Monday, 21 July 2014

Top of the Pops 23rd August 1979 ~ Just when I needed you most

Once again thanks to Neil B for uploading another edition of Top of the Pops that we would otherwise not get to see in full. This one is hosted by Jimmy Savile so obviously do not click on the link if you are going to be offended.

Top of the Pops 23-8-79: Presenter: Jimmy Savile

(30) SISTER SLEDGE – Lost In Music (and charts)
(25) THE JAM – When You’re Young
(22) BONEY M – Gotta Go Home (video)
(13) JOE JACKSON – Is She Really Going Out With Him? ®
(44) RACEY – Boy Oh Boy
(35) BILL LOVELADY – Reggae For It Now
(12) ROXY MUSIC – Angel Eyes (video)
(46) THE PLANETS – Lines
(15) SHOWADDYWADDY – Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller ®
(27) RANDY VANWARMER – Just When I Needed You Most (danced to by Legs & Co)
(17) SPYRO GYRA – Morning Dance ®
(1) CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore
(23) THE CRUSADERS – Street Life (and credits)

There's quite a few acts on here that were also on the 9th August show ~ how unlucky especially for The Flying Lizards and Joe Jackson, but we get some good new tunes from Bill Lovelady (sounding like a reggae David Essex), The Planets, and sharing screen time with a Legs routine, the somewhat dubiously named Randy Vanwarmer, plus Cliff ensuring that nobody misses noticing that he's just got to number one.

Yes, actually, I'm number one


  1. I thought this show was a step up from the previous one, even with the return of Racey. While the singer is beyond irritating, I thought Boy Oh Boy wasn't too bad a tune, and certainly better than Some Girls. Speaking of tunes, Lines reminded me very much of something I'd heard before, though I am pretty certain I have never come across this song. Bearing in mind the band's name, I wonder if they nicked it, like Manfred Mann's Earth Band did with Joybringer, from Holst's Planets suite? Wherever it came from, it helped make Lines a pretty decent track.

    I also like the Randy Vanwarmer song, even if his name and his appearance don't exactly scream "pop star." Perhaps that's why Legs were spliced into this performance, though their rather stiff suitcase routine didn't do much to heighten the song's poignancy. It's a classy ballad, though.

    Rather less classy was Boney M's effort, a weak retread of past glories which could not be saved by a typically energetic performance - no wonder their career was on its way down by this point. Cliff was also going through his stage moves again, but with a much better song. He looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself - no wonder, as this was his first chart-topper in 11 years.

    Nice also to hear the creamy voice of Randy Crawford over the end credits, though she would go on to greater things in the next decade.

  2. Now then, my PC gave me permission to watch this show – thanks, Neil. Sadly, there was a lot of ff’ing by me as there were only really three songs I was interested in (two of which I was ‘banned’ from seeing in the DLT show), but them’s the breaks. Never mind the announcer’s fashion warning beforehand, no-one told us Jim’ll would be having a Yank on the show (Sorry, VERY Sorry)!

    Chewing again, Weller? I hope you brought enough along for the rest of the class. Still, at least he was happy during this outing for one of their weaker early efforts to these ears.

    Which recent hit was the “woo-woo” refrain in Boney M’s song used for? I’m sure one of you kids in the hood could lay it down for me.

    Funny how Joe Jackson’s label A&M had trouble getting hits early on from his albums. “Is She Really…” had to released twice before charting, and his other big hits “It’s Different For Girls” and “Stepping Out” were follow-ups to flop lead singles from their respective albums. Still, Joe did all right for himself.

    Another classic Honky-style chart prediction from Jim’ll for Racey’s utterly forgettable top 22 smash, so forgettable that it was decided an in-song appearance by a Legger couldn’t save it.

    So, the one and only Bill Lovelady, choppy guitar and some steel drum snippets equals reggae? Don’t think so. Bring back The Trinidad Oil Company, that’s what I say. They may not have been reggae either, but at least they were closer.

    I always hated that warped synth sound on “Angel Eyes”. Bryan Ferry’s suit made him look like a pink paraffin salesman – and how many magic mushrooms were scoffed to devise that stage set-up?

    I loved “Lines” - yes, even though Kate Robbins is on backing vocals (actually, she wasn’t that bad – and she had a huge solo single later) and the song had a farty synth sound, and the chorus ripped off the theme to “Police Woman” starring Angie Dickinson. While on the same label as The Korgis and The Regents over here (Rialto, formed by the sons of big band leader Ted Heath), The Planets were on Motown in the States! Novel way Jim’ll told us the chart position. Surely this deserved higher than 36?

    Six old bags on show later – oh, and Legs & Co too. Boom boom tish! With that look, Randy would’ve been a shoo-in for Wet Wet Wet. I quite liked the top 31 cover of this by Barbara Jones two years later.

    What had Hyperactive Red Vest Man been taking? Completely out of character with the rest of Spyro Gyra.

    Did that sign behind Cliff denote number one or no-one? At least he was consistent with the ‘letting go’ of the mic lead in the lyrics again.

    1. Totally agree regarding Racey, and a song best forgotten. Problem is that they could not live up to the last two hits of theirs earlier in 1979 which both made top 3.
      I also reckon Bill Lovelady must have had a few girlfriends on the go with a name like that.

    2. Both Kate Robbins AND her sister Jane - now a visual artist - provided backing vocals on 'Lines'.

      Did you know that Bill Lovelady went on to join Oasis? Not THAT one, but an MOR superband of the mid-1980s that also included Mary Hopkin, Peter Skellern, Julian Lloyd-Webber and future 'Stars In Their Eyes' guitarist Mitch Dalton. They made one, fairly successful, album for WEA.

      The featured solo instrument on 'Just When I Needed You Most' was actually an electric autoharp, played by former Lovin' Spoonful leader and autoharp master John Sebastian.

  3. Boney M - What a fantastic outdoor venue. Where was it, cos I'd like to be there to relive the 70s disco appreciation of the outdoor audience. Was it part of a music festival?

    Racey - I just cannot get into this one as much as Some Girls and Lay Your Love On Me which both made top 3.
    This one only reached No.22, and it shows.

    Roxy Music - Brilliant video with the two angel girls in heavenly white with their harp. Clever stuff from Ferry and co

    Showaddywaddy - peak position for this one at No.15, and a repeat of the July studio appearance of the 800th TOTP.

  4. Don't recall this Jam single at all, in fact I don't recall it half an hour after hearing it. Boney M on the other hand is a cracking bit of disco, only slightly marred by the expectation an American voiceover man is about to say "Barbra Streisand" at the end of every woo-woo-woo (it was by Duck Sauce, Arthur).

    Racey, this was some weak tea, as was Bill Lovelady, although enlivened by the sight of Jennifer Beals from Flashdance on backing vocals.

    Roxy Music, you've left your hairdryer on. Not a bad tune, harks back a bit to their earlier efforts while sticking to the slick late 70s stylings.

    The Planets, it did sound like a TV theme, didn't it? Also like The Police. Pretty good for a forgotten tune.

    He didn't look like a Randy VanWarmer, did he? More like a Virginal ReliantRobinFreezer or something. The song remains as wimpy and saccharine as it always did, no matter what he looked like. No wonder Legs & Co were packing their bags.

  5. Joe Jackson? Flying Lizards? This had me confused until I realised that we had jumped ahead 2 weeks. A first time watch for me - we would have been on holiday when this was originally broadcast.

    As a Jam fan I found nothing wrong with the first performance, though I'll have to admit that it had less impact on me than their other singles at the time. It's probably fair to say that it's more album track than single material. They seemed rather spread out here, with Rick out of shot for much of the time.

    Next up, the blueprint for the Stars On 45 theme, otherwise known as the Electric Toothbrush Song (so named by Stewpot as a result of its intro, not heard here).

    Another catchy Chinnichap song from Racey, but somewhat lacking the greatness of Some Girls.

    Never knew Bill Lovelady was a white guy. You learn something new every day.

    The Planets - one of those records which I almost but never totally forgot about. However, I can remember associating it with Worlds Apart by the Sinceros, released and played on Capital Radio at around the same time (it's on YouTube if you want to hear it). How this latter record was never a hit I don't know.

    A rather unsuccessful attempt at killing two birds with one stone I thought. You can have a Legs & Co routine or you can have a live solo singer - I'm sure that they've pulled off both together in the past, but it didn't seem to work very well here. He was born Randall Van Wormer and moved to the UK in 1967 or 1970 (depending on source!), so it may well be a tongue-in-cheek name.

  6. Bill Lovelady tried to cash in on his success with the flop follow-up "One More Reggae For The Road". He may as well have just covered a medley of "Reggae Like It Used To Be" and "Dreadlock Holiday" instead.

  7. Boring but true - It turns out Bill Lovelady was in a pre-Oasis band, Oasis. The group also included Peter Skellern, Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin. Let's rock!

    1. I had no idea Bill Lovelady was in the original Oasis, though I knew the other three were. I remember listening to I Wonder Why, the only song of theirs I know, quite often on the radio. A quick internet search reveals that the music for the song was written by none other than Mr Lovelady!

  8. From The Angelic Upstarts' Mensi in the last show to Jimmy Savile in a MENSA t-shirt this time. Which is worse? You decide.

    I thought at first that Jimmy had recorded all of his links separately from the rest of the show but once he introduced The Planets he was off and there was no stopping him from lines of ladies to American disc jockeys of dubious persuasion.

    The Jam's When You're Young is a superb thought-provoking song. Post punk pop at its best. Brilliant lyrics really capturing the mood of the time and what it's like to be 17. I think I was in love with Paul Weller at this time.

    Boney M with a seated, slightly bored looking audience. Couldn't work out if this was recorded during the day or during the evening as the sky kept changing colour. I like the crew member coming into shot at one point and then changing his mind. Bobby has very few cards in his pack but he uses them well and that long cape being twirled round and round must have saved them sweeping the stage later.

    Racey, terrible instantly-forgettable song, terrible performance with some bad miming and the lead singer looking more like Spud from Trainspotting than ever. To think girls bought copies of Smash Hits and My Guy on the strength of his ugly mug being on the cover. A nation bows its head in shame.

    The TOTP producers must have leaped into the future an read my last comment about The Flying Lizards because this time the lead singer has old fashioned microphone which suggests why her voice is dry and muted. As others said last time she does sound like Liz Windsor. I always thought the guitarist was really old because he had greying hair but he was only about 30. Still 30 was old when you were 17.

    She'll Reggae For It Now, what a load of old tosh. I thought it was crap at the time and my feelings haven't changed. Can the harmonica player really be playing mouth organ and chewing gum at the same time, that's impossible isn't it? Oh he's miming, I'd never have guessed.

    The Planets inventing The Specials' Ghost Train two years ahead of time only minus any style or interest. And what the hell are they wearing, unflattering baggy white boiler suits that make their arses look massive. Not a good look.

    Alert - Jimmy finally gets to say it - Showaddy waddy in that special way. We can rest easy now.

    I hated Randy Vanwarmer with a the time. He makes Mr Racey look hunky by comparison but at least he got the girls even if they were leaving him. I always thought the lyrics were really dubious "You left me just when I need you most". Er shouldn't you need her all the time you selfish git. No wonder she left you. Not that you ever had her in the first place, you fantasist.

    Spyro bleedin' Gyra AGAIN. Fast forward.

    And then Cliff. Why does he get a huge No 1 sign behind him but no other acts ever did on previous shows. Very odd

    And playout with Street Life interrupted by the cretinous UK Gold announcer. Damn you UK Gold announcer.

  9. Oops missed out Roxy, how remiss of me. Angel Eyes was a great song with an equally great video, apparently the first the band ever made, inspired by a 1950s sci-fi film with Phil M in his famous fly-eye glasses. Not sure what Bryan's doing with those cupped hands at the beginning.

  10. A nice show this, with lots of songs that I really like that I'm guessing we might not see again.

    The Jam - It's another in a long line of not particularly interesting tunes from this lot.

    Boney M - I like it, and the slightly echoey sound on the OB makes it sound even better I reckon.

    Racey - Shoot me now, but I also quite like this too, although I can also see why it wasn't as big a hit as the previous 2 singles.

    Bill Lovelady - And I like this too! Though that is partly down to its inclusion on the album that for me IS 79 (and I know that I keep banging on about it) 'Rock'n'Roller Disco'.
    I'm not sure it even is really cod reggae, just a decent pop tune. Though by the sounds of it, those follow-up singles very much must have been purely cod reggae.

    Roxy Music - Cool tune, cool video. Shame they could never be arsed to show their faces in the studio at this point it seems.

    The Planets - I don't recall hearing this before. At first I thought I was going to hate it, but it turned out to be rather a pleasant song. A bit early UB40 in places, I thought.

    Randy Vanwarmer - So *that's* what he looks like! Some artists look totally different to what you're expecting. He very much isn't one of them.
    It's a nice enough tune, though these days he'd be arrested by Yewtree for distress caused to Transit vans, of course.

    So many of those (barring The Planets, which I know won't in a million years) do we get to see on non-banned shows then? After The Flying Lizards disappointment, please don't say loads...

  11. Finally caught up with this show.

    Jam - Cameraman didn't seem to realise that Bruce was singing half of the song.

    Roxy - don't think I've seen that video before.

    Planets - that is a song that passed me completely by in 1979. Ex Deaf School bassist according to wiki. Sounded like a specials/fun boy 3 reject.

    Showaddywaddy - didn't recognise this until the chorus.

    Thanks for posting

  12. Excellent resource, Angelo. Listening to the best song from 1979 as I type - Oliver's Army. The Flying Lizards were out there, maaan.