Thursday, 30 January 2014

This is the Sound of Top of the Pops

Over in ITV on the 1st February 1979 we had:  6.35 Crossroads 7.00 Wish You Were Here 7.30 Jim Davidson Show 8.00 Rising Damp 8.30 TV Eye 9 Streets Of San Francisco 10 News

And on the good old Aunty Beeb: 6.20 Nationwide 6.55 Tomorrow's World 7.10 Top of the Pops 7.55 Blankety Blank 8.30 Butterflies 9 News 9.25 Euro Figure Skating Champs

A tough decision, but I think it will have to be.....

Top of the Pops!
1-2-79: Presenter: Mike Read

(27) EDWIN STARR – Contact (and charts)
(51) NAZARETH – May The Sun Shine
(3) THE THREE DEGREES – Woman In Love ®
(37) THE MEMBERS – The Sound Of The Suburbs
(19) SALLY OLDFIELD – Mirrors ®
(39) UFO – Doctor Doctor
(14) BILLY JOEL – My Life (video)
(52) TWO MAN SOUND – Que Tal America
(28) GENERATION X – King Rocker
(61) THE POINTER SISTERS – Everybody Is A Star
(7) DRIVER 67 – Car 67 ®
(1) BLONDIE – Heart Of Glass (danced to by Legs & Co)
(8) ABBA – Chiquitita (and credits)



Edwin Starr ~ any relation to Ringo? sings over the chart rundown this week :-)

Nazareth ~ An unlikely fusion of folk and heavy metal here from this band from Dunfermline, who featured guitarist Zal Cleminson,  recently transferred from the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

The Three Degrees ~ another showing for this Giorgio Moroder produced song, although I think we are being treated to the Top of the Pops Orchestra produced version here :-)

The Members ~ very enthusiastically introduced by our host Mike Read, this song was produced by Steve Lillywhite, both future U2 producer and Kirsty MacColl husband. (Nice shot of a multi-coloured punk hairdo in the audience too)

Sally Oldfield ~ a repeat showing of the fairy-like Mirrors, now at its peak of 19 in the charts.

UFO ~ another song on the heavy side on tonight's show, a bit too heavy it turns out to rise any higher than 35 in the charts.

Billy Joel ~ was edited out of the 7.30 showing. Still, not a bad week for him sitting side by side in the top 15 with Barry White's cover of Just the Way You Are.

Two Man Sound ~ the slightly mad chap on the bongos is Yves Lacomblez who wrote Ca Plane Pour Moi for Plastic Bertrand ~ but more than that, the frontman Lou Deprijck, is the guy who actually sang the vocals on it! They couldn't repeat that success with this record though, which failed to make the top 40, despite Rosie and Gill's best dancing efforts.

Generation X ~ looking and sounding very much like Adam & the Ants here - this record became their biggest hit and was released in four different colours of vinyl.

The Pointer Sisters ~ were edited out of the 7.30 showing, catch them at 12.30am

Driver 67 ~ also edited out, how could they? It was a repeat showing though from a couple of weeks ago.

Blondie ~ the rare sight here of a Legs & Co routine to the number 1 song - the celebrated video must not have been ready yet? Heart of Glass had actually been written several years earlier, but never satisfactorily recorded until this mega hit version - proving maybe that the best things come to those who wait.

Abba ~ play us out this week, and we'll have to wait until next week, the 8th February 1979, to see the Legs & Co interpretation of this quite brilliant song.



Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Could it be....... the 25th January 1979 Top of the Pops?

Here, courtesy of Darnall 42 on Vimeo, is the 25th January 1979 Top of the Pops, hosted by Dave Lee Travis......

Top of the Pops 25th January 1979


25-1-79: Presenter: Dave Lee Travis

(6) BLONDIE – Heart Of Glass (and charts)
(27) DR. FEELGOOD – Milk And Alcohol
(26) BARRY MANILOW – Could It Be Magic (video)
(21) THIRD WORLD – Cool Meditation (danced to by Legs & Co)
(12) BARRY WHITE – Just The Way You Are (video)
(28) THE DOLL – Desire Me
(25) LEIF GARRETT – I Was Made For Dancin’ (video)
(44) JUDAS PRIEST – Take On The World
(37) PHOEBE SNOW – Every Night
(9) THE SHADOWS – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina ®
(NEW) DONNY & MARIE OSMOND – On The Shelf
(1) IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick ®
(3) EARTH, WIND & FIRE – September (and credits)

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hit Me With Your Top of the Pops

With the infamous 'Winter of Discontent' about strike, and the first episode of Blankety Blank about to air, Peter Powell is here to cheer us all up with this week's.....

Top of the Pops!
18-1-79: Presenter: Peter Powell

(30) SHALAMAR – Take That To The Bank (and charts)
(53) OLYMPIC RUNNERS – Sir Dancealot
(28) ANNE MURRAY – You Needed Me (video)
(3) RACEY – Lay Your Love On Me
(27) DAN HARTMAN – This Is It (danced to by Legs & Co)
(54) FRANKIE MILLER – When I’m Away From You
(5) OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – A Little More Love ®
(2) IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
(18) THE THREE DEGREES – Woman In Love
(26) BILLY JOEL – My Life (video)
(7) CHIC – Le Freak
(1) VILLAGE PEOPLE – Y.M.C.A. (video)
(11) CHAKA KHAN – I’m Every Woman (and credits)

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Shalamar ~ play over the chart rundown with their first top 20 hit.

Olympic Runners ~ then give us an energetic, onesie clad, invisible trampolining start to the show. Shame the song wasn't quite good enough to take off in the same way though! Two members of this band, Pete Wingfield and Mike Vernon, also played for Rocky Sharpe and the Replays.

Anne Murray ~ this instantly recognisable country song peaked at 22 for this Canadian singer. Boyzone did better when they covered it in 1999, and took it to number 1.

Racey ~ edited out of the 7.30 showing - not to worry you can catch them in the second showing at 1am.....

Dan Hartman ~ is this week's choice for the Legs and Co routine. A full compliment of Legs this week too. 'This is It' reached number 17.

Frankie Miller ~ edited out ~ catch him at 1am...

Olivia Newton-John ~ ditto for the delicious A Little More Love.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads ~ ah, it's the classic one where Davey Payne plays two saxophones at the same time - a real 'where were you' moment this. I remember where I was when I first saw it - in front of the telly watching Top of the Pops :-)

The Three Degrees ~ take the country song that failed to chart for Twiggy in 1977 and turn it into a top 3 smash hit. They just sang it a whole lot better really, and had more sparkly costumes.

Billy Joel ~ I've always like this song, it has more than a touch of class and a fair bit of piano oomph! This was a good time for Billy what with Barry White's cover version of Just the Way You Are also in the top 20. I expect he was grateful now that his suicide attempt of 9 years earlier had not succeeded.

Chic ~ freakishly ironic that a song written about not being allowed into a dance club would go on to become one of the biggest dance floor fillers of all time.

There then follows a brief appearance by latest teen sensation Leif Garrett who informs us that 'I Was Made for Dancing' has just charted at number 43, and also that Britain in January is nothing like California....

Village People ~ and from one timeless disco classic to another, with its final week at number one before Ian Dury hit it with his rhythm stick. Though we won't get to see that whacking moment on BBC4 next week because unfortunately that's a banned DLT episode.....

Chaka Khan ~ who played over the chart rundown last week, now plays over the end credits this week, with her Ashford and Simpson written song at its peak number 11 position in the charts.


So next week then BBC4 takes us to February 1st 1979 and a show hosted by Mike Read.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Together We Are Top of the Pops

On an evening 35 years ago when the BBC1 line up was:

6.20 Nationwide 6.55 Tomorrow's World 7.10 Top of the Pops 8.00 Morecambe & Wise At BBC 8.30 Butterflies 9 News 9.25 The Good Old Days.............


11-1-79: Presenter: David Jensen

(14) CHAKA KHAN – I’m Every Woman (and charts)
(24) ROCKY SHARPE & THE REPLAYS – Rama Lama Ding Dong
(30) SALLY OLDFIELD – Mirrors
(13) PAUL EVANS – Hello, This Is Joanie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) (video)
(NEW) BONNIE TYLER – Louisiana Rain
(21) LEO SAYER – Raining In My Heart
(25) MANKIND – Dr. Who
(27) DRIVER 67 – Car 67
(NEW) THE DOLL – Desire Me
(16) HOT CHOCOLATE – I’ll Put You Together Again (video)
(35) THE SHADOWS – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
(18) FUNKADELIC – One Nation Under A Groove (danced to by Legs & Co)
(NEW) STEVE ALLAN – Together We Are Beautiful
(1) VILLAGE PEOPLE – Y.M.C.A. (video)
(29) BILLY JOEL – My Life (and credits)


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Chaka Khan ~ plays over the opening titles, on the day when the newspaper headlines in the UK were
famously 'Crisis? what Crisis?'

Rocky Sharpe and the Replays ~ if they remind you a wee bit of Darts, that's maybe because both Den Hegarty and Rita Ray were both original members before they left to form.......... Darts.

Sally Oldfield ~ singing this irresistibly pretty song is the older sister of Mike Oldfield ~ and she also sang backing vocals on her brother's legendary Tubular Bells album.

Paul Evans ~ another irresistibly pretty song, if you regard ringing your girlfriend's answering machine to listen to her dead voice as pretty, Paul also wrote 'When' which got to number 1 in 1958 for the Kalin Twins and number 3 in 1977 for Showaddywaddy.

Bonnie Tyler ~ This Tom Petty cover failed to chart for Bonnie. Not too surprising, it's not a patch on It's a Heartache or Lost in France.

Leo Sayer ~ was edited out of the 7.30 BBC4 showing ~ catch his Buddy Holly cover on the second showing at midnight.

Mankind ~ ditto for the Dr Who theme tune cover.

Driver 67 ~ what a fabulous novelty record this was from Paul Phillips and Pete Zom, which is trending now 35 years later on Twitter apparently :-)

The Doll ~ are also not coming out to play until the midnight repeat showing.

Hot Chocolate ~ ditto HC, with the third irresistibly pretty song of tonight's show.

The Shadows ~ This fine instrumental Lloyd Webber cover peaked at number 5. Shadows drummer, Brian Bennett, also has a successful career composing tv theme tunes, including New Tricks and the Sweeney.

Funkadelic ~ This scantily khaki clad Legs and Co routine helped One Nation Under a Groove get to number 9 in the charts.

Steve Allan ~ Steve's real name is Alan Carvel and he had first appeared on the show back in 1977 with his band The Carvells, performing The LA Run. His version of Together We Are Beautiful failed to make the top 40, but a year later a much more emotive vocal from Fern Kinney took it to number one.

Village People ~ YMCA is the UK's 32nd best selling single, with sales of 1.47 million. Village People lead singer Victor Willis was married to Phylicia Ayers-Allen, who played Bill Cosby’s wife in The Cosby Show.

Billy Joel ~ from his album 52nd Street, this song peaked at number 12 in the UK.

Next week's show, from 18th January 1979, is presented by Peter Powell with performances by Frankie Miller, Ian Dury and Chic, amongst others.





Thursday, 9 January 2014

Hello, This is 1979!

JANUARY 1979:

4-1-79: Presenter: Mike Read

(24) PAUL EVANS – Hello, This Is Joanie (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) (and charts)
(NEW) GENERATION X – King Rocker
(5) ELTON JOHN – Song For Guy ®
(18) EARTH, WIND & FIRE – September (danced to by Legs & Co)
(6) IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (video)
(21) OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN – A Little More Love (video)
(3) RACEY – Lay Your Love On Me ®
(29) BARRY WHITE – Just The Way You Are (video)
(NEW) BROTHERHOOD OF MAN – Goodbye Goodbye
(1) VILLAGE PEOPLE – Y.M.C.A. (video)
(16) HOT CHOCOLATE – I’ll Put You Together Again (and credits)

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Paul Evans ~ plays over the chart rundown. This was his first hit in 20 years, his earlier ones being Seven Little Girls (Sitting In The Back Seat) and Happy-Go-Lucky Me.

Generation X ~ King Rocker became their biggest hit, peaking at number 11. The song is apparently about the Beatles and Elvis having a fight over who is the king of rock n roll!

Elton John ~ a fine live performance featuring just Elton and his piano. At the time I thought this was about Guy the Gorilla, who had recently died at London Zoo, but in fact it is dedicated to Guy Burchett, a 17 year old messenger for Elton's label, who had been killed in a motorbike accident.

Legs and Co ~ dancing to Earth Wind and Fire's September - a strange time to release a song with such a title! Co-writer Allee Willis went on to write the theme from Friends.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads ~ the video this week, the legendary studio performance is yet to come. Ian had this song in rough on a piece of paper for about three years before it was finally completed!

Olivia Newton John ~ this song was written by John Farrar, who also wrote You're the One that I Want and Hopelessly Devoted to You. Not a bad 12 months for him!

Racey ~ were originally called Alive ‘n’ Kicking. They picked the new name from a list by producer Mickie Most for its easiness to say. This song was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, who wrote a production line of hits in the 70's for the likes of Sweet, Mud, Smokie and Suzi Quatro.

Barry White ~ almost a year after Billy Joel had taken the original to 19 in the charts, Barry's cover made it to number 12.

Brotherhood of Man ~ a rather aptly titled song for them, as this marked the end of their chart career. Not a bad song though really, I guess its just the times they were a changing.

Village People ~ replacing Boney M at the top of the charts. A song that was no doubt played at just about every New Year party in 1979, it was still being played at those parties I'm sure in 2014. The song was inspired by the YMCA branch at 215 W 23rd St, as seen in the video.

Hot Chocolate ~ play almost their entire song over the end credits - well why not, it is such a good one :-)

Next week, it's the 11th January 1979 hosted by David Jensen.



Friday, 3 January 2014

London, Paris, New York, Munich everybody's talking about ~ Top of the Pops 1979!

In the real world, it's just turned 2014 (still can't quite get used to any year that doesn't have a 19 in front of it!) but over on BBC4 at 7.30pm (nearly) every Thursday it's 1979 :-)

The series began tonight with a behind the scenes documentary 'The Story of 1979' - a tale of moving mic stand strikes, spitting at the Nolans, peeing from rooftops, blacked out teeth and gate crashing the BBC bar, followed by a compilation of some of 1979's big hits, in a show called ...........

3-1-2014: TOP OF THE POPS - 1979 Big Hits

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS – Oliver’s Army (TOTP 8-2-79)
LENE LOVICH – Lucky Number (TOTP 15-2-79)
CHIC – I Want Your Love (TOTP 1-3-79)
RACEY – Some Girls (TOTP 26-4-79)
CHAS & DAVE – Gertcha (TOTP 31-5-79)
SQUEEZE – Up The Junction (TOTP 31-5-79)
JANET KAY – Silly Games (TOTP 14-6-79)
DAME EDNA EVERAGE – Disco Matilda (TOTP 21-6-79)
THE RUTS – Babylon’s Burning (TOTP 21-6-79)
THE POLICE – Can’t Stand Losing You (TOTP 12-7-79)
THE PRETENDERS – Kid (TOTP 19-7-79)
LENA MARTELL – One Day At A Time (TOTP 25-12-79)
GARY NUMAN – Cars (TOTP 30-8-79)
CLIFF RICHARD – We Don’t Talk Anymore (TOTP 25-12-79)
THE JAM – The Eton Rifles (TOTP 1-11-79)
THE NOLANS – I’m In The Mood For Dancing (TOTP 20-12-79)
THE SELECTER – On My Radio (TOTP 18-10-79)
JOE JACKSON – Is She Really Going Out With Him? (TOTP 9-8-79)
MADNESS – One Step Beyond (TOTP 8-11-79)
M – Pop Muzik (TOTP 5-4-79)
THE BOOMTOWN RATS – I Don’t Like Mondays (video) (TOTP 19-7-79)
THE SPECIALS feat. RICO – A Message To You Rudy (TOTP 25-10-79)


Elvis Costello ~ a superlative performance of curling his lip at the camera and sweating whilst performing the song he wrote about the troubles in Northern Ireland, all in the style of Abba.

Lene Lovich ~ a brilliant attempt to out-mad Kate Bush, by the Yugoslav American from Hull.

Chic ~ a song written for Sister Sledge, but they instead recorded He's the Greatest Dancer, so Chic did this one.

Racey ~ ok who was the girl with the deep voice? Not one of Legs & Co I don't think, like last time.

Chas & Dave ~ a live vocal, and Chas was banned from using the word 'cowson' which a BBC exec's mum took offense to, hence the awkward pause and shifty looks before one of the Gertchas!

Squeeze ~ inspired by the Roxy Music song Virginia Plain, where the title isn't sung until the very end. Had Harry Kakoulli left by this point?

Janet Kay ~ had just turned 18 and had never performed before an audience ~ have to admit I was unfamiliar with this high note song that even the Bee Gees would have struggled with.

Dame Edna Everage ~ should not have been allowed out in a dress like that!

The Ruts ~ a song written about race riots.

The Police ~ this originally came out in 1978 but peaked at 42 - returning to the charts in the wake of breakthrough single Roxanne, it then made number two.

The Pretenders ~ lead singer Chrissie Hynde has performed with over 20 different band members over the years.

Lena Martell ~ a one hit wonder in the singles chart, the country singer from Glasgow has sold millions of albums over the years.

Gary Numan ~ his serious non-smiling image came about because he was embarrassed with his over large two front teeth, and didn't want to show them!

Cliff Richard ~ perhaps the surprise hit of the year, written by one of the Shadow's roadies, it totally rejuvenated his career.

The Jam ~ a favourite song of Prime Minister David Cameron, an old Etonian himself!

The Nolans ~ come on, you secretly wanted to get up and dance to this one, didn't you!

The Selector ~ looking forward to the 'Two-Tone Top of the Pops' show, along with the Specials and Madness.

Joe Jackson ~ apparently a song written as a joke by Portsmouth's finest, but became a top 20 hit in the UK and the USA.

Madness ~ Chas Smash was not yet a full member of the group when he recorded the vocals for this.

M ~ lead singer Robin Scott was big friends with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.

The Boomtown Rats ~ this tale of a mass shooting in America was originally a reggae song until Johnny Fingers, the pyjama obsessed keyboard player, re-arranged it last minute.

The Specials ~ a cover of Dandy Livingstone's song from 1967 - the trombone player, Rico Rodriguez, played on both.


Next up on BBC4 should be the show from January 4th 1979, presented by Mike Read, and featuring, among others, Generation X, Racey and Brotherhood of Man.




Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Top of the New Year!

Whole Lotta Love rings out once more and we have the very latest edition of Top of the Pops on BBC1 ~

31-12-2013: Presenters: Fearne Cotton & Reggie Yates

(14) LITTLE MIX – Move
(79) TINIE TEMPAH feat. JOHN MARTIN – Children Of The Sun
(35) THE VAMPS – Can We Dance
(49) DAFT PUNK feat. PHARRELL WILLIAMS – Get Lucky (video)
(39) ROBIN THICKE feat. T.I. & PHARRELL WILLIAMS – Blurred Lines (video)
(-) LILY ALLEN – Hard Out Here (video)
(-) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – Mirrors (video)
(-) MICHAEL BUBLÉ – It’s A Beautiful Day (video)
(-) DAVID BOWIE – Love Is Lost (video)
(38) BASTILLE – Pompeii (video)
(-) KANYE WEST – Bound 2 (video)
(-) JLS – Billion Lights (video)
(-) THE 1975 – Chocolate
(-) ARCTIC MONKEYS – R U Mine? (footage from Glastonbury)
(-) LONDON GRAMMAR – Strong
(69) JAMES ARTHUR – You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
(42) JESSIE J – Thunder
(34) ONE DIRECTION – Best Song Ever (video)
(16) LORDE – Royals (video)
(17) AVICII – Wake Me Up (video)
(33) YLVIS – The Fox (video)
(5) EMINEM feat. RIHANNA – The Monster (video)
(75) LADY GAGA – Applause (video)
(73) NAUGHTY BOY feat. SAM SMITH – La La La (video)
(22) MILEY CYRUS – Wrecking Ball (video)
(11) GARY BARLOW – Let Me Go (video)
(66) ROBBIE WILLIAMS – Go Gentle (video)
(45) CHASE & STATUS feat. JACOB BANKS – Alive
(39) ROBIN THICKE – Blurred Lines (footage from Radio 1Xtra Live 2013)
(18) ELLIE GOULDING – Burn
(61) FATBOY SLIM & RIVA STARR feat. BEARDYMAN – Eat Sleep Rave Repeat (video)
(-) AVICII versus NICKI ROMERO – I Could Be The One (video)
(13) MARTIN GARRIX – Animals (video)
(-) BINGO PLAYERS feat. FAR EAST MOVEMENT – Get Up (Rattle) (video)
(-) DUKE DUMONT feat. A*M*E – Need U (100%) (video)
(82) SHOWTEK feat. WE ARE LOUD & SONNY WILSON – Booyah (video)
(37) JOHN NEWMAN – Love Me Again
(1) PHARRELL WILLIAMS – Happy (video)

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It's the New Year Eve show, broadcast on the eve of the Top of the Pops 50th anniversary (though no mention of it was made during the show!).

As a person who now gets the vast majority of his pop music via Radio 2 whilst in the car, here was an opportunity to put some faces to the songs I've heard. Not everybody watches their pop via YouTube videos or endless MTV and the like.

So who stood out for me this time? ~

Well I thought Little Mix were quite fun, if a somewhat typical girl band, but nothing wrong with that.

The 1975 provided an interesting contrast though the punky haircut was perhaps more 1977 :-)
London Grammar also added a touch of variety and a change of pace from the 'banging' tunes on offer by the likes of Chase & Status and Tinie Tempah.

James Arthur, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J were all very impressive live vocalists as was John Newman, who after opening the Christmas Day show with Love Me Again, closed this edition with the same song - but to be fair it is a cracker of a tune which would have graced any era of Top of the Pops.

Out of the studio we got some quality live performances from Arctic Monkeys and Robin Thicke, and then a shedload of short video clips in a whirlwind summing up of the year.

I can't hide my delight at the return of Whole Lotta Love as the theme tune ~ what other tv show has an opening as good as that, as soon as you hear it a tingle of excitement runs down your spine, but one thing still missing without question is a dance routine. It adds variety and is infinitely more desirable than a video. And dance troupes are so popular at the moment too. It would be a real highlight of the show.

And of course the current number one song, the very aptly named Happy, was shown too ~ nice song that I've not heard before and would not have been aware of it being at number one if it wasn't for this show. How many number one songs will now pass us by during 2014 because we don't have a regular show like this?

Here's hoping that Top of the Pops has one or two surprises up its record sleeves in this 50th anniversary year ~ maybe some more Specials ~ Valentines Day, Easter, Summer, Halloween etc?
If there's no appetite (from the BBC, or the viewers ?) to bring back a weekly show how about a monthly one just to keep us informed and up to date about who's singing what in our pop charts?

Otherwise its just the repeats of 1979 on BBC4, beginning this coming Friday, to keep us going all the way until the next brand new edition ~ next Christmas Day.

Well, Happy 50th Top of the Pops ~ you're still number one as far as I'm concerned :-)