Aug 08

Popular ’78

FT + Popular/361 comments • 13,924 views

I give each record reviewed on Popular a mark out of 10. This is a poll where you can indicate which ones you would have given 6 or more to – pick as many as you like, and discuss the year in general in the comments box if you want.

Number One Hits Of 1978: Which would you have given 6 or more to?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest mark for 78 went to Kate Bush (10) – my lowest to the Brotherhood of Man (2).


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  1. 271
    lonepilgrim on 20 Jul 2013 #

    prostate Swede? TMI!

  2. 272
    Jimmy the Swede on 20 Jul 2013 #

    Ha haa! Yes, I see what you mean, Pilgrim. I don’t think even the Eternal Mistress could do that to me!

  3. 273
    Mark G on 22 Jul 2013 #

    Kid hands straight into the rundown to Gladys Knight & pips’ “Come back and finish”, and I recall the hilarious solo leg that dances to this one. Next week, I’ll wager..

    Sham 69 come on to a less embarrassing “Don’t turn it off, turn it up” which Madness will nick and adapt slightly, fairly soon.. Ah, “the sham ruined it for everyone” seems to have become accepted wisdom, and yet this performance is their best yet..

    Taste of honey surprise us all by not being a singing duo, and when she sings “Listen to my bass yeah”it’s the truth! Why nobody hail her as a great bass player? Oh yeah it’s disco so it does not count,

    Justin sings the short version, thanks just. Did I mention I reviewed this and “Northern Lights ” for Tony Blackburn’s “National Pop Panel” back in the day? Well, I’m mentioning it now, in case you did similar.. I rated both dull at the time, probably would have given Sham 69 a big thumbs up but Tony would more than likely not be playing it anyway..

    Legs at the gym, see the Swede above for review.. (right, finished review in record time, can watch the rest of the song now…)

    New Seekers take a chance and do an unusual song, and get a hit. That’s how you do it. I guess they didn’t after this..

    Eyup, girl on phone yes its City boy trying to stuff dimes into a UK Payphone, daft sods..

    Elo wwhero. Ff>

    And now Clout. Sorry, am I playing the wrong week? This seems like the same songs in the same order.. Ok, whatever I said upthread still goes.

    Righto, Raydio are on Davina’s million drop, last question and the options are “Love Thing” and “Sex Thing” but what is the question?

    Legs dance in the city,( rpt)

    Child. And their manager, possibly, has a great idea lads that’ll kill off their career but might just shift some singles this week. You just know they are cringing inside. Maybe they will get their go next time…

    Once again, the intro to YTOTIW is in a different key to the legdance. Is Leo getting repeat fees? Worth a bomb, this month!


  4. 274
    Mark G on 22 Jul 2013 #

    #254, Wichita, I have a Twitter addy that worked once, might work again, will try to get the skinny on this one..

    There, I’ve said it. Now I’ll have to do it. In the morn..

  5. 275
    lonepilgrim on 24 Jul 2013 #

    TOTP 10/08/1978

    Peter Powell introduces the 750th edition in a more subdued mode than usual
    Voyage over the charts with ‘From East to West’ according to the TOTP Fax twitter feed
    The Rezillos – I feel I ought to like this more than I do: like a punk Darts or a college skit
    Foreigner – ‘Classic’ stadium rock shrunk to fit the small screen – riffs in search of a tune
    Hi-Tension – fantastic summery groove
    Bob Dylan – a hit fuelled by his first British tour in 9 years prompts the gals to go into interpretive dance mode – it’s a bit dull innit. I saw him at Earls Court but didn’t go to the Blackbushe Open Air extravaganza that took place a few weeks before this broadcast
    Raydio – lively if slightly anonymous
    Renaissance – more admirable than enjoyable
    Jilted John – History as farce
    Olivia & John – etc, etc
    PP presents a cake but can’t seem bothered
    Commodores – smoochy classic

  6. 276
    Mark G on 26 Jul 2013 #

    Well, he’s not bouncing around as much, but he still seems pleased to be there..

    The Rezillos arrive without intro and a banner of the logo to end, making a perfect drop-in.

    Foreigner. The funny thing is, about a month previously they had their first hit, a three track best-of e.p. And now they have their second hit which was one of the tracks on that e.p. Which makes me wonder if the buyers ever played side 2..

    Hi-Tension and The British Hustle. No, it is not about what’s going down in British Streets, but the hustle baby will drive you crazy. And a clap-clap machine. The drum machines are coming…

    Bob gets the girls doing something whispy but not bad..

    Raydio still being pestered by girls who only want one thing, if seems.

    Renaissance in the studio, seem a bit subdued also, but ..

    Jilted John invent lo-fi .with a mostly live performance. I recognise the two from ‘Bet Lynch’s Legs’ and Bernard Kelly is “Gordon the Moron”, not sure who the older guy on guitar is, and the drummer is mostly obscured. Anyway, none of those people are Martin Hannett anyway..

    InSuraNce… Ok that spellcheckerchange is just weird. OlJohnDance. And leave it

    Pete seems somewhat chilled out, my guess it it was inserts only, and the performances were compiled. There’s a distinct lack of atmosphere (and not a lot of audience) this week. Picture quality seemed much improved, however..

  7. 277
    Lazarus on 26 Jul 2013 #

    Foreigner seem to have keen on recycling – the twin B side tracks of 1981’s ‘Waiting for a Girl like You’ were ‘Feels like the First Time’ and ‘Cold as Ice!’

  8. 278
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Jul 2013 #

    Peter Powell flapping around as usual like Bernie Clifton’s comedy ostrich. It’s the 750th edition of TOTP. Chart rundown to Voyage.

    Rezillos – Appropriately, the song’s called “TOTP”. Fay Fife looks to the Swede a little like a big life-long obsession, Anita Harris (with a heavy Scottish accent). It’s good stuff and a big “Hey!” at the end. Wonderful. And Pete concurs. “Terrific…Terrific!” he gushes.

    Foreigner – Concert footage of Cold as Ice. I saw this lot play Hammersmith a couple of years or so down the line. The Swede saw lots of stuff back then.

    Hi Tension – Not as good as their inaugural eponymous hit but it charted higher. Young lads having fun over a hustle. It was their last hit. I wonder how many of them had ever been to Wales before this. “Soul at its best!” opines Peter. Some might disagree.

    Bob Dylan and the Gals – A seemingly unlikely combo but it works, I think. Scarlet lady Gill leads off. She no longer looks like the girl next door. Quite the vamp. But then, just as the Swede starts to get any ideas, the Eternal Mistress leads the revolt. A sexy swim-based routine to an excellent track with hints of Lay Lady Lay prevalent in the bouquet. Full marks to dear Flick for this as well as to the mighty Zimmerman.

    Raydio – Already seen. On-heat squeaky no-marks do their thang.

    Renaissance – I love this. Norhtern Lights, wonderfully delivered in a crystal clear voice by Annie Haslam, a big healthy-looking old lass with faraway looks and distant thoughts. The group has changed its line-up several times since. Check them out, Popular Pals. You know where they are.

    Jilted John – Surely one of the records of the year for its sheer wackiness if nothing else. A clear piss-take of the music everyone was taking far too seriously heading for the top five, making every use of the petulant punk sulk of “it’s not fair!” and the helpless swipe at Gordon for nicking his bird. Don’t think he could get away with “puff” these days. Lovely grub!

    Floyd is still number one. Compare Gill then with earlier. Also clock the very pretty girl in a jacket smiling sweetly just as Gill does her turn. She resembles Lady Helen Windsor as she was to look about a decade later. See what happens when you see the same f’king footage every week!

    Peter has a huge cake for TOTP 750. Good job they didn’t round up all the other jocks to grab a slice! We go out to the record which finally knocks the Johns off the top. It goes on to dominate in its own right.

    Average fare this time.

  9. 279
    Mark G Smith on 27 Jul 2013 #

    the jilted john track featured on TOTP2 & 51+ 3%;1- #)3 3$”-1 +”24- +121 81?-“24_ 2%4%8)'”)-‘(. Y=uff was

  10. 280
    Mark G on 27 Jul 2013 #


    Jilted john got played on totp 2 a few times, but certain words got censord.. ‘Bitch’ got silenced but ‘Puff’ was deemed acceptable.

    oh, and the Rezillos track is Top Of The Pops, not the acronym (it’s important)

  11. 281
    lonepilgrim on 31 Jul 2013 #

    TOTP 17/08/1978
    Noel introduces
    Boney M over the charts
    Stranglers – never the most charming bunch, tune picks up once the singer stops growling
    Justin Heyward – ‘a poem set to music’ says Noel – pleasant tune, dull TV
    Cerrone – the gals start in lab coats but soon strip off to reveal fur trimmed bikinis before dancing with a giant banana – I sense a subtext but can’t quite put my finger on it
    Child – like an overgrown Bay City Rollers, out of time and slightly pointless
    Darts – far more energy in this than the previous act, despite a slower pace
    10cc – smug, satisfied and probably racist
    New Seekers – intriguing mixture of Eleanor Rigby, Abba and the Swingle Singers but still out of its time
    Commodores – prompts another routine from the gals, back in expressive dance mode
    Bizarre meeting between Noel and Sylvester promoting ‘Mighty Real’
    City Boy over the closing credits – humdrum

  12. 282
    Mark G on 31 Jul 2013 #

    I used to think Boney M sang “Show me a motion” … Here are the charts..

    I still think Hugh Cornwell looks like Joe Strummer .. Not so you’d mistake them, just a bot, that’s all.. Walk on by is done in the style of “Light my fire” even down to the massive edit out of the instrumental middle bit. Fine stuff…

    Justin gets the ff> treatment here..

    The girls act like scientists with Lene Lovitch expressions – too early!.. Then turn into Amazonian warrior women like someone’s sending in requests from the internet in the future..

    Child do something pitifully lame, possibly looking forward to the day they get to make the record they want to. I wonder if that day ever came?

    Even Darts seem fairly contemporary by comparison. But only by comparison. Den is still there, I see. One day he will ask “Who holds the key that winds up Big Ben?” but today is not that day.

    Noel thinks we should linger on the lyrics of “Dreadlock Holiday”. Hmm. Only if he means “Be safe on holiday”. This is a classic type of song where the verses were written after the h-larius chorus. Shall leave it there for now. Oh, I met the drummer once, he was in Pilot wasn’t he?

    Eve and Danny have just got engaged? Not a moment too soon, will they ever be on the show again? Seems not, they both left the band after getting hitched. Skim the intervening years, yep they are still together,aww etc.

    The girls have no need of Leo, they dance sedately with clothes on. I still don’t know what was being counted up to three here, maybe I’ll never know.

    Sylvester! Looking very blokey in leather jacket. But the fade is to City boy ho-hum.

    Hang on, vocal backing “The Maggie Stredder Singers” um, since when? Is it the end of The Ladybirds? Has Maggie wrested the controls of the group and renamed it in her image? Have the other two nicked off?

    (obv this is the edit show, will fill in missing bits maybe later)

  13. 283
    Speedwell54 on 1 Aug 2013 #

    Noel doing his posh voice…

    Stranglers -the men in Black apart from Black. What a long outtro, the keyboard sounds very Doors like.

    Justin Haywood – don’t know if this is repeat but it’s crying out for a video.

    Cerrone – Legs and Co back to their more literal translation of words to visuals and a bit of acting too.

    Child – repeat and I still think the lead singer looks like Brian Tilsley.

    Darts – brave choice after successful covers to do a slower self penned track. It’s okay.

    10cc – is this where Cowell got his “i don’t like it”, pause for boos, “I love it” from.

    Who – Who are you- and extra -studio based video

    New Seekers – sounds like classic Glee fodder – feels wholesome

    Mr Big – another extra- strange harmonica solo

    Three TImes a Lady- Legs and Co – guess what, just three of them dancing- hard work I think

    Yes bizarre -Sylvester turns up for an interview? Noel stands in a ditch.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  14. 284
    Jimmy the Swede on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Edmonds – Smug from the get-go. Rundown to Boney M and a disc which they flipped over. I wonder how many people bought this record twice.

    Stranglers – Great stab at Burt and Hal’s classic. Ray Manzarek guests, it seems. Still sounds wonderful all these years later. A record for all seasons. A fabulous opener.

    Justin Hayward – Despite Noel’s drooling, this is, for me, forever dull. Sorry.

    Cerrone – Robotic Gals cooking up a potion as science opens up the door. And by Jimmy, it works! Our leggy lovelies morph gloriously into visions of pure fantasy in skimpy two-piece tops. But now an apology from the Swede. It was clearly NOT Gill as Bob Dylan’s scarlet lady last time but Lulu. I know this because “Girl next door” Gill is back in this clip, looking just as she was for the Johns. And then Mucky Sue, ever the Eternal Mistress, bites into a granny smith. Oh, God! And then Gill (and it IS her this time) brandishes a big banana. Oh Mumma! Look, I’m just going to have to get my doctor, who’s also a personal friend, to section me again. It’s for my own fucking good. I’m not a bad man.

    Child – Grim retro pointless rubbish. How could they think this was a good idea. Even Noel mildly questions it. Irish Sea resort NOW!!

    Darts – More retro but this one was a goody. Their best single for me. It’s raining number twos for this hard-working outfit. And here is another silver medal for them. Bad luck, really. Rita is looking more than a little hot. Dan’s “eccentricities” have however run their course. Prestatyn.

    10CC – This number one promised to provoke one hell of a bun-fight amongst Popular posters when we discussed it exactly five years ago. Was Dreadlock Holiday racist or offensive in any way? Was it just clumsy and smug? Was it none of these things but just a great pop record? I actually feared a degree of nastiness when the debate began but in the end we generally had an agreeable, intelligent, good-humoured, exchange. I urge those who were not around then to have a look at it. For me, DH remains a blinding record from one of the best groups of the decade. And I love both cricket and reggae. I’ve never been to Jamaica but I was brought up in Stockwell/Brixton so a goodly influence from the islands was constantly surrounding me. So much for the good.

    Edmonds, the fraud, toasts the engagement of Eve and Danny of the New Seekers and looks over, pretending that they are in the studio. Bollox! It’s a truly excellent song, though. Swingle 2 indeed. Somebody should do this again. Attempt another take at it. A dance track, perhaps. St Etts.

    Number one time and the Johns have gorn. Three of the Gals step in, and dressed in white ball gowns give due homage to Three Times A Lady. This was another long-term chart-topper and was still there when the Swede left school and started work. Amongst the three dancers, Sue looks devine. She Is devine. A faultless routine.

    Edmonds introduces Sylvester. Not the cat but a mighty real dude. We don’t get to hear his fabulous dance hit but instead go out to City Boys’ 5705. A disappointment to say the least.

    A mixed bag.

  15. 285
    wichitalineman on 3 Aug 2013 #

    Edmonds, so smug.

    Stranglers. This really stands up, and Hugh’s subtle lyrical changes add to the pathos.

    Justin H. I mean, I love this song, especially Vigrass and Osborne’s original (which doesn’t have the WOTW soft metal guitar part). But ‘poetry set to music’ it is not. A nice piece of English Baroque is what it is.

    Cerronne. The theme from Kenny Everett’s show at the time, and I think Hot Gossip’s routines are an influence on the gals here. Good lord. Swede, I think that’s Rosie brandishing the giant banana like a very gorgeous Man City fan.

    Child. Good call from Mark. Clearly thinking, ‘next time we’re on we’ll do some proper rock’. No chance, losers!

    Darts. I loved this at the time and I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t hold up. The productions a little weak but Bob Fish’s vocal has a true Brill Building feel – it would have had a whole meal soul treatment a few years later. And the vocal interplay on the “I’m praying out loud” section is actually, properly shivery.

    10CC. I like a lot of 10CC, and the flop follow-up to this, People in Love, was a wonderful McCartney-esque ballad. But this thing? O no.

    The Who. Looking REALLY old. Poor Moony wouldn’t see the next Christmas.

    New Seekers. This was an Australian hit in 1968 for a group called the Procession, a decent psych-beat thing. This sounds a little wet, and I’m not sure if the lyric merits a rather pompous lead vocal. Wet and pompous. Not a good combination. It sounded better in my memory.

    Mr Big. Also wet, but entirely forgettable. I imagine this was meant to be the big first single from their second album. Not as bad as B of M’s cod Spanish hits, but then almost nothing is.

    Commodores. Rosie relegated to the bench as the super literal Flick only needs three ladies. Yawny, but it makes a change to John and John.

    Sylvester and Noel! Together at last! I bet they went back to Noel’s afterwards, and listened to Jeff Wayne’s WOTW, on his quadrophonic system.

    City Boy. An unholy mix of Queen and new wave. Next!

  16. 286
    speedwell54 on 18 Aug 2013 #

    “Don’t touch that dial because the hits are on parade” says the KId introducing TOTP. Ok granddad.

    Countdown with An Everlasting Love- this sounds like a complete Bee Gees rip off!

    Bilbo- She’s Gonna WIn – This crashed and burned at No42. Hear it once and it sticks though. Bizarre accordion solo.

    Essex “Oh What a Beard” obviously trimmed for the role and unbelievably he gets away with it. Sing-a-long everybody “Salve regina mater misericordiae, vita dulcedo et spes nostra, salve salve regina” stick that in your next lyrics quiz!

    Blondie- Harry is a vision in yellow. It’s not Gordon Brown, but it does look like someone is mouthing “smile” off camera somewhere. I love the way the vocals build emotionally, the way she says “garage”, and “get a pocket computer” (how ahead of their time) and the last line is a brilliant end.

    Jilted John- JJ- Doing the call and respond all by himself. Half surprised this wasn’t edited in places; “he’s a paff” etc. The drummer is wearing Sad Cafe t-shirt

    the Motors – “Forget About You”- I am sure at the time I thought it was a bit Radio2. The keyboard player is wearing a Motors t-shirt.

    Foreigner – Cold As Ice- On video -made me listen to the MOP version. I like this one as well. T-shirt watch. Singer is wearing “New Orleans ” t-shirt.

    British Hustle – not my cup of tea. The guitarist is wearing a Snoopy doll, he hasn’t heard about the t-shirt dress code.

    Boney M- Brown Girl In the Ring – Legs and Co- a little worried they might have all blacked-up, knowing their literal lyric interpretations. To be fair (I’m a footballer) they are dressed in coffee coloured outfits, they are in circle, and they are all female. Half way through some of Hi-tension and Bilbo join the girls on stage. The “dancer” from Jilted John wins the prize for the least enthusiastic. They are wearing brown t-shirts.

    Kid shouts “David Watts”, “Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa” strikes up, Bruce shares the vocal and they belt it out with gusto, I hope the next act keeps up the pace…

    The Commodors -3xlady – ahem. This sounds like a complete Lionel Ritchie rip off! Fast forward, too fast to see the t-shirts.

    The Rezillos play out with “Top of the Pops’

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  17. 287
    Mark G on 19 Aug 2013 #

    Only one review so far? We all on Holiday? Well, I was, but now I’m back so let’s have some hits on parade if that’s at all possible. Oh, it is, marvellous…

    Gibb sounds, much like Any of the others. A familiar title, “Everlasting Love”, but it’s not that one, its something more forgettable.

    Bilbo. The latest band (after Racey a couple of weeks ago) with a singer that looks like a cross between Richard Thompson, Chris Martin and (not so much this time) Matthew Corbett. They were called Bilbo Baggins, and now with a truncated name they try to surf the new wave with a not too bad song of their own. It was not to be, and instead become another band that punk left behind. Is it a shame? You’d have to listen to more of their songs to know… Actually he does sort of remind me of the Sultans of Ping dude..

    David Essex invents the Flaming Lips look. Alright, ‘invents’ is a bit of a stretch..

    Ah, Blondie are here in the studio, thanks to not being introduced by DLT. Kid looks odd. Anyway, Debbie does not. Wonder what you used to do with a pocket computer. Great, obv.

    Jilted John with another winning performance, with out-of-tune guitars and stuff.

    Here come the Motors with the theme from Grandstand!

    Foreigner, ff>. Up until this, it had been all good (Andy Gibb didn’t count, it was the chart rundown)

    Hi Tension and The British Hustle. Kid does give off some sort of patronising air this week, which is unlike him..

    Legs and co do “Brown Girl in the You-Know-Where”, which is interesting as look there’s Jilted Graham and Bernard the Moron forming part of the ring which is nice of them. Still in character too! Oh I see it’s various artists being roped in! A Bilbo, a tension, and someone in a Boiler suit maybe a Motor..

    Kid wakes up as it’s The Jam! And it’s Bruce singing lead (didn’t he do this last time?) and rules of ‘one spot’ means Bruce gets the best lighting.

    Commodores supply a boring on-the-road movie, so the girls get roped in to feng shui it about..

    And back to The Kid,. And The Rezillos get played over the titles..

    Actually, a pretty good episode this week, no almighty clunkers thanks to a more interesting Boney M bit.

  18. 288
    speedwell54 on 21 Aug 2013 #

    Tony Blackburn repeating his” Top 20″ gaff again (see witchita 254)

    The Dooleys- really a little dull, very dated, and frankly strange outfits. Embarrassing dancing to cover the instrumental break. They got better.

    Strange editing from acts to Tony.

    Siouxsie and the Banshees- Hong Kong Garden – forced link from Tony and they press the ‘Punk effect” button on the camera to go all weird and black and white. My mum met Siouxsie in a hotel in Bradford in ’86 in all her gear and face on. (That’s Siouxsie with all the gear and face on, not my mum)

    10cc – repeat.

    Getting more suspicious about the links – Tony is nowhere near any of the music tonight.

    Klart Kent- never knew who he was ’til ages after. Sounds like it could have come out a lot later than this, indeed many indie bands were doing just this sort of thing 20 years later. LIke it. Terrible miming though.

    Andy Gibb- Legs and Co – what are they wearing?

    Was there a strike on at the TOTP studios this week?

    Exile- KIss You All Over- I didn’t know this song had verses. Only knew the chorus. It’s the best bit.

    The Rezillos -TOTP – a high energy performance. Something for everyone tonight.

    Darts- It’s Raining – another link from Tony, they put in a tight set as always. Tony predicts a future number one.

    Cliff Richard – Please Remember Me- He had 3 singles out in 1978, none of them charted, this was the middle one. I don’t think he was unfairly treated on the evidence.

    3xlady- video again, no legs and co. this time. The lady Lionel Ritchie is chatting up in the back of a Roller has a bigger gap in her teeth than Phyllis Nelson.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

    Anyone know about this episode editing wise?

  19. 289
    Mark G on 21 Aug 2013 #

    Zap pow it’s Tony! And he still can’t see it’s the top 30! (edit: obviously we both were typing our reviews at the same time)

    And the music is Herbie Hancock, which seems odd as I thought “I thought it was you” was later than 1978, but OK..

    The Rubbish Dooleys are back, and he’s singing especially to you, girl. Up to you if you want him to, of course. They look like they are auditioning for the Wedding Band. “A rose has to die” they sing like they are Nick Cave.

    And oh, here comes the future! Siouxsie does “Hong Kong Garden” and it’s life as we know it suddenly. Hey, if they had not made this in 1978 and made it now, it’d still be a ‘hit’ (the modern day definition meaning not necessarily a top 30, but)

    10cc.. This week I asks; “There were 4 faces, one masked..” why did only one feel the need for a mask?

    And in a shock move, Klark Kent gets onto TOTP before The Police! (like, how Magazine beat Buzzcocks on to it). That is clearly Sting on bass there.. Stewart Copeland inverts the Alter-ego : Klark Kent is Stewart Copeland and everyone knows except Klark! Still, it’s a good record,

    And now, it’s Scott Walker doing a track from his album “Stretch!”. Oh hang on, no it’s Cliff. And its a deceptively complex song with a memorable chorus. Well played dude.

    Andy Gibb airs the Bee Gees sound with something with an over-used title. And the girls dress up in spaghetti to dance to it. It’s not as interesting as that sounds.

    Exile. Front man looks desperate. Maybe you’d be safer with the Dooleys bloke after all! The rest of the band look like a jobbing country-rock band, which I believe is what they became later. The song goes into Stay with me” Blue Mink, I assume the writers are the same.

    The Rezillos implicate all of you/us as being on the show..

    Darts do an also overused title, but it’s a strong song. Bee Gees, you learning from this? Oh, you are…

    And the Commodores show all of their sooo interesting Cinema Verite

    Lots of British hustle to fade!

    Your go!

  20. 290
    Steve Williams on 22 Aug 2013 #

    #288 Did you not see Tony appearing more prominently in the Exile performance than half the band, standing there swaying away? Tony suggested that number 33 was a “smash hit” but then he also thought the top 20 had thirty records in it.

  21. 291
    lonepilgrim on 24 Aug 2013 #

    TOTP 31/08/78
    Tony B introduces the ‘top 20’ which proves to be the top 30 soundtracked by Herbie Hancock with an early version of auto tune
    Dooleys – rhymes with clueless
    Siouxsie & the Banshees – sublime – whiplash girlchild in the dark
    10cc – still don’t like it
    Klark Kent – who was that masked man? punk now a pastiche
    Andy Gibb – silky toon prompts silky outfits for tha gals
    Exile – ‘from Kentucky, USA’ quoth Tony – so not Kentucky, Essex. Singer looks like Andy Kershaw in a wig
    Rezillos – lively
    Darts – fantastic arrangement – a gem
    Cliff – pleasant, but unmemorable
    Commodores – surprised they didn’t spring for a performance video – instead we see the band on the M1
    HiTension over the credits

  22. 292
    Lazarus on 28 Aug 2013 #

    Peter Powell introduces the Top 30 to the sound of Grease, as sung by Frankie Valli. Songs from the soundtrack dominated the charts in the second half of the year as much as those from ‘Fever’ had done in the first. This theme was written by the brothers Gibb though. You couldn’t keep them out of it! And Robert Stigwood, whose RSO label put out both records, was probably being taken to lunch by his bank manager by this time.

    The Jam – Funny, I never knew Bruce took the lead vocal on this. He and Rick are typically suited, Paul dressing down in a dark sweater. Energetic performance.

    Leo Sayer – now, was this an old song? Sounds like it might be, and yet I don’t remember hearing it by anyone else. Perhaps it was first recorded by a country singer, there are touches of slide guitar here and there. Leo’s an early front-runner for Shirt of the Evening.

    Boney M – the group this time, doesn’t look like the Pops set though. Doesn’t offend my ears as much as it did at the time.

    Herbie Hancock/Legs & Co – they’re in the shortest of dresses, and so some Whitehouse drone has turned the lights down. Songs is tops, and still sounds fresh.

    Sylvester – the David McAlmont of his time, in some fetching outfits. Great video, I don’t recall seeing this at the time. No doubt caused some lively comment from watching dads.

    Manhattan Transfer – was this a hit? The Tran do the Supremes; the lead singer has a look of Buble abut him, and overacts somewhat. The others don’t seem to know what to do. Slick, but unnecessary.

    Hi Tension – seemed to be on every week at this stage. Owed more to Osibisa than to disco, perhaps. It’s OK, can’t say it’s really my thing though.

    Hylda Baker/Arthur Mullard – ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached our Joy Sarney moment for 1978. And this makes ‘Naughty’ sound like an Ivor Novello contender. Someone must have been playing this – who was the guilty man?

    Commodores – yeah, it’s really time for a new number one now. And not the first time I’ve thought that this year.

    Crown Heights Affair – would have been the highlight of the show for me, if they’d actually been on. Never mind.

    Hoping for better next week (or whenever)

  23. 293
    Mark G on 29 Aug 2013 #

    Pleased to be here? Peter Powell is, and that’s fine it’s the unedited version! What additional fun are we having?

    Frankie Valli sings over the chart rundown, which reminds me I found a cheap copy of “Genuine Imitation Life Gazette” and am looking forward to it, yeh!

    The Jam do David Watts, Nd Paul does his best to make it look like they are sharing the lead vocal. But, no it’s Bruce time..

    Leo Sayer does a country style song, Looking it up I find it was written by Billy Nicholls (of Immediate Records fame) for “White Horse”, the band he was in in 1977, the l.p being eponymous

    Boney M, I clearly remember this as I recall the singer adding some extra bits towards the end, although limited to “Sweet..” and “There’s A..” to the endless singing of “Brown Girl in the ring”..

    The Motors and “Forget About You”.. Now, should they go on my punk/New wave compsave DVD-R? They are very borderline, but oh OK then..

    Now, we (or,at least I) have Dee D Jackson, and the follow up to Automatic Lover, which seems to be “Meatier Man”, ok she seems to be sticking to the formula which will please Mike Love a lot. “He was pa, he was strange and he came down on me” she sings. Ho-Kay then..

    David Essex salve Regina and so on.. We were all singing this when Diana died, you know..

    Legs and co throw some shadow shapes to Herbie Hancock. Is the subdued lighting meant to restrict their ‘sauciness’ factor? It actually makes it look they’re wearing nowt downstairs.. Still, the dancing is good here..

    Sylvester looks less blokey this time, to say the least. Is this the most gay TOTP has been so far, as far as performances go? Set in a disco, Syl and some guy waiters in loin cloths.

    Manhat Tran do a cover of “Where did our love go?” which is pointless as it sounds a lot like Donnie Elbert’s version. But maybe it’s a highlight of the stage act.

    Hi-Tension, British Hustle. Ok, liked it a few weeks ago, but it’s definitely wearing out now.

    Ok, here it is. Received wisdom has it that this is the worst performance ever on TOTP, but that’s not even close to describing how bad it is. To be fair, Hilda Baker almost keeps it together, but Arthur Mullard is like some lost and sad old grandad that someone’s put a daft wig on and shoved out on-stage for to be laughed at. If I was to say that the recorded version isn’t quite as bad, well nothing is. And seeing as how if certain facts about Mullard had been made known now (as opposed to about 10 years ago) they’d be digging up his grave and Savillising it.

    Commodores sleep in their car again, and Crown Heights Affair do the funky end.

    So, the show ends. Yes, I probably did laugh unkindly at the time, I feel less guilty about it now.

    Bring on the future, the past you do not want to live there…

  24. 294
    speedwell54 on 30 Aug 2013 #

    Still safe Peter says “welcome” and avoids quantifying the rundown.

    The Jam- making a good fist of the Kinks song. This week the sub titler goes “ba ba ba ba ba”….rather than “fa fa fa..” The “fa”s have it though.

    Leo Sayer – Peter welcomes him back to the UK, presumably had a spell in the US after a brace of chart toppers. Plods a little. It brought a smile to my face as I recalled Bob Mortimer and his one word Leo impression “baby” with surprised face and jazz hands.

    Boney M – I had worked out this was from Seaside Special and then Pete blurts it out at the end and steals my thunder. It was from Torbay. Plastic Bertrand and Ian Dury also on the bill.

    The Motors – a repeat.

    Dee D – Meteor Man- I think Florence/Harris could probably make something of this. Lyric is all over the place. Did he like her? Did she like him? Who knows?

    Essex – wandering round a concrete car park again…

    Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo- Peter lends out his talk box. The lighting on Legs and Co makes it look American.

    Rusty Lee- a bit of Daft Punk with the guys walking round in a circle in the background. People must have only been asking one question of Sylvester when this came out in ’78.

    Manhattan Tran – out of time in any time, I said last time. I was right.

    Hi-Tension -repeat

    Mullard/Baker -bizarre. This performance gets rightly slated but I don’t think it’s that far from the record.

    Commodores – last week I hope.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse – I guess.

  25. 295
    kitmackay on 30 Aug 2013 #

    I am ashamed to say that this is the first time that I have contributed to a website that has given me enormous pleasure over the past few years. It is quite uplifting to see how following Britain’s Number One singles provides such food for thought on so many aspects of life in the second half of the twentieth century.
    On the subject of which was I the only person who got such a pleasant surprise with the video for ‘Three Times a Woman’. In most respects it conformed to my memory of a rather rushed film of a very pensive Lionel Ritchie sitting in the back of a car on a motorway. Actually this did seem to suit the mood of the song quite well but what caused me to watch it over and over again, often on freeze-frame, was the glimpse it gave into a branch of HMV in the late seventies. Just as I am convinced that the best historical document for future historians trying to get a real sense of what a British hospital looked like at this period in history would to be watch any of the many relevant ‘Carry On’ films I watched the Commodores brief excursion into the record shop with real nostalgia. What a delightful surprise in an episode of ‘Top of the Pops’ that otherwise seemed all too familiar, for noth good and bad reasons.

  26. 296
    kitmackay on 30 Aug 2013 #

    I am ashamed to say that this is the first time that I have contributed to a site that has given me so much pleasure. Was I the only person who got such a pleasant surprise with the video of ‘Three Times a Lady’? I remembered a very pensive Lionel Ritchie in the back of a car, which actually seems to suit the song very well, but had completely forgotten that they pay a visit to a branch of HMV on the way. Certainly brought back memories for me. If only some obliging pop stars had been filmed in Harlequin Records in The Butts Shopping Centre in Reading!

  27. 297
    Mark G on 30 Aug 2013 #

    Was going to say, you’ve not quite got the hang of the ‘edit’ function..

    But instead, I will say Harlequin Records? The basement of the Butts? Nice and big record shop, did not last long..

    It also reminds me of how an old friend told me of when they filmed one of the “Confessions” movies in his local Harlequin recshop in Southgate..

  28. 298
    kitmackay on 30 Aug 2013 #

    You’re quite right about the edit button. Comment appeared, then disappeared. Hope I’ve got the hang of it now.
    My memories of ‘Harlequin Records’ goes back to the early seventies, a time when there were so many music/department stores with record departments. Am I right in thinking that the chain were eventually bought up and turned into ‘Our Price’?

  29. 299
    Lazarus on 13 Sep 2013 #

    It’s back in its Thursday night slot, pop pickers … some of us didn’t recognise Paul Burnett last time he did this show, but this time he’s kind enough to introduce himself. Top 30 accompanied by the Motors. Jilted John still at 4! Really? And Mullard/Baker at 23, for some reason.

    Buzzcocks – tough act for the rest to follow. A song familiar to millions who weren’t even born at the time. Not sure if this is their TOTP debut, or just the first time they’ve been on a show that’s been broadcast. Either way, a classic, obvs.

    Leo Sayer – a new performance, with six little Leos revolving around the main man. I used to associate him very much with Gilbert O’Sullivan; they both had an odd image for their first hit, then changed it to something more contemporary, but Leo’s run of hits lasted a lot longer, although I have to say I prefer Gilbert’s songs.

    Abba – now I remember this video, it’s Stockholm I take it? Disco beats and lip gloss. Not a song that gets played very often now. We all used to speculate what that word was before “in the moonlight …”

    PB at the drumkit now, introduces Stephen Bishop, “chartbound without a doubt” upon which it sank without trace. A bit like a bearded Barry Manilow (see also Randy VanWarmer, Dan Fogelberg) I don’t even remember hearing this on the radio. Not the sort of thing Radio 1 or Capital would have given much airplay to, though. I’ve got an idea it was from a film – ‘Looking for Mr Goodbar’ maybe?

    Sylvester/Legs & Co feat Floyd – great song, energetic routine, still ridiculously underlit at times.

    David Essex – made me realise I didn’t really know anything about Che Guevara, so I read his Wiki entry while this was on.

    Three Degrees – did we ever establish if there’s a comma in the title? Makes quite a difference to the meaning. The song strikes a defiant and dismissive tone, so I like to think not. Big comeback hit for them wasn’t it, I think it’s the first time they’ve been on in this run.

    10 cc – their sole week at number one, I think – heard it enough now. Never been one of my favourites of theirs, I’d much rather have seen ‘Mandy’ top the hit parade. Leo’s revolving effect used again.

    Rose Royce – “the only way to travel” – play us out.

    Had its moments, but the first was as good as it got.

  30. 300
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Sep 2013 #

    Swede back after “resting” for a short while.

    The continuity announcer tries to blame the Proms for the gaps in these broadcasts. Not bloody likely!

    Paul Burnett in the actors’ studio.

    Grandstand theme over the titles (say WHAT, now?). At capton 23 Hilda is looking up at Arfur with what looks like utter contempt. That performance the other week was without question the nadir of the entire history of TOTP. It wasn’t even funny on an ironic level. Just wrong.

    So what do we have?…

    Buzzcocks – Hello bobkins, what an opener! Ever fallen in love? A record known and applauded by those of us who were there and many today who were not, just as Lazarus says. It’s just fabulous and surely an impossible act to follow on tonight’s show.

    Leo Sayer – Very similar to “When I Need You”. He sounds a bit whiney and the multiple revolving camera shots of the little man don’t help. Start this week’s minibus, folks, and put in the baby seat especially for the dwarf. Do it now!

    Abba – Summer night city…in Stockholm! For the Swede, this could be tempting. In 1998, I did indeed go to Stockholm for the European Cup Winners Cup Final but was not there long enough for either nightclubs or boat trips. This was not a top drawer song but Anna looks ridiculously breathtaking. Twas ever thus, obv. (NB: I invite you lads to pump in “Stockholm/Newcastle nightclubs” into your preferred search engine. It’s a perfectly innocent little site but it’s not for the easily offended, especially if you’re a Geordie).

    Stephen Bishop – “Chart-bound without a doubt” insists Paul, who knows about these things. Er, no it isn’t, son. What it is is a very pleasant song from a Gerry Adams lookalike. It’s solid easy-listening States-side fare, Randy Edelman, Andrew Gold etc but Stephen Bishop largely missed the boat. Hands up who remembers “Little Italy?” The name of one of our best loved posters pops up.

    Sylvester – Gals, beaming, steaming and sexy. Floyd is now officially my enemy, as he glides in and out and through the entire troupe again and they’re loving it, the Eternal Mistress at the forefront as usual. Look, “Mighty Real” is one of the best of all the disco hits and this routine is high-tempo, highly charged go-go. But can we PER-LEASE get Floyd on that bus to Prestatyn before yon Swede trots off to Beachy Head again..

    Three Degrees – Way beyond their sell-by date and Leo and Floyd now have female company on the bus. Trust bloody Floyd to fall on his feet again. What a rotter! One posh chap watching with his mum would disagree that it’s all up for the trio. They’re still his favourite pop group. But as Erithian texed me:
    Brenda: “Charles, please don’t do that in front of me. You’re getting like your father.”
    Charles: “But I want to marry them, Mumma!”
    (Cont’d on P94)

    David Essex is Che. Pure gold. This was one of Rice’s highpoints as a lyric writer, I believe. Nothing wrong with the score or Essex’s delivery either.

    10CC – I never cease to be conscious of the fact that I am pretty much alone in either not being offended by this or simply not liking it. I can only repeat that I think it’s outstanding and one of the best in a truly fabulous band’s portfolio. So let’s leave it at that.

    Out to Rose Royce’s “Love Don’t Live here”, a wonderful and heart-rendering lament. Back in the day Muhammad Ali had just regained his World Heavyweight title from rookie Leon Spinks who had taken it from him in February. For some odd reason, for me this event resonated with this particular track:
    “We look up and see, Spinks ain’t champion any more,
    Just one fight and he…Spinks ain’t CHAMPION any more…”
    Pretty bizarre, all things considered, I grant you.

    A good show for me. Paul Burnett was surprisingly annoying, though. He’s been watching Edmonds, clearly. Paul’s strength was always broadcasting.

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