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In Perfect Harmony: Singalong Pop in ’70s Britain

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Punk does happen but, much like the swinging sixties, it doesn't happen for the majority so it doesn’t warrant the same space as The New Seekers, Tony Orlando or the "lingering ennui" of The Carpenters. In Perfect Harmony takes the reader on a journey through the most colour-saturated era in music, examining the core themes and camp spectacle of '70s singalong pop, as well as its reverberations through British culture since. album releases, perhaps hoping to cop a bit of his accessible glamour in an era when it was in short supply.

To the art school-educated Bowie/Roxy Music fans," or those pretentious sorts we mentioned in paragraph one, "Slade might have seemed hopelessly recherché; the kind of people for who a shag carpet in the bathroom and a personalised number plate on the Roller were the height of sophistication" but, as our guide points out. I, and many, others would contend that the 1970s is the greatest era of recorded popular music, where everything from reggae to rock reached its apogee - and the records just sound better - but here giants like Bowie and Roxy Music are mere background figures, over shadowed by the hit machines of Slade and Sweet. Someone needed to find out why Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade became the people's anthem in the age of the Three Day Week. However, if you’re not overly bothered about Clive Dunn’s life story or the trials and tribulations of Hot Chocolate and Hector, you can easily dip into the book with the help of the exhaustive index to find your favourites, be they Slade, Steeleye or Showaddywaddy.

We are also treated to a rollercoaster revisitation of the wider popular culture of the time with references to the comforting presence of Morecambe and Wise, Delia Smith, Tommy Cooper, The Good Old Days and Tiswas as well as the more sinister presence of Jimmy Saville, Gary Glitter, The Black And White Minstrels and Love Thy Neighbour; a reflection of a rich melting pot beset by the thinly veiled tensions which epitomised the times. During the era of the three-day week, strikes, and - Oi, Oi - energy shortages, British ears turned en masse to cheery and optimistic fare, and who could blame them? Biography: Will Hodgkinson is author of the music books Guitar Man, Song Man and The Ballad of Britain. There's a fair and decent case to be made for Slade's strikingly coiffured and perma-grinning guitarist Dave Hill as the greatest rock star ever. Mind you, Hill was reduced to hiring out that Roller with the 'YOB 1' number plate as a wedding car later on, but his immortality had long been assured by then.

Add into the mix the underlying fear created by the IRA bombings and it’s easy to imagine ten years of unremitting misery.It’s all very well for pretentious rock snobs like me to prattle on about Gram Parsons, Big Star, or even The Clash, but that’s not what people were really listening to in the 1970s.

Against a rainy, smog-filled backdrop of three-day weeks, national strikes, IRA bombings and the Winter of Discontent, this unrelenting stream of novelty songs, sentimental ballads, glam-rock stomps and blatant rip-offs offered escape, uplift, romance and the promise of eternal childhood - all released with one goal in mind: a smash hit.

Will Hodgkinson said: “I had a simple goal with In Perfect Harmony: to take seriously the singalong pop of 70s Britain, which so far has not been taken seriously at all. In Perfect Harmony takes the reader on a journey through the most colour-saturated decade in music, examining the core themes and camp spectacle of '70s singalong pop, as well as its reverberations through British culture since.

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