Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ok Fred it's Top of the Pops 27th September 1979!

Here's the edition of Top of the Pops from 27th September 1979 that will be skipped by BBC4 on Thursday due to it being hosted by Jimmy Savile. In keeping with most of the shows from this period in time it's an excellent one featuring classic hit after classic hit, including a live performance by Frantique with the TOTPs orchestra, studio performances from the likes of Dave Edmunds and the Dooleys, classic videos from Michael Jackson, Status Quo and the Police, but most of all ~ it has the debut of the Nolans!

We were the first New Romantics, yes, us and the Skids...

Top of the Pops 27-9-79: Presenter: Jimmy Savile O.B.E.

 (7) BLONDIE – Dreaming (and charts)
(10) FRANTIQUE – Strut Your Funky Stuff
(48) ERROL DUNKLEY – O.K. Fred
(45) THE SKIDS – Charade
(44) THE DOOLEYS – The Chosen Few
(16) MICHAEL JACKSON – Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough (video)
(46) JOHN DU CANN – Don’t Be A Dummy
(31) DAVE EDMUNDS – Queen Of Hearts
(29) AL HUDSON & THE PARTNERS – You Can Do It (danced to by Legs & Co)
(12) STATUS QUO – Whatever You Want (video)
(NEW) THE NOLAN SISTERS – Spirit Body And Soul
(1) THE POLICE – Message In A Bottle (video)
(24) BUGGLES – Video Killed The Radio Star (and credits)


  1. as always, a treat to know someone had the good sense to record this stuff - BRILLIANT

    1. Indeed, our thanks goes to Neil B once again for giving us the chance to watch this show.

  2. Hey, guess what, Richard Jobson - the Nolans are better dancers than you. Don't remember their song at all, so it must have been the disco version that appealed to be as a kid.

    Frantique, hmm, think I preferred the record when I didn't know what they looked like. The Dooleys certainly seemed happy to be there, though the lyrics to the chorus are memorably daft, can two people be a "chosen few"?

    Errol Dunkley, jolly reggae, but who was Fred? John Du Cann, no idea who he was, so why do I half-recognise this tune? Britain's most notorious prisoner on bass, too.

    Michael Jackson, I'm of the minority opinion that just about everything he did after Off the Wall was a bit rubbish, though that doesn't stop this being a disco classic. Keep on to the Post Office, don't stop till you get enough...

    Dave Edmunds, plaintive but catchy song, used to like hearing this on the radio way back when. Legs & Co, pretty much bog standard routine, not sure about the outfits - was there a sale on that crinkled white material?

    1. i always misheard wacko as "keep on to the post office" - it could well have been an anthem for deaf coffin-dodgers of that era who had nothing better to do than pick up their pensions there!

  3. John Du Cann's tune was busy selling (Lee Cooper ?) jeans at the time,which might be why it seems so familiar.
    Errol Dunkley was a mate of Fred West ... probably !!!

    1. You say Fred West, I'd prefer Fred Harris...

      Anyway, thanks for clearing up the Du Cann mystery!

  4. Well, that was TOTP at its most eclectic and entertaining, capped off by an excellent chart topper - I was actually born 4 days after this show was broadcast, so Message in a Bottle is my "birth" no. 1.

    Elsewhere, I'm not sure Frantique were altogether wise to brave the studio. It was certainly nice to see them in the flesh, but the Nolans (or were they officially the Nolan Sisters at this juncture?) were better coordinated both visually and vocally. Incidentally, is this the show where Jim'll is supposed to have "come on" to one of them?

    Another great song for Dave Edmunds - '79 was quite some year for the Edmunds-Lowe Rockpile axis - and a Quo track that familiarity and endless catalogue adverts cannot dim. Mind you, we are still waiting for a studio appearance from them after more than three years of this repeat run - did they consider TOTP beneath them in the late 70s?

    Even most of the obscurities were quite fun this week. I didn't much care for The Skids' effort (though I wonder if OMD were influenced by some of the synth sounds on this when they recorded Enola Gay the following year), and Al Hudson was dull, with a one-dimensional Legs performance. However, OK Fred was a pleasant listen, even though I am not a great reggae fan, and the Dooleys managed to produce a decent follow-up to Wanted, though if they really are the chosen few then God help us all! John Du Cann was also pretty good, if ever-so-slightly off the wall...

    Speaking of which, Don't Stop is arguably Jacko's finest moment on record, and one of the highlights of this show. Strangely enough, I happened to be visiting the Isle of Man parliament, the Tynwald, a few weeks ago and who should turn up while I was there but the other Jackson brothers. It turned out they were having a tour of the building before doing a show in Douglas that evening! I couldn't help wondering how the mighty have fallen...

    1. john, it was colleen nolan who alleged of sir jim'll's attentions, and she didn't appear on this show. so presumably it supposedly happened on a later one after she had replaced older sister anne (on the right here)?

    2. Thanks Wilberforce - looks like it must have been a later show, then.

  5. The advert version of "Don't Be a Dummy" was actually sung by Gary Numan. For some reason, he / the record company didn't release it in single version..

  6. Huge thanks to Neil B for being our saviour yet again.

    Don’t know about Frantique, but I think it was more of a Panique when it was discovered what the gals looked like.

    Thankfully, “OK Fred” didn’t include that horrible aquatic noise on the single which I hated. By the way, ‘yagga yagga’ is slang for a carefree person, and the song was written by John Holt, who’d made number 6 in 1974 with an uptempo reggae version of “Help Me Make It Through The Night”.

    The ever slappable Richard Jobson looked like a Star Trek reject in that garb. Was that Rusty Egan on drums for The Skids, with the usual drummer on keyboards?

    Two may not be enough to be the chosen few but, legally, it only takes three people to constitute a riot. Talking of numbers, The Dooleys have become the new ‘Waddy with four vocalists. I see the band had raided the costume hamper for their stage gear.

    Michael Jackson, with the only song in a run of six on the show that was actually in the top 30. I was never a fan of his solo work what with all that ”hee hee, jam roll” business, but I did enjoy the three Mikes together at the end of the clip.

    Oho, a middle finger raised to camera early doors by John Du Cann. Was the bassist that John McCoy out of Gillan and, if so, why does an earlier remark say he’s notorious?

    Dave Edmunds to Nick Lowe – “Right, my turn to be up front doing vocals and your turn to be at the back”. This sounded like The Everly Brothers to me.

    Hmm, Al Hudson with a song which sounded like it was the inspiration for both Kool and the Gang’s “Ladies Night” and David Christie’s “Saddle Up”, accompanied by arguably the worst Legs & Co routine yet. Terrible. Bring back the celebrity squares!

    As for “Whatever You Want”, another bog standard video from the band, thus maintaining the status quo. Boom boom!

    A now rare non-chart showing for those Nolans. I didn’t remember this and had to check to see it was actually their first hit, peaking at 34. This was the follow-up to their Eurovision attempt “Harry My Honolulu Lover”, which was expected to win the UK heat (to the point they’d already been booked up on post-“A Song For Europe” shows to promote it) but a TV strike nixed their chances and we got Black Lace instead. Dear God. As for this song, I’m afraid I thought it was substandard Guys ‘N’ Dolls, or Dolls ‘N’ Dolls in this case.

    “I’m tickling the girls – YEAH!” said with particular gusto by Jim’ll. A bit haunting when you know now what you didn’t then. I wish he’d put as much effort into introducing The Buggles’ classic. A nice bit of ‘extra’ at the end of the show, with next week’s lower position mugshots though, sadly, we’re made aware of the arrival of the saccharin chart juggernaut that was Lena Martell.

    1. Du Cann's bassist isn't really a notorious prisoner (as far as I know) but he does bear striking resemblance to Charles Bronson. Not the Death Wish man of ageing 80s action, the other one.

    2. i think kool and the gang were first on the block with the "ladies night" keyboard pattern/riff, but both al hudson and david christie had some chart success with a virtually identical groove (knowingly or otherwise), as did leon hayward with "don't push it, don't force it" (i did a mix of kool, al & leon for my 2012 school reunion). there are another couple of tracks utilising this riff by scandal and the reddings (the spawn of otis!) and i'm hoping one day to get the whole lot together in a megamix...

    3. arthur i've watched the skids clip on youtube (noticed that sir jim'll pronounces "charade" the english way and jobbo sings it the american way) and that was definitely rusty egan of visage/blitz kids fame on drums. don't know if he played on the recording though (his miming is noticeably awry at one point). couldn't make out who the keyboard player was thanks to having his back to camera most of the time, but it definitely wasn't the usual skids drummer - in fact he looked like the undertones' drummer but i don't suppose that was the case? by the way the synths remind me very much of what pete townshend was doing on material like "baba o'reilly" and "won't get fooled again" nearly 10 years earlier!

  7. with their momentous totp debut (sadly missed by me thanks to the redlegs brigade - check out "the outlaw josey wales" if you don't get that reference), at the risk of appearing sexist i now have the opportunity to ask fellow contributors: who is the fittest nolan sister? she may not be the obvious choice, but for me it has to be maureen...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That question reminds me of something I never thought I'd see. I was in Blackpool for a footie match in early 1992 and saw an advert for a theatre show with Linda Nolan in a tight red and black basque! Enduring image.

  8. Maureen Nolan for me too.

    Then, in similar vein:
    Kathy (Dooley)
    Kathy (Sledge)
    Marie (Osmond)

    1. actually the fittest osmond was Merrill (or was it jay?)...

    2. Re the fittest Nolan sister, can anybody point me to a website which puts the names to the faces? Ditto the Dooley sisters.

      I can remember at the time it was a running joke that the Nolan sisters were produced in a factory - as a senior one left the group a new one would join. Later, in the 1990s, it seemed that every major UK seaside resort had its resident Nolan Sister performing in the pier ballroom.

    3. Sorry, I forgot to add, NOT the official website which does indeed put names to faces - but as they are today!

  9. So here's the legendary show where Richard Jobson showed what a big man he was by spitting, and Jim is dressed as a Patagonian for no apparent reason.

    Frantique - Oh dear, their looks are...unfortunate. One of them looks like a cartoon character! Did it fall down the chart after this performance, because I'll be surprised if it didn't.

    Errol Dunkley - I thought that weird noise was on the single Arthur? It's certainly on all the versions I have on compilations, though I know that they often plump for the album versions. Nice to finally know what a 'yagga yagga' is although I always suspected it might be something ruder than that.

    The Skids - Prick! That is all.

    The Dooleys - Another pop classic. As is the Jacko one, though I'm surprised they bothered with the talkie bit before the song proper starts.

    The Dave Edmunds song is pretty good too. I'm less keen on John Du Cann or the Nolans tune, although that was a pretty classy performance at least. That's classy Richard. As opposed to looking like a DIY centre worker being electrocuted repeatedly.

  10. "I'm tickling the girls, yeah, how about that!" The BBC really should screen this one - the spectacle of a load of silly peoples' brains exploding would be worth the entertainment value alone!

    From memory, the bubbling sound on OK Fred was heard on the radio at the time, so that would have been the single version.

    As for the Skids, Rusty Egan did indeed replace the original drummer. The guy on keyboards may have been Bill Nelson (who was producing the band by this time), but it's difficult to tell from the back of his head.

    My fave Dooleys single, this one. My fave Nolans single would probably me Attention To Me from 1981 (if we get that far) - their effort here sounded a bit '1975ish' to my ears. Unless my memory is playing tricks with me (which is likely), the 'Nolan Sisters' were already quite well-known in the light entertainment field - this may have been their TOTP debut but they had been on telly a few times before.

    John Du Cann was the other one I thought sounded a bit anachronistic, and was certainly a bit weird. He seemed to model himself on Marc Bolan in looks and Alice Cooper in sound. One to file under 'novelty one hit wonders'.

    I noticed that Rockpile's drummer had dispensed with cymbals (plastic or otherwise) - in fact, the song's sparse rhythm required nothing more than bass and snare.

    Whoever produced the Status Quo video must have hired in the very latest cutting-edge Quantel multi-picture gizmo box, probably at great expense. Made the BBC's single picture-in-picture sliding around the screen look rather pathetic by comparison.

  11. The bass player for John du Cann looked like the guy who used to play for Gillan - can't be two who look so alike surely?.,...

    1. Du Cann's wiki entry provides a lot of answers. Yes it is John McCoy of Gillan fame on bass and looks like Andy Bown from Quo on keyboards. Dunno about the drummer. I always liked the advert version but this is new to me. I like it! Du Cann has a touch of Rory about him; same era I guess. As for giving the camera 'the finger', it's more boring than that. If you hold a guitar pick betwixt thumb and index finger that leaves the middle finger for pointing duties.

    2. after leaving gillan mccoy put together his own band featuring similarly chunky members, and called it "mammoth"!

  12. The Dooleys - This is my favourite of the band, and it seems that in 1979, the band reached new heights with Wanted and Chosen Few, now that the ladies in the band took on lead vocals away from their men, and it worked a treat.

    Michael Jackson - ironic to see Jimmy Saville introducing Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, and then tickling the girls later in the show, but at least he had the creativeness of dressing up in colourful costumes for many of his shows in 1979 and beyond.

  13. Hi, didn't spot this until after the link had been disabled, so can anyone tell me if I've read right that Ultravox's Warren Cann sits in on drums on the Buggles clip at the end?