Sunday, 14 December 2014

I'm in the Mood for Top of the Pops

It's the 20th December 1979 and the final regular edition of Top of the Pops of the 70's. Sadly, it can't be shown on BBC4 due to the host being Jimmy Savile. But if you click on the link below you'll find that Neil B has once again come to the rescue and uploaded it for us. So thank you very much Neil for this one and all the others this year, and have yourself a very merry jingle Xmas :-)

It's the Thin Pistols

Top of the Pops 20-12-79: Presenter: Jimmy Savile (don't click if you will be offended)

 (29) THE CLASH – London Calling (and charts)
(47) THE GREEDIES – A Merry Jingle
(9) THE THREE DEGREES – My Simple Heart ®
(24) THE SKIDS – Working For The Yankee Dollar
(43) BILLY PRESTON & SYREETA – With You I’m Born Again
(28) K.C. & THE SUNSHINE BAND – Please Don’t Go (video)
(72) THE REGENTS – 7 Teen
(13) DAVID BOWIE – John I’m Only Dancing (Again) (video)
(30) MIKE OLDFIELD – Blue Peter (danced to by Legs & Co)
(17) ROSE ROYCE – Is It Love You’re After (video)
(73) THE NOLANS – I’m In The Mood For Dancing
(1) PINK FLOYD – Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) (video)
(25) ELVIS PRESLEY – Merry Christmas Baby (and credits)

So that just leaves the two Xmas specials, one of which will be on BBC4 and one of which won't, so here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 1980 :-)


  1. The Skids – I must say that the video shown three weeks earlier on Peter Powell’s show during the BBC strike, was much better than this week’s studio performance.

    Billy Preston & Syreeta – I am lost for words to say how much I love this song, and truly one of the greatest ballads and smooch songs of all time. The voice of Syreeta has to be heard, because this represents greatness and nothing less.
    Billy and Syreeta were only a month apart in age, but sadly passed away in 2004 and 2006 before reaching 60.

    KC & The Sunshine band – after a long period of three years with no top 30 hits in the UK since 1976, they were back in full force to eventually peak at No.3 with this one, and it’s quite a memorable one, as part of 70s nostalgia.

    Rose Royce – Good airing in full of this video, with lots of colours, and a backdrop to what was to come in the 80s. Although not one of the most remembered of their hits, it does pre-date the better known S-Express cover in part done some 9 years later in 1988.

    Pity that Neil B's upload was missing the Pink Floyd No.1, but we must be grateful for him coming to the rescue every time when the BBC decide not show a particular edition.

  2. Thanks very much yet again to Neil B for making this show available. In general, it wasn't a bad regular edition with which to sign off the decade, though it was slow to get going and fizzled out a bit towards the end. While fun to see Lizzies and Pistols on stage together, this festive indulgence had no musical merit whatsoever. The Nolans, meanwhile, turned in a spirited live performance but it still wasn't enough to make me like the song!

    The best tune on display for me was Please Don't Go, my favourite KC single, though the man himself comes over as rather scarily "intense" in the video. Still, one of the great disco ballads and a deserved top 10 hit. I have also always liked the Billy Preston/Syreeta track, a very moving song which is made all the more poignant by the premature demise of both artists. It is also one of the last great singles put out by Motown.

    Mike Oldfield's version of Blue Peter is the one I grew up with back in the 1980s, and I think he did go on the show when he recorded it. Legs did a suitably nautical routine here, and it was nice to see the BP logo on front of their sailors' hats. I was puzzled by the Bowie video, as this was quite clearly the original version rather than the discofied one we heard last week. Perhaps there was no video to show with the new version - I'm not complaining as the original is miles better anyway!

    Santa Jim'll seemed oddly listless throughout the show, perhaps because he was sitting down, though when the Regents came on he did say "7 Teen" with a bit too much relish for my liking! The song itself was distinctly weird, though the two girl singers did make me wonder if Phil Oakey was watching this performance, as they looked like prototypes for the Human League girls.

    Still, on to the Christmas shows and then the 80s, which we got a nice brief sneak preview of at the very end of Neil B's video. Merry Christmas all, and especially to Angelo for hosting this excellent forum and giving us all the chance to have our say each week - it is always fascinating to read everyone's views.

  3. Why were they called The Greedies? Did they want lots of presents? Anyway, a bit of fluff that sounds like it was put together in ten minutes, but quite nice to hear on the radio occasionally.

    Sheila Ferguson (and Dana) nearly got to the final round in Pointless Celebrities yesterday, only her lack of knowledge of snooker let her down.

    The Skids - this will be the infamous "spitting at the Nolans in the dressing room" episode then. At Christmas as well! What happened to peace on Earth and goodwill to all Nolans?

    Billy Preston tickling the ivories while Syreeta trills, not really my kind of thing, a bit Quiet Storm for me, as is the next record with K.C. emoting, I preferred when he was getting on down.

    The Regents, I too thought "Phil Oakey must have been tuning in!" Weird, spiky pop, not bad as far as it goes though you need a tolerance for out of tune singing.

    Dame Dave, I was hoping for the "new" version too, but this was fine, I didn't recall the video at all, a bit pretentious though. This always reminds me of the contestant on Gary Davies' Day to Day Challenge whose party piece was an impression of The Elephant Man singing this song. Never could work that out, must be why it stuck in my memory.

    Gawd, the things they got these girls to do. Dancing to the Blue Peter theme, if only they'd given the Magpie theme a go too, they could have really served up a freakout. The Mike Oldfield segment of the show where he allowed Simon Groom into his studio to see the recording (Mike played all the instruments apart from Simon hitting a drum or something) used to be on YouTube, maybe it still is.

    Rose Royce, I still love this, that intro is fantastic, no wonder it was sampled by S-Express. Lush disco, can't beat it.

    If we're not back before the big day, I'll wish you all the compliments of the season for a year of absorbing observations, fascinating facts and jolly jokes.

    1. The Greedies were originally called The Greedy Bastards but that wasn't very media friendly.

      I saw Simon Groom on "pointless" today. My God, he made me feel old. He was 64 getting on 84.

    2. I see. The Greedies sounds like a kids cartoon, like The Flumps.

  4. Thanks once again, Neil. Hope you can stick around and bail us out again next year.

    And with one spinning dance move, the lead Nolan knocks all Richard Jobson’s worthless shimmying into a cocked hat.

    I can’t hear Billy Preston & Syreeta without thinking of D.C. Lee’s blatant rip-off, er, coincidentally similar sounding “See The Day”.

    As for KC, I thought KWS killed this song when they covered it – and guess whose version topped the charts?

    I loved The Regents’ minimal art attack on new wave. It did seem weird seeing the bassist play the guitar melody at the start, only for the camera to reveal no guitarist or drummer on stage.

    Ah, Mike Oldfield, creator of one of the best Christmas double-siders in my opinion – “In Dulce Jubilo” and “On Horseback” – from the golden age for Christmas singles circa 1973 and ’74. Compare that to now, when it’ll be another gobshite from “X Factor” having the festive number one and crapping over the tradition. Bah humbug!

    1. Alex Lester played In Dulce Jubilo on Radio 2 last night, which was nice. I still haven't heard Jethro Tull's Solstice Bells or Sal Solo's San Damiano yet, though, if we're talking lesser heard minor Christmas hits.

    2. Yes, In Dulce Jubilo is one of my favourite festive tunes, although I was familiar with Oldfield's version long before I realised it was associated with Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, it should have been the 1975 Xmas no. 1 instead of the hideously overrated Bohemian Rhapsody, though Greg Lake would also have been a worthy chart-topper that year.

      One of the weird things about that "golden age of Christmas singles" is how suddenly it began. Prior to Slade, there had not been a Christmas no. 1 about Christmas since 1957, but in '73 you not only had Slade but also Wizzard and Elton John all separately deciding it was time to make a festive single. Just one of those coincidences, I suppose...

    3. According to Noddy Holder it was John Lennon's Christmas record which started it all off.

    4. Yes, that would make sense, as Lennon's song had come out the previous year.

  5. many many thanks to all for this blog, it's a little gold mine or should i say little UK Gold mine. 1979 was the best year of my teenage life. Having this blog just made it complete all over again. Merry Xmas from Tony M2

  6. once again thanks to Neil for the uploads but i was wondering does anybody have the chart run downs and no.1/closing credits for the yewtree shows esp.20.12. with Elvis

    1. The 20.12.79 show was not shown on UK Gold, and so we only have Neil B's video recording, which I guess was a VHS recording, going by the way it was stitched together along with the first show of 1980. God only knows why Neil did not continue to record the show to include the Pink Floyd No.1 and the closing credits.

    2. Blank videos were very expensive back then (£20 each) and I'm guessing he only had a few tapes and had to squeeze 6 eps on a 3 hour tape.

    3. Seems to make sense then. So in the same way as BBC4 are now editing the Thursday showing to 30 minutes to fit in with the evening schedules, then so did Neil B. in 1979 to get 6 episodes onto a 3-hour tape, by also editing the show to 30 minutes! Can't win, can we?

  7. Big thanks as always to Santa Neil and to Angelo for the fabulous blog.Hope to join you all in 1980 !

  8. Here are some alternative title's for this week's blog:

    A Merry Top Of The Pops
    A Top Of The Pops Jingle
    My Top Of The Pops Heart
    With Top Of The Pops I'm Born Again
    Is It Top Of The Pops You're After
    Merry Top Of The Pops Baby

  9. A tip of the hat to Neil B again for supplying this edition.

    Host - J Saville with his usual bizarre linking. Now it might be me , it might be a case of hindsight, but there was one link here (after the Three Degrees) where its as though the camera cut back to him a touch early. Have a look because to me this has 'hands caught in the cookie jar' all over it. He even looks embarrassed!! Anyway, the music....

    The Greedies. I was a big, big Lizzy fan and I liked the Sex Pistols, but this is just the result of a drug/drink fuelled studio session that someone (and Im looking at you Malcolm Mclaren) thought would be a bit of an earner. File under 'forgettable'.

    The Three Degrees - chicken-in-a-basket, Batleys Nightclub, Seaside Special, try not to yawn all the way through it.

    The Skids. For me, there was something unlikeable about Jobson. I didn't mind his voice, but his stage presence, clothes, hair, they all just rubbed me up the wrong way.

    Billy Preston/Syreeta performing live. Glorious voices and a great song. Was Syreeta married to Stevie Wonder, I, um, wonder? For some reason this song has always struck me as a soundtrack song for some Disney cartoon.

    KC - I bought this as a single and loved it so much I bought their greatest hits shortly after. I shopuld have saved my money.

    The Regents. Prior to watching this ep, I knew of the song and the group and their one-hit status, but I couldn't recall how the song went. As soon as it started, though, the old memory kicked in, and I remembered how much I liked it back in 79. This does, however, confirm my belief that if you are going to have a career of any length you need to have a certain something - the x-factor if you will. It was noticeably present watching Madness on ToTP a couple of weeks ago. It was equally noticeably absent here.

    Bowie with the original 'John' version. Much better but why play the original when the song that was charting was the remix? Unless - and this might be my memory playing tricks - it was a double A-side (remember those?) with the remix and the original sharing honours.

    Mike Oldfield. Good grief!

    Rose Royce channelling Showaddywaddy's identical-suits-in-different-colours look.

    And - just like Shane Ritchie- we finish with the Nolans.

    Not a bad episode this one, certainly better than the past couple of weeks and an apt way to end the seventies, featuring, as it does an almost total smorgasbord of musical styles; end of the pier cabaret stuff, a bit of punk rock, some disco, a touch of synth pop and the dying embers of glam rock.

    In case there are no more ToTP before the big day, Happy Christmas to one and all, and bring on the eighties.

    1. Syreeta was indeed married to Stevie Wonder, albeit for just 18 months from 1970 to 1972. She was married three times and had four children before passing away at 57.

      Technically, and depending on your level of anorakability, The Regents weren't a one-hit wonder. Follow-up "See You Later" reached number 55!

    2. Thanks Arthur - I thought there was some Stevie Wonder connection. As for The Regents, I didn't know about 'See You Later' which means, quite rightly, they are NOT one-hit wonders.

    3. i think the 12" pressing of "john i'm only dancing" had 2 versions on it, subtitled (1975) and (1972), the latter's presence presumably giving the beeb the excuse to show the video for it. although i thought the whole point of this was to promote the funked-up (no, that's not a spelling mistake!) version that had hitherto languished in the vaults...

    4. John I'm Only Dancing Again (Again) actually dates from 1974 and there is a video clip of Bowie singing it live from the David Bowie Live film.

    5. Tony Blackburn played John I'm Only Dancing, the revised version, yesterday on Pick of the Pops. Interesting to hear it, aside from the chorus it's almost entirely different. Don't know which I prefer now (Tony prefers The Laughing Gnome as he points out every time he plays Bowie. Every time.)

  10. It's not very often that we get to enjoy the No.72 and No.73 hits in the chart is it?! (although both got into the Top 40 at least)

    The first time I heard The Greedies song was at my University Radio Station in the 90s, oddly. It got a fair bit of play there. I have no recollection of it from 1979 though.

    It's time for me to roll out one of my sayings of the year again - Richard Jobson : prick! (even more so in this case given the spitting incident)

    The Billy Preston & Syreeta song totally leaves me cold I'm afraid. I know that musically it's very good, it just doesn't excite me at all.

    'Please don't go' is a good song, although the video is a bit eyelinermungously scary in my opinion.

    That Regents song seemed to be on TOTP2 almost every other week, so I've seen enough of it now thanks. For me, the girls weren't so much a shape of Human League to come, more of a bit of a copy of Squeeze circa 'Cool For Cats'!

    Ooh, Mike Oldfield's version of 'Blue Peter' - plugged endlessly on the show for weeks, no wonder it was a hit! I even remember them making a big thing of there being 2 versions - one that ends, and one that fades - presumably so the kids could buy 2 copies! (and as the only version I've ever heard - as on this show - ends, the fade was presumably a pressing error anyway)

    The Nolans - pleasant enough at the time, now unfortunately one of those 'housewife classics' for the bingo wings brigade to enjoy.

    What a great year of music 1979 has brought us, here's to the 80s!!
    I can only echo what others have said in praise of Angelo and Neil B - have a great Christmas everyone, and all the best for 2015 / 1980....

  11. I've been very remiss. Happy Christmas to you all, and huge thanks to Angelo, Neil and also Darrell for providing this forum and the complete 1979 TOTP back catalogue. 1980, here we come!

  12. The Greedies - aha!! - here's one missed of the compilation CDs with the beneficial result that it's not played to death for six weeks every year. Liked the way Steve Jones kept looking over to see what chord to play, before giving up towards the end!

    Was the 'spitting incident' on the 27/09 show or this one? Richard Jobson's antics did the band no favours at all but for me it was Stuart Adamson's guitar work which shone through.

    Two stunning live performances on this show I thought, the first was Billy Preston and Syreeta. I never realised they were the same age - I thought she was much younger, what with being Mrs. Wonder and all that, although in fact she was only four years older than her famous ex-husband.

    The Regents, snuck in at the very end of the decade to be filed under 'hits of the '70s', but to all intents and purposes an '80s act, not only in musical style but also as an 'incomplete band' - where was the rest of them?

    I can well remember the David Bowie confusion at this time, it was like two different songs with the same title, but I eventually sussed out that one was a crusty old 1972 thing and the other, well, I thought it was contemporary.

    The other stunning live performance was the Nolans. Whatever you think of them, their raw talent shows through here. I would like to see today's artists pull this off - just four standard issue BBC microphones (the ones with leads), no fairy dust, no in-ear monitoring and just an orchestra blaring away on the other side of the studio. Heck, the last thing I heard was that they use Auto-Tune even on stage nowadays!

    A Merry Christmas to one and all - I guess we'll be reconvening before the New Year?

  13. All quiet on the blog since since Wednesday? I couldn't help but watch this episode again as today is the 20th December and the exact 35th anniversary of this particular show.

    Have listened to the Billy Preston & Syreeta song all week, and if they are watching from that place called heaven in the sky, I'm sure they would be wishing all of us a Merry Christmas and to more excellent repeats of TOTP shows from yesteryear.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and let's get ready for 1980 in a couple of weeks time.

    1. Betaman31252 on you tube has uploaded many of his original Betamax recordings of TOTP performances - including all of this episode's in-studio one's - and many others also. They are all very good quality uploads and well worth a look.

      Like many others, I would also like to thank both Neil B and Darnall42 for filling in all the blanks
      over the past year and beyond.

      Finally, if anyone could give me a tutorial on how to use one of the options on the drop-down menu, I would be delighted to drop my anonymous identity!

    2. Click "Select profile", then "Name/URL" and type your preferred name into the box (you don't need the URL bit). Then select publish, etc.

      Alternatively, you could sign up with a Google account and select that. I have one but find it a nuisance to log in and out of, so prefer the "Name/URL" choice.

    3. Thanks THX !
      I ended up going around in circles when I tried this first time around.

    4. welcome to the club manorak! the "url" bit referred to above is for an optional website address/link that can be accessed by clicking on the thread contributor's name - i use that as i have my own website that may be of interest to others, but i don't know if anyone here ever bothers looking at it!

  14. Joe Cocker RIP.

    This has been one bad year.

    1. Yes, and Big Bank Hank from Rappers Delight, still in the top ten in our current 1979 chart, sadly passed away only last month, RIP.

  15. Wasnt there a slightly risque joke involving The Nolans?

    Blue Peter, I thought it was rerecorded due to the sudden end as opposed to the proper end used on the show for many years?

    (Does that mean BP used its first theme arrangement for its first 21 years then? How long was the Oldfield version used for then? Must have disappeared sometime during the 90's)