Thursday, 8 October 2015

What's in a Top of the Pops

With the studio audience already dancing to D.I.S.C.O. by Ottawan, Peter Powell gets the 9th October edition underway.....

Arfur Daley, you should be proud of your little Terry today....

9-10-80: Presenter: Peter Powell

(27) STATUS QUO – What You’re Proposing
Is this the first time we've seen the Quo in the studio since these reruns began? What You're Proposing became the first of ten top ten hits for the group in the 80's. And I propose what a great way to start a show!

(5) DIANA ROSS – My Old Piano (video)
Now at its peak in the charts. And edited out of the 7.30 show. Instead we get guest Dennis Waterman going all coy about plugging his new 'sing the theme tune' single. But we don't mind.

This iconic follow-up to Messages became the first of five top ten hits in the 80's for OMD.

(9) BLACK SLATE – Amigo
A new studio performance here, and a smaller hat, but Amigo was at its peak and this was their only time in the top 30.

(19) COFFEE – Casanova
Legs & Co do a sort of period drama can-can with lots of adlibbed 'Ooohs' to Casanova which then peaked at 13.

(25) THE NOLANS – Gotta Pull Myself Together (video)
This became the second of three top ten hits for the sisters. Dennis Waterman seemed to approve. And then up pops guest number two Paul Jones to plug his new Blues Band album.

(23) LINX – You’re Lying ®
On its way to a peak of 15, this is a repeat performance from two weeks previous.

(36) GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – What’s In A Kiss?
Gilbert's first chart hit for five years, but it was also to be his final time in the top 30. And what's in a Top of the Pops? Well not Gilbert, he was edited out of the 7.30 showing!

(10) THIN LIZZY – Killer On The Loose (video)
Their final top ten hit now at its peak.

(9) BLACK SLATE – Amigo (clip of TOTP 25-9-80)
Also at its peak.

(8) RANDY CRAWFORD – One Day I’ll Fly Away (clip of TOTP 4-9-80)
Had been at number 2.

(7) ODYSSEY – If You’re Looking For A Way Out (video)
Got one place higher.

(6) THE SPECIALS – International Jet Set (still picture)
This one seems to have passed the show by ~ and now at its chart peak.

(5) DIANA ROSS – My Old Piano (video)
Also at its peak.

(4) STEVIE WONDER – Masterblaster (Jammin’) (video)
Had been a number 2 and was the 25th biggest selling single of 1980.

(3) MADNESS – Baggy Trousers (video)
Three was as high as this one got, though it was the thirteenth biggest seller of 1980.

(2) OTTAWAN – D.I.S.C.O. (video)
Despite being the fifth biggest selling single of the year, this could get no further than number 2.

 (1) THE POLICE – Don’t Stand So Close To Me (video)
Third week at the top for the number one biggest selling single of 1980.

(2) OTTAWAN – D.I.S.C.O. (crowd dancing) (and credits)

Next up is the 16th of October hosted by Tommy Vance, in two weeks time, due to the Sky at Night.


  1. Not one of the best shows of the year, and certainly not as good as last week.

    However, nice to see Status Quo back in the TOTP studio with a fine new entry, and after a long absence of about a year so with no chart releases. Somewhat strange for a supergroup like them.

    A good effort with costumes on this week’s show. If you take Black Slate and Legs & Co, you could have been in a branch of a fancy dress outlet, ready for Halloween around the corner. Legs & Co certainly know how to dance, as well as look good in body, just in case anyone had any doubts. Patti was certainly looking delectable in her red number this week. Casanova indeed!

    Importantly Peter Powell tells us that Queen have just gone No.1 in the album and singles chart this week in America. I wonder if they were bigger across the Atlantic than they were here in Britain judging by that announcement.? It certainly felt like it in 1980.

    Top Ten chart rundown – I don’t remember The Specials with this one, and it couldn’t have got much airplay on the radio, cos I would have remembered. How on earth had this reached No.6 already?

    Ottowan already at No.2? Wow, and the first of three weeks holding the No.2 spot. I just love the woman on lead vocals singing in that tight green number and high heels. I wonder what she's up to these days?

    1. The Specials' single peaked in its second week in the mugshots. Its top thirty run was 25-6-22-23. It was probably banned by the Beeb due to the single's other 'A' side, "Stereotype", which contained the word 'pissed' in the chorus - and yet, 17 years later, Chumbawaumba were twice on TOTP with their big hit which regularly featured the line 'pissing the night away'.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. It all depends who is working at the time on TOTP and what tickles their fancy. It's the difference between a PC person, and one with a sense of humour.

    4. i don't remember the specials' "international jet set" either, but then again it never got played on the radio. i would guess from the title that it's one of jerry dammers' attempts to revive the kitsch easy listening sound of the 60's, in which he apparently had as much interest in as ska if not more. however he was at least 10 years too early in that regard. in contrast i'm pretty sure "stereotype" got plenty of airplay (despite its "offensive" lyric), as i never owned it and thus wouldn't have been familiar with it otherwise ("he's just a stereotype, he drinks his age in pints"). which suggested that the beeb thought radio listeners were made of sterner stuff than their telly viewers...

    5. queen may well have been more popular in the states than here at this point (probably only due to their chic disco rip-off). but the conservative yanks then became uncomfortably aware of freddie mercury's ever-more-obvious village people/boystown visual stylings, so their success didn't last much longer - in fact they became almost blacklisted as a result, so they had to go to south america and elsewhere to keep their superstar reputation afloat...

  2. Bloody Hell! We've only just started these re-runs again, and there's no TOTP next week due to The Bloody Sky At Night! Did BBC4 get a three-year-old to sort out the scheduling?

    1. Yes Arthur, we'll have to wait a further week to see The Police with their final week at No.1, and the superb debut of Adam & The Ants, with their first ever appearance on TOTP. Can't wait!

  3. The resurgent Gilbert O’Sullivan had been lucky enough to bag a deal with CBS (now Sony) and creep back into the hit parade for the first time since ’75, after a fair slice of his earnings from his heyday had been gambled away in Las Vegas by his former manager/label boss. ‘What’s In A Kiss?’ would prove to be a highlight of impressionist and O’Sullivan fanatic Bobby Davro’s variety act throughout the 80s, but the real Gilbert – while remaining popular in Japan - would never reach the British Top 40 again. Compared to Sir Paul McCartney by some DJs and critics, the Irishman had by this time been overtaken in the ranks of singer-songwriter-pianists by a clutch of newer names from NYC and thereabouts: Gerard Kenny, Dean Friedman, Randy Edelman and, of course, the mighty Billy Joel.

    ‘Casanova’ was the only major hit for R&B girl band Coffee – the First Choice of the 80s? Legs’ routine, as expected, saw Flick’s Six attired in saucy cod-Regency outfits – in Patti’s case, bright red with a black mantilla and fan, enabling the former English National Ballet member to re-enact the Spanish dance from ‘Coppelia’. The film ‘Carry On Casanova’ was never made, but on the strength of this performance, Legs would have been ideal for it.

    Linx’s David Grant may have been harsh on some of his TV pupils in both ‘Fame Academy’ and ‘The One and Only’ – but he had good reason to be. He’s one of the most accomplished soul vocalists ever to come from these islands, and during his hitmaking years was even likened to Michael Jackson, no less. David knows what he’s talking about when he's mentoring aspiring singers.

    Gerard Kenny, whom I mentioned above, would soon be heading for the TOTP studio to play tack piano for one of this evening’s guest presenters – Dennis Waterman, whose No.3 smash ‘I Could Be So Good For You’ (the ‘feem toon’ from ‘Minder’) was co-written by the New Yorker.

    1. i am acquainted with a guy whose band was signed to gilbert o'sullivan's original record label MAM (owned by the above mentioned gambling manager gordon mills). unlike gilbert they were utterly unsuccessful (although nowadays their only album that came out as a limited pressing now fetches three figures) as (and i quote from memory) "our manager spent all his time promoting that bleedin' gilbert o'sullivan!"

    2. It was good to see TOTP playing Coffee/Casanova from the very first note with Legs & Co, and not leaving out part of the intro as they usually do with Legs & Co. It made watching the song and routine a lot more pleasurable, and made it more punchy.

  4. Was it me, or was that edition hacked together using some round-nose scissors and Gloy gum? Appalling. Was that also the first time since the 60’s that the same song topped and tailed an edition of TOTP, due to Ottawan being used for the brickies’ disco at both ends of the programme?
    Ooooh! Different colours for the separate chart sections, though no-one’s still realised that the first third of the chart stops at 21! It seems the chart takes the positions of the top 40 and not the top 30 and, talking of which, could Julie please help us out with some info on that Sweet People song which went from 51 to 11?
    Surprised that Pierre Powell in his French gear didn’t update us on the chart progress of that Toots and the Maytals album. Loved Dennis Waterman’s Cosmo Smallpiece response to The Nolans and his “short near future” reply to Pierre, and I laughed at his call of heads when Pierre dropped his pound note (I miss those), but I couldn’t help thinking of David Walliams when Dennis gave us the truncated title of his imminent single with the Dennis Waterman Band.
    Status Quo ruined the status quo (boom boom) by being in the studio for once, and The Banana Splits…er, The Nolans were on video instead of being at W12. What was going on? And where exactly were the keyboards on that Quo song anyway? The end caption peaked too early for Quo’s good good-time rocker, complete with an Animal look from the drummer with an un-denim coloured kit.
    Talking of kits, fine miming by OMD schoolboy Malcolm, dressed in black, white and grey like his compatriots, probably to emphasise the bleakness of the lyrics in this belter.
    Wahay! Hula hoops in Legs & Co’s skirts giving us knickers aplenty! Light years away from their Egyptian Reggae camel! Lots of whoops during this, from both the troupe and the crowd? Can anyone remember if Legs & Co or their predecessors did a similar routine for Bad Manners’ take on the Can Can?
    Was that the debut of the young ‘un in that Nolans video? Loved the bin liner floor covering! Why the tennis gear and whispering at the end? As for Black Slate – Gennaro, Gennaro, Gennaro who? Still, they made good use of that double bass Matchbox left behind.
    And finally…that snippet of tune from The Specials was from “Stereotype”. From memory, it came from an album called “More Specials” which had stickers strategically placed over the title on the cover to make it read “MOR Specials”.

    1. Sweet People were French, the record consists of a blandly pleasant instrumental with loads of birdsong over it. Desmond Carrington likes to play it on his show every so often.

    2. I also thought of bananas when I watched this Nolans video, and I was just short of reaching for the shopping bag to buy some fruit.

  5. Groan, the Nazi pogo-ers are back, giving the salute while Francis and Rick are doing their thing. As for the song, it's the same bit of tune repeated over and over again for three minutes, shouldn't be surprised really.

    Diana Ross on tiptoes around her old piano. I imagine having a ball with it involves a Winifred Atwell-style sing song.

    It's the 80s, so here's another song about nuclear weapons. Jolly little ditty from OMD until you listen to the lyrics. Andy seems to be playing more notes than are actually on the record.

    Black Slate, ah, the double bass is a much underrated instrument in the reggae world. In fact, I can't think of another reggae record which features one, though there must be some. Nice Matador outfit, Mr Slate, but I don't think they wear sombreros.

    What is it about Legs & Co routines recently that the song they're dancing to is so low down in the mix? It was being drowned out by the whoops. Anyway, ridiculous costumes tended to work against the general effect here, and it's a generic tune anyway.

    The Nolans with a Eurovision-esque song, but it's pretty enough and nice to hear something that's not I'm in the Mood for Dancing for a change.

    Gilbert O'Sullivan, this was the first time I'd heard this in about thirty years, maybe more, and it all came flooding back - Radio 2 must have played it to death. Points deducted for clumsily inserting the word "delicatessen" into the lyrics, was that part of a bet? At least he didn't rhyme it.

    As inspired by a bit of blog chat last time they were on, I checked out the video for the 86 Don't Stand, and whatever you think of this possibly inappropriately jaunty melody, the later version is a real dirge and makes you appreciate the original.

    As for Dennis Waterman, I'm just sad we missed the chance to see him dancing to Ottowan at the end, he looked like he was about to then hastily filed off with the rest. Paul Jones, very slick and professional, you can see why they hired him for Beat the Teacher.

    Any takers for a TOTP T-shirt?

    1. Re your first paragraph, I think you'll appreciate this...

    2. Thanks! Those Radio Active guys knew their way around a parody.

  6. Woah - what a weird way to start the show. Clearly t'lads behind the scenes were trying vainly to come up with a new look that would stick and this week they have come up with t-shirts for everyone (available to buy yourself in two weeks time - can you wait?) and an attempt to suggest to the viewer that this mad, wacky, fun party goes on all the time - come and join us. One newish tradition they ARE sticking with is this showcasing of upcoming acts including revealing the number one. How did someone think that was a good idea?

    The first link features our presenter Peter Smile-In-The-Voice Powell in the company of two blonde gels, one of whom bares a striking resemblence to Ab-Fab's Patsy. The reason for this link appears to be the promotion of the aforementioned ToTP t-shirts, which during the close-up looked to be of dubious quality, to say the least.

    Another Powell toe-curl link now featuring Dennis Waterman, here to promote his 'rock n roll' tour which will feature Gerard Kenny and Sheena Easton (and it doesn't get any more rock n roll than that).

    For the second act in a row we are urged by PP to 'get a hold of this' as he introduces OMD. What the hell does that mean? Was he trying out a catchphrase? If so it happily went the way of Kid's 'Good Loving'. Enola Gay, what a tune! Possibly the band's peak - intelligent lyrics married to a bucketful of hookiness - and promptly spoilt here by the director's inability to spot that it was Paul Humphrey's keyboard that was doing most of the work.

    Another keyboard solo bites the dust.

    Pop News!! Whoo hoo. Crusaders on tour. The Shadows on tour AND they have a new single Mozart's Quartet which is obviously something the average ToTP viewer will be interested in.

    The bottom third of the chart now and - as if to thumb their nose and cock a snook at me for complaining - this week they take us all the way down to 19. That's virtually half-way for chrissakes! And we stop there because that is where Coffee are residing this week, and Casanova is the tune that Flick n the girls have chosen to cavort to.

    Eighteenth century costumes cut short to reveal their knickers ( as was the custom, I believe) and a fairly decent routine to a routinely decent song. Could have done without the whoops though. A tad annoying.

    Back to the charts and the middle, um, eight. A different background colour for this lot and, for some reason Bob Marley has his arrow omitted ( as had Linx at number 23)

    Second studio visit for Black Slate - and disappointingly the singer has gone for a slightly smaller titfer. Still size doesn't matter.One of the good things about their previous performance was the stone-dead stops that they hit perfectly. So this week, the producers decide to freeze frame at those points completely negating the impact and making it look like a fault with my telly. The incompetent pricks!!

    Talking of. . . . PP and Dennis Waterman cringe their way thru another link, this time to the Nolans and an actual video as the Sisters' management team finally spend a bit of money on them.

    Another guest - this time Paul Jones, and he's chatting shit about blues and some weird comedy/music hybrid programme coming to tv soon. Then we get a repeat of Linx's ode to Nytol before Gilbert O'Sullivan pops up. 'Whats In A Kiss' would be his last chart entry and its not a patch on his golden era of Nothing Rhymed, Matrimony or the fantastic We Will ( the only song to include the word Bagsy in its lyrics). Singing live as well, so kudos for that Uncle Ray.

    Scores. A run of the mill week with only OMD popping their heads over the 'meh' parapet. 5. As for Powell - oh God where do I begin? The jumper draped over the shoulder, the weird way he holds his left hand in front of his body, his voice, his interview technique, his complete lack of preparation, his 'get a hold of this' . He really is the epitome of the Smashy/Nicey Radio 1 cobblers and earns himself a barely merited 3.

    1. Gerard Kenny co-wrote the Minder theme I Could Be So Good For You with Dennis' then wife Patricia. When the Minder screen credit said the song was written by Waterman and Kenny I used to think it was co-written with the band Kenny, the ones who a hit with Fancy Pants in the mid 70s.

    2. there were actually two acts with the name kenny that had chart hits in the 70's - the other one scored with "heart of stone" circa 1973. another case of two different acts with the same name having hits was (or should that be were?) space with "magic fly" (70's french disco-prog outfit) and "the female of the species" (90's indie rock scousers). there are more like that, but their name(s) escape me for the moment - perhaps others can name them?

    3. Nirvana are another example, the original psychedelic UK group having a minor hit with Rainbow Chaser in 1968. They did apparently sue Kurt Cobain and co in the early 90s, but settled out of court. They were then going to cash in on the popularity of their grunge namesakes by releasing a covers album called Nirvana Sings Nirvana, but it seems Cobain's death put a stop to that project.

    4. I shouldn't forget Oasis. The original Peter Skellern/Mary Hopkin/Julian Lloyd Webber/Bill Lovelady group from the 80s certainly had a different sound to their later Britpop namesakes! I'm not sure that the original Oasis ever had a hit single, but their only album did reach 23.

    5. Other names shared by chart acts include Karen Young - borne by a British balladeer and a (now deceased) American disco singer who scored with 'Nobody's Child' and 'Hot Shot' respectively. There were also two hitmaking bands called Sweet Dreams: a pop-soul duo consisting of Polly Brown and Tony Jackson, who hit with a cover of Abba's 'Honey Honey' in '74, and the British Eurovision entrants of '83 featuring future celebrity vocal coach Carrie Grant, the latter band's only hit being 'I'm Never Giving Up'. Bobby McVay, another member of the 80s Sweet Dreams, has more recently had a spell with Formerly of Bucks Fizz.

      Interestingly, producer/songwriter Ron Roker worked with both versions of Sweet Dreams; similarly, Bill Martin and Phil Coulter produced and wrote hits for both the original Kenny - Irish soloist Tony Kenny - and the later British boy band of the same name, both of whom recorded for the Rak label. It seems Martin and Coulter retained 'Kenny' as a trademark after Tony split with them, and applied it to a teen band they discovered in North London and subsequently took under their commercial wings.

    6. i've just remembered blue: one a 70's soft rock band that to my recollection appeared earlier in this totp run, and a 90's/00's boyband. a common factor was a certain mr reginald dwight, as the former were on his rocket record label, and he "duetted" with the latter. sot when the 70's band started legal proceedings against the others i think it put reg in a rather difficult position!

    7. Two acts called Mr. Big - the UK band we saw three years ago with "Romeo", and a US band we might get to see in twelve years' time with "To Be With You".

      Well worth mentioning again Polly Brown's jaw-dropping TOTP appearance with Sweet Dreams, which can be found on YouTube, where she blacked up and pretended to be a singer called Sarah Leone!

    8. In a sense, I suppose you could also say that The Sugababes fall into this category, given that all the original members left the group during its run of hits...

    9. Thanks, wilberforce and Arthur - I'd forgotten about the two Blues and the two Mr Bigs! Two acts called Kokomo also made the British Top 40; the first was American jazz pianist Jimmy Wisner, the second an acclaimed British blue-eyed soul outfit.

    10. Correction to above: the second Kokomo only reached No.45.

    11. Ah, now then, how many acts shared their name with a hit single like "Kokomo" did, or vice versa? The Beach Boys' so-named single reached number 25.

    12. there were two chart acts called nicole: to my recollection one was a white early 80's eurovision winner and got to number one with an dire ditty called "a little peace (wasn't that somewhat bizarrely released on motown?), and the other was a black soul/rnb singer who had a minor hit in the mid 80's with timmy thomas called "new york eyes" (which was rather good in my opinion)

    13. Taking up Arthur's challenge, Deep Purple were named after Nino Tempo and April Stevens' 1963 US number 1 (it only got to 17 here). Whether Britain's 1978 Eurovision entrants Co-Co had their name inspired by The Sweet's identically titled hit from 7 years earlier, I don't know...

    14. Wilberforce - Charlene's 'I've Never Been To Me' was released on Motown and reached No.1 in the UK in '82, the same year that the German Nicole won Eurovision and had a chart-topper herself with the winning song, which was issued on Epic.

    15. thanks julie - i wasn't totally sure i had my facts right about the first nicole!

    16. John G - Cheryl Baker's pre-Bucks Fizz outfit Co-Co was originally named Mother's Pride, but presumably changed its name in order to garner airplay on the BBC. The band opted for another grocery-related name, but I suspect the respelling was necessary for international purposes, because of the silent 'a' at the end of 'Cocoa', which might have led to mispronunciation around the world. The hyphen may well have been inserted to avoid legal disputes with either fashion designer Coco Chanel's estate or Michael Poliakoff, aka Coco The Clown.

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    18. Eurovision winner Nicole came so, so close to being a true one-hit wonder (one chart-topping single and nothing else ever again), but her follow-up single "Give Me More Time" ruined it by managing a solitary week at the bottom chart rung of number 75.

      Talking of which, I nearly shouted at the radio today when a DJ played two supposed one-hit wonders, The Buggles" (he obviously hasn't been watching these re-runs) and The New Radicals who (a) didn't make number one with "You Get What You Give " and (b) had a lovely ballad called "Someday We'll Know", released after the band had split, which made the top 50.

    19. Thanks for the info Julie - I suspected Co-Co probably didn't owe their name to the Sweet hit. Incidentally, another example of this that comes to mind is Free, both a band and a number 1 single, thanks to Deniece Williams.

    20. There were 1960s UK and 1970s US bands called The Eagles and The Outlaws.

      Dr. Feelgood were named after a song recorded by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates and Roxette were named after a song recorded by Dr. Feelgood!

  7. I think Bob and Linx had no arrows because they were both non-movers, which reminds me... I hate the fact the top ten aren't numbered in the rundown.

    Gilbert O'Sullivan followed this single up with five flops on CBS, then three singles on Chrysalis satellite label Dover, of which one ("So What" - no, not a cover of the Anti-Nowhere League...I'd have paid good money to hear that) spent two weeks in the chart reaching a peak of 70.

  8. Status Quo lead off here after some background noise in the studio….sorry that was Ottawan. Drummer John McLoughlin seems to be quite enjoying himself on this one, indeed the drumming is pretty energetic. Same old green guitar from Francis Rossi. Good start to the show though.

    Diana Ross My old piano….my old fast forward button…

    OMD. Yes great tune iconic ‘dance moves’ by Andy McCluskey but did Peter and the TOTP crowd have any idea what they were singing about?

    Black Slate. Another outing for my FF button.
    Coffee – Casanova. I was never quite sure whether this was ‘Coffee’ by Casanova or vice versa. I don’t think I’m really bothered and Legs & Co couldn’t really rescue it either.

    Nolans – Gotta pull myself together. Boy this is cheesy but so good with a wonderful video. Don’t remember seeing this one but I might give it a second viewing. When I got married, my wife’s record collection landed and ‘Making Waves’ by the Nolans (where this single was taken from) features an iconic shot from this video on the cover and a montage of other scenes from it on the reverse too. Can’t wait for my favourite track from this album to appear on TOTP – ‘Attention to me’.

    Linx – FF again

    Gilbert O’Sullivan – Nice live rendition from Ray. No miming here and a very polished performance of his last hit. I remember at the time thinking ‘blimey, he hasn’t had a hit for years and years’. It was actually only five years which flies by nowadays, ah….

    The chart rundown features a record that I don’t think ever was performed on TOTP. Specials and their double A-side ‘Stereotype / International Jet Set’. Not sure what side people were buying this single for as I don’t believe the A-side was played on the radio due to an offensive word and the B-side is a pretty average largely instrumental song.

    I won’t comment on various other unwelcome intrusions of a certain song residing at no.2 but will once again applaud the efforts of Sting, Stuart and Andy.

    All in all a reasonable mixed bag show.

    1. I've just checked the picture sleeves for Nolans singles. Bizarrely the sleeve for the next single 'Who's gonna rock you now' features the iconic yellow outfit photo from the 'Gotta pull myself together' on both sides. Having checked it out on YT, the video for 'Who's gonna rock you' is very different and features the girls waking up at the start! The sleeve for 'Gotta pull myself together' itself looks like a stock photo.

  9. Having caught up with the cut bits from the 7.30 opus, I agree Gilbert did exceedingly well with his live vocals (no real surprise there, as he was always very good 'on the spot'), though I'd have preferred a T-shirt covering up that hair under the jumper, and I'm sure he could have found a word with a similar sounding ending to 'delicatessen' but, as we saw with that particular couplet, nothing rhymed. See what I did there? Boom boom tish!

  10. This was quite an enjoyable show, but I am getting tired of these time-wasting interviews with celebrity guests. Waterman had nothing of interest to say, and his upcoming tour sounded deeply unenticing - his appearance was also an unwanted reminder that his most successful attempt at singing the theme tune will soon be with us! The Paul Jones interview was more intriguing, if only because Boom Boom Go Out the Lights was (I think) the very first show on British TV to feature alternative comedy. This does beg the question of why a band featuring two ex-members of Manfred Mann was deemed suitable musical accompaniment for such a show...

    This was indeed Quo's first time in the studio during these reruns, and it would be interesting to know why they finally ended their long exile at this point. The song isn't one of their best, but this is an energetic performance that belies the fact that Rick Parfitt had very recently lost his young daughter, after she tragically drowned in the family swimming pool. Tensions were also rising within the band - drummer John Coghlan would be shown the door the following year after flipping his lid in the recording studio and smashing up his kit.

    Meanwhile, OMD make an iconic appearance with one of their greatest songs - the knitwear may be dubious, but the music is sublime! This was the only single released from Organisation, their second album, but I think the excellent Promise should have been made into a 45 as well.

    The Legs routine was refreshingly different this week, even if the costume choices (which are a bit earlier than Regency) were predictable in light of the song - somehow I don't think the skirts in Casanova's era were that short, though! The Nolans' colour-coordinated video was a bit naff, but I did find myself enjoying the tune. This was emphatically not the case with the ghastly Gilbert, whose unwelcome return to TOTP merely illustrated that his musical style had not changed one iota and that his vocals were as annoying as ever. He seems to be a classic case of a very modest talent being matched with an oversized ego - I remember he once wrote an indignant letter to Q magazine in the 90s after they dared to savage his latest album...

    PP did a mostly decent job this week, though I deplored his attempt to look casually sophisticated, while he seemed to think Tom McGuinness was someone Paul Jones had only recently met! I was also unhappy to see the return of those Nazi-saluting idiots in shamrock t-shirts - who the hell were they?

  11. It didn't properly register till I checked the lyrics online to make sure I heard them right.... so, TOTP were happy to promote a Thin Lizzy track with the line "I'm a mad sexual rapist"?.Talk about double or even triple standards.

  12. i thought we were in the new michael hurll era of super slickness now. but not judging by the intro shot, which looks like someone filming the break in a rehearsal for a school play!

    host: i thought the "joke" in "little britain" was that dennis waterman was a shortarse. so what does that make peter powell? but as i keep saying, i do still like the guy for all his faults

    quo: my alliance with them was long-gone by now, but they were still enjoyable to watch at this point if not to listen to. although i don't know why andy bown bothered lugging all that gear into the studio just to play air keyboards - maybe he was desperate to get on the telly? interesting that both francis and rick have capos on their fretboards, even though it's obvious they're not really playing - perhaps they forgot to remove them after the last gig and thought better to keep them on so they wouldn't lose them? and presumably john coughlan was filmed on a separate run-through with the close-ups? as stated above, it was not long to go before he departed the band (supposedly quoting that he was "tired of playing the same old shit night after night"), and there are signs here that his patience is wearing thin...

    OMD: i do like their preppy look, but i wouldn't have thought it wise to go around looking like that in scouseland (although i think they may have been from the wirral, which is considered the posh part). this really drives along, and i love the bit where the bass drops out at near the end with a cruching handclap noise coming in. it got played a lot at discos i went to at the time, and deservedly so. i think i'm the first here to mention that the track was titled after the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb (named after the pilot's mother - we all got a history lesson when it was originally a hit), but as i can't make out a word that andy mccluskey's singing i have no idea what context it has in the song...

    coffee/legs: i consider myself an expert in disco music, but i'm embarrassed to say i have no recollection of this at all, including that it got quite high in the charts. maybe because at the time i thought it sounded a bit old-hat in the more lightweight style of philly girl groups from the early 70's like first choice and the three degrees? like everyone else i found the whooping extremely tiresome, and they were obviously added afterwards which made the whole thing a bit surreal

    nolans: after the rubbish that was "don't make waves" i found this rather pleasant in comparison, and i certainly liked the video with its mixture of choreography and reality-style out-takes. but new baby member colleen looks a bit ungainly though, almost as though she was some schoolgirl who had written to a certain DJ who shall remain nameless and asked for her dream to come true by appearing on his tv show dancing along with her heroes before getting to receive a badge (which was actually a medal by the way)...

    gilbert o'sullivan: like leo sayer, gilbert started off in the early 70's as some kind of vaudeville act (leo was a peirrot clown, whilst gilb played the hovis delivery boy), before shedding their novelty costumes in the mid-70's for then-trendy bubble perms and casual wear. i suppose at least leo made some kind of effort to keep up with the times musically after that, but obviously gilbert hasn't taken the slightest bit of notice of the massive musical changes that have happened in his five-year absence from the charts!

    1. You're right about Gilbert, who respectably ventured into dance-pop in '90 with the very minor hit 'So What' - but by then, it was far too late for him to rescue his chart career, except in the Land of the Rising Sun. Leo, on the other hand, joined the disco bandwagon with hits such as 'Thunder In My Heart' and 'You Made Me Feel Like Dancing' - winning the Best R&B Song Grammy with the latter - before successfully embracing synthpop/new wave in the early 80s, most notably with 'Orchard Road'.

      Although this has nothing to do with this week's repeated edition of TOTP, I will greatly miss Britain's most underrated soul singer, Jim Diamond. He had the audience in the palm of his hand at 'The Big Gig' in Glasgow in June '11, performing all 3 of his British Top 10 hits as well as 3 covers. Back in '84, he might have had a longer run at No.1 with 'I Should Have Known Better' - but urged record buyers to support Band Aid, and even joined the charity ensemble for its only live performance on TOTP. A gentleman, and a star!

    2. Ditto, regarding Jim Diamond. I'll always remember this classic video he did in 1984, where he played the part of a man desperate to win back his girlfriend with flowers, in the aptly named hit 'I Won't Let You Down."

    3. Look up the lyrics to OMD, you'll see the time of day of the explosion and the name of the bomb there. The song marked events of 35 years previously, which seemed a long time then, but of course the song was 35 years ago, which seems almost like yesterday.

  13. Having noticed that this week's chart position for The Specials is also their peak position for International Jet Set, it's interesting that they had no play for this on TOTP, whether in the studio or on video.

    I had noticed that in Feb 1980 when they charted with Too Much To Young, TOTP only played the first one-and-a-half minutes of the song and by video only, just before we heard their controversial 'ain't you heard of contraception' lyrics during the song.

    It is no strange coincidence that since Too Much To Young when The Specials were not invited into the TOTP studio when they had previously been regulars in the studio before that point, they were then kept out of the TOTP studio for all their following chart releases for the rest of the year, where they were then only played on video for Rat Race, and then this next release International Jet Set was not even shown in any form during its Top Ten achievement this very week!

    This was clearly a fall from grace (TOTP grace) for The Specials from Feb till Dec 1980, and I wonder whether it was TOTP that was not interested in inviting them during this period, or whether The Specials refused to appear in the studio for Rat Race in summer 1980, and International Jet Set in Oct 1980. Certainly Rat Race had no controversial lyrics!

    It appears that the relationship was healed by the end of the year with the next release called Do Nothing/Maggie's Farm which reached No.4 in December, where the band were at last back in the studio for the first time in over a year, since A Message To You Rudy in October 1979.

    1. I guess the question of whether this was ever officially a double A side is a moot point. If you look at the record label variations on 45cat you'll see that 'Stereotype' is Side 1 and 'International Jet Set' is Side 2. Chart placings classed it as a doubel A Side however. Contrast this with ' 'Do Nothing / Maggies Farm' where the two sides are A1 and A2 respectively. Confusion reins with 'Rat Race / Rude Buoys outta Jail' where some releases had both sides as 'A' and others had A1 and A2. Finally 'A Message to you Rudy / Nite Club' seems to have all label variations as 'A' on both sides, but with a tiny '1' beside the 'A' on 'A Message to you Rudy'.

      Like the Jam's so called double A side releases, I don't recall ever hearing the 'other' A sides played (or do I maybe recall them playing 'Precious' on TOTP?). This is in contrast to (say) releases from Rod Stewart, 'First cut is the deepest / I don't want to talk about it' or, most famous of all, 'Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever'.

      ...or was I just listening to the wrong radio stations?

    2. I read in Stephen 'Horace' Panter's autobiography that when The Specials were on TOTP doing A Message To You Rudy they were all a little worse for wear from smoking dope and when they had to do a retake he forgot to put his shoes on. That's possibly had some reason why their appearances on the show in 1980 were rare and the fact they were touring in America and the UK for a large part of the year can't have helped. Their next appearance is just before Christmas where Horace swaps places with Dave Steele from The Beat as a joke.

  14. Interesting article in The Guardian on-line today; an excerpt from Elvis Costello's autobiog in which he relates some behind-the-scenes stuff at ToTP and how he and The Attractions were pretty much always pissed come recording time!

  15. I see The BBC's director of television Danny Cohen is leaving. Wonder that holds for the future?

  16. Terribly messy opening with the crowd pretending to dance to Grottowan which looks like it was edited in from the end titles. Then what's coming up which I hate.

    And Status Quo complete with Francis in a nasty denim waistcoat and the pogo-ing prats in the crowd which appears to be influencing a few others to half-heartedly join in. I was never a Quo fan but they did make some catchy records and this was one of them. The strange thing is we thought they were old fogies then when they were about 34 years old but they're still going now.

    Then Di on video again and Dennis Waterman dressed very much like Terry from Minder. Peter Powell makes reference to him usually 'catching' people forgetting that he left The Sweeney in 1978. Oh well.

    I bought Enola Gay at the time and loved it although didn't hear their album until at least a year later. A good performance apart from the close up of the wrong keyboard player during the synth solo.

    'Exciting' music news slowing everything down again and then the charts.

    Ooh la la the Legs girls get all saucy and French dancing to Casanova even if their clothes are from the wrong period not to mention the striped pop socks. Not that anyone cared. I remember this Coffee song but I was tiring of disco by this point.

    Black Slate chalk up another TOTP appearance (see what I did there?) but I don't remember them having a double bass player last time.
    Peter Powell asks Dennis about the charity football team The Showbiz II. They may be good at football but they also made a few dodgy records which left a lot to be desired.

    The Nolans on video which looks like it was filmed in a branch of Magnet and southerns with all those louvre doors and blinds. Pretty forgetful or pretty and forgetful if you like this type of thing.

    PP then interviews Paul Jones. I remember at the time thinking that The Blues Band was a really boring name for a band.

    A repeat of Lynx and I still don't know why the keyboardist bothered wearing that massive neck synth when there don't appear to be any sounds coming out of it when he plays it.

    Peter's borrowed Cyril Fletcher's big winged armchair from That's Life to introduce Gilbert. Not a bad song but very much 1974. He never had a brilliant singing voice but he appears to be singing live apart from some "do-dos" at one point which he delivers without opening his mouth. Hasn't he got a hairy chest?

    The rushed-a-bit Top 10 with barely a snatch of The Specials who had gone up 20 places and The Police again.

    And play out with that bleedin' disco song again complete with Nazi salutes from the goon who has been sitting in the audience all night.

    And the tee shirts. Apart from the TOTP shirts (one of which was modeled by Patsy from Ad Fab) there were also a few record company shirts on display including EMI which suggests where the most of the crowd may come from.
    A thought occurred to me as to why the shamrock tee-shirt adorned pogo-ing prats are there every week - I wonder if they arranged that so they can repeat performances in the hope that no one would notice if they kept seeing the same faces. Also I notice that largely the bands are now filmed from the side to allow the crowd to dance in peace without being moved down like they used to.