Friday, April 27, 2007

They had just seventeen

Once a year I get roped in to be the pop music expert on a friend's team at a big charity quiz. Black tie, super electronic scoring system, room full of wealthy people bidding for boxes at Covent Garden and so forth. It was last night. Of course you always bitch when you don't win but I do take exception to trick questions such as "Elton John's real name is Reginald Keith Dwight - true or false?". (The middle name's actually Kenneth.) Anyway, how many UK number one singles did the Beatles have in the 1960s? I'm not very good at charts but I was amazed to see that they had seventeen! And they're not all the ones you'd think. The same subject came up with Nick Lowe yesterday. His new album is his first for seven years. Brinsley Schwarz used to make two a year. The Beatles used to make two a year and then put out singles as well, none of which were on the albums. You want to know how good the Beatles were? They took "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" off "Sergeant Pepper" and put them out as a double A side single. Underrated. Still.


  1. But you're a boy! You're supposed to be really good at charts! Or have I been reading too much Nick Hornby?

    At the moment though, am reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Terrif.

  2. The mighty Picturehouse Big Band quiz team came fifth in the Radio Suffolk pop quiz last year. The teams tied in first place had to name as many of ELO's fourteen top twenty singles as possible in one minute. When the winners came up with all of them, even the host remarked that perhaps they needed to get out more....

  3. I'm no good at lists unless they're qualitative. I can make those up all day long. Nick Hornby and, to a greater extent, Tony Parsons have both prospered by selling a view of men as vaguely pathetic anoraks which appeals to the prejudices that women already have about them. Next time you're on the tube, see who's reading those books. They're rarely men.