Here’s one of my favourite pop trivia challenges. Try it, if you’re into such things.
What do the songs “Virginia Plain” and “Up the Junction” have in common with each other, and with no other singles that have reached the UK Top 10?
We’re dealing here, respectively, with Roxy Music’s debut hit, which reached #4 in 1972, and with the Squeeze song that reached #2 in 1979. [That reminds me, I should revisit my Stuck at 2 page. It’s been a while. For the record, “Up the Junction” was kept off the top slot by Tubeway Army’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”. The other Squeeze song to reach #2 (“Cool for Cats”) was kept off #1 by “Bright Eyes” by Art Garfunkel.]
If you want to check out “Virginia Plain” or “Up the Junction” here’s a link to the former, from “Top of the Pops” in 1972 and here’s a link to the latter, a video that is new to me, nearly 40 years after its release. The answer to our question is related to the songs’ lyrics, so listening to both recordings all the way through might help you to work out what they have in common.
The answer to this challenge appears at the end of this page.
To fill up some space, so that you don’t read the answer accidentally, here are the UK Top 5s for the weeks when the songs reached their highest chart positions, courtesy of the Official Charts website. The heading for each chart (beginning with the words “Official Singles Chart Top 5”) is a link which will take you to the entire Top 50 or Top 75 for the week in question.
1 Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Slade
2 You Wear It Well, Rod Stewart
3 It’s Four in the Morning, Faron Young
4 Virginia Plain, Roxy Music
5 Sugar Me, Lynsey de Paul
1 Are ‘Friends’ Electric? Tubeway Army
2 Up the Junction, Squeeze
3 Silly Games, Janet Kay
4 Ring my Bell, Anita Ward
5 Night Owl, Gerry Rafferty
“Virginia Plain” and “Up the Junction” are the only two songs to reach the UK Top 10 in which the title appears only once, as the final words of the song. The concluding lines are: “What’s her name? Virginia Plain” and “And so it’s my assumption / I’m really up the junction”. There are no other examples, unless you know better.
2020 Update: There is a follow-up to this piece here, prompted by two episodes of UK quiz show “University Challenge” which featured this piece of pop trivia in their Music Round questions.