Harvester (Brand New Key) / The Blackbird
Date: 23rd April 1976
- The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)
- The Blackbird
now and again a decision is made which turns the fortunes
of a band. Band manager John Miles' decision for The
Wurzels to record a "wurzeled-up" cover version
of Brendan Grace's Irish #1 hit single The
Combine Harvester, itself a parody of
Melanie Safka's hit single Brand New Key
was a master stroke.
The Combine Harvester had
been released in 1975, but while it topped the Irish
singles charts, it failed to make an impression in the
more lucrative UK singles charts. The Wurzels version
of the song was released in the spring of 1976 but its
success must have surprised everyone associated with
song hit the charts in 15 May 1976, shot up to #14 the
following week; a climb that earned them a slot of Top
Of The Pops. On the back of that, it reached
#3; a week later it was at #2, then on 12
June 1976 it reached the top of the UK Singles Charts
(in an era where that meant something!), and stayed
there for two weeks. Proper stuff!
single sold nearly 400,000 copies in the UK alone -
and was UK's 16th top-selling single of the 1976. It
was released across the world, and we are still tracking
down how well it did overseas. It did chart
in Canada - although was not a major hit.
Harvester was re-issued
in 1980 on the HMV label.