Thursday, 25 June 2015

Are You Getting Enough Top of the Pops?

Rarely have the BBC4 repeats of Top of the Pops been in perfect synchronicity with now, indeed most of the time we've found ourselves lagging a few weeks behind, but now thanks to a combination of a musician's union strike from 35 years ago and the impending season of the Proms in July 2015, we find ourselves leaping two months ahead into the new era of August 1980......

Now remember Elton, whatever you do, don't mention you tried to kill disco.....

7-8-80: Presenters: Peter Powell & Elton John

(26) THE PIRANHAS – Tom Hark
There's no chart rundown at the beginning of the show any more, instead we get preview clips of the acts who are going to appear accompanied by the return of the legendary sound of Whole Lotta Love. Then it's straight into the first act which on this bumper comeback show is the Piranhas, complete with bare chested fish playing drummer (had he escaped from Liquid Gold?) on their way to their only top ten hit.

 (2) DIANA ROSS – Upside Down (video)
Weird video where Diana sort of dances between stills of herself but never sings ~ the first of two top ten hits for her in 1980.

 (9) ROXY MUSIC – Oh Yeah (On The Radio)
Edited out of the 7.30 show ~ catch the full edition tonight on BBC4 at 11.45pm

 (16) LEGS & CO dance to TOM BROWNE's Funkin’ For Jamaica
The ladies return in multi-coloured undergarments, whilst their names are spelt out on screen in case everyone's forgotten who they are, for a routine in front of the new enthusiastic studio audience helping Tom Browne to his only top ten hit. Then comes the first half of the new style chart rundown, complete with Peter Powell commentary and Whole Lotta Love.

 (21) HOT CHOCOLATE – Are You Getting Enough Of What Makes You Happy
It seems like only a couple of weeks ago we saw them taking No Doubt About It to number two, now here they are already with the follow up, which made it to 17.

 (29) KELLY MARIE – Feels Like I’m In Love
Here's Kelly, bringing along her own male dancers, with a song Elvis might have sung, and to be fair you could easily imagine him doing it, but would he have taken it to number one, like Kelly was soon to do?

 (7) THE GAP BAND – Oops Upside Your Head (video)
With such terrible sound quality you wonder whether this video did any favours for this classic dance song, which peaked at number 6.

 (14) THE GIBSON BROTHERS – Marianna
There's no doubt Top of the Pops has well and truly entered the 80's now ~ enthusiastic balloon waving audience, Legs & Co dancing in the crowd, no tipsy orchestra or backing singers, band miming unashamedly to the record ~ but for the Gibson Brothers Marianna was to be their final top 20 hit.

 (3) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (danced to by Legs & Co)
All three June/July number ones were edited out of the 7.30 show, starting with this Legs routine that was recorded for the 9th July pilot.

Edited out.

 (63) DON McLEAN – Crying (video)
Edited out. Although it turns out that only short clips of these three number ones were shown.

 (5) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5
Sheena was featured in the documentary series Big Time, which followed various people trying to break into show business, and it paid off for her quite handsomely ~ 9 To 5 made it to number 3 in the UK and went on to top the American charts, though under the title of Morning Train.

 (15) BAD MANNERS – Lip Up Fatty
Perform the second of four hits for the group in 1980, in their own unique manner, now at its peak in the charts.

Now Peter takes us through the Top 10 rundown, featuring short clips of each song:

 (10) GEORGE BENSON – Give Me The Night (video)
The first of two top ten hits for George in 1980, peaking at number 7.

 (9) ROXY MUSIC – Oh Yeah (On The Radio) (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Their follow up to Over You, which also made it to number 5.

 (8) BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – Could You Be Loved (live clip)
Peaked at number 5.

 (7) THE GAP BAND – Oops Upside Your Head (video)
Peaked at number 6.

 (6) KATE BUSH – Babooshka (video)
Shame the strike robbed us of the full version of this one, peaked at number 5.

 (5) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5 (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Made it to number 3.

 (4) LEO SAYER – More Than I Can Say (video)
Didn't quite make it to number one' ~ peaked at two.

 (3) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (clip of Legs & Co TOTP 7-8-80)
Their only number one hit.

 (2) DIANA ROSS – Upside Down (video)
At its chart peak.

 (1) ABBA – The Winner Takes It All (video)
A new number one for a new era, and with an apt title given the demise of the TOTPs orchestra ~ a real classic here from Abba and the eighth of nine number ones for the band.

 (10) GEORGE BENSON – Give Me The Night (crowd dancing) (and credits)
No swirly images any more to end the show with, instead we get lots of colourful 80's kids filling the dance floor.

Next week then it's August 14th 1980 presented by Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey


  1. Was Pete observing all those other jumpsuits on tonight's edition with envious eyes? Maybe he got some fashion ideas?

    The Piranhas, I've heard of fish fingers but never fish drumsticks. One of the most 1980-looking blokes ever, that lead singer. This was an African tune they were performing (with different lyrics), wasn't it?

    Diana Ross, Elton is right here in that the Chic mixes were toned down, but it was the record company who ordered it because (and this is a running theme in Nile Rogers' autobiography) the suits thought it sounded "too black". Fortunately it still sound pretty great, the whole Diana album does in fact. The less said about the cobbled together video the better - would Miss Ross wish to forget about the unintentionally hilarious Mahogany (the movie, not the theme)?

    Roxy Music, employing that can't miss trick of lyrics about the radio, thus ensuring it will be extensively played there. Everyone in short-sleeved shirts from Marks and Sparks, it looked like.

    Legs & Co in full on "tee hee, I forgot my clothes!" mode, Pauline using the odd stockings trick. Nice laid back tune from Tom, very summery, though you had to be careful how you pronounced the title.

    Are you getting enough, ask Hot Chocolate, then hastily add, "happiness?" Even by Errol's standards those were snug trousers. Not a bad electro-funk workout, but not one of their finest.

    Kelly Marie, first of two Scots lassies on the show, and both of them in jumpsuits. My theory is that it's the "boo-boo!" percussion that stuck in record buyers' minds. Can't imagine the King would have put up with that.

    The Gap Band helpfully illustrating how their song would have sounded on medium wave radio. No matter that it's a new look, the TOTP tradition of crappy concert footage continued.

    The Gibson Brothers, nice melodious disco and the most obvious pointer to where 80s TOTP was heading.

    Sheena Easton, she of no fixed accent, before Prince got his hands on her. Very catchy tune, this, and she certainly had a... loud voice.

    Bad Manners, with Buster making Gene Simmons' tongue look positively tiny. That overexcited audience member in the white T-shirt went into overdrive on this one.

    ABBA, with a song that sounds like it's a ballad, but races ahead at uncommon speed as if they were in a hurry. You can tell it was now the 80s because Anna-Frid had her hair dyed that dark cherry red colour.

    Very much a settling in episode, but nice to see the audience dancing (or being ordered to dance) and those ubiquitous studio balloons already making their presence felt. Sir Elton wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated, but still wasn't all that necessary.

    1. Correct about The Piranhas - that was a vocalised cover of a number 2 hit in 1958 for Elias and his Zig Zag Jive Flutes.

    2. Going back to The Piranhas, the sleeve of this single wouldn’t get past the PC brigade now, as it featured cartoon Black and White Minstrels, only with white faces and black lips.

      A friend of mine saw The Piranhas at the university he studied at – they finished their set, said they didn’t have any more songs, asked if they could play the whole set again and got a resounding “yes”!

    3. I checked out the Piranhas' record sleeve and it doesn't look that bad, just stylised (with red lips). It's not exactly a Scorpions' album sleeve (my benchmark for seriously wrong artwork).

    4. yes, the front covers of the scorpions' albums came over as somewhat sexist and misogynistic. but when you looked at the back of them it was evident that there was some tongue-in-cheek going on. although maybe i shouldn't, i can't help but snigger at the "animal magnetism" one where a young good-looking woman is kneeling next to a dog with an expectant look (the woman that is, not the dog) whilst facing some beer-drinking dude standing with his back towards us. but on the back, the woman stays put whilst the dog moves in! and who says that germans don't have a sense of humour (no matter how perverted)?

  2. shaky shakerson26 June 2015 at 01:47

    My, how time flies. Not just the 35 years since this first aired, but the seven weeks of the musician's union strike. But we are back and its all new and bright and shining and exciting and. . . . well, actually just a little dull.

    Old Smile-In-The-Voice gets the honour of hosting alongside a faintly embarrassed-looking Sir Reg Of Pinner. And first up is the Piranhas with a song which must have one of the longest intros to any song.

    Diana Ross with a Chic-by-numbers Upside Down - not one of the best for either party, followed by Roxy Music with one of my favourites of theirs.

    The Leggers with a selection of Anne Summers new collection of, ahem, bedroom wear. Love Funkin' For Jamaica. Wasn't there a pastiche of this with someone impersonating Alan Whicker (Gotta get interviewed)? Or have I just imagined that?

    Hot Choc with Errol sporting very tight pants and very pointy pointy shoes. A bit of a boring tune though. Kelly Marie wearing a jump suit that is baggy enough for one of her dancers to climb into alongside her.

    Oh look Elton's back - and he's changed clothes. Still looks awkward though as he introduces the classic Oops Upside Your Head. Despite the awful sound the concert footage looked good, although why someone in the audience was waving a walking stick is beyond me. And this is not a patch on their follow-up Burn Rubber On Me.

    The Gibson Bros accompanied by The Leggers, hundreds of balloons and one of the most active audiences we have seen.

    A brief interlude now while PP helpfully tells us what we missed during the show's hiatus before introducing Sheena Easton, a product of Esther Rantzen's short-lived desire to be a pop puppet master.

    Bad Manners do Lip Up Fatty and it's clear that this lot are a one trick pony with a short shelf life. Then we have another new section - the top ten with blink-and-you'll-miss-it excerpts before Abba's glorious The Winner Takes It All. This is actually a heart-breaking song and video and, for me, is their peak.
    So. . . the show gets a 6 which could have been a 9 had they played Dexys, Change, Joan Armatrading, and Gene Chandler. Elton picks up a 3 for being intolerably useless whilst PP drops points left right and centre for numerous things ( calling Miss Bush KATIE being chief amongst them ) and for once again wearing a jump suit. He gets a 4 and should consider himself fortunate to get that.

    1. Diana Ross's 'Upside Down' is one of her greatest hits, and I do mean it! I remember Michael Jackson duetting the song with her on a US TV show that was broadcast on ITV circa '81, in a late-night slot.

      The parody of "Funkin' For Jamaica" that you mention was The Evasions' "Wikka Wrap", on which songwriter Graham de Wilde - the composer of the real Whicker's 1980s BBC TV theme tune - impersonated the legendary broadcaster. The single, which was performed on TOTP in '81 and reached No.20, referenced Chic's "Good Times" as well as Tom Browne's smash.

    2. it was 9 weeks (ie all of June and July) - PP only mentioned 7 weeks' worth of Number 1s, but you need to add the last 2 of the M*A*S*H's 3 week run

    3. Shaky, I agree it was a real shame they didn't have Dexy's Midnight Runners superb follow up to Geno called There There My Dear, which would have been a superb TOTP studio performance, but as a consolation you can collect the promo video for the July 1980 top 20 hit There There My Dear on iTunes which is a well spent £1.89 for any retro music video collectors like myself.

      It is definitely right up there as a superb hit alongside Geno and Come On Eileen, but I don't think it would have made No.1, even if TOTP was on air in July 1980 and could take them in the studio.

      The same goes for UB40's My Way Of Thinking peaking in July, also had no TOTP showing, but is also nicely taken care of by iTunes for anyone's collection.

      Dexy's and UB40, like ELO, Darts, Lipps Inc, Paul McCartney and Olivia Newton John had no June/July TV exposure from the BBC to bolster their chart performance, but thankfully 35 years later there are other means of watching their superb promo videos on Utube or collecting some of them for your music library on iTunes.

  3. So, we at last enter the brave new world of post-strike, post-Orchestra TOTP. The atmosphere and the audience certainly felt livelier, and the sets more expansive and ambitious, while the new style of chart rundown is more useful and informative than the old. However, this is clearly a show in transition at this point; some of the editing was decidedly shaky, and PP doesn't seem especially comfortable with the new format, particularly when telling us what is coming up at the start. Indeed, I thought Elton did a better job of introducing the acts, and was refreshingly frank in expressing his opinion that the original mixes for the Diana album are superior to the released version (having heard the original version of My Old Piano recently, I have to say I don't agree with him). Still, when you're a multi-millionaire pop star, and not employed by the BBC, I guess you can say what you like...

    The music itself was of decidedly mixed quality. The Piranhas got things off to a jaunty start, but the song and the performance were both a bit irritating - why were there so many wacky drummers around in 1980? Upside Down is one of Miss Ross' best, though the amateurish video rather detracted from the quality of the song. Back in the studio, Roxy turned in a typically classy performance, with an excellent song that for me ranks, along with their cover of Jealous Guy, as the best single of their second coming. Bit of a shock not to see Bryan wearing a tie, though...

    The show certainly seemed keen to big up the return of Legs after their enforced 2 month lay off, though ironically the arrival of Michael Hurll would effectively spell the beginning of the end for them. I can't say their dance to the boring Funkin' For Jamaica was especially memorable, though it was interesting to see them used on stage to lead the dancing for The Gibson Brothers' performance in the same manner as their successors Zoo would be deployed by Hurll in the years to come. Indeed, the staging of Marianna, with the balloons and the audience surrounding the stage, effectively serves notice about where the show would be heading from this point.

    The Scottish lasses both gave slick turns, though I can't say I like either song much. Kelly Marie's voice grates in particular, and the synth drums on the record get on my nerves. 9 to 5 is a bit too squeaky clean for my tastes, and when I hear it I am always reminded of the Not the 9 o'clock News parody where Rowan Atkinson is driven to murder the perky Pamela "Sheena" Stephenson while she trills a very similar-sounding ditty! I think Modern Girl is the better song, and it's therefore ironic that it initially tanked while 9 to 5 became an immediate big hit. Hot Chocolate's effort was also rather mediocre, and certainly not in the same league as their previous hit, while I have never liked Oops Upside Your Head much - the awful sound and picture quality of the video did not help me to warm to it on this hearing!

    Happily, there is an all-time classic at number 1. The Winner Takes it All is Abba's masterpiece, and taken as a whole the Super Trouper album saw them reach the summit of their fantastic career. Nice that we got the video in full too, before the audience dance a bit awkwardly to George Benson, with one of the very few songs of his that I can willingly listen to, overfond as he was of fiddly jazzy noodling and improv. A shame though that ONJ/ELO and Odyssey didn't get their former chart-toppers played in full, as both are great pop tunes, and deserved one proper airing on the show.

    1. I liked George Benson a lot after hearing the Love Songs album in the mid 80s, it included this song and quite a few others. He's a great ballad singer.

    2. Yes, I agree he does ballads well - I like his version of The Greatest Love of All.

    3. I preferred "Nature Boy", as well as "Supership" when he was known as George 'Bad' Benson.

    4. I remember the Not the Nine O'Clock News team's parody of '9 to 5':
      SHEENA (Dr Pamela Connolly): 'He takes me to a movie, to a restaurant...'
      HUSBAND (Rowan Atkinson): Look, I've had a hard day, I'm very tired...
      SHEENA: 'My baby takes the morning train...'
      HUSBAND: No, I don't! I've been taking the bus for 15 years!

    5. Also George was better at scat singing than Scatman John. There, I said it, I went there.

    6. There is a great clip of Odyssey doing Use it Up from MusikLaden (German TV) on Youtube. It's a shame they didn't use that.

    7. John G. You're so right about 'The Winner takes it all'. I've just (belatedly) watched this episode and strike me, when the Abba song started up I had a real shiver down my spine as the familiar intro played over those b&w stills and then ran into the still poignant video with Agnetha in the striking red trouser outfit. What I liked about this TOTP showing was that they played the whole song...yes, even the fade out. Previous number ones such as 'Fernando' and 'The Name of the game' had been regularly cruelly chopped. Here we see 'winner' in its full glory. A stunning, timeless record knocking spots off everything else on this show (even some of the good records!).

  4. I really don't like the new format without the chart at the beginning, and the 'coming up' menu is horrible, I want it to look live not recorded. not a good start.

    Elton was only 33 here but looks about 60 in his tweed jacket and old school tie. And why does he keep talking in a West country accent? Perhaps it's to go with his tweedy farmer look.

    I bought the Piranhas single and loved it to bits. The drummer looks like a ripped Jimmy Carr which isn't a bad thing if you like Jimmy Carr. And plastic fish.

    The last time they used those clips of Diana Ross was to accompany her last big hit Love Hangover in 1976. Come on Di love make a proper video for Christsakes.

    The format is already fractured. The Piranhas get a end caption with chart placing but Di doesn't, oh well. Useful tit bit about Upside Down from EJ but he ruins it by forgetting the full title of Roxy Music's song. PP saves it with a curiously overdubbed 'The Radio'.

    Oh Yeah On The Radio is a superb song but Roxy are an odd band with zero stage charisma and Bryan stands like he's shat himself. But the band get and end caption, so it looks like - in the studio: end caption, on video: no end caption.

    There are an amazing number of black soul, jazz-funk and disco songs in the charts in 1980 and I had forgotten about this superb Tom Browne track. He has a Stevie Wonder-like tinge to his voice combined with that lovely trumpet. Legs do a sexy, sassy routine and four years too late the girls finally get on screen name credits.

    And now The Charts with Whole Lotta Love or at least part of it. Oh dear what a mess.

    Erroll's back in the shiny tight trousers going down funky disco avenue. A slightly dated keyboard sound but a funky, groove all the same and the crowd seem to like it.

    Interesting to see that there are no camera pans from host to band or fades, it is cut from host to band/video and back again. I personally don't like it because again as with the menu it takes away the live feel which I thought was what they were striving for.

    The Chart Part Two. Oh no. And then a strangely truncated Kelly Marie. I have to declare an interest here because I know the guy who played bass on, not this song, but the less successful follow up Hot Love, so I can't really slag it off. In case you didn't catch her name she very usefully has it on a chain round her neck. The male dancers are straight out of Hot Gossip but probably not straight.

    Oh no Elton's back wearing a hideous bottle green leather jacket. My mum's auntie had one just like it.

    The Gap Band on video which sounds like it was recorded underwater. Shades of T-Connection (remember them?).
    Hang on, they are on video but the DO get an end caption. Confused? I know I am.

    At last the 'party' atmosphere gets going. Sort of. Balloons, streamers and, er naff dancing and the cameras still mowing down the crowd. Not the best Gibson Bros track but a worthy follow up to the previous hits but, hey Peter they're not really playing live. Where's the trumpet player?

    The Number Ones we missed, or at least clips of two of them and an unused Legs clip. And then Sheena Easton hitting the Big Time in a green jump suit. She thinks she's cool but she was always a bit cheesy and as I said last time not a million miles from Lena Zavaroni.

    Buster Bloodvessel copies Sheena by wearing a boiler suit only looking a lot cooler. Fantastic! This is probably the best thing on the show. I bought this at the time and the album.

    The Top Ten with clips including THAT clip of Leo Sayer in Brighton AGAIN. Come on Leo make a proper video for Christsakes.

    ABBA on video which Ive seen zillions of times and then George Good Benson with a decidedly odd looking crowd being forced to dance at gun point with a single static camera pointed at them. That girl at the front looks like someone's mum. What is she wearing?

    All in all a huge disappointment. The show looks flat and hurriedly put together.

    1. The menu thing at the start wasn't even a new idea - the Christmas editions had been doing that for years - but I'm glad Whole Lotta Love is back for a year before the Yellow Pearl era begins

    2. That's true but the Christmas shows were mostly disappointing (with a couple of exceptions) and this has the same over-edited, flat feel. If they show a menu at the start with clips of what's to come it takes away the live atmosphere which I thought was what they were striving for.

    3. I agree with you Bama that the show did feel over-edited and flat. The strike ended on 1st August, which would have given them about 5 days to put the show together, and maybe that shorter window of time helped to contribute to the rather clunky feel. It will be interesting to see if the next edition is more slickly edited.

    4. bama i always thought it was a woman singing on "funkin' for jamaica" and i've just confirmed that via wiki. if i were her i wouldn't be happy about mr browne taking all the credit for her efforts, as (unless he's one of the dudes talking street-jive) his input seems limited to the intro and a tiny bit of muted trumpet at the end...

    5. You're right the singer is a woman called Tonni Smith. Tom Browne is the trumpet player.

      That's the thing about jazz funk records, they take their lead from jazz bands of old where the band leader gets top billing and often the vocalist was mentioned as an after thought. I still think she sounds a bit like Stevie Wonder.

    6. when tom browne wasn't hitting the heights with his trumpet playing, he was hitting the heights as a professional aeroplane pilot. hence the cover artwork and awful-attempt-at-punning title ("love approach") for the album this track came from...

  5. Yes, I know – I’m nearly two days early this week!

    Elton John from the days when he was on TOTP as many times presenting as he was for each of his singles. Meow!

    I didn’t like the “coming up tonight” bit, as it spoiled the suspense of waiting to see who was on – but I guess it helped if you didn’t like (m)any of the acts on the show so you could pop off and do something else.

    The Piranhas were a good party start to the new era, and I like the band’s white gloves motif. Maybe the fish drumsticks symbolised the band’s founding on the south coast in or near Brighton?

    So, we had Diana Ross as the first video for the re-runs four (FOUR!) years ago, and she was the first video artist for the new era. If I’d been a DJ, I’d have segued “Upside Down” with Odyssey’s “Inside Out” and Willie Hutch’s 1982 number 51 hit “In And Out”. Hope Bama would approve.

    Had Bryan Ferry been ill, then? Sounds like it from Peter’s back announcement. Amazing how many acts tried to butter up DJ’s with ‘radio’ songs. Still, for every class one like Harry Chapin’s “W.O.L.D.” there’d be a Charlie Dore “Pilot Of The Airwaves”.

    Wahay! Well worth a nine week wait for Legs & Co’s outfits (fave Legger Patti, fave colour yellow - jackpot!), and wonderful close-up camera work at one stage of Lulu from, erm, not the front. Mind you, I preferred the other Tom Browne, the superb top 20 chart countdown host on Sunday afternoons.

    Terrible countdown work by Peter, rattling the acts off in the style of a cattle market auctioneer, followed first time round by a weak follow-up from Hot Chocolate, and no doubt about it. Boom boom tish!

    At least Kelly Marie’s dancers weren’t as scary as those in Boystown Gang. I feel a sort of affinity with this song as it was written by Ray Dorset, founder of Mungo Jerry and, to my knowledge, the only chart topper from my home town of Ashford, Middlesex.

    Oops! See what I did there? The Gap Band with a sound system like a tinny one earpiece tranny. Bit of a gap (ho ho) in magnitude between sound and vision on their clip.

    “Make the audience earn their ticket”? I can almost see Michael Hurll with a bullwhip forcing the audience to enjoy The Gibson Brothers, apart from that woman sitting down who got an even closer close-up of Lulu’s arse.

    Now for the bit that infuriated me. No mention of two missed weeks at the top for The Mash, followed by three strike-hit number ones allocated a whopping 24 seconds of clips between them (almost half of that for Don McLean, and only because the song was morgue slow), which clocked in three seconds less than that clip discussing plastic Scot Sheena Easton’s previous single dropping two places! Absolutely piss poor. I gave Sheena less viewing time than TOTP gave ONJ as a result.

    I stomached Bad Manners with Michelin Man on vocals (or, as Peter called them, Dougie and the crew) for about ten seconds, which was still longer than I gave Esther’s big hope. Probably a very good live band, and I’ll leave it at that.

    An amateurish top ten clip for Roxy Music, showing a studio performance of their previous single. Gutted we missed Kat(i)e Bush in an intriguing outfit, and alarmed at Agnetha’s awful blue eye make-up and an intro to the verses which sounds to me like Perry Como’s “And I Love You So”. As for those outro dancers, bring back the fisheye lens.

    SO, the new format was very much a work in progress. Let’s see if next week’s guest presenter’s any better for a start. Ah….

    1. Woah there, Pilot of the Airwaves is a really nice, wistful song. Perfect for hearing at two o'clock in the morning on Nightride.

    2. You're right, Charlie Dore's offering isn't bad in consideration. Mind you, it still only made the mid-60's despite loads of airplay and a Radio 1 jingle.

    3. I love songs about radio shows/deejays. One of the earliest is Richard Harris' Hymns From The Grand Terrace (written by Jim Webb) which goes "There was a DJ in LA, Who we used to tune in at night to hear our favorite song, We always heard it at the perfect time, Upon the hill we climbed". Superb!

    4. Another good one is Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) by Reunion, notable for being impossible to perform at karaoke.

      If you really want a pandering load of old "pleeease play this" rubbish, listen no further than Our Radio Rocks by Ant and Dec.

    5. don't forget "i love my radio" by taffy. or to give it its correct title (for a million points, as a certain disc jockey and totp presenter might might say): "i love my radio (midnight radio)". despite having the radio mentioned twice in its proper title it still bombed to my recollection...

    6. Au contraire, Taffy had a pretty big hit with I Love My Radio (number 6 in the UK chart), but her follow up did indeed bomb and she disappeared off the face of the planet as far as I know.

      Pity, it's one of those catchy little tunes that were all over the radio at the time (hmm, wonder why?) and now you never hear it. I don't even think Sara Cox has played it on a Saturday night.

    7. thx i knew i should have dome some more research on taffy before submitting the above comment!

    8. That's all right, it's just that I always liked to hear it on the radio back in the mid-80s and I get nostalgic to think of it!

    9. Arthur, I was thinking the same about Legs & Co coming back with their stocking and suspenders after the lengthy break, and I too was looking at the yellow colours all the time, so Patti and Pauline hit the jackpot this week, especially Patti who would have raised the blood pressure even for me as a 12-year old in 1980, and why not?

    10. Dory, imagine the joy and blood pressure of an 18-year-old watching new fave Patti (after Cherry) at the time. Nurse, the tablets! :-D

    11. For me this link is Patti's finest moment, albeit in 1976 just before the Legs & Co era:

  6. Guys anybody know how many more episodes till BBC4 takes the "proms" Break -

    1. Well the Proms begin on the 17th July, so we'll probably get another two editions in before then, three at a push.

    2. I believe BBC4's first Thursday night Proms broadcast is on 30 July, so we will probably get 3 more shows before the break.

  7. Bryan Ferry's illness PP refers to was a kidney infection and Roxy had to cancel some dates of their tour in Spain and Portugal in July.

    Their support band on the UK part of the tour was Martha And The Muffins and of course Martha Ladley was later part of Roxy's line up singing backing vocals on Avalon.

    1. Oh Yeah by Roxy Music deservedly peaked at No.5 after this TOTP performance, and is one of my favourite relaxing tracks after a hard day's work or stress, depending on which way you look at it.

      It was also one of their most successful chart performances in their illustrious 10 year career before Bryan Ferry went solo in the mid-80s, and very memorable part of their hit collection even to this day.

  8. host/format: PP as ebullient if error-prone as ever (you can't really say a lot else about the guy). with regard to pop-star co-hosts: up until the season just finished i was an avid watcher of "match of the day", but never felt comfortable when they got in current players and/or managers as studio analysts (which seemed to be the case more and more often), and i feel the same way about this. especially when they give the job to reg! for what it's worth, in my opinion his presenting skills are as dire as his music, but i shall say no more on him as i might otherwise get into trouble (again)! also the new format looks like it will take a bit of getting used to, and i don't like the preview thing either - part of the fun is to be surprised by what's on (i don't normally read angelo's preface until i've seen the show myself either for the same reason)

    piranhas: is the drummer actually using model piranhas as sticks? i always get this lot mixed up with the barracudas who also had a hit (i think) later that year. i can't help thinking that "boring" bob grover bears a disturbing resemblance to gary glitter, especially when he does his eyebrow-arching thing...

    diana ross: modulation alert! but in this case it sounds really clumsy, as if they've tried to stick two completely different ideas together. i've long been aware of the remixing controversy over the ross/chic album, but it would be interesting to hear the original chic mixes, even though "i'm coming out" was the only decent single from the "collaboration" for me

    roxy music: i note that bryan has handed-down his mock-military clobber (epaulettes, tie tucked-in-shirt) to gary tibbs, in favour of the more casual look. which doesn't really suit the sultan of suave. i prefer this to "over you", but even though i wanted to like the "flesh + blood" album after loving the hits off "manifesto", the only really decent thing about it was the cover! although the aforementioned mr tibbs presumably played on the current tour, he only contributed to one track on said album, which was probably why he shortly jumped ship to join adam and the ants...

    tom browne: for those unaware, the jamaica in question here is actually a district in new york, and NOT the caribbean island (like most i assumed it was the latter when i first heard it). the correct title ("for a million points", as a certain disc jockey and totp presenter would say) is "funkin' for jamaica (NY)". i've always been into this and loved it when it got played (a lot) at discos i frequented at the time (you'd pretty much get a big cheer and mass dash to the dancefloor when the helium trumpet intro kicked in). but apart from a bit of parping here and there, tom can't really take much credit for it. according to wiki the singer is a lady called toni smith, and the mastermind behind it was dave grusin who is of course one of the godfathers of smooth jazz. warning: unless hearing some dudes doing authentic-or-otherwise street jive is your bag, then stick with the single edit rather than the album version. as for the legs routine, the graphics (re) introducing us to them look painfully amateurish

    hot chocolate: more second-division funky disco that never quite seems to work for me (i was at a retro disco last night, and when they played "heaven is the back seat of my cadillac" it cleared the floor!). considering how tight errol's spandex trews were, there didn't seem a lot to see if you see what i mean...

    1. A record-company-grudge-nursing Nile Rogers had the original mixes of the Diana album released on CD a few years ago. I got a copy and it sounds pretty great to me, but I'm a pushover for the Chic sound.

  9. as i've mentioned boring bob grover being a gary glitter-lookalike, i have the excuse to say that: just like the latter's "rock and roll" single, it's another 2-parter:

    kelly marie: she looked awful as she is now in the 1980 review shown in the new year, but to be honest she wasn't exactly hot even back then (there's no way she'd get a record contract these days). this truly is the nadir of disco as far as i'm concerned (and i love disco!), so it was a case of grabbing the fast-forward button. but not before i noticed a: the bored guy leaning against the stage, and b: that like errol brown, her backing dancers also had no noticeable "outline" in their spandex pants. which sort-of dispels the myth that all black guys are well-hung...

    gap band: competing with "it feels like i'm in love" as one of the worst disco records ever - when it got played in clubs, instead of sitting down to "row" to it i would fleeing the dancefloor to the sanctuary of the bar with great alacrity! i had put this horror to the back of my mind in recent years, but i had to edit it for a school reunion mix i did a while back, and realised that what i really hated about it was all the shouting and whooping noises they were continually making...

    gibson brothers: this is no "cuba", but it's jolly enough and far preferable to the shite that preceded it. technically another case of modulation as it switches between major and minor versions of the same key

    sheena easton: she became a pretty hot chick once she managed to use the bond franchise to escape stateside, but i never ever cared for the shrillness of her voice, nor for the mediocrity of her material (even though more modulation is in evidence here - the part where she struggles to hit a really high note). a scottish friend told me that how after a few years doing vegas shows she came back to glasgow for a glorious homecoming gig, and almost got bottled off stage thanks to her transatlantic accent! also, a few years ago she came back to this country to try and to cash-in on the gay market a la kylie minogue, but rather amusingly her intended "customer base" took umbrage at being exploited in that manner, and sent her packing again!

    abba: i agree that this is one of their best, but not having heard it properly for some time was a bit surprised at how "foreign" agnetha still sounded. like arthur i didn't care for the torquise eye make-up either. nor the hair. but when frida turned up with that abomination on her head she made agnetha look almost cool in comparison!

    george benson: although i loved his "breezin'" and "in flight" jazz-funk output, i also loved this new smoother dance sound as well. and i still do and can't get enough of it. but sadly it led to abysmal formulaic and soul-free pop efforts like "20/20 vision" where even the guitar solos were done by the likes of steve lukather rather than george! i liked the fact that they were showing the studio audience boogieing on down to this, but they should have used mulitple and/or moving cameras, so if nothing else we didn't have to watch the girl at the front run out of ideas. and they even do a fade-out by mistake at one point!

    1. A friend of mine was at the Sheena Easton Glasgow homecoming gig and witnessed first hand the warm welcome she received (loads of pissed up locals screaming abuse at her for having the temerity to lose her accent). He was able to note among all the nasty behaviour that Sheena was really rather attractive, though!

    2. a couple of things i forgot to mention about the sheena easton track:

      1 - the title was changed to the somewhat-weird-sounding "morning train" in the US to avoid confusion with dolly parton's song of the same name (although that never happened here)

      2 - what a shame that single wasn't at number 9 in last week's chart - you can just imagine PP's delight at telling us "and now now going up the charts from 9 to 5... it's 9 to 5!"

    3. more on sheena: i avidly watched the "big time" show in question at the time, and as a pop wannabe myself i remember avidly rooting for sheena's debut single to become a hit... even though i didn't like it very much! although there's been "manufactured" pop as long as there's been pop music, unlike now in the "x-factor" era this was an at-the-time rare exposure to the workings of that side of the industry. by the way, her producer chistopher neil (who featured prominently in the programme) had only a couple of years earlier been appearing in sub-"confessions" soft-porn comedies with the likes of arthur mullard!

    4. 20/20 Vision never sounded formulaic to me, it actually sounded different to me than other pop in the charts at the time. It was very energetic and fun to me, I wouldn't put it in the bland category anyway. Of course all music has some kind of formula it bases it's invention on, it just depends whether that formula is something someone is attuned to or not.

    5. starry, i plucked "20/20 vision" out of the air just as an example of how george benson (like many similar jazz-funk practitioners) fell from grace in my eyes through chasing the filthy lucre. i remember being ever-more disappointed if not actually distressed by the could-have-been-done-by-anyone crap this once-great artist was reduced to churning out (i think even the man himself is embarrassed by it all now), to the point where i've actually expunged most of it from my memory now (the only other track that comes to mind is "shiver", and to be honest i don't want to make the effort to remember any more of that stuff as it will indeed make me shiver!)

    6. I know some prefer the earlier stuff, but he just changed I suppose. Whether it was simply chasing after money or just wanting to try something new is speculation to me. To me his voice was great enough to bring something to the pop style he entered and the full potential of his voice may not have been seen otherwise. He ended up being appreciated by a larger audience as well. When musicians change they can annoy those who liked them before but I don't think that has to mean them going bad it could be just a desire to try something new. If a musician just continues doing the same thing they could go stale.

    7. Sheena's 9 to 5 came out in the UK well before Dolly's song of the same title, so no need to change to Morning Train over here. Also, Dolly only got to 47 in the UK (in Feb 81) but was number one in the US, so her song was better known there.

    8. I just purchased the Morning Train video on iTunes, and interestingly enough, although the single was released as '9 to 5' in the UK, the video is called 'Morning Train (9 to 5)', even for those purchasing the video in the UK.

      Sheena is seen cycling with her bicycle with basket across the Scottish countryside, rolling up to her boyfriend's train to stand beside him during his driving of the train, and later she stands alone on the front nose of the train still in love with her baby (boyfriend).

      Worth watching, as I don't recall this video was aired in the UK during its chart spell, as Sheena took every studio performance going. The video was probably made in time for the USA release of the single as Morning Train which went to No.1 for her there I think.

    9. Sheena Easton still has a big following. At a car boot sale last year I bought a lot of old 80s pop magazines and included with them were some Sheena Eaton Fan Club magazines, posters and photos. I put them on eBay expecting to get a fiver but they sold for over 60 quid.

    10. I wince at mentioning this, but "9 To 5", with its lyric "night time is the right time, we make love" was used on Channel 4's notorious "MiniPops" series. For those who are lucky enough not to remember it, imagine kids aged 3 to 7 made up to look like adults singing chart songs, some with lyrics way ahead of childhood. How on Earth was it commissioned?

    11. Talking of kids on telly, I seem to recall Sheena's early producer Christopher Neil being a presenter on some schools programmes. He also wrote a couple of theme tunes to soft porn films he appeared in, as well as releasing a handful of decent singles in his own right. The bespoke site "Left And To The Back" features a slight but lovely single of his as an example.

    12. Mr Neil was in Adventures of a Plumber's Mate with former TOTP repeats star Elaine Paige (and future, if we get to the mid-80s). Don't worry, Elaine stayed fully clothed.

    13. Chris Neil also worked with Mike Rutherford in Mike and the Mechanics, producing and co-writing some of the songs (but no, not THAT classic which was co-written with our old friend B A Robertson!). Mike Rutherford makes mention of that 'plumbing' film in his excellent autobiography.

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  11. The Piranhas - seemed to time their release perfectly on the resumption of TOTP after the strike. This track has been used regularly every summer since 2003 on the T20 summer of cricket in our English cricket season, and typically when a player scores a four on the televised matches, you get the intro of The Piranhas to celebrate another boundary for the scoreboard.

    Hot Chocolate - also perfect timing to follow up their No.2 from May, with this at the start of its climb up the Aug 1980 charts. This new release was a return to their 1977 sound and a return to the sound of their 1977 No.1 Every 1's A Winner. It sounds a perfect winner for me.

    The Gibson Brothers - Marianna was a perfect follow up to Cuba which earlier in 1980 saw Legs & Co come onto the stage in their carnival outfits, and so The Gibsons needed them again, albeit with Rosie and Lulu on front stage this time half-undressed, and the other Legs interspersed with the background audience. Very nice if I do say so myself.

    Bad Manners - follow up to their debut hit Ne Nee Nee Na Na Nu Nu, but Lip Up Fatty seemed to have better vibe with the new style TOTP audience, and was a more successful hit, despite no videos put out yet at this stage by the North London group.

    I remember this show at the time, having had no TOTP for two months and missing Legs & Co more than anything.

    There seemed to feel of autumn on its way with the vibe of the new No.1 by Abba, with their lyrics and rhythm being just too emotional for the summer.

    1. The verse of Mariana is a similar sounding melodramatic vocal to Cuba, the chorus a catchy singalong. Peter Powell, right after we have heard it sung, decides to pronounce it completely differently to what it is in the song.

    2. "Tom Hark" is also used by a plethora of English League and non-League clubs when their teams score. Overkill isn't the word.

    3. Not to mention when England score at Twickenham. So, our big 3 sports all use the nonsense....

  12. And for me Gettin' Ready For Love is by far a more exciting dance track than Upside Down (though that's ok).

  13. It's quite interesting in that if Odyssey had stayed just one more week at no.1 instead of allowing Abba to go straight to no.1 this week from nowhere, we would have seen the full Legs & Co Odyssey performance on the 7th Aug 1980 show by BBC4, instead of a couple of seconds of them as part of the top ten countdown. We would then not have had the full performance being taken down on Utube by some disgruntled person if it was still No.1 on 7th August.

    I still have not seen the full Legs & Co performance of Odyssey which was performed for the 9th July pilot show, but it needed just one more week at No.1 for us to have seen it on BBC4 last week, instead of Abba flying in too quickly at No.1 with a depressing autumn/winter song, instead of continuing the Odyssey jovial summer feeling of early August of 1980. What a shame. Timing is everything in these repeats in 2015.

  14. Fully agree. I wonder, though, if Odyssey might have flown in to appear in the studio had they stayed at the top for one more week?

    Interesting to see Sue didn't appear to be at he pilot show routine but, for me, not as interesting as the camera work on Gill wiggling in that brief snippet!

    1. Odyssey last appeared in the TOTP studio in January 1978 with Native New Yorker, so I don't know if the long gap of two and a half years would have enticed them over to the UK.

      Regarding Gill, this week's performance on Funkin' For Jamaica, showed she had the best chest in Legs & Co, so she could be excused for not wearing yellow!

    2. The Odyssey three second snippet in this episode didn't give me any reminder what the melody was.

    3. starry that's no surprise given that (in my opinion) the track is pretty much tune-free! definitely a contender for my top 10 "worst disco tracks ever"...

    4. Sorry, for me the Odyssey track was one of the lowpoints of 1980, and don't get me started on the follow up! No loss for me...

  15. I decided to compile a “what happened next?” list for the acts whose chart toppers were scuppered by the strike, looking at the next five years or so.

    Odyssey had very much an all or nothing UK chart career after this, with 3 more top ten hits and nothing else in the top 30, though they managed four non-mugshot chart entries in those next few years.

    In the years before the “Grease Megamix”, Olivia Newton-John managed one more top 10 hit, 2 top 20 hits (one a duet with Cliff) and 4 minor chart placings.

    Don McLean scraped the top 50 with one other single, and The MASH managed no more, though their chart topper became a top ten hit for The manic Street preachers ten years later.

  16. Did anyone see the clip show Channel 5 put out on Saturday night about bad 80s TV? Some of the raunchier Legs dances that we have seen of late were included, so that the programme could tut-tut about how sexist TOTP, and TV in general, were back in 1980. Funnily enough, despite this disapproval quite a few clips were shown of the girls in various states of undress - I wonder why that could be? At least Sue and Lulu (Sulu, anyone?) were interviewed and put up a bit of a defence.

    Incidentally Arthur, the "Mini-Pops" also featured, including that notorious 9 to 5 performance...

  17. Would you believe it's Patti's 65th birthday today???

  18. You all probably already know this (though it was news to me!) but the BBC has been broadcasting a radio version of Top of the Pops for quite some time over on the World Service......

  19. Replies
    1. Any reason why it was pulled off by ITV in April?

    2. Poor ratings and, apparently, negative feedback - I assume the latter relates to the Steve Wright TOTP2-style links from Andy Kershaw. Glad it's back, though.

    3. I find it mindboggling that there can be negative feedback, let alone poor ratings, when ITV clearly has intact footage of bands with singles that never appeared on BBC, or that the BBC wiped in the 70s.

      For example, seeing on Pop Gold John Lennon's last ever television appearance in the UK in 1975 before moving to America. and what about that superb performance by Blue Mink in 1969 called Melting Pot, with colour, yes original colour footage of this as early as 1969.

      The only negative regarding Pop Gold is that Kershaw is trying to copy the TOTP2 style of talking over at the beginning and end of the songs, as well as having the captions with text throughout the song.

    4. I forgot to say - thanks for the heads up, Charlie.

    5. You're welcome Arthur. Personally, I thought they fantastic - the 'girl' episode had so much material I had never seen before

  20. Like others have said, this 'new dawn' wasn't quite as exciting as we may have been expecting. I didn't like the previews at all, or the clips for the whole of the Top 10 (I'm guessing the latter at least disappears fairly raplidly?) and Elton was not exactly a thrilling co-host to kick off. Let's face it, anyone who thought that releasing a single called 'Sartorial Eloquence' was a good idea must have been on some pretty good drugs at the time.

    The Piranhas song has been sadly spoilt by endless copycat football clubs using it when a goal's been scored. At West Ham, we don't need any of that nonsense, as we have our own song. You may remember it being badly performed the other week...

    Great Roxy Music song, and I like the Tom Browne one too. Given that the nation had been Legs free for so long, they just HAD to return with the underwear, didn't they?

    The Hot Chocolate song is not great, and Kelly Marie proves that the Michael Hurll era being solely about miming to the records is not strictly true. It looks like she's miming, but definitely not to the version on the 7", sounds like a re-recorded vocal to me!

    I absolutely detest 'Oops Upside Your Head' - a godawful song with a dumb dance craze which I never wanted to join in with even as an 8 year old.

    The Gibson Brothers song is OK, and enlivened by the prototype of performances to come, the Sheena Easton song I'm not keen on (though I do like 'Modern Girl') and Bad Manners are good value as ever though it's not one of their best songs.

    I'm not keen on George Benson but 'Give Me The Night' is probably the one I can cope with best. I used to have to play utter shite like 'Love Ballad' on the radio sadly. Has that girl dancing at the front got an air stewardess hat on? It certainly looks like it!

    Suspiciously, both editions of this week's show are half an hour long. Has Auntie Beeb been at the scissors editing out Mr.Daltrey's comments? (or was it just a short show?)

    Given that Tony Blackburn did a chart rundown on Pick Of The Pops this weekend and ridiculously missed out the No.2 song because it committed the terrible sin of using a bit of a Gary Glitter song ('Doctorin' the TARDIS) nothing would surprise me any more.

    1. Just checked the BBC Genome and it was indeed a half hour show. Also noted The Singing Ringing Tree had been on two or three hours before, I wonder if there's anything as disturbing as that on TOTP that evening?

    2. According to one bespoke website (not 45cat), "Sartorial Eloquence" was the bracketed part of the song's title, the rest being " Don't Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?". It reached number 44, only two places lower than a previously released and at the time lost Elton classic to these ears, "Are You Ready For Love".

    3. arthur's comments above remind me: when i borrowed a 12" version of the gap band thing to edit for my school reunion off a chum who (unlike me) is a great fan of theirs, he righteously informed me that it wasn't actually originally called "oops upside your head". to quote a certain disc jockey and totp presenter who shall remain nameless: for a million points, does anybody know the correct and original title of said track?

      by the way, can somebody remind me what a genome is again please - somebody did explain here a while back, but i can't remember!

    4. in contrast to noax, i loved "love ballad" (recorded just before "give me the night"), especially the signature scat/guitar bit in the middle! perfect music for a hot summer's day (like this one!) in my opinion. despite the success of the "give me the night" album, for some unexplained reason george and quincy jones never worked together again. if they had, perhaps george's consequent output wouldn't have completely gone down the crapper?

    5. A genome is the complete set of genes to used make an organism's DNA. A BBC Genome is a searchable database of BBC TV and radio programmes.

    6. I claim a million **vile points by naming the track I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!). The rowing dance was i believe unique to the UK - & in a similar fashion, I wonder when and where did forming the shapes of the letters with one's arms in the watch your backs group's* big hit start - they don't do it in their video.
      *(C) R Daltrey ;)

    7. now then, now then, well done mister big nutty d! you win a million points - 'owzabout that then? etc, etc. with regard to JS, has anybody else read or heard about the play that's now been produced starring alistair mcgowan? or maybe even seen it? apparently he got so into the impression that he couldn't help but come out with the mannerisms whilst doing stuff like having tea with his family!

      the "making the initials with your arms" routine was apparently first done by the studio audience when the village people appeared on "american bandstand" (the US equivalent of "top of the pops"). afterwards the host dick clark got the audience to repeat the hand gestures for the benefit of the perplexed village persons, and singer victor willis agreed it would have to be incorporated into the act...

  21. According to the Radio Times/Genome site in place of TOTP the BBC showed an episode of Fawlty Towers on 24 July and The Wonderful World of Disney on 31 July but the listings for the earlier weeks of the strike still show TOTP. Maybe they were hoping the strike would have ended early or they printed the Radio Times a lot earlier in those days so they hadn't caught up with the strike.

    Does anyone know what they showed in place of TOTP on those weeks?

  22. noax probably won't thank me for this, but his mention of "love ballad" reminded me that it was on a mix i did some time ago (called "summer breeze") that i never got around to putting online. so with that in mind and the fact that we're experiencing tropical conditions at the moment i've just put together a new (improved) mix, and it's here if anyone's interested: