Every UK Number One: Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

middleoftheroad-chirpychirpycheepcheep(2)“Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” by Middle Of The Road was Number One on 19th June 1971 and stayed there for five weeks.

Time to go back to the past again to 1971. Well this chirpy song really brings back some memories. I loved this song and used to sing to all the time when it came on the radio.

The original recording by its composer Lally Stott, was a hit in France (Top 15), a minor hit in Italy, Australia and in the United States. Stott’s record company, Philips, was reluctant to release the song overseas, and apparently offered it to two other groups: Scottish folk-pop group Middle of the Road, who were working in Italy at the time, and Mac and Katie Kissoon. While it is unclear which group Stott offered his song to first, Mac and Katie Kissoon produced their cover version first.

Middle of the Road’s version then initially became a hit on the Continent only, but later grew in popularity in the United Kingdom, reportedly via DJ Tony Blackburn favoring this version over the previously-produced version by Mac and Katie Kissoon. However, Middle of the Road’s version didn’t even chart on the United States Billboard Hot 100, and nearly flopped in the UK also, because it followed the Kissoon’s previously-produced version. Middle of the Road’s version eventually reached #1 in the UK and stayed there for five weeks in June 1971, while the Kissoons’ version only reached #41.

In the USA the Kissoon’s version was a greater success, reaching #20 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Lally Stott’s original version reached #92.

The song was dismissed by critics as bubblegum at the time, a view initially held by band leader Ken Andrews: “We were as disgusted with the thought of recording it as most people were at the thought of buying it. But at the end of the day, we liked it all the time when it came on the radio.

“Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” was originally recorded by it’s composer, Liverpudlian Lally Scott. It was a minor hit for him in Italy, Australia and America. A Scottish foursome, Los Caracas, who played Latin-American music and had tasted some success in Europe, were recommended the song and they recorded it under the name of Middle of the Road. Their version became a hit on continental Europe, and then, with support from BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn, it soared up the UK charts.
When Middle of the Road were originally offered this Bubblegum song their initial response was they would only record it if drunk. Their follow-up single “Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum,” a song about two feuding Scottish clans which peaked at #2 in the UK, was also written by Lally Scott. (thanks, Edward Pearce – Ashford, Kent, England, for all above)

“Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Little baby bird
(Little baby bird)
Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Far far away far far awayayay

Last night I heard my momma singing this song
Ooh wee chirpy chirpy cheep cheep
Woke up this morning and my momma was gone
Ooh wee chirpy chirpy cheep cheep
Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep chirp

Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Little baby bird
(Little baby bird)
Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Far far away
Where’s your poppa gone
(Where’s your poppa gone)
Little baby bird
(Little baby bird)
Where’s your poppa gone
(Where’s your poppa gone)
Far far away far far awayayay

Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Little baby bird
(Little baby bird)
Where’s your momma gone
(Where’s your momma gone)
Far far away

Where’s your poppa gone
(Where’s your poppa gone)
Little baby bird
(Little baby bird)
Where’s…”

Basically there is nothing to the lyrics. How can one be so chirpy about losing your momma and poppa?????
Anyway this is the version I remember here in Kiwiland. I am really envious of his long glorious hair.  I can remember all these clothes – so really quaint now. It reminds me of watching Coronation Street and being envious of their clothes which we wouldn’t dare wear here in conservative New Zealand.

So what was number one here down under at this time – well we went all classical for a week with Mozart:

And then we went all religious:

With Ocean. Another song we sung at school.

So it is back to the future.

Raewyn

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