Saturday, 31 May 2014

Living on the Frontline ~ it's Top of the Pops 7th June 1979....

Many thanks once more to Darnall42 for uploading an edition of Top of the Pops to Vimeo, that for obvious reasons will not be shown on BBC4. Jimmy Savile is the host, so clearly don't click the link if you will be offended.


7-6-79: Presenter: Jimmy Savile

 (20) TUBEWAY ARMY – Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (and charts)
(66) THE TOURISTS – Blind Among The Flowers
(30) ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS – Accidents Will Happen ®
(3) ANITA WARD – Ring My Bell (danced to by Legs & Co)
(17) THE SKIDS – Masquerade
(50) LINDA LEWIS – I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You
(2) ROXY MUSIC – Dance Away (footage from Snowtime Special: Abba In Switzerland 16-4-79)
(21) SISTER SLEDGE – We Are Family (video)
(28) DOLLAR – Who Were You With In The Moonlight
(61) NICK LOWE – Crackin’ Up
(6) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – Shine A Little Love (video)
(45) EDDY GRANT – Living On The Frontline
(1) BLONDIE – Sunday Girl (footage from TopPop)
(11) DONNA SUMMER – Hot Stuff (and credits)


  1. Nice to see the new countdown design

    The Tourists - Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart prior to Eurythmics, wouldn't be able to tell.

    Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Seen it before, not the best Costello track but I love the Armed Forces album in general, no clue what the pink suit's meant to prove though.

    Anita Ward - I love this track, and quite a deserving future no.1, I'm tired of ridiculous Legs & Co routines though.

    The Skids - Seen it before, just an average track, not exactly 'punk', but good enough.

    Roxy Music - No matter how many times this has been played on TOTP, I will always love this track, classy as ever.

    Sister Sledge - I've always found this track ridiculous but it's a fun disco track, the catchy hooky chorus made sure it was a hit.

    Dollar - Eh, I guess I don't have a problem with this one, it's a nice tune.

    Nick Lowe - I love Nick Lowe, from his Brinsley Schwarz days to his solo career, even if he wasn't very 1979, he pulled the old-fashioned style off.

    E.L.O - One of my favourite E.L.O tracks, been shown before on TOTP but I still could never get sick of this video.

    Blondie - Love this track and the footage too, a deserving number one. Can't wait to see Anita Ward topple Blondie off the top spot though.

    Donna Summer - TOTP tried to shove this down our throats but honestly, I'll never consider this one a classic.

  2. Linda Lewis is an example of a formidable singer who has often been persuaded to record unsuitable material - and show tunes don't suit her, hence the peak position of 40.

    The Sutherland Brothers had run out of ideas by this time, but this ballad is worth listening to for its arrangement - which is not dissimilar to Robbie Williams' 'Angels'.

    'Hot Stiuff' may not be a rock classic, but it is undoubtedly an anthem for the disco era. It has been overshadowed by 'I Will Survive' and 'No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)'.

    Nick Lowe is one of the world's unsung heroes of the singer-songwriter genre - and 'Basing Street', on the B-side of 'Cracking Up', is a sterling example of his storytelling ability.

    As for Legs' Morris routine to 'Ring My Bell', wait until the repeat run from 1980, when they dress up as construction workers for The Detroit Spinners' 'WORKING My Way Back To You'! LOL!

    1. Linda Lewis seemed to be attuned to Lene Lovich. If you listen closely enough, you could be excused for thinking it was Lene lovich's voice on this track.

      Similarly The Sutherland Brothers seemed to be attuned to The Eagles for style and voice, as well as piano across the vocals, and again you could be excused for thinking it was an Eagles track if listened on the radio, and not watched on TOTP.

      Legs & Co outfits this week seemed to be a re-run of the outfits they wore doing Portsmouth by Mike Oldfield in one of their first performances as a Legs team in 1976. Similar dance routine, despite very different type of song!

  3. P.S. Typo above: 'Hot Stuiff' should have read 'Hot Stuff'.

    1. perhaps just as well the typo wasn't "hot stiff" (fnar fnar!)

  4. Good show this week, with a disco-heavy top 10.

    The Tourists - I believe this show was the debut of Annie Lennox on our screens with The Tourists, but their next two hits were much bigger - in 1979 and 1980. The Eurythmics were formed in 1982 after the Tourists disbanded, but nevertheless, Annie Lennox did make a big impression with the Tourists in their first outing on the show, if you excuse the pun.

    Anita Ward/Legs & Co - the white swimsuits showed 100% body perfection on the girls, which explained why they were by now almost 3 years as the same Legs & Co six-girl line up.
    Kenny Everret's Hot Gossip were a short term, here today-gone-tomorrow outfit who were no match to Legs & Co, and the near-perfect body and dance performance to Anita Ward this week, shows just why they had such a good staying power in the late 70s.

    The Skids - I never liked this cocky group at the time, and hearing on the Big Hits 1979 show on BBC4 a few months ago that the lead singer spat at other guests on the show near the dressing rooms, will forever put them in the rubbish bin as far as I'm concerned.

    Sister Sledge - I thought this bubbles video was much better than the official video regularly shown on the music video channels, like MTV, VH1, Vintage TV etc.

    ELO - nice second showing of the ELO video on TOTP. By now with their worldwide appeal and huge money-earning achievement across the world, they would only be present on video for TOTP, an example of a supergroup starting out on TOTP, and then getting too big for it. Well deserved Jeff Lynne & Co!

    Blondie - last outing for the suit and tie. Looking forward to the feminine look again on her next hit.

    Donna Summer - still no video footage, and despite one Legs & Co performance a couple of weeks earlier, it was now at No.11 with only the closing credits for this one.

    1. So Richard Jobson of The Skids spat at other guests near the dressing rooms, did he? That's classic punk behaviour! At a recording of TOTP the previous year, Jean-Jacques Burnel of The Stranglers smashed down the door of a dressing room occupied by the boy band Child!

    2. I'm surprised that they were ever invited back to the TOTP studio with such unruly behaviour! The Skids and The Stranglers, hum, what about the Damned?

    3. Apparently the Damned were soft as brushes off-stage.

  5. Ah, yes, the first thing I think of when I hear Anita Ward is Morris dancing. Couldn't begin to fathom the link there, unless it was to do with the bells the Morris dancers shake? Which Legs & Co were not doing?!

    I too was reminded of Lene Lovich by Linda Lewis. She won some fans for a certain album cover, but not enough to put her in the upper echelons of the charts, a shame because she has a great voice.

    James Whale (sans glasses) and Edward Furlong fronting the Sutherland Brothers there.

    Eddy Grant, very charismatic, and a real drive into your brain track. Last time I saw him on TV he claimed to have invented a completely different type of music. Wonder what happened to that?

    1. I think that Eddy Grant, as well as The Tourists (Annie Lennox) made their debut on TOTP on this show.

      James Whale hosted a LWT late-night chat show in 1990-1991, and I remember he hosted a new video called I Touch Myself by The Divinyls.

    2. Eddy Grant made his TOTP debut as far back as 6th June 1968! He was lead vocalist on The Equals' smash "Baby Come Back".

    3. Yes, this was The Tourists' TOTP debut, and the first time for Annie and Dave on the show. It was also Eddy Grant's solo TOTP debut, though he had been on the show previously as a member of The Equals.

    4. i was living in london in the early 90's and used to watch "the james whale radio show" (as it was called even though it was on the telly) - it was a kind of local budget version of "the word" i.e. late-night live (?) shock-value entertainment, with a variety of weird things going on alongside turns from rock acts, whale himself was odious (and i'm sure i'm not alone in having the urge to smash his face in with a hammer!) but i suppose you'd call it car-crash tv, so as such was well worth watching...

    5. does anyone else also remember the late-night punk cooking short shows (usually featuring students making beans on toast and suchlike) that were also on ITV around this time? the series was called "get stuffed" and was a million times more preferable to the gambling crap that seems to dominate late-night tv these days - they can all go and get stuffed as far as i'm concerned!

    6. As well as James Whale from this TOTP show moving to late night television presenting/hosting in the 90s, note that also Richard Jobson of the Skids did the same in the 90s on ITV. I remember the name at the time, but i did not connect him with the Skids until now.

    7. jobson presented the local late-night listings programme "01 for london". shortly after that BT scapped the 01 london area telephone code and replaced it with 0171 and 0181 which rendered the title redundant, but can't remember if it stopped then or continued under another name... by the way, does anyone know why the 0171 and 0181 codes were then replaced by 0207 and 0208?

    8. Here's another bit of TOTP turned TV presenter.
      Linda Lewis on this TOTP edition, is presenter next Sunday, yes in 2014, on Vintage TV on a regular sunday programme called 'My Vintage.'

      That makes an incredible total of three acts from this same Jimmy Saville TOTP show who became TV presenters:
      James Whale from The Sutherland Brothers and Richard Jobson of The Skids turned TV presenters on late night TV on ITV in the 90s, and now Linda Lewis next Sunday (8th June 2014) on Vintage TV!
      Whatever next from this Savile edition?? Jeff Lynne of ELO perhaps presenting Later with Jools??

    9. 50 something in reply to Wilberforce.

      When the 01 code was replaced by 071 and 081 the show's title was shortened to 01.

      Getting a bit geeky now but in brief... the 01 code had a potential 10 million numbers. By splitting it into 071 and 081 (subsequently 0171 and 0181) this became 20 million. Bringing the two together under the 020 code makes it 100 million. For example London Transport was 01-222-1234, now it's 020-7222-1234 but you can also have 020-8222-1234, 020-9222-1234 and so on.

  6. I thought this was a much better show than the previous week, and another one that will be sorely missed from the BBC4 schedule. It was fascinating to see The Tourists make their debut, and it wasn't a bad song either, though obviously Annie and Dave would go on to much greater things. I couldn't understand though why they didn't just let Annie sing the song on her own, given her vocal prowess!

    We also got to enjoy another great singer in the shape of Linda Lewis, and I really enjoyed her interpretation of this Evita number - shame it wasn't a bigger hit. A nice, dynamic performance from Eddy Grant too as he kicked off his solo hitmaking career. I'm not that familiar with Living on the Frontline, but it's a decent song and even better would come from Eddy during the early 80s.

    The only slight duffer this time was The Sutherland Brothers' offering - pleasant enough, but sounding out of date and out of place in 1979. Legs & Co's morris dancing routine was perhaps not one of their best, but at least they looked a lot comelier than most morris dancers...

    1. Legs & Co made one earlier morris dancing routine similar to this week's show. It was dancing to Mike Oldfield's Portsmouth in 1976. OK, so which was the better of the two routines? I liked the earlier one:

    2. Definitely the Oldfield one!

    3. i would have thought that flick colby would have recycled dance routines as often as she could get away with, but to her credit, even though us cynics are probably all watching out for that kind of thing i have to say that i've rarely noticed obvious repetition so far...

    4. to my recollection, the main songwriter and guy seen as the driving force for the tourists was guitarist peet (i remember the unusual spelling) coombs, and dave stewart was very much second banana in that department. however, once they split, unlike the soon-to-be-eurythmics he quickly faded back into obscurity...

  7. With Peaches & Herb having made their last appearance on video last week on Paul Burnett's superbly hosted show, then by the start of June on this Savile show, it was to be Dollar to take the baton in the 4 x 400 relay of loved up couples in the love olympics to carry the team over the line through the month of June.

    What a pity that Dollar's second and third appearance on TOTP with Who were You With In The Moonlight, were on Savile and DLT shows, which means we only got one BBC4 showing out of a possible three.

    1. i've been doing quite a bit of karaoke lately in the company of a female acquaintance of mine, and the last time she suggested we do a duet together - it probably won't surprise you that i'm not a great lover of duets, so the only thing we could come up with at the time was reg & kiki's "don't go breaking my heart". having given it some more thought i'm still struggling with regard to what else we could do that doesn't make me start feeling nauseous, and in that regard only the human league's "don't you want me baby" comes to mind!

  8. Well, what d’ya know? A second week of mugshot dodgers (five acts) in the studio, and none of the four top tenners showing their faces. Talking of faces, I didn’t like those small hexagonal chart shots one bit.

    Annie Lennox must have been the first former fish filletter (at Aberdeen docks) to appear on the show. Bjork would become the second to my knowledge. Couldn’t make out the verses due to the echoey sound. Watch out for The Tourists’ “Nowhere Man” rip-off follow-up later in the year.

    As well as getting away with “nigger” on the show, Elvis Costello also snuck in a “well hung” with this song. Cheeky chap! This song’s video includes a cartoon snippet of a tomato ketchup bottle emblazoned with a big “57”. In those days, Heinz would have loved the free advertising. Now, they’d probably sue for breach of ’intellectual property’.

    Seeing the Leggers’ swimsuits made me think they should have crowned Miss World like this. Get them all to Morris dance and tap them on the shoulder when they’re out!

    Nice brolly in the audience for The Skids. Did Richard Jobson intend to look like (a) a pillar box, (b) a right tit and (c) one of Sister Sledge?

    Once again, like the already missed Paul Burnett, Jim’ll makes mythical chart references to Linda Lewis and The Sutherland Brothers. One sounded like Bassey Lite (and be thankful for that, Linda’s version of “It’s In His Kiss” brought small dogs around from other suburbs) and the other didn’t set the chart a –Quiver. See what I did there? Boom boom tish!

    Shame we didn’t get Thereze Bazar in a swimsuit instead of her Banana Splits garb. Still, it made a change from all red.

    Ah, Nick Lowe, the first artist to release a single on Stiff Records (and a classic at that), accompanied here by long time accomplice Dave Edmunds. Still, surprised this got as high as 34.

    I see Eddy Grant’s T-shirt blatantly advertised his record company. On the subject of another of Eddy's hits, I didn’t realise Electric Avenue actually existed until I walked past it once – it’s immediately to the left of Brixton tube station.

    Right, must get packed for Bosnia. Try not to miss me!

    1. a shame that quiver didn't join the arrows instead of the sutherland brothers...

  9. Several performances I have not seen before in this show, so many thanks for posting it.

    PS Did anyone see the 1978 Xmas TOTP on BBC2 on Saturday? They edited in the Legs and Co performances for the two Grease songs, but didn't edit out the credit to MGM at the end. Also, a tiny bit of Jimmy crept into the intro of one of the songs - naughty BBC!

    1. Yes I watched it ~ bit strange to show a Xmas edition at the end of May, but still nice to see it over on BBC2. I guess they just showed the Feverless/Greaseless version that was on BBC4 last year. Didn't notice the Savile snippet though, you did well to spot that!
      The Legs routine for Summer Nights is actually from the original 1978 Xmas show, it was the One That I Want and Night Fever routines that were the imposters.

  10. James Whale from The Sutherland Brothers became a TV presenter in 1990-1991 on late night ITV on his own show.

    Richard Jobson of The Skids went on to present '01 For London' in the 90s.

    Linda Lewis is going to present 'My Vintage' this coming Sunday (8th June 2014) on Vintage TV (sky channel 369).

    And they all started off on this very edition of Top Of The Pops.

    1. Erm, I was joking about James Whale being in The Sutherland Brothers, the singer (Gavin or Ian, not sure which is which) just looks a lot like him. That wasn't Edward Furlong with him either, he would only have been two years old.

      Sorry for the confusion!

    2. a shame madness didn't make their debut on that show, as suggs has been fairly active as a presenter in more recent times...

  11. We have more comments on this Savile show banned by the BBC, than last week's Burnett show.
    Goes to show that the whole yew tree madness goes against the grain of what us viewers want, and the banned shows still generate as much interest as the shown shows.

  12. While it would be nice to see all of these shows, I'm not overly bothered about missing this one.

    The Tourists song is forgettable compared to their other singles, Linda Lewis and The Sutherland Brothers just dull, and the Nick Lowe song is just a bit too unusual sounding for me. I'm amazed it was a Top 40 hit!

    As for Eddy Grant, I only like a couple of his songs, and 'Living on the frontline' isn't one of them.

    Bring on the next edition, with a song + Legs & Co performance that I've been waiting for with baited breath!

  13. Well as for me.. once again I'm indebted to 'Darnall42' for providing us with this show, which I rate as one of the best of the year. Only the Sutherland Brothers let the side down.

    The Tourists were another of those bands which only appeared on my radar with their first big hit (towards the end of the year). In fact, I didn't hear their debut album (on which this is the opening track) until the mid-1980s. Annie Lennox was something approaching fanciable back in 1979.

    Looks like Legs & Co routines with an audience are back in fashion. No raunchy Hot Gossip writhing on the floor stuff this week but I agree that they do look nice.

    The Skids - he's flagging, he's definitely flagging. At least Stuart Adamson was in shot during the instrumental break this time.

    I couldn't figure out if Linda Lewis was using a backing tape or not. Going by the usual TOTP orchestra standards this was quite a complex arrangement. I seem to remember that Miss Lewis was the darling of the light entertainment scene for a number of years, and so maintained a high profile despite limited chart activity.

    Ah, Rodgers and Edwards chugging away can mean only one thing - Sister Sludge (although to be fair they were only known as Sister Sludge from 1985 onwards...). This, on the other hand, is a bona fide classic.

    As implied earlier, not impressed with the Sutherland Brothers. Their finest TOTP hour must surely be the completely live rendition of When The Train Comes in 1976.

    Rockpile - the most successful band you've never heard of. The reason was that its two main men were signed to different labels, therefore all recordings had to be credited to one or the other. 1979 was very much their year - we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the coming months.

    Eddy Grant had come a long way from his catchy pop ditties (and ginger hair!) of a decade earlier. This performance has seen the light of day since its original airing - I think it might have been on that 'DJ Heaven' thing around 20 years ago. That synth player was nuts!

    That's it for Blondie, but they'll be back in the autumn. In the meantime we'll let the Syndrum Queen have her 15 minutes of fame...