – Madness (can’t deny it’s a great song)

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