191. ‘Concrete and Clay’, by Unit 4 plus 2

I look at the title of this next chart-topper – a little one-week wonder from the spring of 1965 – and think ‘Nope’. I do not know this song. Which is good! I like a nice step into the unknown.

Unit 4 Plus Two

Concrete and Clay, by Unit 4 plus 2 (their 1st and only #1)

1 week, from 8th – 15th April 1965

Then I press play, catching a whiff of snazzy Latin guitar and some cowbells? And, what’s that…? The ting of a cymbal? And I start to wonder if perhaps I haven’t, somewhere, at some point in time, heard this before…

It sounds like the music used between scenes in a cutesy rom-com – the sort with slightly older leads (Alec Baldwin, perhaps?), set in a Californian wine-valley… But with added lyrics: You to me, Are sweet as roses in the morning, You to me, Are soft as summer rain at dawn… The suspicion that I may have heard it before grows…

Then we arrive at the hook: The concrete and the clay, Beneath my feet, Begins to crumble, But love will never die… And, yes, I do know this… We’ll see the mountains tumble, Before we say goodbye… Somewhere, deep in my subconscious, this tune must have lain dormant for years, decades perhaps. Until today. The mysteries of the human mind…

It’s a pleasant enough song. Cute, up-tempo, doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s got a kind of timeless sound, a world away from most mid-sixties rock, in keeping with the way that 1965 in general has seen pop music splintering away from the Beat movement. But if I had one complaint about the song it would be that it’s slightly basic. ‘The world may end, but my love will live on…’ is the message, and ‘Yeah, whatever’ is my response. For a record intriguingly titled ‘Concrete and Clay’, it is a little disappointing to discover that it’s just a standard love song.

unit_4_and_2-concrete_and_clay_s_2

And I’m struggling to write much else … Perhaps the fact that I thought I’d never heard of it is telling. Ask a stranger in the street to sing a line from ‘Concrete and Clay’, by Unit 4 + 2 and I’m betting they’d struggle. This is a fairly well forgotten #1 from a fairly well-forgotten band. Not that they were quite one-hit wonders, as their follow up to this managed to reach #14 later in the year.

I like the name, though. The use of numbers looks quite modern, especially when placed next to ‘The Beatles’, ‘Herman’s Hermits’ and the like. Unit 4 + 2 sounds to me like a German Eurodance duo from the mid-nineties. The origin of the name is pretty prosaic though: a band named Unit 4 added two new members, and changed their name accordingly…

And that’s all (he) wrote (about this song.) We’ve not had much Spanish guitar at the top of the charts before now, so for that reason alone I have no problem with this grabbing a week at the top. A cute little interlude on our journey through pop music history… Onwards…

3 thoughts on “191. ‘Concrete and Clay’, by Unit 4 plus 2

  1. badfinger20

    You have me on this one. I’ve never heard it until today. It’s like the charts couldn’t decide on what they wanted to represent…but I think that is cool…variety is great. Tom Jones, The Stones and then this…

    1. Yeah compared to 63-64 when it was all Merseybeat it’s nice for things to get a bit of a shakeup. I like that they all had 1-2 weeks at Number One – nobody hogging it for too long either

  2. Pingback: Recap: #181 – #210 – The UK Number Ones Blog

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