Jul 08

Popular ’77

FT + Popular/663 comments • 16,794 views

I give a mark out of 10 to every single featured on Popular. This is your chance to indicate which YOU would have given 6 or more to, by whatever standard you wish to impose. And if you have any ‘closing remarks’ on the year to make, the comments box is your place!

Number One Hits Of 1977: Which would you have given 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 571
    Mark G on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Anyways, the TOTP repeats carry on regardless, with that nice safe Ed Stewart

    Rose Royce do your dance, one of those tracks that sound OK at the time but are destined never to get played on radio beyond the chart run, in preference to Car Wash or Is it Love you’re after etc

    David Soul does a bit of Silver Lady. Slow down, I can’t type that fast!

    Legs & co don Bridesmaidsy style jackets and frocks for dancing to Bob Marley in a manner he’d not recognise. I daresay he wouldn’t object though.

    Peter Blake takes his opportunity to hang out with his coke advert song. If she’s good she can check under his hood, apparently. What she’d find, I hate to think…

    Ram Jam bring the kasenatz-katz back for one last time. Nobody objected to this rendition of the old Leadbelly song treatment as I recall.

    David Essex does a willthisdo type song, smiles for the girls, that’s about it.

    The Stylistics do their usual thing but don’t know it’s over and the buying public haven’t forgiven them for that $5000 song. Not so much ‘go straight to Prestatyn’ as ‘popped in on day release from same’

    Donna remembers that first night in a very Dr Amilan, um, Kid Creole style. The title, never sung, is I remember yesterday. What a wonderful memory she has..

    Golden Earring in danger of being good! Have they not read the memo? Actually, he looks like Bono..

    Elvis and Legs do their thing again, only two girls make it out of the dressing room in time this week.

    And Ed interviews Giorgio to no great event but less painful than the usual TOTP interview. Fade out to ‘From here to eternity’ and it’s the future!


  2. 572
    punctum on 26 Oct 2012 #

    So who at BBC4 thought that Ed Stewart was safe?


    And David Essex, stepping out with Sinitta when she was 16, and Elvis who started dating Priscilla when she was 14…

    You end up wondering if ANYONE on these shows was above suspicion.

  3. 573
    Lazarus on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Rare outing for Stewpot, who brandishes a toy robot and announces that “Tony Blackburn has lost his voice.” So Ed was a stand-in, perhaps? JMJ a good choice for the rundown, well he makes a change from Space. Lots of ladies in the Top 15 it seems, but an all-male Top Four, for now.

    Rose Royce – I don’t really remember this but I quite like it, it reminds me of ‘Cloud 9’ in places. I think I’ve only once seen a bigger afro than that on TOTP, and that was on a white bloke (Fiddler’s Dram, since you ask).

    David Soul – a video not dissimlar to Leo’s from last week. Walking around a bit, then helmetless on a motorbike, and then escorted by what appears to be two different blondes! Oo-er. Cuts out before the second chorus, so we’ll never know the rest.

    Legs & Co/Bob Marley – difficult to do a ‘themed’ routine to Waiting in Vain I suppose. Rather old-fashioned outfits for the girls. I think I’ve finally worked out which is Gill and which is Rosie now, though they’re the opposite to what I thought (Rosie = long straight hair, Gill shorter and wavier).

    Peter Blake – not the ‘Sgt Pepper’ man, which would have been interesting, if rather surreal – but an actor who’d later appear on ‘Dear John’ apparently (I don’t think I ever saw it). Sounds a lot like ‘Greased Lightning.’ ‘Grease’ was a stage production before it was filmed wasn’t it, so surely GL would have been familiar to some?

    Ram Jam – never been that keen on this really. They seem to be performing in someone’s garden. Singer looks a bit like John Denver might have done if he’d discovered his inner rocker. Another one cut halfway.

    David Essex – sporting a white tie with the jacket and jeans. Was that one of the first rock mullets? Song is OK, but if you’d told me it was a Liverpool Express album track I wouldn’t have been surprised.

    Stylistics – a non-hit, sounds like a cross between ‘Make Up to Break Up’ and ‘Let’s Put it all Together’. Bus to Prestatyn leaves straight after the show, lads!

    Donna – like the Stranglers, her singles seem to be coming thick and fast, I guess the ‘Deep’ theme was put out by a different company. I’ve always liked this retro number and she looks good in white suit and top hat, but going back to the ’40s seems strange after giving us a glimpse of the future with ‘I Feel Love.’

    Golden Earring – a re-issue, or more strictly a live re-recording, of a Top 10 hit from 1973. Only made 44 this time, but no arguments here – great stuff.

    Elvis – and this, surely – surely! – is the final week. The Soul man is at No. 2 after all. The Legs seem a bit depleted by now, maybe some of them have lost interest.

    Ed chats to Giorgio and out to his hit.

  4. 574
    punctum on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Oh yes, I almost forgot the convicted wifebeater David Soul.

  5. 575
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Stewpot introduces J-M Jarre as the backdrop to the countdown.

    Rose Royce – They’re in the studio. Good moves. Good sounds. Good dancin’. Punishable barnet.

    David Soul – Puzzlingly pointless footage of Hutch slouching around looking as if he’s getting ready to inconvenience the Beachy Head chaplain. He’s then suddenly riding around on a bike. WTF? But then the nincompoop is clearly cured as up pops his saviour, a lovely gal, who won’t stop bunnying. This obviously annoys Soul because he dumps her in a blink and is next seen strolling thru the hood where cool black men offer their hands and street cred to the out-of-his depth numptie. It’s a ridiculous unrelated chain of events. And then Ed cuts in. Phew!

    That was indeed a fine interception by Stewart, who’s had a good start to this episode, because he then introduces the Gals and Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain”. It’s a charming rather than sexy routine but despite the suspicion that the Whitehouse loon has interfered again, I personally think that Flick has got the mixture right. Modestly dressed, the Gals go on their delightful way and we even get a sweet girly smile from Her Royal Muckiness, which is rare. The Swede enjoyed it.

    Peter Blake, later the dickhead from “Dear John”, does a cringeworthy turn to a Pepsi Cola catchphrase (it was Pepsi not Coke, Mark) in the probable guise of a Presley tribute. It is just dreadful. I didn’t remember it and am very glad that I didn’t. Tasteless shite and Blake is not even looking at call-up papers for Prestatyn on the balance of this.

    Ed reminds us that Radio 1 is ten years old. The Swede recalls this anniversary very clearly. And then we get Ram Jam with “Black Betty”. Brilliant track, natch. The band are playing in a garden in front of a Pleasant Valley Sunday house. Appreciative bikers and their sorts applaud. Rock and Roll, innit.

    David Essex – Even his cheeky good looks and “got a silver lining” accent can’t save this. But he’s far too good to be bundled off to you know where.

    On the other hand… “The Stylistics are back” voiceovers Stewpot. And indeed they are. But why? Especially after that vile “kick my girlfriend into touch as soon as I’m minted” offering. Actually, “Orville” really needs a serious period of correction now. A brutal, violent and sustained bare-knuckled attack across his daily should do it before the minibus already arranged by Lazarus whisks him and the other prawns off to the Swede’s favourite North Welsh holiday camp. Forever.

    Donna Summer – Lovely Donna looks simply great in retro top and tails garb doing an old-style number. It’s perfectly fine (even when I’m convinced she sings “shit on the table” at one point) but as Lazarus also pointed out, it’s a mighty strange choice after having only very recently come up with a record which showstopped an entire decade.

    The best ’til (nearly) the last, even if it is four years old. Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”, surely one of the very finest records from a continental group, Abba notwithstanding. Absoluely great. But why the re-release?

    Presley still at number one – Same old. Same old. Photies. Gals. Way Down. Way too much. In fact, enough, Elvis. You’re just getting boring now. Report to Prestatyn, you tubby old has-been. Ah…

    Ed, who has behaved perfectly all evening, chats to Giorgio Moroder. Erithian is spot on with his text to me that this disco leg is a Steve Wright doppelganger. Nice one, buddy. Ed says byeee! And so do I.

    ADDENDUM: I was at this point going to lightly tease punctum by suggesting that Ed Stewart had offended no-one during this broadcast, not even him. I am now going to apologise to Marcello, having read the link he provided concerning Ed meeting his wife. Even more reprehensible was Stewpot’s suggestion that he might have been a Chelsea fan, when as any fool kno, he used to make a big play about supporting Everton. Changing footy teams is just pure evil and can never be tolerated by a civilised society. I’m disgusted.

  6. 576
    Erithian on 27 Oct 2012 #

    Someone elsewhere pointed out that Giorgio was in fact a doppelganger for Micky Disco from The Fast Show, even more so than for Steve Wright.

  7. 577
    Tommy Mack on 27 Oct 2012 #

    John Peel talked at some length in his memoirs about meeting his first wife (in Texas) when she was 15 and he was 25 IIRC. Is this a thing with DJs. Actually, I suppose it probably is: you are a creepy, non-singing, non-dancing, older man playing to a mainly teen audience, in that context it seems grimly inevitable. (Peel’s episode of course is nowhere near the same league at the orchestrated abuse perpetuated by Jimmy Saville, but it does seem to point to this kind of shit being widespread in those days and people just turning a blind eye.)

  8. 578
    Tommy Mack on 27 Oct 2012 #

    Beyond the moral outrage, what glares is the taudriness of these men’s lives: in the same way Jimmy Saville had apparently no interest in forming adult relationships with women (or men) preferring pliant adoloescents, Stewpot has no passion for the golden age of pop music he’s promoting, other than as a vehicle through which to meet people like Princess bloody Margaret. “needless to say, I had the last laugh.”

  9. 579
    enitharmon on 27 Oct 2012 #

    Many 15-year-old and, I would suggest, 14-year-old girls are perfectly capable of determining their own emotional decisions and personally I think it’s insulting to them to say otherwise and insist that their best interests are best-served by being infantilised for as long as possible, the better to be indoctrinated by the education system into their establishment-sanctioned destiny as a unit of production. I note that this infantilisation seems to be an Anglo-Saxon thing; the age of consent is a realistic 14 or 15 throughout much of Europe.

    I write as one who has in her time enjoyed perfectly satisfactory sexual relationships with partners both much older and much younger than herself.

  10. 580
    Tommy Mack on 27 Oct 2012 #

    Granted, age difference isn’t a barrier to an emotionally or sexually satisfying relationship, but it really doesn’t sound if that’s what Saville was after – there were girls who put up with him because it meant access to showbiz glamour and there were girls who felt violated. Nobody seems to be saying how great it was balling Jimmy Saville. Stewpot I don’t know, but he seems like a prick, so as a mean-spirited and judgemental man, I’m disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt!

    Peel was a different case – I’m going on memory here and memory of his published account, but as I recall, in his view it was more a case of his emotional immaturity putting him on her level rather than vice versa and as I recall, the relationship came to a very messy end.

  11. 581
    punctum on 28 Oct 2012 #

    #579: it’s got nothing to do witn infantilisation or ages of consent or anything like that; what it has to do with is the assumption that this sort of behaviour is “right” or “to be expected.” That I think should apply to women of all ages. Back of the bikeshed with a fellow pupil in third year geography class is not equatable with a creepy adult perving over a kid. In which case, it reverts back to the notion of assumed power of men over women (including the teacher-pupil angle). Just because it was the done thing when people could leave school at 14 doesn’t IN ITSELF make it right. Read David Belbin’s excellent novel Love Letters for an interesting (if fictitious) perspective on this.

  12. 582
    Mark G on 29 Oct 2012 #

    I met Ed Stewart once, basically he replied “Yess, yess, yess” offhandedly to every thing I said. Came away thinking What an arsehole.. At least you know where you are with Lou Reed, etc.

  13. 583
    punctum on 29 Oct 2012 #

    Terrific and pretty chilling LRB piece by Andrew O’Hagan here.

  14. 584
    Mark G on 29 Oct 2012 #

    Well, there it is: Why is it the DMail like to condemn the ‘politically correct’ BBC of nowadays and are using the current crisis as a stick to beat it with, where in actual fact it is all about the artifices and ‘respect for their betters’ that made it like it was in the first place?

  15. 585
    Weej on 29 Oct 2012 #

    That’s a great piece, Punctum, been waiting weeks now for a bit of real perspective on the issue and that really does the trick.

  16. 586
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Nov 2012 #

    #583 – That O’Hagan piece was indeed extremely interesting. There had been suspicions about Uncle Mac for years, though. We had an old EP single on Parlophone (I think it was), where Mac popped up singing “Who killed Cock Robin?”, “Froggie went a-courting”, “Goosie Gander” and a few others. The record was much beloved in our household. And, of course, as Punctum would know, Uncle’s famous catchphrase was grabbed by Number Six at the end of “The Girl Who Was Death”. I don’t think Mac would have been interested in gorgeous, leggy, deadly Sonia somehow.

  17. 587
    Mark G on 1 Nov 2012 #

    No, because by then he was the bloke who was dead.

  18. 588
    Mark G on 2 Nov 2012 #

    So, here we are once more, and Smokie start things just to show that punk didn’t kill them off! The backing singer bloke is clearly singing something other than what’s on the tape. Some sort of coded message about being forced into lusy cover versions or some such.

    The Emotions, a film, and the two backing singers dance sarcastically…

    Noel gives the most dismissive intro to..Mani? Oh wait it’s Danny Mirror and he remembers Elvis Presley, what a marvellous short-term memory he has..

    From here to eternity, the girls do dance. I think I liked this better than I Feel Love, and maybe as IFL has had lots of play since, maybe I still do..

    Yes. Issue single and chart with it, etc. Funny how these bands had it that they were too ‘important’ for singles, and now they are trying desperately to keep up/in..

    Deniece Williams does a funky song, the Bbc orchestra keep things from getting too good.

    JJ wafts the dry-ice once again.

    The girls in the studio, relatively safe with Noel. They don’t know how fortunate they are…

    Baccæra get a spurious special charactr thanks to my touchpad keyboæd stop doing that!

    Steve Gibbons does something I don’t remember at all. Maybe punk did kill off some things after all.

    David Soul gets his “just walk around places, we’ll put the audio on later” film shown.

    Who’s Kim?

    And Leo gets a play-out.

  19. 589
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Nov 2012 #

    #587 – Nice one , Mark, but he was perhaps only just dead. Uncle Mac checked out in 1967, which was the same year The Prisoner came out. I think my point was a general one about Uncle Mac and children (everywhere) and comparing them to the glory who was Justine Lord, a legitimate fantasy for any man worth his salt.

    TOTP: The first Noel in the grotto. La Belle Epoque take us up the rundown.

    I don’t believe it…Bloody Smokie AGAIN!! – Yep, another appearance from this risible shower of Prestatyn lifers, clearly on a closely supervised day release from their Pontins warders. They give us Needles and Pinza. Okay, a great song but it was searching for another time (SWIDT?). Start the engine, driver.

    Edmonds introduces “one of the best records of 1977”. He’s right. It’s the Emotions and it’s fabulous. Send it in a capsule into outer space. “Brilliant. Absolutely marvellous!” purrs Noel when it’s over.

    Fat Dutch no-mark chancer, Danny Mirror “remembers Elvis Presley”. Really? Never! The annoying thing is, he got away with it. Wait up, Smokie Pontins driver! Room for one more?…

    Gals – From here to eternity. Our lovelies are in shadow. I don’t know whether I liked this or not. I’m reluctant to have a pop, as the Swede’s taste for the Tales of the Unexpected dancer has been well recorded. But I just miss Mucky Sue’s blank, glassy stare.

    Yes – Ludicrously pretentious prog rock poppycock, which the Swede fell for back in the day. I was a fool.

    Deniece Williams – Live in studio. Lovely, lovely girl. Who cares that the song’s not up to much. She’s a drink.

    Stranglers – Up Swedostrasse, obv.

    Baccara – Tasty sort and her less than resplendant mate. Completely ridiculous song. Cut short. Hooray! Won’t help. Number one bound. Boo!

    Steve Gibbons – Falls on his arse. Crap. And who cares? If we’re quick, we can catch the minibus up at Newport Pagnell.

    Hutch at number one – Edited footage from last week. Silly and annoying, which is a shame as it’s not a bad record to be fair.

    Out to Leo.

    Noel has done little wrong this week, opines the Swede, as he lights the blue touch-paper…

  20. 590
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    Apart from allowing himself to be touched by lots of teenage girls in close proximity.

    I don’t know why BBC4 don’t just pull this from their schedule; the main reason why anyone watches the reruns anymore (if the Twitter feed is anything to go by) is to assess: is he safe? Are they safe? Etc.

    But, as Tony Parsons said yesterday, if the BBC continues to canonise Jimmy Savile and get rid of Danny Baker, it’ll be bye bye licence fee before you can say “Chelsea Barracks.”

    Speaking of Kenneth Griffith

  21. 591
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Nov 2012 #

    #590 – “I don’t know why BBC4 don’t just pull this from their schedule; the main reason why anyone watches the reruns anymore (if the Twitter feed is anything to go by) is to assess: is he safe? Are they safe? Etc.”

    I would have to say that whilst this might be true in part, applying it to “anyone” (meaning “everyone”) is clearly rubbish, considering the handful of us on this very forum who still watch these old shows and post our thoughts on them, both for the sheer fun of it. Having said that, it’s equally true to say that Savilegate may well toll the bell for these re-runs ultimately, as many 70s jocks (nearly all of whom are still with us) shuffle around as nervously as a tail-ender about to face Michael Holding.

  22. 592
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    I think “sheer fun” is about the last feeling I’d experience watching this creepshow. Whoever tweeted “Top Of The Pops 1977: A Warning From History” is right.

  23. 593
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Nov 2012 #

    I get that, punctum but that fun I and others derive is principally from the music and not the jocks and what they may or may not have been up to back then, before and subsequently. Perhaps “the warning from history” label is providing a case for why the series should continue?

  24. 594
    glue_factory on 2 Nov 2012 #

    @590 and 591; and in addition to the handful who comment I would guess there are more of us who regularly read (and enjoy) those comments and watch the shows. I can’t speak for “anyone” but “is he safe?” is not my main reason for watching.

  25. 595
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    The music is largely unsellable junk (“Tupelo Mississippi Flash,” which unfortunately I remember from first time around; Danny Fucking Mirror passim), the presentation cheap and tacky and try as I might I cannot watch this thing without getting a dose of the shivers, and not in a good way. As Martin Kelner said, I remember why we pulled the “old school” down in the first place.

  26. 596
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    and in case anyone’s wondering I am going to address this issue on TPL before the seventies are out.

  27. 597
    glue_factory on 2 Nov 2012 #

    Will look forward to it. TPL and the TOTPs re-run comments are what are keeping me going in the absence of new Popular entries.

  28. 598
    Jimmy the Swede on 2 Nov 2012 #

    #595 – But..but it WASN’T unsellable, was it? Of course a lot of the stuff is laughable to watch now. But that’s just it – I laugh, but then that’s my general outlook on life anyway. For my part I shall continue to watch these re-runs as long as they show them but I will have to repeat that I do think the series will get pulled sooner rather than later.

  29. 599
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    “Tupelo Mississippi Flash” didn’t make the charts so we must assume it didn’t sell (enough). For mid-seventies laughs I’ll stick to Annie Hall oh hang on a minute Woody Allen IS NOTHING SAFE

  30. 600
    Mark G on 2 Nov 2012 #

    One of the ‘shocking’ things in retrospect was how poor Steve Gibbons Band was. OK, “Johnny Cool” was pretty good, and “Tulane” not abysmal, but we’re onto two lousy records now, aren’t we? I vaguely remember “Eddie Vortex” wasn’t “too bad”, but we shall see… he certainly seemed to have a fixation regarding Cochran/Presley/Greaser rock…

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