Jul 09

Popular ’83

FT + Popular/146 comments • 6,226 views

Every Popular entry has a mark out of 10 – here’s where you get to choose which you’d have given 6 or above to (and make any general comments on the year in the comments boxes, of course). The highest 1983 mark I gave was 9, for Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” (pre-death!). The lowest I gave was 3 apiece for UB40 and Rod Stewart.

Which Of These Number One Singles Of 1983 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 1
    TomLane on 19 Jul 2009 #

    I seem to agree with most of the voters, but I’m more receptive to these songs than most. Like most of them above a 6. Left off Rod, Pickets, Young. Wavered on Phil, but I like his version.

  2. 2
    Mark M on 19 Jul 2009 #

    It’s an unappealing bunch, with much of what I didn’t like about the High 80s – the mixture of retro songs with high-sheen production – really establishing itself.

  3. 3
    Billy Smart on 19 Jul 2009 #

    Just 7 out of 17 for me. Will this dark age of pop continue in 1984?

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 19 Jul 2009 #

    The NME critics’ poll for 1983 presents a much more imaginative and appealing picture of the state of pop at this time. Almost all of these would have made an exciting number one. Which did Mark Sinker vote for, I wonder?;

    1. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    2. Bring It On – James Brown
    3. Pills & Soap – The Imposter
    4. Bad Seed – The Birthday Party
    5. Blue Monday – New Order
    6. Lean On Me – The Redskins
    7. All Night Long – Lionel Richie
    8. Church Of The Poison Mind – Culture Club
    9. This Charming Man – The Smiths
    10. Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
    11. 1999 – Prince
    12. Every Day I Write The Book – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    13. Looking For The Perfect Beat – Afrika Bambaataa
    14. The Cutter – Echo & The Bunnymen
    15. Jucy Fruit – M’tume
    16. Hand In Glove – The Smiths
    17. I Love You – Yello
    18. Who’s That Girl? – Eurythmics
    19. Soweto – Malcolm Mclaren
    20. Long Hot Summer – The Style Council
    21. Let’s Dance – David Bowie
    22. Right By Your Side – Eurythmics
    23. Wherever I Lay My Hat – Paul Young
    24. Men Like Monkeys – The Three Johns
    25. I’m Still Standing – Elton John
    26. Synchro System – King Sunny Ade
    27. Every Breath You Take – The Police
    28. Wanna Be Startin’ Something? – Michael Jackson
    29. Bad Day – Carmel
    30. Oblivious – Aztec Camera
    31. Go Deh Yaka – Monyaka
    32. Cold Steel Gang – High Five
    33. Tour De France – Kraftwerk
    34. One More Shot – C Bank
    35. It’s Raining Men – Weather Girls
    36. Mutiny – The Birthday Party
    37. Between The Sheets – The Isley Brothers
    38. Little Red Corvette – Prince
    39. Money Go Round – Style Council
    40. You Brought The Sunshine – The Clark Sisters
    41. Lost Again – Yello
    42. Dark Is The Night – Shakatak
    43. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
    44. Hot Hot Hot – Arrow
    45. Never Stop – Echo & The Bunnymen
    46. Alice – Sisters Of Mercy
    47. New Year’s Day – U2
    48. Everything Counts – Depeche Mode
    49. Racist Friend – The Special AKA
    50. This Is Not A Love Song – PiL

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 19 Jul 2009 #

    Melody Maker only listed a poll of ten (rather differerent) singles of the year;

    1. Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
    2. Heaven 17 – Temptation
    3. The Rolling Stones – Undercover Of The Night
    4. Culture Club – Church Of The Poison Mind
    5. Echo & The Bunnymen – Never Stop
    6. Eurythmics – Who´s That Girl?
    7. The Police – Every Breath You Take
    8. Malcolm McLaren: Soweto
    9. REM – Radio Free Europe
    10. Lionel Richie – All Night Long

    There was no singles poll in Sounds that year.

  6. 6
    Tom on 19 Jul 2009 #

    10 out of 17, but a lot of them were 6s and 7s – not a great batch but better than I thought just looking at the list before I started on it.

  7. 7
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 19 Jul 2009 #

    doubt i got a vote billy, i was very junior then

  8. 8
    Martin on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Much like 1999 was an unusually good year for movies, it is my belief that 1983 was a very, very strong year for interesting and fun pop songs. 82-84 is all very good, but 1983 was exceptional. And tons of the great ones aren’t mentioned here at all.

  9. 9
    Tom on 20 Jul 2009 #

    I’m noticing an interesting disparity in some cases between the comment box consensus (if such there be) and the relative votes. For instance, the comments crew seemed largely anti-Police and pro-Sunshine Band but KC and the boys are doing atrociously, and though a 1/3 tick rate for “Every Breath” isn’t great it isn’t bad either.

    So I wonder if the people who comment are unrepresentative of the readership?

  10. 10
    Conrad on 20 Jul 2009 #

    At a guess, Sting/the Police seem to inspire a good deal of criticism/comment whereas people are largely indifferent to, for example, KC & the Sunshine Band. I found something pleasant to say about “Give It Up” but on reflection still thought it worthy of only a 5. I’d give “Every Breath…” the same mark, but was no doubt prompted to say something negative about it!

    In the case of the Police, it’s also that song’s ubiquity which generates more negative, or critical, comment – you are commenting not just about the song but the public’s reaction towards it. Why is it so popular? Why do people choose it as a wedding song, despite its lyric…etc

    With many others, they are largely forgotten, so maybe the bar is lower.

  11. 11
    Ben on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Lots of 6s and 7s for me too. Found Billy’s Melody Maker top 10 interesting – I hadn’t realised that ‘Temptation’ never made it to #1. Kept off the top of the charts by ‘Let’s Dance’, which is probably Bowie’s most Marmite song.

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Here are the ‘phantom’ number ones of 1983, that got to the top of the other (NME/ independent radio) chart, but not the BBC one; China Girl (1 week), Gold (2 weeks), Never Never (1 week), Love Of The Common People (1 week).

  13. 13
    wichitalineman on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Never Never?! That would have a scored a 7 from me; China Girl too. As it is, I could only give 3 of these 6 or more, and Candy Girl only scraped in with a 6.

    Re the voting, I’m guessing a lot of readers may not be obsessive/autistic enough (unlike me for example) to check each track out before voting. KC isn’t exactly a radio staple in ’09. So they’ll vote for the ones they know and pass on the ones they don’t.

    As it goes, Give It Up was my second favourite no.1 of the year, behind the consensus classic.

  14. 14
    SteveM on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Most front-loaded year ever! Ticked most of the first half and almost none of the second.

  15. 15
    mike on 20 Jul 2009 #

    I voted for everything except for Rod Stewart and Flying Pickets. 1983 was a golden year!

  16. 16
    LondonLee on 20 Jul 2009 #

    Blimey, I only voted for 3 of them! 1983 was a good year but not at the top of the charts.

    I’m shocked at how little love there is for the Paul Young record, my second fave after ‘Billie Jean’

  17. 17
    wichita lineman on 21 Jul 2009 #

    Has there been a year that’s divided the faithful so much?

    As mentioned in the Only You thread, ’83 marked the start of the classicism of pop. Booker Newberry’s Love Town, a pleasant enough contemporary-sounding club hit with a decent vocal, was hailed an instant classic and came in a retro ‘instant classic’ sleeve.

    Kent and Bam Caruso joined Edsel, Ace and Charly in issuing non-hit, carefully conceived packages of pop’s past in ’83. Hearing The Left Banke’s Pretty Ballerina or Mary Love’s Lay This Burden Down for the first time was always going to make retro/pastiche/tributes like Uptown Girl and True (complete with their 100% top end, bass free productions) sound feeble. It’s hard to be objective but, nostalgia aside, I really don’t think the majority of these number ones have aged well (not even Candy Girl which I loved back then).

    I don’t mean to sound snob, I hope I don’t. I should add there was much genuinely NEW in ’83 (Blue Monday, Looking For The Perfect Beat) that thrilled me just as much as obscure northern/psych. But it was a bad year for Richard Hamilton’s model of POP I’d say; return of old school, pre-punk values (yeah, yeah, been ‘ere before…)

  18. 18
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 21 Jul 2009 #

    As already noted, the conundrum of models — which is also the contradiction at the core of punk — is that as soon as you have a a theory or a programme or an ideal or a manifesto, you’ve placed yourself on the side of the academy against whatever it is pop-art or punk or whatever is trying to escape

    Hamilton: “Hurrah for things that never go in galleries! Here’s a gallery show that finally gives them their due!”

    Punk: “Let us escape from all these fusty old rules! Here is the list of things you must to do achieve this!”

  19. 19
    lonepilgrim on 21 Jul 2009 #

    I was in an intolerant mood and so only voted for 5 or 6 – but there were a lot that just missed out.

    The Face magazines records of the year (in no set order) were:
    Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    Blue Monday – New Order
    Pills & Soap – The Imposter
    Juicy Fruit – Mtume
    Autodrive – Herbie Hancock
    Native Boy – Animal Nightlife
    Let’s stay together – Tina Turner
    You brought the sunshine – Clarke Sisters
    Every Soul – Ruby Turner
    Don’t mess with Bill – Ruth Pointer
    Let’s dance – David Bowie
    I just gotta have you – Kashif
    Out come the freaks (II) – Was not was
    Ain’t nobody – Rufus
    Get Loose – Evelyn King
    Soweto/Zulu’s on a time bomb – Malcolm McClaren
    Long Hot Summer – Style Council
    Little Red Corvette – Prince
    Let the music play – Shannon
    Jam on revenge – Newcleus
    Hip Hop don’t stop – Mann Parrish
    Coup – 23 Skidoo
    Get Wet -C Bank
    Rockin Radio – Tom Browne
    The Roxy – Phase Two
    Love Town – Booker Newbury III
    Just fascination – Caberet Voltaire
    Last night a DJ saved my life – In Deep
    Une Sale Histoire – Fab Five Freddy
    Pacman – The Pacman
    Candy Girl – New Edition
    Just be good to me – SOS Band
    Go deh Yaka – Monyaka
    Outstanding – The Gap Band
    White Lines (Don’t do it) Grand Master & Melle Mel

  20. 20
    LondonLee on 21 Jul 2009 #

    Re: 17. I heard ‘Lay This Burden Down’ for the first time then too. On Kent’s ‘For Dancers Also’ album. What a monster record.

  21. 21
    lonepilgrim on 21 Jul 2009 #

    There’s a great quote in the ‘look back at ’83′ issue of the Face which encapsulates it’s emulsion of consumerist zeal for hip design with left leaning politics:

    “Barney Bubble died on November 14, the day that the Cruise missiles arrived in Britain.”

  22. 22
    wichita lineman on 21 Jul 2009 #

    Re 19: Interesting that a few of the Face records of the year I associate with ’84 (SOS Band, Shannon, White Lines). And most of the electro stuff I was unaware of til Streetsounds Electro 1 was released in November-ish ’83. Life changing!

    It’s quite incredible that wild card club smashes like Hip Hop Be Bop were never hits. It’ll be interesting, as the 80s progress, to see how many of the decade’s best singles were either minor hits or not at all – the major label’s conservative stranglehold (how many hits did N Kershaw/H Jones/P Young have between them??) being their lesson learnt from punk, with no small help from equally conservative Radio 1. And between them they truly succeeded in squeezing much creativity from the charts, the bastards. Seeds of C86 are sewn here (first Creation single also in late ’83).

  23. 23
    Rory on 22 Jul 2009 #

    And so farewell to my first year of pop obsession. A few more personal highlights that deserve a mention: Midnight Oil’s (very Australian) “The Power and the Passion”, one of the two very first singles I bought, and would happily buy again tomorrow; Blancmange’s “Living on the Ceiling”, which turned up on the Oz charts in early ’83, and was bound to appeal to a gangly teenager like me; the early hits of Tears for Fears, whose The Hurting spent 65 weeks in the UK charts; Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”, the better of the Flashdance hits; Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science”, which does more than John Hughes’s Weird Science in 4% of the running time; Def Leppard’s “Photograph”, gateway drug for many a metal-head; and someone I find it astounding never had a 1980s UK number one, Prince, whose “1999” was the canniest long-term investment a songwriter could make. Oh, and a band who played some small part in determining where I’ve spent the past eight years.

  24. 24
    lonepilgrim on 22 Jul 2009 #

    re 18 You’re right – Thom Gunn wrote about something like it in his 1957 poem “Elvis Presley,”:

    Distorting hackneyed words in hackneyed songs
    He turns revolt into a style, prolongs
    The impulse to a habit of the time.

    There was always a tension in punk between those who saw it as an end to standard ideas of ‘rock’ and those who saw it as a return to the essentials – which seems to lead inevitable to the ‘Classic’ view of rock or pop. Interesting that 1983 saw Mick Jones booted out of The Clash – as he seemed to have more time for mixing new styles such as dub and hip-hop – by Joe Strummer who seemed more conservative. It riles me that Jones doesn’t get the adulation given to Strummer, who has virtually been raised to sainthood.

    re: 17 & 22 I’d be interested to know when the seperate ‘Indie’ and Dance charts began to feature in NME and elsewhere. I always associate ‘Blue Monday’ with the former – probably because it was the indie equivalent of ‘The Sound of Music’ longevity wise. Those seperate charts reflect the atomisation of pop and an end to the serendipity and musical misegenation which Tom was lauding elsewhere

  25. 25
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 22 Jul 2009 #

    wow is that where the phrase “revolt into style“* comes from? thom gunn** was originally part of “the movement”, viz. the poets’ wing of the “angry young man/kitchen sink” spasm: quite early on he realised he was not only gay, but (unlike say lindsay anderson) comfy and happy with this, so he moved to san francisco and became frankly as un-larkin-esque as it is possible easily to imagine

    *i own melly’s book but have never quite got round to reading it

    **just after i stopped being sight&sound’s sub and fact-checker, they printed a story which meant to reference thom gunn, but actually referenced ben gunn (who is the mad marooned pirate in treasure island)

  26. 26
    pink champale on 22 Jul 2009 #

    as frankly as un-larkin-esque as it is possible easily to imagine..
    you’re not wrong! as part of my “american masculinities” module at university (what can i say, it was those heady days of the early nineties…) i wrote a big essay on “physique and its dissolution” with reference to thom gunn’s (wonderful) “man with night sweats” series. i had a big theory about how gunn’s slightly fascistic fetishisation of the male body with absolute unblinking utopian inclusiveness was a quintessentially californian trope – here i was thinking mainly of janes addiction, who i was really into at the time, and who absolutley do this (plus added shamanism) – probably wisely, none of this made it into the essay i don’t think, but it’s all a long way from larkin moping and penny pinching in hull.

  27. 27
    LondonLee on 22 Jul 2009 #

    Didn’t Burchill and Parsons say in ‘The Boy Who Looked At Johnny’ something along the lines of “The Sex Pistols wanted to destroy rock and roll, The Clash wanted to save it”?

  28. 28
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 22 Jul 2009 #

    Haha that sounds pretty likely Lee — it was certainly my unthinking line for years, I absorbed more of that horrible (horribly readable) book than I am comfy with…

  29. 29
    wichitalineman on 22 Jul 2009 #

    Lord Sukrat, I went to see DJ Taylor do a talk on the Bright Young Things last night and one of them coined the phrase “revolt into style”. Sadly, my champagne-addled memory can’t remember who said it, but it dates from the mid-’20s, and I’m guessing it’ll be in DJT’s book somewhere (which I don’t have).

    As for Melly’s book, it’s a cracker. Simultaneously awestruck by these kids who cost him a cosy living, and crisply cynical when he needs to be. I’ve been after a first edition 4evs – the Penguin edition always seems to disintegrate on touch.

    And as for Thom Gunn’s pome about the King, I prefer Scooter’s tear-soaked The Shit That Killed Elvis.

  30. 30
    ace inhibitor on 23 Jul 2009 #

    I’ve not read Melly either, but I’d always vaguely thought of ‘revolt into style’ as an imperative, with an invisible exclamation mark – just do it kids! Almost the opposite of Gunn’s sniffiness (if I’m reading him right), the punk update of which (just to tie a few of these threads together) would be strummer’s ‘turning rebellion into munneee’, not that joe ever did that of course. As for the number ones, mark said it all very succinctly at #2 I thought.

  31. 31
    abaffledrepublic on 23 Jul 2009 #

    1982 was probably a better year for pop overall, but this year was much more consistent for number ones. Apart from maybe Let’s Dance, there are none which rank among my all-time favourites, but equally there are no real shockers like Save Your Love or Shaddap You Face from previous years, even if I could happily do without Rod, UB40 and the Flying Pickets.

    But for me it could well be an age thing. 1983 is the first year that I can remember hearing most of the number ones at the time, rather than second time around. In most cases I didn’t even hear the full song, but a single chance hearing of the chorus, verse or hook was enough to make it stick in my head. It wasn’t just the year’s number ones either, when anniversary editions of the Now series were released for the tenth anniversary I realised just how many of the year’s hits had been banked in my memory for ten years without titles, artists or context.

    An indication of how hook-filled the New Pop was? Or is it just an age thing?

  32. 32
    Erithian on 28 Jul 2009 #

    Radio 1’s list of the top thirty best sellers of the year:

    1 Karma Chameleon
    2 Uptown Girl
    3 Red Red Wine
    4 Let’s Dance
    5 Total Eclipse of the Heart
    6 True
    7 Down Under
    8 Billie Jean
    9 All Night Long – Lionel Richie (2)
    10 Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This – Eurythmics (2)
    11 You Can’t Hurry Love
    12 Too Shy
    13 Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)
    14 Every Breath You Take
    15 Is There Something I Should Know?
    16 Give It Up
    17 Blue Monday – New Order (9)
    18 I.O.U. – Freeez (2)
    19 Baby Jane
    20 They Don’t Know – Tracey Ullman (2)
    21 Say Say Say – Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson (2)
    22 Words – FR David (2)
    23 Tonight I Celebrate My Love – Peabo Bryson/Roberta Flack (2)
    24 Bad Boys – Wham! (2)
    25 Flashdance (What A Feeling) – Irene Cara (2)
    26 Only You*
    27 New Song – Howard Jones (3)
    28 Love of the Common People – Paul Young (2)
    29 Moonlight Shadow – Mike Oldfield (4)
    30 Sign of the Times – Belle Stars (3)

    * Christmas period sales were too late to be included!

  33. 33
    lonepilgrim on 28 Jul 2009 #

    also worth mentioning that 1983 saw the debut of Madonna – I still think Holiday is one of her best records

  34. 34
    punctum on 18 Dec 2013 #

    TPL finally gets to A Band From The Republic Of Ireland: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/u2-war.html

  35. 35
    punctum on 15 Jan 2014 #

    TPL welcomes George and Andrew from Bushey: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/wham-fantastic.html

  36. 36
    punctum on 19 Mar 2014 #

    TPL on an album only Young Conservatives, most of whom now run the country, could possibly love: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/genesis-genesis.html

  37. 37
    punctum on 27 Mar 2014 #

    TPL ends 1983 with another elegy, as it reaches the NOW era: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/various-artists-now-thats-what-i-call.html

  38. 38
    speedwell54 on 13 Jan 2017 #

    Welcome to 1983.

    Kid and Mr Peel dress up in the spirit of Incantation with Mexican hats. John introduces the programme and references Burke and Hare – presumably the murdering of popular music. Kid introduces Cacharpaya, no hats but I’m guessing traditional Chilean garb. As the camera pans away John high fives Kid, really.

    Sharon Redd – “In the Name of Love” This was a US Dance Number 1 in 1982. The Thompson Twins repeated the feat with the same title in the same year. nmcot.

    Next up Keith Harris and Orville (we were been spoiled in 1983)

    Belle Stars and their biggest hit Sign Of the Times. All in white suits a good performance. Holds ups very well and best by miles so far. And then the LP countdown. “Raiders of the Pop Charts” at 1.

    The Theme from ET. John Williams quite surprised we got to the see a collection of clips from the film.

    Eddy Grant -Electric Avenue also on video apparently revoking his his previous declaration.

    Countdown, the Maisonettes and I was big fan at the time.
    The top ten countdown follows including the Story of the Blues – WAH. John is wearing a WAH t-shirt under his jacket. Number one is Phil Collins with “You Can’t Hurry Love” Video.

    Mixed bag this week with something for everyone, but no-one can be happy. Things can only get get better.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  39. 39
    Chelovek na lune on 15 Jan 2017 #

    13 Jan 1983
    Peel and the Kid wearing sort-of Latin American (Mexican rather than Southern, surely) hats

    Incantantion – Cachapaya (Andes Pumpsa Desi)
    Is still immeasurably good fun – to watch (and dance to) as well as to listen to. Strange this craze was not just so short-lived but that it didn’t spurn much in the way of inferior imitators.

    I fear Peely would be arrested by the PC police now

    on video: Men At Work – Down Under
    Ah this week is all about cultural stereotypes anyway. Not just chundering but the kangaroo-jumping. Affectionate and good fun. Not surprising this one still gets a fair amount of airplay all these years on, it’s a top class bit of pop.

    Sharon Redd – In The Name Of Love
    Seems to have been forgotten now, and wasn’t a big hit then anyway. It’s not so great: the retro style and the groove – and Redd’s occasionally husky voice – have much to be said for them, but the song doesn’t match up. Less than the sum of its parts, and not up to the intensity of the performance that she delivers either. Unfortunately. And it don’t ‘alf go on.

    Keith Harris and Orville – Orville’s Song
    I kind of hope there is a completely rewritten and really filthy version of this on tape somewhere. “One of the best things since Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow” says Peel

    Belle Stars – Sign Of The Times
    Very dapper. And an immense change in quality level. Superbly constructed and performed, a really promising start to the new year…A track with a spoken-word section to outdo Martin Fry, too.

    Album chart top 10: Various Artists at no 1

    John Williams – Theme From ET (The Extra Terrestrial)
    Video of film bits. Would have served as an overture in another context. Generic Hollywood classical accompaniment, more or less, rather than something to get excited about.


    Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue
    On video. A bit more alive than “I Don’t Wanna Dance”, but less dynamic than I remembered.

    Charts. Remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” doing the rounds.

    Maisonette – Heartache Avenue
    Second avenue in a row, and this one is, perversely, the more appealing of the two. Fabulous.

    No 1: Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love
    on video. It’s capable enough, I suppose.

    Dance out to the remix of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love – which is better than everything that has been on the show.

    There have been better editions than this one.

  40. 40
    Chelovek na lune on 21 Jan 2017 #

    20 Jan 1983

    Wooooh Gary Davies and Janice Long, I think their first time as presenters, get the show off to a start “with a new band from Leighton Buzzard” (in my mind Limahl was from the same suburb of Romford as Five Star, but whatever)

    Kajagoogoo- “Too Shy” : which is fun, and quite lightweight in a zesty, refreshing, almost improvised jazz scatting in the interlude too. Not a bad start at all.

    on video
    Joe Jackson – “Steppin’ Out”, an award-winning video we are told, well I suppose it was still a relatively new artform/marketing device then… The song has a quiet power and appeal, I think just about up to the high standard of his two previous big hits

    Echo and the Bunnymen – “The Cutter”
    McCulloch seems moody, thin,, vulnerable, even before he starts going in for a bit of shoulder-first one, then two- exposing. There seems to be some Indian influence on the music here. I think the song is less strong than their last single was. Interesting, at least.

    Straight into
    Melba Moore – “Mind Up Tonight”
    I presume she is the same “friends of the BBC” category as, say, Junior Giscombe. This a fairly bland relative of disco. Deeply generic, and not noteworthy.

    U2 – “New Year’s Day”
    Nothing wrong with the right bit of U2 (as Kiss AMC realised years later). Funny to see them on TOTP at this stage in this career, pre-world-straddling-levels-of-fame. Their second top 40, first top 30 hit, in fact. They seem so modest here, vocal histrionics, and that great riff notwithstanding.
    Janice appears to feign an Irish accent briefly

    Laura Branigan – “Gloria” on video
    Pretty much the model (precursor, even) of mid-80s power pop

    Stranglers – “European Female”
    Restrained, perhaps excessively so, track from the men in black, as they are. Spanish guitars in the background seem out of place, but maybe pin down where in Europe the subject of the song is from.

    No1 – Phil Collins – “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Which is what it is, on video.

    Dance-out to Billy Griffin – “Hold Me Tighter In The Rain” – which is pretty decent slice of late disco

    Not a bad show overall, not outstanding, but aided by a new generation of presenters uncompromised by the dusty and dirty old culture of Radio 1

  41. 41
    Chelovek na lune on 22 Jan 2017 #

    27 Jan 1983

    Richard Skinner, Bates

    Level 42 – “The Chinese Way”
    When we still called it “Peking” and weren’t embarrassed about songs paying homage to Oriental Inscrutability (“The Chinese way: Who knows what they know?” indeed). It’s not bad though, their top 30 debut, fresh and funky, some bouncing about.

    The Belle Stars “Sign Of The Times” on video
    At their best, as here, how much better than the Spice Girls they were. Real girl power and attitude. Superb, Stylish as well as talented.

    Central Line – “Nature Boy”
    Serpent in hand, as Bates explains (along with a potted history of the song), this is not a million miles away in jazz-funk style from Level 42. Quite a bit of space, mellow backing chants, and some fine percussive interjections. A bit of a curio and incidental in the scheme of things, but really a rather pleasant one.

    Beatles – “Please Please Me” on video (obviously)
    The 2nd of their 20-years-on singles rereleases.

    China Crisis – “Christian”
    Bates a fan, introducing a group “also from Liverpool”, with their debut top 40 hit. Very contemporary synthesiser sounds, mellow,simple, elegant and refined

    Wham! – Wham Rap
    Ode to enjoying yourself on the dole, not a patch on “Young Guns”, but its status as a rerelease of an early work maybe justifies that. Such energy though.

    Bauhaus – Lagartija Nick
    Dark and glam and vaguely menacing, with an intense soundscape building and building. Not the big hit that Skinner said he saw it becoming, but deserves not to be forgotten, at least.

    Charts: Indeep’s “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” is a bit of a classic there

    Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong”. Cocker’s first TOTP appearance for 25 years, says Bates. Singing live. Not the future no 1 that Bates said he saw it becoming – but it’s a quality performance by capable performers, a classic of its genre of film themes.

    Dire Straits – “Twisting By The Pool” on video
    The bits of the video that aren’t a straight band performance maybe interpretsthe lyrics too literally. Musically, straightforward, and not unappealing, blues rock.

    No1 : Men At Work – “Down Under” on video
    At least Phil Collins has dropped. This is preferable to that.

    Dance out to Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue”

    A refreshing and mostly really good selection of acts and songs.

  42. 42
    Chelovek na lune on 28 Jan 2017 #

    3 Feb 1983
    Peel n Kid “the Torvill and Dean of popular music”

    Haysi Fantayzee – “Shiny Shiny”
    Good, dirty, fun, couldn’t get the show off to a better start. An orgy of clip-clop beats, intertwining vocal lines, shouting, powerful interspersions from bass and guitar and then violin. Intensely enjoyable. Good times come to me now.

    Indeep – “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”
    Much sampled, but absent the bassline and overall this is not a classic piece of late disco. And the male rap towards the end verges on the cringeworthy, but is at least brief.

    Fun Boy Three – “Tunnel Of Love”
    An immediately recognisable sound, which has much to commend it. Deceptively mellow in tone, if you ignore the lyrics. Not bad at all.

    Fleetwood Mac “Oh Diane” on video
    Hardly the finest thing the Mac ever did, but gently lilting I suppose.

    Kajagoogoo “Too Shy”
    “the second success story of 1983” apparently (after Wah!, it emerges). The track is rather better than any of their haircuts. great keyboard parts.

    Charts – ah it’s that week when the post-split Jam re-releases were swarming the lower part of the chart ,mostly lower than the top 30 it’s true. (Just “Down in the Tube Station..” and “Going Underground” that high). “Billie Jean” new at no 20 – surely they won’t ignore that? Oh, they do.

    Tears For Fears – Change
    Seems like “a forgotten TFF single” now. Maybe because the chorus fails to live up to the great promise of the verses. Still, the overall sound is intensely attractive, very early 80s technology, and stripped down. Yes, this is definitely a group to watch further….

    More charts

    U2 “New Year’s Day” on video
    Pre-excess pomposity U2 could be pretty good. One riff here endures in particular…

    Now for an innovation: “The top 10 video show”, vids of some of the top 10 singles: with Joe Jackson – “Steppin’ Out” – a great track, Echo and the Bunnymen “The Cutter” fun video filmed in Iceland, moody indieness, snow, and Soviet Russian posters. The song is underwhelming though. Wah! “Story of the Blues” – sheer brilliance, overwrought but to superb effect. Laura Branigan “Gloria” – superior pop music. Brief bit of Kajagoogoo again. Belle Stars “Sign Of The Times” just so so fine. Phil Collins “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Whatever. Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue” Whatevs, really

    Not convinced that section of the show worked really – it broke the rhythm rather (They want viewers to write in and let em know what we thought of it. Not much, in short)

    Then at no 1 on video Men At Work “Down Under”

    Dance out again (with umbrellas), to Billy Griffin “Hold Me Tighter In The Rain”.

    A bit of a mixed bag. Started great and kind of went downhill.

  43. 43
    speedwell54 on 29 Jan 2017 #

    Seem to be going through a patch of co-hosting at the moment. Kid and Peel get conscripted this week. John does his deadpan delivery and mock conviviality which is very much his shtick. He introduces Haysi Fantayzee, applauds and exits stage right before they get to the chorus.
    Shiny Shiny is very full . He looks like Ed Byrne.

    Brian and Jane introduce Indeep. twktc, Girl in the black dress does that difficult to carry off running on the spot dance. (just her and Mick Jagger)

    Funboy Three- uninterested Hall goes through the motions and intermittently mimes with the microphone vaguely near his mouth. This returned them to the top 10 after the debut single from the album missed the top 40 altogether; its subject matter the troubles in Ireland.

    Fleetwood Mac – Oh Diane – just seems a bit random, not what you might expect from them but not that interesting either. Can’t work out why this made it over Gypsy or Hold Me.

    Kajagoogoo – When this hit the top ten in the States a few months later nearly half the top 40 were UK acts. Ffwd to 2017 we just had five a couple of weeks ago. Countdown.

    John rolls his sleeves up and we have TFF. Change. Curt had a little run at lead vocals around this time and they are rather thin here. Still, better to come.

    U2 – New Year’s Day – we had Boy and October in the house thanks to my sister but not for me until this. Liked them for a while but completely fell out with them by the time the Joshua Tree came along. Since then just Zooropa for me and I think I’m pretty much on my own; apparently they don’t even rate it.

    They introduce a new feature- the top ten video show- kicks off surprisingly with No9.(U2 was 10 but they don’t refer to it) Joe Jackson etc . Was this an early attempt to slow down the chart?

    Who can it be now at number 1 – Men at Work on video.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  44. 44
    Steve Williams on 30 Jan 2017 #

    It’s not just a patch of co-hosting – it’s every week now for the next three and a half years. I always associate Pops with double-headed presentation as I started watching it in this era, I remember finding it very odd when they went single-headed again in 1986. The Rhythm Pals are more or less the main presenters for the next eighteen months so we’ll see them about every other week, which is brilliant news.

    Lots of people on Twitter seemed confused by the Video Top Ten, despite the fact they did it every week for a year about eighteen months ago. They do it again on a couple of occasions this year, always when the Rhythm Pals are hosting. It was totally worth it for a chance to see The Story Of The Blues (which they showed a decent chunk of given it was going down) and Peel’s Kajagoogoo intro (“I mean, enough’s enough, eh?”).

  45. 45
    Mark G on 31 Jan 2017 #

    Did anyone else notice that the girl John Peel was holding on to on one of the links was actually Sheila?

  46. 46
    Phil on 31 Jan 2017 #

    “Does anyone like U2?” – 16-year-old daughter. I pointed out that NYD was epic! and soaring! and inspiring! and had a heartfelt anti-war message!!! Then I realised that I couldn’t actually hear the words, apart from a couple of lines – it might be a heartfelt pro-war message for all I know. Still, soaring innit.

    @42 – not sure I’d call this “pre-excess pomposity” U2; in fact I’m not entirely convinced there ever was such a thing.

  47. 47
    speedwell54 on 3 Feb 2017 #

    Janice and Pat Sharp – There are a lot of hats tonight. Stella – the talking one in the Belle Stars was on Never Mind The Buzzcocks a few years ago and had changed not one jot! Two weeks past, all in smart white suits, this week, black and not suits.

    Cocker/Warnes UWWB- nmcot. Avoided the film thus far. At the link Janice is stood next to Simon Mayo’s twin sister.

    Thompson Twins and Tom stares seriously down the camera for the first verse.

    Depeche Mode – this week we will be mostly wearing casual checked shirts. Except Martin who does his own thing as per. On the video he briefly plays the arcade game Moon Cresta which was my game of choice around then.

    Toto – Africa. On video. Forgotten how much I don’t like this. Ffwd. High new entry and bound for even higher.

    Level 42 and I think a repeat. Then Central Line with “Nature Boy” What is he doing with that instrument? It does not make the sound he is trying to make us believe, surely? Countdown.

    China Crisis – Christian – unlikely hit but more to come from them. Men at Work on video again third week a the top. Out to Elvis and Jailhouse Rock; doesn’t ring any bells as to why.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  48. 48
    David on 4 Feb 2017 #


    Jailhouse Rock was reissued in 1983 to mark the film’s 25th anniversary. This reissue peaked at 27

  49. 49
    speedwell54 on 5 Feb 2017 #

    Powell and Davies- Peter’s wearing a t-shirt outside his shirt. Gary has had a full shampoo and set with a full can of Harmony. Peter a bit more closely cropped. Peter wins.
    Wham Rap, and a energetic performance with George leading the way. Lyrically sounds clunky but I guess not much other rap to compare it with at the time. George has a ponytail Andrew doesn’t. Andrew wins.

    Tears for Fears on video -cut short with “Change”. Curt’s hair cut short too, apart from his quiff. He also has some sort of ponytail. Roland no ponytail. Roland wins.

    Icehouse- Iva sounds very David Sylvian on the verses at least. I liked Crazy and Electric Blue when they came out but just listened again and not so good now. This however still appeals. Iva with an interview hair cut. Iva c’87 -classic mullet. Iva’83 wins

    Musical Youth – exclusive video. Okay there was some other rapping going on. Same hair cuts, different lengths.

    Madness- on video. Officially a double ‘a’ side but “Madness is all in the Mind” hardly got a look in. Chas loses. Countdown.

    Hasyi Fantayzee – full marks for turning up again. Both dreadlocked, she nudges it. Countdown.

    Fun Boy Three… and they all turn up again too. Terry looking self conscious when not singing. The cellist loses looking a bit too Cleo Rocos. Countdown.

    Kajagoogoo- The race to the bottom is here. It’s a three way tie for last place with the drummer, Nick and Limahl.

    Not my favourite haircuts but there has been worse.

    Thanks for the info David.

  50. 50
    Lazarus on 10 Feb 2017 #

    Ah, we’re still doing this, are we? Didn’t see last night’s but if someone wants to post it out of sequence feel free. Messrs Blackburn and Davies at the helm. Tone reckons the last time he was on soon-to-be centenarian Vera Lynn was at number one – 34 years on he’s just been reinstated at the Beeb and is rumoured to be the next host of ‘Sounds of the Sixties.’ Keep Arnold at home though, eh?

    Bananarama – full Steam ahead (see what I did there?) with another big hit for the London lovelies but not the last non-essential cover version we’ll hear tonight. A few doo-doo-doo-doo-doos added for good measure though.

    Styles – in at 6 – Weller tries to show how far he’s moved on by doing a ‘wacky’ video set somewhere in the English countryside (Box Hill, perhaps?). Everyone looks very pale for some reason. Tracie is there in her hat. ‘Speak like A child’ as John Peel put it. It’s OK though, I bought it at the time.

    Mezzoforte – and what a great jazz name that is. Louis Balfour, eat your heart out. The Icelanders perform a track from their expensive album. Nice!

    Ultravox – another one I bought when it came out – on picture disc, no less – but my 45 buying days weren’t to last much longer. Sounds very much like an attempt to do Vienna Mark II. I think I may like it more than its illustrious forebear, simply from not having heard it so much. Chart 30-21.

    Bucks Fizz – always handy when the next song happens to be at no. 21 but … Prestatyn calling. Despite the obvious appeal of Jay in a leather cap. Run for your life!

    Joan Armatrading – the last time she was on was with Love and Affection. She did chart with Me Myself I in 1980, but I guess that was during the strike? This is OK, competent pop-rock, and it was good to see her back on the Pops I guess. Chart rundown – Top 10.

    Number one – Bonnie Tyler – a long song, it was only 7.51 when this started. No time for the top videos this week. I don’t think I remember her doing this one in the studio – the ‘bright eyes’ video is so etched on the memory now. Anyway, classic, obvs. Just keep away from Eurovision, love.

    Forrest to play us out, possibly the most pointless cover of the year. I would guess that the Hues Corporation wouldn’t have been that hard to get hold of on ‘Old Gold’ or maybe a lucky strike in Beano’s or Notting Hill?

    The Good Old Days, indeed.

  51. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Feb 2017 #

    Just nipping back (as prompted above by Lazarus) to record my own regret at the dropping of “our old mate” Brian Matthew from “Sounds of the Sixties”. Brian had admittedly been recovering from a fall at home and was replaced by Tim Rice. The Beeb announcement said that it was “mutually agreed” that Brian should leave the show, something which Brian himself hotly disputes. I find this very sad. There’s no doubt that he’s been shabbily treated. As Lazarus says, it looks as if Bannockburn is set to grab the gig at some point and I don’t think he’ll be anything other than good for show. And at least he won’t be able to play “I’m Still Waiting” and crow about how it was he who persuaded Berry Gordy to release it as a single over here. He just couldn’t help himself doing that again when he played the record on his “Golden Hour” the other day.

    I would be surprised if Lineman is not also sorry to see Brian go. Certainly a page has been turned in popular music broadcasting.

  52. 52
    Chelovek na lune on 12 Feb 2017 #

    10 Feb 1983
    V young Pat Sharp and Janice Long

    Kicking off with the Belle Stars “Sign Of The Times”
    We’ve seen this already, twice, I think, it’s still great, the bands attire varies too. Lead singer her almost gives the appearance (her top half, anyway) of being veiled, all in black, but with playing cards arrayed in the brim of her hat. Enjoying their fame while it lasts….

    Audience wearing many fezzes

    Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong”
    live on video. capable performers, of course, but I’m happy to fast forward this one… It goes on for too long anyway.

    First ever TOTP performance of the Thompson Twins, with “Love On Your Side”
    Rivalling Kajagoogoo for ungreat haircuts, this is a fine slice of pop that would have been avant garde a couple of years earlier, and is still sharp and characterful. Great rhythm track, too.

    Depeche Mode “Get The Balance Right”
    Did “joyride” mean “stealing cars” in 1983? Even in Basildon I don’t think so. They look so young and vulnerable, and this is understated and less cringeworthy than some of their early-mid 80s material is lyrically. Still barely a hint of the Stadium Rock Gods With Problems they would become. Not bad.

    Toto “Africa” on video
    Has certainly not been underplayed in the intervening 34 years…and as it more or less superior MOR, fair enough….

    Level 42 “The Chinese Way”
    Probably best heard in a restaurant in Romford. Probably not at a conference of history teachers.

    Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” on video
    First UK screening of the video, we are told. A masterful piece of pop music, anyway.


    Central Line “Nature Boy”, which again we’ve seen before. Mellow, agreeable. have no idea how it compares to (or differs from) the George Benson version though..


    China Crisis “Christian” which again we’ve seen before, but warrants revisiting. Solumn and serious.

    . I notice Janet Long has a habit of saying some song titles in the rhythm in which they are sung – notable on both “Heartache Avenue” earlier, and , here, “Electric Avenue”. So maybe it’s just hte word “avenue”.

    No1 on video again, Men At Work “Down Under”
    Which is alright

    Dance out to Elvis “Jailhouse Rock”. Nice retro dnacing from the crowd.

    A bit average, overall.

  53. 53
    Chelovek na lune on 12 Feb 2017 #

    17 Feb 1983
    Peter Powell and Gary Davies

    Wham! – “Wham Rap”
    GM exuding star quality already.

    on video Tears For Fears “Change”
    Melancholy in the shadow of looming glass towers, mad dancers-drummers in the office block to accompany, then ghostly apparitions escape. Anti-corporate boredom, like WHam, or anti-urbanisation and industrialisation?

    Icehouse “Hey Little Girl”
    Understated and simmering, very much of its time.

    Musical Youth “Never Gonna Give You Up” on video
    Stately and quite old-fashioned in its way, vastly less irritating than “Pass The Dutchie”>

    on video Madness “Tomorrow’s Just Another Day”
    “the masters of video” – rightly said, in a cops-n-crims prison scenario – and so much more, nutty boys are nutty boys, by no means their finest work, but fun as ever, if somewhat incidental.


    Haysi Fantaysee “Shiny Shiny”
    Post-punk brilliance and attitude in full effect. hadn’t noticed before that they rhyme “hot retard” with “Marquis de Sade”…


    Fun Boy Three “The Tunnel Of Love”
    Can’t help but think that Terry Hall is a bit underrated and has been throughout his career. Earnest or deadpan? A bit of both. A great late Two-Tone-derived sound. FB3 could be a bit hit and miss, but is certainly “hit”.


    Play-out to the new no 1 Kajagoogoo “Too Shy”
    Which is very much better than anything Ellis Beggs and Howard ever achieved….

    A short show, with Haysi Fantaysee the clear standout

  54. 54
    Phil on 14 Feb 2017 #

    My hobby is watching TOTP 83 with an iPad – it’s great for prompting random background googling and memory-jogging (how old Musical Youth?, that kind of thing). Mind you, I blotted Haysi F. out at the time, so I’d actually never realised that there were three of them, the third person being the only actual musician. Doesn’t it make you spit, as Peel said on their first appearance.

    The Icehouse singer had a bad case of the David Sylvians, which got me thinking – what is that accent? John Foxx did it as well, and Tony Hadley, although Sylvian always took it furthest. It certainly wasn’t American – was it vaguely French, or Italian? Or just Bryan Ferry-an – but in that case what was he trying to do? C’est un mystère.

  55. 55
    Chelovek na lune on 14 Feb 2017 #

    3 March 1983

    Kid ‘n Peel, the joyboys of radio, chasing electrons to and fro. Each in a top with the other’s name on, rhythm pals.

    Icehouse “Hey Little Girl” understated and languid, shirts all round and a jacket for the singer. Not a bad group all in all

    Forrest “Rock the Boat” on video.
    Can’t remember how this differs from the original, it’s pretty tolerable I suppose.

    OMD “Genetic Engineering”
    Experimental brilliance, spoken, then sung, futuristic, scientific, percussive, megaphone-in-hand, from the brilliant if defiantly uncommercial “Dazzle Ships” LP. Close to OMD at their best, maybe even actually at their best, but evidently by now too recherché for a mass mass audience. The crowd here are happily bopping up and down to this bit of Open University wonder though.


    Bananarama “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye”
    Pre-intense sexualisation of their appearance, far closer to their alternative origins, no oiled-up topless male dancers yet. Which is good as they would only distract from this rather simple and likeable number. Straightforward and unfussy minor-key fun, almost.


    Patti Austin and James Ingram “Baby Come To Me”
    A bit of a late night classic. Beautiful duetting and interplay in the chorus. Decidedly superior. And emotional.

    Top 10 video show
    Fun Boy 3 – Tunnel of Love. Moody and fab.
    Thompson Twins – Love On Your Side. Pretty fine also. Very 1983 haircuts
    Madness – Tomorrow’s Just Another Day
    The video is better than the song. Classic entertainers.
    Tears for Fears – Change
    Underrated track.
    Musical Youth – Never Gonna Give You Up
    Ah, sweet and quite charming.
    Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams.
    A drop dead classic, of course, the video as well as the song. How could Annie Lennox ever hope to equal this I’m not sure.
    Toto – Africa
    Middle of the road fodder, but better than many such.
    Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
    No longer on top, still with the silliest hair.
    Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
    Brilliantly over the top. Great excess as only Jim Steinman can pull off.

    No 1 on video play out to the end
    Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

    A strange and flawed edition, overly dominated and unbalanced by all those videos, but the standard of music was pretty high, and the quality of presentation by Kid and Peel unusually first rate.

  56. 56

    “the only actual musician. Doesn’t it make you spit”

    this is a bad and silly reason for spitting to be honest — plenty of groups feature “non-musicians” because physical performance (dancing and such) has always been an important part of music

    (even some of the music john peel liked)

  57. 57
    Phil on 15 Feb 2017 #

    Peel wasn’t passing judgment on musicianship or lack of, I think he just found them intensely irritating – as indeed do I, even now. Anyway, there’s a difference between bands where a non-musician is central to the look of the thing (Frankie, Mondays) and setups where the music-making is completely divorced from the performers out front. Most of the examples of the latter that I can think of are management-driven and/or go big on the vocals, neither of which was really the case for HF.

    So on reflection I’ll withdraw ‘irritating talentless twerps’ and substitute ‘an interesting autonomous experiment in the language of manufactured pop, carried out by people who some might regard as irritating talentless twerps’. Couldn’t be more 80s.

  58. 58
    Chelovek na lune on 15 Feb 2017 #

    17 March 1983
    Gary Davies and Tony Blackburn

    Bananarama – “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”
    Bit annoying the way the episodes we’re not allowed to see keep intervening, so we see the same tracks over again. A new performance, new outfits, but this is still rather slight, wherein lies its charm, I suppose.

    Style Council – “Speak Like A Child” on video
    Video that starts out on top deck of an open-top bus, countryside shenanigans. There’s still a power and energy and undertone of aggression here alongside a style that represents an evolution of that familiar from some late Jam numbers. I’m generally agnostic about the Style Council, but this track stands up well.

    Mezzoforte – “Garden Party”
    From Iceland, Tony tells us, while reminding us how very expensive records are in Iceland.
    Charming playful instrumental dancy number, kind of in the area of Shakatak with added bass and guitar riffs.

    Ultravox – “Visions in Blue” – on video
    More enigmatic restraint from Midge Ure’s latest band. Maybe too much enigma and too much restraint for once. This takes time to come alive, and when it does – well I’m not sure it was worth the wait. Lots of style, but too little substance.


    Bucks Fizz – “Run For Your Life”
    Immediately recognizable as Bucks Fizz, but maybe the glitter is starting to fade a little with repetition. It’s alright as light entertainment goes, but seems almost like a pastiche constructed from elements found in earlier, and stronger, singles of theirs.

    Joan Armatrading “Drop The Pilot”
    Her first TOTP performance since 1976 (indeed only her 3rd -and as it turned out final – top 40 hit), this is more like it. Characterful, assertive, determined song from a class act. “Drop the mahout”. I had to look up what that means.

    No1 is Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – studio performance, much dry ice, but not as much as one might expect. The song and performance, crashing thunderbolts and all is obviously a bit ridiculous and self-consciously melodramatic, but brilliantly, exquisitely so.

    Dance out to Forrest “Rock The Boat”

    Not bad overall.

  59. 59
    Adam Puke on 17 Feb 2017 #

    #52 I think ‘joyriding’ first appeared alongside ‘carjacking’, ‘road rage’, ‘air rage’ etc as part of the late 80s/early 90s tabloidy vogue for giving catchy names to questionable activities (mind you, wasn’t Dave Gahan supposed to have been a bit naughty in his youth?)

    Dunno what Roxette’s excuse was.

  60. 60
    Mark M on 18 Feb 2017 #

    Re: 52/59: This is an academic paper claiming that the first recorded usage of joyriding in the sense of nicking a car dates from 1909. These things are generally much earlier or later than one thinks. I associate the 1990s wave, esp in Oxford*, with the term ‘twocking’ rather than joyriding.

    (I noticed fairly recently that Le Carré uses the word ‘stalking’ in the modern sense in A Small Town In Germany about 15 years earlier than any citation I can find).

    *In media-scare terms, that is. We had loads of it in Crystal Palace back then, too, presumably because the Parade is one of the best spots in London for spontaneous drag racing. It’s the kind of thing that if someone else were to say to me I wouldn’t believe, but there genuinely were recently abandoned cars around the place constantly back then.

  61. 61
    Ed on 18 Feb 2017 #

    Here’s a reference from 1977, with period details:

    “We used to nick motors for a joyride, till I rammed a Black Maria in this XJ6” – ‘Martin’, by the Tom Robinson Band


    Also includes a reference to “got Borstal for Taking and Driving Away”, which IIRC was the offence for car theft before Taking Without Owner’s Consent, which was where we got “twocking”.

  62. 62
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Feb 2017 #

    #60, #61 fascinating, etc – I too would have immediately regarded the much media-covered instances in Blackbird Leys and Rose Hill in Oxford in the early 90s to have been the origin – but these things do often tend to go back much further than immediately meets the eye..

    Another show report

    23 March 1983
    The Kid and Peel, in flat caps, live. Wednesday evening, because the “Song For Europe” will be taking up Thursday eve. They’re never giving up, not giving in, if there’s a slightest chance that they can win.

    Jo-Boxers – “Boxer Beat”
    Aggressive post-punk attitude, laddish. Addictive, catchy, instantly appealling, only time will tell whether they just got lucky here of it there’s more ahead. Dancers with big red boxing gloves add to the effect. Loadsa cheerleaders too.

    David Bowie “Let’s Dance” on video
    Fairly uncomplicated number by Bowie norms ,video filmed in Oz, a mixture of Duranie-style exotic landscapes, city roads, a bar, it’s sufficient evidence in support of the case that he still had it

    Orange Juice – “Rip It Up”
    A taut presentation from Edwyn Collins’ outfit with added chunkier electronic sounds alongside carefully considered lyrics. Good. Dancers ripping up bits of cloth or pretending to. Over-literal.

    Leo Sayer – “Orchard Road” – video, the track is from a BBC series, says Kid.
    Sayer hovers by an oversized red phone box to act out the lyrics. Again, over-literal. Moody, plaintive tale of lost love, story with lots of details. Maybe a masterpiece of its genre, it’s really looking for a musical to adopt it. Melodrama, but kind of likeable melodrama., for a bit ,anyway.

    Big Country – “Fields Of Fire (400 Miles)”
    Very Scottish-sounding intro to this track that abounds with energy, and many tartan shirts being worn, too a effusive performance all round. A very promising start for a new act to the charts. The martial air that often characterised their music is evident here. Great, even. Set dancing from the TOTP dancers who presumably haven’t mastered the arts of the ceilidh.


    Nick Heyward – “Whistle Down The Wind”
    The post-Haircut 100 age has dawned for Heyward. This has similar charm to the contents of their brief catalog, a gentle sophistication and pleasing intonation. The song could do with a bit more sharpness though on its lengthy journey to a climax though.

    Altered Images “Don’t Talk To Me About Love”
    Perhaps the highlight of their too-short career, this is as close as can be to being perfect pop music. Seductive dancing in the verses from Ms Grogan. All the best music here tonight is coming from Scotland.

    Now Kid and Peel have tartan hats on, perhaps kind of acknowledging the point

    No 1 New Entry – Duran Duran “Is There Something I Should Know”
    A bit of a no 1 by default – or rather, on the back of past effort over its own merit – one feels, being their first release after some time away, and in the aftermath of several excellent 1982 singles. This has the classic Duranie sound, but doesn’t hang as well together as their very best numbers. Nonetheless perhaps by dint of repetition it seems it has become part of the staple of mid-80s classic, though… Shirts and ties on TOTP though. Have been done better by others.

    dance out to David Joseph(in the studio) – “You Can’t Hide (Your Love From Me)”
    Post-funk: seems to be booking itself a trip to Rare Groove Central. Not dislikeable. And certainly danceable to.

    Pretty good show, with the contributions from the Glaswegian and Fife acts being best of all.

  63. 63
    Lazarus on 21 Feb 2017 #

    Listening to Johnnie Walker’s ‘Sounds of the Seventies’ a couple of months ago … just after explaining to a listener that he couldn’t play ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ as it was from 1988, he then played ‘Orchard Road.’ Even in the car I knew that song was from 1983, but it set me wondering – was it an older track that was revived to give Leo a late-career hit? It seemed such an obvious mistake to make otherwise – and yet it appears not. Not as if there weren’t many good 70s songs to choose from for Leo, either.

    Just want to give a ‘shout out’ to CNL for his sterling work on this thread in the last few weeks by the way. I do still watch most of the shows, although for me they’ve lost some of the amateurish charm that the 1976 episodes had, but don’t get around to commenting as much as I would like. 1983 is rushing by isn’t it, up to ‘Let’s Dance’ already, and I had that down as a springtime hit.

  64. 64
    Adam Puke on 21 Feb 2017 #

    Johnnie was definitely wrong there! “Orchard Road”s unmistakeably a creature of the 80s, with its LinnDrum/LM-1 sounds. The first Linn unit didn’t appear till very late 1980.

  65. 65
    Mark G on 24 Feb 2017 #


    So, this is the exact mid point! From the sea change that the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” brought in for this show, to NewOrder and Blue Monday being when whatever was changing, had finished starting, and was resident in the charts and would stay there until the end of Britpop and the Britneys took over. But anyhow, we have the ability to stand very still, press the wrong buttons, get various words wrong, have the record drop down the chart, famously, because of it, and still minds are changed. Forevah!!!

    Handing over to the Style Council, our Alice says Paul looks massively nervous, and if *she* had hung on to the mike cable like he does, she’d have got told off by her music teacher. ~(I mention that he usually has a guitar, and she nodded in the understand) However, it’s noteable that Paul has re-recorded his lead vocal and it’s much better than the single.

    Mari Wilson sings “Cry me a river” but Alice isn’t impressed. I thought it was OK, but hey.

    And now U2 storm through “Two hearts beat as one”, and this version has a kick and bite that the single does not have! Even launches into “Let’s twist again”, you sure that’s not Echo and the Bunnymen?

    Chart rundown. Band AKA “Joy”, nope, no idea.

    Kajagoogoo have a good laugh at how people get fascinated by clothes in vogue. Hello cake, let me introduce you to the kettle. I sort of admire this in that it’s not exactly a catchy chorus, is it? Well, Alice has yawned and is off to bed. ooh. ooh. 2 be ah. 2 be ah,.. HIPPY!!! ok, not.

    Chart Rundown. New Order are up to number 17. Right, let’s slay this: POLYHEX!! Yep, thought so, the record goes 14-14-12-13 the weeks after this, so not a plunge down the chart at all. An old fashioned steady seller. 17 weeks on the chart, drops out and makes a comeback five weeks later. Blame Factory not churning them out fast enough. I guess they didn’t want to have lots of unsold stock.

    Oh Sorry Tracy Ullman, all done are you? That was OK, but I dunno, I liked it at the time but it’s a bit pointless in retrospect.

    Chart rundown and Duran Duran are on Video, the only not-live act here. I didn’t mind this one so much, something that has a foot in Beatley Pop which seemed more honest than their “Chic crossed with the Sex Pistols” manifesto which was something that had nothing to do with anything they produced, no. Actually, ff-> I’ve given up now.

    So, Kenny Everett pops up to fade the show out on the “Snot Rap” – anonymous music and vaguely amusing lyrics or something.

    So, here’s this thing: When this show went out back in the day, I was wanting to get a copy from people I knew that would tape the TOTP show and play it back later, but they missed it and I wanted to keep this one for the New Order and Style Council versions, and hey even that U2 one. So, I had it on my list of “Yes, My Favourite, there we have it” but I have to say it somewhat tailed off at the end, i.e. from JagaKoofoo onwards, but you can’t have everything I guess.

  66. 66
    speedwell54 on 25 Feb 2017 #

    Skinner and Wright. New Order – live. To be honest rather amateurish but all the better for it not sounding exactly like the record. It is totally live; a bum note and laughter from Bernard. The record is everything the performance isn’t, precision and polish missing. Both though quite stand alone and out of time. This was an event.

    Paul- dodgy sideburns. “Speak Like “ay” Child” – though Skinner and Wright both say “a”. Part of me thinks this is Jam light, but he still puts a great vocal. Mari Wilson – Cry Me a River -not many songs use “plebeian” Parts of it sound quite Bond like in the piano chord progression. Not much wrong here.

    U2 Two Hearts…yeah like it. And another act turning up with a strong performance. This going into other songs appealed then, and I played Blood Red Sky a lot.

    Kajagoogoo- Nmcot- Limahl was to be sacked within a few months of this. With this, “Too Shy’ and his solo single” Only For Love” he managed to get on the first Now album three times.

    Tracey Ullman – Breakaway ok, not live. Coincidentally she’s on TV tonight with her own show – prime time BBC1, 34 years on.

    Countdown and then Duran Duran at No1 – first act tonight not turning up. Video- ties tucked into shirts and thematically beyond me.

    Seemed rather a special show tonight if not a little mixed.

  67. 67
    speedwell54 on 26 Feb 2017 #

    Bates looks like Powell’s dad and he warns us there might be some miming.

    Dexy’s -Hit second time round for them. I like this but hard not to think of how difficult it was to exist in that band. First link with Kids from Fame who were touring over here.

    Church Of the Poison.. on video . Culture Club shoot the video driving round and meeting wannabe Boy Georges. They do their best to make it look like Helen Terry was around with them, but not.

    Lori Singer is on this link pushing the tour, and Powell has a sizeable bet with Bates that he can make her say “Brighton”. Jo Boxers Boxerbeat. -Catchy, the dancers have been watching Tiger Feet.

    Twisted Sister – – there’s a Queen track in there somewhere but I can’t place it. nmcot.

    Debbie Allen on this link. Pete asks her what she thinks of Michael Jackson and then doesn’t listen to her answer. Video – twktc.

    Tracie -The House that Jack Built. The backing band – The Questions -label mates at Respond had supported the Jam. Her voice is speeded up on this. Countdown
    FR David – – Words – and guitar playing. nmcot From wiki a long career ‘Words’ no doubt funded this. -Countdown.

    Nick Heyward – Whistle Down – nice bass on this.
    Bowie Video by all accounts Nile did a lot for this track.

    Out to Big Country and Fields of Fire. A few troubled souls on this week and curious as to the miming stuff from Si at the beginning. He must have been referencing something.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  68. 68
    Chelovek na lune on 26 Feb 2017 #

    31 March 1983
    Steve Wright & Richard Skinner. Wright has an unfortuanate moustache and is being opportuned by a mad march hare with Easter eggs.

    New Order “Blue Monday” playing live
    Deadpan staring at keyboards by the Other Two, moody looking Hook, singing not always in tune Barney, not sure this playing live malarkey was the best idea, nerves seem to be kicking in a bit Some of the instrumentation is superb though. Added instrumental breaks. A rather understated and to be frank imperfect performance of a classic. A curious start to the show.

    Skinner on a merry-go-round.
    Style Council “Speak Like A Child” – ah, the Style Council before they went Cappucino-Kid crap. Something to treasure, greatly. Weller still seems angry here. And not just because of the school bully haircut.

    Mari Wilson – “Cry Me A River”
    Big beehive time. But it’s a slightly pedestrian cover that lacks the retro charm of “Just What I Always Wanted”. There is an appealing vulnerability here, though.

    Sid Snot aka Kenny Everett already in evidence next to the presenters.

    U2 “Two Hearts Beat As One”
    Much self-assurance evident in the on-stage posture, indeed, posturing. Star quality in evidence, but if their career is going to endure, they’ll need stronger songs than this one. Bono going into dance with the audience and singing “Let’s Twist Again”. Hmm.

    Wright wearing a Mallett’s Mallett before there were such
    Charts. Hmm, ah Sid Snot there too.

    Kajagoogoo – “Ooh to be Ah”
    Limalh in pink plastic trews and lemon yellow half-undone shirt. Not without charm, but “Ooh to be Ah” essentially takes the same ingredients as their recent big no 1, rearranges them slightly and waters them down a bit, in the fashion of any number of chancers who make it unexpectedly big too soon in their careers. Fun, but maybe too quick a follow-up to “Too Shy”. I suspect quite forgettable too.


    Wright introduces “the funniest lady on TV, other than Boy George”
    Tracey Ullman “Breakaway”
    A short song taken at a breakneck pace, much hand-waving. I think the word is frenetic. This would have made a better follow-up for Mari Wilson than what we heard from her earlier. This is better than a “TV star’s record” anyway.

    Orange Juice, Altered Images, JoBoxers all in the top 10.!
    No 1: Duran Duran “Is There Something I Should Know” on video – oddly tghe first one of the night. Still relatively poor by the standards of their recent form. It’s aged reasonably well though.
    Remarkably well, even.

    Sid Snot wheedling up to the presenters, although busy snogging a woman in the audience, one might say in the old TOTP tradition – and promoting the Kenny Everett Video Show that is following immediately after the show

    Dance out to “Snot Rap”. Which unlike the Tracey Ullman track really is just a TV star’s record. He seems to be imitating George Michael more than anyone else. Well, and the Firm. Hmm. “you can chuck in words like circumcision, cos we ain’t goin in for Eurovision. It’s a rap”. yeah….

  69. 69
    Chelovek na lune on 26 Feb 2017 #

    7 April 1983
    Powell ‘n Bates
    Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “The Celtic Soul Brothers”
    Second time out for this one. Not their best.

    Leroy from “Fame” promoting the show
    Culture Club – “Church Of The Poison Mind” on video
    London always looks so grey and grim in early 80s pop videos…BG is a spot of colour and life and brightness. Then they take to the skies. Third fab single in a row form them, this is looking really promising.

    Someone else from “Fame” promoting her show, going to Brighton and then to Israel.

    JoBoxers – “Boxer Beat”
    More raucous than Dexy’s, youthful male aggression in abundance. Wouldn’t care to meet this lot down a dark alley. Brilliant in its simplicity and repetition, this is a sparkling debut single. They are playing in Dunstable tongiht.

    Someone else from “Fame” promoting their show

    Twisted Sister – “I Am (I’m Me)”
    Their appeal always passed me by, and it still does. They are playing in Nottingham tongiht.

    Someone else from “Fame” promoting their show

    Michael Jackson “Beat It” on video
    Hot on the heels of “Billie Jean”, gotta admit Jacko is still on top form here.

    Someone else from “Fame” etc
    Tracie – “The House That Jack Built”
    Style Council colloborator getting a bit nearly red wedge maybe. We own the house that he bulit! Simple and quite addictive, this could very easily get irritating on repeated listening, but would be great to dance to just the once. She comes from Chelmsford. Thanks Batesey.


    FR David – “Words”
    In shades,there is a synthpop cool side to this. His only other top 75 hit (one week at no 71) was called “Music”. This is good fun.

    Nick Heyward – “Whistle Down The Wind”
    Moody and sensitive, turbulent emotions balanced with restraint. Lovely piano tinkles. Pleasing, charming and lovely, but would it be controversial to say that The Colour Field did this sort of thing slightly better?

    Good grief Snot Rap already no 10. JoBoxers at no 3 blimey
    No 1 – David Bowie “Let’s Dance” on video
    The master of reinvention reinvents himself again.

    Dance out to Big Country – “Fields of Fire (400 Miles)” in the studio – which is an astoundingly superb track to close the show with.

    A pretty decent show all in all, plugs for “Fame” apart.

  70. 70
    AP on 28 Feb 2017 #

    Agree w/recent comments about Whistle Down the Wind – there’s a late Talk Talk quality to it. And a young Nigel Farage quality to Nick Heyward, I reckon.

  71. 71
    Chelovek na lune on 5 Mar 2017 #

    14 April 1983
    Wooh Gary Davies and Andy Peebles, who I’d never have recognized. Not sure if he’s done this before, it looks like he’s not, not sure if he will do it again.

    The UK’s Eurovision entry: SWEET DREAMS – “I’m Never Giving Up”
    A great piece of post-Bucks Fizz synth-backed vocally driven pop music, Very 80s clothing in evidence. And synchronised dancing around and on stools. Rather brilliant. Pop like it should be done. Even with that late key change. And associated jumping off the stools to accompany.

    EURYTHMICS – “Love Is A Stranger” on video
    A reissue, and a well worthwhile one. Haunting, obsessive, determined. Some of the keyboard parts sound very dated now, but don’t quite distract from the overall focus of the song.

    BAUHAUS -” She’s in Parties”
    The band start playing the intro before Davies comes in an introduces them. Not sure about that. The track is quite poppy as this lot go. A singalong chorus, even. Atmospheric weird goth with star quality. Very decent.

    KISSING THE PINK – “The Last Film”
    Shaky dancing from lead singer, pipes and drums, is this a renegade orange march band that have fled Portadown for the Big Time? The keyboardist doing the same mad “I wanna be Ian Curtis” dance as the singer. They all are, including a bloke in a bowtie. On-screen nerves? Threats from the Shankill? Ties and suits abound. Then an angelic chorister bit. This is quite insane. While the whistling could get annoying, the syncopation gives it all a kick. Then the brass section enters. Brilliant. Mad. But Brilliant.

    SUNFIRE – “Young Free and Single”
    “About me” says Wooh Gary Davies (Afterwards, Andy Peebles says it’s about him too), doing the same intrusive mid-intro intro he did with Bauhaus. Late night languid soul or R&B or something. And “single” really is made to rhyme with “mingle”. It’s really nothing special or out of the ordinary.

    KAJAGOOGOO – “Ooh To Be Ah” on video
    The “London in the 80s” videos are always enjoyable (nice scene with carphones of the age too). I suspect Limahl knows this track on the topic of social climbing and fame is just a little bit lame, and that his career has not long for this world – but this is pleasant enough while it lasts….I don’t mind it at all.

    No1 David Bowie “Let’s Dance” on video.
    Less avant garde than one might like, but a really strong song and performance. Let’s just hope he doesn’t increase the commercial pop of his output going forward.

    dance-out to New Order “Blue Monday”

    Mostly rather good music. Cut out Sunfire and everything else is at least a 7/10.

  72. 72
    Chelovek na lune on 5 Mar 2017 #

    21 April 1983
    Richard Skinner and Janice Long

    CULTURE CLUB – “Church Of The Poison Mind”
    Skinner’s tip for next week’s no 1. And, yeah, everything about this is a tonic, musically, lyrically and visually. Helen Terry deserves a special mention for her powerful vocals.

    HUMAN LEAGUE – “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” on video
    Oh this is sing-a-long pop (irriating synth horns be gone though) and has its moments. But for a group as monumentally talented as the League, this is very slightly second order.

    FR DAVID – “Words”
    Jonathan King revealed as having put this on the UK airwaves, and the song is “now at one of the highest positions a Frenchman has ever been at”. Serge Gainsbourg might have something to say about that, from several positions. Fun, cool, sharp, aspiring to be sophisticated. Pointing the way to late 80s sophistipop, in retrospect.

    TWISTED SISTER – “I Am (I’m Me)”
    A catchy chorus among lots of HM cliches. There has been worse hair rock.

    TOTO – “Rosanna” on video.
    Kind of mid-70s-style AOR that has somehow hung on into 1983. It passes the time as decent background wallpaper music, more or less. Not as good as “Africa”

    HEAVEN 17 – “Temptation”
    Better than the Human League track we had earlier, a bit of totalitarian futuristic aestetics here – only to be expected with a band from the Korova Milk Bar. Yeah, this is really good.

    THOMPSON TWINS – “We Are Detective” on video
    A bit of wackiness and post-indieness about this. Their differing vocal styles compliment each other well, in the verses at least. Not a classic for all time, but for April 1983 – yes.

    More polished, more mainstream pop than previously, immaculately polished. One might regret the ironing out of the grit – but well, enjoy the oysters while they are fresh. This is pretty tasty, still. And masterful in its restraint and command.

    no1 DAVID BOWIE “Let’s Dance” on video
    as before

    dance-out to Michael Jackson “Beat It”

    Not quite a brilliant show, but a good representation of “essence of 1983 pop music in Britain”

  73. 73
    DanielW on 6 Mar 2017 #

    #71 Bloody hell, Andy Peebles is the spit of Nick Frost in Spaced!

  74. 74
    Steve Williams on 7 Mar 2017 #

    Andy Peebles had presented Pops before, he hosted an episode in October 1979, as previously seen on BBC4, which because of the ITV strike ended up being the most watched episode of Top of the Pops in the programme’s history, with 19.7 million viewers. You’d have to go on an Olympics opening ceremony to perform in front of an audience that size these days.

    Peebles was as dynamic and at ease in front of the camera then as he was here, which presumably explains why he then didn’t appear again for three years, but with the double-headed presenter line-up now requiring twice as many hosts as before, he was drafted in again. We’ll see him fairly regularly over the next eighteen months, to little effect. I find his fantastically boring presentation quite amusing, actually.

    I thought the 21st April episode was the best of the year by miles. Watch out on the next one for the last appearance of two staples of this repeat run.

  75. 75
    Mark G on 10 Mar 2017 #

    …and now here they are!!!! The most wacky bunch of pop stars ever to twirl their hairstyles in the Top of the Pops. Competing for the title of worlds wackiest popster. And they’re off… to a standing start. And why not, they’ve been chained to a post, by Kid Jensen and his sidekick Peely. But they’re wearing the wrong gear!

    And away they go! Phil (Inter)Fearon and Galaxy Dancing Tight. Soft disco was the alternate to the alternative by this point. This guy failed the audition to become the Sex Pistols’ pianist (this is true).

    So, then we get to that awkward moment that doesn’t happen anymore – the failed UK Eurovision entry that is still going up the chart. The members of the group are all Goodnight Vienna but they have to still look as keen as they did last time out. So, I don’t recall the final voting position, then again I barely remember the song. What failed them? My theory is that it was not a good look to mention the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! They did not get away with it, basically.

    And David J has a report from Singapore – presumably this means that he offset the cost of his holiday with a fee, and why not? Anyway, this is quite interesting for me as we went to S for part of our honeymoon and it’s nice to see some sights as they were 12 years before we went. True, Kid, they don’t have singles but I don’t remember albums being the same price as our singles in Singa – They were in Bangkok though. I got a cassette of Carter’s “Straw Dogs” for £2 then, and it was a bona-fide “Made in England for export only” copy. The fakey ones were £1 in the market, but people would still buy the cheaper one and keep the difference. So, EMI were clearly adapting the pricing but to know a veil. Anyway, that’s the end of my Singapore report, back to Kid – Some fairly no-use-to-us snips of local performers, and a brief mention abut how The Eurythmics are quite popular out here. China Doll do something called “Chasing The Dragon” – did we even know what that was in those days? Not me for a kick-off.

    So, back to the studio and The Creatures (Siouxsie and Budgie as I’m sure U kno) do something actually interesting (they always do, I’m not starting a “Rubbish Banshees” thing, I’m just meaning the music so far today). This Is What We Want! Hray.

    And now John Peel gets to claim the full cost of a day trip to Broingk and sit outside a café and intro some French chart entries we did not get. Now, if someone asked you “You remember a band called “Cook-Da-Books””, you’d most likely say “vaguely”. If they then asked “did they ever appear on TOTP” you’d say “ummm, no? Why are you asking me?” and you’d be right to be suspicious. But here they are a bit. Two no avale. Hoffman and Hoffman do something that sounds like a Kraftwerk track title but that’s where the resemblance neds. And Mirielle Matthieu is still going, singing with Patrick Duffy. My goodness. And you thought the UK charts were bad. Then suddenly Nena appears, and the quality of “NeunUndNeunzig Luftbalons” is ramped right up in this company.

    Anyway, Tears for Fears do “Pale Shelter”, and that’s great too! Whereas Kissing the Pink do “The Last Film I ever saw”, which should be some sort of anthem of a political nature but the singer looks like a looped gif on performance – one of those non-seamless ones. And the girl drummer/plaintive singer looks like a young Claire Balding according to our Alice.

    Spand-no I can’t. Can I get the “Spotless Mind” treatment for the erasure of “True”? No? I mean, it’s got some sort of nostalgic meaning for me, no bad memories as such, but god it’s awful and its TOO LONG also, make it stop. Oh, I can ff->, hray.

    And it’s dancing to fade to “Friday Night”, and the Kid from fame can’t sing, but it’s OK the song is run anyhow. Multi-talented? Ah, no.

    Anyhow, for all that, I quite enjoyed this one. 999 episodes then. Will we celebrate episode 1,000? (spoiler: Nope)

  76. 76
    speedwell54 on 10 Mar 2017 #

    Kid n Peel – Peel does a quick impression of Mike Smash ” Live from Shepherd’s Bush” and this is the 999th show. Permission to go all weird.

    Galaxy – They look like a duo as third member is dancing completely out of time. She eventually catches up. Not without merit.

    Sweet Dreams – they have altered their routine a tiny bit in the falling stool part… that’s all I’ve got to say on this.

    Kid thinks he’s Alan Wicker and we get a few clips of people we don’t know singing. Paula Tsui with a ballad that could have a come out in the 70s. We finish with Lam who taught Psy everything he knows.

    Budgie thinks he’s Evelyn Glennie on Kiss the girl-That’s a long instrumental bit in the middle.

    Peel’s gone to France and we see some more videos in a European chart run down. Patrick Duffy’s track turns into a James Bond theme. Cook Da Books from a Sophie Marceau film, La Boum.

    TFF – hot on the heels of Change we get another great track in Pale Shelter.

    Kissing the Pink -I think, a repeat, if not might as well have been.

    ‘True’ at Number one and this has turned into a comedy record over the years, but they won’t mind as the coffers roll in; there may be arguments. Gosh this is long song. Out to Friday Night from KFF.

    Those roving reporter pieces were both quite long, and in a sliding doors way, I wonder who got ditched to make way.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  77. 77
    Chelovek na lune on 11 Mar 2017 #

    28 April 1983

    Peel and Kid, the 999th edition.

    Galaxy – “Dancing Tight”
    As smooth as the chocolate, I am surprised to find this was Galaxy’s first hit. It’s kind of generic 1983 R&B/late-disco, but does the job reasonably well. Some athletic dance moves on show here. “We could be the greatest dancers around”. Perhaps. They get the audience dancing in rhythm at least,

    Sweet Dreams “I’m Never Giving Up”
    Now confirmed as having been placed six at Eurovision, and still a cracking bit of tacky Eurovision pop. Deserved much higher than no 23 (or indeed its peak of 21) The choreographed dance moves are, in retrospect, hilarious. Trying to imitate and exceed the “dress ripping off” moves of Bucks Fizz in 1981 no doubt.

    Evidence of that “mid-life identity crisis” thing that TOTP was said to be having in the overview of TOTP 1983 broadcast this Jan.
    Video section with Kid Jensen in Singapore presenting “highlights of the Far East charts”
    Starts out outside the Raffles hotel. No singles for sale out there!
    Paula Tsui “Fantasia” in Cantonese, at anti-drugs show in Hong Kong
    Well this is very middle of the road variety show stuff.
    “pop music not so important to Asians is it is to us in the UK”
    China Doll “Chasing The Dragon” (hmm presumably not from an anti-drugs show)
    sounds a bit Tears for Fearsy/ 1981 electro-pop melancholy, video with bloke being clambered over by a monkey, I think in Hong Kong.
    Chinese movie star and hearthrob Lam “Mirages” described as “Singapore’s best selling record”
    red jacket guy with questionable moustache. The track not instantly memorable.
    A weird interlude.

    The Creatures “Miss The Girl”
    Great xylophone action here. Mysterious Banshees offshoot, an attention-grabbing chorus accompanies much minimalism. Powerful and haunting.

    Now Peel does the European chart – nice view of Peel on a Sealink ferry on the channel, hoping we’ll have French songs about consumption-ridden basement dwellers. If only.
    Popular in France is a Liverpudlian group Cook Da Books “Your Eyes – La Boum”.
    Vid of people waving cigarette lighters like we used to, sentmental, not terribly appealing drivel? If first impressions count, then yes….
    Peel in Boulogne
    Hoffman & Hoffman “Rucksicht”, the German Eurovision entry. It s very variety show.
    Counts down the “European top 10” while eating chips like you do
    and no 7 Mirielle Matthieu & Patrick Duffy “Together We’re Strong”. A bit Christopher Crossy, seems a bit outdated by 1983 really. Not good.
    Nena “99 Luftballons” at no 2 is very much more like it. Punk energy transmuted into pop gem.
    Europe’s no 1 David Bowie “Let’s Dance”.
    Peel ironic as ever, but hmm I’m not sure this is a valuable new feature to include in TOTP…

    The Kid bearing aloft a little Eiffel Tower to give off that international sophistication vibe yeah

    Tears For Fears “Pale Shelter”
    This is very fine. Electro-pop with an edge. Classy. Certainly the first “essential” track of the night

    Kissing The Pink “Last Film”
    Quite mad and quite brilliant. Powerful, haunting.

    Many acts in the top 10 described as “multi-talented”. Some of them might warrant it. FR David? Probably not so much

    no 1 Spandau Ballet “True” on video
    Polished and carefully manufactured, the video is a bit too slick, but the song is strong enough to cope with bad mid-80s fashion.

    Very sharp edit indicating that something has been cut out (ah – presumably a reference to next week’s very special but very unrepeatable edition). Dance out briefly to a crap track by the Kids From Fame – “Friday Night”. Not good.

    Bizarre edition.. Three very good tracks performed in the studio, but the excursions…a bad idea’s a bad idea.

  78. 78
    Chelovek na lune on 11 Mar 2017 #

    12 May 1983
    A slightly new theme tune and graphics, Wooh modern times.

    Tommy Vance and Mike Read
    doing the annoying thing of letting the song start before introducing it, like Gary Davies had done a few episodes back.

    But it’s only Modern Romance “Don’t Stop That Crazy Rhythm”
    which is really not very good. Maybe not their worst record, although maybe it is, but it has a fair bit of competition. (Gosh, I’m thinking Coldcut & Junior Reid plagiarised a bit of this, or came close to doing so, in “Stop This Crazy Thing” – which is vastly superior to this). Music for garden parties full of wankers. Dear God they have a stage dancer – Will Gaines it turns out- out front in a backwards baseball cap. Capital punishment seems more appealing for crimes against music after enduring this.

    Hall & Oates “Family Man” on video
    This has quite a bit more bite (and bark) than many of their tracks. Video intertwines scenes of H&O and their supposed families with very early 80s primitive computer graphics. The song is superior to the video *(which actually isn’t so bad). Some great chord sequences as well as bite and anger.

    Belle Stars “Sweet Memory”
    Not a patch on “Sign Of The Times”, but with similar ingredients. Energy, attitude, a bit of a 60s feel, horns. Plus a short chanted chorus and screams. Fun, but a bit incidental.

    Pink Floyd “Not Now John” on video
    Loads of images of Japan in the video. vaguely anti-war lyrics. Anything but a classic.

    Hot Chocolate “What Kinda Boy You Looking For (Girl)”
    “one of our most consistent groups over the past 13 years” is true enough – a great, somewhat underrrated singles act, for years n years. Though this a relatively minor addition to their catalogue. But Their talent and charm is still evident, Errol Brown a great frontman. I can deal with this.

    Galaxy “Dancing Tight”
    Which hasn’t notably improved since the last edition it was on. it’s alright. The song doesn’t develop very much. And oh – key change alert. Wallpaper to dance to.


    The Creatures “Miss The Girl”
    Vance clarifies it’s marimbas, not xylophones, we’re dealing with here. Still quality minimalism. Some avant garde camera work of faces in the audience during one of the prolonged instrumental sections.

    Men At Work “Overkill”
    So not one hit wonders then (4 top 40s in fact). Though compared with their big one this feels like a B-side. Quite the opposite of overkill. Pre-empting Climie Fisher in creating boring middle-of-the-road pop.

    Big climbs by Blancmance (just outside the top 10) and the Beat (just inside it) being ignored…
    Agneta from ABBA says hello, briefly.

    No 1 on video Spandau Ballet “True”. As before. i do see the point about it being rather lengthy.

    Dance out to Kissing The Pink “Last Film”, although no-one in dancing as jerkily as the band have done in their performances.

    Not an overwhelming show, not least as all the good tracks have been on before. And the presentation was very Smashy and Nicey.

  79. 79
    Mostro on 12 Mar 2017 #

    #78 Chelovek na lun ; Can only assume you’re not watching “live”- at the time I was reading your comment, they hadn’t got to all those bits! :-)

    Have to admit that I haven’t been following the TOTP repeats even though they’re now well into the period where I’d have been watching regularly as a kid. So it’s a slight coincidence that the bits I caught were of the two shows spanning the updating of the set (which I assume happened with the 1000th show, since they made a point of the first one being #999).

    Watching the first one, I hate to admit that it struck me as looking creakier and older than I’d remembered (the fuzziness of the filmed inserts not helping with this impression)… then I realised it *was* that old!

    Yet the change of set on the 12 May show- which seems to be #1001 (*)- made it feel so much more like “my” Top of the Pops, like it had jumped forward several years. Crisper, brighter, more mid-80s, even if some aspects of the visual presentation (e.g. chart rundown) remained the same.

    I do agree about the presenters though. Tommy Vance came across as very middle-aged and “Smashy” without the tongue-in-cheekness of (e.g.) John Peel, though apparently he was still well regarded among the heavy rock community at this time.

    (*) A quick check on YouTube has the opening of show #1000, with- unsurprisingly- its most famous (and now incredibly infamous) presenter in for the occasion. I think it can be safely assumed this is why it was skipped. Oddly, although he apparently still presented on a regular basis for the first couple of years I was watching the show, I don’t really recall him being on it, or much about the presenters in general- for me, I think TOTP must have been mainly about the music.

  80. 80
    Lazarus on 16 Mar 2017 #

    Livebloggin’ one for a change – right place, right time etc … (also Tom appears to have got bored, again ….)

    D Train – was this a hit? Do not remember it at all. ‘You’re the one for me’ was the only one of theirs (his?) that springs to mind … anyway, forgettable.

    Simon Bates I’ve just discovered is the presenter, having only tuned in at 7.31. Introduces –

    Blancmange – video. A fairly short chart life for them as I recall. This is OK though – a sort of funkier OMD. Hand plunged into plate of blancmange at the end, visual clue folks.

    Gary Davies is the other MC it seems, with a very pretty oriental girl at his shoulder. ‘Can’t get loosed to using you’ as I always seemed to say it, so I can’t blame him …

    The Beat – the last hurrah for this lot with a three year old track from their debut album. I wonder what triggered the release of this as a single? Dave Wakeling in a dinner jacket – you know the song. Sublime sax solo.

    Wham! – one of many performances on this year’s Pops that will seem bitter-sweet I’m sure. ‘Bad Boys’ this time round. B&W video with a family theme, even if his ‘parents’ look about 35. Andrew is in there, somewhere.

    Meet’n’greet with Brighton & Hove Albion. I’m no football fan, but memory tells me that ‘Man U’ came out on top this time!

    Joboxers – good follow-up. “Your technique it leaves me weak” a great opening line. A bit of early Dexy’s, perhaps some Northern Soul and … what else? They didn’t last anyhow, but there was something here. Anyone got the album?

    All three of the Police reluctantly talk to Simon Bates. Chart 30-20.

    Yazoo – I think this might be my favourite of theirs. From the second album that almost nobody bought. Alison is well overdue for a comeback, but I guess in the current climate that won’t happen – her heiress apparent (Adele) is already centre stage. As for Vince, well Erasure keep going and refuse to be rubbed out …

    Chart 19-8. Bob Marley with a posthumous new entry.

    Fun Boy Three – another short lived group with what I think was their final hit. Co-written by Jane Wiedlin and also recorded by the Go-Go’s on their excellent ‘Beauty and the Beat’ LP. Terry Hall will re-appear in other guises, not sure what became of the other two. Can anyone identify any of the guesting members? There is a female voice on the record.

    Countdown. And number 1 – Spandau Ballet – TWKTM. Much loved by radio (and Vintage TV) and has kept all concerned in hot dinners ever since, although their comebacks have never amounted to much. Various Zooers smooch to the titles – their days are numbered. They’re no Pans People, after all.

    A decent show although I still miss the Prestatyn fodder, if truth be known.

  81. 81
    Jimmy the Swede on 18 Mar 2017 #

    Apropos the ’83 Cup Final, Gary Davies chatted to one Gordon Smith who was destined to write himself into Cup Final folklore but not alas in the way he would have wanted. Having put Brighton in front, the match was pegged back to 2-2 as we went into extra time. Then with the last play of the match Gordon Smith was through on goal. Peter Jones on BBC radio had no doubts: “And Smith is through. And Smith must score…” Unfortunately Gordon fluffed his lines and smacked the ball straight at United ‘keeper Gary Bailey, who blocked it. It was a dreadful miss and United thumped the Seagulls in the replay 4-0. Smith was inconsolable as were the Albion fans. But being footy supporters, they made the most of what was for them a tragedy. With the onset of “fanzines”, what else could Brighton’s be called other than “And Smith Must Score…”? As for Gordon himself he was later quoted as saying that he hoped for the advent of the time machine, which would enable him to be running onto Bailey again: “This time, I’d simply lift it over him!”

    Simon Bates meanwhile made a total oaf of himself by asking Jimmy Case if he’d ever played at Wembley, clearly clueless of the fact that not only had Jimmy been for many years part of that great Liverpool side of the seventies but had actually scored a sublime goal in the ’77 Cup Final, only to lose out, ironically to Man United.

    Lazarus # 80 – That girl standing next to Gary Davies before the Beat came on was an absolute stunner, wasn’t she?

  82. 82
    speedwell54 on 19 Mar 2017 #

    Bates and Davies this week. Bates has borrowed a blazer from Nicholas Parsons and I don’t even know what Gary’s wearing – a coloured graduation gown over a white t-shirt?

    D Train – looking cool from the off but I’m not sure. “People often ask me can I climb on mountain tops?” Do they? Do they really Mr D Train? Which people are these? How often do they ask you? I wager one person, once, or no-one ever. Si informs us they’ve just flown in the States. (thanks for the method of transport coz we all thought they’d yatched in!)

    New Edition Candy Girl on video. Bobby Brown on this before they kicked him out. Ralph does sound like Michael Jackson in places. (I know that’s probably what they were going for) Four of them nearly made it back to number one almost a decade later on the back of “The Best Things In Life Are Free”

    David Grant – Stop and Go- Despite Bate’s prediction of a number one this stopped at 19. Not terrible, but nmcot. (no idea where he came from or how he travelled)

    Blancmange – “this is the way it looks and sounds” says Bates as he introduces them. This is one of his catchphrases – he used it to death in an episode in ’81 see 276 in Popular ’81. On to Blancmange – so to speak, Neil Arthur -technically a giant- is channeling a bit OMD (as mentioned) with a touch of Talking Heads- works well , tick.

    “They tell me they’ve just flown in from Birmingham” says Gary as he introduces The Beat- I wonder. My father had a meeting over in Blackpool back around this time in ’83 and with the sun shining he took me and a friend, and we had a day out. My friend bought “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” and I bought “Your Imagination” – Hall and Oates, both 12″ singles. I bought it for the b side “Sara Smile” which I know I have banged on about on here before. For those eager to learn, we travelled by car from Yorkshire. Sadly my friend’s record warped in the heat of the parcel shelf of our champagne coloured Austin Ambassador on the way home across the Pennines via the M62.

    Bad Boys Wham on video. Followed by a cringe inducing visit by football. “are you looking forward to the final on Saturday” Fearne Cotton learnt everything she knows here. You can see Bates isn’t listening to the answers – as touched on above. If Case had said” I played there (Wembley) about 8 times and I never get nervous”, his next question would still have been ” and do you ever get nervous?”

    Jo Boxers – If Boxerbeat sounded like a one hit wonder this didn’t; but they didn’t stick around unfortunately. Nothing wrong with this. Guy Garvey had a thing about boxer beat – the snare drum strike on every beat- and he used to harp on about it – well more than once.

    Bates has an uncomfortable interview with the police (you can do your own gags here ) The Police calling in to promote their new single.
    On to Yazoo- twktc. Vince Clarke/Depeche Mode/Alison Moyet all had very long careers with varying commercial success.

    Countdown and then Fun Boy Three- usual stuff performance wise and I can’t keep teasing Terry. There is a cute moment when something happens off camera causing the bassist to laugh and you just catch Terry turning round and smiling.

    True at Number 1 -“and it looks like it’ll be number one for the rest of the century” says Bates- it was barely number one for the rest of the week, over taken by -spoiler alert -Candy Girl for the next episode.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

    1000th edition- I know it was never going to be shown but a shame.

  83. 83
    Steve Williams on 19 Mar 2017 #

    I never thought I’d say this but I’m actually looking forward to Simon Bates presenting this show now, because he’s so bloody bad at it, and all his balls-ups and ridiculous lines make for totally compelling and hilarious viewing. I loved the way he announced the Fun Boy Three were at number seven with all the authority he would usually use for announcing the film we’re about to see contains sexual swearwords.

    And, of course, he was only 35 at the time! Brrrr.

  84. 84
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Mar 2017 #

    19 May 1983
    Bates and Davies presenting a live edition

    D Train – “Music”
    “You’re The One For Me”, their minor (no 30) hit from 1982 (although a bigger hit on later rerelease) is to my ears a timeless classic, very superior soul-R&B with determination and drive – the first 12″ I really fell in love with .”Music” contains some of the same elements, and is identifiably a D-Train track, and also identifiably a watered-down retread of that classic. It’s not that this is bad, it’s not that at all, just that it references something so very much better.

    Bates wearing a garland of flowers around his neck

    New Edition “Candy Girl” on video
    Overdoing the cute kids with near falsetto voices thing. The sound could be sickly sweet, and well I suppose it was time for Jackson Five revival. Fabulous manufactured and confected pop.

    David Grant “Stop And Go”
    Similar soul-R&B sound as D Train, but very much less accomplished (and built on the backing of session musicians, preusmably) . Grant looks surprisingly young, and the outfits worn by him and and the dancers couldn’t be more tastelessly 1983 if they tried. “Bound to get to no 1” says Batesy. Yeah right.

    Blancmange “Blind Vision” on video
    Spacious bit of synth-led late new romanticism with impassioned vocals. Really an underrated act. Really pretty good.

    The Beat “Can’t Get Used To Losing You”
    Dub reggaeish with a geezer in black tie. Sublime cover version. As good a way to announce that a group is splitting up as can be. The best tonight by far so far.

    Wham! “Bad Boys” on video
    Fun video with beuniformed primary schoolboys being, well, moderately bad, before the band appear. Surely the single that confirmed earlier suspicions that Wham! were something really special, a phenomenon, even.

    Football bit, Bates says they’d been hoping for Man Utd to turn up, but they need to rest for a big game, so here are (not second best or anything) several players from Brighton & Hove Albion bearing aloft “The Seagulls” albums, showing their sponsorship by British Caledonian Airways. (I wish they all could be…)

    JoBoxers “Just Got Lucky”
    FANTASTIC RECORD. Pub rock with a New Wave edge? Maybe. As aggressive and as foot-stompingly driven as “Boxer Beat”, but a bit more melodious and a bit more complex. Best new act of 1983 so far?

    Sting in , announcing his new single “Every Breath You Take”

    Yazoo “Nobody’s Diary”
    Actually quite possibly the best thing they ever did. Vince and Alf – the perfect combination. And the song too is a fine combination of restraint and emotional depth. Moyet – so much better than Adele.

    Charts 19 to 8, logically enough
    then no 7 Fun Boy Three “Our Lips Are Sealed”
    More West Midlands shenanigans of some brilliance and depth to follow on from that of the Beat earlier, but with added deadpannery, especially from Terry Hall. As with the Beat, it seems like this sound is on the way out – but what a way to go out.

    Charts 6 to 1
    No 1, fourth week Spandau Ballet “True” to end the show
    I read a piece in the Times Literary Supplement that pointed out that the reference to “your seaside arms” was an allusion to “Lolita”. I had no idea what he was going on about before.

    A few really good songs this week.

  85. 85
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Mar 2017 #

    26 May 1983

    Ultra-short 21 minute edition before a replayed FA Cup Final, Peter Powell & Pat Sharp.

    Big Country “In A Big Country”
    Bagpipe-guitars are go, again. Catchy chorus, but overall not quite as attention-catching as “Fields of Fire”, but attitude still in abundance. Definitely a band to watch.

    Charts already 30-14, logically enough

    At no 13 Man Utd “Glory Glory Man United”. with “some ace goals” on video
    The record is as good as you’d expect it to be. At least they cut it off after a minute or so.

    Video chart
    12 Style Council “Money Go Round”.
    A bit of a limp second single really
    11 Bob Marley & The Wailers “Buffalo Soldier”
    A genuine undisputed classic

    then 10 in the studio Hot Chocolate “What Kinda Boy You Lookin’ For (Girl)”
    These guys are just so masterful. I fear this sound is on its way out now too, too variety show to endure in the brave new world of the mid-80s, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts…

    Charts 9-7 (the video thing having seemingly been abandoned no sooner than it had begun)

    The Police “Every Breath You Take”
    The (appropriately enough) inescapable stalkers’ song. Change your name and contact details and move to another planet, frankly.

    Charts 6-2 (again without videos, although this is a decent selection of songs)

    No1 New Edition “Candy Girl” on video
    I’d quite forgotten this was a no 1 in the UK. Well it is what it is. It could get irritating on repeated listening, but without that it’s fun, and danceable

    dance out to Forrest “Feel The Need In Me”
    I’d quite forgotten he’d had a second hit, another cover. Maybe or maybe not worse that Shakin’ Stevens later version, but as I can’t bring myself to listen to that, Forrest gets the benefit of the doubt. But his version is not filled with soul.

  86. 86
    Adam Puke on 20 Mar 2017 #

    “Just Got Lucky” is indeed fantastic. Is that where Killing Joke got the inspiration for “Eighties”? That bassline doesn’t lie!

  87. 87
    Snif on 20 Mar 2017 #

    #80, Lazarus – I could be wrong, but I believe the female vocals on the Fun Boy Three song were provided by June Miles-Kingston, who also played the drums.

  88. 88
    theminstrel on 21 Mar 2017 #

    Modern Romance’s “Don’t Stop That Crazy Rhythm”froma few weeks ago puts me in mind of Sailor’s “Girls Girls Girls” from the early 76 TOTP. Similar swing-cum-ragtime vibe that forms a common thread that still lives today as Electro Swing, a genre many continental European student female friends of mine are really in to.

  89. 89
    Chelovek na lune on 26 Mar 2017 #

    8 June 1983 a rare Wednesday edition, because of the general election the following day

    Grandaddy Peel n the Kid, both in well lairy shirts

    Twisted Sister “The Kids Are Back”
    Much make-up and taking of hair rock to another pantomime dame dimension .The song doesnt’s seem very convicing – even Gary Glitter revivalist. Do you wanna be in my gang? Somewhat weaker than their recent hit.

    David Bowie “China Girl” on video
    Some slightly unexpected pejorative orientalism in the vid. The song is pretty decent, its tenderness tied up with a simmering tension.

    Ultravox “We Came To Dance”
    Midge looking slik in shades, to start with at least, but the song is considerably simpler and more straightforwardly poppy and, simply, much less gripping than some of their more multilayed enigmatic recent singles. One to leave off “greatest hits” compilations, even.

    no 1 in America, Irene Cara “Flashdance” on video
    Almost the sound of mainstream mid-80s pop summed up in one single. Subtitles confirm she sings “take your passion and make it happen”, and not, as I presumed “take your pants down”. Peel makes a potentially election-influencing comment about the video having been filmed in “one of those countries that still has a steel industry”.

    H 2O – “Dream To Sleep”
    Late new romanticism (with even a minor goth influence that Bauhaus might notice) from Scotlandthat Zoo seem to be getting very into interpreting. Sax break notwithstanding, it’s a bit underwhelming, but that might be intentionally lullyabyesque. I reckon it’s about two years too late for anyone to really care or be impressed though.

    George Benson “Lady Love Me (One More Time)” on video
    Getting into 80s wine bar territory here. Competent, capable, assured, etc, but a bit too polished and controlled.

    a mystery artist (Shaky suggests Peely, and later Boy George, but, gosh, it looks and sounds awfully like Declan McManus eschewing any contractural obligations he may have under another name) The Imposter – “Pills and Soap”
    A dense maze of serious and bleak words over a gentle mostly piano backing. Rather stern and menacing. Definitely not a party political broadcast for the party about to win a landslide victory on the next day. (not sure it would have been broadcast on election day itself though). Quite haunting.

    Charts. peely not kind about Man Utd

    Shakatak “Dark Is The Night”
    Their glory seems to be fading a bit now, or maybe time has just moved on. Nice tinkly piano, and identifiably Shakatak vocals, and not without charm, but the song lacks the instant appeal or enigmatic undertow of some of their 1982 singles. Not sure why the crowd are shouting “oh oh! oh oh! oh oh” through one quiet section. I’m minded to make excuses for Shakatak, in general, but this is a bit dull and difficult to care much about. Even Peel says “it goes on a bit”. And so it does..

    Charts. Hmm, chart entry from Kajagoogoo which is conspiciously being ignored. Maybe it was on the yewtreed edition.

    Big Country “In A Big Country”
    I suspect this is as good as this show is gonna get. Spine-tingingly brilliant Scottish pride. Lots of words strung together and shouted out to the verse, too. But (in a common theme tonight) still not, here only quite, up to the standard of their previous single…It is a pleasure to hear though.
    (“the band that put the tree back into country, says Peel, riskily)

    No 1
    Police “Every Breath You Take”
    Aaarrgh just horrible, stop it now.

    dance out to Rod Stewart “Baby Jane”, which I can make excuses for. Zoo overdoing the annoyingly smug aggressively trendy dancing in groups of four in the audience, too,as they have been doing passim

    Really not a good episode. At all. Big Country heads and shoulders above everything else.

  90. 90
    Chelovek na lune on 26 Mar 2017 #

    23 June 1983
    Bates and Powell

    Skipped a week, because DLT.

    Freeez “I.O.U.”
    Uptempo electro, nagging and insistent, not in an unwelcome way. TOTP stagers going a bit mad with the Zoo dancers trying to be Coolest In The Club, balloons everywhere, etc

    Rod Stewart “Baby Jane” on video
    Very 80s Rod. Oh the video is not subtle – one of the things that he likes most about her is her backside, clearly. But, as ever, he means it (man), impassioned longing and emotionally strained huskiness. Energy and determination. He did far worse later in the decade.

    Elton John “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”
    In a green outfit and boater hat, Elton’s not messing about at the old joanna here. Almost as impassioned as Rod, even, vocally, and the lyrical composition has its merits. Fair enough.

    Bates says here’s “some exotica from John Peel” – in Amsterdam, with the European chart. Cue Peel seeing the sights of the city.

    Dolly Dots “Money Lover” more like the Belle Stars than Bananarama, hard-edged, aggressive, and attacking the subject of the song. Not really pleasant to listen to.
    And here are the Dolly Dots! – counting down the Dutch top 10. No 1 “Comment ca va” by the Shorts – “dutch” apparently, but singing in French, with accordions, its sounds quite dreadful, from a village hall. Also no 8 in European charts. No 5, & the Swiss no 1 Geier Sturzflug “Brutto Sozial Produkt”, women dressed as nurses dancing, I’m thinking a Swiss-German Madness maybe
    no 1 in Germany & no 6 in Europe, Robin Gibb “Juliet”, shamelesslly rhymes “Juliet” with “met”, and the other rhymes are as obvious. Not sure it’s very good really.
    Daniel, “Julie” a Yugoslav , no 3 in Europe, sung in English. sub-Shakin’ Stevens with wackier instrumentation (Peel seems to agree).
    no 1 overall in Europe David Bowie “Let’s Dance”

    Shakatak “Dark Is The Night”
    Still a bit dull, alas. Zoo dancing around now waving balloons don’t really help matters.

    Cricketer Denis Lillee gets a mini-interview with Bates

    Mike Oldfield “Moonlight Shadow”
    Maggie Reilly’s vocals make this, almost a modern folk song. A beautiful voice goes a long way.


    H 2O “I Dream To Sleep”
    Proto-sophistipop as much as late new romanticism, could be a grower actually. Zoo’s interpretative dancing among the audience and the ubiquituous balloons don’t really suit the song’s atmosphere of introspection and vague melancholy.

    No1 still The Police “Every Breath You Take”. (on video)
    Call the cops, just not these ones.

    Dance out to ELO “Rock N Roll Is King”. Which is a bit more retro even than typical for ELO. But such talent.

    Another fairly patchy show all in all.

  91. 91
    Lazarus on 27 Mar 2017 #

    Watching Friday’s show now. Messrs Powell (haven’t seen him for a while) and Bates doing the honours.

    Freeez – not sure how many of this lot were on ‘Southern Freeze’ a couple of years earlier – it does seem like a completely different band. John Rocca’s voice is rather thin and weedy here. Arthur Baker was the man behind this, wasn’t he – and New Order’s ‘Confusion’ later in the year. I bet you haven’t heard that on the radio recently. A lot of this stuff really hasn’t aged well.

    Rod – and talking of ageing well … he’s still (just) in his thirties at this point, so I suppose he can carry off yellow trousers, but the primary-colours outfit is a bit ‘Play Away.’ I don’t mind the record, though I know it got a bit of a kicking when it turned up here. Video is quintessentially early-80s.

    Elton – Rod’s good mate, in the studio this time. Yes he’s taken to the indoor hat by now, as opposed to the ‘hair hat’ he’ll be sporting by the end of the decade. This is one of my favourites of his, a real return to form, and further hits from the album would follow. And he turned 70 at the weekend! He’s still standing, folks.

    Shakatak – John Peel’s good mate Bill Sharpe (the stripey shirt, I take it) and co. Zoo dancers much in evidence. Yes the run of hits is almost up for this lot. Minibus, etc.

    Chart, and an appearance by fearsome Aussie paceman Dennis Lillee. Bates wishes him good luck in the World Cup, but as Dennis remarks the Aussies are already out. I very, very rarely bet on sport but I had a few quid on Australia, who’d beaten England in the Ashes the previous winter, whereupon they lost their first match to newcomers Zimbabwe. India went on to shock the mighty Windies in the final.

    Mike Oldfield feat. Maggie Reilly – wonderful. My record of the year – probably. Well up there with ‘Blue Monday’ certainly.

    H2O – rather forgotten one-hit wonders from Glasgow. Stylish pop in a sort of latterday-Roxy vein. Not too much the Zooers can do with this one, but they sway around gamely (and one does a handstand, rather curiously) – their days are numbered. Top 10.

    Police – last week for them, presumably, with Rodders at 2. Do people really have this as their first dance at weddings? Classic, obvs. And almost the end of the line for them too – they got out while the going was good. There was a rainforest to save, after all!

    Out to ELO with their last-but-one hit, pretty much. Hosts not particularly annoying this week. Mixed bag as ever.

  92. 92
    Chelovek na lune on 2 Apr 2017 #

    30 June 1983
    Skinner n Vance

    Shalamar “Dead Giveaway”
    Generic,rather dull, and a million miles away in quality (or memorability) from, say, two of their big 1982 hits. All acts have ups and downs, maybe they’ll come around for the better again. Zoo invading the stage and playing with balloons. Another bad move.

    Heaven 17 “Come Live With Me” on video
    Much better. Moody, Parisian, video, which tells the song’s story perfectly. Spine-tingingly good.

    Nick Heyward “Take That Situation”
    Considerably more lively than his first solo single, more instantly appealling too, but quite possibly less attractive following repeated listening. The chorus has jolly Haircut 100 effects. Too straightforward to be brilliant. But you know – syncopation, brass, Nick Heyward, it’s not all bad by any means. Zoo’s dancing continues to be intrusive.

    Irene Cara “Flashdance” on video
    Oh I kind of like this peppy encouragement, not in excessive measure. But this is alright

    Quick interview with Jennifer Beals of “Flashdance”, clearly the beeb is all in for its various commercial ties in involving Irene Cara. Surprisingly substantive for a TOTP interview.

    Paul Young “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)”
    Not sure about his shiny black suit. If you’re doing that sort of thing, might as well go for gold lamé a la Martin Fry, or not bother. This is quintessential 80s dancing in church hall music is it not. Decent voice. But there are many, many, of his singles I prefer to this one. It takes it’s time, too slowly, to get anywhere, I think is in part why.


    Tom Robinson “War Baby”
    Serious and solemn, and atmospheric. Complex lyrics in the verses accompany a memorable and simple chorus. Very good, yes.

    Bucks Fizz “When We Were Young”
    The Fizz going a bit weird, in both music and dress. Trying to sound older than they are , not convincingly – it’s a bit minor key Human League-llke even. Not sure it is entirely a successful reinvention, but I find it quite likeable, still. In an alternate reality Bucks Fizz started out as a critically adored indie electronic group….

    No 1 Rod Stewart “Baby Jane” on video
    Not the most subtle song. Rather this at no 1 than the Police, anyway. Much better without the video.

    Dance out to The Truth “Confusion (Hits Us Every Time)”
    I’d wager this lot were very big fans of the Jam, and thought “Beat Surrender” was a really good thing to be influenced by,…This is alright enough.

    At best, a patchy show.

  93. 93
    Chelovek na lune on 2 Apr 2017 #

    7 July 1983
    The Kid n Gramps Peely. in matching outfits with a hint of old school gangster.

    ROMAN HOLLIDAY – “Don’t Try To Stop It”
    A bit odd. A bit of a swing thing going on here, the song has some twists and turns and fine assertive leaps. Seems a bit out of time in numerous ways. A not attractive curio. A less irritating Modern Romance, maybe.

    MARY JANE GIRLS “All Night Long”
    Soul music has gone wrong somewhere, as has disco. I knew this song first via a 1990 house cover by Jay Mondi & the Livin Bass (although the fact I had to look up the artist’s name and wasn’t convinced it was correct should give some clue how long it is since I last heard it.) . This lopes along fairly purposelessly for the most part. Indistinguished. The Jay Mondi cover is way better, with much more life in it.

    IRON MAIDEN “The Trooper” (on video)
    Fairly middling Maiden track about the futility of war.

    Zoo + the Hassani Troupe dancing to FREEEZE “IOU”
    Juggling but the dancing is more for show than a 70s style interpretative thing. Majorettes.and some serious lifting. Clown antics. The song is OK.

    ELO “Rock N Roll Is King” (on video)
    More retro than Roman Holliday. More retro than typical ELO, even. Not earth-shatteringly brilliant but tolerable fun.

    The Cure “The Walk”
    A track that sounds, in places, suprisingly modern in its arrangement and production. Bob Smith doing his Bob Smith thing. No doubt Cure fans love this.

    Jimmy The Hoover “Tantalise (Wo Wo Ee Yeh Yeh)”
    Nice beat, steady rhythm over indie flamenco plus African-style chanting. Ah, some Malcolm McLaren connection. Loads of space in the track. And steel drums. By far the best thing on this show so far. Quite brilliant.


    Eurythmics “Who’s That Girl” (on video)
    Moody electropop, bare and sparse and powerful.


    The Funk Masters “It’s Over”
    Oh – I didn’t realise this track was this. A bit better than the Mary Jane Girls and Shalamar tracks in the charts at the same time, mellow R&B. Well paced and sensitively performed. And a chorus that is catchy without irritating. Yeah, that’s how to do this sort of thing well. Zoo still hogging attention by dancing on tables. Jeez.


    No 1 Rod Stewart “Baby Jane” on video. Don’t ever wear clothes in clashing primary colours, kids.

    Dance out to Mike Oldfield/Maggie O’Reilly “Moonlight Shadow”

    A pretty mixed show. In places good, in places poor.

  94. 94
    speedwell 54 on 12 Apr 2017 #

    14th July 2017
    Powell and Peebles host and straight into..

    Elvis Costello and the Attractions and “Everyday I Write the Book”. I like this a lot and it was surprisingly his first top 40 in America. I’m not sure if the upbeatness of it, but it seems fluffy next to Radio Radio, Less than Zero, Alison etc. Caron Wheeler on backing vocals obviously did a bit of networking that evening later helping out Heaven 17. Also worked with Japan.

    Double Dutch- Malcolm Maclaren. On video. Malcolm says what he sees and basically reads the fixture list. Not entirely his own work here – money changed hands a some stage. Nice enough though.

    Powell advertising T-Shirts and the Radio Times and introduces Paul Young- Wherever I Lay My Hat ( That IS my home) Bass player Pino Palladino went onto play on Adele’s ’21″ and Ed Sheeran’s latest.

    Heaven 17 – Maths aside*great track and still sounds cracking today. Saw them a few years ago and they still have it.

    Echo and Bunnymen- Never Stop. The intro to the middle eight sounds like Bring on the Dancing Horses. Chart countdown to 21.

    Bananarama – Cruel Summer – This was their first top 40 hit in the US and again a little surprising that this is what they went for. It was helped by being featured in the film The Karate Kid. The B side (on the 12″) is a reggae track “Cairo” is well worth a listen.

    David Sylvian and Sakamoto. Sylvian; the third coolest man in pop is impossibly beautiful here, as is the song. “There’s a period going past at the moment that may make us look as though we’re in fashion” from Sylvian in ’81 when linked to New Romantics. Very Oscar Wilde.

    Countdown To Rod and ‘Baby Jane’. The video dates the song terribly and he’s wearing more primary colours than is good for any man. Really gone off this one.

    Not may favourite but there has been worse.
    *”I was 37, you were 17, you were half my age…” Marsh/Ware/Gregory use two prime numbers so this can’t be simplified so technically ‘you were 17/37ths my age’ Yawn, I’ll stop now, pedants of Judea.

  95. 95
    speedwell54 on 13 Apr 2017 #

    28th July 1983 (got the year right this time)

    We’ve skipped a week, missing Jimmy the Hoover and Gary Byrd with The Crown among others. Other downside – some repeats. Onwards.. A Long Read partnership tonight.

    KC and the Sunshine Band- well just Harry and a couple of backing singers on stage. Looks rather like Dave Bartrum. Five US number ones, never hit the top 40 again here or there after this.

    Depeche Mode- Everything Counts -on video. Dave has gone blonde and for a change everyone gets a chance to sing. Ok.

    First repeat but a new performance. Elvis wears a jumper this week- not cool, but guess that’s not what he was going for. 40-32-34-30-28-36-48 avoiding the odds in this up down chart career.

    The Creatures- On video. Brassy cover. I wonder -with such body of work- how it makes you feel when your biggest hit is a cover. Same with the Banshees I think. Both great versions.

    Lotus Eaters – full of promise with a classic track.
    Malcolm McLaren – again but skipping in the studio. Not the Ebonettes of the video but the Dynamos with some speed skipping. Really quite impressive. Hardly skateboarding but it lasted as long as it should.

    Robert Plant – Debut on totp says Mike. Big Log. nmcot

    Countdown and then George Benson – Feel Like Making Love- nmcot either. Countdown.
    Bananarama- they also turn up again. This time starting off on the balcony and in matching sunglasses.

    Charts and Paul at Number 1 with Hat. This week on video. Out to Heaven 17.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  96. 96
    speedwell54 on 14 Apr 2017 #

    11th August 1983

    Another skipped episode- Mike Smith to blame this time; onwards..
    Skinner (top of the pops t-shirt) and Vance (ridiculous top) co-host tonight. First on David Grant “Watching You Watching Me” – this is nmcot. His biggest solo hit.

    The Style Council – Long Hot Summer- Tommy introduces this as the highest climber AND the highest new entry. Pick one. Anyway – tonight on video. Weller topless was a strange sight, punting down the river. Their biggest hit.

    Level 42 – The Sun Goes Down (Living it Up) -in the studio . King shares the vocals on this one for change. Still ok to like them at this stage but they suddenly became uncool. Not much to do with them either. Rather like Coldplay. They did seem to be ploughing their own furrow. Their biggest hit to date.

    Gold- Spandau Ballet- On video, Tony looking like he’s just walked off the set of Brideshead. We seemed to have rash of these performance/storyline videos at the moment. Very familiar. Not their biggest hit; spoiling my theme!

    Countdown – Depeche Mode- Everything Counts- On video a fortnight ago, they are in the studio tonight. New intruments give them a slightly different sound on this outing. Again no group wide dress code. Gahan in a suit and Martin goes topless. (on the countdown picture Vince Clarke is still on there despite having left ages ago, I bet Wilder was chuffed; get with it BBC). Their biggest hit to date.

    Big Log – On video tonight after a studio appearance two weeks ago. His biggest solo hit.

    KC at Number one – this is a repeat of his studio performance from a fortnight ago but edited with a few short routines from some podium dancers. Their biggest hit.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  97. 97
    Chelovek na lune on 14 Apr 2017 #

    14 July 1983

    Powell and mysterious Peebles

    Elvis Costello & the Attractions – “Everyday I Write The Book”
    An imposter no more, Zoo dancing intrusively while waving folding bits of card labelled “The Book”. No wonder they are not the most loved or remembered of TOTP dance acts. The songs lyrics are substantially better than the musical accompaniment. All in all a bit middling for Costello.

    Malcolm McLaren – “Double Dutch” on video
    Video with skipping ropes. Surprised how astoundingly dated this seems now and how vaguely creepy the “commentary” part sounds. Some fine chanting parts though.

    Paul Young “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)”
    Such a 1983 gelled haircut, such a 1983 grey jacket-white shirt-pink tie combo. The song transcends such narrow focus. Zoo drawing attention to themselves again. I wish they’d stop it.

    Heaven 17 “Come Live With Me”
    The way Peebles is filmed introducing this, almost deadpan, and just like his introduction of Costello early on, is so sharp – it’s as if he’s said something really filthy (or maybe just mentioned JS) that had to be cut out immediately before what we see of him. Don’t think that is so – just that he doesn’t do the banter thing. Which in a sense in refreshing. Meanwhile, this song is quietly magnificient, lyrically, musically, tonally. Zoo…oh nuff said.

    Echo and the Bunnymen “Never Stop”
    Nice sound, metallic strings, impassioned, stringent vocals, especially in the shouty chorus. A bit underwhelming though.


    Bananarama “Cruel Summer”
    Enjoying the seemingly carefree relaxed attitude here. Love the still quite home-spun sound and look that the Nanas still had. I might admit to preferring the sharper 1989 remix, but this is still good. Usual comments about Zoo.


    Sylvian & Sakamoto “Forbidden Colours” (from the film “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence”) (on video)
    Serious, thoughtful, introspective, a complete change of pace, from a WWII-themed film. Beautiful, too,.

    No 1 Rod Stewart “Baby Jane” on video again being ridiculous as only Rod can (still just about) get away with.

    What is definitely a sharp cut before Powell does the final greeting – almost certainly a reference to next week’s presenters.

    Dance out to Donna Summer “She Works Hard For The Money”,. Zoo now using skipping ropes like extras in the McLaren video. The song is pretty fine but we don’t hear much of it.

    Not an overwhelmingly brilliant episode in any sense

  98. 98
    Chelovek na lune on 14 Apr 2017 #

    28 July 1983
    Mike Read, Janice Long

    KC in the studio (without his Sunshine Band) – “Give It Up”
    Not sure about that multicolour stripey jacket. Harmless, if unchallenging, fun. Successful bit of disco revival that seems almost timeless. Ish.

    Depeche Mode “Everything Counts” on video
    DM being a bit less twee than before getting a bit serious, and with a wider range of instrumentation than previously too. Then they appear on the video for the chorus and appear and sound – almost – as choirboys (with very distinctive hair, ginger, red, blonde, some dye being involved). It’s a competitive world. Just a small hint of how great they will become. The video is already a long way from Bas.

    Elvis Costello & the Attractions “Everyday I Write The Book”
    I prefered the Imposter single. Yeah, this is a long way from EC’s best. Zoo at least keep out of the way this time. Yes, the lyrics (in the verse, not the chorus) are impressive in places.

    The Creatures – “Right Now”
    Big Band retroism mixed with indie panache, Siouxsie on good form vocally, horns. Yes, unusual, a bit impressive.

    The Lotus Eaters “The First Picture Of You”
    Maybe the perfect record. Oh, and some of Zoo are back to justify their presence. Damn. They can’t spoil something so sublime though.

    Malcolm McLaren – “Double Dutch”
    The Dynamos doing the full dance in the studio with big and small ropes. And skilfully so. Yeah this is great fun. A real spectacle.

    Mike Read pretending to use a skipping rope as a mike. oh dear.

    Robert Plant – “Big Log”
    Soft rock that drags on a bit. Oh, a lot. It’s skilfully done and put together, and I suppose it might be a grower after repeated listening – but why take that risk, I might think.


    George “Bad” Benson “Feel Like Making Love”
    with a dance routine, 70s style, from Zoo, who at least refrain from interpreting the lyrics too literally. Bad did better numbers than this, really.


    Bananarama “Cruel Summer”
    The Nanas up in the balcony this time, sunglasses on this time. Yeah this song really is a bit of a minor pop gem.

    No1 Paul Young “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” on video
    Oh the days of anguished conversations down the line from red phone boxes. S’alright. No more.

    Bit cut out blatantly
    Dance out to Heaven 17 “Come Live With Me”, which is quite superb.

    A pretty decent edition, mostly.

  99. 99
    Lazarus on 14 Apr 2017 #

    Getting in first for a change (or have I?). The Kid in Wild West apparel, looks more like the Milky Bar Kid grown up.

    Modern Romance – now this is a real change for them. Tache man has gone off to write sitcom scripts. The song is a ballad, with a soft reggae lilt. I think it’s rather lovely, if I’m honest. But ’twas their very last hit.

    Kid with a young Jeremy Corbyn behind him , introduces Madness – African rhythms and choir (a McLaren influence, perhaps?) and an aviation-themed video. Very different to anything they’d done before. But loses out to the likes of ‘Our House’ and ‘House of Fun’ in the airplay stakes.

    John Peel does the Euro chart. Nothing much here to enthuse about. Ryan Paris will be on the show proper before long. That Righeira track was a minor hit here, which is what it deserved. A very attractive Dutch blonde plays some flute, and in doing so may catch the Swede’s eye. Back to the studio …

    Genesis – first single from the eponymous ’83 album which few diehards have good words for. Atmospheric … goes on a bit. Phil makes some ‘demonic’ noises. It’s OK. Chart 30-22.

    Big Country – another band taking the tempo down. No bagpipes or rousing guitar riffs this time. This was my favourite of theirs I think. Poor old Stuart, what was going on there I wonder? Chart 21-11. Still going with the ‘depechay’ pronunciation then?

    Stray Cats – bit of a surprise to see them on here, two years after their heyday. “(She’s) Sexy and 17” and you only get the points if you remember the brackets … actually no, we won’t go there. Yewtree jibes aside, this is competent rockabilly, but their last hurrah too – Brian would soon form his own band while Jim went off to marry Britt Ekland. Top Ten.

    UB40 with the song from ‘Labour of Love’ that turned them into a covers band, the odd ‘Rat in mi Kitchen’ notwithstanding. A band now perpetually in a state of internecine conflict. This was agreeable enough in its day though.

    Out to New Order and lots of ‘air punching’ from the Zooers, whose days are very much numbered. Decent show but I suspect something good has been left off.


  100. 100
    speedwell54 on 15 Apr 2017 #

    1/9/83 – have missed August episodes with Mike Smith and DLT not helping things. Onwards..
    Kid n Peel have been to Mr Benn’s fancy dress shop – cowboys.

    Modern Romance – a change of style here; it’s not salsa -Hawaiian shirts have gone back to Festive Road and it isn’t awful. Plenty of harmony (vocals and hairspray) A capped sleeve white T-shirt is never good. I’d forgotten he suddenly goes falsetto at the end.

    Madness – Wings of a Dove- The kings of dressing up, this lot have a life membership. Steel drums and a choir give us a sing-a-long-a-madness on this outing.

    Gary Numan- they’ve cleared out the leather section. Warriors – not what you’d call sing-a-long. He must have seen Gahan the other week and he’s blond now. A bit of starring and moody frowns.

    Our occasional European excursion is back and we see John Peel in Paris. The film has the same colour tint shade as 80’s BBC news reports which makes it look older than the programme it’s on. A little slur on French pickpockets from Peel – personal experience I wonder? A short collection of videos of people I don’t know but Ryan Paris pops up to void that. Beriden Stenberg (a Dutch James Galway) with a classical cover that knocked Michael Jackson off the number one spot in her own country. Rose Laurens, The Shorts, Riegheira are the others.

    Genesis with ‘Mama’ on video and severely cut. Don’t think this setting does it any favours, need the full track to get the atmos. Countdown.

    Big Country – Chance – the final single from The Crossing which I played a lot when it came out. Great track. Countdown – A new picture of Depeche Mode with the correct line up this time.

    Kid forgets how to use a mic and we miss a line as he introduces the Stray Cats- Sexy (and ) 17 she is. ( a bit of a brackets rebel) They have the clothes, the instruments, and the Rockabilly but nmcot really. Countdown. UB40 jumps from No9-No1 with Red Red Wine. Loads more hits but fan base forever changes.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  101. 101
    Chelovek na lune on 15 Apr 2017 #

    11 August 1983
    Skinner n Vance (the latter in v questionable red blue and yellow patterned jumper that is all a bit “Tony the Tiger”)

    David Grant “Watching You Watching Me”
    Very dull soulless soul (or RnB-less RnB if you prefer) to start with. Very dull. ToTP could do with fewer balloons flying around really too. Slick choreographed dancing is marginally more interesting than the song.

    Style Council “Long Hot Summer” on video
    The Council’s third single, each of the three being quite different in character and style from the others. This might be the best of them (it’s certainly not the worst). Nice vid of lounging around on and by the Cambridge back waters. it really is a much nicer city than Oxford, if a bit too puritanical. As with Bananarama’s contemporaneous hit, there’s a case for the 1989 remix being superior, but actually this is damn good. And very unlike anything the Jam did.

    Level 42 “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)”
    Still post-funk, and expressing concerns about potentially impending nuclear war, and despite finding some slightly later 42 tracks to be pretty superb, I find this difficult to love. I’m thinking: were these the prime precursors of Jamiroquai? If so how unfortunate.

    Spandau Ballet “Gold” on video
    Yeah, i know. I love it, still. Video a twist on the Duranie love of exotic locations thing. Deserts and sunflower fields and Middle Eastern/Islamic decor. Morocco? (Oh no: Wiki says southern Spain. al-Andalus I guess). One of their signature tunes, deservedly.

    The Creatures “Right Now”
    In the studio this time. Powerful as well as retro – a convincing update, thus. Goth appearance with very un-goth music. Yes. Fab.

    Lotus Eaters “First Picture Of You”
    Yeah there’s competition from the likes of Jimmy the Hoover et al, but can we crown them the best one hit wonders of 1983 (at least) and be done with it? Melodious delightfulness. Sweetness and assertiveness perfectly married. The flowers really are screaming their joy.

    Charts (hmm don’t remember the Bruce Foxton track at all. will have to check it out)

    Depech”ay” Mode “Everything Counts”
    Still so young and boyish, Vince Clarke has no shirt on, and discernably little body hair. Musically and lyrically, an enormous step forward for a maturing act of some capability.


    Robert Plant “Big Log” (on video)
    A song that takes itself very seriously. It might be better if it didn’t.

    KC & the Sunshine Band “Give It Up”
    Vastly better than the David Grant record, anyway.

    Danceout to Herbie Hancock “Rockit”
    A proto-Axel F bit of instrumental electro. Far from unattractive. Zoo have no clue how to dance to it any more than the audience do.

    Mostly a pretty decent edition, once David Grant was out of the way.

  102. 102
    Chelovek na lune on 15 Apr 2017 #

    1 September 1983
    The Kid and Peel (the best presenting partnership by far) dressed as cowboys,because.

    Modern Romance “Walking In The Rain”
    Mellower, vaguely reggae beat, a bit more characterful than wine bar pap, and less blatantly or exceedingly irritating than, well, most of their other singles. Their final hit though. Thankfully.

    Madness “Wings Of A Dove” (on video)
    Gospel choir bit and steel drums on a plane. Then the nutty boys, literally, like, ON, a plane. On top. Then inside and in the cab. And elsewhere. Wacky good fun, great steel drums bit which must have pissed off the NF-affiliated bit of their fanbase. Hardly the best thing they did, but a burst of joyous energy.

    Gary Numan “Warriors”
    Classic Numan sound and ambience, and not a wildly accessible song. Good keyboard bits. His final top 20 hit of the century (excluding two remixes of “Cars”), which suggests the appeal of his shtick was already wearing off (still, the abuse he got from the musical press, in part because of his politics, couldn’t have helped.) But this does seem “fans only”

    Peel in Paris doing the Eurochart
    No 9 in Europe Righeira “Vamos A La Playa” – another superficially jolly pop song about nuclear war. We only hear it very briefly, and only the repeated chorus line, but seems OK.
    No 10 in Europe: Rose Laurens “Africa, the Voodoo Master”
    Hmm, people complaining about “cultural appropraition” or “orientalism” might maybe just occasionally have a point.
    No 12 in Europe Ryan Paris “Dolce Vita”. Europop, no Europap, in English. Oh dear. Sub-Eurovision.
    No 8 in Europe Berdian Stenberg “Rondu Russo”
    Flute much in evidence, instrumental.
    No 1 in Europe Mike Oldfield “Moonlight Shadow”

    Genesis “Mama” (on video) introduced by the Kid pointing a toy gun at the camera.
    Now this really is a work of art, powerful, haunting, atmospheric. Cut off a bit early.


    Big Country “Chance”
    Less in your face than their two recent singles but no less rewarding. Brooding, and solemn, joining an honourable list of Scottish rock melancholia.


    Stray Cats “(She’s) Sexy + 17”
    Dull rockabilly revival style that would have better sent to bed long before.

    No 1 UB40 “Red Red Wine”
    In retrospect, the first step on the journey towards a formerly hot and insightful political act becoming an idiot jukebox. But they’ll still OK here, and their talents are quite clear.

    Dance out to New Order “Confusion”
    Which is incredibly exciting and futuristic (a wee “football chant” element too perhaps) without being overwhelmingly brilliant.

    A curate’s egg edition, although the good parts really were good.

  103. 103
    Lazarus on 16 Apr 2017 #

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in full – was ‘Vamos a la Playa’ really about a nuclear holocaust – as per Nena – or was Peely having us on there? Channelling Nevil Shute, were they?

    Oh and CNL @ 101 Pedant alert – Vince had left the Mode by then of course.

  104. 104
    Chelovek na lune on 16 Apr 2017 #

    @103 – yes, Lazarus (having just looked up its entire lyrics), I think I may have foolishly fallen for Peely’s joke….

    And yes, also – urgh – I did mean to say “Martin Gore”…..

  105. 105
    weej on 16 Apr 2017 #

    From the Vamos A La Playa wiki page;

    “Due to the meaning of its title and its lighthearted melody, Vamos a la playa has become a summer and holiday anthem in many countries. However, the song deals with the explosion of a nuclear bomb in the ocean. The people in the song all wear “a sombrero” to prevent the “radioactive wind” from “messing up their hair”. The singer states that finally “the sea is clean,” and instead of fish there is now “fluorescent water”.”

    It’s one of the first singles I owned, aged 4 or 5, and I still rate it. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTsVJ1PsnMs

  106. 106
    speedwell54 on 23 Apr 2017 #

    Back to back episodes for a change. Powell very smartly dressed in a suit and tie, Peebles less so in a mustard body warmer. He introduces Heaven 17 but whatever he says, he comes across as the disinterested judge.

    Glenn is wearing a black and white checked shirt that was everywhere for a few years. Whoo Whoo!

    Rod Stewart hot on the heels of Baby Jane and another big hit with What Am I Going To Do? On video tonight with a less arty version of Duran’s Rio from the year before. Rod goes bigger and has a schooner not a yacht. Barely scratched the singles chart for the last 20 years but albums still pretty much top tens all the way.

    Another 70’s act and Status Quo with Ol’ Rag Blues. This is the blue print single and performance. No alarms and no surprises. Rossi waistcoat, Parfitt white top, Lancaster black cap sleeved t-shirt. (denims+white trainers -obvs) wide leg stance and synchronised guitar swaying. It has a really nice ending; very ELO. They had been consistent if not ground breaking for a decade but ‘Marguerita Time’ was just around the corner and that was a line crossed.

    Jo Boxers and Johnny Friendly, seems to be almost there. Possibly trying too hard and has too many ideas for one track. The instrumental part sounds good. Bye to them.

    Peabo/Roberta – Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You. twktc. Chart countdown.

    Ryan Paris- Dolce Vita as heralded by Peel last week. “We’re living LIKE in the Dolce Vita” so is this LIKE where the whole LIKE thing came from? Hired dancers are vogueing throughout.

    Countdown from Peter. The guy standing behind him is -I’m pretty sure- Duncan Norvelle – before he was famous (well kind of).Anyone?

    Paul Young _ Come Back and Stay- Originally by Jack Lee who also wrote “Hanging on the Telephone” Great bass again and nice routine from the backing singers – a bit of swedeheaven me thinks.

    Red Red Wine at No1 and out to Level 42.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  107. 107
    Steve Williams on 23 Apr 2017 #

    “Is that Duncan Norvelle?” has taken over from “Why don’t they edit the presenters out?” as the most asked thing on social media when Pops is on. It isn’t, Duncan Norvelle was already famous in 1983, he had starred on the ITV series Saturday Royal earlier that year and certainly had enough work to not have to turn up to Pops every week for fifty quid a throw.

    As Richard Marson, former Top of the Pops floor manager, confirms, it’s a man called John Goldsmith, who we’ll continue to see regularly on this programme for the next few years. A lovely bloke, apparently.

  108. 108
    chelovek na lune on 23 Apr 2017 #

    8 September 1983
    Inexpicably sharp-suited Powell and inevitably deadpan Peebles

    Peebles makes a joke “a record that could be bigger than the TUC conference in Blackpool” (Back when newspapers still had industrial relations correspondents too. Before Arthur Scargill comprehensively overplayed his hand, anyway)
    Heaven 17 “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry”
    After a couple of really quite excellent singles earlier in the year, this is a bit weak. Very weak, even. Might have better suited as an ABC rejected B-side during their “…Zillionaire” period. Some of Zoo dressed in labourer’s overalls dancig on a podium in their characteristic irrating manner.

    Rod Stewart “What Am I Gonna Do” on video
    More than mildly OTT and ridiculous nautical tropical sunshine with Rod prancing about video, but noone looks to Mr Stewart for subtlety The track is jolly enough – there is something to prance to, and where better than on a boat in the sun? Fly the Scottish lion rampant too.

    Obvious cut thanks to the Doors’ lawyers denying us Annabel Lamb’s not wildly brilliant sub-Eurythmics take on “Riders on the Storm”

    Status Quo “Ol’ Rag Blues”
    Lighter and a bit poppier than sometimes, kind of classic early-80s Quo sound otherwise. When their critical reappraisal eventually comes this will probably be assessed as a light-hearted and attractive interlude (but which will refuse to prove to be memorable in any way). Would sound good in a pub, probably with Double Diamond and Roast Ox crisps.

    JoBoxers “Johnny Friendly”
    Slowed down compared with their earlier hits, has a bit of a Living Colour vibe about it. Funky, and sharp. But with a distinctly English character. Much less astounding than “Just Got Lucky” – it does say “minor hit” – but no denying it’s both innovative and not unattractive.

    Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” (on video)
    Bit of a classic slow-dance number, no?


    Ryan Paris “Dolce Vita”
    Robotic dancing. Some decent synthesised instrumental bits between the verses are probably, nay certainly, the highlight of this inoffensive number.

    Paul Young “Come Back And Stay”
    Great 80s synths and moodiness, the haircut and the black and white angular not-quite splatter top he is wearing have aged much less well than the song. Fine chanting from the women. Yeah. Rather appealling.

    no 1 UB40 “Red Red Wine” (on video)
    Vid being set mostly in a boozer, before they sold much in the way of wine.

    dance-out to Level 42 “Livin’ It Up (When The Sun Goes Down)”

    Not a brilliant edition, but kind of quite representative of the musical trends and concerns of 1983…

  109. 109
    speedwell54 on 23 Apr 2017 #

    Thanks Steve @107 for the info. No idea I was being so obvious. I don’t feel too bad if it’s a ‘thing’ he must look something like him. I thought it would be a tiny shaded area in the Venn diagram ‘people old enough to know who Duncan Norvelle is’ and “use social media’, but there you go.

  110. 110
    chelovek na lune on 23 Apr 2017 #

    22 September 1983
    Bates n Read

    Howard Jones “New Song”
    Legendary performance with chained dancer alongside HJ. Capable and still fresh and then still futuristic mid-80s synth-pop.

    David Bowie “Modern Love” (on video. mostly of a live performance)
    Competent and capable poppier but not quite over-poppy Bowie. Drags a little bit, maybe.

    Hot Chocolate “Tears On The Telephone”
    They’ve still got it, musically and performance-wise, one of the best singles acts of recent years. This song is not essential, though.

    Toyah “Rebel Run” (on video)
    Vaguely sci-fi futurism, but with sound effects and a general soundscape that were ubiqutious around this period. OK. But more style than substance? Perhaps.

    The Alarm “68 Guns”
    The energy of the performance is maybe a bit ridiculous given it just underlines that they are miming. Gah, so much posturing in so few minutes.

    Nick Heyward “Blue Hat For A Blue Day”
    Sweet and sensitive, but rather nondescript. Disappointing.

    Status Quo “Ol’ Rag Blues” (on video)
    Alright as far as it goes.

    Mike Read plays the chorus of “Ol Rag Blues” on kazoo.
    Clearly no photo of the act at no 30, Unique

    Soft Cell “Soul Inside”
    Ball and Almond being recognizably Ball and Almond in their nuances and styles of performance. Not their strongest song though. Maybe the string of brilliant singles in 81/82 was a fluke after all. Chaos and turmoil evident, but more eloquently expressed on other occasions. There’s a bit for a minute or so in the middle of th song, where the tension that has been building up, is released, that’s the best part of the song.

    Heaven 17 “Crushed By the Wheels of Industry” (on video)
    Considering this isn’t even climbing the charts any more, something better could have been on than this. The video, which explores various different perceptions and realities of “work”, is better than is the song.

    No 1 Culture Club “Karma Chameleon”
    Boy George dressed in Yellow with a hat that is almost like a crown out of Alice in Wonderland; ther rest of the band dressed as American Footballers or cowboys for reasons unknown. Quality pop that hides its lyrical tensions and pains behind a bright singalong surface. Very good.

    dance out to Hot Streak “Body Work”
    Not a notably distinguished bit of electro. Zoo could have justified their existence by doing some break-dancing to this, but they don’t, so.

    A more than tolerable edition.

  111. 111
    lockedintheattic on 24 Apr 2017 #

    @106 & @107 – those backing singers are the wonderful ‘Fabulous Wealthy Tarts’ and sadly this was their last outing with Paul Young. They totally made this one and ‘Love of the Common People’, everything he did after was a hell of a lot duller.

    More about them here: https://ifyouwerethere1980s.wordpress.com/tag/the-fabulous-wealthy-tarts/

  112. 112
    Mark G on 25 Apr 2017 #

    So, is that not them on The Regents’ “17” single?

  113. 113
    Adam Puke on 25 Apr 2017 #

    Loved the Numskulls tribute in the Heaven 17 video, never seen that before.

  114. 114
    speedwell54 on 25 Apr 2017 #

    @112 The backing singers on the Regents “7 teen” single are named on “So it Goes” blog as Kath Best and Bic Brack. After Regents split Martin Sheller (Regents) worked with Bic and Ben Brack(?) writing and producing. “Musica Pop” a single by ‘the Bic’ is on eBay. Only one source for this info but seems ok.

  115. 115
    Lazarus on 26 Apr 2017 #

    #111 But doesn’t Powell introduce ‘Come back and Stay’ as Paul Young and the Royal Family? I don’t remember that at all, how long did he use that for? Were they credited as that on the record, and if not why mention them? It would have been like saying “here’s Elvis Costello, and Afrodiziak.” I do remember the Fabulously Wealthy Tarts though.

    Ryan Paris was OK, at least you could (sort of) dance to it. I much preferred it to FR David’s effort from earlier in the year. A later single of his was ‘Harry’s Bar’ – not, I assume, the surprise Xmas hit from Gordon Haskell of a few years ago (which we’ll come to eventually on Popular, I suppose).

    We missed a week of course (hence Status Quo being on twice in a row) with Jimmy Savile, still, being one of the presenters, and for similar reasons (DLT) we will also miss the following show, that of 29 September, when the largely unlamented Zoo made their final appearance. As remarked on the start-of-year doc, there was no real need for them once everyone was doing videos.

  116. 116
    speedwell54 on 29 Apr 2017 #

    Jensen and John present this week’s edition dressed as Roman soldiers. Kicking off with Freeez and Pop Goes My Love. More scratching on this and less jazz funk. To my ears it doesn’t really work, and their chart career was over save remixes. White gloved dancers try and fail to distract you from Rocca’s awful cardigan.

    Bowie on video again twktc.

    Kid is still saying Depech-ay Mode and “Love In Itself” . A bit less catchy and a bit less a hit. Martin is wearing clothes you could walk down the street in- for the first time. The freestyle bit at the end is a bit weird. John refers to them as Depech-ay too.

    Meatloaf and “Midnight at the Lost and Found” and he commits to the performance as always. It’ a video, but a performance in a much bigger space than totp could provide. He must win the league of number of words per hit. He turns up in an episode of Elementary this year.

    Nick Heyward and “Blue Hat for a Blue Hat” pleasant enough but a bit background. He brought out some great stuff post Haircut but this isn’t a favourite. A new album, trailed years ago does seem to be coming out this summer called “Woodland Echoes” -has to be worth a listen.

    New Song – Howard Jones on a rather LD video with a cast who look like they won a raffle. Song 7 video 3.

    David Grant – Love Will Find A Way. This is rather dull and nmcot at all. Kid says “a-prancing” as he introduces him but I don’t think he’s being negative. He definitely is prancing about.

    Charts, and there are a few acts that passed me by -‘Unique’ and ‘Body Work’ mean nothing. The Alarm and “68 Guns” up next, a repeat from a couple of weeks ago I think. Drummer Nigel Twist signed my copy of “Rain In The Summertime” in HMV Middlesbrough in 1987.

    New Order – “Blue Monday” Live performance repeated from a few months ago. Amateurhour. Chart countdown to number one and Culture Club the performance from a fortnight ago. Out the The Rock Steady Crew. John Peel smiles; it might have been false.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  117. 117
    chelovek na lune on 30 Apr 2017 #

    6 Oct 1983
    Kid n Peel as Roman legionaries

    Freeez – Pop Goes My Love
    Weak and forgettable, and forgotten, follow-up. Almost some proto-scratching among mid-80s generic pre-programmed sounds. A b-side at best.

    David Bowie – Modern Love (on video)
    Very much better.

    Depech”ay” Mode – Love In Itself.2
    Continuing down the road away from tweeness, but still poppy alongside incipient melancholia. Retaining bibbly-bobbly keyboard bits. This is pretty decent, bodes well for the future, etc. Hints of being masterful, even. Playing a keyboard sitting on top of a grand piano is a statement.

    Meat Loaf – Midnight At The Lost And Found (on video)
    More electronic-sounding than it might be, and the drum machine sounds haven’t aged well either. No rhyme is too obvious to be avoided. Motorbikes on stage, but surprisingly little leather on display. Pretty poor show for Mr Loaf, really, all round.

    Nick Heyward “Blue Hat For A Blue Day”
    The instrumentation is probably the most interesting thing about this. But ultimately the Colour Field did this sort of sensitive moody pop more proficiently. As, with more energy and intensity, did the completely overlooked Friends Again. This is pleasant enough in itself, just a bit disappointing given what Haircut 100 had appeared to promise.

    Howard Jones “New Song” (on video)
    Factory workshop vid, and on the grimy 1983 London Underground – I bet that’s the same Holborn platform that Aqua visited much later on., then in an anarchic school classroom, complete with master in gown and cap & mortarboard. Truly a disappeared world all round. The song looks to the future admirably, though.

    David Grant – Love Will Find A Way
    Just remembered he did have a connection with Junior Giscombe – through Linx – who also seemed to get inexplicably frequent appearances on ToTP with mediocre material. This is a not terrible bit of contemporary and vaguely slinky R&B-cum-soul, but it is,at best, inessential.


    The Alarm – 68 Guns
    A burst of energy, at least. Big Country were doing this sort of thing much more convincingly though..

    Charts. Black Lace!

    New Order – Blue Monday (repeat of their earlier live performance from TOTP)
    A bare performance, Hooky’s bass in full effect.

    Charts. Tracey Ullman new at no 9

    No 1 Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
    repeat I think of previous TOTP performance with American Football Players disguise. Quality pop.

    Dance out to Rocksteady Crew “(Hey You) Rocksteady Crew”) which is really not good. Not at all. Poor electro + atrocious rap. Nice synth rhythms running in the background though.

  118. 118
    chelovek na lune on 30 Apr 2017 #

    13 Oct 1983
    Peter Powell & Richard Skinner

    Roman Holliday – Motormania
    More unremarkable revivalist retro Americana of sorts from this lot. One week at no 40. Sounds about right.

    Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know (no video)
    Also with a retro feel, and a Robin Reliant in the video (not a brand that Roman Holliday had mentioned in their track), man in gold lamé top at a bowling alley. Superior and even beautiful pop, and the doo-wops fit in well. Classy.

    Black Lace – Superman (Gioca Jouer)
    “A sensation in the clubs” says Skinner. Hmm, the usual “make the actions that the shouting guy tells you to do” thing. Dreadful. Notable mostly for the keyboardist with a sooty puppet on his left hand.

    Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Dear Prudence” (on video)
    Goth moodiness showing how a cover can be done effectively. A fine thing, and giving them a commerical success that some of their – no less brilliant – recent self-compositions had somehow escaped.

    George Benson – In Your Eyes (on your video)
    A likeable and warm bit of soul.

    Bucks Fizz – London Town
    Still exactly the same sound they were churning out some blinders in 81 and 82. Worse, there a bits that are almost a lift from “If You Can’t Stand The Heat”. But – urgh – it’s just not much of a song, despite having charactestically attractive Fizz features. Time has moved on and left them behind. Also fails to portray London in anything like a recognizable way…


    Lydia Murdock – Superstar
    An answer song to “Billie Jean” and based around similar beats and tune. “I’m Billie Jean, I’m mad as hell”. A curio, essentially, but the performance even verges on the haunting in places.

    Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” (on video)
    Powell’s favourite record in the chart, he says. Maybe I just find it tiresome through excess repetition over the years, but I find it difficult to care for.

    Culture Club “Karma Chameleon” (on video)
    Strangely the video (“set in 1880s Mississippi” says Wiki) mostly doesn’t do the song any favours, or bring out neither its emotional complexities nor its colour.

    Dance out to Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson “Say Say Say”
    which is a really unimpressive song

  119. 119
    speedwell54 on 1 May 2017 #

    13/10/83 Powell got some feedback about his suit last time out so he’s got a birthday jumper on tonight. Skinner joins him as co host and co jumper wearer.

    Motormania – Roman Holliday- I had a quick look on their website. 1981 four gigs, 1982 c50 gigs, pubs mainly, 1983 c250 gigs, nightclubs and universities. The week after this TOTP they did a twelve date, six country tour of Europe supporting Culture Club. A week off and thirteen date tour in the States supporting the Stray Cats. 1984 it drops off completely back to clubs and that was about it. Typical pattern of many I guess. This track is not great and Mr Jinx Powell gives them praise and a bright future.

    Tracy Ullman- “They Don’t Know” Sixties video and Ullman displays her acting skills in this film which features a cameo from McCartney. Writer MacColl sings backing vocals and the “baby”s on this.

    Superman- Black Lace. Powell becomes factual on his link. (If he likes something he always says) Rather like Matthew Kelly on “Stars In Their Eyes” -mainly the celebrity ones – after some talentless performance that the best make up and costume can’t disguise, he has to say something and falls back to the classic “you looked like you really enjoyed yourself there”

    Siouxsie and The Banshees – Dear Prudence staying close to the original but adding enough to make it worthwhile. Katfish had a small hit cover in the States with a slightly rockier version in the 70s.

    George Benson “In Your Eyes” nmcot. but good.

    Bucks Fizz – London Town. Bobby G voice sounds pretty strange at the beginning. The song has the right ingredients but somehow fails. And not for nothing London is a city.

    Lydia Murdock- She’s not rapping but talking. Curious as to these “answer” songs as to who signs off on the copyright element. Countdown.

    Lionel Ritchie- “All Night Long (All Night)” the graphics don’t quite get the song title correct. The girl on Peter’s left shoulder is preening herself as the cameras move round and then she starts to clap too early and has to stop. Peter does his stilted speech pattern which he falls into with three word titles/groups. All, pause Night, pause Long. It jars when the double comes up Pet Shop Boys with “West End Girls”. “Throw a-way the work to be done” is the line that sticks in my head. Video is really well put together and very slick compared to a lot of British stuff at the time. Song nmcot.

    Charts Culture Club on video. Everyone dressed up in period costume apart from Boy George, who looks like he’s just mugged Claire’s Accessories.

    Out to Say Say Say MaCartney/Jackson – I like this song but the video helped a lot. Chart career bit unusual as they didn’t co-ordinate release dates of single and video and it probably cost them a number 1. Chart career starts 25-10-13-14-3-2-2.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  120. 120
    Mark M on 1 May 2017 #

    Seeing/hearing that Roman Holliday track made me think of The Mavericks, a bit later in history – in theory a lightweight, poppy variation on those ingredients could be a good thing, but here, in practice, it’s cloying and annoying.

    On They Don’t Know, I’m trying to think of other examples of what I’m going to clumsily call the fully authorised cover, i.e. with the involvement of the person who made the original. Sandie Shaw’s Morrissey-initiated, Marr/Rourke/Joyce-powered version of Hand In Glove is an obvious case, and Mary J Blige’s take on U2’s One, but I’m sure there are many more.

    I didn’t know that the video for All Night Long was directed by New Hollywood heavyweight Bob Rafelson. Can’t say there are any obvious traces of Head or Five Easy Pieces in it – not quite sure why Lionel wanted him for the job. Rafelson – who knew Huey Newton – apparently laid down the law on race-and-class issues on the shoot, which sounds a bit like whitesplaining.

  121. 121
    Mark G on 1 May 2017 #

    Last time Roman Holliday were on, I remembered that they cited John Peel as helping them with the offer of a session, etc, and that it was on the 2nd disc of a double single. So I looked it up on discogs, and found that the trumpeter was an old school friend who I caught up with on FB not that long ago. Well, you’d have thought I’d have known it at the time, but no. Anyway, he had longish brown hair last time I saw him in 6th form, so thaw my excuse..

    Anyway, I would add that Kirsty did the high-note ‘bay-beh’ bit on Tracey’s version, and there is a bit of Morrissey warble on Sandie’s version of “I don’t owe you anything”

  122. 122
    Steve Williams on 2 May 2017 #

    You’ve got to admire the cheek of Freeez following a song with the chorus “A-E-I-O-U” with one with “1,2,3,4,5,6” in the lyrics.

    I loved that Howard Jones video because I love old clips of the Underground. Of course, everything looks grotty and old on film, much like the Euro Chart looked like it was direct from 1953. I wish location stuff was still on film on telly shows these days.

  123. 123
    Mark G on 2 May 2017 #

    I miss distant football matches being broadcast by beaming just-about-ok pictures along with the commentary coming down a telephone line. It made it feel like a long way away, because it was.

  124. 124
    AP on 3 May 2017 #

    Roman Holliday ended up as Sam Fox’s backing band later in the 80s, iirc

  125. 125
    Jimmy the Swede on 6 May 2017 #

    Just nipping back to comment on Men Without Hats and their wonderfully dotty “Safety Dance”. This ticked all sorts of boxes for me. The song itself is brilliantly delivered by Ivan Doroschuk in a rich baritone not unlike Phil Oakey’s against the backdrop of an excellent arrangement. But of course it’s the video which grabs the attention – the bonkers dwarves and the mad goings-on straight out of The Wicker Man. But whereas that great, if totally disturbing, film featured three beautiful women dancing wildly alongside the procession, this time we have just the one, albeit an extraordinarily lovely one. Back in the day I assumed that she was a Canadian but it has since turned out that she is English and a future editor-in-chief of “Cosmopolitan” – one Louise Court. She has, amongst other things been listed as “Lunatic Blonde Girl in the Safety Dance Video” and happily coughs to indeed being the gal in the vid. She is still beautiful today in her mid fifties. Meanwhile, just to even the score, Janice Long declared Ivan “gorgeous” too. Something for everyone on this woefully underrated offering.

  126. 126
    flahr on 6 May 2017 #

    I had never seen the video before – it was quite unsettling how serious Ivan looks in it! For something fairly 80s and noveltyish I suppose it is a pretty didactic song lyrically speaking, but his stern facial expression and stentorian air make it seem like if you don’t get boogieing on down immediately he’s half a mind to deck you.

    I also expected him to have been wearing a hat, which I realise is despite direct instruction.

  127. 127
    Mark M on 6 May 2017 #

    Re125: Blimey, I never knew that Louise Court was the woman from the Safety Dance video. Unless I knew and forgot, which seems unlikely. (I freelanced for about six months at Cosmo during her editorship. Big CPFC fan). You’d have thought it would be something someone in the office would tell you on your first day.

  128. 128
    Mark M on 6 May 2017 #
  129. 129
    Lazarus on 6 May 2017 #

    Although I have to admit I’ve not heard of Louise Court, I remember the video very well and had always assumed that the crazy blonde was the singer’s girlfriend, as is usually the way of these things.

    That line in the ABC song grates to this day – one of the worst ever rhymes in pop, it makes no sense and doesn’t even scan. “Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles” would have ticked every box.

  130. 130
    Mark G on 6 May 2017 #

    I just popped in to say, no Lazarus that’s not better.

    OK, my go.

    ‘Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, I make a leap of faith but then I stumble’

    Your go..

  131. 131
    flahr on 7 May 2017 #

    “Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, I want love not another midnight fumble”

  132. 132
    chelovek na lune on 7 May 2017 #

    Yeah, that line is a rare slip from ABC. “Beauty Stab”, as much (at least as much) as their better known first album, is filled with clever and well-scanning lyrics. And this one, taking pride of place on its debut single.

    “Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, I would shout but I am far too humble”

    Nah, not much better. Tip: don’t end a line that requires a rhyme with “grumble”

  133. 133
    chelovek na lune on 7 May 2017 #

    20 Oct 1983
    Peebles and Long

    David Grant – “Love Will Find A Way”
    A fairly boring start

    Peebles calls on “the breakers and the body-poppers”:
    Rocksteady Crew “(Hey You) Rocksteady Crew” (on video)
    There’s a bit of innovative dancing in the video, as he said, and I suppose the whole thing was breaking new ground (in Europe, anyway), but it’s not much cop, not least the way it constantly repeats itself.

    Howard Jones “New Song”
    Another song we’ve seen on TOTP before, but at lease one that stands the test of time. Drama with the man in chains is a bit too drama school maybe.

    Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” (on video)
    Video is hilarious, with its choreographed dramatisation of blue collar work, very much in the Broadway musical tradition. The song, of course, is class. The best thing by far on the show yet.

    Gary Numan “Sister Surprise”
    Long dedicates this to “the Numanoid fans” (it being increasingly clear these were the only people buying Numan’s records by now). Great electronic sounds and tone, and the usual robotic feel, but this seems like a pastiche of previous and better Numan tracks (especially “Music for Chameleons”) , alas. Long instrumental sections that don’t disguise that this isn’t much of a song. For the Numanoid fans only.

    Freeez – “Pop Goes My Love”
    Another dull and insubstantial track we’ve heard before. Even dancers doing robotic moves on podiums as though they are encaged can’t make this a winner.

    Elton John “Kiss The Bride” (on video)
    A posse on bikes at the start at the video, just as there had been at the end of the Billy Joel video. This is a bit better than run-of-the-mill, Elton was good form round about this time, but from his catalogue overall this track is definitely middiing rather than top drawer.


    Depeche Mode “Love In Itself.2” (Peebles with the correct pronunciation, Long having gone “ay” at the start of the show and again after their performance)
    Another one we’ve seen before. There’s a carefully honed minimalism on display here at times- including bits that seem to be a precursor to the rather brilliant “A Question of Lust”. Yep they sure are developing and maturing.

    Men Without Hats “The Safety Dance” (on video)
    Mrs Trudeau chucks in a token French word, amid much vaguely mediaeval frolicking in the countryside with maypoles and an annoying jester. Imagine Denis Thatcher – or Cherie Blair – or Philip May- doing the same. This is fun.

    Culture Club “Karma Chameleon”
    Another repeat of their “American footballers” performance in the TOTP studio. Proper quality pop music, in a different league entirely from most of the other stuff on this edition….

    Quick cut to remove reference to disgraced beardy DJ
    Dance out to Meat Loaf “Midnight At the Lost and Found”, which is not great at all.

    A fairly mediocre edition overall.

  134. 134
    Adam Puke on 8 May 2017 #

    Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, if only all bees could be bumbles.

  135. 135
    chelovek na lune on 11 May 2017 #

    3 Nov 1983
    Powell n Read

    ABC “That Was Then But This Is Now”
    Ditching the gold lamé for something more approachable, and with great crashing metal guitars, and a dreadful lyric about apple crumble. I love the new, Beauty Stab, sound, and think the album is wrongly overlooked and underrated…But….this single….is not its strongest moment. I can see why they chose it, its commercial hook – and it’s adventurous, very capably performed and likeable. But from the creators of “All Of My Heart”….one can see why one might want more. Good but not outstanding. Annoying they cut it off just before the feedback-filled ending…

    Donna Summer – “Unconditional Love” (on video)
    Musical Youth have a hand here too. A heavy hand. Donna is handing out rulers to children in a school demanding the kids’ unconditional love in return, all over a reggae beat. The lyrics are a bit modern hymn in places. My sense, on one listen is; there are so many bad ideas here I don’t know where to begin, and not quite enough of Donna Summer herself showing off her vocal talents… I imagine it could be a grower, or at least stick in your head, maybe…..

    Elton John “Kiss The Bride”
    In studio at the Jo’anna in a hat he might have nicked from a buliding site foreman who aspired to join the Italian traffic police. Like the song, this is neither bad nor distinguished. The assertive dancing and jumping elsewhere on stage does fit the act.

    The Police “Synchrocity II”(on video)
    Family drama with Jungian analysis. Interesting – and possibly too complex for the constraints of a 3-minute single. A “dystopian” video.. Earnest. And nearly as pompous as Fish-era Marillion. Jesus.

    Status Quo “A Mess Of Blues”
    An cover of an early Elvis single, but in the very generic Quo style. Unremarkable.

    Madness “The Sun and the Rain” (on video)
    Nutty Boys in London vid, of course. Old school entertainers. A gentle and relatively subtle song for them. Nice piano bits.

    Shakin’ Stevens “Cry Just A Little Bit”
    Drum machine not doing Shaky many favours here. Then the dreaded 80 sax enters. Too generic Shaky for words.

    New no 1 Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” (on video)
    Highlight of the show.

    Dance out to Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”

    Not really a good edition either.

  136. 136
    Mark G on 12 May 2017 #

    More Balloons! It’s TOTP ferchrissake!

    Jensen and Peel in panto mode, just to prove they can do this, and provide a sly wink to the rest of us..

    Musical Youth look no older at this point, and get to do a pretty decent cover of “007” a shanty town..

    Talking of panto, here’s Adam Ant hanging on by his fingernails with the song of Puss In Boots. Karen Landau. There you go. His next single would feature Frida from Abba doing a voice-over. You won’t be seeing that one on TOTP, or much else for a while from him..

    So here I am, cribbing from Popscene as to what was on, but I guess I missed Marilyn when I was watching this (edit?) repeat, so I shall refrain from comment for now. Remind me, I might come back to do that one…

    Anyhow, it’s Eurythmics time and Annie is wearing a Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat. Like a mattress on a bottle of wine, indeed. Anyway, Dave Stewart has one of those plastic guitars that got discovered in a warehouse find around this time. They looked cool, no idea if they were any good or not. Slightly above the ones that you could buy back in the day with The Beatles’ faces on, but not by much I would say..

    And now, following a chart rundown, it’s that bundle of reticence that is Robert Smith and The Cure. See, in the video he’s mugging like crazy but here he’s channeling Syd Barrett doing Apples and Oranges on Dick Clarke’s show. Anyway, he bursts a balloon at the end, so we all end up happy. Note: Subtitles are, well, they have the correct lyrics, a couple of lines on this one I never knew, but someone’s gone nutty with the commas: “We Missed, You Hissed, The LoveCats”! Nooh it’s “We missed you”, hissed the Love Cats.

    Anyway, more chart rundown, then Billy Joel with Uptown Girl, you know, and now one of my highlights of TOTP for all time: The Zoo Dancers take “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and render it more cheerful than Russ Abbot’s “Atmosphere”, Whoo noises, more balloons, and bloke gets to mug frantically at the fade of the show. You’ll either laugh till you cry, or walk away in silence…

    God, people: You wonder why I don’t do these elongated show descriptions so much these days? Man! And I’m very annoyed as my Tivo box deleted the two shows I was hoping to keep forever from this year, the “New Order live” one and the “Twisted Sister and Heaven 17” one. Godammint! I mean, I’m way behind the saving of the Punk/NewWave hits to DVD disc, but I guess that’s what Youtube is for – I’ll have to see if the full episodes are there someplace. I did find the “100th Episode” there, yesterday. Was tempted to review that one here, but it didn’t seem appropriate somehow.

    Anyway, pass you onto the next one – This show was not exactly bad, not exactly good. Boom Shanker, as they say in Pizza Hut.

  137. 137
    chelovek na lune on 16 May 2017 #

    10 Nov 1983
    Jensen n Peel in Robin Hood gear

    Musical Youth “007”
    A competent Desmond Dekker cover, that is either a low-key glorification of criminality or possibly a warning against it rather than a direct homage to the secret agentcraft that the title might suggest, this would sound pretty good blasted out in Notting Hill, it has rhythm and life, and a riff surely nicked from “The Tide Is High”. For a group who could frequently be severely irritating, this is not bad at all.

    Adam Ant “Puss In Boots” (on video)
    Peel periliously close to making a “pussy” joke at the start. The video has lots of people in various kinds of get up as cats and mice. On the road from Highgate to central London he has a chance to make a right Whittington of himself. Video is fun, but musically this is not much more than a rehashing of past glories,fresh out the wash. Enjoyable enough and pretty decent with an insistent chorus -but a couple of years earlier this man had been something else entirely, the world was at his feet…now it is merely entertained. Well entertained, admittedly In retrospect – not so odd it was his final top tenner, stlil.

    Marilyn “Calling Your Name”
    Comment about “dressing up in silly costume” that I don’t think would cut the mustard in context nowadays (still, the Kid is Robin Hood, so maybe). Overhyped, maybe, but this has an easy and gently swaying charm about it. Light entertainment, essentially.

    Eurythmics “Right By Your Side”
    Annie Lennox dressed up like Alyson Williams, years ahead of her time, dark glasses, African hat with leopard printmatched by a shawl thing that could just be a real leopard. Dave Phillips in smart white jacket, backing gospel singers. A tropical feel musically too. Oh so postcolonial. One of the more interesting, capable, and eclectic, singles acts of the 80s stlil on a run of good form.


    Limahl “Only For Love”
    Dinghied from Kajagoogoo already despite having been the best thing about them, this is a curio, really. Female backing vocals giving it woo woo during the chorus being the best part. Otherwise – gah, it’s a factory produced Kajagoogoo track that is not up to very much, but is not devoid of appeal – maybe for the very contemporary synth sounds if for no other reason.

    Peel with an arrow thru his head

    The Cure “Love Cats”
    Marmite-like song maybe. Nice double bass bits. Neurotic outsiderdom romance of course. And singalong. But to my ears the inferior of the two cat-themed songs tonight.

    Top 10 video show brought back . Sort of Well top 9 anyway
    Madness “The Sun And The Rain”. great vid of course, and decent song of course
    Culture Club “Karma Chameleon” vid doesn’t live up to the song or particularly suit it IMO
    Men Without Hats “Safety Dance” medieval revelry
    Duran Duran “Union Of The Snake” posturing
    Adam Ant “Puss N Boots” as above
    Shakin Stevens “Cry Just A Little Bit” well, a bit tedious, tbh. So naturally we are inflicted with a lot of this one.
    Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson “Say Say Say” very much less than the sum of its parts, though the Jacko bits beat the Macca bits easily
    Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” happy but annoying,. So lots of that too.

    no 1
    Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” (on video)
    As previously discussed. One of the picks of this top 10 anyway.

    Dance out (incongruously) to Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
    Russ Abbot “Atmosphere” dancing.

    Pretty agreeable edition overall

  138. 138
    chelovek na lune on 16 May 2017 #

    24 Nov 1983

    Skipped a week because Savile. Which means we missed the glories of Aztec Camera’s “Oblivious” & Vince Clarke + Feargal Sharkey AKA the Assembly’s rather brilliant “Never Never”

    Bates n Skinner

    Paul Young ” Love Of The Common People”
    Very 80s purple n pink n white patterned sweater. As for the gel-laded haircut. Unlike all the visual accoutrements, this updating and presentation of an older song has aged really well though.. Blue-eyed soul with a hint of gospel. Classy.

    Tina Turner “Let’s Stay Together”
    Second cover in a row, and her first top 40 appearance for a decade. I think it fails the “do it differently or do it better” test, as while her vocal range is obviously not that of the Revd Green, and there’s a very slight latin touch here, the style is not wildly different from the original. And it sure is not better. Pitifully bad and overblown in places, even.

    Smiths “This Charming Man”
    Gladioli-a-go-go, obviously a ground-breaking appearance. Certainly a new niche sound gaining some level of popular approval. And man it’s good. Mozza thumbs his nose at the audience like he would. More flowers, fewer balloons would be a good approach for the TOTP producers to take.

    Thompson Twins “Hold Me Now”
    More subtle than some of their recent hits, a bit pedestrian even. Better than wallpaper music, just. It don’t alf go on though.

    Marilyn “Calling Your Name”
    In futuristic specs and a skimpy white thing & red trousers, maybe this was more about image than raw talent after all. Can’t help but think he looks like a camper Miles from the Wonder Stuff here. The song is alright.

    Charts. Yes “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”

    Simple Minds “Waterfront”
    Before they got extraordinarily mindblowingly pompous, but signs that some of their earlier lighter touch has already grown a coat of unwelcome pomp and circumstance. This is not good. And man it goes on and on and on.


    Style Council ” A Solid Bond In Your Heart” (on video)
    Back to late Jam style. , vid at a disco at Woking FC, Energy and drive aplenty with a hint of ill-defined raucousness/mod laddishness somehow. Competent. But underwhelming.

    No 1
    Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” (on video) as discussed oft

    Obviously editing out of reference to DLT.

    Dance out to Eurythmics “Right By Your Side”

    A bit mixed.

  139. 139
    swanstep on 18 May 2017 #

    @chelovek, #138. Re: Tina Turner’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ cover. When I hear the tune now with full awareness of Green’s original I think it does sound to me much as you describe it here. But my memory of hearing it as a teen back in 1983 when Al Green was completely unknown to me was that it sounded *fantastic*, very sensual, a great groove, etc.. I think that that was a pretty common reaction at the time, so much so that I remember some reviews of Tina’s Private Dancer album the next year being quite sniffy about it and explicitly lamenting that she would have done better to have kept working with Heaven 17 (i.e., because her LST was so great).

  140. 140
    Lazarus on 25 May 2017 #

    Livebloggin’ one for a change … Peel and Jensen in charge tonight with the Kid rockin’ the Christmas jumper. As last seen on the Specials, a year earlier I believe? I didn’t realise this had been a Thing for quite so long.

    Slade – well they have another hit in the charts of course but this perennial from ten (just ten!) years earlier has returned to the chart as well. No big hats or fancy dress this time though, well except on Dave of course. He couldn’t let us down.

    Culture Club – ‘will almost certainly be at number one by the time you read this’ ran the blurb on the first Now album, but they reckoned without a crew of chancers who we’ll come across soon. Lush and rather lovely, with a video to match, this was much loved by Mrs Laz and so of course I have a soft spot for it as well.

    Billy Joel – retro video introduced by an ersatz Ed Sullivan. This was a 45 release before ‘Uptown Girl’ if memory serves, but missed the chart completely, though it was too strong a song not to get a second chance. Still sounds good, having not had the over-exposure of his biggest hit.

    Waterman/Cole – the third hit from ‘Minder’ if you count the Firm’s ‘Arthur Daley’. We never did see ‘er indoors did we, she was one of the great unseen TV battleaxe wives, like Mrs Mainwairing, and Mrs Barraclough. Good live vocal and this still makes me smile, unseasonal though it may be.

    Chart 30-21. Roland Rat, please God no!

    Paul McCartney – another vid, and this one is well-known. A future number 1 of course. WW1 Xmas day-footie game theme. He’s done better, for sure, but I don’t mind hearing the Pipes of Peace – at least they’re not bagpipes this time. Chart 20-11.

    Howard Jones – not sure if this is a repeat. His biggest hit, I think? On its way to number 2, possibly kept at bay by the aforementioned Macca. Howie in red boiler suit, no chain guy this time. Strong chorus. He deserved his 15 minutes (and then some) I reckon.

    Top 10. Big climb for the Quo, the record that saw off Alan Lancaster I believe.

    No. 1 – Flying Pickets – future Corrie actor – last seen heading off with Mike Baldwin’s Jag – sings lead on this. One of them looks like Uncle Fester. A not unpleasant novelty. I’ll take it over the shite that Cowell has served up over the last 15 years any day.

    And there it is folks, merry Christmas!! The Rat sees us out, never mind. Wasn’t a bad show all considered.

  141. 141
    chelovek na lune on 29 May 2017 #

    8 Dec 1983
    Skipped another week.

    Read n Vance dressed as Thomson and Thompson a.k.a Dupont et Dupond

    The Thompson Twins “Hold Me Now”
    Still a bit indistinguished if inoffensive. And far too long.

    Read bringing on a Chinese guy to help him with his numbers. Shoot me now.

    Billy Joel “Tell Her About It” (on video)
    Which is a good bit of songwriting at least

    Paul Young “The Love Of The Common People”
    Best song of the show so far, by far. Joel also had a bit of the semi-gospel backing vox.
    Young looks disconcertingly like a cross between Gary Glitter (excessive hair gel) and Cliff Richard (fresh face) in this performance. The song is just lovely though.

    Tina Turner “Let’s Stay Together” (on video)
    Read says Turner “allegedly taught Mick Jagger how to dance”. I have my doubts. As things go, a bad cover version is still a bad cover version.

    Tears For Fears “The Way You Are”
    Fair to say this qualifies as a “forgotten single” (v odd chart run too, peaking at no 24 on its 7th and final week in the T40). Although characteristic early TFF touches are present, it feels a bit unfinished as a song, not a patch on “Pale Shelter” or “Mad World”.

    Howard Jones “What Is Love?”
    A second promising single to follow a first, a slight change of pace, a bit less in-your-face, more introspective than immediately demanding. Keyboards and wide open spaces. 1981 Futurism still lives, and thrives.


    Culture Club “Victims” (on video)
    A great showpiece for Boy George’s super voice, mostly, over some tender piano, a change of pace from Culture Club that works reasonably, if not outstandingly,well. Probably more than sufficient to get the Club the “singles act of the year” honour.

    No 1 Flying Pickets “Only You” (Read wearing a jacket with their name on the back)
    Still prefer the Yazoo version, but this is something different anyway. And the next miners’ strike was still yet to begin.
    Vance says, mysteriously to a vocalising Read (and maybe I am missing a reference” “If you carry on like that Mike, you’ll never get a number 1 anywhere, not even on the Isle of Dogs”

    Dance out to Wham! “Club Fantastic Megamix” (which really is their forgotten single, and deservedly so).

    Not a great edition overall

  142. 142
    Lazarus on 30 May 2017 #

    I noticed that comment from Tommy Vance too. Mike Read had released several singles at that point which had all failed to chart (the Guinness compilers noted his misfortune when explaining their decision to restrict the book to the Top 75, since a couple of his ’83/84 releases did get into the 76-100 section), and must have been particularly miffed when new boy Steve Wright beat him to it. No idea where the Isle of Dogs came into it though.

  143. 143
    chelovek na lune on 1 Jun 2017 #

    Lazarus @142, I did wonder if it might be a “flying picket” allusion – maybe with reference to industrial unrest in the London Docks, which I think there had been in first half the 1970s (before the docks on the Island closed)…but maybe that’s too remote. Either that or implying something about hanging out with the NF types that used to abound in Millwall? Not sure…

  144. 144
    chelovek na lune on 1 Jun 2017 #

    15 Dec 1983
    Bates n Long

    Status Quo “Marguerita Time”
    Not their worst single of the year, but a bit more of the same old same old, of course. Has an end of the pier feel about it in places. The Quo look very happy in this edition. Fair play.

    UB40 “Many Rivers To Cross” (on video)
    Video set in a church, with gospel singers hanging about mostly providing very subtle accompaniment, Ali Campbell dressed as a preacher of sorts . The song? Fairly middling mid-tempo UB40 pop-reggae, neither here nor there but not unpleasant.

    Slade “My Oh My”
    Strange how this has largely been forgotten, as it’s a decent enough swing-along sing-along thing that might have qualified as “soft metal” a few years later. As Read says, 10 years on from its first release, “Merry Xmas Everybody” is in the charts as well, but this shows another side of Slade, worthily and attractively.

    Barry Manilow “Read Em And Weep” (on video)
    A Steinman composition. Not really sure how much it suits the Housewives’ Favourites’ style. The clown costumes in the vid don’t really. Song is fine, singer is fine, but do they go together? Not convinced.


    Pretenders “2000 Miles”
    The enduring Christmas classic from this year. And it is a delight.


    Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton “Islands In The Stream” (on video)
    Also something of a classic now, and deservedly so. Nice bit of country, talented performers, performing the work of talented songwriters. That’s how you do it.


    Flying Pickets “Only You”
    Dressed as snowmen, because. Including one with a pipe in his mouth. That’d not be allowed now. The presentation is fun, adds a certain something to what is in places a spine-tingling rendition. I still prefer Yazoo’s original though.

    Dance out to Kool and the Gang “Straight Ahead”
    which seems to be forgotten now. Generic rather than dreadful.

    A short and neither outstanding nor hideous episode.

  145. 145
    Mark G on 3 Jun 2017 #

    Have to say, the recent Christmas best-of wasn’t bad, with Siouxsie and The Cure and so on. Just popped in to acknowledge that the “Love Cats” subtitles did get fixed with regard to ‘”We missed you” hissed the Love Cats’. Nice to know these comments are being seen by those at the controls…

  146. 146
    Mark G on 9 Jun 2017 #

    Hmm, that’s three songs Jim Lea has performed on this week’s TOTP, some sort of record there, yes?

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