[1] Glen Campbell, ‘Wichita Lineman’

And you thought we’d forgotten. You try launching two websites in a month. The good news is, one’s done and has for the past two days been revolutionising the way the world thinks about music channels run by corporate communications portals; as for the bad news, the other one’s the work of just me and a couple of associates, and we’re lazy as hell. Expect Jukebox Junior entries to come flying thick and fast while I put off doing proper work. That’s a promise, by the way. The 1969 chart’s taken longer than the actual year.

But here we bid it farewell, with some tastefully wrought sentiment and an arrangement that stands just as proud in 2008 as it must have done in 1969, because it’s timeless, definitive and enduring. Well, it’s still on the line. It’s a Jimmy Webb special, strings and horns present and correct alongside a sense of vastness, of a granite-hewn cowboy standing on the verge of getting it on. I’m going all Brokeback. The song houses one of my favourite couplets (“And I need you more than want you” – Oh dear – “And I want you for all time” – Ah, I see) and pulls off ingenious capers with violins and synths, recreating the Morse code of the telegraph – all bundled together to form a peerless, romantic whole.

Junior sat in the back of the car, waving her arms, conducting the orchestra. I’m not even sure she’s seen a conductor in action, so it must be instinctive. Of course she asks “Who’s singing?” It’s the sonorous tones of Glen Campbell, the golden teddy bear, the country and western Jack Nicklaus.

Back after Glastonbury with a seething vengeance. All you shy readers can select a new year to slice, dice and swathe with unlikely records that only a shameless pop freak of dubious taste could love. Anything except 1969, 1973, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2007. They’re either here or archived over there. Think that covers it.

[2] Marvin Gaye, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’

General consensus paints this as the perfect pop record, but it’s dark, isn’t it? It’s not sunshine and ‘Modern Love’, the way Alphabeat – say – like to wield their pop brushstrokes, and it doesn’t dip into the conventional verse-chorus toolbox to create a Beatley nugget. The chorus is a natural conclusion to Marvin’s prickly, paranoid, wrenched and broken verses, like an outpouring of resentment and sorrow from a man who’d spent so many bars trying to contain it. The arrangement is thrilling, gut-churning, creepy and persuasive and Marvin’s high notes whack the message home. It’s a towering distillation of soul music’s ability to draw you in, leaving you sympathetic yet implicated.

Junior cuts to the heart of the matter: “Where’s honey?” Marvin has all too clear an idea where she is. “Who’s singing?” “It’s Marvin Gaye, the man on Daddy’s t-shirt.” Clearly I have to go and get the garment, a double print of Marv’s face in black and red. Junior points to the red face, “Is that honey?” An intriguing thought, that the great man may be sobbing over his alter ego’s betrayal – but you can’t make that stick. The song’s too raw to be playing games. That’s for Honey, Honey.

[3] Jackie Wilson, ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher’

Junior greets Jackie Wilson’s warm hug of a record the way everyone should – with finger clicks. Few love songs swing like this. It’s not long before she returns to trying to negotiate her scooter out the back door, but she has time to ask “Who’s singing?” “Jackie Wilson. Can you say ‘Jackie Wilson’?” “I can’t say it.” Jackie wouldn’t be impressed by her lack of application; he’s put his heart, soul and carefully teased quiff into this.

Most of my generation’s radars picked Wilson up as a plasticine hollerer on the revived ‘Reet Petite’, or perhaps on (the first single I ever bought) Dexys Midnight Runners’ Van Morrison cover ‘Jackie Wilson Said’ (“it was real, you see” – nearly, Kev) – but this and ‘I Get The Sweetest Feeling’ seem to have been in my back pocket forever.

The barely contained freneticism of the opening guitar strum is just about kept in check as Wilson gets ever more fervent. ‘…Higher And Higher’ is about the one “in a million girls”, but it’s just as easily a big walloping thank you to the man upstairs. Wilson bursts with passion, voice cracking as he sings with wonder that he never saw disappointment’s face again. It’s so infectious, you can believe it.

[4] Desmond Dekker & The Aces, ‘The Israelites’

Plenty of 1969’s biggest hits are hard-wired into the cultural hive-mind – whatever in Christ’s name that is, but it sounded good from brain to fingers – and ‘The Israelites’ is there as the first tick for reggae. Not the first reggae record, of course; that would take eons of tedious debate to pinpoint and here we like to fly by the seat of our pants (nappies were jettisoned back in March). So, by popular consensus (mine and Junior’s), we stand in awe at what, in a Top Of The Pops world, might fairly be judged Day One for reggae.

With that settled, we can bask in the record’s sunny misery. Desmond takes us by the hand – through an intro that almost threatens to break down before it begins –  then drags us down to a tough old existence, soundtracking it with the most cheery melody this side of bleedin’ B*witched. It’s the neatest trick in the book. Within bars you’re wailing his proud defiance and bewilderment with wretched glee.

To a child, ‘The Israelites’ has the reach of a novelty record. The tune clings like Velcro and the chorus is straight onto the tongue, accurate words or not (yes, thank you, Maxell). Junior hails it an instant classic – signified by hands clapping at an unusually early stage – and flexes her knees to the rhythm in passable imitation of our old favourite, the White Man’s Reggae Dance. She’s perhaps a little too bang on the beat for it to be a genuine WMRD, but it’s nice to see the effort.

[5] Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, ‘The Tracks Of My Tears’

Robinson always hit big at his most lachrymose – take this and the more sprightly, but no less woe-is-me, ‘The Tears Of A Clown’, where he repeats the attempt to convince his lost or would-be paramour that he may look as if he’s having a whale of a time but underneath he’s all sensitive and new-man and that, honest. It’s just a brave face. Yes, love, I may be out carousing with the lads, sinking 12 pints and bouncing off the walls, but really the old smile’s out of place. I’m sad. Sadder than sad.

And he pulls it off, no sweat. It’s odd to assess records that are established standards. There’s no question that Smokey’s tears melted the world’s heart, so I don’t need to dwell on how he did the trick, and the melody’s a winner because everyone knows it. It’s a simple rising scale with blaring brass to underline his bawls and – presumably – the seriousness of what he’s saying. Just look at his face.

But the ultimate test of a lyric’s success is its effect on a two-year-old. Look it up; it’s in the textbooks. Junior bounds around the room, twirling and skipping. It’s way off-tempo, off-message, off-putting. Robinson’s demeanour worked for her, and she won’t listen to any of his contradictions.

[6] Sly & The Family Stone, ‘Everyday People’

And on the more circumspect side of the fence, funkmaster Sly and friends deliver the message with subtlety and oblique savvy. This isn’t just about colour – it’s rich man, poor man, fat man, thin man – but the context is irrelevant; everyone’s the same, and the word is all the more powerful for the freedom and joy the Family Stone put in to saying it. ‘Everyday People’ is swift, concise, blissful and propelled by the easiest horns this side of Al Green. When Arrested Development decided the track needed to be revisited in the ‘90s, they took the title line, flipped it, found ponderous beats and hectored us to within an inch of our patience. Sly knew that a bit of groove could sweeten any pill.

And it’s a groove to hook a little madam, who clapped along in time and, when the two minutes twenty-two seconds clipped by in a blink, announced “It’s gone”. And it is over all too soon, but it’s said as much as it’ll ever need to say.

[7] Blue Mink, ‘Melting Pot’

Having praised Junior’s sense of rhythm recently, I might be forced into a rethink. She approached Blue Mink’s signature anthem for racial harmony with a selection of leaps that were way off tempo – but as the ‘Mink might say, it takes all sorts. In fact, a shout-out to berserk spacehopper kids would hardly sound out of place with the rest of the lyrics.

‘Melting Pot’ eases in with some churchy piano chords, setting the tone for a spiritual piece that would carry far greater weight if it wasn’t so terribly gauche. The “melting pot” is self-explanatory, but the recipe is pure 1969, pure pre-PC. “Curly black and kinky, mixed with yellow chinkies,” goes the jarring line. Ah. Well, there are better ways of putting it. Turning out “coffee-coloured people by the score” is a happy conclusion, but they – potentially – offend enough groups along the way.

We mustn’t be too harsh, because the sentiment is fair, and the song as a whole is a fine, post-Beatles-go-to-India, cod-religious rabble-rouser. The rag-bag session musos who made up Blue Mink attack it with a gusto that is infectious and life-affirming. It bowls along with a naïve charm, and maybe that’s what Junior was aiming for as well.

[8] David Bowie, ‘Space Oddity’

Some records have been absolutely battered, but still sound fresh. I always think I’m tired of ‘Space Oddity’ and then I happen to play it again and enjoy it anew. We went for a “method” airing of this: played through the tinny laptop speaker as if it was being transmitted from a spaceship, dislocated, drifting, alone and doomed. Really, I couldn’t find a CD with it on, and have only just remembered that I have it on vinyl. No matter – the distorted, scratchy rendition was a winner.

Junior latched on to the lyric – “It’s like Tom!” – so far as the tragic hero shares a name with her uncle. He’s drifting in outer space too. Perth, to be precise. She then floated in orbit around the dining table and went on to protest wildly at having to put her shoes on.

As for me, yet again I enjoyed a subdued record that is nevertheless an epic. Perhaps I never play it loudly enough, but for all ‘Space Oddity’’s lush innovation and instrumental variety it still seems light of touch. It’s also bleak, poignant and immense. On reflection, I prefer Bowie garish.

[9] Diana Ross & The Supremes, ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’

Heart-stopping, heart-rending and band-rending, the final single from Diana Ross & The Supremes doesn’t even feature The Supremes. Motown boss Berry Gordy had it pegged as Ross’s first solo single, first nabbing it from under the noses of Junior Walker & The All-Stars, then using the track that original writer Johnny Bristol had patched together with a couple of session singers to underpin Ross’s seductive vocal. Who was going to argue?

It’s a sensitive, swinging arrangement that has Junior swaying. Our girl has a distinct sense of rhythm, and is starting to respond to records in conspicuously different ways. Her hips click into the rising, plucked guitar signature and she glides with the embracing strings.

‘Someday…’ has no conventional chorus, only a release as Ross bursts to tell what she believes. It can be taken as a promise that the band will reunite one day, but she sure as hell had no intention of that. The Queen of Motown didn’t want any baggage weighing her down.

[10] The Beatles, ‘Something’/’Come Together’

It’s 7.21 in the morning and Junior is wearing pink fairy wings and carrying a plastic wand that makes a “magical” sound when you bash it against the furniture. ‘Something’ has, well, something of the fairy dust about it, representing the blossoming of George Harrison’s songwriting shortly before it came to full fruition on cruelly overlooked triple solo album All Things Must Pass. It was written for his then-beloved Patti Boyd – who would shortly hand him in for Eric Clapton when he wrote the inferior ‘Layla’ for her.

‘Something’ is stately and meditative with a masterful middle eight and gorgeous strings. Junior drifts around in fitting manner.

Its partner ‘Come Together’ is a Plastic Ono Band record in all but name. A bluesy strut with the coolest throwaways – “walrus gumboot”, “mojo filter”, “toe-jam football” – it’s a nonsense but a convincing one all the same. Great organ, woozy guitar a sense that The Beatles could still be on their game. Junior is now roaring like a lion and showing her claws – showing the contrast between the songs too.

A No.4 hit. The game was up.