Do you remember the long hot summer of 1976… and can you remember what you were listening to on the radio?
The Real Thing
At the height of the 1976 heatwave in the UK, The Real Thing were riding high at the top of the charts with “You to Me Are Everything”.
They were No.1 for 3 weeks from June 26th until July 17th when they were knocked from the top spot by Demis Roussos.
Songs have a way of taking you back in time to the place you were when you heard them, and “You to Me Are Everything” evokes memories of everything from teenage angst and school discos to wedding daysand first babies among the Spring Chicken Community:
“My boyfriend bought me ‘You to Me Are Everything’ in 1976. We have been together ever since and it’s still ‘our song’.”
“I remember going to school discos and ‘You to Me Are Everything’ would be playing. I loved it, and all the guys would ask the girls to dance, but I never got asked.”
“I’ve always loved this song. It was playing on hospital radio when I was in having my first baby… the words seemed so apt.”
Still touring today, The Real Thing hail from Liverpool, and many Facebook followers have fond memories of seeing them perform locally in their early career:
“I saw them at Bailey’s (Club) in Liverpool just before they released their first single. They were totally amazing.”
“I had the privilege of dancing with them in the ABC Club in Liverpool before they became famous. Great memories.”
“I saw them live at Bradford Alhambra… knickers were being thrown on stage!”
With follow up hits including “Can’t Get by Without You” and “Can You Feel the Force?”, The Real Thing became the most successful black British soul group of the ’70s.
Perhaps the heat was getting to everyone by mid-July, but Demis Roussos stole the No.1 spot from The Real Thing with “The Roussos Phenomenon EP”, a compilation of four songs, including the hit “Forever and Ever”.
He was described as “an unlikely kaftan-wearing sex symbol” by The Telegraph, but his popularity in the UK was at an all-time high in the summer of 1976 – and the sweltering heat let everyone know that wearing a kaftan wasn’t such a mad idea after all!
Elton John and Kiki Dee
Demis had just 1 week at the top of the charts, but love was still in the sizzling summer air as Elton John and Kiki Dee bounced into the No.1 spot with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, taking up residence there for the next 6 weeks.
Elton was perhaps at his peak in terms of flamboyant outfits in the mid ‘70s, but who can forget Kiki’s pageboy haircut and bib-and-brace dungarees?
The Beach Boys hadn’t had a UK No.1 hit since 1968, and they were a lot hairier in the ’70s than they were in the ’60s, but something about the summer of 1976 saw them rocket to the top of the UK album charts in July with “20 Golden Greats”, and they stayed there for the next 10 weeks.
Perhaps it was the wall-to-wall sunshine and the rush to spend every available moment on the beach, or the 45-day stretch without a single drop of rain that left even the most cautious of Brits able to leave their brollies at home, but the Beach Boys offered the perfect soundtrack to Britain’s hottest summer on record.
Ah, happy days! It’s fun to reminisce, but, a comment made by one Spring Chicken Facebook follower perhaps speaks for us all:
“How come I can remember every word of ‘You to Me Are Everything’ but I can’t remember where I put my keys this morning!”