The first #1 of a new decade, and it’s a good ‘un. I love the simple, growling riff that starts us off, that grows and grows, has some horns added to it, and then…
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), by Edison Lighthouse (their 1st and only #1)
5 weeks, from 25th January – 1st March 1970
She ain’t got no money, Her clothes look kinda funny, Her hair is kinda wild and free… Rosemary is a bit of a manic pixie dream girl – or a bit of a hippy, as they might have said at the time – who turns guys’ worlds upside down. Oh but love grows, Where my Rosemary goes, And nobody knows like me…
It’s a soaring pop song, one that seem to be constantly heading upwards, one that pushes all the right pleasure receptors in your brain and makes you smile. I might even go as far as to describe it as euphoric. Rosemary talks funny, and nobody knows where she came from, but she casts a spell. I imagine a girl in a floaty dress, with flowers in her hair, turning the world from black and white into technicolour as she skips past…
It’s a cheesy song, but one that stays on the right side of cheesy. Any song that includes a line like I’m a lucky feller and I just gotta tell her… is flying close to the wind, but ‘Love Grows…’ gets away with it. By the time we get to the end, which sounds a bit like a refrain of the main melody with extra strings and horns, I’m ready to say it. It’s pop perfection.
I’m not sure if this is simply because I know it’s the first number one of the 1970s, but something about this disc sounds new. Yes it sounds like some of the late-sixties bubblegum records – ‘Dizzy’, ‘Sugar Sugar’ – and the like, but it also sounds like the next step. A glossier, poppier take on sixties rock. But that might only be because I’m expecting it to be the next step… Either way, it’s a great start to the decade.
Edison Lighthouse were a London-based band – mildly surprising, because they sound very American to my ears – and ‘Love Grows…’ was their biggest hit by far. Their second highest charting single, ‘It’s Up to You, Petula’ made #49, which means they are officially one-hit wonders. Their lead singer, Tony Burrows, had a long career beyond the band, recording with Brotherhood of Man, who we’ll meet before long, and singing backing vocals for Elton John and Cliff Richard among others. Also, Edison Lighthouse are probably the only chart-topping act to be named after an actual lighthouse (Eddystone Lighthouse, in Devon.)
Records like this are, at the end of the day, what the pop charts are for. It’s interesting when strange hits make it to the top, ones that push boundaries – for better or worse – but there will always be a place for well-made, catchy pop. Plus, we can now add ‘Rosemary’ to our growing list of girls names which have made #1, alongside *deep breath* Rose Marie, Josephine, Diana, Mary, Cathy, Laura, Diane, Juliet, Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, Bonnie, Lady Madonna, Jude (though that could be a boy), Lily and Yoko!
Listen back to every number one from the sixties (and the fifties) here: