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29 October 2014
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Spring's in the air, so take a trip down the TOTP2 garden path and read what we've dug up for our Gardening Top 5.


no 1'Flowers In The Rain' - The Move
The MoveHardly surprising that, at the zenith of flower power, one of the quirkiest and most flamboyant bands of the '60s released a series of hit singles that would make Alan Titchmarsh's fingers flush green with pleasure; "I Can Hear The Grass Grow", "Flowers In The Rain" and "Blackberry Way" all proved to be hardy perrenials in the charts of 1967 and 1968. Although "Blackberry Way" secured them a No.1, "Flowers In The Rain" became the most press-worthy; not only was it the very first song to be played on Radio 1 but it also became a thorn in the band's side after a publicity campaign back-fired. Postcards promoting the song featured the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in a compromising state of undress, resulting in court action and a parliamentary rap across the knuckles. Subsequently, all royalties from the single had to be given to charity. Another floral arrangement, 'Cherry Blossom', was scheduled to be the following release but, with lyrics pertaining to a mental asylum, it was deemed too big a risk for further bad publicity, consequently withdrawn and sent to the compost heap.

Max Bygravesno 2'Tulips From Amsterdam' - Max Bygraves

There used to be a point at family gatherings when, after binging on sherry and twiglets, a mist of nostalgia for the good ol' days would descend on those assembled. 'Singalongamax' would be duly dusted off, the record player fired up and Dad would kick off with 'I wanna tell you a story ...'. Max Bygraves was a thoroughbred British entertainer; post-war music halls served as his alma mater and, as both singer and comedian, he pitched up at the BBC alongside Frankie Howard and Spike Milligan. In 1958, while the urbane Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley ambushed youth with rock n' roll, cuddly-boy Bygraves blossomed in the charts for 25 weeks with 'Tulips From Amsterdam'. The nation clearly appreciated something fragrant nesting in their music collections and subsequent generations have also understood the benefits of aromatic leafage from Holland's capital...

no 3Elvis Costello'Good Year For The Roses' - Elvis Costello
Looking more like he should be growing something in a petri dish than a flowerbed, Elvis Costello has nevertheless sown many prize blooms in his time. Spending his formative musical career with the fragrantly-named support band 'Clover' he went on to form the Attractions in 1977. Costello's ability to cherry-pick from so many genres, a habit he freely admitted to - "every pop musician is a thief and a magpie" - has resulted in a fertile musical career and a plethora of collaborations. One of the most surprising moves was teaming up with Nashville producer Billy Sherrill in 1981. A collection of country covers called 'Almost Blue' was produced and the formative George Jones track 'Good Year For The Roses' released as a single. Considered to be career suicide at the time - country music was about as popular as a slug on a lettuce leaf - 'Good Year For The Roses' still managed to clamber to No.6 in the UK charts.

Windsor Davies and Don Estelleno 4'Whispering Grass' - Windsor Davies and Don Estelle
There may be a cornucopia of music out there but the British fascination for the novelty record has, sadly, never withered away and died. In 1975 we endured contributions from Telly Savalas, Billy Connolly and the risible Windsor Davies and Don Estelle. Created during the Dark Ages of TV comedy, 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' was the grimly unfunny series portraying a bunch of feeble miscreants attempting to entertain the troops in WW2 India. Sergeant Major Williams (Windsor Davies) sported a moustache broad enough to hang your washing on and a mind narrow enough to brand his reprobates a "bunch of pooftahs". 'Lofty' Sugden (Don Estelle) was the bespectacled, piggy one, so-called because of his squat stature. Together they marched up the charts to No.1 with their version of 'Whispering Grass', a former hit for the Ink Spots. In this case, the grass was certainly greener on the other side and, pitifully, no one thought to lace their tea with weed-killer. Like a persistant case of creeping ivy, they re-emerged later that year with 'Paper Doll'.

no 5Coasters'Poison Ivy' - The Coasters
"You're gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion, you'll be scratching like a hound, the minute you start to mess around". Cor. That's about as racy as things got back in 1959 when the Coasters got to No.15 with 'Poison Ivy'. The former doo-wop group from Los Angeles enjoyed success throughout the '50s performing their brand of humour-led r n'b songs with 'Poison Ivy', 'Yakety Yak' and 'Charlie Brown' making the biggest impact on the UK charts. However, by the '60s, the novelty factor had worn off and the life of the 'oldies act' followed. 'Poison Ivy' proved to be more evergreen than its creators though and, as well as being covered by the Stones, the song made its most startling resurrection in the film 'Batman and Robin'. Same-named bad-girl, played by Uma Thurman, complete with green body-stocking and an intoxicating dance routine, strips to a souped-up instrumental version. Beat that, Charlie Dimmock!

  The Gardener's Delight  
  Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your Top 5 grow ....  
  Fatboy Jims & Lardy Ladies  
  The singers who took their sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll with a slice of cake...  
  Britpop Busters  
  Five facts about the legendary Britpoppers...  
  Filmed In Technovision  
  Enter the world of experimental telly according to the Pet Shop Boys
  Punk Pretenders?  
  Perfectly Punked? Nah, at heart they were all a bunch of old softies...  
  Front Bottom!  
  We name and shame the bands named after a lady's privates...
  Bring Your Gran  
  Golden oldies who joined forces with youthful pop people...  
  2003's Demented Predictions  
  TOTP2's bonkers ball-gazer predicts this year's pop ups and downs...  
  The Erasure Story  
  Trip through the history of the UK'S top synth duo...
  Rubbish Xmas Songs  
  What not to play at your Christmas party...  
  Bag Of Bones  
  Legends that should have eaten their greens. Bring out the lard...  
  Banned by the BBC  
  The songs that were just too hot to handle ...  
  Fortune Smiles Upon Them  
  Be they works of genius, accident or stealing, these songs are lucky to be alive.  
  Elton John  
  Drugs, Diana, dirty deeds. It's a wonder that he's still standing...  
  Inxs-ive Lifestyles  
  We examine Australia's biggest export since Fosters...  
  Poodle Rockers  
  Gravity-defying perms and spandex trousers, they're the Poodle Rockers...
  Madness  
  Welcome to the house of factual fun...  
  Status Quo  
  We take a trip down memory lane with the mighty Quo...  
  Pop Activists  
  Top pop people who fight for the rights...  
  Singing Drummers  
  Drummers who got sick of looking at the lead singer's wiggling bum.  
  Rolling Stones  
  Headline-grabbing moments from Britain's lippiest band.  
  David Bowie  
  Follow Dave's top 5 looks through the years - including the mullet action!  
  Hot Chocolate  
  Indulge yourself in the pleasure that is Errol and the gang  
  "Secret" Drug Songs  
  "It was inspired by this crazy picture my son painted." Yeah, right...  
  Abba-nother Go  
  You were going to call it what? 5 working titles from the Super Swedes...  
  In & Out Of Bed With Madonna  
  Collaborations for the Queen of Pop that didn't end at 5.30...  
  Self-Love  
  Songs that gave a whole new meaning to 'Born To Hand Jive'...  
  Slade  
  For those that glam-rocked, we all salute you...  
  Supergrass  
  A trip through the lambchop elite's glory story...  
  '80s Revival Hell  
  Alas, some pop icons just wouldn't let that decade go.  


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