Thursday, 9 July 2015

It's Still Top of the Pops to Me

It's August 21st 1980 and this week's guest co-presenter is Cliff Richard ~ surely he can't be as miserable as the previous two?

If you behave yourself Cliff, we'll let you sing......

21-8-80: Presenters: Steve Wright & Cliff Richard

(28) NICK STRAKER BAND – A Walk In The Park
It's unusual for the opening song to be cut from the 7.30 show, but it happened tonight.

 (25) SHEENA EASTON – Modern Girl
This had been Sheena's debut single earlier in the year, but it had failed to make the top 50, but following her appearance on The Big Time it had re-entered and was on its way to the top ten to keep her other single, 9 to 5, company. The audience are really leaping around to this one but I get the feeling one or two are doing it in an ironic manner.

 (3) THE JAM – Taxman Start (video)
The follow-up to Going Underground goes straight in to the charts at number 3, but they'll have to do better with future videos, because there's a game changer in town.

 (32) SHAKIN’ STEVENS – Marie Marie
Also cut from the 7.30 show ~ someone at BBC4 doesn't like him much I think.....

 (24)  LEGS & CO – they've danced to the Sex Pistols now here they are stealing the show with their routine to Bank Robber by The Clash.

 (30) BILLY JOEL – It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me (video)
Billy's first top 20 hit since My Life nearly two years earlier, and his last until Uptown Girl made it to number one three years later. It was also evidently very thirsty work making this video...

 (27) HAZEL O’CONNOR – Eighth Day
Hazel really has the audience rocking here on her studio debut with the first song released from her film, Breaking Glass.

 (9) THE PIRANHAS – Tom Hark
Edited out of the 7.30 show.

 (8) KELLY MARIE – Feels Like I’m In Love
A second and particularly bouncy studio performance from Kelly, with her two dancers this time in top hats and tails.

 (20) CLIFF RICHARD – Dreamin’
So Cliff becomes the first of the celeb presenters to actually get to sing on the show, with a song co-written by Leo Sayer, and soon to be his second top ten hit of the year.

The Top Ten rundown:

(10) GEORGE BENSON – Give Me The Night (video)
Had peaked at number 7.

 (9) THE PIRANHAS – Tom Hark (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
On its way to number 6.

 (8) KELLY MARIE – Feels Like I’m In Love (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Feels like a future number one....

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

 (6) ROXY MUSIC – Oh Yeah (On The Radio) (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Had peaked at number 5.

 (5) DIANA ROSS – Upside Down (video)
Had peaked at number 2.

 (4) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5 (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Down from number 3, but would go back up to number 3 again next week.

 (3) THE JAM – Start (video)
Straight into the front of the queue for the number one spot.

 (2) ABBA – The Winner Takes It All (video)
Down from last week's number one.

 (1) DAVID BOWIE – Ashes To Ashes (video)
'His best ever song' suggests Steve Wright, but Cliff seems a little grave, and he's more interested in telling us about his upcoming tours to Germany and South Africa. Meanwhile, Ashes to Ashes was Bowie's second number one hit, five years after Space Oddity had become his first.

 (11) ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – All Over The World (crowd dancing) (and credits)
Now at its peak in the charts.

Next week then we reach August 28th 1980 already ~ my oh my this year is whizzing by!


  1. Bring on Sir Cliff.

    I must say this was a breath of fresh air after the glumness of last week's duo presenters.

    Sheena Easton - strange to release Modern Girl at the same time as 9 To 5. These two songs ended up being in the top ten at the same time, but I find it strange that her record company put two singles out at the same time, which is against the grain of single releases, so does anyone have an explanation for this?

    The Clash - I must say this Legs & Co performance was a comedown on last week's excellent performance on ELO, and considering most of their performances in the preceding months in 1980 were mostly fantastic. But then the Clash are not exactly exciting to dance to.

    Cliff Richard - as he did at the same time of the year in 1979, releasing a song as the summer was changing to autumn, and the new school term. But Dreamin' was not as successful as last year's We Don't Talk Anymore.

    But Cliff's next release in October 1980 was for me his finest moment, as a duet with ONJ for the Xanadu release called Suddenly, which Olivia claimed was her favourite on the movie album, and which TOTP showed at the end of October 1980, where the video was the only when where Olivia kissed her co-performer in the middle of the video. Lucky Cliff!

    ELO - closing the show this week on the end-credits and peaking at No.11. I just love this song following the Legs & Co dancing last week, and this week's playout gave us a last feel- good effect of summer, as we were now headed towards September and Autumn round the corner.

  2. Modern Girl had been Sheena's first single but stalled in the 50's back in April.It re entered in August thanks to the success of 9 to 5 and the broadcast of the Big Time TV show in which it features.

  3. shaky shakerson10 July 2015 at 01:31

    Steve Wright - in double denim- is our compere alongside Cliff complete with low-slung red tie; and the opening bit is, thankfully, competent and several stepsup from the previous two weeks.

    Nick Straker Band start off all Euro-beaty in the verse before seamlessly turning into ELO-lite. Pretty much a one hit wonder, this isn't actually bad, but the charismalessness of everybody on stage would have done little to encourage sales.

    Sheena Easton - finally getting Modern Girl into the charts and looking like she's had a bit of a Subo-style makeover including a much classier jumpsuit than her 9-5 effort. The song is better as well, although the 'dance' moves were ill-advised.

    On vid - the superb Start. I still love this and yes it does borrow heavily from Taxman but its Weller for God's sake.Weller!!

    Shakin' Stevens starting to build up a head of steam that will see him become a regular on ToTP and in the higher echelons of the chart. Obviously recorded at an earlier time unless ALL the audience decided to cold-shoulder him, which given the general naffness of the song and the cod-Elvisology wouldn't have been a surprise.

    The Leggers are up next dancing to Bank Robber by The Clash (one can only wonder how excited Roger Daltrey would have been sat at home watching the girls and listening to The Clash!) A sedate perfromance this one with the girls fairly stuck to the floor.

    Billy Joel and his band giving a live performance on vid of Only Rock n Roll. None of Joel's songs have managed to stay the course as far as I am concerned and this is no different. Not that bothered that it was crudely faded out during the sax break. In fairness, though, they did sound good live.

    The chart countdown 30-11 now, and Steve almost manages to cram all the neccessary names and titles into the right places - but the Jamacian accent he uses for Bob Marley is cringey.

    Hazel O'Connor with another film song. I never actually saw the film - possiby because I detested this song so much. And her stage-school performance here surely didn't entice many people to race on down to the local Odeon.

    Kelly Marie - like Shena Easton- has made a better choice in the jumpsuit selection this week but it still looks too big for her. Did anyone else get a Black & White Minstrel vibe from the outfits her dancers wore? Just me, then.

    Cliff gets a chance to perform afairly typical Cliff song in a fairly typical Cliff way; jacket casually hung over one shoulder. But what possessed the keyboard player to wear those shorts? I have a theory that they filmed two versions of this - solo and with his band - and the intention was to pick whichever Cliff thought the best. They either couldn't decide or were so impressed by the Hot Choc treatment of No Doubt About It that they thought they would copy it.

    Bowie makes the top spot with Ashes To Ashes and we play out with ELO.

    So, this week's scores. Messrs Wright and Richard were a VAST improvement on the other two odd couples but strangely it was the muso who scored higher. Cliff came across as very affable, studio-savvy, not at all nervous and, nicely self-deprecating. Steve still hasn't got into his stride in front of the camera and LOOKS nervous although if you just listened then it wasn't that bad. 7 for Wrighty and a well-deserved 8 for the future Sir Cliff.
    Musically only The Clash and The Jam did it for me, but Sheena and Nick Straker were ok. So the show gets a 6. Just one question - where was the party atmosphere? Where were the balloons? Ok, that's two questions, but still, come on guys, this is supposed to be the new-improved ToTP. Maybe next week - untill then. . . . I am NOT a robot.

    1. Yes indeed, Nick Straker must have been influenced by the ELO Discovery album of 1979. In terms of looks, the lead singer on Nick Straker looks more like the lead on KC & The Sunshine Band.

    2. Steve Wright was still a relative newcomer to television while Cliff probably had dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in front of the camera by then, many of them as a presenter himself. To my ageing eyes, Steve Wright has never looked natural on telly, despite his efforts with TotP and The People Show.

  4. Paul Weller's like a magpie, stealing riffs from bands that have inspired him. In the case of 'The Changingman', it was the guitar hook from ELO's '10538 Overture'! Nevertheless, he deserved to be awarded the CBE for 'Stanley Road' alone - but rejected the honour.

    Be fair to Legs - 'Bankrobber' may not exactly be a floorfiller, but all professional dancers of their calibre must be able to move to slow numbers as well as uptempo songs. Remember Ruby Flipper's routine to 'Heart On My Sleeve' - or, indeed, Pans People's jazz-ballet sequence to Nilsson's ballad 'Without You'?

    'It's Still Rock and Roll' may sound somewhat dated nowadays, but most of Billy Joel's classic songs have weathered the passing of time. I only wish he could start making hit records again, now that he appears to have exorcised his personal demons.

    Steve's 'Chavaican' accent during the countdown would not be acceptable in a broadcasting context nowadays, even though Adele used one at the Grammys: "Girl done good!"

    Cliff's 'Dreamin'' was penned by his producer Alan Tarney with Leo Sayer - who would amazingly miss out with his next single 'Once In A While', also a Tarney-Sayer composition.

    Overall score: 7/10.

    1. Legs & Co at this point were coming up to 4 years since launch, and with the same line up of 6 girls, I mean women, and I think 1980 & 1981 was the time when they reached their very peak with this original line-up.

      While some bands did not make the transition into the 80s, like The Dooleys, Dr Hook, Showaddywaddy and Darts, the likes of Legs & Co, Roxy Music, David Bowie and The Jam did.

  5. The Nick Straker Band start us off with Donkey Donkey Woof Baa Moo, oh, wait a minute, that's not Uncle Peter from The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer at all, is it? Not the sort of laidback tune a walk in the park suggests, I wonder what Nick was there for?

    Sheena Easton, and the pogoing is proving infectious, by the end half the audience are pogoing to Cliff. Anyway, another catchy ditty sung in a very loud voice, and carrying on the recent tradition of Scots lasses in jumpsuits.

    The Jam and their Beatles rip-off, er, tribute, did nobody say to Paul Weller at the time, hey, this sounds a tad familiar? Still, it's a sharp, aggressive beat that suits the band.

    Shakin' Stevens well on the way to being the decade's biggest singles artist with a lot of songs that sounded much the same. Always thought it odd he started as an Elvis tribute act when his voice doesn't sound much like The King, it's far higher and more nasal.

    Legs & Co armed with shooters, exhibiting threatening behaviour and illustrating The Clash in the only way they know how: literally. This is what happens when you don't turn up to the studio, boys. Mind you, the actual video wasn't too sensible either.

    Billy Joel needing a spot of Dutch courage to get through his defensive song. We're not judging you, Billy! OK, that's exactly what we're doing, but don't take it so seriously. And congratulations on the recent nuptials.

    Hazel O'Connor: "Everyone has DIED!!!" Thanks for that Haze, as if we didn't know nuclear Armageddon paranoia wasn't kicking off big time. From Breaking Glass, one of the most miserable British rock films ever, no Summer Holiday was it, Cliff? Disappointed she didn't show up in the full Tron outfit.

    The Piranhas, it's not often you get a song with the word "grotty" in it, I can't think of any other, can you? The drummer has been toned down, but still topless.

    Kelly Marie, just off her shift at the garage and leaping into our hearts. Overdoing it with the makeup a bit, Kelly.

    Cliff Richard finally takes the stage, dressed casually but it's a casual kind of track. Pleasant enough, and he's been the only host so far who's been natural before the cameras as himself. Then comes the news he's touring South Africa at the height of Apartheid. "I ain't gonna play Sun Cit-eh!" as artists of more integrity would sing later.

    Ashes to Ashes, I recall being baffled by this video as a kid, and thought I'd have understood it if I'd been older. Now I am older, and I'm still baffled. Bah.

    1. Bowie always had some weirdness about him, needing to shock, and felt he had to rebel against the mainstream music business churning out happy dancy pop.

      He continued like this up to 1983 with China Girl amid a controversial pop video that had to be edited, and it was not till the mid-80s when he dueted with Mick Jagger on Dancing In The Street, that you could see a happier normal side to him, more in line with mainstream pop.

    2. ... and that was when his music got crap! the shark-jumping point for me was "modern love". he did bring out the occasional half-decent track after that ("loving the alien", "jump they say"), but to me it seemed he was the equivalent of a once-great athlete who before had easily left others in his wake, but was now having difficulty just keeping up with the pack...

    3. Spot on Wilberforce, it sums him up perfectly.

    4. Whereas I think Modern Love is one of his best songs, and not only of the 80s. Great, propulsive pop courtesy of Nile Rogers' production.

      I also think Underground (from the overrated fantasy movie Labyrinth) is an underrated tune, as is his theme from nuclear depresso-fest When the Wind Blows (hmm, a pattern is emerging). It wasn't all bad for Dame Dave after 1980, though his most recent album did nothing for me.

    5. Bowie definitely tried to shock and as someone said here was always changing styles to catch attention as well. That's not enough to convince me that often. Ashes to Ashes though lives beyond all that as a good song, up there with Life on Mars and Starman.

    6. Hang on, we're only a couple of years away from Bowie's classic duet with Bing Crosby - 'Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy'. Now that is something to look forward to!!

  6. hosts: at least steve wright's looking a bit better having got rid of that awful thing that was stuck underneath his chin. and cliff is an old hand at this kind of thing, having had his own tv show for several years in the late 60's/early 70's. but despite that i still find this whole DJ/popstar doubling-up somewhat hard to swallow...

    nich straker band: straker wasn't his real surname, so i wonder if he took it from the ed straker character in the classic gerry anderson series "UFO"? i thought this alright at the time if nothing special, but anything with leaping octave disco basslines has me running for the hills nowadays. visually nothing special to look at (other than nick's awful outdated bubble-cut - i think even kevin keegan had got rid of his by then), and having the lead singer on keyboards does them no favours. and why exactly is the drummer positioned the other side of the stancheon? that reminds me of perhaps the worst gig i ever did (and one that in effect prompted my "retirement" as a gigging musician), where my keybaords wouldn't fit in a tiny space provided for live bands in a pub one of mine played in. therefore i had to set up the other side of the PA system in a corridor that connected two bars. so not only did i not have any visual contact with the rest of the band, but had to spend the duration of the gig watching disinterested drunks drifting back and forth!

    sheena easton: better than the plodding "9 to 5", but that's only in relative terms. i remember them recording the backing vocals for this on the "big time" programme, and chris neil and co. elected to sing "she's a modern girl", as opposed to "i'm a modern girl" which seemed a bit odd to me. by the way this was written by bugatti and musker, who you may remember penned all those lovely hits for paul nicholas a few years earlier...

    jam: i wasn't familar with "taxman" at the time (i'm still not, to be honest) so i didn't know if the rip-off jibes at the time had any foundation or not. as anyone who reads this blog knows, i'm not a fan of the modfather. but at the time (under peer pressure) i felt obliged to try and find something of interest in the jam's singles, although i thought this one was weak even by their standards. and that the only reason this got to no. 1 was that it was released in the slipstream of "going underground"...

    shakin' stevens: i thought this was one of the many instantly-forgettable singles that were hits in the wake of his breakthrough with "this ole house", so my memory was obviously playing tricks on me. not that it matters of course as shaky is hardly the epicentre of my musical universe. here's a quiz game that you might like to try out on your chums: "name more than three hit singles by shakin' stevens" - most people will immediately go "oh - this ole house"! then have to think for a few seconds before they say "green door" or maybe another one. then after that they'll have difficulty coming up with a third...

    clash: someone watching this with me suggested that this was a bit out of joe strummer's range. i replied that as in my opinion the guy can't carry a tune in a bucket, then pretty much anything is out of his range! i know this might be an "emperor's new clothes" scenario, but can anyone honestly claim this is any less cod-reggae than that thing the aforementioned paul nicholas did a few years earlier?

    1. Re Shaky - Lipstick, Powder and Paint is always one that stuck in my memory for some reason. Then of course there is the Christmas song, which is the only one of his that gets played nowadays!

      Funny you mention Kevin Keegan, as he co-hosted the show after next with DLT. Hopefully someone will put it online so we can see if the bubble cut was still in place...

  7. despite not thinking there was much to ruminate on this week, i've still had to post a 2-parter review:

    billy joel: i liked the almost-lounge feel of "just the way you are", so anthing billy did after that seemed a lot rawer and raucous, and thus a disappointment to me. however, my chums and i found the lyric "a bright orange pair of pants" highly amusing, as at the time us brits thought of "pants" to mean underpants rather than trousers as the yanks did. so we would chortle at the thought of someone striding down the high street in some orange y-fronts!

    hazel o'connor: i seem to remember she was actually considered in some quarters as some kind of pin-up at the time, which highlighted the dearth of attractive women in rock back in those days. i never "got" this despite hearing it played to death when in the charts, and not having heard it since nothing has changed as far as i'm concerned. hopefully the follow-up "will you" will not fall foul of the censors as that is of more interest to me...

    cliff: this came back to me in a vague way when performed, but i still had to look it up again to mention it here as i'd already forgotten what it was called! should the pop stars who co-present the show have a go themselves or not? maybe others here can give opinions...?

    1. Maybe Hazel O'Connor's pin-up status was because she had appeared in a nudie movie before Breaking Glass, which was an open secret at the time?

    2. well, as roger moore said to graham norton when shown an old knitting pattern on which he was the model: "we've all got to start somewhere"...

  8. a couple of more points on our hosts:

    1 - steve somehow manages to pronounce billy joel's surname differently in the space of one sentence (billy JO-el - billy jo-EL)

    2 - when steve informs us that there are three ladies on the show, cliff interjects saying "maybe i'm in with a chance then". i would have said there was as much chance of cliff getting off with any of those ladies as there was of him successfully climbing the north face of the eiger without mountaineering equipment...

  9. Cliff Richard on this show was approaching his 40th birthday, and in my opinion beginning to peak in his career. His successful contribution to the Xanadu movie soundtrack alongside Olivia Newton John & ELO, cemented his place in pop music history, with his follow-up to Dreamin' called 'Suddenly.'

    His invitation to perform this next hit in October 1980 duetting with ONJ on 'Suddenly' on her Hollywood Nights TV Special, which incidentally became the video for the song played on TOTP at the end of October, made for a confident release of a number of singles the following year in 1981 during his tenure as a 40-year old.

    In fact the two-year period between 1979 to 1981 was the most successful charting period for Sir Cliff, and one of the most active periods of his career in the UK singles chart, and so we will be seeing a lot more of Sir Cliff in the next 12 months on these TOTP repeats on BBC4.

    1. does anybody else know the reason why cliff has stayed so thin for so long? because in an early episode of "coronation street" minnie caldwell (one of the old ladies who hung out in the snug of the rovers return) said "i love that chubby cliff richard". cliff was so shocked and hurt by that, he immediately went on a strict diet that he's maintained ever since...

    2. shaky shakerson10 July 2015 at 10:32

      It's a pity Ena Sharples never then said " Aye - but he's a better actor than a singer". We might have been spared Millenium Prayer.

  10. I suppose we should be grateful we got this show - if the long arm of the law had actually felt Cliff's shoulder by now the Beeb would doubtless have consigned it to outer darkness. I'm very glad we saw it though, as it was a big step up from the first two Hurll shows. Cliff and Wright made a much more affable pairing than the previous ones - as mentioned above, it must have helped that Cliff had plenty of experience as a presenter. Interestingly enough, SW would not present the show again after this until July 1981 - I wonder if the new producer thought he was too nervy and didn't want to use him again until he was more comfortable on camera, or maybe it was punishment for that dodgy "Bob Marley" accent?

    Anyway, there was also plenty of good music this week, and a lively crowd, even if those rather excitable young men in shamrock t-shirts made rather a spectacle of themselves, as well as occasionally obscuring our view of the performers - I don't know why they were persisting with the seated part of the audience, however. The Nick Straker song is a decent effort, though I found myself distracted by his resemblance to that curly-haired comic actor who appears in Horrible Histories - Tommy Vance, meanwhile, appeared to be playing bass! Apparently, some members of the band, including Straker, had also been in New Musik.

    As I've mentioned previously, I think Modern Girl is far superior to 9 to 5, and in terms of lyrical content appears to be the polar opposite, celebrating female liberation while 9 to 5 extols the faithful housewife waiting for her man to come home. The Jam provided a bit of a contrast - despite the similarities to Taxman (I liked the way Angelo crossed the word out in his post!) the song has an infectious and urgent energy about it that would make it a worthy chart-topper.

    Shaky, meanwhile, continues his inexorable rise to chart domination with another ersatz piece of rock 'n' roll. Billy Joel's retro stylings were decidedly more convincing, and while I am far from being a fan this remains for me one of his better songs. I'm afraid The Clash don't do anything for me at all, especially with this lumpen effort, but the Legs girls can hold me up at gunpoint at any time...

    Hazel O'Connor was the highlight of the show for me. Other commenters don't appear to care much for this one, but it's a great slice of apocalyptic pop, delivered with passion and sincerity. Cliff had a good show performing as well as presenting, delivering his song without too many annoying mannerisms and deservedly continuing his career renaissance. I didn't realise Leo Sayer co-wrote Dreamin' - early in his career, he had a very fruitful writing relationship with Dave Courtney, which not only generated his own initial hits but a superb solo album for none other than Roger Daltrey...

    1. Must admit I was a bit cheeky about Hazel, but I do like the Breaking Glass soundtrack, it's a solid piece of pop-rock histrionics that suits the desperation of the plot. Then she got tied up with legal hassles because of it and pretty much dropped out of sight, another casualty of fame (though she recovered and still tours small venues).

    2. I saw Hazel perform some years back at the beautifully designed and Mick Jagger sponsored gym-cum-theatre at Dartford Grammar School. I wasn't a fan of hers but I have to say she put on a fine show. |Hazel pre-empted one song by telling a story about how it was written during a day on the beach at Bognor Regis which, from family experience, isn't as bad a place as people paint it.

    3. i was informed by the canals enthusiast who was watching this week's episode with me that hazel performed at this year's crick boat show! it's not exactly glastonbury, but i suppose it's still making a living of sorts. apparently her early 80's rock chick rival toyah played there last year, so i wonder who'll be on next year - kim wilde? more details here, with hazel surprisingly looking better now (in my opinion) than in her brief heyday:

    4. Hazel was indeed at Crick this year - in the beer tent, as you say it's not exactly Glastonbury. I attended the show myself but not on the day she was on, so I'm unable to comment on how many years ago the publicity photo was taken!

      Incidentally, this edition of TOTP has a spooky coincidental historic significance to it for me. As I have previously mentioned, we were on holiday on my parents' boat, now with a 5 inch b&w telly (and I can remember seeing the Nick Straker Band on it, so we definitely watched this show). On the evening of 21 August 1980, according to the logs kept by my late mother, we were moored at Stenson on the Trent & Mersey Canal, about a mile from the future Mercia Marina where my boat is moored today.

    5. mention of how old hazel o'connor's publicity photo might be reminds me that the picture they (still) use for journalist barbara ellen (some readers may remember her writing for the NME in her younger days) in her observer column is at least a decade old now!

    6. I like the Hazel O'Connor song too. It's one of those songs that when I did hear it again for the first time in years, a little while ago, it took me right back to that time. The chorus has an anthemic feel that makes it memorable enough to keep at the back of your mind until it finally re-emerges again years later.

    7. Publicity photos - maybe we shouldn't go there, but.....

  11. Some viewers are saying one of the fun-loving pogo boys did a Nazi salute at the end of the show, in the background while Steve and Cliff were wrapping things up, which is decidedly non-hilarious.

    1. I looked back at that bit on iPlayer, but it could have been a goodbye gesture rather than a Nazi salute. If it was the latter, it's just possible it could have been aimed at Cliff after his revelation that he was off to South Africa!

    2. OK, let's give the pogomaniac the benefit of the doubt.

  12. I have to say that I agree with other posters that this was the best one yet as far as the presenters go, although that's more down to Cliff than Steve Wright who cannot keep his head still and looks like he's reading his lines off idiot boards.

    Why they're using a photo of Bowie from 1974 (used on the cover of John I'm Only Dancing Again) is anyone's guess. I still hate seeing what's coming up, the show should look live, not edited.

    I really liked the Nick Staker single although the sinful syn drums let it down today. The band are a bit lacklustre. The bassist is a dead ringer for Tommy Vance while the guitarist's silver strides are doing him no favours.

    Note to Producer: a few pogo-ing looneys do not constitute a party atmosphere.

    Blimey the camera actually panned from Cliff and Steve to Sheena, wonders never cease. I remember this well and the line about eating a tangerine still makes me smile. Strangely this song is about a single girl working 9 to 5. confusing huh?

    Jam Start. Seen this countless times and impossible to fault. There was a mini psychedelia revival in the summer of 1980 and this was at the centre of it.

    The Shaking Stevens track is okay but nothing special. This performance looks like an outtake from The Hot Shoe Show. Where's the crowd gone? I was never fan of old Shaky but he was harmless enough. I preferred him with his band of old codgers when he was last on the show singing about hot dogs.

    Legs' routine for Bankrobber is so awful it's actually quite funny. I love the close up with the 'stick-up' note. We all know Joe Strummer couldn't really sing well but his croaky voice suits the mood of this song which is a classic in its own way.

    The Billy Joel track seems a bit dated now for 1980 but I didn't mind it at the time. The video was better than his last effort but still leaves a lot to be desired like better lighting, better editing and a rehearsal.

    The film Breaking Glass was about getting ripped off in the music business and of course poor Hazel O'Connor was ripped off in real life. The pogo-ing prats are in the right place here, until it slows down. I bought this at the time and the follow up singles Decadent Days and Will You. a good tune and a top performance.

    A new appearance from The Piranhas and it's better than the last one although I miss the drummers fish sticks.

    The Kelly Marie performance was cheesier than the last and she loved the old eye shadow didn't she? I like the fact that most of the crowd are more interested in looking at the camera than at her.

    The Cliff song is pretty pretty good (as Larry David would say) and has a similar formula to We Don't talk Anymore, so small wonder it was a hit. The shorts are a distraction and not a welcome one.

    The Top Ten and then the Bowie vid again. Funny that we take videos and YouTube for granted now but back then seeing a ground-breaking video was rare and in the days before most of us has a VCR you either saw it or missed it.

    Not quite sure what that bloke is laughing about when Cliff 'n' Steve are doing the last piece to camera but I guess when you're that age everything's funny. I like the fact that he waves goodbye as well.

    The ELO song suits the end titles well but its a shame we never saw them on video.

    1. i once played drums in a band that did "bank robber" as part of the set, and i have to admit that even though i'm not a clash fan it was great fun to play. the guitarist didn't enjoy it much though because he although there were only three chords to play, he was never sure of the order they came in!

    2. Of the 5 single releases from the Xanadu movie soundtrack, none of them had their video shown on TOTP in 1980.

      I'm Alive - charted, peaked and left the chart during June/July BBC strike.
      Xanadu - was No.1 during BBC strike, and was beginning to fall down the charts when the strike was over.
      All Over The World - TOTP used Legs & Co in Aug 1980, and then peaked the week after at No.11.
      Don't Walk Away - TOTP used Legs & Co again.
      Suddenly - the video shown on TOTP in October 1980 was from Olivia's Hollywood Nights TV Special recorded in April of that year, and not the one from the Xanadu movie.

      However, all 5 songs released from Xanadu from May-Nov 1980 did not feature the official video taken from the film, which you can find for each of them on Utube, so it was a case of lighting stokes 5 times for TOTP!
      I wonder if the BBC had an issue with Universal studios at the time.

      Anyway, with regard to Bama's point, here is what TOTP would have probably shown for All Over The World on the 28.8.80 edition, had it broken through the top ten that week:

    3. You hear the jolly tunes on the Xanadu soundtrack and wonder why the movie was such a flop when the music was so popular, then you watch a clip like that and remember, oh yeah, that's why.

    4. The music was much better than the movie, but you also have to remember that it was 1980 after all, and the resource to moviemakers nowadays by far outweighs what Universal Studios had available then, so forgive the awful costumes on this video, and let's be grateful that TOTP chose Legs & Co last week to do the job.

    5. I like the I'm Alive video though, I think it has some nice choreography.

    6. We Don't Talk Anymore had more feeling for me, Dreaming has a chorus that doesn't try that much.

    7. The I'm Alive Video which never got shown during its whole presence in the chart in June 1980 because of the TOTP strike, was resurrected in almost frame by frame manner by Meck in 2006, but with a Leo Sayer song called Thunder in my heart.

      I bet no-one noticed the copying at the time, because those listening to Meck in 2006 were probably not born yet in 1980, but here it is anyway:

      I wonder if Jeff Lynne or Universal studios were asked permission by Meck to copy their work, as it appears highly risky in today's climate, and it would be interesting to know if there was any claim for copyright infringement or not.

    8. Japanese record buyers were treated to, what for me was the best song from Xanadu; 'Suspended in time' by ONJ. For some reason it's not been entered on 45cat but a couple of sellers have it listed on eBay.

  13. It looks, surprisingly, like we will get the 18th September edition the week after next. The Proms coverage should kick in the following week, but unless DLT's shows get miraculously reinstated in the autumn we are on course to run out of episodes by the start of December at the latest.

    1. It doesn't feel nostalgic when they are showing September shows while we are still in July. It takes away from the whole point of the show, being a lookback at 35 years ago in the same week of the year.

      If they are going to skip Jimmy Saville and DLT shows or a 8-week TOTP strike by the BBC that occurred in June & July of 1980 , then they should fill those dates with other programmes in order to keep us in synch with the time of year. Come on BBC4, you can do better than this. Oh, and please give us at least the DLT shows to watch.

    2. I still don't understand why they don't fill the weeks where they can't show a DLT/JS show with an episode from this week in another year. Late 80's or even a one from the earlier 70's.

    3. Anonymous, please give yourself a name.
      Anyway, I agree it is better to show another year, than to go ahead of this week in 1980, as watching September shows in July is watching autumn releases in summer.

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed this one - an enthusiastic and, as already mentioned, experienced co-host and lots of great music, let down only by the Clash on one of their dreary reggae kicks (Stiff Little Fingers did the same kind of thing). And maybe Sheena Easton as well, sorry, but singing a song in the first person whilst the backing vocalists sing in the third person just grates on me (see also: Ramblers - The Sparrow). It certainly confused me when the showed the clip of Sheena at the start of the show which was not only a different performance but a different song!

    At least that depressing effort from ABBA had been deposed from the top spot by "one of the guv'nors", though I still can't work out how a costume, a padded cell set, some location filming and a dose of solarisation and Quantel effects comes to £40k at 1980 prices.

    1. if sheena had sung her bit solo and then there was a repeat by the backing singers i could understand it, but both first and third person is just plain daft. of course they could have only sung backing vocals on (for example) the "getting back" bit where she goes "but i'm getting back". or else re-write the lyics so they didn't have this thorny problem to overcome. well, that's what i would have suggested anyway, but unlike christopher neil nobody has ever hired me to do work as a professional record producer...

  15. An enjoyable show, this one, helped out by an effervescent co-host who was an old hand to this lark and who acted as a fine light comic foil to straight man Steve “Woodentop” Wright – you could almost see the strings working him – but you just KNEW Cliff would get the chance to sing on the show as well. Mind you, did Cliff nick Sheena Easton’s red tie and white shirt chic from her preview photo, or was it the other way round?

    No vocal mention of the Nick Straker Band’s chart position (respect for miming that par-par-par bit, lads) and I loved the earlier bang-on references to Tommy Vance on bass and Charlie Chuck on keyboards – if only the follow-up single had been “I want a doughnut, a cream bun, and a slice of that cake, over there”.

    I wonder who makes the decision for audience members to sit down or stand up? It still looks like an edition of “Ask Aspel” or similar to me, and the audience only got Sheena frontage during the instrumental bits. I can see why folk on here don’t like the “I / She” contradiction near the song’s end, but I prefer that to Chris Neil pretending to be a woman with his backing vocals.

    Funny seeing Bruce Foxton not wearing a suit and tie. Had he just received a big bill from the taxman? Boom boom tish!

    Never mind Shakin’ Stevens’ groovy moves, I loved that camera looming up from below stage right near the start. As for that elusive third Shakin’ single, my “Family Fortunes” moment would be the “Rocking Good Way” duet with Bonnie Tyler.

    If I was working in a bank and Legs & Co came in dressed like that and showed me that punk ransom note, they could have had what they wanted. I enjoyed the routine, complete with its chocolate guns.

    Ah, Billy Joel, acting like a Yankee Den Hegarty (remember him?). This song really should have had a Paul McCartney style video with backing Billy’s helping the call and response along. Billy’s glugging reminded me of a long-gone soft drink called Solo and its tagline – “he doesn’t want a drink he’s got to sip”.

    First sighting of a dog on the show since Brotherhood of Man’s “My Sweet Rosalie” as Hazel O’Connor takes to the stage with a toy poodle on her head. Fair play, though, she gave it all she had in this outing. Can anyone else imagine Lene Lovich having a crack at this song and the consequences?

    Not a big indie fan, Cliff obviously didn’t know this was at least The Piranhas’ fourth single. Bob, mate, the camera’s over here! Did the drummer look a bit po-faced having to be at the back this time? Following his marine implements last time round, was he using drumsticks or crabsticks this time?

    A couple of boo-boos by Steve Wright regarding Kelly Marie, referring to her as, ahem, ever lovely early doors and renaming her song “Feels Like Making Love” in the rundown (talking of which, apart from Sheena Easton, were any other of the top 10 studio clips the most recent?). Next time round, Kelly’s dancers dress up as cotton pickers.

    Classic hand gestures by Cliff during his routine, especially the call up / bring me down motif. I bet he always won charades at Christmas. Was he ever on “Give Us A Clue”? Talking of having a clue, I hope Elton and Roger watched this show and saw how it should be done.

  16. ...or of course mr neil could have got sheena to do the backing vocals as well as the lead ones, in which case they would all be in first person. however i suspect that as sheena was an amateur wannabe at that point, he thought etc etc

    1. i remember charlie chuck regularly appearing on the james whale late-night chat show in the early 80's - he was amusing but also very weird (i can't stand reeves and mortimer so i never got the "uncle peter" reference). well done arthur for bringing to our attention that hazel o'connor is a blonde version of lene lovich. am i right in that the expression "early doors" (which i still don't actually understand other than it being a corrupted version of "early days") was coined by the now-discgraced football commentator "big" ron atkinson? cliff's good friend and colleague una stubbs was a long-term captain on "give us a clue" (that inexplicably used the same theme tune as "grange hill" that was of course also on the telly at the time), so if cliff had appeared as a guest that wouldn't have been a surprise (coincidentally the host was michael "ask" aspel who is mentioned above)...

    2. I thought Big Ron coined "early doors" too, but I've just discovered it was a theatre term used as far back as about 1900, referring to lower class people being allowed in to claim unreserved cheap seats before the more salubrious theatre-goers arrived.

    3. thanks for that arthur! i'm not condoneing big ron's racist comments that earned him a red card, but he was by far the best football co-commentator/analyst around, and after his abrupt departure things were never the same again with the likes of andy "man of the people" townsend (inadequately) filling the breach...

  17. Watched the show again tonight.Cliff did a fine job presenting, but I must echo THX in saying so called Christian but no problem playing Sun City for the big money ...

  18. I couldn't take to The Clash, The Jam and Cliff Richard.

    Never really got The Clash anyway, and here not much of a melody, little energy and it didn't even have much feeling for me.

    The Jam seemed pretty tame compared to their likely influence (Taxman). The guitars sound a bit bored and the vocals seem twee compared to The Beatles snarl. The hook in the chorus comes across as flippant.

    Cliff Richard goes back to his middle of the road style, and despite the best efforts of the producer the melody really can't be made more than it is however shiny the sound. I found him annoying as a co-presenter as well. Even if we disagree with what the previous two said at least they had something to say, here there is just some mugging at the camera like he's some young wholesome rock 'n' roll heart-throb from 1960, but times have moved on.

    It's interesting that some prefer Modern Girl over 9 to 5, but I feel the na na na-ing in the chorus sounds a fundamental weakness. I guess the very direct catchiness of the punchy melody in 9 to 5 doesn't appeal to everyone, but the songcraft seems fine to me.

    Some of the crowd were jumping in front of the camera or lifting their hands up in the first song as well, like they were doing it just so they could spot themselves on camera when it was aired.

    1. Cliff Richard's resurgence in 1980 was largely on the back of his success on the Xanadu soundtrack, and his duet on it with Olivia Newton John on 'Suddenly' was bizarrely released late in the year in October as a follow up to Dreamin' here in August.

      The official video released for 'Suddenly' was actually made as early as April of 1980, just after Xanadu had finished filming, and was made for Olivia's Hollywood Nights TV Special shown in April 1980, but only charted in the UK six months later in October.

      On this video, Olivia introduces it as 'inviting Cliff to appear in my TV special' and he gets to snog Olivia at the end of the video, which I remember on the TOTP 30th Oct 1980 show.

      In the UK, it was the final release from the Xanadu soundtrack, and I guess in order to release Olivia and ELO's contributions before Cliff, as they were the main contributors.

      This moment on the Hollywood Night TV Special, and Cliff's joint invitation on the show with Gene Kelly, Elton John and Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees, brought Cliff back in to the big time after a slump in the late 70s, and would springboard the rest of his career in his 40th birthday year here in 1980, and probably explains why Cliff looked so happy and fulfilled on this week's TOTP of 21.08.80.

      Anyway, you can see the Hollywood Nights TV Special on this link, and I do not recall it was ever shown in the UK:

      Perhaps we can have a blog in a couple of weeks time just for this TV show, as it had as much music content as a TOTP show.

    2. I'm not so sure, I thought Cliff had already resurged with his 1979 hit We Don't Talk Anymore? Carrie had already started 1980 for him with a big hit. I never even knew he was on the Xanadu soundtrack at the time.

    3. Yes, it was We Don't Talk Anymore and the accompanying Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile album that had put Cliff back on the map at this time. I wasn't aware that he appeared on the Xanadu soundtrack, though doubtless it was a useful way of maintaining his profile. Mind you, Suddenly only got to 15 in the UK charts.

    4. The only Cliff Richard songs I've liked from start to end are really The Young Ones, We Don't Talk Anymore, Wired for Sound and Devil Woman. Carrie has a good chorus but the lead up to it leaves me restless.

    5. Always thought Cliff's single In the Country was a perfect summer tune.

    6. Funny enough, my Cliif favourite's his flop "Please Remember Me".

    7. As we are talking favourite Cliff singles, I really like She Means Nothing to Me, his duet with Phil Everly. BBC4 and Yewtree willing, we should see that come 2018.

    8. It was I'm Nearly Famous (singles: Miss You Nights, Devil Woman) which rebooted Cliff's career but it's fair to say that he didn't follow it up until three years later.

      My fave Cliff singles? Let's see....

      In The Country (power pop)
      The Day I Met Marie (light psychedelia)
      Good Times Better Times/Goodbye Sam Hello Samantha/Sunny Honey Girl (bubblegum)
      Flying Machine (quirky, annoying earworm)
      Devil Woman (soft rock)
      Hot Shot (new wave)
      Dreamin'/A Little In Love/The Only Way Out (quality early '80s pop)

      But just like ABBA, it wasn't 'cool' to like him as a teenager!

    9. Forgot to mention:

      Move It (rock 'n' roll classic)
      Blue Turns To Grey (you're nobody if you don't do a Stones cover!)

    10. My faves:

      Miss You Nights (solo)
      Suddenly (duet with ONJ)

    11. Wired For Sound is brilliant. We get to see Cliff on roller skates in the video and I love the coda where he says he says most of all he likes LOUD speakers.

    12. Throw Down a Line is also really good - probably about the closest Cliff ever came to a full-on rock song.

    13. cliff richard - new wave? 20th cent, what are you on?!? i listened to "hot shot" on youtube - yes, it has some distorted power chords going on, but otherwise it's just more of cliff's bland pop. i can't add to this list as i don't have any favourite cliff songs, or even any i like enough to own - i was in a second-hand record shop about 10 years ago where they were playing one of his albums, and i found it so annoying that in the end i had to leave without finishing looking through the racks!

    14. The verse of Hot Shot sounds ok, but then the chorus just sounds flat to me.

      I wouldn't compare him to Abba. I was thinking maybe Bee Gees, though they wrote the odd decent song for others. Manilow maybe is middle of the road and comparable in some ways, most of his work sounds a bit bland to me.

    15. Bah-bah-bah ba-ba-ba-ba bah-bah-bah.....yes, it's 'Good times, better times' one of those 'Hits inbetween' if you've got the CD. I also really like 'The Joy of Living' as it was one of the first singles I ever bought and I loved the beach buggy in the sand at the start of the Cliff Richard show where this was the theme music.

      Top of the pile can only be one song however; 'Miss you Nights' which peaked at a lowly no.15 in February 1976.

  19. 50 something here.

    Just wanted to point out that this may be the only TOTP where two different songs try to form a rhyming couplet featuring the word "magazine". Let's just say that Mr Joel meets the challenge far more elegantly than Ms Easton's lyricists.

  20. A couple of 'QI' points about Nick Straker:

    1) He was in reggae band Matumbi in the early 70's - they made one TOTP appearance as themselves which we've had, plus a number of band members were on three more times backing Janet Kay.

    2) The original version of "A Walk In The Park" had been released a year earlier on Pinnacle Firebird, whose only chart rundown hit under this moniker was Mankind's disco version of the Doctor Who theme.

    3) Three members of New Musik, includng Tony Mansfield, backed Nick Straker on that original version of the song.

    1. nick was also in a band called "limmie funk limited" which backed american soul singer limmie snell of "family cookin'" fame that had a few hits in the early 70's. they released a single called "soul rules o.k." which as actually a fairly creditable piece of british white funk...

  21. Anyone else notice the two 'end of the world' songs next to each other, with very different treatments - Hazel o'Connor dark, Pirannahs light

    1. No, I hadn't. Good knock, though I guess the two songs' style and context needed that juxtaposition. Hark at me!

  22. I see that Pop Gold has gone again after only one week back last week. There does not seem to be another show this week.

    1. I think last week's was the delayed final show in an eight-part series. Andy Kershaw's link at the end of the edition suggested another series, and I know ITV had thought about commissioning a second series before doubts about ratings crept in, so we'll have to wait and see.

    2. I think last week's was the delayed final show in an eight-part series. Andy Kershaw's link at the end of the edition suggested another series, and I know ITV had thought about commissioning a second series before doubts about ratings crept in, so we'll have to wait and see.

    3. Radio Times had it as episode 7 of 8, but that was probably their error (I'd lost count)

    4. shaky shakerson16 July 2015 at 08:49

      Arthur / Nutty. Last week's episode was indeed number 7 of 8. It looks like itv has lost all faith in the show though so whether number 8 pops up is in the lap of the gods.

    5. I've just had a look back at the Pop Gold shows, and so far ITV have screened:
      1. Hellraisers.
      2. Best of the 80's (1).
      3. Guitar Heroes.
      4. Here Come The Girls.
      5. Best of the 70's (1).
      6. Family Affair.
      7. Record Breakers.
      8. Fashion Week.

    6. Which suggests a second series with follow-up episodes for Best of the 70's and Best of the 80's, unless ITV know different. Thanks for confirming they'd shown the first seven shows consecutively before the gap - I was hoping I hadn't gone mad!

    7. Good work everyone. We need more Pop Gold, or something similar to get more out of the ITV pop vaults, as they must have loads of stuff that the BBC could not get to perform for their own channel!

  23. Last week's show was number 8.

  24. I'm watching these far too late these days!

    All I will say is that this was the first one I enjoyed for some time, in fact I liked every song bar Shaky's effort I think.

  25. keep up noax - i'm missing your always-incisive comments!