Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Two Pints of Lager and a Top of the Pops Please

A huge thanks to the amazing Popscene website here for somehow putting together the running order for the ground breaking 9th July Top of the Pops pilot edition that was made in the middle of the musicians union strike in 1980. No studio acts appeared and it has of course never been broadcast but we do have a Legs & Co routine (that was eventually shown on the 7th August) and some clips of awkward looking standins from BBC4s The Story of 1980. I've added some Youtube clips too, though not necessarily from the actual show.

It gives us a little glimpse of the great music we were missing during June and July whilst the show was off the air ~ Kate Bush, ELO, Bob Marley to name but a few but oh to have seen the incredible Splodgenessabounds........

Can we have some service over here please, thank you!

9-7-80: Presenters: Peter Powell & B.A. Robertson (TOTP Pilot)

(14) SAXON – 747 (Strangers In The Night) WATCH
A number 13 hit and their follow up to Wheels of Steel

(2) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (danced to by Legs & Co)
Many thanks to Manorak for alerting me to the presence of this clip ~ WATCH

(11) PAUL McCARTNEY – Waterfalls (video) WATCH
This follow up to Coming Up made it to number 9, both from his number one album McCartney II.

(21) THIN LIZZY – Chinatown WATCH
Now at its peak in the charts.

(22) LEO SAYER – More Than I Can Say WATCH
On its way to number 2 in the charts, his first top ten hit for nearly two years.

(16) KATE BUSH – Babooshka (video) WATCH
The second single from her number one album, Never Forever, Babooshka got to number 5.

(24) DARTS – Let’s Hang On (video) WATCH
This became the band's final top 20 hit.

(10) SPLODGENESSABOUNDS – Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps Please (still picture) WATCH
Another one of those songs that began as a B side (to Simon Templer) but became a hit, this one reaching number 7, the group's only top ten.

(9) BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – Could You Be Loved (live clip) WATCH
Bob's first top ten hit for two years.

(8) THE KORGIS – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime (video) WATCH
The follow up hit to If I Had You - made it to number 5, their only top ten.

(7) UB40 – My Way Of Thinking (sound dubbed over clip of TOTP 17-4-80) WATCH
The follow up to Food for Thought - reached number 6.

(6) LIPPS INC – Funky Town (still picture) WATCH
One hit wonder which reached number 2.

(5) THE DETROIT SPINNERS – Cupid (live clip) WATCH
Body Language had followed up their number one from earlier this year, but it only made it to 40 in the charts ~ this one did ten times better.

(4) DON McLEAN – Crying (video) WATCH
His first hit for 7 years and his second of two number ones.

(3) STACY LATTISAW – Jump To The Beat (still picture) WATCH
With her only top ten hit, now at its peak in the charts.

(2) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (still picture) WATCH
Their first hit since Native New Yorker in 1977, and it became their only number one.


ELO had 15 top ten hits but this was their only number one. Olivia had 11 top ten hits which included 3 number ones, though non of them solo.

(29) CHANGE – A Lover’s Holiday (and credits) WATCH
This became the first of two top 20 hits in 1980 for Change.

So next week then the strike is over (much more quickly than it was 35 years ago!) and it's that first new era Top of the Pops from August 7th 1980.


  1. Well done in putting this together Angelo.

    Leo Sayer - it says this clip was a TOTP studio performance. Does that mean that the TOTP studio was filming performances on the week of 9th July during the strike?

    Darts - this video looks like an ITV clip, probably for Tiswas, which they were regulars on, and appeared more frequently than on TOTP. It just does not look like a BBC video and Darts did not make music videos (promo videos), so I doubt if the BBC showed this on the 9th July pilot or at all. However, not a bad offering for Darts final top 20 hit.

    Lipps Inc - surprised to see a still picture as I know that a music video was made and released: (see here)

    Odyssey - I see you have it listed twice in the TOTP chart here, one as Legs & Co, and one as a still picture.
    I guess if Legs & Co did not do Odyssey, then perhaps they would have done Stacy Lattisaw where no footage would have been available at the time.

    ONJ & ELO - This really is a great video taken from the Xanadu movie which I have watched a number of times in the last 35 years, but it's a pity that we see no images of ELO who wrote the song for ONJ, and without her vocals it would not have gone to No.1.

    Indeed Jeff Lynne released an ELO version of this song Xanadu (without Olivia) a few years ago in a ELO compilation CD/album, with his own voice replacing Olivia's vocals, and it just did not have the same flair and impact that Olivia was able to offer, so this would back up my hunch that ONJ was the necessary vehicle to take this to a week-deserved No.1 in the summer of 1980.

  2. Regarding the fact that BBC4 will be showing the post-strike show of 7th August next week, I'm not ready for August yet, as it is still only June, and it does not give us a feel of the correct time of year if we see the August shows in June.

    I'm still of the suggestion that we put up the blog on 7th August and fill up June and July with likely TOTP line-ups for June and July had there not been a strike, as time is on our side. No pressure!

    1. I think I will stick with the dates BBC4 puts them out, otherwise the blog will be weeks behind them ~ but I do have a little something lined up to fill the gaps whilst the Proms are being shown in July and August ~ and when the repeats begin again in September we'll be more of less back in sync.

    2. By the time I get round to posting it probably will be August (lol). Seriously though I don't think even I could wait 7 weeks to blog again. It's a shame though the BBC can't bite the bullet and show all the missed out DLT shows and the fill the gap that way.

  3. If memory serves me correctly, Odyssey missed being shown as number one on TOTP but "Use It Up..." was shown in the first Michael Hurll show when on its way down to number 3, maybe to make it up to the group and record company.

  4. PS - Thanks to Angelo and Popscene for the fine work.

  5. Thanks Angelo for putting this clip compendium together. While it would have been intriguing to see this show, I don't blame BBC4 for skipping it - it was never intended for broadcast, and watching the "stand ins" during the various performances may have got dull after a while.

    It is a shame that some great songs missed out on TOTP exposure during the strike - I have a suspicion that The Korgis' brilliant record (one of my best of 1980) would have gone higher if they could have made an appearance, and it's also a pity that Joan Armatrading's Me Myself I (taken her from her equally strong album of the same name) missed out.

    As for the songs featured here, Waterfalls does stand out as one of Macca's better solo efforts, and Darts did a pretty good job on Let's Hang On, more so than Leo and the Spinners did with their rather anaemic covers. Where the hell did Splodgenessabounds get their name from? The "song" reminded me a bit of Streetband's Toast, though if it helped inspire that execrable BBC3 sitcom that would be a big black mark against it...

  6. Based on the how awkward The Korgis looked on the show last time, I would suggest that the songs wouldn't have got as *high* as No.5 had they been on the show!!

    It is a great tune, a shame that we'll miss that, and Kate Bush of course - though in her case I suspect it would have been the video only anyway. Also, the UB40 track is my favourite from their 1980 output.

    As I've said previously, the biggest shame for me is no 'Sanctuary' by New Musik, as I'm sure that would have been on.

    1. You might be right about The Korgis, Noax - maybe TOTP could have just shown the video instead!

    2. The Korgis' biggest hit was indeed a very fine piece of work. It has been covered not only by new wave folkies Dream Academy (in '87), but also by the legendary Richard Thompson OBE - who described it on stage as "the only decent song released in the 80s"!

  7. I had just finished my A-levels at this point and during the summer my mum and dad took my brother and I on holiday to Paris for a week. My mum and brother wanted to look at all the sights but I spent all my time in the shops and markets. I remember buying a lot of singles which had different picture sleeves to the UK ones including The Specials, a single by Graduate called Elvis Should Play Ska (Graduate later morphed into Tears For Fears) and this Korgis single.

    The odd thing is I don't recall TOTP being absent from our screens for such a long time. Funny how your mind remembers some things and not others.

  8. Has anyone seen that strange July 1971 show which is supposedly introduced by Jimmy Savile but in fact apart from a few glimpses of him dancing there are no intros and all the performances are played one after the other and with no applause. That looks like an unedited or certainly unfinished show. It was shown on UK Gold in summer of 1993.

    1. I have seen that show Bama - it is actually available to watch on Youtube (albeit split into several parts). It certainly demonstrates how diverse the music scene was in the early 70s, with everything from Prog (Family, The Strawbs) to the lightest of lightweight pop (Middle of the Road) represented. As you say, the surviving copy must be either unedited or unfinished.

    2. It's here in full, and I think it was edited in this way for export by the bbc.

  9. Be interesting to see how they edit the half hour version of the first August show, as it begins by showing what's coming up, some of which won't be of course! When shown on UK gold, the showing edited out the Legs & Co routine to Tom Browne's Funkin' for Jamaica, despite showing the preview at the start.

  10. I have no memory of how the ELO/ONJ song goes, and to be honest have no real interest in being reminded. however, I would be interested in watching the film it soundtracked, where olivia's love interest is played by michael beck who was the gang leader in "the warriors"

    also, I didn't think much of the first change single. but the second "searchin" certainly had a big impact on me as a signpost of where the disco sound was going. although their output was patchy, they also later came up with several other classic 80's dance tracks such as "paradise", "change of heart" and "mutual attraction"

    a shame not to be able to see splodgenessabounds and the korgis (although in the latter's case, in contrast to children it was very much a case of being heard and not seen), but hopefully we won't miss too much else as a result of what happened...?

    1. Dexy's best hit (in my opinion) There There My Dear was on the charts during the strike, their video for it is on you tube though. Shame we got deprived of it for TOTP and consequently later from TOTP2

    2. Xanadu is one of those feel good movies that at the time were instant hits at the movies, and the ONJ costume set through to the movie was something very special.

      In fact the ELO/ONJ video taken from the movie had her in different sexy costumes, which must have helped the single to no.1, as ELO were only heard and not seen on this song.

      It's a bit of a fantasy movie where Olivia plays the part of a muse that some ordinary artist falls in love with, and this was a surefire formula of the success of the hit and the movie in 1980, only two years after the Grease movie which was still popular at the time, and so Olivia could quite easily get to No.1 with anything she sang at the time.

      In 2006, Meck took the images from one of the ELO songs called All Over The World from this Xanadu film, and copied this 1980 video from the film to make their own 2006 promo video for Thunder In My Heart Again, and scored a huge success with it, and I bet no-one had noticed where there got the video idea from: - Elo's All Over The World from XANADU of course!

    3. Of the three 1980 turkeys that tried to establish the pop musical for the decade to come - Xanadu, The Apple and Can't Stop the Music - Xanadu probably has the best tunes.

      They're all very camp, and all have a cult following, especially The Apple which has to be seen to be disbelieved, but Olivia is quite jaunty in Xanadu, and dances with Gene Kelly (in his final musical).

      It's about as good as Toomorrow from ten years before, which was another pop musical flop, if Olivia hadn't been in Grease she'd have been advised to give up movies as a lost cause. Then she was in Two of a Kind and really did call it a day.

    4. thx "the apple" (aka star rock) is a new one to me and definitely one to look out for, what with various british thesps, the great 60's/70's itc favourite vladek sheybal (playing a character called "boogalow"!) and singer grace kennedy. talking of which, if by the grace of the beeb we get to see totp 81, then we should see her brother errol in action...

      as for "can't stop the music" (another on my "ones to watch" list): how can not have the best tunes when it features the legendary YMCA?

    5. When I said Xanadu has the best tunes out of that trio, what I maybe should have said was that it was the most consistent, there's a lot of filler in Can't Stop the Music. Also the Leather Man's voice doesn't exactly suit his hardman look, which is all I recall about the band's acting talents (they had a new Cop, I think... might be wrong).

      By all means check out The Apple, it was an early Cannon effort (there's a documentary out at the moment about their general insanity/inanity, so it has to feature there - haven't seen it myself). It's turned into a Rocky Horror-style midnight movie in some places, with its own cult who know all the lines. I think Joss Ackland (playing God) says it's the worst film he ever appeared in, but he says that about most of his films.

  11. In answer to Wilberforce here, I would recommend watching the movie. I still have the VHS copy of the film in superb condition, and I occasionally watch it every couple of years or so, as it has music from Olivia NJ, ELO, Cliff Richard and Gene Kelly, and I love the music which comes thick and fast throughout the movie.

    I recommend for all our regular bloggers to watch the original movie over the next few weeks, as the June and July 1980 chart was dominated by songs from it, including the main title track Xanadu at No.1 in the singles chart.

  12. I haven't checked the logistics, but wouldn't it have been more logical to throw in a few more "Sky At Night" Thursdays earlier this year (Sacrilege! I bet I'm drummed out of the club) so that the final old school TOTP became the last of the re-runs before The Proms, and we got the first new look show after a long absence from our screens, just like back in the day?

    I don't remember if any guest presenters introduced studio acts in the new era but, if I was an artist or band member who'd made it to the hallowed studio, I'd have been really hacked off if I'd been introduced by B.A. Robertson or the like instead of a Radio 1 DJ. Still, it could have been worse - I shudder at the memory of Femi Oke and Tony "Laters" Dortie hosting the show years later.

  13. Angelo, regarding your wish to see Nunhead's finest, Splodgenessabounds, they did appear once on the show with their other top 30 hit but it's on a Yewtreed dition, so here's hoping someone's got a copy they can 'lend' us.

    1. It was a Yewtree double whammy for them because their song was a Rolf Harris cover!

  14. Spoiler alert (sorry folks, look away now if you don't want to know the score)...

    Having just checked the bespoke Popscene website, it appears that the three records which made number one during the strike are shown during the first 'new look' show, one of which had dropped to number 63 by this stage!

    Maybe he had touring or studio commitments, but B.A. Robertson wasn't the first guest presenter when we resumed - in fact he was the fourth! It'll be interesting to see if someone who beat him in the queue will have his "Mind yer backs" critique of Village People kept in both uncut and full versions of the show!

    1. What was the TV show B.A. presented that had Annabella Lwin from Bow Wow Wow on who memorably called his programme "shit" live on air, leaving him shamefaced?

    2. This one! :-)

    3. That's it! C'mon BBC Four, let's see B.A. in Music and make up our own minds!

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  16. Angelo, the Legs & Co clip from 9/7/80 is now up on you tube :
    I hope I've got the link correct, if not it's Glenn Marshall who has uploaded it, and many other rare Legs routines as well as this one.

    1. Thanks Manorak ~ that's amazing it's straight from the actual pilot ~ it looks like he might even have the rest of the show somehow?

    2. Yes, Glenn is thanking 'NB' for the clip. I think we might know who NB is. So if you are reading this Mr Neil B., we would be very grateful if you could let us see the full show, any chance? Please?

    3. The clip's been taken down already :-(

    4. It seems there are persons out there that will not allow NB to make this pilot available for us ~ but big thanks to NB for trying :-)

    5. What I said above was meant to be jovial, but I do apologize if my comments affected Glenn ,NB, or anyone else for that matter.

    6. I wouldn't worry about it manorak, your comment didn't affect anything ~ I think it's someone at the BBC who doesn't want the pilot uploaded for whatever reason

  17. I know that we'll be getting a new blog put up later today for an August TOTP while we are still in June, but I've been studying the June 1980 charts, and noticed that the first release from the Xanadu movie soundtrack was not Xanadu, but it was I'm Alive by ELO, after a 6-month break from the final release from the Discovery album at the end of 1979.

    The I'm Alive video would probably have been shown for the first time on a 6th June TOTP if not for the strike, as it first appeared on the TOTP chart rundown as a new entry on the 29th May edition, the last to go out before the strike.

    An interesting fact is that although we never got to see the video cos of the strike, it was plagiarised by Meck in 2006 to a new generation who were not even born in 1980.

    The Meck release was called Thunder In my Heart Again which was a copy of Leo Sayer's hit from 1978, coupled with a copycat video of ElO's I'm alive, never shown on TOTP in June 1980 when reaching its peak during the strike.

    The first link shows the original ELO video, and the second link shows the Meck plagiarism of which I never recall any objections by ELO or the music industry, which does seem rather odd.