Oct 07

Popular ’73

FT + Popular/53 comments • 3,131 views

(Appearing on the front page for a limited run!)

I give each song on Popular a mark out of 10. In this poll, you should pick any YOU would have given 6 or more to from the 1973 number ones. As many as you like!

Which of these Number One Singles of 1973 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest marks this year were a pair of 9s for the Sweet and Slade’s “Merry Xmas”. Lowest was a 3 for Tony Orlando and Dawn.


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  1. 31
    AndyPandy on 22 Dec 2011 #

    Just seen it too – amazing to see it and really fascinating to read the thread about it on http://www.missing-episodes.com where John Henshall (the cameraman who saved it) fills us in on the background to its re-appearance heomes across as a great bloke whose foresight we should all be very grateful for.

    I actually remember seeing this as a 7 year old (my vague memory is that I sought of knew that they were going for it in an extra special way – like they were all getting really carried away compared with the average group I’d see and it seemed extra long) and seeing it again after all this time my young self was spot on.

    Wonderful thing memory – only today I was listening to “Searching For The Perfect Beat” by Afrika Bambaataa for I should imagine the first time in about 28 years – I’d bought the 12″ blind on the back of loving ‘Planet Rock’ and I remember I was a bit disappointed so didn’t even cane it that much- but found I still remembered nearly all the words. Even better and maybe with the frisson of nostalgia adding something to it I don’t even think it’s a bad track now.

    Back to the TOTP find it appears that he possibly also has a 100 other saved tapes from the same era – my mouth is watering at the thought of what other early 70s presumed wiped TOTP performances he may have.
    And what a difference 3 years made to the whole spectacle of TOTP when you compare this and the other survivals from 1973 with the light entertainment end of the pier production values of 1976.
    DLT was so bad last night on the Christmas show he crossed the line and became watchable in a so bad it’s good completely horrifying way.

  2. 32
    thefatgit on 22 Dec 2011 #

    Gotta agree Andy, John Henshall’s dedication to saving these episodes for posterity has to be commended. Top bloke!

  3. 33
    punctum on 23 Dec 2011 #

    Superb performance, marred only by the cameraman’s over-reliance on fish-eye views.

  4. 34
    Mark G on 23 Dec 2011 #

    Well, if it hadn’t been for the fish-eye lens use, the performance wouldn’t have been saved at all.

  5. 35
    hardtogethits on 25 Dec 2011 #

    I’d say he’s playing the opening bars of Love Me Do on the harmonica.

    (PS BTW, ‘it’ says here I’m making this comment on 25 December. I’m writing in the future! My own Christmas miracle!)

  6. 36
    wichita lineman on 26 Dec 2011 #

    Re 31: “watchable in a so bad it’s good completely horrifying way” could also apply to Jessie J’s sensitive rendition of Price Tag on the 2011 TOTP. There were a couple of points where we shrieked in delight. Amazing.

    I imagine the BBC will eke out the rest of John Henshall’s 100 saved performances. Has he mentioned what they might be anywhere yet?

  7. 37
    Pete on 26 Dec 2011 #

    That Jessie J performance was truly amazing. It brought to mind time when as a child I believed I could sing the lead and backing vocals AT THE SAME TIME. I implore anyone to watch it – there are moments when she appears possessed by the spirit of Larvelle Jones from Police Academy (you’ll know when you see it). This is why we need TOTP back back back.

  8. 38
    lex on 27 Dec 2011 #

    “when music made us all u-NITE!” – FLINCHED SO HARD AT THAT. Also can someone tell her which is left and which is right? :(

  9. 39
    Alan not logged in on 27 Dec 2011 #


    (stage left, stage right, innit, what a pro)

  10. 40
    thefatgit on 27 Dec 2011 #

    Only Jessie J can do hand panties EXACTLY when the cameraman is attempting an up(skirt)shot of her SHINY GOLD (BETWEEN THE) LEGGINGS on a barstool during an unplugged performance of Price Tag on Christmas TOTP! “B-bbb-bb-b-break it down”.

  11. 41
    lex on 27 Dec 2011 #

    LUH-LUH-LUH-LUH-LUH-LUH-LUH *holds microphone benevolently out to guitarist*

    I keep coming back to this just to gawp at it!

  12. 42
    Pete on 28 Dec 2011 #

    Who knew Jessie J would give me my best Christmas gift?

    She seems aware of the upskirt shots, but unfortunately sticking her hand down there to stop a Sharon Stone creates a whole new problem.

  13. 43
    weej on 28 Dec 2011 #

    At first I wasn’t sure if it was terrible or amazing or terribleamazing, but now watching it for the fifth time it still just makes me smile and laugh, so that makes it an unqualified success. A+++

  14. 44
    swanstep on 28 Dec 2011 #

    Well, compared to Pixie Lott’s effort on the Xmas show, Jessie J’s Darlene Love. (Jessie J was pretty impressive recently on some MTV awards show as the House band/chanteuse. She cranked out listenable live covers of most the nominated songs across a wide range of categories.)

  15. 45
    punctum on 28 Dec 2011 #

    It’s a bit like saying Marti Caine just nudged it over Faith Brown.

  16. 46
    Paulito on 29 Dec 2011 #

    While undoubtedly funny, Jessie’s spaz impersonation at 3:21-3:23 is surely ill-advised in these “politically correct” times.

  17. 47
    lonepilgrim on 8 Jan 2012 #

    ‎”Bowie is a skinny lad with a pasty complexion”

    Great piece from Nationwide on the Dame here:


    Happy Birthday Mr B.

  18. 48
    lonepilgrim on 3 Oct 2012 #

    TOTP 11/10/73
    Kenny Everett explores new dimensions of how to be irritating
    David Cassidy does a soft shoe shuffle over the credits
    crowd seems livelier than 1977
    ELO -in the studio – harmonies not as super processed as those that graced later hits – this plods a bit
    host chats up young girls – who’d a thunk it
    Elton John – home movies from Hollywood, EJ looking like Ronnie Corbett
    Status Quo – at their best, heads-down no-nonsense boogie
    Detroit Spinners – Pan’s People (for it is they) throw shapes in red catsuits to some conscious Philly soul
    New Release feature – Englebert Humperdink, performs gives an old-fashioned performance; audience sways half-heartedly
    Slade – haven’t heard this in an age – folky, campfire feel to it
    Tip for the Top feature – Limmie & the Family Cookin’ – charming at first, this gets better as it goes along
    Simon Park Orchestra – having heard this ‘performed’ by mass bands of recorders at school has made me immune to whatever charms it may have
    Ike & Tina Turner – monster tune over the credits

  19. 49
    Lazarus on 3 Oct 2012 #

    Hah, I was wondering if someone was going to do this. Kenny can’t have hosted many TOTPs, is this the only surviving edition? According to my TV guide Michael Ward was supposed to be on as well, presumably ‘Peace on Earth’ – a rarely heard song that doesn’t seem to be on Youtube. Was impressed with the high proportion of big hits and easily recognisable songs, in the main. Englebert would have been better off doing the song of the same name from ‘The Butterfly Ball’ though.

  20. 50
    punctum on 4 Oct 2012 #

    Michael Ward the 15-year-old Opportunity Knocks choirboy. Is it just me who’s getting a retrospective stink in the mouth about all this?

  21. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 4 Oct 2012 #

    Kenny Everett night was planned. I’m guessing that they slotted this TOTP in when they did because the 1977 episode we were hoping for was lost. So back we go to 1973.

    CCS are back and simple numbered screens are counted back from 30 to 1. Then Kenny as a toothless village idiot (was he ever anything else?) comes dashing into the studio and cries “It’s me!” We then get the picture countdown as a backdrop to the boy David’s “Puppy Song”. I remember very clearly that he visited the UK at precisely that time. The coundown pauses after #19 to gaze at a young lovely in the audience and then stops again at #10 for a much plainer girl. Cassidy is revealed at #8. The face of the #1 act is shown without the name. Who IS that unknown guy? All will be explained..

    Kenny is completely bonkers and is talking gibberish, God bless him! Then on come:

    ELO – It’s raining all over the world. Morbid but effective, as it was certainly a crap time in this country in ’73. Oil Crisis, Three day week, powercuts, Wimbledon boycott, England knocked out of the World Cup by Poland. The Swede was twelve. Fuck me. Happy Days!

    Everett homes in on an absolute beauty and comically propositions her. He’ll stay in character all evening. He needed sectioning, that lad, no question.

    Elton John – Pointless footage of a very punchable-looking Reg clowning in LA as a backdrop to his Wizard of Oz song. One of his finest, to be fair.

    Quo – Sweet Caroline. Rock at its most challenging. One boy dancer looks about 12. Swede? Nah!

    The Gals! – But, of course, it’s a pre-Mucky Sue Pans People, who spin around to the Spinners of Detroit in red catsuits showing no leg at all. It’s still nice, though and the Swede’s personal favourite, Ruth, is very much in evidence. Despite the apparent sweetness of the track, this is a song with a message. Life wasn’t that easy in a Stockwell tower block back then, either.

    “New Release” time and man alive, it’s Englebert! He looks like Ronnie Biggs – in Brazil by that time. The kids (arms folded) look as if they want to lynch the poor numpty. Report to Prestatyn, Bert. You’re starting to sound like a Eurovision act now, son.

    Everett has completely gone. On come Slade with My Friend Satan. “My friend Jack’s got a knife in his back” etc. Feelgood glam from Noddy and the Wolves.

    Kenny asides to another young stunner: “I bet you’ve got a nice set of udders, m’dear!” Wonderful.

    It’s the “Tip for the Top”. Limmie mit Family Cookin’ and a follow up to their big hit. Alas the “tip” is not a good one and nor is this record. When you head back to the States, Limmie, go via Prestatyn, love. You know you have to.

    Number One – Simon Park counts his orchesta in for Eye Level (aka the Van der Valk theme). So THIS is the mystery man. The decidedly mature orhestra are all decked out in hideous orange instant whip tops including me Auntie Nora, who’s playing the harp. I’ll defend this record all day long. Great to see it at the top.

    Kenny ends the foolishness by saying goodbye in Welsh and out we go to “Nutbush”, one of the best records of the seventies, or any other decade for that matter. Sublime entertainment presided over by a madman. It’s incredible to think that all those young fresh-faced girls are probably pensioners now.

    Great show.

  22. 52
    Mark G on 4 Oct 2012 #

    Well, the Limmie / FamCook song might have not been that great, put the performance was pretty all right. Even the BBC Orchestra sounded great (never thought I’d ever say that!)

    Also, 1973 seemed a lot like 1976, with ELO, Elton, RodStewart and so on. Also, a lot of those teenagers looked very old…

  23. 53
    punctum on 5 Oct 2012 #

    Kenny Everett chatting up young girls: sorry but I can’t watch any retro TOTPs now without wanting to retch. The whole thing stinks.

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