Thursday, 4 June 2015

Top of the Pops is Painless

Whilst up and the down the country school children everywhere are busy taking their exams, just as they undoubtedly were 35 years ago, (unless they were sneaking off to the cinema to watch The Empire Strikes Back) we reach the 22nd May 1980......

You know you're wasting your time..

22-5-80: Presenter: Mike Read

(25) LIPPS INC – Funky Town
Playing over the charts this week is Lipps Inc with their only UK hit, reaching number 2 and becoming one of the sounds of the summer.....

 (48) THE LAMBRETTAS – D-a-a-ance
With their follow-up to Poison Ivy ~ not a great song to get the show underway but it somehow made it to number 12.

 (3) MICHAEL JACKSON – She’s Out Of My Life (video)
This fourth and final top ten hit from his Off the Wall album was now at its peak in the charts.

 (32) U.K. SUBS – Teenage
A typically raucous performance here of the second of three top 40 hits in 1980 for thirty-somethings punk band the UK Subs.

 (27) JONA LEWIE – You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties
A second time in the studio for Jona and this time they've kitted out a state of the art kitchen for him and the girls (are they different girls to last time?).

 (52) KAREL FIALKA – The Eyes Have It
Karel had a bucket list that included things like climbing Mount Everest and having a top ten hit single. He didn't make it with The Eyes Have It but he did get there seven years later with Hey Mathew. Don't know if he ever made it up Everest....

 (18) THE SPECIALS – Rat Race (video)
Released just in time for the summer exams, this is perhaps not the most positive message from the Specials, though the song is reportedly more about wasting your time down in the student union bar. (Surely that could never be considered a waste of time :-)

 (45) COCKNEY REJECTS – I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
The West Ham cup winning tribute was edited out of the 7.30pm show.

 (10) GARY NUMAN – We Are Glass (video)
Was also edited out unfortunately. Shattered.

 (35) JUNIOR MURVIN – Police And Thieves
And somebody from the BBC came and stole this one too.

 (17) AVERAGE WHITE BAND – Let’s Go Round Again
Another victim of the dreaded 7.30pm axe.

 (6)  LEGS & CO ~ this week perform an apocalyptic dance to the Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) by The Mash. The song was originally recorded in 1969 but became a hit in 1980 when Noel Edmonds for some reason began playing it on his radio 1 Sunday morning show ~ just as he had done a few months earlier with Captain Beaky.

 (26) MATCHBOX – Midnite Dynamos ®
A repeat showing from the 8th May show (couldn't we have seen Gary Numan instead?)

(1) JOHNNY LOGAN – What’s Another Year? ®
A final week a number one for Johnny, with the first of a mini run of consecutive Eurovision winners that would make it to the top spot (Bucks Fizz, Nicole).

(23) JERMAINE JACKSON – Let’s Get Serious (and credits)
Have two brothers ever been featured on the same show before with two different songs? This was Jermaine's first hit in the UK.

Next week then is where we reach the end of a Top of the Pops era. Maybe for the show the 29th May 1980 really does mark where the 70's finally come an end. But before the 80's can begin there's the little matter of a 10 week strike......


  1. The vagueries of muffled 80's radio - I always wondered how Karel Fialka's song got loads of Radio 1 airplay when it appeared to contain the words "load of piss". I checked the lyrics on the net tonight to discover the line is actually "low down pit"!

    By the way, I'll be absent for the swansong of the Top Of The Pops Orchestra, as I'll be abroad and probably nowhere near a PC or working iPhone for a fortnight. If the impossible happens while I'm away and BBC4 shows the 'stagehands' edition, please tape it for download on here in case it doesn't make the iPlayer! :-)

    1. I initially thought it was "piss" as well, but guessed it must be "pit" in order to rhyme with "it."

      It looks like The Sky at Night will be on the week after next, so in the unlikely event that they do show the pilot episode I imagine that you will be back in time!

  2. Shouldn't Jacko have done I'm forever blowing bubbles ? A little warning of future wrongdoing ... !

    1. nice one chris! unlike wacko, bubbles is still with us and lives in an ape centre in florida, where he was once visited by wacko's sister toyota. however, i like to think he's one of the many (now feral) animals roaming the now-overgrown jungle/wasteland that was once neverland...

    2. Neverland's just been put for sale, apparently. I read the other day that there was a solitary llama left on the ranch - quite why that is still there, I have no idea!

    3. Sorry, that should say "put up for sale."

  3. Jona Lewie – what, two different girls with Jona this week? No Kirsty McColl this time, but the ladies with Jona this week were looking great in those lovely evening dresses. You don’t usually see this level of smart dressing on TOTP, and I must say it beats any shop window.

    The Specials – first video outing following Too Much Too Young. After being snubbed out of being invited to perform on TOTP in Jan/Feb 1980 because of the lyrics including the word ‘contraception’, this did not help TOTP to entice them to come back to the studio for Rat Race, and so The Specials became promo video only for TOTP. What a shame.

    The Mash – a busy month for Legs & Co, as in May 1980 there were still many hits with no video footage available, such as Bobby Thurston, Rodney Franklin, Theme from Mash, and Crown Heights Affair.

    This Mash Theme was a bit of a lull for Legs & Co this week, after their last few weeks of raising our blood pressures with their lack of clothing. But alas, next week, they are back to their skimpy best, haha!

  4. The Lambrettas: their best single by miles, a yearning melody and melancholy lyrics with a great chorus that makes a whole line out of one word (neat trick). I wonder if he ever did get that dance?

    Michael Jackson - Chris beat me to the Bubbles joke! Is that a purple shirt and purple trousers combo?

    I'd be surprised if the UK Subs could recall their teenage years by this point. Does sound like they're singing "TONIGHT!" over and over again. See they brought their mates in for moral support.

    Jona Lewie and his fitted kitchen, reminiscent of the Street Band's Toast set. He's got his performance down pat, but who were the new girls? Who were the girls singing on the record, anyway?

    Karel Fialka, not the earworm that Hey Matthew would be, but he was an unnerving presence, wasn't he? You can see the synthpop was truly taking over by now, especially after last week. Also this week's "Is something wrong with my TV?" winner.

    I wish The Specials had turned up at a few of my exams, might have made them a bit easier to endure. Solid song, angry lyrics, they meant business. Or maybe they didn't, in light of what the song was about.

    Cockney Rejects, no, even the Cockneys didn't want them. An absolute shambles, but somehow I'm grudgingly admiring their chutzpah.

    Gary Numan goes disco, and also does his own stunts. Bit Radio Gaga this video, judging by the crowd and their laser effect through dry ice screams 1980.

    Junior Murvin, with those moves he was putting James Brown to shame. OK, he was putting himself to shame, how didn't the audience crack up? Classic track, though, prefer this to the Clash cover (as did a horrified Mr Murvin).

    Average White Band, excellent British disco with a lush, full sound. Glad the TOTP orchestra decided not to show up, though apparently hardly anyone else did either, just the cameramen.

    Costume budget wasn't all that high this week, huh, Legs & Co? They looked like they'd spent the night in a skip. Interesting way to solve the problem of interpreting a song about suicide, just look a bit miserable and floaty (apart from Rosie, who beamed throughout). Weirdest thing on the show.

    Matchbox, now I thought The MASH had a hit a decade after their song was recorded because the Alda-fest sitcom had become a hit in this country, but maybe not, though it did make me wonder if this Confederate-supporting bunch were successful because The Dukes of Hazzard were now must-see viewing for a generation? They wouldn't look out of place in the General Lee.

    Jermaine rivalling his brother in the funk to end on, still sounds fine this.

    1. when it came to cod reggae, the clash were probably just as guilty as 10cc, the police, and all the other whiteys who did it. but because they were considered cool by the music press (partly due to their refusal to perform on totp) they managed to avoid the flack the rest got...

    2. although of the right generation, i never watched a single episode of "the dukes of hazzard". i think (a bit like "my perfect cousin") it was one of those things that my sister liked, therefore i didn't!

    3. I'm not surprised that sisters liked Dukes Of Hazard. The feature of the show every week was the Dukes's sister Daisy which every girl/woman wanted to be.

    4. Wouldn't girls be more interested in Bo and Luke? Kids liked Roscoe (RIP), of course.

  5. i'm not planning to watch this week's episode until sunday evening at the earliest (by which time most of the relevant comments and observations will probably have been made). so in the meantime, having watched most of the re-runs of the M*A*S*H tv series on one of the freeview channels fairly recently, i thought i'd contribute a review:

    i originally avidly watched the adventures of hawkeye and co (on a sunday night on bbc 2 as i recall) from around the mid-70's to its conclusion, and surprisingly missed very few episodes given there were not even video recorders back then (never mind catch-up tv and youtube!). maybe for that reason, unlike many fans of the series i prefer the later more sentimental comedy-drama episodes to the frantic knockabout-feel of the earlier ones. yes, it got rather soporific and slushy whenever they had any featuring korean orphans (and there were more of those as time went on), but the characters became far more rounded and three-dimensional, with many episodes devoted to what troubled them behind their deadpan facades. and that change reflected the future of what was to come in terms of comedic entertainment, rather than the "wham bam, thank you ma'am" style of comedy that preceded it (that in many cases now is practically unwatchable these days). that wasn't to say that the series went completely soft as there were still many moments of wit, repartee and high farce. but in much more measured measures. i also thought that perhaps with the exception of trapper and BJ, the replacement characters were far superior to their successors. although one of the first real tearjerker episodes in the series was the sudden death of the supposedly much-loved colonel blake, i just thought he was an easily-manipulated wimp and found myself cringing every time he appeared! but when potter took over, he commanded the respect of his charges and always knew what shenanigans were going on, even though he mostly let them get away with it. and as for the odious frank burns, he just served as a one-dimensional punching bag for the dynamic duo of hawkeye and trapper/BJ, to the extent that the actor playing him rightfully left the series as he felt "there was nothing more he could do for the character". personally i felt introducing major winchester to replace burns was a series masterstroke: yes, he was pompous, but unlike burns he was certainly no buffoon (and also unlike burns was a surgeon of some skill). and once he got the measure of hawkeye's antics he usually held his own, and from time to time actually came out on top (occasionally even managing to get the usually ever-faithful BJ to take his side rather than hawk's!). as this happened i really started getting into it again as if i was watching way back then. so in summary i feel it certainly stands the test of time (not being set in the era it was made in probably helps in that respect), and my only real complaints were that they should have done something to stop the greyness of hawkeye's hair proliferating... and that klinger shouldn't have stopped wearing women's clothes!

    1. oops - i that should read "the replacement characters were far superior to their predecessors"!

    2. I wonder how "Cagney and Lacey" would have panned out if Loretta Swit had been allowed to play Cagney? She starred in that role in the pilot episode but was then refused to leave or augment her contact as Hot-Lips Houlihan in M*A*S*H (so why was she allowed to try out in the first place?). In the end, an actress called Meg Foster played Cagney but was binned after six episodes, as her characterisation was seen as a bit, erm, dominating, and she was then replaced by Sharon Gless.

      Changing tack, Karel Fialka's top 52 hit was the only chart single for Blueprint, a label Pye started up to give them a more contemporary edge. It lasted less than a year.

    3. I used to love MASH in the mid 70's, it was often the last thing I watched on a Sunday night. it was of course famously aired in the UK without the canned laughter, except one evening they forgot to omit it and it went out with the laughter and I think the Beeb were swamped with complaints and about halfway though the episode the laughter suddenly disappeared!
      I think I stopped watching when Frank because it just didn't seem the same to me without him.

    4. I watched every episode of MASH when BBC2 showed it in the 80s and 90s - Wednesday at 9pm, it was always there. Enjoyed it at the time, then made the mistake a few years ago of borrowing a friend's box set of it and didn't laugh once throughout twenty-odd episodes. Sometimes it's better not to go back!

      Check out Jamie Farr's comments on Alan Alda to see how most of the cast felt about him and his apparent messiah complex! You like to think everyone gets on when making a TV show you like, but it's not always the case, alas.

    5. thx i don't know what season you watched, but i think if you go into watching the later episodes of MASH expecting your sides to split then you're going to be disappointed. i rarely laughed out loud, but always felt entertained. having watched the likes of "chuck", "dexter", "burn notice" and "breaking bad" in recent times, i think such shows manage to get a good balance of pathos and farce in amongst the action, and i think MASH set the template in that regard...

    6. It was the first season I borrowed, and never felt moved to borrow the others. It wasn't a painful experience by any means, I did persevere after all and it is a groundbreaking show so they must have been doing something right, it just didn't make me laugh, which is a disadvantage when watching a comedy.

      Now, Soap on the other hand, I went back to that and laughed a lot.

    7. other than perhaps the odd episode here and there, i still haven't actually seen the first and second seasons. but i did watch the third one on dvd (before they started showing them on freeview) and i felt it was a case of trying too hard. it also didn't help that the dvd had the american canned laughter track on it! as suggested in my review above, i would recommend any would-be watchers to start at season 4 at the earliest. by the way, i watched the original film some time after i had started watching the tv series, and (probably because i'd got used to the tone of the latter) i thought it was awful!

    8. i think "soap" is on my list of "things to get hold of on dvd", along with other witt-thomas-harris comedy series "the golden girls" and its spin-off "empty nest" (that featured the guy who played bert in "soap"). but i think i might be a bit more apprehensive about those shows being past their sell-by date than MASH!

  6. TOTP just got better and better in '80, even with Ireland's vainest singer at No.1 and two instrument-bashing "Oi" bands lower down the 40.

    Karel Fialka, Indian-born to Scottish and Czech parents, is arguably Britain's answer to chief Talking Head David Byrne (an American citizen born in Scotland), with his intelligent lyrics and somewhat theatrical, semi-spoken vocal style. Alas, this would not prove to be Karel's Top 40 breakthrough, though he finally reached the Big Ten in '87 after signing to IRS and recording 'Hey Matthew' with his young son.

    The Specials, Junior Murvin and The Mash all offered us further examples of thought-provoking songwriting, the latter song with a gorgeous tune to match.

    Whatever you feel about the controversial Jackson dynasty, there is no doubt that at least three of its members - Michael, Janet and Jermaine - have proven to be true shining stars. 'Let's Get Serious' was written by 'You're My Everything' hitmaker Lee Garrett in tandem with the great Stevie Wonder, who can be clearly heard spelling out the word 'serious' on the track. My own favourite song from Jermaine's catalogue has to be '85's ballad 'Do What You Do', though.

    The TV series M*A*S*H* was comedic brilliance, I agree; even Perry & Croft appeared to borrow some ideas from that series when they wrote their WW2 sitcom 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'.

  7. shaky shakerson5 June 2015 at 11:20

    Our guide this week is Mike Read who has come dressed as Number 6, and the rundown is to the accompaniment of Lipps Inc and Funky Town. A very annoying earworm with autotuned vocals.

    Lambrettas. This is a half-decent stab at a Jam-Lite song but the vocalist has zero stage presence and the band have no charisma at all - not helped by having a trainee solicitor on drums.

    Michael Jackson's hair makes 2 appearances on the bounce, the second of them atop the head of the UK Subs singer during a poor take-off of the Pistols. 'Teenage, I wanna be teenage' they holler despite being surely the wrong side of twenty five. Aren't this lot still touring? That would make them, what, sixty odd years old? Wonder if they still wanna be teenage?

    Jona Lewie's second ToTp appearance and he has learnt some lessons from his last go. Specifically dancing in a new way to the line 'dancing in a new way'. He is still a static front man thought, as is Karel Fialka who is next up with The Eyes Have It. I've never heard this before and I wont be too concerned if I never hear it again.Kind of like 'M' but without the melody.

    The Specials 'Rat Race' not bad, but still no 'Too Much Too Young'.

    Now I know a lot of footie teams that got to FA Cup finals inflicted aural damage on us all ( Notts Forest I'm looking at you!) but the Cockney Rejects!!! Dear God.

    Gary Numan on vid and holding a proper guitar despite building his career on synths. And this song contains a melody that I have heard before ( or since) but I just can't bring it to mind.

    Junior Murvin and some proper reggae, and some un-proper dance moves.

    AWB with Alan Brazil-look-a-like Hamish Stuart on lead.I much prefer these when Alan Gorrie takes lead vocal and whilst I was delighted to see this chart back in 1980, its not a song of theirs that I listen to now.

    The Leggers this week go for a post Apocalypse looks to dance to a song about suicide. Obviously. This is a song whose lyrics don't stand up to too much scrutiny. 'A brave man once asked of me, to answer questions that are key'. And of course, 'Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes'. A hem.

    A repeat showing for Matchbox and their video which begins outside a pub called The World's End.Any connection to Simon Pegg's film?

    And we play out with Michael's brother Jermaine who got more funk into this one song than little bro managed in an entire career. You can hear Stevie Wonder's influence all over this, and the BBC play-out man gives him the honour of hanging on to the tune until Stevie has his S-E-R-I-O-U-S moment.

    So, the scores this week. Mr Read cops for a perfectly respectable 7. Short and precise links with hardly any cringey moments.
    The show also gets 7 with a decent across-the-board set of tunes marred by the UK Subs/Karel Fialka/Cockney Rejects triumverate.
    One more show to go before the dreaded two months hiatus. Gulp.

    1. UK Subs vocalist Charlie Harper turned 36 three days after this show. Still touring aged 71!

  8. There was quite a lot of classy stuff in this edition, as the synthpop era began to gather steam. I don't think I have ever heard the Gary Numan song before, but it is certainly up there with his two biggest hits as an electro classic. The Eyes Have It is very Germanic, but the song grows on you the more you listen to it, and it was certainly an original piece of work from Mr Fialka. I well remember being creeped out by Hey Matthew when it appeared on TOTP in 1987, and the clipped tones of this one are rather unsettling in their own way.

    I really like Funky Town, an irresistibly catchy slice of late disco which deserved its chart success. While I am not a big reggae fan, Police and Thieves does have a very sweet sound thanks to Junior's almost Curtis Mayfield-like vocals, and is a cut above the norm. The MASH theme is another excellent, if depressing, tune, though it is hardly very promising material for a Legs dance. Against all odds, I thought the routine worked pretty well, and thankfully Flick avoided any slitting wrist or hanging gestures during the chorus! Thanks to Angelo as well for explaining why this suddenly became a hit at this point, as I was wondering about that.

    The Lambrettas were pleasant and polished, without being terribly exciting, but I am mystified at how the UK Subs managed to make so many TOTP appearances with their tired old meat-and-potatoes punk - admittedly, their fan club at the back of the stage appeared to be enjoying it. As for The Cockney Rejects, it's enough to make you regret the fact West Ham won the Cup that year!

    Discovery of the show for me was Rat Race, not a Specials number with which I was previously familiar but a cracking song. Thankfully this is the last week we will hear What's Another Year, as I am getting bored of it now, though I have been fascinated by the different positionings of the saxophonist on each performance - behind, in front, and off to the side. Did Mr Logan demand that he be kept as far away as possible, lest he steal his limelight?

    A decent performance from Mike Read, as normal, even if he was a bit hesitant on a couple of his links. I wonder if the jacket was made out of the deckchair he appeared to have been sunning himself in prior to the show? So, the end of the Robin Nash era and the Orchestra is nigh, though if you want to watch the full-length version of their swansong, it looks as if you will have to wait until the Saturday night, for reasons best known to BBC4...

    1. I forgot to mention Jona Lewie and the BBC kitchen - a lesser seen performance, but superior to the first one, even if Kirsty was sadly missing this time.

  9. For some reason, Chris Packham's been allowed carte blanche to select a trio of programmes on BBC4 on Thursday / Friday which run before and during the time the first uncut TOTP is usually shown!

    1. Chris Packham is an outspoken wildlife presenter who is one of those people who plenty like without him liking any of them back, or so it seems.

      Anyway, I'm hoping the iPlayer proves its worth and offers the full version before Saturday night, otherwise it'll be quiet around here this Thursday!

  10. A fine performance by Mike Read, apart from his forecast of a future number one for Michael Jackson, and the Action Man swivel eyes and confused look prior to the UK Subs. Fine research for the song murdered by The Cockney Rejects, who I think were the enthusiastic dancers behind UK Subs – probably told by Robin Nash to go and pogo in some corner and not get in the way of the cameras.

    A different style of chart rundown lettering this week, with Matchbox becoming Match Box and Dexy’s losing the apostrophe. Tut tut.

    The Lambrettas’ song was thin sounding but enjoyable. Their final chart hit (which only made the top 50, and we don’t get to see it) required a change of title – it was originally called “Page Three” but The Sun threatened an injunction saying the use of the phrase was their domain, so the single was re-named “Another Day, Another Girl”.

    Loved Jona Lewie’s cool-as-heck keyboard playing, non-plussed by Karel Fialka, marvelled at Neville Staples’ bongo playing. Gary Numan reminded me facially of an angry Sheena Easton. Does anyone know when he first encountered the obsessive fan / stalker who became his wife?

    Sublime ‘Dad dancing’ by Junior Murvin to accompany his mellow groove. Talking of dancing, I wish we’d had the re-run of Legs & Co’s AWB dance instead. The “M*A*S*H” lyrics and routine made me glad the theme tune to “Tenko” was never a hit.

    The re-run of Match Box…er Matchbox’s performance looked very filmy and grainy compared to usual re-runs. Was that meant to give it a dated look to accompany the song?

    Fast forward the Irish Richard Jobson to a fine two minute dollop of Jermaine Jackson. This was the second week in a row that the number 23 sound had been the outro song and, in fact, all the last five ‘old formula’ TOTP’s included the number 23 single. Next week’s precedes an absolute horror, the sort of “why and how is this on the show?” anomaly Michael Hurll swept into the gutter.

  11. i was fortunate to get an unexpected window of opportunity to watch this edition today, so here's my report submitted earlier to expectation:

    lipps inc: hated this at the time despite being well into disco, but kind-of like it now. i'm pretty sure the act's name referred to the practice of new york drag queens miming to records, but i'm not sure that too many in blighty were aware of that at the time so probably failed to get the "joke"

    lambrettas: jags-style power pop. like "back of my hand" this left me equally unmoved

    uk subs: meat and potatoes stuff as usual, but certainly more enjoyable than that awful cover version they did before. and far more so than the lambrettas effort. i wanna be teenage too, and i'm a lot older than even charlie harper was at the time

    jona lewie: this might irk some contributors here, but those ladies in their 50's-style gowns were a lot classier than kirsty and her mate

    karel fialka: this got played an awful lot on the radio at the time, despite it's poor chart showing. all i can say about this is that although there's a 25 year gap, it reminds me of a similar thing by a kiwi band called "how bizarre" that also got a lot of airplay at the time (i suppose "how bizarre" kind of sums up karel's effort). one wonders just what the hell someone like this did between this and the other single he made 8 years later?

    specials: quite a good effort by them, and an amusing video. was that jerry dammers in drag playing the joanna? sadly i wasn't taking any notice of the message in the lyrics at the time it was in the charts

    gary numan: for me almost rivalling "cars" in the gary numan classic singles stakes. although he had established himself as a synth act, his sound was originally guitar-based and i think he wanted to go back to that (or at least merge the two). the follow-up single "i die you die" was basically "we are glass" part 2. he should have had the backing band in the video (see below)

    junior murvin: pleasant-enough reggae, although i'm not sure this was the original version. i find that solo singers on stage bore the pants off me, and this is no exception despite junior's rather awkward physical jerks. i find it quite amusing when guys are called junior - now mr murvin is probably well into his sixties it might be more appropriate to call him senior. having said that, i have a chum of over 30 years acquaintance now that i and others who know him still call "kid"!

    average white band: i love hamish stuart's almost unique falsetto singing, although he doesn't really put it to use here. i thought it a real waste of talent when he ended up in macca's backing band around 10-15 years later (it must have been purely for the money, but what must have he have made of the lovely linda's musical "talents"?)

    mash: a great minute-long instrumental theme, but not as a three minute-long song with vocals and awful lyrics (rivalling gary numan's in senseless inanity). but i wish i'd been asked to knock them out, as i could then have exited the rat race a lot sooner than i did!

    1. It appears Karel Fialka released a critically acclaimed follow-up ("File In Forget") which bombed, then his next single was three years later, then another big gap before his breakthrough four years after that. His name confused me as an 18-year-old (a bloke called Carol?) until I discovered his name was the Eastern European equivalent of Charles, similar to Carl in Scandinavia.

      Jona Lewie's kitchen synch (see what I did there, Lipps Inc fans?) reminded me of the reworking of Trio's big hit for a kitchen manufacturer - all together now, Ariston, and on, and on....

      And finally...."How Bizarre" was by OMC (no, not OMD) which apparently stood for Otara Millionaires Club.

    2. arthur carol is actually a man's name, as in the director of "oliver!" carol reed. the female version should be spelt carole. other names that sound the same but spelt differently were meant to be male and female versions i.e. leslie and lesley, but many of those have since become primarily used for the fairer sex in either spelling. sidney/sydney is a name that to me is very masculine and "matey" (just think sid james!), and yet now seems to be becoming popular for girls. which is beyond me i'm afraid. and the same thing happened with shirley (shirley not, i hear you say - arf! arf!) - that was big daddy's given name!

    3. I once worked with a chap called Tracy - you'll probably find that there are loads of names which have historically been used for both genders.

    4. Sydney became a fairly popular girls name thanks to the Scream films. Neve Campbells character had the moniker (not Monica) although Courtney Cox was in the film too, most famous for playing a character called...Monica.

      I think I may be rambling here.

    5. other ones that come to mind are kim and lee/leigh. kim is probably more popular as a girl's name but there have been several famous male ones (philby - spy, hughes - cricketer, collins - athlete). i would say lee/leigh is half and half, but slightly in favour of the boys...

    6. 20th CR: you worked with Ice-T?! Or was it Tracey Walter from Repo Man?

      Always thought the actor Mandy Patinkin must have suffered having the same name as a Barry Manilow song.

    7. or was it the bassist (and colleague of indie legend nick cave) from the birthday party? unlike johnny cash's fictional character, he certainly didn't look like the kind of guy you would take the piss out of because he had a girl's name!

    8. Ah, OK, it's a more common male name than I thought!

  12. An interesting show from the point of view of being sat right at the join between the two phases of what is now generally referred to as 'New Wave', with 'phase 1' (Lambrettas, UK Subs, Cockney Rejects) and the more synth-driven 'phase 2' (Jona Lewie, Karel Fialka, Gary Numan) being represented in equal measure.

    Having achieved a hit single with a cover the Lambrettas return to their own material. Pleasant enough number but I still think that it's a contender for the world's clumsiest song title. Mike Read appeared to have no time for it whatsoever and just called it 'Dance'.

    Did Jona Lewie have two new girls this time? I thought that the one who wasn't Kirsty was the same as before but I'm not certain. So who actually sang on the record then?

    Junior Murvin was apparently miming to his record (well, I've never heard the orchestra doing reggae as good as this!) - to borrow a song title from 1979, it's the shape of things to come.

    In conclusion, one of those nicely eclectic shows.

    1. The actual backing singers on Kitchen at Parties were the wives of the producer, Bob Andrews, and of Stiff supremo Dave Robinson.

  13. Nothing to do with Operation Yewtree or TOTP, but I've just found out that the 2010 Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Loughborough Michael Willis aka legendary broadcaster Steve Merike has been caught downloading kiddie porn. Such a shame. You just don't know who's gonna be next.

  14. UK Subs, this single from the album Brand New Age, have released an album starting with each letter of the alphabet, and have this year reached Y with Yellow Leader

    1. what are they going to do about the title of the next-but one album?

    2. Either go for two words starting with the same letter, use a word with the letter in it twice in a row (e.g "Arrdvark","Bubble") or use a different alphabet (e.g. "Alpha Male", "World Betas").

      Reminds me of an excellent and sadly underrated Australian band called The Go-Betweens, who snuck a double "L" into the titles of each of their first five albums.

    3. Either go for two words starting with the same letter, use a word with the letter in it twice in a row (e.g "Arrdvark","Bubble") or use a different alphabet (e.g. "Alpha Male", "World Betas").

      Reminds me of an excellent and sadly underrated Australian band called The Go-Betweens, who snuck a double "L" into the titles of each of their first five albums.

  15. Having a nightmare here - I tried sending a response which said I meant to spell that word "Aardvark" and got a duplicate of the previous erroneous message.

    While I'm here, I liked the way the pretty girl in Jona's lyrics came up and said "Hello" at her mention.

    1. Mother :-) I smiled at that as well...

  16. Some things just faze me. I was lazily looking at a couple of snippets from "Yes It's Number One", the original blog which got us to this place, and it mentioned a band called Contempt (remember them, anyone? a TOTP appearance before their single was ever released, and it stiffed due to record company ineptitude) of which next to nothing was remembered before Simon's blog set the ball rolling. In the band's "Where are they now?" comments it was confirmed that Contempt's bassist ended up in the backing band of Karel Fialka!

    While I'm here and while I remember it, I'll hit you with my trump card for this week's edition which I'll miss. There was an unsuccessful record label called Galaxy, which lasted roughly five years and never had a hit but still managed to get two of its singles onto TOTP. The first was by 1776 (the French band who did that boggling cover of "Oh Susanna" to commemorative 200 years of American independence), and the second was the "WTF" record you'll see on the show this week. Please bear that in mind!

    1. in another unashamed plug for my own website, if anyone's looking for links to the previous TOTP blog sites then they can find them here:

    2. Galaxy was run by Phil and Dorothy Solomon, who had previously run Major Minor Records - the label to which Fontana sold Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg's banned single "Je T'Aime" while it was on its way to the top of the chart.

  17. I really enjoyed this edition, full of great songs.

    The Lambrettas one is OK, personally I prefer 'Poison Ivy' but 'D-A-A-A-A-NCE' (possibly not the right number of 'A's there) is good enough. Certainly better than the UK Subs who are still far too embarrassing for me.

    I preferred this Jona Lewis performance, with the functional kitchen almost predicting his later appearance in the IKEA adverts! Yes, Kirsty may have been in the other performance, but I preferred the girls in this one too!

    So, one slightly scary man for the audience to not get too freaked out by....and then another. Despite listening to Radio 1 a lot at the time, I had no recollection of Karel Fialka's first chart visit. I have to say that I absolutely loved it though! Should have made the 40 at least.

    'Rat Race' is one of those songs that sneaks under the radar I think. I had never heard of it until I got it on a compilation years and years ago and it rapidly became my favourite Specials song. The video's good too, I don't remember seeing it before.

    As a West Ham fan I feel I have to apologise for the Cockney Rejects. They did a new version for the 2005 Cup Final which was miles better musically.

    Love the Gary Numan song. I spotted a giant hand sculpture which looked remarkably similar to one we'd seen before - was it in the Sheila B Devotion video?

    Junior Murvin - no thanks. AWB - ditto. I must have played that song hundreds of times on the radio and have no desire to hear it again!

    As for the Legs routine - hmmm, surely they rehearsed something a bit more upbeat that then went down the chart?
    MASH itself is probably the first comedy series from the US that I remember watching with Dad - he loved it. That and Taxi were shows that I was always allowed to stay up late to watch and I enjoyed them both.

  18. Better late than never...

    Lipps Inc a very appropriate name for what was happening on TOTP at this point in time. A lot of black or multi racial acts in the chart at this point, no less than 11 in the Top 30.

    I bought and very much loved this Lambrettas single at the time which was a picture disc with a photo of Brighton's Palace Pier on it. A great performance even if the cameraman does miss all of the bass solos.

    I still think Charlie Harper looks like Gary Glitter. Note the cheeky reference to the mod craze "You can be my Lambretta lover Put your fox furs on my grill". No thanks Charles you were old enough to be my dad at the time which was a tad creepy. I remember being dragged to see the UK Subs the following year and Mr Harper had unwisely changed to a New Romantic look and got lots of rude jeers from the crowd.

    Jona Lewie delivering another good performance. Possibly the first and only time Palmers Green has been name-checked in a song.

    Karel Fialka, a Heino for the 1980s. Makes me wonder why he's wearing shades if "the eyes have it!". I have vague memories of this from the time and avoided it like the plague but it's very acceptable now. I like the overloud "Aaahs" from the keyboardists. This would go down well in the House of Commons.

    Love the Specials video which I have seen many times with Jerry Dammers in drag as Miss Frition from St Trinians. Sadly we won't see them again until Do Nothing in early 1981 as I think Stereotype missed being on the show.

    The Cockney Rejects were a bit of a mess but an amusing mess all the same. They're not taking it too seriously but they did have a cheek expecting people to buy this.

    We Are Glass. My favourite Numan track was Complex but that sees to have passed by unnoticed unless it was on a JS show. This appears to be a solo effort with no band in evidence but a top tune all the same.

    I've seen this Junior Murvin clip a few times and I must admit I like his mad dancing. He was born Murvin Junior Smith in 1946 and sadly died in December 2013 from complications of diabetes.

    The Average White Band. Now I loved Pick Up The Pieces to bits when I was a kid but I had completely forgotten about this one. They're not much to look at but they have a fantastically polished sound and they should have had more hits

    Suicide is Painless was written by film Director Robert Altman's 14 year old son Mike and he supposedly made more from sales of the single than his dad did directing the film. The same vocalist on the song was session singer Ron Hicklin who also sang on hits by The Partridge Family and Hugo Montenegro.

    Matchbox use Showaddywaddy's trick of the double performance in different clothes but go one better by inter-cutting the two performances with a film of them in The Kings Road. The World's End pub was located there and there was another one in Camden located at both ends of the 31 bus route, i know because I took that route many times.

    Johnny Logan. Zzzzz I'm tired of this now, please go away.

    Stevie Wonder sings the middle bit on Let's Get Serious as well as part of the chorus. I haven't heard this in ages and it sounds great.

    1. i've got a few hugo montenegro tracks in my collection, and as soon as i heard the singers on the MASH tune i realised they were the same guys as on hugo's stuff!

    2. Wilberforce - the Hugo Montenegro track with vocals that must be Ron Hicklin is suely the B Side to 'Hang 'em high' which is called 'Tomorrow's Love' (and is a lovely soothing piece of music btw).

  19. Bama - Complex did appear once on TOTP, on the strike-affected DLT show from 22/11/79.

    1. Oh thanks. I must have missed that one. I'll have to call it back and watch it.