Various Artists

Top of the Pops, Vol. 9

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The final Top of the Pops release of the 1960s is an almost ruthless snapshot of a decade that had finally reached the end of its tether. The wild experimentation of the psychedelic era, the frenetic excitement of the beat boom, the incredible surge of stellar talents and creators that had grown up over the past ten years had finally, and so abruptly ceased -- at least in terms of the British Top 30. And what had replaced them? The soft rock of Marmalade, the turgid balladry of Glen Campbell, the novelty humor of Rolf Harris, and a succession of studio-based bands whose sessionman lineups weren't simply drawn from the same ranks as the Top of the Pops team, they even involved some of the same players. With this in mind, it's no surprise that Blue Mink's "Melting Pot," Arrival's "Friends," and the Cufflinks' "Tracy" are the star turns on Top of the Pops, Vol. 9. But a swampy take on Delaney & Bonnie's "Coming Home" reminds listeners that Eric Clapton wasn't the only person who could nail that so-distinctive guitar pattern, while Chicago's "I'm a Man" emerges as a harder hitter here than even the original. Best of all, though, a dynamic revision of Georgie Fame's "Seventh Son" reminds listeners that fans weren't the only people who believed the song merited more than its ultimate chart placing of number 25. The whole purpose of the Top of the Pops series, after all, was to analyze both the charts and the latest new releases, and re-create the biggest hits of the day while they were still big. It was a rare day indeed that the team's chart-watching crystal ball got it so wrong.