Feb 09

Popular ’81

FT + Popular/104 comments • 4,135 views

I give every song on Popular a mark out of 10 – these polls are your chance to nominate which YOU would have given 6 or more to. Pick as many as you feel qualify! My highest mark this year went to “Ghost Town”, my lowest to “Woman”.

Which of these Number Ones of 1981 would YOU have given 6 or more to?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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And by all means leave comments on the year in general!


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  1. 76
    anto on 14 Mar 2013 #

    re: 75 Brilliant blog. Congratulations.

  2. 77
    punctum on 17 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Meat Loaf.

  3. 78
    punctum on 19 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Genesis again innit.

  4. 79
    Lazarus on 31 Dec 2015 #

    Patrick (and others), I have it on good authority (TOTP Facebook page) that the 1981 repeats will be resuming on 15th January, when the edition of 8/1/81 will be shown. ‘The Story of 1981′ will be broadcast exactly a week before. I wonder if the reruns are moving to Fridays?

  5. 80
    Patrick Mexico, the Inanimate Carbon God on 31 Dec 2015 #

    Cheers Lazarus. I might be in London that weekend seeing a lot of men about a lot of dogs, but I’ll get on with the reviews pronto!

    Had a “forgotten 80s” video marathon with a friend t’other week – it was certainly something to introduce a childhood KLF fan now into grime to the wonders of Classix Nouveaux.

  6. 81
    Steve Williams on 3 Jan 2016 #

    The repeats are staying on Thursdays and they begin on 14th January in the regular slot. But the documentary and the Big Hits compilation, now almost as much a tradition as the Christmas show, are indeed on Friday 8th.

  7. 82
    Lazarus on 16 Jan 2016 #

    “I am the Laz and I know yoooooo”

    Seems like you’re all waiting for me to kick things off and goodness knows, ancient fossil that I am I’m far more engaged with this than I am with the hits of 2001 so here goes … the ever exuberant Peter P in the chair.

    The Look – straight off, straight to Prestatyn, do not pass Go. This record had a ‘gimmick’ – viz, it finished in a continuous groove, whereby the word ‘beat’ was repeated indefinitely, or at least until the listener got up to take the record off. My copy doesn’t do that, the turntable gives up after eight ‘beats.’ I just checked.

    Blondie – Pete plugs the album, and a very uneven one it is. This was the second and final 45 taken from it, I’m not sure they could have found another. The Monroe pastiche ‘Here’s Looking at You’ is quite sweet, though perhaps not single material. This one, you know. Video. Debs gorgeous as ever (and raps! after a fashion).

    Spandau Ballet – the long-forgotten second single ‘The Freeze.’ Facial hair ahoy! This isn’t at all bad to be fair. Bass much to the fore.

    Racey – oh dear. The most slappable face in pop – belonging to one Richard Gower – is back for one more go. They’re now down to doing pointless Waddy-style retreads of well-known 50s and early 60s songs. Driver is waiting …

    XTC – this is more like it. I want to get hold of ‘Black Sea’ one day, eBay is my friend I suppose. I like the way he sings “if I could only be tough like him” in the campest voice imaginable. File under ‘shoulda been huge.’

    Visage – “devenir en gris.” Famous video. Good song. They weren’t just style, there was some substance there too. RIP Steve.

    Yarbrough & Peoples (w/Legs and Co) – confession time. For years, I didn’t realise that ‘Peoples’ was somebody’s name, I thought it was, like, ‘Yarbrough and his peoples.’ I know. It’s obviously a duet as well, which might have given a clue, but there you go. Legs gals, mystifyingly, in kilts. We need a Swede to explain it all really.

    Adam & the Ants – more fancy dress. Still number two, and would go no higher. They’d soon atone for that though. Repeat, I think.

    Chart 30-21. ‘Dire Straights?’

    Honey Bane – once of the Fatal Microbes (‘Violence Grows’ – Punctum would be impressed I feel sure) this is her one solo chart entry. It’s OK, but another former punkette will be along shortly to outdo her.

    Chart 20-11. ‘Vienna’ on the way up.

    Bad Manners – not every song with a girl’s name in its title does well – I do remember this, but I have a feeling it only got to 20 or thereabouts. “When I find her, I’m gonna kill her.” is that what he’s singing, really? Prestatyn time again.

    Top 10. Massive climb for Phil Collins, we’ll be seeing plenty of him this year.

    John Lennon – number one, what is there left to say about this one? I still like it, but I know how much you lot like to cut down the tall trees. Yoko opens the windows. A week or two more for this I suspect.

    Gap Band see us out. Not a bad start I thought.

  8. 83
    speedwell54 on 17 Jan 2016 #

    Top of the Pops on twice this week? This review is for an episode originally broadcast a fortnight earlier than the review from Lazarus above so a fair few repeats. Onwards

    Richard Skinner hosts and he seems pretty comfortable in his role. Likes a link though.
    Racey kick off proceedings, obvious appeal for the young and Waddy fans. At least this time they didn’t have the cheek to get Legs dancing with them. Nmcot.

    Adam and some Ants- It doesn’t look like they and Richard were in the same place at the same time. Guitar solo starts and we get a close up of the bass player, eventually Marco gets a look in.

    The Look- already mentioned above the record never ends. Don’t know if this is a good story or actually true. Okay track.

    Richard Skinner appears to be wearing a badge that says “Richard Skinner” He introduces Barry Manilow with “Lonely Together”. He is going to lonely on his own if he carries on with this sort of stuff. Struggle to see much merit here. The song totally passed me by. Legs in rather shapeless dresses (not miniskirts Richard)

    The Beat- Too Nice To.. rpt.

    Sad Cafe- Richard doesn’t name check the song on the intro or outtro. Maybe neither of us know what it’s called. No memory of this. a BeeGee plays a sax solo.

    Matchbox – possibly their last visit to the Totp studios. Move on down the bus…

    Countdown to 11 and Chas N Dave- Rabbit. Then straight into the Specials -Do Nothing – what a mix we have this week. Another repeat, Christmas jumpers rather give it away.

    Nolans- this time not in matching outfits- That keyboard sound that must have been popular for about a week sounds pretty awful; that aside not bad, kind of what you would expect.

    Bad Manners – Lorraine- forgot about the hard to mime talking bit in the middle. Is this about domestic violence?

    Countdown and then John with Imagine. Having Numbers 5,2, and 1, he had record I think not beaten until a few weeks ago with Justin Bieber -35 years later.

  9. 84
    Steve Williams on 17 Jan 2016 #

    Yes, despite me authoritatively saying as much the other week, for the moment BBC4 are showing two episodes of Pops a week, on Thursday and Friday. I have no idea why they’re doing this. Don’t worry if you missed Thursday’s, it wasn’t very good.

    The 1981 documentary was brilliant, if only for the original footage of the making of the opening titles, which looked AMAZING! Virtually in HD!

  10. 85
    speedwell54 on 19 Jan 2016 #

    Peter Powell this week kicks off with his “hi folks”, gets his timing right and introduces The Look. Credit to them for turning up again, the bass player has bought a new leather jacket, not to be outdone so has the pianist.

    Blondie on video with Rapture. Famously first US no.1 to feature rapping. It was their last of 4 American no. 1s. Strangely no other top 20 hits for them at all stateside.

    Spandau Ballet- The Freeze -a smash hit to be claims Peter, his ‘Instinction’ letting him down a little here. I like the music but not sure on the lyric. It seems a bit early in a career to have a title not mentioned therein. They ditched all their tartan and Tony has lost his razor. Unusual song structure of chorus, chorus, chorus. One of the band is wearing a beret and dark glasses, looking a bit Captain Sensible.

    Pete undoes a couple of shirt buttons to reveal a Beatles t-shirt and he introduces Racey -nuff said.

    Xtc -Sgt Rock – I like this, I like them. Peter mentions their album Black Sea which is pretty solid.

    Fade to Grey- Steve does his stop motion paint your body thing 30 years before Goyte knicked the idea. Classic.

    Y and P- Don’t Stop the Music. That’s why Spandau have ditched the tartan, Legs are wearing it! AntMusic- again. Honey Bane – nmcot. Bad Manners – again Lennon -again.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  11. 86
    Mark G on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Two a week? God it was hard enough keeping up when it was three a month! Just working through the second of three this year but I will be posting either full and voluminous write-ups or short highlights or something later.

    Still, if it means we get to my favourite ever TOTP sooner (next year?) then fine. But my tivo might run out of space if I don’t prune the archive – I was saving to record the best ones to dvd but there’s been a lot of episodes with nothing good enough so I’ll have to sit with Popscene and make a kill list.

  12. 87
    Lazarus on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Yes it’s very strange isn’t it – they’re going to run out of shows very quickly at this rate. They’re already getting ahead of themselves – last night’s and tonight’s shows went out on 29 January and 5 February. So, best push on – and only watching the 30 minute shows at the moment, relying on someone to tell me if any gems were missed off. First up – Tommy Vance introduces “the programme that does not hang around” whatever that means.

    Slade – comeback trail for them, although this was was a bit of a false start in truth – they would only have one more Top 40 hit between this and ‘My Oh My’ almost three years later. Still riding on the coat-tails of the NWOBHM and everyone seems happy to have them there. Pyrotechnics to finish. Tommy would have enjoyed it for sure.

    John Lennon – Woman. Not a proper video of course, film of John and Yoko strolling in what I assume is Central Park, interspersed with photos. Song is pleasant enough of course, I imagine it would have got in the Top 20 even without the push given it by the artist’s demise.

    Ultravox – not introduced, but I think we all know what it is. Studio job rather than ‘ground-breaking’ video. Is this the first time on for them since Midge replaced John Foxx? I know they had a couple of minor hits in 1980, can’t remember if they got on the show though.

    Gap Band – funksters in cowboy hats, what’s not to like? Video of course.

    Diana Ross – now this sounds like a show tune, but it turns out it’s the theme from a long forgotten film. No surprise that Carole Bayer Sager is involved. Each of the Legs takes a turn. Lots of arm movements. Tommy insists on calling them ‘Legs and company.’ Chart 30-21.

    Phil Collins – another one we’ve heard many, many times over the years. ‘Face Value’ is getting a re-release apparently in advance of new material, it’s Radio 2′s album of the week this week which sounds a bit of a cheat really. SFX for the big drum break. Chart 20-11.

    Susan Fassbender – I remember this getting a lot of airplay at the time, it’s the sort of thing that does well on daytime radio, or did then anyway. Sue is a Deirdre Barlow type in big glasses, who later took her own life, sad to relate. The woman on guitar was her writing partner.

    Top 10 – a three year old hit from Adam and the Ants at #9. Lennon is at #2, and also at the top of course. Is the film from its original single release in 1975? It was recorded in Surrey I seem to recall, so I suppose it’s older than that as he was an expat by then.

    Heatwave’s ‘Gangsters of the Groove’ sees us out. And we’re doing it all again in a couple of hours!

  13. 88
    speedwell54 on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Best crack on then. Mr Vance – with his Rock On Tommy t-shirt – introduces Slade. Brief visit to the top ten for them. They had a lot of wilderness years. “How does it feel?” seem to start the decline which is a real shame as it’s possibly their best single. Guitar refrain sounds a bit Tie your Mother Down.

    Lennon and Woman- twktc. Yoko writing the b sides of all 3 numbers .

    Stranglers- Thrown Away from their foray into Euro synth pop. Not doing a bad job but a bit too much for the fans who bought No More Heroes. Tommy calls it “Blown Away”! (first extra track from the long version)

    Madness with their almost instrumental Return of the Los Palmas 7. They had a few tracks at this time not mentioning the title in the lyric. Shut Up and Cardiac Arrest came shortly after. (I’ve come over all Mike Reid)

    Tommy introduces the next act will a ‘coals to Newcastle’ reference which seems rather rude but then again having heard it, imo it is rather pointless.

    Vienna – first outing on Totp for this, were people taking about this the next day? The Gap Band next, sounding like the Gap Band. They rather copied Chicago with their album titles.

    It’s My Turn- Legs and Co dance/vogue to this Diana Ross number. All dressed up but Sue seems to be wearing the off cuts of everyone else’s outfit. Swede are you watching?

    Tank topped Collins and his echo pedal with the oft played In the Air Tonight.
    Charts and then Bradford born Susan Fassbender gets her 15 minutes.
    The Top Ten – John – credits.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  14. 89
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Jan 2016 #

    Hello. I did say I wasn’t going away completely! The two episodes a week format will test even those of you who intend to post at length.

    Having been away for a bit, my comments cover all the ’81 shows so far:

    I think The Beat by The Look was a great record with a cheery little message. It’s clever and entirely original. Full marks says Swede but yes, Prestatyn.

    Big ticks for: Specials, The Beat, Dire Straits and Madness.

    Slade bringing the house down was a lot better than I remembered it.

    Hurrah for Fred Wedlock with surely the funniest last line of any record in the pantheon of popular music.

    Debbie. Never mind rapture. Ravishing!

    Lennon. A tasteless death shot of John during the first broadcast of Woman.

    Honey Bane. A very young girl being produced by Jimmy Percy says Peter Powell. I’m saying nothing. Allow the lambkin this one and another flop and she’s been serving breakfast in the camp cafeteria ever since.

    Susan Fassbender. This plays very sad when we learn what became of her.

    Vienna. Often remembered as the best record kept off the top by the worst, although Jean Genie and Little Jimmy trumps it for me. Bates calls Vienna a “Surprise hit”. What a complete cock!

    Barry the Hooter – Dull and listless.
    Yarborough and Peoples – Short tartan skirts, smiley and swirly. Swede likes.
    Diana – Elegant and classy routine. All six get a super-trooper moment (their turn) and as usual baby Rosie just can’t resist giving us her lovely girly smile. Delightful.

    That’s all, folks.

  15. 90
    Lazarus on 26 Jan 2016 #

    Two more this week! Jeebus! This Friday they’ll be showing the episode that went out on 26/2/81. What’s going on? Almost makes you relieved for the return of the Sky at Night. Get your skates on Mark!

    Best get on with last Friday’s – and again, to save time, I’m only watching the edited show:

    Simon Bates in gruesome stripy blazer.

    Stray Cats – the return of Snap, Crackle and Pop. They’re rocking this town. I like the reference to the ‘real square cat from 1974.’ Alvin Stardust? But it’s hardy essential. Next!

    Blondie – video, repeat. Clem Burke with a very un-1981 beard.

    Spandau – repeat, I think. “The art is pretending it’s art.” Quite. Two repeats on a half hour edit makes me wonder what was left off …

    XTC – good, but we’ve seen this one as well. Hits were few and far between for the Swindon lads alas but the ‘Fossil Fuel’ compilation is excellent. Chart 30-21.

    Cliff – standard Alan Tarney number from the ‘I’m No Hero’ album. Passes pleasantly I suppose.

    Passions – German Film Star of course, apparently written about a mate of theirs who’d had bit parts in a few movies there. Long intro. Nice guitar effects. I seem to remember Radio 1 playing this a lot. But one hit wonderdom was to be their lot.

    Chart 20-11.

    Joe Dolce – I missed Fred Wedlock the other day but I know Noel Edmonds was largely responsible for ‘Oldest Swinger in Town’ being a hit. Was he behind this as well? Someone must have been playing it. Only #30 this week, so there was no need for him to be on the Pops, but now there’s no stopping him of course. To be honest I don’t mind it now, but it was as annoying as hell at the time.

    Top 10. No Legs? The ‘Vox up to three, Phil and his big face at two.

    Number One – John Lennon, different film this time. I did a double take too when I saw the photo of the recently deceased John on Thursday’s show. Yoko must have approved that though surely?

    No sign-off strangely. OK show I suppose. The year hasn’t really got going yet though.

  16. 91
    Mark G on 27 Jan 2016 #

    Yeah, just a respectful fade to silence at the end of the John Lennon “Woman” number one.

    There. Caught up!

  17. 92
    Mark G on 29 Jan 2016 #

    Richard Skinner into The Pretenders, being one of their best hits, “Message of Love”, but it’s not 1) their biggest 2) their first, so it gets neglected on modern day Hits Radio, right? Never mind, we are here now..

    Vienna Video, what’s the matter you?

    Remember Randy Van Warmer? Here’s the Reggae cover by Barbara Jones, and is it death by BBC Orchestra? The guitarist is very finger fumbly..

    Coast to Cost catch the Hucklebuck vibe: About a year or two previously, Mike Read used the original (The Royal Showband? Think so.. maybe not the stone original, but) as a sort of theme for a summer on Radio 210, and it’s a little slower but more crazy in some ways. Anyway, it’s a song that hadn’t been a hit yet and now it’s day has come. I guess Coast/Coast will be at Prestatyn now, in round one of the Talent Contest. Well, it was either that or the spot waltz..

    To contrast, here’s the Pure Metal Overdrive of “Mutually Assured Destruction” and Gillan! … um… oh. It’s more a “Child In Time” sensitive ballad, and way past its sell-by date. He had a bunch of hits around this time, so he can call himself lucky and try harder next time.

    Legs and Co dance to George Benson, and Sue pleads down the camera to JimSwede don’t go. It’s all very tasteful, anyway..

    Freez do the Brit-Funk before Arthur Baker gets here, everybody’s gonna wantta MOVE! Casual singing, a frantic bass break, it’s fine stuff. Funny, these funk bands start off as a bunch, then end up as two (See Lynx also).

    Slade are back with “Mutually Assured Description” to show Gillan what they should have done. Anyway, it’s a repeat and it’s alright.

    More brit funk with “Somebody help me out” Beggar and Co, it’s working guys, it’s working..

    Kelly Marie has been let back in the studio, this one goes “ah” whereas the other one went “ooh”, but apart from that its the same as the other one, but without the chorus.

    Chart runs down, and John Lennon “Woman” still at number one.

    .. and they still play it out over the credits. Is it respect for John rather than follow it with anything? Or is it how they are doing it now? We’ll have to see…

  18. 93
    Lazarus on 30 Jan 2016 #

    ‘The Getaway Car’ is on, seems as good a time as any to catch up … going to see if I can do a two in one … watching Thursday’s extended show and Friday’s edited one. Let’s see what we make of those. Richard Skinner presents the first.

    Pretenders – from the still some time off second LP. Two of them are going to be brown bread in little more than two years. But the band is, I think, still going. Chrissie published a much talked about auto-biog last year.

    Ultravox – Vienna video – TWKTC, to quote one of our absent friends. Has the boy Mexico done a runner already?!

    Barbara Jones – I must admit I’d forgotten all about this but that’s exactly why I like to watch these repeats. The song is not that old of course but lends itself quite well to a reggae treatment I think. I see from the excellent Angelo Gravity blog that Barbara is, like a few of the acts on these shows, sadly no longer with us.

    Coast to Coast – what we can only call by now, surely, Prestatyn time. A song I wasn’t familiar with before and an enjoyable performance but this lot were soon despatched to the North Wales coast. Ageing redcoats these days, I suppose.

    Gillan – former Purps singer with what I’m guessing is his first solo turn on the Pops (unless he’s been Yewtreed over the last few years). I do remember this but I can honestly say I haven’t heard it in the last 35 years. Slo-metal – a bit of ‘Child in Time’ about it perhaps.To be fair, Ronnie had just been sworn in over the pond, and a lot of folks were worried.

    George Benson – don’t remember this at all. Instantly recognisable as GB but where’s the song? It must have been very unusual for the Legs to do a number that wasn’t in the Top 40, and their efforts couldn’t get it higher than 45.

    Chart 30-21

    Freeez – the singer from this lot was interviewed on the Story of 1981, wasn’t she. One of the less predictable inclusions which also featured various Spands, Duran, Kim Wilde and the always available Human League. I like this record a lot but it’s very hard to reconcile it with ‘IOU’ from two years later – seemed like a completely different band.

    Slade – I’m assuming this is a repeat, in any case ffwd. Chart 20-11. Beggar & Co – seen this before as well. Everyone’s in hats for some reason.

    kelly Marie – Prestatyn time part 2. Another one I don’t remember, but for some reason I’m glad she was able to keep the show going into ’81, if no longer. Men in tight white trousers dancing to bagpipes is something I never need to see again, though.

    Top 10 – and John. Last week at #1 for him … ever?


    By the way one I missed, and which would surely interest the Swede, was the late Fred Wedlock with the Legs –


    “When your barber takes a little less time each week” – my haircuts cost a little more these days than they used to, as he charge me a ‘finder’s fee.’

    On to 26-2/81 and hope we get a chance to catch up at some point … the boy Powell is our host.

    Status Quo with an old song that suits their style quite well it has to be said.

    Roxy Music – the Lennon tributes continue. I honestly didn’t know this song before they did it, I suspect a lot of people didn’t, it wasn’t a hit for John after all – so in a sense this is the one my generation knows best. The original, which we came to later, sounds almost like a demo in comparison.

    Kim Wilde – debut time.The blonde hair, the dark jacket, the stripy top, the pout – all seems ingrained in me somehow. This is a great pop song and it’s a pity we’ve never had a proper chance to discuss her on Popular. Where is ‘East California’ though? I’d have though it was more a case of north and south.

    Passions – may or may not be a repeat. Either way ffwd. I’ve got a lot to get through!

    Madness – in the studio this time. Suggs conducts.There’s a toy saxophone. They’re having a ball, and so are we. A few more years of hits await, thankfully.

    Coast – Hucklebuck, either a repeat or that jacket needs cleaning …

    Chart 30-21. Freeez, rpt. Chart 20-11.

    Kiki Dee – have we seen her on here since her Elton duet? I don’t think so, and that was four and a half years ago, pretty much. This was written by one of the Chanter Sisters who I think we last saw also in ’76. Good pop song but only a fleeting comeback for the artist formerly known as Pauline Matthews.

    Top 10. Joe Dolce, up from 30 to 1 in two weeks, leapfrogs the Vox. They haven’t forgotten it have they! Video this time, not that it’s very different from the studio performance – a few shots of people sitting at tables. Titles over the number one, again. Okey doke.

    Pretty good show(s) I thought with even the Pressy inductees offering entertainment value.

  19. 94
    speedwell54 on 31 Jan 2016 #

    Peter Powell has lost his curls and and struggles with the Status Quo song title; “Something that I like about you baby” is what he says, and I’m not even kidding. As mentioned above, an old song and it was years after this came out that I heard Glen Campbell singing it, and realised it was’t a Quo original.

    Serious face Peter introduces Roxy Music and Bryan the coolest man in pop pulls off a pale blue suit and salmon pink tie like no one else.

    Beggar and Co, all in their outdoor clothes, nmcot.

    Kim in her pre gardening era with her first hit Kids In America. This made the year end top 10 in Australia despite peaking at No5.

    Passions -German Film Star type stuff. Makes a lot of compilations of the time. It has a good reputation but listening now frankly it seems a bit dull. Probably need to be in the mood.

    Madness with their bossa nova instrumental. Waiter!

    Kelly Marie – Feels Like I’m In Hot Love; well something like that.

    Do the Hucklebuck- Coast to Coast (the coast of North Wales perhaps)

    Ultravox – Vienna- they wouldn’t let it lie. Video this week.

    Freeze -Souther Freeze nmcot, but it’s not bad. Kiki Dee- Star. Chart rundown

    Joe Dolce – another week at one.

  20. 95
    Jimmy the Swede on 31 Jan 2016 #

    Ticks for:

    Pretenders – My Edwardian dad’s fantasy gal.

    Vienna -The video this time. Sublime.

    Freeze – Classy in parts.

    Roxy – Wonderful and a fitting tribute to the song’s author.

    Kim Wilde – On debut. Pretty side of rough with faraway looks and a great pop song, though I too was stumped by “East California”. A long successful career lies ahead for Marty’s lambkin.

    Kiki Dee – Big tick for “Star”. Should have been massive but then again Swede could never be objective about Kiki. Miss Matthews ticks just about every box for me.

    Also -

    Passions – Dull but memorable.

    Coast to Coast – Yep, I think we’ve all picked up on the fact that that is where they are now. The frontman was flashing what looked like a wedding ring. Sweet.

    Beggar and Co – Tried very hard with their desperate pleas for help and a chance but alas can’t escape that revving engine. Sorry lads.

    Kelly Marie – I’d dearly love to know what clan her dancers hailed from. They must have been on triple money for doing that.


    George Benson. Elegant in ball gowns. The Eternal Mistress looks breath-taking and yes, I’d like to think she was giving a come hither look to her faithful lapdog, Swede. A man can always dream!

  21. 96
    Mark M on 31 Jan 2016 #

    Re93/95: I’m sure it’s East California just to scan, although it does raise the question of why this new wave makes almost all the way across the country and then stops a hundred miles or so from the coast.

    However, Eastern California is a thing . And it can be a way of describing the deserty inland bits that in some ways (politically, culturally) can have more in common with Arizona than LA or the Bay Area. The California of Joan Didion’s awesome Some Dreamers Of The Golden Dream:

    ‘This is the California where it is possible to live and die without ever eating an artichoke, without ever meeting a Catholic or a Jew. This is the California where it is easy to Dial-A-Devotion, but hard to buy a book. This is the country in which a belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis has slipped imperceptibly into a belief in the literal interpretation of Double Indemnity.’

  22. 97
    Lazarus on 1 Feb 2016 #

    Ah, those West Californians, they couldn’t be doing with any of that New Wave rubbish. Not when they had the Eagles, Poco and the Little River Band.

    The two that were left off the Friday edit were both repeats by the way: Ultravox and Kelly Marie. That’s exactly how it should be surely – it’s annoying when they edit out once-only performances, such as Gilbert O last year, on the assumption that ‘no-one’ will want to watch them.

  23. 98

    @93: Fear not, rumours of my Popular demise have been greatly exaggerated! Belated Happy New Year, y’all.. just been busy with work and had to see a man about various dogs. Plus took a complete break from social media due to fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists (on Facebook and Twitter, not here!) so gently easing myself back into the darkest depths of the Internepths, so I don’t get the bends (OK, computer. Sorry.)

    Will try and hit the ground running with the reviews in the next few weeks. Not going to make too many drastic promises though as running before I can walk’s been my Achilles heel on Popular.

    What is “TWKTC?” Number 3 suggests it’s a Prestatyn pun: http://www.zimbrotop.com/twktc.html

  24. 99
    Ed on 1 Feb 2016 #

    @97 – I still find it shocking that Wilde wanted to deliver such a calculated snub to X, The Germs, Crime and Black Flag.

  25. 100
    speedwell54 on 1 Feb 2016 #

    TWKTC- means ‘too well known to comment’ for something famous and often discussed. It is also a kind of lazy shorthand for – I have nothing meaningful to contribute on the subject or add to this discussion.
    Looking forward to the reviews Mr Mexico.

  26. 101
    Lazarus on 3 Feb 2016 #

    Just the one transmission tomorrow, thank goodness. 5/3/81 – presented by Mike Read, who we haven’t seen for a while.

  27. 102
    Mark G on 5 Feb 2016 #

    Yes, Mike Read! Back from, um, wherever…

    The eighties seem to have actually got going, which is just as well because the seventies had packed in around Jan 1980 and it wasn’t that long ago that TOTP was looking very over. However, much as it pains me to acknowledge, “Planet Earth” is a pretty good opener even if it looks like a parody of an eighties band but hey.

    And you might ask yourself, where does that highway go to? Yes, it’s twktc, but I’m going to anyway. How their version of “Take me to the river” with the greatest hits so-far of the extra single didn’t chart I will never understand, but it was now time for Talking Heads to become the favourite band of all those slightly older blokes that didn’t suit punk as such. Which, with some variety for different people, is the eighties.

    Adam promotes another re-release, there’s loads of them coming out of the woodwork but this is his current record label so that’s alright. I would have liked “Car Trouble” as well, or even “Young Parisians” and so on, but he’s busy yeah?

    And now it’s Proper Toyah. A couple weeks ago there was Honey Bane, with “Turn me on turn me off”, a pop confection basically, but again it was out as a double 7″ single and the other tracks were pretty good but that was pretty much it for her, hitwise. There was a watery cover of “Baby Love” as well, I did note that there has been a recent retrospective covering her from the Fatal Microbes to her later stuff, all the EMI tracks are included apart from the Supremes cover, so I guess she didn’t like it much either.

    oh, Toyah, right.. (It’s hard keeping up now, I daresay there’s gonna be some retrospetive catching up on odd highlights).. Another one of those acts who needed some time to catch on, last year she was appearing as “Toolah” a punk rocker band musician on “Shoestring”, and her track “Danced” was played in full at least three times. Which is why nobody bought it I guess, they’d heard it a lot. This time, it’s an e.p. for the price of a single, and its a hit with the “oh, proper musicians” crowd, and they are also off and running.

    Shaking is next, and “This ole house” has already had a big airing on the saturday fixing programme that they dare not mention. So, the crowd are forced to hand-jive while Shakes does his shaking thing. Somebody found a dead body in an old decrepit building, and wrote a song. Imagine what Nick Cave would have made of it. He still might..

    Hooray, we get HeadGirl, a highlight of a DLT blocked episode, and it’s still great. I had to go get my JKidd/Pirates HMV single at the time to check that line about Eskimo Nell, though..

    Phil Collins is back and so is his mate the Paintpot. Look Phil, you’ve had 35 years to say “no it wasn’t a reference to that” so it’s a bit late to say so now. We’ll be checking your fax machine later, alright?

    Kool and that gang give Legs and Co source material for the oddest performance, one half are dressed like Private Walker and the other half are honeymoon-dressed-for-bed. And the answer to your next question is yes. (The question depends on you, don’t look at me!)

    Teardrop Explodes video, funny they are also on next week! (aka tomorrow). I can’t remember that ever happening unless the act got to number one. Just a note: The “acid” performance was “Passionate Friend” which will be along later in the year, (or March, the way things are going).

    The Who put their misfortunes behind them and hunker down to TOTP to do the new single. It’s OK, but with Kenny on the drums, as someone else said, you do end up imagining the fill-ins that a Moon might do. This does belong to ‘latter-day-who’ which is from this one until the present day.

    And so , we relax to Joe Dolce, and another thing that bugged me here: What Musical Theatre? You could have brought at least some of the cast along, right? Even the audience member that got tasked with waving the stick to the blackboard gets no show on-screen. Vienna? What, Rigsby’s cat?

    And now to fade to The Hucklebuck. I did say about Mike’s promotion of the ‘version that this cover is based on’ previously, but he dances with some enthusiasm along with the crowd who are all a foot shorter than him. One couple stare wistfully at each other for a moment, but she decides not to, and the moment is lost.

    So, yeah! Probably the best episode all-together for a couple of years. Been a long time since “no duff tracks” could be said with any justification, but it seems it’s working, this pop lark.

  28. 103
    Jimmy the Swede on 5 Feb 2016 #

    Only a few points of interest for the Swede here:

    Talking Heads – Fantastic. Same as it ever was.

    Motorhead – Loveable loon in his element. There’s little doubt that he partied hard at the Beeb after this and went after the gals. I’d love to think he’s still partying hard in a better place.

    Phil Collins – Fair enough. Swede used to sing “I’m pissed again”. Blessed if I can think why.

    The Who – Great return and highlight of the evening. I was only a few weeks away from my first trip to the United States back then and awaiting being “okay for a visa” was exactly where I was at.

    Kool and the Gang. Eternal Mistress looks scrumptious but there’s confusion. She Rosie and Gill are in bridal gowns. The others, as Mark correctly states, look alarmingly like Private Walker and are chasing them. Pretty peculiar baby!

  29. 104
    speedwell54 on 5 Feb 2016 #

    Mike Read, and he looks like a Cliff impression is just moments away. We’re in for a fact filled programme tonight.

    Planet Earth – Duran Duran – As Mark G said we do now seem to be in the 80′s. Simon’s over the face (but not in Phil Oakey way) hairstyle is very much ‘in’ now for lads of a certain age – if we can ignore the crimped fringe that is. He always was a bit of a Dad dancer, but probably just about gets away with it here. Barbarella fact from Mike. Their last album Paper Gods (2015) is brilliant and probably their best album ever. imo.

    Talking Heads – David Bryne excels in being David Bryne. Taking his inspiration from the ministry of funny walks he is still doing this stuff now. In a video from only a couple of years ago, teaming up with model Cara Delevingne’s current beau he does his funny walk again.In the comments on You Tube someone quips something along the lines ‘ this isn’t a music video, a camera just followed David on a regular Tuesday’ Gotta love him though. Pyscho Killer is the track that I can’t believe never did better. The Clothiers, a pub I frequented of a Sunday in my college years played it religiously (every Sunday) nearly a decade after release.

    Kings Of the Wild Frontier- a school friend was a big fan of this lot but by this point in their career he was falling out of love with them rapidly. I guess this was the case for many fans of Zerox etc.

    Toyah – ‘It’s A Mystery’ from their Four from Toyah ep. Toyah still a group at this stage. Her breakthrough track and never bettered chart wise.

    Shakin’ Stevens- This Ole House. No one could accuse him of being an overnight sensation; this was the fourth single from his tenth album. Another act with their breakthrough single. Legs in the background. I wasn’t going to discos at this time (or most other times) but wonder if there was a proper routine for this?

    Motorhead/Girlschool another EP and another act with their never bettered hit chart wise.

    Phil Collins- He was only on the other week with a different jumper, sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Again he has some kind of double tracking on his vocal. The trumpeter seems to want to remain anonymous with peaked cap and shades. Ronnie Scott’s less bothered. Seven US number ones and only them made it all the way over here.

    Kool and the Gang- Legs help out. Not quite achieving Swedeheaven this time. I think it’s the length of the trousers that is spooking everyone- just above the knee, doesn’t really work for a suit. There’s a fair bit of acting and facial expressions from the gals tonight. Kool and the Gang had to wait until their 13th album for a chart placing over here. The one after where this came from.

    Reward – Teardrop Explodes- another breakthrough track and never bettered chart wise. Watching the long version -was this an extra track just for the long version -if they are on again next week?

    The Who – You Better You Bet- I quite enjoyed hearing this again. Does feel rather crafted, in a good way. There is a lot going on with verse, chorus, pre chorus instrumental bit and bridge.

    Joe.. Theatre.. the DJ Otzi of 1981-

    Out to Hucklebuck- Mike really does get into this. The crowd are all doing their versions of their own private Hucklebuck with barely two alike. This is the longest outtro we’ve had for a while.

    Not my favourite but the best for ages!

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