World of Chig   


“Since you’ve been gone, all that’s left is a band of gold, all that’s left of the dream I hold is a band of gold.”

#1 Band Of Gold Freda Payne

[291] Writers: Ron Dunbar & Edith Wayne. Producers: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier & Eddie Holland
05 Sep 70 – 19 weeks on chart - #1 for 6 weeks from 19 Sep 70

Shocked? I know I am! And I’ve known the result for seven weeks! You didn’t spot the clue yesterday, did you? “All that’s left” is the number one = “All that’s left is a band of gold”. It was a clear winner though….

A tale of marital failure tops our list, for reasons perhaps best kept to yourselves! Freda’s man is unable or unwilling to consummate their marriage, leaving her to contemplate her wedding ring on the night of their marriage. It’s not a universally appealing theme, but it attracted more votes than any other song in fifty years, so it must be doing something right. The funny thing is, nearly half the people who gave this single its highest marks are coupled up. I’m not sure what that’s telling us. I dread to think.

Holland Dozier Holland, as they were known, had made their name at Motown in the sixties. They left and formed the Invictus record label, releasing the transatlantic hit ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’ by Chairmen Of The Board, which went top 3 in both the US and the UK.

Freda’s background was in jazz and the theatre, which she went back to in the late seventies. Her previous release in America ‘The Unhooked Generation’ had made no impression at all in the UK, so ‘Band Of Gold’ was her debut UK hit. With this, she became the first female solo American R&B singer to have a UK #1, two places higher than itmanaged in the States.

She followed it up very quickly with a smaller #33 hit, ‘Deeper And Deeper’. Her luck was running out though, and her third hit ‘Cherish What Is Dear To You’ (by which she presumably meant ‘keep hold of your jewellery if your man runs out on you’) proved to be her last, and only made #46. All three hits were on Invictus. In the USA, Freda also had a top ten hit with the anti-Vietnam war song, ‘Bring The Boys Home’.

‘Band Of Gold’ was covered in 1983 by supercamp king/queen of the discotheques, Sylvester, of ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ fame. It was his final hit, only making #67. Freda’s version has never re-entered the chart, or been turned into a hit cover version by anyone else. I have a feeling there will be people reading this who don’t even know the song, or wouldn’t be able to sing it.

At the height of Freda’s success, she was so popular that Blue Peter named their tortoise after her, painting her name on her back (the tortoise’s, not the singer’s).

Freda Payne is still going strong, and looks like this on her agency's website. Read some confusion about the lyric here.

One of the sentences in this piece may be a complete lie.

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