Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hit Me With Your Top of the Pops

With the infamous 'Winter of Discontent' about strike, and the first episode of Blankety Blank about to air, Peter Powell is here to cheer us all up with this week's.....

Top of the Pops!
18-1-79: Presenter: Peter Powell

(30) SHALAMAR – Take That To The Bank (and charts)
(53) OLYMPIC RUNNERS – Sir Dancealot
(28) ANNE MURRAY – You Needed Me (video)
(3) RACEY – Lay Your Love On Me
(27) DAN HARTMAN – This Is It (danced to by Legs & Co)
(54) FRANKIE MILLER – When I’m Away From You
(5) OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – A Little More Love ®
(2) IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
(18) THE THREE DEGREES – Woman In Love
(26) BILLY JOEL – My Life (video)
(7) CHIC – Le Freak
(1) VILLAGE PEOPLE – Y.M.C.A. (video)
(11) CHAKA KHAN – I’m Every Woman (and credits)

user posted image

Shalamar ~ play over the chart rundown with their first top 20 hit.

Olympic Runners ~ then give us an energetic, onesie clad, invisible trampolining start to the show. Shame the song wasn't quite good enough to take off in the same way though! Two members of this band, Pete Wingfield and Mike Vernon, also played for Rocky Sharpe and the Replays.

Anne Murray ~ this instantly recognisable country song peaked at 22 for this Canadian singer. Boyzone did better when they covered it in 1999, and took it to number 1.

Racey ~ edited out of the 7.30 showing - not to worry you can catch them in the second showing at 1am.....

Dan Hartman ~ is this week's choice for the Legs and Co routine. A full compliment of Legs this week too. 'This is It' reached number 17.

Frankie Miller ~ edited out ~ catch him at 1am...

Olivia Newton-John ~ ditto for the delicious A Little More Love.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads ~ ah, it's the classic one where Davey Payne plays two saxophones at the same time - a real 'where were you' moment this. I remember where I was when I first saw it - in front of the telly watching Top of the Pops :-)

The Three Degrees ~ take the country song that failed to chart for Twiggy in 1977 and turn it into a top 3 smash hit. They just sang it a whole lot better really, and had more sparkly costumes.

Billy Joel ~ I've always like this song, it has more than a touch of class and a fair bit of piano oomph! This was a good time for Billy what with Barry White's cover version of Just the Way You Are also in the top 20. I expect he was grateful now that his suicide attempt of 9 years earlier had not succeeded.

Chic ~ freakishly ironic that a song written about not being allowed into a dance club would go on to become one of the biggest dance floor fillers of all time.

There then follows a brief appearance by latest teen sensation Leif Garrett who informs us that 'I Was Made for Dancing' has just charted at number 43, and also that Britain in January is nothing like California....

Village People ~ and from one timeless disco classic to another, with its final week at number one before Ian Dury hit it with his rhythm stick. Though we won't get to see that whacking moment on BBC4 next week because unfortunately that's a banned DLT episode.....

Chaka Khan ~ who played over the chart rundown last week, now plays over the end credits this week, with her Ashford and Simpson written song at its peak number 11 position in the charts.

So next week then BBC4 takes us to February 1st 1979 and a show hosted by Mike Read.


  1. Not quite as good as the last couple.
    ONJ head butts to the guitar sling looked a bit contrived.
    Enjoyed the Ian Dury slot.
    Three Degrees was more of One Degrees - could easily have been a solo slot. Hope the Yewtree Police weren't watching - The link out of this was a bit risque.
    Curiously, the Lief Garrett segment was after Village People in the 1pm slot!....

  2. What on earth was going on with the Anne Murray footage? Was that beamed in directly from the 1950s?!
    Easily the worst quality film for a very long time.

    Olympic Runners were a bit tragic, weren't they? Quite honestly, after watching the Chic performance they should have said 'Right lads, we may as well give up now.'

    And Racey managed to make themselves look even more smug with 'champagne' (apple juice?) on set for no apparent reason.

    The Ian Dury performance I strangely have less recollection of compared to other legendary appearances, but it was naturally brilliant.

  3. Yes, Pete, we got the idea last time (and really no need to repeat the fact twice in this edition), Olivia had just been given an honour by Big Liz. Surprised they didn't get Olivia back in the studio wearing a T-Shirt with "I'm an OBE, me" on the front.

  4. Sir Dancealot is a great name for a disco song (if only the band's dancing had lived up to it...).

    I urge you to read Nile Rogers' autobiography if you haven't already, a fantastic read which reveals his love for visiting Britain (and his massive coke habit - he and Bernard were probably high on their TOTP appearance here).

    I don't mind the ONJ repeat, A Little More Love is her best single if you ask me, better than the more famous Grease stuff.

    After all these years seeing The Village People YMCA video I thought they were surprisingly subtle about the actual meaning of the song - then I noticed on this broadcast that near the end they're dancing in front of a sign that says "RAMROD". Ahem.

    Leif Garrett, was this the time he was in Britain promoting I Was Made for Dancing in a nightclub when he collapsed on the dancefloor due to exhaustion, thereby indicating the erroneous nature of his signature hit?

  5. Yes, I noticed the RAMROD sign as well, subtle as a brick :-)
    Quick question which may seem a bit strange - does anyone have these shows in a computer-friendly format? I live in NZ and as the BBC have seen fit to change their iplayer service so you can no longer convert to an AVI, I'm a bit stuck. I'm happy to pay for someone's time etc in getting these shows if that's possible?

  6. Still no sign of action on Chris's blog - looks like I'm going to have to replace it in my Favourites with this one.

    Up until Ian Dury the impression this show gave me was 'not very 1979'. A Little More Love and My Life are faves though.

    Classic PP link from Olympic Runners to Anne Murray, this latter footage would appear to be a film of a TV screen showing an NTSC image. Unreel the film all over the carpet and walk on it and the job's done.

    Racey seemed somewhat lethargic compared to their previous performances.

    The Ian Dury performance was featured on the 25th anniversary video compilation in 1989, complete with PP bookending it. Delightfully shambolic - at one point Norman Watt-Roy almost knocks the drumkit over.

    Yes, that link out of Woman In Love made my jaw drop! DLT never did anything like that.

    Chic - I like the honesty of this - the female singers are obviously the ones on the record, Rodgers and Edwards not going to the lengths of getting different, good-looking girls for TV appearances! This seemed quite common much later and had been done before (see 5000 Volts - I'm On Fire).

    Finally, did anyone else notice that this edition had a distinct 'viewed through a dirty window' look to it? It was apparent on iPlayer and indeed visible on VHS a quarter of a century ago. Has the original broadcast tape been lost for this one?

  7. good to see some familiar names here - looks like i'm not the only one saying "enough is enough" with regard to the lack of activity on chris retro's totp site (i've left a message there to that effect). anyway, i've waited no longer to watch this one, and here are my views on it:

    peter powell: still my second favourite after the kid, but that kissing the girl's hair moment was rather embarrassing - certainly for me, and probably even more so for him given the current "spanish inquisition" on his ex-colleagues (wonder if he's watching these shows?)

    olympic runners: i liked their jumping up/spinning around dance routines: simple but effective. pete wingfield's coming out from behind his piano routine was not so effective (and when he goes back he can't help himself adjusting his mic, even though it's obvious everything is mimed!). musically it was okay funky disco, but not good enough for my collection...

    ann murray: bland, bland, bland - bland name, bland looking, bland sounding. i can see how the septics would take to this rubbish, but her pluggers must have worked overtime to get it noticed here...

    racey: having hated them for the last 35 years, i gave them another chance when they re-appeared with their first big hit, but now i loathe them as much if not more than i did then! especially the singer who has a face screaming to be caved in with a lump hammer...

    dan hartman: utter tripe compared to "instant replay", and it's obvious he can't sing for toffee - an excellent legs routine on both the choreography and costume fronts wasted

    frankie miller - although i'm never going to get off on anything he does, this was surprisingly bearable compared to some offerings. did anyone else notice the yorkshire ripper on squeezebox?

    ian d(r)ury & blockheads: like others i was stunned when i saw the two saxes being played at once. much later on i discovered that roland rahsaan kirk had been doing that sort of thing probably before davey payne was born!

    chic: a great track, but in my opinion the best bit by far is the instrumental workout. but when i tried cutting that section down for a mix i found it impossible! is 20th century relic suggesting that these ladies aren't good-looking enough to front the band in public? they look pretty good to me...

    village people: i used to frequent a disco at this time where everybody would stand around trying to look cool. then either this or "le freak" came on (and the other one would inevitably follow) and before you knew it you couldn't move on the dancefloor! obviously they were considered disco classics then, so not surprisingly have stood the test of time...

    chaka khan: more disco heaven, and in my view even better than those preceding it. i love singing along with this (when no one's in earshot ha ha), but even though i have a good vocal range for a geezer, i can't hit the high notes in the later verses which is really frustrating!

  8. more on "i'm every woman:

    1 - until i checked out the lyrics properly, it always sounded like chaka sang "i could eat a horse right now"

    2 - among those on backing vocals are a teenage whitney houston (who of course later did her own version), and a guy called will lee who was also responsible for the amazing bass-playing...