Thursday, 10 March 2016

All Those Top of the Pops Ago

It seems no sooner have we reached May 1981 that we are already leaving it behind with this edition from the 28th. This is however a notable show in that we get a brand new member of Legs & Co, Anita, who was chosen to replace Pauline who left two months ago (it just doesn't seem that long does it?). At this point the girls future on the show must not yet have been in doubt, indeed they were busier than ever what with their weekly routine and extra cheerleading duties too.

Thanks for the welcome, ladies


28/05/81 (Simon Bates)

(36) Polecats – “Rockabilly Guy”

Getting the show off to a rockabilly start like they did last time they were on doing John I'm Only Dancing, and just like last time their song peaked at number 35.

(11) Champaign – “How ‘Bout Us” (video)

Looking and sounding like a 1976 raid into 1981! But it proved a successful one with How Bout Us making it to number 5, though it was the group's only hit.

(16) UB40 – “Don’t Let It Pass You By”

The first single the band released that failed to make the top ten, getting no higher than number 16.

(6) Tenpole Tudor – “Swords Of A Thousand Men” (rpt)

At its chart peak and edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot.

(25) Vangelis – “Chariots Of Fire”  (video)

This fabulous piece of movie music only reached number 12, and was also edited out of tonight's 7.30pm showing.

(17) Enigma – “Ain’t No Stopping”

So this week's Legs & Co routine is the first to feature Anita Chellamah, the troupe's only change of personnel whilst on the show. There's no mention of this from host Simon Bates, but the other girls, adorned in costumes not too far away from Ai No Corrida, give her a line of honour to introduce her. The song by the way, another of 1981's many medleys, reached number 11.

(23) Hazel O’Connor – “Will You?”

A quick follow up to D-Days, Will You was actually the third single taken from her 1980 movie soundtrack, Breaking Glass, but on the back of the success of D-Days it reached number 8.

(30) Coast To Coast – “Let’s Jump The Broomstick”
More rockabilly in the studio tonight, this follow up to Do the Hucklebuck wasn't nearly as successful, and peaked at 28, and was the band's final hit.

(10) Kim Carnes – “Bette Davies Eyes” (video)

Such a new romantic influenced video for this American number one hit, though number 10 was its peak in the UK.

(1) Adam & The Ants – “Stand & Deliver” (video)

The fourth of five weeks at number one, with the hanging scene still edited out!

(13) George Harrison - "All Those Years Ago" (audience dancing/credits)

This tribute to John Lennon was George's first top 20 hit for eight years, and of course featured Paul McCartney on bass and Ringo Starr on drums, and was produced by the late and great George Martin. Number 13 though was as high as it got.


So into June 1981 we go next with the edition from the 4th hosted by Richard Skinner.

64 comments:

  1. This show put out by BBC4 tonight looked like a VHS taping, by means of the white flash lines which was typical of VHS tapings, and very evident from the start of the show on the Polecats opening number, and also when Bates introduces Legs & Co later in the show doing Enigma.

    Champaign – wow, what a classic 80s ballad and smooching song if ever I saw one, and so quickly reaching no.11 this week. I picked up this video up off iTunes a couple of years ago for my pop video collection for a mere £1.89, so you can’t go wrong with this, so get downloading!
    This song for me was always on a par with With You I’m Born Again by its nature and type of duet singing on it, but came second to the great Billy Preston & Syreeta, simply because no-one can better the voice of Syreeta, not even Champaign on this new entry, which came a close second.

    Vangelis – oh yes that running and sprinting video on the beachfront. Not quite as good as Chi Mai, seeing the two tunes were somewhat similar.

    Enigma – so this was the new girl on Legs & Co appearing in front of our screens for the first time, and a mighty fine replacement for Pauline, with news legs for the group, and it was nice to see the other girls making way for her at the start of the routine, to bring the Leggers back to a total of 6 girls again. Yeyyyyy!
    Enigma seemed to jump on the success bandwagon of Starsound on this new phenomenon of medleys, as the record-buying public seemed to be so pulled in by the whole medley phenomenon by now in the middle of 1981.

    Hazel O’Connor – much better now and coming to maturity after her quite provoking D-Days single just before this one where she pranced around the stage with a cheap black bra pulled off a washing line somewhere.

    Coast To Coast – oh look, it’s the Happy Days group on stage, and joined by Legs & Co in the studio audience, assisting in taking us back to the 50s, as was the fashion in 1981 with all these groups like Matchbox, Stray Cats, The Polecats, Shakin Stevens, and practically everyone else on TOTP.

    Top Ten rundown – wow, the whole Top 6 remained the same as last week. Good Lord, when was the last time that happened?

    End credits – a massive humungous jump from No. 58 to No.13 for the great George Harrison. Don’t know what was all the fuss about with this number.

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  2. We won't get to see Vangelis at all apparently because of the film clip and clearance.

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    1. Nonsense, the late night repeat did have it, so there!

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    2. Clearly the BBC can afford to show clips from Chariots of Fire - perhaps a less extortionate studio holds the rights...

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    3. I did notice that after Watership Down in the 1979 repeats, there was no longer a problem with BBC4 keeping in movie clips, so this issue seems to have been resolved now.

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    4. The film clip use increased as the 80's went on.

      Would be interesting to see what happens each time.

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    5. Might be some problems for thwe 1982 episodes with all those Fame clips and survivors eye of the tiger with it's rocky excerpts

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    6. I think the issue does not exist anymore Darnall, cos BBC4 showed the full video of Woman In Love by Barbra Streisand when at No.1 in Oct/Nov 1980, during this repeat run, and exactly how it was shown on TOTP in 1980, i.e., with hollywood movie clips in the video.

      We felt at last relieved that we could watch these shows exactly how they were broadcast then, so let's not open a can of worms here, and tempt fate by making them think twice again.

      In any case, there will not be anything until July 1982 with the video for Fame by Irene Cara, so we should be one year away from needing to be concerned about this issue.

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    7. well we are getting the 1982 shows this year after the 1981 shows have finished. I still think there are some problems as they chopped out a clip from Xanadu when Olivia Newton John co hosted a show with Simon bates :)

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  3. Mr Polecat was bearing a resemblance to Malcolm McLaren there, I thought, but for all the energy it was thin rockabilly gruel otherwise.

    Champaign, not able to spell with their pure treacle. I got thoroughly sick of this when it was used in a dating agency ad on the radio about twenty years ago, they must have played it in every break for about three years, it eventually drove me up the wall.

    This UB40 hit did pass me by, not familiar with it at all, sort of burbles along for three minutes and that's it. I note one chap in the audience has been taking fashion tips from Peter Powell with the jacket draped over one shoulder look. And they said it wouldn't catch on!

    I've been to that beach in the Vangelis video, or rather in the Chariots of Fire film, it's next to St. Andrews, a lovely part of the world. As for the tune, heard it so many times that it's difficult to work out how good it was in the first place. Nice melody, a bit repetitive I suppose. They say it made the film the hit it was.

    Welcome Anita, pity you got such a poor choice of single to dance to on your debut, even if it did afford plenty of opportunities for the patented Legs & Co acting out of lyrics. Also a pity the troupe were about to go down the dumper, but she wasn't to know that.

    Even today, when Will You is played on the radio the clueless DJs will cut off the killer sax solo at the end. They pretty much did it here, too!

    Coast to Coast, not much of a follow up was it? Basically the same chorus repeated ad nauseam, plus the mix wasn't very good on this performance that didn't help. Another chance to play spot the Legs & Co, or two of them at any rate.

    I have it on good authority that Kim Carnes had the biggest selling single of 1981 with this, and look how she capitalised on that fame! Er, is she still alive? Mylo lifted the great synth riff for his In Your Arms hit thirty years later. Come to think of it, what happened to Mylo?

    After Adam, a poignant George Harrison melody to end on, trebly so because John, George and George aren't with us anymore. He was good at being nostalgic, he did it again with When We Was Fab, another tune I like.

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    1. Kim Carnes is now 70 and she's still writing music. She followed "Bette Davis Eyes" with 11 more Billboard top 100 hits in the USA and a number 49 and a number 68 over here.

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    2. On the Spot The Legs & Co challenge on Let's Jump The Broomstick, in fact all the Leggers were mixed in with the audience, although the camera mainly focussed on Anita with her male dance partner, Gillian was there in her own capacity in the middle, and towards the end of the song you can see Sue in front of the stage video screen, and on the other side of the stage appears the other three Leggers. Haha, found them all, but only just THX.

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    3. @Arthur: Good to know, but I dread to think what her voice sounds like now.

      @Dory, curses, OK, you win this time!

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    4. On the basis of that Harrison song I'd say McCartney was at least as good at nostalgia as his, for me greater, songs like Here Today and Take it Away show.

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    5. Take It Away is a great tune, think John Hurt was in the video. Do we see that soon?

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    6. The group Champaign are named after the city they come from-Champaign IL, south of Chicago...rather that the drink.

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    7. I'm surprised that most of the regulars on our blog gave a thumbs down on Champaign. For me I though it was quite refreshing, much a like an ice-cold drink in the evening, after a long hot day walking in the desert.
      The woman in the duet is very beautiful I thought, so all in all a very good and rock-solid top ten hit alongside Smokey Robinson, making for a very romantic June 1981 top ten.

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    8. I don't mind the Champaign song at all, a very reasonable love duet with soul. Some on the internet don't seem to like the video much, but the music is pretty much considered a classic.

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    9. THX - Providing it's not Yewtreed we should see Take It Away in 1982 - at the rate we're going, probably in the next couple of months. And John Hurt was in the video along with Ringo, George Martin and Eric Stewart from 10cc.

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    10. @Steve: Good news. I could just watch it on YT again, but it's nice to see it in context.

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    11. @Dory: The good thing about these comments is that there's little or no consensus, so there's a wide variety of opinion available. Apart from the times absolutely everyone agrees something is terrible!

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    12. Yes it's a great video, Macca did quite a few good uns in the early eighties.

      I'm finding there's more and more songs I can remember first time round the deeper we head into 1981.

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  4. Macca only provided backing vocals on 'All Those Years Ago' - the bass playing was done by someone else. A great song though.

    Master Bates looked a bit creepy when he made his 'now you know why I wear glasses' comment after Legs & Co had been on. Hold on, he always looks creepy...

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  5. Back to Angelo's comment regarding the hanging scene being edited out of the Adam & The Ants song. It looks like this is only a BBC4 editing now in 2016, because the original TOTP episodes in 1981 did have it in place for all 5 weeks at No.1 , because we can see that the first week at No.1 on the 7th May live show did have it, as seen from the download link of the whole show a few blogs ago. It seems to be another case of BBC trying to rewrite history again by tampering with the original episodes, and treating us like dummies. Yawn, yawn.

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  6. I recall that although the hanging scene did appear originally for the first week at No 1, following complaints it was then edited out, so it's not a new BBC4 edit.

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    1. Nutty, It will be interesting to see if tonight's 4th June episode on BBC4 will have the hanging scene or not, as it is the 5th and final week at No.1 for Adam and his Ants, and we can also test your theory from a UK Gold repeat of the same show, as UK Gold showed the 4th June one, and always kept the shows as they were broadcast originally in 1981.

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  7. The BBC have confirmed today that they will broadcast 1982 episodes of TOTP when the 1981 repeat season is finished. For one thing, it means we'll get to see Renee and Renato at No.1 in November 1982 with "Save Your Love for Roma and for Me".

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    1. Probably starting in June at this rate!

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    2. I know, it was much better when they were doing one episode a week on Thursday nights, so that you can get a real flavour of this week 35 years ago. I mean we should be at Roxy Music's Jealous Guy which was No.1 today in 1981, and not Stand & Deliver!

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    3. Its good news we are getting 1982 ~ they probably want a Xmas Day edition they can show in December! (mind you, DLT is on the Xmas 82 show!)

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    4. Yes, that's great news. There was always the nagging doubt that BBC4 were deliberately rushing through 1981 to bring the repeats to a speedier conclusion, so good to know that isn't the case. Given that we are on course to finish 1981 in June, even with a Proms break BBC4 could potentially squeeze all the non-Yewtreed 1982 episodes in this year.

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    5. Well let's hope you taped Xmas 1982 when it was on a few years ago then!

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  8. shaky shakerson11 March 2016 at 09:51

    I'm not sure if it is due to ToTP overload, or what, but I found this edition highly irritating - not helped by it being hosted by Irritant Overlord Simon Bates.

    It started off badly with the horrendous Polecats. Forget the song - which is ridiculously easy to do - it's the performance that grinds my gears. Has there been a more annoying front man? Ever? I mean, later on in this very edition we will get Coast To Coast with their eminently smackable lead man, but still Singing Polecat out-irks him. Maybe its the hairdo. Maybe its the clothes. Maybe its the hyperkinetic 'dancing' but all I know is that I wanted to reach through the screen and throtle him. At one point he appears to slap the guitarist round the head. How said plankspanker kept his hands off him is a mystery.

    And after that, it was pretty much a lost cause. Champaign - boring. UB40 - the worst of their early, usually enjoyable run. Hazel O'Connor - still stage-school-performing instead of singing. Vangelis - boring. Enigma - cashing in on an annoying current trend. (Saved slightly by the appearance of The Leggers). Coast To Coast - runner up in this week's Guy I'd Like To Hit competition. Adam Ant - bored with this now. George Harrison - never knew how this made it into the charts, never mind be the fastest climber this week.

    Only the magnificent Tenpole Tudor tickled my tastebuds, and for that, Eddie, I'd like to thank you.

    Scores. 3 for the show. 5 for Bates.

    As D Ream would say: Things Can Only Get Better.

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    1. I thought Tenpole Tudor looked annoying on their appearances too tbh. That Broomstick song had some energy though.

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  9. Wonky new wave dancing from Tenpole Tudor, but I think Toyah was probably better jumping around. The countdown last time showed a video of it but maybe it didn't get played on totp.

    I liked that Broomstick follow up more than their previous song, felt like some great energy. But the look wasn't so good, Shakey just looks classier than either this lot or The Stray Cats.

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    1. I meant Polecats there

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  10. As Dory mentions above, there were white speckles all over the screen during the early part of this show - presumably the BBC had been using the can to prop open a door somewhere! Master Bates smarms his way through proceedings in his usual fashion, showing an adequate level of competence but no charm, while some of the lavish praise he was doling out to the featured acts seemed especially fake this time around. His theory that the Top 6 had remained the same because of the Bank Holiday weekend also seemed distinctly dubious, to say the least...

    The Polecats were clearly liked by someone at the Beeb, as they once again get an opening slot with the full audience participation treatment. This was better than their awful Bowie cover, but I had forgotten about it as soon as it ended, and they were still struggling to match the energy and dynamism of The Stray Cats. I have never liked that tedious Champaign song, and after seeing the vomit-inducing looks the singers give each other in the video I like it even less! UB40 managed to be even more dull - if you don't want the song to pass us by, boys, try to make it interesting! It's no great surprise to me that it stalled at 16.

    Chariots of Fire is one of those great pieces of music that has had its impact dulled by overexposure. Back in the 80s, it seemed to get used on every sports programme going, but here in its original context, accompanying clips from the film, it did once again raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Legs had a similar effect, for rather different reasons, when they came on! It was very surprising that Bates didn't bother to introduce Anita, but at least the girls gave her a bit of an entrance, and a memorable first routine it was for her too, especially once those shiny cloaks were removed! My first impression was that she had more energy and personality than Pauline, and I'm sure she must have been hacked off when the decision was taken soon after to remove Legs from the show, though she would subsequently become part of Zoo. As for the rather forgettable disco medley they were dancing to, for the avoidance of doubt I checked to assure myself that this Enigma had nothing to do with the purveyors of 1990s whale music, and indeed they did not...

    Hazel O'Connor was the best thing on the show, once again effortlessly outclassing Toyah with this lovely, dramatic ballad. Her saxophonist looks a bit like a cross between Karel Fialka and Blackadder producer John Lloyd, to my eyes. Coast to Coast then change the mood with a classic slice of rockabilly, but to be honest this wasn't a patch on Brenda Lee's version, not least because the singer tried, and miserably failed, to sing it in the same kind of style. I only spotted two Legs for definite in this performance, but thought I caught a brief glimpse of a third. At the end, the audience appeared to be enjoying themselves dancing to George's Lennon tribute, but the song itself, while doubtless sincere, sounds to me like it was recorded in a great rush and always seems half-finished. Not one of George's finer moments, and I say that as someone who thinks the best of his solo output eclipses that of either Lennon or Macca. Mind you, that same year he did record the fantastic Dream Away for Time Bandits, one of my favourite films...

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    1. I too thought of the Gregorian chants when Enigma's name came up. Maybe Anaemia would have been a more apt name.

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    2. Yes, I couldn't agree more!

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  11. host: unforgivable but not surprising (given that he's a self-centred prick) that slimy fails to introduce the new legger. but i suppose the director's to blame for not making him do so. whatever, i bet flick wasn't too happy having gone to great lengths to work out a special routine for her. of course us anal retro folk noticed, but did anyone watching at the time?

    polecats: much better than their pointless bowie cover, even though it's rock n roll on autopilot. just why are people so interested in reviving such ancient music (and accompanying quiff hairstyles) when there's shiny new synth pop to hand?

    champaign: i never knew what to make of this. it's well played and produced (mainly by whiteys, whuch surprised me), but a bit too "smoochy" for my liking

    tenpole tudor: in a crowded field, their guitarist wins the "best quiff" award tonight

    vangelis: obviously one we've all heard a million times now, but why was he commissioned to write an electronic score for a period drama? it just doesn't seem right to me. his skills were much better employed the following year for the futuristic classic "blade runner" (a contender for best soundtrack ever in my opinion). watching the clips again reminds me that athletics in those days was an amateur sport without much in the way of sponsorship, and probably no backing from the state at the time. so the majority of those who competed in olympics back then were toffs (or at least of privileged background), as they were the only ones who could train properly as they didn't have to work for a living, and the only ones who could afford to travel abroad!

    enigma: obviously released as a quick cash-in thanks to the success of "stars on 45", but surely disco was too recent a trend to start doing nostalgic medleys of? apparently not according to its chart success. surprisingly they were promoted as an actual band rather than some faceless disco aggregation (© the guinness book of hit singles), and members included not only the future singer of shakatak, but also our old chum the guitarist from 5000 volts!

    hazel o'connor: when wesley magoogan's not actually playing the sax he's "playing it" as if it's some kind of guitar! thanks to over-exposure i really don't care for the sound of saxophones these days, so i wasn't bothered that they pulled the plug on wes's time in the limelight. but i do remember thinking it being the best thing about the record at the time. as did many other people, including radio dee jays who would play the sax break in its entirety. as such, i remember reading a few years back that wes tried to claim a cut of the songwriting royalties, claiming his contribution was the main if not only reason that many people bought the record! the hammond organist on "a whiter shade of pale" (the only bit most people remember) tried a similar thing in more recent times but failed in his court case. but i don't know if wes was successful or not...

    coast to coast: yet more quiffs. yet more rock n roll revivalism. i thought this was 1981 - not the 1950's! where's all the synth pop gone?

    adam and the ants: the video is always worth a watch, and this time i noticed a great edit where a dog at the banquet howls at the same time as a noise made on the record. one wonders if in fact if he were present at the recording itself?

    george harrison: one word sums his music up: insipid. i always find it amusing that when the beatles split up it was the two passengers in the band that basked in the afterglow and cleaned up with their inferior product (harrison with his triple album's worth of stockpiled beatles' rejects, and ringo with his interpretations of old standards "recorded for me mum") whilst the worn-out songwriting talent licked their wounds for a while!

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    1. Woah, I can't let the George Harrison comment pass without a rejoinder, All Things Must Pass is a fantastic album, Wah Wah, What Is Life, If Not For You, etc, all classic tunes. OK, it does go on a bit, but for an evening's entertainment on the music centre it's impressive.

      You can keep Ringo's solo output, though. Apart from Back Off Boogaloo, which is great.

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    2. i have to admit that in the wake of his soporific singles i've never had the slightest bit of interest in hearing any of harrison's albums. but in the interests of fair criticism i've now listened to the tracks listed by thx, which only confirm my belief that he'd never have been given the opportunity to make records of his own had he not been a mate of macca's at school. and calling a song "wah wah" just because it happens to feature that particular guitar effect (and which isn't exactly giving "theme from shaft" sleepness nights in the iconic-ness department) shows the dirth of imagination of the guy...

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    3. there is a story that when "yesterday" popped into macca's head, he went around to loads of people playing it in the belief that he might have subconsciously copied an existing tune. i don't know if harrison was one of those macca approached, but if so then he obviously never learned from it as it appeared he failed to do likewise when it came to "my sweet lord". which is further evidence of the drippy nature of the guy!

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    4. I didn't think I'd change your mind! But if my comment prompted someone to check out the great album and they enjoy it, I'm happy. I'm not sure if that is a wah-wah guitar on Wah-Wah, though, doesn't sound like it. The title was supposedly a dig at Lennon and McCartney's complaining!

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  12. Joining THX in defence of George, I do think some of the tracks from All Things Must Pass would have been better additions to the later Beatles albums than some of the more self-indulgent Lennon/Macca offerings, such as Maxwell's Silver Hammer or Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. In any case, towards the end of the Fabs' career George did manage to get a handful of first-rate songs on to their albums. I think it's also a bit unfair to call him drippy - he had his spiritual beliefs, of course, but he always struck me as a nice guy and had a good line in self-deprecating humour, as demonstrated by his cameo appearance in The Rutles' All You Need is Cash.

    Incidentally, my favourite Ringo song is Photograph, which has George's fingerprints all over it...

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    1. George was a nice guy unless you were a taxman! He also funded lots of interesting films, being a movie and comedy buff.

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    2. John - your taste is impeccable. 'Photograph' is such a wonderfully crafted song. Listen to the backing vocals and the subtle key changes and the instrumentation. Definitely Ringo's finest - and the parent album 'Ringo' has a number of great tracks on it also.

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    3. Yes, it does have great production, and while Ringo will never have the greatest voice in the world, I think he sings this with some real feeling.

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  13. I can’t keep up with the rate of these episodes! Too much in one go, so I’ve skipped comments on a couple of shows to get (almost) up to date.

    Polecats – Rockability Guy – Sort of Stray Cats without the look. Didn’t really think much of this and cannot recall it at all.

    Champaign – How ‘bout us – Like a good vintage this is better than I thought it was with great ‘Gimme Gimme’ type studio video. Another glass please…

    UB40 – Don’t let it pass you by – Such a dirge! Lacking any dynamics and melody this was an off day for the band. A double ‘A’ side again with ‘Don’t slow down’ which I can’t even be bothered to listen to. Perhaps like the Beat, they’ll feature the other side if it’s any better?

    Tenpole Tudor – Swords of a thousand men – Still great and was this a repeat? The version I saw on the Tommy Vance hosted show had the massed audience participation whereas (Eddies antics aside), this performance was pretty flat.

    Vangelis – Chariots of Fire – Wow! We get the whole video for this! Thank you BBC4. What wonderful memories it brings back for me of when I saw that film. The clips really are evocative. In fact, I think it’s time I watched it again. Vangelis auditioned for Yes once, but they didn’t let him join, but clearly Jon Anderson admired him as their second massive hit was to follow later in 1981 (and feature Sue Menhenick from Legs & Co dancing solo on her last appearance).

    Enigma – Ain’t no stopping – Jumping on the Starsound bandwagon but none of these hits are particular favourites of mine. Nice outfits for the sextet Legs & Co though.

    Hazel O’Connor – Will you – After the awful ‘D Days’ this is magic. Great performance from Hazel and that saxophone solo from Wesley McGoogan…well…wonderful. Like ‘Wuthering Heights’ which features an extended guitar solo from Ian Bairnson at the end that for me really makes the track, this needs to be heard right to the end, but I guess time constraints…

    Coast to Coast – Let’s jump the broomstick – Hey Patti and Donna are back! this time looking great in sprayed on red slacks. Shame we don’t see more of them. Checkout the picture sleeve on 45Cat too…

    Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes – 9 weeks at number 1 in the USA, they really loved this and it has stood the test of time well. Nice video that reminds me in places of Visage.

    Adam & the Ants – Stand and Deliver – There is a debate raging on here about some hanging scene being edited out – since I’m fast forwarding I didn’t notice….

    George Harrison – All those years ago – Described in a music paper at the time as a ‘pleasant little dirge’. I think ‘When we was Fab’ is a better Beatles/ Lennon tribute. Nice to see an extended dancing playout for it however rather than a 30 seconds or so.

    I see in the top 10 rundown that ‘Ossies Dream’ was featured. I must have missed the show that this was featured on but as a Crystal Palace fan I did crack a smile at Spurs/FA Cup combination… I must have also missed the magnificent REO Speedwagon on the show. Kevin Cronin is curiously positioned near the back behind the keyboards for his lead vocals.

    I’ve just read the sad news about Keith Emerson – RIP to a great musician.

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    1. Take note everyone - Kim Carnes was a No.1 for 9 WEEKS with Bette Davis Eyes, but here in Britain she barely troubled the top ten!
      At this point in June 1981, I don't think the British charts ever had a number 1 for this long, and it was not until 3 years later that Frankie Goes To Hollywood were at No.1 for 9 weeks in the summer of 1984 with Two Tribes.

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    2. See below for UK singles spending 9 or more weeks at no.1 prior to 1981
      1952 Al Martino Here in my heart 9wks 1953 Frankie Laine I believe 18 wks [9 in a row]
      1954 David Whitfield Cara Mia [10wks] 1955 Slim Whitman Rose Marie [11 wks] 1975 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody [9] 1977 Wings Mull Of Kintyre /Girls' School [9 wks] 1978 John Travolta & Olivia Newton John You're The One That I Want [9]










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    3. Later that same year, ONJ topped the US charts for TEN WEEKS with 'Physical'. No.7 here.

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  14. I so wanted to hate Simon Bates, and he made a few mistakes like calling Champaign’s number 11 a chart contender (doesn’t that imply it’s outside the chart?) and saying we were seeing Tenpole Tudor the way they are today and it was a repeat showing, but fair play to him during the outro, immediately agreeing to sign an autograph and try on a silly hat.

    The Polecat’s singer reminded me of that 7Up cartoon character Fido Dido, both as slappable as that double bass.

    Champaign? More like Pomaign if you ask me. Shame we didn’t have Orange Juice in the chart at the same time, as we’d have had the ‘before and after’ constituents of Bucks Fizz all together.

    UB40 with a mellow if soporific MOR groove, complete with that farty boing noise last heard on “Lines” by the Planets.

    The Vangelis clip only reminded me of “Pennies From heaven” (ohhh, Cheryl Campbell) and a rugby league player called Martin Offiah whose nickname was Chariots.

    An awful clunky disco medley by Enigma (I think I'd have preferred the Gregorian chanting - just) but a nice intro to the Leggers for Anita.

    Were Coast To Coast at the right speed? That was so punky that Perrie Mans nearly fell over doing his jerky dance. Shame to see the gals relegated to the back.

    Funny how George Harrison’s song rocketed to 13 and then didn’t go any higher.

    Best song on the show for me was by “Cabaret” O’Connor. Notice her whoop of delight right at the end? A superb sax solo by Wes Magoogan, actually afforded its own release on a BBC Records single a few months later. Sadly, Wes can’t play any more as he cut off some of his fingers in a freak chainsaw accident a few years back.

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    1. I thought you were making a Spinal Tap-style joke about Wes and his fingers, but I had a look online and it's true! Though it was a circular saw, but the results were the same. How terrible. He seems to have a web presence, so maybe you'd all like to send him good wishes.

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  15. I too spotted the dodgy 'artefacts' (I believe this is the technical term) on this edition, but no-one has mentioned the extremely strange edits going on - I mean, I'm not a fan of Bates, but at least let his links finish before cutting to a video / performance. At least twice the last half second or so of his link was chopped.

    Oh, what was the title of that Polecats song again? I didn't quite catch it. Bloody awful.

    Champaign - I spent a couple of years presenting on a 'Gold' radio station so have automatically grown to hate it.

    The UB40 song I couldn't recall hearing at the time. My Dad loved them and owned their first Greatest Hits collection and assuming it was on that, I still didn't remember it. That says it all!

    Vangelis - nice to see the film footage, I was wondering if we would get it.

    Enigma aka 'The First Of Many Bandwagon Jumpers'! Reasonably well done I suppose, and disco does lend itself to this sort of thing with most songs in that genre being broadly similar in terms of BPM.

    Hazel O'Connor - The best thing on the show. A great song, and she puts her acting skills to play in the performance as well. At last the memories of her jumping around in a bra can be erased.

    Coast To Coast - I'm not sure why this isn't as good as their other one. Possibly that by now the charts were too full of retro sounding songs.

    I don't mind the George Harrison song, though I agree that 'When We Was Fab' is better.

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    1. Did you have to play the dating agency ad with Champaign on it? Bane of my insomnia twenty years ago, that was.

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    2. Happily not. Just endless Coldseal ads. And 'Wilmer Windows' (but that was very local, so you may now know which radio station I'm talking about!)

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  16. Enigma or Starsound?

    It's interesting that the Starsound introductory chorus at the start of the song, says "now that disco sound", but in fact their choice of song cuts are all 60s and Beatles tracks on Stars On 45" and no disco at all.

    On the other hand, Enigma does provide the disco sound throughout their single, albeit with Legs & co dancing to it, but while Enigma actually delivers disco, and Starsound does not, despite saying so at the beginning, the Stars on 45 is a much more punchy and catchy song to get you in the mood than the Enigma one called Aint No Stopping.

    My vote wins Starsound hands down.

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    1. I agree, it's got an original tune, and Enigma has In The Forest, Oops Upside Your Head and Car Wash for instance which I don't think are that great.

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    2. with the falklands war due to arrive soon in this parallel retro universe, this debate reminds of the classic comment made on that about "two bald men fighting over a comb"! however, i must put in a word for the original version of "in the forest" by baby o, which for me was (and still is) a classic disco track

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  17. Back with the slimy one again.

    There's something quite charming about this opening performance from The Polecats. Okay the song's not up to much and the lead singer is as bit creepy but the sheer energy is overwhelming and it's good to see that Shaky wasn't the only rock and roll revival artist who could command total audience participation. Of course old Boz the guitarist wasn't strictly a rockabilly all his life working with Morrissey and all that.

    The Champaign video which seemed okay at the time but is pretty cheesy and po-faced now. A great song though very typical of the early 1980s.

    Sad to see UB40 in their prime knowing that they are fighting in the courts now. This is very laid back and not one of their best but it takes me back to the time.

    Tenpole again with Eddie wearing sagging Elizabethan breeches. They muck about but this is a good song.

    Vangelis and Chariots of Fire - this was raved about at the time but is perhaps a bit over familiar now and with Vangelis he was perhaps a bit overated (nice piano, not so nice synth and beat box). Nice to see clips of the movie again. Whatever happened to Ben Cross?

    Oh no we're entering disco mix territory again with Legs dancing in very skimpy outfits to Enema. I wasn't a huge fan of this type of thing, I couldn't see the point in just hearing half a verse of a song.

    The film Breaking glass came out in 1980 not 1979. I remember being completely blown away by this at the time and for a while loved everything Hazel O'Connor did. Of course since then the sad truth came out and like in the film she was ripped off and she and the sax player had to take their record company to court to get royalties.

    In the chart rundown why does Kate Robbins get a star as a new entry but Vangelis only gets an arrow?

    It looks like the lead singers of Coast To Coast has had a few good dinners since the bands last appearance on the show and he has had his quiff frizzed at the same hairdressers as the Polecats lead singer. And he's a rubbish dancer. This is no way as good as The Huucklebuck but the crowd seem to like it. I spy a couple of rockabilly dancing couples in the background.

    "Let's take a look at what's going down" says the slimy one. Err and the ones going up and the non-movers of which there are several (as you later tell us) - it's a chart you twerp!

    More floor slapping with Kim Carnes video, a bit more of it this time.

    Then the Top 9 and Adam on vid again.

    Aah back to naff crowd dancing, And play out with the first of several songs by George Harrison looking back at The Beatles (could he not write about anything else?). Feel a bit sorry for the little rude boy in his pork pie hat and two tone badges, that look was a bit old hat by mid 1981.

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    1. ben cross is still pretty active, recently apperaring as spock's dad sarek in the "star trek" films reboot. in contrast his "chariots of fire" co-star and screen rival ian charleson died quite young of aids in 1990 - noted as the first showbusiness death openly acknowledged to that disease

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  18. Not sure the clips issue is consistent. Will be interesting to see what happens regarding Fame. From memory, Irene Cara's clip was specially done for TOTP.

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