Thursday, 9 October 2014

Making Plans for Top of the Pops

October 1979 arrives but there's nothing autumnal about this edition of Top of the Pops which offers some of the most perfectly ripe tunes to pick from the charts....

I bet The Tubes wish they'd thought of this...

Top of the Pops 4-10-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(16) MADNESS – The Prince (and charts)
(42) XTC – Making Plans For Nigel
(2) BLONDIE – Dreaming (video)
(54) MATUMBI – Point Of View
(6) BUGGLES – Video Killed The Radio Star (video)
(21) SAD CAFÉ – Every Day Hurts
(24) SQUEEZE – Slap And Tickle
(11) KATE BUSH – Them Heavy People (danced to by Legs & Co)
(8) RAINBOW – Since You’ve Been Gone (video)
(27) THE JAGS – Back Of My Hand
(28) LENA MARTELL – One Day At A Time
(1) THE POLICE – Message In A Bottle (video)
(12) NICK LOWE – Cruel To Be Kind (and credits)

Madness ~ now at their princely peak of number 16.

XTC ~ perform their breakthrough hit Making Plans for Nigel, with Colin Moulding again doing the lead vocal, as he had done for Life Begins at the Hop earlier in the year.

Blondie ~ a first showing for Dreaming which had already bounced up the charts to its peak position of number 2.

Matumbi ~ the lead singer had a snake around his neck, but it wasn't enough to make Point of View slither into the top 30.

Buggles ~ this will be the only time on BBC4 we get to see this amazing song that would prove almost impossible to follow up for Buggles, and the video was arguably the most sophisticated yet seen, the 1980's are not so very far away now....

Sad Café ~ a second performance for Every Day Hurts - I'm sure it didn't hurt too much when it climbed into the top 3.

Squeeze ~ this was actually the 4th and final single from their Cool for Cats album, and it reached its Chris Difford dad dancing peak here at 24 in the charts.

Kate Bush ~ gets the Legs & Co treatment this week - it looked like they were going to copy her dance from the video at one point, but they thought better of it.

Rainbow ~ were edited from the 7.30 show, but we've seen the video previously.

The Jags ~ are not edited out this week so we get to see them perform this Rolls Royce of a tune which was to be their only top 20 hit.

Lena Martell ~ was edited out of the 7.30 show ~ shame ~ but we will get to see this unlikely chart topper on shows in the very near future.

The Police ~ a second week at number one for Message in a Bottle, with our host David informing us that their excellent new album Regatta de Blanc is out on Monday.

Nick Lowe ~ just before the credits this week, David turns the figure standing next to him around and reveals a new presenter for next week ~ Andy Peebles!

So, next week then is the 11th October 1979 and is indeed hosted for the first time by Andy Peebles.


  1. Angelo thanks for keeping this blog going you put a lot of work into it - Pat

    1. Cheers Pat, the shows are just a joy to watch at the moment ~ and all the best insights are here in the comments - so I don't need to work too hard :-)

  2. The way that little rectangle kept drifting across the screen like a moving target made me want to pick up one of those light guns and shoot at it, Tin Can Alley style.

    XTC almost fronted by The Riddler, there, just the question marks missing. Did he borrow the suit from Nick Lowe?

    Great video for Blondie, sort of a supersized TOTP studio complete with regulation mix of enthusiastic and barely noticeable dancing. Seemed to be filmed in a warehouse.

    Deep groove from Matumbi, and that was just in the singer's forehead. Thought he had electrical equipment around his neck until it was revealed as a rubber snake. Didn't quite catch the name of the TV show they'd done the theme for, as Kid said in his intro, anyone know what it was?

    Buggles, this just says exactly 1979 to me, it was one of the most memorable songs of the year probably because of that video which is seared into my memory. The fact I couldn't make head nor tail of it at the time only made it more vivid.

    Sad Café, yeah, just try and dance to that, audience!

    Squeeze with both leather trilby and Man from Del Monte hat, something for everyone there. Still don't recall this one but it motors along.

    Legs & Co! You forgot your dresses! And one of your members too!

    So that's a Swap Shop sticker on the guitar? Noel endorsed, then? And Nick Hancock on vocals, too.

    Lena Martell for the grannies, like Rainbow with a crunching key change but unlike Rainbow a God bothering anthem sung by someone's mum. Scary to think I'm probably older now than she was here. Check out the audience far more interested in spotting themselves on the monitor.

    Apparently Stewart Copeland used to get through gigs with his hated bandmate Sting by uttering a very rude word whenever he hit the drum. As John Cooper Clarke observed, you have to have a grudging admiration for a bass player who sings at the same time.

    Geez, what a fright I got! You could have given us fair warning at the end, Kid! Anyway, I'm sure he'll be fine.

    1. Oh, I think the show that the reggae fellas did the feem choon for was Empire Road? A kind of soap opera based in Birmingham. Here's a snippet, including the theme:

    2. Thanks for that, it's a programme I've heard of but never seen. Looks incredibly cheap, maybe all the money went on the music?

  3. Best show of the entire re-runs for me.

    Mrs Applejack remarked that Colin Moulding appeared to be moulding, er modelling, himself on Joanna Lumley from the New Avengers if his hair was anything to go by.

    Video Killed the Radio Star and Since You've Been Gone are two of the earliest songs I can remember, so a treat to have them and some other classics all on the same show.

    The bizarre outlier is One Day at a Time. I can't remember this from the time and it was many years until I actually heard it. I know we weren't adverse to having a countrified number one hit, as Kenny Rogers will also prove in a few months time. But unlike Kenny's offering, I just cannot warm to this at all. Was this getting a push from Radio 2 or something, as I see no obvious reason why this should be gatecrashing the charts.

  4. Enjoy Andy Peebles while you can. After hosting the next show, he didn't appear on TOTP again until Christmas 1981! And you thought Paul Burnett was a rarity!

    1. Judging from his brief appearance on this show, I'm not altogether surprised there was such a long gap between debut and second appearance! He doesn't exactly look like a natural TOTP host, and it will be fun to see how he gets on during the next show. A two week wait, sadly, as it's The Sky at Night next week...

  5. still having to access the shows via either friends or the local library (it's the latter this time and the sound and vision are out of sync which is rather annoying!) at the moment, so reportage may be affected accordingly...

    host: is it now officially david? he'll always be the kid to me!looks like he spent a lot of time in the make-up chair this week...

    xtc: probably their effort best for me - i love the huge crunching drum noise symbolised (ho ho) by the gong (wonder what that sounded like to those in the studio?). i really like colin moulding's green jacket/black shirt/red tie combination as well. everyone knows about andy partridge's stage fright which means he hasn't performed live for over 30 years, but apparently colin still collaborates with him: wonder if he ever says to andy: er, have you had second thoughts about doing a gig?"...

    blondie: average effort by them, although the video is okay if nothing ground-breaking - i wonder if that is their own "crowd" that surround them rather than the american equivalent of a totp audience?

    matumbi: dennis bovell is here on guitar this time (he played bass with janet kaye). I can't claim to be an expert on reggae but to me this sounds much more like lovers' rock (that I find utterly tedious) than dub for which he was renowned. apparently black britons of Caribbean descent loved this stuff whilst it was stoned whiteys that got off on dub!

    buggles: the video that everyone's seen a million times, so not much to say other than all very futuristic apart from trevor horn's dreadful frizzy hairdo...

    sad café: paul young of "wherever I lay my hat" fame is remembered as a notorious 80's mullet-wearer, but ironically it is his namesake here being the first to properly model said style on totp! obviously his shaggy-haired colleagues (including magpie's mick robertson on 12-string guitar?) were not impressed with his futuristic barnet, preferring to delude themselves it's still 1974. i watched the genesis documentary recently where he briefly appeared in a video as part of the spin-off project mike and the mechanics, and I couldn't help thinking he sounded a much better singer than phil collins (presumably he never auditioned as peter gabriel's replacement?). by the way I've just noticed that this song modulates not once but twice!

    1. The acoustic/rhythm guitarist in Sad Cafe was Ian Wilson, who performs in the current 7-strong version of the band alongside original lead guitarist Ashley Mulford and drummer Dave Irving. Bassist Des Tong, who replaced John Stimpson (seen in this edition of TOTP) in '80, is also in the current line-up. Ian, Ashley and Dave appeared on all the band's chart singles including 'Every Day Hurts'.

  6. part ii:

    squeeze: I love 70's disco and 80's synth pop, but this effort seems to fall right between those two stools. a distinct lack of tune doesn't help either. the rocky breakdown half-way through reveals their true colours...

    kate bush/legs: did flick pick up this week's costumes from the marks and sparks lingerie department?

    jags: this track still really tedious for me - now i know the singer performs these days in drag, as i'm watching all i can think is wonder what he'd look like in all the get-up...?!?

    lena martell: david/kid valiantly tries to pass off this abomination by telling us the charts are "varied" - come back jags, all is forgiven! how the hell did this ever get to be so popular?!! visually, I know lena's no spring chicken but she does has an impressive décolletage...

    oops - with regard to my previous post, i see kid is still billed as such. andy peebles was one of the better radio 1 dj's but (in contrast to kid) definitely had a face for that medium...

  7. This was the first TOTP broadcast in my lifetime, and it's good to see it was a strong edition overall, with lots of high quality New Wave. The Jags and Lena Martell caused the latter stages to flag a little, but at least we could enjoy the audience messing around behind Lena, including a kohl-eyed punk girl who looked completely out of place!

    Otherwise, it was good stuff pretty much all the way, though Matumbi were a little snoozesome, even with the fake snake. I agree that this is XTC's best effort, and appropriate BBC4 should show this performance on the same night that another Nigel was enjoying UKIP victory in Clacton! Dreaming is one of my favourite Blondie singles, and really showcases the excellence of Clem Burke's drumming - nice reference from Kid to the parent album's title too, when he talks about them "eating to the beat." For me, Blondie were now reaching their apex as a singles group, with their next two 45s even better than this one.

    As Angelo says, Buggles underlined the fact that the 1980s were on their way, and seen in the context of the other music around at the time it is much easier to appreciate how groundbreaking both music and video were, given their overfamiliarity now - I also liked Kid's "eek" after he announced the song's title! A decent Legs routine, too, and I'm not objecting to them dancing in their underwear! Thank goodness Flick resisted the temptation to actually have them roll a ball around the stage...

  8. Surely one of the rare occasions where an act and their record producers (in this case, The Jags and The Buggles) are on the same show with separate hits.

  9. It seems three people wrote "Video Killed The Radio Star" and the non-Buggle co-composer, Bruce Woolley, released it as a single himself a few months earlier. According to the 45cat website, Bruce's version was released in at least nine territories but not the UK. Woolley also released joint composition "Clean Clean" as a single before the Buggles recorded it and had the hit version.

  10. Fine band, XTC, and deserved more or bigger hits than they achieved. Had the drummer loaned two thirds of his kit from the Trinidad Oil Company? For some reason, with that haircut and pout, Colin Moulding reminded me of Chrissie Hynde. Must get my eyes tested.

    Debbie Harry’s hair looked a bit washed out. Surprised I was focussing on her hair. Again, must get my eyes tested!

    Terrible attempt by Matumbi to disguise or replicate that horrible brass keyboard sound with proper yet mimed instruments.

    To think The Buggles ended up in Yes and had a major part in producing Frankie Goes To Hollywood. How the world turns.

    Sad Café. Let’s rock! Bit too much tongue in that second verse, Paul. Couldn’t they have used another anagram for an album title and called their second LP “Safe Cad”?

    Not only no guitar for Chrs Difford, but an unusual Madness-cum-snooker referee get-up.

    A real DLT link from “Slap And Tickle” to Legs & Co by Kid! Apparently, there was some song playing in the background. Now, what shall I buy the wife for Christmas? Hmmm…..

    Ah, Rainbow again. A real ‘pens for drumsticks’ moment for me.

    No guitar for Jags leader Nick either. Wouldn’t the guitarist’s shirt cuffs have interfered with his playing? Oh, hang on…

    Lena Martell. What a sad way for Pye Records to have their last chart topper. “There’s a lot of variety in the show” must have been Kid-speak for “there’s some shite in the chart we’re obliged to play you, like this.”

    Sting reminds me of Wayne Rooney. Two very slappable faces. Talking of faces, it’s the lesser spotted Andy Peebles! Quite a good authoritative DJ on the air, especially in the soul genre, but Andy looked like the brother of Darts’ Griff Fender in that suit!

  11. Sat down in front of my computer with my evening grub, all ready to watch TOTP, only to find that iPlayer wasn't working. Either too many people using it or a terrorist attack, I thought. Thankfully it was all back to normal the next day so it was probably the former. But it was worth the wait - XTC, a fave Blondie single, Rainbow, The Jags and much more, with just a bit of a downer before the No.1.

    XTC - oil drums with normal drum pads on them (don't think there's much demand for two-foot diameter practice pads!) must have been much quicker to set up than a normal kit. As for the sound of the gong in the studio, it was probably a faint 'bonk' because its back was covered in sticky tape and padding, I would guess. This was a band where the looks and voices didn't match the music, I can remember at the time. Having heard this on the radio beforehand I was expecting a deadly serious prog-rock/art-rock type of outfit.

    Matumbi - more reggae, there was a surprising amount of it around at this time, especially if you include Bill Lovelady ;o)

    Buggles - great video, except that it turned into a rather unashamed plug for Sony Trinitron TVs towards the end.

    Sad Cafe - at least Paul Young's mullet looks a bit tidier this time.

    Legs & Co - lingerie with back zips, well that's, erm, different. A cut-down version of Them Heavy People here, I suppose that four minutes was a bit on the long side for 1979 TOTP standards...

    Lena Martell - if nothing else, we should make the most of this live studio orchestra stuff, its days are very much numbered. Seriously though, was that known back in 1979?

  12. It seems there was a fund set up recently to help Nick Watkinson (father of three and sometime transvestite act Virginia Plain) whose house was inadvertently burnt down by a lodger and he had no insurance.

    1. was it a case of "both ends burning"?

    2. Apparently, the lodger was using a candle, feel asleep, and you can guess the rest.

  13. Has anyone seen the new Genome project on the BBC website, featuring digitised Radio Times listings from 1923-2009? A fascinating new resource - I have pasted a link below to the BBC1 schedule for 4 October 1979.

    1. That's really excellent, thank you ~ I see Blankety Blank was still on at this point, but the sitcom afterwards was the brilliant Citizen Smith :-)

    2. Yes, I think Blankety Blank was already into its second series, so the first run earlier in the year must have been successful enough to prompt a rapid recommission. It was always a show I loved as a kid, though my memories are more from the Dawson era than Wogan's.

      I am particularly interested in the schedules from three days before, as that was the day I was born. It was a rather dull evening on BBC1, dominated by Panorama and showjumping, but BBC2 had The Two Ronnies and the superb Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to make up for that!

    3. At the beginning of the year they were showing a lot of the 1979 Blankety Blanks on Challenge, except they missed quite a few out. I wondered why until they showed them all on one weekend recently and they were all the ones with Jimmy Tarbuck on the panel. Yes while he was under investigation they weren't allowed to show him on TV either until the investigation was dropped.

  14. Me again a week later as usual.

    Tonight's show looked slightly rushed with a lot of the songs being faded early but a good show nevertheless. No less than five former, current or future number ones in the chart -Cliff, Numan, Police, Lena Martel and De Buggles.

    This was the first XTC single I bought but I often wondered who was the Nigel they were referring to (Actor Nigels Havers, Humphreys and Hawthorne came to mind) but it seems that it's just a random name used to represent bullied boys by parents or at school.

    Blondie with a slightly over-animated audience. Was this from a US TV show or the official video?

    I bought the Matumbi single but now I can see it owes a bit to Manhatan Transfer's Tuxedo Junction (shoo-bop, shoo bop, etc). But it's a nice slice of pop-reggae that deserved to be bigger than it was. I vaguely recall wathing Empire Road with Norman Beaton who was also in Demonds with Carmen Munroe (my nan used to work with her mother).

    I remember reading that the Japanese version of Smash Hits had erroneously translated the opening line of Video Killed The Radio Star as "I heard you won the Wallace back in 52" which made me chuckle. I also loved and bought the follow-up Buggles singles The Age Of Plastic and Elstree. The video for the former is bizarre and for some reason that was never explained the band perform in front of a picture of Ken Dodd.

    Didn't The Buggles have something to do with Nick Straker and the single Walk In The Park?

    Sad Cafe. I never noticed before that the rest of the band sing the chorus. Paul Young is wearing a nicer suit this week, he's saving the red PVC strides for the next time.

    An ironic touch is the Later With Jools Holland-style link between Sad Cafe and Squeeze with the camera panning 180 degrees, not often we get to see the whole studio. The clumsy dancing Chris Difford looks a bit lost without his guitar and slightly chunkier than usual while in slow-motion drummer Gilson Lavis looks bit like Claire Balding from certain angles. I shouldn't like Slap and Tickle because it's almost a disco song but I do like it and bought it at the time. In red vinyl if my memory serves me right.

    Legs and Co do look like they're in rehearsal where they've forgotten to get dressed but a good dance routine and this sounds more live than it did with the KB video. Hands up who used to dance along to the Legs routines. Just me then.

    Rainbow on vid again, well they were never going to come in to the studio were they? Graham Bonnet looks a bit like Thin White Duke-era Bowie here.

    I bought The Jags single but I was always a bit suspicious about them, putting them down as bandwagon jumpers rather than a real mod band. A lot of white jeans here which were all the rage in late '79. An infectious piece of power pop I can't believe that the audience look so un-animated and so bored. What more could you want. Especially when it's followed up with - horror of horrors - Lena effing Martell. Xian country and western at its worst. Lena looks a bit like Raquel, Del's wife in Only Fools and Horses.I like the camera jog at the end, says it all really, even the camera is trying to disassociate itself from her.

    The Police at number one, shame its the video again but a great song that really brings back 1979 in an instant. That sad guitar sound.

    Oh no it's Handy Peebles. A great face for radio indeed but a nice chap all the same. I seem to recall both Tommy Vance and Tom Browne hosting a few shows, who were two deejays I liked, are they to come or were they airbrushed out?

    Nick Lowe which a nice way to end the show.

    1. i won an yamaha electric piano in a competition in "sounds" magazine in late 1979 and took part in an awards ceremony (guest of honour was bill nelson) and photos were consequently printed in the mag. i tell this because in the pic i'm in i'm wearing white jeans (i obviously didn't do my own washing at the time)!

    2. Getting your photo in Sounds was pretty cool. I won a Madness picture disc in an NME competition and I actually ended up with two because of a technical error.

    3. i only entered the competition to get a free badge! here's the cutting:

  15. Not too much to add, except - The Jags at last!

    A shame then that their performance suffered from the worst direction seen on the show for a long time. Loads of long shots with a cymbal obscuring the lead singer, sharp cuts away to random things. Awful.

    And also cut off about 15 seconds too early, but that goes for most of the songs in the programme. Except Lena ****ing Martell I notice!

    I'm pretty sure that the version of 'Them Heavy People' is slightly different to the one we saw Kate Bush dancing to. It sounded to me like Kate was dancing to the album version, so I'm assuming that Legs had the live version.

    In answer to bama - I know for a fact that Tommy Vance presented at least one show in 1980, as I remember seeing it on UK Gold. There's a particularly entertaining interview with Roger Daltrey on that edition - I won't spoil it as with any luck we'll get to see it next year....

  16. Ha, yes, I remember hearing about that Daltrey thing. Hope we see it.

    Thinking ahead to 1980, I was reminiscing yesterday about those Top 10 shows that C4 ran in about 2000/1. One of them was the 'Top ten acts of 1980' and I was trying to remember what they were. Here's what my brain recalls:

    Definite: Bad Manners, Dexys, Police, Sheena Easton, Liquid Gold (!)

    Vague recollection of them appearing: Specials, Madness,

    Really can't remember but surely they had a good enough year to be included: Blondie, The Jam, Abba.

    Anyone know if that's accurate. I remember Kelly Marie appearing on one of those shows, but surely not at the expense of any of those above? Maybe the top 10 Welsh cod-disco acts?

    1. Pretty sure I've still got all the Top 10 shows related to a specific year on VHS somewhere!

      I think you may be right about most of those, but surely not Liquid Gold?!

      Suspect they may have been on in a separate section that was along the lines of 'let's laugh at this random nonsense'.

    2. Heh, I am positive Liquid Gold were in there, I remember the band members being interviewed. They blamed the TOTP strike for 'Substitute', the follow-up to 'Dance Yourself Dizzy', not being more successful.

      Not sure what the bands were ranked on. Given that Bad Manners (1 top ten hit) were ranked the top act of the year, above, say Blondie (3 no.1 hits), I can only assume it was based on something like number of weeks on the chart.

    3. Ah yes, it was weeks on the chart. Hence Liquid Gold being in there (I think they had 3 hits in the year?) and Bad Manners being top, given that 'Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu' alone spent a stupid amount of time in the charts despite not being a Top 20 hit!

  17. Kelly Marie's Scottish! As everyone here knows but I'll dredge the facts up anyway...
    a) her big hit was written by Ray Dorset from Mungo Jerry,
    b) it was originally intended for Elvis Presley - yes, really!!
    c) Kelly isn't even a one-hit wonder - she had four hits peaking at 1, 21, 22 and 51 of which three had the word "Love" in the title and the other one had "Loving".

    1. Ofcouse she's Scottish, I have no idea why I 'd got her as Welsh in my head.

    2. is "marie" her surname or not? i store my mp3's under artist surnames (if applicable), and some categories are split into 2 sections i.e. A-L or M-Z. fortunately though this will never be a problem for me concerning her, as that track (along with "dance yourself dizzy") is a strong contender for the worst disco record of all time and thus will never sully my collection...

    3. Don't be too mean about Kelly Marie. My partner played bass on a couple of her songs including Hot Love which was one of the follow-ups to the number 1 Feels Like I'm In Love (although he never got to appear on TOTP, which he's actually rather glad about). The co-writer and producer of Kelly Marie's follow-up hits was Steve Voice who appeared on TOTP in July 1978 with the non-hit On The Shelf.

    4. Her real name is Jacqueline McKinnon, so definitely file under 'M'. Well, the Guinness book does.

      I rather like her, and not just because she's a shapely redhead... she made Feels Like I'm In Love very much her own, to the point where I simply can't imagine Elvis Presley singing it, which was who Ray Dorset originally wrote it for.

    5. Just noticed you've mentioned that fact Arthur.


  18. i know they were a cash-in on the "i love the 70's"-style retro craze at the star of the the millennium, but they were brilliant - why don't channel 4 re-show them on one of their sundry digital channels rather than "come dine with me" ad nauseum? it can't be a copyright/royalties issue, as apart from the first couple of series of CDWM (where the music was commissioned and/or sourced from production houses) they obviously have an acceptable agreement with the PPL. that reminds me: when i was at uni i wrote and produced my own revue, featuring (mainly discofied) re-arrangements of well-known material. a guy who ran their in-house tv station caught the show and asked if i was interested in making a programme. the only problem was that they were lumbered with the same PRS deal as the beeb and meant despite their relatively miniscule budget they had to pay the same astronomical royalty rates! so he suggested i wrote some original material instead, to which i informed him that the covers were the whole point of the exercise, and replacing them would be like taking basil fawlty out of "fawlty towers"! so another opportunity lost...

  19. the above was supposed to be a response to noax's comment on channel 4's "top 10" shows, but thanks to my shit computer it ended up here instead...

  20. The curse of the TOTP re-run strikes again...
    We have to say goodbye to "Baker Street" sax soloist Raphael Ravenscroft and "OK Fred" writer John Holt, who was also the original singer of Blondie's hit "The Tide Is High".

    1. And now Chas 'n' Dave's "orchestra", Mick Burt, had taken his drumsticks skywards. What a rough week so far - and it's still only Wednesday!

  21. I just hope Mike Read's UKIP Calypso doesn't lead to the BBC banning his shows too...

  22. Blondie - great way to start October 1979, and this video is amazing, but I think it must have come from a TV show, as there is no official video made for it, and hence probably why this is the only video from Blondie not available on iTunes.
    Anyway, this was the peak at No.2, and the song fell down the charts after this showing, due to the pressure on the No.1 spot from The Buggles and The Police at the start of October 79.

    The Buggles - the only track from them that had any significance or memory with most people, but was a great video and incumbent of 1979 with the 80's on their way. Worthy of an eventual No.1 later in October.

    Sad Cafe - continuing their gradual rise towards the top ten, and although their only hit, it was a superb way to end off the 70's in style, as this is a very memorable winter track, even to this day.

    Kate Bush - never really liked this song, but the appearance of Legs & co in their nighties / lingerie was a spectacle in itself and for me was the best part of this song. Just the first camera shot of all the legs was itself a great picture, and I loved every second of this dance routine, and the legs & co ladies.