Thursday, 22 May 2014

Top of the Pops is Electric!

Who cares what was on any channel other than BBC1 on the 24th May 1979 with an edition of Top of the Pops as good as this.....

It's cold outside, and the bunnies are not number one any more...

24-5-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(25) McFADDEN & WHITEHEAD – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (and charts)
(29) THE SKIDS – Masquerade
(2) ROXY MUSIC – Dance Away (footage from Snowtime Special: Abba In Switzerland 16-4-79)
(48) TUBEWAY ARMY – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
(24) DONNA SUMMER – Hot Stuff (danced to by Legs & Co)
(44) LINER – You And Me
(20) THE DAMNED – Love Song
(14) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – Shine A Little Love (video)
(33) DOLLAR – Who Were You With In The Moonlight
(9) DAVID BOWIE – Boys Keep Swinging (video)
(21) THE SHADOWS – Theme From ‘The Deer Hunter’ (Cavatina)
(34) ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS – Accidents Will Happen
(1) BLONDIE – Sunday Girl (footage from TopPop)
(30) CHEAP TRICK – I Want You To Want Me (and credits)

McFadden & Whitehead ~ with their instantly recognisable top 5 tune play over the chart rundown

The Skids ~ get the show off to an energetic and very smartly dressed start, with a song that would soon reach number 14.

Roxy Music ~ and 'Dancing the night away' as our host David Jensen introduced it, now at its number 2 peak.

Tubeway Army ~ this week's debut of a major act goes to Gary Numan, still called Tubeway Army at this point (until the next single). 'Are Friends Electric' did indeed sound amazing and futuristic at the time. I remember walking 3 miles from where I used to live in Padiham, all the way to WH Smiths in Burnley town centre, to buy this (for 99p) and then walking the 3 miles back home again to play it! And you tell that to the kids today......

Donna Summer ~ Legs & Co go all Indian for a fiery performance to Hot Stuff - Donna herself not yet having made it into the TOTPs studio.

Liner ~ with a song very much influenced I think by the Bee Gees, but sadly for Liner, Bee Gee style success did not follow, with You and Me failing to make the top 40.

The Damned ~ at their peak with Love Song, but edited out of the 7.30 showing.

Electric Light Orchestra ~ what a bright video this one was, you needed those sunglasses to watch it! Shine a Little Love was the first of four top ten hits in 1979 from their cleverly entitled album, Discovery.

Dollar ~ awww - edited out of the 7.30 showing, and I like this one!

David Bowie ~ was he being a bearded lady in this slightly weird video? Boys Keep Swinging swung all the way to number 7 in the charts.

The Shadows ~ edited out of the 7.30 show, this one was still only at number 21 this week, but it did eventually make it into the top ten.

Elvis Costello ~ sounding very much like Squeeze I thought with Accidents Will Happen ~ and he'd soon go on to be their producer.

Blondie ~ with a clip of the number one song Sunday Girl taken from the Dutch version of Top of the Pops, creatively called Top Pop.

Cheap Trick ~ get to do this week's credits.

Next week is the 31st May 1979, and the rare treat of a Paul Burnett hosted show.


  1. One of my favourites so far, tied with last week's episode.
    Debut for Gary Numan and Tubeway Army, Elvis Costello with another classic, classics from Roxy Music, David Bowie and McFadden & Whitehead, and not to forget my favourite Blondie song at no.1

  2. Liner were Blackfoot Sue under another name .

  3. After a two-week starvation by BBC4 thanks to that awful show The Sky at Night, we got a new TOTP episode tonight with David Jensen.

    Roxy Music - I really don't know how Roxy Music got as high as No.2 with this, especially as the only footage came from Snowtime Special, and they never made it to the TOTP studio, which says something (or not) about their home support for the show as a British group, as I'm sure they must have been invited to perform on the show.

    Tubeway Army - oh please.....this dreary song was eventually to break the American 6-month stranglehold on the British No.1 spot, and it was not my idea of a game-changer. I would rather have had a seventh month with American talent on our no.1 spot than this supposedly homegrown offering.

    Donna Summer / Legs & Co - thoroughly enjoyed this Legs performance, and loved the colourful costumes with the fire background, as the girls were looking extremely sexy this week, and no doubt I will watch this many times over the coming week.

    ELO - The first song from the new Discovery album had to wait till May 1979, after the seemingly never-ending Out of The Blue album's single releases throughout 1978 during their world tour. They never made a TOTP studio appearance ever again after 1976 Nightrider song, as they were in demand all over the world by 1978, and now in 1979 they were still touring with the new Discovery album. Shine A Little Love was a perfect opening release from this new album.

    Dollar - rivals to Peaches & Herb on the same chart for romantic couple of the year, smooching and and so in love. Peaches and Herb came off better with their single by a distance, but Dollar had the sexy Theresa Bazaar who made my eyes light up as an 11-year old in 1979, so there was no competition. Dollar for me!

    Blondie - more fun from Bondie, but surprisingly no video was ever made for this song, despite her experience with Heart of Glass, and previous hits with excellent videos. I never understood why there was no video to this, but a very worthy no.1 to finally displace Art Garfunkel's Bright Eyes.

  4. I'm showing my age now, but I can remember when Liner were called Blackfoot Sue - their style was glam-influenced hard rock at that time, not too far removed from Slade. Signed to Atlantic as Liner, with a radical change of direction, they had a minor chart entry in both the UK and US with 'You and Me' - which was produced by former Bee Gees maestro Arif Mardin, so it's not surprising that it sounds rather like the brothers Gibb circa 'Main Course' (in ballad mode). Liner's previous single, 'Keep Reaching Out For Love', a polished disco number, garnered a fair amount of airplay on both sides of the Atlantic and was even granted a 12" release.

    'You and Me' was one of several excellent melodic pop singles that were featured on TOTP in '79 but fell short of the Top 30, along with Voyager's 'Halfway Hotel', the Sutherland Brothers' 'Easy Come, Easy Go' and Stonebridge McGuinness's 'Oo-Eeh Baby'. The latter duo consisted of Lou Stonebridge and former Manfred Mann/McGuinness Flint guitarist Tom McGuinness. Look and listen out for these gems in future repeats!

  5. The Skids: was Dickie plugged into the light display at the back of the stage? Or was he in fact powering them? Not the last bright suit we'd see on tonight's show, either. The last neckerchief, though.

    Tubeway Army, I thought this sounded fantastic at the time, really futuristic, and I may have heard it umpteen times since but seeing it in the context of its first performance on the show made it a little fresher. Poor old Gaz became something of a whipping boy for the anti-synth brigade, and also because he came across as a naive child in an android's body in interviews, so it's nice to see he got himself sorted out eventually. This was a major record in the way pop was going, he should be proud of that - the black New Yorkers loved him too, even if he didn't know it.

    Legs & Co, I don't know why they just don't get Lulu to mime to every tune they dance to, she looks like she would be up for that.

    Liner, I was hoping this would be the theme tune to the schools programme/Alice and Crow extravaganza, but we'd have to wait for Oasis to bring that to the charts. Terrible, back of a fag packet lyrics in this one.

    The Damned, another high energy romparound, and also containing the great line "I'll be the rubbish, you'll be the bin!" You know, I don't think Captain Sensible was particularly sensible...

    ELO, yeah, a breezy little number, no problem with this. The tinted Gregories motif should have had a beard too for the full Jeff effect.

    Dollar, seems to me there's more than two people singing on this one. Was Teresa perfecting her romantic gaze into the middle distance or her thousand yard stare? No matter, I thought she was beautiful when I was little.

    Geez, the Ladybirds have really let themselves go - ah, no, Dame Dave you are fooling us! Not one of his most celebrated songs, but it strides along impressively, almost like a military march. He said he was being ironic, didn't he?

    Elvis Costello, like this one a lot, although I'm distracted by remembering the Attractions as the house band on the best thing Jonathan Ross ever did or will do, The Last Resort. Pink suit! Brave choice. Not sweating as much this time, I notice.

    Blondie, Debs not very animated, so sort of a bog standard rendition of a pretty pop ditty. And then Cheap Trick to finish - wasn't this a live single? I couldn't work out if that was the case over the credits.

  6. I forgot to mention that on 'Boys Keep Swinging', at least two of the musicians did not play their regular instruments: drummer Dennis Davis played bass, while guitarist Carlos Alomar drummed on the track.

    1. i always thought it was producer tony visconti on bass (he was bassist in one of bowie's early projects, but probably hadn't played for a while by this point). i also remember reading that the squealing guitar solo at the end (by adrian belew) was improvised on his own with no backing track, and only added to the mix afterwards

    2. The band played each others instruments to give the song a garage/punk band feel but producer Tony Visconti didn't think the bass was strong enough and so redid it himself.

  7. angelo, in my teeens i used to walk the two miles into the town centre virtually every saturday for the ritual trawl of the vinyl emporia (usually grabbing ex-chart or non-chart bargain bin finds in my case)...

    1. It was a very hot day ~ I think Are Friends Electric was already at number one, but the local record shop in Padiham still hadn't got it in!

  8. Good call regarding Cheap Trick. The album version had been released as a single two years earlier, but the hit was the live version released in March 1979. Cheap Trick was a funny band - they had two normal rock-type dudes and two dorks in the line-up, one of the less photoegnic duo being Bun E. Carlos on drums.

    1. Thanks for clearing that up! Hope your internet is sorted by now?

    2. i think the cheap trick album was called "live at the budokan", a japanese venue that several artists released "live" albums from recordings made there at that time (bob dylan being one). current chart contenders judas priest also recorded a "live" album in japan (although not at the budkan), the reports of its suspect authenticity led it to be dubbed "unleashed in the studio"! cheap trick made a big thing of their rock gods/geeks line-up - they were always being touted in the likes of sounds magazine, but that wasn't enough to break them here...

    3. Thanks, THX. New internet provider up and running, though I won't be doing my critique of this edition until later in the weekend.

      I went to the same grammar school as Gary Numan (i.e. Gary Webb) for a very short period of time. I was a first year when Gary, who was in the fifth year, got expelled for breaking a window in the headmaster's office. Apparently he was a bit of a misfit or a tearway - maybe he was just misunderstood.

    4. My Dad was in the first year at Bromley Technical School when David Jones (later Bowie) was in the fifth year. Dad remembers Bowie playing at the school fete with his first band, the Lower Third, and also got his autograph, as young Jones was already something of a celebrity within the school. Dad subsequently lost the autograph, and it would be fascinating - if galling - to know how much it might have fetched at auction! Bromley Tech was certainly a breeding ground for rock stars back in the 60s - Peter Frampton was in my Dad's year, and Frampton's father was an art teacher at the school.

    5. i was informed by a mate that gary numan came to weymouth (where i come from and still lived at the time) later that summer, and was apparently spotted in one of my favourite drinking dens. i'm guessing even though he had just had a no.1 hit, he a: used to visit the town for his hols pre-fame and hadn't got out of the habit, and b: the dough hadn't come through yet so he couldn't afford anything grander anyway!

    6. arthur, gary was later diagnosed as having asperger syndrome, which accounted for his social difficulties (first spotted by the woman that was the fan that became his wife!)...

  9. Great show loved legs n co the skids and blondie oh and one stage revamp

  10. A high quality show, with only The Shadows and Liner temporarily draining the life out of proceedings - amazing how the latter group could go from something as energetic as Standing in the Road in their Blackfoot Sue days to this snoozesome MOR offering.

    One of the great things about this repeat run has been the chance to see how pop evolved during the late 70s, and seeing Are Friends Electric in this context really brings home how groundbreaking it was at the time - though we now know that the likes of The Human League and OMD were not exactly pleased that Gary had got on TOTP before them! Still, no question that this is where the synthpop era - the last great era for British pop - begins. Another good Legs performance too this week, and nice to see them sporting Ready Brek glows - doubtless a large proportion of the male audience were also glowing inside after that routine...

  11. Trivia question - what do the Small Faces and Blackfoot Sue have in common? Answer - they've both collaborated with comedians named Stanley - the late Unwin with the SFs, and the still with us Baxter with BS.

  12. For anyone who might be curious heres ITV's line up for 24 May 1979 (I can't find BBC1/2):

    12.00 Gideon
    12.10 Stepping Stones
    12.30 The Cedar Tree
    1.00 News
    1.20 Cartoon
    1.30 Crown Court
    2.00 Stepping Stones
    2.25 ITV Plathouse - Cork and Bottle (Drama with Sandy Ratcliffe, Jeremy Child)
    3.20 Sounds of Britain (Music from Bath with Elaine Stritch, Acker Bilk)
    3.50 Quick On The Draw - with Michael Bentine
    4.20 Project UFO
    5.10 Cartoon
    5.15 Crossroads
    5.45 News
    6.00 Local News
    6.30 Emmerdale Farm
    7.00 Making It
    7.30 Thundercloud (sitcom with Joe Gladwin, James Fraser)
    8.00 Leave It To Charlie (sitcom with Peter Sallis, David Roper)
    8.30 South America - report on Bolivia tin mines
    9.00 Hazell (Drama with Nicholas Ball)
    10.00 News at Ten
    10.30 Football EUFA Cup
    11.30 What's On
    12.05 What The Papers Say

    1. I used to quite like the lunchtime soap The Cedar Tree ~ don't remember anything about Thundercloud though ~ mustve been watching TOTPs instead :-)

  13. Kid seemed half asleep on this edition. There were sentences in there, with some words in them, but not necessarily the right ones and often not in the right order.

    The Skids - I think everyone knows my feelings about that man by now. As this is one of their average tunes (like all of them bar a couple) I haven't got much to say about it.

    Tubeway Army - Now we're talking. I was mesmerised by this song when I was a kid. Not surprisingly I became a fan of synth music in general. Funny how l loved both this and 'Bright Eyes' both then and now!

    Donna Summer - Not my favourite song of hers, and was I the only one not that excited by the ladies this week? I think it's because I still remember their last one, which was much more exciting.

    Liner - Oh dear. Not my cup of tea at all. Hair like Chicago, but not much of a tune. I do hope that all bands like this wait with baited breath for their one and only appearance on the Pops and watch with excitement.

    The Damned - That's a lovely (presumably pretend) old style mic he's got there. When was the last time we saw one of those - Guy Marks? Manhattan Transfer maybe?

    ELO - I *love* this song. In fact, I love pretty much all of the Discovery album. That was a favourite in the car stereo on our summer holidays. All the singles from it were ace, and there's another top tune that wasn't released on 7" but is equally great called 'On The Run'.

    Dollar - I love this one too! Not sure why they needed to be up on a podium though, unless David Van Day's vanity was coming to the fore even then.

    David Bowie - What a great video - dynamic and quite silly. I do wonder why you never see this on music channels. Same goes for the ELO video actually, I don't think I'd seen either of them before. Though the ELO one is less good as a spectacle, obviously. I like 'Granny' Bowie best.

    Elvis Costello - One of his tracks that always gets forgotten I would say. Probably because it's alright without being absolutely top drawer.

    Blondie - Dearie me, what a bland performance. No energy, with Debbie Harry doing a Napoleon impression for most of it (if Napoleon had been an office worker judging by her attire)
    Should have shown Legs & Co again!

    Cheap Trick - Another top song to end the show, although I was never really sure why the single never credited it as being a live recording when it clearly is.
    Whenever I play this on the radio, I always cut off the intro (the 'I want!) because it sounds ridiculous.

    1. Noax, interesting comment you make regarding the ELO video.
      The pop video concept was now beginning to evolve in its early stages, as 1979 was now in full flow.

      ELO's video for Shine A Little Love with the sunglasses on the white background, was in the same mode of the video of M's Pop Musik, with similar white background effects at No.3 this week, only going down very slowly from No.2.

      ELO and M seemed to have the two best videos on this 24th May chart in terms of creativity and video effect, and were to set the trend for the coming years, and the future of music videos as we know them now.

    2. seeing as david van day was probably not only vain but a shortarse to boot, then no wonder he demanded a podium! i always thought he was the prettier one of the two, although teresa nearly bridged the gap this week with that fabulous red lipstick... talking of which: of bowie's three "ladies" i liked the younger model the best (i used to have a picture of "her" that i got from "record mirror" magazine on my bedroom wall!) - i think at least one of them was a tribute to marlene dietrich (bowie had recently appeared in a film called "just a gigolo" with her... although i don't think they actually did any scenes together), but the others may have been nods to similar femme fatales of the golden age of hollywood...?

    3. If you look carefully at the footage of Dollar from this performance, you will see that David Van Day was wearing high heels on the podium in order to achieve the same height at his girlfriend Teresa Bazaar, so he must be quite short.

      I disagree regarding who was the prettier. For me it's got be Teresa by a mile. In fact Dollar on this performance were as good as Peaches & Herb on the same chart this week, sitting at No.5, but they never reached the same heights as the American couple, bizarrely, as I though the Dollar song was just as good.

    4. "never reached the same heights"... dory was that intentional?

    5. Well spotted. Actually it was not intentional, so well picked out Wilberforce.

  14. I could have sworn that the Blondie performance shown on this BBC4 repeat is not the same performance as on the original show in 1979. I could be sure that they have put the Top Pop performance from a German show instead of how it was on Top of the Pops with Blondie in the Top of The Pops studio.

    Is this another case of BBC4 having to pay extra to the show the TOTP studio performance, or did she appear in the TOTP studio only on the Xmas TOTP show at the end of the year?

    I'm slightly confused regarding this. Can anyone put things right here?

    1. 50 something here.

      The popscene website suggests the clip was taken from Top Pop and this is shown throughout its run at number one. The Xmas show is apparently a fresh recording in the TOTP studio (presumably recorded when the band were available). Wouldn't really make sense for the BBC to buy in a clip from outside for the BBC4 showing if they could show the Xmas clip instead so no reason to suppose that what we saw on Thursday wasn't what we got in 1979.

      Talking of Elvis. If someone feels obliged to resign after inadvertantly playing the wrong version of The Sun Has Got His Hat On does this mean nobody can play Oliver's Army ever again?

    2. i had to check the internet with regard to the "wrong" version of "the sun has got his hat on" being played in a radio show - i wouldn't be unhappy if i never heard "oliver's army" again.... purely for musical reasons!

    3. if this still doesn't make sense:

    4. Does anyone know if the Dollar performance was in the TOTP studio, or from one of the German pop shows at the time, as it does not look like the TOTP studio, but perhaps an old warehouse or nightclub, judging by the podium set-up?

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  16. a late entry from me this week, partly enforced but also because i've been hogging the waterhole a bit lately...

    host: kid as likeable as ever, although it did sound like he was having difficulty reading from an autocue at times

    the skids: unlike the last single, i could actually almost make out some of the words other than the title! richard jobson is the first of several dandies on the show tonight. stuart adamson has an accidental collision with his mic at one point, to which he reacts as if he got an electric shock off it!

    roxy music: this time around i noticed that andy mckay "played" about 3 notes on his sax right at the end, having spent the rest of the slot pretending to play a keyboard...

    tubeway army: i agree that gary and his band look very futuristic (and stylish) with their costumes and synths, but even after 35 years i still think of this track as nothing but a plodding dirge! did anyone else notice poor old billy currie of ultravox (!) having to hawk his talents as one of gary's backing crew, as his own band (that helped pave the way for numan) never got the success they perhaps deserved? ironically he later got his reward with the remodelled ultravox (with no !) thanks in no small part to mr numan's breakthrough...

    liner: there were several US soft rock bands around at this time with a name that ended in "er" (foreigner, voyager, etc - the UK new wave-obsessed music press used that fact as an opportunity to slag them off!), so i assumed this lot were yet another. however they turn out to be limeys (i should have realised from the singer's teeth ha ha). i presumed the clone next to him was his twin (confirmed via discogs), so i think that now makes it the third set on the reruns after alessi and the atack brothers of child...? the sax guy pretending to play marginally more notes than andy mckay may have been mel collins, who was the "go-to" guy in the 70's and 80's i you were in a british rock band and wanted the odd bit of honking here and there...

    the damned: shows the strength of this week's show when they get chopped out of the edited version despite a new performance - love it when dave vanian pushes the captain over at the end!

    elo: disco bandwagon-jumping alert! as if that's not obvious enough there's even disco handclaps!! can't say i remember this, probably because despite its intention it never got played in any discos i frequented at the time...

    dollar: instantly-forgettable fluff for me - did trevor horn produce this or did he come on board later?

    david bowie: great to see this video again after so long - i thought macca was the first to use "green screen" technology to show multiple different versions of himself at the same time in the "coming up" video, but bowie obviously beat him to the punch...

    the shadows: this is a great tune in my opinion (and a fairly decent version of it), but despite hank's heroic efforts there's really not much you can do with it visually...

    elvis costello: this week's party pooper and the only fast-forward for me - i just can't stand the guy's "singing"! did anyone else see him playing a busker in "frasier" in later years? he was supposed to be deliberately obnoxious, and "sung" was a cod-cockney accent rather than his usual whine... which would have been more than adequate for what was required in my view!

    mark: 9/10 - two great shows (that we've been allowed to watch) in a row!

    1. What, no comment regarding Donna Summer/Legs & co with their Hot Stuff entering the chart at No.24 this week?

      I think it was the highlight of the show, as this was a good Legs & Co follow up to the Cerrone hit Supernature a few months earlier when they did a similar routine in the vein of Hot Gossip who were their only competitors on TV in the late 70s.

      However, Legs & Co were now two and half years into their existing line up with the same girls, and had already shaken off the Hot Gossip girls over on ITV on the Kenny Everett show, who for me were never a jot on the Legs & Co weekly offerings on TOTP.

    2. Trevor Horn's magnificent Dollar productions were later. 'Hand Held In Black And White' being the first I believe (and supposedly the reason that ABC wanted him to produce Lexicon of Love, though timewise that wouldn't seem possible!)

    3. Re Liner and other bands whose names teminate in the letters "er":
      a) Brummies Tom and Dave Farmer are indeed identical twins.
      b) Voyager were actually a British band, but there was a predominantly American outfit around that time called Player, who had a US No.1 and a minor British chart entry with the Hall and Oates-influenced ballad 'Baby Come Back'. I write 'predominantly' American, because Player's lead singer was Liverpudlian Peter Beckett, who's actually the first cousin of one of my best buddies!

      Re Dollar: Christopher Neil produced 'Moonlight' and most of their other hits from their period with Carrere Records. Trevor Horn took over in '81, shortly after they moved to WEA Records.

    4. thanks julie - liner's (rather appropriate) record label atlantic tried to launch them (sorry) by pressing their singles on the new picture disc format (that had actually been around since the 1930's and was apparently first used for nazi propaganda recordings!), but they still sunk without trace (ahem - sorry again). or maybe i should have said they went down like the titanic?

    5. i think i may have mentioned this before, but whilst producing the likes of dollar christopher neil also dabbled in acting, as a kind of minor version of robin askwith (if that's possible) in a series of sub "confessions" soft porn comedy films...

    6. Yes, he did have a brief career as an actor; the series of films was known as "Adventures" and is all but forgotten. He has proved to be much more successful as a music producer, with Celine Dion, Mike & The Mechanics, Sheena Easton and Shakin' Stevens among his later credits.

      Apologies for the typo above, by the way - "teminate" should have read "terminate".

    7. Re Elvis Costello's singing. I don't mind his voice on his early singles, as it is quite complementary to that style of music. Trouble is, Elvis seemed to develop the delusion that he was a proper singer - I remember Radio 2 broadcasting a live concert where he was "crooning" standards about 15 years ago, and the effect was most definitely like a cat being slowly strangled! I changed stations quite rapidly...

    8. when elvis collaborated with burt bacharach a few years back i remember giving it a listen as a big fan of the latter - fortunately for me the music wasn't up to much either (in my view burt was washed-up by the early 70's), so it wasn't an agonising decision whether to persist with it or not...

  17. It seems that Dollar's first of three TOTP appearances through May & June will be the only one that we see, because they appeared two more times in June, and unfortunately they are both Yew-treed episodes, with one Savile and one DLT, each carrying Dollar in their shows in June. What a shame, as I really like this track.

    When is this pathetic Yew-tree crap going to finally subside, and let us TV licence payers get our money's worth by being able to see these shows for what they were at the time, and not this BBC-ban crap 35 years later that we are having to endure?

  18. Weird chart this week. Poor old Linda Clifford moves up just two places to 28, Mike Oldfield creeps up guiltily two places to 27 That's what happens when so many better records leap ahead into the Top 20.

    Richard Jobson seems to be morphing into Green from Scritti Pollitti with eye-liner and permed hair. I bought this at the time and loved it even though it was more simply constructed than Into The Valley. I was always really impressed by Jobson's ability to dance and sing at the same time but now of course I realise he's miming and even then runs out of puff before the second verse - I can dance more energetically than that now and I'm 50.

    Next up Bryan 'Wallace and Gromitt teeth'; Ferry but such a cool, classic song. Apparently it's Luther Vandross providing the backing vocals on this.

    I must admit I had a sneaking regard for Gary Numan or Tubeway Army as we knew him then. I loved this song, plus Cars of course and the much-overlooked single Complex which all seemed to deal with introspective issues. I was very introspective at the time and these suited my mood well. A great performance with the band all in black looking very cool. Billy Currie on synth and Gary's uncle Jess Lidyard on drums.

    Hot Stuff was a good choice for Legs to dance to as the chances of seeing Donna in the flesh were always zero, in fact I only remember seing her once on the show at the time of Winter Melody and even then she didn't sing.

    The lead singer of Liner puts me in mind of actor Michael Deeks from Dick Turpin. This is a pleasant enough soft rock song of the sort that Capitol Radio championed and it gets better on repeated hearings.

    The Damned on good form again. I must admit I never bought any of their records but I always admired them and what they got away with.

    ELO seem to have ditched their spaceship logo for good although bassist Kelly Grocutt has an ELO pendant.This is a perfect pop song of the type that Jeff Lyne was so good at, with the magic chord changes, the call and answer lyrics and layered backing vocals. Brilliant!

    We get to hear the whole of the long gentle intro to Dollar's song. Interestingly the chorus is sung by the unseen backing singers which is a bit odd but it works. Not sure about Theresa's bright red lippy, she looks like she's been smacked in the mush.

    I remember seeing the video for Boys Keep Swinging at the time and feeling rather confused/perturbed by it but it all seems a lot of silly, camp fun now. The drag backing singers include Bowie's tribute to Rita Hayworth and Marlene Deitrich. The ripping the wig off, smearing the lipstick thing was nicked from drag star Romy Haag. I think he's having a gentle dig at Bryan Ferry with his dancing in the suit at the start. Interestingly there's a connection between this song and Roxy's last single Trash as they're both got a garage/punk feel about them proving that glam acts could still cut it in the post punk times.

    Whoever decided to put The Shadows on after Bowie was having a laugh, a good way to come down after Bowie though.

    I didn't get into Elvis Costello until Get Happy but I bought all of his back catalogue and Accidents Will Happen was once of my favourites although it's a song to hear rather than to watch which is why the video worked better. Sadly the single went down the following week, perhaps they didn't like Elvis' pink suit.

    Sunday Girl knocks Art off the top spot and not before time. The first Blondie single I bought was Rapture but I always liked their singles and they certainly stand the test of time.

    I remember I Want You To Want Me from the cover by Chris Isaac but it's good to hear the original. Cheap Trick were one of the bands the music pres were constantly hyping at this point but I didn't take much notice.

    All-in-all a truly fantastic show, which even at the time Kid dubbed 'star-studded'.

    1. bama, uncle jess played on the recording of "are "friends" electric", but the drummer with the bad perm in the totp studio was called cedric sharpley. by the way, can anyone explain the inverted commas in the song title... and just what the hell it's all about?

      also: bowie allegedly had a "fling" with romy haag when he was living in berlin, although he has never admitted to such...

    2. The friends in the title of Tubeway Army's hit are robot escorts - not human friends, hence the inverted commas. There's also a line in the song mentioning deals and issues, which is a coy reference to Gary's then girlfriend, who was at least ten years older than him, who'd tried to set him up at one stage with another woman of a similar age to her.

    3. Wilberforce you've disappointed me now, I always thought the afro guy was Gary's uncle, he looks more like a Jess than a Cedric.

    4. cedric was an anachronism of a name even 35 years ago! i'm guessing that the guy in question was mixed-race, which would explain the hair... but in my opinion he still could have made a lot more effort with it to fit the futuristic look of the band...

  19. Still not yet able to find time to analyse this edition, but a couple of points about my idol Elvis Costello, who's an acquired taste but far more accessible to these ears than The Bee Gees' high-pitched braying:

    1) The picture sleeve for "Accidents Will Happen" was a work of genius - some, if not all, of the sleeves were manufactured inside out as an 'accident' with the outsides blank and the inners containing all the details, so you had to reconstruct the sleeve to make it look right.

    2) Did Elvis make any royalties from the film "ET"? Drew Barrymore's 'brother' clearly sings the first two lines of the second verse of "Accidents" before bumping into the little fella for the first time.

    1. elvis costello's nasally whining vs. the bee gees' high-pitched braying... sounds like king kong vs. godzilla or alien vs. predator!

      hope you can find time to do a proper review arthur - if you're quick then you'll get to do the honours for another half-century...

    2. It's all relative, horses for courses. If we all liked the same thing it would be a boring world. As I once read in a book (maybe a Goodies tome?) , "for those who like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing they like".

    3. I bought Accidents Will Happen about a year after it was a hit and, dumbo that I was, I thought the inside out sleeve was a genuine error. I still have it though and kept it the way it was. The single was also issued in another sleeve carrying the message Fish is Brain Food.

    4. Funny story about that, I bought six singles that week. after eagerly getting them all out of the bag and playing them all I noticed a glaring issue with the Accidents will happen sleeve, Inside out I thought, DAMN!! record shop was 12 miles away as well. Off downstairs i went and got an envelope opener and some glue...after carefully prising open the sleeve turning it round I re-glued it, perfect I thought, LOl a few weeks later imagine my surprise on speak to a friend who also collected records and I told him about the issue with the cover. "you idiot" he announced, Its supposed to be like that......Double Damn, hahaha

  20. Enter Blondie this week with a new number one - Sunday Girl.

    While in 1978, she was still on a gradual upward path, and not yet considered as No.1, material, then by 1979 she reached the dizzy heights of No.1 with Heart of Glass, and then this Sunday Girl.

    So it appeared that with 1979 now in full swing, everything Blondie touched seemed to turn to gold, so I wonder if the Top Pop performance of this hit which had Debbie Harry in male clothing, i.e., suit and tie, was to dilute the aura around her and try to portray herself as an ordinary person, and not as a sex object in the media attention.

    It was somewhat surprising to the see the suit and tie attire on this performance, and I can't think of any other explanation, unless it was fashion for women to dress up as men.

    We saw it in the same show with David Bowie dressing up as women on his hit Boys Keep Swinging, so there was somewhat of a swinging nature about this week's show.

  21. Been having iPlayer/Internet problems and eventually had to resort to watching the show in the small hours of Monday morning just to get a decent quality picture! It was worth it though.

    Great start with the Skids, I can't help wondering if Richard saw Gary Numan with his eyeliner and thought "I'll have some of that!", or who knows, it may have been the other way round! A neat twist on the old TOTP trick of showing the bass player during the guitar solo (it's ever so common if you look out for it!) with fast cutting between three cameras showing practically everything except the guitar!

    Tubeway Army - this may have been 'futuristic' at the time but today I would say that it's a piece of uniqueness that could only have come from this particular era. Being a marriage of lead synth with a 'traditional' rhythm section it has more in common with Popcorn and Pepper Box than most 1980s synthpop. But certainly a haunting, infectious sound which had me hooked from the start. The B-side, We Are So Fragile, has that kind of analogue thump that's probably impossible to reproduce today.

    Hot Gossip, sorry Legs & Co - this was the main reason for having to watch this show after midnight. Those flickering flames reduced the picture to a coarsely-pixellated mess! Come back VHS, all is forgiven!

    Don't remember Liner, but Blackfoot Sue's Standing In The Road has always been a fave of mine even though it was an unashamed Slade rip-off.

    The Damned didn't seem quite so energetic in this second performance, but it was significant in that as far as I can tell it was the debut of the dreaded plastic cymbals - the first step towards the fakeness that characterised 1980s TOTP, which never appealed to me as much as earlier editions.

    ELO (appreciate it today, but it sounded like all their other records at the time!) and David Bowie (one of those which starts off good but degenerates into tuneless noise) provide examples of how 'videos' were taking over from 'promo films'. With what I know today, whenever I see these early videos I always wonder if John Henshall was involved in their making.

    I remember this Dollar number for its 'ruler on edge of desk' twang. Yes I know, I soon grew out of it.

    Debbie Harry seemed to be having a bit of a 'bad hair day' here, but worse was to come (unless you actually like the 'dragged through a hedge backwards' look)...

    Haven't got much else to say about this show, except that it was a good one.

  22. Thanks to going away for the bank holiday and being ill last night and today, my critique’s missed the top 50, Never mind.

    Does anyone else have trouble with BBC iPlayer constantly crashing? It packs out whatever programme I watch on the format. Does my head in.

    A fine show poorly linked by Kid for a change. He got the name of Roxy Music’s hit wrong, mumbled something about an avocado after David , and forgot to give Cheap Trick a namecheck, when he should’ve done the old ‘flowers from up the sleeve’ routine.

    A great grove from McFadden and Whitehead. Sobering to think they’re no longer with us due to lung and liver cancer and being the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting respectively. A sobering thought.

    Didn’t The Skids’ song sound like a Big Country template? Richard Jobson looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy with all that ‘slap’.

    Tubeway Army’s lighting was groundbreaking on the visual front. Loved the fact Gary Numan’s motionless visage came about because of his dislike of his front teeth. I see Billy Currie was ‘mugging it’ from far afield at every opportunity.

    Good grief! A tabasco sauce routine from Legs & Co. Tales of the Unexpected! Vegas costumes! Harem costumes! Miss World glittery swimsuits! Lulu singing! Okay, scrap that last one. That routine left me feeling like Les Dawson’s Cosmo Smallpiece character.

    Then came the bucket of cold water. Not as bad visually or aurally as Max Webster, but not by much, no wonder Liner sank without much trace. You can always tell a song’s in trouble by how quickly the ‘doo doo doos’ replace proper lyrics.

    I hope Dave Vanian’s old style mic was a prop after that going over. Captain Sensible’s tumble was the best since Darts Den on his debut.

    Jeff Lynne made a spectacle of himself early on. Boom boom tish! I can hear the phone call now – “Mate, Violinski isn’t a full time career, come back!”

    The lesser spotted Rubettes cap appears again (complete with unusual sticks) courtesy of Dollar’s drummer. A hugely boring song only lit up by Thereze making a fine attempt to look like L&Co’s Patti’s sister.

    Watch Bowie and weep, Jobson. That’s how to dance! At first I thought David was impersonating The Maggie Stredder Singers. I wonder if a young Robert Smith saw the lipstick smearing gesture and thought “there’s my career”?

    So, The Shadows (complete with that bloody miserable rundown shot of Hank yet again) are now officially the house band, You could just about make out the sound of Dave Bartram crying in his car park trailer.

    Talking of ‘Waddy costumes (turn that suit down!), was that the second song in a row Elvis Costello had worn that particular tie? He did something similar for “Red Shoes” and “Watching The Detectives”. Call myself a fan? It was part of the THIRD verse which was sung in “E.T.”. Duh!

    Erm, so we have David Bowie dressed like women and Debbie Harry dressed like a bloke. Whatever next, a bearded bloke in a dress winning Eurovision? Nah, that’ll never happen. Er, hang on….

    1. Wasn't it Kenny Everett who mastered the art of a bearded bloke in a dress, every week on his show?

      I think David Bowie didn't go that far, but preferred being the clean shaven bloke dressed as three different women in his video.

    2. Come to think of it, they should have had Bowie and Blondie performing together as reverse male-female dressing on this week's show instead of separate performances.

      Now that would have been a big No.1!

    3. Ah, who could forget Kenny's esteemed chat show character Cupid Stunt. "Oh Michael!"

    4. Did you know Kenny Everett nicked the Cupid act from a 1972 Monty Python sketch with John Cleese in drag.

    5. Don't know if this was one of those urban myths, but Kenny originally planned to call the character Mary Hinge, the BBC said no, so he called her Cupid Stunt instead...

    6. The BBC just didn't get it did they. They probably thought it was a reference to Mary Whitehouse. It's similar to Only Fools and Horses where they wouldn't allow Del to call Rodney a dipstick but plonker was perfectly acceptable..

  23. Kid Jensen was in my dream last night! I complimented him on how good he was at introducing TOTP and he thanked me. A brush with fame...

  24. Wow what a lot of comments. Well done boys and girls, award yourself two housepoints.

    This week, why are there so many glam/rock acts of 1972 dressing up as stylish-MOR-suited-dramatic-change-of-image bank managers? Ferry, Bowie, Blackfoot Sue, you even made Ms Harry look like she was going on a job interview.

    Rest of Show:

    Skids = Peas sure sound divine.

    Numan = Bizzare then, bizarre now. Never got it, and always thought it was a classic marketing fix to get it to No.1. Stood out a mile from anything else that had ever been on there. Surely there weren't THAT many people who had been in their closets all these years and suddenly awoken - still think it was a fix.

    Elvis - one of my faves ever, but as Arthur said, it would be boring if we all agreed. I did find though, as an avid follower of the pop charts since about 1970, that by about 1975 I could confidently predict virtually every No.1 when it was released, and predict what would go up/down the charts and roughly by how much. Nerd was I. By 1979, I was losing my extra-terrestrial powers in this respect, which may have been partly due to discovering the outside world in large quantities, but it was around now that chart positioning did seem to me to becoming very suspect...

    1. That's a good point actually - as well as Ferry, Bowie and Blackfoot Sue there was another 1972 band formed by members of the 1960s Brum Beat scene, a Guys & Dolls splinter and some real old-timers who had been at No.1 20 years previously! All in all quite a 'senior' line-up this week!