These days that might represent a tally of no more than a few hundred sales. In 1972 it was no mean achievement...especially when you look at the competition.
In the top 40 of that week I counted no less than ten pop and rock classics. There were obscure songs by pop greats such as Cliff Richard, Elvis, Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson. The chart was headed by Slade's Mama Weer All Crazee Now, one of the greatest British pop songs of the 70s. David Cassidy was number 2 and T Rex's Children of the Revolution was 3.
Layla by Derek and the Dominoes (alias Eric Clapton, ISTR) was at 22.
Rubbing shoulders with Parchment's 32nd position there were, in ascending order Elvis, Elton John, Hawkwind's Silver Machine, Partridge Family, Peter Skellern, David Bowie. These were pop's greatest years.
Beneath them at 34 was Donny Osmond's Puppy Love and after that 10cc with Donna, followed by Alice Cooper School's Out (somehow missing the summer rush in the UK), Bee Gees, Hollies and Carpenters. Donny Osmond was in the top ten with another song.
Okay, it was achieved by a mass buying campaign organised by the Festival of Light. But it was a great record, a great song performed by a great band and the band was struggling to get air-play. This was not just because of the competition but also because many DJs felt, understandably, that the Festival of Light was getting at them. I understand there was a Top of the Pops appearance.
Here's a picture of the single's European sleeve. Sometime I will post a picture of the British single which featured one of those folk/hippy pictures of the band.
The story goes that the Festival of Light ran a competition for a theme song. The winning band/singer got to record a hit single and the runner up had their song recorded as the B-side. So Judy Mackenzie had her song Let There Be Light recorded as the B-side of Light Up the Fire. Sadly, it was given the sort of production attention that B-sides were given in those days and does neither the band nor the song much credit.
According to John Paculabo's sleeve notes on simply...Parchment the song was written by Trinity Folk and came to the attention of the Musical Gospel Organisation at a concert in Coventry Cathedral in February 1972. The band was encouraged to submit the song to the Festival and renamed as Parchment.
Many school children and young married couples now know the song as Colours of Day - but few of them will have heard the amazing original version recorded as the single by Pye with the aid of the production talents of John Pantry.