Thursday, 3 July 2014

If I had Top of the Pops

If I had longer legs....

We're deep into the summer of 1979 now, the 19th of July no less, and our host this week is David Jensen....

19-7-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(3) THE SEX PISTOLS – C’mon Everybody (and charts)
(50) THE REAL THING – Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)
(4) DAVE EDMUNDS – Girls Talk (video)
(22) DONNA SUMMER – Bad Girls (danced to by Legs & Co)
(42) DARTS – Duke Of Earl
(26) U.K. SUBS – Stranglehold
(24) THE KNACK – My Sharona ®
(49) SPARKS – Beat The Clock
(15) THE BOOMTOWN RATS – I Don’t Like Mondays (video)
(10) THE DOOLEYS – Wanted
(25) THE KORGIS – If I Had You
(23) ABBA – Voulez-Vous (video)
(1) TUBEWAY ARMY – Are ‘Friends’ Electric? ®
(5) CHIC – Good Times (and credits)

The Sex Pistols ~ shame we never got to see the video on BBC4, the group's final top ten hit now at its peak of number 3.

The Real Thing ~ with their follow up to Can You Feel the Force, but this one was not quite so powerful and failed to boogie into the top 30.

Dave Edmunds ~ they are really keeping us waiting to see this one - edited out of the 7.30 show.

Donna Summer ~ still no sign of Donna anywhere near the studio, so here's Legs and Co, putting on the red lights by the looks of things, the bad girls. (but why the dog?)

Darts ~ another band about to have their final top ten hit, signing off in regal fashion, though they were just never quite as top class after Den Hegarty left.

UK Subs ~ a new studio performance here, with Stranglehold now at its peak of 26.

The Pretenders - taking a break from their tour to be in the studio, here's a band yet to have their first top ten hit - but it wasn't to be with Kid, which didn't make the top 30. Nice hair though.

The Knack ~ their retro 1960s Beatles look worked wonders for My Sharona, taking it into the top ten in the UK and all the way to number 1 in America.

Sparks ~ they couldn't beat the BBC4 clock tonight with this one as it was edited out of the 7.30 show.

The Boomtown Rats ~ were also edited out - I bet they are not too keen on Thursdays now, never mind Mondays. Maybe being next week's number one will placate them.

The Dooleys ~ a new performance here, still climbing the charts, and this time with a third sister in the background, dressed up like the main two, clearly desperate to be wanted. Did anyone notice, half way through, the next act just warming up on the other stage....

The Korgis ~ shades of Graham Parker here with lead singer height issues, but the song, I felt, stood tall, on its way into the top 20.

Abba ~ the Voulez Vous video with Agnetha wearing a trouser suit that was seemingly even tighter than the one worn by Olivia Newton John in Grease. This was the third of five top 4 singles for Abba in 1979.

Tubeway Army ~ with Are Friends Electric now in its final week at number one, signalling the end of this band's name - all further releases would now be credited to Gary Numan.

Chic ~ (and featuring some very good timesing, David Jensen) play us out this week.

Next week I guess will be a break for the Sky at Night, and then frustratingly it's the 26th July, which happens also to be the 800th edition of Top of the Pops, but guess what, it's a Jimmy Savile. It was shown on UK Gold though, so fingers crossed.....

As for BBC4, the next available show will be from the 2nd of August 1979, presented by Peter Powell.


  1. This week's edition featured some classy songs, including Sparks' 'Beat The Clock', which boasted some of their wittiest lyrics. It would, however, be the Mael brothers' last British Top 40 hit until 1994's 'When Do I Get To Sing 'My Way'?'

    The Korgis were excellent musicians and songwriters whose unfashionable image let them down. They would have a worldwide hit the following year with 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime', which has since been covered by numerous other acts including Dream Academy, Zucchero and even Richard Thompson - who described it on stage as "the only good song released in the 1980s". Come on, Richard - it's a wonderful song, but surely there must have been at least ONE other hit record from that period that you liked? Sir Elton's 'Blue Eyes', maybe? Or Phil Collins' 'One More Night'?

    1. how about "i eat cannibals" by toto coelo? or maybe "agadoo"?

  2. Nice to see Kool and the Gang kicking things off - oops, my mistake. This isn't too bad, just generic, maybe there was too much of this about for The Real Thing to stand out by that point.

    Dave Edmunds and company on a roof in... New York? Was that the Empire State Building in the background? Always liked the instrumental break with the chiming guitar in this tune.

    Legs & Co with their wobbly lampposts portraying, erm, best not to think about it. Not very flattering. Maybe they should have danced around those handbags? Just be glad the pooch didn't use the hydrant for other purposes.

    Darts, getting a bit karaoke now, nothing especially wrong with it but nobody's going to play this instead of the original.

    Were they in a rush tonight? Two examples of one band finishing and another starting immediately on the next stage. Anyway, the grandpa punk of the UK Subs segues into The Pretenders, it's a shame this wasn't a bigger hit because it's a lovely song, tender lyrics and a sweet, melancholy melody, one of Chrissie's best.

    Sparks, Ron actually joining in a little, great, insistent pop with an addictive beat. Talking of addictive, when Sir Bob rolls up his sleeves in the Mondays video it does look as if he's about to do a different kind of shooting. I suppose if you really had to do song on that subject it was as good as any.

    The Dooleys, the more I hear Wanted now the more shrill and borderline hysterical it sounds. Straight into the Korgis, with Tony Aitken from Chish and Fips on lead vocals. But Kid, I'd pronounce the title If I Had YOU rather than If I HAD You, the latter sounds sleazy.

    Abba well into their disco dollies phase, still sounds fine. TOTP is on next week, though, no break. After that might be a different story.

  3. As THX mentions, BBC4 will be showing the 02.08.79 show next week, but I think there must be a good chance that it will be the last repeat for a while, given that we will end up missing most of August and lose quite a few more shows after that. The Beeb may well decide in consequence to halt the repeats until the Proms finish in September, but we shall see...

    As Kid said, there was plenty of variety on this show, though the host himself sounded a little strained in some of the links, perhaps distracted by the large number of young girls he was teamed with - mind you, the "sweet 16" girl looked more like 26 to me! The most notable audience member, however, was some irritating tyke in red who kept staring intensely at the monitors on the couple of occasions he appeared on screen - shame the floor manager didn't chuck him out...

    It's also a shame Girls Talk was cut from the early showing, as it is a fantastic song. Hopefully we'll see it next week - we will certainly get I Don't Like Mondays, but
    thanks to Yewtree and strikes it will be the only time BBC4 viewers see it during its No. 1 reign. Watching the video again, I thought the kids were scarier than Ron Mael! The Legs performance was, erm, interesting, but they didn't exactly come across as bad girls to me...

    Incidentally, while I didn't see the Korgis warming up during the previous performance, I did notice UK Subs leaving the stage while Chrissie did her thing!

    1. Forgot to mention - I wonder if Kid was thinking of making "good times" the new "good love"?

    2. Talking of audience members looking at the monitors/cameras did anyone else notice the androgynous ginger haired David Bowie clone who stood with his/her back to the band all the way though The Pretenders performance.

  4. Legs & Co - I thought that their skirts were going to come off similar to the Bucks Fizz TOTP studio performance in 1981. They seemed to be dressed similar, but nothing like that happened here.

    Darts - I quite like this one, as my next favourite after Come Back My Love and Boy From New York City. It's amazing that Duke of Earl reached as high as No.6 by the end of August, considering that Bob Fish was not on lead vocals for this one.

    The Dooleys - with the girls being but up front in a manner similar to Abba, which at the time seemed to be the surefire success formula, it showed that it did work handsomely for The Dooleys, by having a big top 3 hit well into August with this one.

  5. I was on holiday in Venice this week in 1979 so I have never seen this show before and what a fantastic line up with so many top acts! They should have called this show Beat The Clock as it's very fast moving and they squeezed a lot in with lots of fast editing and panning. It reminded me of the Oh Boy shows from the 1950s which were very fast. A great job from director David Hiller.

    I don't remember this Real Thing song at all but it's a real corker with a slick sound and I love the live brass section. Sadly this only got to number 33 and was their last hit on PYE.

    Rockpile in New York with the Twin Towers visible behind Dave and Nick. This was one I loved and bought at the time before I realised it was an Elvis Costello song.

    Not sure about the dodgy dance routine for Bad Girls, those swinging handbags are a bit naff and those shaky lamp posts are downright dangerous. Great track though and one of Donna's better later hits. A great shame she never appeared live in the studio.

    Some classic rock and roll doo-wop from The Darts, just a pity they are so obviously miming. Cheeky lead singer Griff has a great set of gnashers and always put me in mind of Crackerjack's Don Maclean.

    The UK Subs appear to be live, at least Charlie Harper is singing live although in his case it makes no difference either way. This was perhaps the only blip in an otherwise perfect line up but at least it's less than two minutes long.

    Next up The Pretenders. This is still amazing today, a great pop song with downbeat lyrics and some superb guitar work, a winning combination. This was the first of their singles I bought.A shame they have to fade this early, almost sequeing into the next track.

    One problem with The Knack's hit was that no one had ever heard of the name Sharona before. Sharon yes, Sharona no. The other problem was that the lead singer loked a bit like Lurch from The Addams Family which is never a good thing. Still a nice sixties influenced track with a killer guitar solo. This was No 1 for 6 weeks in the USA.

    Sparks are fantastic to watch. Ron really knows how to cut a rug while Ron remains motionless and deadpan. I love the way Ron almost joins in with the chorus of Beat The Clock by mouthing a few words. I also love the mad lyrics which I only found out about recently - my favourite being: "Well I've seen everything there is, I've done everything there is, I've met everyone but Liz, Now I've even met old Liz". Totally mad and too good for a throw away pop song.

    I Don't Like Mondays has Number 1 written all over it. Johny Fingers always put in mind of an early incarnation of The Specials Jerry Dammers except with more teeth. Great video except where the blond drummer does the fake miming bit in the corner of the screen. He must have drawn the short straw as he he looks a proper twat and I remember my brother and I laughed at that at the time.

    I wouldn't have admitted it at the time but The Dooleys' Wanted is a cool slice of disco-pop with some great harmonies. I love their new keyboardist who is doing that lovely one handed playing much favoured by Martha Ladly from Martha and The Muffins/The Associates. Poor newley-permed Jim does lok a bit put out stuck on the side on the old Roland keyboard but I love it when groups mix and match their vocalists/instruments. Nice to see The Korgis dancing to Wanted while they're waiting to perform...

    1. martha ladly was a true stunner, especially after she left the muffins (one suspects the other martha was a bit jealous of her wholesome good looks!) and appeared on totp with both the associates and roxy music in a series of breathtaking costumes. and not just a pretty face either - does anyone else know that nowadays she is a professor? i've seen a recent picture of her and she definitely falls into the "milf" category!

    2. talking of band members switching instruments: i went to see a certain ratio play live several times in the late 80's, and the bassist and drummer would always swap over at some point - something that was eagerly anticipated by the audience...

  6. Mo' Bama:

    In fact nice to see The Korgis full stop. I loved Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime and always wanted to see them in the flesh. The lead singer of reminds me of Bruce Thomas from The Attractions with a bit of Woody Allen thrown in. But just a minute, what kind of drums are those, they look like they've melted in the heat?

    ABBA on video of course with Benny looking chunkier than ever. I always thought they sung "Masters of the sea" when it is in fact "Masters of the scene" which makes more sense.

    And Mr Numan and Co again with Gary alternatively in monochrome and colour which is probably just how he likes it with Billy Currie doing a lot of what he does best, staring at the camera.

    Kid gets to say "Good Times" instead of "Good love" and over to Chic. A good job he didn't tell us what the original lyric was.

  7. host: still the one to beat - wonder if he had anything to do with the "live" links between acts in the studio (don't remember seeing that done before, although it's now standard practice on that jools holland programme)

    charts: the sex pistols get another undeserved outing with this on-autopilot cover

    real thing: never heard this before and was unexpectedly impressed, but it's kind of wasted on them - surely the whole point of the real thing was chris amoo's voice (which is not to my taste but very distinctive)? here he's just reduced to the level of backing singer like the two lightweights in the middle, but obviously can't handle that that so pretends to play bass instead. i had to check this out on youtube after - in my opinion the US remix is far superior to the orignal one. our host helpfully points out which one is chris, but sadly it comes about 3 years too late for our original blog host simon, who always got him mixed up with brother eddie, thus sparking some debate to which (for newer arrivals here or those who can't remember) i suggested it was "much amoo about nothing - ho ho)

    dave edmunds (or rather rockpile as the band were known, but for contractual reasons his recordings had to appear under his own name): never liked this much, but then as it's an elvis costello song that's hardly surprising (and dave sounds like a slightly anaemic version of EC which doesn't help). did like the modulation for the guitar solo though! a slightly odd choice for the band considering most of their stuff was straight-ahead rock and roll (crawling from the wreckage, i knew the bride etc), but i suppose it was their way of trying to be hip... whatever one thinks of the music, it's certainly a heavyweight line-up, with both edmunds and nick lowe being well-respected producers boasting several hits of their own, terry williams later drumming for dire straits in their world-domination phase, and billy bremner playing football for both leeds united and scotland (only joking about the last bit - it's a different billy bremner ho ho). one suspects they were a good-time band not averse to a drink or three - in more recent years someone of my acquaintance hired williams to play on a recording he was making, and he told me the guy turned up somewhat "worse for wear" even though it was a morning session...

    donna summer/legs: wasn't prostitution illegal back then (that's still the case to my knowledge)? so bearing that in mind isn't the whole thing a bit risque by suggesting the practice is acceptable and even glamourous? personally i think it should be legalised (along with drugs), as the stigma, sleaziness and exploitation by criminals and other lowlife will be removed virtually overnight. but hey ho i'm a idealist and i don't suppose that will ever happen in my lifetime. i think the reason for the poodle (the first canine to appear since the legendary pan's people "get down" routine!) is that old-time prossies always seemed to keep such a creature, although for what purpose i cannot imagine (actually i can guess, but perhaps i shouldn't go into detail)... by the way, i have noticed on the outskirts of the city centre where i live there is some strange kind of establishment that has a large sign above it, but no indication as to what it offers. i presumed it was some kind of late-night drinking den or gambling joint (especially when i saw the kind of punters going in and out), but when i asked around someone casually told me "oh, that's a knocking shop!"

    1. I have it on good authority from a Donna Summer fan friend that on the album Bad Girls comes from Miss Summer posed for a number of photos on the sleeve in various, er, dissolute outfits and styles, so he reasoned L&C might have been recreating that for their routine. Sound reasonable?

    2. i noticed that the donna pic in the chart rundown is the actual cover for her "bad girls" album, where she is posing in the background in a manner suggestive of a call girl, complete with lamp post and cop with raised truncheon (ooh er missus!):

    3. Rockpile's Billy Bremner made a superb solo single called Loud Music In Cars. Check it out on Youtube.

    4. i don't know if this is true or not, but i read a story that guitarist billy bremner was so fed up of being mistaken for his footballing namesake that he changed his name... only for someone with the same name to become famous afterwards!

  8. blimey - i've only commented on 3 acts and it's already a 2-parter...

    darts: griff finally gets to have another go as lead singer, but sadly for him mid-tempo doo-wop is not for me, whether it be originals or covers

    uk subs: it seems strange when a record goes down the charts rather than up after a showing on totp -the arthur mullard/hylda baker fiasco makes sense, but not this as there's nothing obviously wrong. maybe it just didn't get enough radio play? this time the guitarist realises he can ham it up a bit rather than pretend he's really playing. did anyone else notice the guy on someone else's shoulders pogoing (well, in any way that one can whilst hoisted atop another) - surprised that was allowed!

    pretenders: one i've not heard for a long time now - for a new wave band this is pretty light and almost ballad-like, so perhaps no surprise it didn't really get anywhere (although unlike uk subs i remember this getting plenty of exposure on radio 1). the guitar solo (another case of modulation?) takes it onto a different plane - james honeyman-scott really was an inventive player, which makes his early death all the more tragic. as i watched, i realised a death count was starting here - no. of now-deceased members in this group: 2

    the knack: good to see an in-the-totp-studio performance that was previously yewtreed - most of the band exude noo york noo wave cool with their curly mops and razor cheekbones, but the singer looks like he wandered in by mistake! shame they faded over the second half second guitar solo but i never even expected it to go that far... no. of now-deceased members of this group: 2

    sparks: i see they've managed to get another slot to promote "the number one song in heaven" despite it disappearing from the charts... oh, hang on, this is another track that sounds exactly the same! well, to my ears anyway... i like it when ron gives gentle sighs from time to time as if to say "what the hell am i doing here?", and i think i spotted some eye-rolling going on just before fadeout...

    boomtown rats: instant fast-forwarding for me as i hated it with passion back then and time has not dulled that feeling!

    the dooleys: i see they've taken over from brotherhood of man as the poundland abba (i'm surprised one of them wasn't made to dye her hair blond!). i think the sister at the back is actually the prettiest one, but it's all relative. rhythmically i have to reluctantly say it's a vast improvement on their earlier stuff, but i still hate the tune and the descending chords in the chorus. and i also have to ask: does a band like the dooleys really need two guitarists and two keyboard players? i have recently met a guy who claims he played on tour in the dooleys in the 80's after they waved goodbye to the charts, so i must remember to ask him if he has any dirt to dish out...

    the korgis: had no memory of this beforehand but now remember it as a pleasant enough if somewhat lacklustre tune that could have been produced at any time in the 70's. another one that i see mto remember getting lots of airplay at the time, and with a frontman like this that was probably the best place for it...

    abba: unlike their pale imitators the dooleys, this was far from abba's first attempt at muscling in on the dancefloor action - this really is a rather excellent eurodisco effort (i love the breathy "a-ha!" chants), and i'm ashamed to say i didn't like it at the time just through being prejudiced against what i saw as their banal pop. agnetha was apparently a reluctant sex symbol (now that's a phrase you don't hear anymore) but going by this she seems quite happy to flaunt herself in that catsuit...

    1. replying to myself: i idly watched the show again today on videotape and noticed that kid announces the knack are from los angeles which makes my comment above look rather stupid, but the fact is that to me they look (and sound) much more like an east coast band than a west coast one. also noticed that there was some freeze-framing going on at the end of some acts, which i don't think they've done before - the guy responsible also did it on several beats in a row when the camera was behind the uk subs drummer, which i thought was quite clever and highly effective (for the time, anyway)...

  9. part 3 (!):

    tubeway army: once i noticed the black and white intro i decided to sit through it one last time even though it hasn't really grown on me - i don't know if the spoken-word bit was live or not, but it sounded an awful lot louder than the rest of it. success seems to have gone to gary's head, as he can't resist smirking in a somewhat blase manner on several occasions... either that or even he's got bored of it! no. of now-deceased members in this group: 2

    chic: even though i've heard this countless times, i still can't make out all of what they are singing about. one line i can hear is about all getting together about a quarter to 10? why so precise? couldn't they have said "around about 10"? neverless a timeless disco classic. oh yes, no. of now-deceased members in this group: 2

    mark 8/10

  10. A good show this, and the picture quality seemed excellent too - was it locked away in a vault for years?
    They have another vault marked 'Yewtree'd' now of course. Unless that's a pyre.

    Sex Pistols - not a great start, nor was the fact that they put the mugshots in that stupid box again.

    The Real Thing - So incredibly generic that I can't think of anything interesting to say about it.

    Dave Edmunds - I love the tune, and although it's not a particularly interesting video, they all seem to be enjoying themselves don't they?

    Donna Summer - Beep beep. Toot toot. A load of toot more like - I've never been a fan of this song, and having recently got hold of a 'Best Of' album I now know that the minor hits she had in this period were better than both this and 'Hot Stuff'.

    Darts - I rather like this one, I seem to remember it being played an awful lot at the time as it was around this period that I really started to listen to Radio 1 regularly.

    UK Subs - Still dreadful.

    The Pretenders - Well...Mrs. Noax cannot stand Chrissie Hynde's voice so I very rarely get to hear any of her songs in our house! As far as this one goes, it's not a classic but it's pleasant enough.

    Sparks - Ah, wonderful! Loved this tune at the time, and I still do. The only thing that distracts me is that Russell is a dead ringer for Jake Shears (albeit with more hair) and Ron looks for all the world like Chris Morris doing a character from The Day Today.

    Boomtown Rats - It's odd, but I don't think I know anyone who really hates this. Though I suspect that a fair few don't know what it's really about. I don't think they ever turned up in the studio to do it though, did they?

    The Dooleys - Classic pop tune, and the new lady Dooley looks incredibly happy to be there. Less so 'relegated to other keyboardist' Jim - you can almost see the barely disguised contempt.

    The Korgis - Ahhhh..a lovely song. And THX - you read my mind, I was thinking of Tony Aitken as well! (For those who don't know him, he was in many comedy / light ent shows in the 70s and 80s!)

    ABBA - Probably uniquely in the world, I prefer 'Angeleyes'. Which they never made a bloody video for, so 'Voulez Vous' always gets the nod.

    Tubeway Army - The smirking doesn't work, Gary - get back to being inscrutable! The least impressive performance of the lot. I think the first was the best.

    1. If you read Bob Stanley's fantastic book Yeah Yeah Yeah, he really goes off on one about The Boomtown Rats and tells us that there can't be anyone who still likes their records nowadays. Bit harsh, I thought, though he's otherwise bang on the money with his observations.

    2. i never liked boomtown rats' music in the first place so perhaps i'm not the right person to pitch that question to, but just in case anyone hasn't got the message: i really hate "i don't like mondays" - always have done and always will! i don't know if bob stanley mentions this in his book, but if geldof hadn't have instigated his mid-80's charity/PR exercise (delete as appropriate), then boomtown rats records (even the number ones) would probably have been as fondly remembered (if remembered at all) as those by the likes of the uk subs...

    3. Helen Dooley had previously appeared on TOTP with her siblings to promote their middling hit, 'Honey I'm Lost', which immediately preceded 'Wanted'. As for Jim, well, he probably felt the same way that Ray Davies did at Kinks' gigs when he had to sing harmony in brother Dave's hit song 'Death of a Clown'. In the Britpop era, it was called wibbling (sic) rivalry!

    4. Bob Stanley's book is on my 'to buy' list.

      I do like most of the Boomtown Rats songs so don't agree with him totally on that one, though if he's saying that they have got extra airplay through Bob's charity work then I guess that is a fair shout!

      I'm pretty sure that the UK Subs would never have been receiving airplay even if the band had collectively raised millions for charity, discovered a cure for cancer, and brought peace to the Middle East however.

    5. i wonder if charlie harper's thinking "if only i'd had that idea to raise money for some starving ethiopians"...?

    6. I never had Bob Stanley down as a musical snob. I Don't Like Mondays is an all time classic and there are some credible Boomtown Rats singles to come, namely There's Always Someone Looking At You and Banana Rebublic.

    7. bama i can't remember anything at all about the first rats single you mention (even though it may have been a top 20 hit), and my only memory of the second was that it was a cod-reggae thing (although that may be presumptuous on my part). which you could say sort of adds weight to bob stanley's argument? there was another later hit single i also have no recollection of in audio terms, but i remember for the bizarre title with parenthesis: "the elephants graveyard (guilty)"...

    8. 'Someone's Looking At You' was a cod-Springsteen rocker, much like 'Rat Trap' and 'Diamond Smiles' among other hit songs by the Rats.

    9. being in the "biz", perhaps bob stanley knows bob geldof personally and (maybe like many who have had dealings with what appears to be an abrasive personality) doesn't get on too well with him, which may influence his opinions? (bob s if you're reading this then let us know...)

    10. I wouldn't call Bob Stanley a musical snob, for most of the book he's very open minded, but I suppose we all have our blind spots. He truly detests Live Aid, for example.

    11. I met Bob Stanley once and he's a very nice guy. What I was saying was that I can't believe that he is a musical snob and that maybe he was being ironic about The Rats (although I haven't read the book). He and the rest of Saint Etienne thrive on their eclectic tastes and have been influenced by everyone from The Beach Boys to Rush and dub reggae. Their first hit (You're In A Bad Way) was produced by Cliff Richard's producer Alan Tarney - they specifically asked for him.

    12. Nope, I don't think he was being ironic, one of the nice things about the book is how sincere it is. He says the Rats were huge in their day and are "now resolutely unloveable... How did they fool us all?"

    13. bama - 'their first big hit' would be more statistically accurate!

      Alan Tarney also produced Barbara Dickson and A-ha's early stuff as well as early 80s Cliff and I can absolutely see why he was requested!

      He did pop in once only on the original forum, didn't he?
      That was a lovely surprise. The more I listen to their 'difficult' singles and albums, the more I love them. 'Like A Motorway' and 'How We Used To Live' weren't Top 40 hits at all but are wonderful.

      And THX is right, we all have our blind spots. I absolutely loathe almost all the modern female singers that we are supposed to fall over to worship (Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Paloma Faith etc etc) because almost without exception they seem to think that wailing and honking are suitable substitutes for tone, key and subtlety.
      There are excceptions such as Adele and Emeli Sande mind you.

    14. In case of doubt, I meant that Bob Stanley turned up on the old forum, not Alan Tarney. That really would have been weird!

    15. I'm slightly sad to read that quote from Bob's book. I don't care for lots of artists but I would never have the temerity to assume that the whole world agrees with me. I have gone off Bob Geldof in recent years but I still like some of the Rats singles and seeing them again on TOTP has bought back many happy memories. Still love Saint Etienne though (Bob Stanley if you're reading this and want to send me a copy of your book I'll gladly receive it).

  11. Darts are playing London's 100 Club next week, supported by The Mint Juleps, who Griff and Rita manage(d). It's already sold out (bugger) so, with my wife on a hen do, I'm off for a scant consolation Indian meal and some lager.

    Back with some proper(?) insight on this show tomorrow.

  12. Did Kid say that Chris from The Real Thing was making his debut....? But Chris Amoo has been there every single time, surely? And the other three were the usual three weren't they? As happens a lot as the years advance, I'm confused...

    1. Chris was making his debut as a bass guitarist, never having previously played an instrument on stage with the band.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Chris Amoo had played bass on some tracks on their 1976 Real Thing album but as you say perhaps this was his debut playing it on stage.

  13. Aha, gotcha!

  14. Good show, that. Much to enjoy, apart from the identikit R’n’R of \the Sex Pistols and those horrible tiny mugshots.

    The Real Thing was the first act to release a single on EMI. Strange to see the middle two as the focus this time, unless you count all four as joint vocalists a la Can’s “I Want More” (remember that one, long time forumites?). Chris seemed happy enough on bass duties. I could envisage KC and the Sunshine Band doing this song credit.

    “Girl’s Talk” - brilliant. To think Dave Edmunds made number one with the first single on the label which foistered Gilbert O’Sullivan onto us (oh, as well as Lynsey de Paul, and Joe Jackson in a flop act).

    Was Legs & Co’s routine the first televised appearance of pole dancing? Just as saucy as that Christine Keeler back to front chair routine to Manhattan Transfer’s “Chanson D’Amour”. Not that I mind much!

    Loved Griff’s leprechaun outfit for “Duke Of Earl”, though Rita looked very restrained sartorially, and they were never the same after Den had to leave. That Kenny Andrews was rubbish – he added nothing to the group.

    I’ll be a dissenter here and say I enjoyed UK Subs. “Stranglehold” was on the repetitive and infectious side of catchy, but they went for it and, unlike Darts, they didn’t have a dummy in the ranks (Do you get the feeling I didn’t rate Kenny much?).

    The Pretenders were stylish and effortless. I still preferred their track “Tattooed Love Boys”, but this was fine apart from the ugly Ed Sheeran prototype gurning at the monitor.

    I loved The Knack’s black and white image. Funny to see the “Stars In Their Eyes” versions of Keith Moon and ‘how did he get there?” Brazilian defender David Luiz in their ranks.

    Fine song though it is, I can’t hear “Beat The Clock” without thinking of Bruce Forsyth and The Palladium. That was definitely the most animated Ron Mael performance I’ve ever seen.

    Back in the day I used to frequent a pub with a late uncle, who used to jokingly belt out the choruses of two songs on the pub juke box to the annoyance or resigned laughter of the locals. One of the songs was “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Rest in peace, Alec.

    So, do most of The Dooleys look like their mum or their dad? Were they a prototype master race or mistress race in the making? Poor Jim, relegated to second keyboardist behind the new gal / uber-race lookalike. No more chest hair tufts on show for the likes of us. Hang on, is that actually a bad thing?

    Ah, tie behind the bass this time for The Korgis. Those Salvador Dali-style drums were de rigeur in some quarters from the late 70’s to early / mid 80’s. Just wait for the rotatoms to take over in a few months!

    So, Agnetha was a reluctant sex symbol? She had no idea! Her get-up reminded me of the old joke: “How do you get into those lycra trousers?” “A couple of gin and tonics for starters!”

    Tubeway Army started out more B&W than The Knack! I still think Gary Numan’s smirking is more of the “how did we get here?” type.

    One of our learned correspondents has got their Chic songs mixed up. The “fornicate off” lyrics were the prototype (that word again!) for “Le Freak” and not “Good Night and Good Love”, er, “Good Times”. As Roy Walker would say. it’s good but it’s not right! :-)

    1. i'm with you regarding the uk subs arthur - i can't get the chorus out of my head at the moment! give me that over the dreary "i don't like mondays" anytime... by the way, what was the other song that your uncle used to sing along to in the boozer?

    2. i have a memory of those strange-looking drums used by the korgis - not sure if there was some technical reason for them looking like that, or it was just a pose! i don't suppose the uk subs' drummer looked at them and thought "hey, i'd love a set like that"? i'm hoping the show will remain on air long enough for the debut of the "simmons" electronic drumkit (i think spandau ballet may have been the first band to feature them)...

    3. I wouldn't say Kenny Andrews was "rubbish" - he's an operatically trained bass-baritone who has since enjoyed a rich career as an actor in films, TV productions and the West End, most notably as Big Moe in 'Five Guys Named Moe'.

      The problem was that Den's fans found Kenny's smoother, more polished style of performance difficult to accept, and I think that impacted on the band's morale. They would shed 4 more members over the next 2 years, including singer Bob Fish, and would enjoy only one more Top 40 hit, with a cover of The Four Seasons' 'Let's Hang On'.

    4. I agree with you Julie, the Darts performance was superb and Kenny an excellent vocalist. Okay so he doesn't add the kitsch sense of fun that Den Hegarty did with his Big Bopper-style stage antics but it wouldn't work if he tried to copy Den's act.

      And Arthur I was getting Good Times mixed up with Le Freak but the lyrics to Good Times are interesting nevertheless. The line "clams on the half shell and roller skates" has for ages confused/bemused people.

  15. Fair point, Julie. It would have been impossible to replace Den, and I appreciate Kenny's got a fine resume of musical work since Darts. Problem was, Kenny's vocals were not only smoother, they seemed to be some way down the mix (take his vocals in the chorus of "Get It", for example).

    Oh, and Wilberforce, the other chorus my uncle used to maim in the pub was Roxy Music's "More Than This".

  16. Another good one. Copied the Ron Mael Hitler look in '79, but it didn't go down too well in Luton...