Friday, 3 January 2014

London, Paris, New York, Munich everybody's talking about ~ Top of the Pops 1979!

In the real world, it's just turned 2014 (still can't quite get used to any year that doesn't have a 19 in front of it!) but over on BBC4 at 7.30pm (nearly) every Thursday it's 1979 :-)

The series began tonight with a behind the scenes documentary 'The Story of 1979' - a tale of moving mic stand strikes, spitting at the Nolans, peeing from rooftops, blacked out teeth and gate crashing the BBC bar, followed by a compilation of some of 1979's big hits, in a show called ...........

3-1-2014: TOP OF THE POPS - 1979 Big Hits

LENE LOVICH – Lucky Number (TOTP 15-2-79)
CHIC – I Want Your Love (TOTP 1-3-79)
RACEY – Some Girls (TOTP 26-4-79)
CHAS & DAVE – Gertcha (TOTP 31-5-79)
SQUEEZE – Up The Junction (TOTP 31-5-79)
JANET KAY – Silly Games (TOTP 14-6-79)
DAME EDNA EVERAGE – Disco Matilda (TOTP 21-6-79)
THE RUTS – Babylon’s Burning (TOTP 21-6-79)
THE POLICE – Can’t Stand Losing You (TOTP 12-7-79)
LENA MARTELL – One Day At A Time (TOTP 25-12-79)
GARY NUMAN – Cars (TOTP 30-8-79)
CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore (TOTP 25-12-79)
THE JAM – The Eton Rifles (TOTP 1-11-79)
THE NOLANS – I’m In The Mood For Dancing (TOTP 20-12-79)
THE SELECTER – On My Radio (TOTP 18-10-79)
JOE JACKSON – Is She Really Going Out With Him? (TOTP 9-8-79)
MADNESS – One Step Beyond (TOTP 8-11-79)
M – Pop Muzik (TOTP 5-4-79)
THE BOOMTOWN RATS – I Don’t Like Mondays (video) (TOTP 19-7-79)
THE SPECIALS feat. RICO – A Message To You Rudy (TOTP 25-10-79)

Elvis Costello ~ a superlative performance of curling his lip at the camera and sweating whilst performing the song he wrote about the troubles in Northern Ireland, all in the style of Abba.

Lene Lovich ~ a brilliant attempt to out-mad Kate Bush, by the Yugoslav American from Hull.

Chic ~ a song written for Sister Sledge, but they instead recorded He's the Greatest Dancer, so Chic did this one.

Racey ~ ok who was the girl with the deep voice? Not one of Legs & Co I don't think, like last time.

Chas & Dave ~ a live vocal, and Chas was banned from using the word 'cowson' which a BBC exec's mum took offense to, hence the awkward pause and shifty looks before one of the Gertchas!

Squeeze ~ inspired by the Roxy Music song Virginia Plain, where the title isn't sung until the very end. Had Harry Kakoulli left by this point?

Janet Kay ~ had just turned 18 and had never performed before an audience ~ have to admit I was unfamiliar with this high note song that even the Bee Gees would have struggled with.

Dame Edna Everage ~ should not have been allowed out in a dress like that!

The Ruts ~ a song written about race riots.

The Police ~ this originally came out in 1978 but peaked at 42 - returning to the charts in the wake of breakthrough single Roxanne, it then made number two.

The Pretenders ~ lead singer Chrissie Hynde has performed with over 20 different band members over the years.

Lena Martell ~ a one hit wonder in the singles chart, the country singer from Glasgow has sold millions of albums over the years.

Gary Numan ~ his serious non-smiling image came about because he was embarrassed with his over large two front teeth, and didn't want to show them!

Cliff Richard ~ perhaps the surprise hit of the year, written by one of the Shadow's roadies, it totally rejuvenated his career.

The Jam ~ a favourite song of Prime Minister David Cameron, an old Etonian himself!

The Nolans ~ come on, you secretly wanted to get up and dance to this one, didn't you!

The Selector ~ looking forward to the 'Two-Tone Top of the Pops' show, along with the Specials and Madness.

Joe Jackson ~ apparently a song written as a joke by Portsmouth's finest, but became a top 20 hit in the UK and the USA.

Madness ~ Chas Smash was not yet a full member of the group when he recorded the vocals for this.

M ~ lead singer Robin Scott was big friends with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.

The Boomtown Rats ~ this tale of a mass shooting in America was originally a reggae song until Johnny Fingers, the pyjama obsessed keyboard player, re-arranged it last minute.

The Specials ~ a cover of Dandy Livingstone's song from 1967 - the trombone player, Rico Rodriguez, played on both.

Next up on BBC4 should be the show from January 4th 1979, presented by Mike Read, and featuring, among others, Generation X, Racey and Brotherhood of Man.


  1. Looking forward to following this as well as Chris' blog

  2. Nice job. Keep it up for the whole of '79!

  3. Hi folks, and Happy New Year.

    Sadly, we won't see the "Two Tone Top Of The Pops" as it was presented by Jim'll. The Selcter's other showing for "On The Radio" was fronted by DLT. Seeing as we'll miss 18 TOTP's this year due to the Yewtree hoohah, you can safely bet that the songs without DJ intros on the Big Hits show won't be on an edition shown by BBC4 this year.

    How on Earth was that sucking flop "Disco Matilda" given airtime on the Big Hits show instead of any worthy hit? On another tangent, the exotic backing singer in M is / was Robin Scott's wife, Brigit Novik.

  4. Arthur - that was my assumption as well, though it would be nice to have a list of which ones are not on any shows at all.

    I bet it's not just 'On My Radio'!!

  5. the next 2 DLT hosted 1979 shows will be posted to vimeo soon :)

  6. I finally got around to watching the documentary tonight.

    I thought it was fairly decent fare, although it suffered from only having 2 people (Sue and Kid Jensen) as the 'voice of the show'.

    Thank goodness the tiresome Richard Jobson only got a small amount of screen time. Yes Richard, 'All pop is rubbish', blah blah blah. You've been peddling that crap for years.

    No surprise that he spat at The Nolans really, given his childish attitude.

  7. Looking forward to seeing your 1979 contraband, darnall 42 :-)

    Have you got the Two Tone TOTPs too?

    Also, I've obviously had a New Year rush of blood and started up a page on Facebook too if anyone uses it, the address is

    at the moment but apparently when I get 25 likes I can have a shorter one :-)

    Also got videos of The Story of 79 and the 4th Jan 79 show there too :-)

  8. angelo, hopefully i have managed to leave a comment here now: all i can remember now of what occurred to me whilst watching this was that maybe lulu legs wasn't with sue this time because she was at the fat farm?

  9. Just got round to having a look at this - good work Angelo!

    So one of my all-time faves - On My Radio - will get Yewtree'd out. Ho Hum.

    As to this compilation, I guess that Dame Edna had to be included for reasons of balance - just to prove that there was some dross in 1979. Certainly, a good three-quarters of this show contained what I would rate as some of the best music ever made.

    Loved how Chas forgot that he wasn't supposed to sing 'cow son' the first time - there must have been some consternation in the gallery when that happened!

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