Monday, 27 October 2014

She's In Love with Top of the Pops

Once more our poptastic thanks must go to Neil B for coming to the rescue with another unmissable edition of Top of the Pops 1979, featuring debuts by New Muzik and the Selector, a final top 20 hit for glam rocker Suzi Quatro, Legs & Co as unicorns, Buggles with their only week at number one, a most eccentric song over the credits and lots of sparrows, that will be skipped by BBC4, this time for being hosted by DLT.  So as before do not click on the link if you are going to be offended.....

Top of the Pops 18-10-79: Presenter: Dave Lee Travis

Eat your hearts out Mud and Sweet!

 (25) EARTH, WIND & FIRE – Star (and charts)
(46) SUZI QUATRO – She’s In Love With You
(6) SAD CAFÉ – Every Day Hurts
(30) ABBA – Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) (video)
(61) NEW MUSIK – Straight Lines
(5) LENA MARTELL – One Day At A Time ®
(64) THE UNDERTONES – You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It?)
(18) FLEETWOOD MAC – Tusk (danced to by Legs & Co)
(17) THE JAGS – Back Of My Hand ®
(51) THE RAMBLERS – The Sparrow
(28) XTC – Making Plans For Nigel
(47) THE SELECTER – On My Radio
(1) BUGGLES – Video Killed The Radio Star (video)
(21) THE SEX PISTOLS – Rock Around The Clock (and credits)


  1. Thank you Neil B

    Don't remember ever hearing that New Musik track - had to look up their famous hit - quite a pedigree for the band members.

    Surreal set for Legs and Co....

    I also don't remember the Sex Pistols track being a single...

  2. A nice show this with a couple of real belters.

    The E W & F song is not one of my favourites of theirs but the Suzi Quatro performance is as good as ever. I wonder if this was the time when they recorded the 'He's a Sports PA' parody for the BBC Christmas tape?
    I don't think so as the set doesn't look similar.

    Ah, New Musik. I love them. Unfortunately fans of their songs like me are going to be badly served by TOTP I fear. 'Straight Lines' should have been a hit but wasn't therefore we won't see it on TV. 'Living By Numbers' I assume we will see. 'Sanctuary' (my favourite) was out when the show was off-air due to strikes I believe.
    'This World Of Water' I'm not sure of as I don't know if they even performed it on the show.

    That's a completely forgotten Undertones tune right there. Probably quite rightly as it's not particularly great by their standards.

    The Legs costumes were a bit half-hearted weren't they? Leotards with a few vaguely 'tribal' looking bits attached. Shame.

    I can't believe they showed that Jags clip with the awful direction again. And cut it off even earlier to boot!

    The Ramblers - DLT not surprisingly didn't seem to want to talk about the song too much. Who was responsible for this one. Was it a DJ like Terry Wogan or Jimmy Young? Or someone on TV? (prime suspect : that awful hag Rantzen)

    Great debut by The Selecter, shame they cut that song off too!
    A lot of artists from this era turn up on TV and either bang on about 'how it wasn't all great then, you know' or 'yes, everyone loves our old stuff, but let's talk about our great NEW album' or somesuch. What I like about Pauline Black is that she doesn't do any of that - she's an incredibly intelligent lady who is always interesting. She's got real style too.

    That Sex Pistols track - dear god, don't think I've heard it before. I never want to again. Talk about scraping the barrel.
    charlie - it was a double A side single with a Tenpole Tudor track.

  3. Clearly check jacket and tie combos were in at this time, given that both Sad Cafe's Paul Young and the singer from New Musik were sporting them. Straight Lines was a decent song, but the band's sound reminded me uncomfortably of tedious 70s "guilty pleasures" revivalists The Feeling.

    Elsewhere, this was a show of notable highs and lows. It was a smart move to follow The Ramblers with XTC, as the latter were an excellent palate cleanser after the horror that preceded them. The Pistols playout sounded like a comedy record, and I thought there was a bit of a Goofy impression going on at one point! On the positive side, there were decent efforts here from both Suzi Q and the Undertones, and I did enjoy the riff on the latter song. On My Radio is not so much to my liking, but it was an undeniably energetic performance. I wonder if they deliberately put that on just before Video Killed the Radio Star?

    It was nice to hear my favourite ABBA track of '79, even if the video is a bit overfamiliar. Looking forward very much to seeing them topping the charts again in 1980, as I think the Super Trouper album was the pinnacle of their career. I am inclined to think Tusk (the album) may well be Fleetwood Mac's meisterwork, at least from the Buckingham-Nicks era. It features some amazing, experimental tracks from Buckingham and deserves more than to be permanently overshadowed by Rumours. The title track, ironically, is not one of my favourites from the album but it is still a striking piece of work and the Legs tribal dance went pretty well with it.

  4. I can never work out if that's a penny whistle or a synthesiser doing the melody on ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme. Anyway, the album out at the same time by New Musik was really good, tuneful synths with Orwellian bleak lyrics, worth checking out.

    Legs & Co dressed up as the lady space aliens from those Star Trek episodes where Captain Kirk falls for one and has to teach her about this thing Earthmen call "love". I agree with the above, Tusk is an underrated album, simply because it's so all over the place, or diverse as they say.

    The Ramblers, the way I remember this was as the lead, er, singer dressed up as an actual sparrow. Not here, though. They were on 321 repeats earlier this year. Just reminds me that we have St Winifred's School Choir arriving soon.

    The Selecter with one of those tunes that DJs used to like playing because it had the word "Radio" in the title, not listening to the other lyrics. See also: Radio Radio by Elvis Costello. Good, bouncy performance.

    1. i've no idea what "on my radio" is about as i never listened to the lyrics, but even back then i thought musically it painted itself into a corner (and having heard it again recently for the first time in ages my opinion hasn't changed)...

    2. It took me some years to check the lyrics of On My Radio and it's about a girl buying her boyfriend a radio and he spends all day listening to it and no time paying any attention to her. Similarly to Costello's Radio Radio she maligns the sameness of the radio shows.

      Note the lyrics say "He said he loved me but he loved The Beat" A ref to the next band to release a single on Two Tone perhaps?

      About a month later of course Donna Summer released On THE Radio but that only got to number 32. I guess you can have too many radio songs.

      Three superb Selector singles to come - Three Minute Hero, Celebrate The Bullet and Missing Words.

  5. It just gets better and better, many thanks for this. Unmissable indeed - shame that the BBC thinks otherwise.

    Lena Martell and the Ramblers just seemed completely incongruous here, amazing really that they got to Nos. 1 and 11 respectively. And a weird choice of playout record - I know we're not supposed to speak ill of the dead but Sid Vicious was a man of no discernible talent (from a Glen Matlock fan...).

    Brilliant starter with what must be Suzi Quatro's (and maybe Chinn & Chapman's) finest hour. Some great hi-hat and cymbal work on this record. Don't think this was the definitive performance though.

    Not much effort gone into this ABBA promo, but at least their studio is brighter than Gerry Rafferty's.

    Did you hear the wavering guitar note at the beginning of Straight Lines? This is something I can recall back in 1979 but I don't think I've heard it since then. It's not present on the From A To B album and also not on what I thought was the single edit on compilation CDs. This number took a while to make a half-hearted attack on the charts - I can remember hearing it on the radio during the summer hols.

    Did I read somewhere that the young lady who split her trousers was one of those who came to DLT's defence?

    On My Radio is another one of my all-time faves, not only because it's a great, infectious piece of music but also because the sound quality (of the record version, not this one) is just perfect.

    So the Buggles have made it to the top. It's one of those records that becomes more appreciated over time, perhaps because it's a definitive product of one of the high points in the history of recorded music. But the irony was not lost back in1979 though - it was around this time that the family telly blew up! I can't remember the precise details, I may have been watching TOTP but can't be certain. All I can recall is that I was alone in the living room at the time when the picture suddenly collapsed, accompanied by a loud squealing noise. I leaped up, switched it off and shouted "Dad, the telly's blown up!", no doubt in my best Dick Emery "I got it wrong again" voice. But I was well pleased with its replacement - a larger screen (22" instead of 19"), better picture, better sound and a two button ultrasonic remote which changed channel and muted the sound (and made the dog's ears prick up). A decade later, in true hand-me-down fashion, this set left home with me and today it's still going strong in my bedroom, running off a Panasonic DVD/VHS combi player (having outlived the broadcasts it was designed to receive!). And yes, the remote still works!

    1. i still have a sharp double cassette player that i bought about 30 years ago (it was great for producing home demos of my own compositions before home recording became affordable). sadly neither deck works now but it' still useful as an amplifier for either instruments or my portable cd/mp3 player (that a chum scoffed at as an antique the other day despite being less than 10 years old!)

    2. Check the drive belt(s) - it's normally the only thing that goes wrong with them. As for mp3 I still carry around my trusty Archos Jukebox (now well over a decade old and universally described as a 'brick'), although I probably use the phone more often these days.

    3. thanks for the advice 20th cent - i happened to pick up another knackered copy of the same model at an auction a few years back, and took it to some electronic repairs guys that were recommended to me to hopefully cannibalise and restore mine to its former glory. sadly though they never really fixed the problem, and not long after that i got myself an expensive teac cassette deck and transferred all my tapes to digital format, so i really no longer had the need of the players anyway. i've still kept all the cassettes though despite no longer playing them, as they are in those snap-together holders/boxes and look quite cool on the wall (better than a picture of some flowers or something ha ha!)

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  7. This is one of the shows I recorded from UK Gold. DLT on good form, such a shame we won't see this for real. Shame on you BBC.

    I note Madness and Secret Affair are still slowly creeping down the chart which means that although they are in the chart a long time we won't see them again (well not with these hits). Cliff has finally fallen out of the Top 30 after three months. His next release the ironically named Hot Shot was a complete flop.

    Suzi Q proving that she could still do it. I too remember seeing her re-recorded version of this on the BBC engineers' Xmas tape (it's on Youtube now). Shame they couldn't persuade other acts to do the a similar thing.

    Another Sad Cafe performance, Paul Young still with his hands thrust deep into his pockets. I like the way the bassist is craning his neck to look into the camera at the end even though it's panning right round to the back of the stage.

    What is that strange image we cut to in between Sad Cafe and ABBA? I can't hear Gimme Gimme Gimme any more without thinking of Kathy Burke and co.

    I loved New Musik and thought that all their singles were Top 30 hits but only one made it. The rhythm and sound of this reminds me of Dirty Back Road by the B52s. I recently bought New Musik's debut album on CD which has loads of extra tracks on it. A good if slightly lacklustre performance but what does the drummer have growing out of his shoulder?

    Equally I loved The Undertones and bought this one but I'm not sure about Fergals' shooting jacket and nylon roll neck. He appears to be dressing up like a toff while the rest of the band are dressing down.

    Oh no they've let Legs and Co dance to Tusk, could it get any worse? They've got no more idea what the song is about than the audience (or, let's be honest, the band). Thankfully this tusk is extracted early before it can inflict any more pain.

    The Ramblers were quite rightly hated in my house at the time when I was 17 but I can see its appeal now.

    A welcome repeat of XTC's ode to Nigels and then The Selector which is the best performance on the show this week. I never bought the Selector albums but I bought all the early singles and was lucky enough to meet them at the premier of the film Dance Craze at The Sundowner in Tottenham Court Road in 1981.

    "I heard you won the wallace back in '52" number one at last. Top tune, still sounds great today. Even at this stage Trevor Horn looks uncomfortable as a pop star and you tell he's itching to get behind that production desk.

    I have zero memory of this Sex Pistols single which seemingly got to number 21.

  8. Huge thanks to Neil B for what turned out to be a real bag of Revels and a logistical nightmare for the chart rundown syncopator, what with the pattern changes in the EW&F tune making it difficult to keep the captions in time. The studio audience must have been thrilled to witness seven acts of which five weren’t even in the top 45.

    When Lena Martell was on I thought “bring back Cats UK”, when The Ramblers were on I thought “bring back Lena Martell” and when the playout track came on, surely the worst noise of this re-run, I nearly wanted The Ramblers back!

    Sad Café’s Paul Young was dressed as if he wanted to audition for Two-Tone! Virtually everyone was too busy staring away from the stage and at the monitor, including one of the guitarists!

    As for Abba entering the top 30 at the anchor position, how times were changing. Mind you, I can’t hear this song now without thinking of that comedy with Kathy Burke in a short skirt. Help!

    New Musik looked like a bunch of dads out for the night, but I enjoyed the song, even if The Planets had beaten them to the subject matter a few months earlier.

    Surely “Tusk” was the first time a TOTP troupe had found themselves dancing to a drum solo. I noticed a rip-off of one of Kate bush’s routines in the middle of the routine, but they got it wrong – it shouldn’t have been “Wow”, it should have been “How”!

    1. I felt that Legs & Co did very well on Tusk, with the unusual mix of colours and costumes, you could say that a lot of effort was put into this performance, so I would disagree with some of the comments from some of those above that it was dreary, as I thought it was very good. The girls were playing horny with those tusks, so I don't think any of us men could have problem with that!