Thursday, 20 March 2014

Turn the Music Up ~ it's Top of the Pops 15th March 1979!

So what did naughty old ITV try to tempt us away with tonight? This ~ 6.35 Crossroads 7.00 The Bionic Woman 8.00 Robin's Nest 8.30 TV Eye 9.00 World Figure Skating Championships 10.00 News At Ten

But on the good old Beeb we had ~ 6.20 Nationwide 6.55 Tomorrow's World 7.20 Top of the Pops 7.55 Blankety Blank 8.30 Potter 9.00 News 9.25 World Figure Skating Champs

(Not the best of nights if you weren't so keen on ice-skating) but all we want to watch is:

15-3-79: Presenter: Peter Powell

(25) THE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION – Turn The Music Up (and charts)
(30) THE JAM – Strange Town
(4) LENE LOVICH – Lucky Number
(18) TOTO – Hold The Line (video)
(20) THE CARS – Just What I Needed (video)
(7) CHIC – I Want Your Love (danced to by Legs & Co)
(15) THIN LIZZY – Waiting For An Alibi ®
(26) VIOLINSKI – Clog Dance
(13) THE SKIDS – Into The Valley ®
(19) HERBIE HANCOCK – You Bet Your Love (video)
(1) GLORIA GAYNOR – I Will Survive (video)
(22) QUEEN – Don’t Stop Me Now (and credits)

The Players Association ~ turn the music up over the credits on this week's show, presented by the (slightly calmed down a bit compared to what he was like back in 1977) Peter Powell.

The Jam ~ with what sounded a bit like a prototype Going Underground - they were still waiting for that elusive breakthrough top ten hit - it was not to be with Strange Town though, which peaked at 15.

Lene Lovich ~ A new in the studio performance from Lene this week. This would have been a brilliant sight to behold around Halloween time, with all the green witchy effects going on!

Toto ~ with the first of their 4 UK top 40 hits. Three members of this line-up went on to play on Michael Jackson's Thriller LP.

The Cars ~ Featuring former Modern Lovers drummer David Robinson on, er, drums, this was the second of The Cars' four UK top 40 hits.

Chic ~ with a song almost tailor made for a Legs & Co wedding dress disco routine. In the 1980's Chic guitarist Nile Rogers would go on to produce huge hits for the likes of Madonna, David Bowie and Duran Duran.

Thin Lizzie ~ were edited out of the 7.30 show but we have previously seen the performance.

Violinski ~ featuring ELO's Mik Kaminski on violin, ex ELO bassist Mike de Albuquerque and nothing to do with ELO as far as a I know keyboardist John Marcangelo, who also wrote this catchy little tune. Apparently, Terry Wogan seriously considered covering this as a follow up to Floral Dance, but no one could come up with any lyrics!

The Skids ~ edited out of the 7.30 show, but again a previously aired performance.

Herbie Hancock ~ the vocoder King does his thing on another top 20 hit.

Black Lace ~ here's the reason why the show was on a Friday last week, it's the Smokie soundalike/lookalike Song for Europe winners. This was no Save Your Kisses for Me though, and came 7th in Eurovision. A few years later they recorded a tune that probably would have won it......

Gloria Gayner ~ the Bee Gees couldn't survive at number one any longer, as Gloria skated past them to the top spot this week.

Next week we sadly have to skip an excellent looking show hosted by DLT, featuring Squeeze and Kate Bush in the studio, and instead move onto the 29th March edition hosted by Mike Read.


  1. Lene Lovich’s lucky number actually turned out to be 3 …sorry for the plot spoiler!

    Going back to the telly schedule (sorry, couldn't resist), I looked “Potter” up and I’d forgotten that Arthur Lowe died before the final series was filmed but, instead of pulling the project, the third series went ahead with Robin Bailey as his replacement. Not exactly a lookalike! As least when poor Leonard Rossiter passed away during the broadcasts of his worst sitcom, “Tripper’s Day”, they renamed the character Slinger for the second series, though whether it should have been made in the first place was open to debate, let alone stick Bruce Forsyth in as the lead!

    I'll be back with some proper comments some time during the weekend. In the meantime, who's going to get their skates on and post the second comment? Boom boom!

  2. Me again! Anyone else see the news that the uber-reclusive Kate Bush is playing 15 shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in August and September?

    1. Yes I've heard this ~ all I can say is....



    2. let's hope she's that she's got herself back in shape for the occasion... but not in the manner of whacko!

  3. Paul Weller chewing again. I hope he's brought enough for the whole class to have.

    This was the Lene Lovich performance I remembered, with the bonus it sounded a lot more like the record than her previous appearance on the show.

    Mr Toto of Toto looked like a tipsy uncle grabbing the mic from the band at a wedding and giving us a rendition of whatever they were playing. In filmed through linoleum vision, too.

    The Cars were playing live (couldn't identify the source programme) and demonstrated a pretty tight line-up. Was it me or did Pete have trouble recalling the name of this track in his intro? He'd recovered by the next link.

    This week's Legs routine and Pauline looked as if she'd gone to the hair boutique with a photo of Jaclyn Smith and asked for a hairdo like that.

    Was that John Oates dancing in the background of Violinski, high kicks and all?

    Must admit I quite like it when Herbie Hancock invites us to put on our dancing trousers, and now this sounds retro-futuristic. Also, the groovers on stage with him in the video put the TOTP audience to shame.

    Gawd, no wonder we didn't win Eurovision with the Black Lace tune, it was kind of sleazy for a start, and five years out of date for a finish.

    1. If Black Lace were only five years out of date then they were doing well. I remember hearing years ago the the ESC was typically ten years behind the times. Sometimes, though, it caught up with the times with spectacular results, the 1974 winner being a classic example. Although since, in musical terms, glam rock was just watered-down 1950s rock 'n' roll this wasn't really a great achievement.

  4. host: i've never noticed this before, but peter powell actually has some pretty dodgy teeth - he'd never get on the telly these days with hampsteads like that

    charts: den's replacement in darts has had half his head cut off! reminds me of the guy in the cult comedy series "the kids in the hall" (why can't they show that again on one of those freeview channels?), who used to put people's heads in his line of sight between his thumb and forefinger, and then press together saying in a strange accent "i cut you!"... this was one of the players assocation's own efforts (which i liked at the time, but it sounds a tad cheesy now), but they often did instrumental versions of recent disco hits (such as "disco inferno") featuring loads of horn solos

    the jam: as ever it's reach for the fast-forward button for me! however, not before i noticed the band graphic that may have appeared on the show for the first time ever

    lene lovich: the backroom nerds have obivously just got in the latest video technology, as evidenced by the intros on the last number and this one. i was thinking "where's the drummer and keyboard player - has ms lovich given them their cards?"... and then they turn up submerged in the audience at the end! utterly pointless in my view, and perhaps unsurprisingly something that didn't happen very often

    toto: it's hard to believe that some of this lot were involved in recordings by steely dan, cheryl lynn and earth, wind & fire - the very definition of plodding! but worse was to come in the form of "africa" and "rosanna"...

    chic/legs: i actually felt a bit uncomfortable watching legs pouting and moving about suggestively in their skimpy swimsuit-style costumes in the verses of this - am i becoming a prude in my old age?

    thin lizzy: i know this a repeat, but a bloody good one! the best thing on the show - i love the contrast between the effortlessly cool scott gorham and the wired gary moore. especially love it when they rock together on the twin guitar solo at the end

    the cars: not as good as their previous effort in my view. why does the bassist sing this when his voice sounds exactly the same as the usual lead singer (who looks a bit like a spare prick at a wedding here). also, why did the director choose to film the singer from below - there was more microphone than face! for anyone interested, in my opinion this band (most unexpectedly!) recorded perhaps the finest synth-pop track ever in the form of "heartbeat city"...

    violinski: as last time, this went straight out of my head as soon as it was finished. less than an hour after watching it i'm sitting here thinking "how the hell did it go?"

    herbie hancock: having heard this again, i still can't say anything about it other than disco-by-numbers and a shameless attempt by herbie to pay the bills. these slung-over-shoulder mobile keyboards were being touted at this time, but they were never going to replace the classic guitar pose. normally the keys were facing downwards, which probably made them somewhat difficult to play (i never tried one myself), but here herbie has to have his keyboard level... which makes him look like a choc-ice girl in the cinema!

    black lace: i was struggling to stay awake at this point, and in my haze thought "oh no, not bloody smokie again!" when i watched again later having had a nap i realise it actually was some bizarre kind of smokie tribute/parody - so no surprise that the singer of black lace actually joined smokie after chris norman packed it in (a bit like that guy in the judas priest tribute band that replaced rob halford)...

    queen: the video effects guy has now been completely unleashed with his new gizmo! it reminds me of that spaced-out visual thing that you can play on winamp...

    mark: 5/10

    1. The Kids in the Hall crushing guy actually said "I'm crushing your head!" They later did a whole sketch about him having his fingers broken (!) in retaliation and recuperating. Weird show, but really funny, I only caught up with the rest of it because the import DVDs were so cheap - Channel 4 only showed about ten episodes out of over a hundred.

      Just checked out The Cars' Heartbreak City, didn't recognise the title but it did sound familiar when I heard it. Can't beat a bit of 80s synth.

    2. it's been a while since i saw "head crushing man" so apologies for not getting it right (although with that strange accent "crushing" could have sounded like "cutting" to me ha ha). i do remember he once had a showdown with a rival who squeezed heads sideways as opposed to crushing them from top to bottom! definitely an acquired taste but i liked it. they were tagged as a kind of street version of "monty python"... a connection not hindered by their proclivity for cross-dressing at every given opportunity!

  5. What a lovely crisp picture on this edition. Presumably because it hasn't been taken off the shelf since first broadcast? I don't think I've seen any of the appearances o this before certainly (other than the repeat ones, obviously!)

    I've always wondered what The Players Association looked like. I was expecting one of those 'disco aggregations' with loads of cool dudes. Not 2 ordinary looking white blokes!

    The Jam - A middling one here, their first classic to come later in the year.

    Lene Lovich - I think this is a much more interesting performance and actually quite like the novelty of the keyboard player and drummer in the audience. And one of the guitarists rocking the string vest look.

    Toto - I had new respect for this song when I tried to sing it once. Surprisingly difficult. This is the one time in the show when the picture DOESN'T look nice and clean of course.

    The Cars - Unusually for a song from this era, Mrs. Noax likes this more than I do.

    Chic - Play the bloody violin bit at the end!!!!

    Violinski - Ooh, another one 'in the round' (was it a new director or floor manager this week?) though obviously considerably less exciting than Lene. I still like the tune though.

    Herbie Hancock - wilberforce beat me to the 'ice cream lady at the cinema' comment! I'm not keen on this song, and it's a shame that we didn't get any video for his previous (and much better) single.

    Black Lace - In my former life as a commercial radio presenter, I stood on stage with one of these men. Doing 'Agadoo', inevitably. Which, nonsensical though it is, at least isn't a blatant rip-off of another band's act!

    Gloria Gaynor / Queen - Oh look, 2 housewife classics in a row for the Heart FM brigade. At least the cameraman for the end sequence livens up a bit by doing an audition for the new Doctor Who title sequence. Unfortunately Sid Sutton got the gig.

    1. i concur with noax re: chic - the best bit of the record. i think there was more violin going on in that than there was in violinsky's thing!

    2. i had a rare social outing (to a 70's/80's disco/boogie club called "uptown") last night to relive my youth. it was brilliant, and they played "i want your love" twice - including the string section part! the downside was that i seemed to be the only person there who was actually alive when the records were originally released - some kid asked me if i was a bouncer!

    3. Noax, is it rude to ask which station you were with? Just interested having heard about the bloodletting at Smooth Radio, where Simon Bates and Lynn Parsons have been axed and replaced by Andrew Castle and Kate Garraway!

    4. to paraphrase dirty harry: i'm all broken up to hear that slimy has got the boot from smooth fm! andrew castle probably knows f*ck all about music either, but at least he hasn't got a learing mug that you crave to smash in with a lumphammer! can't say i'm looking forward to his upcoming totp appearances: in a way it would be almost worth it to lose his shows in exchange for him going down like sir jim and dlt...

    5. Arthur - I'm always glad to help!

      I worked for (on order) Signal Radio, CFM, The Bay and Centre FM. Plus a short stint doing travel for Trafficlink and other student / hospital radio. I'm now on community station, Switch Radio.
      So nothing big, but I had a (mostly) fun time!

  6. A fair episode.
    Black Lace: As a Eurovision addict, I remember the title Mary Anne but could not remember the tune at all! Bit of a stalker track....
    My cousin went to school with Colin Routh, bass player of Black Lace. He doesn't dine out on the fact very often...

  7. Evening All: Have missed the beginning of this twice now so can't comment on The Players Assoc.
    However, I really enjoyed this foot-tapping episode, probably because I cracked open a bottle of Theakston's Old Peculier while I watched it...
    The Jam: The "Break It Up" ending run to me signifies the point from where the Jam started to pick up their mass legion of fans (I think Eton Rifles probably came soon after this)
    Lene Lovich: Mo further comment, m'lud
    Toto: Surely the beginning of the whole American AOR scene (Styx, REO etc), flawless orchestrated harmonies, perfect production and musicianship etc, but bland to me..
    Cars: Great foot-tapper
    Chic: Great foot-tapper
    Need to crack open another bottle, excuse me...

  8. Ah yes, where wash I (hic)..
    Looking at the Disco genre (rock was more my thing), I have nothing but admiration for the Chic sound, it is absolutely infectious, and though I don't really remember the Herbie Hancock song, I must beg to differ with my learned colleagues here - I thought it was a belter of a disco song, and the dance floor sequences made me really wistful about going to all the discos in that era, and Yes I was a rocker and a punk, but I loved really good disco also.

    But I must now agree with all my learned friends and conclude for the benefit of the jury that Never Can Say Goodbye was a timeless classic, and "Survive" should have stayed a B-side, and is only the classic because of its sentiment (far too one-dimensional a song for me).

    Black Lace: Smokie etc etc. These guys are not exactly boy-band material, how did they ever come to pick the "manufactured" groups? I hate formula-ed music such as this/Smokie/X-Factor etc..... help, I need to be on Grumpy Old Men.

    Been avidly watching this re-run since the inception of April 76, each episode at least twice, and I can't help feeling that it'll have run its course by the end of 1979, does anyone else feel this, or can I be persuaded otherwise please?

    1. Well, we've had this 'will they, won't they?' thing towards the end of every year so far, and they always have. I hope the BBC do 1980 next year, since it was a transitional period in TOTP terms, with a new producer and the abolition of the orchestra, etc. But personally I won't lose any sleep if they decide to discontinue it after that.

    2. Sadly, I think the re-runs will fizzle out at the end of this year, as there will be loads of holes in the next year's coverage. There was no TOTP at all during June and July 1980 due to a Musicians' Union strike, and there were 11 editions hosted by Jim'll or DLT, some of these co-hosted with other people and, one occasion for DLT, his co-host was Kevin Keegan!

      Still haven't watched the latest show yet but looking forward to my favourite Jam track. As for your choice of beer, Foxy, that's my all time favourite. Good call!

    3. i hope it goes on until the end of 1984 (after which "band aid" killed off the classic synth-pop era). i particularly want to whatch totp 1983, as i was rehearsing with a band every thursday evening so missed virtually every one of them!

    4. Yes, I'm hoping the repeats continue up to 1984 as well, for me the last real top-notch pop year there ever was, though there's a good chance that by 2019 BBC4 won't even exist anymore! Hopefully DLT will be acquitted later this year and that might encourage the Beeb to continue into 1980, though if they do end it after this year it will still have been a great ride.

    5. 1979 is one of my favourite years for music, so I'm very glad we've got this far to be honest. Although I enjoy lots of stuff from 1980 & 81 the next truly great year for me will be 1982, and I can't see the repeats still going then.

      BBC4 itself might not be around for too much longer in any case. The DG made a very big hint that changing the law on catching licence fee dodgers (that includes you, Mr.Tidybeard!) could cost the Beeb the equivalent of the running costs of BBC4, CBBC and CBeebies combined, that's not particularly encouraging.
      Even Auntie's lefty opposition friends aren't opposing that one!

  9. Some may have found this one a bit guitar-heavy, but me? Did I enjoy it? Is the Pope a Catholic?!

    The chart rundown was to one of the more memorable disco hits, then into The Jam with not only a great single but for me the first memory of the Spring of '79. Rick was without his trademark cymbal mutes this time.

    Don't know what that playing the keyboard back-to-front thing on the Lene Lovich performance was about.

    I noticed in the Toto video (film) there was one of those twin-necked guitars where one of them was a bass. I can understand the point of the 6-string/12-string version but who's supposed to be laying down the bass line if you're playing the 6-string bit on this one?

    Nice to hear an alternative live version from the Cars, as they did with their previous single.

    I actually reeled back a few seconds on iPlayer with Legs & Co, thinking "bloody hell, they've stripped off, Bucks Fizz style!" No, it was just editing. The "violin bit at the end" is presumably the 12 inch version, the single version which I have is the same as what was heard here. The only other version I can find in my collection is the 'Stonebridge Remix', which is every bit as ghastly as it sounds.

    Violinski: I want one of those silent miming violins! Together with a Yehudi Menuhin CD. You get my drift.

    Herbie Hancock, with a conventional keyboard carried on an extra-wide neck strap (does he suffer from back problems these days?) and a headset mic certainly looked a sight. The person who invented that ultimate 1980s pose machine, the keytar, must have been watching this.

    Finally Black Lace, with their reworking of Oh Carol from the previous year. There's a comment on YouTube (not mine!) which I thought summed them up perfectly: "One wants to sing in Smokie, one wants to be Jeff Lynne, one wants to be a Bee Gee and one wants to be a drummer!"

    1. would not the keyboard player take over bass duties once the 6 string bit on the combined guitar/bass thing was being used?

  10. Oh yes, forgot to mention the effects. This would appear to be the show where Quantel first made its mark. Although I hate Quantel with a passion I thought that the end sequence was really rather good.

    1. keytar? qauntel? 20th you're obviously much more up on the techno jargon than me ha ha

  11. One of the better shows in my opinion, apart from those three duffers at the end.

    Paul Weller looked like a cool Rodney Trotter in those glasses. Why did he want to find the YMCA’s, though? Wasn’t he scared off them by Village People? A close mate of mine who works for British Gas recently checked Rick Buckler’s boiler and didn’t realise until he’d left who he was and why he had all those discs on the walls!

    Lene Lovich’s backing track was much better this time round, but I hated all that stop motion rubbish – and why were the keyboard player and drummer in a different county?

    What was the bloke far left in Toto’s rundown shot doing? Did the singer look more like Bob Carolgees or Graeme Souness? Enjoyed the song, mind you, but The Cars sped past them with a really tight performance – and was that the first drumkit triangle of the re-run?

    When Violinski’s main man just stood there at the beginning, he reminded me of the “Jazz Club” sketch in “The Fast Show” when they took the mickey out of Nigel Kennedy. Didn’t the drummer look excited?

    Herbie Hancock must have got inspiration from the Monty Python “Albatross” sketch and the rims of his glasses from an Austin Allegro.

    Black Lace sneak their band name into the title but, with the raspy vocals, an Orville lookalike on bass and the worst dress sense of the night (that guitarist) they were on to a loser. Talking of dress sense…

    Woah there! I wasn’t expecting that costume change for the Legs & Co routine. Eat that, Hot Gossip! Several interesting close-ups which reminded me I had to go and post a letter. Not that I’m complaining! I’m just grateful DLT didn’t host this edition. Imagine the carnage!

  12. I'm only just catching up with two weeks ago.

    I thought this show had a really new look and was the start of the change in the show's appearance. It's not just the black backdrop which helps but the lighting has made the picture look brighter and sharper and I love the performances in the round even if the crowd aren't up to the job. Also almost all the songs were featured in their entirety which works a lot better than those shows where they cram 14 songs into 29 minutes.

    I liked this Jam single a lot and the b-side The Butterfly Collector is equally good. Paul Weller borrowed the gum chewing thing from Nick Lowe who often did that when he was in Brinsley Schwartz. Weller also 'borrowed' the tune to their song Surrender To The Rhythm for The Style Council's Speak Like A Child but that's another story.

    The not-quite-there-yet video effect on Lene Lovich did look as though it were a fault on the playback (I wonder if anyone complained?).Good performance though, better than before.

    Toto's keyboardist bore more than a passing resemblance to Chas Hodges, I kept expecting him to say 'getcha!'.

    I like the startled mods surrounding PP at the intro to The Cars. The performance was from the German show Musik Laden live at Radio Bremen Studios.

    The crowd are a bit more animated for Violinski which is more than they deserve because while it's a nice tune it's a bit boring to watch. I did buy this but ended up playing the b-side more times than the a-side.

    The Herbie Hancock video could easily have been filmed as art of the show as it's very much in the same style except with better dancers as someone above said. Considering he actually took the trouble to film a video for this song it did worse than I Thought It Was You.

    While I was always a fan of Eurovision I hated Black Lace with a vengence, being nothing but a poor man's Smokie just when the clever money was getting out. The guitarist looks like an emaciated Jeff Lynne while the bass player's too-short narrow leather tie has a life of it's own and is moderately more interesting than the song.

    Skip Gloria. I can't watch that video anymore.

    Wonder at Queen's varying chart success and end.