May 08

Popular ’76

FT + Popular//552 comments • 18,097 views

I give marks out of 10 to every song – based on whatever criteria you like, here’s your opportunity to say what you’d have given more than 6 to from 1976. Tick as many as you like.

Number One Hits Of 1976: Which Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

Loading ... Loading ...

And use the comments to discuss the year as a whole, if you like.


  1. 1
    Ben on 21 May 2008 #

    I think ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ is just about the only Sir Elton song I can bear to listen to.

    Less than 50% voting for Chicago surprises me… I’d have had that down as a surefire Poptimist fave.

  2. 2
    DJ Punctum on 22 May 2008 #

    Not really “pop”, I don’t think.

    Despite the generalised direness of the year I still found six entries worth 6 or more (“December ’63” is a borderline 5) which is two more than I found in 1971 so I’ve no idea what, if anything, that proves.

  3. 3
    David Belbin on 22 May 2008 #

    I only found five, but I’ve always had trouble with ‘Fernando’, not my kind of Abba song. And I had to vote for Chicago. I played an mp3 of this after the discussion below and it’s turned into a bit of an earworm. I half hated it at the time, having once been a big fan of the far more respectable ’25 or 6 to 4′, the meaning of whose title I only discovered in the comments box here…

  4. 4
    DJ Punctum on 22 May 2008 #

    I prefer “Wishing You Were Here,” which was not a hit in the UK, though I suspect this has a lot to do with the Beach Boys’ backing vocals.

    Plus one of my favourite singles ever is “Hold Me Now” by DJ Kaos (1996) which takes “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” into a new dimension.

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 22 May 2008 #

    I found 8, which may show that I’m a comparatively easy man to entertain.

    It most assuredly was NOT me who voted for Barrie or Mathis, though.

  6. 6
    mike on 22 May 2008 #

    I polled 7 out of the 16, all of which turn out to be in the top 8. My only dissent from the consensus: Fernando.

  7. 7
    Drucius on 22 May 2008 #

    I managed 4. None of the Abba songs made the cut.

  8. 8
    Doctor Mod on 22 May 2008 #

    I managed four. All of the ABBA made the cut, which may show that I wasn’t crazy about most of the recording artists of the 70s.

    Also Elton & Kiki; but, no slight to Kiki, I will forever wish that it had been Elton & Dusty, as originally planned.

  9. 9
    Lena on 27 May 2008 #

    I wanted to mention some songs from this year that I don’t think have been mentioned yet…some of which are still radio regulars:

    “More Than A Feeling” by Boston

    “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy

    “More, More, More” by Andrea True Connection

    “Tear The Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up The Funk)” by Parliament

    “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

    “The Rubberband Man” by The Spinners

    “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs

    “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways

    “Dazz” by Brick

    “The Things We Do For Love” by 10cc

    At the time I am sure I heard at least half of these, The Runaways, Brick and Parliament being the only ones that were beyond ‘regular’ radio in Canada.

  10. 10
    Linda B on 1 Jun 2008 #

    I’m not at all surprised that Dancing Queen is at number one, it was the anthem of all us ‘sweet young things’ in the seventies along with Elton & Kiki. Real Thing,Tina Charles and Pussycat all remind me of going to the Moonraker Nightclub in Preston in my hayday.I’m surprised they haven’t had more votes. As for Chicago, what a tear jerker! Some of these songs are still played quite often on radio here in Aus’.

  11. 11
    DJ Punctum on 1 Jun 2008 #

    Just to add to and reinforce the missus’ excellent list above, here’s the NME critics’ Top 20 singles of the year list:

    1. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
    2. Live At The Marquee (E.P.) – Eddie & The Hot Rods
    3. Anarchy In The U.K. – Sex Pistols
    4. Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
    5. So It Goes – Nick Lowe
    6. Police And Thieves – Junior Murvin
    7. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton
    8. Love And Affection – Joan Armatrading
    9. I’ll Be Good To You – Brothers Johnson
    10. Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band
    11. War In A Babylon – Max Romeo
    12. Take The Money And Run – Steve Miller Band
    13. Hurricane – Bob Dylan
    14. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
    15. Let’s Stick Together – Bryan Ferry
    16. Little Johnny Jewel – Television
    17. I Want More – Can
    18. Shake Some Action – Flamin’ Groovies
    19. Roast Fish And Cornbread – Lee Perry
    20. Boogie On The Street – Lew Lewis

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 1 Jun 2008 #

    A lot of great singles in that poll.

    I’ve never heard ‘Boogie On The Streets’, though I’ve always thought that – for that title alone – it must be the definitive 1976 pub rock Stiff Records record.

  13. 13
    Billy Smart on 10 Jul 2008 #

    ABBA 18%? 609 voters? I suspect that you may have been spammed!

    The phantom NME Chart number ones of 1976; Glass Of Champagne, Silly Love Songs, Young Hearts Run Free. All of which are ace.

  14. 14
    Tom on 10 Jul 2008 #

    No, when we reset the FT back end the other week every individual vote somehow got counted as a separate voter. I will ask Alan if there’s anything that can be done about it.

  15. 15
    admin on 10 Jul 2008 #

    no idea how this happened – something askew in the poll counting. there are really 139 voters (and ~650 ticks). will try to rectify that…

  16. 16
    DJ Punctum on 11 Jul 2008 #

    Luxembourg-only number ones: Glass Of Champagne, Rodrigo, Convoy, Love Really Hurts Without You, Love Me Like I Love You, Convoy GB, S-S-S-Single Bed, Silver Star, My Resistance Is Low, Silly Love Songs, Young Hearts Run Free, A Little Bit More, Jeans On, In Zaire, Let ‘Em In, Can’t Get By Without You, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Somebody To Love.

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 5 Aug 2008 #

    For a sense of context, let’s look at the same chart upside down – here’s a list of all the singles that peaked at number 40 in 1976;

    13 Mar London Boys – T. Rex – 1 week

    27 Mar You Belong To Me – Gary Glitter – 1

    19 Jun Could It Be Magic? – Donna Summer – 1

    9 Oct Under One Roof – The Rubettes – 1

    27 Nov Say You Love Me – Fleetwood Mac – 1

  18. 18
    Billy Smart on 2 Sep 2008 #

    NME Readers’ poll for 1976, ‘Best single’ category;

    1. Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
    2. Eddie & The Hot Rods – Live At The Marquee EP
    3. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry
    4. The Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK
    5. Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper
    6. Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
    7. 10CC – I’m Mandy, Fly Me
    8. Status Quo – Mystery Song
    9. Steely Dan – Haitian Divorce
    10. Queen – Somebody To Love

  19. 19
    Billy Smart on 19 Jul 2009 #

    Incidentally, I think that it’s probably safe to re-open the Pussycat thread by now!

  20. 20
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    Those Irish no.1s in full:

    Abba – Mamma Mia
    Red Hurley – Broken Promises
    Sailor – A Glass of Champagne
    Marianne Faithfull – Dreaming My Dreams
    Tina Charles – I Love To Love
    Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
    Brotherhood of Man – Save Your Kisses
    Abba – Fernando
    Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – Arms of Mary
    Wings – Silly Love Songs
    Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
    Elton & Kiki – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
    Abba – Dancing Queen
    Pussycat – Mississippi
    Smokie – I’ll Meet You At Midnight
    Nilsson – Without You
    Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
    Johnny Mathis – When a Child Is Born

    Second time Harry Nilsson’s Without You had been no.1 in four years – two weeks each time in ’72 and ’76. Dusty had reached no.4 first time out.

  21. 21
    lonepilgrim on 8 Apr 2011 #

    This week’s rerun of TOTP was not quite as dire as last week, despite being presented by Noel Edmunds. There was a bizarre appearance by Eric Carmen who looked like he was there as some form of community service.
    “Don’t stop it now” Hot Chocolate
    The band seemed to be enjoying themselves but the song was not that memorable.

    “Fernando” Abba
    A tiny bit twee, but a great tune with effortless production – plus those women were good looking

    “Reggae like it used to be” Paul Nicholas
    Dreadful in so many ways – sadly not DREADful

    “Paperback writer” The Beatles
    It’s a sign of getting old that I was more interested in what books were on the shelves than the dancers

    “I’m Mandy, Fly Me” 10cc
    I enjoyed this, although it got a bit bogged down in the middle. The musical pastiche and wordplay put me in mind of Elvis Costello.

    “Baby I’m yours” Linda Lewis
    Pleasant – I was more interested in her vocal range, and surprised at how deep it went. I think of her as a high pitched triller

    “Love Me Like I Love You” Bay City Rollers
    Bizarre video – I couldn’t figure out what the song was called as it didn’t seem to have a hook.

    “Silver Star” The Four Seasons
    Pleasant but a little dull

    “There’s a kind of hush” The Carpenters
    Strange synthetic sound not helped by second helping of dancers

    “Life is too short girl” Sheer Elegance
    Hot Chocolate wannabes – with a marginally more memorable song, but weaker production

    “Fallen Angel” Frankie Valli
    I can’t remember this at all – just glad Frankie didn’t start shrieking

    “Save all your kisses for me” Brotherhood of Man
    A black hole of mediocrity

    “You see the trouble with me” Barry White
    Only a short burst of this over the end credits, but pretty good.

  22. 22
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Oh I remember this one!

    Those good old TOTP Rules! Frankie Valli avoided!

    This one being, “nobody can appear twice on one show”, so I believe the camera pans around the bloke on the piano during the four seasons track during the middle bit. Is that Frankie Valli on the piano? We can never be sure, his face remains unseen. It’s clear enough during his solo hit later on…

    (Haven’t seen this on the replay just yet)

  23. 23
    wichita lineman on 11 Apr 2011 #

    When did that rule come in? Post Tony Burrows? Well, Frankie probably doesn’t even appear on Silver Star (lyrically an adult role-reversal of Under My Thumb, musically a post-Bo Rhap shapeshifter, love it passionately) so he was probably only on keyboards to give him something to do.

    Eric Carmen shaking hands with Noel Edmonds was a peculiar and quite touching surprise.

    I’m Mandy Fly Me shoulda been a number one! The middle section is what makes it for me, esp. as Eric Stewart’s long held note goes into “I…. saw her walking on the water”; it has an arrangement to rival Surfs Up. I’ve never understood whether the lyric is meant to be taken literally – am I missing something obvious?

  24. 24
    punctum on 11 Apr 2011 #

    “Silver Star” also helps invent Acid House with that piano and beat: “Ecstasy on their faces…”

  25. 25
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    #23, I think Tony Burrows was why, yes. I’m sure Frankie’s singing the middle section of “Silver Star” you know.

    Also, IMFM was ‘supposed’ to be some sort of drugs reference by the ‘people’ who ‘know’, denied by the writers obviously…

  26. 26
    Erithian on 11 Apr 2011 #

    The Tony Burrows Rule was famously broken in 1982 by Steve Archibald, appearing for both Spurs and Scotland on the same night (he couldn’t do that as a footballer but did as a singer!)

    Here’s Kevin Godley denying that “Mandy” was about taking Mandrax: http://www.minestrone.org/rm760501.htm

  27. 27
    wichita lineman on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Thanks Erithian! Yes, Mandrax. All makes sense.

    Don’t think it’s Frankie on the mid section (prob Don Ciccone), and according to Wiki “Valli’s contribution was limited to harmony vocals at the end of the recording (he was gradually losing his hearing in the 1970s due to otosclerosis)”.

    Of course I was forgetting… Frankie’s obviously harmonising all over the thing right at the very end.

  28. 28
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2011 #

    Ah right, I see.

    They do go out of their way to ‘not show’ the pianist’s face while showing the guy reasonably close up… (as I remember it)

  29. 29
    Mark G on 14 Apr 2011 #

    Right, seen it now, so:

    Yeah, you can see that it isn’t FValli on the piano, but I stand by that they would have said “no, FValli can’t appear with both acts”. Also, drummer looks a lot like Woody Harrelson.

    Also, another one reminds me of that old MU rule that you ‘had’ to re-record your backing track to appear on the show. So, Paul Nicholas gets the BBC Orchestra with The Ladybirds treatment, and the four seasons get to buy the Musician’s Union bloke a drink while they switch the tapes.

  30. 30
    lonepilgrim on 16 Apr 2011 #

    This week’s TOTP was more dance oriented with a mixture of the good the bad and the ugly – the latter two qualities personified by DLT.

    Fox – Single Bed
    I warmed to this performance more than the one two weeks ago. The band seemed more relaxed. I suspect that Alison Goldfrapp was taking notes

    Stylistics – Can’t help falling in love
    Reminded me how alien these soul groups appeared to me – then and now, with their pastel tuxedoes with lace(?) detailed lapels, synchronised moves, and unearthly falsettos. I don’t think the song suited them as well as some of their other stuff. I was curious why one singer remained sat on a stool – he looked a lot shorter than the rest, was that why?.

    Diana Ross – Theme from Mahogany
    Lovely tune, bland choreography, costumes by Bev from Abigail’s Party followed by DLT leering at Pans People in a toe curling way

    Brass Construction – Movin’
    Fantastic – this sounded fresh and compelling

    Sailor – Girls,girls,girls
    Still enjoyable – there was a mini revival of 30s(?) style stuff – with Bette Midler releasing ‘Songs for the New Depression’ this year for one

    Isaac Hayes – Disco connection
    Another toetapper, not quite as strong as Brass Connection– slightly diluted by PPs antics

    Smokie – Wild, wild angels
    I’d forgotten how ubiquitous this lot had been during the 70s – apparently singing variations on the one song

    Eric Carmen – All by myself
    borrowing from Rachmaninoff, so wiki tells me. Eric had a more brooding intensity about his performance which contrasted with the end of the pier stylings of many of the UK acts

    Brotherhood of Man – Save all your kisses for me
    Still sounding dire – TOTP seemed to think that a video of BoM ambling through a park might put an end

    Rodger Collins -‘You Sexy Sugar Plum’
    A very short burst of this over the end credits – but Youtube suggests we will get a fuller performance. I can’t remember hearing this at all at the time

  31. 31
    DietMondrian on 16 Apr 2011 #

    My four-month-old daughter giggled with either delight or amusement throughout Pan’s People and Theme from Mahogany, and then kicked along to Brass Construction. She lost interest after that.

  32. 32
    Billy Hicks on 16 Apr 2011 #

    Last night’s was the best one so far…I’m not familiar with Dave Lee Travis but his bizarre innuendo-filled links were hilariously weird and had me cringing in a good way. The whole thing was just a surreal joy – The Stylistics must have covered that Elvis track as a joke, surely? The whole thing seemed like a parody of disco music, from the shiny suits to falsettos. Eric Carmen’s ‘All By Myself’ going on for bloody ages, as nice as the song is we didn’t need to hear the whole thing. And as for the Brotherhood of Man video…words fail me.

    If I didn’t know better I’d think from these repeats that the 1970s was a hilariously naff decade for music. Unbelievable to think that the likes of glam, punk and early synthpop went on in the surrounding few years.

  33. 33
    wichita lineman on 18 Apr 2011 #

    Russell Thompkins Jr. and Orville – no difference. Apart from their vocal range.

    I don’t think I’d ever heard Movin’ before – anyone remember it getting Radio 1 airplay?

    On the other hand it felt like the BBC LOVED All By Myself, even if it did only reach no.12. An “important” record. Like Eye Level. It might have done better if this performance wasn’t backed by the usual MU hired hands – where’s the guitar solo gone?

    Disco Connection still sounds great played out, esp. if you pitch it down -3. Fastest disco record ever?

    “The 1970s was a hilariously naff decade for music”, obv.

  34. 34
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Apr 2011 #

    I first heard “Movin'” in 1988 when it made the charts again in a remixed/updated version. Wonder if anyone else with access to the relevant lists can check, but I seem to recall that it got on TotP (Must have been May or possibly June ’88) then. (Had the group reformed to promote a remixed greatest hits compilation? Can’t remember. I do recall that they followed up “Movin 1988” with another remake/remix of “Ha Cha Cha”, I think)

    Strange how Brass Construction have maintained a conspiciously low profile all along, though.

  35. 35
    Steve Mannion on 18 Apr 2011 #

    Yes I heard Movin’ in 88 due to the remix and loved it. It was later sampled by The Bucketheads on ‘Got Myself Together’, their follow up to ‘The Bomb’.

  36. 36
    AndyPandy on 18 Apr 2011 #

    re 30 The ’40s revival of 1975/76 was started at the Goldmine Club in Canvey Island where Chris Hill was resident, he started dropping a lot of big band swing stuff (Glenn Miller etc)amongst the funk, soul and ’70s jazz there and the clubbers started turning up in 40s clothes etc. And it eventually went overground and ended up with more of the music on the radio and re-released records etc.
    Coincidentally the same club (or it could have been the Lacy Lady in North London which was his other residency around that time)was where I’ve read that he played ‘Movin’ about 10 times in one night when he first got hold of the import.

    The nearly 9 minute version on the album is even better.
    Brass Construction stayed massive on that London/Home Counties underground club scene and were still having big floorfillers up until the mid-80s – stuff like ‘Walkin The Line’/’Partyline’/’International’.

    ‘Movin” and ‘Changin” (also off the first album) were always the absolute monsters though.

  37. 37
    chelovek na lune on 22 Apr 2011 #

    Not sure last night’s repeat was quite so good, really. Although David Hamilton much less annoying (and looking less relaxed) than DLT, as you might reasonably expect.

    Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – I’ll Go Where the Music Takes Me
    Seeming something of a rather second-rate relative of 70s disco. Some backing vocals a bit grating. A bit “by numbers”.

    John Miles – Music
    As discussed elsewhere round here lately. (Was it the “No Charge” thread). Certainly worth the time of day

    Harpo – Movie star (Studio)
    Completely unknown to me; a Swedish guy with a bicycle bell. A bit self-consciously wacky; kind of like the uncle of Per from Roxette was preparing the way for him. A bit twee, but not dislikeable. At least, until the gratuitous key change

    Abba – Fernando (vid)
    Well, everybody knows this…

    Sheer Elegance – Life Is Too Short Girl
    More identical pastel-coloured clothing (yellow suits with orange-dominated tartan waistcoats) and co-ordinated dance moves. Some nice humming bits. Never heard this before but I strongly suspect it would improve on further listening.

    Rubettes – You’re The Reason Why
    Bus-conductor outfit with cap-wearing guy (another mid-70s thing). Bloke in dungarees over a red shirt with a big hankie tied round his neck. Evidently not a hit, and really a bit dull, if inoffensive.

    Hank Mizel – Jungle Rock (with Pan’s People)
    Dancers in chimpanzee and dinosaur suits & those of the many animals mentioned in the song while PP go all colonial and khaki. Very 50’s revivalish rockabilly, I think. Rather odd. (Edit: I see – it was from 1958)

    Gilbert O’Sullivan – Doing what I know
    Piano-based midtempo number that gets duller the longer it last. A bit like Beautiful South on a fairly off-par day, mostly supremely banal. Another one that failed to even graze the charts. (And “And it’s amazing when you think of it how many people smoke, despite all the risks that are invoked”…OMG. Actually with “smoke” changed to “drink” I could readily imagine Paul Heaton singing that). Far too long, far too little substance.

    Brotherhood Of Man – Save your kisses for me
    No comment required. It’s all been said here already. Although one positive consequence of this group was that the thought of that style of moustache, combined with mutton-chop sideburns has been so repulsive that there is no danger of that look returning. Also probably a better song than the Gilbert O’Sullivan one beforehand.

    Andrea True Connection – More more more (over credits)
    Can’t go wrong with that one, really. Pity it cut off so soon..

  38. 38
    lonepilgrim on 22 Apr 2011 #

    I was struck by how many of the performers were wearing cravats on last night’s show.

    Jimmy James at least gave an animated performance that lifted an otherwise lightweight tune.
    I learned from Wiki that Harpo was subsequently kicked in the face by a horse – losing the sight in one eye and his sense of smell.
    Hank Mizell still sounded great.
    The Rubettes were one pot ugly bunch
    I enjoyed the Gilbert O’Sullivan performance – Punctum’s response to Back to Front over at Then Play Long had made me more curious about his music.
    I too would have enjoyed more Andrea True Connection.

  39. 39
    Mark G on 26 Apr 2011 #

    I don’t hardly remember the GO’S (relevent acronym: When will I be not famous?) song, I’m assuming it missed. I’ve never heard a song as blatantly “here’s another one just like the usual rubbish I always do because you’d hate it if I did anything different or better” song ever.

    Anyway, a large no of repeats this time (Miles, Abba, Sheereleg, Pan’s Jungle)

    The rubes would have had a longer career with the new-wave sounds around the corner, if the singer (not the usual one) looked less like an untrendy Buggle.

    I see they finally found a pic of Hank for the rundown.

    Harpo: Yep.

    Oh, and if I recall correctly, the forthcoming ‘performance’ looked like an excerpt from a ‘non-porn’ musical section of a porn movie (which it might well have been)

    I missed the week before’s episode, is someone collecting these I wonder?

  40. 40
    Mark G on 26 Apr 2011 #

    Actually, check his final sequence of singles for MAM, who he later sued:

    “You never listen to reason”
    “I’ll believe it when I see it”
    “Doing what I know” / “I of course replied”
    “You got me going” / “As long as I can”

    “He” (i.e. MAM) released a “Greatest Hits” late in 1976, none of these were on it.

  41. 41
    Mark G on 26 Apr 2011 #

    Latest news: The BBC are definitely doing this TOTP run for a year.

    Surely ‘public demand’/ratings will keep it going for longer?

  42. 42
    wichita lineman on 27 Apr 2011 #

    You’re The Reason Why is an excellent update of the Beatles’ ’65 country-pop sound but didn’t even make the Top 20 – baffled me then, baffles me now, esp. when there were so many Beatles singles in the chart. Doesn’t anyone else like it? Really?? Oh…

    And Gilbert O with a proto Balearic thing I have no recollection of… Good spot, Mark! Consequently, out of MAM’s grip in ’77, he recorded The Best Fun I Ever Had . Which I’m very fond of.

  43. 43
    Chelovek na lune on 1 May 2011 #

    A rather less dancy edition this week. Although I am informed that Gladys Knight and the Pips were among artists cut from the re-run so it would fit in the 30 mins slot…

    Slik – Requiem
    Never heard this before. Starts off very promisingly, atmospherically, sinks a bit. But, superior pop music that rises above the pub-rock feel that also slips into a couple of place, I think so. (Prefer it to their big hit)

    Paul Nicholas – Reggae Like It Used To Be
    Curious, not unpleasant, lively and singalong and danceable, but a Judge Dread appearance on TOTP (or even, just once, on the BBC airwaves) might well have been preferable…

    Andrea True Connection – More More More
    with Pans People in grass skirts. Fab song anyway,

    Electric Light Orchestra – Nightrider
    (non-chart single). Not their best. Really. Obligatory good harmonies & instrumentation in evidence though.

    Diana Ross – Love Hangover
    Just a classic, no?

    Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks – Convoy GB
    Hmmm. Not a classic, I think it’s fair to say, even if Spaghetti Junction were on the M1. Not the worst “comedy” record ever made by Radio 1 DJs though. (I think several of Steve Wright’s are worse, for starters…)

    Eric Carmen – All By Myself
    Pretty much a classic too.

    Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow
    Unpretentious, at least. surely only a matter a time before Britney Spears nicks the lyrics from the chorus of this and puts them over a beat just to show how we have come full circle and back to the 70s.

    Brotherhood Of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me
    see above

    Stylistics – I Can’t Help Falling In Love (over end credits)
    as previously discussed

  44. 44
    lonepilgrim on 1 May 2011 #

    Slik were refreshing because they looked young and so didn’t radiate that quality of eagerness to please born of a lifetime on a circuit of club nights and ends of piers that I pick up from acts like Brotherhood Of Man and Smokie. Very few of the British pop acts over the last few weeks (apart from the Rollers) have appeared that youthful – maybe another reason why PUNK HAD TO HAPPEN, etc.

  45. 45
    Mark G on 2 May 2011 #

    For a tenth of a second, it sounded like “we will fall”, but no. Also, LLingo looked a lot like Badly Drawn Boy in a mask…

  46. 46
    Mark G on 2 May 2011 #

    “Reggae Like it used to be” 2 questions:

    1) Who was Stevie and Paul?
    2) What kind of reggae is he on about that he dislikes in favour of how it ‘used to be’? He mentions “Reggae Beethoven” which wasn’t exactly a huge strand of reggae, and goes no further than “Reggae everything you see” which seems a bit general.

  47. 47
    lonepilgrim on 2 May 2011 #

    re 46
    1) I assume Stevie Wonder – possibly for ‘Boogie on Reggae Woman’ and Paul could be Paul Simon for ‘Mother and Child reunion’ – although it could be McCartney
    2) judging by his performance he misses a particular flaccid version of reggae which bears little or no relation to the real thing

  48. 48
    Mark G on 3 May 2011 #

    Ah, I suppose M&CReunion is the closest to “RHIUTB” (at least, in the backing track on the record) than anything on Treasure Island or Melodisc, ta.

  49. 49
    Mark G on 3 May 2011 #

    #43 Aha! I knew they were cutting stuff!

    So, is that “Andrea True” appearance coming up, or has that gone the way?

  50. 50
    Conrad on 3 May 2011 #

    they are going to start showing the full unedited programmes from 12 May apparently – in the late at night repeat slot

  51. 51
    AndyPandy on 3 May 2011 #

    re 50:I was just thinking that cutting the TOTP’s completely defeats the object but it looks as though from 12 May things will be remedied.

    other things:
    Paul Nicholas:
    Maybe Paul Nicholas isn’t saying he likes reggae BY Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder but “hey all you soul (Stevie) or rock (Paul) fans who think reggae’s crap even your idols are biggin’ it up”. And that sort of fits in with the lines about “my sister’s got boogie my brother’s got rock”.
    And by “like it used to be” he probably means jump-up stuff from the golden days off ’68-’71 rather than the rootsier stuff prevalent in 1976. Probably analysing this far too much!

    Pretty impressed by his live performances (think both appearances were different) – he really throws himself into it vocal and dance wise – suppose that’s his experience from live musical theatre holding him in good stead.

    When they first appeared a couple of months before they must have been the first (vaguely) cutting edge group* to have appeared on TOTP with short hair since about 1962/63. It does look pretty radical compared with anything else we seen so far.

    As opposed to solo/one member only eg David Bowie, drummer/vocalist of Four Seasons the other week etc, who’s effect is sort of muted by their long haired backing musicians/fellow band members.

    Bellamy Brothers:
    I didn’t know they got to No 21 with this in 2008! They also had a very unusual hit on the American country charts in 1982 called “Get Into Reggae Cowboy” and in 1998 released an album called “Reggae Cowboys” so they obviously really dug it. Good on ’em – I’d never heard of Country & Western reggae before!Probably not what Paul Nicholas was on about :-)

    Electric Light Orchestra
    surprised like Smokie the other week that they had a complete flop and how many non-chart records they featured.

    Andrea True Connection
    The only porn actress chart act?

    Finally this period is memorable for me as around this time I found a “Disco 45” magazine (the only edition of a magazine full of pop songwords I ever owned)on the way to school which I kept in my desk for a few weeks) and it had lyrics to ‘Silver Star’, ‘Movie Star’, ‘Reggae Like It Used To Be’ and ‘Jungle Rock'(I loved singing that one) in it “. I’ve spent the next 35 years wondering what a Ring Gang Goo was…

  52. 52
    Mark G on 3 May 2011 #

    Disco 45 used to just play the records to get the lyrics. Often, getting them completely wrong.

    “When I was principal,
    I always used to meet
    Joeys awful strong
    Bet your life dear, they’re putting us on…”

    So, anyway, there doesn’t seem to be any show this week. Is that ‘like’ how it was in 1976?

  53. 53
    AndyPandy on 4 May 2011 #

    That’s a bit of a let-down -I treated that thrown away, pages-missing, rain-wrinkled copy of ‘Disco 45’ I had like holy writ. Aside from ‘Look-In’ (which only had a relatively small amount of pop -albeit glossy posters- in it)it was the first pop magazine I ever owned – back in my junior school days.Don’t think I had another music magazine until a few years later when I was 13 or 14.

  54. 54
    Mark G on 13 May 2011 #

    BBC iplayer only has the 30 min version of this weeks!

  55. 55
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 May 2011 #

    It was truly grim this week. J J Barrie was there, on his way to the top of course, and the look of contempt from the young women stood in front of him said everything. It’s nice to think that within a few short months many of these girlies were in all likelihood punkettes.

  56. 56
    chelovek na lune on 14 May 2011 #

    #55 – yeah, “truly grim” sums it up well, from start to finish with barely an intermission….

    Mud – Shake It Down.
    They’ve done better than this, much better. Some dreadful green shirts with enormous collars and flares in the same colour… Very Smashie and Nicey shades, too…

    Frankie Valli – Fallen Angel
    Unremarkable if not entirely hideous middle-of-the-road ballad. The odd good spot, both harmony and melody-wise. Westlife have done far worse in this genre..

    The Stylistics – Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (with Ruby Flipper dancers)
    as discussed above. I didn’t realise how much flares were still in as late as 76. It’s why punk had to happen, etc….

    Barry Manilow – Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again
    Non-chart single. thankfully. Oh God, turn those horns off! Gets worse as it goes on, with overstated emphasis towards the end…

    Robin Sarstedt – My Resistance Is Low
    In fact, this might be why punk had to happen. It makes the Barry Manilow track sound ground-shaking and exciting in comparison…and then it gets a bit all Stutz Bear Catz…1930s/40s female vocals “Resist me baby”. A car-crash of a song…Another green jacket and shiny green shirt with massive collars. I was about to suggest this could improve on repeated listening, but he had to spoil it with a superfluous “low” at the end

    The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – Arms of Mary
    This group’s item of inappropriately green clothing is a spotted waistcoat. As for the song, mellow, inoffensive AOR/MOR radio stuff. Far worse examples of this style are around…even if the song doesn’t really go anywhere musically. Dire Straits were doing this sort of stuff with the bass a lot later..

    JJ Barrie – No Charge
    Everything that could possibly be said about this song has surely already been said here….

    Cliff Richard – Devil Woman
    Green scarf. Not the best Cliff number, nor the worst.

    Abba – Fernando (video)

    (end credits) Johnnie Taylor – Disco Lady
    Not a promising start

  57. 57
    lonepilgrim on 14 May 2011 #

    the iPlayer page promised the Stones (i’m guessing with “Fool to Cry”) but then didn’t deliver – things have reached a bad state when Cliff is the liveliest performer on the show

  58. 58

    That’s probably true in respect of this show, but Sir Cliff is intermittently a great pop performer, and Devil Woman is one of his strong songs, despite — or really because of –the intense (not to say bizarre) sexual anxiety of its lyric.

  59. 59
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 May 2011 #

    #58 – This is true, Mark. “She’s gonna get you from behind…” Not the sort of record I’d care to play to me Auntie Nora. You old rascal, Cliff!!!

  60. 60
    wichita lineman on 15 May 2011 #

    40 minute version is on iplayer now! Inc. Fool To Cry, which is quite gorgeous – that organ line, the falsetto, and Jagger as fool, weak for once.

    Chelovek, you nutter! Hoagy Carmichael’s My Resistance Is Low a car crash? Granted, Robin Sarstedt is a great ad for autotune (check the ‘harmony’ at 19.05), but the song’s a peach. Yes, he was Peter’s brother (and Eden Kane’s). Reached no.3, two places short of creating an unlikely trilogy of Popular entries.

    Shake It Down was Rob Davies’s first attempt at writing a disco hit – I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to hear it as a forerunner of Groovejet.

    B Manilow – odd sitting position and BBC orchestra scupper this, as I think it’s one of his best singles, and a no.10 hit in the US. Not sure about that “make my knees start to quiver” line though.

    Cliff – solid career re-positioner, good call from Sukrat on the “bizarre sexual anxiety”. Written by JJ Barrie’s sister? Did I hear that right?

  61. 61
    Mark G on 16 May 2011 #

    BazMan was pushed endlessly during this time, but he barely troubled the charts between 1975 and 1980. Most of his “biggest” songs weren’t hits.

    “Copa” got to number 22 ‘eventually’, and I would wager you’d need 15 guesses and a long long time before you guessed the title of his bigget chart hit…

  62. 62
    Mark G on 18 May 2011 #

    I’m catching up here, but nobody’s mentioned Tina Charles’ “Love me like a lover” (as opposed to what?)

    And, also, nice to see Ian Stewart features greatly on “Fool to Cry”

    Mac and Katie Kissoon: OK, so that’s two not-hits. See, it’s not a good idea to only limit the show to ‘chart entries only’ but this week is not helping.

    JJ Barrie: Five Dollars for mowing the lawn? How big was the damn lawn? At 1976 prices, that’s £40 in todays money isn’t it?

    Cliff: Wichita#60, you heard wrong, it’s JJBarrie’s wife that wrote “Devil Woman” apparently. Wikipedia has it: “”Devil Woman” was written by Terry Britten and Christine Holmes and first recorded by Holmes under the name Kristine.”

  63. 63
    AndyPandy on 18 May 2011 #

    re :62
    At least Mac and Katie Kissoon were in the Top 50 and in those days a large proportion of big hits entered the charts in the upper 30s or 40s.But I agree stuff like Barry Manilow and at least one track just about every week didnt get so much as a sniff at the charts – its makes that comment by the “we only featured big hits” even more ridiculous.

  64. 64
    wichita lineman on 19 May 2011 #

    Re 62 – ah yes, Kristine Sparkle as she was also known. Did a coupling of middling glam 45s on Decca and a whole album on Decca which I’ve never seen. As Christine Holmes she made several more middling 45s in the 60s, but recorded one absolute cracker called Here Comes My Baby which eventually came out on an RPM Dream Babes cd.



  65. 65
    punctum on 19 May 2011 #

    The Kristine Sparkle album has come out on CD. Not sure if it’s still in print but it really isn’t a lost classic.

    Also Ms Holmes was a regular on Crackerjack and wasn’t she one of the Family Dogg?

  66. 66
    Mark G on 19 May 2011 #

    Oh, Kristine Sparkle, a ‘special guest’ often on Kids Pop TV, if I remember…

    People stayed away in droves from her singles, but hey, that’s nostalgia for yer.

  67. 67
    Jimmy the Swede on 20 May 2011 #

    I don’t know where else to place this. Kathy Kirby has passed away at 72. Despite her limited chart success, Kathy was an enormous star back in the early mid sixties and represented the UK at Eurovision where she finished our customary second, this time behind a typically pervy Serge Gainsbourg song.

    RIP La Kirby.

  68. 68
    punctum on 20 May 2011 #

    Indeed – had it not been for Beatles Band, KK’s “Secret Love” would have been the Xmas number one for ’63. Had a pretty wretched life after her mentor/lover Eric Ambrose died in ’71 but at her best (e.g. “Soon I’ll Wed My Love”) she was pretty awesome.

  69. 69
    punctum on 20 May 2011 #

    Correction: Bert Ambrose.

  70. 70
    Mark G on 21 May 2011 #

    Right, this week:

    City Boy. It had to happen, I don’t remember this song at all. OK, they did have a minor hit with 5705, but this is unsurprisingly this weeks miss. And it’s been off 10 mins, and I can’t remember it again.

    Whereas Lee Garrett, I do remember as I met the dude about a week before this, he was in “Derek’s Records” when I popped in. I got introduced, and he gave me a copy of the single and signed it.

    Slik, “got to get into the top ten” um, nope.

    Andrea True, yes I remember this performance. They didn’t ask her back on did they?

    The most striking thing is how little the chart changed from one week to the next. Jimmy James, Slik this week are back on with new performances of songs they’ve done already, and Paul Nicholas coming up as well…

    So, this is the 30min version, so who’s been missed? (The Stones last time, unbelieveable, unless they are coming up in a week or two)

    Oh, and Pete Budd, the singer of The Wurzels reminds me of Pete Shelley doing “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays”. “Now that were both past our fifties” mad me think, so I looked it up, and actually they were all in their mid thirties.

  71. 71
    AndyPandy on 21 May 2011 #

    Re70: yes the charts really were glacially slow in those days – I know that from when I had a period or recording the Top20 off the radio in summer/autumn 1977 and how the same tracks seemed to be the chart week after week with probably about 1 or 2 new entries.

    I know time’s much slower when you’re a child but they were very very slow moving.

    I think that’s why people go on about unlike today their being “real hits in those days” that everyone was conscious off including the proverbial whistling milkman.
    Has that really been the case since the early 80s?

    Lee Garrett – big revival track towards the end of the night in certain jazz/funk/soul clubs around 1983. Safari Club in Windsor played it every week.

  72. 72
    punctum on 21 May 2011 #

    City Boy: oh, it’s my Economics tutor. Trying very hard indeed with hands in the air etc. but sparse-looking audience not getting it at all, or, far more likely, not wanting it in the first place.

    Lee Garrett trying EXTREMELY hard to inject oxygen into the studio but the song has no song, so to speak. Like all else with this show, it breathes the stale molecules of make do and mend.

    “Requiem” remains an extraordinary piece of schizophrenic work; Midge already getting ready for “Vienna” in the verses and abruptly wishing he were somewhere, or someone, else when the song turns into a failed Austrian Eurovision entry.

    Ruby Flipper and “Love Hangover”; the average Club Poptimism intake could have done (and indeed did do) much better. Tolerated by 15 million viewers (including myself) – how? Ah yes, “no competition.”

    “Must dash now. I’m off to buy the new Jimmy James and the Vagabonds single.” You’ll not hear that said.

    One marvels (if “marvel” is the right verb) that any of this middle-range stuff got anywhere near the charts. The whole thing – was there even an audience for DLT’s underpowered and underinterested links? – reminded me of a Soviet state department store. Every expense spared.

    Gladys and the Pips utterly fab but Lena reckons they dressed down from what they might have worn on Soul Train and the like. No doubt they looked at a nation which took three years to get “Midnight Train To Georgia” into the top ten and was about to send the Wurzels to number one and decided the gown and tuxedos weren’t worth packing.

    As for the Wurzels; wow, I had forgotten that Davy Jones endured such hard times in the seventies.

  73. 73
    George on 21 May 2011 #

    Thing is ”I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me” was easily the second (admittedly distant) best thing on the show after Gladys and her Pips.
    Still, despite the presence of DLT this week was still a great improvement from the previous, which was beyond dire.

    Personally I’m waiting for the flag-waving, phony-party-atmosphere era to kick in sometime around the early-to-mid 80’s.

  74. 74
    AndyPandy on 21 May 2011 #

    I’ve just seen this week’s TOTP on the iplayer – what an appalling version of “You’re My Everything” – Lee Garrett really tried his hardest against unconquerable odds but as with so many suffered due to the very unfunky BBC musicians attempts to recreate the backing. The average karaoke backing is better

  75. 75
    hardtogethits on 22 May 2011 #

    #70 “5705” – a minor hit? That’s extremely uncharitable. How big does a record have to be before it escapes the “minor” table.

    I think the Slik record’s quite clever, I was very impressed by it first time. I’ve a particular soft spot for those who manage to rhyme different parts of speech, so the heavily pronounced rhyme (them / requiem) did the trick for me, and also the very first time I watched it, the wreck-wreck-requiem sequence seemed like a neat touch.

    Unfortunately, the second trick wears particularly thin – it’s a bit like a Two Ronnies musical arrangement. One’s initial reaction is replaced by admiration and tolerance.

  76. 76
    Mark G on 22 May 2011 #

    #74, Actually, i had to work out why I thought it was better than the record (for once)…

    It was because the backing was less dominant, so Lee had to sing stronger to make up.

    (His vocals were a ton better than most artists singing live in past weeks.)

  77. 77
    punctum on 23 May 2011 #

    They were very good, and I suspect that it was the failure of the band to keep up with him (they were fully half a beat behind the vocal) that made the overall impression less than compelling. I see from Vince Aletti’s The Disco Years that he rated “I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me” #6 in his Essential Disco Singles of 1976 list so again it has to be down to the backing (I’ll have to reacquaint myself with the original record). See also the repeatedly fluffed lead trumpet lines on “More Mor More.”

  78. 78
    Erithian on 23 May 2011 #

    The uncut version of the show broadcast on Saturday night included three more songs – the Bellamy Brothers promo we’ve seen before, yet another appearance for BBC favourite Paul Nicholas (with DLT muscling in on Ruby Flipper in the background) and R-Flip again doing their thang to Archie Bell’s “Soul City Walk”. This was the week I turned 14, and even though the quality is variable as ever, even the dross gives you a bit of nostalgia. Except for City Boy, which I’d totally forgotten.

    Spot on Punctum re Midge Ure – “Requiem” revisited the gothic/teenybop mixture of “Forever and Ever” to much less effect, and the whole band looked a bit awkward at how it turned out. I do wonder who was buying it.

    Kudos to Lee Garrett for a committed performance though – a generation later it became commonplace (and a bit tedious) for rappers to holler “Top of the Pops!” during performances, but his doing so in 1976 really stood out.

  79. 79
    will on 23 May 2011 #

    I used to HATE it when, during the show’s later years, singers used to go ‘Hey, Top Of The Pops!’ or words to that effect. Anyone who did it immediately went down in my estimation.

  80. 80
    Erithian on 23 May 2011 #

    Likewise, though I’ll make exceptions for the Rezillos and Bob Geldof! (Any other hit songs with “Top of the Pops” in the lyrics? The underrated “Saturday Gigs” by Mott the Hoople springs to mind.)

  81. 81
    hardtogethits on 23 May 2011 #

    79, 80, make that three. If everyone had latched onto Lee Garrett’s pointless improv, TOTP would have become unbearable much sooner.

  82. 82
    anto on 23 May 2011 #

    One thing that strikes me about these 1976 TOTPs (apart from how much dross was in the charts at the time) was the BBC bias towards certain singles. Why were they so keen to promote a naff Paul Nicholas record that appeared to be ” racing up the charts ” as though submerged in glycerine. Was it because singers like Paul Nicholas would fit right in on Saturday evening entertainment?
    Also apart from DLT proving he’s his own biggest fan the prissiness of the DJs is kinda annoying. Did it piss off viewers at the time when yet another ballad was introduced as ” a rilly-bute-ifull sound from Eric Carmine/Diana Ross/Frankie Valli “?
    So far I’ve been most impressed by the lead singer from Fox whose out-charisma-ed a lot of the more eager-to-please performers also it was interesting to finally find out what Andrea True looks like.

  83. 83
    Mark G on 23 May 2011 #

    #70 ok, fair enough, it got to number 8. I had a vague recollection it had made 15 or thereabouts while hanging around for a while. For me, a ‘minor’ hit is between 30 and 15, whereas any lower is ‘got in the chart’, although thesedays just getting above 40 is a smasheroo…

  84. 84
    Mark G on 23 May 2011 #

    #82, I think Paul Nicholas got on a lot because he was easily available. Also, the DJ’s ‘prissiness’ is more having a DJ actually pleased that a record they like and favour is on the show. As opposed to Fearn and Reggie’s endless enthusiasm for whatever happens to be on. OK, it may be a bunch of turps, but at least now you know where Noel Edmonds is coming from (or, did, anyway)

    My last memory of NEdm as a DJ was his Sunday afternoon show (or was it Sat?) where he used to play “Lullabye Love” (Simon Ward?) every damn week, and a mimsier record you will never hear. Made “I’ll never love anyone anymore” sound like Motorhead/Girlschool’s “Please Dont Touch” by comparison…

  85. 85
    AndyPandy on 24 May 2011 #

    I’m finding the djs hard to watch or maybe make that Dave Lee Travis and Noel Edmonds hard to watch – cringing is not the word – DLT beggars belief. Jimmy Savile less so – its just Jimmy Savile – and Tony Blackburn in retrospect was obviously always a bit cooler than the rest – although paradoxically at this point in the 70s he had the reputation as the most naff.

    I don’t think the music is irredeemably naff at all – was any other time since really that much better? – off the top of my head in the last few weeks – we’ve had very good tracks from Gladys Knight, Lee Garrett (even if through no fault of his own the BBC backing made it unlistenable), Johnny Taylor, Diana Ross (2 good songs), Abba, Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Andrea True Connection, Dooley Silverspoon, Four Seasons, Fox, Eric Carmen, – none of those would disgrace any era (even the Mud track was funky).

    PS if I remember correctly from vague memories of listening to him at about 14 on his Sunday morning show Noel Edmonds used to like Harry Chapin and Jim Croce – but at least as someone said he HAD his own taste in music and obviously was a music lover unlike DLT or those awful mediocrities from the end of TOTP’s history in the 2000’s

  86. 86
    enitharmon on 24 May 2011 #

    I can’t remember Tony Blackburn ever being ‘cool’; he was naff even in the sixties when ‘naff’ wasn’t even a word!

  87. 87
    AndyPandy on 24 May 2011 #

    Yes but i suppose he at least had youth on his side in the 60s and by the end of his radio 1 career and before his rebirth as a kind of Soul Godfather on Radio London in about 1982/83 surely he was looked on as particularly uncool even by Radio 1 standards – I bet back then even people of the ilk of DLT and Noel Edwards used to laugh at him behind his back.

    But seeing him on those 1976 TOTP from today’s standpoint he seems far classier/less embarrassing/less frantically “fun” than the others and hasn’t the accepted knowledge for a time now been that his pushing of soul on Radio 1 (and even making some of those classics hits)meant he’s looked on in a much more favourable light than he was back then – didn’t John Peel go up to him at a party years later and say words to the effect of “I take it all back you were right all along”.

  88. 88

    Even being the “uncool” one on a pirate radio station surely put you a little ahead of the curve, in terms of er coolth. TB was never not a twerp in terms of projected professional personality: which shouldn’t be confused with the quality of the tastes he always defended, though this is an easy mistake to make… people who stick to their guns and ignore all mockery begin, over time, to reveal a dimension to their character which the surface may not at ALL hint at.

  89. 89
    enitharmon on 24 May 2011 #

    I will own that Blackburn did a grand job of promoting Motown and its relatives; I’ve given him this credit before on Popular. Pete Murray and David Jacobs always did seem fish out of water, even in their pre-pirates, Radio Luxembourg days, but surely Luxy endowed a certain amount of cool?

    Funnily enough I liked Brian Mathew in his Saturday Club days and I have a great deal of respect for him fifty years on. Mathew was never one for the gimmick or the jingle or the stupid barking dog, so he’s much more my type.

  90. 90
    Mark G on 24 May 2011 #

    Plus, Tony did tend to self-importance on regular occasions. He was one of those calling for Punk to be banned purely because he didn’t like it. Nowadays, he’s more accepting of tastes other than his own, but still…

  91. 91
    AndyPandy on 24 May 2011 #

    Yeah he was obviously far from perfect, (aren’t we all?) but over the years as Lord Sukrat says he has revealed himself as far more of a substantial personality than anyone would have thought. And did he really say he want punk “banned” or just say he didn’t like it?

  92. 92
    thefatgit on 24 May 2011 #

    Time has exposed just how Middle-England the old school Radio 1 DJ roster was, with the exception of Peel and Nightingale, they turned out to become a bunch of reactionary old farts. Tony Blackburn went up in my estimation after I’m A Celebrity… and you can’t doubt his taste in music, despite his mistaken belief that Punk was a bad thing.

  93. 93
    Erithian on 25 May 2011 #

    Dunno about calling for punk to be “banned”, but he’s eager to dismiss it whenever he’s a talking head on nostalgia shows. I always had it in for him after he was apparently instrumental in getting Sweet’s “Turn It Down” banned, hastening their career decline, and his principal objection seemed to be the word “punk” in the lyric.

    Noel was a big one for singer-songwriters, you’d get a lot of Joni Mitchell, Nilsson and Cat Stevens on his weekend show before he moved to the breakfast slot. Like Blackburn, though, he had a discernable musical taste, and Jimmy Savile was just a pop fan through and through ever since running the first “discotheques”, as he’d be keen to tell you.

  94. 94
    Mark G on 25 May 2011 #

    Tone did call for “Pinball Wizard” to be banned, so maybe I was conflating a bunch of stuff.

    However, on balance, A good DJ. (He did go through a horrendous “Medallion Man” phase, 20 years too late)…….

  95. 95
    Erithian on 25 May 2011 #

    “Pinball Wizard”?! Why??

  96. 96

    because it’s frightful rubbish?

  97. 97
    Mark G on 25 May 2011 #

    Because of “bad taste”, i.e. writing songs about deaf, dumb and blind kids.

  98. 98
    Lena on 25 May 2011 #

    I thought it was written about Nik Cohn!

  99. 99
    Mark G on 25 May 2011 #

    Well, sort-of: He was a big pinball fan, and Pete wrote it to ‘please’ him.

  100. 100
    George on 26 May 2011 #

    Christ, it was grim stuff tonight.

    Why have Mud in the studio live for the second time in three weeks for a song which peaked outside the top ten?

    Why show that appalling Tina Charles song again under similar circumstances?

    Why allow David Hamilton and his cringeworthy links anywhere near a microphone and camera?

    Confused? you will be…

  101. 101
    anto on 26 May 2011 #

    Re 100: Shameless promotion of the 785th Cliff Lp on the show.
    Clearly compliance wasn’t such an issue in 1976.

  102. 102
    George on 26 May 2011 #

    I’m enjoying the promo pictures of the artists on the top 30 run down at the beginning of the show. The Wurzels loitering about on a harvester; The Four Seasons in ill-advised matching suits; Pretty much all male artists in ill-advised suits.

    It seems Mud’s last eight singles didn’t even chart. They would have been up on the record company chopping block much quicker today.

  103. 103
    Mark G on 27 May 2011 #

    Yes, but check how many record labels those eight singles involved.

    At least one of them was after Les left and they got a female singer to replace him. The record wasn’t bad at all, but it wasn’t Mud really they’d have been better off changing the name..

  104. 104
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 May 2011 #

    I’m afraid that fings only get worse, kids. Next week (or perhaps the week after) the pious Hoser Barrie is top and then after that the bloody Wurzels. As my great hero, Johnnie Walker said back in the day: “That’s the first time one comedy record has replaced another at number one”. Spot on. There wasn’t just a weather drought back in the spring and summer of ’76!

  105. 105
    punctum on 27 May 2011 #

    And this at the time when (as I recall) R1 jocks were apt to refer to the chart as the “Fun Thirty.” What a dreadful drought of a mainstream; it reads and sounds like the Village chart and I’m surprised they didn’t hire Fenella Fielding to do the countdown.

    #102: Your first two questions can be answered by the Aspergic policy which dictated what could and couldn’t be on the show, i.e. if the single were still climbing (or even a non-mover, provided it hadn’t gone down) it could be shown at fortnightly intervals (it only got a third shot if it made the Top 10).

    As for Diddy David Hamilton, I’m afraid he was quite a hit with ladies of a certain age at that time.

  106. 106
    Mark G on 27 May 2011 #

    Well, there was more fun to come when every song played that didn’t actually feature the artist on video would have handclaps and party noises overlaid to up the fun content.

    It really made for the Village broadcast of the re-issue of “Love will tear us apart”, which complied with the rule by peaking at ‘slightly higher’ than the original issue.

  107. 107
    punctum on 27 May 2011 #

    Nope; in 1983 it peaked at #19 as opposed to #13 in 1980. Maybe they were scared Paul Young would belt out his soulful, passionate, honest version.

  108. 108
    Mark G on 27 May 2011 #

    I keep threatening to upload that ‘performance’ to youtube.

    Basically, it was one of the ‘zoo’ dancers giving it plenty of pose-dancing at the fade-out of the show…

  109. 109
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 May 2011 #

    # 105 – I would truly loved to have had Finella Fielding doing the countdown live from “Green Dome Studios”. It would have been piped through every residence in The Village, of course, on a North Korean basis and poor old Number Six would have had to have discovered who was not only number six but at the other twenty-nine places too. The Prisoner would have been driven bonkers. And I don’t think sexy Miss Fielding’s promise of a strawberry ice cream would have done much to improve the old misery’s mood either.

  110. 110
    Mark G on 27 May 2011 #

    Not even a Strawberry Letter from number 23?

  111. 111
    AndyPandy on 27 May 2011 #

    Still think these weeks we’ve seen are far from poor for the charts – this week the chart positions 20 (possibly) 15-30 are full of good soul tracks – and if this era is crap how bad were the mid-80s.

    Maybe having a few bad number 1’s is tarring the whole chart with the same brush but once again look at the mid-80s and probably any other time (I don’t know much post-80s as I didn’t follow the charts by then).

    Or is the argument that TOTP was crap because surely that’s largely down to the fact that all of those decent soul tracks were American and with a few exceptions the budget didnt stretch to flying them across the Atlantic.Incidentally I’ve noticed James and Bobby Purify got to about 15 and havent been featured at all not even with the dancers.

    To me the mid-70s were great – amazing soul and funk (and not really my scene but also the heyday of probably the largest musical movement of the era – Northern Soul). A year earlier and a few of the more poppier tracks/cash-ins from that scene would have even been on TOTP.

    On another tip I didn’t think the Showaddywaddy song was too bad – I hadn’t heard it since I heard it at the time on ‘Saturday Scene’
    (children’s Saturday morning show on ITV)as I was just about to go round to a nearby street with my mum to pick up some button-holes for my cousins wedding later that afternoon- funny what obscure memories these repeats can jog.I remember liking it the time too – it wasn’t much of a hit though.

    PS I don’t know why they picked the O’Jays ‘Livin for the Weekend’ to play out with as it didn’t get anywhere near the Top 50

  112. 112
    heather on 28 May 2011 #

    I wish they’d skip a couple of weeks, because the chart is getting very samey and I’m sure the series will end before they get to the years I remember…

    I like seeing clips I’ve never seen before, but have unfortunately failed to unearth any forgotten jewels, just stuff that deservedly stayed in the bottom 20.

    Also I found Peter Sarsesdt completely inexplicable.

  113. 113
    Conrad on 28 May 2011 #

    The thing that really hits home for me is how dreadful the TOTP Orchestra was in its approximation of the original backing on solo recordings. What an arcane rule. The MU have a lot to answer for. It almost makes you wince when you know a solo performer is on next.

    Reading the Kate Bush biography at the moment, and apparently she was so upset by the BBC backing on her debut appearance that she’s never appeared live since.

    The (musical) revolution will not be televised. RIP Gil.

  114. 114
    Jimmy the Swede on 28 May 2011 #

    Heather (#112), I’m not really suprised that you found Peter Sarstedt “completely inexplicable”. The artist you refer to was actually brother Robin. Having said that, if you care to log back to Peter’s big # 1 in 1969, you will find him savaged by the Popular hounds, who certainly found him inexplicable, amongst other things. I was amongst a very small number who championed him and his song, which I still love to this day.

  115. 115
    George on 29 May 2011 #

    The ”This is why Punk had to happen” orthodoxy will have been further cemented by these feeble offerings no doubt, which is a shame because as #111 alluded to there was plenty of fine music making the charts, especially with Soul slowly merging into Disco. Purists of the former probably still break down in tears over it but it was a period which produced some of the most thrilling pop I’ve heard. Oh, and as bad as the mid-80’s may have been the fag end of the decade was surely even worse for mainstream pop (excluding the nascent dance scene)

    #112. It’s been suggested that BBC4 should show programmes from varying years to keep thing fresh and sustain interest because at this rate enthusiasm is going to drop off sharply.

  116. 116
    wichita lineman on 30 May 2011 #

    The Guardian piece today has really got my goat. If we had to watch 1960, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1985, 1986 or 1999, any of these in real time, someone with ADD would cry “worst year ever”.

    In the few weeks it’s been on, TOTP ’76 has brought us I’m Mandy Fly Me, Silver Star, Single Bed, Jungle Rock, Don’t Stop It Now, More More More, Love Hangover, Fool To Cry, Shake It Down, Midnight Train To Georgia and Silly Love Songs, all records I’ve liked enough to buy. That’s more than one a week. Stack that up against a theoretical 2011 TOTP.

    Half the fun of TOTP was ALWAYS “did you see that shower of shit last night? Thank God Blondie/Buzzcocks/Betty Boo/B*witched were on to save the show.”

  117. 117
    Steve Mannion on 30 May 2011 #

    I’d still prefer a TOTP2-style approach but use the original footage of presenters rather than linking it all thru a Steve Wright narration. I think the ‘random shuffle’ aspect of TOTP2 worked well enough but a focus on particular years or styles of music through the ages would also be fine.

  118. 118
    AndyPandy on 30 May 2011 #

    I think they should keep it as it is – I hardly watch telly and this is the first thing ive ever checked out regularly on iplayer.I think the shit and the obscurities and seeing stuff you remember but hadn’t thought about for 35 years even taking the piss out of the djs – the whole package is what makes it so good to watch.

    If they were just gonna cherry-pick what someone thinks we want to see – what’s the point? we’ve all got different ideas of what should be shown and LITERALLY what’s the point when if we just wanted to watch isolated clips you only have to go to YouTube anytime you want to do that. I hope they keep it going as it is indefinitely or at least up until about 1979.

    Re 116 – I completely agree with you as I’ve said before the charts are of a generally high standard maybe occasionally let down by the number 1 – but when havent they been? in my list above off the top of my head I even managed to miss classics like “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and “Disco Connection” and “Movin” (even “Let Your Love Flow” was thought good enough to be a hit again in the 2000’s) I had so many good ones to pick from.

  119. 119
    Steve Mannion on 30 May 2011 #

    The point is that TOTP2 was a reasonably entertaining show! It may have prioritised some forms of pop over others but not to the extent where this overshadowed the flipping back and forth thru time aspect, which allowed for contrasts and comparisons just as valuable as those you might find in any given week’s full episode. There’s no reason why it couldn’t have an even-handed approach (although I think at least a focus on the hits at the upper end of the charts is also reasonable).

  120. 120
    wichita lineman on 30 May 2011 #

    “Even handed” according to who? There’s the rub. It’s more Reithian to show the entire package, viewing figures be damned. Plus we’re ALL learning something from it, even know-it-alls like me (I have no memory of that excellent ELO flop, or that Marmalade performance with the Love Thy Neighbour drumkit…). Who’d remember THEM, or show them again?

    Upper end of the charts means we’d miss Can, who must be due in the next few weeks (sorry… is this Bunnyable??).

    Anyway, my main point was the Guardian piece is kneejerk and Alexis P has no context because 1976 is the ONLY year to ever have all its TOTPs repeated.

  121. 121
    hardtogethits on 30 May 2011 #

    116, 118, 120. Yup, this can only succeed in its present format. I wonder whether TOTP2’s fans take the same approach to their old photograph albums? Get out the scissors and a marker pen – “I’d have so much more fun if I only ever remembered the people I still like today and / or people who wear clothes which are now accepted as funny-looking eg flares, kipper ties.”

    There’s been a couple of comments upstream that suggest the rules were enforced rigorously in 1976, but they weren’t. The rules were there to stop the program being very “pluggable”, but the rules
    a) weren’t so strict back in 1976 and
    b) weren’t rigorously enforced until the spell 1980 – 1991 (and even then there were some ways of getting round the rules).

    111. re: The O’Jays record. It got very close to the Top 50 – and spent 6 weeks in the “Star Breakers” section of the chart.

  122. 122
    wichita lineman on 30 May 2011 #

    “Star Breakers”? Please tell me more, never heard of ’em!

  123. 123
    swanstep on 31 May 2011 #

    @wichita, 116. That’s a good list of tracks alright. I haven’t been able to watch these totps – they do sound trying – but that Alexis P. column surprised me too. Abba and Queen in their pomp, 10cc for cool kids, Bowie sounding like he’s on a transatlantic express to Berlin for the very cool kids, and (following up on Love Hangover) big disco items like Love to love you baby, Boogie Fever, You Should Be Dancing, (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, Play That Funky Music, Love Rollercoaster high in the charts for everyone. I just don’t see how any pop-picker can be too down on all that…

  124. 124
    Steve Mannion on 31 May 2011 #

    #120 I’m sure I saw Can on TOTP2, and quite a few things I was pleasantly surprised they’d bothered to include (thinking more 90s dance stuff).

    #121 Think that’s a daft analogy – people really think TOTP2 was some kind of revisionist desecration? May not have been perfect but it was most welcome given there was no other convenient way to re-watch – even now that applies (shoddy rips from people’s dusty VHS tapes being put up on YT isn’t going to cut it).

    Showing whole episodes is obviously great (painfully slow process aside) but I wasn’t suggesting one approach replace another, rather that they co-exist (just as TOTP and TOTP2 did).

  125. 125
    Mark G on 31 May 2011 #


    TOTP2 was a ‘cherry pick’ and it’s run its course. All the top moments have been shown, I think….

    So, all that’s left are the inexplicable, and the ‘buried treasures’. Oh, and your mate’s uncle who appeared once but missed the chart and has no record or proof of it happening…

    This week in short: A bunch of repeats, a bunch of ‘second appearances’ (The Mud one was much better this time), and the iplayer hasn’t put the 40 min one on! oh, and I don’t recall the Marmalade one.

  126. 126
    punctum on 31 May 2011 #

    A link to that Guardian article on TOTP. Not entirely accurate but relatively funny,

    My feelings after watching a very few episodes were: that’s all I need to know. I lived through this rubbish once, have no desire to do so again.

  127. 127
    Mark G on 31 May 2011 #

    That’s surprising, to be honest.

    One of the benefits this series is providing is showing the whole picture. (The context, indeed, yes I’ve just seen yr Elton review). An old copy of the NME will show you, alongside small introductory paragraphs and/or mentions of punk, Ramones, etc, are small ads for “Band seeks singer, influenced by The Faces, etc” to show you the past was still prevalent (which is what the retrospective movies tend to leave out)

    As I say, there is so much I remember from individual episodes and yet a fair bunch I could convince myself I never saw (but I must have)…

  128. 128
    wichita lineman on 31 May 2011 #

    TOTP2 always veered towards Go West iirc which I’m guessing was Steve Wright’s doing – just as a Mark Radcliffe TOTP2 leans towards indie.

    Everything is cherry picked at the moment. A slow, real time trawl through the BBC archive suits me fine. I’d also be happy if they were screening old MOTDs in full, as ITV were doing with The Big Match last year. Not for everyone, but not edited by someone (inevitably with some kind of bias) in 2011.

  129. 129
    weej on 31 May 2011 #

    The quality of TOTP2 was very much reliant on who was at the helm.

    Johnnie Walker – Good, interesting choices on the whole
    Steve Wright – Some good bits mixed with a whole load of “why would anyone want to see this again?” and way too much recycling of his ten or twenty favourites. Also Steve seemed to be trying to use the position to introduce the UK to MOR country music.
    Mark Radcliffe – Promising, but I’ve only seen occasional specials so far, has it been canceled now?

  130. 130
    Mark G on 31 May 2011 #

    I’ve not seen a new TOTP2 for a long time.

  131. 131
    Conrad on 31 May 2011 #

    I think these re-runs are a fantastic piece of television history, and the Petridis article was lame “will this do”-ism of the highest order.

    Agree with Witchita and others. Part of the enjoyment lies in seeing the programme in its entirety, but then I am watching TOTP as a light entertainment show from 1976 as much as a pop music show, and am getting as much from the DJ links, lighting, studio audience and so on, as I am from the music.

    TOTP2 was dreadful, patronising v/o from Steve Wright, performances cut to about 2 minutes, with awful trivia graphics overlaid, and no sense of context.

    I am amazed frankly that the BBC are doing this with TOTP. So unusual to see them treating their archive with the respect it deserves for once. Right, I’m off to write a letter to Barry Took…

  132. 132
    Steve Mannion on 31 May 2011 #

    One thing I will concede is the annoyingness of TOTP2’s on-screen text. They could only fit about six words on at a time and it was uninteresting (probably patronising) stuff – could’ve just scrolled it, or made it more like VH1’s Pop-Up Video where the snippets of trivia were presented with a touch more wit.

  133. 133
    punctum on 31 May 2011 #

    We’ll see how “whole” the picture is when the reruns get to One Hundred Ton and a Feather.

  134. 134
    Mark G on 31 May 2011 #

    Well, they managed to keep Marmalade’s “Golliwog” bass drum in the picture, so I doubt they’ll excise JK from the TOTP history. It’s not Dale producing this…

    TOTP2′s on-screen text was more than annoying, it was too often wrong!

    “We’re playing this because Barry White is 65 Today!!” um, no he’s dead. And it’s not his birthday even if he was alive….

    To be fair, the performances had to be truncated as the DJ usually was crashing the intro or the fade (witness DHamilton’s rubbish jokes halfway into Tina Charles’ song intro)

  135. 135
    admin on 31 May 2011 #

    re rubbish jokes. “here’s a TOAST to marmalade” AMAZING

  136. 136
    wichita lineman on 31 May 2011 #

    TOTP2 ‘factoid’ on Saint Etienne’s I Was Born On Christmas Day – “funnily enough, none of the group were!” Err, nice fact checking.

    Re 135: and then the glass re-appeared next to Robin Sarstedt! BBC scrimping of the highest order.

    Re Tina Charles. Not the most flattering outfit.

  137. 137
    AndyPandy on 31 May 2011 #

    Re Tina Charles – she must be one of the few people who looks better 30 years later – there’s a clip of her from about 5 years ago on You Tube doing ‘I Love To Love’ looking slim, sophisticated and generally very sexy – and she must have been past 50 then if she was a day.

    Also regarding her voice one thing it always had was power as the 5000 Volts hits prove and she must have been one of the earliest victims of the common practice of the 1988-92 (and after) era when she was replaced when they needed someone to do the 5000Volts television appearances by a miming model.

  138. 138
    hardtogethits on 31 May 2011 #

    #124 – Revisionist desecration? Yeah, well put, some people do think that.

    Although – and I’m sure you’ll laugh at this – the use of the word ‘desecration’ is itself an example of the attitude of those who put together TOTP2: nothing new here, firstly simplify, then exaggerate. What the postmodern revisionists then do (though not contributors here, I hope) is either sneer or otherwise assume superiority (if sneering’s inappropriate (cf TOTP2 re: Eva Cassidy), safe in the knowledge that the simplification-exaggeration will make any alternative viewpoint look absurd.

    I honestly don’t see TOTP2 can be defended against the accusations of “revisionist desecration”. The most robust defence would be that the approach makes for good entertainment, and I can’t argue with that, though it’s not my cup of tea.

    I agree TOTP2 and TOTP1976 could co-exist, but introducing the former’s approach to the format of the latter would ruin it.

  139. 139
    Steve Mannion on 31 May 2011 #

    One of the top YT results for TOTP2 is John Foxx’s ‘Underpass’ with a terribly snarky intro and outro by Wright. Not denying his approach spoiled the programme but that’s just poor execution of a fine concept, and I enjoyed and defend the show because of the concept which to me really is a no-brainer on paper (before you decide who narrates, or who chooses the clips and how).

    Similar argument as with Later With Jools really – don’t take it away, just make it better (if that means taking Jools away then OK)…and again there’s no real reason to not repeat older Later shows or compile from them, just as they’ve done with The Old Grey Whistle Test before.

  140. 140
    wichita lineman on 31 May 2011 #

    Re 137: Oh, I meant that comment – Tina was a very cute girl, and she would’ve looked cuter if she wasn’t wearing a weird puffball of a shirt. She’s still this side of 60, and I’m glad to see she still looks good .

    I love her voice, instantly recognisable. I’m On Fire is one of the best UK disco 45s.

  141. 141
    Jimmy the Swede on 31 May 2011 #

    Can I just slip in with a RIP for Flick Colby, whom we lost a couple of days ago. All of the gals are going across to New York for her funeral. Flick’s work certainly left its mark, mainly on the bed-sheets of many a growing teenaged boy, of which the Swede was one. God bless you, Flick!

  142. 142
    wichita lineman on 2 Jun 2011 #

    Heavy Metal Kids – proto punk? I remember seeing this and thinking it really stuck out like a sore thumb, quite scary. The backing group look like the Fat Strokes, but Gary Holton still looks like some kind of Clockwork Orange/New York Dolls hybrid. A bit of bleedin’ ENERGY at last. Too scary to crack the Top 50.

    JJ Barrie looks embarrassed as well as bored.

    The Wurzels – the between verse adlibs are considerably less funny than My Old Man’s A Dustman: “she were a nice bit of stuff an’ all”, “who loves ya baby?”, dear lord.

    Archie Bell & the Drells – well, this partially makes up for the UK’s shameful snubbing of their 1968 no.1 Tighten Up. Sweet bassline, intense without being particularly melodic.

    Mac and Katie Kissoon – again not a hit of any stripe, but if had been then surely Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio would’ve sued for the chorus’s similarity to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Katie is a fine singer, I should note, and I don’t think she was ever given a song or a production to suit her skills.

    Flippin heck! That’s a dog rare original copy of David Bowie’s first album! Don’t wave it about like that!! Er, easy to see why Ruby Flipper were soon given the heave for Legs & Co. Bowie and Brett Anderson might have appreciated the peculiar suburban angst of their routine, but not exactly the best way to remember Flick Colby.

    Bellamy Brothers – makes me think of air fresheners. “Just feel the thunder as it warms your face” is silly.

    The Real Thing – hard to believe they were knocking about in the Merseybeat era as The Chants – how old would the likes of the Swinging Blue Jeans have looked by now? This is pretty undeniable, esp. given the Top 3 competition of JJ Barrie/Wurzels/Robin Sarstedt. It’s a proper record. Did they ever make a decent album?

    …and Abba again.

    …instrumental on the credits, anyone?

    Pretty good show bar the two novelty number ones.

  143. 143
    anto on 2 Jun 2011 #

    Re:142 I thought it was the best of the repeats so far. Wayne was always my fave character in AWP so it was lovely to be reminded of the late Gary Holtons screen charisma. Some good soulful pop tunes on there.
    Incidentally if you include Fernando there were 4 songs on the show that would be number one at some point. I wonder if any other episodes could claim that.
    Really thouugh No Charge is a record that seems to grow worse each time I hear it.

  144. 144
    Mark G on 2 Jun 2011 #

    Hmm, I remember the HMKids song, didn’t remember they did this one on TOTP…

    Ruby Flipper, um,did they sack the guys after week one? Not seen them since!

    Still, the Wurzels gave us “I drove my tractor through your haystack last night”, which does sound like something Iggy might have dreamed.

  145. 145
    Mark G on 3 Jun 2011 #

    OK, that’s a bizarre song, Mac and Katie: “The two of us are both in love with you”….

    It turns out the two are Katie and her heart. Not Mac and Katie both pursuing the same person. Or maybe they meant their mum?

    Ok, there are the Rub Flipp guys. Blokey and Other Blokey.

  146. 146
    wichita lineman on 3 Jun 2011 #

    Re 144: True enough. And, in a pub game of old, there are numerous songs that could be improved by a west country accent. Warm It Up by Kris Kross sticks in my memory.

  147. 147
    Mark G on 3 Jun 2011 #

    The instrumental at the end, I think was the artist at 28 or so, hang on I’ll have to iplayer it back…

    Yes, Mistura. I have no idea why it was in the chart, it was one of those records that never seemed to get any play at the time, and that short snippet was all I’ve ever heard. So, I could be wrong, but the guy has a trombone in the pic, so I guess it’s that one.

    OK, I also looked it up and it’s called “The Flasher”. So, that’s that question answered then.

  148. 148
    Heather on 3 Jun 2011 #

    I’m entirely in favour of showing whole episodes (I can imagine how i’d feel watching the ‘only I remember these’ songs of the 80s). I just wish they’d arbitrarily scoot on a little, so the project doesn’t vanish before we’ve even hit next year! Personally, I’d show pure uncut episodes, but only on weeks there was a New Number One, just for pacing. I did like the strange Bowie tv dance sofa thing this week.

  149. 149
    punctum on 3 Jun 2011 #

    What was the point of Mac Kissoon in Mac and Katie Kissoon? Poor old Katie, struggling manfully with a mess of a song, and all Mac can do is shuffle about in an oversized romper suit and contribute the odd “uh-huh.”

    The late Ms Colby said that she started Ruby Flipper because with male dancers involved this would allow more complex routines.

    I bet she thought she was being really inventive with the “TVC15” routine; Pan’s People (effectively) on the screens while bored-looking ballet school graduates do first year PE class rollovers.

    No wonder the single stiffed at #33.

    The Real Thing made one great album – 1977’s 4 From 8, featuring the original “Children Of The Ghetto.”

    “The Flasher” by Mistura featuring Lloyd Michels, who in a different life was one of the flugelhorn players on Michael Mantler’s The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra.

  150. 150

    Bez and Katie Kissoon

  151. 151
    wichita lineman on 3 Jun 2011 #

    Thanks Mark. I remember seeing copies of The Flasher in Star Hits bags on newsagent carousels, but had never heard it before.

    Re 50: Ha! Hubbie hanger-on I presume. I’ve never heard “their” version of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, but imagine he only grunts “where’s your mama gone” every so often.

    I’m very fond of Katie ‘Peanut’ Kissoon’s quartet of 60s singles, including this balalaika-led take of a song from Pet Sounds

  152. 152
    AndyPandy on 3 Jun 2011 #

    I haven’t seen the this week’s yet but anyway

    re ‘The Flasher’ it was from the Northern Soul scene – in 1975 when Northern Soul was at its absolute peak in popularity quite a few crossovers/cash-ins made the Top 50 (some as high as Top 10) and there were a few although far less in 1976 too (and up to about 1978/early1979 and its ceasing to be a mass movement) – usually minor hits on Casino Classics by then though.

    And if it’s the same Mac And Katies Kissoon as on previously that’s 2 appearances whilst he song remained stuck in the 40-50 positions!I bet that didn’t happen much.

    PS Records like the Real Thing, Jeans On (which I know hasnt been on yet), Let Your Love Flow too me sound better because they’re inextricably linked with memories of the uniquely hot summer and drought of 1976.
    I know we’ve has temperatures a degree or 2 hotter since (2003, 2006) but in those later years the REALLY hot temperatures were for a few days/possibly a week.
    Those below 40 probably don’t realise that in 1976 the temperature remained in the 90s for week after week (it was very hot for about 3 or 4 months and I think I read somewhere in the country was well in the 90s every day for 2 months or so)- the playing fields and every and bit of grass were burnt brown and it was literally an unforgettable experience to live through it…

  153. 153
    chelovek na lune on 3 Jun 2011 #

    Easily the best episode so far (Jimmy Saville apart…). And with the promise of the always sublime Gladys Knight and the Pips on the 40 minute version, too…

  154. 154
    wichita lineman on 4 Jun 2011 #

    I still haven’t seen the Gladys Knight clip which a friend of mine insists is the one case where the BBC backing improves the song. Not on iplayer which is only showing the 30 min version, even though it advertises Gladys. Bah.

    I’ll look on youtube…. coo, he’s right.

    I had a feeling The Flasher was Wigan related, but it doesn’t sound anything like mid 70s northern soul which threw me.

    Thanks Punctum, I started with 4 From 8 (found a cassette in Thame) but wasn’t taken with it. Bit weak, I thought. Maybe it just didn’t suit motoring through Oxon.

  155. 155
    AndyPandy on 4 Jun 2011 #

    re 154 ‘Children of the Ghetto’by the Real Thing is worth perserving with I had it as the b-side of the 12inch of ‘Can You Feel The Force’the track that finally got them accepted on the club scene so I’ve been told – there was a famous cover version by Phillip Bailey (from earth, Wind And Fire) from about 1984 which got a lot of play.

    You’re right’the Flasher’ definitely wasn’t a stomper – more a marching thing going on.

    seen the show now;
    generally ok – at least they had Archie Bell on even if it was a clip from America. still no James and Bobby Purify even though it was now in the Top 10!

    Pete Budd’s (from the Wurzels) ‘Special K’ badge must have been the last (only?) appearance of that breakfast cereal in the world of popular music until the Special K t-shirts at ’90s raves!

    I remember that Ruby Flipper performance – in the 2 or 3 times over the last 35 years when Ruby Flipper has come into my head its a performance where they’re jumping over settees etc that appears! That was the one!

    They finally get Hank Mizzell when hes going down and they cant put him on!

  156. 156
    Mark G on 5 Jun 2011 #

    Nooh, check out Kenny’s “the sound of Super K”

  157. 157
    Mark G on 10 Jun 2011 #

    So, no TOTP thanks to “the Sky at Night”?

  158. 158
    wichita lineman on 10 Jun 2011 #

    Really??? Is that why I couldn’t find it on iplayer? Jesus, I hope they haven’t pulled it already.

  159. 159
    Mark G on 10 Jun 2011 #

    No, they did the same thing last month. It’s a shame because they started off with the exact week, 35 years previous, and now they’ve slipped back 2 weeks. So, we won’t get to christmas 1976 until we’re halfway through Feb 2012…

  160. 160
    Mark G on 14 Jun 2011 #


    The G-band, I vaguely remember this performance. What the heck is this song about? “Don’t make promises you can’t keep”, seems to be calling out God for not delivering miracles or something….

    Dolly Parton, Jolene. You know.

    New Edition, not the “Candy Girl” bunch but a dance troup, and thanks to the MU rules, it sounds like they recorded the backing track themselves and it’s more like the Ramones playing tamla-lite. Almost…

    Ah, now an actual bonafide classic, “The boys are back in town” Thin Lizzy. The Foo Fighters would kill to be able to write something this good.

    Our Kid were Opportunity Knocks winners, I believe. An act perfect for Supper Clubs, except they’d be too young for child labour laws and/or licensing restrictions. I remember the stories that they were being offered TV shows, films, etc, but it never happened. And thank god for that, I remember thinking at the time.

    The Rolling Stones get to repeat “Fool to Cry” for those who missed it from a non-30min episode a few weeks ago.

    And so, JJ again, and a fade out to “Natural Rhythm”, oh, it’ll come to me…
    Chris White, apparently.

    (iplayer also says Mud, so I guess they are this week’s editvictim)

  161. 161
    punctum on 14 Jun 2011 #

    Our Kid were from New Faces.

  162. 162
    wichita lineman on 14 Jun 2011 #

    Woke up. Listened to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Then thought, I’ve got the Our Kid album somewhere, and I’ve never played it…. it wasn’t as good. Funny that.

    All written by Barry Mason, there are plenty of “nice” songs, but the production has that post glam pre punk thinness that makes 75 and 76 such airless years (think I moaned about this already on the Hold Me Close thread).

  163. 163
    wichita lineman on 14 Jun 2011 #

    Wow! How much did Thin Lizzy jump out of this one? Everyone was ACTUALLY dancing, not just doing that sad TOTP shuffle.

    High proportion of non hits – G Band, New Edition, Chris White, none reached the Top 50. It really does make you realise how kneejerk and safety first (and corrupt?) Radio 1/TOTP was back then. I can see why they didn’t want to show too many US clips/get people over from the US, but I’m sure Tim could point out some cracking UK-made reggae 45s from ’76 (I’m an ignoramus on this).

    Does anyone know any radio pluggers/record co. pr’s from the period? It’s grimly fascinating.

  164. 164
    punctum on 14 Jun 2011 #

    More safety first than corrupt, I’d say – no change there for the BBC. At least Barry Biggs should be turning up in a few months.

  165. 165
    Mark G on 14 Jun 2011 #

    Yeah, but blimey how safe can Reggae get than Barry Biggs?

  166. 166

    He’s no Paul Nicholas

  167. 167
    AndyPandy on 14 Jun 2011 #

    And ‘Work All Day’ (already an oldie when it was a hit I think) was a classic.

  168. 168
    Mark G on 15 Jun 2011 #

    I’m sure I never heard that one, but “Sideshow” and “Three ring circus” got over-represented on TOTP, I’m sure, because some acts were easily available and lived close to the studios. Or something.

  169. 169
    punctum on 15 Jun 2011 #

    “Work All Day” was definitely his best record. Can’t remember when it originally came out but when it charted it was definitely a reissue. “Sideshow” is pretty spooky, though, especially the unearthly keyboard solo; something of a forebear of “Ghost Town”?

  170. 170
    George on 15 Jun 2011 #

    ‘Sideshow’ is a fine song. Nicholas’s true magnus opus – ‘Grandma’s Party’ – is still yet to come later in the year.

  171. 171
    Mark G on 15 Jun 2011 #

    Ah, that one is alright, mainly because it coincided with our Grandma’s 80th Birthday party in that year. Still, there’s “Dancing with the Captain” to come very soon….

  172. 172
    punctum on 15 Jun 2011 #

    Not to mention “Heaven On The 7th Floor,” a cheery little ditty about fornicating in an elevator.

  173. 173
    Mark G on 15 Jun 2011 #

    Aerosmith like it used to be…

  174. 174
    wichita lineman on 15 Jun 2011 #

    As I was saying, over and over, in the pub last Friday, Paul Nicholas’ finest moment (no, really) was the b-side to Reggae Like It Used To Be – Lamplighter, recorded 5 or 6 years earlier:


    Funky fuzz rock like it used to be!

    Barry Biggs’ Sideshow was originally a Philly soul hit in the US by Blue Magic. Very nice it is too. Lacks that squelchy synth break.

  175. 175
    Mark G on 15 Jun 2011 #

    On the GParty e.p., there’s “Shufflin Shoes” which was his previous single to “Reggae”, and that was OK although he seemed very keen to revive the Soft Shoe Shuffle, according to that and “Flat foot floyd” off the same e.p.

  176. 176
    Mark G on 16 Jun 2011 #

    actually, yes his polydor singles are all worth a fortune (Not so much “Lamp Lighter”, probably as it’s easier to get on that b-side)

  177. 177
    wichita lineman on 16 Jun 2011 #

    His 60s singles under the name Oscar threw up the odd gem too:


    I wonder what drove him to concoct his calypso/music hall/disco stylings in the mid 70s? What an odd career.

  178. 178
    punctum on 24 Jun 2011 #

    Who hell Surprise Sisters? The lamest version of “Got To Get You Into My Life” I’ve ever heard. All I know about them are (a) they were produced by Tony Visconti; (b) their one (very minor) hit was a cover of Andy Fairweather-Low’s “La Booga Rooga.” This got to number nothing but gets on the show ‘cos it was Noel’s Record Of The Week.

    “The Wanderer”: LAMEST. DANCE. ROUTINE. EVER. I didn’t even know why it was back in the charts when it went back into the charts. Presumably Dion had better things to do, e.g. change a lightbulb.

    Flintlock: hey hey it’s the BMX Bandits!

    Vambo Alex: utterly sublime, 41 years old and knocking the rest of the show into his cocky hat. Or at least his “drell stick.”

    Osibisa: good to see until Noel called them “happy chappies.” Oh dear.

    Real Thing & Archie Bell & the Communist Subversive Drells: as good as they were when first screened.

    Wurzels: Polly Harvey is seven.

  179. 179
    Cumbrian on 24 Jun 2011 #

    Punctum: Archie Bell & the Communist Subversive Drells – can you explain this to me please?

    I’ve read James Ellroy’sUnderworld USA trilogy and recognise the reference from there but I’ve never understood why Ellroy wrote in that J Edgar Hoover was so obsessed with Archie Bell and the Drells? Were they actually affiliated with subversive groups or is this just writers’ licence from Ellroy to demonstrate Hoover’s declining faculties (which is what I assumed whilst reading)? I mean the book is obviously fiction but it does have elements of reality in it…

    Genuine question. Tried searching the internet on this subject, failed to turn up anything worthwhile.

  180. 180
    Erithian on 24 Jun 2011 #

    So who remembers Flintlock? House band on the ITV kids’ series “You Must Be Joking” and “Pauline’s Quirkes” presented by future Bird of a Feather Pauline Quirke, they also appeared in a “Tomorrow People” story and drummer Mike Holoway, promoted as a teen-idol answer to David Cassidy, acted in the series for a couple of years.

    I’ve just googled him, and it seems that after the group split (reputedly as a reaction to the Pistols/Bill Grundy interview!) Holoway acted in roles ranging from “Joseph” in the West End to “Minder” on telly, and he’s been a fixture in panto for many years.

    Their song “Dawn” was better than I remembered it, with bits reminiscent of McFly and the Dave Clark Five.

    Some of these songs – Real Thing, SAHB, Ferry – really take me back to the days of the heatwave, I could almost feel the heat and see the classroom where we took end-of-year exams!

  181. 181
    AndyPandy on 24 Jun 2011 #

    Yes there were loads of complaints about ‘Paulines Quirkes’ and it was pretty daring for a kids programme (TBH it would be sort of daring now)vaguely bad language, the whole idea of Pauline trying to get Flintlock to take their trousers off and similar naughty stuff, and the full-on Essex accents ie definitely not ‘Blue Peter’.

    Incientally Flintlock are proud of the fact they were a “proper” band rather than being assembled like most boy bands before and since and have reformed recently for some pub gigs in Essex.

    In some ways I associate ‘Paulines Quirkes’ with the Sex Pistols more than Flintlock though! Probably because it was shown around the time when this new group the Sex Pistols first started to get similar outraged coverage in the mainstream media (late 1976).

    Anything like this really fascinated the 11 year old me – I remember reading the Sun’s shock horror article on punk rock after a friend at school had told me about this outrageous new group that was in the paper that day…and someone on Capital Radio apologising for something to do with the Sex Pistols (I don’t even remember what though!)IIRC this and the Sun article were just before Bill Grundy (which I missed because we had ‘Nationwide’ on!).

    Real Thing, David Dundas ‘Jeans On’ (voted Capital Radio record of the summer (!) that year),’Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, Hot Chocolate ‘Heaven’s In The Backseat Of My Cadillac’ (played a lot on Capital but not a big hit) – I can’t think of any of those without thinking of the heatwave, the parched surroundings, the heat-haze, the complete unEnglishness of it all.

    We’ve also got some heatwave/drought cash-in by the Wombles to come that was featured on TOTP that summer called ‘Rainmaker’ which I believe was another one of those featured complete flops we’re becoming used to.

  182. 182
    Mark G on 24 Jun 2011 #

    “Dawn” was alright (good title too, ahem), but virtually every other single apart from that one seemed to be a ballad. Added to the fact that Flintlock got way too much telly as compared to their actual level of success (forecast or realtime), meant that they can be regarded has having “kinda flopped, bigtime”.

    There’s an episode of “You must be joking” on a DVD collection “Look Back”, packaged like a copy of “Look-in” magazine, which features (amongst comedy routines scripted by Jim Bowen), a duo of two lads with acoustic guitars. One being Phil Daniels, and one being Gary Kemp. Both, very pre-fame.

    #118, yes we missed it through having Nationwide on as well, added to the fact that they’d been on Nationwide the previous week, alongside Giovanni Dadomo slagging them off: “Destruction for it’s own sake is Boring”.. (writer of future classics as “I can’t come”) so I’d seen them already..

  183. 183
    lonepilgrim on 24 Jun 2011 #

    In late 1976 I went on a weekend away with my school drama group to the Dagenham Youth Drama Festival and was put up by a local family. I ended up in a room that was a shrine to Flintlock and the experience made me ill disposed towards them ever since.

  184. 184
    AndyPandy on 24 Jun 2011 #

    Just seen it on iplayer – I thought it was very good – the best by far so far – if we ignore Noel Edmonds.

    I think the mysterious seemingly random comment from Noel about “the last time we had anything from behind the iron curtain” may be a reference to Romanian Georghe Zamfir’s “Light of Experience” hit which they may have chopped from this repeat – I don’t know it might be the wrong part of 1976 but I’m sure it was a hit sometime in 1976 and can’t think of any more Eastern Bloc hits that year.

    RE the Real Thing being connected to the Merseybeat era Chants on wikipedia – either the one member common to both acts Eddie Amoo’s birthdate is wrong or he was 12 or 13 when they were first on that scene and recording!

    Thought Bryan Ferry’s clip looked like something that wouldn’t have looked that out of place in the post 1980 new pop video era.

    Pity not a full Candi Staton performance rather than over the end credits.

    Re the recent comments about when the Top 40 was first used – today proved the positions 31-40 were obviously something Noel didn’t expect us to know about when he mentioned Flintlock being just outside the Top 30 as though letting us in on something we couldn’t possibly know.

    I’ve got vague memories of the Surprise Sisters and them having what I now know as that weird Roxy Music-type-women space-age-1940s image – possibly linked with the whole later 1975/early 1976 40s revival maybe.

  185. 185
    hardtogethits on 24 Jun 2011 #

    #184 I don’t know how disappointing this is, but I am confident Noel Edmonds’ “iron curtain” reference is just a terrible, terrible joke based on a sort of zany incongruence. (Sorry to have to spell this out, but I use the word zany in a pejorative sense, knowing that at the time it was used affectionately). I remember Kenny Everett doing a daft quiz “Queen Victoria was Britain’s longest serving monarch… How many furlongs in a mile?” Similar kind of thing. I don’t think it’s possible to articulate why anyone would have ever thought that funny. Certainly, there was no record edited out at that point, and the Light Of Experience wasn’t yet a hit.

    I thought it was the most intriguing yet, but not the best. The Surprise Sisters were just too bad for the programme to recover.

    Punctum (and others!) did you notice the Slik record was on because it was going up the charts, but it had already been at a higher position during the chart run. They wouldn’t have been indulged like that between 1980 and 1991!

  186. 186
    AndyPandy on 25 Jun 2011 #

    Bloody hell I knew Radio One DJs were unfunny but at least with Kenny Everett it was obvious he was being “zany” and there was a faint link to Goons-type humour but with that comment Noel Edmunds comes across as just ridiculous (and not in a good way)!

    You obviously know your stuff about the charts etc and you might be able to answer when did the charts (or have they ever become a Top 100)? – I don’t mean the Top 100 that started being published in the 1980s which wasn’t actually a Top 100 as it missed out (IIRC) falling records but a proper Top 100 a la the Top 75 with a straight best-selling Top 100 records for that week.
    And if that is now the case is it still just a Top 75 as far as chart records/chart books go.

  187. 187
    Mark G on 25 Jun 2011 #

    I don’t remember a top 100, no.

  188. 188
    Mark G on 27 Jun 2011 #

    Caught up on iplayer (30 min versions only, it seems, from last week onwards, what got edited out?)..

    Much the same as above (yep, lamest dance routine: One girl dances vaguely to “The Wanderer”.. Flick Colby started “Ruby Flipper” to do more wide-rangine routines but it seems she got given the odd song without performer to make something of.. )

    Also, Alex Harvey was great, but back then his sidekick on guitar with the pierrot style makeup was part of the ‘show’ I guess, nowadays it just looks lame.

    Flintlock, I’d forgotten “Dawn” was not sung by their usual frontman (the guy on sax), and how much they all (bar the drummer Mike, a dead ringer for Jack Wild) went for the David Bowie hair.

  189. 189
    punctum on 27 Jun 2011 #


  190. 190
    wichitalineman on 27 Jun 2011 #

    Can someone explain why Alex Harvey is held in such high regard? Mark, why do you think he’s “great”? Local hero I can just about understand (though in that instance the Poets should be getting EXTREME respect!), but Boston Tea Party is… boring isn’t it? And Harvey looks bored. I don’t get what they’re trying to do.

    I remember Flowered Up going to visit Alex Harvey’s grave and thinking, HUH?

    Surprise Sisters I do remember. I think if your hear the record it’s more obviously part of the 40s revival thing mentioned before. Another couple of related hits – Winifred Shaw’s Lullaby Of Broadway and Maureen McGovern’s The Continental. Did these records get played out??

    I like Dawn by Flintlock. I do.

  191. 191
    hardtogethits on 27 Jun 2011 #

    #190. Goodness, wichita, I thought we’d accidentally reached agreement in the past (you know, one develops a (perhaps false) sense of who one’s allies are on here) but with the Alex Harvey observation, I have to put it into words. I thought it was just me. Your paragraph on Boston Tea Party is unimprovable.

    It would take me three paragraphs to explain why I’d never have raised the question myself, and a further two to support the fact that you are genuinely seeking to learn more, rather than running down the artist and his admirers. Thank you, I hope you get some answers which respect the question.

  192. 192
    hardtogethits on 27 Jun 2011 #

    #186. Every indication is that the chart books will still stick with a Top 75, as was the case in the last issue of the “Virgin Book Of British Hit Singles” in 2010, and week-on-week that is the length of the printed chart in Music Week.

    AFAIK, this book and this magazine are now the only printed media which (need to) refer to the chart in full.

    HOWEVER, you’re right – the Official Charts Company do a straightforward Top 100 for both singles and albums, which they started in June 2007.

  193. 193
    wichitalineman on 27 Jun 2011 #

    Why thankyou HTGH! I punted a Top 40 book to the Official Charts Co a couple of years back, and they said they’re sticking with the Top 75 only. Shame, as I think it would look a lot better than the monochrome brick the Virgin/Guinness book has become.

  194. 194
    will on 27 Jun 2011 #

    Re 190: I was 6 when I first saw that edition of TOTP and I remember I LOVED Boston Tea Party, but mainly because Alex Harvey looked like Dennis The Menace and Zal Cleminson was a clown and I liked clowns too.

  195. 195
    wichitalineman on 27 Jun 2011 #

    I was 11 and really liked the title (had no idea what it meant, but I liked tea). And I wanted to like the song, but…

  196. 196
    AndyPandy on 27 Jun 2011 #

    190 – I remember him doing ‘Delilah’ (the year before?) and he appeared to be plucking and eating chrysanthemum petals – that alsways stuck with me as it was quite different for TOTP and I thought at the time that the petals were poisonous!

    I remember ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ and ‘The Continental’ always being on Radio 2 but I doubt Chris Hill was playing them down the Goldmine or the Lacy Lady – as there wasn’t any ironic side to what he WAS playing from the 40s his – and his punters’ take on what they did play (40s swing – Glenn Miller and other stuff)was the connection between that sound and the jazz/jazz-funk that had already started featuring on club playlists throughout the South-East as much as the funk and modern soul.

    I’ve always thought the Top 50 was the ideal size for the chart – a decent history stretching back to 1960, small enough to make it a reasonable achievement to get into the chart and for purely personal reasons I suppose it included a lot of underground dance stuff both pre and post house that always seemed to stop between 41 and 50 and which I also thought had been denied a fair crack of the whip by selling mostly in specialist non-chart return shops.

    PS one thing I have noticed when looking at the modern charts is that the weeks on chart is pretty farcical as it includes weeks spent between positions 100 and 200 (or whatever the chart goes up to for those with access to the places) and in the album charts the same and such anomalies as Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Thriller’ only showing a handful of weeks on the chart – maybe to do with format or something but if thats the case why are the weeks for Take That’s latest record which is actually remarketed as a new record all totalled together.And to think that I’ve noticed such trivia as this whilst until a couple of month’s ago not having looked at the charts since about 1992!

  197. 197
    Mark G on 28 Jun 2011 #

    Chris Hill’s playing of Glenn Miller got him and his gang on Nationwide, but years after I read that it was all some sort of ‘joke’ to get publicity..

    Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more ‘complicated’ than that…

  198. 198
    punctum on 28 Jun 2011 #

    Chris Hill – “Renta Santa,” Ensign Records, “if black musicians are getting their inspiration from Kraftwerk that shows how low things have sunk” (NME, Xmas 1983 issue), another of these plantation owners trying to tell black people what they should or shouldn’t do.

    Alex Harvey – you had to be there, really, and I could go on at length but it would be a bit of a waste of time.

  199. 199
    Erithian on 28 Jun 2011 #

    I can’t claim to know much about Alex Harvey, Wichita – and much of what I do know I owe to Punctum on these pages – but “The Faith Healer” gives a big, big clue as to his high regard.

    The 40s revival was an oddity, wasn’t it? “My Resistance is Low”, a 1952 Hoagy Carmichael song, obviously owed its success in part to the fad, as did “Lullaby of Broadway” although that dated back to 1935. The Sunday morning DJ on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester had a slot where the entire listenership was supposed to tap-dance in unison as he played “LoB”, which might account for a large regional sale!

  200. 200
    punctum on 28 Jun 2011 #

    I think the “LoB” affair was also United Artists trying to capitalise on the unexpected success of “Lonesome Pine” (see also “As Time Goes By” which surfaced in the top 20 in early ’78).

  201. 201
    Mark G on 28 Jun 2011 #

    oh, and “The Continental”, which was a contemporaneous recording, I think.

    Vivian Stanshall was just about to release “Lonesome Pine” as a solo single (might even have been for UA), but they ended up selling the L&H version instead, which (presumably) soured relations somewhat (the recording never got released)

  202. 202
    AndyPandy on 28 Jun 2011 #

    197: it was more complicated as although there was the fancy-dress angle, and I think the record companies tried to make it bigger than it was there was also a legacy of 40’s jazz and swing in jazz rooms at weekenders and certain jazz-funk clubs throughout the rest of their existence.

    198: Chris Hill: undeniably at his peak one of the most influential black/dance music DJs the UK’s ever had – although he concentrated on the South East he also played quite a bit in the jazz-funk/modern soul scene in the North West and hence you’ll see that opinion echoed by many outside his home territory of the South East.

    A question I heard posed for example on ‘Soul Source’ a Northern Soul forum (of all places – and in relation to the joke that was the series ‘Soul Britannia’) “why the hell did Norman Jay (maybe a nice bloke but given to making dubious statements about Northern Soul being racist and dubious contentions about his own contribution to British black music)get an MBE but people like Chris Hill or Richard Searling (Northern Soul DJ) (ie the 2 most influential pre-house British djs) not get anything?

    When Chris Hill made those type of comments it was around time (mid-80s)when like many people who see the writing on the wall as far as their career goes they make desparate and ill-conceived comments to hang onto their positions. Not coincidentally hindsight shows 1983/84 being the last years when he was still on the top of his game and in a position of prominence.

    He flogged it a bit longer and was still vaguely at the forefront until acid House completely changed everything about British underground dance club culture. Incidentally the other day I found what in respect of the dance culture is verging on a historical document on YouTube.

    If you search for “Prestatyn1989” (this is incorrect as as people point out it is actually 1988) you’ll see before your eyes the death of the old mass soul/funk culture. Its a video of the 2nd 1988 Dance Weekender and you have what previously was the old main (funk) room taken over by thousands of smiley-t-shirt wearing Acid people* and moaning soul and hiphop fans skulking around in the smaller rooms (with Chris Hill who hated acid house) moaning about “too much house”.
    This is probably the first ever mass Acid rave too as 1988 was really about club and warehouse parties big but not in the 1000s attendance wise and they didnt get massive until 1989 (or possibly Genesis in December) but at Prestatyn you had a massive number of people in the main room.
    Really fascinating if you’ve got any interest in the British dance continuum.
    April 1988 was my last real weekender but wish I’d been at this!

    *Many of these people would have bought their tickets straight after the previous one in April 1988 when they’d have still been funkers and Acid House as a movement didn’t even exist it happened the quickly!

  203. 203
    wichitalineman on 28 Jun 2011 #

    Re 198: Err, I was there! Well, not at his shows in Scotland…

    The Faith Healer is pretty impressive, really tight groove, somewhere between Sympathy For The Devil and Hell Raiser.

    It’s the panto element I don’t get. But then maybe that’s just me (see also Queen).

    Re 202: Fascinating stuff. The rise and fall of the Acid House movement is so incredibly swift.

  204. 204
    heather on 30 Jun 2011 #

    Some terrible unmemorable stuff this week, apart from Frampton and Bolan. I couldn’t tell some of those not-hits apart. Still, the Wurzels are still hundreds of times better than ‘No Charge’.

    btw, Candi Staton is playing in a church down my road this week, should I go?

  205. 205
    anto on 30 Jun 2011 #

    re 204: Utterly bewildering edition – DLTs constant need to be centre of attention, Brotherhood of Man being joined by a puppy at the end of that cynical Save your Kisses rip-off, another appearance by Mud?? presumably they had aquired those compromising photos of BBC executives (previous owner Mr P.Nicholas), Ruby Flippers Orton-esque routine for one of the best records ever made*, those mind-warping visual effects for that rather goregous tune by Liverpool Express.

    * Yes I think you should go and see her.

  206. 206
    George on 1 Jul 2011 #

    I quite like ”Heart On My Sleeve”, deeply unfashionable as Gallagher and Lyle may be.

  207. 207
    Mark G on 1 Jul 2011 #

    I was unsure about remembering RFlip dancing to Young Hearts.. and uh-oh and oh dear yes I do…

    Actually, I thought it was one of the better ones so far! Only one flop this week, Murray Head.

  208. 208
    George on 1 Jul 2011 #

    When did Travis stop hosting TOTP? I’ve seen footage of him presenting a show from 80/81 (not long before the show had a major makeover I believe), and even then he was dressed pretty much identically to tonight in a half unbuttoned shirt/medallion combo.

  209. 209
    Mark G on 1 Jul 2011 #

    He was presenting that German pop show back in his Pirate days, and nothing much was different apart from no beard!

  210. 210
    George on 1 Jul 2011 #

    Beat Club it was. Musikladen was still being repeated on a regular basis on a number of the publicly funded regional channels in Germany when my satellite receiver packed in 2/3 years ago. Typical scene: The Gibson Brothers giving their all in brightly coloured jumpsuits whilst a totally disinterested audience sit around small cafe tables chatting about whether to book their next holiday in Crete or the Algarve.

  211. 211
    AndyPandy on 1 Jul 2011 #

    206 Memorably sampled on Lemon Jelly’s 2nd (?) album.

  212. 212
    AndyPandy on 1 Jul 2011 #

    Surely DLT is the ultimate embodiment of everything bad about the Radio 1 DJ – there were others almost as bad but most had some redeeming features but DLT…
    I only found out this week that Froggy (late and much lamented club DJ who brought mixing to Britain and was one of the names behind the legendary Hardcore ‘Feel The Power/New Science’ track) was on the road with DLT (and another completely unacceptable Radio 1 ‘character’ Smiley Miley of Radio 1 roadshow crapiness)for 4 years in the 70s – how the hell did he put up with that for any amount of money!

  213. 213
    Mark G on 1 Jul 2011 #

    Well, I kind of gave him a free pass for the scene in Esso’s “Lurkers” autobiography.

    Basically, The Lurkers are on TOTP with “I don’t need to tell her”, and on sharing a lift/elevator with DLT, Esso asks why he plays Demis Roussos, at which DLT basically says all he does is to play what’s in the chart, he doesn’t like it either, and it was up to bands like themselves to make good records, get them into the chart and basically take over.

  214. 214
    punctum on 1 Jul 2011 #

    DLT pushed “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” for a whole year until it went Top 40 and he also pushed other great singles including “Me No Pop I” and one of the best Popular entries from 1993 so for that I can forgive him his rant against “Complete Control” and later moans about Society Today, Casio Cowboys, etc., shortly before he quit.

  215. 215
    wichitalineman on 1 Jul 2011 #

    Murray Head’s appearance was by way of an apology for us not getting Say It Ain’t So into the chart.

    There’s a woozy narcotic feel to You Are My Love and I’m Not In Love that I REALLY wish I could find more of. Like a mid 70s take on psychedelia. Any suggestions?

  216. 216
    AndyPandy on 1 Jul 2011 #

    205: those special effects they used for Liverpool Express were quite rare by 1976 on TOTP but previously what they always wheeled out a couple of years before this when they had a hard rock-type band on – maybe on the guitar solo if my memory serves me correctly – and as we only had a black and white telly until 1975 I’d always thought of them as monochrome until now

  217. 217
    Chelovek na lune on 1 Jul 2011 #

    What an extraordinary dance routine (not really in a good way) from Ruby Flipper to “Young Hearts (Run Free)” featuring ironing, newspaper-reading, two adults dressed in babies bonnets. Weird times 1976…

    Really rather enjoyed that episode, occasional bits of dross notwithstanding. (Gallagher and Lyle are OK with me, too) Can’t go wrong with Peter Frampton doing “Show Me The Way” – but Liverpool Express are entirely new to me, and on the basis of that performance quite a delight that I will seek out more from.

  218. 218
    swanstep on 1 Jul 2011 #

    @wichita, 215. Might Can be what you are looking for? I don’t know their stuff that well but everything from Tago Mago to Future Days (1971-1977) is just outstanding and has this slight wooziness about it at the same time as it’s super-tight and well-played.

    Partly relatedly, I wrote a blog post about I’m not in love here a while back that traced some of the specific tracks that built directly on I’m not in love (e.g., Just the way you are and How deep is your love).

  219. 219
    Erithian on 2 Jul 2011 #

    Chelovek #217 – as your researches may already have told you, the bassist from Liverpool Express, Billy Kinsley, had like the Real Thing’s Eddie Amoo been around Merseybeat – as a member of the Merseys who went top five with “Sorrow”.

    Extraordinary dance routine featuring ironing, newspaper-reading and drag – a watching Freddie Mercury thinks, “that gives me an idea…”?

  220. 220
    wichitalineman on 2 Jul 2011 #

    Thanks Swanstep. Good call on How Deep Is Your Love, definitely cut from the same cloth, I’d never thought of that. I think it’s the tempo and subject matter as well as the swimmy production that links the songs. So, Can don’t really fit.

  221. 221
    Conrad on 2 Jul 2011 #

    Witchita – Dollar’s Give Me Back My Heart is I think very much an intentional nod to I’m Not In Love, in arrangement and production

  222. 222
    wichita lineman on 13 Jul 2011 #

    Thanks Conrad. It’s a specific mid 70s atmosphere I have in mind, but I think you’re right about GMBMH. Marcello has mentioned another contender on his blog – Stay With Me by Blue Mink

  223. 223
    swanstep on 13 Jul 2011 #

    @wichita. How about Jobriath’s astonishing Inside from 1974-ish? Also, late ’70s Split Enz stuff such as Stuff and nonsense.

  224. 224
    wichita lineman on 13 Jul 2011 #

    Hmm. There’s a weightlessness to what I’m looking for – Jobriath is HEAVY!

  225. 225
    George on 15 Jul 2011 #

    Ferry with ‘spiv’ tache

    Pilot perform first decent ‘non-hit’* performance I’ve seen so far

    Demis Roussos: ”An incredible man”

    Ruby Flipper reach new heights

    The New Seekers reform – they needn’t have bothered

    The ‘Long Hot Summer of 76’© is alluded to by Hamilton a couple of times

    * At least I presume so but I’m unable to find any information on chart positions.

  226. 226
    AndyPandy on 15 Jul 2011 #

    225 re chart positions’Polyhex’ chart-runs is a very good resource for chart information – and you’re right Pilot didn’t make the Top 50 with that one.

  227. 227
    AndyPandy on 15 Jul 2011 #

    I wonder how long the New Seekers’ split was – a couple of months maybe!? as along with Hot Chocolate they seemed to be on TOTP throughout the whole bloody decade!

    I haven’t looked up who they cut out this week but it seems pretty random/unfair as 2 weeks ago they put Mud on for about the 3rd time – but missed out Linda And The Funky Boys – a medium-sized hit and not on any other week (well I’d have liked to have seen it anyway as I don’t remember it).

    Art Garfunkel flop – later covered by George Michael.

    Quite like the Demis Roussos song/clip – if I remember correctly he appears live in the 1976 Christmas edition or someone dresses up as him or something.

    Bloody hell it must have been one of the real scorchers that day as David Hamilton mentioned the heat about 8 times!

  228. 228
    wichita lineman on 16 Jul 2011 #

    Can’t wait! Saving it up. Tonight was Kinks night.

  229. 229
    Mark G on 16 Jul 2011 #

    When Buzzcocks first hit, I remember they sort of reminded me of Pilot. Watching them, yes I can see why…

    The New Seekers split in 1974, and reformed in 1976 without Lyn Paul. Lyn was local to Reading (her sisters went to the same dancing school as my sister. They were called Belcher really..)

  230. 230
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Jul 2011 #

    I thought Eve Graham looked absolutely gorgeous.

    “Dennis” was compromised by the poor sound quality of his clip but he was still blinding. Back of the net for him soon, obviously.

    Meanwhile, PAGING MARCELLO…PAGING MARCELLO… As we all know now, a couple called Weir from Largs in Ayrshire have scooped the £161M Euro jackpot. Are these wonderful people known to you, if only distantly? If so, would you pass on to them a sure-hit investment idea I have for them? It involves the cultivation of swedes…

  231. 231
    hardtogethits on 17 Jul 2011 #

    Remarkably, the song by Pilot didn’t even make the Star Breakers section of the chart!

    #230. Yeah, Eve Graham made a fairly routine song very engaging!

    I was interested to note here in H2GH land that Jerry Hall’s appearance in the Bryan Ferry vid captured the attention of a young audience which had no prior knowledge of any of the songs, artists and performances. The audience found all of the other performances unremarkable. As a result*, LST made a greater impact than any of the other songs in this edition. Not a scientific experiment, I’ll concede, but this observation raises many questions in my mind about how we perceive the past.

    * I deduce.

  232. 232
    AndyPandy on 17 Jul 2011 #

    I suppose the star-breakers was sort of like the positions 50-75 before they existed or maybe 50-100 as it obviously wouldn’t have included tunes going down. So yes they Pilot must have had a very persuasive PR bloke that week especially as theyd already had about 3 complete flops before this since their hits.

    Completely agree about Eve Graham.

  233. 233
    hardtogethits on 17 Jul 2011 #

    From July 1975 to May 1978, the Star Breakers section was a list of 10 records. AFAIK, no-one has been able to trace the rules for inclusion / exclusion in this section. The section was there to represent records with rising sales which had not yet charted, and so many good guesses can be made about the kinds of rules which may have been place. However, (I’d) be very wary indeed if someone were now to claim to know definitively, as a lot of research has gone into trying to locate the rules. The 41-50 section of the chart during this spell (Jul 75 – May 78) was governed by clear rules which ruled out many records with falling sales, and there’s every chance a similar set governed the Star Breakers section.

  234. 234
    AndyPandy on 17 Jul 2011 #

    That’s interesting I never realised that the top 50 wasn’t just the Top 50 best selling singles for the week – so obviously a lot of tracks could have had far bigger runs on the chart but if they were in 41-50 wouldnt have been included in the chart. Like the positions 75-100 in the 80s. So really the Guiness Book of Hit Singles should have stopped at position 40 for inclusion from July 1975.

  235. 235
    hardtogethits on 17 Jul 2011 #

    #234. A moot point! I’m not sure how I feel about it. I unearthed the obscure rules about positions 41-50 in 2006, after a piece of research on record sales in the 70s. Frankly, amongst all the chart experts who ever volunteer to discuss such matters, none were unaware of the rules’ existence. After a very long, slow process of consultation and communication, we were able to establish that those who compile chart books observe a simple principle: The books record the chart, listed as an entire chart; if a chart is supplemented by an extra listing, that extra listing is not recorded.

    The compilers use the argument that other records are excluded from the charts by other rules and there is no clamour to include these in chart books. This is true. For example, in the 90s and 2000s there were rules implemented to stop records:

    a) re-entering the singles chart when reduced in price (at retail and supplied TO retail)
    b) staying on the chart for longer than a year
    and, most famously of all
    c) remaining on the chart once deleted by the record company

    In these cases, if they’re off the chart, they’re out of the reference books (for those weeks): the permanent note in history is what was on the chart. So the argument is quite a sound one – not least for the practical idea that it would be impossible to recompile the true chart taking into account all exclusions.

    The irritating sand-in-the-vaseline is that the 41-50 section of the full chart was governed by rules which were incredibly similar to the rules which applied to the 76-100 appendix between 1983 and 1991. However, the 41-50 section appeared in the main singles chart, the 76-100 section never did.

  236. 236
    punctum on 18 Jul 2011 #

    It really would have been a lot simpler just listing the fifty best-selling singles, wouldn’t it?

    That having been said, as the author of TPL I’m very much in favour of alterations to the album chart in the way that Billboard does it, i.e. after two years on the list, perennial best-sellers go into the separate Catalog Albums chart, thus freeing up space for new acts or acts that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance of getting a toehold on the Top 200. I don’t know how many good or great albums or acts have been kept out because of Legend or Abba Gold being there for the nine millionth week simply because they’re loss leaders on permanent discount at HMV and at supermarkets.

  237. 237
    hardtogethits on 18 Jul 2011 #

    #236, indeed it would have been simpler, and probably none the worse.

    On a v trivial point, in 235 I observed “amongst all the chart experts who ever volunteer to discuss such matters, none were unaware of the rules’ existence”. Of course, this should have read “none were AWARE”.

  238. 238
    AndyPandy on 18 Jul 2011 #

    237: was it simply the top 50 best-selling single pre-1975 and post- 1978?

    PS To many (most?) people it will be a case of “who cares” re the revelation you gave us this morning but to me I’m quite ‘shocked’ that in something I thought I’d known the score on for the past 30 odd years (ie Top 50=Top50 bestselling singles) in reality I’d been quite wrong.
    And I was always a big fan of a Top 50 too (thought they should count in down on radio etc)but now some of those tracks I thought had made the charts (albeit in a minor way)didn’t really.I wonder how many extra weeks some big hits would have had on the charts and which acts would have never made the chart books if those falling records HAD been included…

  239. 239
    hardtogethits on 18 Jul 2011 #

    #238, A few separate answers.

    Pre 1975 yes, Top 50 appeared to have meant just that. The caution I would sound of course is that somebody somewhere might discover (or already know) a rule which introduced some artificiality. I was little short of astonished at how very, very few knew about the rules governing 41-50 (and I remain grateful to the person who finally shed light on its inception and intention).

    In May 1978, the rules for 41-50 were abandoned as the chart moved to a Top 75. Although the rules were removed,
    a) I refer you to the caution expressed above and
    b) eventually (1990s onwards), there DEFINITELY were other rules which excluded records from the chart – see #235.

    As for who cares? It’s a pertinent question, isn’t it? The charts have become a specialist interest. I wonder who would have cared when they had (something like) mass appeal.

    And which acts would never have made the chart books? Fascinating. We know from many examples – most notably You Spin Me Round and Jennifer Rush’s The Power Of Love – that interest in a record could increase dramatically once it touched the lower reaches of the Top 40 and the record’s popularity could wither on the vine if it did not. This wasn’t a quirk – as I’ve said before, it meant rackspace at retail, airplay, references in chart rundowns and possibly TOTP.
    The influence of the Top 50 was less strong than the Top 40, but certainly it would have made a difference at retail if not at Radio and TOTP (which may have been too pluggable). The chart position of a record became a shorthand for the record itself. Retailers would place an order for x copies of (say) “number 49”, and it would have a fixed place on the shelves. The chart was generally promoted in shops in a prominent place, so customers would know where to look for it or would just ask for “number x”. However, it’s still down to supposition as to whether it made much difference.

    Would Abba’s SOS have broken the Top 50 in week ending September 20 1975? It was #47, and four records were excluded from the chart that week, so maybe not: maybe it was #51? If it hadn’t made the Top 50 that week, would it have made it the next? The week after? Maybe not at all? If it hadn’t made it at all, would Abba have resurrected their career and entered 1976 on such a high? And so on.

  240. 240
    wichita lineman on 19 Jul 2011 #

    Re 235: thanks. I had no idea. Strengthens the argument for a Top 40 book, a UK equivalent to Joel Whitburn’s.

    Apparently Liverpool Express’s You Are My Love has made the jump up the download charts of any song screened during these repeats. I find that quite pleasing.

  241. 241
    Mark G on 19 Jul 2011 #

    Ah, that’s good.

    Re Abba: “I do I do I do I do I do” and “So Long” were both flops, but I don’t think Abba were making records to chart in the UK per-se, i.e. it wouldn’t have changed the songs they were writing or the singles they were issuing. Had “SOS” not hit, it would have been the next one, it would have happened eventually.

  242. 242
    hardtogethits on 19 Jul 2011 #

    #240. Wichita… Don’t know how to say this, especially when some of my observations rely so heavily on your support…but at best that’s a distorted piece of information about “You Are My Love”. It hasn’t made it to the (unpublished) Top 200 Download Chart.

    It’s possible, I suppose, that someone somewhere has been monitoring the week on week increase (% or absolute) in downloads by all the featured records, and YAML would I am sure fare well in this respect. If someone’s doing that analysis, I would LOVE to see it.

    However, the reference to the notion of it “jumping up the chart” is not quite right, I’m afraid.

  243. 243
    punctum on 19 Jul 2011 #

    Please observe WL’s prominent use of the adverb “apparently” in that particular sentence.

    Not a fan of the song, I’m afraid; a pallid Xerox of “I’m Not In Love” which might have been improved by the addition of verses to the repeated choruses.

  244. 244
    AndyPandy on 19 Jul 2011 #

    My allegiance to a Top 50 came about as a result of the first British Hit Singles book which I had (the first edition)including the Top 50 (nb it had gone up to the end of 1976 when there was no Top 75).

    When I saw my first Top 75 in a magazine a year or 2 later I thought it might have existed for years but that the positions 51-75 had been deemed too insignificant for Guinness to include. And so in my mind the Top 50 (itself going back to 1960)became the best length chart.

    However in view of this revelation I’d agree with Wichita and say a Top 40 book now seems the a sensible option.
    Although it would omit a lot of my favourite jazz-funk/house/hardcore/trance records that made 41-75. And which due to where they sold most of their copies (ie specialist shops)as has been said before they were probably in many cases easily deserving of a place in the Top 40 anyway.

  245. 245
    swanstep on 19 Jul 2011 #

    @241. Agreed, it was inevitable. I do I do I do went to #1 in both Australia and NZ in August 1975 (SOS got there in both cases in Jan 1976, with Mamma Mia in between in Aus.). And I do(3x)’s b-side Rock Me was eventually released as a separate single at the end of 1976, getting to #4 and #2. Abba just had so many single-worthy songs at this point it was nuts.

  246. 246
    hardtogethits on 19 Jul 2011 #

    #243, I did note the use of the adverb “apparently”. It doesn’t help, because what follows it is wrong. Therefore there’s really nothing “apparent” about it, in any sense of the word, even if it’s interpreted as colloquially as possible and of course I do interpret it that way.

    It’s a piece of hard data*, and I’m deeply uncomfortable with the notion that modifying adverbs (and other phrases) can be used to give licence to ‘false facts’. I have a strong sense of epistemology.

    *Yes, I know ‘data’ is plural.

  247. 247
    punctum on 20 Jul 2011 #

    It is not “wrong” and it was not advocated as “facts,” as your use of the words “interpreted” and “interpret” confirms in any case. Why the annoyance? It’s not ‘phone-hacking.

  248. 248
    wichita lineman on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Oi, HTGH! Here’s my Glenn Mulcaire:


    I said “apparently” because I didn’t know if it was true but thought some people might go “ooh, really?”.

    I’d be intrigued to know which songs have benefited most from the re-runs. My money’s on S-S-Single Bed.

  249. 249
    hardtogethits on 20 Jul 2011 #

    #247 – See #248’s good natured response. I think the point I made is understood. My inclination with unsubstantiated claims is to check them out first. It’s my job. I realise others may approach things differently if they come from a different background (professional or otherwise). In this case, I checked to see if it were true. On this, two points: 1. Don’t underestimate the time or commitment it took to check out what was being claimed. 2. It would have given me greater pleasure to find that the claim was correct. In fact, I found it was false.

    So after the effort I cannot buy this idea that it “was not advocated as facts”. It is not a mere puff or boast; everything which follows the word “apparently” is testable against being right or wrong, and it’s wrong.

    It’s a neat trick to suggest I am annoyed and to introduce ‘phone-hacking to the conversation. I won’t rise to that particular bait.

    By the way, in wishing to extend an olive branch, may I applaud the apostrophe in ‘phone. I love that and I do it too.

  250. 250
    hardtogethits on 20 Jul 2011 #

    #249, I’m intrigued too. If I can find out, I will. My money on Fox too. If not, then Shake It Down by Mud.

  251. 251
    punctum on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Calm down, dear.

    What you had to do was to precede your assertions (since assertions they were, as you had not yet converted them into facts by way of evidence-based quantification) with the phrase “I believe” or “I think.”

    Certainly your general response to a perfectly innocent query was, if I may say so, overwrought, pompous and disproportionate when welded to an entirely forgettable, minor pop single from thirty-five years ago, which leads me to believe (note that last word) that there are other unspoken issues at stake here. The terms right and wrong are meaningless when applied to perspective rather than evidence.

    Do you really hate your day job that much?

  252. 252
    Simon on 20 Jul 2011 #

    To be honest I’d hoped it was Bill Oddie’s Olympics tie-in that would have attracted the most comment from that post. (My source for that information was someone on another message board who seems to know. I didn’t think people would take it as fact to be sourced to the letter, it’s a throwaway line on a stupid blog)

  253. 253
    wichita lineman on 20 Jul 2011 #

    HGTH. I’m curious to know what your job is. And whether you are as intrigued by the way the 50s charts were compiled as I am. Has anyone ever spoken to/interviewed anyone working at NME in the 50s who might know what the criteria were, or which shops were surveyed?

  254. 254
    hardtogethits on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Hi Wichita. I am indeed intrigued by the charts of the 50s – and 60s -but I have not done any research into them at all. If I were to start, I’d be following the line you suggest – these are the really fascinating questions, and it would be tremendous to locate someone who could answer. Sadly, Percy Dickins, the founder of the charts at NME, passed away in 2002.

    However, researching old charts does not pay my bills. Getting to the bottom of some of the issues around the charts of the 70s and 80s takes all the spare time I can give to such matters. Thus, my research into the charts of the 50s and 60s, has not been deep: extending only to what was in them, not how they were compiled etc.

    I’ve an awful feeling that this might sound a little guarded. Sorry in advance if that’s the case.

  255. 255
    wichita lineman on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Ha! Yes it does, but I won’t pry.

  256. 256
    lonepilgrim on 21 Jul 2011 #

    the latest rerun was a fairly palatable affair despite a few dodgy haircuts – Tony Blackburn was an enthusiastic host – even Ruby Flipper’s performance was made compelling by the wtf disco version of Tubular Bells (which you can download here if you so desire – http://www.feelmybicep.com/2009/04/08/the-champs-boys-orchestra-tubular-bells-cosmic-mix/ )

  257. 257
    wichita lineman on 22 Jul 2011 #

    I thought that was the best show yet.

    Dorothy Moore’s Misty Blue is (Percy Sledge aside) the truest deep soul record to have ever reached the UK Top 10; it’s hard not to well up whenever I hear it.

    Billy Ocean does a pretty good knock off Chairmen Of The Board.

    Tubular Bells condensed into a 3 min disco 45 – never heard this before!

    Candi Staton has very kind eyes.

    The Real Thing – sounds better with every performance.

    Kiki and Elton – sweeeeet! Kiki, 13 years after her first single and still not 30 (feel free to correct me HTGH or Punctum). I feel much kinder towards this record after that ‘video’.

    SAHB spoil the good time atmos – sweatier and uglier, on every level, than on previous shows. 3 appearances (to date!) and it peaked at 13.

    Tony B, easily the best tv dj the BBC had in ’76.

  258. 258
    punctum on 22 Jul 2011 #

    SAHB spoil the good time atmos

    Exactly – that being the point!

    You’re right; Kiki was 29 when she and Elton mucked about in the studio.

    Not sure what “truest” means in that context, since emotion isn’t the Barclays Premiership, but “Misty Blue” is one of those records that makes more and more sense the older one gets (see also “Kiss And Say Goodbye” – that awkward time in not quite middle age).

    I never want to hear “Young Hearts Run Free” again (not because it’s a bad record, but because it’s played a million times a day on radio; Lena will not have to refresh her memory when she comes to it on MSBWT) but no doubt Candi had to step in after watching what Lena calls: “Dancing With A Fucking Iron.”

  259. 259
    Mark G on 22 Jul 2011 #

    Yeah, the best show so far, following last weeks “worst”. I do remember JKings performance of “It only takes a minute” on TOTP, and it was pretty bad, himself straining for the high notes…

    Thankfully, not being subjected to ‘classic oldies’ radio, I could appreciate Candi Staton’s performance anew. And whatever was missing from the earlier SAHB performance was righ there in this one, definitely classic this time.

    Finally, I’m sure that video performance of Kiki/Elton helped enormously towards making it as big a hit as it was. Of course, chart curmudgeons still stated it didn’t count as Elton’s first number one, and he stayed on the list of “acts with lots of hits but no number one” along with The Who. (who remain on that list).

  260. 260
    AndyPandy on 22 Jul 2011 #

    259: But wasn’t ‘I’m A Boy’ number 1 as far as everyone in 1966 was concerned ie in the charts that everyone looked on as THE CHART back then?

  261. 261
    wichita lineman on 22 Jul 2011 #

    Re 260: Don’t you start! Not sure… I’m A Boy was an NME no.1, but not sure about the various other charts. Definitely not a Guinness/Record Retailer no.1 of course.

    Is Boston Tea Party literally about the Boston Tea Party? Rather like Status Quo’s In The Army Now is like a Jobcentre description of life in the forces? Or am I missing something deeper?

  262. 262
    punctum on 22 Jul 2011 #

    No, it peaked at #2 (on both Guinness and NME). The culprit in both cases was “Distant Drums.”

  263. 263
    punctum on 22 Jul 2011 #

    #261: think bicentennial and environmental

  264. 264
    AndyPandy on 22 Jul 2011 #

    I just seemed to remember some of the Who saying in a biography of them I read years ago that ‘I’m A Boy’ had been number 1.
    But obviously my rapidly failing memory playing tricks or maybe The Who talking rubbish.

  265. 265
    wichita lineman on 22 Jul 2011 #

    Read the Bee Gees’ biography and you’d think they had about two dozen no.1s.

    They always claim Spicks And Specks went to no.1 in Australia while they were on the boat to Southampton, and that Lonely Days was a US no.1.

  266. 266
    Cumbrian on 22 Jul 2011 #

    @264: At the end of Young Man Blues on Live At Leeds (at least the version I have – one of the expanded editions I think), Pete Townshend talks about the next three songs that will be played in the set – the third of which is I’m A Boy – which he claims was their first Number One “according to the Melody Maker, our first number one in England, I think for about half an hour”.

  267. 267
    DietMondrian on 22 Jul 2011 #

    #265 – According to W*k*p*d**, Spicks and Specks was a number one in New Zealand rather than Australia; and Lonely Days was a number one in Canada rather than the US. I wonder if the Bee Gees think Birmingham City won this year’s FA Cup?

  268. 268
    Mark G on 22 Jul 2011 #

    I think that’s one of those “a matey told us” situations.

  269. 269
    Mike Atkinson on 22 Jul 2011 #

    Ditto on the “best TOTP yet” thing. My memories of the summer holiday charts of 1976 have always been fond ones, so it was heartening to see this borne out. Also, I’m developing an unexpected fondness for Blackburn’s guileless enthusiasm – see also R2’s Pick Of The Pops, where I just love that he’s loving it.

  270. 270
    AndyPandy on 22 Jul 2011 #

    Yes I agree a good edition.

    *Was it compulsory to have a soft rock band with a flop on first every week?!
    *It’s noticeable how the girls in the audience really get into stuff like Candi Staton and 5000 Volts – just the kind of stuff they’d have been buying and dancing to down their local nightclub.
    *Never knowingly heard ‘Love on Delivery’ or ‘Dr Kiss Kiss’ since or to be honest at the time although I obviously did – but they were both big hits.
    *Tony Blackburn missed the opportunity of saying “the sensational Sensational Alex Harvey Band”. I remember their TOTP performances fascinated me as a little kid and their still pretty watchable now.

  271. 271
    Mark G on 23 Jul 2011 #

    People heard Tony and thought they were called “Alex Harvey Band”

  272. 272
    punctum on 25 Jul 2011 #

    Oh, and other keywords for meaning of “Boston Tea Party”: Scottish independence, allegorical call for.

  273. 273
    flahr on 25 Jul 2011 #

    The Sensational Alex Salmond Band!

  274. 274
    lonepilgrim on 28 Jul 2011 #

    This week’s TOTP rerun was an odd mixture of chugging rock, drippy ballads and niteclub schmaltz. Noel Edmunds less irritating than usual:

    Sunfighter – Drag Race Queen
    no memory of this lot at all – a bit of a Sweet style glam rock hangover
    a quick google reveals that guitarist John Hardman is the father of Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding

    Liverpool Express – You are my love
    Ethereal and a bit wet

    Beatles – Back in the USSR
    This was a pastiche back in 1968 and seemed doubly so in the context of the energetic and ridiculous dance routine

    Bobby Goldsboro – A butterfly for Bucky
    I like his voice – but this is one of the worst lyrics ever – even Noel Edmunds struggled to keep a straight face

    Dr Hook – A little bit more
    A manipulative confection not helped by that beard

    Glamourpuss – Superman
    This lot seemed to have wandered in from a Seaside Special – dreadful

    Status Quo – Mystery Song
    A burst of energy – almost punk like

    Jimmy James and the Vagabonds – Now is the time
    Soul by the numbers with a reactionary message – did JJ have a spare key to the TOTP studios? This is the 2nd song this year where he seems to have sneaked in for no good reason

    Demis Roussos
    This always makes me think of Beverley from Abigail’s Party and that is the only positive association this song has for me

    Can’t remember the final song

  275. 275
    Jimmy the Swede on 28 Jul 2011 #

    Erithian and I had to chuckle over a little bit of camp naughtiness going on with Doctor Hook at the end of their (ahem!) piece.

    We also agreed that Dennis was indeed phenomenal. That lad was top. And this week he literally was!

  276. 276
    AndyPandy on 28 Jul 2011 #

    Not a good one – 3 bloody flops must be some kind of a record.
    Re the titles summed it up – they spelled Tavares wrong (they put Taveres)and you’d think by now they could have found a picture of the Shangri-las.

    I should imagine a lot of people on here have already seen them but the few TOTPs on youtube from 1969-72 show a completely different programme – the 1969/71 shows especially. Really happening and hip with what seem like trendy London scenesters making up the audience and dancing like clubbers do in swingin’ 60s films. Everything from the graphics and opening titles to the chart rundown is cool and the djs aren’t even embarrassing. And probably most important the vast majority of the performances are mimed and the excitement of the actual records pervades the whole shows rather than being dissipated by that terrible TOTP orchestra.

    Something happened around 1973/74 when the horrors of “Light Entertainment” seemed to commandeer the show and it became the squarest thing on earth. It doesn’t mean I don’t still like watching these 1976 repeats though.

    Once again I can only bemoan the tragedy of the wiped first 11 years of TOTP (typical sod’s law they started keeping in just as it started to go downhill).

  277. 277
    AndyPandy on 29 Jul 2011 #

    re 274: final song was the Chanter Sisters’ ‘Sideshow’ (reached no 43) – not the Barry Biggs/Blue Magic hit of later the same year.Quite a respectable bit of UK soul.

    Jimmy James was another sound of the hot summer of 1976 – I always associate it with hearing it blaring from transistor radios on Weymouth beach that summer.Only one reference to the heatwave this week but the mid-end of July were absolutely steaming as I remember going on a school trip to Hampton Court on the last day of term (July 21st so day before next week’s repeat?)and it was like being in a tropical/desert country.

  278. 278
    punctum on 29 Jul 2011 #

    “Sideshow” – previously or possibly subsequently also a non-charting solo single by Allan Clarke of the Hollies.

    The bits they missed out were a second helping of Ruby Flipper (“Taveres”) and predictably 100 Ton & A Feather.

    Also: “Maureen McGovan.” I never knew she was Glaswegian!

  279. 279
    Mark G on 2 Aug 2011 #

    I do remember “Drag race driver”, another Radio Luxembourg turntable hit. Not bad, but could have been a more interesting song with a ‘lola’ style slant, but then again it’s only 1976.

    “Mystery Song” is fine, wonder if they play it nowadays? More likely to do a version of “combine harvester” thesedays…

  280. 280
    Mark G on 4 Aug 2011 #

    Chart rundown! Shangri-las still have no photo, I remember one specialist music magazine in 1976 or so having a letter asking about them, and the reply was that no-one knew who they were.

    Steve Harley and his new Cockney Rebel do “Here comes the sun” like it was an easy thing to do: Cover a beatles song, have a hit. Which it was.

    “Jeans on”, apparently the second thing DLT does first thing in the morning. Anyone like to guess what the first thing was? Anyway, David Dundas has three dancers in front of his stage, dancing badly with hand-made t-shirts with “Hot Gossip” emblazoned on them. Now, that’s a bit cheeky..

    “Misty Blue” – Dorothy Moore. I remember how often the BBC would end up with imported performance films of low quality, of course there wouldn’t be a hit nowadays without the video and so on..

    Sheer Elegance “Temptation”, and the first flop of the night. Blimey, you can see how small the audiences were here. And blimey also, this song is terrible. The phrase “over sixteen” is brandished, but the singer doesn’t seem THAT bothered really.

    Alex Harvey does his tea party again. I think this is a repeat of the first performance.

    Rub Flip dance to Harvest for the world, it’s passable. Oh, they have just got DLT and some audience members to join them onstage. A bit like how Public Image would do on American Bandstand.

    “In Zaire” – Johnny Wakeling becomes the go-to man for Muhammad Ali tribute songs with his second. This one does get a bit closer to some sort of menace and muscle, as opposed to his previous which was quite polite..

    “Dr Kiss Kiss” – For once DLT gets it spot on with his “strike him off the medical register” comment. Her miming is terrible without actually being off. Like she’s never actually sang this. Was this singer actually the one on the record? It’s complicated with the 5000 volts..

    Johnny Cash – that’s not a ukelele mate. Still, possibly the best new performance here.

    Oh Suzannah by 1776. Don’t remember this at all. A sort of gospel version of the old ‘classic’. It’s not terrible, it’s not good. Is that Kenney Jones of “Yellow Dog”/”Fox” on drums?

    Elton and Kiki number one. It’s funny, back then videos could cost the price of a camera and man, in the studio the were using anyway. What’s the average cost nowadays? There’ll be none of that ‘independant’ music produced on shoestring budgets anymore…

    So, it all wraps up with KC and the Sunshine band over the credits and shots of the studio lights…

    I don’t think I missed out any there, that’s the 40 min version that you don’t/won’t get on iplayer…

  281. 281
    wichita lineman on 4 Aug 2011 #

    Seriously? So I’ll never see Sheer Elegance? Or Alex Harvey’s ugly mug for the zillionth time? Would happily have seen Misty Blue again.

    DLT appeared to be railing against getting a parking ticket in Amersham at one point, as well as alluding to wanking. What a horrible man.

    No memory of 1776, which I thought was dreadful.

    As is One Piece At A Time, or Boy Named Sue without the “swearing”; worthy of Ray Stevens.

    Who the heck was Johnny Wakelin? He can barely sing. I remember In Zaire getting played out (was it a cover?) circa 1990. But I don’t remember his later single, Dr. Frankenstein’s Disco Party. It sounds just super.

    Lord Dundas – love this. My summer hit of ’76, memories of family singalongs in our orange VW beetle, and a holiday in a caravan in Dawlish Warren. Backing ticks like clockwork, double-tracked weedy vocal somehow adds to it.

    Steve “Nice” and Cockney Rebel’s last proper hit had a nice psych-y coda which I don’t remember. It’s alright.

  282. 282
    punctum on 4 Aug 2011 #

    Four times! Who’d have thought that “Boston Tea Party” would have been in the running for best single of 2011?

  283. 283
    AndyPandy on 4 Aug 2011 #

    RE@280 Sounds like 1776 were TOTP’s blatant attempt to celebrate the American Bicentennial. Similar to the embarrassing bloke they had on doing the same for the Silver Jubilee a year later. Needless to say both didn’t get even so much as a sniff at the actual charts they even flogged the 1977 record to death on the radio.

    That can’t have been a very knowledgeable music magazine seeing as the Shangri-las had had reasonably sized hits in the UK in the mid-60s and then ‘Leader of the Pack’ had been a big hit after being re-issued in 1972. An early TOTP memory of mine was the cartoon they showed on TOTP in late 1972 – it featured the Leader on a chopper motorbike which then sprouted wings and flew across the sky after he gets himself killed.

    IIRC it was a hit in 1976 because they used a ‘re-recorded with different words version’ of it in a Levi’s advert at the time. I don’t know why it was a hit in 1972 though.

  284. 284
    punctum on 4 Aug 2011 #

    The “embarrassing bloke” doing the “Jubilee” song was Neil Innes, and he is rather embarrassed about the song.

  285. 285
    Mike Atkinson on 4 Aug 2011 #

    And of course, “Leader of the Pack” wouldn’t be the last 1976 single to start with the words “Is she really going out with him?”

  286. 286
    Mark G on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Yep, I can cite “New Rose” The Damned, and “Kill” the Albertos. Both on stiff records, uncoincidentally.

  287. 287
    Mark G on 5 Aug 2011 #

    I was in Matthew Street, Liverpool last weekend, and saw the ‘wall of fame’ for the ‘names’ that played the Cavern, past and present. (e.g. Geordie, Queen, Beatles (obv), Adele, etc.)

    I saw that there was a metal plaque stating that two acts had had their bricks removed: Gary Glitter and Jonathan King.

  288. 288
    swanstep on 5 Aug 2011 #

    So were the Damned, Joe Jackson, et al. all very literately referring to Brill building/girl groups like the Shangri-las with their ‘Is she really going out with..’ songs? (I’m supposing that the answer must be ‘yes’ and am now feeling a little thick for never having noticed this. E.g.,I’ve tended to think of Blondie and Chrissie Hynde as carrying that girl-group gene into post-punk and as being outliers from punk itself in part for that reason, but now it’s starting to seem as though maybe the energy of the most gang-like girl-group records was central to punk itself).

  289. 289
    wichita lineman on 5 Aug 2011 #

    I think the current hit status of Leader Of The Pack was a spin-off of Charly Records re-issuing Red Bird material in 1976*, maybe for the first time since the records first came out (frighteningly, just 10-12 years earlier). I imagine a few significant people bought these comps and got inspired.

    Girl Groups were part of the Bomp aesthetic which bled into Punk.

    Or it could just be that the Damned were ‘recycling’ the New York Dolls Shangri La’s quote (“when I say I’m in love you best believe I’m in love L-U-V”).

    Re 288: the previous week’s TOTP is now complete on iplayer (35+ mins, at any rate) except for 100 Ton And A Feather. So will they cut the Ramones’ Baby I Love You on the grounds it was produced by a convicted killer? Let’s wait and see. Anyone willing to take a bet?

    *I’m happy to be corrected on this. The ones with the shiny red eggs on the cover, typically odd/unrepresentative artwork, looks very ’76 but I don’t have them so can’t check.

  290. 290
    AndyPandy on 5 Aug 2011 #

    re 289 How could LOTP be reissued for the first time since the 1960s in 1976 when it got to number 3 in 1972?
    Re this re-issue the Levi’s advert must have been a few months later as I’m pretty sure it was being shown in my first year at secondary school around the time ‘Happy Days’ started in this country

    PS There’s probably not some great musical/stylistic reason why ‘Is she really going out with him?’ was used by the Damned – it just as likely because LOTP had just been in the charts and he thought it was a silly thing to say at the beginning of the record.

  291. 291

    I have a super-cheapie* Shangri-Las best-of from (I believe) the early 70s, with a quote from Pete Townshend on the back (saying that “Past, Present, Future” is the greatest pop-song ever written). At work so can’t check the label, but I don’t feel that they had ever really fallen out of rock consciousness; certainly they were “in” the canon, as was Shadow Morton.

    *i.e. sleeve aesthetic = K-Tel cash-in, though I think it’s actually a major.

  292. 292
    enitharmon on 5 Aug 2011 #

    AndyPandy @ 290

    And here’s me thinking that Marcello’s quip was a Joe Jackson reference.

  293. 293
    punctum on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Speaking of which, I don’t recall Nick Lowe going on TOTP to do “So It Goes” (which came out in August ’76) so no doubt the no-hit section will be filled with yet more Light Entertainment waiting room hopefuls.

  294. 294
    Mike Atkinson on 5 Aug 2011 #

    I have a memory of the 1976 Charly re-release of “Leader” having a bit cut out of it… this was mentioned disapprovingly in the music press at the time… seems ridiculous, but can anyone remember anything about it? I also remember the TV ad, which ended “Leader of the pack – IN HIS LEVI’S! Leader of the pack – IN HIS LEVI’S!”

  295. 295
    Mike Atkinson on 5 Aug 2011 #

    (Or was it Wranglers? So many ICONIC jeans ads in 1976, heh – cf. David Dundas and Brutus.)

  296. 296
    punctum on 5 Aug 2011 #

    There was also the contemporaneous Contempo reissue which was uncut and I think the chart position represented combined sales of the two. Clearly copyright issues at work.

  297. 297
    swanstep on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Well, after listening around over the last few hours and reading up some, I am seriously digging the Shangri-Las. They’ve got *tons* of good-to-great songs, and just look at them in early 1965. Very cool.

  298. 298
    Mike Atkinson on 5 Aug 2011 #

    A bit of digging around suggests that one of the versions was a re-recording. The two were listed separately in their first week (outside the top 40) then combined thereafter. Shortly afterwards, the three surviving Shangri-La’s reformed, then recorded some unreleased material for Sire before playing CBGBs, with Lenny Kaye on guitar! The label tried to push them towards disco, but the band wanted to sound like Patti Smith, so it all came to naught.

  299. 299
    AndyPandy on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Mike at 284: that’s the one “Leader of the pack in his Levis” – definitely Levis!

    A couple of years later Gary Numan even did a jeans advert “Don’t Be A Dummy” – not sure for what brand though.
    Think it might have even be recorded before ‘Are Friends Electric’ was big.I remember it being shown at the same time.

  300. 300
    Mike Atkinson on 5 Aug 2011 #

    “Don’t Be A Dummy” was for Lee Cooper, and it was all over the telly while “Are Friends Electric” was at Number One. A version charted and made TOTP, re-recorded by an ex-member of Atomic Rooster called John DuCann. As he looked like a scary relic from 1971 rather than an alien cyborg from the 21st century, the single’s progress was duly stopped in its tracks.

  301. 301
    punctum on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Didn’t Numan turn that ad down?

  302. 302
    Mike Atkinson on 5 Aug 2011 #

    He sang on the jingle, but declined to turn it into a single.

  303. 303
    AndyPandy on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Johnny Wakelin ‘In Zaire’ a reminder of the time in the mid-70s when the Ali fights with Foreman , Frazier seized hold of the public consciousness in this country arguably like no other sporting occasions (obviously aside from football) ever has. Records in the charts, pubs getting legal lock-ins to show the fights, little kids like me on junior school playgrounds talking about them, Ali himself everywhere. And I remember me and my friends that summer thought this record was about as good as it gets.

    About as synonymous with that summer as the drought, the Montreal Olympics (which I would have been glued to about now) and that Colonel Callan Mercenary Trial in Angola (which to me seemed to be on every news bulletin for weeks on end that year!).

  304. 304
    Mark G on 5 Aug 2011 #

    #294, I do remember a section removed from LOTP, possibly accidentally. I don’t remember ever hearing a re-recording.

    A bit like the BBC playing “Addicted to love” but their copy had a groove-jump in it and no-one noticed for ages.

  305. 305
    wichita lineman on 5 Aug 2011 #

    There is no LOTP re-recording as far as I know. A couple of weird edits have turned up on various re-issues over the years: 2 bars of vocal-free track between the bike crash and the last verse, and (weirder) the first line of the 3rd verse (“one day my dad said find someone new”). I don’t think the master tapes were dug out and digitalised til the Myrmidons Of Melodrama comp in the 90s.

    Re 290, AndyPedant, I meant the Red Bird archive was re-issued for the first time, not LOTP. But I might be wrong there too. Why’s it a “silly thing to say”? It’s one of pop’s great opening lines, that’s probably why it was quoted.

  306. 306
    AndyPandy on 5 Aug 2011 #

    Wichita ‘silly’ as in irony/in joke type of thing of the kind which often springs up between groups of blokes about something in the public consciousness such as the already proverbial LOTP.

    I suppose vaguely similar to the Wurzels adlibbing ‘Who Loves You Baby?’ on the back of the ubiquitousness of that at Kojak line in 1975/76 in ‘Combine Harvester’.

  307. 307
    MarkG on 17 Aug 2011 #

    Well, it’s been a while, but there is a TOTP this week, but hey it does look like a whole bunch of repeat performances.

    The Chanter Sisters get another showing (or a new performance), having climbed to number 48 since their last appearance when they were at number 50.

    (spoiler) they eventually climb to number 43.

  308. 308
    AndyPandy on 18 Aug 2011 #

    307: they only had a brief play out over the end credits on the previous ‘appearance’

  309. 309
    glue_factory on 19 Aug 2011 #

    I have to admit that that performance of Sideshow was one that would have made me *less* likely to buy it.

    Probably my favourite Ruby Flipper number since Mike Oldfield in the parched garden.

  310. 310
    lonepilgrim on 19 Aug 2011 #

    Not a bad show – despite a few bland acts

    Thin Lizzy – ‘Jailbreak’ – looking and sounding great

    Dr Hook- ‘A little bit more’ – meh

    Chanter Sisters – ‘Sideshow’ – hypnotically awful – did they lose their luggage on the flight from Nashville? that might explain their outfits

    Walter Murphy ‘5th of Beethoven’ – a forgotten delight from the days of disco – interesting to compare disco’s habit of appropriating familiar melodies with acts like KWS

    Jimmy James & the Vagabonds – another inexplicable appearance from JJ –

    Status Quo – Mystery Song – lean and mean

    Liverpool Express – You are my love – deeply drippy

    Ej/KD – DGBMH – top pop

    Bee Gees – You should be dancing – great song, deserves longer

  311. 311
    punctum on 19 Aug 2011 #

    Just what the disenfranchised youth of riot-torn Britain need to see in 2011: 98-year-old Jimmy James bellowing “Revolution is no solution.”

  312. 312
    MarkG on 19 Aug 2011 #

    I thought you were going for “tonight there’s going to be a Jailbreak, somewhere in this town ….”

  313. 313
    punctum on 19 Aug 2011 #

    But we are now living in a situation wherein that self-same situation depends on the Chanter Sisters pearl.

  314. 314
    Ed on 19 Aug 2011 #

    @312 “Tonight there’s going to be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town” has gone down in history as one of the great comedy stupid rock lyrics. “Er, try the jail, mate,” is the obvious riposte.

    But it makes perfect sense in the context of the album, where the WHOLE CITY (the whole world? the whole, er, dimension?) is a jail.

    In fact, check out the original liner notes on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jailbreak_%28album%29) for some full-on Neo-Marxist anarchism. Not as heavily theorised as early Scritti, maybe, but a lot more rocking.

  315. 315
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Aug 2011 #

    @314 Yeah. but some towns do have more than one jail… even the Isle of Sheppey has three….

  316. 316
    Ed on 19 Aug 2011 #

    @315 That’s also a fair point, if apparently not the one that Lynott had in mind. I’m not saying I approve of this Lizzy-mockery, just reporting that it does, in fact, go on.

    (Lizzy looks wrong, somehow, as the short form. Skynyrd, Sabbath and Zeppelin work that way. Maybe it’s one of those band names, like AC/DC, that can never be abbreviated.)

  317. 317
    Mark G on 20 Aug 2011 #

    Yeah, and police stations have jails too…

  318. 318
    flahr on 20 Aug 2011 #

    Not sure how much “A Fifth of Beethoven” can be described as ‘forgotten’. It’s on Saturday Night Fever after all.

    More importantly (?), Walter Murphy then went on to write the theme tune to Family Guy. (‘then’ refers to quite a span of time here.)

  319. 319
    AndyPandy on 20 Aug 2011 #

    Thought that musically it was pretty good this week – and thought that the charts were of a ridiculously high standard (a few novelty tracks excepted)overall as has been the case since these repeats started.

    However despite this TOTP at this point was so cheap and nasty – everything from the inexcusable Shangri-las picture to the lack of any (proper)coverage (or in some cases any)coverage for big hits like the Manhattans (Top 5), James and Bobby Purify, War, Isley Brothers etc
    And the perenial reliance on working-mans club pop-soul.

    ps having said all that I though the Chanter Sisters (although raw soul like this is not my type of music) seemed very competent for those who like that sort of thing and put on a pretty vibrant appearance display.

    But did David Hamilton mention them “flying in from Nashville” to make it look as though TOTP was featuring transatlantic artists – when in realty the Chanter Sisters were/are British backing-singers – who were probably coming home anyway…

  320. 320
    Mark G on 20 Aug 2011 #

    well, it worked for The Beatles (flying in from Hamburg) …

  321. 321
    Mark G on 21 Aug 2011 #

    Anyway, was that Chanter Sisters performance one of those that killed off sales? One had the voice and the style in a Ruth Jones way, but the blonde one? Bad dancing and straining for the high notes. Coupled with a lousy BBC Orchestra backing, la ti do.

    A shame, the record’s really good.

  322. 322
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Aug 2011 #

    I cannot understand why Liverpool Express were on yet again. Please tell me that we’re never going to seem these muppets again.

    I think the Gals looked well yummy this week.

    I, like Marcello, smiled at the “revolution is no solution” line as history argues that this ain’t necessarily so. Mind you, I don’t think opportunist thugs looting Dixons is much of a solution on any day of the week.

  323. 323
    Mark G on 21 Aug 2011 #

    and it doen’t scan too well for that song.

  324. 324
    MarkG on 24 Aug 2011 #

    Slik do “The Kid’s a Punk” next up.

  325. 325
    punctum on 24 Aug 2011 #

    #322: Jimmy James addresses the rebels in Tripoli: “REVOLUTION IS NO SOLUTION! WE OUGHT TO REALISE”

    Quipped the veteran singer from his hospital bed: “As I regained consciousness…”

    #324: It is wrong and foolish under the guise of love and liberty that we should capitalise and rob and fell Midge Ure for the James Dean lyric-citing tree.

  326. 326

    The fellow who rode home from Gaddafi’s compound in a gold golf-cart would certainly have scorned Dixons as a loot-source…

  327. 327
    lonepilgrim on 26 Aug 2011 #

    This week’s instalment of TOTP, not too shabby:
    Remarkable how much of the top 30 was full of ‘soul’ acts (with a smattering of country in the 20s)
    Jimmy Saville – hypnotically bizarre – gave the impression he was on another plane

    Slik – pleasant but dull pop – interesting given that Midge had turned down chance to be in the Pistols

    David Dundas – Blue Jeans – I could imagine him 50 years earlier singing something similar in a cocktail bar – ‘I put my cream Bags on – I put my Oxford Bags on’ – fo-de-oh-doh

    Billie Joe Spears – sounded good – glitzy image somewhat at odds with content of song – I’d have hated this at the time but liked it a lot this time around

    Steve Harley et al – irritatingly cynical performance – I became more interested in identifying the castle

    KC et al – good song, dull choreography

    Dorothy Moore – interesting parallel with Billie Joe Spears – classy song of female desire dressed up for mainstream consumption with an elegant dress and a winning smile

    Billy Ocean – competent performance, slightly dominated by an alarming mustard coloured jumpsuit

    Twiggy – song and performance suffered by comparison with BJS – but that may have been due to this being a TOTP orchestra version(?), I seem to remember the song sounding marginally better on the radio

    EJ/KD – getting a bit tired of this now – but still a perky tune

    Jesse Green – not enough of this over credits to do it justice – good to dance to, doesn’t

  328. 328
    Mark G on 26 Aug 2011 #

    well, this week I started my “punk/new wave” off the TV grab DVD compilation. Takes me back, I used to have a Video cassette nearby to grab various performances from around the eighties until the mid nineties. They’re all in the loft now.

    Any road up, the Slik one seemed a suitably ironic place to start. How long to wait until Eddie and the hot rods, anyone?

    Oh, there’s Sheer Elegance and their “please you underage girls stop pestering me for sex even though you’re lovely and I should get some credit for saying no actually” song that didn’t set the charts on fire the last time it was on, getting a second go. Must be the longer repeat then.

    Steve Harley. Is that Tynemouth Castle? Ah, maybe not: there’s a horse.

    That Jesse Green song was another one of those records that hit because of the instrumental version on the b-side. (The other example is by that man we cannot speak his name anymore)

    500 volts being the other extra…

  329. 329
    AndyPandy on 26 Aug 2011 #

    re 328 Jesse Green etc – a foretaste of things to come as once we hit the post 1988 era many of the tracks became hits due to instrumental versions or more accurately they were instrumentals and they recorded a quick vocal version to get more pop action.

    This was especially true of hardcore and even more of trance and which probably reached its absolute nadir with the Vincent De Moor’s ‘Flowtation’ debacle in about 1996 – a massive instrumental for months on Dutch import that filled the floor everywhere everytime it was dropped and built a right buzz for its eventual British release only for that release’s A side to emerge as an absolute abomination of an obviously hastily thrown together vocal track which obliterated everything that had made the original track so perfect and killed any chance of it becoming a pop hit too.

  330. 330
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 Aug 2011 #

    I really liked “Nice and Slow” even though it wasn’t. Pity they cut it after twenty seconds.

    Kiki Dee seems to grow increasingly more interested each time they show that clip. I even noticed a rather nice “come hither” glance she gives Reg on this last viewing. If they’re still top next week, she’ll probably have the whips out for him. Alas, baby he’s not that kind.

  331. 331
    wichita lineman on 30 Aug 2011 #

    I still play Jesse Green out – vocal side! I remember that being the version on the radio at the time, but was way too young to have heard it in discotheques.

    Steve Harley – Clun castle?

    Dundas – actually wearing “blue jeans” this time.

    Slik – verse v close to Free’s Wishing Well, chorus a bit flat agaaaaiin. Think Martin & Coulter would’ve learnt after Requiem’s below par showing. Good performance from moody Midge, mind.

    Billie Jo – to tell the truth, I’d rather stay in that small cafe out of the way… Can’t work out her age at all. 35? JS can’t even manage the song title. What I’ve Got Is Mine. Oh dear.

    Dorothy Moore – oh gosh, never ever tire of this.

    Billy Ocean – does anyone know if this or Love Really Hurts were ever played at any Northern Soul nights? Too cheesy? Love Really Hurts is, I think, the best Motown pastiche ever, genuinely strong, and I can imagine it being played at Wigan before it charted. Andy? Anyone?

  332. 332
    wichita lineman on 30 Aug 2011 #

    The Chanter Sisters’ single is notably different to their TOTP performance, a bit slower, better arrangement…


    I think the chorus is a killer, myself. Odd lyric – “I’m just a pleasure steamer” puts even Diana Ross’s “Remember me as a big balloon” in the shade.

    I remember their version of Band Of Gold being a Radio 1 favourite. They turn it into a novelty song. It is fucking awful.

  333. 333
    hardtogethits on 30 Aug 2011 #

    #331 HI Wichita. Don’t want to cause a fuss, but have to acknowledge prev discussions and the energy around them. Anyway, I did look into the “effect” on download sales TOTP 1976 has had on some titles. Obv – “effect” is a leap of faith, simplified assumptions – eg what if someone went down well at Glastonbury and I didn’t even know they played? – Keeping it short: Misty Blue has seemed to do REALLY well out of it (whereas Fox S-S-Single Bed = nothing!) – I’d be interested to know how this makes you feel (tho I suspect the emotions aren’t deep !)

  334. 334
    wichita lineman on 31 Aug 2011 #

    How it makes me feel? I’m chuffed if Misty Blue has done well, and pretty sure Dorothy Moore hasn’t played at Reading or Green Man. I think it’s been on TOTP four times hasn’t it? I didn’t get it when I was 11, which isn’t that surprising.

    Curious to know actual stats on Liverpool Express downloads (maybe the most divisive song aired this far, to my surprise).

    S-S-Single Bed has been an East London turntable hit for a few years now, maybe people are sick of it!

  335. 335
    AndyPandy on 31 Aug 2011 #

    331: I’ve never heard of Billy Ocean being played at a ‘proper’ Northern Soul night – I think even Wigan Casino would have thought him too poppy – Wigan’s much criticised poppier stuff at ‘excused’ itself by having an obviously stompin’ beat and/or being a genuine mid-60s recording.

    It may just have sneaked into a NS set at youth clubs/nightclub under 18 sessions with stuff of the ilk of Jimmy James.

  336. 336
    MarkG on 31 Aug 2011 #

    Tomorrows TOTP seems massively over-familiar, with 5000 volts again (they were on last week!) David Dundas too! I thought that was one rule they pretty much kept to (no performer on two weeks in a row except for number ones).

    also, Repeats from 2 weeks ago, from Twiggy and JWakelin

    Still, there’s new Hot Choc. But that’s the only new performance (I think). Hey, at least DLT’s a new performance!!!

  337. 337
    hardtogethits on 31 Aug 2011 #

    #334, I ask because sometimes mixed (or just plain negative) emotions occur when one realises people have caught up with one’s own preferences.

    You Are My Love experienced a sharp upturn in downloads, but it’s highest highs still don’t quite reach the underlying demand of say, You To Me Are Everything or Combine Harvester.

  338. 338
    hardtogethits on 31 Aug 2011 #

    #336. Again, a bit jumpy about stating this but the two broadcasts were from a fortnight apart, so the “successive weeks” rule was not transgressed here.

  339. 339
    Mark G on 31 Aug 2011 #

    ah, fair enough then.

  340. 340
    AndyPandy on 1 Sep 2011 #

    Re337 & 338: I think this information is really interesting and it must be great to be privy to it the various unusual fluctuations in downloads amongst all the tens of thousands of tracks.

    I wonder what kind of figures you’re talking about when you mention slight increases and what kind of number of weekly downloads would somethig like ‘Combine Harvester’ usually have – as it seems from the above that it sells a certain number of downloads week in week out notwithstanding any TOTP re-runs etc.And then I suppose to get a truly accurate picture you’d need to factor in the 95%(?) of downloads that are ilegal.
    All really enlightening stuff.

  341. 341
    wichita lineman on 1 Sep 2011 #

    Ditto. Is download information published anywhere? I’m very curious.

  342. 342
    lonepilgrim on 1 Sep 2011 #

    TOTP had some competition at the time from ‘So it goes’ presented by Tony Wilson. This was broadcast around the same time as the recent TOTP repeats:

  343. 343
    hardtogethits on 1 Sep 2011 #

    # 340, 341

    The Top 200 Download Chart is published, without sales figures. I’d love to state where, how to subscribe etc but I realise that to do so would be to advertise – and to start a post by saying “let me tell you about this site I like, I think you should subscribe” would turn this into a different kind of forum. Can someone in charge hear my plea and give me a green light?

    The sales figures themselves are still more “commercially sensitive” and it’s costly, financially, to get a licence to see the figures.

  344. 344
    lonepilgrim on 1 Sep 2011 #

    Latest TOTP (19th August 1976):

    DLT showing too much pasty flesh than necessary (i.e. any) but marginally less annoying than before:

    Hot Chocolate: lively – Errol Brown’s stage movement reminding me of Freddie Mercury at times
    David Dundas – same clip as last time – zzz
    5000 volts – light entertainment mediocrity
    Dancing Queen – interesting to see something that has become so iconic introduced in such an offhand manner
    Bryan Ferry – another compelling take on an old tune – helped I suspect by Chris Spedding”s guitar riff – but the film clip serves to emphasise the distance between Bryan, Jerry and us plebs in a way that the Abba clip avoids
    Wings – top tune, survives Ruby Flipper’s antics – and the ‘Phil and Don’ line links back nicely to the previous tune
    Steve Harley – Beatles’ tune link to the previous – I didn’t like this last time, but it seemed slightly less irritating tonight
    Jesse Green – another top tune – safari jacketed flute player produces trumpet noises – nice to see audience dancing to this
    Twiggy – Here she goes again – with the same limp TOTP version of a fairly lightweight tune as last time
    EJ/KD – etc, etc. TOTP obviously fed up with it give a shortened version
    Couldn’t identify the last tune – sounded like the Stylistics

  345. 345
    Erithian on 2 Sep 2011 #

    Not only did they introduce DQ in an offhand manner, they chopped the first verse just as (no doubt) half the audience were singing along to it! And DLT said it was in at 26 when it was 23.

    The play-out was indeed the Stylistics’ “Sixteen Bars”. Cue Radio 1 gags about the song being the result of a pub crawl – “I wrote a love song in 16 bars…”

    Sad to learn via the web that George Ford, the perma-smiling bassist with Cockney Rebel, diedin 2007. Apparently (sorry if this is common knowledge) he was the half-brother of Emile Ford of Checkmates fame and played with the band for a while. He was a much-in-demand session player and worked with Cliff for many years before moving with his family to Toronto in the 80s, where he worked with Long John Baldry and set up a home-restoring business.

    Wichita, Mark and lonepilgrim were speculating upthread about the castle in the “Here Comes The Sun” video – a little bit of digging reveals that it’s Dunsoghly Castle in County Dublin – http://www.irelandseye.com/aarticles/travel/attractions/castles/dunsogc.shtm
    which also appears to have been used in the filming of “Braveheart”. It was built around 1450 by Sir Rowland Plunkett, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, and stayed in the family until the 1870s. According to this forum discussion
    ( http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056307461 )
    you used to be able to ask at a nearby house for the key to the tower and go and do some plane-spotting. A fellow called Eddie Jordan (presumably not that one) organises visits and is trying to promote interest in the castle with a view to increasing public access and boosting tourism.

  346. 346
    Erithian on 2 Sep 2011 #

    And a Popscene thread on Cockney Rebel reveals that their original bassist from “Judy Teen” days, Paul Jeffreys, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing while flying out on honeymoon.

  347. 347
    AndyPandy on 2 Sep 2011 #

    Re :345 That’s strange as I looked him up as well as 1) it was pretty unusual (still is) to see a non-white musician in a rock band and 2) he seems to be particularly enjoying himself in all the clips you see of him – but it wasn’t easy to track down much information – got it off a site for bass-players in the end. I think things are made more difficult by the legal problems (even to this day) of describing what actually happened in the sacking/disappearance of various Cockney Rebel musicians.

  348. 348
    wichita lineman on 2 Sep 2011 #

    Re 347: Really?? You wouldn’t think Steve “Nice” would wield that much legal clout.

    That was by way of tribute to Tom “Tom” Hibbert, who passed away this week. As an iconoclast I think his writing is at least on a par with Paul Morley – I still think of them as Dame David Bowie, Thumbsaloft, and Lord Frederick Lucan of Mercury… Sniff. Parp. Wibble.

  349. 349
    Erithian on 2 Sep 2011 #

    Who the hell did he think he was?

    His features always started Q magazine on a high note – in addition to the ones mentioned in the Guardian obit, his interviews with Bros, DLT and the Chippendales (“people say the Chippendales is a bad thing, but hey, Shakespeare in his time had his critics”) stick in the memory. I didn’t know his last 14 years were rendered so miserable. RIP.

  350. 350
    AndyPandy on 2 Sep 2011 #

    *Classic Hot Chocolate (now viewed as one of their best ever hence the subsequent remixes)- and massive on Capital Radio over that unending summer – just the kind of record that should have been played in a heatwave – really takes me back to melting tarmac, heat haze and the bleached parchedness of my local playing-fields where I spent many of those long summer holiday afternoons. Not much of a hit though it probably didn’t spread didn’t outside the London area and Capital’s catchment area. Maybe why I don’t associate it with transistor radios on Weymouth beach like Jimmy James and David Dundas!

    * There’s an uncanny similarity to Paul Weller about Steve Harley by this stage.

    *DLT mentioning re Jesse Green “it’s good to see disco’s still with us”, after only 2 years and in the calm before the storm, little knowing what would happen around 1977/78 as it took over the world.

    *I think those might be Abba’s kids dancing in the ‘Dancing Queen’ clip – good to see their bassist and drummer in the video too.

    It seems they’re regularly only showing every other TOTP* which is messing things slightly up as it conflicts with one of the few rules TOTP did zealously stick to of not showing the same record (obviously excluding the No 1)two weeks in a rows and doesn’t do too much for continuity on these repeats.
    It may we miss the delights of the Wombles’ drought cash-in ‘Rainmaker’ which was on towards the end of the drought ie in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

    *I think they’re missing out the other editions for the simple reason that they haven’t got copies anymore – a situation I believe is the case right up until the end of 1977 – and I think there’s an edition as recent as late 1982 which the BBC don’t have in their vaults (but what with people starting to buy video-recorders en masse around 1979/80 they’ll be copies of that one hanging around somewhere).

  351. 351
    Mark G on 5 Sep 2011 #

    I don’t think they’ve missed any out, actually. They have been missing them *now* due to The Sky At Night taking the slot every three weeks or so, and I would assume they missed this time because of some sports event on that thursday back in 1976.

  352. 352
    AndyPandy on 5 Sep 2011 #

    But they must be “missing some out” as a lot of 1976 and 1977 editions don’t exist intheir archives (if anywhere) by the sound of what I’ve read on the sites about mising TOTP sod’s law seems to be dictating that some of those missing edirions seem to be far superior to ones that have survived.There’s one from earlier in 1976 which I’ve seen mentioned a lot lately and which Bruce Forsyth recorded (because his daughter was appearing as one of Guys and Dolls)and which may or may not exist as a full show somewhere which although I can’t recall exactly the songs featured aside from Slik doing ‘Forevr and Ever’ i remember thinking what apity that ones missing.

    The world of ‘missing TOTP’ is quite exciting with various clips (and sometimes whole shows) thought lost seemingly being discovered/newly rumoured to exist all the time – and when you think of all the unchecked foreign telly archives who knows what may still be lurking out there.

    The whole set of 52 1973 editions at the height of glam rock with all those outrageous appearances seems to be the holy grail for many. But to me editions from c1968-72 when it was very un-BBC (ie non-light entertainment) and a very happening and well made reflection of pop culture seems to be an equally exciting period.

  353. 353
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    I thought they started this run from the week they did, because they had all the episodes from this point on.

    The examples you cite were pre.

    It would be nice to have those ‘Pre-mid1976’ ‘whole episodes’ that the BBC actually have, as another ‘re-broadcast’ project. But then again, it always seems quite ‘tentative’ that even these are being shown.

  354. 354
    AndyPandy on 5 Sep 2011 #

    I completely agree with you as the couple that do exist in their entirety from 1970/71 and which I’ve seen are far better television than these 1976 editions not that I’m complaining as I like watching thse too. TOTP in 1969-71 was like watching a different programme though with dancers almost freaking out, far more imaginative camera work, better graphics everything really – even the djs are better (even though they’re basically the same ones as 1976).

    I thought that about 1976 too but it seems that quite a few 1976 are missing – hence people appearing 2 weeks running and the charts seemingly moving really quickly for back then (IIRC they’ve got round this in the re-runs by occasionally not having a re-run that week and getting slightly out of sync with which week they were shown in 1976)
    TBH it appears the real ‘experts’ on the ‘missing’ sites don’t know exactly how the BBC are doing it.

    Some from 1977 also don’t exist and from what I’ve read the last one definitely wiped was from September 1977 but unusually other later editions including one from as late as 1988 also seem to have disappeared.

  355. 355
    wichita lineman on 5 Sep 2011 #

    It’s a shame they don’t plug the holes with something TOTP related, because it loses momentum when Mr Night Sky or The Proms turn up in its place.

    Having to content myself with bootleg DVDs of the German equivalent, Disco. Lots of non-hit Gilbert O on that too.

  356. 356
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    So far, nobody has been on two weeks in a row, except for this time.

    I was suspecting that some sports event meant that there was no TOTP for that week, but from #354 it would seem that a ‘missing episode’ is not totally unlikely.

    Guess one of those things where a 1976 “Radio Times” needs to be consulted,.

  357. 357
    punctum on 5 Sep 2011 #

    The whole set of 52 1973 editions at the height of glam rock with all those outrageous appearances seems to be the holy grail for many.

    Indeed, but even if all 52 were found, the G*ry Gl*tt*r Question would preclude at least half of them being shown.

    I wonder if Brucie recorded his own TOTP performance in late 1975 performing the Lou Reed-esque (no, really! It would have fitted straight into Berlin!) “Sandra.”

  358. 358
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Well, it’s not stopped the JKing “oops, we’ve only got 30 mins, which one to drop, hmmm” process, so doubtless there would be some weeks where the number one gets the ‘oh sorry, quality was a bit ropey at the end of the prog’ works.

  359. 359
    hardtogethits on 5 Sep 2011 #

    #356 and others. It’s difficult / impossible to state authoritatively what’s really missing from the BBC archive, but not difficult to state authoritatively that the episodes broadcast have been non-consecutive: some have definitely been missed.

    IF (big IF) I recall correctly, the press releases from March / April 2011 said that BBC4 had started with episodes from April 1976 because it represented the start of an unbroken run. However, a few episodes have not been broadcast by BBC4, for whatever reason.

  360. 360
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Well, they started with an episode that was exactly 35 years ago to the week.

    Now, they are lagging behind. This is because when they have a “Sky at night” or some such other, they hold off for a week. Each episode has had the date of original transmission on the ‘information’.

    Although, on checking, they are ‘up to’ 19th August as the most recent broadcast. Which does suggest that some progs have been missed as they have had more than two ‘Sky at night’ shows, and other such.

    This week? Sky at night….

  361. 361
    AndyPandy on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Mark at 356 – Throughout my childhood from about 7 till about 15 TOTP was probably my favorite television programme and whatever I was doing I would try and make sure I could watch it – and I don’t remember it ever not being shown (this seems to be echoed by the ‘missing programmes’ people who presume it was shown every week of every year excluding industrial disputes). If any sporting occasion arose they’d just have shifted its time slightly.

    But I do know there are places on the web where all the shows in the BBC archive (that the BBC have catalogued anyway and obviously excluding all the private collection stuff they haven’t got)are listed and quite a few 1976/77 shows are missing.

  362. 362
    Conrad on 5 Sep 2011 #

    361, the big gap of course was June-August 1980, due to a technicians’ strike I think

  363. 363
    lonepilgrim on 5 Sep 2011 #

    IIRC I seem to recall one edition being cancelled (due to industrial action, I think) in 1983 because it coincided with Robert Wyatt’s version of ‘Shipbuilding’ advancing into the top 40. I don’t know if TOTP would have played it or not but it went down the chart the following week and the opportunity was lost.

  364. 364
    AndyPandy on 5 Sep 2011 #

    I remember another lost to industrial action in about 1973/74 when they showed a programme comprised purely of Gilbert O’Sullivan songs (promotional type films IIRC) – it bored the arse off me as an 8 year old when I’d tuned in hoping for the usual Slade, Sweet and Gary Glitter.

  365. 365
    punctum on 5 Sep 2011 #

    #363: not actually the case – that programme was cut short because of an FA Cup Final replay (Man U v Brighton); RW and band were on standby to come on the show but in the event it could only go down as far as “In A Big Country” at #34. “Shipbuilding” was at #35 and didn’t go any higher.

  366. 366
    AndyPandy on 5 Sep 2011 #

    From the period in 1976 covered by these re-runs these don’t exist and therefore can’t be shown:

  367. 367
    wichita lineman on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Cheers Andy. Depressingly high proportion. Which really does make me wonder why they started the re-runs in April ’76.

  368. 368
    hardtogethits on 5 Sep 2011 #

    #365. Fascinating story. Do you know to what extent he and his band were on standby? Were they expecting a call (up)? I ask because there were other records which could have got the call ahead of Shipbuilding (or put another way, which could have been selected ahead of In A Big Country). Although, of course, whatever one thinks of “The Rules” and however rigidly one believes they were applied, they only ever ruled records out, and did not rule them in (TOTP did not feel compelled to play Relax or I Just Can’t Stop Loving You even when they were #1s).

    #366. Brilliant – thanks for the comprehensive list. To confirm, these shows were broadcast, but don’t exist in archive: Is that right?

  369. 369
    Erithian on 16 Sep 2011 #

    Wonderful to see Manfred Mann’s Earth Band on this week’s edition – the first gig I ever saw was them supported by Racing Cars later in ’76. Definitely the highlight of the show along with the Whistle Test-esque cartoon they used for the Chi-Lites.

    Martin Cohen, the bassist with 5000 Volts, has posted reminiscences of the band’s TOTP days on a site called Missing Episodes which is well worth a look – http://missingepisodes.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=totp&action=display&thread=5467&page=32 . Such a shame to learn that singer Linda Kelly died in 1998 at the age of just 51.

  370. 370
    lonepilgrim on 16 Sep 2011 #

    TOTP 26th August 1978

    Noel Edmunds – irritating as ever

    Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: OK tune (early outing for Bruce on UK TV?) – this sounded like the original not a TOTP band version
    Bee Gees: great tune, lacklustre dance routine and half the audience made to sit watching
    Robin Sarstedt: ditchwater dull follow on from ‘my resistance is low’
    Acker Bilk: 808 State wannabe
    Chi-Lites – great production combining funky keyboards and horns with swirling strings and insistent vocals – visual goes down the OGWT vintage animation route as noted by Erithian
    James & Bobby Purify – continue the soul theme – marred only by the antics of Ruby Flipper
    Cliff Richard – don’t remember this vaguely Bee Gee like song – not too shabby
    Gallagher & Lyle: pleasant if a bit drippy
    KD & EJ – no vid more Ruby Flipper and dancing audience

  371. 371
    AndyPandy on 16 Sep 2011 #

    I thought (Noel Edmunds and Robin Sarstedt notwithstanding)this was the best so far – even the audience semed to have a bit more life and the dancing appeared at least vaguely in the direction of the ‘proper’ dancing of the ’60s and start of the ’70s shows. In which ironically also featured and wasn’t even that annoying…

    Manfred Mann – no more memories of the summer of 1976 for me as this takes me right back to that autumn and the hour before tea listening to the Capital Hitline on my dad’s radiogram.

    Bee Gees – the half of the audience sitting down but still moving in rhythm (while everyone else dances)is slightly redolent of those at raves who were either too fucked or knackered to remain standing but still couldn’t stop madly nodding to the beat.

    Acker Bilk – got into this via Youtube a year or so ago – they (seemed
    to be loads of South americans and Italians) were biggin’ this up bigtime on there.

    Chi-Lites – surprisingly good cartoon – they used something similar for Silver Convention ‘Get Up And Boogie’ from earlier in this year just before these re-runs started and a decade later for ‘Jack Your Body’ IIRC

    Gallagher & Lyle re the punchline to Noel’s tortuous ‘joke’ – it’s amazing how big and floppy the old pound notes that he was waving were – I know the smaller poundnotes disappeared around 1986/87 but not sure when these were taken out of circulation – possibly about 1978(?). Think I was at secondary school anyway at the time.

  372. 372
    Mark G on 17 Sep 2011 #

    So, I watched the Iplayer 30min version, and knowing that Can were supposed to follow RobStars, it sort of puts Noel’s intro into question..

    His thing about “the wonder of words, listen to these lyrics” cued up Acker here. Did they cue up Can and their ‘robust sexual wanting’?

    Dunno, will have to watch the 40 min repeat and find out…

  373. 373
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Sep 2011 #

    I’d forgotten just how good that Chi-Lites record was. Arrangement is everything. And the OGWT cartoon was marvellous, especially with the very cheeky girly orgasmic squeak at the end of the track.

    Robin Sarstedt looked too smug by half.

    Sue from Ruby Flipper certainly looked like a girl who needed very little encouragement to me. Rather like “The Landlord’s Daughter” from “The Wicker Man”.

    Both Erithian and I had become convinced that Kiki became gradually more interested in Elton as the weeks rolled by and were just wondering if she would tear his kit off this time around when Noel (who was a complete dick from start to finish) pulled the plug on the vid. So we’ll never know. Instead we saw Sue again, which we both agreed was much nicer.

  374. 374
    AndyPandy on 17 Sep 2011 #

    They missed out Can!
    That’s completely ridiculous -is the person in charge of these re-runs a complete idiot just trying to piss as many people off as possible?
    If Sue was the one doing the thrusts at the end of one of the songs this week (when no-one else was) I know just what you both mean!

  375. 375
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Sep 2011 #

    That’ll be her!!

  376. 376
    punctum on 17 Sep 2011 #

    #374: Given that putting on people like Can was (presumably) one of the reasons why BBC4 was set up in the first place, reasons for my signing their save-us petition become fewer and fewer.

    The BBC are a bunch of cowards, treating their audience like two-month-old infants or 95-year-old Victorian ladies who will faint or worse if shown a glimpse of ankle or anything remotely out of the ordinary.

  377. 377
    Mark G on 18 Sep 2011 #

    Eddie and the Hot Rods is on next week!

  378. 378
    Jimmy the Swede on 18 Sep 2011 #

    Don’t bank on it, Mark!

  379. 379
    swanstep on 18 Sep 2011 #

    FWIW, that Can on TOTP clip is available on youtube. The host Edmonds(?) wonders jokingly whether they might make it into the top tin…

  380. 380
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Sep 2011 #

    Last night’s show wasn’t too bad. The highlights/lowpoints for The Swede:

    Eddie and the Hot Rods — You were right, Mark G. And what an opener! This was the shape of things to come, was it not? An awakening!

    The Wurzels — Seriously pushing their luck. And the Whistling Jack Smith rip-off was still to come. Boo!

    Lou Rawls — And you’ll never find (see what I did there?) a deeper voice than that. He makes Barry White sound like Graham Dott. Ruby Flipper accompanied it. This time it was Cherry’s show and very lovely she looked too. Mucky Sue, meanwhile, was shunted away to a raised platform and covered in large blue feathers. Fucking boo!!

    The Rollers — The only thing I can say about that is remembering their nemesis (and my great hero) Johnnie Walker reading a letter out he had sent to him from a Rollers fan after he (Johnnie) had played Dusty’s original. It was on the lines of how dare he play this woman stealing the Rollers’ hit?

    Kiki Dee (having dumped Dwighty finally) — I’d forgotten just what a lovely song this was and how wonderfully Kiki sang it. She also looks delightful and for me, this had been the hightlight of the night.

    Until… Abba, of course — A rather strange little interjection from Saville, who otherwise had a good night, popping up during the first verse to apologise for…erm…interrupting. We were then left to enjoy the girls, both attacking the voacls with gusto. A remarkable pop record indeed.

    Good show on the whole.

  381. 381
    AndyPandy on 23 Sep 2011 #

    Jimmy Saville predicably described Mr Rawls as ‘Loo Rolls’ and you could almost think Ruby Flipper dancing on top of 2 what looked slightly like giant toilet-rolls was some kind of in-joke if it wasn’t TOTP doing it.
    Wasn’t the picture of Jocky Wilson in the 1980s a rare time post-1972 when TOTP attempted subtle humour?

    Noticed Jimmy had groups of nurses from the LGI in Leeds and Stoke Mandeville hospitals the two places he used to do voluntary work so he obviously been giving the tickets out which was pretty good of him.

    Thought the Bay City Rollers was a stark example of how quickly they’d fallen from the peaks in less than a year.

    Didn’t think much of this show aside from Lou Rawls (which was only Ruby Flipper anyway), Abba and I suppose Manfred Mann.

    re The Wurzels I’ve read that the original (more rootsy, folky) Adge Cutler and the Wurzels ‘Drink Up Thee Zider’ barely grazed the Top 50 but sold over 100,000 copies virtually all in the West Country hence it not being a bigger hit nationally.
    Aside from football records (and probably certain Scottish and Welsh records)I wonder if there’s ever been another instance of a record selling so many copies but all in one region.

  382. 382
    Mark G on 23 Sep 2011 #

    Loads of unhits that sold hugely only in Scotland.

    A record could sell only in London, and that would be alright.

    punctum could add a ton to that question…

  383. 383
    chelovek na lune on 30 Sep 2011 #

    DISCO DUCK! I’m speechless. Quite hilarious.

  384. 384
    lonepilgrim on 30 Sep 2011 #

    TOTP 23/09/76

    Tony Blackburn hosts

    Smokie – one of their better songs thanks to a memorable hook, but the verses are insipid
    Wurzels – hideous
    Kiki Dee – great voice, good song
    Bay City Rollers – were they aiming for greater respectability with this cover? Losing the silliness of their earlier hits makes them more anonymous
    Rod Stewart – good song which an alarmingly made-up Rod exploits the hell out of – complete with swaying kids choir
    Disco Duck – efficient groove – dreadful vocal – dance from Ruby Flipper even worse
    Manfred Mann – lively beards
    Drifters – great vocals and arrangement
    Abba – glorious song – love the uncoordinated dance moves from the singers

  385. 385
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Oct 2011 #

    For me, the Smokey track was a dirge and I think the young people surrounding the band seemed to agree.

    Kiki Dee, in the studio this time, was fabulous and I’m afraid that The Swede has developed Kitty Kallen Syndrome (Copyright Lineman, I think) over her. She looks particulary amazing singing this song, which is lovely. A very striking effort.

    Disco Duck was a number one in the US and if you ignore the core of the lyric and the supposed interjecting duck, we are left with a great arrangement, which I would like to think pulled in the sales more than the novelty element. But I’m probably wrong. And as Erithian remarked to me, Flick Colby had a bad day this time. Mucky Sue was doing fine in shorts and a yellow top, grooving away, before the duck element dovetailed into the routine, enveloping everyone, including Mr Blackburn. Not good.

    The Abba gals certainly went their only way on DQ and the routine is magnificent. They hammer it. And is this not such a bloody perfect pop record anyway?

  386. 386
    Erithian on 1 Oct 2011 #

    Or as I put it: “errr, Flick, you know those fabulous costumes you’ve sorted out for the gals tonight? Well, it’s just that there’s this song about a duck…”

  387. 387
    Mark G on 3 Oct 2011 #

    They have added subtitles to these performances!

    They are as approximate as ever they were, “another moonlight” for example. Although I looked away and missed the one for “Blinded by the light” so still don’t know if “little urlyburly gave my anus curly-wurly” is right or not.

  388. 388
    Mark G on 14 Oct 2011 #

    Well, it’s TOTP time again:

    Can get to be the opener after all, and it’s fine to see it (again)

    But now the record that’s “bound” to be number one! Randy Edelman, looking like he was young once!

    Sherbet. Hmmm. Again, it’s ‘inoffensive’ satin jacket mild-rock-pop that got killed off by punk, never to return.

    The Richie Family get represented by Ruby Flipper, and it’s a dance routine without pretensions so fine. Was this the first ‘disco-medley’ hit? It’s a few years before Stars on 45, certainly. A shame, in a way, it was a good enough song to have been able to fill the record without the ‘excerpts’…

    Tina Charles keeping the BBC orchestra in work…

    Jesse Green

    Demis gets another hit single, turns up in-studio to sing it. Gets the BBC orchestra. Bet he regrets it now. (by now I mean in 1976)

    Abba are back to the kiddie disco.

    Um, there seems to be a sense of ‘will this do?’about the production. DLT manages to present the show using a slice of bread as a sidekick.

  389. 389
    wichita lineman on 14 Oct 2011 #

    Randy Edelman. I hated this at the time and was surprised to find that the downtown downbeat guy’s single was actually much worse than I remembered. The muppet voice. The Clayderman frills. Is he trying to get our sympathy? Correct me if I’ve got his story wrong… his wealthy gf goes to work early in the morning, works her ass off, comes home late… while he plays with himself on a “bed of silk and lace” and “soon learn(s) to despise” her. The sponging misogynist.

    Tina Charles dressing herself and doing her own make-up again. Bless. The song is a stinker, though. This, along with the Ritchie Family’s aimless medley before it*, is a reason why so many people had a downer on disco in the seventies; Dance Little Lady is, after all, as much a part of the genre I Want Your Love. She’ll be back with her best hit at the end of the year – in the meantime here’s a much better slice of TC disco

    And apparently that was Cherry’s last bow. Mark Knopfler was obviously a fan and got her out of retirement for this video.

    * “It’s the place to sit in your seat” is hardly a ringing endorsement for the “best disco in town”. Which town was this? Bexhill?

  390. 390
    wichita lineman on 14 Oct 2011 #

    Proof that Tina can’t blame her tent dresses on a stylist: great Biba cape, though

  391. 391
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Oct 2011 #

    I found DLT’s food-themed presentation very annoying.

    Randy Edelman — He may have sung and indeed looked like a muppet (that barnet and them bins were hilarious) but the song, for me, is a nice effort. If Lineman has got the story right, perhaps Karl Pilkinton should cover it.

    Sherbet — Always loved this. Can’t say anything bad about it.

    Richie Family — Yes, Stars on 45…in advance. And Mark’s right. Why did they do it? They had a plesant enough number without all the extras. Good routine from Ruby Flipper and it’s bye-bye Cherry. Not so Mucky Sue, thank goodness.

    Tina Charles — The girl next door tries to boogie at her birthday party. So we can’t boo the dear girl even though the song is rank.

    Dennis — This was fabulous. The bloke is just top. The way he flings his arms wide with a beaming smile to the incredulous kids at the end is pure quality.

    Last gasp for Abba as one of the best number ones of the decade gives way to one of the most mystifying. That’s for next time, folks!

  392. 392
    Lazarus on 14 Oct 2011 #

    Yeah I love that Sherbet song as well. Funnily enough I always thought of it as a summer hit, from around when Clive Lloyd’s men were inflicting the final humiliations on England, but clearly not – although it may have had some early radio plays. Had a curious chart run too – 14-4-8-4-6-8-18. Only dealt in even numbers, those Aussies. Jesse Green, nice little song, with a chorus that Demis Roussos would have been suited to. I don’t recall the Demis song at all and I’m staggered to see that it reached number 2! It hasn’t been favoured by radio over the years. Tina C, not a patch on ILTL obviously, but had a catchy chorus. I don’t suppose we’re going to see the Starland Vocal Band at some point, are we?

  393. 393
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Oct 2011 #

    “Afternoon Delight” is fabulous and was as totally hilarious as it was entirely shameless. On a first listen, one would be forgiven for assuming that it was merely an easy-listening offering from The Johnny Mann Singers. It’s only when you actually listen to what they’re singing that you know that it’s something quite different. And yet I cannot recall any hoo-ha coming from anyone at dear innocent old Auntie. Sky rockets in flight? Afternoon delight indeed! It’s a great record.

  394. 394
    AndyPandy on 14 Oct 2011 #

    I thought this was another pretty good edition (aside from DLT and the overall production standards)how could the show have gone from the happening spectacle of circa 1970-71 to this shite in 5 or so years?

    Can – great to see this on here – finally

    Randy Edelman: one of my all time favourite records – surprised it’s being criticised – good storytelling lyrics, nice tune and piano, good live performance – the disco girls looked pretty entranced. I’ve also understood the story as a bloke in a dead-end job meeting a proto-yuppie-type woman hence the fact that he’s already home when she comes in and catches him packing his stuff -I don’t know if a lot of American factory workers back then worked from 8-4 like they did/do in this country – but anyway she’s obviously working herself to death while he can’t wait to get away from his job so he’s at home by himself a lot of the time feeling insecure and shit waiting for her to come in.

    Sherbet – I remember them doing this on ‘Basil Brush’ at the time and to me its really redolent of Autumn evenings.

    Ritchie Family – the only other early disco medley I can think of is ‘Uptown Festival’ by Shalamar although that’s a few months later.
    All the way from this to all those anonymous white label hardcore medleys like Rawkuts in less than 15 years.

    Tina Charles – iffy song but as usual she gives it her all and the fact that she can actually sing always helps

    Jesse Green – very respectable British production with full disco backing band with him on stage. Flute geezer could have come straight out of MFSB. Bloody cool disco guitarist with short hair and cowboy hat too.

    Demis Roussos – I love this – the man is a legend – and what with Telly Savalas it turns out that 2 of the 70s coolest blokes were both Greeks. I remember Demis sitting down with DLT but in mind over the years it had become transposed to a TOTP Christmas Day edition for some reason.

    Abba – and we got the whole performance for once.

    Think that’s my best so far – nopthing I really disliked.

  395. 395
    hardtogethits on 15 Oct 2011 #

    ooh so much to go at with this week’s episode.

    1. The continuity announcer introduced this by saying words to the effect of “A chance to meet Pan’s People but the competition closing date was 35 years ago”. Then I heard no further mention of the competition. What was I watching? Was the late night re run edited? Or did I get distracted and forget about it later?

    2. Similar vein, how do we know it was Cherry’s farewell appearance?

    3. #389 / Randy Edelman. Gosh, how I laughed; a hilarious description. I wanted to add some funny observations of my own, but just ended up laughing “Yeah…sponging misogynist”.

    HWVR two things:

    a) it seems to me inconceivable Rowlf from the Muppets was not based on Randy Edelman. (I dismiss the reverse as somewhat unlikely),

    b) “I was round in third” is the most cited version of the lyric, but apparently it must be “I was roundin’ third”. In the UK, these days, American English (phraseology, cultural idioms etc) is adopted at the drop of a hat, yet “roundin’ third” has never stuck. What makes me curious is how this slipped under the radar?

    4. Wichita, The Best Disco In Town is NO place to sit in your seat. An equally idle boast, I think, to the one you suggest.

    5. DLT should have identified the problem with his food based presentation: You shouldn’t talk with your mouth full. That this is a matter of practicality not mere manners became apparent with the projectiles that emerged from his hairy face prior to the opening song.

  396. 396
    AndyPandy on 15 Oct 2011 #

    395 – not so much idioms but there are plenty of instances of where the American word has remained resolutely unadopted by British English – even though the article described has only really come to prominence in the last 30 or so years – in the era of mass instant communication when you’d imagine things would have become standardised:

    For example mobile phone (American – cellphone), video recorder (American-VCR), mohican (as in the haircut) (American- mohawk), ghettoblaster (American – boombox) – especially weird those last two as Americans have the Indians and the ghettos described and we don’t).

    ps I haven’t a clue what this ‘misogynist’ interpretation of ‘UUW’ is all about.

  397. 397
    wichita lineman on 15 Oct 2011 #

    He says he despises her. Doesn’t really give a reason – if she shoots kittens for fun Randy neglects to mention it.

  398. 398
    swanstep on 16 Oct 2011 #

    I didn’t know about Edelman’s pop career in the ’70s. In case someone’s not aware of it, Edelman’s been reasonably successful with somewhat cheesy movie/tv soundtracks since, including Bruce and Linda from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which went on to be widely used used in promotions/trailers for other films/shows. Indeed, I recall going to see some movie around 2000 where consecutive pre-film trailers for The Truman Show and some undistinguished Robert De Niro movie used the same rousing Edelman piece. Those 2.5 minutes of music probably paid Edelman’s mortgage several times over; Uptempo Woman not so much. But it only takes one….

  399. 399
    Mark G on 19 Oct 2011 #

    So, it seems the Glitter and the King are to be presented “the way they were” from now on!


  400. 400
    wichita lineman on 19 Oct 2011 #

    No JK for a good eighteen months (from memory) in any case… when he returns with his multi-coloured afro. As for GG, just three months until the breathily “suggestive” It Takes All Night Long, which might furrow a few brows*. I’m not in favour of this selective TOTP history at all, but must admit the bedraggled, tragic looking late-period Rollers the other week made for uncomfortable viewing.

    *or was it on another show? Billy, do you have Jan ’77 TOTP listings?

  401. 401
    hardtogethits on 19 Oct 2011 #

    #400. Gary Glitter was on twice with “It Takes All Night Long” in Jan / Feb 77 (and in June 1977 with “A Little Boogie Woogie…”).

    Jonathan King, Oct 78 with “One For You One For Me”.

  402. 402
    Mark G on 19 Oct 2011 #

    As I said upthread, it was an awful performance of “It only takes a minute” anyway, as he’d varisped the vocal/backing for the record, and could not hit those notes for real.

  403. 403
    anto on 19 Oct 2011 #

    re 400: My main response to the Rollers in close up was who on earth found these guys attractive???? I assume Les McKeown was considered the main looker and he resembles a Raith Rovers full back.

  404. 404
    lonepilgrim on 21 Oct 2011 #

    TOTP from 7th October

    Jimmy Saville sporting an OGWT badge on a Union Flag shirt

    T.Rex – Marc Bolan trying to sound heavy – looking heavy set – did Jimmy Saville make up the ‘in at 42’?
    Pussycat – pleasant song that inexplicably provoked heated debate on Popular a while back
    Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots – efficient groove – hideous vocal and visuals – Cast of Idiots is flattering
    England Dan & John Ford Coley – crazy names – insipid guys
    Jimmy plus some sailors introduce
    Detroit Spinners – wonderful,fantastic groove- even Ruby Flipper couldn’t screw this up
    The Manhattans – smooth soul – interesting comparison with Boyz II Men – this sounds more compelling, more supple, less inhibited
    Paul ‘ubiquitous’ Nicholas – third rate dross – did he have a key to the TOTP studio or compromising photos of the producer? mercifully cut short
    Smokie – memorable hook – sounding good after Paul Nicholas – another reason to hate him
    Jimmy with an old bald bloke with a rictus grin – should we recognise him?
    Abba – genius

  405. 405
    Erithian on 21 Oct 2011 #

    Or, as I texted to the Swede partway through the Manhattans: “Note to Boyz II Men – THIS is how it’s done!”

    Bolan lost a bit of weight and looked rather better by the time of the “Marc” TV series, but sobering to think he had less than a year to live at this point.

    Pussycat we’ve discussed on here; I find that and ED+JFC to be guilt-free pleasures. Heck, didn’t even mind Paul Nicholas that much, he’s never pretending it’s art and this time he’s not even pretending it’s reggae.

    And as I see I mentioned on the Pussycat thread, this was the very week of the first Multi-Coloured Swap Shop!

  406. 406
    Mark G on 21 Oct 2011 #

    #404, no Jim was right about Marc’s “in at 47”.. http://www.chartstats.com/release.php?release=6993 shows that it didn’t go any higher than ‘chart position of death’ 41.

  407. 407
    Lazarus on 21 Oct 2011 #

    Best reason for having Nicholas on was a second helping of Ruby Flipper’s Sue and her blonde pal – earlier seen sporting what must have been the shortest shorts ever seen on TOTP. However, the Flipper won’t be with us much longer.

  408. 408
    Jimmy the Swede on 22 Oct 2011 #

    Nice one, Lazarus. Both Erithian and I will be delighted that Mucky Sue has another panting fan. Undiluted filth, that gal and we’re loving it.. (That’s far enough – Ed)

    Marc B – Distinctly unimpressive outing this time. But, Erithian’s right, it was indeed sad to note that life wouldn’t be a gas for him for much longer.

    Pussycat – More about this very puzzling record next time, perhaps. Middle girl looked quite yummy, though.

    Rick Dees – Still love the arrangement to this, the duck notwithstanding.

    ED+JFC – Yes, they may have names resembling Mark Twain characters but I for one liked them. And liked this.

    Paul Nicholas – I could be wrong but I seem to recall he did this one on the Sooty show, which probably is less detrimental to Mr Nicholas than it is to me for watched having watched The Sooty Show as a 15 year-old. Although this was only because I had a thing for Mucky Soo.. (You’re skating on thin ice here, Swede – Ed)

    Smokie – Not smoking for me at all, I’m afraid. Just lifeless and dull.

    Manhattans – I don’t know about Boyz II Men. But one or two of these Manhattan lads should have gone to Specsavers as well as the barbers. Cheesy wee song too.

    Abba – Faultless.

    Detroit Spinners – I remember buying this record. The Pilgrim describes it as “a wonderful fantastic groove”. And so it is. And it has to be said that it wasn’t a “band” but another rubber object I was thinking of whilst staring at Mucky Sue… (Right. That’s it. You’re barred – Ed)

  409. 409
    wichita lineman on 24 Oct 2011 #

    T Rex: Why don’t I recognise this at all? How queer. Mildly impressed by the very ’76 pub rock chops (had Dr Feelgood scored their no.1 album by this point?), more impressed by Marc’s 80s-anticipating make-up.

    Pussycat: Swede, you dawg. They are not lookers, and the song is so dull, so very dull.

    Rick Dees: much less fun without Cherry. Doesn’t this kind of novelty record normally suggest a pop trend in its terminal phase?

    ED+JFC “I’m not talking ’bout the linen, and I don’t want to change your whites”. An MOR, cheap date classic, masquerading as a Daz advert.

    Detroit Spinners: Great record, great stripy outfits (I see no shorts, only knicks). According to wiki it was written by Thom Bell about his overweight son, and was sung by Lynda Carter on the Muppet Show. MUST SEE!

    Manhattans: First a hit, with a mindblowingly fierce vocal, for Timi Yuro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPy-Memj0vE and was also one of the better moments in a mid 70s Elvis set http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLLEZMTqjDg
    both of which (much as I’m a soft soul softie) make the Manhattans seem desperately limp. This was a soundalike follow-up to their US no.1/UK no.4 Kiss And Say Goodbye.

    Paul Nicholas: What is this music meant to be? I mean, really?? At least two more uber-chipper identical sounding PN hits to come! Gawdelpus.

    Smokie: Can’t keep up with the storyline, and the chorus does sound like “John and Sean’s wee swee will never be” which makes it clear as mud, but I’m impressed by the hanging chad ending and the cod Euro arrangement.

    Abba: Look at Frida. She’s so happy that, out of all the girls in the world, she got to sing Dancing Queen.

  410. 410
    Erithian on 24 Oct 2011 #

    Wichita: yes, the date for “Stupidity” entering the album chart at number one was 9 October 1976, so it would have been the very week this TOTP was broadcast (7 October). And we’re only a fortnight away from the release of “New Rose”, not that that’ll get on the show.

  411. 411
    wichita lineman on 24 Oct 2011 #

    Same week?? Well, that doesn’t account for the production but clearly there was something in the air. Something to replace disco, if Disco Duck was the canary (?) in the coalmine. Tortuous. Soz.

  412. 412
    wichita lineman on 28 Oct 2011 #

    Tonight’s show:

    Last appearance of Ruby Flipper, also their sauciest. But what a tease… dancing to Wild Cherry, two weeks after Cherry left the show.

    Tavares – literally caught in a Disco Inferno. American film stock looks antique next to the clean, flat BBC footage.

    David Essex – oh, I love this. From his urban (as in Canning Town) concept album and near-masterpiece, Out In The Streets. Coming Home was in the chart when McDonalds opened in Croydon, only the third in the country (after Woolwich and Victoria). I went with my family and my friend Pete’s family – it was a proper night out. Me and Pete amused ourselves by messing with the lyric to Coming Home so it incorporated the legend “apple pie – caution: filling is hot”. It seemed like a hilarious and entirely unnecessary “caution” to an 11-yr old. Thin end of the health and safety wedge. Blame Hamburglar.

    Liverpool Express – very disappointing follow up to the narcotic delights of You Are My Love. A merseybeat re-run which, without the LX echo chamber and Fender Rhodes, is ok and no more.

    Simon May – a home counties Macarthur Park, hence very me. Twinkle once told me that, when they were both working at ATV Music, she found Simon May with his ear to her keyhole trying to pinch her melodies. But she didn’t claim to have written the C4 jingle or EastEnders theme which made May a wealthy man.

    Pussycat – it dawned on me tonight that I have no idea what Mississippi is about. What music are they mourning the loss of exactly? Country music dead? In 1976?? “Forever lost in soul” – not with Don Williams and Billie Jo Spears it wasn’t.

  413. 413
    punctum on 28 Oct 2011 #

    Or indeed with Emmylou Harris and the Highwaymen.

  414. 414
    hardtogethits on 28 Oct 2011 #

    Did you know David Dundas – another TOTP 1976 alumnus – wrote the original four-note Channel 4 jingle? It surprises me this hasn’t been mentioned upthread, but nevertheless it doesn’t appear to have been.

  415. 415
    wichita lineman on 28 Oct 2011 #

    I thought that was Simon May? Well I never! Dundas also wrote Daybreak — aka the start up music for TV-am.

    May wrote a couple of hits that Lena will be dealing with in time: Born With A Smile On My Face by my favourite glamorous leftie Stephanie De Sykes*, and More Than In Love by Kate Robbins which I recall exercising Tony Blackburn at the time. “More than in love? You’re in love! How can you be MORE than in love?” he fumed.

    * except Camila Vallejo of course:


  416. 416
    Lazarus on 28 Oct 2011 #

    I’d forgotten all about Simon ‘Eastenders’ May’s hit – but I thought it sounded like a cheap “Music” knock-off – especially with the uptempo instrumental break and orchestral backing. He wasn’t much of a singer was he – no surprise he was more in demand as a producer/arranger.

    Yes, the last of the Flipper, and it seems to have been downsized from seven to five anyway, but some or all of the gals will make it into Leg and Co.

  417. 417
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Oct 2011 #

    A very weak show this time, I think.

    Tavares – A reasonable opener to a grainy footage. The guy at the end was the spit of the great Light-Heavyweight champion Bob Foster, who knocked Chris Finnegan out in London. Knew you’d be fascinated by that!

    I simply couldn’t remember the David Essex record at all. He was smiling very girlishly and was cleary still in his teeny-bopper orbit. But Theartreland was soon to claim him.

    Sherbet (again) but I for one am not complaining. Howzat? Not out! Great stuff!

    Simon May looked worthy of a dry slap.

    Liverpool Express – Back again? Did these numpties have shares? Go away!

    The Flips dancing to Wild Cherry – The highlight of the show for me beyond any doubt. Mucky Sue and the gals in split skirts displaying garters bounding along to one of the best records of the seventies. You do the maths!

    Pussycat – One of the great mystery number ones of the decade. And Lineman’s right. What the devil is this song about and do we care?

    An unobtrusive showing from Diddy. But doesn’t he just love the girls!

  418. 418
    Waldo on 29 Oct 2011 #

    May I offer again for perusal the comment I originally made concerning “Mississippi” when we discussed the record over three years ago? The reason being, the little tale I relate is most certainly pertinent to the ’76 charts we have now reached on the TOTP broadcasts.

    “By this stage of the game, Johnnie Walker, whom regular Popular pilgrims will recognise as a Waldo idol, along with Jack Regan (fictional) and Gerald Ford (also fictional), had been replaced by the much more servile Paul Burnett, who even so wasn’t a bad lad. Twas Paul who introduced a simple but extremely popular competition aligned to the chart rundown every Tuesday. This “Top Three Forecast” offered what was then a fabulous prize. It was record tokens, which would enable the winner to either purchase the Top 20 Singles (or 20 singles) or else a number of albums to the same value. I sent in a card every week, as did Martin, a boy in my own form at school, who was to become a career copper in the Met. I was destined much later to follow him into Law Enforcement but a different Agency. On one particular week during October 1976, my top three prediction was that “Mississippi” by Pussycat would remain at the top with numbers two and three swapping places, hardly an earth shattering guess. Indeed it was not, because I was spot on, as was most of Britain, I would suspect. I was at home having lunch before returning to school when the result was announced and I kid you not, sweet little Waldo won it! I received the tokens along with a message from Derek Chinnery, Controller of Radio One and I decided to pick and mix both singles and albums, one of which was Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life”, Stevie’s finest hour for me and something which being a double album would certainly have been out of my reach without this good fortune. Back at school, I predictably attracted congratulations and envy in equal measure. I remember Martin saying to me; “I always enter that. Why can’t I ever win that?” I looked at him and said: “You’ll probably win it next week!” It was a throwaway line, of course, but bugger me, he bloody well did! The very next week! To put this into perspective is almost unbelievable. Two boys in the exact same form at school winning back to back prizes on what was then Britain’s premier national radio station. It doesn’t seem possible but that’s exactly what happened.

    As for “Mississippi”, I felt that this was simply a Dutch Eurovision reject which struck lucky. How did it spend a month at the top? I quite liked the girl who sang it but the monumental success of this record provided a mystery to which, I fancy, I shall never have an answer. But that astonishing business with the Top Three Forecast will always make it for me distinctly memorable.

    Happy Days!”

  419. 419
    lonepilgrim on 29 Oct 2011 #

    This seems as good a place as any to say Jimmy Saville R.I.P.

  420. 420
    Erithian on 29 Oct 2011 #

    Amen to that Pilgrim. Without exposure to our pop heritage from Sir Jimmy’s Sunday afternoon shows, many of us might not be here on this website. A real national treasure, who was there right at the start of things with discos and TOTP. Thanks from all the guys and gals.

  421. 421
    thefatgit on 30 Oct 2011 #

    The passing of a legend in the truest sense of the word. I have many fond memories of listening to Jimmy Saville’s Old Record Club, discovering old hits for the 1st time or even the 100th time. Jimmy made each hit he played feel like a gift. Even the “open brackets…close brackets” seemed more significant. He was more than a DJ when I heard him, more like a curator who made sure we knew all the little details were correct and in order.

    Then there was TOTP. No need for any bland DJ patter or bad jokes, just pure enthusiasm for all those wonderful performers. We’ll not see his like again.

  422. 422
    Alan not logged in on 30 Oct 2011 #

    The things you find when googling stuff

    http://panspeople.com/ but about all TOTP dance troupes

    (googling ENTIRELY INNOCENT stuff i might needlessly add)

  423. 423
    Jimmy the Swede on 30 Oct 2011 #

    May I add my own loving tribute to Jim and echo the sentiments appended above. He was a true one-off and a true pioneer. An oddball? Well, yes, of course. But Jim did so much good and gave so much pleasure to so many folk. And also, as Erithian says, it was largely down to Jim that we are all here on this site. I would certainly like to think that someone in another place has fixed something wonderful for him. A marvellous man.

  424. 424
    swanstep on 30 Oct 2011 #

    Since the Pussycat, Mississippi comments section is closed for some reason, I’ll add here that I just checked and Mississippi spent 10 weeks at #1 in NZ (not notably in Eurovision’s orbit apart from Abba). They got a second big hit in 1977 when My Broken Souvenirs spent 5 weeks at #1. Listening to these songs now that’s very hard to understand: neither has much character that I can discern. They make soft countryish stuff from the time by the Eagles, Olivia Newton John, Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, seem pretty fierce by comparison (and none of them hit nearly as big as Pussycat with that stuff on the singles chart). The Pop gods are strange…

  425. 425
    AndyPandy on 30 Oct 2011 #

    Being the pioneer of the use of two decks is enough to elevate him to legend status but he was so much more than that – and he remained a truly unique presence in British popular culture for the best part of 5 decades.
    He came past me in his Roller on a roundabout in north Leeds one Sunday morning a few years back, driving leant low down across his seat hand on top of wheel as laid back as it gets – he really was the larger than life “Jimmy Saville” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
    The death of a celebrity hasn’t made such a big impact on me since Michael Jackson.
    RIP Jimmy.

  426. 426
    Lazarus on 3 Nov 2011 #

    I did wonder if there would be a memorial to Jimmy on tonight’s programme, I missed the start but I didn’t see one – and I guess these are untouched repeats anyway. Something for another time.

    John Miles: I don’t recall this at all but really liked it and I’m beginning to think he may be a great lost talent – might start checking some of his stuff out.

    AWB: I only vaguely remember this (was it a hit?) and if I’d known it was them would have marked it down for a non/minor hit like “Atlantic Avenue.” Debut of the new dancers (some of whom had been in Ruby Flipper). Is this the first time Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart has introduced in this series?

    Climax Blues Band: a classic one-hit wonder, somewhere between the Eagles and Dr Feelgood.

    As for the Pussycat dolls, the singer’s blonde hair is much too long and the gap between her teeth puts me off (Sally Thomsett was sexier), the middle one seemed promising but on closer inspection looked like Jade Goody with longer hair; and the third was a rather bored-looking redhead. Was that boat used again in the “Karma Chameleon” video?

    About “Sailing” there’s surely nothing left to be said.

  427. 427
    Waldo on 4 Nov 2011 #

    Good, if rather stiff, performance from Stewpot, whom I met at a benefit cricket match at the Oval at about this time. I remember being cheeky about Everton, his professed footy team.

    Steve Harley – A record not known at this address.

    Dennis – In his orbit. Magnificent!

    Paul Nicholas once more – Dancing with the captain? Thank God it was soon be friggin’ in the riggin’ instead of this rubbish.

    Rod – Interesting footage of the Arc Royal and of gorgeous Britt.

    And then we have an introduction to the Gals, some new, others (including Mucky Sue) already known to us. And they speak!! What to call them, though? Ed announces a competition. I seem to remember suggesting “Waldo’s Wet Dreamers”…

    John Miles – A very underrated fellow. Talent in abundance. He’s still about, latterly touring with Tina Turner.

    Waldo’s Wet Dreamers perform to the AWB, one of Scotland’s greatest exports. Fabulous track and brilliant routine from the Gals.

    Climax Blues Band – What a treat! A sublime track from surely the best named band in history!

    Pussycat – I refer Hon Members to the reply I gave earlier. An inexplicable number one. And the fact that it was introduced by Joe Bugner (what the fuck was he doing there?) just adds to the whole Alice in Wonderland element of its presence at the top of our charts and others at points world-wide. Bonkers!

    Not a bad show this time.

  428. 428
    Mark G on 8 Nov 2011 #

    Did a caption come up saying “Competition is closed” ?

  429. 429
    Davyboyb on 8 Nov 2011 #

    #42 What?!!! It’s closed? What a waste of a stamp. I’m calling offcom to complain right this minute.

  430. 430
    hardtogethits on 8 Nov 2011 #

    I think I finally got an answer to the Q I posed at 395.

    I infer BBC4 got all mixed up and made the pre-show announcement (about the competition closing date having passed) a few weeks before they broadcast the show with the competition in it – perhaps the announcement was made in the week in 2011 which corresponded to the date of the episode in which the competition was first broadcast in 1976?

    Because we’re still being shown October 1976, aren’t we?

  431. 431
    AndyPandy on 17 Nov 2011 #

    On my travels today noticed that Jimmy James & the Vagabonds appear to be playing The Soul Lounge (well his name was in big letters on a poster outside) in Barnsley someone at work also reckons he’s just played in Birdwell (a nearby village) too so obviously still regular concerts – not bad for a 71 year old!
    Wonder if he’ll do ‘Now Is The Time’?

  432. 432
    lonepilgrim on 19 Nov 2011 #

    TOTP 27th October 1976

    Tonight’s show felt like some kind of weird time capsule from a largely forgotten age of feather or bubble cuts, satin bomber jackets and tight cap-sleeve t-shirts – little sense of pop as music by young people –

    Tony Blackburn his usual sunny self

    Alan Price – efficient but unengaging

    Chicago – beautiful arrangement, but awful visuals

    TB joined by ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton for some shennanigans

    Leo Sayer – almost invents robotic dancing

    Joan Armatrading – exquisite

    Lalo Schifrin -Theme from Jaws – dancers in wetsuits – nothing to see here, move along Jimmy/Waldo – great piece of music

    Simon May – so drippy, made Chicago sound punk

    Wild Cherry – wonderful sounds, slightly disturbing visuals

    Pussycat – pleasantly anonymous country-lite – inexplicably still at number 1

  433. 433
    Waldo on 20 Nov 2011 #

    Alan Price – Can’t recall it.

    Chicago – This was the week I sent in my card to Radio One which was to win the Top Three Forecast comp. I simply swapped 2 and 3 around (Dennis and Chicago) and left Pussycat at the top. Chicago then toppled the Dutch loons the following week. Incidently, it was good to see Tony B confirming that “If You Leave Me Now” had indeed been one of his records of the week, as I remembered when we discussed this particular record. I’m glad I got that right.

    Leo Sayer – Not really for for me back then or now. Tidily constructed little pop song, though.

    Joan A – Truly wonderful. Should have been massive. Why wasn’t it? Answers on a postcard (see what I did there?)

    The Gals in wetsuits bound around to Lalo Schifrin’s Jaws theme. And Mucky Sue does a solo at the end. Thank you, God. A tragically panting Waldo owes you one, buddy!

    Simon May – This time you simply knew that it was one of Tony’s records of the week. “Drippy” is right. Liquid Dairylea, more like. Man alive, it’s dreadful!

    Wild Cherry – You can’t accuse these lads of not going for it. Grade A sound forever.

    Pussycat – The gals had been glammed up a bit and the Sally Thomsett one looked okay to me. But really, what the f—?!

    Blackburn was fine and a cameo for that horny wee devil Diddy too.

  434. 434
    AndyPandy on 20 Nov 2011 #

    This must have been the first major incursion into the national consciousness of the disco-pop Leo Sayer (as opposed to the earlier singer-songwritery one)- from here on and throughout 1977 and into 1978 you couldn’t get away from him on either the telly or radio.

  435. 435
    thefatgit on 22 Nov 2011 #

    Andrea True of “More More More” fame has passed on. Here seems a good place to remember her.

  436. 436
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Nov 2011 #

    So this week’s show then (Noel Edmonds presides…)

    Showaddywaddy – On the way to the top. Very little to criticise here. And the way they kept changing suits midway through the number! How did they do that?! Astonishing! Modern technology! Wow!!

    Manhattans – Standard mushy melted cheesy fare for the time. Grim swaying dance formation and the obligatory spoken middle bit by the guy with the Voice of the Mysterons.

    Aha! Then the Gals appear through a misty haze to the strains of the Leader of the Opposition’s groovier brother, Steve. Mucky Sue inevitably stars, with that blank glassy stare of hers which is so captivating to The Swede. She is given another minor solo, which seems to confirm that there were many like-minds back in the day who wrote in and said so.

    The Who – Masterclass, obv. But ten years old.

    Bonnie Tyler – Yum Yum! She looks stunning. And who wouldn’t have wanted to be lost in France with that? Or even Swansea? Wonderful performance too.

    Tavares – Well, fair enough but an awful footage. And what was Don King doing there?

    Climax Blues Band – Brilliant all day long.

    Then…three members of Chicago appear for a quick awkward chat with Noel. First in line was Terry “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded” Kath just over a year away from his ludicrous death (see Waldo entry on “If You Leave Me Now” blog). The band had obviously been jetted over in anticipation of being No. 1 but those pasky Pussycats kept them off for one more week. They didn’t say a lot before the opening strains of “Mississippi” cut over them and then an obsequious Edmonds came out with a beauty. After announcing that he hoped his guests would be top next week, he said (something like) “And so good luck to Chicago, which is nowhere near the Mississippi..” Oh, is it not? I think you’ll find it flows through Illinois, Edmonds, you ignorant pillock. I hope Terry Kath put him right!

    And then Pussycat for the final time – I’ll never get over how peculiar this was and how it was such a huge hit. Strange Dutch girls singing a strange country song. Something out of nothing and quite bonkers! Cheery-bye!

  437. 437
    Lazarus on 25 Nov 2011 #

    I had no idea (or if I did know, had completely forgotten) that “Substitute” was a hit again in 1976. The band were quite high-profile I suppose, with the “Tommy” film out the year before – but this doesn’t feature in it does it? And “Quadrophenia” was another two or three years away I believe. Anyone know what the impetus was for this re-release?

  438. 438
    Snif on 27 Nov 2011 #

    According to an entry over on The Word magazine’s forum…

    “Interesting story behind this reissue: the ‘Oo were already on their third greatest hits, following on from the patchy Direct Hits and one-of-the-best-hits-albums-ever, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy.

    Following the Tommy movie, and in the absence of new material, it was time for a double retrospective, The Story of the Who, complete with TV ads and an exploding jukebox on the cover. Failure to include the original Brunswick hits (I Can’t Explain, My Generation etc) meant that this was a second-rate and tawdry cash-gathering exercise, but Substitute was put out on a 12″ single, with I’m a Boy on the B, and in the absence of other interest, it soared into the chart.”

    see more here

  439. 439
    Lazarus on 27 Nov 2011 #

    Thanks for that link – took me over half an hour to read the thread, but it was time well spent.

  440. 440
    Mark G on 28 Nov 2011 #

    Yeah, the Who “Substitute” re-release was the first 12″ single released in the UK.

    There were others imported from the USA (I remember, and indeed own now, a copy of “Strawberry Letter 23” the Brothers Johnson), but these would cost around a fiver at least.

  441. 441
    Davyboyb on 29 Nov 2011 #

    #436 I’m glad you mentioned the Showaddywaddy suit changing thing…funny how 1976’s “magic of TV” looks a lot like 2011’s bad continuity.

    Also even though Chicago weren’t number one why not at least have the song on the show, after they’d gone to all the trouble of getting them in?

  442. 442
    Mark G on 29 Nov 2011 #

    What, as a live performance? Because they weren’t all there, possibly.

    Or, that they weren’t there to do the statutory “re-record the backing track then switch it” business.

  443. 443
    wichita lineman on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Intriguing mixed bag of largely forgotten follow-ups and a one hit wonders:

    Kursaal Flyers – Somewhere there must have been pushing for Pub Rock: Eddie and the Hot Rods opened the (now wiped) show a week before. Here we have Southend’s least wanted. The TOTP arrangement makes Little Does She Know sound like a dessicated Wizzard. There’s a Kursaal Flyers tour doc, which is the single most dispiriting pop documentary ever made. You’d have lost the will to live being in this band (though the drummer at least realises this TOTP appearance is as good as his life’s ever gonna get – JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE!)

    Dr Hook – the lyric to this was used by the “self-styled” Crossbow Cannibal as his Guardian Soulmates profile.

    [must mention Jimmy Savile in a Rangers/Celtic shirt … I remember seeing this in Shoot! at the time in a feature about clubs merging (a big non-league trend as the recession hit hard). No reference from JS as to why he’s wearing it, which makes it doubly impressive]

    Billy Ocean – while his trousers are tight enought to scare the cameramen into an Elvis waist-up scenario, Billy looks like he’s been squeezed into one of Our Kid’s costumes. I assume that’s not the effect he was going for. The song is so dull I can’t believe it was a Top 20 hit. Goodwill after Love Really Hurts and L.O.D., I suppose, but it sounds hard to dance to.

    Be Bop Deluxe – nice, accidentally festive outfits from Legs & Co for a December 1st re-run 35 yrs later – white bootees, bits of tinsel and, err, that’s it. Mucky Sue gets a lot of the camera, gives us plenty of hair-shaking action, and looks all out of breath at the end. As for BBD, I’d never heard this and it sounds like a grower: Who-like dynamics, nice and short, but having said that I can’t remember how it goes.

    Cliff Richard – nice bit of falsetto is all there is to recommend this. Hey Mr Dream Maker is a plodder that reckons itself.

    Abba – for anyone who doesn’t understand why Abba weren’t universally loved at the time, two of the three hits they’ve had during this TOTP run are Fernando and Money Money Money. Schlager schlager schlager. I don’t like either, and the money-obsessed lyric and Jewish melody of MMM is an uncomfortable combo.

    Elton John – funny how, having sat through Gilbert O, John Miles, Randy Edelman et al doing their piano confessionals, context makes Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word somehow LESS impressive than I was expecting. This may partially explain why a latterday standard only got to no.11 in a pretty weak year. Still it’s an impressive live performance, for once, just Elton and piano. And considerably better than the “wadda gadda do” version which will be troubling Popular in a few years.

    Chicago – as part of the ’68-in-76 thread, this could easily be the Association or New Colony Six in their pomp. Even the arrangement with its restrained muted horns sounds closer to the Buckinghams than Wild Cherry, or even earlier Chicago. Well, it’s lovely, just as long as you don’t have to look at Peter Cetera and his incredible ‘do. The performance suggests they knew this was a number one the second it was recorded.

  444. 444
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Last night’s show. And now then, now then, it’s Jim…

    Kursaal Flyers to open – I always loved this. Great fun. Wonderful lyric about underwear and detergent etc. I wonder if the swaying teens took any of it in. The line about the girl racing across the street like a hare was quite dotty too.

    Doctor Hook – Not dissimilar in content really. Who’s going to iron my shirt? Who’s going to want me in bed? Bonkers.

    Billy Ocean – Stop him if you’ve heard it all before. Okay, Bily. We’ll stop you.

    Aha! Now here come the recently but for us suddenly-named Legs and Co. The Gals are grooving to Hot Valves by Be Bop Deluxe. And those oufits… Jesus! And that routine… Oh, Mumma! And a breathless pant at the end from Mucky Sue. Too much! The Swede has really got to stop watching this!

    But then the perfect antidote. It’s Cliff with an instantly forgetable piece of dross. For me a very weak effort.

    Abba – MMM. Not as mighty as DQ, obv, but once again an exceptional pop song and the gals still look forever lush.

    Elton’s up next and Reg is solo on piano doing “Sorry…Word”. A great performance here with zero arrangement. It helps that this is (at least for me) one of his finest tracks.

    Squaring up for the number one now. And did Jim really pinch that young girl’s botty?…

    Chicago. A tremendous effort, quite rightly topping the poll.

    Not a bad show but dear God, how we badly needed something new on the scene. Where ever would it come from?..

  445. 445
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Well, wherever it’s coming from, it won’t be here for a while yet! (The Hot Rods proved to be a false dawn in a way, come back in May or thereabouts!)

    The Kursaal Flyers were massively touted as the next ‘big thing’, along with Racing Cars. Boy, there was a band inappropriately named!

  446. 446
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Actually, Mark, I must correct you. “It” was already here. The Bill Grundy interview had gone out on Wednesday 1st December, which I am guessing was the day before this episode of TOTP was broadcast and the very same evening that it was actually recorded. Obviously only those of us who were living in London saw the now historic footage going out live, as it was on a regional news programme but allow me to assure you that it was one hell of a wake-up call to many of us who were teens back in the day, stroppy or otherwise.

  447. 447
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2011 #

    ah yeah, I meant as far as TOTP was concerned.

    I didn’t watch the “Today” show that day as I’d already seen them on Nationwide.

  448. 448
    wichita lineman on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Also, weren’t those “I hate Tony Blackburn” and “I hate Diddy David Hamilton” t shirts a copy of Johnny R’s “I hate Pink Floyd” one? It had been written about by Nov 76 (can’t think where but one of yous lot will know). First punk-inspired TOTP happening and it was Diddy wot did it.

    Re 446: But I think we’re a little out of sequence and a few weeks behind, aren’t we? So Bill Grundy won’t have happened yet.

  449. 449
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Dec 2011 #

    It is a bit confusing, Wichita, but we’re either pretty much in line with December 1st or not too far away from it. Not “a few weeks”, I don’t think.

    I’ll never forget the uproar the Grundy thing caused the next morning in the ever-timid tabloids. Ridiculous really. And when you see the clip today, Steve Jones, who was the guy who really kicked off (such as it was), just looks a pillock. Certainly today’s vintage of youngsters would view it all with mild curiosity, nothing more.

  450. 450
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2011 #

    #448, No, the Eddie and the Hot Rods’ guitarist wore a “Punk” t-shirt on their appearance, a few months prior to this.

    Not counting Slik’s “The Kid’s a Punk” prior to even that. Midge Ure, apparently was ‘mortified’ that Martin/Coulter could assume/opportune this new youth movement and get it so wrong. Didn’t stop them continuing to play it live on their tour publicising “Don’t take your love away” in 1977 though.

  451. 451
    wichita lineman on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Mortification after the fact, I’d guess. I can’t believe Bill Martin was that on the ball. It’s not like he wrote a slew of skateboard songs in 1977.

    You’re dead right with the ‘Rods though. Logo of the US mag, as I think was mentioned a while back on this verrrry long thread.

    Swede, you’re right too. Could’ve sworn the ‘Waddy hit no.1 in November. They must have been mighty close to getting the Xmas no.1.

  452. 452
    punctum on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Elton gave a much more powerful solo performance of “Sorry” on that year’s Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show, which both Lena and I agree is one of the weirdest programmes to appear on television this side of “Fall Out.”

    Skateboard songs? Anyone remember “L.A. Run” by the “Carvells” from the following year, a.k.a. John Carter (who also put out a single in ’77 – possibly under the First Class banner – called “Too Many Golden Oldies” which to put it mildly was mistimed)?

  453. 453
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2011 #

    A quick Google and yep, you are right it’s there on Youtube.

    There was “Who stole my skateboard?” by The Photos. Also, something about “He’s my Skateboard hero” by Lucy Lastic, which is forward looking (subject matter) and ancient (the nomdeplume) at the same time…

  454. 454
    Erithian on 2 Dec 2011 #

    The original broadcast date for this edition was 25 November 1976, thus the week before the Pistols interview. As most of you will know, Queen were originally scheduled to appear on the show but pulled out, and it was EMI plugger Eric Hall, later to become the archetypal football agent, who had the idea of getting the Pistols in as a replacement (“a monster, monster plug”). Hadn’t realised until the other day that Bill Grundy’s co-host was none other than Eamonn Andrews – wonder what would have happened if he’d taken the interview?

    So Showaddywaddy hit number one in the chart announced on Tuesday 30 November, making Wichita right but only just!

    The Hot Rods had supported the Kursaal Flyers on tour in early ’76, and the article announcing the tour was the first time the phrase “new wave” had been used in Record Mirror.

  455. 455
    wichita lineman on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Re 452: A pedant writes: LA Run was the work of Alan Carvell, hence the band name. It turned up on K-Tel’s Disco Stars alongside the futuristic likes of Meco’s Star Wars and Hot Choc’s Put Your Love In Me.

    John Carter DID do a skateboard 45 but the title escapes me and I don’t have my superbook of superpop facts to hand. So instead can I recommend a cracking ’77 John Carter-written single, The Sound Of Summer by Starbreaker? Very unseasonal, I’m sorry.


    Must check that Morecambe & Wise Show…

    Re 454: Phew! I’m struggling in my old age, but clinging on. That ‘New Wave’ ref is fascinating. Can anyone think of an earlier one? Might have mentioned this before but I saw the term ‘indie’ used to describe Modern English (their music, that is) in a 1981 Record Mirror review. Thinking that might be a first, too.

  456. 456
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2011 #

    Funnily enough, I did see in Record Collector, a reference to a Donnie Elbert single on “New Wave” records, 1968 or so..

  457. 457
    AndyPandy on 2 Dec 2011 #

    *I was far too young for punk (besides being probably the most un-punk person who posts on here) but I do remember the next day my friend came into school and told me about this outrageous pop group who’d been on ‘Today’ saying “fuck” etc the night before – of course I didn’t believe him so he said go and look in the papers and sure enough that evening I spent an interesting few minutes reading the ‘Sun’ getting itself all worked up.

    **This would have been the last ‘Top Of The Pops’ before the Bill Grundy
    appearance as the 1/12/76 was a Wednesday, the next TOTP was broadcast the day all the shock/horror headlines were out.

    ***It’s amazing how quickly everyone (even your granny) heard about punk rock though as I believe Charlie Drake’s cash-in single (and another similar cash-in record) both came out before Christmas 1976. And then there was Bruce Forsyth quickly appearing on the ‘Generation Game’ with a rock and a safety-pin which he described as ‘punk rock’.

    ****Quite interested in the first actual printed reference to musical terms – as I may have said on here before’Northern Soul’ is a rare example of a term being unarguably pinned down – to a Dave Godin column in 1970 in ‘Blues and Soul’ although he’d had it as a section in his London record shop since 1968.

    I’d be interested in the first printed references to ‘acid house’ ‘rave/ravin’ (in post-mid-80s context) and ‘hardcore’ (earliest for this I know is the tune ‘Hardcore Hip House’ by Tyree from 1988/89).

    I suppose the expression ‘new wave’ had been used for years (eg French ‘New Wave’ films)in many different contexts.

    *****Thought that the Abba video they used to show for ‘Money Money Money’ was different than that with pictures of coins interspersed with the group.

    ******That Carvells record “(Ride My Skateboard Down) “The LA Run” is due an appearance on TOTP in 1977 I remember it well.

  458. 458
    Erithian on 3 Dec 2011 #

    “Sounds”, which invested in punk more than most through Jonh Ingham and Giovanni Dadomo (whom Marcello and Sukrat may well remember) took great pleasure in covering the mainstream papers’ awakening to punk. They highlighted a Sunday People story and photo a week or two before the Grundy interview which read (IIRC): “Here’s the latest pop craze – and it’s SCARY. You’re looking at a Punk Rocker – the shocking new youth cult. The fad has sprung up in Wales [sic] where kids follow bands like Sex Pistol [sic]…”. Sounds’ comment: “how long before this shocking new cult reaches London we wonder?!”

  459. 459
    wichita lineman on 3 Dec 2011 #

    Re 457: Likewise, the points at which hardcore, breakbeat, jungle, and drum n bass were coined.

    Re 452: The John Carter skateboard single was Sidewalk Johnny by the Southbank Wheels. It’s on the Cherry Red John Carter comp A Rose By Any Other Name. Or a single on Epic, which will probably set you back £2.50.

  460. 460
    enitharmon on 3 Dec 2011 #

    Ha! It tickles me endlessly that my CD ripping software of choice invites me to tag a recording with any number of tags for electronica of the 1990s onwards but (ab)uses only one tag, Classical, for everything from Schütz to Schoenberg! Such balkanisation of music can’t be healthy, surely?

    (At last I contribute to this ultramarathon thread – anybody would think 1976 was a vintage year for pop, which it wasn’t.)

  461. 461
    Jimmy the Swede on 3 Dec 2011 #

    The Morecambe and Wise Christmas business with Elton was indeed most odd. The sketch involved Eric and Ernie dressed as old lady cleaners who plonk themselves down on a couple of seats inside a theatre. The stage has a piano on it and Elton enters and figuring that there was no audience, sits down and sings “Sorry”, whilst Eric and Ernie watch in silence. As Marcello says, the performance is extremely powerful but it’s all very bloody strange.

    As Erithian notes, Grundy’s co-presenter that infamous evening was indeed Eamonn Andrews. Dear Eamonn may have been known best for his “twinkle-in-the-eye” charm but he had also been one of the finest amateur heavyweight boxers ever to have come out of 1950s Ireland, not exactly a mamby-pamby qualification. My own take is that the former quality would have prevented the bunfight in the first place. But had Jonesy still kicked off, the latter quality may well have caused Mr Andrews to have spread him and the smug, lounging Lydon all over the studio and the history of punk well well have been sufficiently altered.

  462. 462
    punctum on 3 Dec 2011 #

    Then again, we might have had to marvel in wonder at PiL’s version of “The Shifting Whispering Sands”…

  463. 463
    Mark G on 5 Dec 2011 #

    Well, that’d just be “Religion 1” with new lyrics.

  464. 464
    Erithian on 15 Dec 2011 #

    And another star of 1976 TOTPs leaves the stage – Billie Jo Spears, RIP.

    Meanwhile the Swede and I have decided that when Brian Cox finally gets around to inventing a time machine, we’re going to go back to 1 December 1976 to swap the Thames TV interview rota so that Eamonn Andrews gets to meet the Pistols. Steve Jones was reputed to be the “handiest” Pistol, and a former QPR hooligan as well, but although Andrews was giving him a few years he’d soon have seen him off and then marmalised Rotten. Cook and Matlock would have just run.

    And just off camera in the green room, Siouxsie turns to Grundy and says, “I’ve always wanted to meet you.” “You’re as drunk as I am,” Grundy slurs as he pulls her closer and we draw a discreet veil over the pair of them.

  465. 465
    punctum on 15 Dec 2011 #

    Eamonn was far too civil and urbane a fellow to engage in such unbecoming behaviour.

    Meanwhile, in the control room, Thames producer Tommy Boyd and Freddie Mercury giggle conspiratorially: “It WORKED!”

  466. 466
    Mark G on 15 Dec 2011 #

    The current-day johnny would have done “make friends make friends never ever break friends” with Eamonn Andrews, easy. Possibly, the 1976 version might have as well. Which might not have pleased Steve Jones that much.

  467. 467
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Dec 2011 #

    #465 – Eamonn may well have been civil and urbane but he would have brokered no nonsense from that lot. And if Jonesy had launched into one in front of him, the big man would have without question “escorted” him off the set, passing, as he did so, Grundy and Siouxsie enjoying each other’s company in the green room.

    Erithian, Rosie and I are very big fans of a sublime piece of writing, which asked the question of what would have happened had Gordon Banks played instead of Peter Bonetti against West Germany in the 1970 World Cup and England had won instead of lost. The whole of the history of this country is altered in what is an extremely far-fetched but entirely believable account. It’s brilliant stuff.

    Whilst “What if Eammon had interviewed the Pistols…” would hardly have had the same effect, it nevertheless would certainly have altered the path of the UK somewhat, I think.

  468. 468

    Not to puncture this fantasy, but the incident occurred only because Grundy — the actual grown-up in the room — goaded and coaxed them into some (in modern terms) very mild swears.

  469. 469
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Dec 2011 #

    That, of course is perfectly true, Mark, but there still remains the slight possibility that the Pistols may still have spoiled for a fight; and the point Erithian and I would make is that had Eammon been in the chair instead of the pompous half-wit Grundy, that would have been less than wise.

  470. 470
    wichita lineman on 16 Dec 2011 #

    And on tonight’s show…

    Kursaals – kicking the show off, again. Teeth still bad, as was the BBC backing. Something genuinely depressing about this lot.

    Paul Nicholas – dear god, what drove him to make this weird and thankfully unique records?

    Dana – someone pointed out on twitter that it looked like she was climaxing for most of this performance. She does have a kind face, doesn’t she? I like Fairy Tale a lot – a late Glam/early Abba hybrid.

    “Legs And Company” – as Diddy Dave would have it. Odd pirate outfits, not as good as that sounds.

    Tommy Hunt – not singing Lover or I’ll Make You Happy unfortunately. Middling Northern thing I have no memory of but great to see him on proper telly.

    ‘Waddy – no.1, but apparently Dave Bartram has celebrated this anniversary by quitting the band and “is now concentrating on promoting his book, a humorous account of the band’s 2005 tour of 33 caravan parks”. Could he be more Creme Brulee if he tried?

  471. 471
    Mark G on 16 Dec 2011 #

    Ah great, thought we’d given up doing this:

    Yeah, the Kursaal’s were the last ‘big band of the future’ to get hyped before punk happened, pretty much.

    The last time I heard about the showads, they were about 2 thirds of their 1976 rollcall, and DBartram was all “we should have done it years ago”. I wonder if that book is around that momentous occasion…

  472. 472
    Erithian on 16 Dec 2011 #

    Moving on from the Eamonn/Pistols scenario (although I’m sure those “mild swears” would still cause a furore on a teatime news programme even now!) – the “What If Gordon Banks Had Played?” alternative history posits that the Labour defeat in the General Election, attributed by some to the feel-bad factor after the World Cup match, turns into a victory. Ted Heath loses the Tory leadership, not to Thatcher who wasn’t yet enough of a force, but to Enoch Powell, with dire consequences. Powell, as revealed in a documentary a while back, was the man who believed in the virtues of giving a speech on a full bladder so as to enhance the intensity of your delivery. Most of us watched that and thought “what a crank”; our Prime Minister watched it and thought “what a good idea”. Scary.

    Anyway, TOTP – good to see Tull and the Abba video, Dana lovely but overdoing the pained look a touch (looked more like tummyache than orgasm I thought), Tommy Hunt pretty forgettable. Paul Nicholas was just Mr Showbiz and I don’t get too irritated by him – but did you see that glance as one of Legs and Co danced past him front of stage? I suspect he wasn’t as cuddly and loveable when he caught up with her afterwards.

  473. 473
    wichita lineman on 16 Dec 2011 #

    I’d have thought he was all about “it’s only an extension of cuddling”.

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention Tull and Oldfield getting in a late blast of woodwind-led folk “rock”. I bought the Tull 45 with a record token.

    Btw, from memory the Stranglers were on TOTP EVER such a lot and so to me had the highest public profile of any punk/new wave-related act in ’77. I was 12. But we’ll get there soon enough…. another ’76 wing ding on Monday!

  474. 474
    Jimmy the Swede on 16 Dec 2011 #


    Kursaals again – More detergent and undies but as Erithian said to me in another place, you take a look at that lead singer and you go: “Do you know what, mate. I’m not surprised she’s two-timing you, you pig-ugly c—!”

    Abba again – This time a different footage and the girls get close a la “Mamma Mia”. Yum!

    Tull – To my shame, I’d forgotten about this one. Excellent stuff and Anderson (following on from four other Andersons) was typically bonkers.

    Now we have the Gals morris-dancing to Oldfield’s “Portsmouth” (I wonder how many copies were bought in Southampton?) Mucky Sue sports an eye patch but there’s very little to excite the Swede. Lots of horseplay and the odd piggy-back ride and oh so merry. But that’s it.

    Tommy Hunt live – Shouldn’t have bothered really. Tosh. Sorry, Tommy but it’s a no.

    Then Diddy introduces a delegation from the Northern Ireland Youth Peace Group (very laudable) before introducing Dana, who is an Ulsterwoman herself, despite, of course, winning Eurovision for the Republic. She looks very dreamy and welcoming and adult, quite different from the uber-virginal, hands-off, you perv, school girl of 1970.

    Paul bastard Nicholas! AGAIN! – In the name of God, was this muppet’s old man the Director General? And the song has exactly the same melody as “Captain”. But then, what’s this?.. Yes, it’s the Gals back again. WOO-HOO! But then D’OH! they’re dressed as grannies in overcoats. Just bloody great. No Swede value there either. What a swizz!

    Number one are Showaddywaddy. Perfectly fine this. A well-deserved reward for a decent hardworking provincial band. Romeo Challenger looks well hard. I would strongly suppose that he would have really given our old friend Steve Jones a “mashing-up” had he been in the chair instead of Grundy or Andrews. (“I think you’re over-egging this concept now” – Ed)

    Time to say goodbye and Hamilton flirts with a pretty, smily girl in a red jumper, who is a fellow Fulham supporter. Diddy really did adore the lovlies. Fade out to Billy Ocean and shots of a drab, dancing audience. Average show for me. As Lino says, more on Monday. And if Nicholas is on again, the Beachy Head chaplain will have to talk me down once more.

  475. 475
    swanstep on 17 Dec 2011 #

    @jimmy, erithian etc.. I’ve been meaning to ask for a while, do you call TOTP dancer Sue ‘Mucky Sue’ just because she’s (by common agreement) a little more flirtatious/hotter than the rest? Or is there some specific scandal/history about her that’s prompted the name?

  476. 476
    wichita lineman on 17 Dec 2011 #

    I’m just following the Swede’s lead. My heart belongs to Cherry.

  477. 477
    Erithian on 17 Dec 2011 #

    You’ll have to ask the Swede. You won’t find me calling Sue Menhenick “Mucky” at all – so if she ever reads this thread she’ll ditch those other losers and head my way! Pub trivia bit care of Dr Google – she was born in Benghazi, where her parents were stationed with the British Army, and she’s now happily married with two children and living n London. Good luck to her and thanks for the effect she had on my generation…

    (And while I’m on, that quote about Kursaals singer Paul Shuttleworth above was one I passed on to Jimmy from elsewhere. I’m in no position to call anyone pig-ugly!)

  478. 478
    AndyPandy on 17 Dec 2011 #

    * Never knowingly heard the Tommy Hunt song before – loved the extremely elaborate and busy strings – surely that was the usual BBC orchestra? I’ll have to download the original and compare it.

    *I remember that appearance by Jethro Tull well I think what appeared to the 11 year old me to be a group of really old tramps doing a song intrigued me at the time – in the intervening years the 3 folky Jethro Tull albums have come to be among favourite albums.

    *yes that’s the Abba video I remember with the spinning coins

    *weren’t the Kursaal Flyers (via pub rock) vaguely connected to punk – I’m sure I’ve read this

    *I remember quite liking the Paul Nicholas records at the time but then I was 11 – but still think they’re inoffensive bits of fun – anyway watching him in ‘Just Good Friends’ helped brighten up the mid-80s for me.

    * Remember knowing all the words to ‘Under The Moon Of Love’ as a first year and singing them as I floated around school that Christmas.

    * long play out of ALL the Billy Ocean record – did they run out of acts to put on or something – they could have had Chris Hill (a new entry) spinning his tune if they were that short

    RE Wichita; yes the Stranglers did seem to have Paul Nicholas rivalling amounts of appearances on TOTP in 1977 and they were always being played on Capital so for me they were also besides the shock horror stuff about the Sex Pistols in the news about the only punk that impinged in my consciousness

  479. 479
    wichita lineman on 17 Dec 2011 #

    Andy, did you forget lovely Dana was on? Really? Gosh.

    Re Nicholas: “Harmless bits of fun” is fair and balanced, but even at the time, a year above you at school, we were left cold by this nu bubblegum. “I’d love to go, but it’s grandma’s party tonight” was a ‘humorous’ excuse for not doing something.

    Glad you’re giving Tommy Hunt some love. I saw him at the Forum three or four years back and he was in great voice, looked slim and dapper, and was most impressive for someone in his mid 70s.

  480. 480
    Mark G on 19 Dec 2011 #

    Weeeelll., I’d say maybe Wichita is ‘slightly’ older than me, but maybe it’s actually because this song was out when our Grandma had her eightieth birthday party, and the whole clan got back together for the big party. Apart from cousin georgie who had got completely plastered the night before and didn’t make it until late on the following day. Grandma forgave him anyway. I was just about old enough to understand what my family were like and how, by now. Anyway, she didn’t make 81, so hey.

  481. 481
    glue_factory on 19 Dec 2011 #

    The Kursal Flyers (along with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band) have been one of the highlights of these repeats for me, the moments that something a bit odd (and something I’m unfamiliar with), broke through the wall-to-wall Summertime Special regulars. Oddly they remind me of no-one so much as My Life Story.

  482. 482
    Mark G on 19 Dec 2011 #

    That was ‘thanks’ to the ‘on-purpose’ over-the-top arrangement by Mike Batt for that one song. The rest (as far as I recall) were nothing like it. (I remember a seeminglylong song called “I don’t wanna ride no Speedway” on the “Yeah! The KID!” fronted “45” pop show just before it died..)

    Closer to the Steve Gibbons band, I reckons.

  483. 483
    wichita lineman on 19 Dec 2011 #

    I randomly recorded the Kursaal Flyers’ Speedway off the radio (Annie Nightingale’s show) with my first cassette recorder, Christmas 1975. I totally took it at face value, as a racetrack death disc with a happy ending; as a pastiche (Tell Laura I Love Her?) it’s a lot subtler than Little Does She Know. I also didn’t know who the hell it was by for almost 20 years – Jak Knowles, former Shampoo bassist, found me a copy.

    I still like it, but I wish it had a glammier production. The curse of the flat 1975 studio sound!


  484. 484
    Mark G on 19 Dec 2011 #

    Ah, random radio tapings! I recorded a Peel show, back god knows when, and the centre piece was a long guitar piece which started like the Allmans “Top Gear” theme, but faded into a rambling drone for 15 mins or so. At the end, JPeel announced the title and artist “Elaine Renault”.

    Of course, super-obscure and impossible to find. It took the internet to be invented and a vague memory of it, and eventually I found the artist was called “Alain Renaud”. And then I managed to track down the LP for ooh, £12

  485. 485
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Thin Lizzy make good and show it’s not all outdated.

    Barry Biggs not as bad as I remember at the time.

    Status Quo with a decent sound.

    “John Christie due to have a fantastic 1977” of course he’s never seen again.

    Legs/Stevie Dance I wish. Odd costume choice but.

    Paul Nicholas gets no dancers this time.

    Liverpool Express sound a lot like… no it’s gone.

    Fully expected the line “I used to be a dreamer” to get followed by “I was the only one”

    Mike Oldfield tries to pretend he’s not there in his film.

    And Johnny Mathis, and we’re done.

  486. 486
    glue_factory on 20 Dec 2011 #

    @482, I’ve just realised, they both recorded albums called Golden Mile. That must have been what I could hear!

  487. 487
    wichita lineman on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Last night’s show…

    Thin Lizzy – odd that you don’t hear this anymore, it’s tremendous. Great solo, super-confident vocal, moody too. Don’t think I’ve heard it since it came out. Not the no.1 Noel predicts of course…

    Barry Biggs – the one thing this has over the Philly-tastic Blue Magic original is the bonkers Moog break. Presumably no one from the Radiophonic Workshop was around to help out for the TOTP orchestra remake. Pretty lifeless skank.

    Status Quo – a Hank Williams song with no chorus. Quo Boogie by numbers. No Mystery Song, or Rain.

    John Christie – has he out-smugged Randy Edelman? What a slappable face! He’s SO SURE this is a massive hit that I think the nation willed him back to obscurity. Bullying the audience into an Auld Lang Syne dance doesn’t help. Truly awful.

    Legs & Co/Stevie Wonder – great song, but am I missing something with the Chaplin gear? (thinks: have never really listened to the lyric)

    Paul Nicholas – still stinky.

    Liverpool Express – fast using up their You Are My Love goodwill tokens. Such an obvious and puffed-up rewrite of Imagine that the group name suddenly makes sense – fast food Beatles innit.

    Mike Oldfield – sweet. I bought this, a nascent folk-rock thing? Can’t get enough of Tubular Bells at the moment. Had someone harangue me last weekend about the greatness of Hergest Ridge, too. As for this video, the lady with the dark Purdey do kinda makes up for the weak Legs & Co routine.

    Arthur Lee – ah, no, it’s Johnny Mathis. This wears thin very quickly.

    More on Thursday, I do believe! What do I want for Christmas? I really hope Tina Charles doing Dr Love hasn’t been wiped…

  488. 488
    punctum on 20 Dec 2011 #

    anyone actually know what happened to Face of ’77 John Christie? Google not too helpful except (a) he may have been Australian; (b) he appeared in Dave Clark’s Time musical for a couple of years at the Dominion Theatre in the mid-eighties; (c) he may have had to change his surname for reasons unspecified.

    As for Liverpool Express: “Every play must have a scene” – this week’s No Shit Sherlock Award winners.

  489. 489

    The Mathis song is quite odd: who IS this child to be born? Can’t be Jesus, Jesus — depicted white, probably brown — most definitely wasn’t yellow. IS IT THE ANTI-CHRIST?

    Legs & Co were dressed as Russell Mael, obviously. And Quo were great: they were OUR TELEVISION I tell you.

    Hergest Ridge: “I’d rather be… on horseback”

  490. 490
    punctum on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Nope, that was Ommadawn.

    My dad’s reaction to Mathis: “Black, white, brown, yellow – no one knows.” “What about RED you racist bastard?”

  491. 491

    at school everyone loved and played oldfield all the time — i owned no LPs then and just borrowed tapes, so everything is muddled in my head

    Remember interview in NME where MO had done a course in exegesis to puncture his extreme shyness — visible in this clip — and it had apparently turned him into a a MASSIVE BEARD-FREE PR!CK.

  492. 492
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    #489, it’s “all” children. Any one of which could be the savior of the whole of civilisation. Unless it got AB(the rest of this satirical message has been edited for googly reasons) BY THOSE VIL(and this bit too)STARDS!

  493. 493
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    John Christie. This single wasn’t “too bad”, but I do remember one of his follow-ups “We had the time of our lives”, as I got to review it on the radio for Thames Valley Broadcasting (or, Radio 210 as it was known then).

    It was a horrible ‘razza-snazzamatazza’ attempt, and I did say “I hope I never hear it again”, and oddly enough I never have. (The ‘record of the week’ was the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant”)

  494. 494

    aha so it is a sharp pro-POPulation put-down to malthus and paul ehrlich!

  495. 495
    wichita lineman on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Didn’t John Christie write something half-decent for Cliff? Google doesn’t reveal much beyond Time, as Punctum says. I always associated him with John Farrar, an Aussie on EMI with Shads/ONJ connections, but I think I’m plain wrong.

    I think the older kids at my school were too cool to wave Oldfield albums about. Or Tull for that matter. Genesis, Man (!) and Hawkwind were big among my peers with older brothers. My year was mainly about punk and Bowie, then later metal or The Jam. In ’77 I kept my Abba Greatest Hits/Arrival, Shadows 20 Golden Greats, and Golden Hour Of The Kinks hidden at home.

    Re Mathis: I think the Superbaby angle wins the day. “It’s all a dream and illusion… it must come true, some time soon…” That’s not EVERY baby is it? It’s a SUPERBABY. No one even knows what skin colour it has! A translucent superbaby.

  496. 496
    punctum on 20 Dec 2011 #

    “Every superbaby must be translucent” (L Express).

    ’76-7, my year at school: boys into Quo, Genesis, Rush, Yes, girls into Abba, David Soul, Supertramp, ELO.

  497. 497
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    ’76-77 the boys were into Purple, ELP, Floyd, Zep, etc. Did I say Yes? no? OK, Yes.

    See, what put me off The Clash at first wasn’t their Radical Politics or angry stance, etc, it was that all those that were really “into” ELP, Yes, etc because they were really intelligent and important, now were Clash fans because they were really important and intelligent. The usual ‘set up them barriers boys we can’t all be the chosen ones!’

  498. 498
    punctum on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Not at my school they weren’t; nobody was into the Clash except for Leon Trotsky, guitarist for Raw Deal, Bothwell’s number one punk band.

  499. 499
    wichita lineman on 20 Dec 2011 #

    The proggers at my school didn’t really swap sides. Oh, Zep were big of course, I forgot to mention them.

    No girls = no David Soul fans. Shame.

    Don’t remember much of a Clash thing at my school at all. Sex Pistols and Stranglers were big, a little later the Banshees and the Jam.

  500. 500
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    There was a massive set of “drop” and “revision”, followed by “deny” of course.

    Some were genuinely ‘open ears’, most were “I never liked Tull, it was him”

  501. 501

    small coterie of sabbath/tull fans became pioneers of punk, against (younger!) genesis/yes/ELP/BJH cohort

    plus there was a lone (difficult cranky much-disliked) young man who repped for ABBA against all the sneers, so well done him (= it wasn’t me!)

  502. 502

    i left this^^^school in 1978 for college, so no idea how allegiances subsequently evolved

  503. 503
    wichita lineman on 20 Dec 2011 #

    More than 500 comments. Best call the late Ross McWhirter. And still a couple of ’76 TOTPs to go!

    Tried Ommadawn this morning. I like the folkier instrumentation, but not enough going on melodically for me – until the On Horseback bit of course. Like Tub Bells, one side much better than the other (both appear to be called Ommadawn Part One on spotify – I much prefer the non Horseback side).

  504. 504
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Dunno, I like TubBel2, possibly more. Unless that’s the side you meant.

  505. 505
    wichita lineman on 20 Dec 2011 #

    No I didn’t. But reading Marcello’s piece it made sense of how I’ve always felt about it – TubBel1 being a complete piece, Pt 2 filling out an album.

    Still, some lovely parts on Side 2, esp the opening melody which is avant-library and so primed me for music I wouldn’t discover until the 90s. Caveman I used to like when I was 11. I’m not 11 now. Sailors Hornpipe was too daft even when I was 11.

  506. 506
    Mark G on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Caveman on the “remake” is even more awfuller.

  507. 507
    AndyPandy on 20 Dec 2011 #

    re 483/484 – at least you tracked your random tape fragments down. For a couple of weeks until it chewed itself up I had a bit of tune from Pete Wardman’s Kiss FM weekday afternoon hardbag mix which even after about 17 years and the fact that it cut out/was mixed out after a couple of minutes (it was from about 1994)I still look on as my musical Holy Grail.

    So does anyone has any clues as to the identity of a hardbag/possibly early hardhouse/harder mix of a housier track from about 1994 which samples the strings from Perry Como’s ‘It’s Impossible’….?

  508. 508
    AndyPandy on 20 Dec 2011 #

    I was unfortunate enough to live in an area which still had the 11+ so I would imagine that all those who were into the progressive rock and then punk went to grammar school as in my two (I moved 10 miles across town at the end of the first year) secondary moderns I don’t remember anyone being into those types of music.

    To be honest in the first year I don’t remember anyone particularly taking much of an interest in music (weird really as when were much younger we’d all loved watching Slade, Sweet, Gary Glitter etc on TOTP but I suppose the visual outrageousness appealed to 7 or 8 year old boys). I was into Abba in the first year though – I had their greatest hits for my 12th birthday my first ever new record.

    Some of the older (fifth years?)were Teds and into rock ‘n’ roll which by the advent of ‘Grease’ had taking over the whole school – a lot of the hard older lads turning up on non-uniform day in full Ted outfits.
    And I do remember some of the bad boys in our first or second year classes bursting into renditions of Showaddywaddy or Darts songs into weaker teachers’ classes.

    Then around 1980 everyone had their hair shaved off and got into TwoTone and especially Madness (the only vaguely punk band that were ever followed were The Jam but that was from a Mod Revival angle and still quite a minority thing).

    Also round about 1980 some of the girls (obviously through older working boyfriends who went to clubs) started talking about jazz-funk and you’d see Light Of The World and Slough Alldayer etc graffiti written on exam desks. This mysterious new world started to fascinate me as you’d never hear about it in the media.

    By the time we left in 1981 jazz-funk had complete taken over our school year and the town.

  509. 509
    Lazarus on 20 Dec 2011 #

    I did wonder what I was watching there for a while – not Christmas and certainly not 1976 – but normal service has now ben resumed. The third show in what, five days? Mr Ambassador, you are spoiling us! The Xmas Day TOTP was the biz, wasn’t it? All the number ones of the year on one show, with tinsel and glitter and fake snow! And anything’s got to be an improvement on the seasonal TOTP2, with its tired old reruns of Slade, Wizzard, Lewie and all other usual suspects.

  510. 510
    Lazarus on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Having said that it was possible to feel a twinge of sympathy for the early-year hitmakers who by Christmas had been firmly consigned to One Hit Wonderland (Slik being somewhat along those lines, although I did like “Requiem”). I would say “Babylon Zoo” but that would get a nose a-twitching.

  511. 511
    AndyPandy on 20 Dec 2011 #

    Didn’t know what to make of that one (wonder if the wiped 16/12 edition was any better?) – always liked the Barry Biggs’s ‘Sideshow’, that John Christie ‘Auld Lang Syne’ track made me cringe big time, and I noticed the black geezer out of Ruby Flipper dancing in silhouette behind Legs And Co and that’s about it.

    Now if they could have got Steely Dan on there…

  512. 512
    wichita lineman on 21 Dec 2011 #

    Argh! Missed tonight’s Xmas Special. Just saw a glimpse of Tina Charles in a stripy jumper and the Bo Rhap vid.

  513. 513
    hardtogethits on 21 Dec 2011 #

    #512! On again at 3am.
    Good luck.

  514. 514
    Conrad on 21 Dec 2011 #

    Witchita, It’s on again on Christmas Day – the perfect day to watch it

    Also, I see a cameraman has found a performance of Bowie doing Jean Genie on TOTP which the BBC are airing this Weds

  515. 515
    Rory on 21 Dec 2011 #

    Don’t forget iPlayer, wichita.

  516. 516
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Dec 2011 #

    475 – “Mucky Sue” I have so named because of her generally expressionless face, unlike the others who smile sweetly just like the girls-next-door they are supposed to me. Sue was never like that. She was, though, a particularly wonderful dancer and displayed legs which went on forever.

    I trust that clears up this vital point.

  517. 517
    Lazarus on 21 Dec 2011 #

    Unless I missed them, I don’t think the Brotherhood of Man featured last night, which was a surprise – whatever you think of it, it was certainly one of the year’s biggest hits (maybe even the top seller?) yet it was passed over for the likes of “Devil Woman.” Odd.

  518. 518
    Mark G on 21 Dec 2011 #

    It’s a ‘two-parter’, they’re on ‘tomorrow’

  519. 519
    swanstep on 22 Dec 2011 #

    @ Jimmy, 516. Thanks!

  520. 520
    wichita lineman on 23 Dec 2011 #

    I imagine the Swede missed the Xmas special part one as I can’t believe he hasn’t passed comment on the outfits and ‘arty’ camera angles that went with legs and co’s dancing queen routine.

    Last night – mostly seen it done it. The Killing of Georgie at last, though it’s not quite as good as I remember. I can’t think of the last time I heard this on the radio. Lyrics to ‘part 2’ don’t make much sense, either – he’s dead, Rod!

    Thanks for the iplayer tips, gang!

  521. 521
    Mark G on 23 Dec 2011 #

    I didn’t bother with part two, no real surprises to be had.

    I’m sure that was the same as back in the day, always seemed like it was going to be interesting, but they always seemed to concentrate on the biggest but dullest stuff.

  522. 522
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Dec 2011 #

    # 520 – Wichita is right, I’m afraid. The SKY digi-box chez Swede decided to go the same way as Jim Phelps’ wee tape machines so my Mucky Sue fix I was denied. It’s okay now, thank the Lord. And speaking of whom, compliments of the season to everyone at The Trigger, officers and enlisted!

  523. 523
    Erithian on 2 Jan 2012 #

    Before we wrap up this thread and concentrate our TOTP comments on “Popular ‘77”, it seems only right (since it was originally posted on New Year’s Eve) to link from here to an interview with Sue Menhenick on the Pan’s People website, where she talks about being in the three resident dance troupes, the objections to Floid (“totally unfair and outrageous even then”), the proto-Runaways look for the 1974 Pan’s People single (working with Mike Batt and Chris Spedding), how she likes Depeche Mode (not the early years) and how polite and charming Lemmy and the Stranglers were.

    Plus on the excellent “Yes It’s Number One” site, Wichita of this parish reviews 1976:

  524. 524
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Jan 2012 #

    Thanks to my Rt Hon Friend, Erithian. The Sue interview is fabulous and underpins just what a total class act she is and always was. She would certainly be a wonderful choice for a judge on “Strictly”, which is something the Swede stays a mile away from but wouldn’t if Sue suddenly appeared on it. The only thing is that she’s far too nice to say anything bad about anyone, even if Erithian and myself were to come gliding across the floor together, a sight certainly too horrific for family viewing. I can also echo one of the comments in saying how lovely it would have been encountering Sue and the other Pans, Flips or Legs dining out and all the merriment this involved. I’m not sure Mrs Swede would have been similarly enchanted, though, and when I sent a couple of bottles of bubbly over with my compliments, my goose would have been cooked, I think.

    Hats off too to Wichita for his piece. God, you’re a talented bunch on this website. Forward ho to 1977, folks!!

  525. 525
    punctum on 8 Apr 2012 #

    TPL goes into 1976 with one of the longest entries yet, not that I planned it as such.

  526. 526
    punctum on 15 Apr 2012 #

    TPL update.

  527. 527
    punctum on 22 Apr 2012 #

    TPL: yes, it’s them again. 1976 record buyers, eh? What were they on?

    They were on to something, that’s for sure.

  528. 528
    punctum on 22 Apr 2012 #

    TPL: another update.

    I had more to say about it here but FT is VERY difficult to post to late Saturday night – I keep getting “Bad Request” messagea snd it takes me ten minutes just to put up a simple link here as opposed to the approx. ten seconds it takes me on Twitter or ILx.

    You need to sort out/extensively simplify this website because it’s going to put people off posting.

  529. 529

    Apologies this glitchiness keeps happening to you two — I *think* (purely based on googling for similar problems on other word press websites) that it’s the interrelationship of long urls and the set-up of our web server, rather than the over-complexity or otherwise of FT itself (because some of the other websites worrying about it are much simpler). But I am not a WordPress tech-head.

    (Also worth pointing out: like motorways, FT maintenance generally — inevitably — happens not during weekday working hours but at the weekends, after small children have gone to bed and the like. So late Saturday night may not be the ideal timeslot for posting important informational comments. And unlike motorway maintenance, FT’s elves work for the love of it: if they feel unloved, they do other things instead.)

  530. 530
    Alan not logged in on 22 Apr 2012 #

    i have to agree FT does seem very unresponsive at the mo.

    (edit – mind you, that was just a couple of seconds to submit and refresh just now. Long by commercial standards, but i can live with that. i’ve been fretting when I see it taking ~10 seconds to click through a link)

  531. 531
    swanstep on 22 Apr 2012 #

    Not sure whether this is relevant to other gremlins but it probably is: I normally just follow FT’s rss feed page, http://freakytrigger.co.uk/comments/feed/ rather than go directly to FT’s or Popular’s home page. But that feed page has been strangely blank/inoperative for at least the last 12 hours.

  532. 532
    admin on 22 Apr 2012 #

    I’ve done some braindead housekeeping – minor WP update, delete 11000 spam, mySQL table optimise. it’s the hard things like reducing plugins/queries that will probably make the difference though.

    i’ve also set it to auto-bin spam on old posts. i don’t think this is a big deal as I don’t think anyone looks in the spam bin any more, but thought it worth flagging up.

  533. 533
    swanstep on 23 Apr 2012 #

    @admin. The Feeds page is loading up properly again now. Thanks.

  534. 534
    swanstep on 24 Apr 2012 #

    @admin. Whoops, spoke too soon. The Feeds page is completely non-functional again under Chrome. It works under Firefox only on PCs, and it displays beautifully under Safari (on both PCs and Macs) but shorn of standand FT formatting.

  535. 535
    punctum on 29 Apr 2012 #

    TPL addresses immediate pre-punk hardcore feminism innit.

  536. 536
    punctum on 6 May 2012 #

    TPL: described by the guitarist as “our most important album.”

  537. 537
    punctum on 13 May 2012 #

    TPL finally reaches Abba.

  538. 538
    punctum on 20 May 2012 #

    TPL considers the final non-compilation UK number one album by Rod.

  539. 539
    punctum on 27 May 2012 #

    TPL at long last gets to these guys.

  540. 540
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 May 2012 #

    What guys? The link is not working.

  541. 541
    lonepilgrim on 27 May 2012 #

    Try here Swede:


    another great piece of writing by Marcello

  542. 542
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 May 2012 #

    Gottit! Thanks, Pillers.

  543. 543
    punctum on 3 Jun 2012 #

    TPL update; I’ve said it before, but this blog is not what you think it’s about.


  544. 544
    punctum on 10 Jun 2012 #

    TPL reaches pub rock. Or does it?

  545. 545
    punctum on 17 Jun 2012 #

    TPL warmly welcomes back our old friends “Various Artists”.

  546. 546
    punctum on 19 Jun 2012 #

    Incidentally, a word about TPL posting dates and times; it is clear to me that the late night Saturday blog work can’t continue since the effect it is having on my health outweighs the benefits of posting. If I want a speedy return to the specialist stroke unit I just need to keep on doing what I’m doing now. This is a particularly urgent matter to address since I’m currently going through the phase where albums just seem to be getting bigger and bigger (it IS the seventies) and thus the quantity of work needed to research and write about them, let alone listen (or re-listen) to them, is expanding exponentially.

    What I’m therefore going to do is change the posting day; from now on until further notice, new TPL posts will go up on Wednesday. This is my day off from my day job and it makes far more sense to write these records up in the daytime. This will start with entry #175, which will go up at some point tomorrow.

  547. 547
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Jun 2012 #

    You have been undertaking a phenomenal project, Marcello, and I’m full of admiration for you. But as you say yourself, this work, no matter how much you love it, cannot be allowed to compromise your health and wellbeing. I personally am preparing my latest novel but my writing is not the only thing in my life and never has been. Next week, my annual 2 week leave begins to cover Wimbledon and I go into my “Swede, tennis correspondent bubble” for a fortnight and everything else can bloody well wait. If I didn’t have that, the Beachy Head chaplain would be darting out of his hut again. To paraphrase the old WW2 cry, Keep Calm but don’t necessarily Carry On.

  548. 548
    jeff w registered on 19 Jun 2012 #

    Wise words from the Swede. TPL in the 70s is the best thing of its kind on the internet right now. But good things should come to us who wait.

  549. 549
    punctum on 20 Jun 2012 #

    As promised, here’s entry #175.

  550. 550
    punctum on 27 Jun 2012 #

    TPL looks at the man without whom there might not have been an entry #175.

  551. 551
    punctum on 4 Jul 2012 #

    The last TPL entry for 1976: part imagined backstory, part belated (if posthumous) birthday present – http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/glen-campbell-glen-campbells-twenty.html

  552. 552
    Adam on 22 Mar 2015 #

    Grand total of 3 here… worst since the early 50s. I’m going to stick to the “Why punk needed to happen” anachronism.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page