Sunday, 23 March 2014

Wow! ~ it's Top of the Pops 22nd March 1979!

Thanks once again to Darnall42 for supplying another skipped edition of Top of the Pops ~ this time the DLT hosted show from 22nd March 1979, and looking at the line-up (courtesy as always of Popscene) it looks like quite a good one!

22-3-79: Presenter: Dave Lee Travis

 (8) GARY’S GANG – Keep On Dancin’ (and charts)
(43) SHAM 69 – Questions And Answers
(23) DIRE STRAITS – Sultans Of Swing (video)
(20) THE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION – Turn The Music Up (danced to by Legs & Co)
(29) BUZZCOCKS – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays
(16) VILLAGE PEOPLE – In The Navy (video)
(15) DENNIS BROWN – Money In My Pocket
(13) QUEEN – Don’t Stop Me Now (video)
(35) KATE BUSH – Wow
(5) THE REAL THING – Can You Feel The Force
(33) SQUEEZE – Cool For Cats
(1) GLORIA GAYNOR – I Will Survive (video)
(4) THE SEX PISTOLS – Something Else (and credits)

The stand-out performance for me was Squeeze doing a live (lead vocal at least) version of Cool for Cats - very energetic.
And were the four Kate Bushes in the Top of the Pops studio or was that a video? Certainly didn't see any audience and it wasn't a live vocal. Not complaining though.
Also enjoyable was the Village People's performance ~ looked like it was from some (American?) tv show.
The Buzzcocks looked very smart this time in their sparkly dinner jackets, and Sham 69 looked like they had judo practice to go to straight after the show.


  1. A great show, and a great shame that the BBC4 audience won't get to see it. Kate Bush and Squeeze the highlights, and the Village People performance was very entertaining. Don't know why DLT was trying to impersonate Kenny Everett, though...

  2. Dear God, man, button up that pink shirt and put that chest away! Almost a Jim’ll-type show with those types of links and, to be fair to DLT, he always introduced punk and new wave acts with enthusiasm and respect.

    Plenty of fast forwarding through this show for me (Dire Straits, Queen, Gloria Gaynor) but still some nuggets, like witnessing Pete Shelley laughing! I don’t remember ever seeing that before. Why was Jimmy Pursey dressed like Hong Kong Phooey, by the way? And wasn’t he even more shouty than usual?

    One of Legs & Co’s least inspiring routines, but lovely colour dresses, and Rosie’s suited her especially. Players Association were on the Vanguard label which, for a while, had different colour labels for their A-sides and B-sides. Just thought I’d throw that in.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think the “seamen” lyric in Village People’s hit was an intentional double entendre? Talking of lyrics, poor Chris Difford got the “Gertcha” treatment, having to sing that the missus always looks the blimming same. No bleeding allowed in this show!

    Best performance of the night for me was Dennis Brown, apart from thate strange bit of splicing around 16:09. Fine vocals, and hypnotic bass and bongos. Talking of hypnotic presences, I wonder just how a 56-year-old Kate Bush will interpret “Wow” on her impending London tour? Typical me, though, I’ve got the Alan Partridge version of “Baboushka” stuck in my head.

    1. squeeze may have been pulled up on the "bleedin' missus", but i presume they managed to get the line "give the dog a bone" past the totp censors?

    2. Yes the dog still got its bone!
      Very different backing track than the record too, its strange how some acts at this time seem to get away with miming to what sounds like their record, whilst others have to completely re-do it all.

    3. I think it all depended if the acts were competent (or bothered) enough to try and re-create the song in the three hour slot TOTP allotted them for recording the track in rehearsals. As seen on one of the start-of-year round-up shows, there was meant to be some sort of musical 'auditor' ensuring the backing tracks were re-recorded for the show but bands got round this by getting their PA / plugger to take the auditor out for lunch and having someone from the record company sneak in with the single's backing track while he was away.

    4. I guess either the auditor was either not very hungry then or Squeeze hadn't paid their plugger enough :-)

    5. What intrigues me is that this was never black or white. At one extreme you had the single version, while at the other was a live vocal to a bespoke backing track like this. But you also had the single minus the vocal, for this to be added live, the single version with a different lead guitar or other instrument, the basic band backing with no orchestration (for the TOTP orchestra to add live), etc etc.

  3. Sham 69: I had forgotten this track - I think the B side was a very odd version of With A Little Help From Our Friends

    Legs and Co: Took me a while to realise the prop was a radio!

    Buzzcocks: Leather jacket replaced by a jacket made from a set of cushion covers. New toy for cameramen - ironically like a 21C tablet...

    1. Correct on the Sham B-side, Charlie.

  4. A pretty good show this with a nice mixture of tracks and nothing remotely light ent for once!

    The Sham 69 track is probably their weakest single unfortunately, and although I like 'Sultans of Swing', it is a little overplayed now (unlike its cousin, 'Lady Writer')

    That giant radio during Legs & Co's routine - blimey, the scene shifters surely must have gone on strike after having to lug that around! The least surprising thing ever was DLT playing with the knobs (steady!) at the end.

    The Village People clip was quite a revelation, having seen the video so many times it was nice to see something different. It did showcase the terrible teeth on the lead singer though. When they released a remix (2nd? 3rd? can't remember...) of 'YMCA' around millennium time I got to interview 2 of them. One was the replacement biker chap, but I can never remember who the other was.....

    Queen - considering other (better) songs barely got an airing, they really like this one don't they?

    Kate Bush - Wow, indeed. Brilliant as ever. I'm guessing we don't get to see this on TV then? Or do we get the song in a different form?

    Squeeze - Whereas with this one I'm going to go against the grain a bit, as I didn't really like this performance. It sounded a bit weedy, and where were the girls?

    Sex Pistols - Speaking of things that are on far too often. Altogether now....'Mr.Grimsdale! Mr.GRIMSDAAALLLE'

    1. Wow will be on again on the 12th April edition presented by Peter Powell :-)

  5. Don't know what the weather was like on 22 March 1979 but when it comes to my musical memories Spring had very definitely arrived!

    There were some peculiar edits here - a section was chopped out of the guitar solo in Questions And Answers and later we had "Can you the force", but this may have been a computer glitch somewhere along the line.

    I agree with Noax about the Squeeze performance - a rather dodgy live vocal and it looked like they had yet to recruit the two girls (assuming they weren't actually the ones doing the backing vocals). But at least we had that master of the live vocal, Jimmy Pursey, at the start of the show.

    This was the performance of Everybody's Happy Nowadays that I remember. Even back then I thought there was something not quite right about the drummer but I couldn't put my finger on it. Today it's obvious - the bass drum is thumping out of the speaker but his right leg isn't moving at all!