Monday, 7 September 2015

Top of the Pops Rescue

On July 9th 1980 the BBC made a 'new style' Top of the Pops pilot which was of course never broadcast, but this week Stephen Murphy and his team have come up with what an 'old style' edition might have looked like had it gone out on Thursday the 10th of July 1980......

Oh no no no, I can't get no Top of the Pops!
Top of the Pops 10th July 1980
Hosted by Peter Powell
Over the charts this week is the final top ten hit for the Detroit Spinners.
(44) THE VAPOURS ~ News at Ten
Their follow-up to Turning Japanese was not so successful, getting no higher than 44.
(24) DARTS ~ Let's Hang On
A breath of fresh air when we first saw them towards the end of 1977, but less then three years later they seem tired and old hat with their final hit of note.
(14) SAXON - 747 (Strangers In The Night)
This one flew to just one place higher in the charts.
(20) ROLLING STONES - Emotional Rescue   
The title track from their number one album, this was to become their penultimate top ten hit.
(18) JOY DIVISION - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Their only top 20 hit, peaking at 13 in the charts.
(22) LEO SAYER – More Than I Can Say
Almost made it to number one for Leo, this was also his penultimate top ten hit.
(7) UB40 – My Way Of Thinking
Peaked at 6.
(2) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out
This one just had to be the Legs & Co routine!
(16) KATE BUSH – Babooshka
The second of three singles from her number one album, Never Forever. This would also be her last top ten hit for five years.
(11) PAUL McCARTNEY – Waterfalls
The second single from his number one album, McCartney 2, peaked at nine in the charts.
(30) THE UNDERTONES – Wednesday Week
The follow-up to their biggest hit, My Perfect Cousin, became their second biggest hit when it made number 11.
(45) DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS – There There My Dear
The follow-up to Geno peaked at number 7.
The first of two weeks at the top of the charts for Olivia and ELO.
(29) CHANGE – A Lover’s Holiday
Playing over the credits is the first of two top 20 hits for Change in 1980.


  1. Interestingly, if there really had been a show on 10 July it would have been Robin Nash's last, and so presumably would have been the last to feature the old-style format. I wonder if Stephen and co are going to adopt the Hurll format for the last three strike shows, though I guess it would be rather difficult to insert into them fantasy guest presenters...

    In any case, I Iiked this one a lot - there was plenty of variety, and some good new stuff to enjoy. Wednesday Week was another triumph for The Undertones, while There There My Dear was a creditable follow-up to Geno, though not quite in the same league. I wouldn't say Babooshka is my favourite Kate Bush single, but you still have to admire her audacity in putting out something so eccentric. Love Will Tear Us Apart stands out though as an absolute classic, the fate of Ian Curtis, who had died just weeks earlier, adding to its poignancy.

    I'm not surprised The Vapours' new single flopped - it was a bit too close to Turning Japanese for comfort, but also a lot blander. Leo Sayer's effort, while impeccably produced, was also rather snoozesome. By this point in his career he seemed content to churn out smooth cover versions, and had mislaid the not insignificant songwriting talent with which he had started out. The Stones were also long past their best by this point - I like the drumming on Emotional Rescue, but Jagger's falsetto grates. Start Me Up the following year would be their last real hurrah.

  2. I have adopted the new format for the 31st of July.
    Whoever the Presenter is his sidekick will follow suit. As for the 24th it is still the old format. Bcause the new format is a bit more tricky. However Alan has made a pilot 17th of July in the new format with 11 songs from inbetween the 10th and the 24th

    1. Good stuff - look forward to seeing them.

    2. does this mean we play the GOTOTP for the 17th july edition after all?

    3. There's no GOTOTPs for the 17th of July, but I will do a blog for it when it is uploaded :-)

  3. presumably the original audio for the pilot edition was used here, as the links were certainly a bit smoother than usual. but what's with the "blobby" visuals in them? i don't remember ever seeing that happen on the actual shows. also did anyone else notice odessey (sic) at no. 2 in the chart countdown?

    detroit spinners: unlike last time i actually gave this a listen as the charts ran down, and it's so vomit-inducing it makes their last effort sound decent!

    darts: i think that's rob davis from mud now on guitar with them, but sadly he didn't bring his androgynous costumes and dangly earrings with him! it looks like he's left one sinking ship to join another, although he re-surfaced with great success many years later as a dance producer

    rolling stones: keef does his usual slashing thing in the video, even though he's practically inaudible on the record itself as keyboards are far more prominent than guitars. i quite liked this despite jagger's outrageous falsetto...

    joy division: i never got the ian curtis adulation thing as i didn't think he could sing to save his life (oops - an unfortunate phrase there). barney couldn't really carry a tune in a bucket either, but at least (unlike curtis) he looked cool. apparently there are now plans to convert curtis' terraced house into some kind of shrine a la graceland and macca and lennon's homes. so instead of hanging around outside, fans will now be hang around inside it.. a bit like their hero once did!

  4. The Vapours were really missing the bongs, don't remember this one at all.

    Darts seem to be filmed during an episode of Hold Tight, which I'm pretty sure hadn't started in 1980. Bit of a karaoke version of an indelible record.

    The drumming's good on the Stones track, but when Sir Mick starts his talky bit I suspect it wasn't scripted, ends the song with a ramble.

    As with Blue Monday, I've just heard Love Will Tear Us Apart too many times, it has no effect on me anymore.

    Leo Sayer, or was it Tony Hart? Maybe Susan Stranks in that get up. Well into his easy listening phase by then.

    Lovely song of thwarted love from The Undertones, the video's a bit "will this do?" though.

    That Change song is a disco classic, fantastic tune.

    Any thoughts on the news BBC Four may be closed down to save money? That would put an end to our TOTP fun and no mistake. Maybe a 6 Music-style campaign will save the channel?

    1. maybe they'll transfer the shows to bbc3 or even bbc2? i don't care which channel they appear on as long as they keep showing them until the end of 1984 ("band aid" being the "shark-jumping" point for me). but if they do pull the plug then i suppose there's the likelihood that most of them will be available on youtube, which would be better than nothing...

    2. why don't the beeb slash the outrageous salaries of the likes of graham norton and claudia winkleman to save money instead? or better still, give talentless tw*ts like that their cards - that would make quite a difference to the kitty!

    3. They’re threatening to close BBC4 down? Dear God! What next? As for BBC Three, unless I’ve missed something, isn’t that going to be downgraded to an online only station next Spring if the consultation goes the BBC’s way?

      Not a good week for me on the entertainment front, then. On the way to work I tend to listen to Xfm, and I was horrified to hear it’s being rebranded on September 21st as Radio X, with Chris Moyles at breakfast and Johnny Vaughan at drive time. Horrendous. Off my dial from Friday week.

      Changing tack completely and being a bit more positive, out of curiosity I watched the first episode of “Boy Meets Girl”, BBC2’s transgender sitcom, last week. I found the peripheral characters more like comedy caricatures but, while I felt the male lead’s acceptance of the leading lady’s trans status and their age gap was way too nonchalant, I thought the two of them played their roles endearingly and you could warm to their characters quickly.

    4. i generally agree with your assessment arthur, although it has to be noted that the writer claims not to have been familiar with transexuality beforehand, only incorporating that aspect into what was originally an age-difference observation in order to enter a competition held by the beeb. so it will be interesting to see how "authentic" it is as the series goes on. still, at least they actually cast a transexual for the "female" lead instead of a male actor (or worse, a female one!)

    5. If the BBC really can only make cuts by swinging the axe on programming, they would be better off purging the daytime dross on BBC1, which has a budget that dwarfs BBC4's but (in my view) has far fewer shows worth watching. They could also put EastEnders out of its misery while they were about it! Still, it appears that BBC4 is safe for now - like Wilberforce, I want to get to the end of 1984, so hopefully it will survive until 2019 anyway...

      Incidentally, rumours are going around that the repeats may not resume until 8 October, which would actually make some sense as they would then have enough shows left to last all the way to Christmas Eve. It also seems that The Story of 1981 is in production, so we should still have one more year to look forward to at least!

    6. I've just heard that Jonathan King's been arrested. In the current climate I suppose it was inevitable that would happen eventually, but it does put his American segments of TOTP at risk, if we get that far.

    7. Okay, if the October 8 restart date's true, I hope Angelo's working on another game to while the weeks away!

      As for the 1981 rumour...get in!

    8. i particularly want to see the 1983 shows as i missed virtually the whole of that year as a result of rehearsing with a band on thursday evenings (i chose that instead of watching totp as at that point i was convinced through doing so it was only a matter of time before i appeared on the show myself!)

    9. re: change - i really love some of their work, but although i've just listened to "a lover's holiday" again on youtube i can't quite get into it - it's the sort of track i'd get down to at a disco, but not good enough to own. the next release "searchin" was certainly worth owning in my view, but i don't know if we'll get to hear it on totp or not due to the strike?

    10. "Searching" gets a bum deal - end credits on the next BBC4 show, and then Legged on a Yewtreed edition.

    11. I am also looking forward to 1983. I lived in the States that year. My flatmate recorded every fourth episode onto my Betamax video recorder, but I missed the rest.

  5. Darts - Was this really their final offering for our charts? If so, then let's celebrate a fantastic three years or so as ambassadors to British pop.

    In 1980 I was only 12, but I remember each of their hits arriving in our charts between 1977 to 1980, and who could tire of this group who injected so much fun and good feeling in a Britain in the late 70s trying to identify with itself and turn a different corner? They seemed to drift away just as the pop video era was beginning to take shape.

    Indeed in 1980, pop videos were still not compulsory as part of a new chart release, but certainly by the following year it was, and so fun groups like Darts, Showaddywaddy and Racey all folded just before the new era of compulsory pop videos from 1981 onwards, and they never really had to do any.

    1. Sadly this was indeed the end of Darts' top 30 career. They managed two more minor hits in 1980, number 48 with "Peaches" (no, not THAT "Peaches" - I'd have paid good money to hear that!) and number 66 with a Christmas cash-in that didn't. I still stick to the theory that it all started to unravel when Magnet Records refused to allow Den Hegarty one day off a week to visit his seriously ill dad - Den did start the group after all! - and he left, replaced by a good singer who's chiselled out a fine career but, sadly, had a less booming voice and nothing like the same charisma or stage presence.

    2. as rock 'n' roll/doo wop revivalists darts were always looking backwards rather than forwards, and (in my opinion) in the age of new wave, disco and synth-pop did well to last as long as they did. perhaps like den they should have moved into light entertainment rather than persisted as a going concern in pop music, although den himself didn't last too long in that field!

  6. UB40 - I don't remember this at the time, and it does not seem to be a type of sound that would be Top 10 material, but I guess the whole of Birmingham must have bought this record, which would be enough to peak at No.6 in the charts as it did in July 1980.

    Paul McCartney - In the post-Wings era, I must say that I also do not recall this one, as it was not very impactful like Macca's other offerings, and it's surprising that it made it to No.11.

    Dexys Midnight Runners - now we're going places. I love this one, and it's a great follow up to Geno, and this surely would have made top 5 if TOTP was on air in July 1980, but it was not to be.

    ONJ/ELO - "A place where nobody dared to go"....indeed goes all the way to No.1, and paved the way for three further Top 30 hits later in the year from the same Xanadu movie.soundtrack - two more from ELO, and then a combined effort from ONJ and Cliff Richard.

  7. Hey, it works!!!! I had as good as given up on this stuff but clicked this one on the off-chance and it played!

    An interesting snapshot of the chart scene during the run-up to the summer hols (my school had longer holidays than my sister's, which pleased me no end!), with a rather forgettable Number One. Xanadu, huh? I think I preferred it when it was a legend, if you get my drift.

    1. "You'll hear my voice on the wind across the sand" - definitely one of the best opening lines ever.

    2. sorry arthur what song are you referring to? i checked the dexys track on youtube and i don't think it was that (although i can't be sure as it starts off sounding like a ranking roger impersonation, followed by some incomprehensible strangulated gibberish!)

    3. Sorry...I was responding to 20thCR's school of thought. That first line I mentioned is from "The Legend of Xanadu" by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich!

    4. I've managed to download this one as well. Interestingly, last week's is also now available to me, so some catching up for me to do :-)

  8. Still can't download any of them. Shame, I'm sure I'd love them.

  9. We are going to try putting these strike shows on dropbox