Saturday, 19 July 2014

Top of the Pops 9th August 1979 ~ that's what I want

Huge thanks to Neil B for uploading this edition of Top of the Pops from 9th August 1979, hosted by DLT, which will not be repeated on BBC4 next week. This one was never shown on UK Gold so this must have been taped from the original broadcast, perhaps accounting for the missing intro and outro. Thanks also to John G for providing the link:

Top of the Pops 9-8-79: Presenter: Dave Lee Travis

 (6) IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS – Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3) (and charts)
(41) KANDIDATE – Girls Girls Girls
(2) CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore ®
(29) SHOWADDYWADDY – Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller
(48) ME & YOU feat. WE THE PEOPLE BAND – You Never Know What You’ve Got
(8) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – The Diary Of Horace Wimp (video)
(23) SPYRO GYRA – Morning Dance (danced to by Legs & Co)
(43) THE MERTON PARKAS – You Need Wheels
(30) JOE JACKSON – Is She Really Going Out With Him?
(44) ANGELIC UPSTARTS – Teenage Warning
(18) JUDIE TZUKE – Stay With Me Till Dawn
(1) THE BOOMTOWN RATS – I Don’t Like Mondays (video)
(3) ABBA – Voulez-Vous (and credits)

A show notable for no less than five acts making their debut including The Flying Lizards and Joe Jackson, and also for a rather large and eccentric guitar near the end.


  1. The Flying Lizards - revolutionary type of hit single, with a very pretty lady on lead vocals if I may say so myself.

    Showaddywaddy - all three consecutive appearances of this on TOTP have been Yewtreed, so how unfortunate, but nevertheless a good tune towards the end of their TOTP tenure.

    ELO - likewise, the only two appearances of this video on the show were also Yewtreed, and so we have to wait until a month later for their biggest achievement on their own for a chart position at No.3 with Don't Bring Me Down.

    Spyrogyra - again, would you believe that all three appearances of this on TOTP were Yewtreed, cos Jimmy Savile and DLT hogged August 1979 on our screens.
    Legs & Co with their sports colours and high heels for good measure. Grrrr!

    Joe Jackson - his debut on our screens, and probably his most well known hit, it sounds brilliant today in 2014, but alas both TOTP appearances of this were Yewtreed.

    Judie Tzuke - reached her peak in the charts at No.18 with this song this week, but with all the competition of good hit singles at the time, it just needed a little more oomph for a top ten achievement.

    Overall DLT's antics between songs doesn't lend him well to todays politically correct world, as he does a neck lock on one girl when introducing Spyrogyra, then gets a girl to flirt with him when introducing when introducing Joe Jackson, and at the end of this song is seen lifting a girl on one hand from her bottom.

    Noone really batted an eyelid in a naive 1979 before the Thatcher era had kicked in properly, and The Benny Hill Show was one of the most popular shows of the time with even more playfulness, but by the time Thatcher had changed the world through the 80s, antics like this were likely to be frowned upon by men and women. He has been unlucky to be a victim of people trying to re-write history, instead of accepting what was allowed then but not allowed now.

    1. Although this PC rubbish did germinate in the 1980s, I think that Blair is more to blame than Thatcher for the state of things today in this respect.

  2. I notice there's a lovely bit of lovers rock here from Me & You, who are still going. A trio (a bloke and two sisters) marketed as a boy / girl duo at the time because their label, run by Dennis "Money In My Pocket" Brown", felt they had too many trio acts on their roster already! The seven inch suffers from the chorus being repeated ad infinitum for the last minute and a half, but this deserved better than finishing one agonising place short of the mugshots. Had it managed a number 30 slot like Sally Oldfield and Judie Tzuke did, this may well have been a decent top 20 hit.

  3. It's great to have the chance to see (most) of this show, though I think it is one of 1979's weaker offerings. Joe Jackson and the Flying Lizards were easily the best of the new acts, though the Angelic Upstarts were so cartoonishly punk I also enjoyed their performance, even if the song wasn't up to much! The Merton Parkas made for a bit of a curio, but I think they were trying a bit too hard to pull off the Mod attitude, and the song was rather limp.

    Nice to see another new performance from Judie Tzuke - well up to the standard of the previous two, though that huge guitar did seem impractical! A real shame that this didn't go higher. I agree with Dory that DLT was in quite a politically incorrect mood in this one, though he also seemed to spend half the show laughing at some private joke, which was annoying.

    Incidentally, I should have included the link before to the 23/08/79 show, though it can also be reached from the page carrying this edition. I have added it below.

    1. thanks for the links - top man

  4. A good fun show. Angelic Upstarts suffered from an obviously live performance. The record is much more polished.

  5. I can't get Neil B's site to open, due to some form of virus or trojan horse detected by my (possibly over-protective) software protection, so I'll have to fly blind with my comments. Thanks anyway, Neil.

    "Money" was a wonderfully inventive novelty which deserved top 5 status. The Flying Lizards did manage a minor hit follow-up, "TV" reaching number 43 in 1980.

    Yet another bunch of upstarts (no, not the Angelic ones) naming themselves after their hometown. First it was the Leyton Buzzards from Leyton in East London, now it's the Merton Parkas from, er, Merton. Band member Mick Talbot did all right for himself, forming The Style Council with that Paul Weller.

    Joe Jackson, an underrated talent in my opinion. I loved his albums "Look Sharp" and "I'm The Man", and his flop single "Real Men" pushed the boundaries of homophobia and racism in superb style. Bearing in mind its cleverly worded subject matter, probably no surprise it got very little airplay.

    I bought "Teenage Warning". It was menacing but in a pre-"Viz" manner if you get my drift. I loved the way the lyricist ran out of lyrics so he just repeated them again.

    Shame I won't get to see Judie Tzuke for the final time. I love this song. Surely, it deserved better than number 18.

    Now, what will I do with all those blank Thursday evenings coming up? Hmmm......

  6. Kandidate, didn't quite catch what this song was about, maybe if they repeated it about a billion times I would. Oh they did, did they? I couldn't hear them over their clobber.

    Flying Lizards, one of the iciest hit records ever. Always wondered what those noises were during the instrumental break, one of them sounds like an electric saxophone.

    Me & You, quite pleasant, bit disappointed they didn't have lots and lots for us to do, lots and lots for us to see, me and you, you and me, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo dooooo.

    Legs & Co, oh, now they give us their names to identify them, about three years late. OK, we knew anyway, but it's the principle of the thing.

    Merton Parkas sounded like a cross between Chas and Dave and the Record Breakers theme. Pre-perm Mick Talbot duly spotted.

    Joe Jackson, not my favourite of his, but like a lot of New Wave stuff it had a splendid middle eight. Washing his hair wouldn't take long, I'd guess.

    Angelic Upstarts, when someone starts singing about fascism in a punk song I'm tempted to order them back to their bedroom. Difficult to tell in this chaotic rendition if it was any good or not.

    That really was quite some guitar, wasn't it? A work of art. Wonder where it is now?

  7. Courtesy of the "Sound Collector" archive, a brilliant article detailing the instrumentation used by The Flying Lizards on "Money":

    I always thought vocalist Deborah sounded like The Queen. I wonder if Her Majesty ever sang this to herself inside Buck House?

    Not sure about "You and Me", I was more of a "Watch" fan. Louise Hall-Taylor. Yes please.

    1. i had a look at that flying lizards write-up - even though it's wordy to the extreme (hasn't this guy got anything better to do?) there's still no explanation of how the effects on "money" were achieved - for instance, was the "snare" a dustbin lid (it sounds like one)? also, one has to be sceptical when the song's writer (and motown head honcho of course) is referred to as "barry gooding jr"...

      by the way, this track allegedly cost about a tenner to record, but i think that may be apocryphal...

    2. I have to say that Deborah has never sounded like the Queen to me - only German. Then again, the Queen is of German descent...

    3. There was an article in 'Record Mirror' around that time, in which chief Flying Lizard David Cunningham revealed most of the secrets behind his hit. The snare drum had a tambourine placed on top of it, while a bass guitar was struck with a stick in lieu of a bass drum. The piano - played by Julian Marshall, formerly of 'Dancing In The City' duo Marshall Hain - was 'prepared' with rubber toys, cassettes, Chopin's sheet music and a phone directory in order to achieve that distinctive banjo-like sound.

      BTW, does anyone remember an episode of 'Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes' in which weather forecaster Sian Lloyd appeared as Deborah Strickland?

    4. Yes, unfortunately I do Julie.

      The image and sound of her belting out 'I WANT MONNNNEEEYY!' in what I can only describe as a vaguely 'vampire' like voice will sadly never leave me.

    5. belated thanks to julie for the flying lizards info - the trouble with this blog site is that you don't get notifications whenever someone adds a comment, so you just have to try and remember the number of comments made for each posting!

    6. You can set up 'notify me' for each blog subject and it will email your googlemail account (as it did for me for this)

  8. Oh yes, I'm with you on the main reason for watching 'Watch' Arthur.....

    Shame about the sound and picture quality on the website that we all have to revert to watching these days. The show quality was pretty average.

    Kandidate - Did they still the 'Waddy's outfits? Very suspicious given that Dave & Co were all wearing the same colour on this show. Hmmmm..

    As for the song, it's as amusing as a blatantly sexist piece of nonsense can be i.e. a fair bit (psst, don't tell Yewtree!)

    Flying Lizards - A great cover, and I presume we get to see it at some point?
    Deborah did a cover of 'Walk On By' for Richard X's album that came out around 10 years ago. To say that it made The Stranglers version sound fairly normal doesn't do it justice!

    Me & You feat. The We... - Hang on. That's utter nonsense. Never mind the song (inoffensive as it was), you've scuppered your chances with your silly group name. No-one's going to remember that!

    Merton Parkas - Awful.

    Joe Jackson - I think this is his best single, such a shame that we won't get to see it on BBC4. A friend of mine at University was a huge fan of his so I got to hear quite a lot of his music!

    Angelic Upstarts - See Merton Parkas comment and double it.

    1. Sadly for the Flying Lizards the song is only heard on the closing credits on the 6th September edition, so no BBC4 appearance for the band.

    2. angelo that a real bummer regarding the flying lizards - that record has been of some significance to me over the last decade or so, as my landlord (who was reared on the king, the beatles and the stones) savages it as absolute rubbish with no saving musical graces whatsoever, and (unlike me) fails to see the funny side of it, leading to many a debate. as such i was hoping that i could "surprise" him with a totp showing...

  9. the merton parkas got hyped to death in the music inkies as they were part of the mod revival - they also got played quite a bit on radio 1 despite (deservedly) stalling outside the top 30 - when i first heard it was expecting something far more interesting than a lame 12-bar workout by a pub rock band! top marks for the band name though...

  10. Been a long time since we've had a DLT edition without 'UK GOLD' in the corner of the screen. Shame this wasn't the full show with the original continuity before and after but I suppose we can't have everything. I guess that this was the time when VHS and Beta machines were starting to make their mark - I can remember going to a neighbour's house sometime around Christmas 1979 to watch something on their VHS recorder and being duly impressed. My parents didn't get one until the mid-1980s!

    Anyway, the show. Kandidate get the reward for the least original song title - Steve Lawrence, the Fourmost and Sailor had already been there and my Guinness book reveals there's more to come!

    Flying Lizards - a surprisingly 'normal'-looking band with a very avant-garde record (compared to the '80s when weird music usually meant weird people). I can remember seeing this originally and, having sussed out the miming thing by then, thinking that the drum being hit in the studio would sound nothing like what was coming out the speaker!

    As has been mentioned, the Merton Parkas kicked off the Mod revival of '79/'80, but after them only Secret Affair and the Lambrettas (as well as, of course, the Jam) made any real impact. My kind of music, though.

    And then it was the highlight of the show for me - the brilliant Joe Jackson - this is what late '70s music is all about. Come to think of it, this is what music is all about.

    Add in some forgotten reggae, some forgotten punk, a labelled-up Legs & Co and the lovely Judie Tzuke with DLT going 'quackers' right at the end, and the result was highly enjoyable.

    1. there were two song titles that according to the guinness book of hit singles that i own (about 10 years old) were both used for around 25 different songs that charted - yes, twenty five! unfortunately i can't remember what they are...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. According to a website I found which may not be quite up to date, the four most used titles for UK top 40 singles are "Angel" and Crazy" (12 each), "I Believe" (10) and "Stay" (9).

  12. My chart book lists 16 songs called 'Crazy', but interestingly only 4 date from before 1990 (including the Patsy Cline song which was a hit in 1990 itself).

  13. Until 2010, I used to record every hit and store it in a database (yes, I had too much time on my hands). My database shows 18 different "Crazy"s:
    Artist Position Year
    Aerosmith 23 94
    Alanis Morissette 65 05
    Andy Bell 35 05
    Awesome 63 98
    Bob Geldof 65 94
    Boys 57 90
    Eternal 15 94
    Gnarls Barkley 1 06\07
    Icehouse 38 87
    Julio Iglesias 43 94
    K-CI & Jojo 35 01
    LeAnn Rimes 36 99
    Lucid 14 99
    Lumidee featuring Pitbull 74 07
    Manhattans 63 83
    Mark Morrison 6 95\96
    Moffatts 16 99
    Mud 12 73
    Nut 56 96
    Patsy Cline 14 90
    Seal 2 90
    Tomcat 48 00

  14. I remember the Kandidate track from the time and it has aged quite well. Some great harmony vocals and a nice dance groove, only marred by the groups multi-hued bacofoil outfits. I like the shots of the crowd shot from the back through the legs of the band, nice use of a hand-held camera.

    Cliff on the precipice of a number one. All that leather and dry ice clearly paid off.

    I always thought the lead singer of The Flying Lizards was singing down a megaphone or similar device so it seemed odd to see her just miming into a mic.I must admit I was never totally in love with this but it still sounds pretty good today.

    "Time for the band we have trouble finding a stage for" quips DLT. Hardy, they're must have their own stage by now. This is a very catchy song but does seem rather cheesy in comparison to their usual output. Dave Bartram's doing Les Gray's old trick of putting shades on just so he can take them off and some daring acrobatics by the others liven up the performance..

    Nice to see Me and You in the flesh, I recall this from the time and have seen it at record fairs/car boots many times since but had no idea who the band were or what they looked like.

    That great ELO video again. Then Spyro Gyra with Legs. Not sure if this gets any better if we can only hear them and there is something vaguely comical about seeing the girls dance to this.

    I loved some of the mod revival music but this Merton Parkas track is pretty cheesy. "You need wheels if you wanna make deals, you need a tyre if you wanna get higher" . A tyre, what the hell are they riding a unicycle? Well that's going to impress the girls or girl clowns at least. Nice sound though and good to see a young Mick Talbot, my brother used to work with his wife Shane at LWT.

    I've seen this Joe Jackson clip before on TOTP 2 and on the big hits programme with Joe's band making string vests look cool and nice use of chroma key Still love this song today, JJ a top singer-songwriter, sadly largely forgotten now.

    I never really got The Angelic Upstarts, another bunch of herberts who started out as punks and ended up doing cod reggae. Lead singer Mensi has a great face for radio.

    Judy Tzuke again. This seems to have been around for ages now. A nice song but the new performance adds little to it.

    I can live with seeing I Don't Like Mondays again and hearing ABBA.

    1. maybe the merton parkas should have written "you need tyres, if you wanna start fires"? the unicycle reference was a laugh-out-loud moment for me...

  15. Brilliant! My PC finally allowed me to watch this previously quarantined episode. I’ll keep it brief due to being so late for class.

    I loved watching The Flying Lizards, I much preferred Legs & Co’s “Morning Dance” turn to Spyro Gyra’s Manic Red Vest Man, and I shook my head in despair at The Merton Parkas’ effort, which sounded like the theme tune to a potential sitcom with Rodney Trotter as a moped-powered courier.

    Sailor (and The Moments & Whatnauts, for that matter) were far more adept at praising the girls than Kandidate, looking like a dropped tin of Quality Street and holding their own disco dance championship on stage.

    Me and You’s male vocalist must be the thinnest man ever on the show. Shame him and her were a bit wooden, greater shame that both DLT and Simon Bates predicted top 5 for this single and put the mockers on them and them.

    Judie Tzuke seemed very smiley this time round. What on Earth was that instrument? A hybrid between guitar and double bass? And was that soon-to-be Status Quo bassist John Edwards stage left?

    1. That instrument, with an unusually large soundhole, was a jazz acoustic guitar. One of the most popular current brands is the Altamira D-hole.

      Judie's bassist was indeed John Edwards, who subsequently had a stint in Dexy's Midnight Runners circa 'Jackie Wilson Said' before moving on to Climax Blues Band and then Quo.

    2. don't you mean john "rhino" edwards?

    3. The same Rhino Edwards whose son stepped in on guitar for the Quo this week, when an ill Rick Parfitt missed his first gig since 1969.

    4. i once supported john "rhino" edwards (along with ex-quo colleague jeff rich and their all-star band) at the borehamwood venue - believe me, that was a big event in borehamwood!

  16. Thinking about it, could that have been a customised mariachi guitar behind Judie? I remember seeing a gig years ago where the main act, a cult American indie group (it was either Yo La Tengo or Calexico), was accompanied part set by a Mexican mariachi band of about ten members who had acoustic guitars of varying sizes, some of which were as big as this beaut.

  17. Dury and Geldof were great performers. As for DLT. Went off him when he started bitching about Patti Smith's looks. Made him seem very shallow, though, to be fair, never really noticed untoward with him when he was surrounded by the girls on TOTP. It's all a bit of a witch-hunt at the moment.

  18. "anything untoward" that should read...