Thursday, 4 February 2016

Planet Top of the Pops

BBC4 really are 'marching' through these editions this year aren't they, with a sixth of 1981 already gone! Indeed, these shows are loading faster than a Sinclair ZX81 computer - which came out the week this edition was first broadcast :-)

Today Top of the Pops - tomorrow the world!

05/03/81 (hosted by Mike Read)

(47) Duran Duran – “Planet Earth”
A major debut on the show tonight with a song that made 'new romantic' an official term, and also the first of four top 40 hits for Duran Duran in 1981, this one peaking at number 12.

(14) Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime” (video)
Now at its chart peak. But edited out of tonight's 7.30pm showing.

(6) Adam & The Ants – “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” (rpt from 19/02/81)
1981's chart kings were heading towards the number 2 spot with this re-issue of the first single from their album of the same name.

(16) Toyah – “It’s A Mystery” (rpt from 19/02/81)
The first of three top ten hits in 1981 (and ever) for Toyah ~ this one made number four. But where was she on tonight's 7.30pm broadcast?? - it's no mystery, she was edited out.

(29) Shakin’ Stevens – “This Ole House”
Who could have foreseen the phenomenal success that was about to come Shaky's way? This would become the first of four top ten hits, including two number ones, he would have in 1981. But not on tonight's 7.30 showing.

(5) Headgirl (Motorhead & Girlschool) – “Please Don’t Touch” (rpt from 19/02/81)
This Johnny Kidd and the Pirates cover was now at its peak. It's good this one was shown tonight, because last time it was on a yewtreed DLT show.

(45) Phil Collins – “I Missed Again”
The follow up to In the Air Tonight was perhaps a more conventional sounding song, and not as big a hit, but still got to number 14. And he's still got that tin of paint with him, maybe for a second coat?

(31) Kool & The Gang – “Jones Vs Jones”
The first of four top 20 hits in 1981for Kool & the Gang provides this week's Legs & Girl routine, with three of the girls as brides and the other three as their bridegrooms!

(25) The Teardrop Explodes – “Reward” (video)
Became the band's only top ten hit. Here they drive around a very bleak looking seaside town trying to cheer things up by playing their trombones.

(35) The Who – “You Better You Bet” (35)
About to become this legendary band's 14th and final top ten hit, when it reached number 9, but sadly they never managed the number one they surely merited. And this was their first studio appearance on the show since 1973, and I do believe it was also their last?

(1) Joe Dolce Music Theatre – “Shaddap You Face” (rpt from 05/02/81)
The third and final week at number one for Joe's only hit.

(7) Coast to Coast - "(Do) The Hucklebuck (credits)
Mike Read displays his dance skills with the audience as Coast to Coast edge closer to peak position.

Next up is the 12th of March with Tommy Vance, and there's something just a little unusual about this edition.....


  1. So we arrive at March 1981 already, and here comes a first look at Duran Duran.
    I expect, like me, nobody had heard of them until this TOTP studio performance, and the rest is history of course.

    Talking Heads – this was also the first time that many people had seen The Talking Heads, and at the time I remember being taken by this video, it being so weird and different, “with a beautiful house, and a beautiful wife”………..

    Adam & The Ants – this is one of those rare occasions where the TOTP performance is better than the video which was a cheap studio room video, and one not worth remembering. However, the song deserved its Top Ten position.

    Headgirl – just love this track, and first outing on BBC4, as the debut of two weeks ago was a DLT yew treed edition. The song is so catchy and infectious, it makes you sing it all day, or in my case, all week! Girlschool mentions “Eskimo Nell” in the lyrics. What’s all that about?

    Kool & The Gang – crap song, but how good was Legs & Co looking on this? Cor Blimey, the three in their lingerie (or as Angelo says "brides") were just a heaven-sent present to us Thursday night viewers. When you see the girls looking this tasty, it makes me cringe that they got the chop later in the year to make way for a new set of dancers.

    The Teardrop Explodes – nice to see that well-known outdoor video this week, and Mike Read introduces the band as being from Liverpool, which at the time was a hub for top music bands for our charts. This was no exception.

    The Who – wow, was it really the first time since 1973 in the TOTP studio for The Who? They seemed to be either side of the Showaddywaddy tenure from 1974-1980. I wonder if that had something to with it.

    Joe Dolce –“One more time for mama”, and one more week at No.1 to keep Ultravox offa da no..1 position, haha””…..Ah Shaddap a your face!

    End credits – one of the best tunes fitting of any pop show’s end-credits, and how nice to see Mike Read in the middle of the middle of the audience, also doing the Hucklebuck!

    1. Eskimo Nell is a rude poem, the sort I imagine is told by sailors when they've been at sea for a while. It's also the name of a British sex comedy film of the 70s that is actually really funny (didn't happen often enough).

  2. This show was the first one to really feel like the eighties for me.

    Shaky was on the pyramid stage at Glastonbury when I went a few years ago (2006 or 2008 - it was the Sunday lunchtime slot) but he didn't seem in a very good mood, playing newer stuff instead of his hits and refusing to play Green Door even though someone had brought a green door along...

  3. Shocked to hear of the death today of Maurice White, aged 74, lead singer of Earth Wind & Fire. Who could ever forget that memorable video of Boogie Wonderland from 1979, where he led beautifully the huge number of members in the group on stage, and made this a big hit in the UK charts that summer, staying in the top 5 for several weeks.

    His use of colours on stage was second to none (outfits), and he was unfortunately a sufferer of Parkinsons disease which finally cought up with him. RIP Maurice, your charm and kindness will be missed by many pop and disco fans worldwide.

    1. Seems like every episode comments section this year has reported a death. RIP Maurice, a very talented man.

    2. He was mentioned this morning on BBC Breakfast news with a clip of September by Earth Wind & Fire.

  4. Ah, a return to the guest star presenters with Cliff I see - hey, waidaminnit!

    The outrageous barnets, the puffy shirts, the Chewbacca bandolier, actual planet Earth in a special appearance, Duran Duran had descended from their mothership. Bit of a drone, this tune, but a good scene-setter.

    Talking Heads, I well recall seeing this video and not making head nor tail of it, but it is a fantastic clip for an equally fantastic song, didn't sound like anything else and still doesn't.

    I know Toyah doesn't know, she keeps mentioning it, but does anyone here know what the mystery was? I suspect it was whether she was going to get an orange Revel next from the bag.

    Shakin' Stevens on top form, for all the cheese factor (which is plenty) this is a rockin' version, even with the uncoordinated audience dance moves. Biggest selling singles artist of the 80s, I think I'm right in saying. Does seem odd now.

    More shakin' from Headgirl, one of whom is dressed like Showaddywaddy. It was too recent to be nostalgic!

    Phil Collins with the by the numbers, aggrieved at the ex tune whose most interesting element is the stumbling drum sounds, and not the template for countless other Phil mid-tempo tunes for the future.

    Apparently Legs & Co were all married to each other, which is nice. Good acting on display here. As for the song, I just about remember it, but it's not one of their strongest.

    Another classic video from The Teardrop Explodes. That jeep ride is a health and safety nightmare, they're not even wearing seatbelts!

    There was something a little sad about seeing The Who without Keith Moon on drums, the replacement looked like an impostor. Not a bad tune for their final substantial hit, but a bit noodley.

    Don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out, Joe...

    1. Much as the video for Reward came as a pleasant surprise I think the studio performance we weren't shown last week suited the song better.

      This Ole House - despite the upbeat nature of Shakey's interpretation the song was originally a sombre ditty inspired by a hunting expedition finding a dead body at an abandoned home. The last verse, which was dropped from this version, would have looked a little weird to Smash Hits readers (and that's before we get to the potential tabloid fury caused by misunderstanding the racoon reference).

      This ole house dog lies a-sleepin'
      He don't know I'm gonna leave
      Else he'd wake up by the fireplace
      And he'd sit there and howl and grieve
      But my huntin' days are over
      Ain't gonna hunt the coon no more
      Gabriel done brought in my chariot
      When the wind blew down the door.

      There was talk a couple of weeks back about the editing of the video for Vienna and that it appears to have been yewtreed from You Tube. The full length video can be seen at

    2. Thanks for that, the Ultravox video looks like it's been edited for time, not dodgy content.

    3. Great stuff, this is where the value of this weekly blog really kicks in for everyone.
      Apart from this source, I recommend that anyone who has ITunes to download the Vienna video from there for a cost of £1.89, which I did a few years ago, and I just checked it is still available now, titled as Vienna (with spiders!) (2009 remastered).

      Just put Ultravox in the search box, then scroll down to music videos where you can find all their videos for £1.89 each. It's probably the best £1.89 you are ever likely to spend.

  5. *Ding Dong*
    Yeah, who's there?
    It's March. March 81.
    What? Already? You're a bit early.We're not quite ready for you.
    Oh. But I'm here now.
    Oh well you better come in I suppose.

    And in he comes, and off we go, accompanied by the erudite Mike Read, and the be-poodled, make-up wearing Duran Duran. Hard to tell from this somewhat be-calmed performance but this lot will soon be the main rivals to Spandau Ballet in a Beatles/Stones, Slade/TRex kind of competition. But, whereas the Spands started off at the top end of the decent-tune table and descended it quickly, Duran Duran did the opposite, growing song-by-song into a Planet Earth ruling band.

    Talking Heads in a video that couldn't have helped sales. Maybe it WAS decent back in the day, but from this angle it looks amateurish, and boring, and Byrne's sweaty gob doesn't help much either.

    Adam & Toyah get the repeat treatment, before Shaky steps up to the plate. Now, I mentioned a while back, my astonishment that the Welsh Elvis managed two ToTP appearance with Hotdog when it clearly wasn't going to be a hit. Now he's back and he seems to be getting extra special treatment here. Not only are The Leggers on parade, but virtually the entire audience have been roped in to perform some sort of sit down hand-jive whilst Shaky has a Wembley-sized stage to do his thing.My guess is that somebody behind the scenes had a major thing for Shaky and was doing all he/she could to make him a star. Sadly, it worked.

    Phil Collins still ploughing through his break-up album, and still having a pop at his painter and decorator. A couple of points here. One. What was the relevance of the '5k' scribbled on the wood behind Collins? Was that the painter's final bill? and Two - what was going on with his hair. Clearly, male pattern baldness was already kicking in, but the Billy Whizz combover is a bad look.

    Kool & The Gang & The Leggers. A rarity this - a song about divorce procedings and - obviously!- the Leggers get dressed as Brides and grooms. Who decided which 3 would get to wear their undies and veil, and which three would don the fake moustache and Boys2Men shorts?

    Great vid for Reward. Guesing that is somewhere on the other side of The Mersey.

    The Who performing live in the studio. A treat this. By this time the band had been together, what?, 15 years or so? A well oiled machine and a great song. And yes Kenny Jones is no Keith Moon, but he was still a Premier League drummer and he fitted in well with the rest of the band.

    Right, well it might have turned up a tad early but March 5th 1981 was a helluva show. The Who live, studio perormances from Duran, the Ants, Phil Collins, and Headgirl as well as Talking Heads and Teardrop Explodes on vid, and half the leggers in their underwear. What's not to love? It's a 9 from me.

    And Mike Reed? No awkward audience interaction, no slip ups in his links or chart rundowns. Loads of quick factoids of interest and he threw himself into the Hucklebug with a great deal of gusto and ability. He also gets a 9. A first!!!! Total score - out of twenty- a massive, record beating 18.

    Phew I'm off for a lie down.

    1. Very much agreed Shaky that this was an excellent show, and probably the best of 1981 so far, along with the DLT show of a couple of weeks earlier.

      With regard to Legs & Co, throughout their years on TOTP, Sue always put herself at the front (well most of the time anyway), and would take the sexiest role if it was going, and here again she made sure of taking the underwear role, and not the fully clothed bridegrooms left to the three less apportioned girls.

      I did think the combination of Sue, Rosie and Gillian was the correct choice this week to get the male sausage in full flow with the lingerie on show. Lulu and Pauline always seemed to be the more timid ones, with Patti somewhere in the middle. You could say that the three in lingerie were the obvious picks of the Leggers this week.

    2. shakin' stevens' producer was one stuart colman, who prior to that had a job with radio one presenting a rock n roll show. so i think that could be a reason they pulled out all the stops to get shaky on the show...

    3. i would have picked gill, rosie and patti to be the brides myself.. with the other three as bridsemaids!

    4. You're spot on Wilberforce, cos I always put Patti ahead of Sue. There is likely to have been politics there, as Sue was the longest running of the girls, since Pan's People even, and even though she wasn't as desirable as Rosie, Gill and Patti, the ego took over, and in the case of this week's show, Patti was sidelined by her for the lingerie role.

      This was a regular trend if you look closely at all the Legs & Co performances from 1976-1981. You will see that Sue virtually always plants herself at the front of the stage and gets her way.

    5. I second Wilberforce's choice of brides. Good knock!

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. You can say that again, Arthur ;-)

    9. I think Arthur is trying to increase the number of comments on each blog by repeating the same.

    10. arthur's gone from doubles to triples now. and as for his comments...

    11. Suspect the choice of Sue, Gill and Rosie for the feminine roles in this one was judged on amount of fan mail and thus giving the blokes what they wanted. Yes Sue is definitely the leader; Patti is the class act as far as the dancing goes but perhaps more quiet or aloof thus leaving Sue to take the top dog role.

    12. of course what they should have done was picked the taller ones to play the grooms - it looked rather silly at the end with pauline being dwarfed by the brides!

    13. Absolutely, so Lulu, Patti and Pauline would have made good brides, and I'm sure none of us would have turned them down!

  6. A very strong show, if not quite the all-conquering classic it has been touted as in some quarters. Nevertheless, you can't gainsay the number of big names on display, and it was also good to have a newly-bespectacled Mike Read back on TOTP after nearly 6 months away (4 months in BBC4 time). Recently installed on the Radio 1 breakfast show, and looking confident and relaxed, he relayed plenty of interesting facts and figures about the featured artists, and he was hucklebucking pretty well at the end too - my only criticism would be the weird things he kept doing with his hands during the show.

    Duran Duran get things off to a cracking start with their debut appearance. They look ridiculous, but this is an excellent song, really evocative of the era, and in my view the best thing they ever did. Shaky also enjoyed his finest hour with This Ole House, which would shortly become one of the select club of songs to be number 1 for more than one artist. I actually prefer Shaky's version to that of Rosemary (aunt of George) Clooney, and this is a very enjoyable performance with Legs providing enthusiastic support.

    Once again doing a double shift, perhaps to make up for missing another show the previous week, Legs also treat us to a triple wedding, though one that would have been illegal in 1981! The girls do their best to inject some life into this flaccid song, but sadly don't really succeed. Similarly tedious is Phil Collins' second solo hit, which portends his rapid descent into mediocrity, while the continued presence of the paint pot just makes him look bitter and unable to move on.

    It was nice to see The Who with their last significant single, and the only real hit they had in the post-Keith Moon era. It's not one of their best, but still has that typical Townshend drive and attack, and it's good to have Daltrey performing rather than presenting! Apparently he never thought that Kenney Jones was a good fit for the band, and vetoed his return to the drumkit when they reformed in the late 80s.

    Two videos of note as well in this show, though the Talking Heads one is one of the reasons I dislike the song - the jerky David Byrne is extremely irritating! The Reward video was better, and they clearly went out of their way to film in the biggest dump they could find. However, it is rather hard to reconcile the post-apocalyptic imagery with the upbeat sound of the song...

    1. Interesting, I thought the Talking Heads video was brilliant, simply because David Byrne's antics were so wacky, that it brings to mind a similar type of creativity in video to David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes, and I actually thought that a video like "Once In A Lifetime" would simply cement the video age just dawning, and the showing on TOTP this week only goes to spur on British artists to be just as creative, which 1981 went on to prove.

      With regard to Reward by The Teardrop Explodes, it was great to see TOTP playing it in full, right down to the closing note, cos I felt the video suited the song much better than the TOTP studio performance before.

    2. I certainly wouldn't deny that the Talking Heads video was creative and influential, but I still don't like it!

  7. host: mr read does his usual no-nonsense-schoolteacher-trying-to-look-cool-but-failing thing, giving us nuggets of information that someone like master bates wouldn't even think to divulge (on the basis that he wouldn't know, or even care!). interesting that at least one link is presented solo with the hubbub of the "audience" behind him. and kudos is due for enthusiastically doing the hucklebuck with the crowd at the end, as his fellow presenters always seem to depart the stage in undue haste (presumably for the sanctuary of the dressing rooms - where drugs and under-age girls might await?) as soon as the credits music strikes up...

    duran duran: the debut of the prettiest band in pop! although i never felt the guitarist was as good looking as the rest - maybe they should have done a swap deal with steve norman of spandau ballet? i was probably already aware of this lot before they turned up here, having read interviews on them as part of the already-buzzing "new romantic" movement (which unsurprisingly the "cooler" element of the music press regarded with some scepticism). they were quoted as wanting to be "the band to be dancing to when the bomb drops", although i also remember simon le bon offering a tip on how to avoid acne, by using only water to clean your face rather than soap. in my desperation that was something i tried, and (although i still occasionally get a bit of acne even now in advanced middle age!) i've followed that regime ever since. as for the music, it perhaps unsurprisingly fails to match the visual element. although they are trying hard. perhaps too hard? the flickering synth pattern is a lift from japan's "life in tokyo", whilst the bass riff's obvious inspiration is chic (especially "everybody dance"), but john taylor has some way to go to match the panache of bernard edwards. and the song itself is pretty dire - a definite case of style over content

    talking heads: i never thought this when i watched the iconic video back then, but now i'm thinking "hang on, aren't talking heads a band? so where's the rest of them?"... and having checked out some details on their excellent (and creative peak for me) "remain in light" album that this sprung from, i've also discovered that there was some friction between the two factions of video star david byrne plus producer brian eno (who were also working on their own album "my life in the bush of ghosts" at the time), and the rest of the band. it was apparently agreed that all would get an individual writing credit (in alphabetical order). but when it was pressed the credits merely read "music by david byrne, brian eno, talking heads". with things like that going on, it's some surprise that they lasted as long as they did!

    1. The Talking Heads video was probably one of the best videos of the 80's simply for its striking visuals and David Byrne's strange ways, which some would call neurotic on this video. In a way, it made us sit up and take note that for the next 15 years or so, there would be a pop video craze among artists to constantly produce something daring and unique.

      This phenomenon then dried up by the mid-90s where a new area of boy bands and girl bands with no autonomy of their own, and driven by talent-show mania, were merely fodder for managers to 'sign off' any final hits before releasing them as chart material, and videos became simple and merely cost-cutting exercises. It was like the video area had gone full circle in 15 years, and the days of big budgets for videos were no more.

      So here we are at the first cycle of pop video glory, a cycle that was just starting, and led the likes of Michael Jackson & Co to take this to another level a couple of years later with Thriller for example.

  8. blimey - i've only reviewed the first two acts, and i've already ran out of space! so onwards to part 2:

    adam & the ants: did all their tracks have the burundi drumming on them? i was never particularly keen on what was ever-present on the singles, so certainly wasn't going to make the effort to find out! and to be frank, unlike today where practically everything is available at the press of the button on youtube, back then unless you were loaded (LP's cost around a fiver, which has to be at least a score in today's money) you rarely got to hear anything on albums that wasn't released as a single (as i've mentioned in a previous review, i was amazed to hear peter powell play a non-single track from the talking heads album on his radio show). although i never really cared for this lot, i suppose eventually i got to sort-of like the last two singles. but this? take away the burundi drums and there's hardly anything left! that includes any semblance of a tune. given that, i find it mind-boggling that it was the originally the first track off the album released as a single (and not surprisingly bombed as a result). but it also proved (along with that rubbish that adam did with his old band on his old label) that once you caught the imagination of joe public that you could flog them any old shite and get away with it! watching this it seems that bassist kevin mooney has already had his 15 minutes - i thought he was replaced by gary tibbs of vibrators/roxy music fame, but here there's a guy i don't recognise or remember who presumably was only ever a temporary stand in - does anyone know who he was? by coincidence i've just been watching episodes of the slick 90's legal drama "LA law" that have featured the sultry amanda donohoe who was adam's girlfriend at the time of this single. i know she appeared in the videos, but i wonder if she was also in the audience for this (i couldn't spot her)?

    toyah: when it came to successful female pop stars of the early 80's, ms wilcox (for it must be remembered that "toyah" was actually also the name of the band) always seemed to get lumped together with kim wilde. even though the latter sailed along serenely like a swan (grabbing the limelight almost purely thanks to her physical beauty), whilst toyah in contrast was a far less attractive but determined scrapper who used whatever means she could to scrabble up entertainment's greasy pole. some might say it's a mystery how someone like her with nothing to make them stand out ever made it, but her talent was that she managed to be successful despite not really having any particular talents to speak of. and in that sense she was a premonition of what was to come with vacuous famous-for-being-famous slebs dominating the media nowadays. and she's still doing it even now! i certainly don't think she had any talent singing-wise, although do remember getting the rare opportunity to listen a couple of their early albums and thinking her band were quite impressive musically on some non-single tracks. i also always thought bassist phil spalding looked quite cool - even though he was already a slaphead!

    1. What you call burundi drums, or what sounds like procession drumming, was probably what made this song very successful, and it seems for some reason to have more impact now than in 1981 where I never cared for this type of drumming, and I must say it does grow on you after a while.

      The result speaks for itself in that it made no.2 the following week on Tommy Vance's edition, and was as successful as Ant Music which also made No.2. There seemed to be a common theme here with Adam & The Ants, and no stopping them, as 1981 was now in full swing, as winter was coming towards a close, and of course they went on to bigger things later in the year with their move away from the TOTP studio to instead focus more on the pop video opportunity to impress us instead!

  9. so, only four acts down and i'm already on part 3 - will there be a part 4 for the first time?

    shakin' stevens: although i never had the slightest interest in the early 80's rock n roll revival (or even understood why there was a necessity for such a thing when contemporary music was evolving at such a breathtaking pace), i always thought this was pleasant enough with a catchy tune and a good production. but sadly unlike coast to coast who had a hit with something very similar at the time, "shaky" failed to do the decent thing and disappear back into the obscurity from whence he came, instead littering the charts for several years afterwards with ever-more-on-autopilot 1950's covers (or weedy self-written homages), and ever-more infuriating serious music fans like myself! about 10 years ago when i was a regular browser of charity shop records, i noted that just like adam and the ants there was a sudden surge of "shaky"'s old albums nestling in the crates alongside the usual suspects of mantovani and jim reeves. however, whilst the latter still occasionally appear in charity shops even now, adam and shaky (along with phil collins, simply red and howard jones albums that were also bought en masse by casual music fans at the time and perhaps not surprisingly eventually shared the same fate) now seem to have made their way to landfill!

    headgirl: so much for the advent of 80's synth pop - here's the second 1950's cover in a row! it's not unlikeable, but unlike dory (and unlike "ace of spades") i had no memory of how it went 5 minutes after i heard it...

    phil collins: a bit like "shaky", phil's first big hit was at least respected. but then almost immediately he then started going downhill, pandering to the airhead punters and alienating himself from more committed music fans. but unlike "shaky" who never had much of a reputation in the first place (other than among fans of rock n roll) phil was already an established musician of acclaim with genesis (and various other side-projects as a drummer), and then proceeded to throw it all away with his awful solo singles and albums presumably released for egotistical and/or financial reasons. i really got into the mid-late 70's genesis period when phil took over as lead singer from peter gabriel. but even though i still like the music and try to give it a listen when i'm in the mood, it's difficult to overcome the feeling that it's all tainted by phil's now-over-familiar nasally whine! in the wake of the demise of earth wind & fire head honcho maurice white, i must point out the coincidence of the horns on this (the only good thing about it really) being played the regular brass and woodwind players for ew&f...

    kool and the gang: talking of credible artists selling out for the moolah, here's a classic case. this snorefest is so awful that it almost makes me yearn for "celebration"! although the show has been great in terms of representing what was going on at the time, sadly this tripe is the nearest we come to the classic post-disco pre-house dance music sound (that i call "the space between") tonight

    1. Phil Collins appears this afternoon on Sky Arts in the Classic Albums series which features the making of this very album Face Value with the current 1981 hits In the Air Tonight and I Missed Again, and talks about how these two songs came about. Very timely show being parallel to this weeks TOTP re-runs!

  10. yes, history is made by me with a 4-part review. and that doesn't even include a mention for joe dolce!

    teardrop explodes: i don't remember this video at all, but found it quite fun to watch. i wonder where it was shot - presumably somewhere in the merseyside area? wherever it was, i bet if you went there now you wouldn't find any old derelict buildings - more likely housing developments with flats at half a million a pop (a sign of the times!)

    who: heralded as some kind of special event as despite their advanced age they were still a big live draw at the time, but to be honest this did very little for me. i've read before that the mild-mannered kenny jones was never considered a suitable replacement for keith moon (who to be frank was irreplacable - other than by animal from the muppets!), but he did manage to last several years with them. doesn't one of those sons-of-famous-drummers-that-never-actually-made-it-in-their-own-right now play for them? i saw pete and roger interviewed in a recent bbc4 doc on music moguls, and the latter still looks practically the same now as he does here! but then again unlike his colleagues rog lived a relatively clean lifestyle, what with keeping fit and running his trout farm...

    1. Zak Starkey, Ringo's boy, has been The Who's main drummer on their recent tours. Keith Moon was his godfather, and gave him his first drum kit as a birthday present, though it seems he was self-taught and was never coached by his dad or "Uncle Keith." Unkind souls might suggest Ringo wouldn't have been able to teach him much anyway...

    2. john i knew it was either him or jason bonham, but couldn't be bothered to find out which! you've reminded me of the highly amusing spitting image sketch of ringo's unique drum tuition - sadly no trace of it on youtube though...

  11. Shakin Stevens this week seemed to be supported well by Legs & Co in the background with their jeans shorts, making the term Legs & Co even more appealing, and 'This Ole House' didn't matter if it was old or new when we had Legs & Co in barn attire. And hey, we couldn't see their brown boots that go well with the jeans shorts.

    A result of the move towards an overcrowded studio with too many people booked in as audience, which seemed to outflank the performers un-necessarily, and this was where the new producers I think went a bit over the top on these new-style shows by letting in too many people for audience numbers. We were here to see the performers, not the studio audience Mr Hurl.

  12. Sinclair ZX81, now there's a blast from the past. One kilobyte of RAM, wasn't it?

    Yes, there was a fair bit of 'typical early '80s' music on this one. Of this 'pretty boy' stuff I thought that Duran Duran knocked out some good tunes but was never a fan of Adam & The Ants with their two drumkits and no cymbals or hi-hats played. However, I did like their earlier material released as 'former record company cash-in jobs' - Young Parisians in 1981 and Deutscher Girls in 1982. Never got round to checking out the rest of their early recordings though. As for Toyah, I thought her backing band were good...

    Incidentally, does a recording exist of the Sunday chart show when Planet Earth entered the Top 40 and Tony Blackburn said "Durren Durren"? I've a recording from a couple of weeks later when he made a reference to Planet Earth, rain and the first London Marathon which happened on that date, and by that time he was pronouncing the band's name correctly!

    Personally I didn't think much of the Legs effort this week, particularly the 50% of them who dressed up as blokes.

    The Who just weren't the same with Kenney Jones, even though he was a technically superior drummer. I think the band have said pretty much the same themselves.

    I can't watch the Talking Heads video without laughing these days, mainly as a result of the spoof on Muppets Tonight in the 1990s ( ). But was the original influenced by the Muppets (Mah Na Mah Na and all that stuff) in the first place, I wonder? What came first, the chicken or the egg?

    1. Good muppets video Relic. I would give Kermit The Frog a close second to David Byrne, simply due to the fact that Byrne looked smarter and not as ugly.

    2. 20thCR, May I recommend Adam and The Ants' two re-releases on indie label Do It, the spiky punk effort "Zerox" and the chirpier and slightly novelty "Car trouble". Both excellent in my view.

      PS -I hope this only appears once. No Idea why I'm getting duplicate entries. Sorry, folks.

  13. A pretty enjoyable show I thought with nice presentation from Cliff…

    Duran Duran – Planet Earth – I must admit I thought this was a novelty hit when it came out even if it did feature the then unknown phrase ‘new romantic’ in the verse. The next hit ‘Careless Memories’ bombed and I thought, that’s the last we’ve heard of that lot. Not so, and ‘Duran Duran’s Greatest Hits’ duly sits in my CD collection. This hit really was their first single; what made it take off I wonder?

    Talking Heads – Once in a lifetime – Watching this video I suddenly exclaimed to myself, “I can’t Dance”!! So this is where Phil, Mike and Tony got the idea of those jerky dance moves 10 years later….

    Adam & the Ants – Hallelujah for fast forward!

    Toyah – It’s a Mystery – It’s a fact that she married King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp in 1986…I believe they are still together.

    Shakin’ Stevens – This Ole House – A big improvement on the original by Rosemary Clooney (which also got to no.1). The audience have obviously had a few rehearsals at moving to this one and look very engaged. The start of Shaky’s golden era.

    Headgirl – Please don’t touch – Not a bad song but I prefer Steve Hackett’s instrumental of the same name.

    Phil Collins – I missed again – I hated this when it came out. A radical departure from ‘In the air tonight’ I couldn’t believe that Phil had Earth Wind & Fire horns playing on his songs. Later in 1981 Genesis also featured the horns on the ‘Abacab’ album on the track ‘No reply at all’, so there was no getting away from it. Still not one of his best songs. In this performance here, Phil is sporting the same red jumper as on the cover of the sleeve!

    Kool & the Gang – Jones vs Jones – All the talk here is about Legs & Co’s outfits and rightly so. Is there something about Jones’ and relationships as I keep thinking ‘Me and Mrs Jones’.

    Teardrop Explodes – Reward – Cracking video, shot I don’t know where…Liverpool?

    The Who – You better you bet –T.Rex fans them Who boys? It’s a better song than I remembered – you bet! Attacking vocal from Roger.

    Joe Dolce – Shaddup you face – Last week of this thank goodness, moving swiftly on….

    Coast to coast – (Do) the Hucklebuck – I really love this. I would have enjoyed seeing Patti and Donna doing the Hucklebuck again but a fade out showing the TOTP audience plus Cliff dancing (albeit somewhat embarrassingly) is much better than those old shots of the lighting in kaleidoscope format.

    Thought – this week’s chart saw Eddie Rabbitt at no.58 with ‘I love a rainy night’ and Dolly Parton at no.60 with ‘9 to 5’. Both spent two weeks at the top of the US charts but barely registered here and certainly were never featured on TOTP. There again, the US didn’t get Joe Dolce…

    1. when i was doing a music degree in the late 90's i attended a guest lecture hosted by robert fripp - an extremely weird experience as not only did not bring a guitar with him, he hardly even mentioned music and instead expounded at length on his very strong personal views and convictions (and used a box of belgian chocolates as a means of rewarding people who asked "interesting questions" - as opposed to inane ones like "what guitar and amp did he use when he played on ""heroes""). anyway, as part of his lifestyle sermon he mentioned that the day he met his wife (who was not mentioned by name), he knew he was going to marry her!

    2. One of the most unlikely TV interviews I have ever seen was when Ant & Dec interviewed Robert Fripp after Toyah was evicted from the I'm a Celebrity jungle. The Geordie scamps just introduced him as "Toyah's husband Robert," and gave no sign that they actually knew anything else about him!

    3. certainly an odd couple if ever there was one! from my experience, mr fripp is somewhat eccentric and also (despite the carrot-crunching accent) an intimidating character to put it mildly - whilst he rambled on about "discipline" (sadly relating to his lifestyle rather than the album of that name!) to a captive audience that were somewhat uncomfortable with his diatribe, every now and then he would say "you don't have to listen to this if you don't like it, you're free to go", knowing full well that nobody would do so and risk possible humiliation from him as a result!

      many years prior to that i been making demos with a band in the same studio where king crimson recorded their "three of a perfect pair" album. mr fripp had stored his roland guitar synth there, and the studio owner insisted our guitarist have a go on it. he was most reluctant to do so - possibly worried what might happen if news got back to its owner? years later when i saw fripp hanging around in the corridor before his lecture, i was tempted to relate that anecdote to him. but his unapproachable aura put me off!

    4. Fripp certainly does have a very intimidating aura about him, and he has been pretty ruthless in getting rid of King Crimson personnel when their musical ideas have strayed away from his own!

  14. There were a couple of interesting points to mention regarding Headgirl here at highest position of no.5 this week:

    1. I picked out these lyrics in particular that we no longer see in todays non-romantic and PC era:

    "You know there ain't no other woman thats-a-making me feel this way" (male lead - Lemmy)
    "You know I get so nervous when I see his eyes that shine" (female lead)
    "He gets too close and the chill runs down my spine" (female lead)
    "Well I don't know why she got her claws on me, cos I ain't fighting, baby can't you see" (male lead - Lemmy)
    "Remember the first time I took you to a cheap motel" (male lead - Lemmy)
    "I Woke up drunk, you know I felt like Eskimo Nell" (female lead)

    2. The changeover from male to female lead could be called a duet, but it must have been difficult to co-ordinate the changeover as well as they did with so much guitar playing in between, unlike a ballad-type of duet which is a lot easier. This makes the song even more appealing, and a style that we are unlikely ever to see again in today's type of music.

  15. Definitely the best of 81 so far.

    It took me a while to get into Duran Duran but I am now a big fan. I saw them at the NEC last year and they were fantastic. I can recommend their last album 'Paper Gods'

    We've all seen it so often that it's easy to forget just how different the Talking Heads video was at the time. I always thought that it helped shift copies but the fact that it went down the chart after this showing is interesting.
    One more thing - the video misses out the middle 8 ('under the water, carry the water' etc...) but sadly the edit is atrocious as you can clearly hear David Byrne about to sing the next line! Unfortunately some radio stations play this version.

    Good to see Toyah & Headgirl after being deprived of their first appearances. It's a memorable performance from the audience...Oh, and Shaky for 'This Ole House' but I prefer his other 81 hits.

    Less keen on Kool & The Gang and Phil Collins complete with awful knitwear. His band looked even worse!

    I was surprisingly impressed with The Who. Good live vocal from Daltrey. Clearly though, given how different he looked from his previous appearance, there was some stylist guidance going on here...

    Teardrop Explodes video - could the location be New Brighton? It's a famous shithole near Liverpool that appeared in Morrissey's 'Every Day Is Like Sunday' video.

    1. Here is the full length video with the missing middle part that TOTP didn't seem to include.
      I believe the complete full length video was not found until 2013, according to the person posting it.

    2. My brother bought the single and the "Under the water" section didn't feature on that, I'm pretty sure

  16. Just noticed that Do The Hucklebuck on the end credits on the late night showing had more dancing than on the edited 7.30pm showing were BBC4 cut the extended part after the end credits.

    On the late night repeat, there was one male dancer dancing next to Mike Read on his left (and to our right) where I have never seen someone so happy to be dancing next to his idol Mike Read. Or it could be he liked Coast To Coast so much. Hmmm..

  17. An excellent performance by Mike Read. Artiste’s info – check. Presentation skill – check. Lack of anything suspect – check. Hucklebucking – respect due. Mind you, shouldn’t Duran Duran’s track have been spinning like a planet instead of an apple?

    Followed by the first of two eminently slappable faces on the show in Simon LeBon. There’s actually a female band on the live circuit now, called Joanne Joanne – and all they play is Duran Duran’s first album!

    Here comes Mister Slappable number two, David Byrne dressed as Buddy Holly. Too overtly quirky for my liking, and his first dance in the video was madness in two ways - the actions and the band.

    I wish Anonymous would become unanonymous, so I can congratulate him or her properly for the missing verse research on “This Ole House”. Very smiley and energetic by Legs & Co, and not just Lulu singing this time, but very little solo ‘face time’ for Pauline. Had she resigned by now so they’d decided she didn’t deserve as much exposure?

    Someone should have stuck that paint pot on Phil Collins’s head for this ersatz soul dross. At least the piano meant we didn’t see so much of his irritating shaking leg syndrome this time.

    Another Legs & Co routine to a non-mugshot tune, and… wahay!! I’d certainly have married Gill or Rosie if they turned up at the aisle (or indeed anywhere) dressed like that. Great facial acting by Rosie and Patti in particular, but I was slightly confused by the grooms in Bermuda shorts and wearing Kid Creole pencil ‘taches. The lyric “September never seemed so cold” resonated after the recent passing of Earth Wind and Fire supremo Maurice White.

    Julian Cope in knee length leather shorts and wellies! Look and learn, Sheer Elegance… oh, sorry, your time’s been and gone. About a century ago, New Brighton was a happening coastal resort, with a tower similar to those at Blackpool and Paris. It went downhill there really quickly.

    They really should have got Sue Wilkinson in as a guest to do either a “Phew, Cor” response, or a "You've nicked my hairstyle" rant, or a “Not my type” retort to Roger Daltrey, though he did put in a top quality vocal display, aided by an Entwistle Flying V bass and a Townshend arm windmill. I admit I was surprised this song got so much airplay at the time seeing as the word “Crappy” was in the lyrics.

    So, the last time we’ll see Joe Dolce? No real loss.

    1. Thanks for the compliments. When I remember I call myself fifty-something, but I lack the technical know-how to reply as anything other than "anonymous" I'm afraid. Those of you who wish to see the song as something closer to the writer's intentions can see him perform it at -

      Re Toyah. Around this time there was a BBC sketch show called Three Of A Kind. I recall one sketch - Toyah Wilcox Masterclass - where a punter kept attempting to deliver the line "a SHOT in the dark, the BIG question mark" before conceding to Toyah that, 'however hard I try I'll never be able to sing as badly as you'.

    2. Maybe MR was delving into his encyclopaedic pop knowledge again with his apple remark and recalling "Windmills of your mind" - "And the world is like an apple, spinning silently in space..."

  18. Well we are just about five years into these reruns now – I see "Girls Girls Girls", where it all began, was a hit in March 1976 – and have we reached the peak with this relentlessly superb edition. Even some notoriously difficult people to please on this chat room liked it!

    I have a dubious penchant for the July 1976 episode presented by Diddy that featured Liverpool Express, the homoerotic video for "A Little Bit More", Ruby Flipper on their chairs doing "A Fifth of Beethoven", and the unforgettable Chanter Sisters with "Sideshow", but this is certainly the other one I would take to the desert island.

    1. fox's "s-s-s-single bed" from the first of the re-run episodes still stands out for me as one of the best things on the show (in fact two of the best as they appeared twice):

  19. What a song 'S-s-s-single bed' was. I'd never heard it before the TOTP appearance, but the next day everyone kept singing it over and over again at school!

    The B-Side 'Silk Milk' is pretty good too.

    1. Don't forget Noosha Fox's minor stocking-clad hit "Georgina Bailey" which stiffed (erm..) at 31 and saw the end of her solo career. Courtesy of the reason we all got to this place, Simon's "Yes it's Number One " site, here's an action replay starting at 12;25 on the video clip (be warned, Jim'll's the compere...)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Arthur, have you got a parrot or a bug in your computer? The same comment coughs up three times

  20. This Ole House, Duran Duran and Toyah got plenty of promotion in this one.

    DD got the prime opening spot and nice lighting, their promise fulfilled with later hits.

    Shaky still seems a bit ridiculous in the shaky dancing to me, but this is a good recording. I prefer it to what I feel is the more plastic Hucklebuck. The whole crowd is involved in this appearance, as if to say 'if they all like it you the audience should too'. Helped him reach the top I'm sure.

    Toyah was given a nice production as well, with the lighting, extreme closeup at the start and complete focus on her as the focus on stage. The song is ok but I don't think it lives up to this impressing visual. And the jerking of the head can get annoying.

  21. Please Don't Touch had some great guitar I thought, I like the female vocalist more than the male.

    Kool and the Gang was a nice tune, much better than the George Benson one recently.

    The Who I thought gave a decent performance of a well crafted but not that memorable a song.

  22. Joe Dolce was a song I didn't like at the time (like This Ole house I'd guess) but looking at it now I can see the attraction when he gives it a live performance in the studio. He has plenty of charm, more so than Wedlock with the also catchy 'Oldest Swinger'. It doesn't seem to have got to No1 in Italy so he may have been elaborating the truth there?

    1. Dolce was in fact 8 weeks at No.1 with this song in Australia of all places, during the whole of December 1980 and January 1981, and it then reached us in the UK in February 1981, storming to No.1 for 3 weeks, and hilariously keeping Ultravox off the No.1 spot with the legendary Vienna.

      Joe Dolce as you say must have charmed people, and I would put this down to his confident alpha-male personality, not only in getting to no.1 with the record buyers, but also in his personal life, as he had 8 children, 2 with his first wife, and then 6 with his second wife, and now as a grandfather already with many grandchildren to follow!

  23. In the chart rundown, did the number 7 record have the wrong band picture? Didn't look like Beggar and Co to me...

    1. There is nothing wrong with the No.7 record in the countdown, as it is correctly the picture for Coast To Coast who were at No.7, and not Beggar & Co.

      Unless of course it's a joke, where you are implying that the lead singer of Coast to Coast in that picture is waving his arms out like a beggar?

  24. Duran Duran Spinning like an apple? More like prancing about in pleated leather stides, but this is a good song which I bought at the time. Mind it was the only one of their singles I did buy. Yes the spinning globe is funny but hey this was 1981 and that was cutting edge at the time.

    The Talking Heads - I remember the video well. How could this not be a hit, it's brilliant! I remember being both fascinated and disturbed by the video where David Byrne appears alone doing those funny jerky moves.

    Adam and The Ants still looking and sounding good. The only thing is that there are clearly lots of different types of drums on the track including kettle drums, but we only see the two standard drum kits. And why the native American symbol on the drum kit when the drumming style was clearly copied (or even sampled) from African Burundi drummers? An explanation is called for.

    The Toyah single was another I bought at the time even though it wasn't usually the type of thing I would be into. I met a new group of friends at this point in my life and they had different tastes and did different things which changed the way I looked at things and changed my life forever. Very strange performance with the camera hugging Toyah in close up with very harsh lighting throughout with only a few other shots mixed and the audience being present is only obvious until the end. In fact this could have been a video.

    Good old Shaky shaking up a storm in the studio with a very enthusiastic crowd. I like the chunky girl on the left who can't quite do the simple hand moves and has to keep looking at those next to her but still can't keep up.

    Motorhead and Girls School. I had no idea who Girls School were but I had a sneaking admiration for this at the time. Not really my kind of thing again but a hard rocking, catchy song like this is hard to ignore.

    Looking at Phil Collins I'm wondering if he actually can play the piano and is there even as piano on this track? Still it's somewhere to keep the paint pot. Nice brass.

    I had forgotten about this Kool and The Gang song. Nothing special really but pleasant enough and quite ironic following on from Phil "me missus has left me" Collins. I like the gang of skinheads in the background pretending to dance along but sharing a private joke, probably about them witnessing the first same sex wedding or divorce courtesy of the Legs girls/boys.

    Very exciting dramatic video from the Teardrops. They had clearly seen the vid for Vienna and created something equally mysterious on a foggy dockside in Liverpool with the band and some extras done up in 1940s garb. I like Julian Cope's Biggles look but feel a bit sorry for the drummer Gary Dwyer who only has a very simple beat to administer on his lone drum and looks like he badly wants a pooh from the way he is standing.

    The Who, You Better You Bet. God I loved this at the time, beautiful Pete Towsend song with all his key ingredients and trademark key changes, etc. Okay they weren't young anymore but they could still come up with the goods. Apart from a few people jigging about most of the crowd seem unmoved.

    The Top Ten and then that man with that record that should-a been-a hit for Andrew Sachs. Check his version out Rocket Records no less.

    Playout with Coast To Coast which judging by the strength of the dancing should have been a number one.

  25. With Adam Ant maybe it's to do with the makeup and the whole style, though I'm not sure if his makeup is native American or not. The whole look might be an amalgamation of things.