Music · Trivia

Stuck at 2: the whole of the 1970s

Since posting a couple of “Stuck at 2” pieces last month (about songs that almost made it to #1 in the UK chart but missed out by one place) I have got rather carried away. After this piece (about the songs that were stuck at 2 in 1967 and 1983), and this follow-up (covering the years 1970 to 1972), I have continued on through the rest of the 1970s. There is now a full list of all the relevant songs here, on the Trivia Menu. It covers December 1969 through to January 1980. As with the earlier pieces, when a single was kept off #1 by more than one song, each one is listed, along with how many weeks it kept its rival at #2.

Here are a few observations about the songs and artists that were stuck at 2 in the 1970s.

Longest sequences

The longest sequence of songs that were stuck at 2 was 14 weeks (10 March 1979 to 9 June 1979), with the following:

  • Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello & The Attractions, for 3 weeks)
  • In The Navy (Village People, 2 weeks)
  • Cool For Cats (Squeeze, 1 week)
  • Some Girls (Racey, 3 weeks)
  • Pop Muzik (M, 2 weeks)
  • Dance Away (Roxy Music, 3 weeks)

None of these recordings made it to #1. Village People and Roxy Music did reach #1 with other releases but the other four acts did not.

The longest sequence of #2s where every #2 song also reached #1 at some point was 11 weeks (18 December 1976 to 26 February 1977), with these releases:

  • When A Child Is Born (Johnny Mathis, 1 week at #2)
  • Under The Moon Of Love (Showaddywaddy, 3 weeks),
  • When A Child Is Born (Johnny Mathis, another week at #2)
  • Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Julie Covington, 3 weeks)
  • Don’t Give Up On Us (David Soul, 1 week)
  • Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Julie Covington, another 2 weeks).

All of these songs spent time at #1.

Longest runs at #2 for songs that didn’t make it to #1 (the 1970s)

The following songs that didn’t quite make it to the top spent at least 4 weeks at #2 in the 1970s:

  • The Floral Dance (The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band), 6 weeks at #2 (December 1977 to January 1978), while Mull of Kintyre / Girls’ School (Wings) was at #1.
  • The Smurf Song (Father Abraham & Smurfs), 6 weeks at #2 (June to July 1978) while You’re The One That I Want (John Travolta & Olivia Newton John) was #1.
  • A Little Bit More (Dr Hook), 5 weeks at #2 (July to August 1976), while Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John & Kiki Dee) was at #1.
  • The Pushbike Song (The Mixtures), 4 weeks at #2 (February 1971), while My Sweet Lord (George Harrison) was at #1.
  • Jeepster (T Rex), 4 weeks at #2 (December 1971 to January 1972), while Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) (Benny Hill) was at #1.
  • I Have A Dream (Abba), 4 weeks at #2 (beginning December 1979) while Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd) was at #1. [Note: this 4-week run at #2 finished in January 1980.]

Three of the six acts listed in this section never had a UK #1: The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, Father Abraham & Smurfs and The Mixtures.

57 acts who hit #2 in the 1970s and never had a #1

There are 57 acts who have never had a UK #1 but were stuck at 2 in the 1970s.

Darts managed it with three different releases (Come Back My Love, Boy From New York City and It’s Raining), Carpenters with two (Yesterday Once More and Please Mr Postman) and Squeeze with two (Cool For Cats and Up The Junction). Here’s the full list, in chronological order according to each act’s first #2 hit.

Act, Song(s)

  1. Peter Paul & Mary, Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
  2. Canned Heat, Let’s Work Together
  3. Mr Bloe, Groovin’ With Mr Bloe
  4. Free, All Right Now
  5. Hotlegs, Neanderthal Man
  6. Deep Purple, Black Night
  7. Clarence Carter, Patches
  8. McGuinness Flint, When I’m Dead And Gone
  9. Mixtures, The Pushbike Song
  10. R Dean Taylor, Indiana Wants Me
  11. Hurricane Smith, Don’t Let It Die
  12. Redbone, The Witch Queen Of New Orleans
  13. Neil Reid, Mother Of Mine
  14. Ringo Starr, Back Off Boogaloo
  15. Vicky Leandros, Come What May
  16. Terry Dactyl & The Dinosaurs, Seaside Shuffle
  17. Strawbs, Part Of The Union
  18. Faces, Cindy Incidentally
  19. Carpenters, Yesterday Once More, Please Mr Postman
  20. Barry Blue, (Dancing) On A Saturday Night
  21. Marie Osmond, Paper Roses
  22. Charlie Rich, The Most Beautiful Girl
  23. Sparks, This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us
  24. Drifters, Kissin In The Back Row Of The Movies
  25. Stephanie De Sykes, Born With A Smile On My Face
  26. Andy Kim, Rock Me Gently
  27. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
  28. Wombles, Wombling Merry Christmas
  29. Ralph McTell, Streets Of London
  30. Glitter Band, Goodbye My Love
  31. Guys & Dolls, There’s A Whole Lot Of Loving
  32. Bobby Goldsboro, Honey (re-issue)
  33. Minnie Riperton, Loving You
  34. Roger Whittaker, The Last Farewell
  35. Laurel & Hardy with The Avalon Boys, The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine
  36. Greg Lake, I Believe In Father Christmas
  37. Sailor, A Glass Of Champagne
  38. C W McCall, Convoy
  39. Our Kid, You Just Might See Me Cry
  40. Candi Staton, Young Hearts Run Free
  41. Heatwave, Boogie Nights
  42. Joe Tex, Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)
  43. Sex Pistols, God Save The Queen
  44. Emerson Lake & Palmer, Fanfare For The Common Man
  45. Space, Magic Fly
  46. La Belle Epoque, Black Is Black
  47. Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, The Floral Dance
  48. Darts, Come Back My Love, Boy From New York City, It’s Raining
  49. Father Abraham & Smurfs, The Smurf Song
  50. Clout, Substitute
  51. Rose Royce, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
  52. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Oliver’s Army
  53. Squeeze, Cool For Cats, Up The Junction
  54. Racey, Some Girls
  55. M, Pop Muzik
  56. Janet Kay, Silly Games
  57. B A Robertson, Bang Bang

 

The following 7 acts were also stuck at 2 but are not included in the above list for the reasons shown:

  1. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town [Kenny Rogers had solo #1s with Lucille and Coward of the County]
  2. Jackson 5, I Want You Back [As The Jacksons they had a 1977 #1 with Show You The Way To Go]
  3. Tony Christie, I Did What I Did For Maria [Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay had a 2005 #1 with Is This The Way To Amarillo]
  4. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, Did You Ever [Nancy Sinatra had a solo #1 with These Boots Are Made For Walking and a joint #1 with Frank Sinatra with Somethin’ Stupid]
  5. Donny & Marie Osmond, I’m Leaving It (All) Up To You [Donny Osmond had three solo #1s in the 1970s.]
  6. John Travolta, Sandy [John Travolta had two #1s with Olivia Newton-John]
  7. Olivia Newton-John, Hopelessly Devoted To You [Olivia Newton-John had two #1 hits with John Travolta and another with Electric Light Orchestra]
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