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Sounds on Sunday: 50 years ago/4

50 YEARS AGO the Charts recorded the best-selling “singles” of each week. Have the hits of 1971 stood the test of half a century of time slipping by since they were released? Sadly, in most cases the top selling singles have not: with only some exceptions the number one hits of 1971 are either not memorable – or memorable for the wrong reasons. Join us as we look back and ask ourselves: “what were we thinking???”

This week 50 years ago the British public was still listening to George Harrison sing My Sweet Lord, which spent five weeks at number one and has now been on our home page for a fortnight. We are therefore taking a short break from featuring the songs of 1971 to remember Hilton Valentine, who died at the end of last month.

Valentine was a guitarist with English rock band The Animals, and he wrote the guitar riff on their version of the traditional US folk Song The House of the Rising Sun.  It was released in 1964, when it topped the charts in the UK and the US but it’s such a classic, there must have still been a shedload of people giving it a listen in 1971 (if they could tear themselves away from Clive Dunne’s Grandad). The Animals were from the North-East of England – a rare challenge to the North-West, which produced so many chart-topping bands over the decades there’s either something in the water or the genes.

Enjoy the Animals’ version, give thanks to and for Hilton Valentine – and if you have time, catch Mark Lamarr’s rendition on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, fortunately still available on YouTube.


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