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Charging at 5000 Volts - no wonder she was on fire...

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  • George 1978
    5000 Posts for 5000 Volts! (See what I did there?) A fanatic once again...

    Can anyone tell me if Tina Charles is still performing these days? I believe that she must be around the age of 70 - a sobering thought indeed.

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  • Charging at 5000 Volts - no wonder she was on fire...

    Recent generations of seventies' pop music fans have had to wait until Pick of the Pops come on Radio 2, and even then, had to wait until 1975 was featured, and the correct time of year, and hoping that Gambo won't skip the song to get to the next one. Now we have YouTube, Alexa and NOW 70s to quench our thirst of music from back then. And almost back then, I thought that as Tina Charles and Ray Charles had the same surname, they might be related considering their similar occupations? The same with Chuck Berry and Dave Berry? The late Linda Lewis, who we lost a month or so, was also someone within that genre, although she often had supporting rather starring roles when performing. It's also amazing that she Tina Charles was the only other Tina apart from the late Tina Turner to make impact in the British charts.

    I will now imagine that I was born in around 1960 and so that I was a teenager in around 1975 in pure Happy Days territory - I'll just but some Brylcreem on and preen myself in the bathroom mirror before meeting my date later on. Anyway, it was early autumn, just a few weeks before that year's Goose Fair, and I was back at school for my fourth year at comprehensive school (which is how I would have wanted it to be) I'm on Fire was doing the rounds in the British charts, and was even featured on that week's Top of the Pops; however, I would wait two weeks and go for the 18th September edition as that was presented by Noel Edmonds, for its premiere two weeks before was presented by "he who has been in disgrace ever since those allegations a year after he died - Operation Yewtree and all that". Just as well really, as it was Luan Peters who did the honours rather than Ms Charles on vocals on the 4th September. Procol Harem preceded it with Pandora's Box and Mike Batt (not a Wombles song, but the other one he did outside Wimbledon territory); it was succeeded it with Summertime City, the theme tune to the Saturday night seaside variety shows back then.

    I mentioned it on the Songs that Sound Familiar thread, that I'm on Fire sounds from an instrumental perspective as being similar to La Belle Epoque's Black is Black two years later, the cover version of that Los Bravos original hit from 1966. Meanwhile, 5000 Volts had two hits with Dr Kiss-Kiss as a follow-up a year later, and then lead singer Tina Charles went Solo with her disco hit I Love to Love (But My Baby Just Loves to Dance), a hit in between her final 5000 Volts hit. And then in August, Dance Little Lady Dance was rubbing shoulders in the charts with Abba's Dancing Queen, getting to number six. A couple of more hits took her to early 1978. I'll Go Where Your Music Takes Me always seemed to be only played on TOTP2, but I still like her version to the original Jimmy James and the Vagabonds' version from a few years before.

    Tina Charles made cameo appearances outside of Top of the Pops territory; Basil Brush had welcomed her as a guest on his show in October 1976, along with Smokie of Living Next Door to Alice fame. LWT's Tiswas counterpart Saturday Scene saw Sally James interviewing Charles for their Saturday morning show. By the end of 1977 she appeared on a Christmas Eve edition of Swap of the Pops - Swap Shop meets Top of... with Noel Edmonds, while she appeared alongside the Wurzels on the "Christmas morning from the children's ward of a Yorkshire TV region hospital" special A Merry Morning, while Jimmy Tarbuck looked on. Mike Yarwood invited her onto his BBC show in February 1978, and she had appeared on the London Weekend Show around a year later. In 1979 she appeared alongside Kenny Everett and a "recently left Blue Peter" Lesley Judd and Sting on Juke Box Jury. And Georgie Fame invited her onto his HTV show. (I could have sworn that she appeared on 3-2-1, giving Ted Rogers the "Dusty Bin" clue, or had appeared with Bernie Winters and Lennie Bennett on some Wednesday 8.00 pm show). By the time the 1980s began she disappeared from the charts and our TV sets. Sheila B Devotion and Boney M almost made it out of there.

    I think that the fact that such acts disappear from the public eye as soon as flares and brown décor do, makes one want to have more of that sort of thing. She might have been on fire back then, but the fire has long been extinguished.