independent

Thursday 21 June 2018

Top Tens - This week in 1978

Boney M: sixth bestselling single of all time in the UK
Boney M: sixth bestselling single of all time in the UK

Our number one of 40 years ago this week is a rare example of a pop song with lyrics adapted from the Bible. 'Rivers of Babylon' is based on Psalm 137:1-4, expressing the lamentations of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

It was originally a Rastafarian song, written and recorded by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians in 1970.

German disco band Boney M discarded the Rastafarian language of the original for their singalong version of 'Rivers Of Babylon', pairing it with 'Brown Girl In The Ring', their take on a traditional children's song of the West Indies.

The single stayed at the top of the UK charts for five weeks, selling in huge quantities. In terms of physical sales, it's the sixth best-selling single of all time in the UK, with sales exceeding two million copies.

1 Rivers Of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring Boney M

2 The Boy From New York City Darts

3 Night Fever The Bee Gees

4 If I Can't Have You Yvonne Elliman

5 Love Is In The Air John Paul Young

6 You're The One That I Want John Travolta & Olivia Newton John

7 Because The Night Patti Smith Group

8 More Than A Woman Tavares

9 What A Waste Ian Dury

10 Ca Plane Pour Moi Plastic Bertrand

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