(Los) POP TOPS
Germ cell of THE POP TOPS was a group of instrument valleys called LOS TIFONES, which was found 1961 in Madrid. It had won 1966 the FESTIVAL DE CONJUNTOS MUSICAL DE LEÓN, which was broadcasted live. The band aroused on this occasion the interest of the disc producer ALAIN MILHAUD. Although the man was actually Frenchman, he had always an eye on the spanish market and its talents. To its clients already belonged LOS BRAVOS and LOS CANARIOS. According to MILHAUD'S opinion LOS TIFONES should be absolutely extended by a singer. He obtained therefore contacts to the Afro American PHIL TRIM (*05.01.1940), who was with its extensive vocals able to sing in accent-free English. Trim had before already provided as a member of the TRINIDAD STEEL BAND for some attention.
With this fusion and a renaming of the new formation in LOS POP TOPS were put to international goals the first foundation-stones MILHAUD aimed at. Behind TRIM was now a broad spectrum of first-class instrument valleyists, which could bring numerous further string and wind instruments beside the generally usual guitar and impact things company to the employment. To the starting formation of the POP TOPS belonged beside of Phil Trim: Ex-Tifones José Lipiani (drums), Alberto Vega (saxophone, clarinet), Ignacio Pérez (organ), Julián Luis Angulo (guitar and vocals), and Enrique Gómez (bass and trumpet). But it was again additionally strengthened however quite soon by also today still world-wide well known session guitarist Raymond aka Ray Gómez (*27.2.1953, Casablanca, Marocco).
The POP TOPS beginning celebrated young with CON SU BLANCA PALIDEZ, - a successful cover version of the Procol Harum hit A WHITER HARM OF PALE. That song found large resonance at the spanish public, which can be also said by the successor CRY. This time the band supplied on the B-side an excellent self-composition titled VIENTO DE OTONO. The track was characterised particularly by its musical freshness and a particularly sophisticated arrangement, which brought PHIL TRIMS great voice extremely skillfully to the effect.
1968 was the year when the POP TOPS could harvest actually also outside of Spain great success. After SOMEWHERE and the Martin Luther King dedicated B-side LA VOZ DEL HOMBRE CAIDO the band penetrated with the fourth single OH LORD, WHY LORD in music extremely consistently into Northern Soul. But the international success of this wonderful production let substantial differences arise however within the Combo regarding the artistic style in the future which can be pursued. Instead of continuing the hit way now without any doubt, the POP TOPS drifted with the coming publications to some extent orientationless in many different categories, because the likewise still soulful THAT WOMAN had not come over the status of a national success. 1969 appeared with DZIM DZIM DZAS suddenly a very psychedelisch concerning and with SONAR, BAILAR Y CANTAR (1970) became the POP TOPS unexpectedly again completely poppig commercially as in their start times. The band lost more and more at clear artistic adjustment and became unfitter thereby at the same time for the international market ever. DIOS A TODOS HIZO LIBRE aimed for this reason already consciously only at the spanish public.
1971 found the POP TOPS their way back into the success trace. The times and the entire basic conditions were extremely favorable, because by the european-wide hits of Miguel Rios (Song Of Joy) as well as Waldo de los Rios (Mozart: 1st Movement from Symphony No. 40) had developed recently a large interest in artists of the spanish popscene. By means of the gospel song ROAD TO FREEDOM and appropriate sales figures provided now also the POP TOPS a good visiting card with that internationally active major companies.
The band released MAMY BLUE on the international market and landed thereby a great shot. The volume set of Phil Trim, his outstanding voice which alternated beautifully with a gospel chorus and symphonic inserts was really great! The title went around the half world and occupied german charts for 10 weeks at number 1. In Switzerland and Great Britain MAMY BLUE settled too under the TOP-40. RICKY SHAYNE made a cover version in German and peaked with his version at the same time at place 7.
Further successes of the POP TOPS were SUZANNE SUZANNE, MY LITTLE WOMAN and HIDEAWAY, - all this tracks peaked in Germany in the Top-30. The title specified last by the way was recorded as a cover version again. It remained however with its english lyrics. DRAFI DEUTSCHER produced in 1972 under the alias GREEN BEANS a remake of that song, which could not however unfortunately tie to the success of the original.
In Spain the POP TOPS up to its separation in the middle of the 1970s remained extremely popular. And they independently of the heights and depths, which had to through-live them in the course of their career, quite showed possessed that the band had the musical potential, to put a heavy word on the international disc market too.
Phil Trim worked in the following years foreward as soloist and brought in Spain still further successes in (look at Phil Trim discography).
THE PROBLEM FOR FANS
Despite the popularity described above and the high quality of the songmaterials of the Pop Tops, there was for nearly 30 years no more possibility for the fans out of Spain to buy the fantastic recordings of the 1960s and 1970s in the shops or by dispatch. The tracks were never offered on the german, european or american market in digital form. Some spanish websites presented since 2003 compilations of remakes as CDs (look at Pop Tops discography); these were however natural for collecting fans no equivalent replacement in relation to the original tracks from the 1960s and 1970s.
So we tried to come with this online-project the goal of a re-release of the original Pop Tops material in other way a step nearer. Addressees of this goal were naturally labels as REPERTOIRE RECORD, ACE or BEAR FAMILY, which provided in the past already with most diverse Reissues in fastidious form for sensation. To feel responded may itself in addition, the BMG label, which are current right owner of the POP TOPS' songs from the 1960s and 1970s for Germany.
This page had first the priority to collect the still seizable material regarding that volume to prepare and to present it to its interested visitors. In addition the online position of a complete discography and its illustrating with the appropriate picture sleeves belongs as substantial step. Same applies to the development of a comprehensive band biography. In both sections first beginnings were created here, - they are to be naturally still crucially developed however.
In 2012 was issued now a Double-CD by the spanish RAMA LAMA-Label which presented 50 original recordings of the Pop Tops and made us very satisfied. When it will be traded well to shops and dispatches all over Germany, Europe and America there has been archieved a goal of our efforts. Great!
Manfred Schwanbeck †