301. ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, by Middle of the Road

On with the next three-hundred! And our 301st #1 gets going with a promising glam rock stomp. Seriously, this is a great record… for the first three or four seconds.

maxresdefault

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, by Middle of the Road (their 1st and only #1)

5 weeks, from 13th June – 18th July 1971

Then the handclaps come in, and a voice that sounds like a knock-off Lulu. Where’s your mama gone? (Where’s your mama gone?)… Little baby bird… Far, far away… Mummy bird’s gone, flown the coop. Where’s your papa gone? (Where’s your papa gone?)… Daddy bird too. That’s half the song.

Then: Last night I heard my mama singin’ a song, Woke up this morning and my mama was gone… Oo-wee, Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep! That’s the second half of the song. It gets annoying, quickly. Did anyone say ‘bubblegum’?

No, that’s harsh. ‘Bubblegum’ needn’t be a dirty word. ‘Dizzy’, for example was a fine slice of bubblegum pop. I should have asked: did anyone say ‘cloyingly irritating novelty’? This is a record that shouldn’t appeal to anyone over the age of five. And yet, we all know it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ in its entirety until now, but I sure as hell knew that chorus.

The lyrics – the four lines that make up this entire song – are actually quite sad. The singer is either a bird, abandoned in her nest. Or the singer is a child, abandoned by her parents, who sees an abandoned bird and feels a sense of kinship. To her credit, though, she’s not wallowing in despair. Oh no. She sounds as if she’s determined to make something of her life regardless of the tough start. Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep chirp!

2v2JVEhh8xAqeaq

I don’t mind a novelty, but this song makes very little sense, and midway through the chorus starts repeating over and over, and over. Let’s go now! You frantically check that this record isn’t actually six minutes long. All together now! No, just forty seconds left, thank God. One more time now! Phew.

Middle of the Road were (‘are’ actually, they’re still going) a Scottish band, who had a brief burst of fame in the UK in the early seventies, with this and other hits such as ‘Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum’ – which I listened to and found to be not as bad as their only #1. They were huge across Europe – I guess the simple lyrics and sugary tunes translated well – and I’ve seen some sources label them as a predecessor to ABBA. (Which is like saying the first ever wheel carved from a hunk of rock by a hairy caveman is a predecessor to a Ferrari.)

Anyway, that’s that. Had Middle of the Road arrived at the top of the charts just a few weeks earlier, then Dana would have had some stiff competition for ‘Worst Chart-Topper’ last time out. But they’re safe, for now…

Enjoy all the previous 300 number ones with this playlist (I promise most of them are better than this.)

14 thoughts on “301. ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, by Middle of the Road

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    As much as I don’t want to like it…I do. It doesn’t hurt with the blonde out front singing it with some bionic flairs. I can’t help but like her voice…it’s different.

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Her voice is different…it’s not the same old thing lol. I looked them up and saw them play this song at a 2016 festival…people were really getting into it…that surprised me.

        I need to listen to some more Lulu…

      2. Was the festival in Germany, or Sweden? Apparently they were huge around Europe… I think Lulu came to mind because of the Scottish connection, but they do sound similar.

  2. I heard this record on a new-fangled cassette player some kid brought to school as our school was in the process of starting to close down forever (RAF were leaving Singapore and we were all heading home). It sounded like nothing on Earth, got stuck in your brain and wouldn;t leave! Our record player has been packed up in boxes to ship home – but I still bought it, took it on the plane home, and had to wait weeks to actually hear it again in the UK. By which time the UK had moved on to the follow-up which I also bought!

    So it was still fresh and obsessive for me as the rest of the nation had moved on to irritation with it 🙂 A generation of teenage boys (and older) loved Sally and her hotpants though, and they were actually a pretty good pop band. Check out the heavenly Soley Soley, nothing like this, the wonderful ballad Union Silver (sad social commentary) and the oh so catchy Talk Of The USA. 🙂 I can still listen to those records quite happily, but tend to file Chirpy Chirpy under “nostalgic wonderful memories of being 13 years old”. Once in a blue moon to hear it is fine… 🙂

    1. I will check more MOtheR out, then. It would be a shame to judge them solely on this novelty. Although I listened to ‘Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum’ – their next biggest hit, I think – and can’t say it was much of an improvement!

  3. Pingback: 306. ‘Coz I Luv You’, by Slade – The UK Number Ones Blog

  4. Pingback: 306. ‘Coz I Luv You’, by Slade – The UK Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: 308. ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)’, by The New Seekers – The UK Number Ones Blog

  6. Pingback: 313. ‘Metal Guru’, by T. Rex – The UK Number Ones Blog

  7. Pingback: Recap: #301 – #330 – The UK Number Ones Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s