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Thursday 5 December 2019

Retro Top Ten: This week in 1975

Rod Stewart in 1975
Rod Stewart in 1975

A year before they enjoyed wide international success with their own single 'Arms of Mary', a collaboration with rock band Quiver, Aberdeen's Sutherland Brothers (Gavin and Iain Sutherland) gave Rod Stewart a four-week spell at the top of the UK charts with 'Sailing'.

Stewart had been a Sutherland Brothers fan since seeing them perform live at London's Marquee Club. He worked with the brothers on several songs in the run-up to the recording of his sixth album 'Atlantic Crossing' but it was 'Sailing' alone, a very minor Sutherland Brothers hit from 1972, that made it to the final cut.

Stewart did not consider 'Sailing' as a hit and has said that he 'argued vehemently' against its release as the lead single off the album. However, on release 'Sailing' cruised to the top of the charts in the UK and also docked at number one in Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway.

Since then, 'Sailing' has been re-released a couple of times, enjoying a top ten return when used as the theme song to BBC documentary series 'Sailor' in 1976 and reaching number 41 when reissued as a charity single after the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987.

The Sutherland Brothers' original version of 'Sailing' peaked at No 54 in the UK charts in July 1972, selling an estimated 40,000 units in total. Rod Stewart's version has to date sold well in excess of a million in the UK alone and it remains his biggest selling single in that market.

Incidentally, one of Stewart's music videos for the release was filmed at Dublin Port and on Dublin's Moore Street where the singer can be seen being photographed by then partner Britt Ekland as he strolls among the fruit and veg stalls and is swarmed by fans and autograph hunters.

1 Sailing Rod Stewart

2 Moonlighting Leo Sayer

3 The Last Farewell Roger Whittaker

4 Summertime City Mike Batt with New Edition

5 Funky Moped/Magic Roundabout Jasper Carrot

6 I'm On Fire 5000 Volts

7 Heartbeat Showaddywaddy

8 A Child's Prayer Hot Chocolate

9 Hold Me Close David Essex

10 That's The Way (I Like It) KC and the Sunshine Band

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