Thursday, 25 June 2015

Are You Getting Enough Top of the Pops?

Rarely have the BBC4 repeats of Top of the Pops been in perfect synchronicity with now, indeed most of the time we've found ourselves lagging a few weeks behind, but now thanks to a combination of a musician's union strike from 35 years ago and the impending season of the Proms in July 2015, we find ourselves leaping two months ahead into the new era of August 1980......

Now remember Elton, whatever you do, don't mention you tried to kill disco.....

7-8-80: Presenters: Peter Powell & Elton John

(26) THE PIRANHAS – Tom Hark
There's no chart rundown at the beginning of the show any more, instead we get preview clips of the acts who are going to appear accompanied by the return of the legendary sound of Whole Lotta Love. Then it's straight into the first act which on this bumper comeback show is the Piranhas, complete with bare chested fish playing drummer (had he escaped from Liquid Gold?) on their way to their only top ten hit.

 (2) DIANA ROSS – Upside Down (video)
Weird video where Diana sort of dances between stills of herself but never sings ~ the first of two top ten hits for her in 1980.

 (9) ROXY MUSIC – Oh Yeah (On The Radio)
Edited out of the 7.30 show ~ catch the full edition tonight on BBC4 at 11.45pm

 (16) LEGS & CO dance to TOM BROWNE's Funkin’ For Jamaica
The ladies return in multi-coloured undergarments, whilst their names are spelt out on screen in case everyone's forgotten who they are, for a routine in front of the new enthusiastic studio audience helping Tom Browne to his only top ten hit. Then comes the first half of the new style chart rundown, complete with Peter Powell commentary and Whole Lotta Love.

 (21) HOT CHOCOLATE – Are You Getting Enough Of What Makes You Happy
It seems like only a couple of weeks ago we saw them taking No Doubt About It to number two, now here they are already with the follow up, which made it to 17.

 (29) KELLY MARIE – Feels Like I’m In Love
Here's Kelly, bringing along her own male dancers, with a song Elvis might have sung, and to be fair you could easily imagine him doing it, but would he have taken it to number one, like Kelly was soon to do?

 (7) THE GAP BAND – Oops Upside Your Head (video)
With such terrible sound quality you wonder whether this video did any favours for this classic dance song, which peaked at number 6.

 (14) THE GIBSON BROTHERS – Marianna
There's no doubt Top of the Pops has well and truly entered the 80's now ~ enthusiastic balloon waving audience, Legs & Co dancing in the crowd, no tipsy orchestra or backing singers, band miming unashamedly to the record ~ but for the Gibson Brothers Marianna was to be their final top 20 hit.

 (3) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (danced to by Legs & Co)
All three June/July number ones were edited out of the 7.30 show, starting with this Legs routine that was recorded for the 9th July pilot.

Edited out.

 (63) DON McLEAN – Crying (video)
Edited out. Although it turns out that only short clips of these three number ones were shown.

 (5) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5
Sheena was featured in the documentary series Big Time, which followed various people trying to break into show business, and it paid off for her quite handsomely ~ 9 To 5 made it to number 3 in the UK and went on to top the American charts, though under the title of Morning Train.

 (15) BAD MANNERS – Lip Up Fatty
Perform the second of four hits for the group in 1980, in their own unique manner, now at its peak in the charts.

Now Peter takes us through the Top 10 rundown, featuring short clips of each song:

 (10) GEORGE BENSON – Give Me The Night (video)
The first of two top ten hits for George in 1980, peaking at number 7.

 (9) ROXY MUSIC – Oh Yeah (On The Radio) (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Their follow up to Over You, which also made it to number 5.

 (8) BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – Could You Be Loved (live clip)
Peaked at number 5.

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

 (6) KATE BUSH – Babooshka (video)
Shame the strike robbed us of the full version of this one, peaked at number 5.

 (5) SHEENA EASTON – 9 To 5 (clip of TOTP 7-8-80)
Made it to number 3.

 (4) LEO SAYER – More Than I Can Say (video)
Didn't quite make it to number one' ~ peaked at two.

 (3) ODYSSEY – Use It Up And Wear It Out (clip of Legs & Co TOTP 7-8-80)
Their only number one hit.

 (2) DIANA ROSS – Upside Down (video)
At its chart peak.

 (1) ABBA – The Winner Takes It All (video)
A new number one for a new era, and with an apt title given the demise of the TOTPs orchestra ~ a real classic here from Abba and the eighth of nine number ones for the band.

 (10) GEORGE BENSON – Give Me The Night (crowd dancing) (and credits)
No swirly images any more to end the show with, instead we get lots of colourful 80's kids filling the dance floor.

Next week then it's August 14th 1980 presented by Tommy Vance and Roger Daltrey

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Two Pints of Lager and a Top of the Pops Please

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Just Can't Give You Top of the Pops

Not many people could have known it at the time but the 29th May 1980 was truly an end of an era edition of Top of the Pops. A ten week strike by the Musicians Union was about to keep the show off the air for the whole of June and July, and when it finally returned on the 7th August things would never be quite the same again.....

No doubt about it

29-5-80: Presenter: David Jensen

(22) ROBERTA FLACK & DONNY HATHAWAY – Back Together Again
Playing over the charts this week is the second of three top ten hits for Roberta Flack, and her first since 1973.

(52) LIQUID GOLD – Substitute
Performing the follow-up to Dance Yourself Dizzy ~ Substitute became the band's second and final top ten hit ~ note the drummer wears a few more clothes than last time but still can't resist abandoning his drum kit to get up and dance.

(2) HOT CHOCOLATE – No Doubt About It ®
Finally making it onto the 7.30 showing on BBC4 now at its peak in the charts, shame it didn't go one place higher, it would have made and out of this world number one :-)

(44) ELTON JOHN – Little Jeannie
A studio performance here from Elton, but the very early 80's were not a successful time for him, and Little Jeannie didn't make the top 30.

(17) CROWN HEIGHTS AFFAIR – You Gave Me Love (danced to by Legs & Co)
This week the Legs are wearing cheerleader style outfits and surrounded by a pom pom waving crowd as they help Crown Heights Affair on the way to their only top ten hit.

(13) DON McLEAN – Crying (video)
The log fire in the video made me wonder if this song was originally meant as a Christmas time release, but anyway it became a surprise summer number one, but we'll never get to see it top the charts.....

(37) THIN LIZZY – Chinatown
A good solid rocker here from Phil and the boys ~ David Jensen predicted a top five hit but it made it to 21.

(6) ROXY MUSIC – Over You ®
Over You was now the seventh of ten top ten hits for Roxy Music, and it peaked at number 5.

The first edit on tonight's 7.30 showing.

(21) JERMAINE JACKSON – Let’s Get Serious (video)
The videos were still mostly quite simple at this time, this one is Jermaine with mic in hand and a couple of dancers either side ~ and he mimes the part in the middle hat was actually Stevie Wonder.

(36) STIFF LITTLE FINGERS – Nobody’s Hero
With their gravel voiced follow-up to At the Edge, but this one didn't do quite as heroically and failed to make the top 30.

(23) MYSTIC MERLIN – Just Can’t Give You Up (video)
BBC4 just couldn't give us this one at 7.30pm.

(NEW) LENA ZAVARONI – Jump Down Jimmy
Sadly, Lena was also cut from the 7.30pm show with this non-charter.

(1) MASH – Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) (danced to by Legs & Co) ®
Now the end credits thanked 20th Century Fox for Mash excerpts, so I'm guessing we didn't get this repeated Legs & Co performance originally?  But anyway, perhaps it was apt that a song from the 70's topped the charts just as the show went off air. The 80's would begin on August 7th.

(9) LIPPS INC – Funky Town
Plays over the credits, and David Jensen doesn't mention anything about Top of the Pops being back next week ~ did he know something? And talking of end credits - had they changed this week? Had the orchestra and resident backing singers already been given the chop?

If the next scheduled show, 5th June, had gone ahead it would have been hosted by Simon Bates. But there was no Top of the Pops until Peter Powell and Elton John jointly presented the show the 7th August 1980.
However, during the strike there was a pilot edition made that has never been broadcast, the 9th July hosted by Peter Powell and BA Robertson. So I will put up a blog for that one since the wonderful Popscene has the running order.

So what happens next then? There is no Top of the Pops on BBC4 next week, but I believe that the repeats will resume the week after, on June 25th, with a showing of the edition that launched the new era, the 7th August 1980........

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Top of the Pops is Painless

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

You know you're wasting your time..

22-5-80: Presenter: Mike Read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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