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Sounds on Sunday: 50 of 50/4

WHAT WERE we listening to 50 years ago?

The year 1969 began with Peter Sarstedt’s Where do you go to, my lovely? occupying the top spot on the UK Charts for four consecutive weeks.

The song divides opinions.  Some see it as innovative and expressing true emotion (a view endorsed when it won an Ivor Novello award); others find it coy and kitsch. Nonetheless, its popularity in 1969 continued, with the song being played on the radio for years afterwards.

It’s a song with a sting in its tail (no spoilers here – you’ll have to listen!) which some believe make it almost a protest song about the material and human casualties of capitalism. Others see it as an existential comment on the outsider/insider theme.

Some critics have even claimed its stand was the inspiration for Blur’s Common People, which came out in 1995. Common People is sort of vice versa, in terms of the girls’s standpoint – but it deals with issues of class, truth and imposters in a similar way.

Sarstedt was born in Delhi and went to school in Kurseong in West Bengal, before his parents returned to the UK when Sarstedt was a young teenager.

Sarstedt performed regularly until 2010 and wrote and recorded until 2013. He died in January 2017 – almost 48 years to the day since he first topped the charts with Where do you go to, my lovely?, his biggest hit and his longest lasting one, but not his only success.

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