Thursday, 28 January 2016

Just When I Needed Top of the Pops Most

So another (very) busy couple of Top of the Pops 1981 days, with three editions to squeeze in before the weekend, begins with the 12th of February 1981.

You won't see us horsing around, Dolce!

12/02/81 (hosted by Richard Skinner)

(28) Pretenders – “Message Of Love”
Their first single for about a year, and it almost made the top ten, peaking at 11.

(2) Ultravox – “Vienna” (video)
Ah, at last, the much celebrated Vienna video, with next week's number one spot there for the taking, but of course it was a just notta to be.

(31) Barbara Jones – “Just When I Needed You Most”
Her only chart hit, a cover of the Randy Vanwarmer top ten hit from 1979, but this one got no higher than 31.

(39) Coast To Coast – “(Do) The Hucklebuck”
The first of two top 30 hits for Coast to Coast - this one being the more successful of them, reaching number 5. But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm showing.

(32) Gillan – “Mutually Assured Destruction”
The first of four top 40 hits for Gillan in 1981, but this one has already peaked at 32. Also edited out of the 7.30pm broadcast.

(50) George Benson – “What’s On Your Mind”
Legs & Co return from last week's unexplained absence, but this routine could only get What's On Your Mind up to a peak position of 45.

(34) Freeez – “Southern Freeez”
I bet singer Ingrid preferred doing Top of the Pops to being a social worker in Hackney! And she took this Brit funk classic to number 8.

(17) Slade – “We’ll Bring The House Down” (rpt from 29/01/81)
Soon to become the first of three top ten hits in the 1980's for Slade when it peaked at number 10. But edited out of the 7.30pm showing.

(53) Beggar & Co – “(Somebody) Help Me Out”
Perhaps the first of several songs to bring a touch of social commentary to the charts this year, this second Brit funk tune of the night was on its energetic way to number 15.

(54) Kelly Marie – “Hot Love”
Became the third and final top 30 hit for Kelly. She seemed a little subdued compared to last year, but I did like the little nod towards T-Rex in the chorus.

(1) John Lennon – “Woman” (video/credits)
The final week at number one for John Lennon, ever. And was that the temporary return of the Maggie Stredder Singers I noticed in the credits...?

The next edition is from February 19th 1981, though it is hosted by DLT so won't be shown on BBC4. (But Meer to the rescue!) Instead on BBC4 we will see February 26th hosted by Peter Powell.


  1. Pretenders - firstly I would say that Chrissy Hynde was out of synch with her miming at the start of the song. Secondly, was that one of The Stray Cats members on guitar for The Pretenders? Yes the one with the white shirt with no sleeves!

    Utravox - while I wasn't a fan of most of their stuff, this track Vienna is really something special and made the pop video era really come of age with this one.
    The horse at the beginning of the video in the bitterly cold outdoors, and then later the beautiful ballerina taking us through the violin instrumental break was nothing less than breathtaking and worthy of a knighthood for Mr Midge Ure for this effort to get to no.2, especially when Simon Bates referred to it last week as a "surprise hit".
    Notice how Skinner refers to it as "film" rather than video, because by now in 1981, the word "video" or "pop video" had not yet been coined, as we still did not have VCRs and people were not saying "video" just yet!

    Barbra Jones - shouldn't this track have been attributed to Randy Vanwarmer? I'm totally confused now.

    George Benson - were Legs & Co wearing raincoat macs cut out into the shape of a dress? Gill with the best chest among the girls, filled the dress best of all. Woaaahhh!

    Freeez (Southern Freeez) - some would say this was an early version of Sade, about three years too early. Also, was this the same Freeez that brought us the classic No.2 hit of 1983 called I.O.U that seemed to spend the whole summer of 1983 lodged at No.2?

    Fred Wedlock and Joe Dolce were the only two performers in the top ten rundown with no pop video, although I think Dolce's video had not arrived in the UK yet as of this week, cos there is one.

    1. It is indeed the same Freeez. Did they bother to record Freeezes for the other points of the compass? Band leader John Rocca took one of the main lines of "IOU" for the title of a later solo single, "I Want It To Be Real".

  2. Dory, that was original Pretenders bassist Pete Farndon, who along with guitarist James Honeymoon Scott were shortly to meet a premature demise.Randy Van warmer scored the original hit if you remember back in late summer 79, this was one of then fashionable reggae lite or 'lovers rock' style covers

    1. What was their premature demise Chris?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Deleted my last comment as I got the facts slightly wrong. Both Pretenders were dead from drug abuse by April 1983, James Honeyman-Scott dying two days after Pete Farndon had been sacked from the band for his recreational habits.

      Interesting to discover the prototype Pretenders were a trio with a pre-Motorhead Phil Taylor on drums.

    4. Don't recall this cover of Randy's excellent hit, but it's OK in reggae style. Draws a parallel for me with 'Everything I own' by Bread and later by Ken Boothe. In that instance, I heard Ken's version long before the original. 'Help me make it through the night' is another similar example.

  3. Dory, that was original Pretenders bassist Pete Farndon, who along with guitarist James Honeymoon Scott were shortly to meet a premature demise.Randy Van warmer scored the original hit if you remember back in late summer 79, this was one of then fashionable reggae lite or 'lovers rock' style covers

  4. Pretenders, even though this has no discernable melody I quite like it, maybe because of Chrissie shouting "Brigitte Bardot!" Amusing bit of crowd management at the beginning.

    Ultravox, with the video that made about as much sense as the lyrics, it sounded like it was about something but on closer examination wasn't really about anything.

    Barbara Jones, backed with the apparent return of the TOTP orchestra. I wasn't a fan of this song before it was reggaefied and I'm still not sure of the appeal. Also, not a good idea to put such a long instrumental break in there, leaving Babs dancing a bit embarrassingly. But where is she now?

    Coast to Coast, I thought they weren't going to do the Hucklebuck at all, but they did eventually. Catchy tune, more 50s revivalism. "Waddle like a duck"?! Stitch that, Baryshnikov.

    Next up, Thotch with Mutually Assured Destruction, because it was the 80s. Or was it 1975? Far and away the worst thing on the show, just painful. Mr Gillan using his arse as a prop was not a good idea.

    It sounds like a George Benson record with the tune removed - oh, it is. Bit disappointing this one. Legs & Co a vision in blue, but what had Pauline done to her hair?

    Freeez, this is a great song, with all the impeccable musicianship you'd expect from Britfunk, plus a fine example of insouciance from the lead singer. Not convinced by the keyboard miming, mind you.

    And another great slice of Britfunk from Beggar and Co, love this, you don't hear it enough. Top onstage antics from the group as well.

    Kelly Marie, hmm, why wasn't this a bigger hit? It was the bagpipe break, wasn't it? Someone in the audience is under the impression they're watching Cliff Richard.

    Farewell, John Lennon. Though I think he was back with Nobody Told Me, wasn't he?

    1. I haven't checked that far as "Nobody Told Me", an unfinished track Yoko Ono got completed, was a hit in 1984. The follow up to "Woman" was "Watching The Wheels", which put the brake on at number 30 and didn't get a TOTP showing.

    2. Wow, it seems like it was hot on the heels of Woman, but obviously not. Watching the Wheels is a better song than Imagine or Woman, mind you.

    3. Just checked - we get one video showing each for "Borrowed Time", which didn't quite make the top 30, and "Nobody Told Me" in 1984.

    4. No sooner had Lennon finished up with Woman, that the significant follow up to this in the charts was Jealous Guy by Roxy Music, as their tribute to Lennon, so the Lennon tributes are not done yet in 1981, as Mr Ferry and co are about to enter the charts to continue the Lennon tribute.

    5. For those not in the know, Thotch was the prog rock band in Simon Day’s three rockumentary series (on BBC4, then BBC2, then back to BBC4) where he played band singer and solo artist Brian Pern. The concept was a direct spoof of Peter Gabriel and Genesis. Thotch included Paul Whitehouse on guitar and Nigel Havers as the woman-hungry keyboardist. Gabriel was in on the act, as he played three very short, menacing cameos at the end of each series’ final episode, but there was a nice bit of baiting of other Genesis members in the recent series, such as Pern telling his wife he was getting rid of her by fax (how Phil Collins told his first wife he wanted a divorce) and a cruelly funny mickey-take of Mike and the Mechanics’ “The Living Years”.

      As for Roxy Music, tribute or deliberate cash-in?

    6. It was better than that - Brian told his wife he was divorcing her by Ceefax!

    7. I forgot that! He must have been dismissing his wife as manager by fax in this last series!

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Talking of Lennon maybe it's worth taking a short trip to the alternative universe where his murderer was arrested on the way to the Dakota building and never got to fire a shot. Britons woke up to news of Lennon's death on Tuesday December 9th. Later that day the new chart announced that Abba's Super Trouper was number one for a third week. It would be the group's 31st and last week at the top of the chart. The following week would see St Winifred beaming down as her choir took the crown for the first of three weeks. Jona Lewie's Xmas-orientated hit would grab a somewhat belated week at the top to kick off 1981 before giving way to two weeks of Antmusic. Phil Collins gets his first solo number one a couple of years early only to be displaced afer a couple of weeks by - yes! - Ultravox grabbing the only chart-topping week of their career. Joe Dolce then begins a three week reign (just like in this universe) but is toppled not by Bryan Ferry and co but those Kings Of The Wild Frontier instead. 7 days later Shakey picks up a bonus week at the top before normal service is resumed.

    10. Interesting to think the charts could take this path had Chapman been arrested before he did what he did. Yes, Bryan Ferry would have been working on a different project and unlikely to have got to no.1 had his idol Lennon not been killed. However, I still think that Ultravox would have still been ousted by Joe Dolce for the No.1 slot.

    11. Arthur, it was Phil Collins' second wife who got divorced by fax, though by coincidence the man himself was being interviewed in The Times today and once again flatly denied that this had happened!

    12. Phil is back with his third wife now apparently...

  5. Just found out Barbara Jones died in December 2014

    1. That's a shame, she won't get to enjoy her brief moment of fame again. Hope her family were watching.

  6. Another Trade Description baiting edition, calling itself "Top Of The Pops" when there are no less than seven non-mugshots in the show, five of them consecutively. Reminds me of the second edition after the Great Strike, when you'd have expected record companies to get their high-charting acts on the show and instead we got to choose our lottery numbers from the song's chart positions.

    Admittedly, this particular edition wasn't that easy to assemble, as there were 17 songs dropping in the 30 plus two non-movers (the chart topper and "Twilight Café"), and some of the climbers had been on the previous week. I reckon the only other song TOTP could have included was new at 29, "That's Entertainment" by The Jam, but this had charted as an import single - it hadn't been officially released - and maybe Polydor and The Jam were understandably reticent to promote it.

  7. Coast To Coast was an interesting new entry this week at no.39, because it looked like something out of the Happy Days series, especially with the two backing chicks and the lead singer looking like the Fonz with that distinctive hairstyle. However the terrible miming did nothing to improve its impact. The immaculate white jacket could be described as pristine and second to none when it comes to looking smart and dapper, and so some credit needs to be given to this new performance in the TOTP studio.

  8. Just realised this show was shown on my 19th birthday. A big of a mixed bag but, at least, it was better than my 30th birthday - I ended up down the (now closed down) pub in my hometown's main thoroughfare with just two friends, as the rest of my close mates had buggered of to a Bob Dylan gig the same night!

    1. arthur, in my opinion you would have still been better even if all of them had gone to see the tuneless minstrel!

  9. host: a reasonable job by mr skinner who is starting to get the hang of what by his usual standards is a lightweight lark

    pretenders: a real nothing song. in fact two completely different nothing songs stuck together, with none of the guitar stylings that made "brass in pocket" such a classic. but pete farndon looks cool as always

    barbara jones: poor old barbara on her lonesome was a throwback to the old days of solo performers looking lost on stage. like others i never liked this much in the first place, so a banal lovers rock treatment of a banal tune was never going to make much difference to me

    coast to coast: i'm pretty sure that the guy in the white dinner jacket was not the singer on the actual record, and was just roped in at the last minute when it became a hit. he's got a great quiff, but also looks like someone who probably got a playground kicking when at school. an energetic (if not always in sync) performance by him and the band saves this from being a complete non-event

    gillan: whoever thought this was worthy of release as a single was obviously mad (ho ho). maybe it was because of the right-on politico lyrics, as certainly there was nothing of value musically. not only do mr gillan and his chums sound hideeously outdated, they look it too. i think i've mentioned this before, but a chum who owned their "glory road" album talked me into listening to this colin towns solo track on the limited edition bonus album, which much against my expectations i really liked:

  10. like the number of britfunk acts on this show, it's a double helping:

    george benson: as was my usual custom at the time, i borrowed the "give me the night" album off a friend, listened through a few times and then taped the best of it onto cassette. the fact that i couldn't even remember the title of this (never mind the music) suggests i thought it not worthy of transferring at the time, and 35 years on it's no better to my ears. it's an erzatz-rod temperton-like offering with a moderately funky verse, but then a really lame chorus where it sounds like the bassist hasn't been given any lines to play and is just doing basic comping - something i'm sure rod wouldn't have allowed, and surprising that quincy jones let it happen. also george sounds really uncomfortable singing it, as if it's out of his range. had i been offered this i wouldn't even have included it as album filler, never mind released as a single! i jumped ship on george at this point (as did quincy, who must have seen the writing on the wall despite the success of this album), as what was to follow was even worse. as for legs, those outfits only really serve to emphasise how little most of them had up top!

    freeez: i remember liking this when it came out, but not to the point of being ecstatic. probably for nostalgic reasons i like it a bit more now. and singer apart, another energetic band performance (special mention for the bassist) which always makes things a bit more interesting

    beggar & co: weren't they basically light of the world moonlighting? if so then this was better than anything lotw did. i remember my chums taking the piss out of me by saying this was "my tune" as unlike them i was on the dole at the time (and being on the dole back then was considered a lot more shameful than it is now). with regard to the tiresome "who-oh! woh-oh! woh-oh!" chant beloved of 80's soulboys, is that where it originated or was it already in existence? another excellent energetic performance by the band concerned, but a: how did the guitarist manage to get his raincoat off without removing the guitar, and b: what happened to the bass?

    kelly marie: is this "it feels like i'm in love" part II, or part III? only the syndrums were missing! even though mungo jerry (sorry - ray dorset who was the singer of mungo jerry) must have been pleased with the unexpected royalties from that no. 1 hit, surely he should have sued the writers of this for plagiarism? ms marie (is that the right way to address her? i have the same problem with her namesake teena) really does have a voice that is most shrill and unattractive, rivalled only by tina charles in the dire disco diva stakes!

    1. Let's just say that thank goodness it was the last of Kelly Marie in our charts.

  11. What were the crowd on in this episode? From the virtual assault on Richard Skinner at the show's start to the mugging and pogoing and general 'look-at-me'ness through several performances, I don't think we have seen such a camera-hungry lot so far. A sad sign of the things to come I fear.

    Anyway - the show. The Pretenders in desperate need of a chorus here, in a song that ranks waaayyyy down their quality chart. They look good though, a lot of charisma, and they have the look of an actual band.

    Which is more than can be said for Coast To Coast. I know nothing of this lot and can't really be bothered to Wikki them, but they look like they have been assembled primarily for their look rather than being a naturally-assembled group. Also, in the face of the demise of both The Darts and The Waddies, who'd have thought the British public had any residual longing for any more 50s rock n roll revival schtick?

    Barbara Jones. Dear Lord, what have we done to deserve a poor Lovers Rock version of a cloying MOR American piece of crap?

    Gillan. Dear Lord, what have we done to deserve a fifth rate schoolboy band attempt at re-cycling 'Stairway To Heaven'?

    George Benson. The Leggers attired identically,down to their stilletoes, do a nice routine to one of George's less-memorable tunes. It's no 'Give Me The Night' is it?

    Freeez - one to many Es in their name, and judging by the guitarist's manic movements, one too many Es in his bloodstream. White men really can't dance.

    Beggar & Co. The second Britfunk collective. This one is much, much better. Great tune and instrumentation, good performance. Did I hear somewhere that this lot would go on to win the 1981 Most-Appearances-On-ToTP award?

    Kelly Marie. Sticking fervently to a formula and, consequently, reaping the law-of-diminishing-returns reward. Poor song and proof that bagpipes have never been an actual musical instrument.

    Skinner cops for a 'meh' 6 out of 10. Nothing to write home about; nothing to write a letter of complaint about.

    The Slade re-showing and Beggar & Co were the only decent tunes on show here with Kelly Marie and Coast To Coast being at the opposite end of the spectrum. A disappointing 4, then.

    1. to sort-of paraphrase eric morecambe to "andrew preview": freeez have got the right amount of "e"'s in their name, but not necessarily in the right order!

    2. Haha Wilby - yes you are right of course. I got so hung up on three consecutive Es that my eyes couldn't cope with correct spellings.

    3. Coast To Coast were from that well known coastal resort, Northampton.

    4. Coast To Coast were from that well known coastal resort, Northampton.

  12. The Pretenders track is OK, it's not one you hear often but I think it's pleasant enough.

    Barbara Jones's version of the Transit fondler's track is one that I'd never heard until I prepared this chart for my radio show a couple of years back. I must admit that I prefer the original. Also, with those glasses looking uncannily like the front windows of a jumbo jet, she was lucky not to interfere with air traffic control at Heathrow.

    Coast To Coast - I know I shouldn't like this, but I still do (yep, I LOVED it as a kid!)

    Gillan - lovely man doing an awful song.

    Oh, are Legs & Co doing a slow number AGAIN? Never liked George Benson anyway.

    Freeez - Much better. I'm not a huge fan of Brit-funk but this presses the right buttons for me. We now know from the documentary about 1981 that Ingrid is mainly looking the way she is to stop herself laughing because she'd got a bit squiffy beforehand!

    Beggar & Co - See my previous comment about Brit-funk. Not a fan of this.

    Kelly Marie - This was chugging along in a reasonably inoffensive manner until the ****ing bagpipes appeared! No song has EVER been approved by bagpipes therefore this one deserved to fail.

    1. That should obviously read 'improved' not 'approved'!!

  13. I didn't enjoy this edition save for Ultravox and Lennon, but at least the host knew his stuff. And wasn't Simon Bates, which is always a bonus.

  14. Watching this show can leave you in no doubt that by this point the 80s had well and truly arrived, visually and musically. It is fascinating to watch the Vienna video in the context of these repeats, as it is light years ahead in terms of sophistication to anything else we have seen so far, and truly heralds the dawn of the video age, 6 months before the launch of MTV.

    The Britfunk sounds heard here would be hugely influential on the music scene over the next few years, and the two performances on this show are both very impressive in their own ways. Ingrid from Freeez certainly gives no appearance of being a social worker here as she adopts what would become a classic 80s look, and her detached attitude contrasts nicely with the band's energy. The Beggar & Co tune starts off a bit annoyingly (it sounds like they're singing "miaow, miaow" at the start), but it rapidly gets better and they certainly put on a lively show, even though they were crammed on to a ridiculously small stage. Incidentally, does anyone know why "freeze," or variations thereof, seemed to be such a buzzword at this time? Was it some kind of dance?

    The rest of the show was a bit underwhelming. The Pretenders' song had some nice guitar bits, but felt pretty pedestrian, while Barbara Jones' Randy Vanwarmer cover was pleasant enough but equally forgettable - unlike most people here I do like the song, but I prefer the original. Her specs were the most impressive aspect of the performance, as if she was paying tribute to Althia & Donna!

    My heart sank when Coast to Coast came on - just what we need, yet another 50s revival act, and this one fronted by a particularly slappable singer! The song itself was actually first recorded in 1948, and was one of those classic R&B tracks that paved the way for rock & roll, not that this version does it any favours. I noticed in the audience for this one was the chubby Jonathan King lookalike in a baseball cap who also appeared last week, which leads me to suspect this performance was recorded the week before. The fez and sunglasses in evidence among the band members suggests that they hoped people might think they were Madness!

    The Legs routine had a distinct filmic quality to it, which makes me wonder if it was captured away from TV Centre - it certainly didn't look like they were in the TOTP studio. Sadly, this was another so-so dance to a very so-so George Benson offering, and it did seem very old-fashioned compared to what we saw elsewhere in the show. However, the worst performance of the week award has to go to either Gillan or Kelly Marie. The latter's effort was another xeroxed version of her biggest hit, but the disco bagpipes and accompanying dance lifted it to new levels of naffness. In the end though Gillan win the prize for jumping on the nuclear apocalypse bandwagon in the most embarrassing, ham-fisted way imaginable. The lyrics are unbelievably clunky and crass, yet they all take it so seriously! Pure Spinal Tap - one of the band was even dressed like he was about to take off in the Enola Gay...

    Richard Skinner did another decent job, but still prone to moving around too much and talking too quickly on occasion - his attempts to dance to Kelly Marie were particularly awkward! At least he survived getting mobbed at the start by a crowd who were pretty lively throughout in a rather self-conscious manner, almost as if Michael Hurll had a forest of machine guns ready to fire if they failed to dance...

    1. Beggar & Co being put on the smallest stage of the TOTP studio was not a good gesture by TOTP. Considering they had 7 members of the band, there was only room for the drums, and the band members were squashed together like sardines.

      The bigger stage with the TOTP screen was instead given to one of the other groups this week, with more luxury for movement on the stage, but TOTP got this the wrong way round and should have given it to Beggar & Co. I think ego took over with the TOTP producers in this case, resulting in Beggar & Co struggling to move about on the smaller stage with their energetic style of music.

  15. I'm struggling to keep up with all these shows - I've just watched this one and there's two more to go, and by the time I've seen those there will probably be another couple on offer!

    The doldrums of late 1980 have passed and, notwithstanding the presence of Yoko bloody Ono, I'm back into Nostalgia Central! It's good to see that recent editions are back to the old style without all the 'filler', there's a refreshing number of live vocal performances and some of the drummers even have real cymbals to clout!

    I seem to be enjoying the stuff which others don't - Stray Cats, Fred Wedlock, Cliff Richard (although I can't help feeling that it's the wrong time of year - this is very much a spring/summer song!), The Passions, Coast To Coast (mine's the homely-looking brunette!), Slade, Kelly Marie...

    And I can't help thinking that Susan Fassbender would have looked quite attractive in modern specs, but the styles of the time did absolutely nothing to enhance the female face. But the first prize just has to go to Barbara Jones for modelling the ultimate in 'shop windows'!

  16. All you bagpipe sceptics take a listen to this groovy little number, Scotch Machine by Voyage:

    Obviously takes a Frenchman to do the instrument justice.

    1. the soon-to-be-heard "maid of orleans" by OMD had a good synth-doing-a-bagpipe impression on it!

    2. I'm pretty sure the "bagpipe" sound on Maid of Orleans is being generated by a mellotron, which OMD used extensively on Architecture & Morality. I must admit when I listen to this I hear mellotron more than I do bagpipes, but there is a similarity in sound. Unlike with Kelly Marie's song, the effect with Maid of Orleans is to hoist the track to a new level of greatness, as opposed to cheesiness!

    3. Agreed. So therefore it can't possibly be actual bagpipes!

  17. Incidentally, I'm sure Richard Skinner's link got cut a bit when he came out of the 20-11 rundown - did he mention the name of someone who now can't be mentioned?

  18. I quite enjoyed this show even though some of Richard’s hit predictions were a bit astray.

    Pretenders – Message of Love – One of their less memorable tunes. Didn’t make the top 10 whereas I always thought ‘2000 Miles’ did, but no, not so…

    Ultravox – Vienna – Along with ‘I want to know what love is’ by Foreigner, this is probably one of my favourite ‘films’. Shame it was cut though just when they showed the statue that appears on the single picture sleeve. I’ve looked on YT, but the complete film’s not there either. Love the bit with the girl running down the stairs to the tinkling keyboard near the end. Brilliant.

    Barbara Jones – Just when I needed you most – So soon after Randy Vanwarmer’s original hit, this was much better than I feared.

    Coast to Coast – (Do) the Hucklebuck – First of two parenthesised titles on the show. It looked like a lot of fun being in Coast to Coast with the two chicks wearing sprayed on slacks! I found myself tapping along to this one which is kinda worrying!

    Gillan – Mutually assured destruction – God this is depressing! Check out the gatefold sleeve on 45cat. A bit of ‘Child in time’ screaming thrown in for good measure, Gillan would soon bounce back with a much more cheerful release a month later with a cover of the old Harley Quinne hit ’New Orleans’.

    George Benson – What’s on your mind. All the GB elements are there except for a memorable tune. Love the ‘rain mac’ dresses Legs & Co were wearing.

    Freez – Southern Freez – Using the old trick of putting your band name into your song title (a trick that Visage would repeat later in 1981) Freez never really caught my attention. So Spandau Ballet were in with ‘The Freeze’ and we also had Heatwave in the chart….

    Slade – We’ll bring the House down – Shouldn’t that be spelt ‘Weel bring the hows down’? I read recently that Noddy Holder had tried to get the four band members back on speaking terms but failed which is quite sad. On top form here if you like loud and proud anthems.

    Beggar & Co – (Somebody) help me out – I always thought they were saying ‘Meow meow’. Not a particular favourite of mine.

    Kelly Marie – Hot Love – One of the best singles released by T Rex was ‘Hot Love’. This was frankly not in the same league. Same look and feel as her previous hits, same dancers, but bagpipes added to the mix (briefly on show in the promo video). Her final chart hit was ‘Love Trial’ which sounded different but it only made no51. Some people in the crowd seem to have confused Kelly with Cliff Richard!

    Top 10 rundown – We see Phil’s ‘film’ for ‘In the Air Tonight’ which I don’t think was ever shown on TOTP in full.

    John Lennon – Woman – Credits rolled again on this hit which I’m sure was short lived.

    1. Stephen, the Ultravox video while blocked on Utube, is actually available from iTunes for £1.89 purchase, as I remember purchasing this some time back, and the best £1.89 I ever spent.

      Just go to iTunes music store, then music videos, then Utravox, then you will find it there and can download it to your iTunes library.

    2. Thanks Dory. Sounds like a bargain!

    3. Luckily for us consumers, there is a cap on what iTunes can charge for downloading a pop video, i.e., £1.89, bargain or no bargain!

      From this week's Richard Skinner show, you can get the official music videos for Vienna (Ultravox) and Woman (John Lennon) from there to buy and keep, that is the top 2 from this week's chart!

  19. I like him but, oh Dear God, worst presenters’ performance for a long while, if not for the whole re-run thus far, goes to Richard Skinner, whose pre-show Ovaltine must have been spiked. The evidence?

    1) Haven’t we seen that jumper before? No wardrobe budget or a much loved RS fave?
    2) Big hits predicted for Gillan (at their peak of 32) and George Benson (who vaulted a further five places to number 45)
    3) THE Freeez, and a new name on the chart? Not in the mugshots yet!
    4) Kelly Marie just outside the top 30? If you count 24 places as just outside, then yes!
    5) Debbie Harry the most beautiful girl in the top 10? The only female of any note in the top ten, and hardly a girl at this stage

    So, Chrissie Hynde tops Patsy Kensit in the pop star bangability stakes. Was drummer Martin Chambers showing he felt left out with his unusual one-handed drum solos? Other points of note- Pete Farndon’s Stray Cats hairdo, class blue overlay for the line “your eyes are blue”, and one of my fave Pretenders tracks to boot.

    Ultravox – classic film, classic track but, even then, they were making themselves dated. Proof? Their lesser hit “All Stood Still” included the line “Please remember to mention me in tapes you might leave behind”. Tapes?????

    Barbara Jones went on to sell her windscreen specs to Dennis Taylor, without which he wouldn’t have beaten Steve Davis in that classic world snooker final four years later. Actually, nice version by Barbara – I preferred it to that soppy sugary original by Wimpy Van Rental.

    Coast To Coast, with a Perrie Mans lookalike in what should have been a straitjacket (note - Perrie Mans was a decent but trophy-lacking South African snooker player from the early 70’s who looked unerringly like my first girlfriend!). This song has peculiar memories for me. I went with two Cardiff City supporting mates to a game at Manchester City in 1984 and, on the train home, all the Cardiff fans were shunted cattle-like into one carriage where, at Crewe, they all got out for Holyhead except me and my mates. Shut in the carriage on our own all the way to Euston with no exits, buffet, toilet or other company we mucked about, including doing the hucklebuck on the tables!

    Gillan – mutually assured destruction of a crap song in the first place.

    What’s on your mind? Legs & Co looking voluptuous. George Benson? Ah, dinner jazz. Mmm, niiiiice.

    Ah, Freeeezzzzzzz, jazz fusion. Niiii…er, hang on. Ingrid’s telephone directory delivery and bored bored bored antics were in complete contrast to her overly hyperactive bandmates. Too many E’s, perhaps? Geddit? Freeez, too many…oh, please yourselves!

    Beggar & Co, fashion-wise somewhere between Dexy’s, JoBoxers and Steptoe and Son with a surprisingly good groove, not appreciated by the girl front stage left looking on incredulously.

    Kelly Marie needs to give that gym mat back, as well as the bagpipe rip-off of “Brown Girl in The Ring”. We can’t confirm her follow-up was going to be a hi-energy version of “Donald Where’s Yer Troosers”.

    1. not one but two references to snooker here! for those unaware, perrie mans was renowned for his fancy waistcoats and phenomenal potting power. but his tactical play was practically non-existent, and nowadays you wouldn't even get to play professionally without that weapon in your armoury. but due to the dearth of such players around at the time perrie actually managed to reach the world championship final in the late 70's, just before the first true era of professionalism was ushered in...

      talking of which: did anyone else watch the bbci drama "the rack pack"? as one who lived through snooker's golden era of the 80's i thoroughly enjoyed wallowing in what i felt was well-written and fairly accurately-portrayed nostaglia (and some of the technical "action" shots were brilliant too - were the actors picked partly due to their ability to play snooker?). the guys playing alex hurricane higgins (who like several others wore terrible wigs) and barry hearne looked nothing like them, but were still mesmeric. and the guy playing steve davis was born to play steve davis!

    2. Wilberforce, I do remember Perrie Mans doing quite well one year in 'Pot Black' as well. For the record, he lost 25-18 to Ray Rearson in the 1978 final at the Crucible....but we're getting (Graham) Miles off the point now!

    3. Only another five re-run years to go before we get "Snooker Loopy"!

    4. presumably because of "the rack pack", the documentary of alex higgins that they made after he died a few years back is currently on iplayer - i watched it for the first time the other day and had another good wallow in snooker nostalgia. at the end of his days, rather shockingly (but not surprisingly) higgins looked like a nazi concentration camp inmate!

  20. On second thoughts, I was rather harsh on Richard Skinner – I was just disappointed at his Swiss cheese performance (full of holes). On reflection, I reckon the worst presenter performance thus far was DLT stuffing his face during the links and forgetting to back-announce Can’s “I Want More” at the start.

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  22. Better late than heather.

    Loved this Pretenders single at the time. A great way to open the show and the crowd seem to love it even though they are invaded by the return of the pogo-ing prats. James Honeyman Scott looks a bit pissed off for some reason.

    Dickie Skinner in a dad jumper trying to look cool and failing big time but he dies a good job at presenting..

    Ah Vienetta - the video. "This means nothing to me" say Midge and the the video equally meant nothing to me, what is supposed to be going on? I never got the story but it is a great production. I particularly like the child string quartet and the guy with the extravagant glass holder on a stick.

    In those giant specs Barbara Jones looks like a black version of her namesake Pauline Campbell-Jones. The TOTP band (can we call them an orchestra?) have learned nothing since Althea and Donna, this is clunky reggae by numbers with an out of tune guitar. A good song though, preferable to the original by uber-weed Randy Bed Warmer.

    "Do the Hucklebuck, If you don't know how to do it then you're out of luck" Coast To Coast sing but they spent the rest of the song telling us how to do it, so there's no excuse really. The only odd thing is that they don't seem to be following their own dance moves. The lead singer (who looks a bit like someone I used to know) spends the first verse breathlessly doing a dance that should be called The Hopping About From Foot to Foot While Swinging Your Arms From Side To Side In An Ill-fitting Jacket!

    What IS that feeble whine I can hear? is it the tyre on my bike slowly deflating or someone treading on the cat's tail? No it's Ian Gillan singing. This is a joke right? Someone's edited the tape an inserted deleted footage from Spinal Tap. It's hilarious and looks a good ten years out of date in 1981.

    I have no recollection of this George Benson song but all-in-all a fine production and a fair interpretation in dance by the Legs girls. What was going on in the girls minds - "how are we gonna pay the bills when we get the elbow later this year?"

    Tasty Freeez at least I thought so back in 1981 (bongo-player John Rocca that is). This was the first tune that I danced to in a gay club just one month after this was shown and I loved it to bits. It really takes me back to that time and it still sounds new and fresh today.

    Slade bringing the house down again and making Gillan look comical in comparison except for poor Jim who looks a bit too gentle to be headbanging. I like the ending nicked from Alice Cooper's Schools Out.

    The charts - it looks like almost everyone who was on last weeks show is going down this week.

    I remember this Beggar and Co track well. More cool brit funk and a great performance with the band giving it everything they've got but the crowd don't seem to get it. It reminds me a bit of Brass Construction circa 1976-77. I like their tramp-chic look.

    And yet more Brit funk, Oh no it's Kelly Marie. I have to express an interest here as I know the guy who played bass on this track (bows head in shame). He told me that they laid the track down before Kelly turned up to do the vocals so he never even met her. That's show business or at least the job of a jobbing session musician any any rate.

    An then its goodbye! Eh? Oh they're playing out with Lennon again. They respect him so much they've taken to running him behind the titles. Ho hum.