Friday, 4 March 2016

Is Top of the Pops there?

So the third of our five edition Top of the Pops-athon is this show from April 30th 1981 and of course it won't be shown on BBC4 because the host is Jimmy Savile.

I went to RADA you know...

30/04/81 (hosted by Jimmy Savile ~ warning: do not click link if offended!)

(46) Thin Lizzy – “Are You Ready?”
From the e.p Killers Live ~ became the band's final top 20 hit when it made number 19.

(5) Madness – “Grey Day” (video)
Peaked at number 4.

(22) The Beat – “All Out To Get You”
22 was as high as it got.

(42) Sheena Easton – “When He Shines”
The follow up to relative chart failure Take My Time, which made 44, but this one peaked at 12.

(28) Department S – “Is Vic There?” (rpt from 16/04/81)
Made it to 22.

(2) Ennio Morricone – “Chi Mai” (video)
At its chart peak.

(13) Spandau Ballet – “Musclebound” (rpt from 02/04/81)
Went up three more places.

(27) Quincy Jones – “Ai No Corrida”
Its Legs & Co with THAT routine! BBC4 viewers don't know what they are missing! The song, if anyone was listening, made it to number 14.

(56) The Teardrop Explodes – “Treason (It’s Just A Story)”
The follow up to Reward was not as successful, reaching number 18.

(37) Tenpole Tudor – “Swords Of A Thousand Men”
Officially this would become his second top ten hit when it made number 6 (his first being Who Killed Bambi in 1979, though really it was the flip side of Silly Thing by the Sex Pistols)

(53) The Human League – “The Sound Of The Crowd”
Ah this is such a loss for BBC4 viewers, our first sighting of the classic Human League line up, one of THE new romantic bands of 1981, this breakthrough single made number 12.

(1) Bucks Fizz – “Making Your Mind Up” (video)
Third and final week at number one.

?? unknown credits....

Ok so next is the 7th of May. Such a shame that it is a Peter Powell edition that this technical failing has happened to, rather than a JS or DLT show, that would have been yewtreed anyway.


  1. The Beat - this time they flipped sides, cos the edition from two week ago had the rankin roger lead effort, but now it was the usual lead singer back again. Still, neither of these were any where as good as their earlier hits of 1980 and 1981.

    Sheena Easton - I don't seem to recall this one, but it sounds like a mix between One Moment In Time by Whitney Houston and For Your Eyes Only by Sheena herself, and so poignantly, it was a sign of what was to come, as this performance was probably what secured her the Bond Theme role later that year to do For Your Eyes only.

    Department S - still looking for Vic since two weeks ago on Powell's show!

    Ennio Morricone - what an emotive video, which seemed to be translating the 20th Century pain where Britain and Churchill were trying to prosper in difficult times and threat of war. It was a bit like the Capstick Comes Home message in more ways than one. Would certainly bring a tear to the eye of our grandparents if they saw this video from the great Mr Morricone.

    Quincy Jones - Jimmy Saville coined the right phrase for Legs & Co this week, as "the ecstasy of Legs & Co" when introducing them, and it was certainly the case. I mean, did you see the way that Rosie wiggled her breasts at 55 seconds into the clip? We really have been treated very well this week Angelo!

    The Teardrop Explodes - it was always going to be difficult to follow up the success of Reward, and this new effort was just not in the same league from a very good group to say the least.

    Tenpole Tudor - their debut and biggest hit, and still very catchy all these years later. I must say that I like it very much, but that jumping and elasticity of the lead singer was something out of the ordinary in this TOTP studio performance.

    The Human League - ok, first appearance on TOTP I think, and well before the success of Don't You Want Me, and here we see the two girl backing singers both in brunette hair, and before they went on to differentiate between blonde & brunette as we came to know them later in the year. With this tune, they still did not have a video contract, and of course there was no video made for Sound Of The Crowd, so they still had to prove themselves for a video budget!

    1. This was the first appearance of the new-look Human League, but the original band had already been on TOTP in May 1980.

    2. The Chi Mai video was very interesting, it was like it was setting the transience of mankind (war/politics) and the eternal cycle of nature.

    3. My favourite bit was the lady with the leg up practically behind her ears and clearly auditioning for a prototype version of Legs & Co

  2. Is it me, or does anyone else think it was a bit of a swizz showing snippets of the two raunchiest Legs & Co routines of the year in "The Story of 1981" when the BBC knew damn well neither edition would be shown on BBC4? Still, hey, lucky us!!!

    1. yes! not for the first time, i just want to say: the bastards responsible should still show the "yewtree'd" editions, but just edit out the "offending" hosts! never mind them, it's criminal that we don't get to see the debut of human league mk II who were probably the success story of the year...

    2. Agreed wilberforce, But de Savilizing Is Not A nice experience. Having To see And listen To The Creepy Bastard everytime You cue To Get Your Edit.
      I Did The 8th September 79 Without A Presenter, And The 20th Of December Of Same Year With Kid Jensen In Place. But I Am Going To Look Into This I Can't Use PP Becauase He Is The Wk After. As Far As 81 Is Going I Still Haven't Watched The 5th March Yet.

  3. "Ai No Corrida" was written by Ian Dury’s old mucker Chaz Jankel and that Kenny Young out of Fox. The song’s title was derived from the Japanese translation of the title of an erotic art film, which was intended for mainstream wide release, but it contained scenes of unsimulated pleasures of the flesh. I wonder if Flick knew of the film and acted accordingly with those, erm, costumes? I’m typing this before even seeing the clip!

    1. i always thought "ai no corrida" was a spanish saying! ian d(r)ury (gawd bless 'im) couldn't carry a tune in a bucket to save his life, but without him chaz jankel's stuff was really bland. and the quincy jones cover couldn't improve in that regard

    2. Not wrong, Wilby. Corrida is Spanish for bullfight.

  4. Thin Lizzy bringing new meaning to the word "generic", they were going over old ground by this time. It's OK, but you can hear why it hasn't been played since.

    Was the Madness "nutty" walk as iconic as the Monkees walk? Maybe. Great video for a downbeat tune, they could master both the fun and the serious so well, even combine the two. Like Suggs' Superman flight.

    This is a bit better from The Beat, who seem to have gone all paranoid on us. But it's still not up there with their best. Nice suit, Rog.

    Don't recall this Sheena Easton tune at all, no wonder, it's pretty drippy and the lyrics are real back of a fag packet stuff, though it is amusing to guess the rhyme coming up.

    Ennio Morricone, reminding us all of, er, the First World War. Target audience. Was this a video specially put together for TOTP? Looks like one of those.

    Thank goodness Legs & Co didn't re-enact Ai No Corrida the film, the end of it anyway, though if they'd done that to Jimmy we might have been spared a lot of trouble. Anyway, top jazz-disco tune from the master of such arrangements. But no Gill again. Did she know something we didn't for the future?

    The Teardrop Explodes with another fantastic record, should have gone top ten, really. Very few could beat St Julian when he was on form with the melody. Was this the performance when he was on LSD and saw Bucks Fizz on another stage and desperately wanted to join their group instead? Just say no, kids.

    Tenpole Tudor, a million times better than Who Killed Bambi? Why don't the football terraces ring to the sounds of this every Saturday to this day? Missed opportunity. Ed has perfected the "stage lurch" I see. Though Richard O'Brien might have done it better.

    The Human League, another winner! Are Suzanne's arms really four feet long? Never has flat singing sounded so good, great little synth pop ditty.

    1. That's not the only thing that Richard O'Brien did better...

    2. I'm pretty sure that the Teardrop Explodes performance you're referring to was for 'Passionate Friend'.

    3. Right, thanks. I couldn't be bothered looking up the anecdote in his (excellent) autobiography.

  5. Such a shame the 7-5-81 edition with Peter Powell is missing - Does any VHS recordings exist our there i wonder?

  6. Did anyone here ever watch The Life and Times of David Lloyd George? Was it as exciting as it sounds, did the music enhance it or was it the only reason anyone was tuning in?

    1. i never watched it (despite - or maybe because - i had to study that era of UK politics for my history "o" level a few years earlier), but i imagine it was standard bbc period drama for those times where most if not all of it was studio bound to save money. i agree that the theme music chosen seems a somewhat incongruous selection, given the modern drum sound on it (morricone produced plenty of music that would have been better-suited). i do remember watching main man philip madoc playing a very scary magua in the bbc production of "the last of the mohicans" ten years earlier! i re-watched that series again on dvd in recent times - all the native americans were played by caucasian actors (including a blue-eyed one!), but they actually did go to the effort of filming a bit of location footage for it - albeit in scotland rather than canada!

    2. The Life and Times of David Lloyd George is on YT. I did watch it at the time and remember being quite shocked at his life. I had an image of him from a PG Tips card in the 'Famous People' series that was shattered!

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  8. Is it just me, or can't you download this from Vimeo? The download fails every time.

  9. shaky shakerson5 March 2016 at 01:36

    The verboten Mr Saville takes hold of the Yewtree Mic and gets us going with Thin Lizzy's very last hurrah. Are You Ready is no Boys Are Back In Town but it is head and shoulders above their most recent output. A bit of a skittery performance with Lynott and Gorham especially looking out of it.

    Madness in a Beatles-homage video for Grey Day. A downbeat tune, this one, but still worthy of it's top 5 place.

    Guilty pleasure time. I quite likes Sheena's When He Shines at the time ( although I never owned up to it). It hasn't really stood the test of time and the crowbarring of the word chameleon into one line was particularly annoying.

    The Leggers raise the blood pressure as they continue to see how litle they can wear before getting arrested. This time the sexy little imps cavort to the really rather excellent Ai No Corida. What's not to like?

    Teardrops' Treason is not quite as good as Reward ( but what the hell was?) but still a damn fine 80s pop song. The guitarist has now moved on to modelling Icelandic Fisherman chic now. Nice.

    Up next - the giving-it-110% Tenpole Tudor. Surprisingly, I still like this song. Punk energy, sword and sorcery imagery, crashing guitars, and a drunken singalonga chorus. Well played Mr Tudorpole, well played.

    Another debut now - the mixed-sex line up version of Human League. The deadpan backing vocals smack a little of 17 from a few months back, but you can see the beginnings of a successful pop career here.

    Okay then the scores. Looking back, that was actually a little belter of a show for me. No 'huge' names but 'Chi Mai' apart all of the songs hold up well with several being delightful memory jiggers. Best show of the year so far - 9.

    The presenter. Not as awful as usual but he has not the slightest interest in popular music and it shows. Points dropped all over the place but especially for the naming of 'RIO Speedwagon' during the chart rundown - 4.

    Back soon.

    1. I wouldn't say Treason is inferior to Reward, less energy maybe but a fine melody. The whole Kilimanjiro album is good though.

  10. I can't get this one to download either! any chance it could be uploaded to the other site, please?

  11. This was the best show for a number of weeks, in no small part thanks to the arrival of The Human League Mk 2 with arguably their finest song. The Sound of the Crowd is a brilliant mix of the commercial and experimental, and I don't know why the group seemed so down on it in The Story of 1981 - just goes to show that the artist is not always the best judge of their own record! I'm sure at the time Phil and the girls could not have conceived that they would be one of the biggest acts around by the end of the year, but they would thoroughly deserve that status.

    The show began less promisingly with yet another dull, anonymous Lizzy effort, though at least Yellow Pearl was coming up to remind us that Lynott could be good. Madness were much better - in general I prefer their more downbeat tunes, and this is quite powerful in its understated way. A striking video too, with the grey outfits and creepy clown make-up.

    The Beat are back with the other side of their double-A release, and it is definitely an improvement on Drowning. However, musically it breaks no new ground and I can see why it stalled at 22. Sheena Easton gets the dark studio big ballad treatment, but this overwrought affair is let down by horrendously clunky lyrics and the way it seems to go on for an eternity. Sheena would have to wait for the Bond song to come along in order to get her tonsils around a decent ballad. As if to reflect the song title, she was also dressed in very shiny gold - I'm sure the similarly-bedecked Jim'll must have been rather jealous...

    More Edwardiana to accompany Chi Mai this week, with plenty of footage of Lloyd George interspersed with shots of what I assume is the Welsh countryside. Legs, by contrast, are firmly in 1981 this week with costumes that doubtless made many male jaws drop! Good routine anyway (though I doubt many people were following the choreography) and it's also a very good record from the multi-talented Mr Jones.

    It was always going to be tough trying to follow up Reward, and Treason is by no means a bad effort, though it does show up the limitations of Julian Cope's voice to some extent. It is blown out of the water by Tenpole Tudor's fantastic post-punk rabble-rousing anthem, which I bet Adam Ant wishes he had written! I like the way Ed is dressed for 1981 from the waist upwards, and for 1581 below...

    Presentation-wise, Jim'll puts in a decent if unremarkable shift, but he is looking ever more out of place among the new groups now coming to the fore - I notice he also takes a leaf out of the Bates book by not reading out any song titles during the chart rundown.

    1. Incidentally, I had the feeling that the Bucks Fizz performance may have been spliced on to the end of this recording of the show, as Jim'll didn't announce the song and there were no end credits over it, which according to Popscene there should have been. I suspect BF got left off this recording originally.

    2. Not that keen on the Madness one, they could do decent emotive tunes like Our House and The Sun and the Rain, but this falls flat for me melodically.

      Thin Lizzy have plenty of energy at least, so not a bad show starter.

    3. John G, you must be correct here, and hopefully a full original copy of this show will surface sometime in the future with Jim'll introducing the No.1

  12. I like The Human League, it had nice energy to it and they deserved the effects much more than The Cure did.

    Ai No Corrida was also lively, the dance routine playing with depth and having more invention than their norm for sure. Beyond any sexiness I enjoyed the interpretion which was synchronised well and did fit the music faithfully.

  13. Another edition well worth seeing (host aside). Thanks again Meer.

    Thin Lizzy – Are you ready to rock – From the Killers EP the Thin Lizzy sound was on the wane by now and I think that’s Snowy ‘Bird of Paradise’ white as one of the guitarists. Surely not his real name?

    Madness – Grey Day – Infectious tune but slightly downbeat (and weird) video. The ‘locomotion’ walk appeared on the cover of the ‘One step beyond’ single.

    The Beat – All out to get you – Surprisingly we get the ‘other’ A side. After the dreadful ‘Drowning’ that PP raved about the other week, this is an improvement but still not that memorable. Strange ‘freezing’ effects.

    Sheena Eaton – When he shines – Co-written by Dominic Bugatti who also co-wrote Air Supply’s ‘Every woman in the world’ (Which reached no.5 in the US but number nothing here), this is a great ballad for Sheena paving the way for the theme tune to the Bond film ‘For your Eyes only’ and the magnificent but underrated ‘You could have been with me’. I always felt that this song, good as it was could have done with better production and the introduction of drums etc. towards the end in the same way as (say) ‘Desperado’ by the Eagles. Speaking of the States, ‘RIO’ Speedwagon had reached no.1 in March with this wonderful record which I guess will be on TOTP soon.

    Department S- Is Vic there – Apparently still not there…

    Ennio Morricone – Chi Mai – Only kept off the top spot by the flippin’ Eurovision Song Contest, a nice reflective and nostalgic film to accompany the music with snatches of archive footage of David Lloyd George. The series is on YT, I might give it a go on the back of this…

    Spandau Ballet – Musclebound – No more ‘Game of Thrones’ film, back to the original studio rendition and I’m really wishing they could have featured ‘Glow’ instead.

    Quincy Jones – Ai no Corrida – I’m speechless! Two weeks in a row Legs & Co are dancing in virtually nothing! This was 1981 for goodness sake, not the 70s. How did anyone deem this suitable?! Great to see it and be able to appraise it of course!

    Teardrop Explodes – Treason – Uninspiring. I liked ‘Reward’ but this didn’t come close.

    Tenpole Tudor – Swords of a thousand men – Energetic performance and a stonking tune to boot. Not much more to come from Eddie and the boys but this was pretty good.

    Human League – Sound of the crowd – Little did we know that this was just the prelude. One of many great tracks on the (forthcoming) ‘Dare’ album that just gets played over and over again.

    Bucks Fizz – Making your mind up – Third week at no.1 and it’s back to the skirt ripping performance rather than the minis.

    No playout – I wonder what it was?

    …and would you believe it, Gillan was still going up the charts having gone:-44,37,25,24,20,18,17…and then 23, 33, 45

    1. lest we forget: dominic bugatti also penned several hits (with his usual songwriting partner frank musker) for our old chum paul nicholas!

    2. Wow, yes you're right Wilberforce! Some real classics - 'Grandmas Party', 'Dancing with the Captain' and the immortal 'Reggae like it used to be'. I never knew that!

  14. Now this time it is a real shame that we can't see this on BBC4 as there's some good stuff on this show.

    Thin Lizzy is not one of those, with a pretty average opener.

    The Madness song I really like, one of their most under-rated big hits I would say.

    The Beat - well, it's better than the double-A-side song we'd seen before, you can say that much!

    Sheena Easton - one of those 'worthy but dull' efforts I'm afraid.

    Legs & Co begin the really good section of the show. What an amazing routine, and as a Rosie fan I was obviously very happy to see it!

    I really like 'Treason' and although it's not attention grabbing like 'Reward', I think it's a really good song.

    Loved Tenpole Tudor when I was a kid (well, you would really, wouldn't you? all that jumping about and colour) and even if they are a bit like Adam & The Ants in many respects I still like this song.

    Then The Human League - great song and an entertaining performance that begins a run of bad luck for them with regard to Yewtreed shows. Barring the 'housewife classic' at the end of the year of course. Sod's law....

  15. The original of Chi Mai is better I think.

    The blurb for the film it was from from imdb
    "The film Maddalena tells the story of a woman who is desperate to find real love in a real steady relationship on the one hand; and a priest who is doubting his ability to cope with celibacy on the other hand. When Maddalena decides the priest is the man that she wants, an atmosphere of erotic tension and self-questioning about true Faith fill up the air."

    Music from within the film, at two points in the video

    1. The re-recording of Chi Mai was prominently used in the Jean-Paul Belmondo action movie Le Professionel, too. Great car chase, but just an OK film.

    2. starry, thanks for the link to the original version of "chi mai" - i agree with your opinion that it's better than the re-recording!

      i thought the heavily-processed snare drum sounded too "modern" for the early 70's, but in my ignorance i thought if anything then it must have been dubbed onto the original version later on. but it turns out what was used for the "lloyd george" series is a completely re-recorded version in a different key (released in the late 70's as some kind of weird disco cash-in)!

      as a morricone fan i'm ashamed to say i should have known that! in fact a friend recently sent me some morricone mp3's on a cd burn, but i ignored "chi mai" as i assumed it was the later version. fortunately i've still got the disc, so thanks to starry i have been able to retrieve it for my collection...

  16. Terence “Snowy” White helping Thin Lizzy out on one of their lesser tunes followed, scarily, by Jim’ll doing a shopping list of women’s occupations then quickly remembering he needs to introduce the next song.

    Madness’s nutty boy walk reminded me of an old Dave Allen sketch involving workers walking to a sardine factory. Always though the keyboard riff near the end of “Grey Day” had a touch of “The Ugly Duckling” about it.

    The Beat’s offering was certainly better than the other side though still not spectacular, and most of us are scratching our heads at Peter Powell’s wowing over “Drowning”.

    I bet Sheena was furious she was colour co-ordinated with Jim’ll, but he didn’t look a dooood (or doodess) in his clobber. As for the song, clanky lyrics professionally sung.

    So now it’s CHEE My by Ennio Morricone. Lovely sanguine tune, but I bet the kids at home watched this ‘film’ and thought “Huh?” (the “WTF?” of the time).

    After Foghorn Ballet, we had four of the best I’ve seen in this re-run, both the songs and the people in view (though sadly, again, no Gill in an outfit made for her, though the making of that outfit would have taken a few minutes…)

    BAM!!!!! Can you imagine the Twitter messages if BBC4 had shown this? Can you imagine the carnage if DLT had been hosting? An astonishing turn for many reasons. When Rosie did her jiggling best at 23:01 in the show, the song’s lyric “It’s just the way I’d like to go” came back into my head. Yes, again, somehow I manged sound and vision. Blokes can multitask when they want!

    I love “Treason”, much better than “Reward” to these ears. I do like the ’up and down the scale’ keyboard break, which reminded me of a top 50 hit called “Thank You” by The Pale Fountains which used the same trick but with more of the scale.

    Eddie Tudor-Pole should have been a shoo-in for Blackadder. He came close several times to knocking the guitarist’s block off with that flag. Fantastic song.

    The Human League would have been a culture shock for those who remembered them from before. Where’s the bloke with the beard gone? Why are there two Wimpy waitresses on stage? And where did they get such an arty yet hooky song from when they were ripping off Gary Glitter previously?

    1. thanks to arthur i've now had another listen to teardrops exdplodes' "treason" for the first time in many years. and yes, it makes a refreshing change from the over-exposed "reward". like teardrop, the pale fountains also emanated from the early 80's scouser indie scene and were similarly raved about by the music press at the time. but the (new to my ears) "thank you" bizarrely sounds like something vince hill would sing as a special guest on the lulu show circa 1967!

  17. Tenpole Tudor - it has been a while since we've had something as energetic and raucous as this. Great stuff.

    And it was good to see Hot Gossip on this show as well :o)

  18. I missed out on the Vimeo link. Please can anyone provide a new link to view or DL?