359. ‘Everything I Own’, by Ken Boothe

In my last post, I dubbed the autumn of 1974 as the ‘Disco-Fall’, so glistening and shimmering has it been, dripping with the season’s hot new sound. But there have been detours, brief intermissions in the programme – think John Denver’s ‘Annie’s Song’, for example. And now this.

Everything I Own, by Ken Boothe (his 1st and only #1)

3 weeks, from 20th October – 10th November 1974

Though ‘Everything I Own’ isn’t so much a detour from the disco-soul sounds of recent #1s; it is more like being dumped in the middle of the Amazon with no compass. It is a slice of incredibly laid-back reggae, with incredibly earnest vocals and a tempo that never gets above crawling pace. Reggae is a strange genre, in chart terms, as it never seems to come or go. We’ve had reggae chart-toppers since the late sixties, and they’ll crop up every now and then until the present day. See also: country and western.

You sheltered me from harm, Kept me warm… You gave my life to me, Set me free… It’s a love song, a thank you letter to a loved one. It’s so sincere and sweet that it might even be a hymn. God himself might be the loved one… He’s not, it becomes clear, but the comparison is valid. This is record is just very… nice.

I would give anything I own, Give up my life, My heart, My home… (It’s odd, but the phrase ‘everything I own’ never features, it’s always ‘anything…) It’s nice, it’s very calming, almost like an audible massage, but I’m waiting for the hook… Still waiting… And then it fades. Oh well. It would work very well playing in the background, in a beach bar, in Thailand.

‘Everything I Own’ was originally a soft-rock hit for Bread, in 1972, before being adapted here into soft-reggae. It has been covered by everyone with a penchant for AOR, from Rod Stewart to Boyzone. It will also appear again at the top of the charts, in 1987, but I won’t give the game away on that just yet.

I have to say that, despite not loving this record, it is the version that I’m enjoying the most. Ken Boothe has a fine voice, and he enunciates every syllable in a manner your nan would approve of. His chart career mirrors perfectly that of our previous chart-toppers, Sweet Sensation. A #1, followed by a #11, and then done. I like that symmetry. Boothe made a sum total of $0 from this hit, as his record label went bust before they paid him. He is still alive, has been awarded the Jamaican Order of Distinction, and released his most recent album in 2012.

Listen to (almost) every #1 with this playlist:

8 thoughts on “359. ‘Everything I Own’, by Ken Boothe

  1. Poor ol’ Ken getting screwed by his record label! Gone “bust” with the missing cash I should think. I’m a Bread fan, I love their Carpenters-era MOR-rock, but I do love Ken’s version too, I’m a sucker for reggae too. It had the “cool” factor back in the 60’s and 70’s, as the Windrush generation made it’s impact on British popular music culture. I don’t dance much these days, but if I do I’ll happily go for reggae rhythms, preferably a bit more upbeat than this one, though. In the charts at that time, was a more rootsy track called Ire Feelings (Skanga) by Rupie Edwards, which I thought was SO cool and unorthodox in structure the way Double Barrel had been a breath of fresh air.

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    He does a great job but I grew up with the Bread version…it has a lot memories to it so I would have to go with that one. I never heard this before…

  3. Pingback: Recap: #331 – #360 – The UK Number Ones Blog

  4. Pingback: 367. ‘If’, by Telly Savalas – The UK Number Ones Blog

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