Updated date:

The History of Polly Brown and Pickettywitch

Author:

Richard is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys all forms of entertainment, including movies, music, and television.

Pickettywitch

Pickettywitch

Polly Browne and Her Group Pickettywitch

Polly Brown (occasionally spelled Browne) was the lead vocalist with the early 1970s pop band, Pickettywitch. Although the group was not around for all that long—at most three years with Brown at the helm—it did manage to make a minor impression on the music world with a few memorable songs.

Blonde, slim, and radiant, Polly Brown made a lasting impact on this teenager during his hormonal years. Much the same kind of impact that Sally Carr of Middle of the Road had prompted around the same time. However, my fascination with her was not only about her looks, but her voice was also magnetic. It was difficult to believe this kind of voice was coming out of this woman (particularly on her later recordings). Her arranger at the time, Gerry Shury, described her best as "soulfully sweet sounding" and "between Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick." I couldn't agree more.

Her one shining moment as a solo singer came in 1975, when her recording of "Up in a Puff of Smoke" made the U.S. Top 20. Unfortunately, it did not make the same impression in the U.K., failing to make the Top 40.

It's no wonder that many have called Polly Brown one of the great white soul vocalists of the 1970s, when you listen to some of her back catalogue featured below. The comparisons to both Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick are evident and it is such a shame that she did not receive the recognition she so richly deserved at the time. Below are a few tracks that exemplify the range of Polly Brown's career.

Songs From Polly Brown's Career

  • "There He Goes"
  • "Dream World"
  • "Point of No Return"
  • "Honey Honey"
  • "Up in a Puff of Smoke"
  • "Special Delivery"
  • "You're My Number One"
  • "Bewitched!"
  • "Love Lovin' You"
  • "Do You Know Where You're Going To?"
  • "The Best of Everything as Sweet Dreams"
  • "Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?"
  • "Love, Kiss & Run"
  • "Don't Go Messin' With My Heart"

"There He Goes"

Artist: Pickettywitch

Album: Pickettywitch

Release Year: 1970

"Dream World"

Artist: Pickettywitch

Album: That Same Old Feeling—The Complete Recordings

Release Year: 2010

"Point of No Return"

Artist: Pickettywitch

Album: That Same Old Feeling—The Complete Recordings

Release Year: 2010

"Up in a Puff of Smoke"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: Special Delivery

Release Year: 1975

If you were around in the 1970s and living in the U.S., you might remember hearing this toe-tappin', butt-swayin' tune on the radio at the time. It was Polly Brown's biggest success as a solo artist, and I have to say that "Up in a Puff of Smoke" is a stonkingly good tune!

I'll let Music Mike tell you all about the song. It's just a shame that it wasn't a bigger hit in her homeland than it turned out to be.

"Special Delivery"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: Special Delivery

Release Year: 1975

"You're My Number One"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: Special Delivery

Release Year: 1975

"Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: N/A (single)

Release Year: 1976

In 1976, Polly Brown tried to kick start her career again, this time seeking to become the representative for the U.K. at that year's Eurovision Song Contest.

She had two shots at the national heats of A Song for Europe, firstly as a soloist and also with her other interest, Sweet Dreams. Sadly, neither song ("Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?" and "Love, Kiss & Run" [see the video further down this page]) made the cut.

The former placed tenth while the latter finished in fourth position, losing out to the eventual winners of Eurovision '76, Brotherhood of Man with "Save Your Kisses for Me." You can hear the songs below and, for the time, they're not too bad.

"Don't Go Messin' With My Heart"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: The Blues Collection

Release Year: 2011

Will the real Polly Brown/Browne please stand up? It seems for all the pop and dance music she recorded, Ms. Brown's heart really lay with the Blues. Here's a later video of her singing a selection from her album, The Blues Collection, which was released in the U.K. in June, 2011.

Now in her 60s, it seems Polly Brown has found that place where her distinctive voice belongs. The lady sings the Blues.

"Bewitched!"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: Bewitched!: The Polly Browne Story

Release Year: 1995

"Love Lovin' You"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: N/A (B-side)

Release Year: 1975

"Do You Know Where You're Going To?"

Artist: Polly Brown

Album: N/A (single)

Release Year: 1975

In the summer of 1974, Polly Brown teamed up with Tony Jackson to form the duo, Sweet Dreams. Although they recorded six singles, the one featured in the video below became their sole hit when it bounced into the British Top 10. If you're an ABBA fan, you'll know the song well (Honey, Honey).

At the time, Polly Brown caused some controversy with this appearance, deciding to don a black wig and powdering her face light brown. The newspapers were all over the story; Polly Brown citing that she did it to conceal her identity. You'll also notice that Jackson doesn't have much to do other than sway around and "sing" a few lyrics. In fact, he was miming to another guy's voice.

"Honey Honey"

Artist: Sweet Dreams

Album: N/A (single)

Release Year: 1974

"The Best of Everything"

Artist: Sweet Dreams

Album: Polly Brown & Sweet Dreams

Release Year: 2011

"Love, Kiss & Run"

Artist: Sweet Dreams

Album: Polly Brown & Sweet Dreams

Release Year: 2011

On Video: Pickettywitch

Enjoy this compilation of Pickettywitch songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s. It includes the band's British hits That Same Old Feeling, (It's Like A) Sad Old Kinda Movie, and Baby I Won't Let You Down. These are pure melodic pop songs that were enhanced by the fun fashion and haircuts of the 1970s.

A Mix of the Group's Hits

More on Polly Brown's Career

Bewitched! The Polly Browne Story covers many of the recordings made by Polly Brown during her heyday of the 1970s. You'll hear the hits she had as lead singer with Pickettywitch, those as half of the duo Sweet Dreams, as well as much of her output as a solo singer.

If things had worked out differently, Polly Brown would have been a regular on the British music charts of the '70s. She recorded "Amoureuse," which became a hit for Kiki Dee, as well as "Love Bug" and "Dance Little Lady, Dance," which were later chart hits for the popular Tina Charles.

Read More About Polly Brown and Pickettywitch

  • Pickettywitch | AllMusic
    Pickettywitch was a recording outfit that was very much aligned with the music genre promoted by the likes of the Tremeloes, Edison Lighthouse, and Paper Lace.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Richard

Do You Remember Polly Brown?

alandurrant@btinternet.com on July 23, 2020:

A facebook page has been opened to honour such a brilliant singer in Polly Browne " Polly Browne - The Best of Everything"

Andrew Cameron on June 17, 2020:

In October 1969 I was on Opportunity Knocks with Pickettywitch. I won on the clapometer and they won on the votes.

Sadly ITV wiped the tapes and there is no record of it anymore but maybe someone has a copy somewhere. I would love to see it again.

For a couple of years I have been emailing Polly to find out if she has a copy but I have never received a reply. Does anyone know how to contact her?

Greg on October 27, 2019:

To Ella : Check pollybrowne.com for her website, there is a very interesting interview in the ATV studio in 1981 ref. Polly starting up her own record label.

She comes across as so charming, confident and enterprising,..maybe slightly shy, I think she is a sensitive soul...very likeable.

Seems to me that she had several successful years up to mid-77 but when her contract with GTO ended, she seemed very sadly to largely disappear from the mainstream. Yes, she may have been doing live shows in small clubs and singles were still released even under her own Witch record label but from 1983, Polly was seemingly in the wilderness, emerging in 1995 to do some blues gigs.

Polly achieved a double hit mid-74 with ''Honey Honey'' and ''Up, Up, Up in a Puff of Smoke'' but many other singles were released but nothing ever charted.

Maybe record labels decided that Polly had enjoyed a good run and instead began to invest in a lot of other new female faces coming on stream such as Kate Bush, Toyah, Kim Wilde, Siouxsie, Annie Lennox, Judy Tzuke, Carol Decker, etc.

Lovely Polly was swept aside.

Greg on July 19, 2019:

I only just discovered Polly and Pickettywitch a few weeks ago in June,2019...WOW!..what a find!

But back in 1970, I was a 13yo teenager but do not remember them at all! Most of us were into Glam Rock, Bowie, Bolan, Sweet, Glitter and Slade. A really lovely group, nice harmonies and 3 great hits.

Ella on November 02, 2018:

I've just stumbled upon Polly Brown after hearing her cover version of ABBA's Honey Honey.

I've listened to her version several times already. It's good; the arrangement is a bit tacky in places but mostly I am struck by her voice. She has a truly great voice. Very distinctive.

So I've been listening to other stuff of hers and trying to find what she's doing now. I've searched but she's doesn't seem to have a website.

After all this I feel she is a talent who for whatever reason, remained under the global radar, which seems a great shame. She still has a loyal following from the looks of it which is something.

It does seem like an injustice. Polly Brown should have been a huge star.

Dave on October 28, 2015:

I remember Polly Brown well and of course Picketywitch. I loved them especially Same old feeling & Sad old kinda movie. Good luck to her. I loved her music.

anonymous on September 25, 2012:

Remember her well and followed her through the 70s, buying her records and even seeing her live in cabaret. From her first solo album in 1972 it was obvious Polly was destined for great things - and I still believe it WILL happen

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on January 20, 2012:

I vaguely remembered the name but it all came flooding back when I listened to the music. Thanks for reminding me of Picketywitch and Polly Brown.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on January 19, 2012:

Such a detailed lens! and I've never heard of Polly Brown..until I read your lens. Squidoo lenses are getting me well positioned to win Trivia Games..now I know a little about Polly Brown too!

Paul from Liverpool, England on January 19, 2012:

Not my cup of tea but still an interesting post.

Related Articles