Sunday, June 2, 2019

Nonstop Top 20 comes to a stop!

It's been a while since I went crate digging, but old habits die hard, and this weekend while attending a village fete, I had a rummage through an LP box at a brick-a-brack stall. Up popped this very rare record:





It's none other than volume 11 of the Plexium label's 'Nonstop top 20'. The fact that a copy had evaded me for so long is testament to its scarcity. If only there were more cover version fans out there, it would be worth something! (I grabbed it for 50p.)

This was the last LP in the series, appearing in the spring of 1973, as the cover version industry started to go into decline. There are no fake audience effects on this LP (as there were on earlier instalments in the series) but the tracks are closed up, so there is no pause between them.

Something which I wondered about was where these tracks came from. On the face of it, they are Plexium original recordings, but it was often the case that the smaller labels would share tracks or lease them in, especially when sales were dwindling and budgets were tight. What struck me reading through the listing, was the coincidence of so many titles to the mfp album, Hot Hits 17, which was one I had when I was a kid.


The two LPs have the following songs in common:
  • Cum On Feel The Noize
  • Tie A Yellow Ribbon
  • The Twelfth Of Never
  • By The Devil (I Was Tempted)
  • Killing Me Softly With His Song
  • 20th Century Boy
  • Feel The Need In Me
  • Pinball Wizard
  • Power To All Our Friends
  • Never Never Never

Yep, 10 of the 12 tracks on the mfp album also appear on the Plexium set. So they have to be the same recordings, right? Wrong. They are different - much to my surprise.

Not to be beaten, I next turned to Mike Morton's current RCA album, Non Stop Hits volume 5, to see if that's where they originated.


There's plenty of cross-over here too. Plexium and RCA both selected the following:
  • Cum On Feel The Noize
  • Killing Me Softly With His Song
  • 20th Century Boy
  • Feel The Need In Me
  • Looking Through The Eyes Of Love
  • Pinball Wizard

That's six songs in total - half the RCA LP, in other words. And once again, they are different.

Incidentally, I noted above how 10 of the 12 mfp titles were on the Plexium LP. The two that weren't - Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse and Doctor My Eyes - are also on the RCA album!

I must confess, it's a real mystery to me why the cover version albums so often duplicated so much material. Of all the singles in the charts, they repeatedly selected the same narrow set of hits, as illustrated again here.

I did also check the current Top of the Pops album - more cross-overs abound, but yet different recordings once again.


The shared titles between Plexium and Top of the Pops are:
  • Cum On Feel The Noize
  • Tweedle Dee
  • Tie A Yellow Ribbon
  • The Twelfth Of Never
  • 20th Century Boy
  • Get Down 
  • Love Train 
  • Power To All Our Friends

So, you can see all four albums contain their own versions of several identical tracks. Not exactly giving listeners a USP, but I suppose popular hits like Cum On Feel The Noize and 20th Century Boy were just impossible to skip.

As for the following, you can check them yourself to see if any of the recordings match up! I haven't done so - there aren't enough hours in the day...





So, there it is. The end of the line for Nonstop Top 20, with its sad-looking cover, which doesn't even carry a picture. And so far as I know, that was the end of the Plexium label too.



4 comments:

  1. Interesting. As an aside, there was something of an abundance of that Hot Hits 17. My parents had a copy, but they owned no other covers series LPs, and it often seemed to turn up in charity shops, at fetes, in second hand stores, etc. Until an age, I had never seen another Hot Hits volume other than #17.

    BTW, Tina Charles sang Doctor My Eyes on HH17, but not the TOTP version.


    Ian B

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  2. I love cover lp I have just completed my collection of top of the pops album again as I lost some in a move now to finish off 16 chart hits 12 tops hot hits englander 12 hits parade of pops ect love um never stop looking 58 years and still a punk

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  3. Just got vol's 10 and 11 for 10p each (with a couple of 12 tops too).

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  4. You did very well indeed! These are rare records, even if they aren't valued as such.

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