Thursday, 30 April 2015

My Perfect Top of the Pops

You don't need a degree in economics, maths, physics and bionics to work out that a quarter of 1980 has already been and gone as we arrive at the 10th of April.

Don't beat me a subbuteo ~ you wouldn't like me if you beat me at subbuteo....

Top of the Pops 10-4-80: Presenter: Simon Bates

(2) LIQUID GOLD – Dance Yourself Dizzy (and charts)
Stuck at number two, they couldn't quite make it to the dizzy heights of number one.

 (43) THE UNDERTONES – My Perfect Cousin
Getting the show off to an energetic and light hearted start, My Perfect Cousin would become the Undertones' only top ten hit.

 (19) DAVID ESSEX – Silver Dream Machine (Part 1) (video)
Presenter Simon Bates tipped this single from the film starring singer David Essex, Silver Dream Racer, as a future number one but it fell just short of the line at number 4.

 (4)  Legs & Co ~ find a perfect song for a particularly skimpily clad dance routine this week in Sexy Eyes by Dr Hook.

 (37) SAXON – Wheels Of Steel
'The first of two heavy metal groups on tonights show' this became the first of two top 20 hits for Saxon in 1980.

 (46) SKY – Toccata
It's not often a 300 year old Bach tune makes the top ten but this one did for Sky, a group that included John Williams on guitar and Herbie Flowers, who wrote Grandad, on bass. Toccata was the groups only hit single but they had four top ten albums, including a huge number one in 1980 with Sky 2.

 (12) JUDAS PRIEST – Living After Midnight ®
A repeat showing for their biggest hit to date, now at its chart peak.

 (17) SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES – Happy House ®
This repeat showing, also now at its chart peak, was unhappily edited out of the 7.30pm edition.

 (24) SAD CAFÉ – My Oh My ®
Were also sadly edited out of the 7.30pm show.

 (22) THE BODYSNATCHERS – Let’s Do Rock Steady
A second studio appearance here for the proto-Belle Stars, now at their peak in the charts.

 (45) BUGGLES – Clean Clean
Here's a song I especially liked back in 1980, and it persuaded me to go and get its parent album, The Age of Plastic. But this single didn't make the top 30 and effectively marked the end of the Buggles.

 (1) THE DETROIT SPINNERS – Working My Way Back To You – Forgive Me Girl (Medley)
Quite surprisingly replacing the Jam at number one, and Simon Bates then incorrectly predicted a new number one next week. He probably had Call Me by Blondie in mind.

 (16) SECRET AFFAIR – My World (and credits)
Playing us out this week are Secret Affair, with their final top 30 hit My World at its peak in the charts.

Next week should be the 17th April, but here we find the first JS edition of 1980, so it will be skipped and instead we will get the 24th April hosted by Steve Wright.


  1. 'My Perfect Cousin' - I remember it well. At that time, I thought Kevin Keegan was too big for his studded boots, so I used to change the line 'Kevin, he's in love with himself' to 'Kevin Keegan's in love with himself'! The Undertones' finest moment, for me, is John O'Neill's ballad 'You're Welcome' from their third album 'Positive Touch' - a set that prompted some critics to draw comparison with the Fab Four, no less. What a great band the lads from Derry were.

    The presence of both Judas Priest and Saxon in the Top 40 reflected the then-current heavy metal revival. WEA reissued a plethora of singles by Van Halen, AC/DC and Montrose around that time, and most of them charted.

    I always thought David Essex deserved to be more successful in the US, where 'Rock On' was his only Top 40 hit. Sadly, in the pre-'Full Monty' era, British flicks such as 'Silver Dream Racer' were ignored on the other side of the Atlantic.

    1. The Undertones with My Perfect Cousin shows true passion for performing by virtue of self-expression through a strong character, as these Irish guys demonstrate, and it is truly a classic in UK pop history. The Jam in the same charts also showed such vocal expression in a song alpha-male style, and indeed in their other songs too.

      It's interesting that directly after My Perfect Cousin, we got to see David Essex with a completely different style on Silver Dream Machine, yet is still a household name in British pop history.

  2. shaky shakerson1 May 2015 at 04:22

    Simon Bates begins - again- with a 'thank you sir' to the unseen continuity announcer, barely able to conceive of a day thirty five years in the future when these shows would be repeated and the continuity announcer would be female.

    Anyway on with the show and first up are The Undertones. Clever lyrics (He will never be left on the shelf, cos Kevin, he's in love himself) and a decent tune but they never endeared themselves to me in the same way that someone like The Buzzcocks did.

    David Essex in a promo vid for a poor-mans British version of Top Gun. Not his best effort and certainly not a patch on his Lamplight/Rock On purple patch but the boy could still rock the curly-hair-one-hooped-earring-gypsy look that got him splashed all over a million girls bedroom walls.

    Bates then introduces us to this week's Legs routine with what looks suspiciously like a script in his hand. A script! Not just a scrap of paper with a few bon mots and a couple of facts scribbled on them, but an honest-to-God full length script. Who knew? Anyway,onto Legs who this week have once again raided the skimpy-outfit closet to good effect. Not sure about showing them in slo-mo, however, as it reveals their lack of precision in their timings. Still, skimpy outfits though.

    This week's metal offering doubles in size as both Saxon and Judas Priest take their share of the Thursday evening limelight. Now I'm not big on metal/hard rock but I can appreciate those who do well. Yer LedZeps, Sabbaths, and Deep Purple etc. But Saxon and Judas Priest are nowhere near that standard. Saxon are a poorly-judged album cover away from actually BEING Spinal Tap whilst Judas Priest's performance suffers from Rob Halford going into only-gay-in-the-village mode. Oh and both songs are awful as well.

    In between we get what people referred to as a classical musician Supergroup. Well I actually spotted Herbie Flowers and JohnWilliams. But the others? Nope. They all looked smug as smug could be and the keyboard player was horribly late in miming his opening bars.

    Another chance for The Bodysnatchers to introduce themselves. Apparently Simon has been playing this a lot on the 'wireless'. How old is this man? I liked the way the drummer decided not to bother miming halfway through as well.

    The Buggles. Um....erm...... Nope, I got nothing.

    And we have a new number one - The Detroit Spinners. But Simon reckons they'll ony be there for one week, thereby invoking the Mystic Meg curse and ensuring Working My Way Back To You will retain pole posiition.

    Scores on the doors. The show itself is a bit of a disappointment after the the previous two editions. The only songs I could bear to listen to were repeats (Sad Cafe, Bodysnatchers) so its a very damp squibish 3. As for Simon...... he drops points for his embarrassing links ( the one before Buggles especially) his poor fortune telling, his oversized Deidre Barlow glasses, calling the radio, the 'wireless', the fact that he had a script, and well, just for being Simon Bates. So its a 2 for him - possibly some sort of record.

    1. Re Saxon and Spinal Tap, I read somewhere that Spinal Tap's open fret bass player was actually based on Saxon's, who played open strings to allow him to punch the air in time with his free hand. I bought the single "Wheels Of Steel" as I thought it had the most comically bad guitar solo ever, but grew very quickly to love the song. I'm amazed Saxon were on the same label (Carrere) as Dollar, F.R. David, Sheila B. Devotion and Phyllis Nelson, though I think Clout were also on Carrere and they were rockier than most of the label's repertoire.

    2. The Australian HM band Rose Tattoo also had a spell on Carrere, scoring a minor British chart entry with 'Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw' in '81.

      Their frontman Angry Anderson would have a major hit in the UK in '89 with the power ballad 'Suddenly' - the theme tune to Scott and Charlene's wedding in 'Neighbours'. This was issued on the independent Food For Thought label, which was Mushroom Records' British licensee.

    3. "angy" anderson was also tina turner's henchman in "mad max 3"!

    4. P.S. Sky consisted of John Williams, Herbie Flowers, prolific percussionist Tristan Fry, former Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman and the late Australian guitarist Kevin Peek.

    5. Even at the time I thought drummer Tristan Fry looked decidedly odd with his bowlcut and re-entry shield specs, not unlike Daviid Walliam's 'Computer Says No' character from Little Britain.

  3. I once read The Undertones described as The Beach Boys from Derry, and if My Perfect Cousin was a bit of a novelty single for them, it is one of those songs where you can't resist listening to the lyrics all the way through. Plus it's a band namechecking another band when it mentions The Human League, who as we've seen were not yet the force they would become.

    David Essex with a moody tune from one of the most boring British sport films ever, even Dirk Bogarde in Once a Jolly Swagman was more exciting than this. Wins points for the unintentionally hilarious ending, mind you (not seen in this video). I suppose we should be glad this wasn't cut out, what with all the clips in it.

    Legs & Co for some reason participating in a game of Ring a Ring a Roses, though it might explain the camera's concentration on actual Rosie in the sequence. Someone's left their hairdryer on, by the looks of it.

    Saxon, still going I believe, although I wonder if they can still carry off the legs akimbo guitar stance at their advanced ages. Sort of heavy metal by the numbers otherwise.

    Sky, here you go, Saxon, this is how you play a guitar: sitting down. My parents were really into this band, it is a bit middle class dinner party background music, but amusing enough. When Simes said it was 300 years old I half expected him to continue "And so am I!"

    Judas Priest: a recommendation to track down Heavy Metal Parking Lot on YouTube. You won't regret it.

    Sad Café: The verses are a bit Paul Simon and his train in the distance, the choruses sees Mr Café unveil his full on Mick Jagger impersonation, complete with extravagant microphone technique. He's no Freddie Starr.

    The Bodysnatchers: I too was watching the drummer, who obviously just couldn't be arsed and gave up miming three seconds into the song. Almost Brechtian in its smashing down of the fourth wall. She even had a go on the keyboards!

    Buggles: another catchy, arch pop tune, but I was distracted by the computer game where the player was really bad at it. Anyone know what that game was?

    Detroit Spinners: bah, they cut it before the best bit again! Did they ever play the "Forgive me" part? Noticed the huge flares in this showing, hey guys, it's 1980!

  4. Shame the excellent Buggles track was cut before the playout part, which is influenced by Del Shannon's Runaway, so that we could hear Mr Bates incorrectly inform us that the Four Tops originally did Working My Way Back to You (of course it was the Four Seasons).
    Silver Dream Racer features the late Elisabeth Sladen (Dr Who's Sarah Jane) in a small cameo role as a PR

    1. as if anyone didn't know already, slimy obviously had no interest in pop music whatsoever, only in the sound of his own voice! i don't suppose he got on too well with the likes of kid jensen, mike read and gambo? slimy mentions his "fact" suggesting that 15 years earlier might as well be in the stone age, and yet more than twice as long since the cover version was a hit, it still seems like only yesterday to me...

    2. I gather that Master Bates was not very popular with his Radio 1 colleagues, though I am afraid I don't know any juicy details!

    3. slip of the finger - I meant PA not PR!

    4. I read somewhere that John Peel and another Radio 1 DJ once beat Simon Bates up.

    5. The problem is that Simon bates came on to his first TOTP shows as though he was on another level to the other regular presenters Mike Read, Peter Powell, David Jensen and Steve Wright who played on an equal footing.

      Bates acted as though he was on the show before all the others, and probably did not work his way into their respect by not working himself in to earn it, but he ended up presenting TOTP throughout the 80s, so the BBC must have liked his approach, ahead of the fellow presenters liking it or not.

  5. host: i can't believe i'm writing this, but i'm not finding slimy anywhere near as odious as i thought i would. maybe for two reasons: 1- he's only on for a few seconds at a time, 2 - he's not doing "our tune"

    undertones: thx is bang on about the lyrics - i rarely listen to them in pop songs, but here i was straining for every word. i always loved the way feargal spat out the penultimate syllable in each line: "his mother bought him as syntheSIZer, got the human league in to adVISE her". good idea to get the drummer to use a marching drum (did he do the orangemen marches as a youth?) so he could move about on stage a bit, although he didn't seem to take much advantage of that mobility. for me by far their finest moment, although apparently the band regarded it as a bit of a millstone around their necks thereafter. i've asked this before, but now the rest are still going without sharkey, have they got a trembling soundalike in as a replacement?

    david essex: i was quicker to the fast-forward button than barry sheene for this, although like other low-budget efforts of that era i'd quite like to see the film. i've just checked and it's on lovefilm, and apparently clarke peters is also in it (for those who don't know. he's the the black american guy who did the bass vocals for "boogie nights" and is now a well-known face in various US action/crime series)

    legs & co: for some reason patti and rosemary get featured this week. the former looks really hot as ever (going by her and kristin kreuk, chinese/white interbreeding should be encouraged!) but the freeze-frame for the latter does her no favours. especially now she's discovered crimping!

    saxon: i'm no metalhead, but this and priest were the most enjoyable bits of this week's show. arthur is right about the saxon bassist being an inspiration for spinal tap - judging by the bassline on this he could have stood there with his fist clenched throughout. there was a girl in my year at school who unfortunately bore a strong resemblance to saxon's singer - unsurprisingly she got dubbed "biff" by the metal-loving contingent! i hope for her sake that a: she never got to find out about it, and b: she doesn't bear any resemblance to how he looks now with his denis healey-eyebrows!

    sky: (without looking) the keyboard player with the bad 70's haircut was called francis monkman, and the drummer was tristan fry, who looked only slightly older than his namesake/lookalike in "george and mildred". they were session musos, and i assume the other guitarist (whose name i forget) was likewise. a while back you couldn't move in charity shops for sky albums, but presumably most of them have now made their way to landfill? there was an american disco act called skyy around at the same time, and even though it was spelt differently, presumably to stop dyslexic fans of this lot buying their albums by mistake they had to be marketed in this country as "new york skyy"

    bodysnatchers: the "drummer" appeared to have no clue whatsoever how to actually play, so i presume she was just a mate of the band drafted in at the last moment? i don't know if this was the original recording or not, but it dragged quite badly during the guitar solo

    buggles: sorry thx i don't know what that video game is either, despite practically living in the local amusement arcades (or "the muzzies" as we called them) at the time. probably because the only game for me was "asteroids", where i learnt off another guy that if your spaceship whizzed across the screen at full speed rather than stayed in the middle of it, then you could make 10p last a very long time! the music? like other buggles efforts, bits of it were interesting and other bits weren't

    1. Sky may not have been everyone's favourites, but their albums have NOT been consigned to landfills - which is where Paper Lace's records belong! Last autumn, when I was a volunteer at the local Royal British Legion charity shop, I spotted a copy of 'Billy Don't Be A Hero' - badly scratched, and without a sleeve. Enough said!

      As for the Bodysnatchers, 'drummer' Jane Summers was sacked soon afterwards and replaced by Mel C prototype Judy Parsons, who would progress with Miss SJ, Little Mir-r-randa and rhythm guitarist Stella Barker to The Belle Stars.

    2. My Dad still has a Sky album in his vinyl collection. He also has the 1970 debut album of Beggars Opera, a prog-classical outfit who, so I gather, were all classically trained musicians. Contrary to what Master Bates claimed in this show, that certainly isn't true of Sky!

    3. julie, my observation on sky LP's was just that - not an opinion! where else other than landfill would records end up (or anything else for that matter) if charity shops can't sell them on? maybe someone can enlighten us...?

    4. John G - all 5 members of Sky received a formal musical education, including bassist Herbie Flowers, who was trained as a double bassist and tuba player during his national service in the RAF.

      Wilberforce - unless they're by throwaway acts such as Paper Lace, whom I mentioned above, records are too precious to consign to landfills. From my stint as a volunteer shop assistant, I know that donated items tend to be moved from one shop within the chain to another after a month or so. I imagine those that are difficult to clear are either sold in bulk to specialist dealers, or transferred to jumble/attic/car boot sales.

    5. thanks julie - i wonder who gets to decide what is "throwaway"? i do remember the story a few years back that charity shops wouldn't even accept max bygraves records as they knew they couldn't give them away!

      in my experience a lot of people who work in charity shops know little or nothing about records, but it seems many have now got copies of the "record collector guide" which i presume they use as reference, and which is probably why you don't see crates of records at £1 each very often these days. however, i'm sure i'm not the only contributor here to know that a: most of what's listed in them would be lucky to fetch half the value quoted (and that's in near mint condition) and that others are so rare and esoteric they're not even in it. whenever that book is mentioned by anyone with regard to the value of records, i feel obliged to point out that it's called a guide - not a bible!

  6. A decent enough show, though it got a bit dull in the latter stages with too many repeated songs in a row. Bates was his normal irritatingly faux jolly self (the horror film link was particularly excruciating), and the director seemed bizarrely obsessed with quartering up the screen Take a Chance on Me-style.

    Anyway, things got off to a great start with what, in my view, is the Undertones' best single, and an appropriately energetic performance to accompany it. I have never heard the David Essex song before, but it wasn't a bad effort. I've never seen the film either, though apparently it does have an unexpectedly tragic ending, something that Essex seems to specialise in, given the way Stardust concludes.

    A nice Legs performance this week, which has the slight feel of a fashion shoot, though I find it odd that the inevitable close ups of the eyes were delayed until the end! The New Wave of British Heavy Metal continued its advance with Saxon's appearance, and a perfectly respectable example of the genre it is too. Interesting to read above that the bass player was an influence on Spinal Tap - apparently Uriah Heep were also a fertile source of inspiration for the Tap team.

    Sky's reworking of Bach was pleasant enough, though it felt more like something Rick Wakeman might have done circa 1973, and felt a bit out of place in the 1980 music scene. Buggles of course were a lot more contemporary, right down to the arcade game inserts in their performance. As Wilberforce says, bits of this song work and other bits don't, though I do like the chorus. Time was indeed almost up for them, as Horn and Downes would join Yes the following month.

    I agree with Angelo that it was perhaps somewhat surprising to see the Detroit Spinners hit number 1 at this point in time, but I suppose the disco sound of the record was still fairly current even if their dress sense was not! I do like the song, though, and I guess in some ways it's a last hurrah for the old-style black vocal groups of the 70s.

  7. Does anyone have the 17 April 1980 clip

    1. It was not shown on UK Gold, so I would expect that we will have to rely on anyone with their own VHS recording. Perhaps Neil B can come to the rescue?

      I could only find the Legs & Co performance from this show, where Jimmy was uncharacteristically wearing a suit, and was looking very dapper when introducing a very fully clothed Legs & Co, after the girls largely undressed performance of the week before.

    2. Sorry I forgot to attach the link. Here it is:

    3. I have found a few other performances from this show on Youtube, from Phil Lynott, the Ruts and possibly the Nolans (though that might be from the 1st May show). There's not much of it out there though - hopefully Neil B or someone else can come up with the goods.

  8. Contrary to most people on this blog, I actually liked the Davis Essex Silver Dream Machine song and video. It was gentle to say the least, and was a perfect starter to the Legs & Co main course to follow.

    Indeed Legs & Co came with sexy outfits, sexy eyes and sexy everything else. Probably their skimpiest appearance since Night Fever and Lets All Chant in 1978. We really did not need to see Dr Hook today when these lovely ladies can entertain us like this. Bravo ladies, see you next week for more.

    Interestingly, this was to be Dr Hook's last goodbye to the UK charts in a fabulous career starting with Sylvia's Mother in 1972 till Sexy Eyes in 1980, and although there were more single releases in 1980, they never really troubled the charts again, so you could say that their last appearance on TOTP was this sexy Legs & Co performance seen on this 10th April show.

    So in the space of a couple of weeks, we said goodbye and goodnight to The Dooleys and Dr Hook for a fabulous contribution to the UK charts during the 70s but who began to wobble in the new 80s decade, as their music was no longer in fashion, but there could be no better way to bow out than for Legs & Co to take make the final goodbye for Dr Hook, and we shall never see their like again (both Legs & Co and Dr Hook).

  9. Just heard the sad news that Ben E King passed away today at the age of 76. He will be missed, especially for his hit Stand By Me which found a revival in the late 1980s to go back to the top ten.

    1. shaky shakerson1 May 2015 at 11:12

      Yes - very sad news. I still have a copy of the album he made with the Average White Band - Benny & Us, and his vocals on Star In The Ghetto and Fool For You Anyway are just goosebumpingly gorgeous.

    2. Christmas 1986 (I think) we had Ben E King and the Drifters at our works do. A lucky booking by our event organiser. Little did she - or the Drifters - know when she booked them earlier in the year that the Levis Jeans ad would send Stand By Me to number 1 and rocket Ben E King back into the limelight. To his credit, he honoured the booking.

    3. I remember Ben's second stint with The Drifters from '82 to '86, during which time he traded lead vocals with the equally missed Johnny Darrow Moore on the cabaret, variety and TV light entertainment circuits. At one point they were reduced to appearing on 'The Little and Large Show' about a year before the success of the reissued 'Stand By Me' enabled Ben to break free once more. He will be greatly missed.

    4. I would think that Eddie Large was pivotal to their revival in the UK, and it may not have been a case of 'reduced to appearing', but rather the contrary, as Little and large commanded huge TV ratings at the time, and just below the soaps.

    5. Strange that Percy Sledge and Ben E King should pass away within a few weeks of each other - their names always tend to be linked in my mind, as I remember Stand By Me and When a Man Loves a Woman being in the charts at about the same time in 1987, following the Levi's-inspired re-release of both songs. RIP.

  10. Is it me, or does that screen shot up top make Feargal Sharkey look like kd lang?

  11. Talking of being beaten at Subbuteo, did anyone on here have Striker? It was a five- or six-a-side game played on a pitch with a large ribbon as the barrier, the goalies' top halves swivelled 360 degrees so they could throw the ball out to players (but, invariably, they'd end up throwing the ball into their own net) and the players actually kicked by means of a metal strip leading from the head to a cog at the top of the kicking foot via a long neck - you pressed the head down, and the further and harder you pushed the neck the further and quicker the ball would go but, if you mis-pressed or were too forceful, your player would end up with a head at 90 degrees to the rest of his body.

    The other lesser known but celebrated song about Subbuteo (and the whole song's about it) is "All I Want For Christmas Is Dukla Prague Away Kit" by footie mad indie band Half Man Half Biscuit, who famously turned down an appearance on "The Tube" because it clashed with a Friday night home game at their beloved (and now ex- Football League) club Tranmere Rovers.

    1. i may have mentioned this before, but in my youth my chums and i played games of subbuteo of 3 records per half, with each player picking in turn. so whoever was losing when it came to their last pick inevitably chose a longer track - "won't get fooled again" (off "the story of the who" double LP) was by far the lengthiest at our disposal, so got played nearly every match!

    2. ... and of course whoever was winning would probably choose a short track as their final pick! however, as we were into funk and disco rather than punk that meant we were not spoiled for choice in that regard. it was probably just as well that napalm death weren't around then, otherwise someone might have bought an LP of theirs just for that reason!

  12. I noticed that the Saturday night repeat was the same as the edited Thursday 7.30pm showing. I really don't understand why the Saturday night repeat is also edited out.

  13. Hope Neil b or some one has the 17 April 80 totp edition

  14. I didn't think much of this week's show. For the first time since he appeared, Bates was far too slimy for me. Constantly getting facts wrong was also annoying (but unsurprising)
    The music was a bit average too.

    The Undertones track most definitely didn't come into that category though, like most here I love it. Such a shame that Feargal Sharkey has become such an old misery. Also a shame that my favourite of theirs, 'Wednesday Week' will I imagine not feature due to being released during the strike.

    I played 'Silver Dream Machine' on my show the other week and was surprised at how much I liked it. The video is super cheesy, although it features some lovely Donington Park footage in the days before the circuit was ruined.

    I remember finding out that someone where I worked years ago was a fan of Saxon, they never lived that one down. The performance on this show demonstrates why.

    Pretty sure that my Dad had the Sky album but it didn't get played very often. Certainly not when I was in control of the cassette player!
    The performance looked a bit like we'd all just wandered in on some middle aged men jamming in a pub.

    I'm so glad that Trevor Horn decided to do a bit of production shortly after this given that there really was only one good Buggles song as far as I'm concerned.

    Nice effort by the production team to try to recreate the Doctor Who title sequence at the end. Presumably they were just checking that the cameras and effects were all working and that Bates hadn't broken them with his ugly mug.

  15. Well I thought that Simes seemed quite enthusiastic and entertaining here, but I will bow the the superior knowledge of those who were more familiar with his output back in the day! But he did confuse me at the end - I was racking my brain trying to think of the Four Tops' version of Working My Way Back To You! This was also a good show for real cymbal spotting (Saxon & Sky).

    The Undertones have gone back to basics compared to their last single and Feargal's impassioned delivery made me think he should have opted for a live vocal. It was probably time constraints (like, "Do you want to record a TOTP performance tomorrow?") which prevented the preparation of a special backing tape for this purpose.

    Oh no not Dr. Hook AGAIN... but wait! Now this was much better than seeing Beardie, Eyepatch and that goofy guitarist with the specs and 'tache. Why didn't they think of this before?

    I'm afraid that, while I find it quite listenable, this metal stuff sounds much of a muchness to me. Wheels Of Steel is just another formulaic AC/DC-type rocker which I can differentiate only when it gets to the chorus. Judas Priest's Living After Midnight, on the other hand, has a more 'pop' feel and I've always rated it.

    The only other band to cover Toccata that I can think of is the Toy Dolls.

    Was Sad Café a repeat? If so I previously missed that bit where clearly the intention was for Paul to toss his guitar away nonchalantly, but in practice waits for his unseen roadie to appear at the side of the stage and then it is visibly caught at the edge of the picture.

    This was the Bodysnatchers performance I remember, where the drummer lady taps away listlessly before turning round and conducting the band!

    And the the Buggles with a real period piece. I've no idea what that video game was but it was an amazing piece of nostalgia, from the time when we marvelled at such cutting-edge technology!

    1. Relic, you'll be pleased to know that this was Dr Hook's last ever appearance on TOTP, and their last top 40 hit in the UK, as we say goodbye and good night to them for the last time in our charts, and sweet dreams with Legs & Co.

    2. Classical violinist and professional skiier (yeah, right) Vanessa-Mae had a No.16 hit with 'Toccata and Fugue' in 1995.

    3. Dory - I'll miss them when they're gone!


    4. I actually would have liked to have seen Dr Hook on TOTP one more time with the follow up single 'Years from now' which was one of those that didn't make the top 40. I find this quite inexplicable as its Its one of my favourites of theirs. If you look on YT there is a video of it with Dennis Locorriere singing in front of a roaring fire and some of the comments bear testament to the fact that this song was worth more than its measely peak of no. 47.

    5. As a matter of fact, Dr Hook followed up Sexy Eyes with Years From Now in August 1980 which bizarrely only made it to no.47 when you consider the the roaring fire video.

      A further two singles were released in November 1980, which only just touched No.40 and they were not in the UK to appear on TOTP, and promo videos were only shown on TOTP if inside the top 30, and so alas there was no TOTP action in any way shape or form for Dr Hook after Sexy Eyes, which was their last appearance on the show, albeit with Legs & Co who really could not be more sexy with that appearance.

  16. Just prior to the Sky performance on TOTP I watched a programme called ‘Countdown to the Festival’ which starred Tristan Fry. It was basically him trying to get some small scale music festivals up and running as I recall. The opening featured Tristan playing all sorts of percussion. “It’s him” I recall exclaiming when Sky came on and in this (mimed) rendition he really does bash the living daylights out of the drums and cymbals. Didn’t this music feature in the film ‘Rollerball’? (although not the Sky version).
    Simon Bates introduces ‘Sad Café’ as ‘Sad Ca-fee’ whereas I always pronounce it ‘Sad Caffee’ (as in ‘coffee’). Is there a right or a wrong way or is it just regional accents?
    The Jam are now down to number three (and tumbling – had all those ‘limited edition’ copies run out in the shops?) whilst the excruciating Liquid Gold are still at number two and get yet more exposure (albeit on the chart rundown).
    I’m with the ‘yes’ crowd for ‘Silver Dream Racer’. David Essex looks as moody as ever as he is superimposed on the motorcycle racing clips. Playing his Greatest Hits album on a long car journey is a treat in diverse styles as opposed to (say) a Status Quo greatest hits album which is not.

    1. i think the pronounciation of "café" is not so much a regional thing as a class thing (i don't suppose slimy was brought up on a sink estate!). and also a period thing - probably due to the acute e not being used much back in those days, i seem to remember saying it CAFF-ay (a bit like a cockney saying the posh word for the country that is china!) in my youth, but now i would always say caff-AY (which is how the french would pronounce it, although many identical english words of french origin have different pronounciations). the word itself has now actually become a bit passe (or is that passé?), as such establishments now tend to use the more cool and trendy american-influenced "coffee shop"...

  17. I found that the most difficult to watch TOTP in this re-run, due to a squirming performance by Bates – Sky “Rocking”? Songs played on the crystal set? Sad Caff “almost around” him? The horror routine schmuck? What medication was he on? – and ridiculous overuse of those bloody picture effects.

    Loads of full stops left over in the Letraset this week, as seen by two dots for U.B.40 and one for Dr. Hook, plus a full stop after Siouxsie and the Banshees.

    If “Silver Dream Machine" was on now, Bates would have had to mention the speed as 208 kilometres per hour. Seeing as there was a mod revival, I was half expecting Phil Daniels’ bike in the race sequence. Ooh look! Cigarette advertising on that Marlboro hoarding! How did that get through today’s censors?

    Apparently, there was some tune in the background while Legs & Co were on, ruined slightly by more sodding Brady Bunch effects. This week’s homework – compare and contrast sultry Patti with smiley Rosie in less than 25,000 words.

    Saxon with the second motorbike song of the night – poor scheduling, that. Should have run it straight after David Essex for more effect.

    Did The Bodysnatchers’ drummer really want to be there? For some reason, the musicians’ mentions in the song reminded me of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s “The Intro and the Outro”.

    And there go Buggles with a song which really should have been called “Clang Clang”, such was its influence on the chart and their career.

  18. Late again (slapped wrists all round)...

    A bit of an strange show this week, and odd mix of tunes and Simon Bates getting everything wrong but carrying obliviously like a bespectacled Alan Partridge. I note the Bodysnatchers have become singular this week in the rundown.

    The Undertones, totally brilliant although I didn't buy this at the time but eventually bought all their singles and all their albums. A good performance although rather too many extreme close ups of Fergal.

    I had completely forgotten this David Essex song until I heard it, and it's nothing special although as the highest climber it clearly had a lot of fans.I just looked up the film and it has a good cast including Harry H Corbett.

    Sexy Eyes is a good number for Legs to dance to and it works, sometimes they do get it right.

    I had no time for metal bands like Saxon back in 1980 but now it seems perfectly acceptable.

    I equally had no time for Sky at the time although as Julie points out above all the members were highly experienced session musicians and composers in their own right. I have a few library music albums by Kevin Peek and Francis Monkman and of course the latter did the them music to The Long Good Friday (I'm a fan as you can probably tell from my user photo).

    Sad Cafe seemed to have no idea what their fans wanted. Every Day Hurts was such a great song but the follow up singles were nowhere near as good and it doesn't help that the band seemed to change their image with each performance. The guitar hurling was beyond parody.

    Now I love The Bodysnatchers single but this performance was even worse than the last one, it's almost as though they're slightly embarrassed by the song and are overdoing the stage antics to make up for it. My mate was a big fan of the follow up group The Belle Stars, he joined their fan club and was supposedly in one of their videos but I never spotted him.

    I liked this Buggles song although their next single Elstree, a paean to the film studios, was even better. Ironically Silver Dream Racer was the last film made by Rank at Elstree Studios before it was sold off and eventually demolished (it's a Tescos now).

    The Detroit Spinners get to number one at last, a shame it wasn't with an original song. I missed what slimy Simon said about Rubberband Man at the end

    Secret Affair seems an odd song to play out with and not seeing the band I suddenly notice that the strings sound slightly out of key.