Thursday, 6 February 2014

I Was Made for Top of the Pops!

It's the 8th of February 1979 and over on BBC1 tonight we have : 6.20 Nationwide 6.55 Tomorrow's World 7.20 Top of the Pops 7.55 Blankety Blank 8.30 Butterflies 9.00 News 9.25 What Kind Of Society?

And right now, it's 7.20, and time for.....

Top of the Pops!
8-2-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(17) DAN HARTMAN – This Is It (and charts)
(58) MICK JACKSON – Weekend
(29) ROD STEWART – Ain’t Love A Bitch (video)
(2) ABBA – Chiquitita (danced to by Legs & Co)
(5) THE SHADOWS – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
(13) DR. FEELGOOD – Milk And Alcohol
(7) LEIF GARRETT – I Was Made For Dancin’ (video)
(50) DARTS – Get It
(20) JUDAS PRIEST – Take On The World
(39) THE JACKSONS – Destiny
(1) BLONDIE – Heart Of Glass (video)
(21) GENE CHANDLER – Get Down (and credits)

Dan Hartman ~ plays over the credits this week

Mick Jackson ~ incredibly in the charts, at the same time for the second time, with the other Mick Jackson, though with different songs on this occasion. This one's a bit lame, especially compared to Blame it on the Boogie, and was lucky even to get to 38 in the charts. Cool onesie though :-)

Rod Stewart ~ impersonating Kenny Everett again here, this time even down to the bum tight leopard skin trousers! This song completely passed me by at the time, indeed tonight was the first time I can say I ever heard it - but it did get to number 11. And he was on this week's cover of Smash Hits -
A quick studio appearance now by new permanent British resident, Micky Dolenz, who was 'monkeying around'

Abba ~ Here's Legs & Co doing one of their in and out of the scenery dance routines, this time in long, flowing Spanish dresses. 'Chiquitita' is a Spanish compliment for a woman and means 'little one.'

Elvis Costello ~ with his ultra mega classic biggest hit, with Abba inspired rippling piano, about the troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Shadows ~ were edited out of the 7.30 showing, as were...

Dr. Feelgood ~ how could they edit this one out? But you can still catch both of these on the 12.50 am showing.

Leif Garrett ~ the Justin Bieber of his day was only 17 years old at the time of this very catchy Michael Lloyd tune, and was soon to get involved in car crashes, drink, drugs and police arrests.........

Darts ~ A second lead vocal single for Rita Ray, singing a song written by band member Horatio Hornblower.

Judas Priest ~ provide some 'heavy rock' in the shape of stadium anthem Take on the World, which became a number 12 hit for them. Singer Rob Halford dressed here for a Village People audition maybe :-)

The Jacksons ~ Not only in the charts at the same time again, but now even on the same show as the other Mick Jackson. In fact, they even stayed in the same hotel! The Jacksons won the battle of the Boogie but this time they lost out to Mick by one place in the charts, Destiny only reached 39.

Blondie ~ second week at number one and first showing for the famous video. Heart of Glass went on to sell 1.28 million copies in the UK, making it the 56th best seller of all time in Britain.

Gene Chandler ~ plays over the credits this week with a song that would go on to reach number 11.

Top of the Pops 79 takes a Sky at Night rest next week, so returns in two weeks time when energetic Peter Powell will be the presenter.


  1. Typical we missed out on the majesty of Dr. Feelgood and suffered Leif Garrett instead in the early showing. Debbie Harry never looked more beautiful, at least facially, than in this video. Talking of comely women, Rita Ray deserved better than a top right hand insert for Darts' fine tune. Having said that, I thought new boy Kenny's vocals were incredibly weak. I never thought he brought much to the table.

  2. nearly but not quite first in this time...

    kid jensen: as affable as ever - he always looks like he really enjoys doing the show unlike some (yes - you tony!), but without resorting to the over-the-top antics of others (yes - you peter!)

    mick jackson: a pleasant enough if forgettable ditty that is certainly preferable in my view to the classic (not!) "blame it on the boogie". with his complete lack of style and street-cred (mullet perm, beard and what used to be known as boiler suits or overalls) mick should have given up as a performer at this point and just become the (other) jacksons' staff-songwriter, as this sounds even more suitable for wacko and co than BIOTB...

    rod (as the kid introduces him as): after his brief disco excursion he's back to plodding rock a la "maggie may". whilst rod was ripping off jorge ben for "do ya think i'm sexy", here it sounds like he's actually plagiarising himself - good job saul zaentz wasn't his ex-manager, otherwise he'd have another lawsuit on his hands...

    abba: like many i have far more respect for them these days than i had at the time, but i still can't say i care at all for this - a bit too close to brotherhood of man territory for my liking! although legs' patti is actually half english and half chinese, she certainly makes for a convincing spanish senorita...

    elvis costello: i know the guy is revered in rock music circles, but like other similar figures (the boss, van the man, uncle lou etc) whatever appeal he has completely escapes me i'm afraid. if he sweats this much whilst miming, just imagine what it's like when he plays for real!

    the shadows: for those who don't know, shads drummer brian bennett had a "secret" career as a library music practitioner, and an extremely good one he was too. i'm guessing that the guy on synth is brian's chum, colleague and fellow library music legend alan hawkshaw?

    dr feelgood: now we're rockin'! even some of the totp audience are actually enjoying this... there were limited editions of this 45 pressed in white (milk) and brown (alcohol) vinyl - i wonder how many people felt compelled to buy both? i had no idea what the song was about at the time, although i have since discovered that is laments the fact that blues legend john lee hooker was plodding around the uk live circuit on autopilot whilst backed by equally uninspired local pick up bands. original feelgood guitarist wilko johnson had departed by this time - it is interesting that he has recently been given acres of press coverage as he's now been terminally ill for a while, and yet in the interim his replacement gypie mayo did actually expire with nary a mention. for those interested, feelgood are still in business, but like the village people it's practically a franchise as none of the original members have been involved for years!

    lief garrett: i note that kid introduces him as "lafe" rather than "leaf" as we all referred to him back then. but then again as one of scandinavian heritage he is probably right and we were all wrong! this is a competently-produced disco track, and had it been done by someone with a bit more credibility it might have been remembered as such rather than some kind of novelty hit. did anyone notice the dancer to the right of lief? she had shoulders arnold schwarzenegger would be proud of - probably best not to wear strappy backless dresses if so endowed! it is well known that after his teeny pin-up success lief went off the rails (in more ways than one!), and whenever i see pictures of this once-cherubic youth looking like a frazzled hell's angel i find it a bit depressing...

  3.'s another 2-parter:

    darts: they were never my cup of tea musically, but you always got your money's worth in visual effort when they turned up on totp. i have no idea of how well or badly this song performed chartwise, but i have to say it is an excellent blend of pop and rock n roll/doo wop with a great hook of a chorus...

    judas priest: this tub-thumping dirge was designed to get "priest" into the singles charts having had great album success recently. however, it's totally unrepresentative of their usual sound, with their twin-guitar unit that was their selling point barely used. said guitarists always looked the part (especially kk downing with his flowing blond locks and flying v guitar), but the other members didn't quite cut it: the bassist looks like a member of manfred mann's earthband, whilst singer rob halford always bore an unfortunate resemblance to the goodies' tim brooke-taylor, especially when he grew his hair a bit and dyed it blond! still going today, they are very much part of rock's folklore, but my favourite anecdote is when their american tour bus was being tailgated by a cop car, to which they responded by emptying the contents of the back-of-the-bus toilet all over it!

    the jacksons: i can't remember this at all - it's alright i suppose but not as good as their namesake mick's effort. however my assessment may have been somewhat distracted by the bassist in the totp orchestra doing his impression of jaco pastorius! i always feel somewhat for these type of vocal ensembles where one guy does most of the work and the rest are often surplus to requirements - at least they are usually on their feet so they can do some choreographed dance routines to avert from their vocal redundancy. but here wacko's siblings are all sat down so have little options other than slap their hands on their thighs in a desperate attempt to stop looking like complete lemons. and there are such long gaps in their "contributions" that when they finally get their chance one of them almost forgets to do so!

    gene chandler: this was popular both on the radio and in the clubs at the time, although got lost in the mists of time soon after. it certainly disappeared off my musical radar for many years, to the point where i couldn't even remember how it went, despite having a recollection of being partial to it back then. then recently by chance i came across it via one of those cheapo disco compilation CD's, and not only did it all come back to me immediately, i had to chastise myself for allowing something that good to go awol for all those years!

    overall: a most excellent show (possibly the best seen so far in these re-runs), with not only with the consummate host, but hardly anything that was so irritating that it had to be fast-forwarded all the way through...

  4. Hi, Wilby! I see you've crossed the floor, as they say in parliamentary circles. I don't know if Chris has suffered any bad news recently or had his long distance job extended so I haven't emailed him as a result, but it's a shame he hasn't kept us updated.

    "Get It" reached number 10 for Darts, deservedly so in my opinion as it's a fine tune though slightly underproduced - it needed a bit more ooomph. Old yellow-suited Griff Fender was definitely getting it as Rita's beau! Darts also managed top ten with the follow-up but then descended into a career of less inspiring covers and only reached number 11 amongst a load of chart scrapers. One of those minor hits was "Peaches" though, sadly, not a cover of the Stranglers hit. I'd have paid good money to hear that!

    Those Jackson brothers were as much use as the sitting down Stylistic - remember him? A desperate trip to the studio did nowt for this song's chart career. In comparison, Michael looked like a hyperactive kid in a supermarket with his parents watching on in resignation.

    As for Elvis Costello, I know what you mean, he's very much a Marmite artist, similar to Bob Dylan or Morrissey. On this occasion I'll stand up for Declan. Yes, far too much sneering at the camera and those lights must have been really warm to stand under, but I thought the man was a genius, certianly in his early days.

  5. When Mick Jackson started up I thought he was going to launch into Jack and Jill by Raydio, very similar intros.

    Don't remember the Rod track or the Jacksons one, though well done Michael for trying to gee up the audience by bustin' movies. He failed, of course, check out the bloke in close-up looking around the studio with an expression of extreme boredom.

    The Shadows are a legendary band, but this cover is absolutely dreadful, almost a parody. As for Leaf, sorry, Leif, he was starring in the equally legendary movie Skateboard about this time, come on, you must have seen Skateboard, it's up there with Roller Boogie and Supervan as an all-time classic of its day.

  6. arthur, thanks for the welcome - i hung on as long as i could with the other totp site but it was time to pull the plug. the most disappointing thing about chris r is not his lack of activity but the lack of explanation for it - i was regularly involved in something of a similar nature until recently when (like chris) i found my priorities changing. however, unlike him i made those concerned fully aware of my intentions, which as an act of politeness didn't take long...

    thx, thanks for the "skateboard" tip - i've yet to see it, but as a student of kitsch/trash films of that era i'll certainly keep a look out from now on (and maybe for roller boogie too, but supervan sounds a bit too "top gear" for my liking)...

  7. Mick Jackson's song was forgettable but at least had the decency not to trouble the top end of the charts, unlike Rod's similarly turgid effort. I had no recollection of it whatsoever, despite it getting to No.11!

    I always liked Chiquitita, although you can tell it's one of ABBA's more workaday efforts because you can sing it really easy. Most of their songs are so deceptively complex that they are bloody hard to sing.

    It was quite funny that Elvis Costello followed ABBA, given that he's admitted to nicking the keyboard bit from 'Dancing Queen'. It was good to see this different performance for a change, one which never gets repeated due to the Micky Dolenz (why?!) nonsense going on over the intro.

    Dr.Feelgood - Nice attitude on show there, good tune as well.

    Leif Garrett - I think this is a fantastic pop song, one of many that would be highly regarded if sung by someone credible instead of someone who looks like a girl.

    Darts - I'm not that keen on it, and whoever wrote 'My Guy' obviously wasn't listening to the blatant steal of a piece of that tune!!

    Judas Priest - It really is quite extraordinary that no-one had the slightest clue that Rob Halford was gay when he dressed like this!

    The Jacksons - You have to admire Michael's performance as you can see why he became such a big star given that he sells sub-par stuff like that so well. The bit at the end is pretty much a practice run for the solo stuff, wasn't it?!

    Blondie - Mesmerising. Not surprising that this was the first time I really noticed Debbie Harry.

  8. I don't remember the Rod Stewart or Darts songs.

    Hardly worth getting Micky Dolenz in for his contribution.

    Has anyone else noticed that they often pan back from a song halfway through, and in later repeats they use that point for the end of the song? The early fade happened with the members last week, and they 'prepared' dr feelgood and the Jacksons this week.

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  10. Never mind Leif Garrett and his skateboard, Go Jenny Jones and her snowboard. What a performance! Attagirl!

  11. ...I'm back again! Sorry, Silver Fox, couldn't resist the Gary Glitter gag!

    I thought I'd stick a few more comments here rather than wait for Chris's blog to return, Big shame if it's folded but there you go.

    Mick Jackson's song was Dan Hartman Lite, with a bloke singing about enjoying life while you're young when he looked at least 40. Talking of "Weekend", anyone else here old enough to remember Weekend Chocolates, a 1960's/70's box assortment very much at third division level compared to Dairy Box and Milk Tray but still enjoyable? There was also a loose chocolate assortment at the time called Lucky Numbers. More on that when we get Lene Lovich, provided I remember!

    Loved Kid talking to that attractive blonde girl and completely ignoring the ugly, gum chewing, sneering brunette to his right.

    Didn't enjoy Legs & Co's walking and strutting routine at all, and was appalled at Patti's dress which appeared to give her a hairy chest. A gorgeous Sino-Anglo gal in my opinion, but I find the problem with Chinese girlfriends is that, an hour and a half later, you want another one. Boom boom tish!

    What is it with heavy metal or rock bands with religious connotations to their name? Nazareth? Judas Priest? Okay, I know there was an indie band called The Jesus and Mary Chain...

    Hated that Canuck gal who was from "Detroit..of course". She could have been from a nearby town and supported her nearest big team for all we'd known. Mind you, try that with Man Utd fans these days...

    Oh, and Kid, we had no previous inkling about Darts' slight change of direction, as they weren't in the top 30 this particular week. They were at number 50. Get it? (I can hear the sound of sides splitting...if not the sound of the suburbs!)

  12. Erm, I didn't mean Detroit just then but you get the drift. Get it? (cue Frankie Howerd) Oh, please yourselves!

  13. @Wilberforce: Skateboard is out on DVD in the US, but you can import it fairly cheaply if you have a multi-region player.

    Roller Boogie is unbelievably naff, sort of like Breakin' only five years earlier, but Supervan is boredom from beginning to end unless you're into 1970s American van culture. Plus the Supervan makes a really annoying "futuristic" noise.

  14. I thought this was the best episode for some time, some very good stuff. It's funny, in my head I have 78/79 as one of my favourite periods for music, but in my opinion these repeats have proven to have been relatively poor since about September. But I know things pick up and indeed get very good from about now.

    When I look at my "Virgin Book of Top 40 Charts" (worth investing in) there are several top 10s later in 79 where I like every song - unheard of for me before or since !

  15. ...Hello, it's good to find this blog (no, I know that doesn't scan)

    I've been avidly viewing all the TOTPs and it's great to read the comments. Some of the names I recognise from the Yes It'

    I'm a lover not a fighter, sorry a reader not a writer, so this will probably be the extent of my contribution

    But to those of you upthread lamenting the lack of updates from the Chris Retro blog, my message is please keep this going. I didn't like that blog, its continued support of Savile and the lengthy screen grabs.

    So, please keep with this one - it's wonderful already!

    And It looks like we might be getting some DLT programmes hopefully if today's decision is anything to go by

  16. Leif Garrett - his last appearance on this show, and still only 17 years old in this video.
    He performs well for a teenager and appears a lot more mature and confident for his years.
    This track has timeless disco appeal in my opinion, and it's hard to believe that now in 2014 at the age of 52, he's remained single and never married.

    Darts - The Darts continued into 1979 in full force, but this change in direction was the beginning of the slide for them, as they could not emulate the success of '77 & '78, but were still worth a watch on TOTP while Rita Ray's hotpants continued to get shorter with each appearance. Welcome to 1979!

    Blondie - This first showing of the video was mesmerising for me as an 11-year old at the time, and must have been one of my first crushes, along with Olivia Newton John a few months earlier in the Summer of '78 with her video from Grease with John Travolta. Blondie just captures beauty and disco appeal all in one.

  17. Cheers Conrad, I'm glad people seem to be liking the blog, I'm keeping the content fairly simple but I think the comments section was always the best part anyway :-)

    It's quite good news about DLT ~ shame it hasn't been totally finalised yet - hopefully it will be by next week and we can look forward to seeing the Hairy Cornflake back on BBC4 again.

  18. Good to see the original Thursday evening line-up on this blog - Butterflies eh? I saw this quite recently, Carla Lane sitcoms are something of an acquired taste but the guy in the house opposite when they're all moving their cars is comedy gold! Incidentally, I never realised it was shot in Cheltenham - I always assumed that it was a London suburb.

    Anyway, TOTP. I just know that 1979 is going to bring up a lot of memories of stuff played on Capital Radio (Roger Scott, Graham Dene, Dave Cash et al) and Weekend was the first. Of Mick Jackson's 2 hits this is the one I remember, so I was surprised to discover that it only reached No. 38.

    This is the only time I've seen traditional Spanish dresses with side slits up to the hips, but it makes for good TV. 'Chiquitita' is so much nicer than 'wench'.

    Elvis Costello seems to have taken the easy option of miming. In fact, bands with live vocals would appear to have gone out of fashion, and I don't think we've had a completely live stage since "The Rah Band" (whoever they were) in 1977. I can well remember Steve Nieve's 'finger walking', and not being clued up on the miming thing at the time, thinking "that's clever!"

    Good Darts single with a Motownesque feel. Did I see Griff attempting one or two Den-isms?

    Classic No. 1 ....And that's it! I'm finally up to date on both the programmes and this blog!

  19. Just like "Blame it on the boogie", Mick Jackson's "Weekend" also got covered and became a bigger hit by someone else, at least stateside.

    I believe that Wet Willie were a rock band, but Mick's ditty tempted them enough to go disco for one song, as so many other acts did during 1979.

  20. arthur, i seem to remember the "weekend" selection box having just as much pastels, icing and other similar brightly coloured sweets as well as chocolates...?

    angelo, any chance of setting up the "reply" option, as arthur commented on this quite a few entries ago and people may not be able to find the original reference too easily...?


    ps thx thanks for the info on "skateboard" - i'll bear that in mind although probably not top priority at the moment!

    1. ok, I think reply is now set up :-)

    2. thanks angelo (btw it took me ages to realise that the colon-dash-bracket thing was a sideways smiley face!)

    3. The colon-dash-smiley face is an example of what's called an emoticon by the kids in the 'hood.

      Without meaning to harp on, ironic that the lyrics chosen for the strapline of Chris's last entry were "Hold on to the end, that's what I intend to do"....

      Have I thanked Angelo yet for starting this blog? If not, many thanks, Angelo! Much appreciated you set up a new web home for us waifs and strays. Now, if only you could get Sandra Bullock on this version of "Gravity" as well....

  21. Good to see DLT cleared.Perhaps we'll get more shows now and perhaps Scotland Yard can get back to doing proper police work ...

  22. DLT isn't fully cleared, though. There are still two undecided judgements which the Crown Prosecution Service can ask to be re-trialled. I'm afraid the wait continues. BBC 4 will more than likely sit on the fence and keep DLT off our screens until all charges are dropped..

    1. Yes Arthur, you are right. The online Radio Times is currently saying that Mike Read's edition from March 1st will be shown on Thursday week. The CPS are due to make a decision on what to do about the two remaining charges next week, so if they drop them it is still possible the schedule may change and DLT's 22nd Feb edition will be shown instead on that day. I think we can safely assume though that DLT will remain banned until such time as legal proceedings are brought to an end.

      I just wanted to say thanks as well to Angelo for starting this excellent blog, now that Chris Retro's efforts appear to have run into the sand. I used to contribute very occasionally to Simon's blog, and am delighted the repeat run is continuing into '79, as it was a great year for music and also the year I came into the world! There is lots of great stuff to come, and hopefully we will get back DLT's episodes so BBC4 viewers get a fuller picture of this fine musical year...

  23. Been having a look at 'darnall42's Vimeo channel and found the 07/12/78 edition, which presumably Chris was going to cover but never got around to it. Most of this can be seen on other shows; there's a different performance of Shooting Star and there's Racey with Sue in the same blue dress as featured on what is apparently the official promo (this is clearly a telerecording, it was not shot on film).

    But the highlights for me were Rachel Sweet, although her live vocal didn't match up to the record, and Gerard Kenny live with the house orchestra and with the sound effects from the record 'flown in'. This latter was much more lively than the usual 'guy at the piano' performance and the crowd looked as if they were enjoying themselves.

    Oh yes, and there was The Goodies.

    As well as this there's some shows from before and after 1978/9 - well worth a look!

  24. Ah my fellow popsters, tis a while since I contributed and my finger has been a' twitching. DLT - what a charade. Anyway on a lighter note, my comments on this merry episode;

    WEEKEND - I have been singing "Weekend, exciting nights and lazy days" to myself to welcome the weekend virtually every Friday since, and to now see it again, well...

    ROD - rubbish song. Is it just me or does Rod's voice about 76-79 sound much lighter and less aggressive?

    ABBA - Respec' to the Swedesters

    ELVIS - Great song, always difficult to remember the middle 8 on the guitar, as it's so different. His peak in my opinion closely followed by what I believe was his follow-up "Accidents Will Happen".

    SHADS - Utterly pointless. How many more versions of this were required?

    DR FEELGOOD - Have played this song also, boys love it, girls never heard of it

    LEIF - From the Roscoe Tanner school of all-american idol who went downhill (prison/drugs etc)

    DARTS - Pointless without Den.

    JUDAS - never a fan (although a fan of heavy rock), but this has to be one of the worst records ever to appear on this programme, it was embarrassing and I would have completely agreed with my parents had we all been watching this at the time.

    JACKSONS - Even MJ was getting bored by the end and gave us a taster of the "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" moves

    BLONDIE - oh my word, wasn't she just.... it. Song re-engineered and became a disco classic.

    GET DOWN - I remember going down the GREEN MAN in Leytonstone (Beckham country - would have been a tot then) every Saturday night at this time, to this song and others.... memories.

    I might continue to join in with all this, as it's so much easier to do so than before, and to the point.

    Au revoir for now popsters...

    1. good to see you've managed to join us silver fox - i think all regular contributors are now on board, so hopefully it's back to business as usual for what should be a fantastic year of music (plus racey)...

  25. have just realised that "priest"'s effort is another one of those songs where the title of the record is (strictly speaking) not used in the lyrics: the chorus actually goes "and together we will take on ALL the world". just thought i'd mention that (even if it is being pedantic)...

  26. view some TOTP here - 3 from 1981 [one is just put together but a good effort ] and 2 from the early 70's thanks for these Pat - please put some some more random episodes from the 80's
    Seán from Ireland 26.02.14