Feb 09

Popular ’81

FT + Popular/237 comments • 7,427 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?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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


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  1. 226
    Lazarus on 24 Apr 2016 #

    They were? That’s the trouble with watching on an old-style small screen. I wasn’t even sure which one was missing in the ELO routine, I thought it was Patti but didn’t want to commit myself.

  2. 227
    speedwell54 on 24 Apr 2016 #

    Richard Skinner hosts so no need to fret. Startrax turn up this week and they should have stuck with Legs. This record went down after their performance. Other than Number 1s a TOTP appearance was rarely followed by a fall at this time.

    Wired for Sound- Song is pretty good despite input from BA Robertson. The oft seen video is of its time BUT there’s no green screen for Cliff; he’s doing all his own stunts AND he’s about 10 years older than Michael Crawford was when blazing a trail for Last of the Summer Wine.

    Soft Cell, they may have come back, but it’s the same performance with Marc wearing a bit more bling.

    Nolans- looking good and sound polished.

    Stones and Start Me Up. Feels like every video is very similar but the song is good enough. My vote for one of the classics to come is Mixed Emotions which was overlooked over here.

    ELO – like the song and Legs are earning their money tonight. Can’t remember a higher energy performance, the lighting guy gets it right for a change and everyone’s happy.

    Johnny Vaughan said “never wear a hat that’s cooler than you are”. Take note Midge. This is a great track and the singles off the following album Quartet were all pretty good too but get sidelined for you know what.

    Genesis. ok nmcot. Countdown Aneka,the end.

    not my favourite but there has been worse.

  3. 228
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Apr 2016 #

    #227 – Speedo, re Michael Crawford, I think you mean Some Mothers Do Ave Em, don’t you?

    I have to confess that even I missed brunette Sue and Lulu dancing with Aneka. I can only hope the Eternal Mistress forgives me…

  4. 229
    speedwell54 on 25 Apr 2016 #

    *228 Swede- sorry if unclear; I was blaming Crawford’s antics on Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em for the existence of Last of the Summer Wine. I liked SMDAE and Crawford- he did his own stunts, and they knew when to stop.

    Last of the Summer Wine on the other hand used green screen for everything, and did not know when to stop. (well they did, but it took them 31 years!)

    They made 295 episodes, most of which featured some men (often three), going somewhere (often downhill), in some contraption (often a bath, but could be a sofa) followed by sound effects of a crash which would occur off camera; a wheel would then roll into view. One or more of said men would then stagger into shot, with a hat slightly askew, a collar turned up, a tie pulled to one side, and produce a random piece of vegetation from a pocket and act dazed. They would stretch that to 25 minutes with some overbearing northern women.

    To other things..
    Apart from Sue it is really hard to pick out Legs & Co dancing with Aneka, not totally convinced it was all of them.

  5. 230
    Mark G on 25 Apr 2016 #

    Well, she definitely starts the conga line for “Everybody Salsa”, and all the other girls are still there with parasols, which they wouldn’t be if they were Aneka’s brought-ins.

  6. 231
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Apr 2016 #

    #229 – Thanks for the clarification, Speedo. Michael Crawford did indeed do his own stunts, some, including when he was hanging from the clock face, caused Michelle Dotrice to literally wet herself laughing. Michelle, incidentally, was a gorgeous and glamorous woman, quite unlike Betty, a wet-as-a weekend-in-Prestatyn style frump. Great acting and the make-up department.

    Apropos Last of the Summer Wine. This record-breaking show lost its charm ages ago. Speedo has summed it up perfectly above. Let’s face it, you can only put up with so much of Compo in a runaway bath and Nora Batty moaning “Keep away!” My own pet hate about it, though, was always Ronnie Hazelhurst’s incidental muzak which was annoying beyond belief. The main theme was played by Harry Pitch aka Mr Bloe who came within a whisker of being discussed on our number one blog for groovin’ with himself.

    Talking of grooving, I must say, I’ve become pretty much suicidal about not noticing my ultimate fantasy gal grooving with Aneka. The Beachy Head chaplain has been given the heads up.

  7. 232
    speedwell54 on 26 Apr 2016 #

    *230 Mark G – Well(?)as I said I recognise Sue, hence “Apart from Sue” but I was concurring with Swede that they are difficult to spot, what with them essentially being in disguise, moving around and waving parasols in front of their faces.

    I am not disputing it was the same girls later doing the conga, but trying to recognise them in the conga phase is even harder given the above and other people joining in and massive great credits across the screen. If Aneka can do the conga at the end I can’t see why her brought-ins wouldn’t also be allowed. She has sung with other backing dancers see “Aneka Ooh Shooby Doo Doo Lang” on youtube; Swede I think you might like.

    I dare say it is Legs but the video evidence imo is not conclusive.

  8. 233
    Mark G on 27 Apr 2016 #

    They are difficult to spot, and as you say “apart from Sue” I didn’t recognise them individually either. It’s just that had they been Aneka’s dancers, they would more than likely have refused to do “another dance” on-camera without being paid (trust me, I’ve been there) (not specifically the TOTP studios)

  9. 234
    Steve Williams on 27 Apr 2016 #

    Well, if you want to check on iPlayer, at the back from left to right it’s Anita (the one who joined the other month) in blue, Rosie in peach and Lulu in purple, and at the front it’s Gill on the left in pink and Sue on the right in green. No Patti, she was on holiday that week. Rest assured, I have studied this in some detail.

  10. 235
    Lazarus on 29 Apr 2016 #

    If you missed last night’s show I’d advise getting yourself over to iPlayer, one of the best we’ve had for a while – Peter Powell greets us in an alarming zigzag-patterned sweater. Puts me in mind of a Friends Again sleeve for some reason.

    Modern Romance – the record that ended the last show – with no weeks missed – starts this one. Pressy-bound yes of course, but not for a while, this lot featured members of the Leyton Buzzards. Geoff Deane (pink suit) went on to become a TV scriptwriter responsible, or should that be to blame, for Birds of a Feather among other shows.

    John Foxx – this is OK I guess, I can see why it was left off the Thursday show though. His singing seems to lack conviction for me somehow. I wonder how he felt about the superstar status enjoyed by his old band. Swede will like the piano player I suspect.

    UB40 – One in Ten, not sure if this is a repeat or not. “We caught ’em before they go on tour” announces Pete, and 35 years later they’re going on the road again – or one version of the band anyway. Ali seems to have made up with at least some of his old bandmates, if not his brothers. Must make for an awkward Christmas.

    Bucks Fizz – on to their third single now, not sure if we got Piece of the Action did we? A much more downbeat number than their Euro winner. “I’m living in the shadows, I got no place to go.” They’ll have somewhere to go soon enough, thanks to our friendly driver.

    Pete introduces Gill (or Jill), Miss Radio 1 Roadshow. And then the Teardrop Explodes. Fabulous record this. I think I prefer it to Reward. Is that a sitar? And then a cheeky steal from As Tears Go By on the fadeout. Wonderful. And only got to number 29, what was the matter with people?

    Gary Numan – even this is one of his better efforts. Nice Roxy-like sax. Don’t remember this video to be honest. This week’s highest new entry, at 6.

    Dollar – now into their imperial phase, with Trevor Horn twiddling the knobs. Their outfits appear to have been filched from an Adam & the Ants video. Not sure if they were still engaged at this point. First chart rundown.

    Pointer Sisters w/Legs & Co – their big comeback hit after grazing the chart a few years earlier with Bruce Springsteen’s Fire, Slow Hand is nothing to do with Eric Clapton. Patti still away it seems. Not many more routines to come now from Les Gals, who shimmer nicely in gold lamé outfits. Chart 20-11.

    OMD – yet another good one, the lead off single from Architecture and Morality. Paul on lead vocal for this one. What would John Foxx have given for a killer riff like this? Miss Roadshow is seen having a slow dance with some lucky beggar. Top 10.

    Soft Cell – first week at number one for the Leeds duo bringing Northern Soul to the masses. Ten million sales follow for Messrs Almond and Ball. Looks like someone holding up a diver’s helmet at the start. Back to Peter – the blonde who was hanging off his shoulder for the last link is now cuddling up to Gary Numan. And now a first – Funkapolitan become the first act to appear on the show for the closing credits number. I’m thinking, somewhere between Beggar & Co and Heaven 17.

    Really good show with not a medley in sight. Struggling to think of a highlight, oh OK then, the Teardrops. Catch ya later!

  11. 236
    Steve Williams on 29 Apr 2016 #

    I don’t think Dollar were ever engaged, that was seemingly just a publicity stunt to sell records. You’ll note Trevor Horn joining them on stage for the performance, along with, as spotted on Twitter, Howard Goodall.

    The other thing about that episode is that it was the first live broadcast we’ve seen so far in the entire repeat run, hence its rather frantic nature (there had been two others this year, but one wasn’t recorded properly and one was presented by Savile). It certainly made it all seem that bit more exciting. I do like Powell’s continual pathetic attempts to pretend the show has made the videos themselves (“Our cameras caught them…”).

  12. 237
    Pink champale on 1 May 2016 #

    I’m a bit behind with these. Just seen the Musclebound video for the first time. It’s really quite something. Like a cross between Excalibur and the post-apocalypse back to the land bits of Threads. But with better clothes, obvs.

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