Feb 09

Popular ’81

FT + Popular/293 comments • 11,304 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!


  1. 1
    Mark G on 10 Feb 2009 #

    15! Twas a good year. Bear in mind “6” is a mark which I give things I can stand, and I never did enjoy Roxy’s “Jealous Guy”.

    Still, I’m amazed there are still tracks that don’t get unanimous praise, even here!

  2. 2
    vinylscot on 10 Feb 2009 #

    A terrible year for number ones, although it was a good year for pop music, and the charts overall. Even some of those which I liked at the time sound awful to me now!

  3. 3
    Erithian on 10 Feb 2009 #

    15 for me too, a landmark year personally and good memories associated with a lot of the music.

    Here’s the year-end top 30 bestsellers as broadcast by Radio 1 just before the New Year. Again the oddity that they must have compiled the list with a cut-off point before “Don’t You Want Me” had sold that many, because of the three 1981 hits that made the all-time top 100 DYWM is the highest placed at 25. “Tainted Love” was the 57th best seller of all time and “Stand and Deliver” 83rd.

    1 Tainted Love
    2 Stand and Deliver
    3 Prince Charming
    4 This Ole House
    5 Vienna – Ultravox (number 2)
    6 One Day In Your Life
    7 Making Your Mind Up
    8 Shaddap You Face
    9 Birdie Song – Tweets (2)
    10 You Drive Me Crazy – Shakin’ Stevens (2)
    11 Ghost Town
    12 Being With You
    13 It’s My Party
    14 Woman
    15 Happy Birthday – Altered Images (2)
    16 Hands Up – Ottawan (3)
    17 Stars on 45 – Starsound (2)
    18 Green Door
    19 Imagine
    20 Jealous Guy
    21 Kids in America – Kim Wilde (2)
    22 Japanese Boy
    23 Chi Mai – Ennio Morricone (2)
    24 Begin the Beguine
    25 Hooked on Classics – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2)
    26 Souvenir – OMD (3)
    27 Can Can – Bad Manners (3)
    28 Antmusic – Adam and the Ants (2)
    29 Do The Hucklebuck – Coast to Coast (5)
    30 Hold On Tight – ELO (4)

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 10 Feb 2009 #

    An unusually low eight out of 19 for me, although I think that New Pop is probably my favourite pop thing ever, alongside disco. The right things tended to be big hits, but not the very biggest hits.

  5. 5
    lonepilgrim on 10 Feb 2009 #

    I voted for nine songs although there were a couple I could have given a 6 to if I were feeling a bit more generous. As I recall there was a feeling that things had changed by this year – away from rock to pop and from ‘authenticity’ to artifice.
    Ian Penman and Paul Morley were in their heyday at the NME and IIRC Grace Jones’ Nightclubbing was the NME album of the year.

  6. 6
    SteveM on 10 Feb 2009 #

    yeh only 8 too – not a good enough representation of ’81’s general awesomeness

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 10 Feb 2009 #

    The NME Critics’ poll for 1981 singles is rather terrific;

    1. Ghost Town – The Specials
    2. Adventures on the Wheels of Steel – Grandmaster Flash
    3. Me no Pop I – Coati Mundi
    4. Fascist Groove Thing – Heaven 17
    5. Love Action – Human League
    6. Mama Used to Say – Junior Giscombe
    7. Tears are Not Enough – ABC
    8. Pull up to the Bumper – Grace Jones
    9. O Superman – Laurie Anderson
    10. Walking on Thin Ice – Yoko Ono
    11. Burn Rubber on Me – The Gap Band
    12. Tainted Love – Soft cell
    13. Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag – Pigbag
    14. Rapp Payback – James Brown
    15. Wordy Rappinghood – Tom Tom Club
    16. Let’s Groove – Earth Wind & Fire
    17. The Razor’s Edge – Defunkt
    18. Being With You – Smokey Robinson
    19. Four Movements – Thomas Leer
    20. Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode
    21. Going Back to My Roots – Odyssey
    22. Intuition – Linx
    23. Rapture – Blondie
    24. Plan B – Dexys Midnight Runners
    25. Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder
    26. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
    27. Der Mussolini – DAF
    28. Good Year for the Roses – Elvis Costello
    29. Shoot the Pump – J. Walter Negro & the Loose Joints
    30. Doors of your Heart – The Beat
    31. Kitchen Person – The Associates
    32. Can you Feel It? – The Jacksons
    33. Favourite Shirts – Haircut 100
    34. Pocket Calculator – Kraftwerk
    35. Another One Bites the Dust – General Saint & Clint Eastwood
    36. Launderette – Vivien Goldman
    37. Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club
    38. Chant No.1 (We Don’t Need This Pressure On) – Spandau Ballet
    39. Out Come the Freaks – Was(Not Was)
    40. W.O.R.K. – Bow Wow Wow
    41. Flowers of Romance – PiL
    42. Ceremony – New Order
    43. Beggarman- Pablo Gad
    44. The Longest Day – Sound of the Valleys
    45. The ‘Sweetest Girl’ – Scritti Politti
    46. Pretty in Pink – Psychedelic Furs
    47. The Art of Parties – Japan
    48. Computer Love – Kraftwerk
    49. Too Drunk to Fuck – The Dead Kennedys
    50. Show Me – Dexys Midnight Runners

  8. 8
    wichita lineman on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Wow. I’m the first person to vote for Julio, in spite of all the retrospective love we’ve shown him.

    12 for me, which is a record, I think, but then I reckon it was my generation’s ’66. Looking forward to someone else digging out the NME/MM/RM/Sounds polls…

    A few things that didn’t even bother the Top 20 in this year of years:
    Josef K – Chance Meeting
    Orange Juice – Poor Old Soul/LOVE Love
    Aztec Camera – Just Like Gold
    New Order – Ceremony/Procession/Everything’s Gone Green
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Plan B/ Liars A to E
    Depeche Mode – Dreaming Of Me
    Eyeless In Gaza – Invisibility
    Echo & The Bunnymen – A Promise
    Siouxsie & the Banshees – Spellbound
    Modern Eon – Childs Play/Mechanic
    Split Enz – History Never Repeats
    The Names – Night Shift
    Scars – All About You
    Fire Engines – Candy Skin
    Dolly Mixture – Been Teen
    Gang Of Four – To Hell With Poverty
    Pretenders – Day After Day

    and the States gave us…
    The Go Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed/We Got The Beat
    REO Speedwagon – Keep On Lovin’ You
    Foreigner – Waiting For A Girl Like You
    Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
    The Waitresses – I Know What Boys Like
    Rick James – Superfreak
    Rod Stewart – Young Turks

    It was a good time to be 16.

  9. 9
    Billy Smart on 10 Feb 2009 #

    The Sounds Critics poll for 1981 is less rockist than you might expect;

    1. Ghost Town – The Specials
    2. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
    3. Is Vic There? – Department S
    4. In God We Trust Inc – Dead Kennedys
    5. Tears Are Not Enough – ABC
    6. Favourite Shirts – Haircut 100
    7. Absolute Begginners – The Jam
    8. Mad Eyed Screamer – The Creatures
    9. I’m In Love With A German Film Star – The Passions
    10. Dreaming Of Me – Depeche Mode
    11. Planet Earth – Duran Duran
    12. The Art Of Parties – Japan
    13. Glow – Spandau Ballet
    14. (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang – Heaven 17
    15. Stand And Deliver – Adam And The Ants
    16. The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum – Funboy Three
    17. Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag – Pigbag
    18. Passionate Friend – Teardrop Explodes
    19. Intuition – Linx
    20. Chihuahua – Bow Wow Wow

    Melody maker took a lowly view of singles, but did annoint Ghost Town as single of the year

  10. 10
    Billy Smart on 10 Feb 2009 #

    And here are the same charts of 1981 seen upside down – ie the singles that got to number 40, but no higher;

    17 Jan I’m In Love Again – Sad Cafe – 1 week
    24 Jan I Shot The Sheriff – Light Of The World – 1
    28 Mar I Saw Her Standing There – Elton John & John Lennon – 2
    20 Jun Norman Bates – Landscape – 1
    5 Sep Europe – John Foxx – 1
    21 Nov Me & Mr. Sanchez – Blue Rondo A La Turk – 1
    26 Dec Christmas On 45 – Holly & The Ivys – 3

  11. 11
    wichita lineman on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Thanks Billy, must have been drawing up lists at the same time. Interesting how Plan B figures so high in the NME poll when it got a pasting all round at the time of release (February?).

    The Sweetest Girl! Adventures On The Wheels of Steel!! And, errm, Norman Bates. Anyone else reckon the Landscape album that contained Einstein A Go Go to be the most disappointing album EVER with a top pop hit on it? Bloody jazzers.

  12. 12
    johnny on 10 Feb 2009 #

    great lists! wow i love this site, you people are the best! so many songs to seek out now…

  13. 13
    AndyPandy on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Completely agree with Billy when he says that the best pop singles are often big hits but rarely number ones. New Pop (and electronic music from 87-92) are my best genres but I also found this year very disappointing Number One-wise even ‘Tainted Love’ I’m completely bored of now although I voted for it on the basis of what I thought of it back then.
    Also for me 1982 easily surpassed 1981 as the peak year for New Pop.
    And I’m sure we’d have soon be disussing what could well have been my best ever Number One in 1982 if Duran Duran had only gone ahead and released ‘The Chauffeur’ as a single.

  14. 14
    mike on 10 Feb 2009 #

    A paltry 7 votes from me this time round. A great year for chart pop and all points beyond; but no more than an average year for #1s.

  15. 15
    wichita lineman on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Re 13: I suppose I’d take 81 over 82 because of the pop awakening of the post-punk generation and the electropop crossover. Postcard peaked, which in turn led to Haircut 100’s unique Monkees-funk; Scritti Politti reinvented themselves (gently); Depeche Mode hogged the Independent Chart, and still included Vince Clarke; New Order released a debut single with no announcement, no reviews, nothing – it just, as if by magic, appeared in the shops. A huge amount of development from glum old 1980: the NME/underground had finally got over the fact Ian Curtis was dead.

    Meanwhile 1982 was a great year, no question, but more about consolidation. It seems to me most of its biggest names and greatest moments had first made a footprint, and maybe their greatest records, in ’81. Apart from Toto Cuelo. But I’d love to stand corrected.

  16. 16
    Conrad on 10 Feb 2009 #

    Well, I voted 14 which is pretty decent going, although the Number 1s of 1981 didn’t reflect what a fabulous year it was (and quite a few borderline 6s in that).

    That NME list is fantastic actually. Delighted to see “Burn Rubber On Me” figure so high, what a groove that has.

  17. 17
    Conrad on 10 Feb 2009 #

    So…what about the kids?

    The Smash Hits Reader’s Poll for 1981

    Top 10 Singles

    1. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
    2. Vienna – Ultravox
    3. Stand And Deliver – Adam & The Ants
    4. Souvenir – OMD
    5. Love Action – Human League
    6. Every Little Thing She Does- Police
    7. Ghost Town – Specials
    8. Prince Charming – Adam & The Ants
    9. Girls On Film – Duran Duran
    10. She’s Got Claws – Gary Numan

  18. 18
    Conrad on 10 Feb 2009 #

    The Smash Hits Reader’s Poll for 1981

    Best Group

    1. Adam & The Ants
    2. Human League
    3. Duran Duran
    4. Police
    5. Madness
    6. Ultravox
    7. OMD
    8. The Jam
    9. Japan
    10. Teardrop Explodes

  19. 19
    Conrad on 10 Feb 2009 #

    and, in the most important category (!)

    The Smash Hits Reader’s Poll for 1981

    Most fanciable human being

    1. Adam
    2. Simon Le Bon
    3. David Sylvian
    4. Sting
    5. John Taylor
    6. Midge Ure
    7. Gary Numan
    8. Phil Oakey
    9. Julian Cope
    10. Suggs

    1. Toyah
    2. Kim Wilde
    3. Clare Grogan
    4. Sheena Easton
    5. Debbie Harry
    6. Kate Bush
    7. Bo Derek
    8. Pamela Stephenson
    9. Joanne Catherall
    10. Olivia Newton-John

    …slight deviation away from music in the female list there

  20. 20
    Ben on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Just 6 out of 19 for me, but I would definitely have given Ultravox a very high mark for ‘Vienna’ had it made it to #1. Incidentally, check out Infernal’s awesomely boshtastic cover (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vAbjQH9SW0) from the ‘From Paris To Berlin’ album.

  21. 21
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Respect to the Smash Hits readership for the high placing of ‘Souvenir’ – such a yearning and hauted thing for such bright young listeners.

    Toyah as most fanciable female strikes me as baffling though, especially against such competition as Kim Wilde and Kate Bush.

  22. 22
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Here are the ‘phantom’ number ones of 1981, that topped the other (NME) chart, but not the Guinness one; In the Ait Tonight, Vienna, Chi Mai, Stars On 45 Part 1, Chant #1, Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder), Happy Birthday (Altered Images).

  23. 23
    Tom on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Hold on “6. Midge Ure”!!!! Those were different times.

  24. 24
    Tom on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Oh, and I’m 8 for 19 (though in a more generous mood Smokey, Michael and Julio might have jumped from 5 to 6) – count me among the “brilliant year, slightly disappointing #1s” crew: didn’t help that the first few months were a write-off.

  25. 25
    Miss Peabody on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Billy Smart. You think Toyah’s bad. In ‘Sounds’ at the time it would almost certainly have been Beki Bondage at Number 1 :(

    Lest we forget amongst such an embarrassment of synth and pop riches, ’81 was also the pinnacle of Oi! and the ghastly Anarchopunks. Not Killing Joke though, they were always great.

  26. 26
    SteveM on 11 Feb 2009 #

    I think my Mum fancied Midge Ure a bit. Pretty sure she didn’t vote in the Smash Hits poll tho.

  27. 27
    Erithian on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Anyone else remember seeing Toyah in the nuddy in a production of “The Ebony Tower” circa 1983? She starred with Greta Scacchi (also in the nuddy, which was rather nice) and Laurence Olivier (who got to keep his kit on).

  28. 28
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 11 Feb 2009 #

    i don’t remember anything about tv’s the ebony tower except that mrs michael winner as was proved to be an EVEN WORSE actress than mrs robert fripp as would be

    the only thing sir larry’s any good in is WORLD AT WAR

  29. 29
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Aha! I got the vast ‘Lawrence Olivier at ITV’ Network DVD box set a couple of years ago for professional purposes (I’m writing a PhD thesis about television adaptation of stage plays). You present me with a reason to watch ‘The Ebony Tower’ tonight.

    I shall report back.

  30. 30
    a logged-out pˆnk s lord whatnot on 11 Feb 2009 #

    you will sleep well i promise

  31. 31
    lonepilgrim on 11 Feb 2009 #

    re 27: “in the nuddy” – that takes me back…Where on earth did that come from?

  32. 32
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Well, I won’t be watching THAT ever again. The combination of the John Fowles portrait of an aged artist as a priapic lord of misrule, being filtered through the genial lechery of a John Mortimer screenplay is doubly indigestible.

  33. 33
    Conrad on 11 Feb 2009 #

    how does the Crimson Queen’s performance stand up?

  34. 34
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    The part is a bit underwritten, so its not easy to judge. She conveys naughtiness and mischief, without encouraging much in the way of understanding, I suppose you could say.

  35. 35
    lonepilgrim on 11 Feb 2009 #

    Any chance of giving us the music press album charts for 1981 Billy?

  36. 36
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    No sooner said than done! NME Critics’ albums for 1981;

    1. Nightclubbing – Grace Jones
    2. Computer world – Kraftwerk
    3. Red – Black Uhuru
    4. Wha’ppen – The Beat
    5. Penthouse and Pavement – Heaven 17
    6. Dare – Human League
    7. Trust – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    8. Alles ist Gut – DAF
    9. Red Mecca – Cabaret Voltaire
    10. Fresh Fruit In Foreign Places – Kid Creole & The Coconuts
    11. Gold und Liebe – DAF
    12. Mutant Disco – Various artists
    13. Slates – The Fall
    14. Black President – Fela Kuti
    15. Flowers of Romance – PiL
    16. Raise! – Earth Wind & Fire
    17. Playing With a Different Sex – Au Pairs
    18. Rock ‘n’ Groove – Bunny Wailer
    19. East Side Story – Squeeze
    20. Almost Blue – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    21. Being With You – Smokey Robinson
    22. Heaven Up Here – Echo & The Bunnymen
    23. See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah City All Over Go Ape Crazy! – Bow wow wow
    24. The Electric Spanking of War Babies – Funkadelic
    25. Odyshape – The Raincoats
    26. Gang War – Prince Charles & The City Beat Band
    27. Sings the Wailers – Bunny Wailer
    28. Positive Touch – The Undertones
    29. Get Down Attack – General Caine II
    30. Blythe Spirit – Arther Blythe
    31. Tin Drum – Japan
    32. 7 – Madness
    33. Defunkt – Defunkt
    34. Tattoo You – The Rolling Stones
    35. Alan Vega – Alan Vega
    36. Intuition – Linx
    37. Dreamtime – Tom Verlaine
    38. In Our Lifetime – Marvin Gaye
    39. New Chapter – Aswad
    40. Greatest Hits – Throbbing Gristle
    41. Something Special – Kool & The Gang
    42. Dolmen Music – Meredith Monk
    43. Miracles – Change
    44. Wild Gift – X
    45. The Man With the Horn – Miles Davis
    46. Pleasant Dreams – The Ramones
    47. Psychedelic Jungle – The Cramps
    48. It Must be Magic – Teena Marie
    49. Sleep No More – The Comsat Angels
    50. The Many Faces of Roger – Roger

  37. 37
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    While Melody Maker only offered a paltry top 5 albums for 1981;

    1. Penthouse & Pavement – Heaven 17
    2. Trust – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    3. Almost Blue – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    4. East Side Story – Squeeze
    5. Ghost in the Machine – The Police

    – A good year for Elvis Costello – he produced ‘East Side Story’, too.

  38. 38
    Billy Smart on 11 Feb 2009 #

    While Sounds offered a top 20 albums of the year;

    1. Dare – Human League
    2. Heaven Up Here – Echo & The Bunnymen
    3. Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret – Soft Cell
    4. Playing With A Different Sex – Au Pairs
    5. Tin Drum – Japan
    6. Pretenders II – Pretenders
    7. The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent – UFO
    8. Author! Author! – Scars
    9. Once Upon A Time – Siouxsie & The Banshees
    10. See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Ape Crazy! Go Join Your Gang City All Over, yeah! – Bow Wow Wow
    11. Prince Charming – Adam & The Ants
    12. Duran Duran – Duran Duran
    13. No Sleep Till Hammersmith – Motorhead
    14. Kilimanjaro (Remix) – Teardrop Explodes
    15. Thirst – Clock DVA
    16. For Mad Men Only – UK Decay
    17. Fair Warning – Van Halen
    18. Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call – Simple Minds
    19. Singles Going Steady – Buzzcocks
    20=. Assault And Battery – Rose Tattoo
    20=. For Those About To Rock AC/DC

    I’m going to my parents’ house this weekend, so I’ll look up the readers’ polls when I’m there.

  39. 39
    Conrad on 12 Feb 2009 #

    Smash Hits Independent Singles 1981

    1. The Passage – Troops Out/Hip Rebels (Night and Day)
    2. Dead Or Alive – Number Eleven (Inevitable)
    3. Wire – The Swimmer (Rough Trade)
    4. Scritti Politti – The ‘Sweetest Girl’ (Rough Trade)
    5. Thomas Dolby – Urges/Leipzig (Armageddon)
    6. The Fall Out Club – Dream Soldiers (Happy Birthday)
    7. New Order – Ceremony (Factory)
    8. Aztec Camera – Just Like Gold (Postcard)
    9. Robert Wyatt – At Last I’m Free/Strange Fruit (Rough Trade)
    10. It’s Immaterial – A Giant Raft In The Philippines (Inevitable)

  40. 40
    Erithian on 12 Feb 2009 #

    Since we’re getting into lists in a big way: the top 30 chart acts of the year according to the standard points system (30 pts no.1, 1 pt no.30):

    1 Adam and the Ants
    2 Shakin’ Stevens
    3 John Lennon
    4 Madness
    5 Ultravox
    6 Human League
    7 Kim Wilde
    8 Toyah
    9 Stevie Wonder
    10 Bucks Fizz
    11 Starsound
    12 Bad Manners
    13 Soft Cell
    14 Police
    15 Specials
    16 Cliff Richard
    17 Spandau Ballet
    18 Imagination
    19 OMD
    20 Jacksons
    21 Duran Duran
    22 Phil Collins
    23 Tweets
    24 Godley & Creme
    25 Michael Jackson
    26 Depeche Mode
    27 Nolans
    28 Linx
    29 ELO
    30= The Jam / Hazel O’Connor / Smokey Robinson

  41. 41
    mike on 12 Feb 2009 #

    Here’s a Spotify playlist for the NME singles poll. I’ve found 41 out of the 50.


  42. 42
    AndyPandy on 12 Feb 2009 #

    A bit late replying in defence of 1982 to Wichita’s choice of 1981 but in 82’s defence (and hopefully without upsetting the bunny too much)I’d offer ABC’s ‘Lexicon of Love’, Duran Duran ‘Rio’, Visage ‘the Damned Don’t Cry’ and the 12inch of ‘Night Train’, two sets of Japan singles (rival record companies)in charts for most of the year, the Instinction remix, ‘Torch’ 12inch, Fashion ‘Streetplayer’, Culture Club, the Dollar classics, Human League and Soft Cell remix albums and loads more

    … plus not exactly New Pop but also in the charts in 1982 the first electro hits as well as probably the penultimate (good) year for old style soul and funk…

  43. 43
    Billy Smart on 13 Feb 2009 #

    NME Readers’ poll for 1981;

    1. The Specials – Ghost Town
    2. New Order – Ceremony
    3. The jam – Absolute Beginners
    4. Soft Cell – Tainted Love
    5. Human League – Love Action
    6. Heaven 17 – Fascist Groove Thing
    7. Scritti Politti – The ‘Sweetest Girl’
    8. Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
    9. The Teardrop Explodes – Reward
    10. Pigbag – Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag
    11. Ultravox – Vienna
    12. Laurie Anderson – O Superman
    13. The Jam – Funeral Pyre
    14. New Order – Procession
    15. The Birthday Party – Release The Bats
    16. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Spellbound
    17. The Stranglers – Let Me Introduce You To The Family
    18. The Rolling Stones – Start Me Up
    19. Echo & The Bunnymen – A Promise
    20. ABC – Tears Are Not Enough

  44. 44
    The Wolfmen on 13 Feb 2009 #

    Can’t believe Julio and Joe got that many votes

  45. 45
    mike on 13 Feb 2009 #

    Here are my 50 personal favourites from the 1981 Top 40:

    1 – Linx – Intuition
    2 – Public Image Ltd – Flowers Of Romance
    3 – Teardrop Explodes – Reward
    4 – Jam – That’s Entertainment
    5 – Yoko Ono – Walking On Thin Ice
    6 – Human League – Love Action (I Believe In Love)
    7 – New Order – Ceremony
    8 – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Souvenir
    9 – Human League – The Sound Of The Crowd
    10 – Soft Cell – Tainted Love
    11 – Madness – It Must Be Love
    12 – David Bowie – Up The Hill Backwards
    13 – Human League – Don’t You Want Me
    14 – Specials – Ghost Town
    15 – Abba – Lay All Your Love On Me
    16 – The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
    17 – Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Me No Pop I
    18 – Adam & The Ants – Kings Of The Wild Frontier
    19 – Blondie – Rapture
    20 – Kim Wilde – Kids In America
    21 – Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It
    22 – Soft Cell – Bedsitter
    23 – Elvis Costello – Good Year For The Roses
    24 – Spandau Ballet – Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)
    25 – Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator
    26 – Dollar – Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour)
    27 – The Undertones – It’s Going To Happen!
    28 – Freeez – Southern Freeez
    29 – Smokey Robinson – Being With You
    30 – Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Show Me
    31 – New Order – Procession / Everything’s Gone Green
    32 – Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
    33 – Teardrop Explodes – Treason (It’s Just A Story)
    34 – Barbara Jones – Just When I Needed You Most
    35 – Hi Gloss – You’ll Never Know
    36 – Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood
    37 – Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
    38 – Haircut 100 – Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)
    39 – Bucks Fizz – The Land Of Make Believe
    40 – Kool & The Gang – Get Down On It
    41 – Whispers – It’s A Love Thing
    42 – Laurie Anderson – O Superman
    43 – Dollar – Hand Held In Black And White
    44 – The Passions – I’m In Love With A German Film Star
    45 – Sugar Minott – Good Thing Going
    46 – Japan – Quiet Life
    47 – Blue Rondo A La Turk – Me And Mr Sanchez
    48 – Pointer Sisters – Slowhand
    49 – The Nolans – Attention To Me
    50 – Stevie Wonder – Lately

    (Yes, the #1 is a strange choice – but it still retains the power to make me happier than the rest.)

  46. 46
    AndyPandy on 13 Feb 2009 #

    And I somehow missed ‘Thriller’ (albeit towards the end of the year)out of my resume of the amazing wonders of 1982!

  47. 47
    Crimson Cheeked King on 13 Feb 2009 #

    Here’s one we’ve all missed so far – THE breakthrough arriviste indie act pop chart stormer of 1981 – Reward by Teardrop Explodes. Top 10 (was it number 7) and no one could quite believe it.

    Andy Pandy’s case for 1982 is pretty solid (apart from dragging in remix albums of 1981 classics – cheat!), but nah! 1981 wins – both the alternative charts and the proper charts were on fire.

  48. 48
    wichita lineman on 14 Feb 2009 #

    42: Good argument Andy, it’s a cracking year. Guess it’s the post-punk atmos (see the Teardrop Explodes’ Wilder for instance) of ’81 that nudges it for me. 1982 was one of the best years of my life, too, so it was neat to have such an upbeat soundtrack.

    Hair got a bit out of control, though (mine included). ’81 Edwyn Collins wore his fringe like Roger McGuinn. ’82 Terry Hall went for that pineapple/white rasta thing. Zoinks.

  49. 49
    LondonLee on 16 Feb 2009 #

    I only voted for six, one of which was Shakin’ Stevens. Bloody great year though. I turned 19, was in a 2-year gap between school and college when I had a full-time job, was still living at home and had nothing to spend my wages on but records, concerts, booze and fags.

    Greta Scacchi got nuddy in everything she did, didn’t she? She was like Jenny Agutter in that respect – always reliable.

  50. 50
    Bow Wow 4ever on 9 Mar 2009 #

    Hi Bow Wow just want u to know i am one of your greatest fan and i am still hoping that i will meet u some day.Bye bye

  51. 51
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Meanwhile 1982 was a great year, no question, but more about consolidation. It seems to me most of its biggest names and greatest moments had first made a footprint, and maybe their greatest records, in ’81. Apart from Toto Cuelo. But I’d love to stand corrected.

    Bit late coming in on this but I didn’t comment at the time. I’m going to be a stickler and say that the period July 1981-June 1982 was the peak year; everyone at their best, unbelievable new entries every week, a joy to live through.

    As far as 1982 on its own is concerned I scribbled this commentary some while back but am always happy to link it. Not sure that I absolutely agree with all of it now but it was written in the space of one lunch hour (it’s there somewhere on ILM in real time) and it alerted a certain female resident of Toronto to my existence… :-)

  52. 52
    vinylscot on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Absolutely brilliant piece on 1982 Marcello. I was horrified to find that I agreed with you on about 95% of the entries, including some of the more “off the wall” comments.

    Did you carry out this exercise for any other years – or just 82 because of its obvious importnace/”specialness”?

  53. 53
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I just thought it would be a nice thing to do since back then there wasn’t too much in terms of writing about this period to be found online (or elsewhere for that matter).

    I’ve done some other “year” exercises:

    1985: http://nopunctum.blogspot.com/2004_01_22_archive.html

    1969: http://nopunctum.blogspot.com/2004_04_07_archive.html

    …and I started an epic 1974 trek here but never got around to finishing it and only some of the entries that I did are on the blog (there are others in draft form which I’m happy to reprint if there’s a demand):

    (in truth much of what I would have written here is likely to turn up on TPL or has already turned up on Popular)

    All of these come with the caveat that the opinions expressed do not necessarily concur with the author’s opinions in 2010; in some cases my views have quite dramatically reversed.

  54. 54
    lonepilgrim on 23 Sep 2010 #

    I enjoyed that too Marcello – Phil Collins and Bob Fripp as the ‘Tory Improvisors’ made me smile

  55. 55
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Why are my comments being held in moderation?

  56. 56
    punctum on 23 Sep 2010 #

    Ah thanks for sorting that out.

  57. 57

    The spam filter gets hinky when non-registered posts have a lot of links in them. But I don’t know why the second one was held, unless the filter had decided you must be a wrong’un, because the first post had four links! Sorry about that.

    It’s not strictly speaking moderation — admin really only look in it when we’re asked to. (Because the amount of span being caught is huge…)

  58. 58
    Billy Smart on 23 Sep 2010 #

    The most dramatic Punctum reversal must be ‘The Power of Love’!

    I’ve always really wanted to read the promised Alan Price piece – Jarrow Song is a tremendous Billy favourite, but I couldn’t quite predict what the Punctum position would be on that. If I remember back to when you were writing the 1974 pieces, it was the prospect of writing thousands of words about the Goodies that caused you to abandon the project, but that would have been great, too.

  59. 59
    punctum on 24 Sep 2010 #

    Yes, for some reason I just couldn’t get going on Tim, Graeme and Bill. Did three or four paragraphs then thought: why I am doing this? It was probably exhaustion more than anything else and the whole exercise was plodding along more slowly than I would have liked (whereas TPL is proceeding VERY slowly but I don’t mind that since I’m learning about things I haven’t heard before or at least not for a long time – there’s a greater purpose to it).

    I wrote the bare bones of an Alan Price piece and do intend to get back to that; thankfully the wonder of K-Tel may re-kickstart me in this respect since he does turn up on at least one of their chart-topping compilations.

    There is also a completed 60,000 word entry on Lena Zavaroni which will most likely never see the light of day, partly because it overlaps with Andrew O’Hagan’s novel Personality and partly because it cuts a little too sharply to the bone about my younger days.

  60. 60
    punctum on 17 Feb 2013 #

    TPL opens its 1981 account with the big one.

  61. 61
    punctum on 23 Feb 2013 #

    TPL update.

  62. 62
    punctum on 24 Feb 2013 #

    TPL reviews the worst number one album so far.

  63. 63
    Tom on 24 Feb 2013 #

    A whole album of it? Mercy!

  64. 64
    Cumbrian on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Why wasn’t the Stars on 45 album called Stars on 33? Was there “brand value” in the name?

  65. 65
    punctum on 25 Feb 2013 #

    In some territories (including, I think, the USSR) it was called simply Stars On 45 Long Play Album (plain white cover with typewriter font, presumably to make it look like a bootleg). But no, playing it at 45 rpm doesn’t make it sound any better.

  66. 66
    Cumbrian on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Gets it finished more quickly though right?

  67. 67
    punctum on 25 Feb 2013 #

    There is that in its favour, yes.

  68. 68
    punctum on 26 Feb 2013 #

    TPL on the antidote to Stars On 45.

  69. 69
    swanstep on 2 Mar 2013 #

    Just stumbled across a nifty live cover by Royksopp of one of 1981’s best B-sides, Depeche Mode’s Ice Machine. Enjoy!

  70. 70
    punctum on 3 Mar 2013 #

    TPL goes disco, and hence New Pop.

  71. 71
    punctum on 6 Mar 2013 #

    TPL does Cliff critical justice.

  72. 72
    punctum on 10 Mar 2013 #

    The TPL post I think a lot of people have been waiting for: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-official-bbc-album-of-royal-wedding_10.html

  73. 73
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2013 #

    Marcello – This is an exceptional piece of writing, and naturaly as a fellow Villager I appreciate the Green Dome analagy. Very well done. Got me thinking to when Brenda finally gloves one. I reckon she should be taken straight down to address the Fall Out Committee:

    “I, I, I – I, I, I – I, I, I…”

    Now hear the word of the Lord!

  74. 74
    Mark G on 12 Mar 2013 #

    “One, one, one, one ….”

  75. 75
    punctum on 13 Mar 2013 #

    TPL reaches its 250th entry.

  76. 76
    anto on 14 Mar 2013 #

    re: 75 Brilliant blog. Congratulations.

  77. 77
    punctum on 17 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Meat Loaf.

  78. 78
    punctum on 19 Mar 2013 #

    TPL on Genesis again innit.

  79. 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?

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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!

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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!

  88. 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.

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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!

  92. 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…

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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!

  96. 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.’

  97. 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.

  98. 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

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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!

  104. 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!

  105. 105
    Lazarus on 6 Feb 2016 #

    You lot seem to have wrapped up Thursday so I’ll take a look at Friday’s late show: the late Tommy Vance promises a ‘very special edition.’ This one originally went out on 12 March 1981.

    Teardrop Explodes – should have got higher than number 6 surely? I remember them doing that thing with the trumpets. I got the album on the strength of this, they changed the sleeve didn’t they. ‘Passionate Friend’ from later in the year is every bit as good as this I would suggest.

    Kim Wilde – the video this time. One of her best. Still in stripey top I see.

    Linx – my favourite of theirs. Another vid. Jolly mum and kids in monochrome. Then we cut to band in full colour. David Grant went on to have a few solo hits but I suppose it’s his missus who’s better known these days.

    Kelly Marie – repeat? I would imagine this is the very last time we’ll see her on here. Freeez – holding at what I should think was its peak at 8. Did well to get so high in such a strong chart. Pretty sure this one has been on before. As I think someone said before a bit of a forerunner to Sade a couple of years later.

    Status Quo – a very cheap looking video. Tom Jones did this one first, Tommy informs us. Rick has a free pass for that bus now of course.

    Beggar & Co – all in hats ‘n’ coats. They’ll need those where they’re going. Lively performance but this seems to have been on a lot.

    Landscape – wish this lot had had more success, they were certainly different from the pack. I picked up the album for a quid recently and it was a good buy.

    Talking Heads – no definite article needed Tommy, he gave us ‘the Slade’ as well didn’t he – with the Legs in a rather disjointed affair that maybe over-reaches itself. Song is great, routine not for me I’m afraid. And no, it’s not because they’re wearing too many clothes. First countdown.

    Kiki Dee – now this has definitely been on before, you can’t wear a white suit for three weeks straight. My local HMV was offering a box of five of her early albums for a tenner recently – a good deal d’you reckon? ‘Original album series’ it’s called.

    Coast to Coast – repeat time again. One more chance to waddle like a duck before the minibus claims them for good. Top 10. Big jumps for Shaky and Kim.

    And a new number one! We’ve heard Joe for the last time – ever, in some cases, I suspect. Roxy Music with the tasteful tribute to the slain ex-Beatle. Very much of its time though, isn’t it. I wonder how long they continued to do it in concert.

    Credits over the long fade. Plenty of deja vu of course, but you seem to get that with the extended shows. I thought TV did a good job.

  106. 106
    Steve Williams on 8 Feb 2016 #

    And if you were wondering why it was a “very very special edition”, it was because it was “affected by industrial action by some BBC electricians” – https://youtu.be/j3YsQZMkRIY – hence the preponderance of videos and repeats, and why Tommy did the whole show in front of a CSO backdrop. In the long one Tom referred to Kelly Marie as being “over there”, which you wouldn’t get away with these days.

    Incidentally the other week Peter Powell announced that Kelly Marie had been named Scotland’s Female Vocalist of the Year. No wonder Sheena Easton pissed off to America!

    Delighted Thursday’s episode got such a good reaction, best one of the year by miles, and that Shaky performance is the template for many more memorable performances throughout the decade. I really think the Golden Age of Top of the Pops starts now, and continues for the next three years or so.

    Indeed that’s emphasised by Gambo’s Television’s Greatest Hits book where between 1981 and 1984 Top of the Pops gets into the Top 20 ratings most weeks of the year, whereas in the late seventies it would only do so very rarely – it got in there 21 times in 1981 and 28 times in 1982, compared to four weeks in 1980, two weeks in 1978 and not at all in 1977. That’s at a time when BBC1 itself was doing pretty badly as well.

  107. 107
    enitharmon on 8 Feb 2016 #

    Wasn’t Sheena Easton a nobody picked at random from the streets of Glasgow to be turned, Eliza Doolittle-like, into a singer for a TV show? There have always been better Scottish singers than either, especially given that Maggie Bell was still about in those days.

  108. 108
    Mark G on 9 Feb 2016 #

    Well she auditioned for the TV show that made her famous, but yeah.

  109. 109
    Jimmy the Swede on 10 Feb 2016 #

    # 107- The show was called “The Big Time”, presented by “that f**king Rantzen woman”…

    Ticks for:

    Kim Wilde again. Pleasing pouts.

    Linx. Excellent track. Film shows Caribbean heritage mum trying to keep her rascal kids at bay. Stevie Wonder’s brilliant “I Wish” springs to mind. Alas that dreadful summer lies ahead which saw Swede’s neighbourhood combust.

    Landscape – Particularly memorable flute rift worthy of Midge (that’s the mouse, not Mr Ure). One further minor hit before the minibus comes for them.

    Prince of Cool at number one.

    Vance raves about “a great bit of film” featuring our lovelies to Talking Heads. But whilst the track is fabulous, the routine is dark, obscured and dull, despite a nodding EM to camera at the end, which nearly saves the day but doesn’t quite.

  110. 110
    speedwell54 on 14 Feb 2016 #

    Peter Powell hosts the first of two shows this week. In real life he can collect his bus pass in a few weeks, but still youthful tonight. Sporting a pastel yellow jacket which even with the collar turned up isn’t cool, he introduces…

    Sharon Redd with ‘Can You Handle It’ . Not really mcot and I was not familiar with this version, but know the ’92 DNA remix. Died in ’92- no bus pass. Legs in the background with a limited space routine look great in their flouncy outfits.

    Shaky with ‘This Ole House’ The double denim, white shoed crooner confused me at the time with his ‘too busy to attend to his shingles’ reference. (not a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, but roof tiles) He’s had his bus pass for two years.

    What Becomes of the Broken Hearted- Colin Blunstone Great song, good version. (Jan Francis on keyboards!) Bus pass five years old.

    The Who – You Better, You Bet. rpt. Their magic bus passes between two and seven years old.

    Stevie Wonder- Lately- Strangely not a big hit stateside and all the singles from its parent album ‘Hotter Than July’ performed better over here than in his home country. His bus pass has only just been signed sealed and delivered. Legs and Co perform and for the first time in a while the lighting is poor but not so bad that we can’t see the shoddily fitted flooring. I’m surprised they didn’t trip up!

    Phil Collins – I Missed Again rpt. Was thinking, No bus pass Required but in fact the laminate is still warm.

    Bucks Fizz- Peter helps everybody with a visual representation of their name and their performance is twktc. All very much still paying for their public transport.

    Mind of a Toy- Visage – rpt. Says on wiki the video was banned by Totp due to scariness. Hhmmm? Sadly no bus pass.

    Duran Duran- rpt Yacht passes still years away.

    Toyah- It’s A Mystery rpt. She might want to be free, but still has to pay.

    Countdown to Roxy Music at one rpt. Classic.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Steve@106, interesting mention of Gambo’s TV Hits book – Might be my age but I think of this period as TOTP having a bit of a comeback. We had just got through that poor format stage as well. Surprised that the number one programme thirty five years ago was “This Is your Life”

  111. 111
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Feb 2016 #

    1st Show:

    Ticks for:
    Blunstone and Stewart – Colin’s lovely unmistakeable voice graces Ruffin’s classic. Wonderful.

    Bucks Fizz – Peter Powell helpfully explains what this is. It is also the name of a boy-girl quartet who will be performing our Eurovision entry in Dublin. Quite a bouncy little number. And that thing with the skirts is very eye-catching. Do you know what? This is not without a chance.

    Straight out of the cannon providing backing to one Sharon Redd. They dance in formation a la classic go-go and it’s uber Swede-pleasing. Rosie is beaming and the Eternal Mistress’ legs are as long as the M1. Frank and Sally are put on notice for the first time this year. The whole track is about dancing, the audience joining in too. Sharon meanwhile merely parrots the song’s title “Can you handle it?” as the backing track dominates totally. Tragically she couldn’t in fact handle it and was dead eleven years later.

    A second helping, this time to Stevie Wonder’s fabulous “Lately”, rightly heading for the top three. Delightfully tasteful routine from Gals when we can actually see it. Swede calms down and Frank and Sally are stood down.

  112. 112
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Feb 2016 #

    2nd Show:

    Ticks for:
    Graham Bonnet – Flying solo. Fair enough effort.

    Hazel O’Connor – Just about in her pomp by now. Her next single her best. She leads sing-songs with the campers now, of course.

    On the side-lines as the Polecats do a Bowie favourite. Too much on the side-lines, alas. Quite a good stab but they’ll be refreshed by crisp Irish Sea winds by the end of the year.

    The Whispers’ “Just a Love Thing”. Lots of legs, wiggles, spinning and thrusts to a funky backing track. We’re missing Pauline but Rosie smiles and EM stares. Swede likes but no need to alert Frank and Sally.

    Shaky at the top. I would have ignored this rubbish had it not been for our lovelies popping up again. Pauline’s back on parade. Torn denim shorts and tops cut at the navel. Gals sing along and the audience too have been coached to participate. Stevens understandably is beaming. He’s hit a formula. Fair play to him but it was never for me.

  113. 113
    swanstep on 15 Feb 2016 #

    Hmm, a 1981 TOTP Legs Inc. dancing to (ridiculously ahead of its time) A Certain Ratio’s ‘Spirit Dance’ popped up on youtube over the weekend, e.g., https://youtu.be/OyhUep7t6LQ. It might be worth checking out extended episodes (on iPlayer?) to get this.

  114. 114
    swanstep on 15 Feb 2016 #

    Whoops, on further consideration that youtube link I gave at #113 is a concoction with a 1990 soundtrack (not a lost 1981 gem) and who knows what video. Please ignore.

  115. 115
    Mark G on 15 Feb 2016 #

    I believe there’s a similar concoction for “The Winker’s Song” or something similar..

    Good to see Lene Lovitch still hanging on in there, oh and The Polecats are a long way from Prestatyn, choose from “touring/recording with Morrissey” or “doing soundtracks and music in Cali”, and, inevitably, “forming superrockabilly group(s) with Stray Cats'” and so on..

    It’s all going so fast! Even when it was more-or-less real-time, it seemed to pass so quickly, only seemed last year that The Adverts were on etc, at this rate it will be 2 months to New Order!

  116. 116
    Lazarus on 15 Feb 2016 #

    Yeah, we’re still getting two a week, by Friday night March was done – all very odd …

    Peter Powell was in charge of Thursday’s show which went out on 19/3/81.

    Sharon Redd – a song that sounds about 18 months out of time to me. Legs at the back in skimpy white numbers and plenty of audience participation. Yes Sharon succumbed to AIDS-related pneumonia in ’92 – living just long enough to see her half-sister Pennye Ford score a number of hits with Snap!

    Dave Stewart & Colin Blunstone – not the Eurythmics chap of course, this one was an old progster who turned up with greater success later in the year with Barbara Gaskin. Colin’s voice makes this a delight – I have this one. I seem to recall Dave in a mask but maybe that was a later edition, or perhaps it was ‘It’s My Party?’

    The Who – bus passes for all surviving members indeed. But kudos to them for going on the show when it would have been so easy for a band of their stature to just send in the video. There was no chance of getting Queen or Bowie on the Pops by this time, after all.

    Stevie Wonder/Legs – a graceful, tasteful routine to one of Stevie’s lovely ballads. At the time there was some unkind tittering at the ‘I’ve been staring in the mirror’ line, but we knew what he meant.

    Bucks Fizz – seems odd to be seeing a Eurovision entry in February, or even March, but as has been mentioned elsewhere the contest was held much earlier then. The Fizz won on April 4th – nowadays the last weekend in May seems to be preferred. I hadn’t realised they did the skirt thing on the Pops first.

    Chart 30-21. Followed, neatly, by Duran Duran at 20. Around the time they were being famously mispronounced by Tony Blackburn, who I guess hadn’t seen the film. This still sounds pretty good it has to be said, perhaps because it hasn’t been overplayed over the years like some of their others.

    Pete has lost his cream jacket. Chart 20-11. Another debut hit, this time from Toyah. She was a regular on the Indie chart through 1980 but I don’t ever remember hearing one of those early singles. Perhaps Peel played them? Anyway, this is OK too. Later Mrs Fripp and deodorant saleswoman, and returned to acting – she had been in ‘Jubilee.’ Top 10.

    Number one – Roxy Music – second and final week. Still getting the credits over the number one. Decent show with no real duds. Going to take a look at Friday’s later tonight.

  117. 117
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Feb 2016 #

    #116 – Of course had that wretched band stayed loyal to the film, they would have actually called themselves “Durand Durand”. Thus if this is what Bannockburn called them, whilst it was indeed a mispronounciation as far as the group is concerned, it does rather tend to suggest that Tony had in fact seen the film rather than the contrary.

  118. 118
    Erithian on 15 Feb 2016 #

    At first I thought they’d named themselves after Roberto Duran, which would have been an easier guide to pronunciation – though I doubt Tony was all that aware of his work either.

  119. 119
    Erithian on 15 Feb 2016 #

    Big props to Toyah and her incredible hairdo which did a dance routine of its own.

  120. 120
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Feb 2016 #

    #118 – No, it was always about Milo O’Shea and not old Hands of Stone.

  121. 121
    Lazarus on 15 Feb 2016 #

    There was more than a degree of assumption on my part I have to say – I figured that if TB (who was around in the sixties, unlike me, for the most part) had seen ‘Barbarella’ he would have pronounced the band’s name correctly, as he was so widely ridiculed for it at the time. Did the character stress the name on the ‘u’ then? That sounds rather ugly.

    Phil Collins, Visage and Skakin’ Stevens were left off the Thursday show btw. At least one of those had not been on before.

  122. 122
    Lazarus on 16 Feb 2016 #

    Got there eventually, but it’s a Sky at Night week (phew!) so there was plenty of time. Watching the extended edition this time. Richard Skinner in check shirt presents,and promises an “action packed show.”

    Polecats – lively start, complete with Legs as per Sharon Redd – but for me this fails the basic cover test of doing something new and interesting with the song. Bowie himself had already done that! This lot are aboard the rockabilly bandwagon but won’t be going much further.

    Kim Wilde – vid, repeat. Now at its peak of number 2. The closest she ever got to a Popular entry unfortunately, although she did top the Billboard chart a few years later.

    Graham Bonnet – his first time on as a solo act but we’ve seen him before – he sang on two 1979-80 hits by Rainbow. Interesting CV – he was also invited to replace Brian Connolly in Sweet, and was fired from the Michael Schenker Group after a single concert after doing a Jim Morrison on stage. Nothing untoward happens here, and the song is heading up the charts.

    Hazel O’Connor – a novel introduction as she’s heavily disguised next to the presenter. Then strips down to her bra and jumps on stage for ‘Decadent Days.’ Is this from Breaking Glass? Probably just as well she doesn’t join in with the pogoing – the Whitehouse brigade will have been agitated enough as it is.

    Tony Capstick – a cross between the old Hovis ad and the Pythons’ Four Yorkshiremen. No Prestatyn for him, he’s been ‘brown bread’ since 2003. Seems like there’s someone on almost every show who came to a sad or premature end. Did anyone ever hear ‘The Sheffield Grinder?’ And was this another one Edmonds was responsible for? Seems like his sort of thing.

    Gillan – occasionally parting his hair to see where he is, the eponymous frontman belts out a song that was even then about to celebrate its 50th birthday. Doubt if Hoagy Carmichael had this sort of treatment in mind though.

    Linx – video repeat. I hadn’t remembered the two white guys in the band, to be honest.

    Lene Lovich – a hit record, really? This only rings the vaguest of bells, and I see it only made no. 53. Not such a lucky number then. No Pontins for her either, she’s about to go big on animal rights with pal Nina Hagen.

    Bad Manners – BB looks like he’s been tangoed, except that was years away. Clock’s ticking for this lot. The driver is right to be concerned about the tyre pressure. Chart 30-21. Joe D in freefall now – 3-10-25.

    Whispers w/ Legs – sprightly but insufficiently lit routine. Song is fine, if not quite in the same league as ‘Beat Goes On’ for me. Belated flowering for an outfit who’d been around since the mid-sixties. Chart 20-11. And conveniently placed at number 11:

    Landscape – repeat with what really could not be a more typical early-80s video. Looks a bit Kenny Everett in places. Top 10. Rule seems to be that videos get shown, but not studio performances, oddly.

    Number one- Shaky – this sounds pretty good now I reckon though it was derided by all the cool kids at the time. Little did we know how long he could stretch this act for. Plenty of audience participation – some of them look very young. Legs also in tow. Credits over Bucks Fizz.

    Another good ‘un from ’81 – and as I said that’s March done and dusted. Stargazing this week.

  123. 123
    Lazarus on 16 Feb 2016 #

    Oh and Jim @ 112 – we were ‘missing Pauline’ because she’d done her last routine with the group! Not given so much as a ‘good-bye’ on the show, which was rather poor I think after four and a half years. The rest will follow her out of the door before year’s end, of course.

  124. 124
    Steve Williams on 16 Feb 2016 #

    The Sky at Night is on Thursday – but there’s still Pops on Friday!

    Capstick Comes Home was a DLT promotion. In The Nation’s Favourite, Simon Garfield’s book about Radio 1, Trevor Dann, later Head of Programmes of course, talks about his first job on Radio 1 which was producing DLT in 1981. At that point Travis had just moved off the breakfast show and moved to afternoons and apparently wanted to reinvent himself, away from the old Hairy Cornflake persona, to remind people he was still relevant, so Dann suggested he should try and appear more enthusiastic about music and go big on the records he liked.

    As Dann mentions in the book, around this time there was actually no playlist for about eight months so the DJs and producers could more or less play what they liked. DLT took a liking to Once In A Lifetime and so enthusiastically championed it – apparently he got it released as a single, it was only an album track – and he did the same with Tony Capstick. In addition apparently Dann convinced him to play a lot less Shaky and a lot more Tom Petty.

    Suitably impressed by Dann’s attempts to reinvent him, Travis put Dann on air as Captain Audio. Sadly in the second edition of The Nation’s Favourite they don’t have that brilliant line in the index “DANN, Trevor, on making whooshing noises behind Dave Lee Travis”.

  125. 125
    Phil on 17 Feb 2016 #

    Tony Capstick was a superb singer in his day. Between 1971 and 1978 he recorded three albums of folk songs, some traditional, some contemporary; he had a good ear for a trad song, but his taste in the contemporary stuff was a bit variable. The third album was recorded live and includes some long & rambling ‘introductions’ a la Carrott/Connolly/Digance (“The song’s called the Dolphin, because that was the name of the ship… it was also the name of a pub in Rotherham where they used to have right rough strippers on…”). It also demonstrates how he could command an audience, singing unaccompanied and in total silence seconds after he’d been bantering with the lads in the front row.

    1981’s “Capstick comes home” was a novelty number – it still sounds good, but you wouldn’t want to listen to it twice in a row. He followed it up with a comedy album under the same name, which, to be polite, shows signs of being rushed out (e.g. four different versions of the title track). After that he concentrated on broadcasting (Radio Sheffield), acting (Last of the Summer Wine) and, sadly, booze; he eventually drank himself to death in 2003, aged 59.

    So thankyou very much DLT…

  126. 126
    speedwell54 on 17 Feb 2016 #

    Richard Skinner promises 12 fantastic acts and two of them are right there next to him in the shape of Rosie and Lulu who’ve both had their Berroca today.

    Polecats with a faithful cover, and sneak in a bit of Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Mr Blue Sky for good measure. The Gals do a great routine but unfortunately are extras in the background.

    Kim Wilde -rpt. Just to chip in belatedly on then ‘East California’ bit, I thought it was a strange line. This thing is happening all over America, almost coast to coast in fact, but stopping just short; West California can go whistle in seems.

    Skinner introduces Night Games- Graham Bonnet, and the crowd moves away from the roving camera on a beeline for the stage. This is his only UK top 40 hit under his own name despite rocking and/or charting somewhere since 1968.

    Hazel O’Connor- D-Days. I like this a lot but find her rather scary. I’ll close my eyes. It’s borderline Nelly the Elephant.

    Tony Capstick – well covered above. I can imagine DLT searching for a record to push rather than actually liking something. I may be doing her a massive disservice here, but I always think Fearne Cotton goes round asking other people what’s cool so she can get on the bandwagon early. Gary Davies was not a DJ I really followed but I always believed him to be genuine whenever he raved about something, good or Tony Capstick. No one asked him to be more enthusiastic about music, he just was.

    Gillan- nmcot. Linx – Intuition- It looks like Bertice Reading playing their Mum in the video? Lene Lovich- New Toy.nmcot.

    Bad Manners- trying to out Madness, Madness. I don’t know if the ‘party band’ thing worked for them or against, short or long term.

    Legs -It’s a Love Thing- they dance in shadows two weeks in a row. Ok song ok performance. Landscape – not sure.

    Shaky at Number one and everyone joins, including the Gals.
    Bucks Fizz on the outtro which is again, very long.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  127. 127
    Mark G on 17 Feb 2016 #

    Hi, here’s MG with an explanation: “New York to East California/There’s a new wave coming, I warn ya.”

    Yep, West California was already aware of the new wave.

  128. 128
    Paulito on 17 Feb 2016 #

    Swinton’s memorial to Tony Capstick is a thing of beauty:


  129. 129
    Lazarus on 20 Feb 2016 #

    Just the one this week so I’m having a look at the late show – Simon Bates is our compere for the evening.

    Stiff Little Fingers – at its chart peak of 47. They seemed to like to start the show with an uptempo number which is fair enough, but in truth this isn’t very memorable. Hardly paid for Jake Burns’s tux hire.

    Stewart/Blunstone – repeat. This and the Barbara Gaskin record were on Stiff – the latter being one of only three number ones I can think of for the label (Ian Dury and Madness providing the others) unless you know better …

    Light of the World – they’ve ditched the outdoor gear (and one of them has joined Mr Burns in donning formal evening wear). This is alright, if a bit half-formed – but I don’t think it breached the Top 40.

    Liquid Gold – they’ve broken over the wall and made their way down for what surely must be their last outing (although I think I said that last time). This was a contender for ‘Song for Europe’ I seem to remember. The GBP made the right choice it has to be said.

    Stevie Wonder – video. “Every now and then they say he’s finished” according to Simes – I don’t recall talk of that nature, but in truth there weren’t too many peaks after ‘Hotter than July.’ A couple of number ones yes, but not many fans would count them among his finest moments.

    Jacksons/Legs – on a giant chess board, the now five piece outfit interpret one of the brothers’ best eighties outings. The basis of a future number one of course. What’s Sue gonna look like with a chimney on her?

    Children of Tansley School – I made it to the end. You can’t ask any more of me than that. At #27, but just the one week in the Top 40, it dropped 22 places after this performance, its cynical job done.

    Sugar Minott – another one in the ‘RIP’ brigade of which we seem to be coming across representatives every week (and another one coming right up). Only made it to 54, did Sugar. An old Michael Jackson song this! I wonder if that was common knowledge at the time, I don’t recall hearing it.

    Lena Zavaroni – not the first time she’s appeared on this series with a complete flop. Why were the Beeb trying to push her so long after her only hit? This is OK I suppose but it sounds like a show tune, not a single. Reminded me a little of Janis Ian’s ‘Between the Lines’ with its tempo changes. Chart 30-21.

    Spandau Ballet – one of my favourite early singles of theirs. Tony has had a shave. They wouldn’t keep that look much longer though. Gary Kemp looks like he’s wearing a giant duster round his neck. Steve ‘Spiny’ Norman is roped in on guitar, there being no saxophone on this one.

    Chart 20-11. They manage to spell Hazel O’Connor’s name wrong. Then fit in a repeat of Bucks Fizz before the Top 10 and …

    Number one – Skaky – pretty sure this is a repeat. Not sure how many weeks he had at the top but I can’t see the next one coming up on the rails – it wasn’t Kim.

    Out to the Nolans with one of their best – video up on screen behind the audience. Was that new?

    We’re into April – time Mr Mexico pulled his finger out methinks …

  130. 130
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Feb 2016 #

    Norman presents.

    Ticks for:
    SLF – Still keeping the faith. I loved this lot. Fabulous.

    Liquid Gold – Joyously bonkers. This lot have been an absolute delight. I can imagine her showing her grandchildren this. Pity they were huffed by Bucks Fizz. This would have had a great chance too but the right choice was made.

    Lena Zavaroni – I’m ticking Lena simply because you have to be one heartless bastard not to be affected by her heading for another flop but still giving it everything with smiling dancing eyes and singing “My life belongs to me”. Dreadfully sad.

    Jacksons. Can you feel it. They’re high kicking in boots. Oh God! It’s whether or not Frank and Sally can feel the Swede’s pulse which soon becomes the question. And yes, Pauline has fallen out of line and off the credits. Gals on borrowed time. Let’s enjoy them whilst they’re here.

    Shaky still top. All the gals are jiving with a lad, not mugs from the audience, I suggest, though I may be wrong. Their moves seem too good for just instant coaching on the side-lines. The guy grooving with Patti is especially on the money. Not too intimate so we’re okay.

    Tansley School Choir. A major WTF moment. Swede fortunately has no memory of this at all. Indeed I thought it was a joke until I consulted Guinness. Lineman is spot on comparing this unfavourably with Grandma. St Winnies may have been biblically evil but these here children make DAISH look like Medecins Sans Frontieres. Just wrong.

  131. 131
    Steve Williams on 21 Feb 2016 #

    Just to point out that with this episode from 2nd April 1981 we have passed the five year mark in this repeat run, the first one ever coming from 1st April 1976. And with Lena Zavaroni, Children of Tansley School and two Eurovision entries, how far we’ve all come.

    Of course, Lena Zavaroni and Stiff Little Fingers were on the same show on their last appearances, in the final episode from before the strike. Maybe they were doing a package tour together.

  132. 132
    Jimmy the Swede on 21 Feb 2016 #

    #131 – The prospect of Stiffs and Lena touring together sounds wonderful. It puts one in mind to when Helen Shapiro was supported by a then up and coming pop quartet. They were called The Beatles. There have been other odd bed fellows. Micky Dolenz once remarked that The Jimi Hendrix Experience once opened for The Monkees. The audience were largely young girls. Hendrix commenced his programme and carried on. Half way through “The Wind Cries Mary”, the kiddies got restless:
    “We want Davy! We want the Monkees!”

  133. 133
    Adam Puke on 21 Feb 2016 #

    The visibly room-odouriser-fuelled Liquid Gold performance is the best example I’ve seen of how we just couldn’t do disco at all in the UK, what with her busting a gut to sing over every beat of the song plus the over-busy string section honking away gracelessly. The restraint and sense of space employed in the American (and latterly Italian) stuff seemed to go right over our heads at the time.

  134. 134
    Mark G on 26 Feb 2016 #

    Mike Read tells the 19 million that they are 19 million which is good to know, you are not alone as such. Well, that’s 1981 for you.. Straight into Lynx, and its all about the bass and vocalist, even though the acoustic guitarist is doing his best..

    So, Bucks Fizz are here in celebratory mood and well done indeed. Was there ever an entry that had that winning aura about it for the UK entry after this one? Yes,there was another winner but that was a surprise pretty much. I should note that Cheryl had been here before, but that was the bad old days..

    Here are Saxon, looking like they’ve been told to keep the noise down and they decide to but wonder what’s the point? Long hair, but well washed and scrubbed, its OK but not doing anything too radical.

    Keith Marshall is here with his musical anarchy.. Oh wait. Well, musically its nice enough, but dude comes over a bit wet:out with his girl, the moonlight makes him burst into spontaneous crying.. That and the red wine. Maybe go for a kebab or something, I dunno.

    Legs and co dance up a hill backwards, from a distance diaphanous frocks but close up cricket jumpers? Oh Rosie is 21, so its champagne and Mike kisses hair. He asks if she likes night games, and her reply is severely edited in this day and age. Ah, Graham Bonnet, off you go..

    And Mike Read gets to introduce Public Image Limited. That’s twice now, and they act like old pals when they meet again on “I’m a celebrity”. You don’t need me to tell you its great,but I will. Its great.

    Eddie Grant reuses the Living on the front line beat for the third time? Its alright anyway.

    Gillan rhymes with Dylan. Mike didn’t say that, I did. Repeat, anyway. Mike lists the other acts that have hit with it, I do believe the Guinness book of hits was out around this time.

    Whispers, its a love thing, the beat goes on again. On its own its pretty cool, but there was a lot of this kind of thing around, it could have been any of them.. Heatwave, EWF, etc..

    Oh, Ennio Morricone is in the chart.. But its Hazel O’Connor with some dismal new wave pop chune, she’s done better and will do again, but there’s a can-can bit, and its desperate stuff which outstays..

    Top ten, and Shakey gets his first perf repeated of This Ole House. All the gals, all the audience, and someone shouts “Woh!” out on the last chorus once again. Who/why was that?

    Shows over, it was fairly average, PIL aside.

  135. 135
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Feb 2016 #

    Very little Swede fodder this time. Inevitable repeats, though Linx are miming in the studio instead of vid of rascal kids. Mike Read is the ringmaster.

    Ticks for:
    Public Image

    Eddy Grant

    Bucks Fizz – Yes, a stonking pop record. It killed the contest stone dead.

    I’m afraid our lovelies flopped as much as the flop Bowie gave them. And I’d never believe I’d be writing a sentence like that! We do get a pleasing shot of a shaking EM at the end.

    Ah! Read tells us that “Rosemary is 21 today” and gives her a peck on the…er… hair! Some champagne is brought out but it clearly hasn’t been chilled judging by Mike’s grimace. Rosie is not impressed either but she still looks delectable. She’s nearly exactly one year older than the Swede.

  136. 136
    Lazarus on 27 Feb 2016 #

    By the way in case anyone is thinking that the Blackburn furore won’t affect later editions as we last saw him presenting around 1978 or ’79, I understand that he appeared on four shows in 1983 – if the repeat run goes that far I hope it won’t be thought necessary to airbrush him out of TOTP history.

  137. 137
    Lazarus on 27 Feb 2016 #

    Just the one show this week it seems – has that craziness ended? – and so I’m checking out the late, late show … Mike Read greets us in a curious red-lapelled ensemble.

    Linx – in the studio for a change. Only one more hit for this lot if I’m not mistaken. We were to see a bit more of David Grant but what became of his economically-named sidekick Sketch? The artist also known as Peter Martin went on to join 23 Skidoo. The guitarist went by the wonderful name of Canute Edwards; however he couldn’t stem the tide of indifference.

    Bucks Fizz – again, a new performance – we know this because the girls are wearing short skirts from the off. I waited to see what would happen with the “if you wanna see some more” line, but it was nothing for Mrs Whitehouse to get worked up about.

    Saxon – now I rather liked this. They had five hits in 1980 apparently, though I’m not sure how many of them made the Top 30. Biff Byford in white trousers so tight you could see his religion, as the old joke went. Prestatyn, probably.

    Keith Marshall – and Read spoils the only fact I knew about him, i.e. that he was in Hello. He still has the look of the mid-70s teen heartthrob about him. How long was that hair blowdried for? With his white shirt and trousers and dark jacket (blazer?) he looks like a cricketer at tea. I used to have this record but over the years it got horribly warped and unplayable.

    Mike introduces Julie Brown, a disco dancing champion (they were still doing that in 1981? Really?) Then David Bowie with the fourth and final single from ‘Monsters.’ Fivesome in diaphanous white gowns. Plenty of leg on show in the closing seconds. And yes Rosie is having to work on her 21st. That’s not on!

    Graham Bonnet – repeat possibly.

    Pil – well it’s certainly ‘alternative’ I admit – but I never really got this lot at all. I liked Johnny’s sheep-baaing noise on ‘romaaaaance’ though.

    Eddy Grant – yes some serious recycling going on there. Don’t remember this at all (oh wait, the chorus sounds familiar). His commercial peak is still a little way away.

    Gillan – pretty sure this is a repeat. One of the previous hit versions was by (Gary) US Bonds, who had a comeback of his own this year, with a little help from his friend Mr Springsteen. Chart 30-21.

    Whispers – concert footage. Nice sweaters. Making the most of their late shot at fame – even in the States chart success was hard to come by, this only making number 28. Incidentally Wiki credits them with two earlier UK hits – a #54 in 1972 and a #59 in 1977, though those are certainly unofficial – as any fule kno the chart didn’t go that low then. Chart 20-11. Read mispronounces ‘Morricone.’

    Hazel O in her bra, repeat. Top 10.

    Skaky at number one with an army of hand-jivers and a gal or three. Those Fizzers are knocking on the door though. Adios!

  138. 138
    Steve Williams on 28 Feb 2016 #

    Blackburn presented three shows in 1983 but as things stand we wouldn’t have seen two of them anyway because he presented one with Savile and one with Travis. He’s also on the 1981 Christmas show which we probably won’t see either for the same reason.

    I’d never heard that Keith Marshall song before, I rather liked it, sounded like Cliff performing Tantalise by Jimmy The Hoover. Shame it wasn’t on the early show as I couldn’t do my funny reference on Twitter to Keith Marshall And His Musical Anarchy off Kevin Turvey.

    Back to two shows next week, but in between the biggest leap of the entire run, I think – we miss three shows, two for obvious reasons plus also 7th May because seemingly there’s an issue with the master tape and it can’t be broadcast. Bit of a shame because it was one of those I most wanted to see, as it’s the first live show of the modern era (in fact, it appears that’s why we can’t see it, they messed up the recording).

    The episode of 14th May, though, which we do see, is interesting in itself because, as Tommy Vance points out at the start, it’s nineteen minutes and 23 seconds long so it could finish in time for the Cup Final replay.

  139. 139
    wichitalineman on 4 Mar 2016 #

    It’s Peter Powell, who says we’ve got a “film” from Spandau Ballet to look forward to, and another from the Jacksons over the end credits, suggesting that “video” wasn’t common usage in April ’81. Curious.

    Bad Manners, and PP’s mate “Dougie”. Just A Feeling is maybe their best single… at least, I like the melancholy harmonica.

    Spands – Musclebound. Mystified me then and now. “The smell of hot books”?

    Girlschool – Hit And Run, anyone? No memory of this at all. Weirdly low energy for pop metal. West Runton, if not Prestatyn, beckons.

    Sugar My Knot – repeat performance. I love this. Given a different reading, Good Thing Going could have been a hit in any decade from the 50s to the 90s. Was it a Michael Jackson single first time out, or just an album track? I don’t think I’ve ever heard the original.

    Department S – Vaughan Toulouse looking like Roy Keane in eyeliner. Like a post punk Luton Airport.

    The Beat – Drowning, my favourite hit of theirs, it sounded modern, dub-influenced, and their first proper step on from ’79 Two Tone.

    Whitesnake – Coverdale’s so daft, his voice needs a better song than this.

    UK Subs – “Quite an image change” promises PP. Err, sort of. I’ll guess the guitarist has been listening to the Banshees, and they’re all in black apart from the polka dotted drummer, but the guitar hook is filched from Message In A Bottle and the melody is identical to their own Tomorrows Girls from a year earlier. Charlie Harper is now 83.

    Ennio Morricone – or at least Legs & Co in full Edwardian lady garb. I never saw The Life And Times of David Lloyd George. Chi Mai was a recycled piece of music written for 1971 film Maddalena, about “a woman desperate to find love, a priest struggling with his vows of celibacy” apparently. Never seen it, but Come Maddalena from the same film is one of the maestro’s finest bits of work.

    The Cure – Primary, which I’m amazed was on TOTP. Weak retread of A Forest = minor hit.

    The Nolans scream and shout like a Wychwood do. Great!

    Fizz – Rita Crudgington loses her skirt and Britain goes nuts.

    Out with the Jacksons odd sci fi-ish video.

  140. 140
    Jimmy the Swede on 5 Mar 2016 #

    I’m afraid we’re definitely hitting the wall for the Swede now. When we come across “Sounds on 45”, the game is up, I’m afraid. Also my beloved Gals seem to have been bunged on to the side lines to prop up the acts, as well as doing their own tour of duty. On one occasion, my attention was taken by a particularly attractive leggy girl dancing in the audience to someone or other and then suddenly realising it was Gill. My eye line then zoomed in to the others tucked up further back. Easily the worst act of purgatory, though, was when they surrounded the piano of Chas and Dave to sing “Ossie’s Dream” – a painful watch for a Chelsea supporter. At least the Beeb evened things out by showing Tommy Hutchinson’s goal in the first match before TOTP gave way to the replay, which Spurs alas won with Ricardo Villa’s wonder goal.

    There were in fact one or two bits and bobs in the two shows which pricked my interest. Morricone had of course already topped our charts in 1968. But this Lloyd George thing was a horse of a very different colour. I too never saw the series but can’t remember why. It must have clashed with something and we were still a way away from home videos.

    Also, many years later there was a total pillock called Vic who worked behind the ramp in my local in Eastbourne. He was a nightmare as he was always disappearing at the busiest times. I’ll give you three guesses as to what many of the thirsty punters used to demand of the governor…

  141. 141
    Lazarus on 5 Mar 2016 #

    Two more this week eh? I have a suspicion, and I may be proved wrong, that the Beeb is rushing through these to get 1981 done and dusted ASAP, at which point the series will end. We shall see. Peter Powell is Thursday night’s host, a show that originally went out on 16/4/81.

    Bad Manners – Buster aka Doug likes dressing up doesn’t he! City gent look this time. Yes the harmonica licks are the best thing about this.

    Spandau Ballet – work till you’re muscle bound, well I would but me poor old back would pack in first. Quite a change in sound from the first two singles, and another departure is just around the corner. I don’t remember the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ video, I mean ‘film.’

    Girlschool – on their own this time, but this lot would remain also-rans in chart terms. Unmemorable.

    Sugar Minott – repeat? No I only found out when this aired again that it was a Michael Jackson song, I don’t remember that being mentioned at the time. The original is on Youtube of course for anyone who wants to compare. It wasn’t a reggae tune originally. Nice assortment of headgear being sported here.

    Department S – he’s holding the mic like a telephone receiver, is that the idea? I think that was most people would have remembered about this lot. No sojourn in Wales for Vaughan Toulouse, yet another of the ‘gone too soon’ brigade that we’ve been meeting this year – AIDS casualty in 1991.

    The Beat – this was one I’d forgotten but it sounds familiar now. Yes this is ‘proper’ reggae. I wonder if that was the direction everyone in the band wanted to go in though – they’d broken up within a year.

    Whitesnake – concert footage, perhaps with the 45 dubbed over it. ‘Fool for your Loving’ is their finest hour for mine and this is a pale imitation. Like the Girlschool song, the chorus is the only bit I can remember five minutes later.

    UK Subs – drummer looks a bit out of place among all the men in black. Charlie must have been the oldest in the band by about 20 years!

    Ennio Morricone/Legs & Co – Edwardian ladies yes, surely the most covered up they’ve ever been on the show. Marked contrast was to follow a short while later with their ‘Bermuda Triangle’ routine, but that was a DLT fronted episode and thus Yewtreed. Jimmy and other Gals fans can of course find it on YT. I would put Frank and Sally on notice, Jim …

    The Cure – that Rob Newman looks young doesn’t he! Probably a bit lucky to get on with this considering it only made 43. Pete plugs the album and tour. Chart 20-11.

    Nolans – finally make it onto the show with one of their best. “Like a witch voodoo” isn’t it? Fourth single from ‘Making Waves’ – you’d think someone would have seen its potential sooner than that. Still went on to be their second-biggest hit. Video is quite fun too.

    Top 10. Big jump for ‘Night Games’ and ‘Chi Mai’ – Landscape still doing well. And we have a new number one! No surprise, it’s our Eurovision heroes. Its impact was such that the selection programme was called ‘Making Your Mind Up’ for many years to come, and for all I know it still is.

    Jacksons over the credits as they started the show. VH Classic used to show this a lot, with whooshing sound effects. Pretty good show this week.

  142. 142
    lonepilgrim on 6 Mar 2016 #

    I wonder if they’re rushing through these now because of all the sporty stuff happening over the summer which may clog up the schedules and force a hiatus

  143. 143
    Steve Williams on 6 Mar 2016 #

    I know no more than anyone else, but to be honest I think BBC4 are just making the schedule up as they go along and they’re showing two a week because it’s quite popular and fills a gap. I seriously doubt there’s any long term plan for this.

    If they were going to drop it, too, they could do it tomorrow. If they were going to drop it for Savile-related reasons they would have dropped it in 2012 when this business all started. Not much has changed since then, and certainly there seems to be no mass revulsion among the public that they’re still being shown.

    As for the programme itself, I first heard of Department S via a brilliant feature in Q in about 1996 with profiled about two dozen acts that were tipped for huge success and didn’t make it. I wish I still had it, but I remember among them were The Roaring Boys, who were supposed to be the next Duran Duran and signed to EMI for an incredible amount of money, and Matt Fretton who famously got on the cover of Smash Hits but didn’t have any hits (the piece suggesting the Hits piece didn’t do him any good as he came across as very earnest and said he preferred classical music, which I think he ended up working in).

    Department S were in the feature as well as they were expected to be huge stars and Stiff spent loads of money on them (they were on the cover of Smash Hits as well), but the second single, which everyone bet the farm on, flopped, and that was the end of that. Quite a sad story, I recall.

    Don’t know if anyone else remembers that feature and the other bands they included. I think Jobriath was in it.

  144. 144
    weej on 6 Mar 2016 #

    I had a Matt Fretton record when I was about 5 years old, for some reason, and kept up a vague interest in him until his sad death a few years ago. I believe his family are trying to fund a retrospective release of some sort.

  145. 145
    Paulito on 8 Mar 2016 #

    Perky Cap’n Pete at the helm, and why not? Affable as always, and knows how to get on with the show.

    Bad Manners: Something of a bargain basement Madness, these lads. Harmless, though.

    Ver Spands: Decent tune,
    even if Tony seems to be bellowing himself out of key a few times. Not as good as ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’ but I suppose they never really topped that.

    Girlschool: They got some brief cred from collaborating with Motörhead, but this is pretty lame.

    Sugar Minott: Smooth lovers’ rock, nicely done. Nowt wrong with this.

    Department S: Fondly remembered one-hit wonder. The tune is a bit slight but the lyrics and arrangement have plenty of mood and mystery. Vaughan Toulouse is a charismatic frontman too.

    The Beat: Hadn’t heard this before. Less immediate than their better-known hits, but pretty good.

    Whitesnake: Dated, hoary cock-rock. I do like a few of their hits but this is so-so.

    U.K. Subs: This isn’t bad at all,
    though it must have sounded a bit passé by spring ’81.

    Ennio Morricone/Legs & Co: A pretty little piece there. The track, I mean.

    The Cure: Still in their spidery post-punk phase – my favourite era of theirs tbh. Skinny Bob, sporting an ill-fitting shirt, has set out on his gradual transformation to Fat Bob.

    The Nolans: Great funky drum sound to kick it off, but after that all I can hear is the usual wobble ‘n’ squeak of the vocals.

    Bucks Fizz at the top. It’s all about lovely Cheryl for me, mmmm.

    Out to the Jackons and their epic psilocybin fantasia vid.

  146. 146
    Lazarus on 9 Mar 2016 #

    Well I guess it’s time to look at Friday’s truncated episode before another one is upon us … Tommy Vance in what might be army surplus gear – an odd green number, in any case.

    Thin Lizzy – still going, eh? I’m not sure the kids of ’81 were really into guitar heroics, tbh. Competent enough of course but nine years on from their first hit this lot were starting to look a little irrelevant now. Tommy enjoyed though.

    Sheena Easton – live vocal, possibly? An attempt at the big ballad, but the song isn’t quite there. As a letter to Record Mirror put it, who is ‘When He Shines’ supposed to be about? Mr Sheen?

    Dept S – not sure if this is a repeat or not, one of my favourite 20 songs of the year though. Was Vic there? Not answering it seems, can’t blame him, so many bloody telesales callers these days.

    Kim Carnes – video, didn’t know this was a Jackie de Shannon song. First heard her name from a duet with Kenny Rogers a year earlier. Long running No. 1 in the States I believe. Chart.

    Tenpole Tudor – future ‘Crystal Maze’ host with the swords of a thousand men. First heard backing the Pistols of course. Would have appealed to the Ant People I guess.

    Fact-filled Top 10. Longer clips than usual. Have we missed a week or two? There seems to be a lot of new activity at the top of the chart. Stars on 45 at 3 (there was a video, but I’m not sure it ever got on the Pops), Shaky at 2, and Adam and his dandy highwaymen at the top! A rare straight-in. Those were the days, my friend.

    Short but sweet, I guess. Arrivederci!

  147. 147
    Mark G on 10 Mar 2016 #

    The funny thing is, that never mind Prestatyn, the last time I saw Tenpole Tudor on a “forthcoming attractions” list was at Sub89 in Reading, he was the support act to a Sex Pistols tribute act. Now we can all laff about him playing underneath a tribute to a band that he was (briefly) the lead singer of in replacement of Johnny Rotten, but to be quite honest I marvel at the unpretentiousness of the bloke. And for anyone who actually went, I assume he probably did “Rock around the Clock” with the main feature anyway..

  148. 148
    Lazarus on 10 Mar 2016 #

    By the way we are still leaping ahead – due to some embargoed episodes as well as the two shows a week. Friday night’s mini-show went out on 14 May 1981 and tonight’s is from the 28th. I vividly remember first encountering that Stars on 45 hit in a Mallorca nightclub in early March though. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it was original Beatles songs being sampled, on first hearing.

  149. 149
    Lazarus on 12 Mar 2016 #

    Two more this week then, and we’re now in mid-May … the Aussies will have just arrived at the start of an unforgettable cricket season. Meanwhile in Popland Simon Bates introduces without further ado –

    The Polecats – is this an original song? The rockabilly show continues on its merry way – this lot are all white trousers, crazy hair and big ol’ stand-up bass. It’s all highly derivative of course but the kids don’t care. Lively opening. And Prestatyn, obvs.

    Champaign – real chicken in the basket oldie. Seen this clip a few times over the years. It was actually recorded a few years earlier, but who cares? This is just lovely. A real chemistry between the singers, I wonder if they were an item. Top-notch.

    UB40 – back when they were still Proper Reggae. This one missed out on the Top 10 though, their first to do so. A double A side with the quicker-tempo ‘Don’t Slow Down’ which was the more commercial offering I think.

    Tenpole Tudor – glorious one hit wonder. Later TV work save our Ed from the clutches of the Irish Sea coast. Throwing himself around like John Otway there.

    Vangelis – with scenes from ‘Chariots.’ So well known now. There seems to have been a change in policy as we haven’t always been able to see film clips in the past, notably from ‘Grease.’ Van will be back in the charts before year’s end of course, with our own Jon Anderson.

    Enigma/Legs & Co – not the Romanian producer of the nineties of course, but an assortment of recent disco hits in medley form. And new Gal alert! Though not introduced by Simes, it’s the debut of one Anita Chellamah, here for just a few months of course as it turned out. Nice touch by the others to wave her in, and we end with a lingering look from Sue that I’m sure our friend the Swede will have enjoyed.

    Hazel O’Connor – Will You? One of the hits of the year for me, just wonderful. But just as ‘Breaking Glass’ never seems to get shown on TV (has anyone here seen it, by the way?) this is largely ignored by radio in contrast to say ‘Baker Street’ with its equally memorable sax part. It’s not played in full here of course, but I never expected it. Chart 30-21.

    Coast to Coast – the Coasties went all the way back to 1949 for ‘Hucklebuck’ but this is of slightly more recent vintage, being an old Brenda Lee number. Whole hearted performance and they sneaked into the top 30 with it, but the minibus isn’t far away. Have I mentioned before that singer Sandy Fontaine was Harry Secombe’s son-in-law? Chart 20-11.

    Kim Carnes – video, repeat. Knocked Sheena Easton off #1 in the States and stayed there for nine weeks – the biggest selling single of the year. Topped the chart in twenty other countries besides. A nice little earner for Jackie De Shannon whose original can be heard here:


    Top 10. We haven’t seen Toyah and the Speedwagon yet have we, victims of Yewtree I suspect. Smokey on the charge.

    Number one the same, in fact the Top Six is unchanged, and the Top Three are there for the third week running. Adam holds down the top spot again. Probably been mentioned in the ‘Stand and Deliver’ thread, I haven’t checked, but Amanda Donohoe is in this – the future ‘Castaway’ star is one of the couple being robbed at the beginning, being implausibly deprived of her record collection. The Quiet One sees us out with help from his old muckers Paul and Ringo.

    Good show – a couple of candidates for North Wales, but nothing I didn’t enjoy.

  150. 150
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Mar 2016 #

    Like machine gun fire come these shows!

    Ticks for:
    Siouxsie – Always desirable no matter how much she tries!

    Hazel O’Connor – Simply brilliant. I can imagine Adele sinking this one but she wouldn’t have topped Hazel.

    Squeeze – My top group of the period by a distance. Saw them first play the Nashville in 1979. Went back to revisit them a few times after that.

    Kim Carnes – Epic.

    Enigma – A tiresome disco compilation but hey-ho. New gal Anita is given a waving welcome by the others. Nice touch indeed. She looks quite like Patti. Annoying though the record is, the gals are enjoying it and we get lots of Rosie smiles plus a long lingering look of pure classic muck from the Eternal Mistress to finish. Swede is not the only one to be affected here. Catch Batesy’s mumbled comment, which is pretty much drowned out by the canned applause: “That’s disgraceful. Now you know why I wear glasses!” Quite.

    Very nice to see, when George was taking us out, how respectful the young folk were. Respectful towards both George as well as towards the only Fab not playing on this record.

  151. 151
    lonepilgrim on 14 Mar 2016 #

    FWIW the TOTP Facebook page has confirmed that they plan to show programmes from 1982. At the rate they’re showing these they’ll probably start 1982 after Easter.

  152. 152
    Lazarus on 14 Mar 2016 #

    Re: Amanda Donohoe in the ‘Stand and Deliver’ vid, again, it’s probably been mentioned elsewhere, but she was living with the singer at the time. She’s only 18 in this and the ‘Antmusic’ video in which she also appeared. Of course another actress will have a bigger part in a clip from later in the year.

    Did you see Squeeze on their recent tour Jimmy? I was lucky enough to catch them at the Albert Hall. Though in my case, the last time I’d seen them was in 1982, in what was supposed to be their farewell show!

  153. 153
    Steve Williams on 14 Mar 2016 #

    #150 My favourite thing about All Those Years Ago is that it’s basically a fully-fledged Beatles reunion and it didn’t even get in the top ten.

  154. 154
    Paulito on 14 Mar 2016 #

    @153: Why is that your “favourite thing” about it?

    (Btw FWIW it was a massive hit in the States – #2 for 3 weeks behind ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ I think.)

  155. 155
    Erithian on 15 Mar 2016 #

    A good spot by Twitter #totp81 contributors – during the Odyssey playout a pre-fame but still irritatingly wacky Timmy Mallett can be seen in the audience drawing attention to himself.

  156. 156
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2016 #

    #152 – No Laz, sadly I did not. I was able to catch Glenn and Chris do the Steve Wright show just before they went to the AH but that was it, I’m afraid. I was however at the 1982 “farewell show” too. Wonderful, aren’t they?

    #153 + #154 – I totally agree that it is amazing, when you consider it. This was not only a Fab reunion but was also a very touching tribute and an all round excellent record. It should have been massive. Perhaps it wasn’t that widely known that Macca and Ringo played on it back then. It was just attributed to George. Whatever, it should have had no trouble at all in outselling Mr Ant and cheesy old Smokey Robinson.

    #155 – Not a “good” spot, buddy, surely a f**king sad one by our Twitter friend. I would also contest the use of the term “pre-fame” with regards Timmy Mallet, perhaps one of the very few people who have actually tried to break IN to Prestatyn!

  157. 157
    Andrew Farrell on 15 Mar 2016 #

    He got a song to #1, that sadly can’t be taken away from him (I think I may have mischievously claimed that it was James Brown’s only appearance at the top of the poll)

  158. 158
    Lazarus on 15 Mar 2016 #

    No doubt a couple more are on the way this week, so let’s take a look at Friday, and this one originally went out on 4/6/1981 – we only got two from May. Richard Skinner is our host tonight, a likeable sort who wouldn’t sound out of place on Radio 2 today. Kicking off with –

    Siouxsie and the Banshees – one of their best I think. That “throw them down the stairs” and drum break is especially effective.

    Shaky – edited out of the Thursday show, like the next number. “you dwive me cway-ay-zee.” Did he always do that, or was it an affectation for this song? Anyway, no one-hit wonder he – this is at the runner up’s spot. Will go no higher though.

    Kate Robbins – I’m not sure I’ve heard this in the intervening years. Did Simon May have a hand in this? Two things I know about Kate – she was Macca’s cousin, and later went on, along with Jan Ravens, to do many of the voices on Spitting Image. The backing band is Beyond, who I think may have backed Glenn Ponder a few years later. She’s a wholesome young thing, the song, as I believe they say, ‘meh.’

    Squeeze – what can I say, this song – which had a very unusual, lo-tech video I recall – kicked off ‘East Side Story’, a fabulous album which for years I quoted as my all-time favourite to anyone who cared to ask. I think it would still to this day be in the top five. Like ‘Get Happy’ from the year before I played it to death and in due course replaced it on CD. Life was a lot simpler wasn’t it, when you only had 20 or 30 albums to choose from. Now I’ve got hundreds of the things I can never decide what I want to hear.

    Imagination – infamous performance with tight-trousered guitarist, first of many hits for this lot. Camp but smooth. “Doesn’t leave much to the imagination!” quips Dickie.

    The Jam – straight in at four! Rick Buckler’s finest hour, one that never gets played on oldies radio of course. Video filmed in Surrey apparently. By this time they were big enough not to bother putting singles on albums. I think we must have missed ‘That’s Entertainment’ which was taken from ‘Sound Affects’ to Weller’s disapproval, I seem to recall.

    Michael Jackson/Legs and Co – like the Champaign song last week this is from the mid-70s, and Smokey’s sounded like it as well. Demure gals this week in shiny blue frocks. For half the song we only have four, then Anita and finally Lulu join them. Song is rather lovely, I think. There is in fact a video of young Michael doing this, but it may not have been available to the BBC – I don’t remember seeing it at the time.

    Toyah – yes I remember this video. She was on ‘Buzzcocks’ a few years ago when this was used in the ‘intros’ round, joining in with it I recall. Mark Lamarr: “Toyah’s hit ‘I Want to be Free’ has almost achieved its ambition – it was last seen going for 10p in Oxfam.” Chart 20-11.

    Phil Collins – with the big ballad from ‘Face Value.’ TOTP RIP section – the sax part on this was performed by sometime EWF sideman Don Myrick – who was fatally and erroneously shot by police in 1993 during a drugs bust. Top 10.

    Number one – Adam & the Ants – “the full-length version” we’re promised. What was the difference? “I think they’re still pretty popular” remarks Richard, and plays us out with Odyssey, or a few seconds of it.

    Another good ‘un, with only Beyond being lined up for the minibus. Imagination would have joined them but I don’t think the locals were quite ready for those trousers.

  159. 159
    speedwell54 on 16 Mar 2016 #

    Simon Bates and his wobbly head hosts, and we kick off with The Polecats. A re-release after the success of John I’m Only Dancing. Rockabilly Guy makes No35 as well. This one I think written by Phil Bloomberg the bass player (cello type thing not guitar type thing).

    Champaign – nice enough but nmcot. Sounds a bit Randy Crawford.

    UB40 – Don’t Let It Pass Me By- not one of their more popular numbers. Three times a No1 single seems to have rescued them from fading completing from the charts. Still, a few more decent years ahead of them.

    Swords Of A Thousand – hair styles say rock-a-billy, music says punk rock. Cracking single.

    Vangelis- twktc

    Legs and Co/Enigma – Swedeheaven indeed. Don’t really need to hear this again.

    Still scary Hazel with Will You. Claire Hirst (formerly from the Belle Stars) has played this sax solo in more recent times- with Hazel that is. Everybody with a sax plays this solo. Stairway To Heaven league.

    Coast to Coast and quiff central again. With this, The Polecats and Shaky, Showaddywaddy must have been wondering what they were doing wrong?

    Kim Carnes- Bette Davis Eyes. I like this a lot and it just crept into the top ten over here but massive stateside. The follow up single was probably the worst track on the album and had an awful video. ‘When I’m Away From You’ however is a great track from the album written by Frankie Miller, worth a listen.

    The charts and Adam – vid. Out to Harrison with All Those Years Ago, again fairing much better over the pond than here.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  160. 160
    Mark G on 16 Mar 2016 #

    Hazel O’Connor’s “Will You” was cut in half and reissued, as the latter part of it was used as the theme tune from “Ennal’s Point”, and was credited to her (and not Wesley Magoogan, the actual soloist), even though she’s not on it at all.

    Now, the thing was, I was sure it made the chart, but I can’t find it at all, anyplace.

  161. 161
    speedwell54 on 16 Mar 2016 #

    Richard Skinner at the helm so in safe hands tonight. Siouxsie kicks off with Spellbound. ‘B-o-u-n-d’ I seem to remember the juvenile reply came. Good song.

    Shaky – You Drive Me Crazy- different jacket, same performance. Not entirely without merit but.

    Kate Robbins ok. judging from the link, also in Crossroads.

    Squeeze -Is that Love- No1 in Israel says wiki but can’t find a second source. Cool for Cats is my particular favourite album, but they hardly put a foot wrong ever.

    Body Talk- all a bit Zoolander at the beginning. Not for me.

    Funeral Pyre – in at four, but no higher. Decent b side; a cover of Disguises which was a really early track from the Who.

    One Day In Your Life – doesn’t really do anything for me. The gals are in bridesmaids dresses and a little dull really.

    Toyah -video and just Wilcox stars here.

    The countdown and Human League are in there, I hope we don’t miss out on their first appearance. Phil Collins next -If leaving Me Is Easy. Richard thinks a potential No1. Hmm, nowhere near.

    Countdown to Adam. Out to Back To My Roots and the crowd on the whole seem rather miserable, few smiles.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  162. 162
    Steve Williams on 16 Mar 2016 #

    Kate Robbins was indeed in Crossroads at the time, and the record was a spin-off from the series, as she played a pop star who was staying at the Motel. Went on to have a great career, of course, as an impressionist – and she’s very amusing on Twitter, not least when she pointed out her name is an anagram of Bronski Beat (hmm, wonder if those are the only two acts who have appeared on Pops whose names are anagrams of the other?).

    Sadly, not only have we missed the first appearance of The Human League, we’ll miss their first six appearances, all the performances of their first three hits, and their first sighting will be when they’re at number one.

  163. 163
    Lazarus on 17 Mar 2016 #

    Kate is also married to one of the Atack brothers from Child, and their daughter Emily was in the Inbetweeners (series, not movie) and the recent Dad’s Army film.

  164. 164
    Mark G on 17 Mar 2016 #

    #162, #161 You guys might have missed the Human League’s first appearance, but we all saw it in 1980, they did “Rock and Roll” from the Holiday ’80 e.p. and Peter Powell was the safe pair of hands.

    Funnily enough, The Undertones were on the same show with “My Perfect Cousin”, and all the viewers that paid attention would have understood the “She got the Human League in to advise her” line as they were on earlier in the show. Good work there, TOTP producers.

  165. 165
    Lazarus on 17 Mar 2016 #

    Yes I saw that too, but I guess the other commenters meant the first appearance with Joanne and Suzanne, i.e. the line-up that most people remember them for – rather than with the two who went on to form Heaven 17. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever heard the first two albums, should give them a listen sometime. ‘Travelogue’ in particular seems to be highly regarded.

  166. 166
    Adam Puke on 18 Mar 2016 #

    I’d go for ‘Reproduction’ personally (the roots of their later incarnation are more apparent- ‘Blind Youth’ is a great lost single, almost a dry run for ‘Sound Of The Crowd’), but they’re both highly enjoyable albums. A lot poppier than people often expect the ‘early, geeky’ League to sound!

  167. 167
    speedwell54 on 19 Mar 2016 #

    Peter ‘Hello folks’ Powell dons a Breton top and red trousers and gives us a flavour of what’s in store. He just avoids crashing the vocals;

    Linx begin proceedings with ‘Throw Away The Key’. The scaffolding didn’t pass the risk assessment and three of them do a quick audition for Status Quo at the end.

    Phil Collins – rpt. Odyssey -Going Back To My Roots written by Lamont Dozier (who later co wrote Two Hearts with Collins) This has a great hook and gets the crowd moving. Not dated.

    Legs and Co dancing in the dark again, this time to Take it to the Top. Champaign -vid rpt. Siouxsie rpt,

    Ghost Town- Video. This was exciting. I think the social commentary wasn’t completely lost on me, but not a yet a teenager and far enough away from the images on the news, I was somewhat cushioned from the bleakness of the message. Must be coming up towards show 900 then.

    Body Talk- again, but not a rpt. Countdown and Smokey at No1.

    1. Being With You
    2. One Day In Your Life
    3. More Than In Love
    4. Teddy Bear
    5. How ‘Bout Us.
    – worst top 5 since the fifties?

  168. 168
    weej on 20 Mar 2016 #

    I’ve just moved back to the UK after spending most of the last 15 years living abroad, so thought I might join in. Hello.

    Lynx – new to me, love that funky bassline and the singer’s Off The Wall dance shapes, otherwise a bit anonymous.

    Phil – ah, the infamous paintpot on the piano deal, presumably a repeat as remember it being discussed upthread. Odd for me to see him just starting a solo career, a couple of years before my first TOTP memories. Not my bag, anyway.

    Odyssey – This is more like it, veey classy and enjoyable, are we at the tail-end of decent disco now? Don’t remember any in mid 80s.

    Kool & The Gang – To prove the point, seems a very minor one of theirs, dull dance routine too.

    Champagne – Pleasant enough, seem to be enjoying themselves a little too much for some reason.

    Siouxie – First punk / new wave. I always feel the same about this group; fairly enjoyable without quite inspiring me to listen again.

    The Specials – brilliant, obs

    Imagination -song not interesting, clothes almost make up for it.

    Smokey – First time I’ve heard this. Not awful but surely 1981 can do better than this?

  169. 169
    Lazarus on 23 Mar 2016 #

    Welcome Weej – it’s especially interesting to hear from people who weren’t watching these shows first time round. Just getting in before the next instalment – checkingout the long show from Friday night. And yes stripey-topped and scarlet-trousered Peter P is our host for the evening.

    Linx – another one that never gets on to oldies radio. Really good pop-soul number that paves the way for the likes of Junior, Curiosity and Swing Out Sister later in the decade. Not much more to come from them though – one more Top 20 and then they went cold almost overnight.

    Phil Collins – adhering to the ‘third single = ballad’ rule. Is it a repeat performance? Dunno. Good late-nite tune. Now on the comeback trail of course.

    Odyssey – zippin’ up their boots. One of those, like ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ and ‘Good Thing Going’ from the same chart, that maybe not many people knew was a cover. Always good to see and hear this lot. Their run of hit singles from ’77-82 was quite something.

    Kool & the Gang/Legs & Co – one of their less remembered hits I suppose. Rather under-lit routine. Superb high kick from Patti though.

    Champaign – video, repeat. Must have been the soundtrack to many a school disco end-of-night brush-off. Not for me though, all boys school. Fondly remembered one-hit wonders. And an early sight of the ‘wet look’ hairstyle.

    Siouxsie – repeat, I think. Definitely one of their best. The Creatures project isn’t too far off at this point. Chart 30-21.

    Specials – a reminder of how far ahead in the year we are now, this was the soundtrack of high summer. Anyone know where the video was made? Coventry? Two weeks away from number 1, by my reckoning. Chart 20-11.

    Imagination – a new and less controversial performance. What is Leee wearing there, a sarong? Just so wrong. Top 10. And that top five – Champaign, Red Sovine, Kate Robbins, Michael Jackson and Smokey. Very ballad-heavy for sure, but I do like some of those, especially Champaign and MJ.

    Smokey Robinson at number 1. Nice gaff he’s got there. I believe he was on the coke in those days though, is that right? All been discussed on the BWY thread, no doubt. Titles over the number one as per usual.

    Decent show once again with no real need to put out a call for the minibus.

  170. 170
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Mar 2016 #

    #169 – That is a nice gaff Smokey’s got there, isn’t it? I don’t know whether or not he was on the gear back then (pop singer doing drugs?..) but I was certainly waiting for Lieutenant Columbo to pop up at Robbo’s ocean-side condo to inquire about some woman who was washed up just along the beach. It all has an inevitable ending, of course…

    Smokey: “Just out of interest, Lieutenant, when did you first suspect me?”

    Columbo: “Well, to be honest, sir, it was that first time at your apartment. You were singing and playing pool against yourself. That got me thinking. Why would you do that?

    Smokey: “You suspected me of murder because I was taking a pool shot?”

    Columbo: “It was the song, sir. It just didn’t sit right. Now if you had been singing that song about the clown…my wife loved that song. Me? I’m more of a Sinatra man…then I would have figured that you were innocent, sir. Gee, it’s funny how little things like that…
    (Cont’d on P.94)

  171. 171
    Phil on 24 Mar 2016 #

    What got me was that he wanders around the house for three minutes singing about being with you, being with you, being with YOU…, then heads out and, to all appearances, walks into the sea – with a woman watching him from behind the shutters! Smokey, mate – she’s back here! Behind you!

    Come to think of it, where was she for the rest of the song – in the loo? Or maybe she was deliberately keeping out of the way – perhaps it’s a sadder song than we realise, and the ‘you’ he’s singing about isn’t actually her. Which would also make sense of the ‘walking into the sea’ part, if you look at it a certain way…

    Now my wife can’t swim, but –

  172. 172
    Mark G on 24 Mar 2016 #

    Dude, he’s singing to YOU! He’s looking at you and singing.

  173. 173
    Phil on 24 Mar 2016 #

    And then turning his back on me and walking into the sea? I’m a ghost now?

    (I may be overreading the ‘walking into the sea’ part.)

  174. 174
    Lazarus on 24 Mar 2016 #

    I didn’t want to be doing Smokey a disservice – possibly confusing him with ‘Please Don’t Go’ era KC (whose manic stare in that video left no room for doubt) so I checked the thread and there was confirmation that he was on the marching powder at the time. Post 43, from the Lineman. My dim recollection is that he owned up on one of those Channel 4 retro shows from a few years ago, possibly ‘I Heart 1981’.

  175. 175
    Mark G on 24 Mar 2016 #

    ‘I Heartraced 1981’

  176. 176
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 Mar 2016 #

    I think I’ve solved the Smokey riddle, folks. He did his Reggie Perrin bit hoping to encounter Ursula Andress coming the other way. Being with HER would have been far too tempting for any bloke of hot blood to turn down even if he was off his face on sherbet.

  177. 177
    Lazarus on 25 Mar 2016 #

    Thanks for that Jimmy, it’s another double-header this week so I’m trying to get in quick before tonight’s show – just an hour before in fact. Oleaginous housewives’ favourite Simon Bates in the chair tonight.

    Gillan – this is one I’d quite forgotten. Quite an interesting number – half shouted, half sung, starting out wanting to be let into Heaven and ending up pleading to be let out. Had it opened yet, by the way, in Charing Cross? Definitely owes a bit to Arthur Brown too.

    Elaine Paige – not her first time on the Pops, that was back in ’78, but of course this is the big number from ‘Cats.’ Now familiar to many as the hostess of the Sunday lunchtime musicals show on Radio 2, with the ‘distinctive’ gurgling laugh. Seems odd to see her as a brunette. The song? Does its job.

    Kirsty MacColl – well this definitely shouldn’t have been her first time on the show, but ‘They Don’t Know’ had stiffed (pun intended) two years earlier, due in part to distribution problems I believe. Rockabilly has been big this year and this is in much the same vein. As with Shaky, plenty of audience participation.

    Evasions – he doesn’t really look or sound that much like Alan Whicker, but this was quite fun to hear again. Who was this bloke by the way, anyone know? Yes I know I could go to Youtube, but there isn’t time, dammit! Sample is ‘Funking For Jamaica’ of course.

    Randy Crawford – lovely. First single from ‘Secret Combination.’ I’ve read a lot here over the years about ‘death by BBC orchestra’ and have to confess I often can’t tell the difference between the Pops version and the record, but it’s plain enough here. I don’t think they ruin it, though, to be fair. Chart 20-11.

    Depeche Mode – first-timers. ‘Depechay’ as Simon says. Their first single ‘Dreaming of Me’ failed to trouble the Top 40 – and the band can’t have thought much of it, as they left it off their debut album – but this does the job. Operating, generating, new life. With Vince Clarke in tow, but not for long.

    Top 10. Ultravox get plenty of airtime, which is nice as we haven’t seen them yet. What’s the betting that ‘How ‘Bout Us’ has been a regular on ‘Our Tune’ over the years?

    Michael Jackson – number one – and the Legs of course, there’s no way he was going to come over to do this when he hadn’t bothered with any of the ‘Off the Wall’ singles. Gals in silhouette for much of the time. Song I like very much – mid-70s Motown at its best for me. Six years after the event of course but a harbinger of ’81 is lurking in the top 10.

    Simes bids us adieu and Quincy Jones and Patti Austin play us out. Another good ‘un I reckon. Only 32 minutes at full length though, so presumably only one was left off.

  178. 178
    Erithian on 26 Mar 2016 #

    Point of order, Lazarus, it wasn’t Kirsty’s first time on the show, as she’d put in an appearance as one of the backing singers for Jona Lewie’s “Kitchen at Parties”, even though she wasn’t featured on the record.

    Anyway – tonight’s show was first broadcast on Thursday 16 July 1981, and to some people it would have come as a blessed relief to switch over to TOTP after seeing the Aussies wipe the floor with England on the first day of the Headingley Test. They’d closed at 203-3, and most of us could only see one result from that point. Except of course we won in the most extraordinary circumstances, and Jimmy the Swede has asked me to share where I was on that memorable fifth day … Prestatyn.

    We’d headed over from Manchester on the Saturday for a holiday close to where my sister lives in Llandudno, and I got to see the first Aussie wicket fall on the TV in our caravan before being dragged out for a day’s walking around the resort that was far more memorable for the fact I had my transistor tuned to TMS all day than for wherever it was we went. On the seafront various members of Showaddywaddy and Matchbox stopped me to ask what the latest score was. I chanced to see the 5th wicket, Chris Old clean bowling Allan Border, in the window of a TV showroom as Liquid Gold’s drummer glared at me from behind the counter. As the tourists collapsed to 75-8, the Dooleys waved their approval from the crazy golf course, and as Bob Willis broke the Bright/Lillee partnership and clinched the 18-run victory, Brotherhood of Man jumped up from their deckchairs and joined in the celebration. A great day.

  179. 179
    Lazarus on 26 Mar 2016 #

    Graham de Wilde, the vocalist on ‘Wikka Wrap’ is a proper musician by the way, and among his credits is the theme tune to ‘Whicker’s World!’

    We are about to skip the 900th episode of TOTP. Would have been good to see, featuring as it did various old presenters and pop stars. As Savile was also involved, it won’t be shown. It’s on the Web of course – there’s a link at the excellent angelo gravity site ‘New Life’ which I’ve plugged before and which is well worth a visit if you want more of this sort of thing.

  180. 180
    Jimmy the Swede on 26 Mar 2016 #

    Great stuff from Erithian, there. What he didn’t mention was that he also foiled a plot that day from the Rubettes and Pilot to escape from the camp, both groups having failed to secure day release passes unlike the others mentioned. The Rubettes had their gym tunnel discovered and Pilot were prevented from getting out, appropriately by light aircraft. He’s a bit of a closet Number Two is our Erithian!

    Not much for the Swede in the last couple of shows, I’m afraid. Kate Bush was completely out of her beautiful gourd. Her loopy level was always one of the most appealing things about her but this Dunce hat routine was bonkers even for her.

    Elaine Paige – Another Swede fantasy and another total loon. I remember seeing her at Wimbledon a year after this. I had paired off with a girl called Anne, who I had met in the queue and who was five foot tall if that. We happened to be outside the Centre Court where the celebs and royals arrive. At one point, out stepped Elaine. She looked lovely. Anne sensed my reaction and said “Isn’t she short?” Very nice memories (SWIDT?)

    The Gals – Elegant routine to chart-topping Jacko and then a Frank and Sally call-out for their jolly with the Jacksons. “CLEAR!” We also saw them twice on countdowns, routines missed because of the Beast and the Cornflake.

  181. 181
    speedwell54 on 27 Mar 2016 #

    Simon Bates on the first of two. Watched live (well Thurs) and now watching on iplayer. Gillan track has grown on me after only two listens. He mimes well on this preaching/screaming track.

    Elaine Paige – she is definitely shouting and not singing on a few lines. The video has nothing reliable included to judge her height, but she is less than 5ft by all accounts.

    Kirsty -TAGWDTCSSHE A good track with a very long title. There was another version of this by her, but much more country that got a bit a airplay at the time. Sad end.

    Evasions- he does a fair bit of name checking and gets in quite a few singles/album titles. Was this played at discos?

    Randy Crawford- she has a far more distinctive voice than I remembered and shown off well here. She sings beautifully on a cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ which has a really lovely piano arrangement; from an early album.

    Depeche Mode- Dave looks rather nervous here, the start of something massive. Much bigger elsewhere in Europe by the 90s. Nine number 1s in Spain!

    Countdown and Jackson at No1 with Legs and Co. Song nmcot.

    Unusually nothing extra on player.
    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Erithian- the Headingley Test. I was there! Went to day one, four, and five. Skipped school and with a friend and went with my father on day one. He was a life member at Yorkshire and at the time you still got a free pass to Test matches plus reduced junior ticket. Back at school for the last day of term on the Friday – the teacher knew we’d been but different times and no one was bothered. I remember hearing it was the 1st (or maybe 2nd) time EVER that a team following on had won a test match. Remarkable.

  182. 182
    speedwell54 on 27 Mar 2016 #

    New titles? Peter Powell hosts and again we start with something heavy – Never Surrender from Saxon nmcot. Outfit wise guessing the same stuff each and every single time. Still doing it out there somewhere.

    Third Word – Dancing on the floor- outfit wise for the performance they are all dressed in white including hard hats. For the outdoor scenes it’s wear what you like – dress code casual.

    Depeche Mode- we’ve missed an episode, so they’re here again, although not a rpt. Outfit wise, Martin looks totally different- last time black leather/mesh bondage outfit, this time overcoat, tie and trilby. Peter heaps praise on them before and after.

    The Jacksons with Legs and Co covering for Walk Right Now. ok.

    Dexy’s with the brilliant Show Me. Outfit wise, gone are the donkey jackets and this time they are all in causal ‘just going down the gym’ gear. Kevin in control of all things.

    Kate Bush- love this and Suspended in Gaffa from The Dreaming. The tiny men in white hats in the background make me think of Chris and Neil. From the brief appearance of the clapperboard this video or part of it was recorded on 17/6/81. Outfit wise, it’s ballerina with leg warmers on the arms and legs, and white flouncy gown with white hat. She is so watchable.

    Bad Manners – Can Can- not too sure about this. Outfit wise he’s wearing a dress of course.

    Spandau Ballet – Outfit wise gone are the kilts and tartan of To Cut A Long Story.. and into new romantic suits with chains. All a bit different, even rapping from Gary.

    Into the countdown and a clip of Legs dancing to Wordy Rappinghood- looks like we missed a treat.

    Specials at No1 and video.

    Not bad at all.

  183. 183
    Phil on 27 Mar 2016 #

    Every time I see one of these repeats there seems to be one or two songs missing – I definitely saw that programme (Sat In Your Lap, Bad Manners and all) but I’ve got no recollection of Depeche.

    Dexy’s weren’t that casual – they were all in what looked like duffel coats (complete with hoods and wooden toggles for buttons) but were obviously in a much lighter material, and multi-coloured. Did Kevin Rowland invent the hoodie? Also, Kevin & at least one of the lads had their hair in a tiny, tiny ponytail – the kind of thing that’s so short almost anyone could scrape one up, if for some unearthly reason they wanted to. Typical mad Kevinism – it looks ridiculous, and nobody’s even going to see it unless you turn side on.

  184. 184
    Jimmy the Swede on 27 Mar 2016 #

    Elaine Paige has been a huge tennis fan since she was a little girl… She has told the story of how a cruel sports mistress at her school mocked her for wanting to play the game, telling her that it was hopeless as she couldn’t see over the net. No need for that really.

  185. 185
    Steve Williams on 27 Mar 2016 #

    #183 The first screenings at 7.30 are always edited to half an hour to fit a half hour slot. All other screenings – late that evening and in the middle of Saturday night, and on iPlayer – are the full show. Although Thursday’s episode was only half an hour in the first place, so the other screenings only provided an extra thirty seconds or so of the audience dancing over the credits.

  186. 186
    Lazarus on 29 Mar 2016 #

    I missed Friday night’s show at the time – switched over at 7.30 to find myself watching ‘The Good Old Days.’ There’s no news on a Bank Holiday, apparently. Peter Powell’s turn has come around again very quickly – obviously a few have been missed but whither Mike Read, Tommy Vance and the seen-just-once Andy Peebles?

    Saxon – a rabble rousing start to the show. The NWOBHM still has legs it seems, indeed Motorhead have just scored a number one album (and have a single in the top ten). This is OK, they certainly seem to be making the cut a lot this year – like Gillan. New album coming out soon, PP informs us.

    Third World – no longer one-hit wonders, and we get the video for this one. All dreads, beards and white suits. Just discovered that ‘Now That We Found Love’ was an old O’Jays song by the way, who knew? And it seems they’re still going.

    Jacksons/Legs & Co – talking of dancing on the floor … each Leg does a little solo turn to this. Much more of a Michael song than Can You Feel It, full of trademark whoops and yelps. Routine is a good one, but still shrouded in half-darkness for much of the time.

    Dexy’s – midway between Young Soul Rebels and Too Ry Aye comes this 45, which marks a bit of a change in image, even if they hadn’t gone full-on gypsy at this point. Anyone remember spin-off band The Bureau? Featuring ex-Merton Parka Mick Talbot, they released the cracking ‘Let Him Have It’ around this time.

    Kate Bush – another between albums, though this did eventually make it on to ‘The Dreaming’ , released more than a year later. Yes good call on the Pet Shop Boys. Dunces and jesters. Probably just as well this wasn’t a DLT show, “I wouldn’t mind her sat in my lap, hur hur” etc. Chart 30-21.

    Bad Manners – Can can. Buster in a dress. That tells you all you need to know really, but where on earth were the Gals? Shocking missed opportunity. Kudos for managing those cartwheels, though. Chart 20-11. Pete also putting an accent on ‘Depeche’ – were they all doing it?

    Spandau Ballet – first single from ‘Diamond’ which again won’t see a release until ’82. Seem to be jumping onto the Beggar & Co/Light of the World wagon a little, in fact it’s the first-named band’s brass section there. Liberal use of the Brylcreem by Tony, by the looks of it. Perennial spare part Steve Norman on bongos. Bit of rapping at the end.

    Pete says his goodbyes before the Top 10, we go straight from that to the number one – it’s the Specials of course. We get every second of this one, the only record at the Craggy Island disco. Fun Boy Three in the car making plans for the next step. Meanwhile Toxteth goes up in smoke. Credits over the last minute. Top stuff.

    Bad Manners and Saxon pile into the minbus and we get ready to do it all again in a couple of days …

  187. 187
    Patrick Mexico on 31 Mar 2016 #

    Brace yourselves, spring is coming, and Mexico is still Patricking (though I don’t want a wall built around me filled with Trumps.) Here’s my first TOTP 81 review of tonight’s show.

    The Vapors – Oh dear, I was looking forward to this lot. Sounds like one of those piss-poor Pitchfork Police clone bands mashing up Wigwam Bam and er, their own and vastly superior News at Ten. Also this kind of guitar poseury like a Roy Cropper re-enacting Napoleonic soldiers on a Sunny Delight binge inspired Simple Minds to kill their credibility after 1985. Next!

    Sheena Easton – It’s not even The Living Daylights, never mind Goldfinger or A View To A Kill. But it’s better than the Sam Smith bunny or Die Another Day.

    Legs disappointingly nondescript. But Lay All Your Love On Me’s one of my favourite and most effortlessly cool and Scandinavian sounding Abba hits, despite various efforts to ruin it by Boom Boom Boom Boom, Erasure’s stubbly goonery and Abba Gabba (has to be heard to be believed – https://youtu.be/FOgxdD2w0oE ) Even though the synth sounds a bit “Sing-a-long-a-Frozen” that makes me love it even more. I have serious issues.

    Don’t get this 60s mashup at all.. at all.. Please don’t do that to Dancing In the Street, though I’m relaxed enough to know in the 80s this was a one off ;) Is the woman meant to be Cilla Black/Lulu and is the man meant to be some kind of Serge Gainsbourg meets Max Headroom?

    Visage – Perfectly acceptable but It’s no Fade to Grey or the D****** D*** C** (bunnied so I don’t spoil Marcello’s 1982 top 40 review which will go together better than bacon and brown sauce when we get to next year’s TOTP by July)

    Gidea Park – What is up with this Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club Sixties revivalism? A classic, but one nobody should cover, especially when phoning it in. It’s like punk/post-punk/metal/New Romanticism/Gary Lineker being censured by the Beeb for stealing a boy’s bag of crisps never happened.

    The Specials – Still brilliant and not sure if a number 1 has soundtracked a grim period of British history better since – the one from the 2011 riots can get..get on the floor #bunnyredalert – but miming certainly makes it lose something in translation.

    That’s it? We exit to SOS and though it’s another bit of pure pop perfection from Abba, it already feels like a bygone era. Before I sound like an A* fanboy of the Swedes (note pluralisation!), Waterloo and Dancing Queen bring me out in a cheese and pineapple on a stick at an Accrington Stanley lounge 21st flavoured rash and I’m pretty sure I gave Super Trouper a big fat 1 and I’ll treble that score for this car crash episode. But I can’t stop looking at this car crash either. See you tomorrow!

  188. 188
    weej on 1 Apr 2016 #

    Steve Wright presenting, what’s that tache and jacket all about, eh?

    Duran Duran – the 80s are here, finally, though the durannies still seem like a slightly smoother new wave act

    Kim Wilde – New to me, this one, and again much more new wave than I expected, though the punk t-shirts look a bit silly staring at their shoes when the keyboard solo kicks in. Not bad though

    Bill Wyman – really not sure what to make of this, better than expected, reminds me of a tropical version of McCartney II

    Hooked on Classics – If this was Russian TV Clive James would’ve been all over this.

    Undertones – How the mighty have fallen. Dull.

    Stevie Wonder – Great sentiment, not a bad tune, bit Stevie’s 80s production style has not aged well at all.

    Spandau Ballet – Has to catch me at right time, this one, but now isn’t the right time. For the first time I’m noticing it’s ripping off all tye post-punk-funk, and I can’t help comparing unfavorably.

    Shakey – shonky, more like, but reminds me of the brilliant Kevin Turvey special with the same name, so all’s good with the world.

    Not a bad episode, all in all.

  189. 189
    weej on 1 Apr 2016 #

    This Kevin Turvey thing here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IgL8iCkg6Q

  190. 190
    Phil on 1 Apr 2016 #

    The Spands were certainly jumping on the post punk funk tribal percussion bandwagon, but that record still works for me – the bassline alone is a killer. And I won’t hear a word against Julie Ocean, or anything else from the Undertones’ interesting-and-slightly-psychedelic period; that was a great (live) performance, too.

    I’d completely forgotten Water on Glass in the intervening 30+ years. I had no idea what it was about back then and didn’t care enough to make the effort to find out (which would probably have involved waiting till Smash Hits carried an interview with Kim). Now, of course, the world’s at our fingertips, and I can reveal that it’s a song about tinnitus(!), co-written by Kim’s brother Ricky and Dad Marty(!!). Great-uncle Oscar, sadly, wasn’t involved.

  191. 191
    speedwell54 on 2 Apr 2016 #

    Dickie Skinner on the first of two this week. “A brand new hit for the Vapors, It’s called Jimmie Jones” Not quite making the 40, it’s not as Jam like as News at Ten but ok with me.

    An exclusive no less with Easton on video from the opening credits For Your Eyes Only. Good bit of cross promotion going on there. It worked.

    Shaky and Green Door. Different jacket, different song but the same performance. Audience sway and provide their own clap back track.

    ReoSpeedwagon. Does he think she’s unfaithful or not?

    Abba/Legs- Well if we can’t have Abba, Legs will do. Great track and the performance was good if not notable.

    Tight Fit – Back to The 60’s. Hmmm, Terrible miming throughout. The bloke who looks like Rocky Sharpe is bad. Surprised he wanted to be both Tony James AND the Shondells. Wasn’t Black is Black sung by a woman? Think I better stop now.

    Visage -Visage. Certainly no Fade to Grey. The instrumental bits at the end sound pretty good but overall this track does nothing for me.

    Gidea Park – another mash up although we were not calling them as such then. Adrian Baker joins Sheena Easton and gets to sing in a James Bond movie a little later.

    Countdown to the Specials at One and they’re in the studio for a change.

    Legs return to dance to Stars on 45 Vol 2 and a few lucky guys get to join in. Abba get a second turn to have Legs dancing for them. Squeeze did a stars on 45 type thing which is on a b side somewhere. From memory it’s not good.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  192. 192
    Lazarus on 2 Apr 2016 #

    Talking of that post-punk funk scene, ‘Papa’s got a Brand New Pigbag’ would have had its first release around now, I think? ‘Don’t Say That’s Just for White Boys’ by Way of the West, a minor hit, was an addition to my record collection too, and on the fringes would have been the likes of Rip Rig & Panic and Factory stalwarts A Certain Ratio.

    The last episode went out on 30 July 1981, the day after the Royal Wedding. That was a Wednesday, presumably (although a Bank Holiday) – an odd day for a wedding. The pomp and circumstance in St Paul’s that day was in marked contrast to what was going down in other parts of the country.

    Nice to see Mr Mexico posting. I will get round to setting down some thoughts on this week’s instalments soon.

  193. 193
    Mark M on 2 Apr 2016 #

    Re191: ‘Wasn’t Black is Black sung by a woman?’

    Nope, at least not the ’60s version. (It was on pretty much a constant loop at the beach caff in Tarragona, my mother’s hometown, throughout the ’70s and ’80s, or so I remember it).

  194. 194
    Mark G on 2 Apr 2016 #

    I think you may be thinking of the ‘La Belle Epoque’ eurodisco cover version, 1977

  195. 195
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Apr 2016 #

    Sorry I’m a day late, was on the lash in Manchester last night and was up till 6 am at a friends mock-MCing and mashing up Chiddy Bang into Del Shannon and Bobby Vee into Magnetic Man featuring Katy B and Tinie Tempah. But more, much more on that when we become superstar DJs (here we go) ;)

    Correction: It wasn’t Abba – SOS – it was a shoddy, shitty Stars on 45 mash-up of such things, but Legs and Co have that mind-warping effect on me. I don’t know, I wasn’t there at the time, maaaaannn..

    On with 30 July 1981’s episode:

    Duran Duran – Girls on Film: actually bloody fantastic. I remember Q’s 1001 Greatest Songs (hmm..) in 2003 saying Poison Arrow “makes Sheffield sound like one of the sexiest places on Earth.” Does exactly the same for Brum. A decadent, sleazy, new wave classic, however forced it sounds, however they made Thatcherite dicks of themselves in latter years, and however much Le Bon and Rhodes look like a disturbing proto-Trump and Clinton.

    Kim Wilde – Water on Glass – Tune tune tune tuney tune tune tune. In no way biased because in January I saw a girl my age in Camden Ice Wharf Wetherspoons who looked the absolute spit of her, blow dryed blonde hair, Breton top and all :) But this is another fresh, spunky, slightly post punky hit that makes you think it couldn’t be any other year but 1981, the antidote to Thursday, despite the horribly literal video effects of yes, water crashing onto glass. I fear Chequered Love may be Yewtreed, though, and had that hit Popular I’d give it a definite 10..

    Depeche Mode – New Life – completing a golden trio. Can’t think of much better from a bunch of teenage lads with nothing but a synth, a few drums, a few ideas and pretty much chancing their arm. And God, how it works so well. Not sure if at the time people thought they’d stick around and become a dark, sprawling Europe-conquering rock behemoth, but this is simply another brilliant pop song definitive of its time with endless charm and endeavour.

    Bill Wyman – aaaaaaaand the bubble’s burst. Regardless of his subsequent breaking of the half-your-age-plus-7 rule of thumb (to say the least, eek), self-indulgent mansplainy bollock pie and not even fit to lace the boots of Almost Hear You Sigh, let alone Paint It Black.

    Stars on 45 – Hooked on Classics c/o Legs N Co – will soon be making their farewell, yet again, could turn a gay, or asexual man straight, but I really don’t understand what the point of Stars on 45 was.. this Danish Butter Cookie-tin drumming treatment of centuries-old classical standards is better than Jive Bunny, but that’s like saying I’d rather have chronic winter flu than be throwing up every five minutes.

    Undertones – Good Lord, Feargal looks like the spit of Joey Barton, one of the star players of the football team I support, and like 99% of 70s punk, mixing razor-sharp intellect and charmless thuggery in equal measure. This sounds less like the Exploited and more like the freakin’ Cocteau Twins and though it’s far from a career peak I’m warming to it, it’s his semi-religious Ulster falsetto that maybe invented JJ72 (I think this is a great thing. I know this is not a widely held opinion, but their debut, especially October Swimmer was one of the highlights of my teens.. come at me, bro..)

    Stevie Wonder – Happy Birthday – cliched and a bit obvious given his 70s hits were often the peak of Motown and arguably the peak of great pop (none of which hit the top here, when he actually did, we’ll be around soon to discuss it like outside open-mouthed crowds, passing each other as if they’re drugged :-/ ) but I can’t fault it as I saw a family next to me in LA on holiday c. 2004 singing it in a note-perfect gospel style, the lift I needed at one of the shittiest times in my life, so the archetypal 7/10..

    Spandau Ballet – Chant No. 1 – another blinder from a band who everyone thinks these days are pretentious Radio 2 fodder Tory cnuts. But for a few years, before they disappeared up their own bunghole with True, they were one of those bands who the more pretentious they were, were actually the more loveable, and this skeletal-bassed funk jam about nothing in particular apart from trying to get into yet another exclusive London club where it was £500 to get in (£1 discount if you wore a vase on your head while singing the entire score from Cabaret, backwards, in pidjin’ Punjabi.) Can see why everyone wanted to punch them by 1984 though.

    Specials – Ghost Town.. er… cut in the middle.. don’t know what this is trying to say.. The riots were over? They’d soon be back, ’85, ’01 (unfortunately in one side of my family’s home town), ’11…

    Shakin Stevens – Green Door – thanks to you and Bill Why, man? for ruining this otherwise brilliant episode. Charmless hen night Grease megamix 50s revivalist dross. I can’t have a go at Woy Hodgson’s Welsh wetrowizard too much, though, as last Saturday in the shower I found myself singing You Drive Me Crazy relentlessly. I’ll try and score indie points by saying that’s because it sounds exactly like Heavenly Pop Hit by the Chills (tied with Seduction – It Takes Two and Claytown Troupe – Ways of Love* in my HOW DID THIS NOT MAKE THE TOP 10, NAY NOT EVEN THE TOP 40 IN 1990?)

    We exit to an acceptable disco jam by the Jacksons. More, much more to come from Michael and Janet, much later. How often did MJ play on TOTP? The worry I have is that the big US acts – him, Springsteen, Madonna didn’t come to the Beeb much to play live at all, but then again, in two TOTP years’ time, Twisted Sister will, so, you never know…

    A decent episode, I give it a hearty Watney’s Party Seven.

    * Oh, and Move Your Body by Marshall Jefferson, which in its only single release, made number 100. God, I’ve enjoyed investigating every number 100 of the 90s in my current project (just got up to the era of Bombalurina :D) though it sometimes makes me weep how much great hip-hop and house was only bought by three men and a dog. In one of the most open eras for the charts – Aerosmith, the Mission, Skid Row and Faith No More regularly going top 20 as they bring the RAWK – it’s an injustice.

    See you all for the impending Kylie megabunny… please, please, please, Tom, make sure this gravy-oozing, tripe-infused Alpine Guy Fieri impersonator soon leaves the header of this page.. it’s distressing… :D

  196. 196
    Jimmy the Swede on 3 Apr 2016 #

    Swede ffwds through most of this now. Not Stevie’s successful bid to get the saintly Doctor King’s birthday taken as a holiday, though. It may be worth remembering that it was Ronald Reagan who granted this. Martin was something of a swordsman, they say. The Gals are dancing in the audience and there’s a wonderful shot of the Eternal Mistress towards the end. Not long for our lovelies now. Boo!

    The “Black is Black” original by Los Bravos was a great record and came within a whisker of being discussed on the main Popular forum. The follow up, “I Don’t Care”, was equally blinding in an uber cheesy way.

    The Gals were hooked on classics, one of the far too many pernicious compilation records to bedevil the UK chart at this time. One of the snatches was Mozart’s 40th. Going back exactly ten years saw an early Swede single purchase of this piece which charted as high as number five, courtesy of one Waldo de los Rios. Waldo? What a bloody stupid name!

  197. 197
    speedwell54 on 3 Apr 2016 #

    Steve Wright hosts so maybe we’ll love the show! Great start with Duran Duran. The album was already out and this the 3rd single was their biggest hit from it over here. No doubt the video helped and MTV was just starting around this time so bit of good timing.

    Kim Wilde – Water on Glass, it’s hardly chalk on the blackboard. I didn’t have her pegged for “message” track, she’ll be signing up with Billy Bragg for Red Wedge soon.

    Depeche Mode – Presenter has got the memo re it’s not Depech-ay. They turn up again and Gore continues with his radically changing wardrobe. He’s been to Mr Benn’s favourite shop off Festive Road, and now thinks he’s in Haircut 100.

    Bill Wyman- that line; “they’ll think I’m your dad and you’re my daughter” was bang on the money only a few years later. Also his son married his wife’s mum. He should have passed this one on to B A Robertson, really.

    Hooked on Classics – Death by another orchestra this week. Legs are on fine form this week and whoop and yelp at regular intervals. Turn the sound off and it’s good. Strange Peter Crouch goal celebration tribute halfway through.

    The Undertones all sporting colourful round neck jumpers this time on a slower number. Feral manages to get worked up despite being seated. Patrick – big fan of JJ72, they could have been a better Muse, but not to be.

    Stevie Wonder – it would be rather mean spirited to knock this and it’s not without merit. This single does kind of mark a division in his career. Imo there is not much output from hereon that compares favourably with his catalogue before this. There are a few artists who have been great, that you are constantly just wishing them to release something good again and most of them fail again and again.

    Spandau Ballet – don’t remember a time when they were cool, but I guess this was as close as they got.

    Countdown and Shaky at Number 1. Rpt from last week.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    Patrick again btw The Chills – Heavenly Pop Hit is a great single which I bought and should have done better; unfortunately they were never going to make it. 1 their name sounded like a dance/soul band and 2. sad to say they didn’t really look like an indie band.- Mark(s) Indeed, I had La Belle Epoque in my head which wasn’t in the 60’s so I’ll let them off that one. Still bloody awful though!

  198. 198
    Lazarus on 4 Apr 2016 #

    And so I finally get round to seeing Thursday’s show – Richard Skinner (“SKINN-AH!”) is our Principal for the night.

    The Vapors – hmmm, reminds me a touch of ‘Mony Mony’ in places. It’s OK I suppose. But their space in the parking lot is already reserved.

    Sheena – within a year of hitting the Big Time, she’s big enough to do a Bond theme – a stratospheric rise. And of course this has found lasting fame as the only film to feature the singer in the opening credits, which effectively double up as a video. No minibus for her, just a one-way ticket to LA. See ya in a few years!

    Shaky – no Legs this time but once again he has the audience on side. Chart position will improve on the original. Still quite enjoyable at this stage – we’re not going to be shot of him for quite a while yet.

    REO Speedwagon – I don’t think we ever got the first hit did we? Video for this one of course, missing a verse or two. Singer sports a Keegan perm. I liked the guitar solo anyway. Not much of this sort of thing in the charts in ’81.

    Abba/Legs – yes only another three or four months of the lovelies to come. God only knows who was in Zoo, I don’t think we’ll get much in the way of personalities though. Almost the Swedes’ last big hit, just one more to come I believe. Superior disco-pop.

    Tight Fit – but not as we remember them. Where’s ‘Chopper’ Harris? Emperor Rosko is the famous DJ face alluded to of course. The singers are OK, to be fair. But this is a bit of a mess. All it needs is an annoying cartoon bunny. Chart 30-21.

    Visage – don’t hear this one very often do you! I rather like it actually, perhaps more so for being relatively unfamiliar. You don’t get many eponymous hit singles, ‘Living in a Box’ – what else? Chart 20-11.

    Gidea Park – another medley of course, and Adrian Baker (for it was he) did the same thing with the Four Seasons next up. What 70s band was he in, was it First Class? This trend will pass soon enough, thankfully. Top 10. Stevie Wonder new at 9, that would have been big news back then. Unchanged top three.

    Specials – was this the only time they did this in the studio? Last appearance of the FB3 with the band, then. Band is dimly lit, appropriately. Thank goodness we didn’t have the Legs doing this – they’d have had them all wrapped up in sheets. That’s Rhoda joining them I think?

    Dickie says goodbye and we return to having a play-out number with the credits. The stars on 45 keep on turning in your mind …

  199. 199
    flahr on 5 Apr 2016 #

    #192 – a self-indulgent aside: I attended my first football match this Friday, an unceremonious 3-2 drubbing of QPR by visitors Boro. Plenty of Pigbag to be heard there.

    Can report “Son of My Father” still forming the basis of chants in 2016, this time directed by Boro at Jimmy Floyd.

  200. 200
    swanstep on 5 Apr 2016 #

    I’ve recently caught up with The Americans, a US Cable show currently in its 4th season about long-term Soviet agents inside Reagan’s America. It’s a very solid show, probably most similar to The Sopranos in basic feel. Anyhow, relevant here is The Americans‘ use of late ’70s and early ’80s music: Tusk, Games Without Frontiers, Cure’s Siamese Twins were big in the first season, Ultravox and Yazoo (called Yaz in the US) and Fad Gadget featured a bit in Season 3, and so on. Worth a look and a listen.

  201. 201
    Lazarus on 5 Apr 2016 #

    I don’t really follow football, but didn’t ‘Daydream Believer’ get adapted as ‘cheer up Peter Reid’ at one point? And does 3-2 qualify as a drubbing? Could have been a lot worse surely.

  202. 202
    Cumbrian on 5 Apr 2016 #

    200: A) I love The Americans – I think it might well be the best show on TV at the moment. I love it so much, I couldn’t wait for Season 4 to start in the UK and have, ahem, found the first 3 episodes of S4 so that I can get my fix. And I agree about the use of music, which leads me to:

    B) Someone has set up an Americans playlist on Spotify, if you’re a user. Have downloaded and it’s pretty damn good. Similarly, there is also a Deutschland 83 playlist, which is also pretty good.

    201: Yes – Cheer Up Peter Reid was a regular on the terraces. Not as good though as the chant that pointed out that he has a monkey’s head (pronounced in the Geordie) from his time at Sunderland.

  203. 203
    Erithian on 5 Apr 2016 #

    And there’s a pretty unpleasant version of Daydream Believer directed by Newcastle fans at (now former) Sunderland player Ad-m J-hns-n.

    3-2 is certainly not a drubbing. For my money a “drubbing” has to be a four goal margin at least. Others might have their thresholds as to what constitutes a “rout” or a “thrashing”, but I liked Danny Baker’s definition of a “right hammering” as being a result that has to be spelt out on the videprinter, e.g. United 7 (SEVEN) Chelsea 1.

  204. 204
    swanstep on 5 Apr 2016 #

    @Cumbrian. Thanks for the Spotify playlist tip (although that list uses the rerecorded/remixed version of ‘Here Comes The Flood’ rather than the original version the way the show did). One effect of the series has been to get me to listen closely to those first four Gabriel albums. They are great, and, really, The Americans could stand to use a lot more from them. We’ll see.

    I haven’t watched Deutschland ’83 yet. It’s on my list (everyone must have a list of massive serialized TV shows they mean to watch these days it seems).

  205. 205
    Jimmy the Swede on 5 Apr 2016 #

    #203 – The good old Grandstand teleprinter from the days of yore was a great joy. I always imagined the typist to be a little old gal who looked like Ena Sharples and typos were not uncommon. The practice of spelling out a score in brackets after the number used to pop up regularly in Scotland where good goal keepers did not breed copiously. Having said that, it is a fact that on the day my folks got married in Wandsworth in September 1953, my Chelsea-supporting dad was eager to learn how the boys had fared up at Wolves. Wolves 8 (EIGHT) Chelsea 1 remains a club defeat to this day. Now that’s a drubbing for you!

  206. 206
    Cumbrian on 5 Apr 2016 #

    204: You’ll know that track better than I do – I frequently find that playlists have “incorrect” versions of tracks all over them but I didn’t notice that one. Some are due to licensing issues that haven’t been resolved – some are due to no updates taking into account ones that have been. Others just seem to be oversight. The “Popular” playlist of all the UK #1s has karaoke versions of The Beatles and George Harrison that need to be replaced, for instance.

    The Americans playlist took me on a Spotify walk from Yazoo through a variety of 80s New Pop acts until my Discover Weekly caught up and threw me Pete Shelley’s Homosapien , which I had never heard before. I should do the same with Peter Gabriel and see what happens.

    The one track that I want The Americans to use, preferably in the series finale, as Elizabeth is contemplating having to kill Phillip on orders (or vice versa) is Big Love, to complete a Fleetwood Mac trilogy.

    Heartily recommend Deutschland 83. Americans, Deutschland 83 and the Fargo series (especially the second season) all use music really well – and if you’ve not seen Fargo and are in any way Cohen Brothers minded, it’s well worth a watch.

  207. 207
    enitharmon on 5 Apr 2016 #

    Jimmy @ 205: I loved that teleprinter almost as much as the motocross! (Arthur Lampkin, Jeff Smith, Dave Bickers and the others as well as their Husqvarnas, Matchlesses and Greaveses (not that Greaves) live on in my memory long after I’d heard of any of them. I wonder what became of them?) It felt all wrong when the results fell silent and I wish they’d kept even a synthetic teleprinter sound.

  208. 208
    Lazarus on 7 Apr 2016 #

    A few quick thoughts on Friday’s show before we get tonight’s (there won’t be one tomorrow btw, it’s BBC Young Musician) – yes Steve ‘Wrighty’ Wright. What’s on the badge?

    Duran – there were two videos weren’t there? One they could show on TOTP and kids’ TV and one they, er, couldn’t. Simon looks very 80s with his suit and t-shirt combo – like one of the guitarists (John Taylor?) he has his jacket sleeves rolled up too. Young George Michael makes a note.

    Kim – marginally prefer this to ‘Chequered Love’ although all her ’81 singles were good strong pop songs. I guess by this time brother Ricky’s starting to see the money he could never have made as a performer. Anyone got the first album? I have an ’83 or ’84 Best Of, all the early hits and some decent album tracks on that.

    Bill Wyman – someone was asking on another board, how come he’s never been prosecuted wrt Mandy Smith? I guess because she’s made it clear that she wouldn’t co-operate with any prosecution, and it’s hard to see how one could go ahead without her. As for the song, the first and possibly only hit in Franglais? Although we’ll get some more cod French later tonight I see.

    RPO/Legs – now I have this single; I bought it, if not at the time, within a year or two. Yet I can never decide whether it’s dreadful or a work of genius – I suspect it might be both. “A surprise hit” Steve calls it. A bit of a bandwagon-jumper, to be sure – but it has its antecedents in ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’ and the aforementioned Waldo de los Rios. The Gals seem to be enjoying it anyway. Charts.

    Undertones – slowing down the pace from previous releases with one that didn’t get in the Top 40. Tasteful knitwear. Chart from 20-4, at which point it’s interrupted by –

    Stevie Wonder – for ’tis he at #4. Video treatment. I like it enough, but like most people I guess look more fondly on his Seventies work. Playing Hyde Park in July I see!

    Spandau Ballet – now at its peak at #3. Video this time, complete with sound effects and spoken bits. Time has been kind to this one I think, largely because it’s not been overplayed like Gold and True.

    Quick clip of Specials at #2

    Number One – Shaky – up from 22, Steve informs us! Must have been one of the biggest ever at the time, I think there was one by Elvis that did better? Not sure if this is a new clip. Anyway, this has to be a good contender for the best of his four chart toppers. Steve ends the show in a silly hat. He was OK tonight though. Out to the Jacksons. I’m walking right now over to BBC4. See ya soon!

  209. 209
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Apr 2016 #

    Aaand we’re off again.

    Duran Duran – Same song, different wardrobe. I think the main reason this lot divided the critics is their tightrope walking between Roxy Music slickness and drunken uncles at wedding s. Especially the Rambo-millineried Jean-Marie Le Bon, who someone called “a particularly tough scrum half who’s fallen into his mum’s washing line” but this tension is what made millions fall in love with them, and they still seem slick, fresh and quite brilliantly bizarre here. Though a bit down the line, the well would run dry..

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – ‘low’ culture desecrating and sham marrying ‘high’ culture is funny once or twice but Jesus, we’re all getting computers and going to Jupiter by Christmas or something. Great archive footage but not as good as the 1920s Charleston ones from Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle).. it must be a bad episode when you’re resorting to praising the Outhere Brothers.

    Soft Cell – YES YES YES (no, not Yes as in Rick Wakeman), that’s more like it. Still doing the elusive double, 35 years on, of being a cover better than the (admittedly great) original and never feeling overplayed. Marc Almond smashes his moves out of the ballpark and is the first in a series of many 80s “fantastically flamboyant showman and cool, calm, collected keyboard boffin” duos. His look is equidistant between Brian Cox and Leila K.

    Bill Wyman – oh do beggar off. Even without his… mistakes, this is creepy, self satisfied and as irritating as prickly heat. Just look at the bearded drummer, he has more pulled pork in his body than blood cells! It’s a 35 year early application to Andy Dawson’s Get in the Sea.

    Legs – it feels like their days are numbered, nice nod to Simon Le Bon in the outfits.. And don’t know whether to feel jealous or terrified of map shirted guy. Why have they put the pre-disco Bee Gees hits like Massachusetts in this mix? It’s a bit like I Travel being Simple Minds’ number 1 or the beer boy Oasis fans in 1996 singing along to Of Walking Abortion, Faster and Love’s Sweet Exile.

    Aneka – AAAAAAAAAARGH. Possibly my least favourite number 1 of the decade. One saving grace (there aren’t many) of the Instagram and Tumblr cultural appropriation and privilege checking police is that this couldn’t be repeated today. It isn’t (intentionally) racist, of course, sometimes I love camp exotica in pop, but it’s still got an incredibly irritating twee on the nose melody, a bass that sounds like a fax machine in a sewing machine and regardless of harmless intent, the most put on accent this side of the “chavette” chorus from He Said he Loved Me by Reverend and the Makers. Though Simon Bates then says something clearly #problematic. ;)

    Electric Light Orchestra – good to see them carrying on well past their mid 70s pomp and they never seem to lose their knack for great Beatlesy pop hooks but not that interesting.

    Shakin’ Stevens – Green Door – I like the Frankie Vaughan version (#2 nearly 60 years ago), yet another gutsy 50s foot stomper I’ve grown to like in my thirties, but in 1981 this probably seemed even more dreadfully lame karaoke pastiche than it does now. There have been great number 1s about closet lesbian relationships but in post Soviet Russia, bunny spoils you..

    We go out to the cheery, bubblegum summer sounds of UB40 on record unemployment. If not for Soft Cell, one in ten is quite possibly what I could give this episode…

  210. 210
    Adam Puke on 7 Apr 2016 #

    Jesus Christ. How many of these bloody medleys were there exactly? There’s at least one ‘new’ effort every episode, nearly all with the same ditt-quack-ditt-quack Linndrum beat.

  211. 211
    Adam Puke on 7 Apr 2016 #

    Impressed by ELO’s oddly proto-Mystery Science Theatre 3000 vid though.

  212. 212
    Patrick Mexico on 8 Apr 2016 #

    Delighted to see a potential fellow MST3K fan here. Roll Fizzlebeef!

  213. 213
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Apr 2016 #

    The shows get less Swede-friendly as we go along now. I ffwd though just about all of it. As Adam points out, these medleys are breeding like rats. How the hell the fad was allowed to fester to such an extent I’ll never know. And yes, “Japanese Boy” is certainly not racist – just f’king ludicrous.

    The only other thing I need to say is that I was a little annoyed at how gushing Rosie was towards Shaky during Green Door. But fair play to the Welshman. He made it huge relatively late on in the game.

  214. 214
    Patrick Mexico on 8 Apr 2016 #

    Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley medley.

    Oh dear God, and it’s bunnied, by a certain vegetable-themed quartet.

  215. 215
    Kinitawowi on 9 Apr 2016 #

    Is it classed as a vegetable, a legume or a seed?

  216. 216
    Patrick Mexico on 9 Apr 2016 #

    One thing’s for sure, it’s a bruiser…

  217. 217
    enitharmon on 11 Apr 2016 #

    Swede @ 213: Whatwhatwhat? Shakey never did much for me but my daughter was a fan. At least when she was a toddler.

    Oh I see. As you were.

  218. 218
    Lazarus on 11 Apr 2016 #

    It was evident from the number of repeats on Thursday’s show that we’d skipped another one, and included on that Yewtreed edition were the Human League with the wonderful ‘Love Action’ (their first Top 10 entry), Tenpole Tudor’s ‘Wunderbar’ and Lobo with his ‘Caribbean Disco Show’ (quite a change in style from ‘Me and You and a Dog named Boo’, wink smiley). So we kicked off with –

    Duran Duran – yes quite an image change from a fortnight earlier. After the false step of ‘Careless Memories’ this one was ensconsed firmly in the Top Ten. Thus would be their destiny for a few years yet.

    RPO – with a selection of old film clips of folks dancing. At first I though “this is dreadful, sub-Jive Bunny stuff” but it proved strangely compelling viewing as it went on. I’d forgotten this got as high as number 2 to be honest, that’s where it was this week.

    Soft Cell – their first time on the show. I’m proud to say I was an ‘early adopter’ buying this single well before it got to number one. Almost certainly in Woolies in Coulsdon. With a bagful of pick’n’mix, no doubt.

    Bill Wyman – who the hell is the ‘Nicaraguan lady’ Simon is referring to there? He didn’t have something going on with Bianca, surely? Anyway, rpt, I think.

    Startrax – a Bee Gees medley, and by some way the worst so far, I’d say. The singers rarely sound anything like the brothers Gibb, and frankly whoever thought the world needed ‘Massachussetts’ set to a disco beat should have been taken outside and given a good shoeing. The Legs do their best with the material, and one lucky lad gets to dance with Gill. Chart 30-20.

    Aneka – a massive leap from 60 to 19 for this one. Don’t think I can add to what’s been said about it really. I think I heard once that this was rejected in Japan for sounding ‘too Chinese’ but that’s no doubt apocryphal. Chart 18-10. Yes, he really did say “a bit of bondage for Sheena Easton at number ten.”

    ELO – their last hit of any substance this, wasn’t it? Jeff Lynne’s ELO, as we now have to call them, are back out on the road of course – and getting their new records played, without any danger of bothering chart compilers. I find this one a bit lumpen I’m afraid – Lynne singing in French isn’t as appealing as Debbie Harry doing it. Video makes it more interesting though. Rest of the top ten.

    Shakin’ Stevens – third week at numero uno and a second outing for the Legs. There’s a girl in a white dress who’s almost as upfront as they are, and who’s seen by his shoulder for most of the performance. Hope she enjoyed watching that.

    Bates bids us adieu to UB40. Not a belter, but I suppose it had its moments.

  219. 219
    Mark G on 13 Apr 2016 #

    Hello once again.. We are well into the “throw some coloured vinyl singles off a step ladder and film it in reverse” era, but not so far in as they throw out the ‘normal’ audience in favour of exotic types..

    Duran are now a fixture, and pulling dollies by the hair.. Righto, next.

    Filmfinders! Remember them from the OGWT Credit sequence? No? OK. Hooked on Classics anyway, you know.

    Soft Cell are also here to herald in the eighties. Here they look like two soul-boys reviving a favourite track (I’d search out the version by Ruth Swann if you want to know where this arrangement came from) , they would do this type of thing again but after this is was mostly about seedy Soho, and such like.

    Kim Wilde sings about tinnitus, to a backing track with a chord sequence that I’m sure featured on a recent hit that reminded me of something else, but I can’t remember what track that was.. Never mind..

    I never minded this Bill Wyman single-hit, it’s a chirpy cockney sort-of pop-punk thing, in the Regents ballpark. A lot of other dudes were trying this sort of thing, but usually under heavy disguises or by not being famous at all in the first place. Did Simon mishear “American Lady” as “Nicaraguan” ? Either way, it suggest it’s not Mandy Smith.

    Star-Trax! Disco…….. Hmm, who can we do? Beach boys done, Beatles done, there’s been a few ‘various artist’ disco ones, oh no-one’s done the Bee Gees? Bit obvious? Naaaaaaaaah. Naaaaaaah. Nah. Oh, alright then. Anyway, the Legs girls seem relatively unfettered and happy so they give it more than it deserves. Then again, I never much liked the BG’s disco stuff, and “Odessa” is way overrated too. So, ner.

    Aneka in the UK! The NME were pushing the new Japanese New Wave like a bit, round about now. This record killed it off. “She’s Scottish” says Simon. What, you mean, like the accent she was singing in? Well, that’s what it sounds like to me.

    ELO go beyond nicking old Beatles titles or tunes, and nick one from “Paperback Writer” Mark Shipper’s faux-biography. As per what you’d expect.

    Shaky gets to dance in front of the gals, and does not shame himself. It’s number one, and Simon wraps up.. Back to the audience, as one of the Legs (well, two I guess) runs off to the dressing room pronto. We get lots of waving from the very normal looking young people at first then they settle down to dancing to UB40 One in Ten. Longest fade-out yet! I was almost expecting them to put another record on.

    Gah, it’s hard to keep up you know!

  220. 220
    speedwell54 on 14 Apr 2016 #

    Bates in charge this week.

    Duran Duran again and Simon demonstrates how poor he is at dancing- bless him. A bit of a classic really although they have had many. I never think of Careless Memories as a misstep though chart wise is was. The second best drummer called Roger Taylor loses one of his dampener pads half way through- he carries on.

    RPO – a decent video and probably quite a new idea at the time. Maybe that’s why it got to No2. Is that Shirley Temple in there – I wonder if they got permission?

    Leeds outfit Soft Cell and the first 12″ single enters our house via my sister. This version morphing into Where Did Our Love Go was played so much. This song stuck around for absolutely ages and never really got old. The song got to No 8 in the US at the time, and eventually went all the way 25 years later, although Rhianna called it “SOS”. Simon predicts a massive hit and he’s right.

    Kim Wilde rpt, Cameraman is around her knees half the time. The part time gardner has a track on the new Eddie the Eagle film soundtrack. It sounds like Kim Wilde meets Heaven 17 – pretty good.

    Bill Wyman rpt, surprising that this is the biggest solo hit from a Stone.

    Next Startrax (rubbish name btw) with Legs. Nice to watch and now I’ve heard it really no need to see it through to the end ffwd. Countdown; no number 28 this week with a tie at 27, not that common. Aneka twktc. Countdown. Simon reckons Bad Manners had a former number 1 with Can Can.

    ELO -still good but days are numbered. Rock n Roll is King was a big fall off for me. Having said that, the stuff I heard from him last year was fine. When I Was A Boy is particularly good even if it is Free As A Bird.

    Shaky at number 1 again, Legs are doubling up again. Out to UB40.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  221. 221
    Patrick Mexico on 21 Apr 2016 #

    It feels kind of like this episode is going to kick the pop world while it’s down, but here goes..

    Startrax – better than Stars on 45, or Jive Bunny but CHRIST. MAKE. THESE. TWEE. TUPPERWARE BOX DRUMMING. MEDLIES. STOP. Never mind it being like punk never happened, time for TOTP to reflect that we’re in an era where brickies from Barnsley are dressing like genderfluid half desklamp half Komodo dragon half Mr Frosty machines from Pluto!

    Cliff Richard – I can’t really review this as it’s impossible to tell if it’s intentional or accidental Partridge. Relatively the best thing Milton Keynes has done for us.

    Rolling Stones – if Start Me Up was a person it would be Jeremy Clarkson. It looks like Jeremy Clarkson, talks like Jeremy Clarkson and quacks like Jeremy Clarkson. Still an absolute tune, but they fit into 1981 as smoothly as the Statue of Liberty into a Portakabin made of crisps.

    Legs – you know it’s a bad show when you want this lot to do one. ELO kept cranking out brilliant pop tunes years after their creative peak, ie Calling America, but this also sounds incredibly dated.

    Ultravox – that’s more like it. Not quite Vienna or mild Twin Peaks spoiler Dancing With Tears in My Eyes, but another synth pop/post punk stormer. The only track so far that makes me think punk actually happened. Midge is now the coolest motherf….r on the planet. This invented Franz Ferdinand and Maximo Park.. Fine with me but make of that what you will.. parts of it sound uncomfortably like Boy Kill Boy.

    “It’s always good to have Genesis on the show.” You won’t be saying that in 5 years’ time when they’re playing Invisible Touch (Hail Thatcher ElectroH8D4P00R Re-Mix), and Phil Collins urinating in a miner’s helmet yelling “Nobody born north of Stoke deserves to live past the age of 12” :(

    Aneka – Chalk. Blackboard. Two. sides of. A. Dry. Kitchen towel. If she could only sing. I think I am SLIGHTLY warming to this as it sounds a bit like Hollywood by Marina and the Diamonds. And because of that getting more frightening.

    Close to Everybody Salsa. Lol @ Aneka joining in the crowd dancing. You don’t get this with Travis or Embrace. Mind you, any more of this dreck and the BBC might as well fast forward to the next decade. After all, my life’s mantra is “It’s why Got to Get by Rob ‘n’ Raz featuring Leila K had to happen.”

  222. 222
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Apr 2016 #

    I must admit I enjoyed silly old Cliff on skates. Seemed fitting somehow. And that footage of the Stones was blinding. Even Charlie broke into a grin. Genesis rocked my boat too.

    Mouth-watering routine from Gals. Shame about the lightweight track they were dancing to.

    I can well remember Aneka doing the conga at the end. She had just performed her number one hit (dreadful though it was) and it must have been wonderful for her to join in with the crowd afterwards. I’m sure she, like the Liquid Gold gal, was a very pleasant lady. Who can begrudge her moment in the sun? Certainly not I.

  223. 223
    Lazarus on 23 Apr 2016 #

    Just the one show this week, giving us a bit of respite, so I’m watching the (slightly) longer one. Richard Skinner is the welcome returnee.

    Startrax – hard to be much more charitable about this on the second showing, although I suppose it was ‘brave’ of them to go on the show when so many of these were by faceless studio creations. Not a tribute band as such, the one in the middle could pass for Maurice from a distance but the other two look nothing like the other two. One hit wonders, thankfully, and this craze will soon run out of steam. This lot are duly escorted into the bus at the end of the show.

    Cliff – seen this vid many times over the years. Another BA Robertson song. The Walkman was quite the thing then wasn’t it! I had one well into the nineties as I recall, and I think they only stopped making them a few years ago. He looks quite confident on those rollers it has to be said.

    Soft Cell – at number two now. Not a repeat, we see the camera cut away from presenter to band. This and the next number were left off the Thursday show. Ed Cobb must have been thanking his lucky stars once they recorded his song and made it a worldwide hit.

    Nolans – looking rather fetching in black PVC, the foursome run through their latest rather chorus-heavy number in typically professional fashion. Audience claps along dutifully. Richard mentions Linda’s forthcoming marriage to the group’s tour manager Brian.

    Stones – I’m sure many people consider this their last great song. Yes it’s a simple video but fun to watch. Mick, Keef and Ron pose, preen and pout up front while Bill and Charlie smirk to each other at the back as usual. I doubt if Mick has ever weighed more than 11 stone in his life. He must be doing something right I suppose.

    ELO/Legs – why does Jeff Lynne sing “accrochez-toi à ton rève?” It seems pointless and not at all sexy, unlike Debs Harry on ‘Denis’ and ‘Sunday Girl.’ Just five Legs these days, a lively routine in colourful summer dresses from them. First chart rundown.

    Ultravox – yes the highlight of the show for me too. I guarantee you haven’t heard this on the radio in the last 35 years, not because it’s no good but because it’s not ‘Dancing with Tears’ or ‘Vienna.’ Kudos to Midge for nailing that mighty final note. A curious SFX like an explosion of green tinsel pervades throughout. Chart 18-12.

    Genesis – been a while since they were on, ‘Turn it on again’ I guess? I know a lot of their early fans were turning away by this time but I like this album a lot. A real drummer’s song, this. Mike helps out on the chorus. Tony in his rugby shirt is rarely seen. Top ten countdown. Lobo at eight? Really? And the lesser spotted Human League.

    Aneka – final week at the top for her and presumably the last time Ms Sandeman will be seen on the show. Costume is a dressing gown and pair of knitting needles. No need for the Legs, she’s brought her own dancers. And yes quite sweet to see her and her troupe joining in with the conga line at the end. First hit for Modern Romance who’ll be bothering us for a while before their enforced exile at you know where.

    The ‘Vox and Genesis apart, it was a bit a a fallow week though.

  224. 224
    Mark G on 24 Apr 2016 #

    Nolan’s – this is the one where they suddenly do a strange arm movement thing like they’re stacking t-shirts, totally out of context..

    Ultravox – quite ‘grandiose’ in lyric/performance, possibly the closest they got to something the John Foxx version could have used.

    Stones – a couple of classics to come, but their last top ten hit, yes. Oh, and this is the one with “You make a dead man come” does it fadeout here? No, there’s the line..

    ELO/Legs – one of their most frenetic routines here, all collapse at the end, don’t blame ’em.

    The rest, Laz pretty much said what I was going to mention, although I believe we’ve not seen the last of Aneka. Show was OK, but.

  225. 225
    Steve Williams on 24 Apr 2016 #

    #223 Aneka’s dancers *were* Legs & Co! Mmm, brunette Sue and Lulu.

  226. 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.

  227. 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.

  228. 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…

  229. 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.

  230. 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.

  231. 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.

  232. 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.

  233. 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)

  234. 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.

  235. 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!

  236. 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…”).

  237. 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.

  238. 238
    Jimmy the Swede on 4 May 2016 #

    Both Gals and Swede coming to the end of the line now. And it’s no mistaking our lovelies this time from the get-go. Safe and friendly Peter Powell says hi surrounded by them. Well, four of them including EM. They peel off to join Rosie and Modern Romance and their jolly salsa, thereby book-ending from last week’s finale. What an opening!

    Tragically we then descend into the pit of despair which is electronic Swede hell.

    UB40 to the rescue! Tick.

    Miss Radio One Road-Show is introduced and lovely she is too. Tick.

    Peter makes a rather sad remark with hindsight: “Without Legs and Co there would be no show.” How was the show, Mrs Lincoln? A classy routine to Slow Hand then follows. Way too dark alas.

    Gals return if only to sway pointlessly on the side-lines to some mind-numbing rubbish which takes us out.

  239. 239
    Mark G on 5 May 2016 #

    Now here’s a thing..

    Modern Romance, pretty much giving bandwagon-jumpers a bad name, seeing as how their first single under that name was titled that name, and was trying too hard to be Japan, and the next single being this one more or less anticipated.. what? I dunno.. Of course they were “Leyton Buzzzards” and Their first single was the very silly “19 and mad” which jumped the Punk bandwagon, then they did “saturday night between the plastic palmtrees” which was oooh.. close enough but not really punk no. Anyway, more plastic palm trees required, ability to play saxophone desireable but not essential..

    We were in and out of the room while the edit version of the show was on, it’s the equivalent of standing at the bar while the band played and reviewing it later. So, we got to see the painfully young Soft Cell, Marc is now gaining confidence and dressing up a bit more.

    .. and yes, it’s rare that a band gets to play after the final rundown and the number one, but it’s … Funkapolitan! My Wife was quite taken with this, as I was the first time around! In fact, I went out and bought one the next day! Only to find that the NME said it was total rubbish, and that they should give up and so on. I have no idea why, it wasn’t that bad or dislikeable really. Still, this was the highlight of their brief run in the chart, and .. I’m struggling for a Prestatyn reference here, maybe they ran the horse racing nights with the random VHS selections..

    Anyway, here comes another one! Here it comes again.. and here comes another one! When will it ever e

  240. 240
    Lazarus on 5 May 2016 #

    Seems no-one has a good word to say about either ‘Passionate Friend’ or ‘Souvenir’ – finest single by either act I’d say *sadface*

  241. 241
    Phil on 5 May 2016 #

    Passionate Friend was amazing. I was particularly impressed that they played the whole thing – multiple alternative outros included. I don’t remember seeing this at the time; I came to it now after reading Cope’s account in one of his books. Apparently the Persian rug you can see towards the back of the picture in the middle of the band had been laid out especially for him to stand on barefoot (presumably on his instructions), but he dropped acid before they went on and felt inspired to do the entire song standing on the piano, while feeling himself melting into its shiny white surface ooh trippy. And also positioning himself way out in front of the (rest of the) band, and consequently occupying at least 3/5 of the frame for the entire song, but I’m sure that never even entered his unconscious mind.

    Snark aside, it was a wonderful four minutes. I spent them sitting on the edge of my chair, elbows on knees & chin in hands – very much the position I occupied when I first saw T Rex do Twentieth Century Boy – gazing at his most righteous drudeness. (Which wasn’t hard, given that he’d positioned himself so as to etc etc.) I do miss Julian – where did it all go… well, even weirder? (Says proud owner of one of these. I guess it’s all relative.)

  242. 242
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 May 2016 #

    I’m only really still posting now because of the dying embers of the Gals. But what a feast. It’s magnificently sexy as EM gets cosy with Rosy. Frank and Sally have their own key to my house these days and are through the door within ten minutes.

    Ticks for Godley and Creme and the Pointer Sisters.

    I’d be the first to concede just what a good sport Adam Ant was by ripping the rise out of himself. “Ridicule is nothing to be scared of”. Indeed it is not. If only some of the knob’eads and prima donnas both before and after him understood this, the music industry would have been a much nicer place. A tick for dear Diana Dors too.

    I’d like to see either Punctum or Lineman lend the might of their pen to the subject of “Why The Birdie Song Had To Happen”… FUCKING WHY????

  243. 243
    Mark G on 12 May 2016 #

    We’ve got a great show for you, let’s have another medley.. Quick, while they still can.. Gidea Park murder some 4 seasons and make a pizza.. A bunch of these were hits over here for other people so its hard to know if they relate to how Frankie V did them, or not.. hmm, one of them could be Noel G’s dad..

    Anyway, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or O for short, do Souvenir and that’s great. Paul gets his go this time.

    Beggar and co get the return on the Spandau deal and Chant No 2 regard the “New romantic warrior” as Mule. Or something, its kinda lost in translation but seems to involve strange dealings on streets with ”heaven”, trying to score or something? Codified, anyway.

    Sheena is back with that eighties look to say the least, although the song is actually not bad..

    Julian Cope back on his piano, funny at the time I just thought he was pleased to be there. He seems less spaced out than Syd Barrett at any time, anyway. Best tune of the night for me.

    The girls are down for pizza. My girls, that is, not Legs and co. Those girls are maxing the glamour look and its alright. The tune is some disconess that is too anon to remember..

    Now here’s a thing.. The Tweets are here to do the Birdie song. But is it the gals or not? Hmmmm. Hard to recognise any signature moves here.

    Godley and Creme finally work out how not to be in 10cc and have hits. This performance was one to remember, and it did make me wonder if the song was about drug addiction or not. Getting very druggy, this show.. Amber is confused anyway..

    Chart rundown into Bucks Fizz but this is fairly forgettable so let’s move on. Apart from, this is the second song in a row to mention having a cigarette, does this even happen in songs now?

    More chart rundown into The Pointer Sisters, and Amber and Alice are totally gobsmacked about wanting a man with a slow hand rather than someone that comes and goes in a heaving rush. I think its a type of motor car. Anyway, as Alice cracks up and explains how at one point the camera fixes on a fireplace, whereupon one of the Pointers shoves her face into shot and seems to say “Hello? Remember me? The lead singer, yeah?” See, A&A are proving good value here, I would have just gone “Slow hand, video, ff->>”

    Another chart rundown, Alice: “The PLO?” Me: “No, that’s ELO” Amber:”I think you’ve done too much history revision”

    Anyway, we are all enjoying Adam and the Ants “Prince Charming” video, I don’t mention that Rolf is probably earning a few bob here.. The ants are reminding Adam not to lower himself and forget all his standards.. (Alice: “Aw, thanks guys, but I’m just trying to clean the table here”) I try to tell them its Anne Hegarty as Fairy Godmother and they almost go for it for about 1.5 secs. Still, this was an event back then, and I think I’d give this a 10 now whereas i’d probably give it 4 at the time.

    Dollar handheld, and crowd dancing, with an occasional Tweet in there too although they don’t seem too happy to be there.

    Not a bad show, all told. Bring on tomorrow..

  244. 244
    speedwell54 on 13 May 2016 #

    Best just sneak in before it’s too late. Thought I’d blown it but ‘The Sky at Night’ came to the rescue. Wrighty at the helm. Gidea Park do a pretty good job covering the Four Seasons, but we’ve really had enough of this medley malarkey.

    OMD – indeed Paul gets a go and there are a few acts where their biggest hit featured a less regular lead vocalist,(if that’s not a too clumsily constructed a sentence) the Beautiful South, Deacon Blue, I leave it at that, please jump in. Big fan of this and them. I see Andy on double bass rather than bass. Was this just to stop the Dad dance sway I wonder? “Still very much active in the music business” as they used to say on NMTBuzzcocks.

    Beggar & Co nmcot, Sheena Easton – not without merit, unusual sound effects every so often on this.

    Teardrop Explodes – not aware at the time of his ‘wildness’, it became more apparent. This is a great single and I like Tiny Children a lot, although not as much as Mike Read who used to bang on about it.
    The band look rather uncoordinated. The brass section look like waiters, guitarist wants to be in Duran Duran, bass player wants to be in Spandau Ballet, the drummer’s been to the gym and his hair wants to be in the Polecats. Cope – well I don’t know what he’s doing. But I’ll go along with Mark G – best tune of the night.

    Hi Gloss- Legs do their stuff and some nice clips whilst they try and escape from left over props on the Doctor Who set.

    The Birdie Song – no accordions available then?

    Under Your Thumb rather weird performance, Godley has his eyes shut tight throughout. Good song. Bucks Fizz being very un Bucks Fizz, sounds like it’s going into Fade To Grey until the chorus kicks in. Slow Hand twktc.

    Prince Charming – Video much played, but I had forgotten his dressing up as Clint Eastwood and others at the end. Out to Dollar and though I have little time for either of them, Hand Held is good.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Tonight’s looks like something rather special.

  245. 245
    Lazarus on 13 May 2016 #

    Yeah I never did get around to commenting on last week’s show – like the Swede, my enthusiasm is starting to wane a little, even though I know there’s some great music to come in ’82 – but I did mean to mention Adrian Baker, aka Gidea Park. He had form for this sort of thing, having taken his own version of ‘Sherry’ into the Top 10 in 1975, and he went on tour with both the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons! I thought he and his mates did an OK job actually, they nailed most of the songs (or rather, clippets) – it was a considerable improvement on Startrax, at any rate. Not sure how many of these there are to come now – I recall ‘Stars on Stevie’ and ‘the Beatles Movie Medley’ the following year, but that will be pretty much it I think.

    Oh and I’ve recently seen the video for Sheena Easton’s ‘Just Another Broken Heart’ – with some seriously annoying backing singers. I’ll let you judge for yourself.

    Best get on with watching tonight’s now.

  246. 246
    swanstep on 14 May 2016 #

    In case anyone’s interested, OMD’s ‘Souvenir’ is pretty much the theme tune of Noah Baumbach’s most recent film, Mistress America (2015). Baumbach often makes killer soundtrack choices, er… his films sound like my iTunes. Arguably these sonic choices are 20 years too old for his 20-something protagonists…. but they work for me! As for Mistress America itself: it’s occasionally very funny but is very slight, has some Third Act problems, and is close-to-being-made redundant by Baumbach’s better Frances Ha (2013). But I enjoyed it.

  247. 247
    Mark M on 15 May 2016 #

    246: ‘Arguably these sonic choices are 20 years too old for his 20-something protagonists…’ I think ’80s British music seems perfectly plausible listening for the hip New Yorkers of now, but I don’t know anyone in that demographic to verify that point with.

    (I’ll admit that you do often suspect the director projecting their taste onto a protagonist – e.g. the 15-year-old girl from an Essex estate being all about Eric B & Rakim and Gang Starr in Andrea Arnold’s 2009 Fish Tank).

    (I, on the other hand, much prefer Mistress America to Frances Ha).

  248. 248
    Lazarus on 16 May 2016 #

    Into late September now, I’m watching the extended show and we have Simon Bates in a cream blazer.

    Slade – I only have a vague recollection of this. Melody reminds me a bit of ‘Fool for your Loving’ – anyone else getting that? I enjoyed their eighties revival anyway.

    Alvin Stardust – fresh from swapping old stories with Slade in the green room (both Alvin and Noddy later turned up on ‘The Grimleys’). The opening line is almost inaudible. Simon introduces it as an old Nat King Cole hit – strange, I’d have sworn it was a Buddy Holly number, but no. Must be the first time we’ve seen Liza’s hubby in this series.

    Depeche Mode – Simon does the ‘Depechay’ thing again and also calls their last single ‘True Life.’ One of their best early songs. But, “just like a rainbow, you know you set me free.” How would that work exactly? Martin Gore has gone shirtless for some reason. Next time we see them they’ll have lost Vince of course.

    A gong introduces Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin. We’ve seen Dave this year already of course, now these old proggers are updating an early-sixties classic. Thomas Dolby played ‘Johnny’ in the video, though few people would have known him at the time. I think I like this more now than I did at the time. Number one bound, of course.

    Linx – pretty much their last hit, this one, although David Grant will be a regular chart presence for a couple more years. Catchy little number with plenty of audience participation. With these shows we’re really starting to get the early eighties ‘party feel’ that we saw with Wham, Culture Club and the rest.

    Ross & Richie – one gal, Lulu, with someone called Jeremy – it’s like Strictly come to the Pops of ’81. What would Craig give this I wonder? The song was from some Brooke Shields film, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen. One for the girls, I suspect.

    Japan – good to see them on here, first time I believe unless they’ve been Yewtreed. I think they might have heard a Bowie record or two, but you could say that about all the New Romantic crowd really. This week’s RIP goes to Mick Karn in the lime green shirt (and Alvin, of course).

    Heaven 17 – shaping up to be a really good show this one. I played this album to death at the time. Don’t think this actually got in the Top 40 did it, their biggest hits are a good 18 months away, but it’s good that they got on the show. Sex in Fairyland! First chart rundown.

    Imagination – good follow-up, I especially like the piano on this. Smooth and slinky, with a big old gold harp, as you do. OK it’s Body Talk part 2, but no complaints from me. Chart 20-11. Another Human League song goes unseen.

    Madness – one of their less heard hits, and less seen videos. Cops and robbers theme. One of those hits that doesn’t feature the title in its lyrics. Nice line – “I’m as honest as the day is long, the longer the daylight the less I do wrong.” Top ten.

    Number One – Adam & the Ants – well known vid, of course, with lovely Diana Dors. I did look for Amanda Donohoe, I think I may have spotted her on the dancefloor (curly blonde hair?) just as Adam swings in – then again, I don’t know if they were still together at this point. The dance sequence put me in mind of ‘Masque of the Red Death’ for some reason.

    Out to the Police and their song about The Troubles. Top show this week with very little in the way of Prestatyn fodder. Ta-ra for now!

  249. 249
    swanstep on 17 May 2016 #

    @Mark M, 247. Thanks for your links. I don’t particularly resonate with your criticisms of Frances Ha, but you’ve given me pause and I suppose I need to rewatch it to say much in reply. One thing that I can say in its favor right now, however, is that FH felt much more technically assured than MA. MA was full of indiscernable, mumbly, sped-through dialogue, and aggressively edited scenes that seemed designed to create ‘pace’ without any real reason for that. The craft side of MA felt ragged to me. And whereas FH seemed to me to integrate its influences from Woody Allen to various Frenchies very smoothly so that the whole thing had a kind of uniform tone as a pleasant melange; it basically hung together, etc., MA seemed to chop and change *between* its influences, with consequent uncertainty of tone. E.g., we seemed to enter Woody Allen-land this time just for the Spirit-Medium sequences rather than that being an something that’s felt throughout. Deep down too, I feel like I’ve actually known people very like Frances whereas all of MA’s characters felt like cartoons/literary conceits, and certainly unlike anyone I’ve ever known. That can be OK – I’ve never known anyone like Susan in Bringing Up Baby or Max In Rushmore either – but the blastoff into true screwball promised by the unreality in question never quite arrives according to me so the film’s whole main gambit struck me as only partially successful. Of course, I still enjoyed MA – ultimately I’m a sucker for Baumbach/Gerwig/my iTunes – just not as much as FH.

  250. 250
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 May 2016 #

    Norman presents.

    Lazarus is spot on with Slade. This is a shameless lift of Whitesnake’s “Fool for your Loving”. Shame indeed on Holder/Lea if they claimed it as their own work. Having said all that, the old boys are in fine form and it’s good to see them again.

    Another 70s glam superstar up next with dear Alvin, one of the nicest people to have ever graced the industry. Pot Noodles with Slade in the green room, as Alvin and Noddy go head to head in a challenging game of Mastermind. Liza Goddard? Yes please!

    Stewart/Gaskin – A cover of Lesley Gore’s uber petulant teenage squeal from years ago. The song is cleverly given a more adult gloss to it and the whole thing works very well. A couple of Swede ticks for this and it’s heading for the top.

    The Gals’ end is clearly nigh. We have to suffer lovely Lulu doing a turn with “Jeremy”. Bates announces him as if we should know who he is. We do not. The rest of the Legs, meanwhile, are hoodwinked into getting into a minibus under the promise of a party at the Dorchester…

  251. 251
    Mark M on 17 May 2016 #

    Re249: Frances Ha is definitely more coherent tonally, you’re absolutely right, but then the change of gear into country-house farce was one of the things I most liked about Mistress America. There’s also the Gerwig question: some folk love her, clearly; quite a number of people I know find her screen presence unbearable. I think she’s good, but the undiluted GG of Frances Ha is maybe a bit much for my tastes – I found Lola Kirke’s low-affect persona in MA a good foil.

  252. 252
    Lazarus on 17 May 2016 #

    Did anyone spot the third Stars on 45 single at no. 17? Now that they were no longer charting quite so high the Pops people clearly felt no need to feature their records. But I had no memory of it at all, so just found it on Youtube – a collection of intros, basically – Layla, War of the Worlds, Kung Fu Fighting and many, many more, with just a snatch of the original theme. It’s endorsed by one Christopher Murphy with the, please let’s hope tongue-in-cheek comment, “no other band can ever beat Stars on 45.”

  253. 253
    Mark G on 17 May 2016 #

    Something else I spotted: The “Original Bird Dance” by the Electronicas, lower down in the chart rundown. Man, those purists! Tell you what, that could make one of those impossible pub quiz questions..

    Yeah, this week’s show was “quite good”, Heaven 17 being the highlight, but nothing to get too entertaining about so will save it for the next time.

  254. 254
    Lazarus on 17 May 2016 #

    A couple of weeks back, we had ‘You’ll Never Know’ by Hi-Gloss. They really were a mysterious outfit, even at the time. I remember Record Mirror attempting to track them down for an interview, and IIRC the nearest they got was speaking to someone from the record company. And to this day the Internet is unable to throw any light on them. There appears to have been no album, or even a follow-up single – even the lead singer’s name is a mystery. We’ll never know who the hell they were, I guess.

  255. 256
    Lazarus on 17 May 2016 #

    Good digging there. Luter Vandross was on it, eh?

  256. 257
    Lazarus on 23 May 2016 #

    Best get a shift on, looks like there are two episodes on iPlayer I haven’t seen yet. What have we here? The return of the boy Read, haven’t seen him for a while.

    Tweets – getting the party started with this nonsense, Legs, audience and Read all joining in. Appears to have originated in Holland this – along with the Smurfs, those Dutchies have a lot to answer for.

    Godley & Creme – now this is more like it. Their first hit after the wonderful ‘Englishman in New York’ from a couple of years earlier somehow failed to chart. Odd though, that for a duo feted as pioneers of video, they don’t appear to have made one for this.

    Sheena Easton – not sure if this is a repeat. Sounds like the Clangers interjecting in parts. She was born Sheena Shirley Orr, and was only married to Mr Easton for a very short time when she was young – but has kept his name for her whole career. Just liked the sound of it, I suppose.

    Teardrop Explodes – now at its peak of 25. Good to see this on for a third time, new performance this week. I can hear at least three songs in here, marvellous.

    Creatures – Siouxsie and Budgie from the Banshees as Mike helpfully lets us know. You don’t get many vocalist and drummer duos do you – White Stripes, I suppose? Energetic performance but somewhat lacking in melody. I think Read says ‘mad eyed dreamer.’ It’s one of those things you put down to experience, I suppose.

    Ottawan – the DISCO pair from last year are back and the Legs are going out, literally, with a bang. A saucy, Swede-pleasing Wild West routine for this. They all get to shoot their guns too, with a comedy moment from Anita. Plenty to enjoy here and the guys at the side get a great view.

    Toyah – brings big hair and plenty of movement, this is one you only recognise when you hear the chorus. It’s alright. We get the video next week I see.

    Bad Manners – on video. They’re in the sea for some reason. Then on a rainy beach. And then playing for some bewildered looking pensioners. It all looks a bit shambolic to be honest, and the song isn’t much cop. The minibus can’t come soon enough for this lot.

    Altered Images – first timers. I used to work with someone who had a major crush on young Claire. I think she’d already done ‘Gregory’s Girl’ by this point, so clearly had a plan for when the hits dried up. I enjoyed this lot while they lasted though. First chart rundown.

    Gidea Park – yeah I think we’ve heard this enough now. Busy week for the Legs. He’s off to join the Beach Boys soon apparently. Chart 20-11.

    Dollar – repeat, presumably, unless they really like those outfits. Holding at 19 and presumably the last time we’ll see this.

    Top 10. Police are at 2 but that’s as far as they’ll get. We can’t be too far away from O Superman now. Would have liked to see what Legs & Co did with that. Adam & the Ants up there for another week. Was never quite sure what the point of the ‘characters’ at the end of. Did people use to ridicule Clint Eastwood? Anyway it’s there for another week or two yet.

    We go out incongruously to Mr Tambourine Man, courtesy of ‘the original’ Tight Fit. Not quite up to some recent shows, but Calypso Read did a good job I thought.

  257. 258
    Mark M on 23 May 2016 #

    Re257: ‘You don’t get many vocalist and drummer duos do you – White Stripes, I suppose?’

    One bunnied act, plus a scattering of lower-fi types: The Spinanes (who predated the White Stripes by about a decade), Honeyblood, (rather more rock) Royal Blood… I’m sure there are at least a small bunch more.

  258. 259
    Tommy Mack on 23 May 2016 #

    #257/258 – Slaves, Blood Red Shoes, Black Keys, Cowbell – there was a big spike in guitar/drums duos after The White Stripes blew up and they’ve maintained a residual presence on the gig circuit since: I guess any musical format where you can tour in a hatchback and don’t have more than two people to coordinate is always going to bear consideration from those who have to juggle music-making with day-jobs etc!

  259. 260
    Mark G on 23 May 2016 #

    Just to note, the Bunny does not have jurisdiction over the TOTP discussion pages.

    We are allowed to say “The Ting-Tings” here.

  260. 261
    Tommy Mack on 23 May 2016 #

    Oh yeah, I had forgotten about them! We did covers of That’s Not My Name and Seven Nation Army at school gig night when a bout of flu reduced the teachers’ band to a two piece. Weird, the things you remember.

  261. 262
    mit on 24 May 2016 #

    And yes, it’s the Kid Jensen, returning from ooh wherever, and he’s here to say Hello, it’s good to be back.. And so is (snip) but now it’s Toyah! Yes, it’s not often that the TOTP starts with a video but normal service will not be resumed this week. Never mind. Lots of hair colours and mountains that meet the sea.

    Bob Geldof and Janice Long up now to sing the old PJ Proby number.. oh hang on, it’s BA and Maggie Bell. Is this her first time on TOTP? She was more the OGWT type. Anyway, the original version has one of those lead guitar solos, I think it’s Jimmy Page, but I’m guessing. Anyway, this is OK, which is not really good enough but.

    You may have another happy birthday, only two/one week after the last one.

    And you may have the last choreographed Legs and Co appearance for The birdie song, if you like. I’m guessing you would rather remember them from last time’s Ottowan performance, that’s fine. I can’t see Sue here, but she’s on the credit list at the end.

    Godley/Creme repeat, so let’s have some EXPLOITED!!! Yeah!!! ALL RIGHT!! yer actual OI get their go, it’s what it is, that’s what it is. Subtitles are required here, the first time around I thought he was singing “That’s nice, that’s nice”, but he isn’t. And the bass player is trying to be Sid V by looking exactly like Johnny Rotten off the “Pretty Vacant” video. I think this was a case of the Exp’s record label doing the whole “chart this record” procedures, I doubt it would have been their biggest seller otherwise. See “Exploited barmy army” for the longest spell-out lyric.. “EEE.. EX… PEE.. ELL..” and so on. Anyway, Wattie once beat me in a Karaoke comp but I’ll not complain, he looked completely different in civvies and a decent voice doing a Huey Lewis and the news song. It was the strangest night of my life, and that’s only part of it.

    Squeeze do tongue-in-cheek country, which is never a good look.

    The Creatures, you know already. A double single, this one..

    You can hear Heaven 17 at this point, in the background, ooh that’s already gone down the chart, ooh. Anyway, Bad Manners are now back from Prestatyn as of their video from last time (actually, it was Southend), and they manage to be somewhere between UB40 and Madness here, and it’s got it right.

    Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin and It’s my party. Never went for this one. It’s all very fiddly, some bit work (the talky bit), some dont (JUUUUUDYYY AND JOHNNNNNNYY JUST WALLLLLKED etc), I wonder off for a bit.

    And return to see.. Blimey Debbie looks wrong! Oh, it’s a Blondie medley song, and the Legs girls are behind. That makes this the actual last appearance, I believe. So, they open up the minibus and they pile in, never to be seen again. No Sue, it seems. Where did she go? (to be continued … .. . )

  262. 263
    Mark G on 24 May 2016 #

    I had to look up “O Superman”, it seemed like the gals had done that one at the time, well they didn’t it was the new bunch, and also it wasn’t at the time it was the Christmas show. Which we won’t be seeing (unless Sav&DLT aren’t among the “various Radio 1 DJs” which I suspect they are).

    Oh, and the post above this one is mine, obv.

  263. 264
    Adam Puke on 24 May 2016 #

    #257-259 Yeah, 21st century economics have definitely played a part in the rise of guitar/drums duos. I’d also say modern production techniques play a part- with the excessive loudness compression used on (practically all) recordings nowadays, the fewer instruments the better. If the White Stripes had been around in the 80s/early 90s their arrangements would’ve sounded very empty indeed.

  264. 265
    Tommy Mack on 24 May 2016 #

    Yeah, The White Stripes’ early albums made much more of a virtue of their skeletal sound compared to the huge layers of fuzz guitar from White Blood Cells onwards. It probably says something about the limitations of the gtr/drums format that by far their biggest hit, Seven Nation Army, was the one they put a bassline on.

  265. 266
    Jimmy the Swede on 25 May 2016 #

    A veritable Gal fest as we get multiple helpings of our lovelies, whom I suspect we will not see again. The Eternal Mistress appeared to have slipped in a sick note for the last one. I’d like to think she’s bombing down the A23 to the Swede. Thanks for the memories, Sue. And the same salute to the others as well.

  266. 267
    Lazarus on 25 May 2016 #

    Yes as Mark quietly hinted at #262, the reason we started Friday’s show with a video is that the opening act was cut – Gary Glitter, whose ‘Dance Me Up’ which I’ve just watched on YT, appeared to be going for an Adam & the Ants type sound. Interestingly it was cut from the extended show as well, which I’m sure is a first for this series. To fill the 40 minutes we had a long playout from This Year’s Blonde, who seemed to keep going long after the credits had finished. I’d have said 1981’s Blonde was Kim Wilde – but in this case it turned out be one Tracey Ackermann, who’d been seen earlier in the year with Enigma and had a few nineties hits as writer and credited vocalist.

    I enjoyed Toyah’s silly ‘Mad Max’ style video and thought Bad Manners were better without theirs. Next week is a Savile show so we miss the poor old Human League yet again. And yes farewell to the Legs (although they’ll be seen in the background for a few more editions) – what a disappointing end for them. I’m pretty sure nobody would have had the same affection for Zoo.

  267. 268
    Lazarus on 25 May 2016 #

    Correction – the missed GG number was a medley – ‘All That Glitters’ – the record I mentioned came out in ’84. Another of the bands on the show, Squeeze, released their own ‘Squabs on Forty Fab’ on the B side of ‘Labelled With Love.’ Hearing that was the first time I came across ‘Goodbye Girl’ which was never a hit in its own right.

  268. 269
    Phil on 26 May 2016 #

    I was puzzled by that video – it’s a bit Mad Max (meets Labyrinth), but it’s very Mad Max 2… which wouldn’t come out for another couple of months. Was it trailed heavily beforehand? Did Godley & Creme get a sneak preview? Or was it just a weird coincidence?

  269. 270
    Paulito on 26 May 2016 #

    @ 258, 260: We’re allowed to say “The Ting Tings” anywhere, shurely? It’s songs that are bunnied, not performers.

  270. 271
    Phil on 26 May 2016 #

    And that is their name…


  271. 272
    speedwell54 on 26 May 2016 #

    The Kid’s back after a year in Atlanta and straight to Toyah on video. Godley and Creme directed this; maybe they had seen Mad Max?

    Hold Me – Maggie Bell and B A Robertson. He still wants to be an actor and this is the dictionary definition of ‘hamming it up’. Better to listen to this one. The band look so 70s, like extras from an episode of the Sweeney and of course Dave, from Chas and Dave.

    Altered Images – After a couple of misses they almost hit the top with this one. C P Grogan also in the film Gregory’s Girl this year.

    The Kid introduces “The Tweet Song” well that’s what happens when you go away for a year. “The Birdie Song” and Legs kind of get a go; albeit in the middle of the audience on low podiums. Swede can’t be happy!

    Godley and Creme rpt and for the second time, following the Tweets.

    The Exploited -nmcot then or now. “Dead Cities” though lead singer manages to shout that down to just two syllables. Can pick out the odd word but it’s lost on me. I don’t think it’s a happy song.

    Squeeze- Labelled With Love – I think a fare few here would be word perfect on this one. Crowd cheer half way through during a slight pause thinking it’s all over.

    The Creatures- this track was from the Wild Things EP. Rather unusual with just voice and drums on all tracks. Just seen this has been dealt with up thread…

    Bad Manners and Buster dresses down for this one and it’s okay. They were a bit hit and miss for me.

    Dave and Babs – a strange number. Ferry and Winehouse also had a stab at this and both are worth a listen.

    This Year’s Blonde -I’d forgotten about this. I’m trying to recapture that feeling.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  272. 273
    Andrew Farrell on 26 May 2016 #

    I believe the concern would be that if anyone had very strong views on the Ting Tings, and it all kicked off, it would make more sense for that to happen on the page reserved for them.

    Fortunately, no-one, including the Ting Tings, has very strong views on the Ting Tings, but I don’t see why these threads would be exempt from the Bunny per se?

  273. 274
    Mark M on 26 May 2016 #

    Re270: Yes, but in the case of acts with the one famous song, it rather gives it away. (Although, it turns out that they had another top 10 hit).

    Re260, 273: I was erring on the side of caution. In theory, Tom’s gaff, Tom’s rules, but he tends not to be an interventionist god, so I guess it’s whatever everyone can agree on.

  274. 275
    Auntie Beryl on 27 May 2016 #

    #267: Tracey Ackerman co-wrote C’Est La Vie, Rollercoaster and Blame It On The Weatherman for ver ‘Witched, so has played a decent role in the Popular story.

  275. 276
    speedwell54 on 29 May 2016 #

    Yewtreed episode last week I think and consequently lots of repeats. Simon Bates hosts and manages to fluff his first line calling Clare a “movie star and a pop stair/stare” . Altered Images come into the studio again and she looks even more enchanting than last time. Legs dance at the front of the stage.

    Rod- Tonight I’m Yours – Simon introduces the video with “looks like this, and sounds like this too” Rod updates himself again at least musically, and includes tubular bells that for once don’t make us think of Christmas.

    Simon gives us a full history of The Fureys and Davey Arthur before introducing them with “this is the way they look and this is the way they sound” (anyone spotting a theme!) Heavy on the accent this isn’t isn’t for me Ffwd.

    Oliva Newton John – Physical. Video cut short and twktc
    Trevor Walters rpt, B A Robertson/Maggie Bell rpt.

    Simon introduces Haircut One Hundred with-” This is what they look like, and, this is what they sound like” – is he getting bloody sponsored? Heyward looking about 12 here and looks about 30 now. The rapping reminded me of Spandau from a few weeks ago.

    Joan Of Arc – the slow start means we have to wait a few moments for his trademark shaky head and the wavy bass. This builds wonderfully.

    Charts and then Squeeze rpt. Charts again and we get to see photos of those we have missed last week.

    Number one and Stewart/Gaskin. But Simon, I’m wondering what they look like and sound like…oh there we go.. video in full.

    Highlight OMD.

  276. 277
    Mark G on 29 May 2016 #

    Its true.. JimSwede, you’re missing one! Sue is back..

  277. 278
    Pink champale on 29 May 2016 #

    Just got to to the Wired for Sound one. Devastated to discover that Cliff likes tall speakers and small speakers, not tall people and small people as I’d always thought. 35 years down the drain…

  278. 279
    Mark G on 30 May 2016 #

    “I like tall teachers
    I like small teachers
    Just as long as they’re nailed to the ground”

    Possibly the Barron Knights’ best line?

  279. 280
    speedwell54 on 2 Jun 2016 #

    Peter Powell and no “Hi Folks” tonight. He is wearing a khaki safari one piece. Always cutting edge our Peter. He trails something new later on and intros Modern Romance. He loses 50% of the Ay Ays but we get the Moosey. Nmcot, kind of surprised they sell enough singles to chart but they do. Can’t imagine them shifting too many albums at all.

    The Police – Every Little Thing Does Is.. On video; I was waiting to Stuart to drum on something that aren’t drums. He doesn’t but we do keep cutting away to the studio audience.

    The Dukes -this lot passed me by completely but notice they had a bit of pedigree. Jim McCulloch from Thunderclap Newman and then Wings, on guitar was once a member.

    Then Live to Canada and Rush. We get the middle of Tom Sawyer. Nmcot again.
    The Jets next and Yes Tonight.. still on this mini revival with Shaky/Polecats etc.

    Zoo dance to ELO. Tears from the Swede. There’s an awful lot of them in Zoo and seemingly quite a few different routines happening. This record peaked at 30 and went down after this performance.

    Cole Porter gets his only No1 (?) courtesy of Julio with Begin the Beguine. nmcot.
    ABC and Tear Are Not..This sounds exciting especially with the stuff we had on tonight. Stewart and Gaskin again at 1. The Four tops play out over the credits. Only 7 named in Zoo.

    Highlight ABC.

    This was not a classic.

  280. 281
    Lazarus on 2 Jun 2016 #

    I see I’ve missed a couple so going to have a go at doing one live … we’re rushing to the end of the year with Wrighty – half an hour of non stop oldies to follow.

    Modern Romance – they didn’t really mess with the formula much did they! At least not until Walking in the Rain in ’83 which was their very last hit. Some colourful outfits on show here – a conga line round the stage – I look in vain for Las Legs …

    Julio Iglesias – little Enrique’s papa with an old song done in scampi-in-the-basket disco style. Radio 2 was playing this one I guess. I like it more now, a little. Number one bound.

    The former goalie then joins Steve for a quick meet’n’greet.

    Pretenders – we haven’t seen them since the start of the year, but the second album is finally out (including Talk of the Town, from 18 months earlier!) and this is the big hit from it. Ray Davies song of course, and just gorgeous. Did the Kinks record this?

    Diana Ross – even in ’81 this was an old song. Originally recorded by Teenagers, but you don’t have to be young to be a fool falling in love. Diana makes it her own, to be fair, though the treatment won’t be to everyone’s taste. Running down a street in Vegas (Sunset Strip?) to the appreciation of onlookers.

    Fun Boy Three – only weeks after Ghost Town, Terry, Lynval and Neville have broken free of the pack. A nice bit of Cold War paranoia. Can’t help but think we should have seen a lot more of Terry Hall in the last twenty years. Chart 30-21. The Tweets down to 22 eh? Never mind.

    Trevor Walters – I remember this, and him, vaguely, so had a quick look-up – but Wikipedia knows bugger all about him, apart from his record releases and date of birth (he’s 20 here). This is perfectly pleasant, but he’s destined for the bus nonetheless. Chart 20-11.

    Soft Cell – follow-up, video. Marc’s out and about and in his bedsit. He needs to get that Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen in by the look of it. Bit of product placement for Wimpy and Fairy liquid, tut tut. This sounds pretty good actually.

    Top 10 – Haircut 100 at 4, have they been on yet? And Steve gets Julio’s name wrong – and number one. “Flick Colby’s new dance group, Zoo” dance to Under Pressure. My first look at Zoo for more than 30 years and it’s hard to know what to make of them,or even how many of them there are. It’s all a bit dark. The record, shamefully, is faded out. So disappointing that they never did a proper video.

    The Jets play us out – they can’t be here tonight, of course …

    Chrissie’s gang the highlight for me but it’s not one that I would want to watch again.

  281. 282
    speedwell54 on 3 Jun 2016 #

    Steve Wright hosts and we kick off with Modern Romance in even more colourful and flouncy outfits (yes i know). Julio on video again, though he turns up for a quick Spanish tutorial with Steve at the end – wearing the same suit in the video.

    Something new hurrah! The Pretenders – another hurrah. “I Go To Sleep” beautifully done. Quick check on you tube and there is one listed under the Kinks, but it sounds very under produced and possibly just Ray. Saw a Sia version too.

    Onwards, ABC -a rpt performance although cut with two dancers rather than the solo champ we had last time.

    Diana Ross- on video. She went through a period when she always appeared with a wind machine blowing her hair back.

    Fun Boy Three – the first long shot shows Terry stood behind a couple of hip high yellow bongos. For a split second thought he was wearing balloon pants- a most unlikely occurrence of course.

    Trevor Walters- did well to get on totp at least three times with this. nmcot.

    Bedsitter- Soft Cell and Marc is his uniformed capped sleeved black t and matching eyeliner dances around a bedsit. This is splendid, and there’s a few more from them coming up.

    Number one and Under Pressure -not in the studio and no video, so Zoo perform. It’s rather dark, but not so bothered these days.

    Highlight – Bedsitter

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  282. 283
    speedwell54 on 4 Jun 2016 #

    Mike Read has the honour and we open with the Jets. This week Boy George has joined them as a backing dancer for his first Top Of the Pops appearance. They couldn’t quite cling on to the mini rock ‘n’ roll revival like Shaky, and only one more sizeable hit to come. Some facts from Mike and..

    EW&F with Let’s Groove. A lot of silver suits and a few dated special effects on the video. Song’s a classic of course.

    Toyah – highest new entry says Mike – This was another ep and it came with a free flexidisc so at least five tracks which no doubt helped it chartwise early doors, but it peaked the following week at 14. Surprised it didn’t make the album chart.

    Cliff with his first live single – on video here though. No rollerskates or speakers (tall or small) Christmas is coming. Another first – album chart countdown 10 to 1. Queen’s Greatest Hits at 1

    Imagination – Flashback – nmcot

    Ultravox – The Voice on video but not the one in a room- actually massively tilted but appearing level. This is the full production story one.

    Countdown then Kim Wilde -Cambodia. Story without a chorus. Hardly Squeeze lyrically but a great track.

    Kool and the Gang – in the studio – this must have been a rare thing.

    Countdown to Queen at number 1 again. Number one Single and number 1 album but the single not on the album (then) Has this happened since?

    Highlight Kim Wilde.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  283. 284
    Adam Puke on 5 Jun 2016 #

    Despite being a great song, funny how the Pretenders’ performance suddenly takes us back to drab 1970s TOTP. The new ’81 look really was just bright lighting and (in-yer-face as opposed to the previously non-in-yer-face) scantily clad dancers all along.

    And “Yes, you’ve shown your penis”, “suck my face!”. ABC’s titanic misheard lyric debut.

  284. 285
    Adam Puke on 5 Jun 2016 #

    In defence of the much maligned Zoo I think that performance would’ve made a great official video for Under Pressure, if only they’d kept it going till the end. Exactly in keeping with the spirit of the times.

  285. 286
    Mark G on 5 Jun 2016 #

    Well, the vid the BBC macked together for it was like “Vintage TV” channel, 35 years early.

  286. 287
    Lazarus on 7 Jun 2016 #

    Having a quick look at Friday’s. Yes Mike Read is our compère. Promises a “blazing, stunning, action-packed” show. We shall see …

    Jets – Boy George spotted in the first few seconds but he’s just an audience member surely? I mean, he wasn’t in Zoo, so wasn’t there in any official capacity. Only a few months away from fame and fortune though. Song is an old Johnny Ray number, it’s OK but the rockabilly thing was starting to sound a bit tired by this time.

    Earth Wind & Fire – their last big hit. Video uses a familiar space travel theme. The late Maurice White appears as three disembodied heads in a rather surreal point.

    Toyah – have to say I barely remember this, it was the highest new entry, really? She comes into the audience at one point, attracted perhaps by a young girl doing a lot of arm movements. Another track on the EP was called The Furious Futures, just had a listen, it’s not very good – or maybe hasn’t dated very well.

    Cliff – a big US hit for Shep & The Limelites in 1961 (also for Jermaine Jackson in ’73) – a nice song, and a good version, but is he singing to his partner, his daughter, or both? Video doesn’t really make it clear. First chart rundown – the top 10 albums.

    Imagination – Flashback. Drummer steps upfront to dance with the other two, meanwhile there’s nobody playing that keyboard solo! Good pop soul though, they and their records were always likeable.

    Ultravox – another one you never hear on the radio. Video – Midge is on trial for something. It’s not looking good. All works out for him though (I think). Chart 30-21.

    Kim Wilde – fourth hit of the year for her and she’s slowed the pace a little. Yes a story song, the chorus is the instrumental section I suppose. Vietnam War still a recent memory at this point of course. Pol Pot would still have been in power then I guess. Good year for Kim and she would keep it going for most of the 80s.

    Chart 20-11. Then Kool and the Gang, stepping out. Not really one of their best I’d say. Top ten. And as Mike says, “we’ve had a lot of letters about the Queen and Bowie video, but they haven’t done one.” So this was a BBC creation then? I didn’t know that. Yes Vintage TV before its time. As for the studio, can’t say where Zoo (if any of them were there) end and the audience starts. At least we get the whole song this time, even with the line that was later expurgated. Credits over the number one.

    A few good ones, only the Jets were bundled into the bus on this occasion. I sort of miss the no-hopers they used to start each show with, actually.

  287. 288
    Mark G on 7 Jun 2016 #

    Wikipedia has it David Mallet (so, not the BBC) made the video to resemble the pressure of life blowing up buildings and that. Also, I do recall a live performance by all five, but it seems it was an edit of two very separate performances, and Bowie and Fred were never on the same stage together with this song. I did wonder about how little interaction between the two vocalists there was.

  288. 289
    Mark G on 12 Jun 2016 #

    Thread Rescue..

  289. 290
    Mark G on 14 Jun 2016 #

    Oh, that’s much better!

  290. 291
    Lazarus on 14 Jun 2016 #

    Hmmm, hint duly dropped and picked up … let’s have a look at Thursday’s. Did have both shows on at the time but wasn’t paying them full attention. David ‘Kid’ Jensen in a rather nice stripy top is Thursday’s maitre d’ .

    Bad Manners – an old song presumably, it starts off slow and speeds up, Buster’s in a rather unprepossessing bomber jacket. Every time I see this lot on the show I think it’ll be for the last time, they certainly had more hits than I remember.

    Soft (padded) Cell – the set is a visual pun, the song we’ve heard already. Dancing, laughing, drinking, loving … did very well this follow-up, at its chart peak of 4 this week. Marc going for the leather look. Plug for the album from Kid.

    Duran Duran – are we still in first album territory here? This is their fourth track taken from it if so. Just enough in the way of hooks to get it into the top 20 but it’s quite dull, really.

    Diana Ross/Zoo – three members of Zoo in shiny green frocks ‘interpret’ Di’s latest smash. They’re enjoying it, so are the audience, and they make good use of the small stage. Julie, Sharon and Jeannie, we’re later told – but we’ll never know which was which.

    Godley & Creme – more dancing, as this is on video. Clumsy sounding key change near the end. Because the next show was a Savile presentation they were on Friday night too. First chart rundown, no albums this time.

    Fun Boy Three – not sure if this is a repeat. Terry has slightly less hair these days I’m guessing. Song always topical, it seems.

    Human League – this week’s highest new entry, the first time for them on the repeats of 1981, and a song that has presumably ensured that Phil Oakey never has to work again if he doesn’t want to. Stations like Heart have been playing this every day without fail in the intervening 35 years. Top ten.

    Number one – Julio Iglesias – no ‘n’ – you know the song. Been reading up on him, he finished fourth in the 1970 Eurovision, maybe that was mentioned on his thread, and is clearly still very popular in Spain and elsewhere in Europe to this day. Credits over the clip.

    Only a Jonathan King ‘US charts’ feature was excised from the show, not surprisingly if Gary Glitter can be chopped from the extended edition.

    Might have a look at Friday’s tomorrow, unless someone else wants to do the honours.

  291. 292
    Mark G on 10 Jan 2018 #

    Funny, BBC4 are repeating 1981 shows again!

    If you want to know which, reacquaint yourself from entry no 87 (Page 4) onwards!

  292. 293
    Emilie Noonan on 26 Sep 2019 #


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