Thursday, 24 April 2014

One Way Ticket to Top of the Pops!

I came in a bit late this evening and didn't catch any of tonight's 7.30 pm show until Racey, so not too sure who got edited out up that point, but I'm guessing maybe Generation X and/or Supertramp...
But anyway, what was on ITV on the 26th April 1979:

7.00 The Bionic Woman 8.00 Leave It To Charlie 8.30 TV Eye 9.00 Party Political Broadcast 9.10 Hazell 10.10 News 10.50 Thames Report

Whilst on BBC1:

6.55 Tomorrow's World 7.20 Top of the Pops 7.55 Blankety Blank 8.30 Living Legends 9.00 Party Political Broadcast 9.10 News 9.40 The Mourning Brooch

And Top of the Pops lined up like this:

26-4-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(16) NEIL DIAMOND – Forever In Blue Jeans (and charts)
(23) GENERATION X – Valley Of The Dolls
(7) SUPERTRAMP – The Logical Song (video)
(28) ERUPTION – One Way Ticket
(24) SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES – The Staircase (Mystery) (video)
(2) RACEY – Some Girls
(20) AMII STEWART – Knock On Wood (footage from Snowtime Special: Disco In The Snow 9-4-79)
(18) SHAM 69 – Questions And Answers
(19) BONEY M – Hooray Hooray It’s A Holi-Holiday (footage from Snowtime Special: Disco In The Snow 9-4-79)
(43) MONKS – Nice Legs Shame About Her Face
(21) THE BEE GEES – Love You Inside Out (danced to by Legs & Co)
(1) ART GARFUNKEL – Bright Eyes (video)
(17) SHOWADDYWADDY – Remember Then (and credits)

Grease ~ eat your heart out!
Neil Diamond ~ plays over the chart rundown with Forever in Blue Jeans at its peak chart position.

Generation X ~ Also at its peak was Valley of the Dolls, and this was also the final top 40 hit for Generation X.

Supertramp ~ And guess what, The Logical Song was currently at its peak in the charts too!

Eruption ~ Sorry I missed this one (presuming it wasn't edited out) - not quite as fine a cover as I Can't Stand the Rain, but still well worth a watch. One Way Ticket was their second and final UK hit. I also recall Paul Nicholas doing a very different sounding version of this at around the same time.

Siouxsie and the Banshees ~ I'd have quite liked to have seen this one too - will have to catch it all on iplayer tomorrow. Another song at its peak in the charts on tonight's show.

Racey ~ same blue suits but a new performance and a new (mystery) girl to dance with, and at number two in the charts, this was also as far as Some Girls would go.

Amii Stewart ~ They certainly seemed to have a lot of fun on Snowtime Special didn't they? This cover of Eddie Floyd's 1966 original reached number one in the USA and was the first of two top ten UK hits for Amii in 1979.

Sham 69 ~ edited out of the 7.30 show - but seems like it was a new performance of Questions and Answers which was, of course, at its chart peak.

Boney M ~ Looking more like they were dressed for Ascot than a disco in the snow, this song marks the end of an era for the band, being their final top ten hit (except for their 'Megamix' of the late 80's).

Monks ~ Hard to imagine how this band evolved from The Strawbs, but here are Richard Hudson and John Ford, writers of Part of the Union, with a song infamously described by Johnny Rotten on Juke Box Jury as 'rubbish' - a bit harsh, not a bad novelty record really and I like the twist at the end.

The Bee Gees ~ Legs and Co go all Japanese this week dancing to this lesser known Bee Gees hit (although maybe not so lesser known in the USA where it got to number one!)

Art Garfunkel ~ Another 60 seconds of rabbit action, with Art now half way through his six weeks stay at the top of the charts and with sales of 1.2 million Bright Eyes was 1979's biggest selling single.

Showaddywaddy ~ This week's show began with a song at its peak in the charts, and it ends the same way with Remember Then playing over the credits.

Next week's show, the 5th of May 1979, is the first of ten this year to be hosted by Jimmy Savile, and so will be skipped, moving us on instead to the 10th May and Mike Read.


  1. My Sky Plus box said 'Loss of signal'.

    Played it back & it jumped during the Monks!

    I normally tape all 3 showings as my box also jumps during anything recorded around 1am.

    To save disc space, I don't keep the complete shows, just the clips, plus I don't keep the repeat performances either!

  2. Eruption - I remember this one at the time, but on this show it was the studio performance, and nice to see them sing it live on the show.

    Racey - They were now getting used to the tag of being the best group of 1979 not to reach No.1, being stuck at No.2, but good track nevertheless.

    Amii Stewart - first time seeing this clip, and it looked like the studio audience of Snowtime Special were getting comfortable with Amii, and the men around her on that dance floor seemed like they wanted a good grab of Amii in her attire, but could not so do cos they were on TV.

    Boney M - hard to believe that this was their last top ten hit, as Angelo Gravity points out. It doesn't seem that long since they came onto the scene with Daddy Cool a couple of years earlier. Short lived group.

    Showaddywaddy - never thought I would see this group left to the closing credits, but it was probably the last straw for them to see this happen on TOTP, and not surprising that we would not see them again as a major force on the charts after this song.

  3. The director was determined to give us a migraine during Generation X, which was the most memorable thing about it. LA and motorbike mishaps beckoned for Billiam.

    Eruption, always thought it strange the lyrics referred to a "choo-choo train" which make it sound like a nursery rhyme, although now I see the really strange thing was that all of the band had been to Floella Benjamin's hairdresser. Nice live performance from the superbly named Precious.

    Siouxsie and the Banshees inventing Goth there. You can see why you don't hear this one anymore, not bad, but not too melodic.

    Amii Stewart, must admit I think this is a storming cover, one of the best of the disco covers in fact, and watching them all dancing around Amii in the clip was very funny.

    Boney M, so that was it? That song pops into my head when it's a holiday still.

    The Monks, pretend punk though their hairdos were fooling no one. Not even the best band called The Monks.

    Like this Bee Gees tune a lot, from a good album too, nice, slick production though it took Legs & Co to highlight the fact that the synth sounds a bit Japanese. Cheers.

    1. I'll comment on this show when I watch it over the weekend, but a shame we never got a chance to watch the last DLT-fronted show which featured three songs which were allergic to the mugshots - Gordon Giltrap's number 58 smash "Fear Of The Dark", a rehash of "Only You" by Child (actually, not a shame to miss that) which peaked at 33, and the old LE payola lure allowing Dusty Springfield to treat us to a complete turkey. Dusty did make the charts later in 1979 but that single only reached 61 and didn't get a TOTP slot.

  4. PS - "The Mourning Brooch" was a one-off 50-minute thriller starring Bryan Marshall, Cyd Hayman, Gay Hamilton, Andrew Cruickshank and, in a minor role, that Iain Cuthbertson out of "Budgie".

    1. "the mourning brooch" sounds worth watching - i don't suppose it's available on dvd? i remember bryan marshall was a real 70's tough guy... talking of which, also note that "hazell" has now started - i missed the first few shows for some strange reason, but i remember some kid coming into my classroom after one episode raving about how hazell stuck some villain's hand with a fork! finally got to finally watch that a couple of years back on dvd and the violence was indeed quite realistic (at one point hazell has an extended bout with another legendary 70's hard man derrick o'connor), but sadly the plots never really matched up...

    2. floella benjamin's hairdresser... that one cracked me up! i seem to remember syreeta being another client at the time. by the way, floella is now known as baroness benjamin - presumably she got given that title for services to hairstyles...?

  5. like a recent edition i once again ran out of video tape, but tragically this time the show was only half way through! so here's my thoughts on what was recorded, and hope to catch the rest on saturday...

    host: one slight criticism of the almost ever-reliable kid: like others at the time (including me) he introduces siouxsie's band as the BAN-shees, rather than the correct pronounciation of "ban-SHEES"

    charts: they're really trying to push neil dire-mond's tired old tune aren't they - perhaps payola at work?

    generation x: green and black and strobe effects (were we warned of these by the announcer before the programme started?) sadly cannot distract from the fact that the song is a complete turkey. i loved it when they put the strobe on in discos in those (pre health and safety) days, and when i did the disco for my school reunion a while back, the guy who supplied the equipment agreed to my request to bring along a strobe. sadly though he then got taken ill (hopefully not through testing it out!) so in the end it never appeared...

    eruption: for some reason i was expecting this to be "i can't stand the rain" which was why the odd low-key intro fooled me... when it got started properly i found myself actually knowing the song without having any recollection who had done it - according to comments above this is a cover but i have no idea who did the original or when it was first recorded. nice enough i suppose if not exactly disco dynamite...

    siouxsie and the banSHEES: i can't remember this at all, and having now heard it properly for the first time what it's all about is still a mystery to me, on account that i couldn't make out a word of what siouxsie was wailing - maybe that was the intent? i actually saw this incarnation of the band live around this time, and i was far more impressed with the guitarist and drummer than the others (why did steve severin ever bother putting the other three strings on his bass?). so was somewhat surprised that when they abruptly quit halfway through that tour that they were very much seen as the makeweights. in fact as far as the pop world was concerned nothing was ever heard of them again - does anyone know what became of them?

    racey: i'm not certain but i think the woman who came on was the same one as on their first appearance. at one point mr racey (© a. nibble) almost gets whacked with a guitar headstock - sadly it missed... with reference to the title, for me at the time it was case of "one girl might (but then cops out at the last second)"...

    amii stewart: were mr and mrs minogue watching this show? sadly not as dannii was already 7 years old at this point. i never really took to this at the time as the producers seemed to putting a square soul peg into a round disco hole. among the disco dancers, i noticed that jimmy connors in the blue velvet jacket was putting in a particularly energetic performance...

    1. "One Way Ticket" was recorded as far back as 1959 by Neil Sedaka.

  6. Here goes...

    Generation X - How many times did they repeat the title? Awful song

    Siouxsie & The Banshees - Never heard this before, yet loved it, especially the scratchy guitar

    Racey - Smug, punchable singer who looks very much like a short Nigel Lythgoe. Have now roped in Sue from Legs and Co, the remainder of Legs and Co, and now finally some other dolly-bird! How did they manage this?!

    Amii Stewart - This performance looks like how TOTP tried to look in the 80s. All forced fun - awkward dancing from the audience and balloons flying everywhere. I couldn't stop laughing at the very stilted and stiff dancer just behind the singer.

    Sham 69 - Just terrible. The most bland and dull example of what punk became.

    The Monks - You really couldn't get away with these lyrics these days!! Was there a Robin Thicke-style furore over the "sexist" lyrics in 1979? I suspect not...

    The Bee Gees - So many massive hits that this is grossly underplayed. A shame, as it is really rather wonderful

  7. Yes, it's Top of the Pops! Let's get the show underway with a real belter....oh, it's Neil Diamond.

    Eruption - Great vocal on this from Precious Wilson, she's really trying to gee up the audience (nice try) with her performance. I found it quite amusing when she turned up again in the 90s to sing on rave act Messiah's version of 'I Feel Love'.
    As for the song itself, I quite like it although the intro is a bit pointless (it goes on for much longer on the 7")

    Siouxsie & The Banshees - Oh dear. Probably the worst of their early singles I would say.

    Racey - Legs & Co have seemingly refused to dance with them any more, perhaps they're a bit bored with this as well.

    Amii Stewart - As Mickey above has hinted, presumably Michael Hurll was watching this clip and thinking 'I'll have some of that, though with the audience a bit further away from the acts!'
    Disco in the snow in April though - why?! I know it does snow in April (well, it did last year at any rate) but it seems a bit of an idea. Presumably it was on over the Easter holidays.

    Boney M - I've always rather liked this song. Shame they chopped the middle eight out completely though - was Bobby out of favour at this point or something? It's his only bit in the whole song!

    Monks - Not the first time someone will chance it by cashing in on the musical style of the day, and it won't be the last. So I don't know why this gets so much flak. It's alright, nothing special but not that offensive.

    Bee Gees - I'd completely forgotten about this one, it's a very good tune I think that must have received about zero airplay since it was out. It may well get an airing on my radio show in a few weeks mind....

    1. Michael Hurl was the producer of Snowtime Special so he wasn't just influenced by it, he created the party atmosphere. A glimpse of future TOTP indeed.

  8. There's a couple of Strawbs connections in this show - as Angelo has mentioned, The Monks contained their ex-rhythm section, while the keyboard player on Love You Inside Out was Blue Weaver, who also played in The Strawbs in the early 70s (and before that in Amen Corner). Hudson, Ford and Weaver all appeared on 1972's Grave New World, the best Strawbs album and one of the greatest albums of the Prog era, even if it tends to get overlooked these days...

    This edition was reasonably enjoyable, if not terribly exciting - I would gladly never hear those dull Gen X and Sham 69 efforts again! The highlights for me were Amii Stewart (an example of a cover that manages to better the original) and Boney M, who delivered a really fun, dynamic performance. Strange that their chart fortunes tailed off so dramatically after this, but I guess they fell victim to the rapid changes in musical style and fashion that were taking place at this time.

  9. Folks, the 3rd May edition with Jimmy Saville is now up online, so Angelo, put up this edition as soon as poss, as the 10th May show is on this coming Thursday on the Beeb, so we got a further two shows on this blog in the next few days!

    Can't wait to see the comments about the Police debut with Roxanne......hows about that then....

    1. I liked seeing The Dickies best out of all the acts on that edition. Sadly I don't think we will see them on BBC4....

    2. You're right Noax, in that The Dickies only appeared once on TOTP, on that 3rd May Jimmy Saville show, but without stealing Angelo Gravity's thunder, you can see the whole show on this link:

    3. Cheers I will put it up now :-)

  10. managed to catch the rest of this week's show via the late night saturday repeat but don't think i would have missed much if i hadn't...

    sham 69: i was hoping the drummer would knock over the ride cymbal with his aggressive double-stick thumping, but sadly it remained defiantly upright

    boney m: i suppose i'd grown to expect this sort of infantile nursery rhyme nonsense from them by now, so i can't bring myself to despise it quite as much as "brown girl in the ring" despite being just as puerile if not more so

    monks: i know the lyrics make it a novelty thing (reminds me about that old sexist joke: "you don't look at the mantelpiece when you're poking the fire!"), but is the music supposed to be tongue-in-cheek as well? if it's a dig at new wave then it's well wide of the mark - to me it just sounds like pub rock

    bee gees: most of their strong tracks from this era divide into disco floor fillers or ballads - their dodgy mid-tempo stuff was normally either wisely farmed out to lesser acolytes (andy gibb, samantha sang, yvonne elliman etc) or served strictly as album filler. the falsetto vocals got more grating as it wore on. the only vaguely-oriental sounding bit was the intro, but flick obviously saw that as a lifeline - i bet she was annoyed when the vapors' "turning japanese" turned up not long afterwards!

    overall marks: 6/10

  11. The nice thing about Kid Jensen is he was always positive about bands, singles or albums, bless him, though he couldn’t resist the odd pun or three in this show.

    I’d have been really hacked off if I was a chart act whose only top 30 week was this one – in juxtaposition to the plodding backtrack, surely the quickest countdown yet if not of all time. Was Amii Stewart off to a Star Wars fancy dress party after having her photo taken?

    Gen X’s bassist was lucky to survive this showing, seeing as he wasn’t in black and white like his comrades. Talking of dress codes…

    An eruption of beads. A hairdresser’s nightmare! Don’t remember ever seeing beads on a short Afro before or since. If you were bald and in Eruption, would they just have stuck them on your head with Gloy Gum or PrittStick? The vocalist’s first name reminded me of stalwart “Blue Peter” guest, weightlifter Precious McKenzie – born in South Africa, represented Great Britain then emigrated to and changed allegiance to New Zealand. Bit of an identity crisis, that boy.

    Regarding Siouxsie and the Banshees’ lesser known members from this time, from what I can gather, guitarist John McKay joined another band briefly and gave music up soon after, while drummer Kenny Morris became a sought after live drummer.

    Aaagh! More beads, and potential whiplash from Amii Stewart as she circumnavigates the disco equivalent of a pitch invasion. She’s have been more convincing with a Madonna-style call centre headset, but they probably hadn’t been invented them by then. I much preferred Amii’s other big hit “Friends”, apart from the horrible oh-so-80’s instrumental bridge.

    What the Hell was Sham 69’s drummer up to? Surely the loudest and most out of time hi hat on the show. He deserved a wedgie and a dry slap – preferably during recording.

    Loved the amp as drums in The Monks, whose effort reminded me of a pub rock “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Quite a few pub rock acts blossomed into punk / new wave (Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, The Stranglers) so The Monks were only going back to the roots of, erm, three years previously!

    The Bee Gees’ track is another of those where the song’s title isn’t in the lyrics, as the lads sing “love you inside AND out”. Legs & Co’s outfits reminded me of Sparks’ album “Kimono My House” and, once again, you could see where the ensemble’s name came from.. Very supple, that Sue. Poor Pauline didn’t get her chance to properly cover her whiter than whites in the brolly conga section!

    Loved the way the rabbit frenzy of “Bright Eyes” was followed by bunny fingers in the crowd behind Kid. You could tell it was all up for The ‘Waddy – “no need to get out of the trailer, lads, you’re only over the end credits this week!” You could imagine Racey sneaking up, chuckling and throwing (Easter) eggs at the trailer windows.

  12. Good show, plenty of new wave, plus a couple of acts who would reappear as the Movellans in Destiny Of The Daleks later in the same year, plus contemporary TOTP staples Boney M and Racey.

    Generation X's unique selling point was the combination of basic punk thrash with squealing heavy metal guitar - I think. Meanwhile, Siouxsie (seen and heard here with the type of grotty film usually reserved for American rock bands) was the last word in punky freakishness at the time, but I can't help being amazed at how 'normal' she looks from a 21st century perspective.

    Amii Stewart's Knock On Wood suffered one of those idiotic 1980s remixes and for a time this was what appeared on compilation CDs and hence radio. Thankfully the original single version has since come back into fashion.

    Sham 69 certainly provide good entertainment value. A fortnight ago it was Norman Wisdom and this week it's Keith Moon. I wonder if it was this performance that persuaded the TOTP team to change to plastic cymbals?

    OK, so the Monks were an unashamed piece of bandwagon jumping by a couple of guys who actually go back as far as Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera in the 1960s, but I wasn't to know that at the time and have enjoyed it ever since. It was only upon the initial sight of the band that the penny dropped on the Kid's reference to "habit forming"! Their album, incidentally, is called Bad Habits.

    And when Legs & Co came on I thought at first that they were holding dustbin lids. That's iPlayer for you, I suppose.

    1. I looked up The Movellans on Google Images and found an all-girl trio who looked like a cross between The Three Degrees and Hot Gossip. The make-up department should have painted their faces mauve, though? Mauve-ellans? Get it? Harumph.....

    2. Mauve-ellans... get him off. For the unitiated, the Movellans were a race of highly (and ridiculously) stylised humanoid robots apparently powered by two 'D' cells in a belt pack. OK, so they don't look particularly like Amii Stewart, Precious Wilson et al but when I bought the DVD a few years back Amii's version of Knock On Wood sprang to mind as soon as I saw them, despite not having seen that performance for around three decades. And they were supposed to be androgynous - Tony Osoba (Porridge) was one.

  13. It's good news that we have a link to the May 3rd show, which incidentally was the date of the General Election.
    It got me thinking of relevant Number Ones at the time of General Elections. Without extensive research, the best I can recall is Shakespear's Sister's Stay in 1992..which is exactly what John Major did.

    1. Well, let's have a look...

      1979 - Thatcher gets in - Bright Eyes
      1983 - Thatcher landslide - Every Breath You Take
      1987 - Her again - I Wanna Dance With Somebody
      1992 - Them again - Stay
      1997 - Labour back in - Mmmbop
      2001- Labour again - Angel by Shaggy
      2005 - And again - Is this the Way to Amarillo?
      2010 - Coalition - Good Times (Ha!) by Roll Deep.

      No idea what that last one sounds like, but definitely the one with most resonance...

  14. I always thought it was a bit sad when a former number one fell down to the anchor position in the chart as Gloria Gaynor has done here. Talking of braided locks (as everyone was above) don't forget you've also got Peaches from Peaches and Herb and the guy from Gonzales with similiar hairdos (at least they do in the rundown photos). And I love the way The Sex Pistols are only represented now as cartoon characters, something that hasn't happened since The Archies in 1969. Did anyone ever find out what Mr Garfunkel was licking off his fingers in that photo? Jugged hare perchance?

    I remember hating this Generation X song at the time with only some vague recollection of the film of the same name. Of course this has nothing to do with the film but uses that old trick of nicking a title from a book or a film and making up nonsense lyrics. Kid seemed to like it though.

    I seem to remember seeing Supertramp with the same yellow sun brolley and deckchair when they did Dreamer way back in 1975. Presumably ot was their trademark but it seems a bit long-lived it it was.

    The girl on the left of Kid looks a bit like Paul Williams in Phantom of the Paradise. Not sure I would describe the Erruption song as disco but it's pleasant enough I suppose but it reminds me of a bit of Boney M. Never realised t was an old song.

    I like Siouxsie's puff sleeves, they look like the white armlets that traffic cops used to use when directing traffic in the olden days. I remember not quite getting this one at the time but it seems pretty good now. I particularly like the Mike Garson-style random piano at the end. This will probably turn up on an advert for Stannah Stair Lifts.

    Facially Mr Racey reminds me of actor Ewan Bremner, they certainly go to the same dentist. For the last song he joined in with the other two's shuffle-feet dancing antics but he prefers to do his own thing here until the real dancer turns up. At least she's the same height as him this time.

    Healthy and safety would have a fit watching Amii Stuart today, there are so many near misses where she nearly punches one of the dancers in the background and they retaliate by angrily kicking balloons in the air and nearly give Amii a swift one of the shins. It was nerve wracking to watch. These background dancers give us a fair idea of the types of fashions that were popular in 1979 (at last in Switzerland where this was filmed) - there's the black guy in the natty three piece suit, the Terry Gilliam lookalike in blue velvet jacket, jeans a beige pullover (with checked shirt underneath), the nerd in the awkwardly tight green corduroy trousers and white shirt, lots of girls and guys in different coloured Bacofoil jumpsuits, another girl with a loose black tie, white shirt and maroon trousers and more. Great tune though, still stands up today.

    I love the organ intro to Sham 69 which sounds like something out of a horror film but the rest is pure garbage. The lyrics are supposed to mean something with Jimmy telling us to go our own way but if he's telling us then he's no better than the rest. These guys have morphed into a heavy rock band but don't we still have the nadir that is Hersham Boys to come?

    I remember hating this Boney M song at the time thinking it was very lazy and a by-numbers treading water exercise. You can see why it was their last big hit.

  15. And there's more...

    The Monks reminded me of Cream in the video for I Feel Free where they too are attired as Monks. Richard Hudson cleverly covers up his baldpate with his habit hood. This was and still is a harmless bit of nonsense although I didn't go out and buy it. As well as being rhyming slang for face, was the 'Shame about the boat race' a reference to Cambridge whose boat sunk the previous year?

    Completely forgotten about this lesser Bee Gees hit which is rather good. The dance routine is pretty silly though and that business with the cocktail umbrella up the jacksy is bordering on the obscene. I love the way they cut Barry off in his prime when he reaches a crescendo.

    To save embarrassment at not being able to afford more than a minute of Watership Down the BBC should replace Bright Eyes with Chas and Dave's Rabbit. Well it's an idea.

    I think Waddy work well over the end titles. Helps us remember them.

  16. Greetings, commentators! I've been absent for well over a year, I know - but I'm BACK! I recently invested in a new computer; my last one was incompatible with the blog that covered the repeats from '78. Watch this space for my comments on tomorrow's repeat!

    1. Welcome, back, Julie! Looking forward to your critiques.