Sep 09

Popular ’84

FT + Popular/93 comments • 6,032 views

I give every record on Popular a mark out of 10 (and if you’re registered, so can you). Here’s where, by the magic of polling, we look at the year as a whole. Tick any and all records you’d personally give 6 or more out of 10 to, and then we can use the comments box to discuss 1984 from various perspectives.

Which Of These Number One Singles Of 1984 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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My highest mark of the year was a 10 for “Two Tribes”: my lowest a (perhaps generous) 3 for Stevie W.


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  1. 31
    punctum on 4 May 2014 #

    TPL reaches its 300th post; whoopee! But pop music is never just a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that (where have I heard THAT before?): http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/various-artists-now-thats-what-i-call_4.html

  2. 32
    punctum on 6 May 2014 #

    The worst number one album to (1984) date? Worse than Star Sound, 101 Strings and the Minstrels? TPL uncovers an album with no redeeming features whatsoever. Who the hell bought the damn thing?

  3. 33
    punctum on 25 May 2014 #

    TPL on Big Country, Scotland and my relationship with both: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/big-country-steeltown.html

  4. 34
    iconoclast on 26 May 2014 #

    Beautifully written as ever, Marcello; as a fellow Scot I know exactly where you’re coming from.

  5. 35
    punctum on 26 May 2014 #

    Another TPL update, and yes, this might actually be a worse record than Tonight.

  6. 36
    punctum on 10 Jun 2014 #

    TPL update; end of 1984 days.

  7. 37
    Paulito on 9 Jun 2017 #

    On to TOTP ’84. 5th Jan, 20th anniversary edition with Peel and the Kid at the controls.

    And it’s off to a roaring start with Frankie and a pre-ban “Relax”, in at #35. Tremendous excitement in the audience and no wonder – nothing like this had been seen or heard before. And it still sounds incredible.

    Back down to earth with Rod Stewart’s “Surrender”. Harmless but dull.

    “Fluff” Freeman appears briefly for a segue into a selection of clips from surviving ’60s/early ’70s episodes.

    Quo – “Margarita Time”. Country-inflected MOR rock, almost Eagles-lite. Not a bad song – and a variation from their usual formula, at least – but spoilt. by nasty and tacky production values. Rick does an amusing pratfall across the drum kit, sending both he and the drummer to the floor.

    More oldie clips, 70s-early 80s.

    Charts 40-26.

    Frank Kelly (later famous as Jack on ‘Fr. Ted’) performs “Christmas Countdown”. Not bad as such things go, but a real oddity for the UK charts.

    Charts 25-11.

    Video chart:
    – Howard Jones – “What Is Love”. Still great synth pop.
    – Macca – “Pipes of Peace”. Much maligned, but I like it.
    – Thompson Twins, Kenny & Dolly, Billy Joel. Nowt wrong with any o’ them toons.
    – Quo again.
    – Culture Club – “Victims”. Decent,but a bit overwrought.
    – Paul Young – “Love of the Common People”. Probably his finest hour.

    Back to the studio and it’s Slade stuck at #2 with “My Oh My”. A singalong soft-rock ballad, badly dated by inelegant 80s-at-their-worst production “techniques”. A nostalgic early ’70s-styled approach would have suited the song far better and might even have helped it become something of a standard. Instead it’s utterly forgotten.

    Flying Pickets (on video) still at #1. Hard to begrudge them, but the novelty wears off after a couple of listens. Purportedly acapella, but there’s a fair bit of synth in the background and lots of effect-heavy overdubs (some of which almost sound autotuned). Contrast with the simplicity and purity of sound in “Caravan of Love” by the Housemartins.

    FGTH the only standout (but what a standout!) in an otherwise forgettable show.

  8. 38
    Lazarus on 15 Jun 2017 #

    Always a bit of a shame I think when an episode goes by unreported, so I’ll step in for last Friday’s (as there’s no show tonight) … originally aired on 12/1/84, it’s Read and Wright (geddit???!!!) The calypso kid is channelling Jacko with one white glove and, for some reason, dark glasses.

    Icicle Works – if memory serves (and I’m going to avoid looking loads of stuff up here) they were from Liverpool, and this was their only Top 20 hit. I bought the one that came out the previous summer, whose title escapes me – but I think it had brackets in it. Has quite a big sound, this. Bit of a Pete Wylie feel to it. Decent start.

    Howard Jones – now at #2 – his biggest hit. On VT this time. Still gets a fair few plays on the likes of Magic, Smooth and radio 2. He was featured, inevitably bracketed with Nik Kershaw, on the recent ’84 overview. Good album, as I may have said before.

    Shaky and Bonnie – a Welsh duo with ‘a song from the fifties’ that I doubt if many would have recognised at the time. Familiar territory for Shaky, but Bonnie is slightly out of her comfort zone here – this is a long way from ‘Total Eclipse.’ Harmless fun.

    Roland Rat – I thought we’d missed this. Utter vermin. Pass.

    Snowy White – I think he’d been in Thin Lizzy at one point? Pleasant power ballad. Prestatyn-bound though, natch. (if we’re still doing that)

    Mike Read invites us to vote for our favourite video of ’83. Then the chart. ‘Sweet Surrender’ by Rod Stewart, anyone? Not the Bread song, presumably.

    Lionel Richie – rocking it up a bit for his follow-up to ‘All Night Long’ – it’s not bad. But a megaroonie is just around the corner.

    Read now has a hat on. Chart 20-11.

    Joe Fagin – not the bloke who broke into the Queen’s bedroom, hur hur – but a Jeremy Beadle lookalike who sings the theme from ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ (getting the title into the lyric) surrounded by balloons. Again, it’s harmless, if not particularly PC.

    Top 10. And Paul McCartney, a new number one (Flying Pickets having plummeted to #10) – and as well as all the combos mentioned, he also hit #1 as part of a five-piece (the Beatles with Billy Preston!). Video already seen of course – Macca wasn’t coming into the studio by this time. Holds up well though I reckon.

    Billy Joel sees us out. And while trying to write on here I’ve been interrupted at least ten times by pop-ups which change the page – anyone else getting this? Perhaps the long-absent host could sort it out at some point.

    Laters – hopefully …

  9. 39
    speedwell54 on 22 Jun 2017 #

    19/01/1894 Top of the Pops

    Powell and Bates host and we kick off with Whitesnake who had a fair few line ups; Coverdale the only ever present member at every reunion. In my memory they always had such mundane titles, or titles that were similar to other songs. Case in point, this is called “Give Me More Time” but he actually sings “give me just a little more time” The opening guitar riff sounds a bit Brian May, but I can’t place it. The guitar solo is not delivered at breakneck speed and the chorus is pure pop.His voice is much heavier than the song. Not awful but predictable.

    Shall we get something new from Big Country? Well it’s not off The Crossing but could have been. Wonderland -On video and outside on location in – I’m guessing -Scotland. With snow underfoot Stuart braves it in a jumper, whilst the rest wimp out with thick coats.

    Fiction Factory -(Feels Like) Heaven – total classic, but take it all in guys as this was it unfortunately. “High high new entry” says Peter, not that “high high” at 28 with four higher.

    China Crisis- Would argue another classic if not a little more subtle. In 2017 appearing with Paul Young and Toyah, but not calling in at Prestatyn.
    Part of a small group of acts where their biggest hit is the one where the usual lead vocalist took a back seat.

    Charts – notable for the first appearance of Madonna at 40 with Holiday.

    Gloria Gaynor – “I Am What I Am” -from the Tony Award winning score the La Cage Aux Folles. Too much eye shadow and eyeliner on Glors but it doesn’t matter anyway. Anthem with many fans.

    Charts again. John Lennon – Nobody Told Me – on video (really) another archive clips edited production. Pipes of Peace- Paul McCartney. I know there’s not much love for this one and it has it shortcomings, but it is undoubtedly well crafted and put together. It has the alternate tune like Uncle Albert and Live and Let Die. These two back to back tonight and I don’t know if John and Paul are so far apart. John out of his mind about the future and questioning what kind of world we have to look forward to, and Paul begging for people to stick together. (pre Heather obvs)

    Out to King of Pain- No video from the Police for this one and after a 32 to 17 climb last week it took a dive to 21 and that was it. We were denied seeing Stewart drumming some furniture too.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.
    Wiki says there was a vid for King Of Pain. No memory of this. You Tube suggests it may not have been available Jan 1984. Pass.

  10. 40
    Mark G on 29 Jun 2017 #

    In the midst of life, we are in nostalgia. Or, at least, what we get confronted with along with the fast-forward button.. Its TOTP, a Peel and Jensen one..

    Musical Yout’ have a hit but not many left I’m guessing. They do the cute meet, and sing along with Jody Watley about being 16, its OK but.

    Here comes the video for Radio Gaga. I’d forgotten the montage section in the middle. So, all these years later, did radio have its finest hour after this? Has it had it yet? Or is it all YouTube Gaga now? Ummmmmm

    Here’s a 1983 video montage. Best Video? Madness, Bowie, Eurythmics, Police, AdamAnt or .. Rod Stewart? Really? That’s the best? Pffff. I vote Madness but yes woah.

    Fiction Factory do that modern pop with deep vocals and a falsetto bit. Brrrrmb. Umumumum….. Next.

    And now maybe the best bid of 1984! Hyperactive. Dolby. Sort of cheaper than ‘Sledge Hammer’ but that’s OK too. Oh, and the girl singer is not who you think it is..

    Thompson Twins Doctor x2. Also burning up.

    Charts, then an edit into more charts, then a Duran vid for New Moon on Monday. Is that Prague? Thought I recognised it..

    Top ten, then no number one because banned! Ironic, now its just TOTP presenters that are banned. Oh, and two pop stars too.

    So, in closing, I shall say; Nothing.

  11. 41
    speedwell54 on 1 Jul 2017 #

    2/2/84 – John and the Kid host. We’ve skipped a week due to Smitty so missed the Smiths and Joe Fagin; that’s a dictionary definition of swings and roundabouts.

    Kid introduces Musical Youth with”Sixteen” as a toe tapper- move over Grandad. The song’s not awful, but the instruments sound terrible. Plinky plunk.

    Queen Radio Ga Ga- on video. I first heard this down the phone, on a Sunday in a phone box on Wakefield Road. Waiting for a lift to some freezing cross country run. I don’t know if this was a thing for a while and don’t remember where I got the number from, but I was quite excited. My other memory of this was Gary Davies comparing the cost of this video to that of the Weather Girls “Its Raining Men” and basically bashing Queen a bit. Anyway we all enjoyed the Weather Girls at Live Aid so all’s well.

    Matthew Wilder -short career, big hit, twktc. – John Deacon and Matthew Wilder same haircut. A plug for the British Rock and Pop Awards with Kid hosting.

    Fiction Factory (Feels Like) Heaven -back again. The Manics covered this quite recently.

    Thomas Dolby on video. Entertaining video and no doubt a bit of main stream leap back then. Thompson Twins – Doctor Doctor- nmcot.

    Duran Duran- first viewing on video. I like this song but the chorus lets it down a little. Video not their finest, luckily we don’t get to see them dancing at the end.

    No FGTH obvs. Both John and Kid were playing them well before Relax came out.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  12. 42
    speedwell54 on 2 Jul 2017 #

    16/02/1984 -Simon Bates and DJ Powell tonight.

    Slade- Run Runaway, taking a leaf from Big Country, and they sound like they’re from over the border with the guitar bagpipe sound. Second hit from a second mini revival. With the last days of disco behind them, they had a brief return with We’ll Bring the House Down a few years earlier and this followed on quickly from My Oh My.
    This was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America.

    Thompson Twins – and their record- “Doctor Doctor” on video still nmcot.

    The Style Council- My Ever Changing Moods – I first heard this when I was 17, and I was 27 when I first listened to the album version -which is just piano and vocals. I was rather stunned by it, less is more for me in this instance, a really impressive song. Found it a bit weird I knew nothing about it as well. I wonder how this version would have charted? 72 singles into his career and twenty five year later in 2009, Paul missed the top 100 for the first time.
    This was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America.

    Charts then Matt Bianco- Get Out Your Lazy Bed- this is a record I’ve got. Your musical taste can often be questioned and they weren’t cool to like. I was quiet keen on Basia too, who had a couple of decent singles. Charts.

    Nena – 99 Red Balloons- Captain Kirk gets his first name check on a number single. We have back to back artists tonight who name makes you think it’s the lead singer rather than the band name. Where’s Toyah when you need her for a hat trick. Nena and Toyah both being both at times. And guess what; this was their biggest and only top 30 hit in America. Pretty predictable I know.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  13. 43
    speedwell54 on 10 Jul 2017 #

    23/02/1984 Janice and Michael introduce the action tonight on TOTP.
    Hot Chocolate – I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I) – Mike informs us that it’s their thirtieth hit. So they’re no amateurs, but with that jinx from Read they had no more new hits after this.

    Rockwell – on video – he references the shower scene from Psycho. Michael Jackson gets credited (on the album at least) for vocals on this track. I don’t know how much that got pushed at the time.

    Back in the studio for Marilyn- Cry and Be Free- was surprised when I found out he wrote this, was convinced it was a cover. I don’t know if it is that good but if you’re soft like me, to summarise it sounds like his version of “I’m just a girl standing in front…”

    Joanna – Kool and the Gang- his new thing in the video is a leather shirt -which can’t be comfortable. Nmcot but made No2 here, and the States.

    Nik Kershaw- in the studio and cut with the video for the pretty long instrumental bit. Sporting a matching lime green snood.

    Charts and then Carmel- More More More – the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Carmel the name of a lead singer and the band – didn’t know that last week – or I would have mentioned it.

    Howard Jones – Hide and Seek- rather a strange choice for a single; much slower than previous hits. Did ok mind.

    Charts top ten run down and uneven length clips- we get almost a minute of the Style Council and Thompson Twins. Janice mentions Jacko’s input on “Somebody’s Watching Me” so scrub that bit earlier. Nena at No2 and a week in the language lab and 99 Luftballoons became 99 Red Balloons. No Relax and out to the Politics of Dancing- lead singer has a Pat Sharpe wig, keyboard player has a Nick Beggs wig. We’re all finished here.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  14. 44
    Lazarus on 12 Jul 2017 #

    Some observations:

    Rockwell – I think pretty much everyone knew MJ was singing on this as soon as it came out – his voice is not easily mistaken after all. Rockwell himself was the son (or at least a near relative) of Berry Gordy IIRC, so clearly no nepotism at all there. I doubt if listeners in the UK were struck dumb with terror at the mention of the IRS, mind.

    Kool and the Gang – Joanna turns out to be a comfortably built middle-aged cafeteria waitress prone to a wistful, faraway gaze – Sister Sledge with ‘Frankie’ would pretty much do this in reverse a year later.

    Howard Jones – Yewtree permitting, we should be getting a live version of this shortly. I’ve said so before I’m sure, but the album is well worth a listen. Bound to be on Youtube.

  15. 45
    speedwell54 on 23 Jul 2017 #

    1/3/84. Jensen/Peel in yellow tartan jackets and they both have a bit of a topical go at the French; football, drivers and farmers.

    Matt Bianco return- She’s still taller than him. A fair few of the crowd are wearing black trilbys; what’s to come? Sax player didn’t turn up and we get a brief clip crowbarred in at the appropriate solo.

    Van Halen- Jump. The keyboard bit of the video was such an after thought and we only get a clip for the solo despite its constant presence. The drummer’s got more drums than you can shake a stick at. I briefly shared a house with a guy who wanted to be Dave Lee Roth including trying to sound American which makes me ffwd this stuff still. You can judge a book by the cover.

    Alexei Style with “Ullo John! Gotta New Motor” The tight suited Marxist-Leninist with his biggest hit. Still performing on Radio 4 now, a little less political and a little less angry, which is a good thing.

    Soft Cell- “Down in the Subway” On video. A more soulful cover of the original by Jack Hammer who we lost last year, goodnight Jack.

    Street Dance- nmcot. And lightning stuck twice when they re recorded this but called it Break Dance Party for another top 10. Chart countdown and they sneak a couple of lines from the still banned Relax into their banter. Elbow Bones and the Racketeers fail to make it five weeks at no 33.

    Dance Hall Days- Wang Chung- the lead singer couldn’t look anymore German. The lyric sounds clumsy enough to be a translation but no, all British. It’s ok. Countdown.

    Slade at 10 on video- They make a fun video which is very un-American with Noddy gurning thoughout but it must have gone down well.

    Top 10 countdown and Billy Joel at No8 still fails to get an appearance.

    Out to Nena and 99 Red Balloons climbing to Number 1.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  16. 46
    speedwell54 on 24 Jul 2017 #

    8/3/84 Richard Skinner – dressed as a darts player, and Gary Davies all in white host tonight.

    What Do I Do? – a bit of profile creep from Phil going on here. Originally billed as “Galaxy”, then “Galaxy featuring Phil Fearon”, then “Phil Fearon and Galaxy” (which is the correct one for this track), then just “Phil Fearon”. Skinner introduces them/him as “Phil Fearon Galaxy” which has never been used, but after the performance goes for just”Galaxy”. The track didn’t quite reach the highest heights, checking out at no5. Everything flows but nmcot.

    Kool and the Gang – “direct from the USA” says Richard. With that I thought they might be in the studio but no. They’re on video again – calico coloured leather shirt and trousers! In the diner, extra cheese please.

    The Weather Girls-“It’s Raining Men” nmcot. Martha Wash went on to sing on some Black Box singles and also Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).

    Tracey Ullman- My Guy’s Mad At Me. Good song, good version, good video, thought it should have been top ten but ended up some place else. Shame

    Sade- Your Love is King. Or Slade as they were billed on the chart countdown. In the days before autocorrect some ol’ duffer must have thought Sade was a typo. Classic track still sounds great. She has more time off than Kate Bush. Gaps between albums 1,3,4,8,10 years so 2022 for the next one?

    Bananarama- Robert De Niro’s Waiting.. Their biggest hit so far and still is although equalled. Before chart restrictions limited different versions this came out in multiple 7″ picture disc and 12″ coloured vinyl, at least 9 versions.

    Howard Jones – sings and plays live. This record didn’t climb after this performance. “Pearl in the Shell” made No7 if it had made No8 he would have had 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16, in his first 9 hits. Ifs and buts.

    Billy Joel still at no8 and still not a sniff – no video, I wonder why? Top 10 in US too.

    Nena at No1 and we get a repeat from last week. Out to Mel Brooks and this is where U2 got the Acthung Baby title?

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  17. 47
    speedwell54 on 29 Jul 2017 #

    22/3/1984. We’ve missed a week and we’re back with Janice (big hair) and Pete (double denim) introducing tonight’s mix of winners and also rans. Pete can’t stop himself with his three word title pauses. People….Are….People..

    Depeche Mode -the original cool kids of death all dressed in black, open with People Are People. This industrial pop mix is for me, nudging perfection. They have never looked more confident on Top of the Pops, and this seems far removed from their earlier rather nervous and serious performances. They all crack a smile, knowing this is something special. Indeed their first hit in the US, and No1 in Germany where this was the start of great and prolonged success over there. Girl in the leopard print top is playing to the cameras. Gold Medal.

    The Weather Girls on video. nmcot. Fell at the first.

    Shakin Stevens – “A Love Worth Waiting….. For” I think Pete’s got a bet on with someone. Stevens wearing white shoes. Written by Slush and Leathwood. The lyric is cliche ridden nothingness. They wrote a Song for Europe entry for a group called Midnite which is even worse lyrically. If it took more than five minutes to pen I’d be surprised. Great bunch of guys though. Plucky fourth.

    Culture Club ‘It’s A Miracle” the beginning of the end for me. Compared to some of their earlier output this was so disappointing. DNF.

    Video. Bananarama on video this week. Qualified fourth, finished third.

    UB40- doing what they do. This time, a faithful cover of Eric Donaldson’s original adds little for me. It’s no longer in their hands.

    Countdown. Sade- in the studio again but not a repeat.twktc. Highly commended.

    Countdown then the new No1.
    Lionel Ritchie – Hello- we get the full video with the acting at the beginning and talking snippets throughout. The bust looked nothing like him, but then again she was blind so fair enough really. Will have to wait and see if they are one of the two fastest losers.

    Out to “Do What I Do” and unusually we get a video (rather than the crowd dancing and balloons falling) Second in the group so will face one of the tougher teams in the semi final.

    Not my favourite but their has been worse.

  18. 48
    speedwell54 on 31 Jul 2017 #

    TOTP 29/3/1984 Mike Read(sunglasses indoors) and Andy Pebbles.

    The Special AKA -open with the acapella bit, which starts before Read’s finishes his intro. Three of the four singers have different, awful coloured, matching fluorescent t-shirts and headbands with black jacket and skirt/trousers. Other one looks cool. She must be the bride. The main part of the song starts and I don’t recognise the vocalist. First political message tonight.

    Borrowed Time – John Lennon – on video(really). Various clips including the Amsterdam Hotel bed- in from Dutch TV. The TOTP graphics department give Yoko a credit but not Read. Pleasant enough.

    Captain Sensible- Glad It’s All Over -Political message song two- Falklands. Trade mark red beret. (couldn’t go for the black one -Spencer had that one sown up years ago) Had forgotten Dolly Mixture backed Captain Sensible ’til I recognised Debsy there, a vision in yellow.

    Simple Minds- They could have been OMD – I Travel etc, then they could have been more new wave but went for U2 – (simplifying a little I know). Kerr is wearing a judo outfit that’s been cut off just above the waist. He’s got two belts on as well. Mimes with the microphone for a while then is more bothered about pointing and clapping. I liked this enough to buy the 12″ mind. I think I’d been listening to Under A Blood Red Sky a bit too much.

    Third political song of the night Swimming Horses _ Siouxsie and The Banshees.
    Countdown, to Madonna. Lucky Star. Peaked at No14 and it was over a decade and 34 singles until she next missed the top 10.

    The Thompson Twins- You Take Me Up. ” I work on the frontline, I work to survive” The opening line that led to Fieldbeat’s debut single. Tonight they’re all in black leather showered in diamante. Too much. They didn’t bother the top ten after this.

    Countdown – the top 10, and all of the top 6 are at their peak positions this week, which was /is pretty rare. Lionel at number one again – Hello.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  19. 49
    hardtogethits on 31 Jul 2017 #

    Wow, Speedwell, I never realised that about “Work To Survive”! I presume you’d be able to give an authoritative view on whether it was a conscious or sub-conscious influence on Fieldbeat? Or were you just joking / pointing out a coincidence? I reckon Fieldbeat must have been playing “Work” from the outset, but AFAIK it really was 1986 before it was given its full release.

  20. 50
    speedwell54 on 1 Aug 2017 #

    re 49. Hardtogethits – The title for “Work To Survive” came from this Thompson Twins line, but I think that was the full extent of the influence. It was written in the summer of ’84 and featured in Fieldbeat’s live performances from that time, but you are right with the release date of 1986, a double pack single, and then on their debut album later the same year.

  21. 51
    speedwell54 on 6 Aug 2017 #

    19/4/1984 TOTP. A fortnight since the last show, but no episode on 5th April due to a strike(?) and there was a shortish episode last week with someone inappropriate so we missed out on The Caterpillar -Cure and Wood Beez -Scritti Politti, which is a shame.

    This week we have Powell and Davies. They introduce the Special AKA during the instrumental bit after the song’s intro. I remember this happening on the radio as well. The ladies have a more relaxed dress code this week and look all the better for it.

    Thompson Twins on video this time, and it’s not just a cheap one. Outside shots, abroad.

    Blancmange- back with Indian musicians although this sound is rather far back in the mix. It’s okay. Dances like he’s been watching Andy McCluskey.

    Queen – I Want To Break Free. Rememberable video which has two key parts, but is forever noted for the cross dressing Coronation Street tribute. Splits opinions but I think broadly if you liked them before you like them a bit more, and if you didn’t like them, you liked them a bit less. The video helped this to stick around in the charts for ages- as did the four different covers of the 7″ single.

    The Bluebells- I’m Falling. This is a great single and was unlucky not to crack the top 10. The guitar work at the end sounds very like the Alarm. The countdown with Peter.

    Nik Kershaw – Dancing Girls- He dances like he’s been watching Andy McCluskey. Countdown.

    OMD – The Locomotion – after the relative commercial failure of Dazzle Ships and the singles from it, this is much more pop. It worked. Dazzle Ships is a brilliant album which takes a tiny bit of effort to get into. Junk Culture the follow up was a bit more accessible. I like them both. The have a new album out at the beginning of September this year – The Punishment of Luxury. The tracks I’ve heard so far sound great.

    Lionel- Hello- video yet again- seems like he was too big to come over for a performance.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  22. 52
    speedwell54 on 12 Aug 2017 #

    26/04/1984 – Janice – in another off the shoulder, strapless number – and Bates, looking a lot more ‘with it’ than usual.

    Sandie Shaw and some Smiths- Shaw and Marr giving it their all, Joyce and Rourke showing less emotion. Sandie is suddenly on the floor (Vic I’ve fallen) and then she’s back on her feet, nothing broken. Hard to see but Sandie seems to be the only one wearing shoes. ~Class

    Phil Collins Against All Odds- nmcot- On the film soundtrack Big Country do a track which is pretty good called Balcony which sounds very U2 in places, don’t know who was nicking whose guitar sound at the time.

    Love Games-Belle and the Devotions – it’s quite a shang-a lang song isn’t it.

    One Love- another classic – uncharitable fact -Marley had three children to three women all born within 30 days. Macca pops up in the video, among other celebs.

    The Reflex – Duran Duran -in the studio this week. Highest new entry at No5. Third single from the album but remixed by Nile Rodgers so sounds quite different. Rogers still working with them 30 years later on Paper Gods.

    Julio Iglesias (Totp spelling his name correctly this week) and Willie Nelson – To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before. Nelson – the Lil Wayne of country; turning up on singles by other artists all over the place, excessive output, but hardly any hits over here. They make an odd couple. On the video Julio is in a tux, Nelson T-shirt and jeans. Charts.

    Echo and the Bunnymen with Silver sounding a little like the Cutter mixed with Seven Seas. Not quite as successful as the other singles around this time. Charts.

    Flying Pickets – When You’re Young nmcot
    Hello – Lionel Ritchie – last week at one and then out to a video again, this week Automatic which sounds great but looks awful, well just dated badly to be fair.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse

  23. 53
    speedwell54 on 13 Aug 2017 #

    3//5/1984 Read (again with the dark shades inside) and Wright- casual jacket.

    OMD – Locomotion. Andy is wearing a shirt almost identical to the one Simon Le Bon wore the week before. Black and white strips and blocks of red. This week he’s swapped his army trousers for jeans and he manages to get through the whole song without losing the microphone.

    Blancmange- Don’t Tell Me on video. A lot of smirking on this- abroad in the sun -staring a ladies in national costume. ok.

    New Order – Thieves Like Us. I bet it’s called ” It’s called love” on the running list stuck to the floor at gigs. They go for a live performance and it’s all gone horribly wrong, Apart from Hookie who thinks he’s in an entirely different band they’re playing statues and Gillian’s playing more statues (apart from a single arm) It’s rather amateur and there’s a lack of action -Hookie apart. Vocally it’s stretching for Bernard who’s doing it all eyes closed. If they stop and think it over, after last time, would they they want a repeat? Errors and nerves on Blue Monday previously on TOTP resulted in a poor performance. Despite all this I have mixed feelings, if you’re soft like me the fralities kind of make it endearing and it is a contrast to the smoothness and sleek production elsewhere.

    Kenny Loggins- Footloose. This joins Against All Odds on the list of films I’ve never seen. Massive stateside, less so over here. Countdown.

    Jocelyn Brown- Somebody Else’s Guy – nmcot but that is too dismissive of a proper decent track.

    The Human League- The Lebanon . In the studio. That guitar sound again and for a few seconds it’s U2 and then it clearly isn’t. This sounds great. I know they got some stick about the “shops” line but I don’t care. Surprisingly it didn’t get banned by the beeb. Countdown.

    No 1 Duran Duran The Reflex – on video, and like the video for the Lebanon it is kind of a mix of a fake live performance. Mike Read does a Kid Jensen impression (Cliff not around so much) and out to Dancing Girls- NK

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  24. 54
    Lazarus on 13 Aug 2017 #

    ‘Thieves Like Us’ presumably took its name from Robert Altman’s 1974 crime caper starring Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall – I haven’t seen it but it doesn’t sound like a very ‘arty’ film for the Factory funsters, you’d think they’d have gone for a Fellini or Bergman number really. Like ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Confusion’ this was only available as a 12 inch. The ‘follow-up’ if you can call it that, ‘Murder’ was with typical Factory perversity only released in Belgium, forcing diehards to fork out for import copies.

    I agree that the live rendition wasn’t very effective, Bernard singing with his eyes shut seemed to struggle with the higher notes.

    Read’s Jensen impression was not bad at all I thought, though the indoor sunglasses were becoming decidedly irritating by this point.

  25. 55
    Stuart Copeland on 14 Aug 2017 #

    I agree the New Order performance was pretty poor; many songs seemed to be playing at once. I thought in the documentary Stephen said after Blue Monday they decided to only do the vocals live.

    Having said that, the “variable” nature of their TotP (and the Roxy!) performances was part of what meant their appearances were quite an event in my household. Even towards the end of the decade, by which time they’d seemed to have tightened up, you were never which New Order would appear.

  26. 56
    speedwell54 on 14 Aug 2017 #

    10/05/1984 Jensen and Peel present. For the first time in a while I have nothing derogatory to say about either host’s appearance/dress. Both look normal!

    That’s more than I can say for Belle and the Devotions who are wearing awful clothes in awful colours. This isn’t an age thing either. They looked dire then. Song-wise I think it’s okay and in Eurovision you have got to be pretty immediate. You know everything about the song within 30 seconds. I think it did okay?

    Queen sticking at No3 get on again, and it’s the (whole) video of course.

    The Flying Pickets- When You’re Young – Sticking at no 7. I think even they would agree they are not conventionally good looking blokes. I go as far to say a little creepy. (no offence). So this week they’re all dressed in pyjamas! That hasn’t made them look more creepy or anything. Song’s not terrible just need to turn the pictures off.

    One Love – Struggled to find a complete list of “celebrities” on this video. Have read George Roper aka Brian Murphy is in the video (red gingham shirt and yellow background) but I am sure it’s not him. Any ideas? James Cossins perhaps. Countdown.

    Peel’s gone back to saying Depech-ay Mode. I do think they have a bet on around mispronouncing or going for strange emphasis; Nelson Man-day-lar.

    Terri Wells – I’ll Be Around – vaguely remember this, but not her. She has an unusual hairstyle-her suede shoes would be quite safe if it started raining.
    Countdown including Marillion with Assassing- is that a word?

    The Pointer Sisters – Automatic. Earlier I said the video was poor and the guys at the Beeb agree and think it’s too dull and we can’t manage to stomach the whole video. It needs to be broken up with some fan dancers (blokes), a guy doing robotics and Baltimora type dancer. Eventually we go back to the video. On youtube there is a video from Soul Train which is a bit more exciting. Wiki doesn’t mention the video we are watching tonight. With a half decent video this would have been no1.

    Duran Duran- The Reflex on video -No1 again. Why-y-y-y-y why why why-y-y-y-yeah? Well it stopped Collins being No1 and that’s enough.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse,

  27. 57
    speedwell 54 on 6 Sep 2017 #

    Back after my international break, and with nothing Yewtreed recently, we have the fifth TOTP in a row. Bates and Powell.
    Break Machine with Break Dance Party- which is pretty close to their last hit, including the whistles. They don’t really bother us again.

    Pete introduces the next track- He comes up with such a clumsy turn of phase that written down is a question, but he says it as a fact. “…Street Dance, and that is now a world wide hit, AND SO IS THIS GONNA BE, everyone’s tipping it for the top, it’s Deniece Williams. blah blah. Everybody’s wrong, especially Simon who alludes to this as a future number one at the top of the show. Songs ok.

    Marillion- Assassing – Video- I found a fan website that quotes Fish saying he had no idea why he put a “g” on the end. Rather serious and not my favourite by them; but not awful.

    Hazel Dean- Searchin’- before SAW got their hands on the production. Bit of a classic, but sounds less exciting now.

    Womack & Womack -Love Wars- this one the other hand, to my ears a least, sounds amazing today. In the studio and Cecil is playing a right handed guitar left handed. I can’t tell if he’s changed the strings over though.

    Ultravox – Dancing With Tears… In My Eyes, Pete and his weird inflections again. On video. Sounds upbeat but subject matter is rather more earnest as per.

    Duran Duran in the studio this week with the Reflex- still at number 1, and out to Loggins with the audience bopping away to Footloose. Camera lingers on a couple of blondes who look like they were on the books.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  28. 58
    Lazarus on 7 Sep 2017 #

    Evenin’ all. Haven’t watched one of these in ages, so live-bloggin’ (almost) tonight’s show. Steve Wright and the lesser-spotted Andy Peebles are our hosts.

    Bluebells – familiar to everyone from its 1993 ad use and re-issue. Good lively start to the show. The hits pretty much dried up after this, surprisingly.

    Human League – mid-period mediocrity. I bought this 45 at the time but frankly they were just one of my ‘pet bands’ (Orange Juice and the Associates among the others) – I would just buy everything they released. ‘Louise’ the next single is an underrated masterpiece however.

    Bob Marley/Wailers – reissue of ‘Waiting in Vain.’ I don’t recall this re-release and as Peebles says it was to promote the multi-platinum ‘Legend’ compilation. Vid filmed in Hawaii with, I presume, one of Bob’s kids. The beach ladies are lovely, for sure.

    Tina Turner – Billy Idol helps to introduce this, for some reason. Standout track (along with the title track) from Private Dancer. Very much a daytime radio favourite, I heard it on Magic just a few hours ago actually. TWKTC, or something. Charts.

    Alison Moyet – lead single from ‘Alf.’ Her chart career was disappointingly short wasn’t it, two albums basically with the prospect of endless slots on Eighties retrospectives and Sara Cox’s ‘Sounds of the Eighties’ show (on too late for me, but I have a pretty good idea of the content). This is OK if maybe a bit formulaic. Long time since I played the album if I’m honest. Charts. Gary Glitter alert!

    Scritti Politti – follow-up to the sublime ‘Wood Beez’ – that’s a mullet and a half on Mr Garside and the music follows suit. Bad miming and girl drummer. Not sure what else to say about it. I do like them/him though as a rule. Top 10.

    Number One – Frankie – not sure how long this has been up here though know it did 9 weeks in total. These days that’s a fleeting visit by Drake/Despacito standards. Maybe it has lost a bit of its power over the years, but at the time it was as much an event as a record. Much like ‘Ghost Town.’ I remember the video much better than this performance, though perhaps that was too hardcore for TOTP.

    Out to an old Michael Jackson song. Farewell my summer 2017. You were good while you lasted. OK show, though the content seems a bit bland (over-familiar, perhaps?) these days.

  29. 59
    speedwell54 on 10 Sep 2017 #

    07/06/84 Rhythm pals Kid and Peel host for the last time before Kid leaves for Capital Radio a few weeks later.

    Spandau Ballet – Only When You Leave. Nmcot really, but didn’t sound too bad. They, on the other hand, are over styled and have moved from looking confident, to looking a bit smug.

    Howard Jones – Pearl In The Shell. The title is mentioned in the song somewhere, unlike Hide and Seek and New Song, but I struggle to think which ones they are, until I hear a bar or too. I wasn’t a fan of the mime he used to have and this new one is no better.

    Evelyn Thomas – High Energy twktc, but it is great. Ian Levine produced this and later remixed stuff by the next two acts; Bananarama and Bronski Beat.

    Bananarama – despite all their hits -and even post SAW -they still had their fare share of misses. Rough Justice, no, justice.

    Bronski Beat- Smalltown Boy – Don’t think he sings the title on this stunning track. Unlucky timing, as this would have been number 1, but stumbled on FGTH and Wham who were stoppable at this time. 35-13-4 was a pretty rapid climb.
    Peel is genuine in his praise for this debut hit.

    John laughs, as he teases Snow Goose Kid, when they share the countdown to Wham. George not singing live. His t-shirt logo is covered in diamontes which weigh a tonne and make him look like he’s eaten too many pies. Not the case in ’84.

    Shame to loose Kid on TOTP; he did it well, and he has been consistent in not being annoying. Peel teams up with Janis Long in the main from now on.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

  30. 60
    speedwell54 on 10 Sep 2017 #

    14/06/84 Read and Powell host. Peter casually sat on some railings.

    Susanna by The Art Company. Called VOF de Kunst in their native Holland, fair enough, change your name for the English market. Changing the title from Suzanne, hmmm? Lead singer has got ‘the boys from the black stuff’ look about him. He gets the crowd involved and it’s a good performance. Song’s hardly cool but I don’t mind it.

    Sad Songs – Elton John. On video. It’s the one when he has a brightly coloured waistcoat and a straw boater. Bit of dancing, a bit of acting, goes black and white for a bit. Wears funny glasses; you know the one. Not in the mood.

    Smiths – in the studio. It’s the one with Morrissey at the front, hearing aid, specs, half a tree hanging out the back of his trews. Marr, shades, looking cool, other two, just there,
    you know the one.

    Rod Stewart – Infactuation on video of course. It’s the one where he’s looking at a pretty lady, he’s dressed in clothes that he’s a bit old for, more ladies in bikinis, some ladies taking clothes off, you know the one.

    Scritti Politti – Absolute – In the studio. Like him and this. Saw him (Green) a few years ago supporting someone at Fibbers in York, playing stuff from the White Bread Black Beer album, which had some great tracks on it.

    Ozzy Osbourne – So Tired- good song, hammer house of horror video. A few more sweeping strings and it’s an ELO album track.

    Nick Heyward- Love All Day – “best single of the summer” says Peter and I’ve gone off him again. It really is just for the fans. I like him generally around Kite time but this is not him at his best. His miming here is poor.

    Nik Kershaw – I Wo(n’t)Let The Sun Go Down On Me- a hit second time round.

    Two Tribes- FGTH in the studio with lots of flags. This was exciting. Hype city of course and multiple 12″ mixes kept this atop the charts for longer than necessary, but still an event. It’s really the Holly and Trevor show. Having been deprived of Relax on radio and tv for so long there was a real eagerness for this.

    Out to an embarrassing Read impression -of Peter I think- and they show no chemistry on the final link. Motown release back catalogue Jackson stuff again. nmcot.

    Not my favourite but there has been worse.

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