There was a time in the mid-'60s when Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
could do no wrong on the British charts. They were very much a singles band, but with the team of Alan Blaikley
and Ken Howard
penning the songs, they were on a roll with unusual, ear-catching material like "Bend It" and "Hold Tight," which worked outside of the standard pop framework of the day. Given the big arrangements on the songs, it was always hard to tell just how good they were as a real band, but caught up in the welter of hits, it never seemed to matter. And with a total of 14 chart hits, culminating in the epic "The Legend of Xanadu," the only one of their songs to reach the top position, they were always visible, it seemed, from late 1965 until 1969. Perhaps surprisingly for such disposable fare, the songs have held up well, even the ridiculously named "Zabadak!" (which, really, was no more ridiculous than the band's name). "Hideaway," "Bend It," and "Touch Me, Touch Me" are the standouts, but everything has the kind of hook that sticks in the mind and enough of a gimmick to be noticeable. While the writing became more ambitious as time progressed (compare "Wreck of the Antoinette" with "You Make It Move," for example), the basic ingredients remained strong. Written to last three months, the songs -- which, it has to be said, are the real stars here, more than the band -- have kept their power for a long, long time.