13
Oct 08

Popular ’79

FT + Popular/320 comments • 9,670 views

’79 ends up as one of the best years, according to my marks anyhow – but which of its tracks would you have handed six or higher to? Pick as many as you want, then discuss the year in the comments boxes if you like.

Which of these Number One hits of 1979 would you have given 6 or more to?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest marks were 9s for Buggles, Dury, Blondie – lowest 2s for Lena M and the Rats.

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  1. 301
    Mark G on 5 Dec 2014 #

    Bates! Cutting edge D.J. Presenter in 1979 take up the reins. And people laffed at Pete Murray’s fashion sense! Anyway..

    Chart rundown and into Darts. But there is no charm in their rendition of “Reet Petite” apart from when he goes for a big note on-screen that isn’t there on the backing, and he hauls himself off it.
    And here’s a version of I wanna hold your hand which is by Dollar, this time. Weirdly, it sounds exactly like “We are Young” by fun.

    UK Subs in what must be the shortest appearance ever, its not Charlie singing, its a version of “She’s not there” which sounds better now than it did at the time.

    “Mice in a pot” by the degrees three, “A song very much of the seventies” yes, you have 3 weeks to change style or get left behind. “Its strange what people do to each other” yes, very so..

    M do a song you won’t remember but it (again) now sounds much better, a combi of Neuish vocals, kraftwerk and Thompson twins backing, yeah will have to check the album out next time I see one.

    Stranglers do a rare in-studio appearance about not bringing any smack to his house. More plays on TOTP than radio 1 I guess. Again, sounds better now, closest I can get is “Michael Caine” Madness..

    The girls dance Michael Jackson, you know.

    Sugar Hill gang do “The Rapper” do they Simon? Anyway, history is made right here.

    The Damned do a much more restrained performance than their OGWT version, again much better now. Was it because TV speakers were so bad in 1979? Yes. This was always great, anyway.

    Storm. Don’t remember this at all.. Ummm, no it almost rings a bell. Lovers rock, nice obv. Was it a hit?

    Motorhead do “Bomber” and also sound great. Previously they sounded like a bad transistor radio on the show, but its been sorted out.

    Now, I never knew Marianne Faithful did “The ballad of Lucy Jordan” on TOTP. Wow.

    THE POLICE oops, sorry. The Police do the obligatory number one slot. Same video obv.

    And Pink Floyd to fade.

    That was probably the best show overall of all the repeats! Every track was great, yeah even that one, I’m feeling generous. A Keeper, for sure.

  2. 302
    Lazarus on 7 Dec 2014 #

    Simon Bates – doesn’t introduce himself but it’s him all right …

    Darts – zzz … this’ll be a number one someday, but their heyday is well behind them now.

    Dollar have two drummers! But one of them is Theresa, in a 2-Tone frock. Some hilariously bad miming from her and David. Their minibus is next after Darts.’

    UK Subs – another 60s cover, but this is much better. Two minutes and done. Good stuff.

    Three Degrees – yeah that’s about what it is outside at the moment. Another lot with their best days behind them and now plying their trade in north Wales. This would have caused a ripple of excitement at Sandringham though.

    M – the verse reminds me of another song, more recent, it’s bugging me. Mrs M looks alluring behind her fan. The album ‘New York, London, Paris, Munich’ is on Youtube if anyone fancies a listen.

    Stranglers – keyboard -heavy effort with a rather weary vocal from JJ Burnel. Doesn’t tend to make it onto their ‘best ofs’ and it’s not hard to tell why.

    Michael Jackson/Legs & Co – Legs girls right down among the audience tonight. A bunch of lads sit around clapping them on, but I fear an appreciative Swede wasn’t among them.

    Sugarhill Gang – ‘old school’ rap classic. One of them boasts of having a colour TV. Good for him!

    Damned – lots of keyboards on this too. ‘Love Song’ didn’t get on this run did it? Prefer that to this, I think.

    Storm – this was a hit for Diana Ross too of course. Don’t really remember this reggae version, it’s a bit dull frankly.

    Motorhead – the NWOBHM is but a few months away – that’s when this lot will enjoy their biggest success. Certainly a varied line-up tonight!

    Marianne Faithfull – yes an old Dr Hook song, but this version is more familiar I think. Wasn’t a hit, but it’s a nice surprise to see her there.

    Police – one to put in an astronomical anthology along with ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Clouds Across the Moon.’ You’re going well lads, keep it up.

    And the Floyd play us out. Pleasingly fresh sounding show with a welcome lack of repeats. And ‘Batesy’ got to introduce the Stranglers, the Damned, the UK Subs and Motorhead! Not sure any of those ever made it onto ‘Our Tune’ somehow.

  3. 303
    Mark G on 7 Dec 2014 #

    You’d be surprised what’s been on Batesy’s “Our Tune”, one time on holiday driving through Jersey in a rented Ford, I nearly drove off the road when he played Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Upside Down” after the tale was told.

  4. 304
    speedwell54 on 7 Dec 2014 #

    Nice jumper Simon. He says “Gibson Brothers” in his best Ned Flanders.

    Darts – Reet Petite -reet waste of time too. If that had come out today the miming from Griff would be on an epic fail compilation. Must be annoying to find out that the UK weren’t quite ready for this yet.

    Dollar – the only bit of this I like is the ‘Whoa’. Bendy legs Van Day sounds okay, but the refrain sounds like another record. I keep think it’s going into Starsound. – ‘It happened once before…. Not the only band to do a Beatles cover.

    Uk Subs rattle through She’s NotThere.

    Three Degrees – showing off their academic qualifications again – not that impressive really, they only average one degree each. The ‘My Simple Hut’ line has Mike Reed’s fingerprints all over it. Rather 70′s – like the set. He’s still laughing at his own joke when the song finishes.

    M – before he even starts singing, he knocks the microphone from the stand and has to pick it up off the floor. A bit Bryan Ferry. Like the verse.

    The Stranglers – JJ sounds a bit Lou Reed. Not an obvious single but it’s growing on me.

    Jackson/Legs – I’ll leave this one for the Swede.

    Bates thinks this one’s call “The Rapper”- probably thinks it’s called “the Wrapper” actually. Anyway SugarHill Gang do their take on Good Times with their classic.

    Damned – they look like they’re from four different bands. They used to (may still) do a cover of the Beatles “Help” live. Would it shock you to hear it was a speeded up version?

    Storm – don’t know this by anyone. It’s okay. One singer never smiles. One singer always smiles.

    Motorhead do Bomber- no alarms and no surprises.

    Marianne Faithful – her cracking (I don’t mean that in a good way) vocal is too much for me. Ends rather suddenly.

    Simon Bates is broken and introduces “the Police walking” rpt

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  5. 305
    will on 7 Dec 2014 #

    Re 303: I remember that! Bates described as a “strange and violent” song.

  6. 306
    Mark G on 8 Dec 2014 #

    That’s right, I thought at the time “Strange? Yeah fine if you think so, but Violent? Mmm, not really.”

    Thanks for the YouTube headsup above re: NYLPM (the album)

  7. 307
    wichitalineman on 8 Dec 2014 #

    Simon Bates’s debut, and he starts by introducing Reet Petite as a Little Richard song. Darts’ version is piss weak, especially disappointing after the Roy Wood-produced Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love a few weeks back.

    Dollar – Therese looking very lovely but, good gosh, they were aware of their looks. She also has the best bit of the record, with that stardust-sprinkled “and when I touch you” bridge, the only part of this single that anticipates their T Horn-produced glories to come.

    Uk Subs – shortest ever TOTP performance? Must be a contender. Oddly extended chorus, with the line “her skin was soft and white” added for some reason. It’s OK.

    Three Degrees – Pretty sure My Simple Hut was already Terry Wogan’s “gag”. It’s not The Runner or Giving Up Giving In, but it’d be sweet enough for Dana.

    M – Terrific. Was this their third hit? Croydon College alumnus, mate of my grumpy downstairs neighbour who clearly still thinks Robin Scott and Malcolm McLaren frittered their talents away on silly pop music. Must listen to the album.

    The Stranglers – I’ve never heard this before. It’s very 1968, downer pop-psych, looking forward to Golden Brown and Strange Little Girl. Though I remember the title, I have no memory of this getting airplay.

    Michael Jackson – I know Rosie is going to get a crimpy perm soon and anticipate each performance with fear… not just yet.

    Sugarhill Gang – “It’s the wrapper!” And there’s Big Bank Hank, who didn’t get his due from hip hop snobs even in the obits. What is the matter with people?

    The Damned – Another very late sixties sounding thing, a bit like ELO’s 10538 Overture at the wrong speed. I remember loving this, but the production played better in my head.

    Storm – This is really quite lovely and again I have no memory of it. No.36 on the chart for 10 weeks, apparently. Diana Ross’s version charted a week later and got all the airplay. Super-sweet vocals; the sulky looking Storm girl is terrific. Maybe Tim H knows something about them?

    Motorhead – some K-Tel style sequencing going on here. Lemmy almost looks young. Very good, maybe their best single.

    Marianne Faithful – “Do you like soppy songs?” Bates asks some giggling 13 year olds. So here’s a soppy song about a housewife committing suicide sung by someone who wrecked her voice with smack. Odd how you never hear anyone say Harry Nilsson developed a “real” voice by drinking every bar in LA dry; Marianne is/was clearly better at self-promotion. This is pretty great – excellent bubbling tense electro production – but I’d like it so much more if she still had her Come And Stay With Me voice.

    The Police – Popular has won my over to this. I just wish the words weren’t so freakin stupid.

    A proper mixed bag, but a very enjoyable show.

  8. 308
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Dec 2014 #

    Batesy has escaped his overbearing mother. Bad bins. Grim jumper he must have nicked from Noel Edmonds (or perhaps that was slighty later?). Gibsons over rundown. Aunty Lucy and 666 Kids are still poisoning the atmosphere. God does like his litle joke.

    Darts – Reet Wotsit. Simon cites Little Richard. Wrong. This song will eventually top the charts but not via these Pressy lifers.

    Dollar – I Want To Hold Your Wotsit. Yes, Therese is an absolute drink. But they’re from the same stable as the Rubbish Dooleys. Pretty people you just want to hurt. Pressy-Poohs.

    UK Subs – Why do this again after Santana only two years earlier? I notice it was part of an EP. So what? It sounds like they’re taking the piss out of a truly great one. And it’s too late to say they’re sorry. Pressy-Wessy.

    Three Degrees – What’s with Lino and his thing about Dana? Never mind. Chazza gets his tool out again and Catherine Howard’s tea towel hits the laundry basket. Pressy Conference for The Threes.

    Simon has his arm around a peach of a girl. She looks fine age-wise so why not? On come M. I don’t remember this at all. It’s okay but they had their place in the sun and there’s very little of those rays on the Irish Sea coast where they now reside.

    Stranglers – Don’t Bring Harry. This is absolute tosh. Dull as dishwater. One for the Beachy Head Tavern jukebox. Blimey, it’s dull. Swede needs cheering up…

    …And so he is! Batesy says “This is Rosie,” and we get a full-frontal smile from the beautiful girl. Then down the line we go and they’re all beaming, including the Eternal Mistress. Off they go to Jacko and the best “wall” track on the chart. Legs abound and the Gals are in go-go heaven with a track they clearly love. Appreciative sedentary lads applaud. Swede gallops around the lounge whilst the cat looks on suspiciously. Ambulance.

    Sugar Hill Gang – Not “The Rapper”, Simon, you nincompoop. Get with the programme. Pioneering period piece. Floaters’ format but the comparison ends there. More to the good.

    Damned – Wow. Here we go! Great stuff. The kids are bemused but the Swede isn’t. Some clear simpleton in a red jumper tries to groove. Surely in those less tolerant days they would have hidden such unfortunates away?

    Storm – Really? Where? We catch the simpleton again. Somebody grab him, please. Ta. We’re alas back to dull again. Well-meaning but meandering London soft reggae outfit who were taken immediately to a place not only not in London but not in England. It’s their camp and they live there. Forever.

    Motorhead – Blimey O’Riley! Swede saw this lot a couple or more times including the Bomber tour. Fabulous fun if you can take it. Lemmy and co were well thought of in punk circles. Best story would be when one of the Nolans was chatting with Lemmy and suddenly dropped something she was holding on the floor. She crouched down to pick it up and as she did so, she looked up at him and said “Anything I can do for you while I’m down here?” Lemmy thereafter always spouted the caution “Never mess with a Nolan Sister!” It is something that unspeakable fiend in the tracksuit nearly found out to his cost, of course.

    Marianne Faithfull – Okay. So what am I going to say about this? Marianne was a fuck-up at this time. The whole drug thing had enveloped her although she was still beautiful in her early thirties. So off she goes and for Lucy Jordan read Bobby McGee. But where as Janis didn’t make it, Marianne is still with us and indeed back in the public eye again. A true survivor and a remarkable woman.

    Police at number one. Giant Wotsits. And a giant of a record, fully deserving its week at the summit. Batesy, who hasn’t dome badly, waves us out to Floyd’s Wall. Duck!

    A true miss-mash this week. The Gals made it. Rosie’s smile and all of their lovely legs.

  9. 309
    enitharmon on 10 Dec 2014 #

    Before being too hard on Darts it might be worth remembering that Jackie Wilson was lying in a coma in a New Jersey hospital, as he had been for four years and would be for another four. Although he didn’t write the song I’m sure any income from the song would have been a help in defraying hospital expenses.

  10. 310
    Andrew Farrell on 10 Dec 2014 #

    Of course he might have made an appearance on screen three years later, but was foiled by, well, darts.

  11. 311
    Mark G on 12 Dec 2014 #

    Mike Read is this week’s safe pair of hands, and David Bowie is prepared to give you his house in the country if you just give him some funky. Doesn’t say for how long, though.

    Chart rundown over, and this is the state of British folk music in ’79. I didn’t mind this at the time, but today it seems awful. Eleven. One singer, four musicians and the rest of the folk club it would seem.

    McCartney now, and this is kind of the other way round, its lack of pretension seems to work in its favour. Still, the children practiced all year long to sing “Ding dong”. If they’d only practiced for six months, the song would go “Ding ding ding ding…”

    Tourists. Begone.

    Abba have a dream and can all sit around a smaller keyboard than usual, comfortably.

    The Beat. One of those band names that seems too obvious a choice, but thankfully they do it justice.

    oh god, here’s a happy Britannia. It’s ok, she’s waiting for a friend to come (one does) and they get high (they don’t) . What is this rub?

    The inmates make it to totp, well the extended repeat anyway. Rebranded R&B for the new wave days, it’s alright but only just.

    Blondie video, union city blue, repeated.

    The Pretenders show how it should be done, the band look much like the inmates but Chrissie is special so there you go.

    Pink Floyd don’t make it to the studio again, they are above all that sort of thing since Syd left…

    And we fade out to Gwen Dickey.

    Not a classic, but a couple of good ones. And now, over to… You!

  12. 312
    Lazarus on 12 Dec 2014 #

    To me? Oh, but you’re too kind. Yes Calypso Mike in the chair again. David Bowie over the chart, doing a song with a bit of history behind it: a five year old re-recording of a 1972 song originally recorded for the Aladdin Sane sessions. The old version is on the flip.

    Fiddlers Dram – I’m pretty sure Edmonds was behind this. The singer was called Cathy Le Surf. And that guitarist? Crazy hair, crazy guy. According to Wiki he also played ‘bones’ a variation on the spoons, apparently.

    Read and friends in boaters, introduces Paul McCartney – this has become a perennial Yuletide fave of course, I’ve heard it on Heart at least twice this week – but you don’t see the video very often. And I think, the first record released under McCartney’s own name since 1971′s ‘Another Day?’ Wings had flown, it seemed.

    Tourists – yeah we’ve seen this enough now I think. Annie looking fashion-model thin.

    Abba – I rather like this, more than I did at the time. One of those songs that’s so simple – rather like ‘Mull of Kintyre’ – that you think it must have been recorded before. And it made money for UNICEF I believe, so kudos to them.

    The Beat – Didn’t this have ‘Stand Down Margaret’ on the other side? Was it a double A? If so the less controversial song got the Pops treatment. Still sounds pretty good.

    Status Quo/Legs – various historical figures are portrayed by the Legs – finishing with a 1960s dolly-bird (Pauline) jumping in at the end. Mary Quant, Read informs us. If you say so …

    Inmates – they’d done a version of ‘Dirty Water’ earlier in the year which didn’t chart, but this did a little better. Yes children, this was what they used to call r’n’b before Beyonce and her ilk appropriated it.

    Blondie – video, repeat. More #1s await them soon.

    Pretenders – great song, their first and only number one, the first of the eighties of course. Two of the band will not see out the decade but Chrissie is still going strong and still making music. I wasn’t a big one for ‘new wave’ music at the time but I adopted them early on.

    Pink Floyd – the London skyline looks rather different these days. I tried watching the film once, but I gave up on it I’m afraid. An unexpected act to have at Xmas number one, and I like the guitar solo, but I always preferred ‘Comfortably Numb.’ Was that a single anywhere?

    Rose Royce to see us out. Christmas 1979 is 12 days away – I remember this one quite well as for the first time in my life I was earning money. The record collection was starting to grow!

    Over to you …

  13. 313
    speedwell54 on 13 Dec 2014 #

    do you mean me.?…Right then, it’s Mike so get ready for some chart facts..

    John I’m Only Dancing (Again) – doesn’t often make it on to Greatest Hits and indeed missed out on Best Of Bowie only a year later. Went on to match Number 12 peak of JIOD from ’72, but is the hidden twin. Good to hear it again.

    FC Fiddler’s Dram doing their bit for unemployment in Canterbury. Short coach trip for this lot.

    McCartney looks younger than a late ’60′s Beatle in this. The video always struck me as sounding completely different to how it would sound if it was recorded as live. Sounds an obvious thing to say and you could accuse loads of videos of this, but the pub venue and then and then concert clips. Think it must be the first time I ever thought about it.

    Tourists – I think they’ve moved in. Doesn’t seem like they ever met Savile or DLT judging by the frequency they turn up on totp.

    Abba – twktc

    The Beat- ‘heading towards’ number one but not quite making it. Not much wrong with this. Follows on from UK Subs on the last episode with a speeded up cover. Read can’t resist a little impression and that’s why they called him Calypso Mike back in the ’70′s.

    Living On A Island – Legs and Co. prefer to watch this lot over Rossi and Parfitt or penguins any day. Rosie (?) kicks off and I love her solo dance at the beginning; look at her eyes! Swedeheaven again I would think. All goes a bit weird and Flick blows her costume budget for the year. Also someone has not quite grasped how Great Britain will look when viewed from the camera angle, making us look a bit short and fat. Wonder when that changed?

    Inmates – not my cup of tea- they sound like they have all the ingredients though.

    Blondie -rpt

    Pretenders – Oh yes this is great. Still sounds great today.

    Floyd then out. Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Over to you.. -Jimmy, I guess.

  14. 314
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2014 #

    No, just me to add that the beat double-A-side was “Ranking full stop” right, back to your correspondant ….

  15. 315
    Lazarus on 14 Dec 2014 #

    Yes the anti-nukes (?) ‘Margaret’ was tacked on to late-1980 single ‘Best Friend’, the last release from I Just Can’t Stop It and not one of their better-remembered songs. In the States the band was known as the English Beat of course, for the same reason that one of their soul outfits was called the Detroit Spinners here.

  16. 316
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Dec 2014 #

    Swede takes the baton at last…

    Jonesy over the rundown. Slow and fast John. And the children of Satan will STILL not go away, dagnabbit!

    Fiddlers Dram – This is a blinding record. And a normal totally believable good time gal singer. We never really find out where the daytrip started from but we sho’ nuff know where they’re going now. About 35 miles east along the coast. And all for under a pound. Luvverly!

    Macca’s simply having a wonderful wotsit. And why wouldn’t he with this ever so nice carol? After all, he and Linda are down the drinker. And they’re veggies not teetotallers.

    Annie. Tourist. Dusty. Rollers. All fours.

    Abba – Having dreams. Still the perfect pop group. Never a dud. Cut too soon.

    The Beat – Hear comes 2-tone. A brilliant rendition of Smokey’s classic. Swede’s going down da town!!

    Quo’s odd mark little song about British people. And up pops lovely Rosie dressed as Brittania (or Boadicea) dancing on herself. That smile! Swedeheaven indeed. But it gets more heavenly as right on cue to “waiting for a friend”, the Eternal Mistress joins her as Guinevere. Bloody hell! Then Lulu as Liz the First. Florence Nightingale and Amy Johnson join the party and then, to send the Swede over the edge completely, on rushes the ravashing Pauline dolled up as Mary Quant with legs to match. The first five look horrified at “Mary” and hare off. Swede sinks to the floor and the cat, who’s seen it all before, strolls out. Be not afraid. This isle is full of noises.

    Inmates – Glad this wasn’t Yewtreed. Fine effort but it failed to hit the Thirty.

    Blondie. Still part of the Union.

    Pretenders with the first number one of the eighties. Incredibly my old Edwardian dad loved this:
    “Is this top?” he asked me.
    “Yes,” I replied wearily, waiting for the inevitable.
    “This is very good,” he said.
    I liked Chrissie. So perhaps did dad.

    Floyd – Let’s just say that I never took to this or the whole Wall thing and leave it at that.

    Rose R takes us out.

  17. 317
    Lazarus on 18 Dec 2014 #

    I can only surmise that Sue as Lady Godiva would have sent Jimmy over the edge once and for all …

  18. 318
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Dec 2014 #

    #317 – Laz, you’re absolutely right, especially if I could have played the part of her horse.

  19. 319
    glue_factory on 19 Dec 2014 #

    From this week’s TV Cream review of the “Top of the Pops: The Story of 1980″ – “In fact we hear the Human League, while they were interviewed for this programme, were asked about 1981 as well, so fingers crossed.”

  20. 320
    Mark G on 19 Dec 2014 #

    So, it’s Christmas Specials, which are usually pretty awful (or at the very least, unsurprising), and the fact that this is the last one of the seventies won’t make any difference – The ‘end of the sixties’ one was a co-production with/for German TV, the recent(ish) repeat was supplied from them, it was in nice Colour but concentrated on Cliff and other acts that the Germans would like in theory (Horst Janowizt!) and I sort of remembered it as dull from the original broadcast. Of course, it will never be seen again because of the safe pair of hands they used in 1969…

    So, unless there’s something radical, we’ll be seeing you in the soon-to-be-revived 1989 Popular thread.

    Merry chrimstbas and may all your sues be .. umm…

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