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. 601
    punctum on 2 Nov 2012 #

    And he was from Harborne in Birmingham. Can any other top pop stars say the same?

  2. 602
    Mark G on 9 Nov 2012 #


    So, that’s where he’s gorn!

  3. 603
    punctum on 15 Nov 2012 #

    DLT arrested; tonight’s TOTP rerun (hosted by DLT) pulled. Will be surprised if series still going by, say, Christmas.

  4. 604
    Billy Hicks on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Breaking news – Every repeat of every BBC television show pre-1990 pulled from all channels just in case anyone in them might be a bit dodgy.

    Casts and writers of One Foot in the Grave, Have I Got News for You and Keeping Up Appearances breathe a sigh of relief.

  5. 605
    weej on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Jim’ll Fix It ran until 1994, astonishingly. I would’ve sworn it finished in the 80s, but you can’t question wikipedia, can you?

    Anyway, it’s a bit gutless of the BBC to cancel tonights TOTP repeat. They could’ve started trailing it instead, linking it in to current affairs programmes, could even have a poll; “based on this performance, are you convinced that he’s a sex offender?”

  6. 606
    heather on 15 Nov 2012 #

    “Yes Sir, I can Boogie” is a brilliant pop song. And special love for having “Holiday In The Sun” in the outro.

    I get the feeling that someone once told David Jensen he looked like David Bowie, hence the dangling shirtsleeves and hipster tanktop.

    (and btw, I hope they keep showing the show, apart from the really obvious creeps. Things are starting to get a bit Chris Morris)

  7. 607
    Mark G on 15 Nov 2012 #

    Well, let’s crack on, there’s a show to review and it won’t review itself!


    Anyway, Slade are on and blimey, when you’re cold you’re cold. Nod’s lost his signature curly locks, Dave’s lost all his. Momentarily distracted as I think Dave’s playing my guitar! One very like it, anyway..

    Next up, Dorothy Moore looks like she’s dressing up old on purpose. Not so much ‘off to Camber Sands’ as ‘just popped in from there’. And back then (and even now) I used to wonder how come The Ladybirds used to get on the closing credits even when they did nowt (which was most weeks), well they are on this BBC re-version with a vengeance, and totally nackr a song/rendition that wasn’t much cop to start with.

    And here’s Darts, and the third ‘medley’ in a row, what is this, X-Factor? This seemed a breath of fresh air, sort of, at the time. Now it looks like the band that gets hired for corporate events. Den Hegarty is the manic presence, but he’s the bass voice and it’s clear he can’t actually hit those notes.

    Legs and co do “Black Betty” and are in danger of being the best thing on this weeks show! Sue takes the lead, and the others aren’t too far behind: Usually, they’re individually very ‘lady’, or very ’15-yr-old’, but this time, they actually look like a team! Although the blonde on on the far right hasn’t got much of a clue and looks lost and knackered and that fatal ‘watch the others and copy’ method is .. OK, so I have ‘worked with a dance group before’, so I see it.

    Rod Stewart manages to sing the hokeyest lyrics (for the most part) totally straight-faced while I cried (with laffing), even when the waiter comes in with the worst mimed violin since Lol Tolhurst on “Catch”, which is in the future so this is a backwards comment. Interesting bit re: “Those habits that at first were hard to accept”, what the coke habit? I’m sure Rod managed to incorporate.. Oh,apparently it’s “those (Aubrey) Beardsley prints”, I guess Rod has a liiiiiiiiiitle bit of an inferiority complex.

    Boney M do Belfast memorably (that means I remember and was looking forward to this performance).. some halfway decent ad-lib bits, and it’s clear she’s actually a good singer. Helpfully (and I recommend them) the subtitles have been pretty damn accurate and “Belfast” the song just about works as it doesn’t try for heavy relevance and miss by miles…

    And OK, here’s a nice track for my punk/new wave compilation DVD-R, Tom Robinson band do a nice song about Motorway travel. Kid Jensen predicts more appearances for TRB, and for once he’s right. But not that many, thinking about it.

    Abba now, and they have an impossible case that nobody can reach. Some stepladders are needed, clearly.

    Oh bluddy ‘ell, Smokie? Again? no wonder the audience look unenthusiastic. Oh wait, it’s actually the bloke who took his name back off them, Smokey! The band seem lacking in volume/presence, and it’s a shame as it seems like it could have kicked!

    Kid would like to watch one of the audience girls while they boogie. Doesn;t he realise, people will be watching this 35 years later? Baccara.

    And the fade-out to “Holidays in the Sun”, that’ll close my 1977 DVD, it’s too full for the rest of the tracks coming up. Before that, anyway, Kid introduces the new Radio 1 DJ from the back, it’s Wild Man Fischer! oh wait, it’s Peter Powell! Never been seen before! Wow.

    This seems to prompt a separation of styles, on the one hand the young, reasonably good looking blokes, and on the other the odd old guard that aren’t going without a struggle. And Tony Blackburn somewhere in the middle.

  8. 608
    punctum on 16 Nov 2012 #

    I think it’s just become a spectator sport now – is he one? Are they ones? – as well as retrospective micturition on people’s memories. The BBC will either pull it pretty soon or they’ll notice the increased rubbernecker ratings and think, well OK – or else they burn the negatives of every TOTP in their archive, just to be on the safe side.

  9. 609
    Chelovek na lune on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Hmm, as a very dodgy (but occasionally astute) group from Basildon put it: “Men with beards: What are they hiding?”

  10. 610
    Tom on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Chins, generally.

  11. 611
    heather on 16 Nov 2012 #

    I would normally defend it from that sort of watching but I even caught myself doing it when poor Jensen innocently said to a girl “I’d like to see your dancing”.

  12. 612
    Mark G on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Most of the papers had ‘nice’ pics of DLT, alone or with his wife in 1992 or some-such.

    One had a photo of DLT, Janice Long and JimSav, with DLT ‘trying’ to insert his tongue in JLong’s ear.

    ‘illustration’ I guess.

  13. 613
    punctum on 16 Nov 2012 #

    In Metro; I saw that.

  14. 614
    Lazarus on 16 Nov 2012 #

    Are many people watching these reruns, have there ever been? BBC4 has always been a niche station; most people I know (that I’ve asked) have never seen a single programme on it, seem only vaguely aware that the station even exists. When have you ever seen a trailer for a programme on BBC4? They’re few and far between, and this show has never been plugged to my knowledge. The point that I’m labouring towards is that I suspect that TOTP77 has a small but loyal viewership; it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a (smaller) ‘rubberneck’ element that has recently tuned in, but the new D-G (who has some more, rather more pressing concerns I’d have thought) or whoever has to make the decision, has to make an educated guess: would there be more complaints if the repeats were pulled, or if they were allowed to continue? I suppose a lot will depend on what happens with DLT, but he hasn’t been charged yet as far as I know.

    Haven’t seen the latest edition yet btw; had it on yesterday but mainly as background noise, will get round to commenting on it in the next day or two.

  15. 615
    Erithian on 17 Nov 2012 #

    I know that if I had to have my telly stuck to one station from 7pm every night, I’d choose BBC4, and not just for Friday nights.

    Wonderful little documentary about a record shop in Stockton just now, showcasing the passions of the owner and the eccentricities of the customers in a way that makes you sorry if you don’t share them.

  16. 616
    Paulito on 17 Nov 2012 #

    DJ denies grabbing women’s knockers 35 years ago

    Pure madness, I tells ya…

  17. 617
    Mark G on 17 Nov 2012 #

    yeah, he states he’s not guilty of the charge, and very not guilty with concrete on top of paedo insinuations…

  18. 618
    Lazarus on 18 Nov 2012 #

    *records programme, goes to watch it next day*

    ‘Parental control set. Enter your PIN to watch this programme.’

    Hmm, it seems even SkyPlus is getting in on the act. Perhaps the show will be going out after the watershed soon?

    “In a change to the billed episode …” a tank-topped Jensen presides.

    Santana over the Top 30. Because we’ve missed a week, the charts seem to have moved on quickly – Elvis ‘way down’ to 19 already. La Belle Epoque made number 2? I had no idea.

    Slade with an Elvis cash-in, I mean tribute. The sound of ’73, indeed. Funny to see Dave with a shaved head, they started as a skinhead outfit didn’t they?

    Mary Mason – where did she come from? Was she on Op Knocks, New Faces? Had she just ‘come up through the clubs’ like Marti Caine? Almost as scary as that other MM and her two gentleman callers.

    Darts – first time on the show. Hegarty’s clowning soon irritated me I’m afraid. Bob Fish was one of the most unlikely looking pop stars wasn’t he? As one who’s similarly follically challenged, I’m oddly grateful for that.

    Ram Jam – the Legs this time. Raucous routine with lots of thrusting. Won’t someone please think of the children?

    Kid, surrounded by young women, introduces Rod and his video. The violinist is surely Lord Lucan, who’s adopted the cunning disguise of turning his moustache up at the ends.

    Boney M – I’ve never paid much attention to the lyrics I’m afraid. Did they offer a solution to the Troubles? I liked Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Beirut’ from the following year, a hit only on Fab 208 I think.

    Tom Robinson Band – highlight of the show for me. Still sounds fresh to me, he doesn’t look much older than the sixth-former he appears dressed as.

    Abba – my favourite song of theirs, and has been for many years. Some of us, alas, are still waiting to be rescued.

    Smokey – pleasant but forgettable. Was this show even on here?

    Baccara – and the singing senoritas have their first week on top. I’d hazard a guess that it’ll be another 25 years before another all-female Spanish group will top the chart – or is that too saucy for the Bunny?

    we’re introduced to next week’s host Peter Powell – BBC going for their own Paul Nicholas? Well, he had the hair anyway.

    Pistols to close – it does sound a lot like GSTQ in places. A surprise choice, certainly. He didn’t say it this time, but good love, Kid!

  19. 619
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Nov 2012 #

    The Swede arrives very late at the party…for any of you who care:

    Kid replaces Cornflake. The airbrush is in full stroke. Santana provide the countdown backdrop. A brave and classy attempt at covering a great pop song. Nat a patch on Blunstone but full marks anyway.

    Slade – Their best days now behind them, the Wolves boys go retro. Dave Hill has shaved his bonce. Fashion or illness?

    Mary Mason (who she?) does a recognisable ballad. But there’s clearly something about Marys, for we are faced with another blank staring murderous soccer mom, although this one is British and looks like Anita Harris with a perm. Direct entrant to Prestatyn.

    Jensen insists that we won’t believe our eyes as he introduces Darts with Daddy Cool. Well we did believe it in fact. Another tiresome ’50s revival act. Guess where they are now, kids?

    GALS IN CLOVER!!! – Or rather in shredded black dresses with stocking tops. Fucking magnificent! Totally appropriate for Black Betty and Sue is back to her muckiest with her blank vinegary stare. It’s the sexiest routine for ages and the Swede needs a hose-down.

    Rod – You’re In My Heart. He’s smugly strumming a guitar unconvincingly in a posh restaurant as a little man plays a violin. I always thought this was nice until the line about “Celtic/United”, which would have cost him sales in some places. The film is cut before we get there.

    Boney M – Totally inexplicable song from a group of Afro/Continentals saying nothing at all, which was just as well for everyone, I think.

    Tom Robinson – Cracking! Didn’t he look young, though?

    Abba are playing ludo (name of the game – geddit?). They’re happy and life is good. And so is this record.

    Smokey – But not this time the numpty house band, who are surely locked comfortably up in their chalets, but the great Mr Robinson in the studio. The song’s not up to much, granted, but there’s no excuse for the kids to look so bored. He’s a Mowtown legend, you ignorant little pillocks!

    Number One time – It’s Baccara aka: Sweet Cakes and Champion the Wonderhorse (from some angles). Completely ludicrous record. You can tell that these girls are singing phonetically. English, French, German, Italian… If they can manage it in Welsh, the Swede has a job for them.

    Kid introduces Peter Powell to Radio One. Out to the Pistols. No good love from Jensen this week. You can’t really blame him in this climate of fear..

  20. 620
    Cumbrian on 21 Nov 2012 #

    Further news on potential 1978 showings:


    I’d say its days are numbered.

  21. 621
    punctum on 22 Nov 2012 #

    “audience figures have declined quite markedly”: BARB data shows that the programme has constantly been high up in BBC4’s weekly top ten and remains so.

    This is the same BBC that said Mike Harding was leaving his Radio 2 folk show of his own accord whereas the truth was he’s being pushed out in favour of Mark Radcliffe, of whom there is evidently nowhere near enough on the radio. Or cut-and-paste a set of answers from Calvin Harris to completely different questions on Newsbeat, causing the great man enough bother on Twitter and elsewhere for him to consider taking legal action.

    Is the BBC pathologically incapable of telling the truth about ANYTHING?

  22. 622
    Jimmy the Swede on 22 Nov 2012 #

    “Yes” is the answer to that one, punctum. Perhaps they should make Sally Bercow Director General.

  23. 623
    Rory on 22 Nov 2012 #

    “BBC4 had been targeted for cuts because it delivered the smallest amount of ‘unique reach’, viewers or listeners that did not use any other BBC service.”

    What an utterly bonkers way of judging its importance. Are they seriously suggesting that TV channels only matter if they’re the only one that some people watch? That BBC4 viewers shouldn’t occasionally stray as far as BBC2, or that they shouldn’t listen to Radio 4? Are they judging on the basis of viewers who’ve lost their remotes? And what about iPlayer, which jumbles up shows from all BBC channels by design?

  24. 624
    Cumbrian on 22 Nov 2012 #

    #621: I would agree that the BBC currently does not have a reputation for truthfulness but, on its face, the statement that the ratings have declined markedly is actually true – at least as measured by BARB.

    Having just now looked up the figures since the start of the shows back in April 2011, average audience figures for TOTP 1977 were at 238k back in January. Now, in November, the current average audience figures are 140k. In October, it was 155k, in September it was 138k. In fact, since July the audience has been mostly around 150k. In November-January 2011-2012, the average audience was around 240k – so a fall in viewing figures of around a third.

    There are problems with this – not least that viewing to iPlayer isn’t counted for starters, so if viewing has transferred online, the figures might be much higher – but as I am not at the BBC, I can’t check that. The publicly available data though does show that the viewing has declined.

    I would argue that if TOTP is still high in BBC4’s weekly Top 10 according to BARB, that this speaks to the low (BARB) viewing figures of their other output rather than any particular strength of TOTP. You could make a pretty cogent point that removing it and replacing it with something that pulls in more viewers will benefit the channel more – particularly in the face of potential cuts.

    This then gets on to the argument as to what the BBC is for of course. My view is that I think the BBC has lost its way somewhat. They have taken the idea of “providing something for everyone” and interpreted it in what I would perceive as the wrong way – they shouldn’t be providing programming that everyone will watch and understand and thus get large ratings – they should be providing a wide variety of content, which may get smaller ratings, but within which everyone can find something that they enjoy. In this sense, I don’t hold much truck with the ratings argument – nor the bit that Rory points out.

    I think the Beeb is, frankly, in a massive tangle about quite a lot of things at the moment and couldn’t half do with someone of vision to lead the organisation and try and cut through the bullshit.

  25. 625
    punctum on 22 Nov 2012 #

    That’s putting it very diplomatically. Historically the BBC have a tendency to give its audience what it THINKS it OUGHT to want, rather than what it actually DOES want; the success of Radio Luxembourg, ITV, Sky etc. demonstrates that this is the road to nowhere, at least the way the BBC has done it. Listening to 6Music on a Sunday, for instance, is like being at school.

    So it’s interesting to note that a new three-part discussion series hosted by Danny Baker is coming up on BBC4 about “great albums.” I wonder where they got that idea from and wonder if they’ll get ANY ratings.

  26. 626
    Cumbrian on 22 Nov 2012 #

    Yes, well, having put comments up on various different places around the Internet and been part of/observed quite a few flame wars, I’ve learned to try and moderate and be somewhat more clear about what I’m saying. It saves a lot of hassle. Particularly here, where mis-steps can (and should) get picked up.

    I’ll watch the Danny Baker programme likely. I don’t have a BARB box attached to my TV set though (and would likely watch it on iPlayer in any case), so I’m not helping on that score. I think the idea comes from the fact that, if you take out The Killing and Only Connect, quite a few of their best performing programmes are based around music, so knocking some more out might be a good idea. But moaning about low ratings and being faced with cuts and then putting out stuff in exactly the same genres might not be a sensible way of turning performance around – as I said, I think they’ve got themselves into a tangle in a number of areas and it’s stuff like this that illustrates that it’s endemic, and not just confined to their reactions to the Saville revelations and the associated McAlpine stuff.

  27. 627
    Jimmy the Swede on 22 Nov 2012 #

    #625 – Johnnie Walker has trodden the “great album” path, of course. He remains a remarkable man and an eternal Swede hero.

  28. 628
    punctum on 22 Nov 2012 #

    When you read further and DB’s idea of a “golden age of albums” is Making Waves by Focus, eyes glaze over and unconsciousness resumes.

  29. 629
    Jimmy the Swede on 22 Nov 2012 #

    I once introduced Mrs Swede to the glory which is Focus, I’ll have you know. She didn’t leave me but it was a close call.

    I still love “Sylvia”, I must admit.

  30. 630
    glue_factory on 22 Nov 2012 #

    @625 Sunday on 6Music seems to me to be the only day that it genuinely distinguishes itself from a slightly hipper XFM. Mind you, it’s the only day you’re likely to hear Focus, so perhaps there’s the rub.

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