Dec 08

Popular ’80

FT + Popular/311 comments • 11,339 views

I give every song on Popular a mark out of 10. This is your opportunity to pick any that YOU would have given 6 or more to from 1980 – and you can talk about the year in general in the comments box.

Number One Hits of 1980: Which would you have given 6 or more to?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 9 Dec 2008 #

    A 17-7 victory for the songs I like, though I seem to have accidentally not ticked The Specials’ box. Probably fewer exceptional songs than in 1979, though.

  2. 2
    Tom on 9 Dec 2008 #

    14-10 here – a lot of 5s and 6s though, and a couple of sticky patches.

    I think this is the first year I’ve used the 10 and the 1.

  3. 3
    SteveM on 9 Dec 2008 #

    16 cor – v generous to a couple but slightly harsh on one or two others

  4. 4
    LondonLee on 9 Dec 2008 #

    Only 8 from me, not the greatest year for number ones but a brilliant one for the rest of the charts.

  5. 5
    vinylscot on 9 Dec 2008 #

    Only 8 from me too (and almost all of them from the first half of the year); a real disappointment after 1979’s excellent set of #1s!

  6. 6
    lonepilgrim on 9 Dec 2008 #

    11 for me which is more than I expected – I fell out with Call Me and it missed the cut. There were some great songs that year – can anyone supply the NME poll charts as a reminder?

  7. 7
    Erithian on 9 Dec 2008 #

    15-9 for me, after a late decision to allow Fern Kinney into the corral because I’m feeling mellow.

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    NME Critics’ poll for 1980;

    1. Love will tear us apart – Joy Division
    2. Going underground – The Jam
    3. Mirror in the bathroom – The Beat
    4. Atmosphere – Joy Division
    5. Ashes to ashes – David Bowie
    6. Your cassette pet – Bow Wow Wow
    7. Private life – Grace Jones
    8. Fashion – David Bowie
    9. C30 C60 C90 go – Bow Wow Wow
    10. Master blaster – Steve Wonder
    11. Treason – Teardrop Explodes
    12. Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners
    13. Start! – The Jam
    14. Food for thought/King – UB40
    15. New Amsterdam EP – Elvis Costello
    16. Shack up – A Certain Ratio
    17. Rescue – Echo & The Bunnymen
    18. My way of thinking – UB40
    19. The breaks – Kurtis Blow
    20. Stand down Margaret/Best friend – The Beat
    21. I can’t stand up for falling down – Elvis Costello
    22. Drug train – The Cramps
    23. Fiery jack – The Fall
    24. Dance stance – Dexys Midnight Runners
    25. Johnny & Mary – Robert Palmer
    26. Hands off .. she’s mine – The Beat
    27. My flamingo – The Subterraneans
    28. A song from under the floorboards – Magazine
    29. Independence day – Comsat Angels
    30. My perfect cousin – The Undertones
    31. Runaway boys – The Stray Cats
    32. At last I am free – Robert Wyatt
    33. Looking for clues – Robert Palmer
    34. There, there my dear – Dexys Midnight Runners
    35. My girl – Madness
    36. Another nail in my heart – Squeeze
    37. Flight – A Certain Ratio
    38. Diet/It’s obvious – The Au Pairs
    39. Funkin’ for Jamaica – Tom Browne
    40. Seconds to late – Cabaret Voltaire
    41. I’m coming out – Diana Ross
    42. Hi-Fidelity – Elvis Costello
    43. Warrior charge – Aswad
    44. Love comes in spurts – Richard Hell
    45. Edward fox – Smack
    46. Don’t stand so close to me – The Police
    47. Hello I’m your heart – Bette Bright
    48. Rise and shine – Linx
    49. Happy house – Siouxsie & the Banshees
    50. Dog eat dog – Adam & The Ants

  9. 9
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Sounds’ critics poll for 1980 (Melody Maker had no time for singles of the year);

    1. C30 C60 C90 Go! – Bow Wow Wow
    2. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
    3. Going Underground – The Jam
    4. Biko – Peter Gabriel
    5. Talk Of The Town – The Pretenders
    6. Can’t Stand up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello
    7. Holiday In Cambodia – Dead Kennedys
    8. King/Food For Thought – UB40
    9. You Better Scream – Wah! Heat
    10. Staring At The Rude Boys – The Ruts
    11. To Cut A Long Story Short – Spandau Ballet
    12. Two Pints Of Lager – Splodgenessabounds
    13. 747 (strangers In The Night) – Saxon
    14. Circus Games – The Skids
    15. West One (Shine On Me) – The Ruts
    16. My Number – Girl
    17. Seven Minutes To Midnight – Wah! Heat
    18. A Forest – The Cure
    19. Commercial Single – The Residents
    20. Lights – Styx
    21. Heyday – The Sound
    22. Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel
    23. Give Me Back My Man – B52s
    24. Mirror In The bathroom – The Beat
    25. Dark Companion – Tuxedo Moon
    26. Girls Talk – Dave Edmunds
    27. Simply Thrilled Honey – Orange Juice
    28. Totally Wired – The Fall
    29. Dog Eat Dog – Adam And The Ants
    30. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

  10. 10

    notes on nme 1980 list (which is i think a pretty good list): the subterraneans = nme writer nick kent’s band, so presence on this list is PURE nepotism

    however wtf = 45. Edward fox – Smack????

  11. 11

    interesting how sludgy the MM LP list looks to me, even though it features largely the same artists as the NME singles list: it was an era of singles, really — industry protocols required LPs be made but i wish more folks had taken the bow wow wow/PiL route and looked at and thought about other formats

  12. 12
    Mark G on 10 Dec 2008 #

    nicked off wiki:

    The post-punk band Smack released the single “Edward Fox” in the early 1980s. The song set a newspaper biography concerning Edward Fox to a musical score. The biography was published in New Manchester Review, and the single was produced by Rowland Jones at Drone Studios in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, owned by the late Paul Roberts.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Those Beat singles were/are fantastic – as was Private Life by Grace Jones (and the flipside She’s lost control) – – heard her new single: ‘Williams blood’ today and it sounds absolutely wonderful

  14. 14

    except for the ub40 stuff — i always found his voice superwhiney and avoided them — i have everything on that list, not least because i consciously collected stuff, ticking it off (it was HOMEWORK: i wanted to write for nme and by 1983 did so), so why has it taken me 28 years to spot that i didn’t spot one entry on the list, or know anything about them

    it’s like when buffy came down to breakfast one day and had a teenage sister who’d always been there that no one had noticed before

  15. 15
    Mark G on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I saw “Food for Thought” on TOTP2, and remembered UB40 were good once. Just the once though.

  16. 16
    Erithian on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Plenty of opportunity for that case study in, ooh, 2½ years’ time.

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Here are the same charts seen upside down – ie the records that peaked at number 40 (“the anchor position” Dale Winton) in 1980

    26 Jan Wonderland – The Commodores – 1 week
    9 Feb Dance Stance – Dexy’s Midnight Runners – 1
    16 Feb Maybe Tomorrow – The Chords – 1
    26 Apr All For Lenya – Billy Joel – 1
    31 May Body Language – The Detroit Spinners – 1
    25 Oct Don’t Say I Told You So – The Tourists – 1
    29 Nov Girls Can Get It – Dr. Hook – 1
    6 Dec The Call Up – The Clash – 1

    Dance Stance and The Call Up both considerably better than almost every number one of this year.

  18. 18
    will on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I voted for 17 out of the 24. I doubt that number will be as high again.

    In terms of pop, 1980 is probably my favourite year. It was certainly the year that what was previously a mere interest blossomed into the full blown obsession. By November I had bought myself a transistor radio and began what became a night time ritual of listening to what was on offer (John Peel, Luxembourg, Capital Radio etc) until my lids felt heavy and I dropped off to sleep.

  19. 19
    richard thompson on 10 Dec 2008 #

    According to Record Mirror which I read at the time the Police were voted the naff act of the year,followed closely by Bad Manners, it was the era of Tiswas.

  20. 20
    AndyPandy on 10 Dec 2008 #

    I think it was a pretty good year for music in general in 1980 stuff by Spandau Ballet, Roxy Music, Visage, Adam and the Ants,Madness,Kate Bush,Steely Dan, Joy Division ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’,Oddyssey ‘If You’re Looking For a Way Out’,Azymuth ‘Jazz Carnival’, Mystic Merlin ‘Just Can’t Give You Up’, Change ‘Lover’s Holiday’ Mass Production ‘Shante’etc etc but I’m struggling to find any besides Abba ‘Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Geno’ to give 6 to out of this lot here – I’d say easily my worst year for No1’s so far by far

  21. 21
    LondonLee on 10 Dec 2008 #

    Re: #8 I only very very vaguely remember that Subterraneans single but I’m sure I thought it was rather good at the time.

    The NME list is amazing, out of 50 records there’s only about 3 I can say I don’t care for. So I’m sticking to my guns that 1980 was better than 1979 overall.

  22. 22
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 10 Dec 2008 #

    lee it is pretty good but it’s not really top 50 good

  23. 23
    LondonLee on 10 Dec 2008 #

    It occurred to me that I was 18 in 1980 so do I have a warped sense of how good pop music should be? Being that age in a year like that?

  24. 24
    lonepilgrim on 11 Dec 2008 #

    there seems to have been a big fan of wah!heat at sounds

    it’s good to be reminded of Robert Palmer’s work with Gary Numan – I thought it was a dumb move at the time but it now seems quite far sighted
    There was a lot of great music coming out of Compass Point studios that year what with Grace Jones, Talking Heads -and (apparantly) AC/DCs Back in Black

  25. 25
    Conrad on 16 Dec 2008 #

    that nme list, while it contains some great songs, is typically too cool for school, the same problem that blights all rock press lists – journalists chosing tracks/albums that they think they should be championing (or showing appreciation of)*

    I mean, A Certain Ratio. Really, this kind of non-rhythmic take on funk was only ever viable in the minds of a select coterie of writers.

    * plenty of genuine choices too no doubt.

  26. 26
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 16 Dec 2008 #

    well, it is a critic’s poll! that’s kind of the point of them — to point out stuff that isn’t (yet) popular, or being paid proper attention, not just replicate the reader’s poll

  27. 27
    Conrad on 16 Dec 2008 #

    I see that, I just think there’s a tendency for writers to be a bit disingenuous in the compilation of such lists.

  28. 28
    Pete Baran on 16 Dec 2008 #

    A bit? To be fair to the readers, I’m pretty sure they spread the disingenuity around too.

  29. 29
    Mark M on 16 Dec 2008 #

    Re 25: I’m not sure about that at all. I’ve known plenty of critics in my time, and I think a lot of them were people who would listen to ACR for fun (or settle down for a thrilling weekend of films set in Turkish villages without the slightest sense of duty). For one thing, those are the kind of people (men) who tend to become critics in the first place, and secondly, you’ve moved into circles where people will say “The Pop Group are Pop!” and mean it. The more time you spend with them, the more your baseline can shift – until and unless you flip back the other way and cry “Let me listen to some number one singles!” As totally inexplicable as I find that idea that anyone could have ever enjoyed the music of Tortoise, for instance, my assumption is that if they say they do, they do.

  30. 30
    Billy Smart on 16 Dec 2008 #

    Here are the phantom number ones of 1980 that got to the top of the NME chart, but not the Guinness one; My Girl, Dance Yourself Dizzy, No Doubt About It, Funktown, Upside Down, One Day I’ll Fly Away, Stop The Cavalry.

  31. 31
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 16 Dec 2008 #

    acr were fun! of the dourest kind!

  32. 32
    Conrad on 16 Dec 2008 #

    Mark M – you’re right about this. I do believe there is a lot of genuine passion in the writing. I guess a lot of critics start out as passionate fans.

    I do think that the NME missed a trick or two in the early 80s until Morley and New Pop and ABC came along in the autumn of 81, when they were suddenly right OTM

    I know a couple of music journalists and I guess my opinion is clouded by them – they are nowhere near in the same category as A&R men though, whose opinion is 5% based on what they like, and 95% based on whether Tim from squirrel records likes it.

    I remember an A&R man once telling me, in all earnestness, that Gomez were the most important thing to happen in 20 years.

    I’m sorry I ve had some wine at work. This isn’t the most coherent of posts.

  33. 33
    Billy Smart on 23 Dec 2008 #

    NME Readers Poll 1980;

    1. The Jam – Going Underground
    2. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
    3. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes
    4. Joy Division – Atmosphere
    5. The Jam – Start!
    6. David Bowie – Fashion
    7. The Clash – Bankrobber
    8. OMD – Enola Gay
    9. Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers
    10. Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog
    11. The Dead Kennedys – Holiday In Cambodia
    12. The Cure – A Forest
    13. The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me
    14. UB40 – Food For Thought
    15. The Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom
    16. The Stray Cats – Runaway Boys
    17. The Stranglers – Who Wants The World?
    18. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno
    19. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Christine
    20. Madness – Baggy Trousers

  34. 34
    Billy Smart on 23 Dec 2008 #

    Melody Maker readers’ poll 1980;

    1. Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall
    2. Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers
    3. Genesis – Turn It On Again
    4. The Jam – Going Underground
    5. Rush – The Spirit Of Radio
    6. Whitesnake – Fool For Your Loving
    7. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes
    8. Saxon – 747 (Strangers In The Night)
    9. Black Sabbath – Neon Knights
    10. Rainbow – All Night Long

  35. 35
    Tom on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Oh noes the reboot of WordPress has fucked the polling up again :(

  36. 36
    admin on 10 Feb 2009 #

    something’s not right. but you’d put in the poll tag wrong again, naughty tom. Use the ‘insert poll’ button and it should format it for you ok. i re-did it and now it’s showing the 1980 poll

    HOWEVER. we seem to have had a guest-vote invasion (problys spam-bots submitting the form) on the last few ‘still open’ polls. i will see if i can correct this without prejudicing real votes. Perhaps consider not keeping polls open indefinitely

    (there is actually an update of the poll plugin, but i don’t think it’s relevant yet, and i’d need to re-implement my ‘secret ballot’ hack)

    UPDATE: fixed the total of votes back to normal. maybe it wasn’t spam-bots. could be something up in the polling code. i should look at getting that update done…

  37. 37
    punctum on 11 Jan 2013 #

    An awful lot of people didn’t want Then Play Long to die, so I have brought it back: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/paul-mccartney-mccartney-ii.html

  38. 38
    jeff w on 11 Jan 2013 #


  39. 39
    punctum on 27 Jan 2013 #

    And, just to keep things up to date, here’s the latest post: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/gary-numan-telekon.html

  40. 40
    punctum on 30 Jan 2013 #

    TPL on the first UK #1 album to be written and performed by a woman: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/kate-bush-never-for-ever.html

  41. 41
    Mark G on 1 Jan 2015 #

    Happy Old Year!

  42. 42
    Lazarus on 2 Jan 2015 #

    Yep, ‘the Story of 1980’ on tonight at 9, Pops watchers.

  43. 43
    Lazarus on 9 Jan 2015 #

    Well, it seems that it falls to me to review the first show of the year – the year being 1980, that is. Master Powell introduces the new decade in a yellow sweater. The Clash over the chart, which was generally as close as they ever got to being on the show (did they even make videos? I don’t recall one before ‘Casbah’). Anyway London Calling, a storming start.

    Madness – I saw this lot at Brighton recently, a great night out. Original line-up of course, missing only Chas Smash, the original Bez. They’re in cream waiters’ jackets and bow ties doing ‘My Girl.’ Mike Barson playing a toy saxophone. Was ‘One Step Beyond’ on? I fear we missed it.

    Paul McCartney – this went out on January 3rd – I’d have thought this was starting to pall by then. Nice vid though.

    Peter Powell steals a kiss from a blue-topped lovely – Knacker alert! The Pretenders with their soon-to-be number one, maybe not their best single (and Chrissie has never liked doing it) but a corker nonetheless.

    David Bowie – what’s this? I never knew there was a video for this. It’s the old version and of course, Bowie didn’t look like that in ’79. Was this a double A then? I suppose it must have been.

    Boney M- surely their last ever appearance before being permanently pensioned off. I don’t remember this, it’s got a bit of a Mull of Kintyre tone to it. It’s OK, a vast improvement on ‘Holi-Holiday’ but the M were surplus to requirements in 1980.

    The Beat – top notch cover from a band that ought to have stuck around longer. I’ve got the General Public single ‘Tenderness’ – now that should’ve been a hit.

    Fiddler’s Dram – ‘Day Trip to Banger’ as PP introduces it. Different clip this time. The singer reminds me a little of the gorgeous actress Lucy Liemann (‘Rev’, ‘Reggie Perrin’), the guitarist might have been in the Hair Bear Bunch. Still in North Wales, as Jimmy informed us last time.

    Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rapping – another one past its use-by but an entertaining period piece, and that shirt collar is something else.

    Billy & Syreeta – a bit of live piano from Billy to start this. I was a sucker for this sort of thing at the time. Billy is a great bear of a man and Stevie’s ex-missus looks beautifully elegant. Easy to sneer at this now but I still think it’s rather lovely, especially when her voice soars over his. RIP both of course.

    Chic/Legs & Co – their feet keep dancing, and so do our Legs. No Sue this time, but the gals are in outfits that they must have been poured into. And when the luscious Gill Clark shakes her booty at the camera all is well in Lazworld. The song’s fine, too.

    Dr Hook – perfectly acceptable follow-up, I think I prefer this although it was sandwiched between two bigger hits. In the studio this time too, which I don’t think they did for their number 1.

    PP still not short of female company … Pink Floyd still at number one. After the horror of the Ramblers, a kids’ choir with attitude! And Rose Royce to see us out.

    Promising start …

  44. 44
    Mark G on 10 Jan 2015 #

    So, we ring the changes, The Clash get to accompany the charts, (look like The Greedies won’t get their appearance shown.. “We wished you a merry Christmas, and now a happy new year go on Steve repeat that “My Way” fade no problem Phil)..

    And into Madness and My Girl. The only way this performance has dated is the backdrop.

    Unlike McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” which is permanently in, ooh.. 1980.

    Pete awkwardly kisses girl, I assume he asked first, that could have been awkward. Oh yeah, it was. Nm.

    Pretenders, “Brass in Pocket”, labelmates'”Strangeness” only claim to fame is originating this phrase in Chrissie’s ken. Me, I much prefer the 2 groovy instrumentals on the b-side.

    David Bowie has a video for his new singles b-side but not for the funky what-would-be-called-an-extra-track-on-the-deluxe-cd a-side so this is not what we get from this week on.

    Boney M do a religious theme and Bobby mimes masterfully to an otherwise live vocal.

    The Beat do the groovy.. Fiddlers Dram um sorry about last time I was in a bad mood I guess. There seems less of them this time but more instruments, and the hairbear guitarist ironically protests miming by playing the back of his guitar.. She yearns for “Cash on Demand” and it’s true there were few cashpoints in those days. I had to leave Prestatyn and go to Rhyl to replenish funds, so I feel her pain. But the radio 1 roadshow was on. Mike Read. It was finished but I did get to buy a T-hee mug from the merch stall.

    Peter gets to be part of Kurtis Blow’s performance, but K seems a bit lost onstage on his own, needs the audience to wave their hands in the air like they just..don’t.. Ah come on this is where the phrase started so here’s a free pass.

    Billy Preston avoids death by BBC orch by a virtuoso piano playing performance, and bold singing by both. Highlight of the night. Probably didn’t think so at the time, but I guess I’ve heard “My Girl” too often, along with “Brass in Pocket” and “London Calling” and oh, the number one..

    Anyway, lighten up Morrissey its Legs and co who are dancing “My feet keep dancing” by pointing at their feet a lot” .. “but my parents said my brains are in my ..” EVERYBODY!!!

    Dr Hook do an ok single but the guy with the patch and the marraccas is pulling some definite Sgt Major Shuttup faces and all the song truly needs is some “Ok luvvy boy, somewhere in this jungle you’ll be finding better love next time.. I will not have giving up in this doo dah!”

    Pink Floyd video, Rose Royce to out.. Not a keeper this week but things will get better as long as the show keeps going into 1984 or thereabouts..

  45. 45
    speedwell54 on 11 Jan 2015 #

    It’s 1980 and Peter is excited. Good. Invisible Clash.

    Great start. Madness. Peter predicts a top 10 placing for this and he’s right of course. After this performance they jumped 40 places. Dressed up as they are quite a few badges are on display, still a popular fashion accessory.

    Wonderful Christmastime – seems a little late, but at its peak this week. The Fountain Inn features in the video and has another claim to fame – Sir Laurence Olivier’s local.

    Back to the 80’s. Brass In Pocket -Peter again very positive about this. At the link he kisses the girl on his right, but the girl on his left rolling her eyes is far more entertaining. Badges.

    Despite Peter’s claims for John I’m Only Dancing (Again), it’s not. Not sure of his ability to turn up, but the BBC banned the video for this version so no option really.

    Boney M – as mentioned it’s Mull of Kintrye. Guess they were going for Mary’s Boy Child again. If Bobby’s doesn’t do a few 360 spins it’s not really Boney M.

    Back to the 80’s – Think we’ve got a bit a run going on Totp at the moment with punkish bands doing speeded up covers. The Beat pull it off well. Badges.

    Back to the 70’s – Fiddler’s Dram not a rpt but nearly.

    Staying with the 70’s the clothes (must be!) and 80’s sound. Peter thinks he in a mash up with Kurtis Blow. Goes on a bit.

    Billy Preston /Syreeta -Baroness Floella Benjamin did her hair. Good. Best performance of the week.

    Chic/Legs and Co – One week in and it’s Swedeheaven. No room for any Christmas weight in those outfits.

    Back to the 70’s – Better Love Next Time – looks so similar to the performance of WYILWABW. Maracas guy is more annoying and the Steve Wright look a like on guitar has put a jacket on.

    Peter gets all tactile with the ladies again and introduces Pink Floyd. rpt vid.

    Out to Theme From S-Express, well nearly.

    Swede are you there?

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  46. 46
    Mark G on 11 Jan 2015 #

    Strangeways not strangeness, damn touchpad autocorrect will take over if you let it..

    Anyway, I didn’t know “(again)” had a video, much less that the BBC banned it. Why was that? I know they banned (or, just did not use) the video for “Life on mars?” back a few years..

  47. 47
    speedwell54 on 11 Jan 2015 #

    Apologies Mark G- after trying to evidence the ban looks like it was an earlier video for the original version; although obviously not the one shown on Totp above. The banned one was produced by Mick Rock “featuring androgynous dancers from Lindsay Kemp’s mime troupe” this from Wiki . Some of the videos on you tube look like they may contain excerpts from this, can’t be certain; far too many fan videos.
    Will come back if I can confirm and find more than a single source.

  48. 48
    enitharmon on 11 Jan 2015 #

    @45 – I have a hunch the Swede may be busy lamenting the demise of his compatriot Anita Ekberg.

  49. 49
    Mark G on 12 Jan 2015 #

    Well, the thing was, I watched it and thought to myself “Oh look, Lindsay Kemp and co”. I reckon this was the banned vid (although I do remember it from 72 or whenever but I don’t recall if the dancers were on it or not), its just that by 1980 it was ok to show dancers that were slightly (only slightly) sexy…

  50. 50
    Lazarus on 12 Jan 2015 #

    Almost a year before, they’d shown ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ in all its cross-dressing glory …

  51. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Jan 2015 #

    #45 – Thanks, Speedo. I hope to do a belated post on this in the coming days.

    #48 – Indeed yes, Rosie. Lovely Gal and much missed.

    And why we’re at it, it’s farewell to Brian Clemens, a script writing legend (Avengers, New Avengers, Danger Man, Persuaders, Protectors, Suitcase, Professionals, Bergerac…) who has passed away aged 83. He spent his last night watching Steed and Emma tackle the Cybernauts. “Oh, this is a good one!” he enthused to his son who was visiting him. So were you, Brian. Thanks for everything and RIP.

  52. 52
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Jan 2015 #

    Swede late to the 1980 party. But only caught the shortened version. My interest in TOTP only survived about half way up the decade, probably less in fact. Little Jackie Paper and Puff the Magic Dragon, I’m afraid.

    Peter Powell dressed like the poor devil of a one-appearance crew member at the start of an episode of Star Trek who always got beamed onto a deadly hostile planet with Kirk, Spock and McCoy with inevitable results.

    Clash over the titles. For “London Calling”, you could quite easily read “London Burning”, such was the inference of the song imho. A year later Brixton was, and I had a birdseye view of all of it less than a mile away from my Stockwell high-rise. Not good.

    Madness – Swede is no way considering disappearing with stuff like this going on. A gang of lads just a tad older than me having a ball, despite contemplating the problems of young love.

    Paul and Linda still down the Nag’s Head. Booze a-plenty. Ditto nibbles. But strictly no pork scratchings. Did they have those back then? Dunno.

    Pretenders – Here comes the 1980s. It was amazing to share a fantasy girl with my old man (b.1921) but there we had it. Great record too. I’m amazed to hear that Chrissie was not a fan.

    Jonesy’s only dancing. Well of course he is. And yes, this was released as a Double A with the then modern version.

    Kurtis Blow – Still rapping Christmas. And in the TOTP studio too. Clever stuff. You can sneak a lot into those raps and Kurtis was not a one rap pony. Swede liked this.

    Billy Preston avec Syreeta – An absolutely beautiful song but I think it’s fair to say that Billy was more the king of the keyboard rather than a headline singer.

    Chic – GALS in catsuits. Welcome to the Swede’s inaugural visit to A&E of the new decade. Had it not been for the absence of the Eternal Mistress, it would have been a matter for the coroner. We keep on dancing. And long may our lovelies do that.

    Doctor Hook – Still with the sideways glances as if they have a private joke with the world. And Ned Flanders is back on parade too. Better Luck and they’re heading quite righty back to the top ten with it. I’d forgotten how pleasant this lot were. And of rubbish there comes none.

    Pete sails close to the wind by inexplicably bopping some girl on top of her head before announcing Floyd as top of the tree again. The young woman on the right of the picture is lovely and probably still is.

    Rose Royce take us out. Is it love you’re after? Back then, yes, for me it was.

  53. 53
    Inanimate Carbon God on 21 Jan 2015 #

    Wot no 10th January 1980 episode?

    I’d be happy to see reruns up until the bitter end in 2006 but when we’re finally over and done with TOTP “second time round”, I’ll be 55!

  54. 54
    Mark G on 21 Jan 2015 #

    (checks his watch…)

  55. 55
    enitharmon on 21 Jan 2015 #

    You timing my entrance, Mark? The condescension of the Inanimate Carbon Godlet isn’t worth more than a roll of the eyes! Flippin’ kids!

  56. 56
    Mark G on 21 Jan 2015 #

    Noh, checking how long until I’m 55…

  57. 57
    Steve Williams on 21 Jan 2015 #

    #53 Because there are only 34 available episodes, again, we’re still getting The Sky At Night every month. That’s exactly the same number of episodes as we got in 1979, by the way.

  58. 58
    Inanimate Carbon God on 21 Jan 2015 #

    That’s better, that’s Tetley.


    I’m still disturbed by the comments of Coleen Nolan on Celebrity Big Brother, though it is the kind of thing Jarvis Cocker writes great songs about! It would not be until July “this” year that he, and Pulp, played their first gig at Rotherham Arts Centre and set off on their long, long road to fame. Though before they show up, Sheffield’s got a hell of a few tales to tell. But I’m not going to nag, nag, nag you about it.

  59. 59
    Mark G on 23 Jan 2015 #

    Right, well we’re not getting any older, official, so lets go back to when you could be called Kid when you were 29 (got a lot to learn..) Madness over the chart, and UFO do that “Scatter amps and performers around randomly” thing. The random rock songtitle generator has given them “Young Blood” and they do the required thing with it. Nice enough, not a hit.

    Abba have a piano and one stool. Kids choir. Huge audience. Must be all the parents.

    Rose Royce do a song, its great stuff but you’ve seen it before so ff>

    Joe Jackson (band), he is the first of many “New Costello” types (through no fault of his) (without being a direct copy, sorry Jags) its still a classic track even now.

    Ever wanted to put your hands through a laser wall? I bet Prestatyn has one. Sheila B ‘and’ Devotion sing about what you need when tiling your bathroom.

    I noticed that on the chart rundown there were but three Skids! So be warned, keyboard player and drummer! Richard Job does his not sure what dance to do dancing. It still sounds good though.

    KC and the sunshine band ballad “Please don’t go” so cue Legs and co in wispy outfits ? Mm more wedding tutus if there is such a thing. Oh look there’s Howard K C. Last time I saw him he was doing “Give it up” at Mardi Gras at Disney Florida. It was good.

    Dollar do that “Fun.” soundalike thing. Again.

    Oh look its the good dooleys, the actual Nolans. Now wouldn’t you have thought “I’m in the mood for dancing” had predated the aforementioned rubbish dooleys? Apparently not.

    Fink Ployd. Once more.

    And we fade out to Green Onions by Booker T and the MG’s which is hmmmm the best track on tonights show so that tells you something, right?

  60. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Jan 2015 #

    Keed – Good evening and good welcome.

    Madness over rundown.

    UFO – Another minor hit for them. This has something of the Quo about it. Which is probably not a compliment.

    Abba’s dream of number one thwarted by a brick wall and by being huffed by Chrissie. Lovely girls and lovely song but the snotty brats are more than a little off-putting.

    Rose Royce – Seen this. Great song but you’ve got to chuckle at their outfits and barnet. Just wrong.

    Joe Jackson – It’s different for girls. Brilliant and classy all day long. It was to be Joe’s biggest hit. I’d forgotten just what an odd-looking fellow he was, though.

    Sheila B Devotion – Is she singing “GEEK! – A spacer”? Drab Euro disco number. Sheila’s certainly comely enough. Not sure about the three numpties, two of whom are certainly in urgent need of a dermatologist.

    Skids – Already seen.

    KC Sunshine – GALS all on parade for Please Don’t Go, a US number one. But then this lot were perpetual chart-toppers in their homeland. Nice song but a bit too serious for the Gals who are wearing ripped up wedding dresses. We get a face full of Gill, which is lovely but the routine doesn’t really work.

    Jensen chats pointlessly to KC, who is plugging his greatest hits album. He introduces…

    Dollar – Lordy, what a punchable pair!

    The Nolans – Never mess with a Nolan! So Swede wisely keeps his distance. They’re in the mood for wotsit. Poor Bernie no longer with us, sadly. Great little pop song.

    Number one
    And we’ve hit it

    Out to Green Onions. Fabulous piece from years gone by.

    Pretty forgetable episode this time.

  61. 61
    speedwell54 on 25 Jan 2015 #

    “Good welcome” to you too KId – a little bit of madness.

    UFO – Don’t mind this but not sure on the line “Where do all these dreams have broken”. Sounds like a translation issue but written by two English men. Maybe in homage to the next song

    Abba – didn’t quite make it to number one but we can only put up with so many singles with a children’s choir! Twktc.

    Rose Royce – you’ve got to appreciate the effort. Shiny lipstick.

    Kid rather seems apologetic introducing Joe saying he is a fan.
    Joe Jackson – Cool – not Bryan Ferry cool but still cool. Only really know a few tracks from him but all good. “Won’t You Be My number Two” should have done a lot better. He turns his back on the audience to cover repeated ‘You’re all the same’

    Sheila B Devotion – I don’t mind the accent for one track but I think that’s my limit. Song is still pretty good though. And Shelia fyi It’s not ‘spacer’ it’s ‘astronaut’.

    Skids and annoying Jobson again. Overall I like it but visually awkward and lyrically seems like a lot of effort. Just after the instrumental break Adamson chins the microphone.

    KC/Legs – prefer the song to this performance. He turns up to plug a Greatest Hits and introduces Dollar – rpt.

    The Nolans – top spinning from (Bernie?) They sung this at least twice and the producer cuts between versions repeatedly. Microphones low stage and no microphones podium. Are they singing live? The totp audience features two blokes who might have been in the mood for dancing but…

    Floyd and then Green Onions.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Lazarus .. over to you

  62. 62
    Lazarus on 25 Jan 2015 #

    Just watching the short one, the extras just being repeats from what I can see. Jensen in the chair, Madness over the chart. Elvis at number 24, don’t remember what with though.

    UFO – worthy but dull outing from also-rans who were big in Germany, and for all I know still are.

    ABBA – in campfire singalong mode. The low camera angle makes them seem somehow like Nordic gods, smiling down beatifically on the little children. Runners up this time.

    Joe Jackson – the single may have been credited to the Joe Jackson Band, the album wasn’t. Top notch effort from a man who ought to have many more hits (‘Kinda Kute’ from the same album, possibly the follow-up, missed the Top 75). He left pop behind many years ago but is still going, somewhere.

    Sheila B Devotion – like Rose Royce, the template of a future hit, although thankfully no-one’s crying at the discotheque tonight. Shiny spacesuits possibly the Gibson Brothers’ castoffs. I was surprised to discover, and Swede and others may be interested to learn, that the single was sold in at least one country with a nudie pic of our Sheila on the cover – surprised she agreed to that, but then the continentals have always been more relaxed about that sort of thing.

    Skids – song is better than Jobson’s dancing and chauffeur’s hat.

    KC & the Sunshine Band – a marked change in direction for the disco hitmakers. The gals look lovely, as ever, with Gill centre stage, but there’ll be more exciting routines from them this year.

    Meet’n’ greet with KC himself, who was in thrall to the white powder in those days. He introduces Dollar, although it’s actually a repeat. I saw a David Van Day paving stone in Brighton today, whoda thunk that?

    Nolans – it’s the Nolans! Bernie! Linda! Colleen! The other one! Their debut performance in ’79 was Yewtreed, so this is the first we’ve seen of them. Wedding disco favourite this, I never mind hearing it. And RIP poor Bernie of course.

    Pink Floyd – “it’s been number one for four weeks” announces Kid – so is this the last then? Chrissie and the gang wait their turn.

    ‘Green Onions’ plays us out. Decent show with something for everyone. Now stop looking at that picture of Sheila, you’ll go blind …

  63. 63
    Lazarus on 29 Jan 2015 #

    Looks as if the 45-minute special tonight will be the one to catch – it’ll be interesting to see what was cut. OK show this evening, with a very long playout (almost all of ‘I Hear You Now’), but ‘ll defer comment until I’ve seen the long ‘un.

  64. 64
    Mark G on 31 Jan 2015 #

    Simon is back and so are we. Chart with Bee Gees, into..

    New Musik. Have you ever seen a front man like this? Many play wacky, some look assured, a few look nervous, this one looks like he’s turned up to do a job and will get on with it as soon as he’s done this song. Its a mildly poppy electronic around the edges tune, acoustic driven but not ‘the future’, its new as in recorded recently.

    Billy and Syreeta. Repeat of the live in the studio version, because they are not daft.

    Sad Cafe have a go at the new music (with a c) and it has Numanic undertones. Front man looks like Paul Jones crossed with Colin Newman, but he’s actually called Paul Young. Yes there are many.

    Sister Sledge with a change of pace? No, its the same pace as the previous song. They are always likeable but we are in ‘too similar to previous’ territory and this was not a hit.

    Madness repeat, obv. 1980!

    Positive Force. Don’t remember this, its disco obviously with a bit of rap undertow. Par-Tay! Oh hang on, I do remember it now. A mate of mine had this on 12″. “Bernard’s got the funk” is the giveaway line, its a chic production and the line I remember from then, and this is suffering from DBBBCO. (Death by BBC Orchestra, obv)

    Decay. Briefly part of the 2 tone scene but went independant from that scene before any records. Great stuff, and meaningful swimming.

    Doctor Hook do the Windsor Davies/ Don Estelle double act, as previous.

    Simon has seen a woman recently and he has to tell you she wears more clothes than this. I presume this is the same person, if not that’s the most pointless anecdote ever. I don’t recall this one much, who is it Simon? Ah, Amii Stewart, cheers.

    Styx. FETCH!

    Simon gets pulled off by Legs and co. And they do the mini-skirt waddle to Green Onions. One for JimSwede for sure. They are enjoying doing some actual dancing here definitely.

    Rupert Holmes does a story-song, the kind that always used to do well here.The song ends up well, because its fiction. In real life they’d be on Jeremy Kyle by then. Back to black and white Open University lectures with you!

    Chrissie and Pretenders are number one and she is ‘feeling inventive’ ah always thought she was singing “I’m feelin’ myself’ so there you go. Great stuff of course.

    And fade out to Jon and Evangelist.A better week, anyway.

  65. 65
    Mark G on 31 Jan 2015 #

    Dexys, not Decay this darn Touchpad spelling corrector mutt!

  66. 66
    Erithian on 31 Jan 2015 #

    Well quite Mark. I look forward to seeing this Jon and Evangelist too.

  67. 67
    Mark G on 31 Jan 2015 #

    You know, I usually read my ‘article’ after posting for that very reason but I was in a hurry so I skipped it. Lesson Lerner.

  68. 68
    enitharmon on 31 Jan 2015 #

    The Evangelist was probably discombobulated by the recent demise of his erstwhile bandmate Dimes Sonorous.

  69. 69
    mark g on 1 Feb 2015 #

    I have him down as Semis Roussos, bless him.

    Oh Roussos is ok in your dictionary, touchpad? Crikey.

  70. 70
    Lazarus on 1 Feb 2015 #

    Pretty sure I saw Decay in the Indie Chart at some point – between Peter & The Test Tube Babies and Rudimentary Peni. OK I’m watching the long one now but I have a feeling I’m missing the end, seems the timings are out … suave Simon Bates in for his second show, Brothers Gibb over the 30. A year-old song put out on 45 to promote a Greatest Hits package.

    New Musik – I’ve always liked this, have it in fact and a couple of others of theirs. Top synth pop number but Tony Mansfield’s acoustic guitar seems slightly out of place, like one of Fairport Convention playing a stylophone. They don’t want your name …

    Billy Preston & Syreeta – “they’ve taken a lovely song, and made a great version of it” so it’d been done before then Simes? Rpt, anyway.

    Sad Cafe – second single from ‘Facades’ the first album I ever bought on cassette and an anagram of Sad Cafe, of course. It’s alright, yes vaguely new wavey.

    Sister Sledge – all chorus isn’t it. Bit of sax livens up the middle but it’s not enough. We seem to be a Sledge girl down, one of the tall ones.

    Madness – repeat. OK it’s 1980, we get it. Saw Suggs on QI recently.

    Positive Force – they were a band, I assume, not a vocal duo – suggested by the two of them pointing at band members who aren’t actually there. Perhaps the record company decided to save money by only flying the singers over? Lots of people wearing white this week. Was this a Chic production? We get ‘Bernard’ but not ‘Nile.’

    Dexy’s – Dance Stance aka Burn It Down, opening track from ‘Young Soul Rebels.’ Last weekend I saw a David Van Day paving slab at Brighton Marina, and Kevin Rowland has one too! So I assume temporary residence of the city is enough to qualify – this lot were from Brum of course. Bigger hits await them.

    Dr Hook – repeat, I think. Maracas and facial hair abound.

    Amii Stewart – wow, don’t remember this. Lives just around the corner from the presenter, apparently. Yes I remember ‘The Letter’ (and the intervening flop single ‘Jealousy’ – a bit of proto-Hi NRG). This is a slowie and I suspect it would grow on me with a few more listens.

    Styx – another one left off the half hour show. An AOR classic, they followed it with ‘Boat on the River’ which did absolutely zip (come to think of it, that may have been out first). Anyway live footage, nice song.

    Legs & Co do ‘Green Onions’ in sixties outfits. Nice high kicks, ladies! Sorry, “laydeeez”

    Rupert Holmes – Steve Wright’s stunt double with a ‘Babooshka’ like tale of a personal ads-type mix-up. Personally I much prefer Pina Colada to getting caught in the rain. Now serenading the holidaymakers on the Irish Sea coast, natch.

    Pretenders – finally at number one, seems to have taken its time getting there. She’s special, all right.

    Lots of Jon and Vangelis over the credits. They’re friends of Mr Cairo, you know.

    And now, over to … the Swede or Speedwell, I guess.

  71. 71
    speedwell54 on 1 Feb 2015 #

    Thanks Lazarus – here I go.
    Is Simon trying to be cool with his collar half turned up?

    New Musik – Living By Numbers. I like this. Tony Mansfield reminds me a little of Mike Batt and collectively of the Buggles. Bass player is a bit lazy/bored- one hand in pocket throughout. “Glad It’s All Over” by Captain Sensible was co written by Tony and the chorus is pretty much a straight copy of this chorus. Keyboard player looks like Mark Speight. Ting Tings – It’s not my Name -they must have heard this!

    Billy Preston/Syreeta rpt.

    Sad Cafe – Strange Little Girl – This is growing on me. I think it must have confused people who bought Every Day Hurts – too different too soon. Their next single is another big move, though chartwise it performed better than this.

    Some of SIster Sledge – goes on a bit really. We don’t need to hear the chorus six times. Especially when the chorus has four almost identical lines. Better luck next time.

    Madness – rpt (btw Simon introducing My Girl says ‘it’s going to be enormous’ NSS – it’s number 4 this week and only got a bit enormouser peaking a 3)

    Positive Force – singing live – and not that well. Again, it goes on a bit. Anyway as long as ber-NARD’s got the funk.

    Simon crashes the intro to Dance Stance. A bit of a list song really – which is good. The brass give us a taster of what was to come.

    Dr Hook – rpt

    Amii Stewart – ok, not quite enough to make a hit.

    Styx – American rock band do power ballad stuff and have brief success in the UK type thing going on here. I saw a video of their single “Mr Roboto” on something like ‘Entertainment USA’ and thought it was amazing. Never heard it again for years and it built up in my mind as something amazing, and when I finally did hear it again I was so disappointed.

    Rupert Holmes – Whilst watching this my nine year old pipes up that she knows it. Go on then- how? Zoella sings a bit on one her vloggs. (aka Zoe Sugg who ‘sang’ on bunnied number one from a few weeks ago)

    Pretenders – Brass In Pocket – everyone seemed pleased that this made it all the way but actually doesn’t appear to be anyone’s favourite single from them. Mine is ’977′

    Jon and Evangelist play us out. Timeless. ( I do hope that catches on, it’s right up there with the Rubbish Dooleys)

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Forgot to mention Legs and Co, but since the Swede is probably on the way I’ll leave it at that.

  72. 72
    Jimmy the Swede on 3 Feb 2015 #

    Swede on the way indeed!

    Safe Simon conducts. Bee Gees over rundown. Running out of steam for the time being after ruling the world. But they’ll be back. Oh yes.

    New Musik – Well not exactly. Short-lived outfit with an odd little front man just a tad larger than his guitar. I inevitably imagined that this was about “The Prisoner” and it probably was. One little mystery concerns the clear absence of the female who joins in the “They Don’t Want Your Name” sequence. Perhaps she was already taking tea in the Green Dome.

    Billy and Syreeta – One more time.

    Sad Cafe – Another fly-by-night lot from the period. Follow up to their biggie and not at all bad, although it failed to hit the 30. Reminded me a bit of 10CC for some reason. The Rod Temperton doppelganger is stage left.

    Sister Sledge – Standard fare from them quite honestly, also not making the 30. Girls pleasing to the eye, at least.

    Madness – Wonderful. Girl problem. I only wish that I had had one to have had a problem with back then.

    Positive Force – No memory of this, although it crept into the 20. Was this the earliest reference to “part-tay”? Sudden split screen on this sees young patrons readily taking up the beat. Arranged? Perhaps not.

    Simon beckons us over to show us “some people from Birmingham”. Tis Dexy’s, no less. Interesting new sound but this opener flopped. It would be quite different with their next release.

    Doctor Hook – I’m really returning to this lot after these recent re-runs. “Ned Flanders” is a star without a doubt, clearly having a ball and singing along even withought a mic, whilst the two front men bounce off each other as usual with their trademark sideways glances. Cheesy of course but these guys are a real tonic.

    A clearly smitten Simon introduces near-neighbour Amii Stewart and the Swede hits immediate trouble. Amii looks simply breathtaking, the breath leaves the Swede and the krakenwagen is on it’s way to my house as the cat jumps onto my side of the bed, knowing he’ll not be disturbed that night at least.

    US footage of “Babe” by Styx, a massive # 1 hit over there. I thought this was superb and still do. The singer (and what a beautiful voice) reminds me of someone but I can’t put my finger on who. Top ten here.

    Batesy, lucky swine, is kidnapped by Gill and then on tumble the Gals to give us some classic go-go to “Green Onions”. They are squarely on home territory are are absoluely in their element, loving every second, kitted out as they are in very short-skirted black and white Mary Quant numbers and long white socks. Alas the Swede takes one look at this and within seconds one of the medics is punching down on his heart whilst the other one is shouting “Stay awake, Jimmy!”…

    Ruper Holmes – British born American and another US # 1. But unlike Styx this does not travel well and neither it seems does Rupert, an annoying smug-looking man who doesn’t seem to realise that nearly everyone standing around him in the TOTP studio simply hate the song, hate him and want to tear him to pieces. One girl looks particularly contemptuous and the only option for Rupert is to swiftly leave. Only the minibus can save him now. RUN, RUPERT!

    Chrissie’s finally made it. Hooray! The 1980s begin. It’s tremendous and an enthusiastic girl sings along to the side of the band. The Swede is happy and Swede Pere reaches for his Margaret Lockwood tea towel.

    Out to Jon and Vangelis with “I Hear You Now”. Yes!

    Best show for ages.

    Swede kept in over night but now okay, ta.

  73. 73
    Mark G on 7 Feb 2015 #

    Well, here we are, approved and, um, grooved? Oh look its Mike Read and some Azimuth to chart, and into Buggles! And now we see there is nothing punk about them, they are aiming for XTC edginess but end up a slightly more polished New Musik. One decent line aside, its a classic “Follow up to breakthrough big hit, destined to be forgotten” so lets forget it.

    And here are the Nolans, Bernie manages a phenomenal spin then nearly misses the microphone.

    Boomtown Rats. But what happens when you come off not one but two phenomenally big hits? Yep, another single destined to be left off future oldies playlists. It is very ‘album tracky’ though. Still, they give it plenty and Bob has two personas, one is camo chic, the other will appear as Pink in The Wall movie.

    Legs having flown. Lots of feathers.

    Joe Jackson repeats himself.

    Suzi Quatro! They must like her, her singles have been all over the place stylistically. This one wants to be Motorhead heavy, but the mix is awful (its like this on the single as well) with the piano far too prominent.

    Mike Read mentioned he who must not be named! Cue the daily mail complainer street team. Oh, its Dollar. And I shall continue to compare this to Fun. Until someone acknowledges.

    The Special aka live e.p. Was always good value for money. Particularly as our lunchtime pub always did good scampi and chips, and the jukebox was only 5p so the long b-side live medley would get loads of plays nut never got boring. Longer than this faded version anyway, the nations morals were saved, and people didn’t go off and start trying to wear a cap.

    Babs Dixon sings a Caravan. Mike Batt is very talented, apparently. He hasn’t heard “I’m gonna be snookering you tonight” then.

    And here are the Good old boys! I didn’t know that the leader of that group (from the Blues Brothers film) was the leader of the hippies from that episode of Star Trek! “Yay Brother” indeed. Anyway, this isn’t them really, its Matchbox. Oh its done.

    The Regents. Another single made for 49p? Someone told me a tale some years ago about this song and one last week but its probably libel so I can’t. Anyway.. Is that the “Fabulous wealthy tarts” there? And also, I believe the original issue had a more explicit lyric that got changed. Never knew what it was previously.

    And Pretenders do that Brass thing.

    And fade to Kool who is too hot. Make yr mind up!

  74. 74
    Mark G on 7 Feb 2015 #

    Well, I found the uncensored 7 teen, “a permanent erection” another case of the censored version being the better lyric anyway.

  75. 75
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Feb 2015 #

    Blimey, it’s Swede into Swede (unless somebody nips in whilst I’m writing this).

    Mike Read. I have no idea what is playing over the rundown.

    Buggles – Inferior follow up to a great number one. The band does not survive 1980. Trevor Horn better as a producer.

    Nolans – Lovely but lethal. They should have ripped the beast in the tracksuit mit cigar to shreds when they had the chance. They bounce along merrily to this but why is the numptie BBC conductor so visible? Get off, you cock!

    Rats – Slightly off-putting playacting from Bob. But the track is excellent and is heading for the top five.

    Gals honour the Gibbs boyz. They’re all on parade (Gals not Gibbs’) and barely dressed in criss-cross shredded tops and large feathers down their lovely legs. It’s utter Swede heaven. All of them look luscious and EM establishes her rightful command towards the end before it is savagely cut. It is also a beautifully danced routine. Sheer perfection and the cat is now wondering where his next meal is coming from.

    Joe Jackson – He may look weird but the style shines through. Totally brilliant.

    Suzy Q – It’s always a joy to see “Felicity Kendal with a bass” but I have no memory of this one and it failed to make the 30.

    Savile gets a mention. HIDE! Dollar. No.

    Specials – Live footage of their EP and “Too Much Too Young”. Heading straight for the top. Swede tucker ’til doomsday.

    Barbara Dickson – A Two Ronnies escapee. A lovely voice but this is a clumsily written song by the Womble bloke and it bombs.

    Matchbox – An Indian summer for this gang of old lags and it’s great retro. But they are enjoying themselves much more than we are and the minibus revs up. The guy jumping up on the double bass was admittedly blinding.

    Sheila B – She’s as sexy as hell but those three numptie dancers are in urgent need of Clearasil. Plenty of that in the medical room up at Prestatyn, lads! Broom! Broom!

    Regents – This one definitely stuck in my memory. Particularly the girl singers, who really define the record. Here today, gone tomorrow. Prestatyn.

    Chrissie still top. The drummer supports Fulham. My old Edwardian dad played for them between the Wars. He fancied Chrissie too. Did I tell you?

    Kool and the Gang takes us out. I thought this was Heatwave before I checked.

    Alright show.

  76. 76
    Lazarus on 7 Feb 2015 #

    Saw the show, but didn’t post before now after seeing Tom’s warning that posts on old threads might not appear for a while. Watching it again now.

    Mike Read, Mike Read, 275 and 285 … it’s Azymuth ‘Jazz Carnival’ over the chart.

    Buggles – good follow-up. Compared to his peg-on-the-nose delivery of the previous hit, Trevor Horn practically croons this in places. The bass player for Tina Charles has certainly come a long way. With those specs, I guess he must have been the ‘Brains’ of the operation.

    Nolans – we all know the song, but I’m not sure this is the Pops studio. For one thing we wouldn’t normally see the conductor, also the studio audience are nowhere to be seen. Nice spins anyway.

    Boomtown Rats – good song that hardly ever sees the light of day now. I don’t think we ever got ‘Diamond Smiles’ did we? There’s a lot packed into this, has a touch of Steinman as well as Springsteen I reckon as it builds for the chorus.

    BeeGees / Legs – one of my favourites from the Gibbs and a suitably graceful routine. One of a number of songs cut though, there are a lot on tonight’s show.

    Joe Jackson – repeat. We won’t see him on again for three years.

    Suzi Quatro – possibly the last appearance on the show for the Detroit dynamo, though she continued to release records through the eighties. Wiki informs me that 1985’s ‘Tonight I could Fall in Love’ stalled at 140 – blimey, I didn’t know the charts went down that far.

    Dollar – a new performance at least, but we’ve had enough of these numpties now. Driver!

    Specials – feels like one of those ‘the eighties start here’ moments. Rough’n’ready, and on its way to the top.

    Barbara Dickson – long before Mike Batt was writing tosh about bicycles in Beijing for Katie Melua he penned this wistful piece for the ‘Two Ronnies’ regular. I rather like it actually. A bigger hit is just around the corner for her.

    Matchbox – not their first hit actually, ‘Rockabilly Rebel’ had snuck into the Top 20 late in ’79. A bit of old school rock not far removed from Lonnie Donegan. They look as if they’ve been waiting a while for their big break.

    Sheila B Devotion – repeat. Chic boys having a continental hit. What’s the French equivalent of Prestatyn, somewhere in Corsica maybe?

    Regents – I wonder if Phil Oakey was watching this in his Sheffield bedsit and getting the germ of an idea …

    Pretenders – well deserved chart topper, and thankfully much more quality to come from them. She can only just see where she’s going with that fringe though. I’ve forgotten what it’s like personally.

    Yes, Kool and the Gang, and I always liked this one. Decent show.

  77. 77
    Mark G on 7 Feb 2015 #

    My review is still waiting moderation, so I did get in ahead of JimSwede.

    Edit: but this one is alright? I guess I could repost it from above, as it seems only I can see it, Jeff. Only I.

  78. 78
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Feb 2015 #

    # 75 – Poor old Marty. Not only did he get totalled, he was also drummed out of the Tufty Club.

  79. 79
    Mark G on 7 Feb 2015 #


    Well, here we are, approved and, um, grooved? Oh look its Mike Read and some Azimuth to chart, and into Buggles! And now we see there is nothing punk about them, they are aiming for XTC edginess but end up a slightly more polished New Musik. One decent line aside, its a classic “Follow up to breakthrough big hit, destined to be forgotten” so lets forget it.
    And here are the Nolans, Bernie manages a phenomenal spin then nearly misses the microphone.
    Boomtown Rats. But what happens when you come off not one but two phenomenally big hits? Yep, another single destined to be left off future oldies playlists. It is very ‘album tracky’ though. Still, they give it plenty and Bob has two personas, one is camo chic, the other will appear as Pink in The Wall movie.
    Legs having flown. Lots of feathers.
    Joe Jackson repeats himself.
    Suzi Quatro! They must like her, her singles have been all over the place stylistically. This one wants to be Motorhead heavy, but the mix is awful (its like this on the single as well) with the piano far too prominent.
    Mike Read mentioned he who must not be named! Cue the daily mail complainer street team. Oh, its Dollar. And I shall continue to compare this to Fun. Until someone acknowledges.
    The Special aka live e.p. Was always good value for money. Particularly as our lunchtime pub always did good scampi and chips, and the jukebox was only 5p so the long b-side live medley would get loads of plays nut never got boring. Longer than this faded version anyway, the nations morals were saved, and people didn’t go off and start trying to wear a cap.
    Babs Dixon sings a Caravan. Mike Batt is very talented, apparently. He hasn’t heard “I’m gonna be snookering you tonight” then.
    And here are the Good old boys! I didn’t know that the leader of that group (from the Blues Brothers film) was the leader of the hippies from that episode of Star Trek! “Yay Brother” indeed. Anyway, this isn’t them really, its Matchbox. Oh its done.
    The Regents. Another single made for 49p? Someone told me a tale some years ago about this song and one last week but its probably libel so I can’t. Anyway.. Is that the “Fabulous wealthy tarts” there? Also, the original issue had a more explicit lyric that got changed. Here its “Permanent Reaction” but it was “permanent Erection”, but it got issued in a special limited edition sleeve. Hmmmm.

    And Pretenders do that Brass thing.
    And fade to Kool who is too hot. Make yr mind up!

  80. 80
    speedwell54 on 8 Feb 2015 #

    Mike Read showing off his two tone credentials with his shirt.

    Plastic Age from the Buggles is pleasant enough. Not about credit cards after all. The keyboard player looks like he’s wearing a home made Saint Etienne FC away kit from a few years ago.

    The Spinners – well the Nolans – singing live again and spot on once again.

    Boomtown Rats and their sublimal “go play noughts and crosses” messages. We had this a couple of weeks ago with two performances (from Bob Rambo at least) being intercut. They certainly put the effort in and give a memorable performance.

    Bee Gees/Legs – song and dance go extremely well together but cut very short. Don’t think I’ve heard this song all the way through yet.

    JJ rpt.

    Suzi Quatro has her bass strap shorter than normal and starts off sounding just like “Sorrow” As always she gives it her all and looks great. The plinky plonk piano though sounds out of place.

    Dollar – almost a repeat – she is wearing a different outfit and doesn’t pretend to be a drummer at the beginning. everything else the same.

    Specials – captured the mood and there must have been more than this live performance going on to push them to the top. Don’t really get it, then or now.

    Barbara Dickson – like her voice enough but not sure about this track. Also not sure about these caravans flying overland either – Mike Batty.

    Matchbox -Rocky Sharpe whatever. Terrible miming at the start and is it really about the crackling sounds of telephones in the old days? Awful title too.

    Shelia and her Allo Allo french.

    Regents- this finds its way on to a fair few compilations. As hinted above those two girls may well have just been hanging out in a night club one Wednesday night.

    Brass – end

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  81. 81
    Kinitawowi on 8 Feb 2015 #

    @79: Said leader of the Good Ol’ Boys who was also in Star Trek that time and DS9 that other was Charles Napier, one of those classic “character actor” types who did well with those vaguely sinister square jawed roles. Also in Austin Powers and, er, some Russ Meyers films. Died a few years back.

  82. 82
    Mark G on 13 Feb 2015 #

    Is this thing on? Wokay, Let’s go! Kid hits the charts to The Selector, and into The Revillos! Its either going to be great, or downhill rapidly. Well, the camera doesn’t seem all that sure who is singing and misses most of Fay Fife’s bits.

    And now Kenny Rogers is here with his revenge fantasy tune. Pilfered for that scene in Kingsman? I reckon so. Still, this was a big hit which means I’m gonna have to think of more interesting things to say about it over the next few weeks aren’t I?

    Oh it seems Kid J has a favourite of the animals! Its Sue, my goodness. This won’t end well on here I fear. Anyway, the tune is Azymuth (which my tp spelling corrector insists is spelled azimuth the silly).

    John Foxx. If you have it on ff> it looks like an episode of Pointless. But why would you? Also, time to note the passing of Steve Strange, never got to see his appearances revived here. Anyway, this was some sort of comfort for being too ahead of the game with Ultravox , his successful solo career. It’s more of the same for now and now we have all caught up its fine. Of course, he will move on and take his core fanbase with him. Its as much as you can hope for in this business.

    Madness still at the new years eve party.

    The Shadows! Its a funky interpretation of the Bet Lynch’s Legs classic! Of course, you have to seek out the Susan Christie version, but this one is actually not too bad. “Ghost Riders in the Sky” btw.

    If you like pina colada, Oh its you.

    The Ramones! Yeah, rare appearance. The first of two (or maybe three?) Our Alice was a fan at three, famously took their first album to her last day at nursery party. A couple of years later we were in a shop and this came over the shops in-store music.
    “That’s the Ramones, Alice”
    “Yes. That was their biggest hit, chartwise”
    “Oh… .. Was that because….”
    “What, because it sounds nothing like them?”
    Such wisdom for a six year old…

    Jon and Van Gel is. Hah, fooled yer, touchpad. Supplied dance video is Dull.

    Billy Ocean does a funky number. The BBC trumpeter gets an elbow in the ribs but doesn’t get there in time. Its nearly DBBBCO but he wins through. Always liked this one. I saw him advertised as appearing in our local Casino recently. That’s the least you can hope for, decent paying gigs after all this time.

    Living by numbers. I have said too much already.

    Wreckless Eric! Oh no, reckless rat. Its Captain Beaky and his band. Its good fun maybe three times. Did it ever get a full album production?

    Its Steve Wright for the first time. Another ex-210 ex-presenter, here he is channeling a more controlled Kenny Everett. The same brutally edited Specials clip, it’s number one for godsake. Play it man!

    Out to Queen. Yeah, a couple of clunkers aside (a matter of taste) a pretty good one, one for the library I reckons.

  83. 83
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Feb 2015 #

    Kid. He’s a Canadian.

    Selector over the rundown. 2-Tone heaven.

    Revillos. Why the name change? Just to annoy would be my guess. That motorbike is revving up nicely. And so is the minibus. Cheerio.

    Kenny Rogers with coward of the wotsit. This was a surprise number one for me. The worm-turning element nailed the sales. Same story as “I Did What I Did For Maria”. Right against wrong. Tommy against the Gatlin Boys. And there were three of them. Tommy duffed them up with his fists. Tony Christie had a shooter.

    Right, now. Kid has on a hunter’s hat standing next to a cage housing a “cute twitchy bunny”. It is Rosie and she promptly grabs Kid’s carrot. In neighbouring cages we find a giraff (Lulu), a chameleon (Pauline), a wolf (Gill), a bird of paradise (Patti) and Kid’s favourite, a leopard (Eternal Mistress). Jensen is on heat: “Isn’t she the sweetest thing you ever…” He is then cut off, which was just as well, as the Swede was now throwing things. The cat wisely exits. I was almost too furious to opine that the piece by Azymuth is excellent, as is the Gals safari routine, flying in and out of their cages. I stage some sort of recovery to appreciate the leopard’s solo at the end.

    John Foxx – Oh dear, the electronic rubbish has arrived. Never for me. Far too smug. Underpass is right. Sorry to hear about Steve Strange, nevertheless.

    Suggs’ bird problems continue. Buy her flowers, you idiot!

    Shadows do “Ghost Riders In The Sky” and do it well. Hank and Bruce are beaming and the surrounding kids give due deference to the old timers. Hank very nearly clobbers someone with a guitar follow-through. Anita Ward-style boings brings the music up to date. Fine effort.

    Rupert Holmes – Same excruciating footage. I swear the kids are ready to string the tosser up.

    Ramones but not as we know it. Punk it is not. Phil Spectre it is. This version of the old standard “Baby I Love You” is not that different from Dave Edmunds’ from 1973. An alarming split screen during the performance shows aged members of the orchestra and dancing studio youth.

    Jon and Vangelis – Lovely song. Strange footage of male dancers and Anderson to one side. He looks like Keith Chegwin, the poor fucker. Scary still of Vangelis pops up at the end.

    Billy Ocean – “Are You Ready?” Admiring glances from surrounding girls. The record flopped but Billy was binding his time and was to return later in the decade to conquor both the UK and US.

    New Musik – Some footage but cut almost in half. The tiny frontman wouldn’t have lasted five minutes at Stockwell Manor.

    Captain Beaky – A wonderful piece written by the recently deceased Jeremy Lloyd. Noel Edmonds was all over this and the country went with it in a big way. Some wonderful lines:

    Said Timid Toad “I like your plan”. “Good Luck,” said Owl, “’cause you’re the man!”

    Said Captain Beaky “Well I’m blowed, Hissing Sid has swallowed Toad!”

    A song from a storybook. It’s all so ridiculously British. And performed by an old Thesp, who is…er… Australian. Keith’s own shite drawings only add to the charm and love it or not, Captain Beaky is eternally beloved by most.

    Jensen introduces “a brand new face to TOTP and presenter of next week’s show”. It is a fellow called Steve Wright, whose first duty is to announce The Specials at number one.

    Out to Queen.

  84. 84
    Tommy Mack on 13 Feb 2015 #

    Think Re[v/z]illos changed the name to get our of their old record deal?

  85. 85
    lonepilgrim on 13 Feb 2015 #

    https://twitter.com/TOTPFacts is worth following for trivia and commentary on these repeats and they confirm that ‘Sire records let the two core Rezillos members out of their contract on the condition that they didn’t keep using the name.’
    One recent and unsurprising revelation was that:
    ‘Matchbox are still going, and will be playing a gig at Butlins in Skegness on 19 March.’

  86. 86
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Feb 2015 #

    #85 – I think all us Popular pals know that they’ve listed the wrong resort there, LP!

  87. 87
    Lazarus on 14 Feb 2015 #

    Just watching the long one now. Kid is our MC, Selecter over the chart. They just have time to get the title in. One minute heroes.

    Revillos – Scotland’s answer to the B52s with a number that has a touch of Rocky Horror to it. Probably lucky to be on at all as this one never bothered the Top 40.

    Kenny Rogers – have you seen him lately? Kenny’s been under the knife a few times in a tragic attempt to look younger than he did 30 years ago. What exactly did Billy do to the Gatlin boys, did we ever establish that?

    Azymuth w/ Legs and Co – nice to hear an instrumental on TOTP now and again. I’ve been waiting for Herb Alpert, but I fear ‘Rise’ has been and gone by now. Underlit routine and gals in animal costumes. One of them has her tail yanked – don’t even go there, Jimmy …

    John Foxx – ‘Underpants’ I think we called it at the time. Not for me really. Like Numan, I’m guessing he’s heard a Bowie record or two.

    Madness – repeat. Couldn’t we at least have had the video?

    Shadows – with some sort of synth making ‘disco noises.’ I guess they thought they had to bring the sound up to date somehow.

    Rupert Holmes – yes this was Number One across the pond. I much preferred the follow-up, but given that it only got to #31 we may not see it here. Rupie descends the stairs to a somewhat lacklustre audience.

    Ramones – nice that they finally had a big UK hit even if it was with this sixties retread. The original line-up have all passed on but drummer Marky, who appears here, is still with us.

    Jon & Evangelist – complete with dancer, mime and floaty clouds. Cut well short. Loved this then and still do. I should track down the album sometime.

    Billy Ocean – don’t remember this at all. It’s OK, but yes his commercial peak was still four or five years away at this point. After that he made a killing setting up a finance group that enabled customers to consolidate all their loans into one monthly payment. Or perhaps not.

    New Musik – repeat.

    Keith Michelle – yes an Edmonds hit from the man better known at this point for playing Henry VIII. It’s rather fun – a committed reading from Keith – and I like the arrangement. Last time we’d hear ‘umber-ella’ on the Pops though for what, 20 years?

    Kid back with Rupert Holmes – no wait it’s Steve Wright, fresh from Fab 208. Introduces the Specials – a huge leap into the Number One spot. I doubt if I understood the ‘try wearing a cap’ line at the time – not that we heard it. More one minute heroes.

    Queen play us out with a reflective number that radio has ignored to this very day.

    It was OK, but cuts were made in the wrong places.

  88. 88
    speedwell54 on 17 Feb 2015 #

    Mr Jensen gets a go.
    Revillos – I admire the effort and the the B52s are a good comparison.
    Kenny Rogers – narrating again with a story about rape.
    Azymuth- Kid’s stolen a pith helmet from some Carry On film and introduces Legs. The lighting is lousy and overall far too dark.
    John Foxx- Quite like this; just me though.
    Madness – again!
    The Shadows – I do find this a bit pointless.
    Rupert Holmes – narrator – see above
    Ramones/Rubettes – I can see why this made it. And other stuff didn’t.
    Jon And Evangelist – good track, prefer to close my eyes than watch.
    Billy Ocean – didn’t know this, still don’t.
    Keith Mitchell -narrator, this time the song’s not about rape.
    Specials -rpt
    Out to Save Me by Queen

    Not my favourite at all.

  89. 89
    Cumbrian on 19 Feb 2015 #

    I very rarely watch TOTP reruns but have caught tonight’s “live”. I’ll leave it to the regulars to do a run down but I was very surprised to see Bon era AC/DC on. Was this his last ever TV appearance? Today is the 35th anniversary of his death, so I would imagine it must be pretty damn close to it…

  90. 90
    lonepilgrim on 19 Feb 2015 #

    according to https://twitter.com/TOTPFacts ‘This #TOTP was AC/DC frontman Bon Scott’s last TV appearance. He died 12 days after it aired – choking on his vomit after a drinking binge.’

  91. 91
    Mark G on 20 Feb 2015 #

    So, here I am, away from home base with a different phone and no pause rewind, but its the long version..

    Steve Wright is more Everett than I realised but hey. The tourists, actually this one is not too bad, wonder what happened to the front dude that looks like all the Blondie dudes rolled into one. He wrote all the non cover songs didn’t he?

    Cliff does one of his good ones, and then its the legs in short satin outfits filmed from below, particularly the blonde one, forget her name..

    Boomtown rats repeated but it seems longer this time, then the Nolans without Bernies huge spin this time.

    The Chords do rousing Mod, Steve predicts big things for them which is the kiss of death of course. Then we have The Regents of which I have said too much, touch nose..

    queen do Save me, and the Selecter are three minute heroes and I have caught up with the show now. Not doing it like this again, sorry its a bit rushed this week but it was Now or Tuesday.

    ACDC, as said upthread their last performance as they were, and still it wasn’t a huge posthumous hit as it didn’t really happen in those days, well not until..

    Buggles call the heart police and put you under cardiac arrest. Well, they clearly wrote these crummy words themselves oh nono no my wife’s gonna kill me..

    I’m ahead now, no fast forward so I guess it’ll be the Specials to end. Ah here it is oh good. Fade early? Probably.

    Back to the touchpad and the Tivo next week folks. Show not bad, fade out to Joe Jackson long playout, and now I hand over to …

  92. 92
    Lazarus on 21 Feb 2015 #

    … to me, it seems! Re-watching the long ‘un now. Steve Wright, yes a rather less manic Kenny Everett – all glasses and beard, head wobbling all over the place. Jefferson Starship over the chart with the only hit they had under that name – the lovely ‘Miracles’ if indeed it was ever put out as a 45, didn’t trouble the scorers (but have a listen if you don’t know it)

    Tourists – no sooner has their Dusty cover dropped off the chart than this pops up. It’s alright. Dave Stewart, head to toe in red, very much a backroom boy at this stage.

    Cliff – at his very best, indeed this is the only record of his I own in any shape or form. I had a part-time job by this time, bringing in a princely eight pounds a week – the Woolworths a few shops along from where I worked was duly mined for singles and the occasional album. I have quite a few 45s from this period.

    Whispers/Legs – monster dance tune, and one of those US soul groups, and there have been many, who were knocking around for years before finding UK chart success (there’ll be another one along in the summer, but we’ll row under that bridge when we come to it). Legs routine I will leave to the expert.

    Rats – repeat

    Nolans – not a repeat. The fourth Nolan Sister was Anne of course – I did remember eventually – she appears behind Bernie’s shoulder at one point.

    Chords – nu-mods of course. Not a bad chorus, but I don’t like the singer’s voice – too weedy to fit the material. Wrighty gives the kiss of death to them, “I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of them” etc – as he does to –

    Regents – repeat, classic one-hit wonders. Incidentally also the name of an American group, who recorded the original ‘Barbara Ann.’

    Queen – complete with dove. Not a very long way from this to ‘Barcelona’ it occurred to me. Fruitcake Freddie, as Record Mirror called him, carrying off the tie-worn-without-shirt look.

    Selecter – shouty ska. I like a lot of 2-Tone, but they made better records than this.

    AC/DC – yes! Rock god Bon Scott making what must have been his last TV appearance. This is my favourite single of theirs I think. Cut around though, with the bridge taken out. Lyrics too saucy for the Pops?

    Buggles – not a repeat. I assumed they only made the one album, but no there was another one – oddly, a year after both joined Yes. I bet that’s hard to track down.

    Specials – second and last week at number one. At least a bit more of it gets played this week. Despite his subsequent success with Fun Boy and others, I can’t help but think that we should have heard more from Terry Hall over the last twenty years.

    Joe Jackson plays us out. Good show and an assured debut from the presenter. Out of all those we’ve encountered so far he’s maybe the one who’s done the best for himself, still presenting a daily show on national radio. No knighthood, but no ruined reputation either.

    And so, over to … you!

  93. 93
    speedwell54 on 21 Feb 2015 #

    Thanks Lazarus, my ramblings… Steve Wright- looking suspiciously like Rupert Holmes – hosts for the first time; let’s see how he gets on.

    Jefferson Starship with their version of ‘Hold the Line’ retitled ‘Jane’. No recollection of this and it sounds a bit generic. Some of this lot reappear under a different name.

    The Tourists continue their residency this week with ‘So Good’ – liked this more at the time. Not that long left for them by now. Some of this lot reappear under a different name.

    Cliff – Carrie – not bad at all, from a time when he was still releasing some good stuff.

    Legs/the Whispers- good track but the performance is badly lit and too dark for the second week in a row. I leave the full write up to you know who.

    Rats – rpt Steve slips into an Irish accent and links the two acts- this apart doing an ok job.

    the Nolans ( featuring Bernie Nolan)- let’s face it, she’s doing all the work here.
    Unfortunately her top – no idea what that colour is- doesn’t even go with white! For some reason the girls went with mix and match tonight instead of the normal matching outfits. Dozy cameraman does a panning shot that reaches them for the opening line but we all know we’ve missed Bernie’s excellent spins! Bet she was cheesed off when she watched it back.

    the Chords – friends of the Jam. Something not quite right with this performance. Good song though, could have been bigger. Lazarus- wiki says they sacked the singer so maybe the rest of the band agreed with you. Didn’t do any good mind.

    Regents – good song -odd looking bunch – doesn’t make for a career.

    Queen – Save Me – This was only their second hit in France. ‘We Will Rock You /We are the Champions’ was number one, but nothing else at all until this made the top 10.

    The Selecter– pretty straight forward 2 Tone . Almost three minutes.

    ACDC- yes, cut twice missing the second half of both verses. Wonder if Steve got the edited version when he saw them live?

    Buggles – again

    Specials – Too Much Too Young. Some of this lot reappear under a different name. Terry Hall put out enough stuff over the next 20 years or so but never quite got the chart positions. ‘Castles in the AIr’, ‘Possessed’ ( with David Stewart ex Tourist) and one of my favourites ‘Missing’ by Terry ,Blair, and Anouchka all deserved much better.

    Out to Joe Jackson- Steve signs off and he’s done a good job- he didn’t annoy me. Though he tells us it’s Simon Bates up next week, so not entirely faultless!

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Over to Swede perhaps?

  94. 94
    swanstep on 22 Feb 2015 #

    @speedwell, 93. ‘Jane’ is well-used in the Intro/Titles of (set in June/July 1981) Wet Hot American Summer (2001): http://youtu.be/Hjs9eUlv2AQ.

  95. 95
    23 Daves on 22 Feb 2015 #

    #93 – Thanks to your comment, I’ve just gone back to check Queen’s French chart positions on Wikipedia. What the hell is going on?! One of their biggest hits there was “Backchat” (number three), “Bohemian Rhapsody” didn’t chart at all until its nineties reissue (and even then only got as high as number fifteen), and “The Invisible Man” got to number one. It’s contrariness on an absurd scale.

  96. 96
    speedwell54 on 22 Feb 2015 #

    @95. I noticed that about Queen hits in France, and apart from ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ at No5, which I guess possibly benefitted from a French bloke being in The Highlander, I found them rather hard to believe. After a quick double check on Wiki for French number one singles, I couldn’t find ‘Invisible Man’ listed or for that matter ‘Radio Ga Ga’. However ‘We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions’ looks authentic. Stuff like ‘Back Chat” hitting No 3, I am struggling to find anything to corroborate. I don’t think there is Un Guinness Livre de chart hits.

    I have a vague recollection of reading that there was a french language quota for their top 20 for a period of time and maybe that explains the charts pretty much ignoring Queen until ‘Save Me’. What use are the French?

    My sobriquet of ‘Speedwell54’ is partly in support of my favourite band Saint Etienne, but also because wiki still incorrectly say that single peaked at number 53.

  97. 97
    Mark G on 22 Feb 2015 #

    What, and you are still protesting that was actually one place lower?

  98. 98
    wichitalineman on 23 Feb 2015 #

    The apparent lack of definitive French charts has bugged me over the years, though seeing as they didn’t issue two-track singles – only 4-track EPs – until roughly 69/70 they were clearly consuming and hearing singles in a slightly different way to the rest of Europe. I’ve got chart books from Germany, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Italy (thanks Cis)… but I’ve never seen anything approximating a French Guinness book. If anyone knows of one I’d be very grateful.

    Re the unlikeliness of Invisible Man. I was reading an old New Musik interview earlier today which claimed On Islands – not even a single in the UK – was a number one for them in France.

  99. 99
    enitharmon on 23 Feb 2015 #

    French people not British shock horror!

  100. 100
    23 Daves on 23 Feb 2015 #

    Plus, groups were generally less of a big deal in France than solo performers, by all accounts (in the sixties at least). There are all kinds of differences between the way the French consumed music compared to most of the rest of Europe.

    Weirdly, the French did have singles as well as EPs in the 60s, but they were usually designed for jukebox use only. So EPs were pressed up for general consumption, and promotional two track 7″ singles for pubs and bars. I’ve got a jukebox copy of Les Yper Sounds’ “Psyche Rock”, for example (aka the tune the Futurama theme ripped off).

  101. 101
    Mark G on 23 Feb 2015 #

    Ironically, the predominating format a few years back in France was the 2 track CD single.

  102. 102
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Feb 2015 #

    Swede reporting.

    It’s Dave Clark presenting. No it’s not, it’s Rupert bloody Holmes. Get him! Hang on, I’m wrong again, it’s Newbie Steve Wright. Kenny Everett lite. But Wrighty is still in the national gaze or at least earshot and I was listening to him as I drove into work this afternoon. Love the show.

    Tourists – Perfectly fine this but apart from Annie and Dave, the rest are indeed back home again and I don’t need to tell you where.

    Cliff – “Carrie”. Even the strange overacting furtive glances in the fog from the Peter Pan of Pop can not stop us putting our hands together for one of Webby’s best if not the very best of all from him. I Iove the line “Carrie had a date with the wrong kind of fate,” and the arrangement, especially the middle bit, is also excellent. The singer is clearly worried, even scared but for me this is close to Cliff’s finest hour. Great record.

    Wrighty quite rightly (try saying that after after a few malts) makes a drooling intro to the Gals and the Whispers, who failed by a whisker (more malt) into topping our chart with a superior disco hit. Our lovelies are in colour-coded short skirts and tops but the bounty is dreadfully obscured by a cross-screen logo and general darkness. The routine itself is very well done and there is a personal hello to the Swede from the Eternal Mistress and then a short flash of her panties right at the end. Jimmy starts to shudder and twitch and the cat starts glancing around urgently like Cliff was earlier and then heads for the flap despite being in the middle of his dinner.

    Rats – For some reason, the Bob cutting up his jacket looks the spit of Ronnie O’Sullivan.

    Nolans – Bernie really goes for it, bless her. Lyn Paul would also have landed this song. It’s one of those that can’t really be sung softly. It would have really have been a mistake giving it to Judy Collins.

    The Chords – Who they? I remember them not. Straight to Pressy no-marks. The only interesting thing here are the two TOTP plants, a couple of dreary-looking girls dumped at the front in white tops, one with STEVE on it and the other with WRIGHT. Perhaps an early portent to Wrighty’s well-known obsession with self-adoration.

    Regents – In the studio. I always liked this and still do. Odd-looking girls but as I mentioned up-thread it is they who carry the track. The pair were quite soon after to distinguish themselves…as chambermaids.

    Quoon – Clearly the cartoonist from Brick/Wall has been re-employed, which is not a good start for the Swede. But hammy Freddie is in his pomp so we have no option other than to sit back and enjoy.

    Selector – Fabulous but then they had to face the reality of a large minibus with a full tank and a driver who looks like Captain Black.

    AC/DC – Yes, not the minibus alas but a very different vehicle to come for Bon Scott soon after this appearance. But the group survived to feed us stadium rock through the ages.

    Buggles – In studio. This combo would not see out 1980. Put the blame on VCR.

    Specials EP is top, lest we forget. But the Gatlin Boys are heading for the saloon.

    Joe Jackson takes us out.

    Good effort from Steve on debut. Nat-Trez.

  103. 103
    Mark G on 23 Feb 2015 #

    Yeah, “Carrie” (who had a date with her own kind of fate btw) was a serious song from BA Robertson, the kind of thing he wouldn’t be able to put over himself thanks to his wacky persona. Around this time Cliff did “Broken Doll” by Wreckless Eric, but as the daft buggrs at Stiff insisted on making Eric’s version a single, Cliff decided not to.

  104. 104
    Lazarus on 23 Feb 2015 #

    My favourite line from ‘Carrie’ is “you’re just another message on a payphone wall” (“on a what?” asks everyone under 35). Rupert Holmes is still in gainful employment as Steve Wright’s stunt double, although I gather the Old Woman does all her own stunts.

  105. 105
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Feb 2015 #

    #103 and 104 – The term “forwarding address” would baffle most young-uns too.

    The Old Woman rocks!

    I think we’ve all agreed that Wrighty and Wupert are doppelgangers. On that very subject, I recall the early Ricky Gervaise podcasts, which unleashed the legend which is Karl Pilkington. Ricky and Steve Merchant put the question to Karl about what he would do if he encountered a doppelganger of himself. Karl, having just had it explained to him exactly what a doppelganer is, asked: “How would I know which one was me?” I defy anyone on this site to top that as the stupidest question anyone has ever asked anyone else.

  106. 106
    hardtogethits on 24 Feb 2015 #

    #93,95,96,98 Go! (Bow Wow Wow). The official French sales charts came into existence in 1984. Quelquefois, I contemplated creating le livre, mais ça sera uneconomical quand compared avec mon current job. Charts existed before 1984, but those which were well-known were based on airplay. As we have seen before on other freakytrigger threads, people can be mistrustful of official, national charts – unofficial, subnational charts are afforded even less respect. Which brings me to say, nothing can be said authoritatively about the French charts before 1984.

    Interestingly (?) Wichita, (similar to the New Musik tale) I am sure I heard somebody on Sara Cox’s “sounds of the 80s” within the last couple of months or so commenting on how they had a number three hit in France in 1980. Sadly, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had dreamt this.

    Oh, and by the way references are available to corroborate the above – I just don’t have them to hand.

  107. 107
    wichitalineman on 24 Feb 2015 #

    Shall we all wish Rupert Holmes a happy birthday? Shall we? For all the pleasure The Pina Colada Song has given the world? No? No.

  108. 108
    Mark G on 24 Feb 2015 #

    Happy birthday to Himmmm Himmmmm Himmmmmm
    Happy happy birthday toooo himmmmmm

  109. 109
    Mark M on 25 Feb 2015 #

    Rupert Holmes gets an automatic half-a-pass from me for pronouncing the ‘ñ’ in ‘piña’ more or less correctly. It was on heavy rotation at the time on Radio Hits in Mexico DF – to be more accurate, anything they ever played on Radio Hits was on heavy rotation, they had a total playlist of about 15 songs max and pre-recorded song announcements, so all the songs on there we got to know really well. (We played it through the house intercom – my poor parents). No wonder we got really excited when people taped the charts for us in the UK and sent it out. (And then MTV came along…) Anyway, despite a narrative twist so clanging that even Christopher Nolan might hesitate before using it, I have no particular problem with Escape.

  110. 110
    Mark G on 6 Mar 2015 #

    Hello, Simes! Too Hot is Kool and the Gang, and ooh there are two pics on each chart entry, a big one and the same one but smaller. Boots used to do that, didn’t they?

    Sometimes you see the bands on this and are amazed that they look so young when you remember them as much older (than you). And then again, there’s Matchbox, who look much older than I remember. Singer complains about a hip shaking hound dog that is “obviously” talking to his deer. And that’s not the most avant garde track on tonights show!

    Keith Michele reads from his book once more, but we are not captivated as much this time. ff>>

    Now here’s something I’d have looked forward to for weeks if I’d even known that this happened. The Flying Lizards “TV”, which I bought at the time, it made the lower reaches of the chart, I loved it but had the idea that sales teams had gone out and bought it from chart return shops. But no! Having assumed it got no radio play at all, I find that Simon has had it as his record of the week! Simon, you get a free pass from me! What’s that worth? Well, I have given out two before, one to Steve Wright who played “Shake some action” on his radio 1 afternoon show and seemed to suddenly not be massively irritating any more! The other was to Savile for his outro for Eddie and the Hot Rods’ “Get out of Denver” on these repeats for saying he told them that it’d go to number one. It didn’t, but. So, you can’t win them all. Anyway, Flying Lizards turn in the oddest performance of the oddest single of the shows history. Yeah? Yeah. As I say, I never knew they did this, and it makes up for the yewtreeing of “Money” which we all remember well enough…

    Straight into Elvis standing up to fall down. Dancing video, and the closest he’ll ever get to number one. He’s onto his third record label now, four if you count that promo that’s not as rare as you thought when you paid how much??? for it.

    Legs do Rock with you, tea dance, frocks, Sue in the middle, you can guess the rest.

    Nick and Dave do “Singing the blues”, it’s a bit Status Quo really. Didn’t they do this as well? Well, it’s a hit, and I guess this is a ‘this’ll do’ one.

    Jon Anderson is Robert Plant on Helium. ff->

    Marti Webb has recorded an album with Don Black’s lyrics, but as ALWebber has written the music, it has to be a west end show. The song is all very Bridget Jones, really, and the BBC orchestra are in their elephant so it goes without disaster I guess.

    Kenny Rogers. end now.

    Oh, and the Ramones to fade. And that’s all folks. The show was ok in the first half, and it had the Flying Lizards, I don’t know if I mentioned..

  111. 111
    Lazarus on 6 Mar 2015 #

    Hi, I wanna rock with you, all night … or failing that, I’ll just give my two penn’orth on last night’s Pops.

    Suave Simon Bates is tonight’s compere. Kool and the Gang over the chart, not for the first time. Either there was no video, or the record company couldn’t be arsed flying them over to do a single that only reached number 23. I always liked it, though.

    Matchbox – repeat. Bit worrying to hear they’re still going. Capt Beaky, repeat. Keith definitely not still going. What sort of bird was Beaky anyway?

    Flying Lizards – wow. Don’t remember this at all. Avant garde is right. Some of it puts me in mind of the Bonzo’s, and singer Deborah Evans-Stickland has the fragile beauty of a young Samantha Morton. Different, certainly, and yes a surprise that SB was a fan.

    Elvis Costello – lead-off single from my favourite album of his. An old Sam & Dave song. Short and sweet. Ill-advised dance moves.

    Dave Edmunds – backed by Rockpile of course. Upmarket karaoke, basically. Hardly essential in the brave new eighties.

    Michael Jackson/Legs – “Rock with me” Gals in tutus. Trying to remember if Jacko ever came over and did the Pops in the eighties, I suspect he didn’t. The next album would send him into the stratosphere, of course.

    Jon & Vangelis – mime. Dancer. Floaty clouds.

    Shadows – Simes holds up their platinum album. Hank looking as smug as ever.

    Marti Webb – now this one I did like. She’d been treading the boards since the early sixties and deserved her day in the sun. As a sort of glam Wendy Craig, Marti gives an assured performance, although she wasn’t actually in the show. No prizes for guessing where you can find her now …

    Stiff Little Fingers – young tearaways from Ulster with some sparky pop-punk. Not sure how much of the Jake Burns screech I’d want to listen to, but it’s fine in short bursts.

    Kenny Rogers – bit of an eavesdropper, isn’t he? Kenny overhears everything and does nowt. Some uncle he is.

    Out to the Ramones. Mixed bag this week. I won’t forget the Flying Lizards in a hurry.

  112. 112
    anto on 8 Mar 2015 #

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who was mesmerised by the Flying Lizards track, and the performance – sheer Dada-ism compared to the am-dram of The Regents.
    Deborah should have been a star of tomorrow not a voice of yesteryear and the vuvazela was much more welcome here than it was at the South African World Cup.
    What’s the best way to describe ‘TV’ – I think it’s very….very…..very……very

  113. 113
    speedwell54 on 8 Mar 2015 #

    It’s Mr Bates this week, with Kool & The Gang and “Too Hot” over the countdown. Hard to believe they’d been having hits for a decade over the pond before they started on this side.

    Matchbox again.
    Captain Beaky again- I’m starting to side with Hissing Sid. This is one in the deficit column for Jeremy Lloyd.

    The Flying Lizards – didn’t remember this until the “very, very,very.. bit. The french language makes as much sense as the english. I’m sure she says the ‘the knees on each side of my thighs’? Fascinating stuff. Simon gives them the kiss of death with his not a one hit wonder line.

    Elvis Costello- didn’t know this was a cover, thanks Lazarus. With this and all the stuff on “Oops I DId It Again” thread, someone’s going to tell me the Beatles never wrote a song either! Enjoyed the video and the Attraction’s unpolished dancing. Costello tries his best too, bless him. Not quite matching the number 2 of Oliver’s Army from last year, stalling at 4. Just one more top ten to come – shame.

    Simon thinks it’s called ‘Rock With ME’ but we all know better. Michael Jackson not here. Legs are not that exciting this week, but I’ll wait for the full review from you know who.

    ‘Singing the Blues’. Dave Edmunds with Nick Lowe (who produced I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down for Costello) I’m sure Mike Read would have told you that if he’d been hosting. No offence but a rather pointless cover.

    Jon and Evangelist -again.

    Shadows – (Ghost) Riders In the Sky- No offence but rather a pointless cover. The drum solo sounds likes it’s going into ‘Ring My Bell’.

    Marti Webb – Builds well and she certainly belts it out. ‘no I didn’t dig deep’ indeed.

    Stiff Little Fingers- a few years later my sister got their greatest hits as a birthday present (‘All The Best’ – a great title as a compilation AND a ‘we’ve spilt up and this is our last lp’ type thing ) and I really got into this track and a few others on side one. They did get back together ruining that title, and later Bruce Foxton joined them and was with them (15 years) for longer than he was with ‘The Jam'(10years).

    Kenny Rogers -one more week of this and I’m going to give the Gatlin Boys Kenny’s address.

    Simon says ‘we’ll go out with rising climber from the Ramones’ – as opposed to all those rising fallers! Anyway – Baby I Love You. Coincidentally Dave Edmunds also covered this and also took it to number 8. Small world.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  114. 114
    Mark G on 11 Mar 2015 #

    quiet, innit?

  115. 115
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2015 #

    Late at the starting gate again, be the Swede. Norman Bates is ready to drop the flag. Kool and the Gang takes us through the runners and riders. Cheltenham, innit?

    Matchbox – Tigger-style bouncy fun from a gang of grown men who should have known better. Happily now they do.

    Norman has a stuffed Captain Beaky toy. Below him lurks Keith Michell, happily taking the money for a new studio appearance arranged by Beaky disciple Noel probably. Compliant but clearly miserable kids hold up silly signs, one, like Speedwell, in Hissing Sid’s corner. Good idea, says Timid Toad. Whatever you say, this is wonderfully British, I’m afraid.

    Flying Lizards – One or two of my fellow regulars seem to have the tea towels out for this or perhaps for the girl with the sooo distinctive voice and inviting looks. The Swede would join them but only for the Yewtreed “Money”. This one I can’t remember at all and I’m guessing that I did not watch this episode back in the day, something which was becoming not untypical. Oh, and Prestatyn, obv.

    Elvis – On location Continental. I too did not realise that this was a cover. Swede identifies with the title. Good stuff. Good living.

    Jacko and Legs – Tasteful routine in swirling dresses but it’s darkness all the way again and there lies the spoiler. Probably the wrong choice of track from Flick, which is otherwise excellent. But for EM et al it’s a dull performance and the cat looks up to receive a reassuring nod and a piece of my pilchard toastie.

    Dave Edmunds avec Nick Lowe – Nothing much wrong with this other than it’s pointless. And I don’t mean Zander and Richard.

    John and Van-thingy – Same footage. It’s definitely Keith Chegwin. Severely cut but we get the picture. But DON’T get VG’s rather scary picture at the end.

    Shads – And Norman has a platinum album for them. Bravo. And Hank. One of the nicest people in the industry despite being nothing short of a giant. Top, top lad.

    Marti Webb – Heading for the top three with what could only have been a show tune. Marti looks like the achitypal knifey-wifey.Bloody scary. Good job she’s in a nice secure place now.

    Stiff Little Wotsits – Terrific. The energy this generates is incredible but is cut just as they are climaxing, if you’ll forgive me. That’s woken the cat up! Another nibble of pilchard settles him.

    It’s number one time. And the assine Gatlin boys keep sticking their fingers in the lightbulb. Leave Becky alone, you varmints!

    Ramones out to complete the Dave Edmunds circle.

  116. 116
    Mark M on 12 Mar 2015 #

    Re13 & 15: Three reasons people might not suspect this is a cover: 1) the original is fairly obscure, I think; 2) the Costello version sounds nothing like the Sam & Dave one ; 3) because the wordplay of the title at first glance seems more like something you’d expect from a nerdy new waver than ’60s soulsters.

  117. 117
    Mark G on 13 Mar 2015 #

    Pete goes French Skiier and Rainbow sing the chart in, so let’s hit it with the Atomic Blondie yay! Funny, this has the intro that you didn’t get if you bought the 12 inch version. Ah, it’s the video version so you’ll ave seen this on Vintage TV channel often enough, right?

    Yep, am back on the touchpad but I broke out the nice keyboard, but the hilarious spelling corrector is still on so I’d better keep an eye out.

    The Beat do one of their best ones, I used to have terrible trouble working out where the beat (small b) fell on the rhythm, the intro leads you into an odd place.

    The Buggles are still here. We don’t have to be so ff->

    The Tourists .. Whoa that was a brutal edit, Pete just about to say the band name but it cut into the performance! Does the long version do that? Anyway, song is OK, repeat perf, next!

    Fern Kinney, no relation to the holding corporation that walked into Atlantic records, and then was taking over. Pure coincidence that this was on the resultant WEA records. Maybe *they* assumed it was the boss’ daughter. Anyway, the BBC orchestra don’t kill it much more than it was already and it doesn’t seem so long ago that the bloke was on with this one. Just that now we can hear the words clearly, it does seem very wet, this.

    So, here are The Ramones! See, Johnny, if you look angry on guitar all the time, you won’t get the benefit when you *are* somewhat annoyed in real life. I wonder if they ever played this one live! The BBC Orchestra do alright here, by the way. Unless it’s the record and they’re all miming.

    The Legs get to actually dance to a decent dance track, it’s alright I guess.

    I used to hear the word Carrie a lot, when the kids were little and they were fed up with walking.

    Kenny Rogers ff->

    And we fade out to Kate Bush singing Jeux Sans Frontier! Yeah, it is. Look it up.

    Seemed a very short episode, keep the Ramones and The Beat on this one. Oh the long one has just started for real.. What did we miss I wonder? Shakin Stevens? Iron Maiden? Both on their first appearances? Um, why did they edit those out? I dunno will have to watch this one now won’t I?

    Right, Shakin Stevens gets to have a hit single for the first time in his 10 year career up to now, is this the first instance of a pop star escaping Prestatyn to get here? Yes. At this point, nobody begrudged him a hit as he seemed a deserving case. Even though this is fairly lame when compared to Shooting Gallery, his previous single.

    Right, skim through in real time unfortunately..Blondie get faded on the bass solo which still isn’t on the 12 inch, there go the Beat, the 12 inch of this one is even more great I should mention, didn’t Smash Hits have a guide to patois for this one? Buggles oh I’m going for a comfort break, um.. Same severe edit into The Tourists, Kinney biz, Dee Dee sings along with Joey, audience actually look very young, legs around, cazza, Right here is Iron Maiden with their first singer right? One step over from the UK subs at this point but then the twin guitar solo happens, and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is born. Needs a snappy version of that description, really.

    Night night.

  118. 118
    Lazarus on 14 Mar 2015 #

    The Laz rises from his sicked, though not as dramatically as his namesake of yore … extended edition only 35 minutes fro some reason. Peter P in shades, Rainbow over the chart.

    Shaky – Pops debut, and who knew he’d be the most successful British chart act of the eighties (I think that’s right?). Perfectly serviceable little number with some country-ish touches. Lucky break for him as I don’t think this was even in the Top 40 at the time.

    Blondie – new entry screaming in at 3 tells us that Uncle Kenny’s days are numbered. Odd video. Cut in half, basically.

    The Beat – still going, this lot (maybe not the original line-up). Been playing in the south recently – got a plug on the local news.

    Buggles – is this a repeat? Enough now, already.

    Peter’s lost his disguise, introduces the Tourists – the man in the blue jacket looks familiar, did he go on to further success? Having to get a shift on now as my laptop’s restarting in 10 minutes … this might turn out to be a ‘parts one and two’ job.

    Fern Kinney – yes by my reckoning the third song in this series we’ve seen performed by two artists. Who wants to have a stab at the other two? Or are there more? Pleasant, but surely the Radio 2 listeners took this to number one. Prezzy, obv.

    Ramones – not sure how much the band contributed to this record as it has strings all over it. It wouldn’t be the BBC Orchestra, would it? That was reserved for solo acts IIRC.

    Whispers/Legs – this has been on before hasn’t it? Getting a sense of deja vu about tonight’s show.

  119. 119
    Lazarus on 14 Mar 2015 #

    Longest ever restart that, a full 15 minutes … didn’t have a chance to correct typos or anything. Chiz. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes ..

    Cliff – yet another repeat.

    Iron Maiden – “who said heavy metal music was dead?” Second act to debut on the show, and yes for some reason both were cut from the shorter programme in favour of numerous repeats. Go figure. This features second singer Paul Di’Anno – they went through quite a few line-up changes in the early years. This is OK, although it seems all chorus to me.

    Kenny Rogers – he never really had another solo hit here? He may have come on the show with Dolly, but I suppose this could be his last appearance on the Pops.

    Peter G plays us out. I knew about Kate but had forgotten that, not the last time they would team up of course.

    Far from the best I’m afraid.

  120. 120
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2015 #

    PP says welcome to Lake Placid. Winter Olympics, innit. Robin Cousins. Remember? Good.

    Rainbow over the rundown. Swede bought this.

    Shakin Stevens – Ageing Welsh bloke finally getting his break. Wonderful call from Mark G and he’s absolutely right. This is one guy who actually was already in Prestatyn before heading our way. He was to have an astonishing decade but is now back in the resort.

    Blondie – The original Atomic Kitten heading for the summit. I never raved too much about this one but Debbie makes up for this in spades. “Aha, make me tonight!” she demands. Only Sergeant Howie would have waved her away and we all know what happened to him.

    The Beat – Surely no-one could dislike this? Another top tenner for them. Hand’s off, Sue’s mine.

    Powell mumbles annoyingly then on come the Buggles yet again, as the driver checks the oil.

    Tourists – Again. And whilst Annie and Dave slip through a side door to safety and later glory, the driver checks the tyres for the benefit of the others.

    Powell virtually genuflects to the next act and the second future no. 1 we’ve seen tonight. Tis Fern Kinney, an American Iris Williams. Pleasant and honest lovesong. One for ordinary decent couples everywhere. The “World Without Love”-style organ middle bit does it’s best to spoil it.

    Ramones – Have I ever told you? Yes, yes you have. Surely the shots of the old lags on the fiddles was more than a little cruel to our foreign visitors. Just wrong.
    “I was on that Top of the Pops the other night, petal…”
    “Really, grandad?”
    “The boy wot was singing had hair look a bloody girl!”
    “Gosh! Who was it?”
    “The Battering Rams.”
    “The Battering Rams?”
    “Bleedin’ nancies, the lot of ’em…”

    Gals do Whispers again. A different routine. This record deserved a week at the top. God, Pauline’s gorgeous! then Rosie, then Lulu, then at last EM. But once again, fulfilment is badly hampered by ludicrous cross lights and shite direction. Get back to basics, Flick. The Swede’s getting restless.

    Webby – Carrie. Again. Tremendous. This will be judged to be his best, I now think.

    Iron Maiden – “Who says heavy metal is dead?” probes Peter. Well, it’s not but alas this inaugural effort is. Try again. And they do. They most certainly do.

    Kenny – At last, old Yella really is leaving. The bullies getting a hiding storyline was enough to sell this. Another no. 1 awaits Kenny next, this time in his homeland.

    Peter Gabriel takes us out. Games without frontiers. I recall once trying to correct some guy who insisted that “Jeux Sans Frontieres” literally translated into “It’s a Knockout”. When I asked him how he knew this, he said that “that geezer out of Genesis says so”.

  121. 121
    speedwell54 on 15 Mar 2015 #

    Pete with his aviator shades. The props department work overtime and blow the budget with the skis.

    Shakin’ Stevens mumbles his way through Hot Dog.

    Blondie – Atomic. This bombed in the US only making 39. The instrumental breaks are great in this. Brilliant drumming and cool bass. Best thing on the show by miles! Wiki has this making number one AFTER Call Me in their discography and under the individual single notes; which of course it didn’t. As mentioned a new entry at No3. Nothing exciting these days but then it had been three years since the last top ten new entry and over six years since anything entered higher.

    The Beat – Hands Off – in a purple patch. Pete’s intro crashes into their intro but never mind.

    Buggles rpt are they on every week? Tourists again too!

    Fern Kinney – unusual nasal/squeaky voice. We are going to have see this again. Ffwd.

    Ramones – I wonder how often people turned up for one of their gigs after seeing this and were rather disappointed.

    Whispers/Legs getting fed up with the messing about with lighting, editing, and general look of Legs the last few weeks. Good song mind. Would this have made number one if they actually turned up?

    Cliff -all good.

    Iron Maiden – had forgotten this singer and the vocal sounds a bit strange to my ears, though musically it’s unmistakable.

    Pete introduces Kenny and I think he has a little dig.

    Out to Gabriel.

    Not my favourite-apart from Blondie-but there has been worse.

  122. 122
    Mark G on 20 Mar 2015 #

    Hey it’s Kid, and the chart rundown to Jefferson Starship, yep it’s deja vu week. srsly, had to check the dates..

    Anyway, here’s Elvis Costello with an actual performance of “I can’t stand up for falling down. Would Buddy Holly have done this one, eventually? Probably not, he’d most likely have gone all country a-la Charlie Rich or some such. Anyway.. Oh, he’s on the wire folks. (Did think he looked a bit tentative earlier).

    Marti Webb, either a repeat performance or they liked those camera angles so much they did them again.

    So, let’s have a new wave classic, Japanese Turning. Felt for these guys really, they were managed, sort of, by Bruce Foxton and this one was massive, but how do you follow it? Well, some great singles followed, but diminishing returns meant they weren’t as big, and Bruce either lost interest or had too much work to do with his main day job. Still, one more smallish hit to come, but do check out “Jimmy Jones” which is also pretty good. (If anyone wants to do the ‘song meaning’ etc, off you go but link to snopes afterwards, yeah?)

    Michael Jackson in his prime here. Can’t argue really.

    One of the most awkward into’s for a perf here, as the drink gets passed to a stage hand after being pretend-sipped. UK disco at its best here, which is um.. yeah. It’s alright, and she has a strong voice to say the least and sells it bigtime.

    The Gibson Brothers get a hit, finally, with Cuba – how many times it been out? Check out “Better do it Salsa”, which is basically this song but without the original title for those USA people that don’t like to be reminded of such things.

    Peter Gabriel, and “She’s so Popular”, well that’s what it sounded like the first time. Always felt Peter had the popstar good looks which he managed to avoid cashing in on up until.. well that’s a few years away yet.

    Stiff Little Fingers are in and “At the Edge”, virtually in single file. still, it’s great stuff and bathed in dark blue. Why do they fade them out to Kid? It’s clear they had about 10 seconds left of the song. I dunno.

    DaveEdmunds and co do Singing the Blues, ok fine.

    Lots of stretching to “So Lonely” the Police, it’s third single off the album time so they’re not coming in. There’s definitely some Kate Bush influence on this routine.

    Rainbow play the video and it’s Patrick Mower on vocals! “Your mouth is open but I don’t want to hear you.. SAY GOODNIGHT!” yes, thank you Benny Hill.

    Shadders? On me lungs? ff->

    Blondie make it to Number One and all is well. Well, that one was alright. Oddest moment? Bowie fading out with “Alabama Song” actually. “Wo Mooooooon of Alabama…. It’s time … to say goodbye…….”

  123. 123
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Mar 2015 #

    Keed again. Jeff Star over rundown. Heaps of deja vu this week for sure.

    Elvis C in sudio this time. He can’t do wotsit for whatever else. Hey, he’s on strings! Nice touch.

    Marti Webb – Terrifying, merciless, mumsie, Angela Thorne, knife-lunatic.

    Vapours – This would probably be banned today by the the white middle class “I take offence on behalf of Ethnics” gobshites. Happily this is 1980 and this is brillliant and heading for the Top 3. Sadly they’re now at Prestatyn – I really think so.

    Kid teasingly introduces Jacko and for a second, as the camera spins away, we think he’s here with us. But then Bah! we’ve been hoodwinked and we get a shite dark video. But this is Michael in his pomp and it’s pure gold.

    From pure gold to Liquid Gold! Keed is sat next to a clearly under-aged looking teen girl, whilst holding a glass of bubbly. He then just about saves himself by handing the drink to a smily leggy clearly adult woman, who turns out to be the lead singer of the group. I had absolutely no idea that they were Brits. But they are having a ball, everyone knows the song and it just fail to top the charts. I’m afraid that I was one of those who joined the chorus of “Wank Yourself Silly”, which explains just how sophisticated I was back then. Nowadays Liquid Gold have their own chalet.

    Gibson Bros – Cuba. Blimey, this bloke really does have a fearsome voice. A fabulous singalong salsa. And keep the rum and lime pouring. And then to top it all, the Gals appear with feathers. Rum, Gals and song. Swede likes!

    Peter Gabriel – Games. Fabulous but entriely odd. The footage of the children at the dinner table blending in with old Hi De Hi holiday camp snaps adds to the head scratching. Talking of holiday camps, Pete…

    Stiff Little Fingers – In studio in advance of their tour. A great example of when New Wave got it spot-on. Terrific.

    Dave Edmunds and his pointless cover of Singing the Blues. Why did he think this was a good idea for a single?

    Gals return to oblige the Police with their song about the Nationwide presenter. But (sigh) as usual, they are in darkness and are dressed in what looks like tracksuits with a covering jacket. I’m getting bloody sick of this. The jackets come off and then on again. To quote the Master, it’s a frustrating mess!

    Rainbow – A Swede favourite from back then. But the keyboard player is simply not dressed for stadium rock in a jumper his mother’s knitted him. He looks about 15 and was probably there due to a letter to Jim’ll Fix it. Er…

    Shads – Ok, I’ve already applauded this but why must we have it every week? Hank was and still is wonderful, of course, and perhaps I might be permitted to place here my tribute to another bespectacled icon, LWT’s own supergrass, Shaw Taylor, whose death was announced this week. A big Swede hero. You always kept ’em peeled, buddy. RIP.

    Atomic. Blondie. Top. Aha. Pleeeeze!

    Out to Bowie. Alabama (Whisky) Song – I had completely forgotten he had covered this. In the second verse, he swops “Little Girl” for “Little Dollar”. Just as well really, say I.

  124. 124
    Lazarus on 21 Mar 2015 #

    Seems to have come around quickly, no Sky at Night this week although some have been Stargazing … Kid is our MC, and it’s Jefferson Starship over the chart, continuing their duopoly with Kool & the Gang.

    Elvis Costello – top notch start to the show. Animated performance with Steve Nieve in particular jumping about like an Easter bunny. The wire trick anticipates a Madness video from later in the year. I saw EC and Nieve at the Albert Hall recently, rather more staid now but still spellbinding.

    Marti Webb – dead-eyed MILF with a big show tune. Hitting the high notes with confidence. She looks like she means business, and it isn’t going to be pleasant.

    Vapors – great power pop, odd looking frontman. The mullet is best not combined with a receding hairline, it makes him look like a cross between Tony Hatch and Brian Eno. I had no idea what the title was referring to, and didn’t until years later. It’s not an expression that I ever heard used, tbh.

    Michael Jackson – in a glittery suit and looks like he’s emerging from the Time Tunnel. With Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton as his sidemen, he could do no wrong really. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

    Liquid Gold – they’re having a ball aren’t they, and the song’s a wedding disco favourite to this day. Pressy-bound yes, although the last I heard of Ellie Hope she was dealing in antiques. Later sampled for Yomanda’s ‘Synth and Strings’ you may recall.

    Gibson Brothers – first of two re-issues from 1978 on tonight’s show. Doubled up with ‘Better Do It Salsa’ for this chart run after narrowly missing the Top 40 first time round. Their best I think. Nowadays finding Prestatyn a tad colder than Cuba. Is that the Legs coming on at the end? Hard to be sure.

    Peter Gabriel – ‘She’s So Popular’ yes! Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that. One of the best ever whistling songs, it has to be said. I don’t remember this video, actually, he’d go on to do rather better …

    Stiff Little Fingers – someone give that man a glass of water! ‘Alternative Ulster’ should’ve been the hit, but this is fine. Second band on tonight with a Bruce Foxton connection.

    Dave Edmunds – the previous year he’d cut a great version of Graham Parker’s ‘Crawling from the Wreckage.’ It bombed, but this colour-by-numbers cover was a hit. Proficient, but dull.

    Police/Legs – yeah, we can’t see a bleedin’ thing. But fret not Jimmy, in a few weeks Flick and the girls will be making amends in spectacular fashion. I’ll warn you before, so you can keep the defibrillators handy. ‘So Lonely’ is a top tune anyway.

    Rainbow – yes this is just fine. Big voiced, short-haired frontman Graham Bonnet would go on to have a solo hit with similar material.

    Shadows – repeat. “Five of the most familiar faces in Top of the Pops land.” You think? I wouldn’t have been able to name any of them apart from Hank. Guy at the back looks like he’s done a runner from the Eagles. Enough, anyway.

    Blondie – number one. Video. Bouncy bass. Debs in shades. Robo-dancing. Classic, natch.

    Kid bids us adieu and Bowie sings Brecht. Was it from a film? Odd ending to a decent show. Laters!

  125. 125
    swanstep on 22 Mar 2015 #

    ‘She’s so confident’ was my preferred mishearing at the time.

    Remembering back it’s amazing how open (completely confused?) radio was in 1980: this Gabriel tune, Ian Dury, Elvis C., Talking Heads, Cure and god knows what else regularly turned up on breakfast radio or in the car on the way to school where I was. Maybe there have been a few eras since when formats have broken down and there’s been a free-for-all on commercial radio, but it’s pretty rare.

  126. 126
    speedwell54 on 22 Mar 2015 #

    Kid hosts and I’m last again. Full of repeats I read. Onwards

    Curious as to Elvis wearing a wire, what information is he trying expose? Oh that kind of wire. That wire bit must have been recorded after/before – no audience or they’ve been moved well back. H&S

    Marti Webb – Is she wearing stilts inside her trews? Such long legs .rpt

    Attack of the Vapors – Seems everyone knows that one fact about this. That aside cracking single. David Fenton looks like Paul Foot.

    Jackson – Rock with You. Looking totally into his performance and no image thoughts. Can’t remember him smiling like that.

    Liquid Gold – cringe inducing intro. The performance doesn’t give any notion that this could a be a career. Would seem hard to row back from this. The Yomanda lift doesn’t sound that obvious to me, could be the speed that hides it.

    Gibson Brothers- Cuba – classic 80s disco. Try as I might I can’t tell if it’s Legs at the end either; no close ups and poor lighting.

    Peter Gabriel – was this ground breaking at the time? – some newish effects I guess. His video making days are not over yet.

    SLF rpt and great. Dave Edmunds rpt and not so great.

    Police So Lonely – excellent track – Andy Summer’s guitar work is amazing and a great solo. Legs – tricky slow fast slow track, but ok routine. Again with the rubbish lighting.

    Rainbow – unusually short hair for ‘heavy metal’ lead. Graham had gone by the time the next hit came around, but sounds like he left rather than be sacked which seems to have happened to fair few of the band members.

    Shadows – Kid I really don’t think they inspired Blondie.

    Shadows rpt and not so great. Blondie rpt and great.

    Out to Bowie – quite a hard listen.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  127. 127
    Lazarus on 26 Mar 2015 #

    I’m liveblogging this one folks … curiously preceded by a clip of the Moody Blues doing ‘Ride My Seesaw’ – why? And we’ve missed an episode, thanks to DLT and his ‘roaming hands’ … looks like it was a good ‘un too – Captain & Tennille, Martha & the Muffins, the Lambrettas, Tony Rallo (who he?) and Squeeze! Another nail in my heart, indeed.

    Steve Wright gets another go. Rush with their only UK hit.

    Dooleys – on the run from Prestatyn with the ‘Love Patrol’ but their best days, such as they were, are behind them. Sounds like something that would have come third in ‘A Song for Europe.’ Come to think of it, we could have done worse than them in Eurovision in the ensuing years.

    Police – the video this time. Seems strange that they put out a re-issued single from the first album when the second had been out for a few months. Good track though, and deserved to be a hit at some point. Not much crowding on the tube in those days, it seems.

    Detroit Spinners/Legs – future number one. The gals boogie around a building site, ‘working’ being the key word I suppose. Nothing to get too worked up about.

    Secret Affair – nu-mods with strings. Their best single I think. I wonder if the album’s worth a listen?

    Vapors – no pictures this time, but a top song which fully deserved its high chart placing. My favourite part was the middle eight “no sex, no drugs, no wine, no women …”

    Siouxsie & the Banshees – been a while since they were on, and this is one of their best.

    Gibson Brothers – not a repeat, but we only saw them last week. Peter Gabriel, ditto. The trouble with losing a week. Incidentally Liquid Gold were only at #47 the week they were on, and their only previous appearance had been with ‘Anyway You Do It’ which failed to crack the Top 40, so someone was trying to break them it seems. Would have been perfect for ‘Seaside Special’, but maybe not in March.

    Genesis – “for the very first time on Top of the Pops” says Steve, but surely they were on with ‘Follow You Follow Me?’ Anyway the big pop sound is firmly established with this one. World domination for one P Collins duly follows.

    Fern Kinney – the minibus awaits, but for a week (or possibly two) Fern has her moment in the sun. Radio 2 hit with a Bontempi solo.

    Capt. & Tennille see us out. OK show but with no real highlight. What say you?

  128. 128
    Mark G on 27 Mar 2015 #

    Well, that’s an odd one, why the moodies? Particularly as the exact same clip was on ITV’s new “Pop Gold” show about 2 days ago…

    Anyway, Steve Wright is introing Rush’s “Spirit of the Radio”, this was one of those ‘value’ singles where they cram two long tracks onto the b-side. “We are the priests of the temple of see-rinks” they lie. At least I can believe they like to listen to the radio anyway.

    The reasonable Dooleys give the mike back to the girls for another bit of aggressive Abbaness. Love Patrol, yeah? There’s be less polite patrols along later..

    Is Steve off/back from the Henley Regatta? He lived around there, I’ve seen him. He probably still does..

    The “So Lonely” single gets shipped back into the shops now The Police are a big successful band, they must have had a big pile of them from the first time around in the warehouse. does anybody still make these hand-cam videos? And Steve calls out the “Sue Lawley” joke without actually making it, so bonus points to himself.

    I did one make it into the BBC studios, and it looked much like the stage set the legs are “working their way” on. Just noticed, there was at least one clap that was clearly miked from the girls there.

    Now here’s the Brothers Johnson doing a Stomp, it’s alright but it’s not StrawbLet23, then again what is?

    and we’re back to the Scaffold for Secret Affair, and it’s “My World” today. Unfortunately, tomorrow…

    This lot? Liquid Gold do the Dizzy thing. This is turning into “Generic TOTP show, 1980” here. nothing to get too excited about.

    Rainbow repeat. Patrick Mower. Something about Zippy and George…

    The Vapours. Good spot about Paul Foot on vocals (the comedian not the journalist) btw, it did occur to me later. It’s still a good one and is presumably on the Radio 2 “Let’s play a punk record” list along with Teenage Kicks and that’s the end of the list.

    Ah, Siouxsie and the dry ice, it’s the mark 2 edition which were very good but. “Happy House” is the “see, we can continue and still be great” a-side, I’m sure you know the “Drop Dead/Celebration” b-side which is a good description of the style of it as well as being the title.

    Cuba, Gibson Brothers, ok. Peter Gabriel, and Marti Webb pass by quickly thanks to ff->

    Genesis for the very first time, authoritatively stated, the band must have said so. I do remember the Pans People routine for “I know what I like in your wardrobe” (JimmySwede, don’t go there! Safety alert), and I guess “Follow You” was a video.

    Fern Kinney has gone with better looking guys and he’s gone with prettier looking girls. This will not end well. But it’s number one and it’s dull stuff really.

    And we fade out to “Do that to me one more time, once is never enough” which is a bit ambiguous so it’s not been banned.

    Yeah, it’s a tough gig when one episode’s been skipped and you get the same stuff as last time, but when it’s the sludge that gets repeated its bad. tbqh, I think I’d have enjoyed “Sky at night” more than this one. Bring on the next episode it can only be better….

  129. 129
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 Mar 2015 #

    “Rupert Holmes” presents. I actually heard Rupert present a show on Radio 2 a night or two back about songwriters for Sinatra and co back in their salad days. He did okay but is not as accomplished as our own Bob Stavely. Rush over the titles.

    And we’re off to a truly bleak start with the return of the Rubbish Dooleys. This does indeed point to a bottom of the table “Song for Europe” entry by a group who have their own minibus and must get back on it without further delay.

    Police – It’s the HK metro, I think. I don’t know why this footage irritates me so much. Coupland’s drumming into everything “gag” has surely outsold itself now and one or two of the locals are mildy hostile. Others stare at them. Still others simply ignore them. Wrighty mentions the Sue Lawley bit.

    The Gals’ disaster continues with the Detroit Spinners, who are working their way eventually to number one. I say “eventually” because something comes crashing in first. The crap routine sees our lovelies are fully dressed as road workers. The Village People were sexier than this and that’s some cough from a straight bloke. SWEDE WANTS HIS GALS BACK!!

    Brothers Johnson – I liked this and liked them. Strawberry Letter 23, referred to by Mark at #128, is the epitome of excellence. The “Stomp” is also ripe for crusin’ and dancin’ (one for the Gals with a classic routine) but the frontman looks like a llama who’s been surprised in the bath.

    Wrighty’s all over a couple of Gary Pucket nubiles. Watch it, boy! Secret Affair now. My World. Excellent says the Swede. All sorts of things going on with this track but the group fell through the cracks. Pressie.

    Liquid Gold again. Fun, fun, fun! For both us and for this bonkers little group. Denied a deserved number one by that instant invader about to come straight in at the top. They’re dancing themselves far more sadately now in the Pressy ballroom.

    Rainbow – Another repeat. Dear me, that keyboard player is so wonderfully out of place, isn’t he?

    Wrighty waves on the Vapours in what he thinks is a Japanese way. The group has since turned Welsh instead.

    Siouxsie and the Bs – Happy House. She’s happy there. In the happy house. So was Napolean XIV, love!

    Gibsons in the studio. I swear that the front man would have pissed The Voice today. Not that the Swede watches it. Infectious track all day (and night) long and the watching kids duly respond.

    The Angel Gabriel again. It’s brutally cut during the first chorus. It was probably that pre-teens’ dinner table scene wot did it. Bloody odd even for back then.

    Marti Webb – Murderous Marjorie Frobisher once more. We get the whole nine yards of this. She would have cut them long before they cut her.

    Genesis on TOTP debut, insists Wrighty. One or two of us would harbour doubts. Phil turns it on brilliantly. This was in the days before he robbed trains.

    The anti Murderous Marge, sweet Fern Kinney is number one. Bless. You’ll have to marry her first now, mate. But she’s about to get barged violently off her perch.

    Out to the Captain and Tennille.

    Wright’s done okay tonight.

  130. 130
    Lazarus on 27 Mar 2015 #

    Before we say goodbye to Fern Kinney for good, I thought you might like a look at the Legs’ interpretation of her hit, in the Yewtreed DLT episode. Bizarre in parts, but also quite sweet – Pauline’s young man looks like a nice chap, I hope they’re still together.


  131. 131
    speedwell54 on 28 Mar 2015 #

    New boy Steve Wright gets another go. Stripy blazer but decides not to go with the straw boater.

    The Rubbish Dooleys start of sounding very like the Bee Gees and I like it for the first 30 seconds; but then there is nothing.

    The Police – still love that guitar sound. Video for a change, if you like them it’s good but they make it easy have a pop.

    Legs/Detroit Spinners – ‘Danger, Ladies at Work’ the flashing sign shouts, and we don’t have to try hard to say something a little bit sexist. I feel like a broken record but another poor production for Legs. I had to go a watch that Yewtreed episode – thanks Lazarus, that’s much more like it.

    The Brothers Johnson – Stomp – Video starts of like many of this kind, live stage performance, plenty of glitter on outfits, sunglasses, and at least 15 people in the band. It does progress to a proper video but not my cup of tea.

    Doesn’t seem two minutes since we were writing about ‘Time For Action’. They have been put on the same stage as Legs and Co and they haven’t removed the scaffolding that was highlighting the WORKING my way back to you. Maybe his world was full of metal poles. Good song but that was about it from them, shame.

    Liquid Gold – well they have performed a less (holiday) camp version than last time, but hold on I’ve just noticed the drummer is wearing a cheetah skin leotard. Ok the rest of them have reigned it in a bit anyway. Let’s see if the drummer controls himself next time.

    Rainbow rpt B A Robertson surely borrowed a bit of this for ‘I Wanna Be a Winner’

    The Vapors – Just been reading up about his lot. Mark G made me check out “News At Ten’ which has several ‘Jam’ bits and ‘Jimme Jones’. I always thought this was about ‘Jimmy Jones’ him of ‘Good Timin’ fame AND I thought the 7” single had a picture (actually a drawing) of Jimmy quite prominently featured on the cover. Just read on Wiki it is about Jim Jones – a cult leader who was not a good guy to say the least. This is Top of the Pops putting up a massive poster of Jocky Wilson whilst Kevin’s going “toodle langa langa, toodle langa fang” all over again!

    Happy House – The guitar line from this was used for the intro of ‘U Got 2 Know’ by Capella in the early 90s. She brings her own glitter. Gibson Bros again, Peter Gabriel again, Marti Webb again.

    Genesis -Quite like this and them then. Like U2, I find I can easily fall in and out with them and their music.

    Fern again. Bontempi solo, I bet a few people were learning that bit to impress their friends. Some bloke sang this self same song on Top of the Pops a year before. A slow version; it fell almost entirely on deaf ears. Close.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  132. 132
    Mark G on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Mike Read is back and the omens are good. Yes, he’s back with his “a little too much fact” and “they can snatch my body any time” jokes. oh boy.

    Anyway, it’s Bodysnatchers doing Rock Steady, then we have Squeeze with a curiously never-seen keyboard player (I think Joolz had just left the band), but it’s one of their best singles so that’s fine. Eventually, they’d be permanently in Beatles-pop mode but this has one hell of a guitar solo. Oh hang on that might be Joolz..

    Rush get the Legs and co seventies dance routine, this is actually the freshest thing they’ve done for a while. (The legs, that is, not Rush)

    OK, have to pop out, might be back later..

  133. 133
    Mark G on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Fade back in, stitch together, oh too late.

    Rush get the Legs and co seventies dance routine, this is actually the freshest thing they’ve done for a while. (The legs, that is, not Rush). Plenty of Sue for her fan..

    Sad Cafe do a very convincing fake Rolling Stones with “My oh my”, one of those where they should sue except it’s not like any of their songs specifically.

    The Lambretta’s have taken the ‘cover version’ pill, but you know you’re going to have to make a good original song next otherwise it’s byebye.. Oh, and the version of the single I have was on “2-stroke” records with a Mod version of Walt Jabsco on it. The rest came out on Rocket records..

    If you watch “January February” on fast forward, you’d think it was Marc Bolan. But no, it’s Barbara Dixon on full radio-friendly pop music mode. I dare say she’s still singing it now, wherever she’s playing live…

    Shakin’ is still Stevens all over the place, live vocal, it’s OK.

    And it’s that time to interview David Soul! And we will never hear his new single on the show, never mind it’s UB40 instead. Did they ever better “Food for thought” ? No.

    Martha and the muffins on film, still a radio 2 staple. I keep saying things like that, but I haven’t listened to Radio 2 for decades!

    BA Robertson does the novelty single AGAIN! man. I dunno, his music is always quite interesting, but god his lyrics are embarrasing Dad-joeks made flesh. Of course, he will attempt to make serious records, but he’s given “Carrie” to Cliff, and it’s too late to not be the clown…

    And history is made, The Jam smash straight to the top thanks to the double single. Buy one on day one, or miss out.

    Well, that’s been the best show of the year 1980, and a definite keeper.

  134. 134
    Paulito on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Was also tuned in.

    Yeah, that’s a fairly toe -curling quip re. the Bodysnatchers by Mike “Obscene” Read. Hadn’t heard the song itself in years; had never realised how woefully played it is. It very noticeably slows down and speeds up again more than once, and SJ’s guitar solo is painfully amateurish. I’m all for the DIY ethic, but this is the type of playing that gave girl bands a bad name way back when. Of course, all was forgiven when several of their members (including gorgeous SJ) went on to form Belle Stars, who gave us the superb “Sign of the Times” inter alia.

    Squeeze. An underrated powerpop gem, that one.

    Rush. Don’t think I’ve ever heard this before. Quite like it, though I’ve heard other stuff of theirs that was rather headache-inducing. Cool graphics.

    Sad Cafe. Yes, very Stonesy in the chorus but not really in the verse. Hadn’t heard it before and I liked it. Very different to the masterly AOR tearjerker that is “Every Day Hurts”.

    Lambrettas. Oddly polite revival of ‘Poison Ivy’; lacks the bite their mod image would suggest.

    Shaky performs his chart breakthrough. There was a slightly harder rockabilly edge to his early stuff and this one isn’t bad at all, albeit impossible to take remotely seriously.

    UB40 also performing their breakthrough hit. Are they a band who cynically squandered their initial promise, or did they just run out of creative steam incredibly quickly?

    Martha and the Muffins with their sole but ever-enduring hit. Their seriously foxy keyboard player later resurfaced on TOTP as a member of the Associates.

    BA Robertson. A total chancer churning out would-be quirky, sub-Graham Parker crap. He looks like Rob Brydon without the acne.

    Ver Jam. Not their very best tune perhaps, but up there.

    Vapors over the credits. Like Martha and the Muffins, these lads are probably still making a fair few bob from their one hit, so oft-aired is it still.

  135. 135
    Lazarus on 4 Apr 2015 #

    Getting in ahead of Speedwell and Swede, nice to see another contributor though .. Mike Read takes the helm this week. Chart soundtracked by the band we called the Detroit Spinners, to distinguish them from a folk outfit.

    Bodysnatchers – not much of a song is it, just repeated choruses and band introductions. As mentioned, some would go on to greater things with the Belle Stars before making the inevitable journey to the North Wales coast.

    Squeeze – top banana. After all these years I’d still put ‘East Side Story’ in my top five albums, and ‘Argy Bargy’ from which this comes is nearly as good. Unusual structure with the instrumental break coming straight after the first chorus. Don’t think we’re going to see ‘Pulling Mussels’ on here though, as that superb single somehow fell short of the Top 40.

    Rush w/ Legs – ambitious routine which doesn’t quite work, Legs gals acting out bits of the lyric in the corner while the group gyrate in day-glo pink and black. Song’s alright, pretty much the only thing I know by them really.

    Sad Cafe – another good ‘un. I had the ‘Facades’ album at one time, ‘Nothing Left Toulouse’ is a good song which failed as a single.

    Lambrettas – Pressy-bound Mod also-rans with a Coasters cover. “Look out John she’s crazy!” Band formed in Lewes, conveniently close to Brighton.

    Barbara Dickson – Read climbs the stairs to introduce her for some reason. Babs’ crystal clear voice emerges from beneath a mop of curls. Chart success would be fleeting though, so just as well she had theatre and the Ronnies to fall back on.

    Shakin’ Stevens – I remember an ad for ‘Dial a Disc’ which ran in Record Mirror in the early eighties that said ‘Stevens is even shaking at three in the morning!’ Made it sound as if he had the DTs or some unfortunate illness. Dues paid, he’s about to embark on the big time – ‘This Ole House’ would top the chart exactly a year later.

    Read talks to David Soul whose new single will never be seen on the show, or heard on the radio for that matter.

    UB40 – debut for the boys from Brum with a single that many consider their best song. The album was a good ‘un too, especially if you got the free 12″ that came with it ‘Madame Medusa/Strange Fruit.’

    Martha & The Muffins – from Canada, and as Mike points out there were actually two Marthas in the band, the singer and the keyboard player Martha Ladley, who did indeed record with the Associates.

    BA Robertson – doing a joke song about hippies just a decade or so too late. Says it all really. Dismal.

    The Jam – straight in at the top, but for this week at least we get the video as they’re on tour. Mike Read used to use a bit of this on his show as a mis-heard lyric for his name, along with a snatch of ‘Thriller.’

    Vapors play us out … better than average show.

  136. 136
    speedwell54 on 4 Apr 2015 #

    Ok I can’t be last again so sneaking in before the Swede.

    It’s Mr Read so facts ahoy! The Bodysnatchers come across like primary school children in an end of year play. Painful guitar solo, but early days. I don’t mind the song, but had forgotten how little there was to it. They had their finger on the pulse, if only briefly.

    Squeeze – great song. I noticed the lack of Jools Holland in shot too, and presumed that earlier he must have sworn at the cameraman or something. I don’t really know if he was still with them then. Wiki Squeeze page says he left in 1980,Wiki Jools Holland page says he left in 1981, so no help. Either way we didn’t see the keyboardist whoever it was. Pulling Mussels did make it on to the show, but we won’t get to see them thanks to the wandering hands of DLT.

    Rush – this is growing on me. Looking forward to getting Legs back properly.

    My Oh My- I will go along with the Stones sound. I wonder how they move from this to ‘Every Day Hurts’ on their tour.

    Lambrettas -Poison Ivy – good song but nothing really added in this version. If you are doing a cover I think you have to do something with it. The exception for me being that no one knows the original.

    Barbara Dickson- the rest of the band must have been locked out of their dressing room and have had to go on in what they were wearing. You don’t get that on the Two Ronnies. Shakin’ rpt.

    David Soul does some advertising- no one is listening.

    UB40 -Fine track. I think they were pretty good for the first few years.

    UB40 and Shakin’ Stevens back to back with their first hits. Who knew they would go on to be two of the most successful acts of the 80s? Fair few covers between them though!

    Martha +Muffins twktc.

    B A Roberston – I think he’s really an actor. Musically it’s not boring and it has got a lot of ideas going on in there. Polish up the lyric and it wouldn’t sound out of place on an early 10CC album.

    Going Underground – Fact man Read – referring to the new entry at Number One- mentions others who did the same and includes Lonnie Donegan in the list. Don’t think so.

    Out to the Vapors. Cracking show.

  137. 137
    Jimmy the Swede on 6 Apr 2015 #

    Finally staggering over the finishing line be the Swede.

    Tennis-loving Mike Read in the umpire’s chair. The Spinners from Detroit working their way over the rundown.

    Bodysnatchers – Multiple all-girl group doing the rock steady. Were they actually genuine? If so, fair play despite the lightweight content. Read passes a crass remark. Something about Welsh holiday camps and a sudden surfeit of chalet maids.

    Squeeze – Another nail in my wotsit. Masterful all day long. Swede well identified as big fan of this lot. Have seen them multiple times. And this is another from the top drawer. Prestatyn? NEVER!!

    Rush and Gals – Interesting choice from Her Flick. Obscured images as usual but this time it seems to work, as the track is fantastic. The Eternal Mistress does her “Tales of the Unexpected” silhouette dance and then we get a clear head-shot of her and lots more besides. Hoser-Gals Heaven for t’Swede.

    Sad Cafe – Rapidly becoming the House Band. And, oh yes indeedy, it’s a blatant smash and grab on the Stones beyond dispute. And as a result, it’s bloody excellent. Simply call it a homage, then bring the minibus round and tell the Sads that they are going to Morocco..

    Lambrettas – Poison Thingy. Another seemingly pointless 50s cover. But this is a big hit. Even so, The Lammies also can now not be seen in Marrakesh.

    Mike mounts the Rupert Holmes spiral steps to look down on Barbara Dickson, who at least knows how to pronounce “February” correctly. Read alas does not. Marc Bolan? Naw! Leave it out!

    Shakey – Hot Dog. He was about to explode. Hot Dog was probably the wurst thing he did…
    MINIBUS?!..Can EM visit?
    Oh, alright, I’m going…

    David Soul is introduced by Mike to a deserted studio to plug his new tour, album and single. He begs us not to give up on him. But we do. Hutch promply gives up himself and settles in the UK, where he still lives today. He supports Arsenal. This boy’s a fool.

    First introduction for UB40 with Food For Thought, a double A with King, both brilliant. Their early stuff was indeed fabulous. They lost their way later, for me. Unusual to see two southpaw axemen side by side.

    Martha’s Muffins – Echo Doo-daa. More Canadians and more quality, although criminally cut before they reach the first chorus. Swede’s job back then was also rather boring and also pretty much that of an office clerk. Then I only had Stockwell to go back to. Now I have Beachy Head, where I can watch not only the sun but people go down and then write a novel about it.

    BA Robertson – The Scottish rascal takes the hippy counter-culture apart along with their brown rice. Poor old George Harrison would have been in tears over this. Richie Starkey would have just got cross. He’s still wandering around giving it the peace and love bit, is Ringo. It don’t come easy, mate.

    The Jam come crashing straight in at the top, giving Read the annoying chance to reel out a list of those who had done it before. Something’s happening here today. But revolution from Woking? Er…no. Weller’s a phoney. Never mind about that, it’s great track. And this was only the start.

    Out to the Vapours. Tunes help you breathe more easily.

  138. 138
    Mark G on 10 Apr 2015 #

    And so we fade in with the Vapours! Petey Powell with his name in lights..

    Kick in with Liquid Gold why not? Answers on a postcard. This used to get played a lot as a base (bed?) for various things, the instrumental version that is. “What’s on ITV tonight” sort of thing. Note use of boogaloo ..

    Genesis turn it on *again*, I never minded this one too much, I remember once using it as an example of how complicated rhythms can actually be understood by the general public. At which point the people I was talking to were clearly looking for the exit. Pastels fans, and erstwhile band-mates. I wish I was making this up I do I do.

    Pete introduces ‘Legs and Cuh’ but the lighting rig has decent, um, lights on it and so we get Brothers Johnson and “Stomp”. Its OK but there seems something missing I don’t know what.

    Doctor Hook have a set of bongos and Windsor Davies is going to mug massively while playing them. It’s soft disco basically, that was what was needed at the time, and they are clearly enjoying having hits now but is it really what they want?

    Peter is relaxed on the floor (in his leather trousers) but he’s getting UP for Judas Priest! Spoils the effect though by standing on his mike lead.. Rob Halford is in full Tim Brooke Taylor mode here, my guess is he changed his look as soon as somebody noticed the resemblance. Audience are dutifully clapping along…

    Siouxsie play in the Happy House, they’re all quite sane you know..

    Secret Affair are back with My World again, but I’m still somewhat underwhelmed by this. I quite liked “Let your heart dance” but my guess is they shall not be back..

    The dull Dooleys are back once more and they have all been to TopShop in 1980, clearly. The audience are standing around going “Do we have to stand around here?”

    John Foxx is standing in the gals’ structure being the guy whose time has come at last. He’s done better than this and doubtless will in the future. But this is unremarkable really. No-one driving indeed.

    Working their way onto the Don Kirschner Rock Concert be the Detroit Spinners. Oh, and I have one of their original Tamla Motown singles which was not credited to the Motown Spinners, so ner. They didn’t change their name when they left. Maybe they changed it back!

    And the Jam are number one, and they’re here with their funny apron on. Maybe I should edit this performance onto last weeks for the “Keeper”, but this one aside it’s all been a bit higamus hogamus, gettin’ monotonous…

  139. 139
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Apr 2015 #

    K-Tel’s Peter Powell is head waiter.

    Vapours yet again – this time over the rundown. Last week they took us out. How odd!

    Liquid Gold. Still milking it, this time with some old lags miming the arrangement on violins. What is the point of that? But never mind – The front gal really does look like a member of the record company publishing staff, who having got pissed, jumps up onto the stage and has a go. Everyone’s with her and she’s having a ball. Should have been number one.

    Genesis – Turning it on. And by cracky, they do. It’s wonderful. I…I…I am the MAGNIFICENT? Well, not quite but the Swede can’t have everything.

    Gals do Brothers Johnson (to coin a phrase!). No fuzzy screens this week but still far too dark. EM as always the centrepiece, constantly in shot and the Swede is duly fortified. The cat nods and settles down on the Persian rug.

    Dr Hook – Sexy Eyes (or sexy eye for the geezer on the tom toms). It’s comfort food from Ned Flanders and the boys and the Swede recently popped into HMV and picked up a Best of… for this lot and it cost all of six quid.

    Judas Priest – Bad boy rockers, who really show just how bad they are by living after midnight. Naughty. But sorry, this is pretty tame and these buggers are not too dangerous for the minibus. Be careful lads!

    Siouxsie’s back in the happy house but will need to get the hoover out after all that stuff she’s throwing on the floor. I’d happily go round and do that for her as long as we could arrange suitable transport out of the house for the rest of them.

    Secret Affair. My World. Very good indeed. But alas their world has since become a small stretch of coast on the Irish sea. Their world today. And every day.

    The Rubbish Dooleys repeat their not-even-good-enuff-for-song-for-Europe train wreck. Did we really deserve this again. Buddy Erithian assures me that this is the last we’ll be seeing of them. I do hope that’s true.

    John Foxx – Apologies but “Electronic” crosses a red line for me. And this guy looks ripe for a dry slap nohow.

    Detroit Spinners – In the flesh. Waiting for rush sales of Jam to run out before having their cake and eating it too. One of the numpties looks like Don King. I’m really sorry!

    Number one. And Weller and the lads show sneering arrogance in the studio. Fair play. They’re certainly not underground any more.

    Out to Leon Hayward. Passable effort from a here today, gone tomorrow soul bro’.

    Average show.

  140. 140
    Paulito on 12 Apr 2015 #

    Affable, fresh-faced Pete presents.

    Liquid Gold. Asinine holiday-camp (and campy) disco; the discarded fag end of a near-spent genre.

    Genesis step forth into transatlantic AOR territory, with just slight traces of their former prog quirkiness remaining. Good beaty tune, mind.

    Dr Hook. Lightweight disco-rock with none of the personality of their early stuff.

    Judas Priest. For a band often cited as fathers of the NWBHM, this sounds a little lame and hoary nowadays. To these ears it’s standard late ’70s hard rock – no heavier than, say, the harder end of Thin Lizzy’s ouevre, and totally lacking the punch of someone like Motörhead.

    Siouxsie and co provide the first really fresh sound and image on tonight’s show. Eerie, spidery, angular; a prototype for much subsequent indie and Goth.

    Secret Affair. These guys look good and this tune is perfectly agreeable, with more than a flavour of the jaunty, R&B-inflected pop-rock that would become so popular over the next few years. Shame they faded away so quickly themselves.

    Dooleys with one of their less egregious offerings. This is harmless disco-pop but by God do they look naff.

    John Foxx. A cool-looking guy and a true pioneer, but Japan and others were doing this sort of icy electro rather better by now.

    The Spinners. Irresistible disco/soul floor-filler, delivered with sincerity and finesse. Grossly underrated by the Popular comments crew.

    The Jam. Great to see them on TOTP atop the charts; pivotal moment etc. But wtf is with that apron?

  141. 141
    speedwell54 on 20 Apr 2015 #

    Peter plays pop. Regulars Liquid Gold kick off proceedings in the studio tonight, going for it like they know it won’t last. After dressing as Tarzan the other week the drummer comes in his running kit complete with a pinned on number 4; advertising their chart position this week.

    Genesis – A repeat, but this time we get a lot more than the highlights of a fortnight ago. We get another chance to laugh at Phil Collins and his bizarre ‘hop’ half way through the chorus. Unusual multiple tempo changes on this track.

    Stomp – Legs/Brothers Johnson. Production is certainly an improvement on recent weeks.

    Sexy Eye indeed. Dr Hook, not my cup of tea.

    Judas Priest – Staying up late with a minor classic. Don’t know much else by them despite considerable output.

    Siouxsie and Happy House. All that confetti that she throws about with her left hand is just a distraction. What does she have in her right hand? Looks like a small box of Quality Street. She just holds it by her side. She certainly isn’t sharing. I think she puts it in her pocket towards the end of the track. Curious.

    Secret Affair rpt.

    Finally they are growing on me – the Rubbish Dooleys, and this I think is their last ever performance. Girl Dooleys at the front and boy Dooleys now at the back. Noticed female keyboard Dooley for the first time and it’s a shame we didn’t see more of her.

    John Foxx – seems to have packed in the rooted to the spot performance and is quite animated tonight. He shares the stage with no less than four CS80 Yamaha keyboards which were and are VERY expensive. I seem to be on my own but I like this.

    Detroit Spinners -WMWBTY -nearly there. Catchy number and still played a fair bit at weddings today I guess.

    Jam- Going Underground. I have mentioned before the decline in standards of Paul Weller’s attire with each passing performance and this week he’s got an apron on. Inside out I presume hide the product placement and keep the BBC happy. ( though odd we get a close up and a freeze frame for the hard of thinking.) Heinz Baked Beans in case you were wondering.

    Out to Leon Hayward and “Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It” This to me sounds like it owes a lot to ‘Ladies Night’ but is all the better for it. I thinks Legs have a go at this and if it’s not Yewtreed, Swede you’re in for a treat!

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Lazarus are you there?

  142. 142
    Lazarus on 21 Apr 2015 #

    Leaving it till this Thursday I’ve decided – a touch too much deja vu for me just lately. I too rather liked the John Foxx single though (I have the 45, in fact) – a considerable improvement on ‘Underpass’ with a strong hook.

  143. 143
    Mark G on 24 Apr 2015 #

    Kid, chart, Judas Priest. Living after midnight, which is ironic as it’s the longer repeat I’m reviewing and it is five past, so i have a little fast-forward space on the TiVo to play with. Its funny, this touchpad is notorious in swapping my slightly misspelled words for something entirely random, but it always formats TiVo perfectly. Anyway, moving on..

    Night boat to Cairo, one verse about ol’ Jerry D, then instrumental to the end. Its genius because it works. The performance is fairly low-key for them and fades early but they take it well.

    Barbara Dixon repeat, where’s that button?

    And now here’s Dexys who are hard working apparently. Washing windows, clearly. Geno is also great, also it sounds like “Got to get you into my life” at various points.. “And now just look at me as I’m looking down at you. No I’m not being flash its just.. I’m taller than you”. Actually that’s not true, I saw himself do a bandstand gig at canary wharf once, just him and a blues guitar bloke to virtually nobody there but me and a few. The bad turnout was due to the bloody awful weather to be fair. He sang a slow blues called “Still it rained” and it was great. Of course, this was before mobile phones etc, it’d have made a hell of a YouTube clip. I have also seen him in full effect at Reading’s After Dark club and that was great too. Anyway, the point being he is a tall bloke, and Kevin is short-arse. And I made the lyric up anyway….

    Right, I had more pause so I could type all that, whose gonna get skipped next? Not the Pretenders, Kid intro said this is one of their best, and yeah it is. Probably gets no play on oldies radio nowadays not when “Brass in’t pocket” is on the same cd, which is a shame. “You’ve Changed! .. Your place in this world..”

    Leon Hayward, that impossible trivia question gets his “Don’t push it, don’t force it” represented by the Legs. ENOUGH LIGHT FOR YOU ALL THIS WEEK??? I think so.

    And now UB40 food for thought. Not much to say about it this week, but this isn’t getting the ff button so that’s alright. And The Selecter follow on with “Missing Words” so this is a bit like when Peel had one radio show with sessions from Madness, Specials, Bodysnatchers and The Beat all together. But different.

    And now its BA Robertson having his go at all the hippies knocking around in 1980. His act is a combo of Geldof, and oh I dunno. Next.

    The Lambrettas. I mentioned the fakey 2 tone edition of their 45 last time yeah? Ok move on then..

    And here is this years Eurovision entry. Has it been a year since Cheryl Baker was on all those weeks on here? Yes. And this group are called Prima Donna. Which all kidding aside isn’t the most suitable name for this group, who look like they scoured the theatre district of London for at least 16 mins for three suitable couples. The song is wet, and having “Love enough for two” indicates a tragic situation to my mind, one implying some sort of blind obsession in the mind of one, which is not reciprocated by the other. Of course, the song has none of this. Will they be back on after the euro show is over? I don’t know.

    At number one once more is The Jam, apron and all. Freemasons. Only joking.

    Dr Hook to fade. Well, I’d call this week’s show a pretty good one, a few clunkers to make the good stuff look even better. And now for the next correspondent, they will be along probably late on Saturday, I reckons.

  144. 144
    Paulito on 24 Apr 2015 #

    The Kid presides with his transatlantic twang and smug-smooth patter.

    The nutty boys aboard the Night Boat to Cairo. Great fun, and their best was yet to come.

    Barbara Dickson (r). How does one categorise this music? It’s not quite pop, not quite MOR – maybe soft AOR? Whatever it is, it sounds hopelessly naff nowadays.

    Dexy’s, in their initial incarnation as a rhythm ‘n’ brass ensemble, on their way to the top. And why not?

    Pretenders do Talk of the Town. More discerning types than I rate this one higher than its chart-topping predecessor. I don’t – the tune isn’t quite memorable enough for me – but it’s a good ‘un all the same.

    Leon Hayward. Smooth, funky R&B – me like. Legs & Co do an especially leggy turn – me like.

    Bloody Annoying Robertson AGAIN with his exhausting over-inflated wackiness.

    Lambrettas again, with the TOTP orchestra providing a striking contrast to their sharp mod aesthetic. Lightweight.

    Prima Donna. One of a long line of winsome boy-girl vocal groups manufactured for UK Eurovision purposes in accordance with the Brotherhood of Man template. The ‘difference’ here appears to be that there’s six of them, which is about half a dozen too many. The song is MOR pap at its dullest, with a truly horrible grafted-on key change towards the end.

    The Jam (r) at their imperious peak. I’d forgotten just how great this song is (Tom’s review nails it).

    Dr Hook over the credits. A failure of imagination.

  145. 145
    swanstep on 24 Apr 2015 #

    That Legs Inc routine to Leon Hayward feels more Hot Gossip-y (both lighting- and staging- – we don’t feel like we’re in the TOTP studios – and dangerously-short-dress-wise) than anything else we’ve seen them do. HG had been around for a few years at this point, so it’s a reasonable guess that this is LI competing, or something.

  146. 146
    speedwell54 on 24 Apr 2015 #

    Can’t believe it’s only Friday and already I’m in danger of being last. (sorry if you’re still playing Lazarus) Swede I guess you’re still recovering! But more about that later…

    Madness – The echoey bit sounds like One Step Beyond and we miss a big chunk of instrumental at the end. Don’t know if we will get to see the video in the weeks to come but I remember it for its poor quality (I’m sure deliberate) that looks like an episode of ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ where old people go downhill on wheels ( a bicycle, a skateboard, a bath, anything they could attach wheels to basically) I say ‘an’ episode I think it might have been every week. The close up with the oldies in front of a terrible green screen/ chroma keyed backdrop, the long shot with three teenagers actually going down a hill fast. Sax number 1. Enough..

    Barbra Dickson – rpt -nice perm and pronounces both ‘r’s in February.

    Geno – Surprised we haven’t got a larger than life picture of Mr D’Acampo hanging behind Dexy’s. Good song. Good performance. Sax number 2.

    Pretenders- Chrissie not changing much, leather trousers, neck tie, jacket, big round earrings, fringe. She had a good look and looked good. A nice set. I think this holds up pretty well against Brass In Pocket.

    Legs and Co- Mark G – yes enough light- at last. We have moved on a bit with this! Very watchable. I think possibly as we just get one or two of the ladies at once and there’s no distractions of silly costumes or building site sets the music really comes forward -if that makes sense. Swede, you like?

    UB40 rpt Sax number 3. Missing Words – ok.

    BA Roberston – again. I had subtitles on last night and had forgotten he name checks a couple of number one acts – T Rex and Scott McKenzie. He was ahead of his time; my daughter wears her school tie that short now- much to my chagrin.

    Lambrettas – Keep still mate. Sax number 4.

    Prima Donna- not an awful lot to say about the song. It’s not awful. However the act… The two girls at each side are Robbins sisters, one is Kate who we will see again but also does Cilla Black impressions. The one in the middle with shiny hair was half of Bardo a couple of years later. She had a son who was on “The Voice” One of the boys is a brother of a Bucks Fizz girl. One of the boys was married to Seeker Eve Graham. If any of this is wrong blame my wife who told me all this during the song- hence I didn’t really hear the song. There is an album called Best of Bardo .. you can do your own jokes.

    Jam – no sax but the brass bands play and feet start to pound.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  147. 147
    Lazarus on 24 Apr 2015 #

    Prima Donna – yes Lance Aston, brother of Jay (in the video, he’s in fetching pink trousers) and Sally Ann Triplett, who’s been mentioned in despatches before, probably as a Swede favourite. Haven’t seen the show yet, got the Test match on at the moment …

  148. 148
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Apr 2015 #

    Kid Jensen – Who never shot anyone. He apparently was a favourite with the Gals who always found him polite and respectful. He would hold the door open for them and then not try to fondle their ass.

    Rundown over Judas Priest. The Doctor Hook pic has a simply blinding pose from Ned. Highdly-Hoadly!

    Madness – Night Boat to Cairo as part of an EP. Much empathis on the sax backing track leaves it with less of a punch than on some of their other of their tracks. But this is quality nonetheless.

    Barbara Dickson – Already seen. Already seen March too.

    Dexy’s – Top-heavy Brummie brassers. Massive hit in the making, of course. I like it much more now then I did then. And you can see from a few of the bobbing kids that they fancy they’re seeing an event here. Much of tonight’s offerings are cut.

    Pretenders – Talk of the Town. Tremendous. And Chrissie is smouldering. Every bit as good as BIP but just didn’t do as well. Great stuff and Swede’s pater gets his fix of his most unlikely fancy woman.

    Gals do Leon Hayward. And Mark G’s screaming Joyce-esque headlines gives us all notification of this much-awaited feast. LET THERE BE LIGHT! And there was light. Fucking finally! We have a one shot doorways camara shot and our lovelies are all housed in coloured one-piece outfits cut as high as the Promised Land. Ergo we see more actual legs than on any other routine (despite Patti being absent). I say routine but there really isn’t one. This doesn’t matter. They all pop in and out one by one (or two by two) and treat us to short teasing snaps before darting off. Naturally the Eternal Mistress is the scarlet woman. Swede is well satisfied, and sensing as much, the cat jumps up onto my chair and receives a cuddle and a chin tickle.

    UB40 – Food. Very good food indeed. Kid is right when he applauds their “irrisistible ryhthm”.

    On the same theme: Selecter. Missing Words. Swedestrasse natch but just one more hit for this lot before they too went (ahem!) missing.

    BA steams into the poor idiots who still think it’s 1967. A well-deserved target. I wonder if Curtis and Elton got the germ of the idea of Neil from this piss-take.

    Lambrettas – In the studio with Poison Ivy. Front man throws his mic away in exasperation when they are cut off. Minibus.

    Prima Donna – And here’s our Song For Europe. But only just. “Love Enough For Two” was actually tied for first place on the night of the heat with a song by Maggie Moone. Not prepared for such an outcoming, presenter Noel Edmonds went round the regional juries again for a single casting vote. It was a complete farce. One or two of the juries which had given top marks to one of the songs now switched to the other in the penalty shootout, clearly an outragious move. Surely any jury which had top-scored either song should have been excluded. The fate of LEFT itself, meanwhile, was most odd. It failed to chart before the contest and only crept into the Top 50 after it, yet it finished 3rd in the contest itself. The truly lovely Sally Ann Triplett is almost to a day one year younger than the Swede so would have been coming up for 18 back then. She is looking up at her boy in a worshipping way he just doesn’t deserve. And the girls surrounding the stage can’t hide their distain. I personally find the song itself oddly pleasant even though the lyric, as Mark points out, can actually point out to love on one side and nothing on the other. Perhaps the implication is that each of them has enough love in their hearts to feed them both. Let’s ask Stephanie de Sykes. She co-wrote it.

    Jam keeping Liquid Gold off number one. Fucking Boo! Paul is going underground to his Heinz Tomato Soup Masonic Lodge. What a silly sausage!

    Out to more or less a full helping of Doctor Hook’s sexy eye-patch.

    Kid played well tonight.

  149. 149
    Lazarus on 27 Apr 2015 #

    Finally getting around to watching Thursday’s show. The cricket takes priority here and when it’s on from three till ten doesn’t leave much time for watching anything else.

    So what have we here … the Kid is in the chair tonight, what’s that on his badge? Judas Priest over the chart with the second of three top 20 hits in just over a year, after which chart pickings were rather slimmer.

    Madness – the Work Rest and Play EP in fact, though this was the only track which ever seemed to get played. When I saw them at Brighton last year they kicked off with this, the opening blast almost took the roof off.

    Barbara Dickson – repeat. Next time we’d see her on the Pops would be with her Two Ronnies jobshare mate Elaine. Nice braces, keyboard player!

    Dexy’s – what a corker of an album this was. Bought it at Woolies in Coulsdon on my lunch break one day and must have come close to wearing it out over the years. ‘Keep It’ was a fine song too but flopped as a single. Looking at their chart record, ‘Searching …’ only got to number 6 and spent a mere 10 weeks on the album chart. Can that be right?

    Pretenders – I have a vivid memory of returning from a fortnight’s holiday in Mallorca and finding that a Pretenders single I didn’t know – this one – was in the Top 20. Not only had I never heard it, I didn’t even know they were bringing a new record out. Top tune, lead single from an album that wouldn’t come out for more than a year. Coming so soon after ‘Brass in Pocket’ I’m sure many people assume it’s on the first album.

    Leon Hayward/Legs – Swede-pleasing routine from gals in micro skirts. I wonder if the Legs ladies watch these repeats now and sigh “God, I was so slim in those days …!”

    UB40 – repeat? This was cut from the half-hour show.

    Selecter – much prefer this to ‘Three Minute Hero’ but it’s almost the end of the pier, I mean show, for them. Pauline soon turned her hand to acting.

    BA Robertson – looks like someone took the scissors to his tie. Separated from his band by the studio audience. Hearing this again I like it a little more, but another for whom the bus waits.

    Lambrettas – repeat. Fwd.

    Prima Donna – can’t add to what’s been said about this really. Pleasantly surprised it did so well in the ESC while failing to make the Top 40 here. SAT is a West End hoofer these days who sometimes turns up on Elaine Paige’s showtunes show on Sundays. Lance Aston is the one with the ‘tache. Kate Robbins went on to do Crossroads and Spitting Image. The rest, you know where.

    Jam – seminal chart-topper. What was with the apron though? Like a few of their hits, a non-album release. I wonder if it’s been added to subsequent CD re-issues of Setting Sons or Sound Affects? Not if Weller has anything to do with it.

    Dr Hook see us out. Pretty good show I thought.

  150. 150
    Mark G on 27 Apr 2015 #

    About five years ago, the papers got the idea that to boost circulation, a good idea would be to give free copies of classic albums. So, “Searching for the young soul rebels” came out on the Daily Mail label. We had either come so far, or someone made a mistake. Either way, they remained hidden.

  151. 151
    Pink chpale on 27 Apr 2015 #

    Watching TOTP reruns has made me wonder whether there was ever a worse pop star than B.A Robertson. Seriously, had anyone ever been more terrible?

  152. 152
    enitharmon on 28 Apr 2015 #

    @151 I don’t know, he was witty and pleasant and inconsequential, which is surely what pop is meant to be. I can think of a lot worse.

  153. 153
    Paulito on 28 Apr 2015 #

    He had a knack for writing catchy tunes but – as a performer at least – he misdirected his talents into tedious knockabout novelty material. While there’s always room for a bit of humour in pop, BA badly overplayed his hand. He wasn’t remotely as funny or charming as he presumed to be, which was why diminishing returns set in so quickly.

  154. 154
    glue_factory on 28 Apr 2015 #

    Re: 151-3, I only really know Cavalry, Parties and Kaftan. What other novelty tracks did he do? (Parties and Cavalry don’t seem particularly knockabout to me)

  155. 155
    pink champale on 28 Apr 2015 #

    #154 Not suprisingly you’re half mixing him up with Jona Lewie. I’m not sure why I have such a strong reaction against poor old BA because he is indeed very like JL, who I quite like, and not a million miles from Ian Dury who I like a lot. I think it maybe does come down to BA’s sort of material being reliant on wit and charm, and him not actually having either, instead putting over a terrible am dram mannered performance of “wit” and “charm”. He looks like an idiot too, which never helps.

  156. 156
    Phil on 28 Apr 2015 #

    Ian Dury was charming & fascinating because he looked as if he wanted to slit your throat. B.A. Robertson (whose big hit was “Bang Bang” btw) just looked as if he wanted you to find him charming & fascinating, which is much harder to bring off. And the songs just weren’t that great – a hippie novelty song in 1980?

  157. 157
    Mark G on 29 Apr 2015 #

    If Vic Godard had curly hair, would he look like BA Robertson? I dunno, BA reminds me of summat, but I don’t know who. I’m sure he’s an OK bloke and so on, and his tunes (as I’ve said before) were fine, but I liked his stuff more then than I do now, which wasn’t a lot even then.

    Fun Fact: His first album was one catalogue number on from Big Star’s #1 album….

  158. 158
    Paulito on 30 Apr 2015 #

    @157 I mentioned upthread that he reminds me of Rob Brydon (or should that be vice versa?) but without the pockmarks.

    Exhibit A in BA’s defence: the mildly Spectoresque “To Be Or Not To Be”, on which he plays it relatively straight, is quite a pleasant ditty. And of course he wrote “Carrie” and “Wired for Sound”, two of Cliff’s most fondly remembered hits.

    Unfortunately, he also wrote “The Living Years”, which tips his ledger firmly back in the red (or whatever that accounting metaphor is).

  159. 159
    pink champale on 30 Apr 2015 #

    I didn’t know BA R wrote Carrie and WFS! He does indeed get points for that.

    If only he’d also directed WFS’s spectacular roller skating video he’d get full absolution from me

  160. 160
    lonepilgrim on 1 May 2015 #

    @149 according to TopofthePops Facts (https://twitter.com/TOTPFacts) the apron refers to the cover of The Who Sell Out which features a Heinz tin. Weller wore it to counter arguments that The Jam had sold out by getting to Number 1 but was then forced by the BBC to wear it inside out to avoid ‘advertising’

  161. 161
    twitter.com/ToTP80trufax on 1 May 2015 #

    Ah don’t believe a word that guy says

  162. 162
    Mark G on 1 May 2015 #

    Simon hands from the female continuity announcer with “thank you sir”, but times have changed, so..

    Liquid gold do the run down, and straight into The Undertones and “My Perfect Cousin”, yes it’s truly wonderful but time is running out on the ‘young lads in jumpers’ Dandy/Beano stuff, and I’m sure they knew it then. It matches Madness’ “I like Driving in my car” for being the last stand of the, mmm, wacky? Well you know. Still, they cite the Human League in this, at a time when they weren’t that widely known although their “Holday ’80” e.p. would be their first hit in a matter of months, doubtless assisted by this.

    David Essex does “Here Am I” as a unnaturally pleased line in his song about motorbikes. Used to see motorbike races often on the TV, not so much thesedays. Barry Sheene, all that. Seems the scene faded when he did. This was from a movie, wasn’t it? Love is like a motorbike race, basically.

    Legs and Co get even more light than last week, it’s Sexy Eyes Dr Hook, inevitably.

    And Now! Yeah! It’s BAD NEWS!!! oh wait, no it’s Saxon! Bass man is the blueprint for the Darkness’ bass player, Apparently, motorbike wheels are like love. OK, this is this weeks theme, clearly. Same riff as “Good Morning Judge” anyway.

    Ok, here are Sky, with MOR prog. Hmm, did they have hits in the singles chart? Well ,maybe this one. Not seen Herbie Flowers sitting down to play bass, but then this is serious, right? Anyway, it’s for all those that can’t take the modern pop music seriously unless its citing the classical music.

    And now Judas Priest with the Living after Midnight song, lets ff->

    Simon has a gift for talking to the girls around him, the one of the left was just in the middle of taking him to task but we fade into.. Siouxsie and her confetti which lands in the same places as last time so it must be a repeat. ff>

    Sad Cafe do that Rolling Stones thing, and ff-> because it’s Deja Vu Week, innit? Must have missed one.

    The Bodysnatchers do Rock Steady. It’s a little gauche, but it’s not as willfully amateur as you lot were saying last time, come on. It does sound like it cost £20 to record but.

    OK, Simon goes all gothic for no apparent reason. The Buggles go “Clean Clean”, Trevor has gone all Elvis Costello, and somehow it actually works. Pogo Johnny gonna fight the war…. This might actually make my Punk/New wave copy off DVD, mind you I’m about 2 years worth of TOTP episodes behind! I dunno it seems less vital than it did in 1984 or whenever..

    Simon is playing a blinder this week, he manages to get a shoutout to someones mum, an intro to the number one and a citation for the original version into the same sentence, putting Mike Read to shame! Well done that man.

    Anyway, the DSpins spin once more, and the end of the show is nigh. And we fade out to Simon predicting a new number one next week. Well it won’t be Secret Affair who get one more play to fade out with for “My World for the next two minutes”

  163. 163
    crag on 1 May 2015 #

    BA Robertson deserves god-like status because he wrote We Have A Dream for the Scotland 82 World Cup Squad. That and his failed interview with Annabella Luwin.

  164. 164
    Lazarus on 4 May 2015 #

    Cricket over for now, I’ve got round to watching the show. Form an orderly queue ladies, it’s housewives’ favourite Simon Bates. Liquid Gold, now at their number 2 peak, over the chart.

    Undertones – “let’s start off with a new one you might have heard on the wireless.” Bless. I’m going to start calling it the wireless again, I think. I’m old school, me. Their biggest hit, although FS would go on to top it a few years down the line. Does he mention the Human League at one point?

    David Essex – he played ‘Nick Freeman’ in ‘Silver Dream Racer’ from which this comes. (IMDB lists no fewer than seven people called David Essex, one of whom was in ‘Brassed Off! Who knew?) Cut well short.

    Dr Hook/Legs – pretty much their last hurrah on the UK chart, although there were two further 45s from ‘Sometimes You Win’, both nice songs. Pleasant routine with skimpy frocks and lots of smiley Rosie.

    Saxon – 1980 was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal of course. This lot, Iron Maiden, Motorhead and even Slade would be among the beneficiaries. This is OK, not really my kind of thing, sounds rather derivative. ‘Good Morning Judge’, yes.

    Sky – couldn’t stand this sort of thing then, now it sounds OK. Fits in well with the madly varied charts of early 1980. Which one is Herbie, dark jacket and tie?

    Judas Priest – more metal. Just Simon’s type of thing, I’m sure. No subliminal messages here.

    Bodysnatchers – repeat? Got a few bobbing around in the audience, but they seem to be having a better time than the rest of us. Simon said ‘wireless’ again. Come to think of it, he probably still does.

    Buggles – best of the evening for me. Like the video game. Yes some new wave touches in this, their last appearance on the show unfortunately.

    Detroit Spinners – was this originally done by the Four Tops? News to me. Read would have put him right in a heartbeat. Number one for the veteran soulsters. Nice jackets.

    Bates predicts a new number one for next week, and we go out to Secret Affair. OK show with few obvious candidates for the minibus treatment.

  165. 165
    Jimmy the Swede on 4 May 2015 #

    It’s kindly courteous Simon Bates as the action news reporter. Or is it Fred Housego?

    Liquid Gold get another plug, this time over the rundown. They are most unfortunate. Weller and his magic flute have fallen down to 3rd and the Liquids should have replaced them. Alas they have been huffed and remain at 2. A great shame.

    Undertones – My Perfect Cousin. I’m sure this was intended to be fun but there’s a lot of bitterness in this little song. Fergal angles for support and almost certainly gets it in the main, but frankly I’m with the educated University Challenge-watching cousin against the slovenly ignorant little gobshite who thinks the world owes him a living. Great record, though.

    David Essex is off up the high street like Barry Sheene. In an attempt to reclaim his pop idol crown, he thinks bike. Bates is convinced it’s a number one. Well, it does hit the top five but this is pretty grim, really. I think it was from a film, yes.

    Swedeheaven now. Gals (all six). Sexy Eyes. Patti atones for her absence last week with a long willowy stare to camera, no doubt following intensive coaching from the Mistress. Oh, and now here’s Rosie. Lovely short skirts on all of them. And Flick is crafty. Their lollypop legs are all over the place, but adhering to the song, we home in on Rosie’s (and Patti’s) eyes. Not a problem chez Swede. The routine is then cut but the point has been amply made. Cat and Swede share a plate of pilchard toast squares.

    Saxon – Wheels of Steel. You can take or leave this. Swede took it. And particularly their next offering about trans-Atlantic air travel, which I was to first experience in exactly one year’s time.

    Sky – Before the evil digger got hold of it. And that’s no throwaway line, as some of these musicians are Australians. The concept of Toccata is clever and inventive but it’s also rather self-satisfied. “Look what we’re doing to Bach!”

    Judas Priest – Again. Still girly and tame.

    Bates try to engage with some far from shy girls. The camera should have stayed awhile. Instead we get Siouxsie littering the happy house for the umpteenth time. She’s happy there. Yes, we know dear..

    Sad Cafe – Certainly we can’t fault these guys for this shameless grab on the Stones. Let’s face it, this was good in it’s own right. The only difference is that Mick and Keef don’t get up to Prestatyn mutch.

    Bodysnatchers – Again. Sorry but I’m afraid this is fooling no-one. The drummer gives the distinct impression that this was the first time she’s ever sat at a kit.

    Buggles – Serious luck-pushing by now. One more turkey to come and then Trevor Horn disappears back into production whilst the other no-mark disappears into Welsh Hi Di Hi land.

    The Detroit Spinners are top with a lightweight, something-out-of-nothing, soul turn. The Rubberband Man was so much better than this. A surprise number one, to say the least. And it’s sooo harsh on the bouncy Liquid Gold!

    Simon lays us odds that we have a new number one next week. I don’t think we do. Secret Affair take us out with the excellent My World. I agree that Batesy had a good one. He’s the sort of bloke who would be modestly nibbling on a cheese and pickle wonderloaf sandwich in a quiet corner of the green room when all the Gals burst in and ravish him. I somehow don’t think THAT would have troubled Yewtree!

  166. 166
    anto on 4 May 2015 #

    @165 – Fair point, he can’t even pronounce sub-you-te-oh properly.

  167. 167
    Mark G on 4 May 2015 #

    Well, that’s how we said it bitd. How about youse?

  168. 168
    Lazarus on 6 May 2015 #

    That howler by S Bates re: the Detroit Spinners song has been bugging me. On the excellent angelo gravity blog (Pops repeats reviewed and commented on) there were, when I last looked, 48 comments on last week’s show and not one picked up on it. So it got me wondering, did the Four Tops, as well as the Four Seasons, do “Working …?” They didn’t have a UK hit with it (as may have been mentioned on the thread, the Seasons could only manage number 50 with it here in 1966) but they maybe cut it as an album track. I had a look on Youtube, and there it is – the Four Tops “Working My Way Back to You.” Except, when you play it, it patently isn’t … and someone has made the succinct comment – “this is the Spinners, not the Four Tops.”

  169. 169
    Mark G on 6 May 2015 #

    Was just checking up, you all realise we are getting a whole chunk of the year off? There’s no shows for June until the start of August, although there’s an amusing pilot they doubtless won’t screen.

  170. 170
    wichitalineman on 7 May 2015 #

    Re 169: Ooh. What’s the pilot?

    Re BA Robertson: He only co-wrote Wired For Sound and Carrie, the first with Alan Tarney (We Don’t Talk Anymore), the second with Terry Britten (Devil Woman), both of whom were very capable of writing hits all by themselves. So I’d like to think BA helped out with a few bon mots (there are some very iffy, though amusing, lines on WFS), but no more.

    Re Subbuteo: Seriously, if Feargal didn’t “flick to kick”, how did he think you played it? Like blow football? Or push the head down, like Striker? He obviously didn’t read the Mike’s Mini Men strip in Roy Of The Rovers.

  171. 171
    Mark G on 7 May 2015 #

    Well, funny you should mention BA..

    The pilot was made early July, the format change was that the top ten would be shown as excerpted performances or snippets of the song.

    Peter Powell and BA Robertson were the presenters. The majority of the tracks were represented by videos or still pictures, but it looks like Saxon, Thin Lizzy and Leo Sayer , probably, were represented by members of the production staff. Miming, I assume. (I’ve not seen it, although it seems some people have)

  172. 172

    re “flick to kick” — flick for these purposes meant pushing yr fingernail against the surface behind the figure so as to ensure sudden explosive release; you of course were allowed (indeed required) to push the figure as sharply as need be with your finger from any position, but only using the finger’s (or arm’s) own natural motions

    ^^^important stuff i can’t believe i know

  173. 173
    Phil on 7 May 2015 #

    To their eternal credit, Snouds did an actual feature with the Human League advising on different makes of synthesiser, and used the lyric from that song to headline it. It wasn’t the Undertones’ finest hour.

  174. 174
    Andrew Farrell on 7 May 2015 #

    In fairness, the Undertone’s finest hour is probably 20-30 of their songs, MPC would probably make the cut.

  175. 175
    Mark G on 7 May 2015 #

    I would say the first side(s) of the ‘all wrapped up’ double album would be just as great as the Buzzer’s ‘Singles Going Steady’, it was after ‘Its gonna happen’ that they fell away in my Humboldt oPenguin…

  176. 176
    Mark G on 8 May 2015 #

    Steve. Can’t say his surname before the polls close. Anyway, the chart rundown checks out a groove, there’s a lot of it about, and Why don’t we have Smokie back? After all, they are at number fifty! They sleepwalk through a version of “Take good care of my baby” and they don’t ask who’s lousy idea this was because they’re asleep, obviously.

    Whereas Paul McCartney has that rare thing, a hit single that got praise from John Lennon. The wacky video has Paul being Ron Mael, Beatle Paul, Buddy Holly, Ozzy Osbourne, and on drums its … Nilsson! I have to admit, for ages after first seeing this, I wondered who that bloke was singing backup next to Linda..

    And now, a good band, thanks Steve Right now the polls have closed, geddit? The Cure aww they are sooh Young! They do a fair chunk of The Forest, and yep we are in the future, finally. No more Dooleys! No more Smokie (until the longer repeat alright but No More after that), it fades early but The Cure are now hit makers. Ok, the next hit will be a while, but Hey!

    Elvis gets all of his video played thanks to keeping it down to 2 mins 10 secs, jerky dancing and tamla northern soul abounds. I never heard Sam and Dave’s original until last week, but someone said it was a slow number, and I imagined it. Last week I found out I had it exactly right. Wonderful thing, imagination..

    By cheating and looking it up, I have found that Sky and Sad Cafe got edited out. That is a good idea.

    So, lets have a bunch of herberts invade the stage and make up a song on the spur of the moment. “It was the greatest cockney rip off” um, what was? Actually, what is bugging me is the riff the guitar chords play, what tune is it reminding me of? Anyone? I’ll kick myself I know..

    Bobby Thurston at number 26 tells us to check out the groove. Rodney Franklin is at number 27 with The Groove. To check it out, rewind to the chart rundown. Otherwise, check out the Legs and co, more lights on, more legs out, and actually its an actual dance performance. Sue up front. PostcArds to..

    Bad Manners! Too squeaky to be taken too seriously compared to the 2-tone bands (although they did make it to the 2-tone live l.p.) but its alright. I often wondered what the lyrics were during the verse, apparently it was “Gra gra gra” thanks to the subtitles. It reminds me of the Bonzos “Jazz delicious hot disgusting cold” crossed with “Laughing Blues” and then played at 78rpm.

    David Essex repeat, this sort of reminds me of New Order. Try it. “Run” Hooky plays the riff. Vocodery bits. Yeah.

    And here is the guy that means no more co-co because he won. Johnny Logan. Ok, next.

    Blondie are number one, and are represented by some cobbled together bits of film, Legs dancing, and some still photos. Wouldn’t be allowed nowadays.

    And fade to Dexys. Some great stuff, and some middling stuff. Almost a keeper but for Smokie, I would say.

  177. 177
    Mark G on 8 May 2015 #

    Alice was watching the longer repeat with me this morning (the news a bit samey now) and she reckons that Paul is doing Hank Marvin not Buddy, and I think she’s right. Although she says its either him or the tall bloke from Pointless.

    Oh, and in my Elvis Costello bit, I forgot to note that he sang “High Fidelity” this time, and the original I was talking about was “I can’t stand up for falling down” but I forgot to add that before the “Edit” closed.

  178. 178
    Steve Williams on 8 May 2015 #

    #171 Of course you can see bits of that pilot on the documentary that launched this year’s repeats on BBC4, which will presumably be repeated several more times over the next few months.

    The other changes to the format they tried out in the pilot, as well as more videos and the guest presenters, included a bit more chat and music news, as you’ll see when the show returns from the strike in August. The shows for the second half of this year are very strange, actually, some of them only have one or two studio performances but lots of interviews, chat and features, although it all got jettisoned by the end of the year.

    On some forums people are genuinely suggesting they should screen this pilot just because it’s there, but clearly it’s unbroadcastable, not just because the bands are all replaced by members of the crew miming, but also because it was never supposed to be transmitted. I know we lose some for Savile and Travis but there’s no need to scrabble around for anything in the archives to replace them.

  179. 179
    Mark G on 8 May 2015 #

    it was just for interest’s sake. And a unique legs perf for Jim Swede. (my palm pre corrects perf as perv, hem hem)

  180. 180
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 May 2015 #

    It’s Wrighty. Love the show.

    Rodney Franklin over the rundown, grooving his way towards the top ten with a smooth classy piece of light jazz-soul thingy.

    WHAT??!! F’king Smokie back again, is it? Surely we’ve had enough now of this house group. But no, clearly not, and they’re here with an entirely pointless cover of a cheesy old Bobby Vee number. In the name of all that’s holy, get this lot onto the minibus!

    Steve sails dangerously close to Yewtreestrasse with the choice of young girls he’s hanging all over. Anyhoo, here’s an impossibly young-looking Macca with for me, one of his best – “Coming Up”. This was a US #1 and only failed by a whisker to pull the same trick here. Highly amusing little vid too. My vote goes to Buddy over Hank and I initially thought Neil Young was in there but accept now that it was meant to be Ozzy. Excellent stuff all round.

    First out of the traps for the Cure. Massive cult following awaits them in Goth land. Never really for me, to be honest.

    Wrighty, as if he’d been warned, is in the company of noticeably older girls now. “Hello, Mum!” mimes one. Elvis C. Not his finest hour but still quality fare.

    Sky again. Steve predicts that they will make the top ten. Where is the disc now? Number 11. That’s a game punt, Wrighty! It’s excellent stuff by this gang of musicians but it’s also severely up its own arse and then through the other side.

    Sad Cafe. Again. I think we all know where we are with this. It should have gone higher despite the obvious and shameless snatch and grab.

    Cockney Rejects. This rubbish was bound to antagonise a broad cross-section of citizens. As it did me. And I’m a Londoner. But not a cockney. NEVER a Cockney!

    Bobby Thurston. Check out the Gals. The Eternal Mistress leads them on and we appear to be missing Lulu. They’re all in hotpants. Glory be! High kicks and wiggles abound in a mouth-watering display which is also a very hard working routine. Fabulous. That swine Wright then spoils everything by stalking after them. The Gals turn and greet him. Steve then places his arm on EM’s shoulder as the rest of them beam at the camera. Swede goes puce and the cat’s through the flap like Ben Johnson on gear.

    Bad Banners. Impossible to dislike lunacy. Inaugural outing for Buster and the boys. Bouncy Tigger-like fun guaranteed. Beer.

    David Essex still think’s he Barry Sheene.

    Undertones. Again. Lineman asks the very question about Sharkey getting beaten by Kevin at Subbuteo that I had always wondered. How else do you think you played the wretched game? Even assuming that the first match they played had been a hammering due to Feargal “not knowing” the technique, surely he would have wised up for future encounters and yet Kevin “always” beat him. Conclusion? Sharkey was indeed a “cabbage”. Ah, “Mike’s Mini Men” in Roy of the Rovers. Fantasic! As was “Nipper” and especially “Billy’s Boots”, the premise for which was utterly ludicrous. Billy finds a pair of old footy boots belonging to an old great called Dead-Shot Keen. Now, Billy himself is no player but by cracky, when he slaps on the old guy’s boots, he suddenly makes Pele look like Carlton Palmer. If this isn’t mental enough, when the summer brings the cricket season, Billy simply puts on a pair of old cricket boots, also belonging to Keen, which he found at the same time (makes perfect sense) and low and behold…Fucking Don Bradman! Truly wonderful.

    Johhny Logan’s (first) Eurovision winner. He loves you, Ireland. Good going for an Australian. Sweet song and he follows Dana to the top. Wrighty then jumps up:
    “What was the feeling like when you knew you’d won?”
    “Fabulous!” smiles Johnny.
    “Yeah?” inquires Steve.
    “Fabulous!” confirms Johnny, turning around.
    “Great,” mutters Wright, turning back to the camera before adding, “Well, he looks pleased for himself!”
    Logan at first chuckles at this but then leans across with a bit of a close stare just as Wrighty introduces the new number one. Tis…

    Blondie with Call Me. The accompanying video is all over the place. Still shots, movie footage and snatches of the Gals. All very odd but a deserved chart-topper.

    Out to Dexy’s, who are ready to pounce next week.

    Wrighty was a bit of a knob ‘ead this week.

  181. 181
    Lazarus on 8 May 2015 #

    We’ve missed a week’s show, hosted by the tracksuited unmentionable, and we’re still a little behind – this one went out in mid-April. But yes there’ll be a big midsummer break in which to close the gap.

    Steve Wright is this week’s helmsman. Smokie, and one can only repeat … why? Thankfully this was their last chart entry apart from a 1988 aberration with ‘Chubby’ Brown. I don’t think we’ll get to see that somehow.

    Paul McCartney – oft-shown, well-remembered video, lead-off single from ‘McCartney 2.’ Ginger Baker on drums isn’t it? Good single, and I agree it’s probably Hank not Buddy.

    The Cure – I always liked this one. Their first appearance, long before Rob Newman and the Mary Whitehouse Experience got hold of them. If I’d been watching with the sound down I don’t think I’d have recognised young Robert Smith.

    Elvis – second single from the wonderful ‘Get Happy.’ Surprising choice. The LP has 20 tracks but most of them are very short, like this just running to two minutes. Future Nick Hornby book title of course, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he’s a bit of a fan.

    Cockney Rejects – just rubbish. They’re a poor man’s Sham 69 really. Punk’s not dead, it just smells funny. Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I pay £4.50 a pint.

    Bobby Thurston/Legs – as I guessed it wasn’t the groove that Sweders was checking out here. After the dark-lit routines which caused so much complaint, more sauce from the Legs. The camera homes in one minute on Rosie’s perfectly formed buttocks, the next on Gill’s crotch. At least be subtle about it, director.

    Bad Manners – comedy ska from one Doug Trendle and co. This one boomeranged around the lower half of the Top 40 for something like two months. Bigger hits await.

    David Essex – the close up shots of the guys in helmets put me in mind of the Six Million Dollar Man for some reason. Has anyone seen this film? I suspect it gets about as many showings as the Bee Gees’ ‘Sergeant Pepper.’

    Johnny Logan – likeable Euro winner, the only one I’ve ever bought on 45. Sounds a bit different from the record, live vocal perhaps? The Maggie Stredder singers are much in evidence too. And yes the interview was a classic.

    Blondie – numero uno. Pity they didn’t do a proper video, but this was from ‘American Gigolo’ of course. Strange to see the Legs in there too. A bit of a hotchpotch, but a good record.

    Dexy’s see us out. In a year of fast-changing chart-toppers, they’re next in line.

    Goodbye to Wrighty and his stripey blazer. Love the show, Steve!

  182. 182
    Snif on 9 May 2015 #

    Macca as Hank or Buddy? I thought it was Bernard Hedges.

  183. 183
    wichitalineman on 9 May 2015 #

    I thought it was Richard Osman.

  184. 184
    Mark G on 9 May 2015 #

    So, that’s three for Hank, two for Buddy, one for Bernard Hedges and two for Richard Osman if I allow our Alice two votes..

    Is it cheating to tell you what Paul said in interview, on Wikip?

  185. 185
    Paulito on 10 May 2015 #

    Without looking at Wiki, I say it’s gotta be Buddy – he was one of Macca’s main musical heroes after all.

    I doubt the long-haired guitarist is meant to be Ozzy Osbourne, given that he was never known for playing guitar. Could possibly be Ritchie Blackmore, or perhaps just a generic rocker type. And I’ve no idea who – if anyone – the drummer is meant to be, but I wouldn’t have thought it was Ginger Baker.

    It’s a great video, especially by the standards of the time – very professionally done.

  186. 186
    Lazarus on 10 May 2015 #

    Two (slightly) interesting points about ‘Coming Up’ and apologies if they’ve, er, come up on other threads: the flip side, the same song recorded live at Glasgow and credited to ‘Paul McCartney & Wings’ went to number one in the States, and in the week the video was on TOTP the single had climbed from 62 to 7 – I believe at that time it was the biggest jump within the Top 75, though I’m sure that’s been surpassed.

  187. 187
    Mark G on 10 May 2015 #

    Righto, the correct answers are 1: Hank Marvin, 2) Ron Mael, 3) Beatle Paul, 4) Miscellaneous unspecific comedy personas.

  188. 188
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 May 2015 #

    It’s TV on TV. Tommy Vance was an interesting character and already an impossibly ancient 39 at the time of recording this. Check out his Wiki entry if for nothing else his truly alarming real name. I remember being annoyed by his mid-Atlantic accent back in the day, assuming that it was an affectation. Actually it wasn’t. He had worked in Seattle in the 60s but had also been one of the original Radio One line-up. I personally came across Tommy in the mid-eighties when I saw a gig at Brixton Academy (Mari Wilson and the Wilsations) and he was the MoS. His fame was more than enough to attract the ladies.

    Neon Leon over the rundown. It’s to be a good show tonight.

    New Musik to open. The front man reminded me of someone… I know who it is now. The recently departed Keith Harris. I really liked “World of Water” right down to it’s aqua sound effects. A tidy little piece of pop this. And then they cut it.

    Narada Michael Walden – US footage of what alarmingly looks to be a segregated dance hall. Surely not. This peaks at number eight and NMW returns to pull exactly the same trick later on in the decade.

    TV is sat next to four good girls. Legs firmly closed. Here are the Chords. Pressie-bound non-entities. Narcissistic frontman looks a bit like Simon Dee. He watches himself on camera. Simon did that too.

    Gals do Rodney Franklin’s Groove. Right, let’s nail this straight away. This is without question one of the sexiest routines they’ve ever done. They’re in night garb. It begins immediately with the Eternal Mistress looking straight at us before the camera draws back to reveal Patti stretched out on the largest pink chaise longue you ever saw. She effects a yawn, indicating that she has just woken up and then sits up to give us a willowy look. Lulu then rises from behind the sofa and then crawls along its length before flopping down on her front. The next phase of the music sees Rosie popping up also from behind the sofa with her special Rosie beam and then Pauline and Gill appear on either side. They bounce up and down on their knees and then topple onto the sofa in a gorgeous heap. The first three then take over again whilst the others watch before Rosie rushes up to join them. Pauline then dances across the sofa to greet Gill. The four dancers roll across the carpeted floor then sit. Next a solo routine from Gill who has jumped up. The others disappear again behind the sofa, whilst Gill sits on it. We finish with the clapping of hands from the others from behind the seat.
    A serious danger zone performance for the Swede. But joking apart, this had everything from the animal sex appeal to the hardworking quality of the routine. Plus Franklin’s music is excellent. I’d be surprised if the Gals ever topped this. And that was one breakfast I would have given my life to have been invited to.

    Whitesnake – Fool for your Loving. “Out of Time” style bloke-dumps-bird song. Little wrong with this as Coverdale wards off the ages as well as the minibus.

    Jimmy Ruffin. What does this remind me of? Oh, yes, “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens. A good career behind him when he popped up with this pleasant top-tenner. He had re-located to the UK and is still here. Guess where?

    Vance tends to mumble. Here comes Saxon with Wheels of Steel. Seen this already. Pretty pedestrian really. But they’ll do better.

    Tommy is surrounded by a group of black girls to introduce Hot Chocolate. Well meaning probably but from today’s viewpoint it looks a tad clumsy. The whole point of the wonderful Chocs is that they were a mixed race band and were always anxious to promote this. Anyway, here we have dear old Errol and his flying saucer song. Whether or not you ever bought his story, this was one of their best from their fabulous catalogue. Great shame it just missed the top. But now what’s this…

    …the Chocs are brutally cut off in their prime and on storm Motorhead with “Leaving Here” from their EP. This top tens and the Swede helped it. Hired headbangers at the front. Fabulous but not for the girls. Like Tonka toys.

    Following Lemmy we get the Nolans. This may well have been the occasion when one of the sisters was chatting with him and something was dropped. The sister kneeled down and picked it up and then looked up at the fearsome Motorhead frontman: “Anything I can do for you while I’m down here?” she smiled. Don’t make waves? I don’t think we will!

    The Beat. Mirror in the Bathroom. Wonderful. And this rightly goes big.

    Kate Bush. Breathing. Achingly sexy and bonkers in equal measure. God she was desirable. And brilliant.

    Dexy’s deserve to be number one mutters Vance. And he’s probably right. They seem to have lost about ten band members.

    Out to Johnny Logan. Oh yes, it’s Eurovision tonight. Have a good one, Popular Pals.

  189. 189
    Lazarus on 24 May 2015 #

    It’s Tommy Vance! with his name up in lights. And yes, his real monicker was a handful. Funny how he got his name, he replaced a DJ who failed to turn up and for whom the jingles had already been recorded! Leon Haywood, one of several US soul and dance acts in the chart, over the 30.

    New Musik – still in their white suits. With watery effects. A poor man’s Buggles maybe, but this sort of thing was right up my street in those days, and still sounds good to me now.

    Narada Michael Walden – he’d crept into the chart earlier in the year, but this was the biz. Never knew he was a drummer. He’s sporting a ‘receding afro’ Art Garfunkel-style. Lots of yellow and red in the band’s outfits. The sax makes this. Well cut.

    Chords – not for me I’m afraid. Better than their previous effort, but something’s missing all right. Seems like they’re trying to sound like the Jam of ’77, but it’s the Eighties now lads.

    Rodney Franklin/Legs – unusual and appealing routine, can’t add to what Jimmy has put really. Plenty of leg on show certainly. And nice to see Gill, a vision in brown, getting plenty of solo time.

    Whitesnake – TV would have enjoyed this one of course. And you can’t help but fall for a song that begins “I was born under a bad sign.” Never been much of a metal man myself, but this does it for me – you could imagine Bad Company, say, doing it a few years earlier.

    Jimmy Ruffin – so this is what became of him, he went to meet his maker a year or two back actually. This comeback hit was written by the Gibbs and when you know that you can hear it. Good stuff.

    Saxon – the singer was called Biff Byford, wasn’t he. Not much of a song, they’d go on to do better.

    Hot Chocolate – the late Errol Brown and company with one of their best. No-one could accuse them of sticking to a formula, certainly. Another one cut.

    Motorhead – metal heaven for Tommy tonight. Have to say I don’t remember this. It was the cover of a minor 60s hit for the Birds (with an ‘i’ ) I believe. From an EP perhaps?

    Nolans – again, one of their lesser remembered numbers. There seem to be quite a number of deceased persons on the show tonight, including the presenter of course. Although Lemmy, like Keef and Shane M, has somehow managed to stay the course.

    The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom, probably their best known song, and the one which provided the title of their debut album I Just Can’t Stop It. Still sounds vital and fresh now. No doubt they’re treading the comeback trail somewhere, as so many early-eighties bands seem to be doing these days.

    Kate Bush – in a word, spellbinding. I always loved this one. But bigger hits await later in the year.

    Dexy’s – invade the stage eight strong. Yes a well deserved number one. Simply like nothing else that was around at the time. Did Mr Washington benefit from their tribute I wonder?

    Eurovision winner and soon-to-be number one Johnny songs us out. Tommy had a good show tonight I thought. Not sure he got to do it very often though. Laters!

  190. 190
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 May 2015 #

    Whoops! Sorry about Jimmy Ruffin. But he’s probably better off where he is now than where the Swede thought he was!

  191. 191
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 May 2015 #


    I must admit that my vote went to the Italian opera entry, which rightly brought the house down at the end there. Nevertheless, both Erithian and I had agreed that Sweden would win before the votes were cast. My own fondness for the Russian offering was based entirely on the ridiculously beautiful singer rather than the “we’re not so bad really” content of the song. Meanwhile, it was a spirited effort from our pleasant pair but they never had an earthly chance of winning and would have been met by a minibus at the airport on their return. Finally I would also suggest that it’s cheery-bye to Fraulein Wurst too. Two massive nights for her but now it’s over and life goes on.

  192. 192
    Lazarus on 25 May 2015 #

    I imagine Austria must be the first host country to not get a single point themselves, I wonder what the reaction there and in Germany has been? It seems that the countries that bankroll the thing – along with the hosts of course – France, Germany and the UK – get ignored points-wise because they know we’ll all be back again next year, picking up the tab. Thanks are due to San Marino anyway for their gift of three points – they probably see us as plucky underdogs.

  193. 193
    Mark G on 25 May 2015 #

    As our Alice said, and so did my sister, independently: Because the UK’s entry is not in the semi-final, the voting countries do not get familiarised to the song. When they hear it in the final, it is for the first time and the songs that have won though in the semi final have that as an advantage.

    Anyway, I shall post my Tommy Vance review later, 1980 fans..

  194. 194
    Phil on 26 May 2015 #

    Italy did all right, though, and the first time anyone heard that number was right at the end of the night. Not to mention Australia. But yes, France, Britain, Germany and Austria were all propping up the left-hand column, and I don’t think Spain was far away. Would it have been even worse not to get through the semis, though? Because I don’t think France, Britain or Austria would have done, and I’m not at all sure about the other two.

  195. 195
    Andrew Farrell on 26 May 2015 #

    I’m not certain how many people spend two hours on a Tuesday or Thursday evening watching the semis anyway, compared with the main event.

    Also the idea that repeated familiarity with Electro Velvet would breed fondness doesn’t really match my experience, or indeed that of anyone else I know in that situation.

  196. 196
    Tom on 26 May 2015 #

    I suspect the semis have an effect on people who watch the semis, but I dunno how many that is. The proportion of voters who watch the semis, rather than the overall viewers, is the important bit though.

    The main effect of the semis has been to turn Eurovision on the Internet from a night’s enjoyment into a week-long chore, he says curmudgeonlyly.

  197. 197
    Mark G on 26 May 2015 #

    I suppose it comes down to how many people watch the semis in countries other than Britain.

    I’m fairly sure ‘Come Back (if you love me)’ was the last time we got a respectable placing (third), so basically the magic formula is:
    1) a decent song without gimmicks or overt styling, and
    2) someone singing aged less than 30 (or, indeed, fifty).

  198. 198
    Mark G on 27 May 2015 #

    Tommy Vance was a late night DJ dude for Capital Radio before moving to Radio 1, his musical style of preference was mostly the soft-soul-rock you might expect: I’m told he used to play a lot of Gino Vanelli (who has one actual hit here to his name, don’t think it’s happened yet in our little parallel universe). It’s funny, TVance moving over and becoming the face of the new “Rock” which is what he is now remembered for, but of course he was (as was John Peel), a professional DJ presenter person. So, as John Peel would present a “Beatles Special” on his radio show back in 1975 or thereabouts, with all the enthusiasm you would not expect him to have given his comments about them during the punk years, and just like Tony Blackburn presenting Generation X on this show, keeping his personal loathing well hidden, it’s hard to know where Tommy’s real heart was at. Still, it’s not exactly important as long as he’s faithful to the job: Sincerity is a daft thing to accuse a DJ of having (or lacking), all you can ask for is a lack of cynisism. Which is why I never liked Mike Smith. But god rest his soul anyway. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the chart rundown..

    Let’s push it and force it into the New Musik. Sorry, still can’t enjoy this, it’s fakey new-wave stylings, the front man looks like Mike Bat. And they’re dressed for Prestatyn already.

    Narada Michael Waldren started as a jazz drummer, and oh look he still is one. It’s OK disco and the double-necked guitar is wasted on not having the 12 string part used at all.

    The Chords next, isn’t it? Well, their best single wasn’t a big enough hit, so what now? Issue another one and then re-release the first one? OK, this is the 2nd one that nobody remembers, it’s trying to be The Jam but only manages to be Bruce Foxtonish. And Tommy managed to forget the title on his intro as well, “and it’s called… well here it is! (do you think anyone noticed?)”

    OK, it’s The Groove, and Legs and co roll around on settees with skimpies on, and also do a lot of actual dancing as well, yes it’s all .. too much? I mean, Tommy wishes it was his living room and all that, but I dunno. Anyway, moving on.

    Whitesnake do that one that is the record that gets played when Whitesnake gets played on the radio nowadays. The sort of song the band get sick of but it pays for the mansion and gets them back on the bill at festivals and so on.

    Jimmy Ruffin does an easy paced soul number in the Northern Soul idiom, but it’s death by BBC orchestra and the “Maggie Streddor Singers” right? But he fights against it and almost wins through.

    Tommy gives it some for introducing Saxon’s Wheels of Steel, it’s very ACDC, and I very much doubt he has a 68 chevvy for real, with or without the pipes. He cruises down the freeway. If you see him coming get out of the way. It’s good advice that, it means you are walking down a freeway, and that’s never a good idea.

    Hot Chocolate have a space epic here, “I swear that it’s true” Errol sings with a visible cross of the fingers.

    Motorhead never seem to get decent sound when they’re on, but this is certainly closer than usual. I managed to get this when it got re-issued by Stiff Records sort of: It failed to appear when Stiff signed a distribution deal with Island records, but came out as part of a box set of singles, and both sides came out on Stiff various artist comps earlier. Still, it’s heavy metal with anti-sexist sensibilities, and it works.

    Tommy with a line-up of girls that could be the Nolans, but they’re not because they are up next. Don’t Make Waves. It’s not a close relative of Faust’s “Don’t Take Roots” ..

    But The Beat have Mirror in the bathroom, and suddenly there is a decent record on! So far its only been Motorhead, and the disco tracks. This show is not a keeper, is it? No.

    Kim, Linda and Sharon get immortilised, thanks to names on their jackets. Kate Bush gets to perform from inside a zorbin’ ball it looks like. Breathing. Show has suddenly got better.

    But it’s too late, Dexys’ do their best performance of “Geno” which involves stomping on and chucking towels off the equipment while the track begins. “Just look at me as I’m looking down at you” he sings while looking up. It’s taken a long time to hit the top, it seems like months since I did that “I’m taller than you” joke.

    So, we fade out to some Johnny Logan now he has won eurovision, and this is where we started, didn’t we?

    Well, things surely will improve, wont they?

  199. 199
    Lazarus on 28 May 2015 #

    Peter Powell will be hosting this evening’s instalment, and I know what’s coming up – all I can say is, I hope Jimmy has the nurse and the defibrillator on standby.

  200. 200
    Mark G on 28 May 2015 #

    It’s Peter Powell, yes. And some more smooth Jazz-soul thanks to Mystik Merlin, it’s really happening for that genre right now, isn’t it ?

    And so we move into The Future! But no, this lot are past The Future, and they are into the past, i.e. Gary Glitter! OK, let’s explain, they used to be called “The Future”, and now they are The Human League, who have finished helping Kevins Mum to pop in and do the lead track from the shorter version of the “Holiday 80” ep, which used to be “Marianne”, and now it’s “Rock and Roll (not part two)”, and some time later it will be “Being Boiled” remake.

    Next? Ah, Prelude! Weird one this, it’s been hovering around the lower parts of the chart for a couple of weeks, you might recognise the name as they had a big hit with “After The Goldrush”. And I’d not heard this anywhere before, and I’ve not heard it again since until today. Basically (spoiler) a father shoots dead his daughter at a burlesque show because he is so disgusted with her and how she’s ended up, but unknown to him she’s posted a letter wanting to be rescued from it all. Usually, these sorts of story-songs become huge hits, but not this one. Why? Because it’s failed to make the story with anything resembling empathy. Murder Ballads? This lot look too “Daily Mail” to pull it off, they need to look more gothic, but I even doubt Nick Cave could have pulled this particular story off, even if he’d added drugs and prost to the mix.

    Anyway, onwards to Michael Jackson being sincere, hey if you can fake that you can fake anything.

    Matchbox are Midnight Dynamos. Oh good. Next please.

    Legs and co are dressed even more skimpy than usual, someone must have been having words or something, but it’s more dancing than bending over this week. I’m not sure what this has to do with the Average White Band doing “Let’s go round again”. It’s not the Prelude singer in the middle there, anyway…

    I have no idea who said “You’ll always find me in the kitchen at midnight” Peter, but here’s Jona Lewie with Kirsty McColl and oh I recognise the other singer too but I can’t put my finger on it so boo. Go on, Bette Bright is it?. Maybe, anyone?

    And now we have The Ruts, who have had a lot of their performances introblocked by being on shows involving JimSav or DLT, but today they get one of their biggest singles shown thanks to this repeat performance. They could have been one of those acts that had some longevity, but it wasn’t to be…

    And now we have Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. They’re going to have to make that name shorter aren’t they? Then again, don’t we all have fond memories of that local news story about the “Four Kestrels Manoeuvre In The Park” don’t we? Andy Mac is overemoting though, but it’s fine stuff and the future is here again…

    Peter’s intros are very ‘inserty’ today, what can you do? Well, here’s Dexy’s with the same performance as last time, and it’s still great of course.

    We fade with (not much) Hot Chocolate. Boy, this was very truncated wasn’t it? Or did it just seem that way…

  201. 201
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 May 2015 #

    As told by slim-line, crew-cut Peter Powell. And Lazarus gave Swede fair warning…

    Mystik Merlin over rundown. Yes, there was plenty of this stuff around back then. More to the good, say I.

    Human League on debut. Glitter revival. Part One. Kids are clapping. No girls in League yet.

    Johnny Logan – Ready to pounce. This time he is able to warble through mit Maggies without the fear of Wrighty taking the piss when he’s done.

    Prelude – Surprising return from this Folkie outfit a full six years after they scored with an acapella offering of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush”. They have instruments this time. But what an odd-looking lot, particularly the keybaord guy. One of the singers looks like an old grizzled pub quiz presenter and the girl reminds me of Harriet Harman, which probably simply shows how ill I am. It is a story song about an ill-starred girl who runs off with the wrong mob and is then shot dead by her father, who is unaware that she has had second thoughts. Oho! That will teach her! Perhaps next time she’ll… Ah.

    Micheal Jackson is out on his own and Pete thinks he has potential. Potential? Okay, right. This was another track from “Off the Wall”, mate. Anyhoo, the poor lad’s been dumped and heaven knows he’s miserable now. That’s Michael not Pete. Snivelling little prat.

    Matchbox back again. Tragic old blokes doing more rockabilly retro for no sensible reason at all. They’re hitting the town tonight in their pratmobile. Oh really? They’ve got to break out of the camp first.

    “I’d be surprised if the Gals ever topped this,” Swede assured you when reviewing their long pink sofa routine from last week.. But I was badly wrong. Peter tells us he’s “never seen them so scantilly dressed. A real treat.” And so it proves. Eternal Mistress is simply in bra and panties. Ditto Gill. The others are all in one piece cozzies. They are grooving to “Lets’s go round Again” from AWB, which is fabulous but quite frankly it could have been anything. Apart from the near porn value of this, it is a brilliantly worked dance sequence, as they spin around, eyes always on camera. Pete nods approval at the end; “Yeah, let’s go round again!” he drools. Swede can’t argue with this. No he really CAN’T argue with this as he is secured in a high-speed white van with sirens and a red cross on the side. Plenty of tucker and water left in house for cat. The medics are old hands with the drill by now.

    Powell fluffs the next song title when introducing Jona Lewie (aka Terry Dactyl). Strange little song about an awkward bloke who is too shy to chat up girls at parties. Kirsty McColl and the other serious looking backing singer don’t exactly seem sympathetic to the poor bastard. I most certainly was. Luckily Jona finally cracks it and pulls. Well done! And when we return to Pete, he cleverly amends his boob. Lewie of course returns at the end of the year to provide us with a fabulous and eternally beloved Christmas song.

    Cockney Rejects. Risible.

    Boney M – Their friend Jack eats sugar lumps. Well, this lot have reached the fag end now and this shows why.

    Ruts – Staring at the Rude Boys. Nothing much wrong with this. Alas, they’re now staring at the crazy golf course.

    OMD. That’s shorter, isn’t it? “This is going to be a smash!” pronounces Peter. Well, not quite but a major 80s act has landed. Never Swede fodder, obv. Electric? UGH!

    Undertones. AGAIN?! Vote Kevin for aspiration!

    Dexy’s pile on again at the top.

    Out to Chocs. Sorry, Errol. Fabulous record but we still don’t believe you.

    Peter Powell is hard to dislike, to be fair.

  202. 202
    Lazarus on 1 Jun 2015 #

    Peter Powell is tonight’s helmsman. Mystic Merlin over the chart – don’t know where they got ‘mistik’ from. I’ve got the single.

    Human League – interesting to see them pre-Joanne and Suzanne, of course, but this is rather pointless. How much better it would have been to have them do ‘Empire State Human.’ Not the last hit to borrow Glitter’s tune, of course.

    Prelude – I remember it well, it got a fair bit of airplay, and I got the 45 many years later. A bit of a Smokie vibe to this I suppose. Would be a good candidate for Graham Norton’s ‘tune with a tale’ feature on his Saturday R2 show. He’s had the odd death ballad on there before – remember ‘Rocky?’

    Michael Jackson – tear jerker whch really ought to have been the final 45 release from ‘Off the Wall.’ But Epic couldn’t resist milking the cash cow one more time and brought out the McCartney-penned ‘Girlfriend’ in the summer; it fell short of the Top 40 IIRC. Written by Tom Bahler, who’s a new name to me.

    Matchbox – I quite enjoyed this actually. They somehow bridged the gap between Showaddywaddy and the Stray Cats. Strong melody, had me tapping my feet anyway.

    Average White Band/Legs – as you may have twigged I’ve known about this performance for a while. I first found it more than a year ago, and guessed it might find favour with the Swede – don’t ask me why, I just had a hunch … appears to be recorded on VT, which was probably a sensible precaution especially if they didn’t know who the presenter was going to be. But PP’s a safe pair of hands.

    Jona Lewie – with Stiff label-mate Kirsty, can’t help with the other girl I’m afraid. Bette Bright’s husband Suggs was signed to Stiff by this time so it could be her I suppose. Likeable novelty from the one-time John Lewis. Yes Terry Dactyl, good spot.

    Ruts – at last they make it onto the repeats. Good effort this, I liked it a lot at the time. But singer Malcolm Owen would succumb to a heroin overdose before the year was out. They tried to carry on (as Ruts DC) but couldn’t do an AC/DC.

    OMD – as everyone would soon come to know them. First single ‘Electricity’ missed out but this went Top 20, although it was a long way down the chart at the time, at 53 (Jona was at 73 and Matchbox 67, the Beeb were taking a few punts this week).

    Dexy’s grab a second week at number one while the Aussie-born Irishman waits his turn.

    Out to Hot Chocolate – what a pity they couldn’t have had them and UFO on in the same week.

    Next week is Yewtreed, being a DLT presentation; it means we miss, among other delights, the Four Bucketeers, aka the cast of Tiswas. I’m posting it here, so that the Swede can get his Sally James fix. Toodle-oo!


  203. 203
    Mark G on 5 Jun 2015 #

    Mike Read in flashy blazer, and a chart rundown with added echo effect, and a brief “Funky Town” by Lipps Inc (geddit?) into..

    The Lambrettas have to follow up the cover version, and are the latest Bruce Foxton Jam. (short for: Want to be like The Jam, can do the music reasonably well, but the song is making that bit extra that Weller has), but you knew that right?

    Jackson / Life / ff->

    UK subs are up to B in the album series (actually, they have just issued album Y and no doubt are planning something super-special for Z), but right now they are still in their hit phase (more hits than you think) and Teenage is one of their memorable ones.

    Jona is back, not actually in a kitchen this time, and no Kirsty either. Two different girls it seems, possibly the actual singers from the single.

    Karel Fialka, seems like a Steve Harley hang-over art-popper goes a bit new wavey. This one got lots of airplay but was it a hit? He has a bigger hit eventually but. It’s ok I guess.

    Audience member shows sudden enthusiasm next to Mike for the next song, watch out you that’s frowned on isn’t it? Terry looks all Preston but it’s a double booking for their rehearsal in the same room as the Geography A level exam oh no. At least one of the exminees is distracted by the lyrics.

    Cockney Rejects ride their luck with West Ham football song. Only two weeks after their last single was on? Destined for swift exit, and employment at Prestatyn. As baggage attendants.

    Gary Numan sings about disasociation with “We are glass”, with lots of smashing things. Strange, that in a fairly long time, he gets diagnosed as Aspergers and it will make sense to him.

    And now, something happens! Junior Muffin finally gets a hit with “Police and Thieves”and we can all see what The Clash did to it. The girls behind seem to be enjoying it which is good. Jnr gives it plenty too. Great stuff.

    Average White Band get to sing the song this time, sorry JimSwede. Not the most ennervated performance I have to say. Even Television rocked out more than this.

    Legs and co go all misty and raggy for “Suicide is painless”. Oddest song ever? The girls do well, anyway.

    Here are Matchbox again, I trust this got cut out the edited version.

    And Johnny Logan gets the number one, so he does. Umm, yeah ok.

    And fade out to Lets get serious, which was definitely todays theme, Cockney Rejects apart. Ok, Junior Murvin and The Specials apart its been fairly dull but nothing bad. Will Kid make it better next time?

  204. 204
    Mark G on 7 Jun 2015 #

    Blimey, Sunday afternoon and no further comments, where is everyone? Anyway, just popped in to say at our local car boot, an actual gold disk presented to GTO records for immense sales of the l.p. By…(yep) for £25

    Did not purchase.

  205. 205
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Jun 2015 #

    Mike Read is dressed for boating.

    Funky Town over the titles. This quite rightly will be enormous both here and in US.

    Lambrettas – Jam Lite on their second offering. One more minor hit in 1980 and then the Pressie Gang come for them.

    Micheal Jackson is heading for the top insists Read, except he isn’t. It’s true to say that Jacko puts everything into this but I’m afraid that I can’t help being reminded of “Halfway Up The Stairs”.

    UK SUBS – Not a lot wrong with this lively rant. It’s the the fifth of seven minor hits before they too are dragged off to the Irish Sea coast.

    Jona Lewie, the party pooper again. I love the way he ryhmes “rebuffed” with “washing up”. The girl singers are far more friendly towards Jona this time and he appears to get off with the one in green. Well done, son. Just one thing, though; he may well have done his time in the kitchen at parties, but he certainly hasn’t done his time in the other place. He’ll deliver that magical Christmas song before they come for him.

    Karel Fialka – I’m very suprised that this bombed, since I know it so well. It’s very good and has something rather Dylanesque about it. Karel comes back seven years later and hits top ten. Pressie the noo.

    A young pretty loves her second in the limelight standing next to Mike. She displays a joyous leap as the more restrained lambkin on the other side blows a kiss. On come the Specials with Rat Race. They’re major players by now and this was as good as it got. Fantastic. Also great vid featuring exam-taking students at desks, rodents in mazes (mice rather than rats, I think) and a cane-wielding teacher. One of the hightlights of the 1980 series so far.

    And then we get this puerile rubbish. The Cockney Rejects (also firmly rejected by Camp) celebrate West Ham, as a second division side, beating Arsenal 1-0 in the Cup Final. Chelsea-supporting Swede was celebrating too, this because I stuck a quid on the correct score at 10-1. That was a nice little tickle back then. I collected my reddies from the Ladbrokes tent at Lords, where I was watching my beloved Surrey being stuffed by Middlesex in a Benson and Hedges zonal game. Boo! Worse was to come at the end of the season when the sods thumped us again in the Gillette Cup Final. More Boo!

    Gary Numan – By now this bloke was a major Swede irritant. Some would call it a unique style. I would call it the same song being churned out time and again. Obviously the knob’ead wasn’t alone in being guilty of this.

    Junior Murvin with “Police and Thieves”. An absolute treat. Actually recorded four years earlier with Boris Gardner on bass and the perennial Sly Sunbar on drums. Twas Sly, of course, who was on the skins for Dave and Ansel Collins on “Double Barrel”, the Swede’s first love. The Clash recorded it, clearly as a tribute but Murvin was not impressed and considered it an “insult to Jah”. All this co-incided with when it really kicked off in Brixton the following summer and I’m afraid I was caught up right in the middle of it in my Stockwell high-rise. Babylon burning indeed. And we alas lost Junior at the end of last year.

    Average White Band – On stage this time. Excellent even without semi-naked Gals. Stateside sound done brilliantly by Scots. Deseved to go much higher. I bet the nine year-old Nicola Sturgeon loved it.

    Theme from MASH. Oddest number one of the year. Suicide – “I can take or leave it if I please”. Hmmm. I’m sure it was friend Edmonds who got CBS to release this ten years after the movie. Anyhoo, instead of footage of the 4077th, we inexplicably get the Gals spinning around serenely, clearly as vexed as we all are. The Korean mountains give the producers the excuse to bring the smoke back but here the Swede does not protest, having been spoiled rotten with the last two offerings. Sensing my calm, the cat jumps up for a nuzzle.

    Matchbox – Back like a bad smell. Please take these ageing no-marks out of their pratmobile, plonk them back in the minibus and don’t let them get out again. Thank you.

    Know-all Read just can’t resist giving us the Eurovsion Winners/UK number one stats. His buddy Cliff is not mentioned, of course, because of Franco doing his Sepp Blatter bit back in ’68. Anyhoo, this is all a cue for the gentle Aussie boy who loves Ireland. The SAS storming the Iranian Embassy, clashing with the Thorburn v Higgins snooker final must have been round about now.

    Out to Jermain Jackson. Lets’s Get Serious. Yes, let’s.

    Specials, Junior and AWB the clear highlights tonight. And the leaping young girl.

  206. 206
    Lazarus on 7 Jun 2015 #

    Not bothering with the extended version at the moment – the extra songs seem to be mainly repeats, but if I spot something interesting I can always catch it on iPlayer or Catch Up. Mike Read is our stripey-blazered host – Lipps Inc over the chart. Transatlantic number one, and in 26 other countries besides! Cynthia Johnson was the vocalist in this classic one-hit wonder.

    Lambrettas – on yer scooters lads, it’s a long ride to North Wales …

    Micheal Jackson – repeat. I watched this with my 23-year-old daughter and she didn’t know the song, which perhaps suggests how much radio has neglected it over the years. I like the song, but I have to be in a certain mood to appreciate it.

    By the way, I reckon everyone called Michael gets used at some point to people spelling their name ‘Micheal.’ the ‘ae’ combination seems to throw some people, which may be why you don’t tend to get kids called ‘Aethelred’ any more.

    UK Subs – the song’s called Teenage, though ancient frontman Charlie Harper is drawing on his memory there. Made Ian Dury look like a promising youngster. Not sure what the good folk of Prestatyn are going to make of this lot to be honest.

    Jona Lewie – the video this time, it appears. No Kirsty, was she not on the record then? Yes he does appear to cop off with the one in green at the end – lovely smile – but if you look she seems to try to come in too soon for her last chorus. Not sure that dance will catch on either.

    Karel Fialka – British, despite the name – and yes he’ll have a much bigger hit a few years later. I’d completely forgotten this, but remember it now. Another from the M/Buggles school.

    Specials – they were peaking just around now, weren’t they. Good song, but a tad patronising. We may not all enjoy our jobs, but some of us find ‘working for the rat race’ preferable to starving – we can’t all be pop singers on the Top of the Pops, after all.

    MASH/Legs – strange, strange song and routine – all under-lit in pink and grey. Quite haunting in a way, although Rosie can’t resist giving her trademark cheesy grin. The oddest number one of the year, by far.

    Matchbox – repeat, third time on for them – not bad for one that only got to number 14. A couple more hits for them before the minibus comes calling.

    Johnny Logan – douze points for the Euro winner. And we’ll be hearing from him again in ’87 as well.

    Jermaine Jackson – many years before he went on CBB and married his brother’s ex-wife. The last Jackson brother on Motown – for now.

    Read did his usual competent job.

  207. 207
    Lazarus on 7 Jun 2015 #

    Ha, just noticed I fell into my own misprint trap there. Did take me three attempts to post that lot though, don’t know why, kept losing the page. And where is Speedwell?

  208. 208
    punctum on 8 Jun 2015 #

    This Week’s Not Many People Know This Department:

    Tom Bahler was one of the singers in “The Mash” and also wrote “She’s Out Of My Life.”

  209. 209
    wichitalineman on 13 Jun 2015 #

    Kid introduces Roberta Flack and the late (already) Donny Hathaway. Dark lighting and touchable sense of mortality mark TOTP 1980 for me.

    But then there’s always Brackley, Northants, funsters Liquid Gold! Soundalike follow-up, but a lot less ear-scratchingly irritating than Dance Yourself Dizzy.

    Hot Choc – never got why this was so big. There’s no bloody punchline! What can they be? No illusion? No doubt about what, exactly? Sorry Errol. It’s no Mindless Boogie/Put Your Love In Me/et cet.

    Elton J looking healthier than the last time we saw him on Part Time Love. I like the way the electronic crickets come in for the 2nd verse. “I want you to be my acrobat” he suggests, saucily. Sweet song, a much bigger hit in the States if I remember.

    Gals cover their top halves up this time and look like they’re having a lot of fun with Crown Heights Affair’s You Gave My Love. So joyous, I love this record.

    Mood swings! Don McLean’s Crying, the first version of the song I ever heard, so I’ve always found Roy Orbison’s a little rushed ever since – go on, shoot me. I’ve got a lot more time for Don than Tom, but who hasn’t? Still no idea how it was a number one.

    Thin Lizzy obviously had a lot less fun than the Move in Chinatown. “There are people there, they are so obscene” they claim. They look tired, and I don’t believe them.

    Roxy Music’s Over You is so subtle, so little happening (until that “ooh hoo” chord change), so oddly dark, so wonderful, and they’d take the refining of this sound one step further in 1982. Extraordinary!

    Jermaine J is not really singing “In my mind you have taken up polemic space” is he? But that’s how I’ve always heard it. Another great single with a thunking, late disco 4/4 beat, one of the strongest 1980 sounds. I’m liking JJ’s preppy look.

    SLF – urgh, clear your throat son. Less fun than the Cockney Rejects, with worse haircuts, and way less catchy. So what was the point? History seems to have forgotten them.

    The Mash, plus zombie Gals loking awkward – good spot from Punctum there re Tom Bahler. I don’t have a clue who they were, and I feel I should (the New Marketts at one point, I think… meaning a new version of a surf instrumental group, so that’s less than helpful). Odd lack of harmonies til the 2nd chorus. Otherwise, it’s a gorgeous tune (there’s a great Norrie Paramor instrumental version) with very peculiar, very 1980 lyrics. The Earth Dies Screaming is still to come.

    Kid’s “final Radio 1 show”? That’s confusing. Without checking dates, I was sure he was still there when Grandmaster Flash’s Wheels of Steel came out. Oh well, out to Funky Town.

  210. 210
    Lazarus on 13 Jun 2015 #

    I haven’t checked either, but I don’t think the Kid was gone for long – I have a memory of John Peel welcoming him back to his evening show sometime in late ’81 or early ’82. Where he went, I don’t know. Seen the show once but will need to watch it again before commenting.

  211. 211
    Mark G on 13 Jun 2015 #

    Hi chaps, it is an odd one this week as the long one is only getting one play and its quite late in the schedules, and for a number of reasons I am waiting for that one.

    Wikip tells us KidJ went for a year to the “then-new CNN in Atlanta”. Also, that he is a freemason.

  212. 212
    Mark G on 14 Jun 2015 #

    Smartly dressed Kid Jensen, has he been to a job interview? Chart rundown without echo titles, Flack and Hathaway with a song I last heard on a Happy Mondays album.

    Liquid Gold sing “Substitute”, its not that one, its not that one either. I don’t remember this one, I thought their follow up was one of those “too much like the big hit” things, but this only has one word title. Drummer wants shooting, he actually does.

    Hot Chocolate get all spooky, they keep fading out with dry ice. Apart from that, Errol I think you will find it definitely was an illusion. FF>

    Elton John does a Daniel soundalike (particularly the intro) but he looks less manic this time. Oh its all right I suppose but its the sort of thing he can do in his sleep and it holds no surprises.

    Crown Heights Affair, and I think the Mondays referenced this one as well, or was that me? Anyway, the girls are allowed back in the studio with the audience, and seem to be enjoying it, although the audience are disinterestedly waving flags.

    Don McLean does an Orbison song, it sounds better than I remember but that doesn’t mean I like it much.

    And now Thin Lizzy are here to save us! Chinatown won’t get much play nowadays when its time to play classic rock, in preference to “The boys are back in town” or “Jailbreak” but its good.

    Roxy Music “Oh baby, this is nowhere, wish I was somewhere over you” it almost needs no other lyric but they do anyway. Its sort of new wavey, but sort of not. And then it goes into Layla part two before they get faded.

    OMD are taking sides again, oh hang on that’s the dub version on the b-side, isn’t it? Anyway this is repeat so ff->

    The Runaway Jackson gets a hit solo single, but its funny how much he sounds like Stevie Wonder on the middle 8, I wonder why? Ok I don’t. Apart from that, its the best thing on tonight, so far anyway.

    Stiff Little Fingers were the band that had more cred than the Undertones for a while, but they’d have traded it for the pop smarts in a heartbeat. Ah, they had two singles that deservedly are punk classics, their first two. By the time they had hits, whatever they had was not exactly gone, but wasn’t much left.

    More jazz funk with Mystic Merlin, however its spelled. They look like SunRa fans, but it’s Smooth. Can you imagine Kid being Smooth? Dunno. Shall I have a biscuit? Its a bit late for coffee and I just ran out of it anyway. Oh its finished.

    Lena Zavaroni. Well, there’s a lot of back (and front) story here of a talented singer that went to easy listening hell and back but really, what is this rubbish? There’s a million songs she could do, but a cod reggae song about a family row, played as cute, which sounds like death by BBC orchestra but you’d have to check the record as I’m not. Who did they think was going to buy this? I’ve seen some totp crowds, but they look like they’d rather be at the dentist. Well, thanks to her early years filled with doing songs too old for her (“Help me make it through the night” anyone?) and never having a good idea foisted on her, there will probablynever be a documentary feature about her. I will take as read that you all know how this story goes so we’ll pass on..

    The girls are back to repeat the theme from Mash.

    So, here we end for a bit, there’s no TOTP now until August, but we are a little ahead of ourselves, so its not as long as it could be. I doubt the “Pilot” from July with the stands-in will be screened, it’d be good/funny if it was.

    Oh, and this weeks was not great, oh where have all the good ones gone?

  213. 213
    speedwell54 on 14 Jun 2015 #

    Hi, Speedwell still here, but too busy to read never mind write recently. Got an email to say Lazarus was querying my whereabouts so I must make more effort in future. However I see we have an enforced break soon. Thanks Lazarus, Swede and Mark G for keeping me up to date, just realised I missed the Eurovision discussion, too late now.

    Watching the extended version and I’m going for the live write up for a change.
    This week it’s Kid, hair combed and jacket and tie; off somewhere straight after no doubts .

    Onwards- Liquid Gold – party band extend their career a little with this follow up. They all look a bit too happy as per and the drummer is as annoying as ever. Yet again he can’t resist coming out from behind his kit and prancing around. Wife has just informed me said drummer is engaged to Jane McDonald (Loose Women) fair enough. What a couple.

    Hot Chocolate – Dry ice all over the place but an empty stage. They teleport in, as do the crowd. Errol looking a touch space aged with his Ming the Merciless collar. Wayne Coyne lookalike behind him. Never really understood this. He is saying he definitely saw an alien?

    Elton – Little Jeannie- for me there was always something missing. For ages Mark and Lard went on about an Oasis single they called ‘half a song’ think it was one Liam penned. Anyway, this is my half a song.

    Crown Heights Affair – this is good track. I don’t know anything about them or what they look like but happy to watch Legs. Chorus sounds ripe for an advert.

    Don Mclean – is that a still from Shaun the Sheep on the tv in the background? Goes on a bit. Missing the fast forward option. He’s changed a bit since he was on Crackerjack. Tee hee. Philip Pope covers this in Fools and Horses episode.

    Chinatown – familiar guitar sound and the performance looks so similar to when they did Sarah a few weeks ago. Top 5 prediction from Kid woeful.

    Roxy Music – Ever cool Bryan make the rest of the band look uncool. Paul Carrack and Gary Tibbs on stage too I think.

    Messages – OMD- best thing on the show. They had quite a break but History of Modern -album from a few a years ago is one of their best.

    Jermaine- not my cup of tea- why isn’t this a duet? It’s pretty bad when you mime to someone else.

    SLF – I like this and them, but I think this was about it. Kid, what was that fake laugh pause in the intro all about?

    Mystic Merlin- have been reading about this up thread and it meant nothing, but I do recognise the song. NMCOT.

    What was Lena doing? This presumably was on the back of something, but must have sounded awfully dated. I presume this didn’t make the cut.

    Mash – Legs not at their best- hate to say it again but bad lighting. Can’t think of a video but is this another Bright Eyes, Stuff from Grease and cost thing?

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  214. 214
    will on 14 Jun 2015 #

    Kid was only gone between summer 80 and autumn 81, by which time he’d become David Jensen.

    I’d missed this show originally – I was on a school trip, the first time I’d ever been away from my home. It meant I missed Nottingham Forest’s European Cup final win over Hamburg on the Wednesday too. Grrrr.

  215. 215
    Lazarus on 14 Jun 2015 #

    I was only going to watch the half hour show, but the comments have enticed me to get the long version on Catch Up … Kid is our MC, Roberta and Donny over the chart. ‘Match Box?’

    Liquid Gold – Pressy-bound funsters making the most of it while it lasts. Bob Carolgees lookalike on keyboard. Drummer not quite as annoying as before. Not much more to come from them – who remembers their final hit, ‘The Night, The Wine, The Roses, The Minibus … ?’

    Hot Chocolate – not the first or last song to rhyme ‘confusion’ and ‘illusion.’ Everyone tried it, from Imagination to Joy Division. You sure you’ve got enough zips on that jacket Errol?

    Elton John – ‘Daniel’ yes, good spot. I have the album 21 at 33, it’s not bad actually. More dry ice, the audience must have been cold. Lyrics by Gary Osborne, who also wrote ‘Forever Autumn.’

    Crown Heights Affair/Legs – the Gals seem to be enjoying themselves on this one – down at audience level. Lots of jumping.

    Don McLean – yes I like this too. I didn’t know the original when this was out either – it’s never been played as much as ‘Only the Lonely’ or ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ after all. Philip Pope yes, also a posthumous hit for the Big O with kd lang.

    Thin Lizzy – the riff is unmistakeably them, yet this has been largely forgotten it seems. Phil would have solo records out later in the year, went on to marry and divorce Leslie Crowther’s daughter, and then it was all over for him and Lizzy.

    Roxy – that suit is perhaps just a bit too blue, no? Bryan’s dress sense is a little better of course. First single from Flesh & Blood (cover: girls with spears) but the killer track for me was ‘Same Old Scene’ which we’ll hopefully see later in the year.

    OMD – repeat? Debut hit for the Wirral wonders. Still going I believe.

    Jermaine Jackson – apologies for misinformation, he didn’t marry his brother’s ex-wife. One of his brothers is married to one of Jermaine’s exes, I think, something like that. Liking those dance moves. Written by Stevie Wonder, who also provides vocals, and Lee (not Leif) Garrett.

    SLF – not great miming, it has to be said. ‘Alternative Ulster’ was the one that should have been a hit.

    Mystic Merlin – smooth and slinky, with a singer who thinks he’s Isaac Hayes. The levitation bit was good though, you don’t see that on the Pops every week.

    Lena Zavaroni – yes indeed, what was this doing on here? Is it an old song? Sounds like it’s going to go into ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ at times, at others it’s like a Brotherhood of Man castoff. Bonnie Langford had taken a lot of her market by this time, and as know it all ended in tragedy for the onetime Op Knocks winner.

    The MASH – number one, Legs repeat routine. Hard for even a Swede to get much of a thrill from this one I guess. Kid bids us adieu, out to Lipps Inc.

    Hard to identify a highlight from a lacklustre show, Roxy probably for me given that I bought the album not long after.

  216. 216
    wichitalineman on 15 Jun 2015 #

    Lena Zavaroni’s one good record*, and a pretty great one, was this (written by Dolly Mixture and produced by Dave Goodman, who also did the Sex Pistols’ demos): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9XQucaIhNw

    *there may be other good Lena Z records, but someone else will have to dig for them, soz.

  217. 217
    Mark G on 15 Jun 2015 #

    I went as far as 45cat, and I see she did a version of “Rescue Me” on the b-side of her single after #216, which I can imagine would be ‘good’ but.

  218. 218
    23 Daves on 15 Jun 2015 #

    #217 – Well, that one seems to be on YouTube as well. It’s not bad, but it’s also not tempting me to head over to ebay to see if I can find a cheap copy. https://youtu.be/rKkvsSdwmYk

  219. 219
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Jun 2015 #

    Swede late to the party this time.

    Last time for Kid before he trundles off to the States only to return here as David. He now presents a show on Radio Surrey/Sussex on Saturday afternoons. Good music for someone of my vintage. Flack and Hathaway over titles. Back Together Again. Sadly Donny was already serenading in a better place.

    Liquid Cheese – I’d forgotten totally this jolly follow-up which also top tens. They are totally impossible to dislike, this lot, and it’s fun all the way. They are now at Camp, of course, and the still bouncy old girl leads the kiddies’ singing sessions in the ballroom. Their fun tonight is cut off. There’ll be a lot of that tonight.

    Kid with 3 young girls, the last of whom blows her big moment by staring away from the camera. Chocs. I find myself in agreement with Lineman who remarks that this story does not have an answer. “What can they be? No illusion!” Alas, Errol, it was indeed an illusion. You weren’t frightened…or scared. You were stoned, you fucker. Either that or you’re telling us Meltons, son! Where I part company with Wichita is that he does not like this record, whereas I think it was one of the best things they did. Isn’t the right of opinion wonderful?

    An oddity. Two of the same girls pop up with Kid again, including the one who looked away. This time she’s in the middle and looks ahead. Daughters of BBC executives, prob. The newcomer on the left outsmiles them all. Elton comes onwith a song which was so typically Reg. The “Daniel” intro, mentioned upthread, is spot-on. It’s all Elton. Bread and butter pudding. And most people love a bit of that.

    Gals in studio to Crown Height Affair in skimpy, nightie jobbies covering only their tops. Surrounding kids wave feather dusters. Warum? Satisfying routine with each lovely getting a few seconds’ attention from the director in sequence. But we’re back to darkness again and they are cramped by lack of space. Excellent choice of track.

    Don McLean – We’re long done with the Crackerjack jokes now. Musical Don is, of course, the ultimate hate figure of our Director General, who would no doubt rather send a Christmas card to Ian Huntley. Swede, however, thinks Don is wonderful although I’m surprised this old Big O song hit the top spot and was so back in the day, a full eight years after Pie an’ Vinnie. The “Fools and Horses” episode featuring “Ker-wyyyying” was fabulous, wasn’t it? Don gets cut off before he really starts sobbing. Goodbye, Johnny Ray.

    Thin Lizzy – Chinatown. Quite different from the jolly romp through the district by the Move, and whilst I loved this back in the day, I now share Lineman’s apparent discomfort with some of the song’s sentiments. Phil gets cut off before we get to his roar of “CHINATOWN!” in what one takes for a cod-Oriental accent. I’m saying nothing.

    Roxy – Bryan does his best Prince Charles and this rightly charts high. “Flesh and Blood” did indeed have a Swede-pleasing cover.

    OMD – Swede’s in-built detestation for “electronic” prevents me from passing an objective comment on this, I’m afraid. I can’t deny their clear success through the decade, though.

    Jermaine Jackson – “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!?”… Oh no, that was next year. Sorry.

    Stiff Little Fingers – Yes, what’s so funny, KId? Much respected live act and this shows why. But the point about the Undertone’s ability to chart whilst SLF didn’t is well made.

    Mystic Merlin – Okay. Spell it how you like. Sounds much better as a backing track dispite the lovely girl. Merlin gets the beauty onto the bed and receives “come hither” look. But, what’s this? He then steps back and makes her levitate. This wasn’t mystic, it was just a wasted opportunity. He obviously CAN give her up, the idiot.

    Lena Zavaroni – Tragic piece out of place, especially in hindsight. Kids surrounding oblivious Lena offer her no help. And no hope.

    M*A*S*H – Number one. Repeat Gals dance. As has been mentioned, Rosie can’t resist her uber-girly grin but then settles down with the others to glide around to nothing.

    Out to the cracking Funky Town. But this too is cut after less than a minute. Austerity.

  220. 220
    Mark G on 26 Jun 2015 #

    …. um, what? I thought it was off until August? Oh, hang on..

    Ahem! Welcome back! and it’s Peter Powell and Elton John, both have presented before (I recall Elton announcing John Otway’s first performance on TOTP, two weeks after DLT had done the same.)

    Anyway, The Theme is back, and we get a few pics of who is on tonights show. I don’t remember them doing this, I guess it didn’t last…

    The Piranhas add lyrics to Tom Hark, and succeed! One hit wonders, of course, but one of the memorable ones. Boring Bob Grover. One of those easy/hard trivia questions.

    Roxy Music whisper “Oh Yeah” inbetween the real title “On the Radio”, but Donna Summer got there first. Blimey, Bryan Ferry’s massive innee? Anyway, the middle verse is cut and now it makes little sense. Never mind, was never fussed about this one.

    Legs and Co taking requests from JimSwede? Sue is mainly up-front here, and they all get their very own caption. And I leave it up to him up there to get this back on it’s feet.

    Meanwhile, Hot Chocolate do their funk with an Aerosmith guitar line with their next hit “Are you getting enough of what makes you happy Jim?” which is clearly so. Then again, it seems Errol is turning on the TV and every time he does, he sees two people loving each other. I think you need to move away from Television X, dude.

    Kelly Marie belts it out next, with the same formation dancing as per 5,000 volts and um, oh yeah the BoysTown Gang. Without the sauna.

    The Gap Band send over a live clip, but someone’s dubbed the single onto it off their mobile phone. Least good sound ever? Ah, but we all had rub TVs then and we knew no better..

    The Gibson Brothers are stil making hit singles, really? Yes. This one’s like most of the rest. It’s a Prestatyn vibe, basically.

    So, what have we missed? Well, Legs and Co danced to “Use it up, Wear it out” but we weren’t here to see it. This is the only excerpt from the pilot that got filmed a month ago, so we’re not getting that faux episode then. Pity. Some more excerpts from hits gone by, but I guess they’re not going to have Splodgenessabounds just yet.

    ‘Hi, Sheena Easton here. For a long time I’ve been a great fan of that marvellous poet, John Cooper Clarke’. But “Gimmix” never quite got high enough in the chart as they didn’t make enough triangular singles, so I guess we’ll have to make do with 9 to 5. It’s a very odd song, and I’m sure you all know some very suspect lines in this, but the one that stuck out of the on-screen subtitles was: “When he steps off the train, amazingly full of fight” – really? um, really?

    And Bad Manners get the luck of having the hits either side of the strike, so their path to their brief empirical time continues thanks to TV and “Lip up fatty”, and Pete thanks “Doug and the gang” because he knows his name, showoff.

    And now, we get the innovation of bits of the top ten played with video clips. This they did keep, but the whole “break the chart rundown into bits” was obviously making dead-air so they lost it eventually.

    Anyway, we just have enough time to thank Elton for a job indifferently done, and wish him well with his new single “Shumplefushwith Elephants” which we all predict with the benefit of hindsight will climb to the position of 44 but we’re getting ahead of ourselves .

    And everyone gets called down to the floor to dance to George Benson, and it’s show-off mugging time. Until someone clearly shouts to stop it, at which point they shuffle around and wonder if the cameras have stopped filming.

    So, there’s the new format TOTP, you may say the whole thing’s daft, you may wonder why…

  221. 221
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 Jun 2015 #

    Strange brew. We suddenly find ourselves in August because of rabid union goons knocking TOPS off the airwaves for a couple of months. Fine by me. Peter Powell is joined by a decidedly non- drama queen Reg Dwight to present. It doesn’t go too well. There are other changes. Firstly we see the return of CCSs “Whole Lotta Love” as a backdrop, not to the chart rundown but to what tucker we are having dished up tonight. Spoilers all. We’ll have to wait for the chart. And then wait for the chart again.

    Piranhas – Tom Hark. Mob from Brighton going retro. Take or leave. It comes on whenever Eastbourne Borough score. Recorded first in the mid fifties by Ted Heath before he became Prime Minister.

    Elton is a trifle harsh about Diana Ross being upside down. He wanted to “kill off Disco”, you see. What a silly sausage. Not one of Diana’s best but still good enough. So piss off, Dwighty!

    Roxy Music miming in studio to “Oh Yeah”. Classy as always and this goes big quite rightly.

    Tom Browne. No, not the Radio 1 jock who did the Top 20 show on Sunday afternoons but a Yank funking to Jamaica. Perfectly solid this. Gals are in suzzies and stockings and they’re loving the track. Sex on Legs quite literally. It has the usual “Opal Fruits” effect on Swede. Rosie is a right litle show off and each of our godesses are given name checks. The Swede is always happy to reiterate that the professionalism of the routine is always key to the Gals’ episodes otherwise there would be no point. And they are nothing if they are not professional. That said, I could readily watch the Eternal Mistress every second of the day. And the cat knows this.

    Powell (Elton’s done a bunk) springs the chart on us. But the rotter stops at 21 where we find the Chocs. After the flying saucer wind-up, we get this stonker “Are You Getting Enough”. Unfortunately we do get enough of it and it just creeps into the Top 20. Nevermore.

    Peter kindly grants us the chart 20-11. We then go back down the table and pick up Kelly Marie, a perky Scottish songstress who reminds me of the delightful and totally innocent Rebekah Wade. This is on its way to the top. The two flanking male dancers are great. They were later to appear with Kelly dressed in kilts to much merriment in many quarters it must be said. Can’t think why.

    Elton reluctantly introduces the Gap Band’s iconic rowing song. A footy song too: “Boot upside yer head, you get a boot upside yer head!” Elton wants to kill off Disco. The bitch.

    Gibson Brothers. The guy with the great voice is back. It’s the same as the others but that’s ok. Rosie and Gill lend sideline support. Meanwhile, the minibus is having a final oil change.

    In a nice move, Powell (Elton’s vanished again) outlines the number ones we missed because of the strike: Oddesy, Cambridge Kanga and ELO, and Tearful Don (how Tom hates that guy!)

    Sheena “Big Time” Easton. Her first single was a disaster dispite the cosmic plug. This second one most certainly wasn’t. Career-defining in fact. Morning train? I f’king know all about those, love! The content of the song (sadly servile girl waiting for her bloke to get home from work – he’s probably shagging one of the typists any old how) would not have pleased the “All Men Are Rapists” lobby but the wee lassie was off and running. That’s Life.

    Elton applauds London outfit Bad Manners. Fun, fun, fun. But “Lip Up Fatty” appears to hit a log jam on a very confused roundabout. However we all like party music and much better was to come from Buster and the lads (“Doug and the gang” indeed!).

    Now Peter gives us the top ten and we get a wee taster of all of them as it’s counted down (what would they have done had Judge Dread been in there?). This is not at all a bad format. Well done. Thus we get a quick snap of “Katie” Bush looking amazing with an amazing song. The cat is sound-o and the Swede is relaxed by a more than passable claret. My toast will be to John Steed. Microsecond of Gals dancing to Oddesy’s deposed chart-topper.

    We are left at the top by one of the 70s pop masterpieces. Anything by Abba is top drawer but “The Winner Takes It All” is exceptional. An achingly desperate scream about a lost love resulting finally in acceptance via a handshake. It’s extraordinary and I can’t repeat enough the fact that these are people writing and performing in a foreign language. A remarkable achievement. Borg had just won his last Wimbledon. The winner takes it all but next year he would be the one singing.

    Elton pops back. It’s been a bit uncomfortable. Reg talks about his 1980 tour down under and wherever else and then sidles off. Out to George Benson. “Give Me The Night”. Ok, George, you’ve got it.

    Wimbledon starts Monday. As by association does the Swede’s summer sabbatical. Post shutdown until 15th July. Be seeing you!

  222. 222
    enitharmon on 28 Jun 2015 #

    Rosie is a right litle show off

    Watch it Swede, or do you want a good slap? ;)

  223. 223
    Jimmy the Swede on 28 Jun 2015 #

    # 222 – Nevermore.

  224. 224
    Mark G on 3 Jul 2015 #

    So, will Roger Daltrey do better than Elton? Well, 30 seconds in and he’s bemoaning that the Clash aren’t on! Ok, Tommy, the war is starting.. Well, maybe. Into the chart oh wait its the spoiler. Tommy overcooking some of them, are the legs really going to dance to all of ELO’s music?

    Anyway, Midge Ure now onto his third band appearance, “Sleepwalking” I quite liked, but I guess we know what’s coming up fairly soon oh no. Anyway, Ultravox is now a very different band, and if I preferred the earlier version its only because I wasn’t that fussed about this lot.

    Anyway, a brief non-committal chat with Rog, and its David Bowie burning £40K on video for Ashes to Ashes. You know it.

    Roger looks so young! Even now he barely looks sixty, but hey. Anyway, its back to legs in darkness. Oh yeah, no Swede this week so I guess it falls to me to describe the hotpants Sue wears and other such. Oh, they dance around a globe, and that’s about it.

    Mike Berry does a song, tbtc.

    So, lets have a convoluted link into the chart. Excruciating chat with audience member, if that had been Sav, this would be more evidence. Anyway, half a chart then Rog introduces (indeed promises) a whole song from Grace Jones. In smoking jacket (literally) strolls around coolly invokes Drimble Wedge and the Vegetations classic “Bedazzled”

    So, lets have some Village People, despite Roger hating.

    Anyway Roger much prefers Sue Wilkinson. It sounds like something Bill Bailey would knock up as a daftie. Keyboard player looks like comedian Paul Foot but the drummer *is* Don Powell of Slade.

    Chart rundown, and Abba at number one. You know it.

    Audience bundle in for Upside down, and fade. Yep, we are definitely in the eighties, steam seems to be escaping, I dunno your mileage etc.

  225. 225
    anto on 3 Jul 2015 #

    If that song by Sue Wilkinson were slower it would sound like Black Box Recorder.

  226. 226
    wichitalineman on 3 Jul 2015 #

    Haven’t heard Sue Wilkinson since it came out, and pretty much forgotten it existed. Sounds completely Shoreditch ’98.

  227. 227
    Lazarus on 3 Jul 2015 #

    Bit surprised to find this series going at the moment, I thought we’d be getting a long break to tie in with the strike … anyway ‘Rock On’ Tommy gets another gig, alongside a rather downbeat Roger Daltrey. Did the Clash even have a record out at the time? They never did appear on the show in person of course.

    Ultravox – and not the first time we’ve seen Midge on these reruns, but the previous occasion had been with Slik back in 1976. Decent return for the ‘vox, but bigger hits await.

    David Bowie – getting the nod of approval from Rog – “one of the guv’nors” – he’s already a more involved co-host than the largely absent Elton from last week. Video seen so many times, utterly groundbreaking at the time seems rather quaint now.

    ELO/Legs – another release from Xanadu, but the first we’ve seen. Has anyone seen the film? Lots of roller skating wasn’t there, or am I getting it mixed up with Starlight Express? Fuller clothed Legs than of late.

    Mike Berry – snoozeville. A song from 1913, and sounds like it. He’d been absent from the charts since 1963 and after a minor chart entry or two that was it. Radio 2 hit I presume, was Wogan behind this? Derek Jameson or Ray Moore maybe?

    We then get the chart from 30 to 11. “The Black Sabbath” at 26, and Tommy should know. NWOBHM in full flow by this time of course.

    Grace Jones – doing a track from the Pretenders first album released only a few months before. Interesting, but I prefer the original, not to mention several of Grace’s. Who remembers flop single ‘Libertango?’

    Village People – wasn’t there originally a comment from Roger introducing this? “Mind your backs lads” or something similar? Another from a movie – this one featured the band with Valerie Perrine, and if that isn’t a name to stir the Swede I’ll be very surprised. Cut in less than half.

    Sue Wilkinson – this week’s novelty effort. Never mind Prestatyn, she looks like she’s escaped from the Crossroads motel. Yes Don Powell was involved with this; comments on Youtube suggest that the lady herself is sadly no longer with us. Harmless fun – a lovely smile from Sue at the end.

    Now the top 10, starting with two Legs routines.

    Abba – final week for them presumably, with the Dame in at four. The wintry late Abba, as Tom called it – this is the one that French & Saunders’ wonderful ‘C’est la Vie’ was most closely modelled on, surely. Agnetha’s blue eye shadow perhaps a little too much.

    Roger is reclining among the audience, and asked about the Who’s future commitments. Will he be in the charts next week? “I should be so lucky” he replies. Not with that one, he wasn’t.

    And George Benson take us out. Still getting used to the new format tbh. Adios!

  228. 228
    Rob Brennan on 4 Jul 2015 #

    Surprised to discover, via Wikipedia, that the dreary Mike Berry record was produced by Chas Hodges. Had a listen to John McCormack’s 1916 version and it’s just as dull.

  229. 229
    Lazarus on 5 Jul 2015 #

    As Sue Wilkinson was clearly the week’s WTF? moment, I’ve dug up a little more info on her – she was signed to Cheapskate Records, on which Slade began their career revival with ‘We’ll Bring the House Down’ in early ’81; she was in a duo called Pure Gold with Blockhead Chas Jankel; she did have an album out, and further singles – the next one, ‘Time’n Tide’ is rather lovely, with a nod or two to Lynsey de Paul, and proved that she could sing – but sadly died of cancer in 2005. Her big bouffant blonde hair did put me in mind of eighties glamour model and tabloid favourite Fiona Wright.

  230. 230
    punctum on 6 Jul 2015 #

    Don Powell on drums there, I see.

  231. 231
    anto on 6 Jul 2015 #

    Some of my favourite songs on the TOTP repeats have been these female-voiced theatrical curios such as “Only Women Bleed” the Flying Lizards’ “TV” and the Sue Wilkinson song. It’s a bit loose to be referred to as a genre but it does seem to be an approach that is specific to this time (1976-81) book-ended by “Rock Follies” and “Breaking Glass” – I’d include “Tell Me On A Sunday” as part of it too (besides some others by Lloyd-Webber). I guess Lynsey de Paul was a fore-runner to this take on pop performance which is partially feminist and specifically British and middle-class.

  232. 232
    speedwell54 on 10 Jul 2015 #

    Decided to review live but had to rewind almost straight away to work out what Cliff was saying. “Hello folks” Steve and Cliff co-hosting this week; let’s see how they do. Can’t be worse than Vance/Daltrey.

    Steve teases us with the highlights and then into the Nick Straker Band. SAW had a go at this in the late eighties, it sounded exactly like you would imagine, but then suddenly has this ‘orchestra hit’ note which sounded very Pet Shop Boys. Flopped thankfully. I always wrongly understand ‘Trip in the dark’ as trip/fall rather than trip/journey.

    How many accents is Cliff going to do? He’s called Steve ‘mate’
    and ‘man’ Londoner, and now doing posh ‘dine’ (down). It’s Sheena with that rather dodgy line “She’s on her way again through London town where she keeps a tangerine”. hmmm

    The Jam -“It’s not important for you to know my name, Let me tell you how it will be” well almost. Video this week.

    Cliff does the next link for Shakin’ Stevens and now he’s doing northern “t’other” Seems very confident though. ‘There’s gas in my car” – must have had one of them there hybrids then!

    I get in first with the poor lighting for Legs and Co. Not the most suitable track for Legs to be fair.

    Billy Joel -oft played vid. Sounds ok, cut very short. Into the countdown. Steve does rather un pc accent for Bob Marley which would not go out these days. Introduces the “lovely” Hazel O’Connor …hmm

    Piranhas – rather hijacked at the time for a football chant. Don’t know if it is still out there now.

    Kelly Marie – her backing singers are a bit Black and White Minstrels looking, but she does a great job. Classic.

    Cliff gets to sing and does his stuff. Dreamin’.
    Bowie – Ashes. Out to ELO.

    Hosts much better than last week.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  233. 233
    Lazarus on 12 Jul 2015 #

    The Swede has been checking out the finer points of Maria Sharapova’s, er, ‘technique’ so I’m checking in … Steve Wright ft Cliff Richard

    Nick Straker Band – apart from the syndrums (sp?) this actually sounds a bit ahead of its time for me. I assume that Nick was the singer, bit of a Kevin Keegan perm going on there. But nice guitar.

    Sheena Easton – now she was a victim of the strike. This single was released while she was recording ‘The Big Time’ and bombed, only reaching the 50s as I recall. ‘Nine to Five’ came out later, and hit the top three thanks to the publicity from the show, but never made it onto TOTP. Then this one was revived – I prefer it if I’m honest, actually I have this one on 45, although her chart peak was decidedly fleeting.

    The Jam do ‘Taxman’ – see associated thread. If memory serves this was the first single from ‘Sound Affects’ the preceding number one not being included on any album. Maybe the only band since the Beatles to do that.

    Cliff introduces Shaky. His big time is barely six months away.

    The Clash/Legs – Roger Daltrey was a week too early as it happened. The Clash and the Legs! ‘Bankrobber’ was that an original song from Sandinista? Very much in the same vein as ‘I Fought the Law’ (well thematically anyway) so I always assumed it was a cover, but maybe not.

    Billy Joel – from his ‘new wave’ album Glass Houses, the first single from it to do anything here. ‘Don’t Ask Me Why’ was a nice song that bombed, come to think of it it’s not a bad album. Far from his best though.

    Hazel O’Connor – first release from ‘Breaking Glass’ which I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Has it even had a recent showing on TV? Lots of sax on this, which rather foresees her second (and much bigger) hit.

    Piranhas – not quite one-hit wonders, they would cover Lou Busch in ’82, but yes the minibus treatment is not far away. My friend’s brother in law is called Bob Grover, it’s not him though.

    Kelly Marie – our third ‘lady’ on the show, and the intro sounds unfamiliar. But the rest doesn’t. Primark disco.

    Cliff introduces himself, another Tarney composition presumably. It’s OK. Bit of a time filler between ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ and ‘Wired for Sound.’ Number 20 seems about right to be honest. He acquires a jacket halfway through.

    Steve introduces the Top 10. And Bowie is at number one … funny, you think you’ve seen the video so many times, but I never noticed the green wellies before. Otherwise a lot of it was the inspiration for NTNOCN’s ‘Nice Video Shame About the Song.’ I think we established that that wasn’t actually his mother in the closing scene?

    Cliff lets slip that he’s off to South Africa soon … boooo!!!!

    ELO play us out. Nondescript show.

  234. 234
    Lazarus on 16 Jul 2015 #

    We seem to be slightly depleted in numbers, holiday season maybe, but I shall try an ‘almost live’ effort, delayed only by yet another telesales caller (fourth one this evening) … Peter Powell in alarming purple trousers, unfortunately accompanied by annoying BA Robertson.

    Barracudas – this was supposed to be the Ramones with a West Coast feel I suppose. Bad miming. Some moshing at the front, while behind the band girls sit gently swinging their legs. Number 37 smash, so I’m guessing this was their only appearance. Pass.

    Gary Numan – he dies, we die. OK then. To be fair, he had some interesting singles out in 1980/81 but before long it would be strictly fanbase. Started a trend for first-week peak followed by swift descent.

    The Selecter – don’t remember this at all. First single from second album ‘Celebrate the Bullet’ and the follow-up, the title track, missed the chart altogether. Pauline left the band in ’81 and they tried to carry on without her, with predictable results; more recently there have been two versions of the band, Bucks Fizz-style.

    Less said about BA the better.

    Mike Berry – zzzzzzzz

    Skids – kids choir to sing the chorus although the lad at the back doesn’t seem that involved to be honest. Jobson in school tie and blazer. It’s OK, bit repetitive though Pete enthuses about it.

    Elton John – in a purple suit and still very much at the ‘indoor hat’ stage. I like this and the album, this is the one they plugged on the show a couple of weeks back.

    Judas Priest – don’t recall this either, but it’s quite laid-back in places, almost a ballad in HM terms. No subliminal messages here.

    (have we missed ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by the way? I fear we may have done)

    The top 10 follows … Numan confirmed as the highest new entry at 8.

    And David Bowie at number one – interrupted by telesales call number five. Nothing but an abuse of the telephone system. But I’m expecting a call, so I keep answering … and putting the phone down on them.

    The Beat and their Best Friend see us out. Not a bad show, though it seems I have to watch after 9 for an uninterrupted experience.

  235. 235
    flahr on 17 Jul 2015 #

    BA Rosbreton really was an annoying twerp wasn’t he?

  236. 236
    anto on 18 Jul 2015 #

    BA Robertson – the James Corden of 1980?

  237. 237
    Steve Williams on 19 Jul 2015 #

    #234 No, we haven’t missed Another One Bites The Dust, although it only appears over the credits and danced to by Legs and Co, and in the top ten of course.

    The former is in the next episode because, thanks to Yewtree, we miss the next two. Pretty sure this will be the last one BBC4 show until September so we can stay in sync, and I’m delighted we’re getting it so soon because it is quite bizarre because there’s another strike on. So it’s repeats and videos, but it’s not quite as odd looking as the Peter Powell-fronted episode from last year because the presenter actually is in vision. But a very rum episode indeed.

  238. 238
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Jul 2015 #

    Swede back from Wimbledon break. Scooped over £330 on a Serena/Novak win double. Maria Sharapova’s legs still the fantasy lollypop.

    It’s only fair to say that we are approaching the time when I really did lose interest in TOTP. This particular broadcast is as bad as it got with only one or two things of any merit and the guest presenter BA Robertson a complete disaster..and a buffoon. Neither he nor the usually sound Peter Powell wanted to be there. And in the end, nor did we.

    Spoiler format over CCS.

    Robertson gets straight into dickhead mode as he pretends to slip on the name of the first act. This childishness was set to continue on a straight to delete show. Tis The Barracudas. Straight to minibus and eternal summer fun for these woeful no-marks. The kids try to encourage them but they’re on a hiding to nothing. The crusty old driver has just packed his thermos and cheese and pickle and is good to go.

    The shite horseplay between PP and BA continues and ends in a part-amusing pun from Peter concerning the title of the next record. Alas for the Swede, it’s Gary Numan and thus it’s hello ffwd —.

    Peter “shakes off” BA and on come the Selector, who are far more Swede-friendly but they too will soon be on packed lunches alas.

    The idiot Robertson rambles on pitifully and to top an excruciating few seconds, on comes Mike Berry, Trevor Bannister’s replacement as the wideboy in “Are You Being Served?” I’m probably alone on the forum to actually liking this. It’s the Millican and Nesbit in me. Mike just has the face to pull this off. That of a holiday entertainer. Which is just as well.

    Skids – The low-grade tomfoolery with Powell and Robertson is just annoying now. Oh yeah, The Skids. Coming to the end of a modest chart life. Including the brats in the proceedings sinks any good this has in it. Pressie count very high tonight.

    Reg at the joanna with a sooo typically Elton song. But this flops. Great cap, though.

    Powell charts us down from 30-11.

    Sue Wilkinson – Very clever indeed and as true as it is cynical. And Sue, no spring chick, is horny says Swede. A very mucky version of Sandra Stevens from BOM.

    Ignoring BA’s latest assine intro, we get Ian Dury and I Want To Be Straight, meaning in this case honest and law-abiding. It’s wonderful and a highlight of a wretched evening. But even this lot were in the home stretch. Never to be forgotten. And never on the minibus.

    PP just exemplifies the show by revealing that the Gals are on holiday. I wonder if they all went off together? If so, I wish I had the next chalet. As a sub, we get darkened footage of the Village People. Can’t Stop The Music, they tell us. I’m afraid we can lads. And do. It’s cut.

    Robertson comes back and says he’s glad he doesn’t live in the Village People’s village. I can’t wait to delete this dreadful show. The pillock is far more polite to Judas Priest, whom he eventually introduces. It’s an attempt at a rock anthem which doesn’t quite work. The front-man has a longer neck than Jackie Charlton. Peter gives us the top ten.

    Bowie’s Ashes at number one. It’s the best record in the chart so fair enough. Peter and BA combine to say goodbye. Thank God it’s over. The honest Beat take us out but I’d lost the will to live by then. Worst show ever.

  239. 239
    Mark G on 20 Jul 2015 #

    Hello readers, here is the digest format as I’ve been around and not stopped to write (but have seen the shows) so let’s do the last couple of weeks..

    Nick Straker, for some reason thought this was “A walk in the park, a kiss in the dark” which would be an entirely different subject and would have been banned for being unclear as to which gender was being kissed (schoolgirls would have been allowed then, presumably), but it’s just about cooling yr head which is .. OK I guess. The most unlikely record to feature on that K-Tel Punk/New Wave album anyway.

    Sheena’s that Modern Girl (sting in the tale on the last verse!) and it’s true, the song starts with getting out of bed while the bloke is all “hey that was GREAT!” but she seems mildly dejected when he’s off to work, but then so is she and na nah na na na.. There was a lot of connection to the Boomtown Rats song of a similar title, but there was a newspaper article (Smash Hits?) where “Sheena is not a punk rocker” so we got told.

    The Clash have their second showing on TOTP, they got “Tommy Gun” rolled out as a fade-out a little while ago, this time it’s the Legs in Gangster mode, throwing money around. I didn’t mind this at the time, but a lot of the ‘srs’ punk types at our school were all offended at the lack of respect shown. Ex-ELP fans, all of them. Yep.

    Hazel O’Connor manages to be in a movie where they do the “Punk/New Wave” by getting a unknown singer/songwriter, that bloke from Quadrophenia, a sketched out script that aims to be of the “now”, and oddly it almost works! it’s embarrassing in places, but only because it’s true: Bloke does a jerky guitar line and Kate yells “YES! IT SOUNDS JUST LIKE A ROBOT!” and we all cringe away.. Anyway, as I say, the songs are not completely hopeless and we get the scene movie we deserve. Other more awful variations will be along, some also starring Phil Daniels (remember that snooker one? ugh).

    BA vs Barracudas – his goofing was a reference to the first bit of the single where a radio DJ can’t pronounce the name. It was funny the first time, but it’s there, permanently on the single. It sort of reminds me of Ash, but there’s not much call for surfing around here, really.

    Gary Numan does the single that’s on the banned list for Hospital Radio.

    And it’s that Ian Dury, at this point there was a lot of big like for himself, but the sad thing is that with the view we have now, we know this was his last big hit. He never lost the affection, but he lost the direction where he could have continued making big hit singles and great live shows. But they were a volatile crew at the best of times (Davey sort-of reminds me of Ginger Baker, in that ‘restraining himself from violence’ way). This performance, Ian seems a bit subdued, and it’s the next performance of this that everyone remembers.

    Anyway, have a good bunch of weeks, and till then pop-pickers, um, yeah.

  240. 240
    Mark G on 21 Jul 2015 #

    Oh, and the very end where they show he audience having a dance to The Beat “Best Friend”, and a couple of girls get in front of the video screen and dance along happily, until some stagehands run over and make them get off. Yep, don’t think they’ll be keeping that idea for much longer.

  241. 241
    wichitalineman on 24 Jul 2015 #

    Simon Bates (strikebreaker?) introduces. All videos, fake applause.

    XTC’s Generals & Majors, one of my favourite singles of theirs. Colin Moulding has a much more melodious voice than yelping Andy Partridge. Branson in the video. War was, indeed, drawing near and would the keep the Tories in power for the next aeon.

    Lovely Livvy! A proper co-host. Incredible to think this was 14 years after her debut single.

    Randy Crawford is the antithesis of Gerry Rafferty and the bloke from Nazareth, opening her mouth as wide as humanly possible when she sings. I dunno folks, One Day I’ll Fly Away sent me to sleep then and it sends me to sleep now.

    Livvy loves Stevie Wonder, and Masterblaster is maybe his last classic

    “Here’s a lady who did what you did…” What, go from Cambridge to Australia? No, Glasgow to London? Amid stiff competition Simon comes up with the clunkiest intro ever for Shhena Easton’s tedious Modern Girl. “Eats a tangerine… walks to the office like everyone else”. How “modern”. Sounds like a square. Prestatyn should have beckoned but instead Minneapolis was on the phone! Who’d have guessed?

    Tour news… the Dooleys and Cliff! Err, that’s it! And there’s no telly! Welcome to Tory Britain!

    Nick Straker – I was convinced that on the second verse he sang “the Nick Straker park”, but instead it sounds like “the sicker Straker park.” Either way, this stands up pretty well.

    Oh look, it’s Jonathan King! He’s introducing Britain to the Rubik’s cube and plugging his Radio 1 show. Luckily the press are too busy rubbishing Jeremy Corbyn to make much of a fuss.

    Madness’s Baggy Trousers… “fun” first single off their unexpectedly great second album, of which Embarrassment would be more representative. I think I spot the Market Estate off York Way in the video.

    Lynda Carter? Wonder Woman herself?? New single out on Motown??? Off course, they don’t actually show it, they show Billy Joel for the millionth time (“Next phase, new wave!” Well spotted Grandad). Does anyone remember Lynda’s Motown single?

    Livvy talks about her dogs and horses, then it’s the Top 10. We missed the Jam’s one week at no.1 (and Legs & Co dancing to Elvis’s It’s Only Love, bah). “Do you know Kelly Marie? Take a look and be amazed” says Si, with scary sincerity. I can’t stand her shrill voice, not helped by that kiss-me-quick bowler and that Pontin’s production, but there you go.

    Two Elvis songs in the Top 3, one of them sung by lucky recipient KM. If he’d lived I’m sure Elvis would have covered One Day I’ll Fly Away too. Maybe he’d have even done Another One Bites The Dust, which we go out to…

  242. 242
    anto on 24 Jul 2015 #

    @ 241 – This was a fascinating show, and weirdly timely in contrasting the problems the
    BBC encountered in 1980 (industrial action) with the problems they face nowadays (just about everything, bar industrial action).

    The most of-it’s-time moment was when Simon Bates was introduced by lookalike Jonathan King to the Rubik Cube – a novelty so new that he didn’t even put a name to it. Every time King appeared on television he seemed to have ‘just come back from America’ and always talked as though he was the only Brit who had ever been over there.

    The links by the DJs in general on these old TOTP shows are terrible. I thought the one redeeming feature of these idiots was a certain type of cheesy professionalism, but no they all sound illiterate even when doing something as basic as introducing the next song. On the Christmas edition from ’82, Mike Read went from Nicole to Eddy Grant by saying ‘from a Eurovision winner to someone who’s never won it in his life’, eh?

    I don’t know about the Lynda Carter record, but I do remember Sheena Easton appearing on Wogan in about 1989 looking and sounding totally different to the lady we saw on this show after several years out in Beverly Hills.

  243. 243
    Lazarus on 25 Jul 2015 #

    Morning campers! I’m watching the long ‘un on Catch Up … nattily attired Simon Bates and his big glasses, and an altogether more agreeable co-host than the last eejit.

    XTC – from ‘Black Sea’ I think? Don’t think I’ve seen the vid before, but the song is a cracker. Simes announces that “the BBC has just made a stunning film” about them – I wonder if that’s survived?

    Olivia Newton-John (for it is she) applauded by invisible audience, is charmed by the oleaginous Bates.

    Randy Crawford – I’d forgotten this got as high as number 2. Probably heard it a little too much over the years, but it can still send me to another place sometimes. And video of course – not that much is happening in it – so no death by BBC orchestra this time.

    Stevie Wonder – first single from ‘Hotter than July’ which took its title from the lyric in this of course. Yes coming to the end of his purple patch here. “Peace has come to Zimbabwe”, hmmm.

    Sheena Easton – following that excruciating link from Simon (and he also manages to get the name of the next release wrong), a repeat showing of ‘Modern Girl.’ I wonder if this would have been a hit first time round if they’d managed to get it on the Pops. Yes I recall she had a mini-comeback here in the late eighties, by then lean, tanned and of course blonde. She was never a punk rocker though.

    SB shows us the cover of ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’ and gives the thrilling news of Dooleys and Cliff tours. Chart 30-20.

    Nick Straker Band – repeat. Guitarist in overalls.

    Oh great, it’s Jonathan King and his perma-curled lip. Back from covering the US elections in which Ronnie beat the peanut farmer. Early showing of the Rubik’s cube. Chart 19-11.

    Madness – video of ‘Baggy Trousers.’ One of their best-known vids of course, thanks to airborne saxophonist Lee Barson. The kids in this, no stage school brats they, will all be pushing 50 now of course, nice little claim to fame for them.

    Simpering Simes now does a meet-n-greet with Lynda Carter. Her record flopped, despite his promised patronage.

    Billy Joel – repeat showing of dull studio video. Song’s alright though.

    ONJ is back, more chat with Bates. The time drags … oh here’s the top 10. Yes annoying to miss the Legs with ‘It’s Only Love’ the only Elvis 45 that I own (I do, of course, have the obligatory best-of)

    Number one time. Caterwauling Kelly Marie and her bodypopping sidemen. Kind of wish I’d heard Elvis tackle this one. ONJ takes her leave, and another one bites the dust.

    Underwhelming show – Straker and Kelly the only obvious candidates for Prestatyn. Just as well most acts were making videos by this time.

  244. 244
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Jul 2015 #

    Safe, pleasant Simon Bates takes our hand. Thank God. It would have been a tragedy had this one been Yewtreed. After the rubbish of last week, this week’s is Swedolicious, even without the Gals again. Frank and Sally, my regular ambulance medics, are standing by after being alerted by buddy Erithian, who had seen the show before I got to it. Thanks, mate. Batesy’s got a mullet only a mother could love. An attentive mother. Mrs Bates. Union pinkoes still causing mischief. Sort ’em out, Maggie!

    XTC – No memory at all of this follow up to Nigel. Vid gives work to some jobbing old actors. It’s cut almost straight away but we do see a bouncy castle, which surprised me somewhat as I didn’t think these were around until a few years later.

    But I’m glad it is cut as, in a delightful surprise, up pops the Cambridge Kanga to join Simon. She looks simply breathtaking and talks about her latest movie but I’m not really listening. Just looking. She’s truly gorgeous and it’s difficult to believe she’s been around for years – nine years since top-tenning with Dylan’s “If Not For You” and then doing Eurovision for us three years after that.

    Randy Crawford – Christ, what a North and South! It’s a soporific dirge but Crawfy can certainly belt one out. With a cake ‘ole like that we shouldn’t be surprised.

    The devine Kanga pops up alone and pays due tribute to Stevie Wonder. It’s Masterblaster and it’s indeed a blast. But yes, the “Peace has come to Zimbabwe” line does sound very sad now. Evil old bastard. (Not Stevie obv).

    Beauteous but puzzled Kanga keeps it together as Simon has a wibble and rambles on about the “similarities” between Cambridge and Australia (Kanga) and Glasgow and London (Sheena Easton), who has finally hit the big time (geddit?) with what had first been a flop (“tangerine…magazine”. Just wrong). Pretty grim stuff really but some funster in the front starts pogoing to it. That tickled old Jimmy.

    Exciting news from Simon about the new Police album and tours by the Rubbish Dooleys and Cliff. Chart from 30-20 where we happily find Die Nick Straker Gruppe. Catchy little song but this appearance does nothing to advance its position. And a walk in the park becomes a walk out to the studio forecourt where a familiar vehicle is waiting with its engine running.

    Now things get very odd and this needs explaining in light of Savile and Cornflake. It’s Jonathan Bastard King, who now lives in New York and is covering the US Presidential Election. My five cents is on the B-movie ham actor. Anyhoo, King has in his paws a Rubik’s cube, which he calls an American game. Wasn’t it invented by a Czech? Don’t care. Middle bit of chart.

    Now Madness with Baggy wotsits. And you can’t get more 1980 than that. Oi!

    As if the Swede’s dream isn’t perfect enough, Linda “Diana Prince” Carter is standing next to Bates. Bloody Hellfire! Frank and Sally close in. Wonder Woman (Former Miss USA) lists cities and towns for her forthcoming tour. I don’t think she mentioned Prestatyn. Linda is not only ludicrously lovely, she’s utterly charming too. She declines to “spin”, which would have rendered Swede beyond the help of even Frank and Sally but she does introduce that former excellent welterweight Billy Joel. It’s still rock and roll to him. an admirable sentiment.

    We are treated to Kanga again (Swede is sinking fast) who chats about her horses and dogs and a duet with Cliff. Top ten. We get a few glorious seconds only of the Gals doing Elvis. Why wasn’t this in the show?

    Perfect Kanga is still here. Oh God! She honestly admits to not knowing end of pier act Kelly Marie who is number one. I needn’t tell you which bloody pier. She can take those two herberts with her an’ all.

    Light Blue for Cambridge says cheery-bye. You’re beautiful, olivia. Really beautiful. Bates, ever the gentleman, is polite to the last. When Kanga exits, he simply says “Isn’t she nice?” Er…yes.

    Another one bites the wotsit takes us out. Linda Carter is one thing, but Olivia was simply a vision from Heaven. Frank and Sally arrive at Bungalow Swede to be greeted by cat, for whom they leave food and water, as per usual. Turning to the comatose Swede, they detect a dreamy smile on his face. Happily, they also detect a pulse, which is a f’king miracle after that little lot.

  245. 245
    speedwell54 on 26 Jul 2015 #

    Si hosts – not sure about that jacket, some three piece suite somewhere must be short of cushions covers.

    XTC and Colin is very enthusiastic as he bobs, chuffed at getting the nod over Partridge up front again. He shoots he scores.

    Olivia joins Simon and they vaguely follow a scripted chat. I’m with the Swede on this one and not really bothered about the duff conversation; she is stunning. Next is Randy Crawford – gosh this gets the full 4 minutes something and I’m thinking go on then, get flown! Ffwd.

    Olivia is back and cues Stevie on video. Classic. Twktc.

    Simon thinks he’s Mike Read and gives a pointless link and story; anyway it’s Sheena. There were a few changes a direction with this career that most wouldn’t have seen coming.

    Simon then does some advertising; singles, tours, albums whatever. The rundown and into Nick Straker rpt.

    Jonathan King- Swede- I’m sure there used to be a fuller explanation on Wiki but something around having served time and being acquitted of later allegations. The ‘american game’ thing – avoiding the brand; is this about the BBC not advertising?…hmm. A somewhat selective policy.

    Baggy Trousers- Madness on video and again make the effort to entertain.

    Lynda Carter pops up to promote herself and introduce Billy Joel, surprisingly doesn’t mention she recorded She’s Always A Woman.

    She’s back again-ONJ, chats about her horses.
    Countdown 10-1. Including Legs. We only get a clip and just our luck the lighting looks perfect .

    Kelly at number one and she looks a bit Liquid Gold.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  246. 246
    BT on 29 Jul 2015 #

    Simes in full-on Alan Partridge mode here, esp. when interviewing the ladies. And Jonathan King “covering the US election for Radio 1” – srsly?

  247. 247

    Have the Beeb made any noises about when we might see the next episode? Bloody hell, we’re at the end of September ’80 already!

  248. 248
    Steve Williams on 30 Jul 2015 #

    After the Proms, same as last year. For the reason you allude to in your second sentence.

  249. 249
    Mark G on 2 Oct 2015 #

    We are all of us in the gutter, some of us are looking at the Radio Times. Yes, it’s Top of the Pops..

    It’s been a while as far as we’re concerned, but it’s merely one week back in 1980. Here comes the new-style what’s on the show! The Police! Completely silent! Oh, someone forgot to turn up the volume in 2015, presumably.

    Right, OK it’s Read Mike and he hands us to Black Slate and they’ve left the indie and signed to Ensign, a major apparently. Well, they do have the Boomtown Rats.. Amigo was pretty great, like a more ‘pop’ Bob Marley but that was it as far as hits were concerned, which they probably weren’t.

    Oh good, its Leo Sayer and he’s here to do comedy with Mike. Goes as well as Bernard Manning singing Nine to Five on “The Comedians”. Moving on..

    Split Enz make a hit single. They had been promoted over here before as weird, “Cardiacs” type angular pop but now the suits are better fitting, the strange make-up (and the spoons) are gone, and they now look like a proto-Crowded House, which is just as well, considering. Although they do look like The Wiggles.

    Leo does an intro for Diana Ross, but as he’s shown from the waist up he looks like CBBC’s Hacker. Anyway, the trade descriptions act is in force as Diana is in a large room and the piano is right in the middle. Clearly can’t play a note, though.

    Another Legs and Co Routine bites the Swede. Lots of jerky camera shots and vid effects but they’ve saved money by using those boxy things again. It’s OK i guess.

    Mike has the pop news, Toots has a live limited edition album out, one thousand copies only, if you want one Discogs has it for £12 or thereabouts (ignore the melted one), and I daresay you could do worse. Oh, and Alan Minter has a new walk-on theme out as a single soon. Slow news day i guess. Oh, and Russ Abbot is here too.

    Did I miss Splodgenessabounds or was it yewtreed? Oh, it’s DISCO. It’s funny, as later on in the song they run out of complimentary words to fit and use “Disastrous, Impossible, Superficial, Complicated” and they never got to an O word. Anyway, seek out Ted Chippington’s version, of course. She is O, o, oh dear.

    Black Sabbath are in the chart with Paranoid, but that’s not on. Instead we have Shalamar. “I owe you one”, which brings to mind the 68 joke. Anyway, it’s a live version and it’s pretty good. Even the sound quality is good enough, usually these things sound like transistor radios. While I’m here, check out the Wiki page and look for “.. and you can take that to the bank!”

    And now we have Linx, this is Brit Funk before David Grant and Sketch made the band into a duo, and had more hits of a more um, humorous style. The duo played the “we hate each other” double-act, and it lasted for a while. This however, seems to be a very specific pointy-finger song about old managers or something. It’s great, anyway.

    More Chart Rundown for the TopTen, I guess the rule is “only one legs-co repeat per rundown” as Randy Crawford is represented by a still photo.

    I’d forgotten that the Police had gone in at number one. Anyway, the usual ‘mugging’ video gets augmented with some actual dramatic framing. Funny, back then everyone loved Sting, the girls and the lads. It’s pretty undeniable, though, this one. Oh, he’s taken his top off.

    More comedy. That’s gotta go. And the audience get lurched on to dance to fade. They do look like they’re enjoying it though. Apart from one girl at the back who is clearly leaving with her handbag under arm.

    So, here we are all back on your web pages once again. Hopefully.

  250. 250
    Lazarus on 5 Oct 2015 #

    Yeah it’s back! Calypso Mike – as I still like to think of him – to present an uneven show.

    Black Slate – always enjoy hearing this but it’s a much neglected oldie where radio is concerned. Last time I heard it was on the Alex Lester early show – now sidelined to weekends – four or five years ago. I guess it might turn up on Absolute 80s’ ‘Alternative Eighties’ or whatever its called, though.

    Leo Sayer turns up, there’s a plug for his new single which stiffed, and then a less than side-splitting routine with him and Read (as Cliff). Let’s move on …

    Split Enz – like a Kiwi Showaddywaddy, all decked out in coloured suits, the drummer going tieless as per Corbyn and Peston. Is that Tim Finn in the green? He looks a bit underemployed, swaying around with his hands behind his back and just coming in on the chorus. But as I recall in Crowded House he came and went a bit too. Song’s a good ‘un, btw.

    Diana Ross – don’t remember this video. No she never plays it, ironically as the whole song seems to be about what a wonderful thing it is to have. There doesn’t seem to be that much piano on the song either, for that matter. Rodgers and Edwards again, of course.

    Back with Read – introduces Legs and Co dancing to Another One Bites the Dust. Much used at sporting events to this day of course. Legs gals have a bit of a New Romantic look to them this week. Nothing for the Swede to get too excited about.

    Russ Abbott comes on to flog what may or may not have been an actual release. Chart 30-20.

    Ottawan – from Guadeloupe or Martinique, somewhere like that … I occasionally listened to French radio at weekends so was familiar with this a good year before it charted here. Wedding reception favourite still. But by late 1980, DISCO was becoming a dirty word. Chart 19-11.

    Shalamar – think this might be the first time we’ve seen them on here; the sublime ‘Take That to the Bank’ either didn’t get on or was Yewtreed. Not one of their best, in all fairness, doesn’t really get going. Live performance with what seems like a series of ad-libs.

    Linx – David Grant and the enigmatically-named Sketch. One of the first of a series of Brit-funk hits that continued well into ’81. Another one not often heard now.

    Read introduces the Top Ten. And Randy at number two has been leapfrogged by a new entry …

    Few things date these repeats like the revelation that this is just the seventh hit (including Al Martino?) to debut at Number One. The Police with a well-known cautionary tale; its chorus surely should have been used to advertise deodorant at some point. Yes, we were still all allowed to like Sting in those days.

    Abbott and Sayer join our host at the end for a spot of frugging with selected audience members. All three are doing much the same at Prestatyn these days, needless to say.

  251. 251
    Mark G on 5 Oct 2015 #

    It actually was used to advertise deoderant, until Sting had it banned/injuncted/whatever.

  252. 252
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Oct 2015 #

    Ah, we’re back. Wait a second, where’s the sound? Ah, there it is and it’s Mike Read with spoilers.

    Black Slate with Amigo. Swede fodder natch, if a little lightweight but it don’t ‘alf go on. Mike tells us that the lads come from Hackney and Jamaica. Pity. They were on the M40 and M6 after this, the poor fuckers. Amigo who?

    Christ! Like a jack in the box, up pops Leo Sayer, all 18″ of him and he and Read perform a mercilessly short “comedy” exchange involving Read pretending to be Cliff. It’s excruciating. Fortunately, Split Enz come on and they’re not bad at all. Kiwis. Let’s hope they win the World Cup if Wales don’t. I don’t know what England were playing but it certainly wasn’t rugby.

    Dwarfy introduces La Ross having multiple orgasms all over Sparky. Fucking worrying. She’d get a caution if she did that in Eastbourne. Read is equally puzzled. Just wrong.

    Gals in darkness to “Another One Bites The Wotsit”. The cinema noir doesn’t really work. A good idea wasted. We do get Pauline looking deadly and sexy like Miss Diketon ready to throw her knife but Rosie can only flash her lovely girly smile and the whole point has been lost. Purring cat curls up on rug.

    Read has a clipboard. On September 27th, Alan Minter is defending his World Heavyweight title against the American Marvin Hagler. Mike corrects his obvious mistake later but this does not save Minter’s title. Indeed the Swede was present that dreadful night at Wembley when Alan was destroyed in three rounds by a man on his way to boxing greatness. A grim night was made even worse by what happened in the aftermath of Minter’s defeat. I urge our younger posters to You Tube this. The Swede, I assure you, did not take part in these disgusting scenes. Back then, Alan ran a restaurant in Crawley where we had relations. My parents happened to visit shortly before the fight and the old man told me that they would be dining at “Minter’s”. I told him to pass on my concern to Alan that he had to be at his very best or Hagler would do him, not thinking for one second that he would be in there. When he returned dad said: “I told Mr Minter what you said. He told me to tell you not to worry”. I knew that this conversation had happened because the old man was simply incapable of making this up. I promptly paid for my ticket. I think it cost £17.50 for a seat in the heavens. Telly Savalas was present. Alan Minter was probably my last idol. Quite a bit died that night. But there was quite a bit of growing up too.

    Russ Abbot inexplicably appears. An end of pier comic all day long. Read quite rightly tells him to go away. Chart 30-20.

    Ottawan with DISCO. An irritating beyond belief piece of Euro pop, which just misses out of the top. Very pretty girl, though.

    Shalamar. One of their less known ones. This rolls along perfectly nicely but it’s not a patch on the indeed sublime “Take That to the Bank” and they’re clearly enjoying it more than we are. Russ Abbot indicates dissent bedore introducing…

    Linx, a pleasing little UK soft soul combo with their inaugural effort. They were to score with a couple of goodies in the next couple of years before the lure of the Irish Sea coast became too much.

    Top Ten countdown. Presley is at number 7 with the gals dressed as scantilly-clad cowgirls. Even the few seconds we get are glorious.

    Police straight in at number one, being the 7th act to do so, pants a dribbling Read. Get him a tea towel quick. Don’t Stand/Baby Jump connection obvious. Both blinding records. Oh yes. Sumner may well have been talking from experience with this one.

    We have a truly bizarre exit. Sayer is there along with Read who has a balloon up his jumper. Abbot appears as “Cooperman” and falls over, hurting himself. The floor is then filled with girls from the audience dancing to “Searching” by Change. Read has a right litle lambkin hanging off his left arm. Everyone looks ludicrous. A Prestatyn bounty indeed!

  253. 253
    Mark G on 7 Oct 2015 #

    I take it back: It’s good that Read did the Minter news, purely so SwedeJim could tell that story! Yes, I recall the aftermath too, there was so much entitlement from the white blokes regarding Hagler, that the genuine shock of Minter’s defeat was translated into total disbelief and all out war! Was Henry Cooper’s fight with Ali the same? Probably not: Henry was the challenger.

    Anyway, back to the show: I also have it on good authority that there were whole chunks of comedy excised from this modern-day repeat presumably because Russ Abbot proposing to ‘do’ the ‘five’ ‘Legs’ was too much for the modern era. Which was why the beeb forgot to turn up the volume at the start: The shorter repeat did not have the volume fail. Some were complaining about censorship, I was more of the opinion that what was there was too much anyhow. Laugh? We almost….

  254. 254
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Oct 2015 #

    Mark – No trouble at either of Henry’s contests with Clay/Ali. Unlike Minter with Hagler, nobody really thought that Cooper would win, especially the second bout in 1966, by which time Ali had already established himself as a great World Champion. The earlier more famous first fight in which Henry floored Clay was the last fight Clay had before he took the title from Sonny Liston.

  255. 255
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Oct 2015 #

    Peter Powell on parade. The recurring theme, quite literally, is Ottawan’s DISCO. The show is infuriatingly punctuated by it each time Peter and guest pops up. If this isn’t annoying enough, Powell immediately tells us that the Police are still top. Cheers for that.

    The Mighty Quo – What You’re Proposing. What I’m proposing is that this is exactly why we all take great delight in ripping the piss out of this lot for their clear limitations. This song is wretched and could have been written by a ten year old. It’s all very well saying that it’s good time music but this was really bad. To be fair to them, obviously not all their catalogue was as grim as this.

    Peter tries to flog some TOTP T-shirts with the help of a couple of dollies. We then get Diana again with her alarming Joanna fettish.

    The first guest is Dennis Waterman. I think he had just started “Minder” back then but Peter still links him with George Carter. The Swede naturally gravitates towards Den, us both being Chelsea supporters from Clapham. A love of boxing too, his brother Pete Waterman was British and European Welterweight Champion way back when. Our boy is on tour with Gerard Kenny and Sheena Easton. Hmm.

    On with OMD before they actually called themselves this. It’s not secret that I loath this sort of stuff. I was only 19 but I was drifting slowly but surely away from TOTP at this point. Old before my time, perhaps. But there you go.

    Peter outlines forthcoming tours and we get the chart 30-19. Gals then do “Casanova” (his playing days being seemingly over). Sounds a bit like John Terry. It’s a wonderfully sexy routine, which not even a somewhat Downton Abbey aspect can’t spoil. Rosie and the Eternal Mistress appear to be dressed as Little Bo Peep. Not surprisingly, this does it for the Swede. There’s plenty of thighs and bums from all of them and they’re yelping in delight. You can always tell when they’re loving it. The cat looks across and sees the Swede smiling dreamily like Danny Kaye as Walter Mitty. No danger here for Puss.

    Chart 18-11. Black Slate. The deliberate favouritism from TOTP fails to advance the record above its current position at #9. Dennis applauds like a seal at the end but it’s Prestatyn for the group, I’m afraid. Dennis then talks about his charity footy team and then given a link from Powell indicates his carnal lust for…

    The Nolans. Fair enough, I suppose. The oldest, Maureen, has had a makeover (I’m not sure that term had been coined back then) and now looks more like their sister and less like their mum. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

    Paul Jones is introduced. This bloke is not only eternally young, even more so than Cliff, but is also one of the most pleasant people in the industry. Paul tells Peter he wants to do Blues on Sunday nights. Should be good. He announces another TOTP rescue job which fails. It’s Linx on repeat. They’ll be back with better stuff.

    Hello, hello, it’s Uncle Ray and suddenly we’re back in 1972. I say that but the melody is a direct lift from a track on Spyro Gyra’s first album from the year before. Gilbert hasn’t troubled the scorers for five years and afer dipping his toe it’s straight to North Wales after the show. Same bus as Black Slate.

    Top Ten countdown. Spoiler Powell has already told us that Teacher Sumner is number one. It’s the best record in the chart so who’s complaining?

    End of show. DISCO, which has been swirling around all night, takes us out as Dennis tries to pull one of the models in the T-shirts. He could be so good for her, apparently.

  256. 256
    Lazarus on 13 Oct 2015 #

    Gilbert O’Sullivan, who hadn’t been on the show for four years and to my knowledge wouldn’t appear again, was omitted from the Thursday show in favour of repeats from Diana Ross, Black Slate and Linx. Well maybe not all the performances were repeats but the songs had been featured before, only last week of course as we’ve clearly missed an episode. Dennis Waterman was at the point where he wanted to write the theme tune, sing the theme tune etc. I wonder if his brother Pete gets people berating him for making all those dreadful records with Jason Donovan and co.

    OMD was a classic of its time, heading for the Top Five despite the indifference of the Swede there, and still much beloved by radio producers to this day. I enjoyed the Quo as well, up to a point. We haven’t actually seen them much in the four and a half years these repeats have been running; I assume they had plenty of hits so perhaps they were unlucky with the culled episodes. Pete P was his usual jovial presence – he looked like he needed a bicycle, beret and onions though. And Casanova’s harem indeed looked in fine touch – I was half expecting Floyd to saunter on at the end in the title role. Jimmy would have been there like a shot.

  257. 257
    Mark G on 19 Oct 2015 #

    Who, me? Oh, all right then, TopofthePops..

    So we tune in and there’s a disco going on, there’s a song playing called “DISCO” and people are dancing on a dance area that looks like a kiddies paddling pool. But Peter Powell welcomes us in and tears us all away from the disco to tell us what’s on. I may mention some of them later..

    Status Quo are firmly into their ‘not bad but not good’ stream of hits, this ones about a friend offering cocaine of an evening. Runny Nosing. Maybe keep it for when you don’t have a cold otherwise you won’t get the benefit.

    Anyway, Peter’s knocking off some t-shirts which I don’t remember then doing. Wonder how they got on with that. One of my mates from way back was a show regular in the dance gang (way after the ensembles had group names), and he virtually had to sign his in and out.

    Never mind, Diana Ross seems to have a song called “Just get hold of this my old piano” which is only a bit bizarre.. Dennis Waterman gets to wave his up and coming single (which he didn’t write) and mumbles the title but its ok because it’s the theme from Minder so we’ll get to hear it enough.. Anyway, it was his wife that wrote the lyric, and you will see the songwriter credit of “Waterman/Kenny” which is accurate but misleading. I should have saved all that for when he’s on singing it, shouldn’t I? I should be typing about how great “Enola Gay” by OMD is (I should have typed the full name there but I don’t have time. Anyway, the waistcoat and leather tie look didn’t catch on in general so we’ll move on..

    And now its the not-news, The Crusaders are playing tonight so that’s not useful, and the shadows have a new album out so that’s not interesting. Chart rundown and then..

    Legs and co do “Casanova” and they enjoy it but there’s something seemingly hollow about it, I dunno its clearly only me so I’ll shut up and carry on..

    Peter tells us about how the next band did so well last time, they’ve invited them back on. Um, Peter: That’s not how it works mate. The single is selling more than it did then, that’s it. Anyway, Amigo is alright, moving on..

    Peter and Dennis chat, and the Nolans video starts abruptly so something got edited out I reckons.. Anyway, the Nolans do the nice pop music that Radio One like so its a hit.

    Paul Jones pops in and discusses Alternative Comedy, my goodness! There’s a distinct lack of the new wave effect on this show (beyond OMD) so maybe there’s a reason why comedy is about to become the new Punk.

    Anyway, Lynx repeat, and then Gilbert O’Sullivan does a nice romantic tuney which sounds like it should be sung in a pantomime by the principal boy to the princess. “I am your very own delicatessen” he sings in this song about one bodily fluid. Hmmm.

    Randy Crawford gets the prize for least convincing mime in the top ten rundown.

    Now, here’s a something to discuss.. The Specials single was banned off Radio One as the a-side mentioned VD and drinking too much, but the chorus admits that the whole song is a construct and none of it is true. Blur will pluralise the title while writing a song tjat does much the same thing. Anyway, this was crawling along the low twenties until this week it jumped up to number six for no apparent reason, and the next week it was back down again. Very Suspicious. I thought so at the time.
    The Police are still number one, you know it..

    OK, shows over, back to the disco, with the disco record called Disco. It’s a funny old point in time, one wave has passed, the indie sector hasn’t kicked in, and there’s a Ska thing happening but not much more at this visibility level. Ah well.. Is that a couple of 4 be 2’s in the audience?

  258. 258
    will on 19 Oct 2015 #

    I was off school with flu in the last week of September ’80 and I’m sure I remember Stereotypes being played on daytime Radio One around that time. Not sure any ban was official..

  259. 259
    Lazarus on 19 Oct 2015 #

    If there was no ban, they should have been on TOTP surely? From memory (and I’m sure this has been mentioned elsewhere) it went something like 22-6-21. So if they were going to be on the show it would have been this week, unless they were on the previous episode which was missed.

  260. 260
    Mark G on 19 Oct 2015 #

    Well, from polyhex, compare/contrast:

    24/05/1980 The Specials Rat Race/Rude Boys Outa Jail 18-8-{5}-7-11-10-33-42-75

    20/09/1980 The Specials Stereotype/International Jet Set 50-31-25-{6}-22-23-53-63

    They did not appear on the show with this one.

  261. 261
    swanstep on 20 Oct 2015 #

    Music from 1980 and 1981 is getting a big workout so far on American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5 of the different-casts/stories-each-season American Horror Story series made by Glee-meister Ryan Murphy). The Season opened to Joy Division’s ‘The Eternal’ and used Bauhaus’s ‘Bela Lugosi’ later (Petula Clark and The Eagles to end also featured), and ep. 2. prominently featured New Order’s ‘In A Lonely Place’ and (to end and painfully misused in my view) Siouxsie’s ‘Spellbound’ (plus Chic, Ferry, and that bit of Delius that was used in Tony Scott’s The Hunger and True Romance). The show itself is a campy, self-aware melange of The Hunger/Shining/Se7en/Inland Empire/Saw/Barton Fink/The Innocents/Buffy/Devil in The White City that doesn’t give a hoot about basic believability, and Lady Gaga has a big role. After 2 eps I’m about ready to kick it to the curb; it’s not ‘for me’, but your mileage may vary. At any rate, AHS:H’s huge music clearance budget ensures it will always have some interest for music fans.

  262. 262
    Lazarus on 23 Oct 2015 #

    It’s TV on the, er, TV … the late Tommy Vance in a rare Pops outing. ‘DISCO’ once again playing in the background as we get under way. I miss the chart at the start of the show.

    Madness – in the studio for a change, which means that Mr Sax keeps his feet on the ground. This must be, along with ‘House of Fun’ and ‘Our House’ one of their signature tunes isn’t it? Top three answers on ‘Pointless’ I reckon. ‘Cardiac Arrest’ and ‘One Better Day’ would be the two to go for.

    Vance perves over Suzi Quatro, here to flog her flop single and album … awkward, but she can handle him. Cuts to Showaddywaddy, Dave Bartram in shocking pink and they run through their latest pointless retread before being hastily rounded up and despatched back to where they escaped from.

    Barbra Streisand/Legs – at number 9 this week on a speedy ascent to the top spot. Legs gals shimmer around to this, all look gorgeous of course but it’s all done in the best possible taste … Frank and Sally can rest easy for tonight.

    Meet’n’greet with Michael Palin, plugging a new Monty Python album. Goes on a bit too long. He does though get to introduce –

    Adam and the Ants! First time on for them I’m guessing, ‘Kings’ had been out in the summer but fell short of the Top 40. So for many of us this was the first sight of the onetime Stuart Goddard and pals. Tommy thinks they’re going to make it, and he’s not wrong – a year of chart domination follows.

    Yet another interruption, this time from Dollar – it’s getting tedious now. Another flop single duly plugged, as well as the news of their engagement. who cares? Their chart renaissance is a good 12 months away, it’s going to take a Buggle to transform their fortunes. Finally, we get to the chart, and at 21 –

    George Benson – twice Tommy calls him a singer and guitarist, but he’s not really playing that thing. ‘Love X Love’ though, song’s a good ‘un. A string of hits sustain him for the first half of the eighties. Chart 20-11.

    Matchbox – veteran rockers with a Buddy Holly-type number. Is it one of his? Their biggest hit anyway, if I’m not mistaken. A woman in green and white, not one of the Legs, sits midstage. Hopefully she didn’t have to join them in the minibus too.

    Bad Manners – the biggest hit for them too. This lot were huge for a while weren’t they! First time I ever went out and bought beer for myself, I didn’t really know what to get. ” ‘Special Brew’ I thought. That sounds all right.” I didn’t know to look at the strength on the can then. I think I got through them, though it may have been by way of a shandy.

    Top 10 – annoying that we haven’t seen Odyssey yet. Yewtree victims no doubt. What the hell was with that birdsong record? A year later we’d get another one of course!

    Number 1 – the Police. Sting does his best Humbert Humbert. They’re not done yet.

    TV, Suzi and Dollar say cheerio, it’s time for DISCO again. Decent show, seemed to be refreshing short on repeats at any rate.

  263. 263
    Lazarus on 23 Oct 2015 #

    Just seen this on Wiki: ‘In a bid to generate sales, Van Day and Bazar announced their engagement, but this was later revealed to be a publicity stunt.’

  264. 264
    Erithian on 23 Oct 2015 #

    A couple of WTF moments tonight. When David Van Day tells Vance the name of Dollar’s new single he adds ” ‘Ow’s about that then?” – the only place you’ll hear a Savile impression these days!

    And behind Vance as he links from George Benson to the middle bit of the chart rundown, you can see a character in a green shamrock T-shirt apparently giving a Nazi salute. According to the Top of the Pops Facts Twitter feed (recommended) this was a member of a skinhead band called the 4be2s, who included John Lydon’s younger brother Jimmy. Seems the 4be2s gatecrashed TOTP a couple of times, and on this occasion they picked a fight with Adam and the Ants, during which Ants’ bassist Kevin Mooney’s guitar was broken. One correspondent to the thread claimed they were all mates and it was a publicity stunt, but that’s not how it sounds here!:

  265. 265
    Phil on 23 Oct 2015 #

    The 4be2s were an Oi! band; “four by two” is rhyming slang for “Jew”, so make of that what you will.

  266. 266
    flahr on 23 Oct 2015 #

    #262: when they did Madness singles on Pointless, it was a sterling answer of “NW5” that won the round for the folk on podium 4.

  267. 267
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Oct 2015 #

    The first shocker we get is that we haven’t escaped that bloody Ottawan record, as the bizzare balloon party continues. Tommy Vance is the clearly reluctant host.

    Madness are first up with Baggy Wotsits. Great fun of course and the kids are grooving with only a handful of party poopers sitting gloomily at the back.

    Vance, who looks like a Crimewatch photofit, quite rightly flirts with Suzi Q and the pint-sized sex bomb returns serve well. Promoting new single album and tour. Then we have to suffer Waddy, of whom we hoped we had seen the last. They obviously got over the wall and need to be rounded up before something bad happens.

    Tommy introduces the Gals dancing to Streisand’s number one bound Woman in Love. And dance they do. This is a beautiful routine and demonstrates just how professional as well as lovely they all are. A lingering shot of leader Sue gets the ball rolling and the others fall effortlessly into it. It certainly helps that they are working with such a strong record. And Lazarus is quite right, Frank and Sally are stood down and the cat sinks further into the rug in a deep slumber, purring luxuriously. It’s good news week.

    The second guest is Michael Palin (“the nice Python”) and he and Tommy have a very dull chat. A lad seated to the left cannot suppress a huge yawn. Palin is pressganged into introducing Adam Mit Ants with Dog Eat Dog. I never quite got this guy, I’m afraid. The best thing was when he was being introduced by the eternally horny Sally James on Tiswas. Sally pitched in with her first question: “How did the entire ant concept come about?” and before Adam could reply, he was brutally attacked by the Phantom Flan Flinger, who caught him with a bulls-eye. Ant was not happy. It was wonderful and was the best and most deserved treatment of a guest since Emu’s demolition of Parkinson.

    The yawning oaf is back as Vance rabbits aimlessly. He’s on the wind-up clearly. We then get Tereze and David from Dollar, who have got engaged and show TV her ring to prove it. Tommy very sweetly says “Good luck with the rest of your lives”. But I think it was all a publicity stunt. Didn’t David later run a hamburger van? No prizes for guessing where they are now.

    Chart 30-21. Footage of George “too cool for his own good” Benson. Love times Love. Nothing wrong whatsoever with this.

    Chart 20-11. The yawning wind-up merchant is back and then, bugger me, we are inflicted by bloody Matchbox. This risible poppycock is on its way to the top five, would you believe? The exchanges between the aged knackered singer and the young lovely he’s supposedly dumping is beyond ludicrous. Minibus now, please but leave the blameless girl.

    Bad Manners with a touch of Special Brew. As with Madness you can’t really say anything bad about this. Together they make up the biggest chart acts of the year.

    Top Ten and the Old Bill are still top. Exit then Tommy, Suzi, David and Tereze to the ever-present DISCO. No sign of Michael. Perhaps he had already left to go round the world? No. That for later.

  268. 268
    Lazarus on 29 Oct 2015 #

    No-one answered my question, but the Matchbox hit was clearly an old post-Buddy Crickets song. I suppose, when you ask about an old song on TOTP, it’s best to look it up first!


  269. 269
    Mark G on 29 Oct 2015 #

    Hi folks.

    Todays review is cancelled due to the show becoming very dull. The links are read off a script (at least Colin was honest enough to have his in his hand), The Legs dance was ok, Adam and Bad manners were repeats, Barbara Streisand is number one, and the only bit of excitement was the near riot when the crowd invaded the dance floor for the new record they started an ended the show with.

    Ah well, “Not my favourite but there have been worse”..

  270. 270
    Lazarus on 31 Oct 2015 #

    Well I just watched the long one, presented by Peter Powell and Radio 2 and Eurovision stalwart Colin Berry. DLT and Savile are still regular hosts at this point unfortunately so we lost the episode before this and will lose the next one too. Among those we lost from last week, Kate Bush with ‘Army Dreamers’ which hopefully we will see at some point, and Air Supply which we won’t. Some points of interest though:

    Adam & the Ants – not a repeat, and this time Adam manages to avoid hitting himself in the face with his sleeve hanky.

    Odyssey – just gorgeous. Only a number 6, peaking this week, but one of the Top 20 selling records of the year if I’m not mistaken. One of those US groups that did a lot better in the UK and Europe than in their homeland.

    Sheena Easton – don’t think I’ve heard this since it was out. The Waddy, good news for Jimmy is that this was their last Top 30 hit though I wouldn’t rule out further Pops appearances, I’m sure they were readily available.

    I wonder why Babs didn’t do a video for ‘Woman in Love?’ Surely the money was there. Some good clips anyway, even if I’m inevitably reminded of Miss Piggy at times.

  271. 271
    speedwell54 on 31 Oct 2015 #

    From reviews upstream (Mark G’s shockingly short review and only highlights from Lazarus) I’m not overly looking forward to this, but it’s been a while so..

    Live review of the long one – so that’s what Colin Berry looks like (a fifth Bee Gee).
    What is Peter on about; Adam and the Ants ..”because they’re going on tour currently.” They’re either going on tour or they’re on tour, pick one.
    Adam and the Ants vs the Shadows me thinks with that Marco twang.

    Embarrassing interview follows with Peter plugging the TOTP t shirt again.
    Into Odyssey and “If you’re Lookin’ For A Way Out”, a fine song indeed. I can’t find my Tony Jasper Top Twenty book, but Lazarus I think you might be mistaken. “Use It Up and Wear it Out” was in the top 20 best selling singles of the year, but I think that was it for them. I did hang around a bit though. (if anyone knows for definite please chip in)

    Bad Manners doing their best to look like Madness. Quite surprised the saxophonist didn’t levitate.

    Colin Berry gives us some news before the countdown. How long did they carry on with this I’m wondering. I don’t think I will watch out for Geraldine Hunt, thanks all the same. Legs do their thing to Fashion. Countdown.

    One Man Woman- Sheena Easton. I really don’t care for this at all. There is very little to the song. Next.

    Cliff and ONJ -I don’t remember this video at all. They do look like they are together. Were they? I do like her voice on this.

    Showaddywaddy – again, did they never meet Savile or DLT. Enough already. Countdown.

    Barbra – “My nose is narrow and long” well something like that. Something for everyone in the top ten this week. A poor show overall musically and links often quite awkward which is a shame as Peter is normally ok.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Can’t bring one to mind though!

  272. 272
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Nov 2015 #

    I echo Mark’s comment about the show becoming very dull. Still…

    We gatecrash on the party and this time Stephanie Mills provides the theme until Peter Powell condescends to join us. With him is Colin Berry, a wonderful broadcaster and Eurovision legend. Colin is going to help Peter with the rundown. So he is.

    Adam’s Ants in the studio this time. Naughty girls are behind Peter. Up steps a sultry brunette modelling one of those pesky TOTP tops. Where can we get them? On-line? No. From the Radio Times. Wow!

    Odyssey are looking for a way out. Sort of. Yes this is delightful.

    Bad Manners again.

    Colin reads the “news” off a sheet like the good radio man he is. He then counts down from 30-20. Fabulous.

    At 20 we find Jonesy with Fashion and the Gals dance to it. This could have been so mouth-watering but flashing lights and obscured pictures destroy it. Pork chops without the apple sauce. Great track though. Beep-Beep!

    Colin, who’s doing a fine job, counts down from 19-11 and androgenous Sheena Easton insists she’s a one man woman. I think she should be singing “I’m one man-woman”. Harsh? Well, no. Have a look at her and then tell me she’s not a clone of Gary Numan. Not that I’m having a pop. I’m a clone of a fucking Toby jug.

    From Xanadu, here are Cliff and Kanga. I’d forgotten about this duet and it’s most odd. Kanga as usual looks breathtaking and Webby clearly thinks so too as he’s all over her. It’s clearly the closest he’s got to a proper love scene and he’s picked probably the loveliest girl of the time to do it with so fair play to him. Kanga meanwhile is not slow in grabbing him back. The performance ends with a genuine tender kiss. Feelings. I’d like to think that they would have got a room after that but I don’t suppose they did.

    Waddy again. Kill.

    Back to Peter for the top ten.

    Barbra the Beak is top. We get footage and stills of her carrying on with some hairy blokes. Oh, and Ryan O’Neil too. It’s a strong ballad and it tops the charts in the US too.

    Peter and Colin say goodbye along with the t-shirt model. Stephanie Mills bookends and then there’s nearly murder on the dancefloor.

    The Swede is beginning to lose interest now, I’m bound to say.

  273. 273
    hardtogethits on 1 Nov 2015 #

    Re: Odyssey. Way out. #26 at year end.

  274. 274
    Paulito on 3 Nov 2015 #

    @271: No, that wasn’t it for Odyssey – there were two major UK hits yet to come in ’81/’82 (‘Inside Out’ and ‘Going Back to My Roots’) and a few minor ones too.

  275. 275
    Steve Williams on 3 Nov 2015 #

    Can I assure everyone that if they just bear with this ropey format of Pops for just a few weeks, by the new year we lose all the crappy bits – the menu, the endless videos and repeats, the audience being either bored witless or getting on everyone’s wick, the “news” and, hooray, the interviews – and they add a ton of neon and streamers and the Michael Hurll Golden Age finally gets off the ground. Helped by British pop booming, of course.

  276. 276
    speedwell54 on 3 Nov 2015 #

    @275 Steve, that is good news.
    @274 Paulito. To clarify, I meant ‘that was it for them’ in terms of being in the top 20 selling singles of the year, not that was it for them, period. ‘Use it Up’ was their only top 20 selling single of the year (20th to be precise). I shall try to be clearer in the future.
    @273 Cheers for that, obviously did stick around a bit.
    @270 Lazarus, pretty damn close.

    And another example of how these posts can be misunderstood; for at least a minute I thought that Hardtogethits was implying the assertion that ‘If you’re looking for a way out’ was a top 20 selling single of the year was ‘way out’ when it was actually the 26th best selling single, was a bit tight. Then it dawned on me, ‘way out’ was just a shortening of the song title and not a criticism. Or was it?

  277. 277
    Paulito on 4 Nov 2015 #

    Don’t apologise Speedwell – you were perfectly clear. The reason I misinterpreted your comment was because I hadn’t properly read Lazarus’s earlier post. (FWIW, I also misinterpreted Hardtogethits’s comment in the exact same way as you did, except that I thought he was referring to ‘UIUAWIO’ rather than ‘IYLFAWO’….)

    Anyway, roll on TOTP’s imperial phase and the second golden age of British chart pop! Come ’81, I for one shall be tuning in to the reruns a lot more often. (With any luck Savile and DLT preside less and less frequently as time goes on, but maybe that’s too much to ask – not least given that my earliest TOTP memory is of a 1984 show hosted by the tracksuited blinged-up cigar-chomping crazy-eyed paedo-monster himself).

  278. 278
    glue_factory on 5 Nov 2015 #

    Powell and Berry’s comments about the European charts being *very* different from the UK ones got me wondering; did other European countries have their equivalents to TotPs and what were they (so I can look for them on YouTube, basically)? Or was Top of the Pops a symptom of the peculiarly British obsession with the charts.

  279. 279
    Mark G on 5 Nov 2015 #

    Well, it would be apparent if there was some website that had the charts for each country, historically. But there’s the UK ones (everyhit, polyhex, etc), I think there’s a US one but I don’t know for sure, and that’s yer lot.

    Unless you know diff?

  280. 280
    Speedwell54 on 5 Nov 2015 #

    @278 Glue_Factory
    I can’t help you much with the rest of Europe but in Germany they had Beatclub, which was then followed by Der Musikladen. (which is repeated now in some edited form rather like Totp) Youtube has Musikladen 58 which was December 1980. Includes Telly Savalas and a version on Legs and Co dancing to Special Brew. Also there’s a fair number of English language acts. Not sure how chart related the programme was.

    In terms of charts..
    WorldCharts.co.uk has quite a few different European charts and currently you can get at least the top 10 for the first or second week of November 1980. Barbra Streisand was doing pretty well everywhere.

    Lescharts.com – the French Charts, lists up to the top 200, going back to 1984. It links to ‘autre pays’ and there you can pick the week, but they tend to only go back to June 2001.

  281. 281
    Mark G on 6 Nov 2015 #

    Ok Simon, let have some!

    Iron Maiden! They still have the other vocalist and the snare drum is the loudest sound here. I shall pass over only to note that Legs and co might have had a bunch of uniforms to present if they’d done this one.

    David Bowie in a sort-of performance vid for Fashion. Do they play this loads on Vintage? I don’t think I’ve seen this since this this prog was last shown. Fine stuff anyway, ok television programme you can stay. See, it isn’t the framework that was the problem last time, it was that none of the tracks prompted anything interesting to say about them. Anyway..

    Dr Hook are back after all! And now they are gone. Gladys Knight does the funky thing (as opposed to the ballady thing. Bourgeousie. Didn’t fit. Still, it sounds good too.

    Simon has news of Ian Dury, U2 and Kate Bush! Blimey! News worth knowing! Things are getting better! And Stu Francis. Ok it couldn’t last I guess, this weeks merch spot is a TOTP branded LP. Line up folks, ere dahnt mess it abaht if you ain’t buyin!

    Legs and Co do John Lennon’s “Starting Over” but it looks like Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” video! Oh wait, it doesn’t now. Reminder: John is still alive at this point. I doubt he saw this though. When someone told John (Richard Lester maybe) that he could actually be a great actor if he carried on doing it past “How I won the war” he replied “Yeah, but it’s .. Silly”. Not as silly as this dance but hey.

    Spandau Ballet are here. Blitz kids! Duran cannot be far behind. Oh great. I guess I like this more than I did at the time. But not by much.

    Supertrouper. A song about large spotlights. And Glasgow. On the road ennui. Funny how they gave it all up. Well, it isn’t really.

    And so, the rundown gives us the Tide is high. Now, why did the BBC do this? A couple of short excerpts of the actual video with various bits of older vids and a number 1 floating around. Its terrible. Was there any need?

    And back to Young and Co. And a much more well behaved dance crowd. Yes, best episode for some time, thankfully. OK YOU LOT!! TAKE IT!!

  282. 282
    Lazarus on 6 Nov 2015 #

    OK then, what have we here? A tune with a lot of sax, which I don’t recognise, and simpering smoothie Simon ‘Batesy’ Bates. The usual previews.

    Iron Maiden – with original vocalist Paul Di’ Anno, who would shortly be sacked for what sounds like some spectacular drug consumption. Perhaps not surprisingly, his voice is quite rough and bluesy, and not really suited to a HM band. Couldn’t imagine him tackling ‘Run to the Hills’ somehow.

    David Bowie – Bates favours the ‘rhymes with Zoe’ pronunciation, as opposed to the ‘rhymes with Howie’ employed by Peter Powell last time. No I don’t remember this video at all, though I surely must have seen it at some point. Same director as ‘Ashes’ I wonder? We have that black sky at points. Album’s a good ‘un, but how often does anyone play side two?

    Dr Hook plug new album. “Can you sing Top of the Pops?” “What’s the melody?” Pass.

    Gladys Knight – her imperial phase long behind her, and I think this might be the last UK hit with the Pips. From now on she’d only be sighted with famous friends, or solo with a Bond theme. Not bad, though. I’d forgotten about this one tbh.

    Bates with news, and Stu Francis from Crackerjack. CRAC-KER-JACK! Presents the presenter with a TOTP LP. “It’s got legs on the front” observes Simon. Not THE Legs, though, it appears.

    John Lennon/Legs & Co. Founding Fab on the comeback trail after five years. Needless to say, didn’t pan out quite the way he’d have hoped. Routine is OK, once they ditch the vampire look. Chart 20-11.

    Liquid Gold – edged out of the Thursday show, and what must have been their final appearance on the show before the minibus claimed them for ever. It’s ‘Dizzy’ part 3, obvs, Harmless enough though. I’m going to miss them I think.

    Spandau Ballet – when these repeats first started airing four and a half years ago we were still getting the likes of Pilot and the Bay City Rollers – now that we’ve had the Ants and the Spands on in successive weeks it’s starting to feel a lot more ‘modern’ to me. I shall be following ’81 with interest, if we get it. First hit for this North London mob of course, I prefer their early stuff on the whole, as I do for Duran for that matter.

    Abba – odd that they had to jump to number 13, didn’t come in at a high position. Back then even superstars often took three or four weeks for their hits to peak. “When I called you last night from Tesco” etc. Fire-eaters pre-empt the Goombay Dance Band. ‘Super Duper’ on NT9O’CN, of course.

    Top 10. Stephanie Mills on a boat, I rather like that one. No video for Dennis?

    Blondie – yes a bit of a cut’n’paste job. I thought that Dale Winton knew his music, but he played this a few years back on Pick of the Pops, and said “you’ll remember Atomic Kitten had a hit with that recently, well there’s the original, by Blondie.” Oh well. They made it their own I guess.

    Out to Young & Co, apparently. Decent show I thought.

  283. 283
    speedwell54 on 6 Nov 2015 #

    Simon reads the news, oh no it’s Top of the Pops…

    Iron and Maiden kick off with ‘Women In Uniform’. A song that doesn’t mention the title in its lyric, well maybe once. Vocalist sounds strange to my ears.

    Bowie art house video for a great track. Two of Dr Hook come in and Simon does all the work in promoting them. I think they may have been alone in the green room too long. Gladys Knight. The Pips pretend they are the Four Tops without the synchronisation. Song is not that bad but what is Bourgie?

    Stu Francis comes on a to advertise a ‘top of the pops’ album. Must have sold out of the T-Shirts. Legs all do their own thing to Starting Over.

    Liquid Gold – always the same performance on Totp, but a different song about dancing. Drummer still daft.

    Spandau Ballet – don’t they look young. Tony Hadley’s hairstyle is coming back in. Not without merit this track.

    Abba – Super Trouper “..what I have to tell you now is something that has amazed even the record company that belongs to Abba, because they have gone to number 13…” says Simon. Abba owned Epic! – who knew? Clumsy intros aside this was the first viewing of a very familiar video. They hardly put a foot wrong but the “Super per per” lines comes close. Songs lyric includes ‘number one’ and they get to number one.

    The Tide Is High – song lyric include ‘number one’ and they are number one. Also curious as to why BBC did this funny edit with the video. Did they do it back then or just for the repeat, like Grease hits?

    Not my favourite but there have been worse.

  284. 284
    Mark G on 7 Nov 2015 #

    I can authoritatively state that the cut&paste job was from back then. They showed a brief piece of the proper vid the week previously which looked interesting, I guess someone hit the blue pencil to it. The vid proper is on the blondie hits collection vhs (probably on dvd now)

  285. 285
    Jimmy the Swede on 10 Nov 2015 #

    Master Bates. God this format is annoying now. Spoilers.

    Iron Maiden. Women in Wotsit. Fledgling metal outfit. So what? I’m already surfing for an old “To The Manor Born” episode by now. That Marjorie Frobisher! Grrrr!

    Bowie. Fashion. Commendable vid akin to Ashes. A gleaming gem in a very ordinary show. Beep-Beep!

    Ray and Dennis from Doctor Hook stop by to chat with Simon. No Ned Flanders, though. Pity. New album from the Hookies. Okay.

    On comes Gladys Knight and the Greenwich Time Signal. I think she’s singing about Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy Pussy. I could be wrong. Don’t care. Do you?

    Pop News. Bates thinks we’re interested. Stu Francis, a latterday Harry Worth (a “comic” with only one gag) comes on. There’s not a doubt in my mind of his whereabouts now. I’m now looking for an old episode of “The Organist Entertains”, a guilty pleasure for the Swede along with “Pointless”. Dear old Nigel Ogden rocks more than this garbage. So does that professional dweeb Pointless Richard for that matter.

    Chart 30-20. Okay. Here we park, coz at 20 is Lennon, who feels like he’s been turned over. Which he soon will be. Mark Chapman is getting into place. But that for later. It’s the Gals now. And what a sexy dance to a track which will soon only signify sadness. Rosie looks extraordinary and she takes the game with ease.

    Chart 19-11. Now those delightful loons Liquid Gold return. We were denied another top tenner of theirs because of the beasts and this is their third hit, sounding just like their first. But they’re having an absolute ball, particularly the bonkers gal. And the ballroom is where they are now.

    Spandau Ballet on debut. To cut a long wotsit somewhere. I could never stomach this lot. Or Duran Duran, ABC, Depeche Mode etc. All the same to me. Identical dross. It will soon be time for the Swede to say goodbye. I’m getting very close to snatching the pebble from the old man’s hand. Perhaps a personal plea from Mucky Sue (or Rosie)…

    Abba. Supertrouper. Nothing to do with Sarah Brightman but a song about a lamp. And being sick and tired of everything when she (Freda) called him last night from Prestatyn. Feeling like a number one. And so it was. Heading for the top with this.

    Top Ten. Blondie are indeed “numb-brr-won” with the Tide is High. Very lightweight indeed. Only Debbie makes it worthwhile.

    Okay, I going to try to snatch the pebble again…Drat! Nearly got it.

  286. 286
    heather on 21 Nov 2015 #

    I’d never seen the UB40 video before – and it’s a cute idea for the time, especially the mixed-face guy. Looked unfortunate as a still on the chart rundown though. Also the ‘spoilers’ at the start are awful, but exactly what every documentary does these days. I always mute the first three minutes, even on BBC4. When the Lennon stuff first came up the other week, I was surprised how casual it was for a tribute until I realised I’d got the month wrong. I had always wondered why his first ‘tribute’ single war so ordinary before!

  287. 287
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Nov 2015 #

    Safe but dull mid-Atlantic Tommy Vance greets us with Stephanie Mills warbling in the background.

    Bloody Hellfire, it’s Waddy again. Say it isn’t so, Ethel! They’re doing Blue Moon. Vance is convinced that they will emulate the wonderful Marcels who topped the charts with it in 1961, the year of the Swede’s birth. He’s wrong of course, it flops, but oddly they make a good fist of it. It’s a killer of a song anyway. But three more flops and they’re gone, praise the Lord!

    UB40. The flip on the double A to the much superior Earth Dies Screaming. The band are dressed as minstrels black, white and mixed. Not a problem at all back in the day but they’d have their work cut out today even though their intention was supposedly to outline racial harmony.

    Superstars Alert! Tommy waves forward no less a personage than Hall and Oates. Swede a huge fan, even though John does look like a psychopath on day release. Single, album, tour. For once the interview is not embarrassing and these two are soft rock royalty, particularly in their homeland where they were super-massive.

    Robert Palmer is looking for clues. He doesn’t quite find them with this, alas, but Bobby has some golden times ahead. Quality bloke.

    Bev Bevan is introduced. As mentioned (see Swede passim) he is an alarming doppelganger for the guy who was to lose the Wimbledon final to 17 year old Boris Becker five years later. Bev plugs a book and ELO’s latest single which is gifted to the Gals. It’s a delightful tasteful routine where each of them play an equal part to camera. They all look breath-taking.

    Chart 30-21.

    Stray Cats on debut. I’m beginning to enjoy this show. Imaginative little rockabilly band. Vance likes them and so did I.

    Chart 20-11.

    Spandau Ballet. No thanks. Not for Swede.

    A couple of no-marks from the Motels are introduced. Who the hell are you? Then, a very memorable vid of an angst-ridden Suggs suggesting embarrassment. The mad lads are on a roll and the top ten hits continue non-stop in sequence. Excellent stuff. What a good show this has been.

    Top Ten and Abba are at the summit, wishing every show was the last show. For once I disagree. It’s been a bumper do tonight and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    All the guests are lined up as we say ta-ra. Hall and Oates are foolin’, which is their right as fucking superstars. Elsewhere, autograph hunter Mark David Chapman is now in New York.

  288. 288
    Adam Puke on 21 Nov 2015 #

    Tommy Vance was quite dull during this era wasn’t he? A far cry from his later excitable thunder-voiced incarnation. Did Live Aid endow him with the power of Zeus or something?

  289. 289
    Lazarus on 22 Nov 2015 #

    Tommy Vance with the waif-like Anne-Marie – an audience member, not a co-presenter. I hope she was watching!

    Showaddywaddy – still on the downward slope but this isn’t too bad. It’s a song that needs a lot of voices of course and they have enough to cover. Tommy was mercifully wrong with his prediction though.

    UB40 – OMFG. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this before, I think I would remember. I have the 45, I don’t think it’s on an album is it? I really like the early stuff.

    Meet-n’greet with Hall and Oates, their major UK commercial success just a year or two away. ‘Kiss on my List’ will crack the Top 30 soon. Robert Palmer, like Hall and Oates has been around for ages, a succession of well-received albums but precious few hits. This is the follow-up to the sublime ‘Johnny and Mary’ which somehow failed to make the Top 40, this one only does a little better unfortunately.

    The tall and generously coiffeured Bev Bevan plugs a book, and introduces his own band – ELO with the Legs, the big ballad from ‘Xanadu.’ Not their most energetic routine, seems to consist mainly of the gals walking around, looking aloof and demure, and looking from side to side like spectators at a tennis match. We still get a smile from Rosie, of course.

    Chart 30-21. A rare appearance from Barry Manilow, another with his best UK success ahead of him. Stray Cats – three-piece rockabilly outfit once likened by a writer at Record Mirror to Snap, Crackle and Pop from the cereal packet. One of them got together with Britt Ekland I seem to recall. Yes this is fine.

    Chart 20-11. We haven’t had Rod Stewart’s ‘Passion’ yet, thankfully. Not his finest hour. The Motels come on. I remember them actually, West Coast noo wavers I suppose. ‘Whose Problem?’ is quite a good number. They were featured a few years ago on VH1 I think, a series in which they tried to get 80s bands to reform (Frankie Goes to Hollywood and A Flock of Seagulls also featured). Never made much of an impact here though.

    Madness – another prime effort. Written by sax player Lee Thompson about the reaction to his sister’s unexpected pregnancy. Perhaps that’s why he gets two solos! Keeps his feet on the ground this time though.

    Top 10 countdown. You don’t hear that Boomtown Rats song very often. Bowie is stuck at five. If you haven’t heard it – or seen the video – check out his new song ‘Blackstar’ on Youtube. It is extraordinary. And Abba at number one of course, complete with acrobats, jugglers, fire-eaters, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. Their time’s almost up.

    Fact-filled show – it’s almost as if TV was trying to outdo Read – but very good, content wise. Only the first act on were required to take the ‘bus.

  290. 290
    swanstep on 23 Nov 2015 #

    The Motels had a quite a bit of success down under. ‘Total Control’ was their signature tune; do get hold of the 6 min original single and album track and avoid the the shortened version that’s on Greatest Hits and other collections. TC got to #11 in NZ and spent 18 total weeks in charts. Largely on its strength The Motels’ debut album spent 30 weeks on the charts and got to #4.

    In general, however, The Motels were a problematic band. They had a moody, slightly alternative, slightly conceptual (lots of pulp and noir and film references) vibe which normally would suggest ‘Album band’, but their albums were mostly disappointing beyond the singles. Anyhow, their best songs all showcase their distinctive singer, Martha Davis, and TC in particular is all-time great.

  291. 291
    Mark G on 25 Nov 2015 #

    Time flies. Two of them. With a stopwatch. Oh, hi.

    We are back to the sandpit that is the TOTP studio that thinks its a disco. Lots of The Kids sitting round not saying much while a disco tune plays and a tape of excited hubbub suggests an excited crowd, off camera. Tommy still looks like a fish out of water but presses on..

    So, here’s Showaddywaddy turn up and do the usual cover, its a classic oldie we all know which is usually a bad idea as we all know how good the ‘original’ is, but they just about pass the ‘ok’ flag. Mind you, ‘Blue Moon’ has had a few different arrangements, Elvis’ version is from some other place. Anyway..

    I do remember this “Dream a lie” which is being promoted as a less scary a-side to “The earth dies screaming’ I guess. The song is somewhat overshadowed by the B&WMinstrel show, but thanks to good old modern tellys the sound comes over better than it did.

    Hall and Oates. Into Robert Palmer. Always came over as an OK dude, and he started gently having hits from this point on. They still sound great, so that’s fine.

    Bev Bevan! With his book. Sounds like an autobiog with pics. Tom seems a little happier talking to a rock dude. And the legs are here, looking fine but the dance is basically them walking away. Well done.

    Chart rundown then its the Stray Cats, who manage to do that one thing that the other rocknroll revival acts can’t: Be Young. Which gives them the edge which they use to great effect. Yes, they could pull this three-handed act live as well. Wish they were still doing it, somehow. The White Stripes managed this, but we’ll have to wait a long time for that here.

    Spandau Ballet. Right, mentioned them, lets ff->

    Tommy has a painful conversation with The Motels, who seemed to have some hits by default if not design. Anyway, Madness get their often played video, um, played.

    Top ten, and look there’s a bit of Blondies proper video which looks too cool for this school. And here are Abba with those big lights song and the called you last night from Lidl song.

    Tom says thanks to his guests, and tells us all that Bev Bevan is a decent novelist for some reason. Beats me..

    Yes, some halfway decent stuff on tonight. Lets do it all again then, um, tomorrow?

  292. 292
    Lazarus on 29 Nov 2015 #

    The ever-enthusiastic Peter Powell. Young & Co AGAIN. Rather that than Ottawan I suppose. Spoilers.

    Eddy Grant – haven’t seen him much in these parts. Did Living on the Front Line get on? Anyway this is stompy reggae in a similar vein. Bigger hits await the ex-Equal a couple of years down the line.

    Oh good, guests already. Maurice and Verdun from EWF. Their album has just gone silver. After the mega-million selling I Am, they must be absolutely thrilled. Dull interview.

    Jona Lewie – “you might recognise one or two faces” teases Pete. Er, no actually. Were there hidden celebs among the platoon? It’s hardly the Band on the Run cover. Anyway, Chrissie classic. “Wish I was at home for Christmas” he sings these days from you know where.

    Chart 30-22. Yes 22, for that’s where we find Kenny Rogers with a Lionel Richie song. It’s not bad if you like that sort of thing. Legs in olde worlde costumes. Twirling wimples aplenty. But can we have them grooving again next week please? Ta.

    Chart 21-17. It’s stopping in odd places now, AC/DC up to the plate this time. Geordie Johnson on the mic. It soon becomes clear that they’ll be just fine without Bon. Another three decades of giving the fans what they want duly follow.

    Chart 16-11. And then back to 16. “At Christmas, all sorts of things happen” offers Pete by way of apology for the dreaded St Winifreds. Why in the name of sanity was this on when there was no need for it? Mike Oldfield in to plug flop single, surely wondering if he’s still in the right business after seeing the previous act. Introduces –

    Boomtown Rats – and as I mentioned last time this is one that radio has steadfastly ignored these last 35 years. Listening to it now it’s inexplicable that this piece of sub-Dreadlock Holiday cod-reggae (were they going for a Clash vibe?) got to number three. Bob in his beret looks like Citizen Smith. Not far from the end for them now, alas.

    Top 10 time. Lennon has slipped a couple, but that’s about to change in dramatic fashion. Spands flying high at five. Abba still on top. I make it just one more week for them though – ever. Nice Xmas jumper, Frida!

    Mike Oldfield struggles to raise a smile. The White brothers have flown. And out to Diana Ross. She’s coming out, but it meant something different in those days. Laters!

  293. 293
    Jimmy the Swede on 30 Nov 2015 #

    Please may I just begin by outlining a remarkable weekend for UK sport. The Heavyweight Championship of the World followed by the Davis Cup! Who would have thunk it? As Erithian put it to me in a text, “That’s SPOTY sorted out (Main and Team award)”.

    Tiresome entry again, as if we are gate-crashing on a party. I’ve had enough of this formula now. It’s Peter Powell again. Of course it is.

    Eddie the Equal Grant continues a successful solo comeback. Do we feel his love? Probably, yes. A good opener.

    Neil Diamond. Love on the “racks”. I was never his greatest fan to be honest. This was from the Jazz Singer. The clearly agog woman in the sound booth sends Neil clear signals that he’s on a certainty that night.

    A couple of herberts from Earth Wind and Fire are introduced by PP. They clearly don’t want to be there. They are smiling like loons and answer Peter’s questions as quickly as possible in order to get away. They maintain their false grins as Jona Lewie pops up to deliver what is the Swede’s most loved Crimbo pop song. Utterly delightful.

    Chart 30-22.

    At 22 is Kenny’s Lady. A US #1. We get the Gals for this one but it’s not one for their hard-core fans (eg Swede). It’s a yawningly boring slow dance and there are no legs at all as they are all covered up from head to foot dressed as Guinevere and looked pained. WTF? I can’t be doing with this old carry on. Even the cat is suitably disgusted.

    Chart 21-17.

    AC/DC. Rock and Roll ain’t noise pollution. Never said it was. Routine metal rant.

    Chart 17-11.

    Grandma. The least said about this the better. I would only overdo it!

    Mike Oldfield, painfully shy genius, stops by and speaks in tongues. I saw him tour back in the day. Bonkers but brilliant. Mike waves at the Boom Town Rats and gets a muffled cheer back before they launch into Banana Republic. God knows there were plenty of those around back then and still are today. Finland’s a complete mess! Belting track.

    Top Ten. Lennon is down two places. Abba are feeling like a number one. which is just as well.

    Oldfield politely plays the game and waves goodbye with PP. The two EWF dudes, however, are long gone, the rude bastards. Out to Diana Ross, who’s coming out and wants the world to know. Berry Gordy will be gutted.

    The cloud of St Winnie’s is closing in…

  294. 294
    Jimmy the Swede on 30 Nov 2015 #

    Sorry, folks. Mistake. Beer kills brain cells!

  295. 295
    Mark G on 1 Dec 2015 #

    Tomorrow? Ummm.. Anyway. Peter Powell is here, the disco sandpit looks more animated but the music is tastefully turned down.. It must be Totp! Yeah!

    right… Pete feeds us Eddie Grant by ANNouncing THE title with emPHAsis.. “O you feel my love” is the one that sounds a lot like “Living on the front line” but I guess that must have been yewtreed. Its alright. I guess if Mike Red had been here we’d be chock full of facts but I think PPowell only goes back two weeks if at all.

    Neil Diamond. “Love on the rocks” apparently was done as a punk track by Paul Nicholas in the movie just before Neil does this one. “Yeah, very nice, now sod off” says Paul. Something like that, not seen it.

    Guests are here. They went out of their way for twenty seconds of promo. Oh no don’t go earth wind and fire I need desperately to play you a single by this new band: Jona Lewie

    Yes it’s him, with more pals. John Otway clearly, Will Birch of the Records apparently, and one bloke who had hits but Jona can’t remember his name (yeah, really) so help a Jona anyone?

    Kenny Rogers does a ballad, Legs and co in historic costume drama, soporific effect. A pear is plucked from a tree by someone who manages not to crack up.

    ACDC do a song that’s slower that usual but just as forceful. Its Brian J now, obviously, its not my thing but its a highlight today.

    Dawn Ralph and the gang hit the high notes with as much intensity as ACDC. Lots of pink. A few boys. Mostly girls. Needs more dancing.

    Famous recluse Mike Oldfield makes low key tv appearance plugging single that’s not in the chart “yet”. But the Boomtown Rats are, and they get the word “whore” onto the show – there is another hit song that does that in quite a few years time, also irish fella. This song sneaks quite a few strange concepts in as well.

    Chart rundown, John is still alive. Blondie get that dumb “number 1” video back, boo. Abba still there at actual number one.

    Nothing terribly exciting, there it lies, bereft of actual wind, it lies like a kite.

  296. 296
    Mark G on 4 Dec 2015 #

    OK, this thing is on! And its Richard Skinner, allowed out on his own without the friendly local pervert to hold his hand and well anyway.. The youth club disco looks as fun as it ever did, its the lack of drink that’s the giveaway and the mood killer. Still..

    Its the Ant Brand! It all seems so obvious now, but then it seemed that A&tA were the punk last chickens that never broke out of division 2, and it was pretty much over: Check out “Maxine” from The Photos album, a top twenty smash (hey, I bought one!) . But look! He’s young, good looking, dresses well, and he wants you to join him in his crusade. This is Glam, back with a vengeance. Unstoppable. Of course!

    Whereas Showaddywaddy..

    Richard Skinner has lots of hair! I don’t remember him like this! Jermaine does too, but he still does if his Big Brother appearance (a while ago I guess) is anything to go by. He’s here to meet people. 25! Looks 15? No, Richard, that’s you that is.

    And Madness are here to do Embarrassment! I don’t recall this performance! Great.I notice the music is now DI’ed as opposed to sounding like its playing somewhere on speakers behind the band/performer. They don’t look too enervated, it must be cold in there.

    Oh, no Legs it seems, they are rehearsing. A likely story. Still, here’s Status Quo to do one of their memorable hits lets sing along to the lies in yr eyes of a thousand flies or thereabouts. Its more like their mid-seventies style than their eighties hits, but its .. Um.. Passable I guess.

    Its news time. John Lennon is dead, and Jon Anderson is on tour. Here is Gary Numan to do that quitting live shows not really thing.

    And here is Matchbox trying to do Gene Vincent covering “Over the rainbow” and failing. Its not a terrible idea, they just fail miserably at it. Its Prestatyn time, but only the reception area while all the families check in.

    The Police do that doo doo they doo so well. Lots of complicated long words in the verses but this one got them lots of stick for the ‘meaningless’ lyric thanks to the chorus. Its not a great idea but they actually do it well, which is much better than the other way around. Anyway, they channel the Beatles’ “Help” snow vids, but the ‘compadres together’ larks are not as convincing.

    Queen! Ahhhhh.., they stand for every oneof us. Thirty seconds of actual song (the “just a man” bit) and lots of atmos, they succeed! How about that!

    Stray Cats are here once more, a repeat, so I guess they don’t get to meet Matchbox. Doubtless they are watching this repeat performance while packing their gear away. And thinking.

    So, we run down the top end of the chart, and its Abba still number one. And the show ends.

    A dignified pause to a black backdrop, and Richard pauses to give John Lennon’s tribute and its Imagine. This was that Tribute to Lew Grade that Lennon was forced to do. BOMF indeed. The band wear two-faced masks. Lennon wears a red jumpsuit with lots of zips. And then its over.

    Well, I have to say Richard Skinner made presenting look very easy indeed, never looking uncomfortable or out-of-place, beyond the fashion statement anyway.

    Right, over to …

  297. 297
    wichitalineman on 4 Dec 2015 #

    The short version cut ‘Waddy and Matchbox. I enjoyed Richard Skinner’s dry but friendly presentation – my kinda BBC. A very good episode.

  298. 298
    Lazarus on 4 Dec 2015 #

    Thanks for letting me know who was cut Lino, means I don’t have to bother with the late night instalment … Richard Skinner in his school jumper, Pops debut for him no?The usual previews.

    Adam & the Ants – speedy follow-up with ‘Dog’ still in the Top 40 at this point I believe.Yeah this is the biz. Very unlucky not to top the chart, denied by a sudden turn of events, but they’d put that right before much longer. Lyrics come up on a screen karaoke style, for the audience’s benefit presumably.

    Birthday boy Jermaine Jackson presented with a cake. That’s not Delia Smith is it?

    Madness – in the studio this time. Would that be the McPherson tartan? Almost certainly not, since all the band are similarly attired. And in cricket trousers for some reason. Dunno if it’s been on before, but Suggs is on BBC4 later tonight in a programme about ageing pop stars, could be one for the iPlayer.

    Status Quo – this is very much in the ‘Caroline’ mould isn’t it – the other side (this was a double A) was ‘Don’t Drive My Car’ – a slower-paced warning to the little woman. Tour news.

    The Police – I must have seen this vid before but I don’t remember it. Then again, most of them were just the band goofing around weren’t they? OK single with lyrics (“their logic ties you up and and rapes you”) that they were maybe lucky to get on to daytime radio. Chart 30-20.

    Queen – performance video cut with scenes from film. Gordon’s alive!! Was last reminded of this film when I saw ‘Ted.’ We only have fourteen hours to save the earth, better get on … chart 19-10.

    Stray Cats – at the number 10 spot. Rockabilly rebels young enough to be the sons of Matchbox, if not Waddy. It was bass player ‘Slim’ Jim Phantom that married Britt if I’m not mistaken.

    Top 9 countdown, and Abba are still at the top. St Wins lurk ominously. Agnetha keeps pointing at the ceiling as if she’s firing a starting pistol. Frida turned 35 shortly before this show went out, and recently of course she reached her three score and ten. Looking good on it though.

    And so to the finish. Good choice of clip, it would have been so easy to show the ‘white room’ film that we’d all soon become so familiar with. Am I right in thinking it was Skinner who interviewed Lennon in New York just a few days before his death?

    Another good show, with the Pressy brigade sidelined until well after the watershed.

  299. 299
    Steve Williams on 4 Dec 2015 #

    No, it was Andy Peebles, who found out he was dead as he got off the plane with the tape. Skinner’s part in the story, as he recounted on the BBC4 documentary to start this year, is that he phoned up Macca to see if he might come on Radio 1 to talk about it and one of his people said it was the first they’d heard of it and they’d call him back – and Macca did a bit later.

    It was indeed Skinner’s debut as solo host but he had done two earlier this autumn which we didn’t see because he was being trained up by a certain other presenter. Not the best week to make his debut but he did a decent job of it, imagine some of the other hosts having to do the obit. In fact Travis did the show the week Elvis died but they used an unclearable film clip so we didn’t see that bit on BBC4.

  300. 300
    Mark G on 10 Dec 2015 #

    “One last trip back to 1980” ? Don’t mind if I do but that’s our card marked! Back to the sand pit, which seems more animated as its the Stray Cats playing.. And three girls have actually bought the t-shirt so they get to stand next to Simon Bates!

    But its already shaping up because its the true disco sound of The Beat doing “Too nice to talk to” which is probably their best single, I think so. The 12″ is a thing of wonder.. The bass player looks like Brad from the Specials.

    Oh, its Little and Large! The re-release of “Rock Steady” got nowhere in the ska revival, Ray Dorset’s lawyers didn’t bother, so its a plug for the summer season and an Eddie Waring joke, and that’s it for Rock News for now.

    And now its The Specials! The Drummer looks like Brad from The Specials. And you wouldn’t think they were a year away from splitting from their good time jumping up and down and cheerful disposition. They were obviously used to playing small clubs so they have no problem fitting eight (or nine) on the small stage there. Anyway, this is great. So.

    Album has some Simes to flog. Never mind all that, I’ll give you a fiver for the Chas and Dave badge.

    Gary does one that gets passed over on hits radio, but that’s not fair this is just as good as the, um, other one. Moi Wokario he sings. Not Lou Macari, no.

    Rabbit. Chas and Dave are here and Legs and Co breathe a sigh of relief. Times change, and now any shop or person has more rabbit than Sainsburys as they don’t stock it any more.

    More charts, and into The Nolans and “Who’s gonna “Rock” you now?” which follows on from “Don’t rock me too hard”, and that nolans soundalike called “Ooh, get it over with, over with, just make it quick” (and I’m not kidding)

    More chart, and its a fairly lively bunch with Ants, Cats, Rats, Police and Madness. I mistyped just then “Pillice”, Johnny and Sting? It couldn’t happen in any parallel universe.

    And Jona repeats his Cavalry.

    And Legs and co are here to represent John Lennon’s first solo number one. Respectfully. Pics and some gentle dancing. And into the credits. I guess Dawn Ralph and the gang are written out of “Number One” history by the time we reconvene in 1981.

    Anyhow, its been one of the best shows for some time. The short version, obviously. Might add some later if the missed acts were worth the effort..

  301. 301
    Lazarus on 10 Dec 2015 #

    Will comment tomorrow, but just wanted to say I enjoyed the Specials’ Christmas jumper bonanza. Somewhat ahead of their time there!

  302. 302
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Dec 2015 #

    The end of 1980 sees the Swede finally snatching the pebble from the old man’s hand. I hope the other regular TOTP commentators continue to lend their might and that the mantle is also picked up by a younger generation of posters as we move through the decade (this is assuming that the Beeb continues with it). As a matter of interest, I was quite rightly “moderated” by Popular Management for a completely manic comment (even by my exacting standards) about St Winnies but quite frankly it was time to give way in any case. It’s been great fun. I’m not going away completely, simply confining myself to the odd comment when I think I’ve got something worthwhile to say.

    Little and Large. I too remember “Rock Steady” with the blatant Mungo Jerry “sample”. It’s funny how your memory plays tricks with you. By the end of 1980, I had been working for over two years in Whitehall and correspondingly no longer had any interest in kids shows. Yet I distinctly remember these two Pressie stalwarts plugging this risible offering on Crackerjack. When the kiddies claimed their prizes, “Syd and Eddie’s record” was always part of the selection box. Lucky kids, say I. Astonishingly they are both still alive today. Though it’s not really much of a life being chained to the large wooden castle on the crazy golf course.

    The Gals’ tribute to John was indeed both respectful and gentle. Jimmy the Swede can drool over them as much as he likes but at the end of the day they are six wonderfully talented dancers. And I extend that same tribute to them.

  303. 303
    Lazarus on 12 Dec 2015 #

    And on that bombshell I offer a few thoughts on the late show … Simon Bates with girls in T shirts. Stray Cats in the background.

    The Beat – I had virtually forgotten this one but remembered it instantly when it started up. Yes one of their best. But their time at the top table was all too fleeting.

    St Wins – only on the long show, post watershed stuff clearly.

    Barron Knights – ditto. Another one I’d quite properly dismissed from my memory. The odd thing is that the songs lampooned were all at least a year old. The ‘comedy’ continues with Little and Large. We’ve been promised that this format won’t continue much longer, so let’s not lose hope …

    The Specials – as I mentioned, in a move that wouldn’t look out of place today the band are all festooned in splendid Christmas jumpers. Looks like their old mate Rico s back as well, though without label credit this time. This was a double A side with ‘Maggie’s Farm’ by the way. Another band with not much left in the tank.

    Gary Numan – Swede favourite with another one that has slipped out of memory. I don’t mind the main riff, but that voice … it suits the material of course, but I couldn’t hear too much of it. Seems to go on a bit too.

    Robert Palmer, and again there’s a nod to 2015 with the heavily bearded drummer. Sung in what sounds like a falsetto throughout. Nice xylophone solo, not that we heard much of it. Simes plugs the Xmas day show. Chart 30-19.

    Chas and Dave – two things to mention about this. Firstly, why would someone who’s prone to ‘excessive talking’ need to get something off their chest? Surely that’s what they’re already doing to excess. Also, speaking with authority from my humble job at the supply point, some branches of JS do still stock (diced) rabbit. Anyway, Prestatyn, obvs.

    Chart 17-11. Status Quo, Eddy Grant, Kenny Rogers – a real mixed bag. I feel so sorry for today’s youngsters whose Top 40 seems to be comprised 95% of the garbage that apparently goes by the term ‘commercial dance.’ We often have to suffer Capital at work and it is sheer living hell. Roger Scott and Kenny Everett are well out of it.

    Nolans – harmless fluff, but they have a much better one in the pipeline. Top 10. The Boomtown Rats falling from 5 to 7 is hardly a ‘surprise plummet’ – they had also fallen two the week before.

    Jona Lewie – perennial Yuletide favourite now in the Top 3. Not very famous celebs accompany.

    John Lennon – a Legs routine for the number one, and thoughtfully they recorded a new one. 21 to 1 must have been one of the biggest jumps to the top at that point.

    Sorry to see the exit of the Swede, is it too much to hope that some of the other regs (Speedwell, Lineman etc) will be offering their thoughts on 1981? It was a very good year (Sinatra 100th birthday reference).

    Toodle pip!

  304. 304
    speedwell54 on 13 Dec 2015 #

    Simon hosts and seems generally chronologically confused without a script on the first two clumsy links.

    The Beat – a couple of them pay a trip to Mr Benn’s shop before the show. A classic.

    St Wins- I remember -having seen the choir -wondering why they chose that particular girl to take the lead, but that is unkind. I have many issues with this record but I’ll just pick one. “Before it’s bedtime on her knee to us a book she’ll read” Ignoring the forced sentence construction I’m wondering why Granny has to be down on her knee (not both knees mind) to read. Is she about to propose?

    The Barron Knights – truly getting punished for watching on iplayer. Moving on.

    Little and Large pop up to advertise stuff. Specials -‘Do Nothing’ twktc

    This Wreckage – Gary Numan – doesn’t seem that long since he said he was learning to fly (in a plane) on this very programme and today we hear he has his pilot’s licence. Kicks off in a very familiar way but then gets rather un single like.

    The second coolest dressed man in pop with a great track. Simon mentions his previous single “Johnny and Mary” which in re written version of history was when I first got into him. It was actually years later when it was an extra track on Riptide single.

    Chas n Dave- Rabbit- Chart countdown some more.

    Nolans – matching jeans but different tops. Not without merit.

    The top ten countdown. In the Police video Stewart doesn’t drum on something that isn’t a drum, that must be a first.

    Jona Lewie- I’m always curious as to the royalties from these sort of records, and how much income they provide each year.

    John Lennon. Legs do their stuff and it’s okay.

    This was back in the day when they only had 51 charts in the year and a week at Christmas was just a repeat of the previous week. This possibly cost John a fourth number one with Happy Xmas (War Is Over ) narrowly missing out.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Lazarus – cheers for the namecheck, and alongside the Lineman indeed. Coincidentally we were in the same place at the same time in real life, -with Hardtogethits- last Thursday night in Wakefield.

    Swede – please don’t go away for too long; I’ll have no excuse to write ‘Swedeheaven’, and that’s definitely a thing.

  305. 305
    Mark M on 13 Dec 2015 #

    Re304: We were discussing the question of Christmas hit royalties in the office and then the office party this week. According to the estimates here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/10510135/Slade-earn-500000-every-Christmas-in-royalties.html – Noddy and Jim, presuming they had and kept a decent publishing deal, do have a decent annual income off their Christmas offering alone. Stop The Cavalry, on the other hand, generates £13,000, so a nice top-up to Jona’s pension but hardly bathing-in-champers money. That’s just UK, though – he’ll be getting some US royalties too.

  306. 306
    Mark G on 13 Dec 2015 #

    JimSwede, that L&L single came out much earlier, 1972 or thereabouts. I do have one in the pic sleeve, its ok really. When ska came back in it got reissued (I think) but got nowhere (again).

  307. 307
    wichitalineman on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Simes. Slimes.

    The Beat – just realised that whenever I see Jez on Peep Show I’m reminded of their singer (should know his name but can’t remember). I remember being rather shocked that this monotone single got to no.7 in Jan ’81 after an initially slow ascent in December… Xmas record voucher sales I’d guess. Mine that year went on OMD’s Organisation.

    St Wins – The granny photo, the frankly weird lead singer – this is a put on, isn’t it? Memorable tune, that much can’t be denied.

    Barron Knights – They’re smiling, but their eyes are crying out for help. This got pulled from Xmas TOTP2 last year due to its ‘fairy’ lines. Hard to believe it was ever considered for digging up.

    L&L – Good lord. Sheena Easton will be larking around with Prince rather than these assholes in a few years.

    Specials – this is beautiful. Everything about it.

    Gary Numan – most unlikely opening line for a Top 20 hit ever. Amid the Batesy banter, in a row, two of the bleakest lyrics ever sung on TOTP.

    Robert Palmer – this show is incredible! Batley’s response to early Prince. Never heard it played out but I’m guessing this was a big Hoxton record in the late 90s. Dalston beard on drums. Only Robert’s horrid jacket and tie give away its true vintage.

    Chas & Dave – err… the Top 20 really isn’t as varied these days is it et cet… Where’s the Caramel bunny?! “COW SON!!”

    Nolans – weird Bates intro, possible inspiration for Denim’s The Osmonds. I remember this single being punchier, proto new pop, but maybe the BBC orch are killing the buzz.

    Top 10 countdown – Bates spots “a surprise slip” for the Boomtown Rats, who had also slipped two places the week before.

    Jona Lewie – hard to be objective on this one, which seems to get more plays than Slade or Wizzard in 2015. Still, an anti-war song et cet. And £13,000 per annum’s not too shabby.

    John Lennon – if this was a track on Son Of Schmilsson I’d love it, and that’s my own personal way of getting into (Just Like) Starting Over. But it’s not the Stray Cats.

  308. 308
    Lazarus on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Re: modern chart music (and the enforced listening) the one song I don’t mind hearing atm is ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by someone called Grace feat G-Eazy, because the vocal doesn’t differ much from Lesley Gore’s original. But when you find yourself hoping for another spin of Adele or Coldplay just to break up all the bpm, it can make for a very long day.

  309. 309
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Dec 2015 #

    Lazarus #304 – As I mentioned, I’m not disappearing entirely. Simply toning down a bit. I’ll certainly continue to watch TOTP and if anything tickles the Swede’s fancy, I’ll be straight in there. Frank and Sally remain on stand-by. And the cat remains watchful.

    Mark #306 – Thanks for that. As Columbo always said: “That explains it!” I just couldn’t work our why or indeed how I could have still been watching Crackerjack as a twenty year-old. Earlier on in the seventies fits much better. Perhaps they should release “Rock Steady” again. Third time lucky mayhap!

    Good to see the Lineman giving it large again. I’m finally inching towards the end of “YYY”, a truly mighty and extraordinary volume which I’ve found both captivating and enjoyable. I normally have more than one book set aside for bedtime reading (when I’m not writing) and thus it has taken me about as long to read it as it did Bob to write it. I say bravo to him. It’s a wonderful effort.

  310. 310
    Steve Williams on 14 Dec 2015 #

    As mentioned up there, you’ll be delighted to know that the interrogation of Little and Large was the final interview we’ll be seeing on Top of the Pops, but they certainly went out with a bang. Eddie’s jokes might not have been very funny, but they were certainly topical, you can see why the kids loved them.

    That’s also the final episode with one of this show’s worst ideas, the seated audience. Somewhere on the internet there’s a snippet of an interview with Phil Bishop, one of the Pops’ regular producers at the time (under the aegis of Michael Hurll as executive producer) who said they’d installed seats because the audience didn’t dance anymore. From January they realise the way to solve that is to force them to dance.

    Of course, we won’t be seeing either of the Christmas shows Bates promoted for obvious reasons but, to make up for it, on Christmas Day for the first time BBC4 are showing Christmas 1975. Unfortunately, it’s awful.

  311. 311
    Lazarus on 25 Dec 2015 #

    I’m watching that 1975 show right now. There’ll be some dross later no doubt but with Pilot, Johnny Nash, Art Garfunkel, Ralph McTell and the Tymes in the first half it’s far from ‘awful’ in my view. All depends on what you like, though.

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