Thursday, 31 March 2016

Lay All Your Top of the Pops on Me

So onto the 23rd July 1981 we go, and the summer of riots, mass unemployment, royal weddings, and a craze for medleys was now in full swing....

And as a little tribute to Ronnie Corbett, whose death was announced earlier today, here's the Two Ronnies with their very own version of Top of the Pops 1981....

Boy, it was fun while it lasted..

23/07/81 (hosted by Richard Skinner)

(44) The Vapors – “Jimmie Jones”

Despite their conversion to a New Romantic look and a song that sounded like a mash-up of Wig Wam Bam and Angelo, Jimmie Jones rose no higher in the charts and was the final chart hit for The Vapors.

(16) Sheena Easton – “For Your Eyes Only” (video)

The name's Easton - Sheena Easton! BBC4 seem to have solved their issues about showing movie clips, for here we see Sheena's James Bond opening titles song which made it up to number 8.

(22) Shakin’ Stevens – “Green Door”

Soon to be number one but edited out of tonight's 7.30pm slot.

(28) REO Speedwagon – “Take It On The Run” (video)
This follow up to Keep On Loving You made it to 19. But edited out of tonight's 7.30 showing.

(7) Abba – “Lay All Your Love On Me”

Legs & Co slip into some Victorian underwear as they dance to one of Abba's most modern sounding records to date, released only as a 12 inch single, and which also happened to be their penultimate top ten hit peaking at number 7.

(30) Tight Fit – “Back To The ‘60s”

The first of three medleys on tonight's show ~ and although officially this is the same Tight Fit that went to number one a year later with The Lion Sleeps Tonight, this is a totally different line up. Back To The 60's reached number 4.

(25) Visage – “Visage” (video)

Ah, so that's what the Blitz club looked like. Taken from their top 20 album of the same name, Visage peaked at number 21.

(35) Gidea Park – “Beach Boy Gold”

The second of tonight's medleys, this time the Beach Boys get the treatment. And host Richard informs us that lead singer Adrian Baker (who wrote Dance Yourself Dizzy) had just got back from America touring with said legendary band! Beach Boy Gold peaked at number 11.

(1) The Specials – “Ghost Town” (rpt)
Third and final week at number one, and so its goodbye to the original line-up of The Specials.

(2) Starsound – “Stars On 45 Volume 2”

Legs & Co grab themselves some lucky boys from the audience to dance out the credits to the third of tonight's medleys, currently at its chart peak.

Next up then is July 30th with the return of Steve Wright.


  1. The vapours song not a patch on turnin Japanese from less than eighteen months ago

    1. The Vapours could not quite follow up their earlier No.1 called Turning Japanese in 1980. This new one was nowhere near the quality of Turning Japanese, and made no significant in-roads into the charts.

    2. The follow up to turning Japanese- news at ten deserved to do as well as their big hit, Jimmie Jones wasn't a patch on either

    3. Ok but I like turnin Japanese its there best tune

    4. A much less well known Vapors song, but as it went on I must admit it grew on me. It has a number of hooks which maybe meant it wasn't as big as 'Turning Japanese' but it certainly seemed lively and a decent recorded performance.

    5. It had an almost mod vibe about it but it just wasn't as catchy as Turning Japanese.

  2. A very interesting and nostalgic episode this week with Richard Skinner, as the early 1981 rockabilly craze was now evolving into cover bands of the 60s and 70s, including Tight Fit, Gidea Park and Starsound all in one show!

    Sheena Easton – she was coming of age now, and not just a one hit wonder, and introduced this week by Richard Skinner as her new ‘film’ as we we still wait for the first person to call it a video, but not just yet it seems, as all the DJs were still calling them ‘films’ by the middle of 1981.

    Abba – very rare to see Legs & Co doing Abba, but at this point in July 1981 there was long gap of seven months since Super Trouper topped the charts, and the group had not made a video, ahem film, yet. But for once we could excuse Legs & Co for being more clothed than usual, simply because this week the quality of the dancing, choreography, and all white colours, was probably the best showing in a quite a long from the girls.

    Tight Fit – I don’t recall this one as their debut before The Lion Sleeps Tonight a few months later in 1982, but still it was now a good time for them to debut and cash in on the success of Starsound, which everyone seemed to want to get a piece of. They certainly deserved the centre stage with the video screen, thanks to the quality of the acting.
    Certainly the girl in green and red must have been the first on TOTP to sit on the lap of the lead singer. I don’t think that has happened before, or ever again on the show, but a great touch nevertheless. Really liked the energy on this track.

    Starsound – wow, what more can I say but more brilliance and once again getting lodged at No.2 like their Vol. 1 first hit a couple of months earlier, but a great way to see out the show in style, and again in heavenly white! Mmmmm….particularly liked how the cameraman went upskirt on Sue as she twirled her skirt.

    1. Fantasy island was there other big a no 5 in May 82

    2. "Fantasy Island" was an also-ran in the Dutch heats for Eurovision one year. Can't really understand why. I think it's a 'boss tune'or whatever the kids in the 'hood say these days. It took ages to find it on iTunes - the reason being the act's name had been mis-spelt as Fight Fit!

    3. I agree about the energy of Tight Fit, a varied selection put together quite well. Some comedy in the woman with her arms around her man maybe could have been cut a bit shorter.

      Have to disagree on Legs, some interesting ideas were lost in what was a bit of a mess that didn't fit the music. As ambitious but much better for me was Ai No Corrida.

    4. The female singer on Tight Fit has a great voice, sounding a bit like Dusty Springfield but I understand that the people performing here are not the ones on the record (except Rosko of course).

  3. Listening to the specials best of album including the 12 inch version of ghost town

    1. I remember discovering the long version some time after I got the 7 inch single and it is terrific, superb trombone solo by Rico. The B-side Why? was also extended on the 12 inch single.

      The cover of the record with the skeleton playing piano was nicked from a 1950s halloween album called Sounds To Make You Shiver.

  4. Pausing briefly to wonder why there was always so much dust and speckling in the TOTP Yellow Pearl opening titles even when they were brand new...

    For some reason I recognise this Vapors track, didn't think it was too bad but I was distracted by what may be the first mullet of the 80s on Mr Vapor.

    Sheena Easton, for once this really is a film, or a clip of it without the writing on anyway. Maurice Binder's titles were always very distinctive, but hands up who preferred Moonraker to For Your Eyes Only? They were supposed to be getting serious for Bond in 81 as a corrective to the previous instalment, though couldn't resist including Janet Brown at the end. She's not in this clip.

    Again I was distracted through Shaky's Green Door because someone in the audience was wearing a huge Christmas jumper. She must have been boiling.

    REO Speedwagon returning to the TOTP tradition of the poor quality concert clip. It's all right as these things go, but that guitar solo was awful, made you wonder why he bothered.

    Legs & Co get all churchy with his ABBA routine, it does have a religious sound to it, doesn't it? Also a return to the "something's wrong with the TV" effects of yore.

    Tight Fit, what was it with all the medleys at this point in time? Were people in a hurry so wanted second rate cover versions instead of the full length originals? World's worst Wolfman Jack impersonation, too. Was that Tim Westwood on lead vocals? Or miming, I should say?

    Visage had a long hard think about what to call their next single, and inspiration was obviously thin on the ground. More style than substance very much in evidence, didn't leave much impression on me.

    Godawful Park, more like. More second rate covers. Their follow up to this was a medley of Vegetables, Johnny Carson and She's Going Bald which surprisingly failed to chart.

    Then after The Specials scaring off the competition, we have even more medleys with Starsound beating the real ABBA in the charts, which is all wrong.

    After a great episode last week, this was a real letdown. Can't all be good, I suppose.

    1. Richard Skinner introduced Tight Fit as having a famous disc jockey face on here. Does anyone know who he is? I couldn't recognise the face. It's the one towards the beginning of the song who says "wam bam alacazam......"

      Gidea park is a district of Essex which is where the group got there name, as I think they came from there.

      The Specials with there last ever performance on TOTP, and it appears they decided to have all their friends on the stage with them. If not, it must be the largest ever number of band members for pop group!

    2. just in case you missed Shaky's comment below, and also because he slightly mis-spells his name, the dj is Emperor Rosko

    3. Interesting point on the churchy interpretation of LAYLOM. The dance was all over the place though, not even bothering to end it properly as the song was cut short anyway. The early part was lively dancing but then it all slowed up, like the chorus does, but it never regained any pace and looked a mish mash. Sad, as along with I Am The City from soon after I think it's a great modern sounding dance track from ABBA.

      The Beach Boys medley was the worst of the three for me. The songs were good of course, but how do you really compete with Beach Boys vocals? Maybe missing that bit of fun while aiming for the beautiful sound.

      Vapors were fine. But surely the first mullets would have been on some of the rock 'n rollers? I'm sure I've seen two or three in relatively recent episodes.

    4. Have to disagree with you that the Gidea Park vocals weren't good - okay they're never going to totally match the Beach Boys (and medleys are so cheesy) but it was pretty impressive to my ears. And as Mr Skinner told us Adrian Baker had toured and recorded with The Beach Boys and also with Frankie Valli. This guy can really sing, it's just a shame he is remembered for covers like this. He was also the guy behind Liquid Gold of course.

    5. i moved to north london several years after the gidea park hit, and one day whilst driving in the dagenham area i was surprised to see a road sign for gidea park - assuming it existed at all, i had always imagined it to be somwhere in sunny california rather than what is a rather grim part of the world!

    6. i had a listen to "i am the city" on yt - it's got an interesting sequenced synth pop arrangement, but the jolly bucks fizz-like tune is a let down for me

    7. the vapors singer already had his mullet hairstyle in place for "turning japanese", and showaddywaddy had mullets of sorts on the show in the mid-70's. you could even say that bowie's ziggy hairstyle was a mullet, although obviously the term wasn't around until much later. i think the "credit" for the first true mullet in the classic 80's sense on the show has to go to sad cafe's paul young

    8. But there are mini-mullets and there are mega-mullets and Mr Vapour's has grown into the latter, but it does at least distrsct you from his strange shaped head.

  5. I would like to commend Angelo for putting up 15 episodes in the month of March just finished.
    That is a staggering one episode every two days on average. Just see the list on the left of this blog in the March section. Incredible, and thank you!

    1. Cheers Dory - yes March was a bit of a mad as a TOTPs hare month! But I think we get just a little bit of a breather in April ~ phew!

    2. I'd also like to say thanks to Angelo for manfully taking on and beating the TV / blog equivalent of 'end of season fixture congestion', plus a thumbs up to our friends who provided the shows the BBC didn't want us to see.

    3. should be a little easier for the next 6 weeks as the young musician of the year takes over the friday night spot

    4. Sanity at last, I'm still a fan of one show per week, so at least this is some solace for us.

  6. shaky shakerson1 April 2016 at 01:24

    The Vapours get us up and running with Jimmy Jones. I can't put my finger on what it is that makes this record so awful. Whether it's the sub-standard Glamrock feel or the lyrics or what, I just don't know, but I watched with my mouth open, possibly in horror, possibly in dis-belief.

    Sheena Easton on film next with a clasic Bond theme. Looking back on it now it seems strange that someone with her rather thin discography should net themselves a Bond theme - usually allocated to the great and good, or at the very least to someone who is flavour of the month (Hello Sam Smith)

    Shaky gets his by-now usual crowd involvement for a by-numbers run through of another oldie. Thanks to the FF button I was able to by-pass this thankfully.

    Another 'film' next. This one a live in-concert performance of a song that I still quite like, helped by an almost rock-like guitar solo. For some reason this starts half-way through. Was it this lot who suffered the same treatment on ToTP on their previous hit? If so, what's with that? Oh and Skinner ballsed the title up in his intro. Spending too much time with Powell I presume.

    The Leggers don their bedwear and head off to somewhere that looks like a cross between a church and a strip club. The stop/start effect was a bit annoying.

    Tight fit - with the world's loudest tambourine, and Emperor Rosco - continue to fan the flames of the medley mania. This is pants of the highest order. Possibly the worst of all the medleys. . .oh, no wait here comes Gidea Park lobotomising the Beach Boys. Was there some connection between this lot and First Class who had a hit with Beach Baby a few years back? Asking for a friend. Anyway THIS is definitely the worst of the medleys for the time being. But be warned - there is worse to come.

    Skinner gets a 5 this week following a big drop in standards. Not just the mis-title for REO Speedwagon, but a few of his other links were iffy as well.

    The show gets a 3. The Leggers got two goes so that's all to the good but there was an over-reliance on medleys whilst the rest barely stuck their heads above the decent-song parapet.

    You never know - maybe it was the state of the British charts that caused all the riots!!

    1. This is why punk had to happen! Oh, hang on, we've passed that bit...

    2. I think it's fair to say that Sheena was flavour of the month at the time. She'd just had her first US no. 1, so that must have helped her get the Bond theme. Blondie recorded a song with the same title, in the hope that it would be the theme, but the producers turned them down. It's not bad, but does lack a good hook, in my view.

    3. Hang on, you're called Shaky but you hate Shaking Stevens!!?? What's that all about?

    4. shaky shakerson1 April 2016 at 16:06

      You'd have to ask my parents Bama - they christened me. It's caused me problems all my life - although not as much as my brothers, Bono and Sting.

  7. A show of two halves, with some decent tunes on display early on before a later descent into medley hell. I quite liked The Vapors' track, even though it did sound rather naggingly like something else in the choruses. Not as catchy as Turning Japanese, admittedly, but still quite tuneful - I found the singer's mullet far more offensive than the actual song!

    For Your Eyes Only is probably my favourite Roger Moore Bond - while it has some silly moments, the tone is generally far more serious than the ludicrous Moonraker, and all the better for it. The theme isn't half-bad either, if not quite in the top rank. I think Sheena remains the only Bond singer to appear in the film's title sequence, which is what get here minus the credits - presumably she was wearing something up top? Shaky then returns with another no. 1-in-waiting, complete with the now standard audience participation. I don't like Green Door very much as a song, though Shaky's version is at least better than the strident Frankie Vaughan interpretation. Still can't really understand how this managed to stay at the top for 4 weeks, though.

    Take it on the Run is the strongest of REO Speedwagon's hits, in my view, though this rather ropey live version did it no favours, and perhaps hindered its chart progress. I would like to think that Lay All Your Love on Me would have reached the top if it had been a proper single release, as it is one of ABBA's very best. Sadly, Legs interpret this highly danceable and infectious song in a rather muted, static way that does not do it justice - I can't say I was that keen on the knickerbockers either! Indeed, this was a rather disappointing show for Legs all round, as their dancing with the blokes to Starsound at the end also seemed rather half-hearted and lacklustre. Not keen on the ABBA tribute singers either, particularly after just hearing the real thing!

    Tight Fit certainly looked very different here to a year later, but I prefer the 1982 incarnation. The selection of 60s songs was decent enough, but the whole thing just smacked of a lazy cash-in, and the principal male singer was very ugly indeed - the bit where he jiggles the woman on his knee was also pretty stomach-turning! I thought the DJ might be Emperor Rosko, so thanks to other commenters for confirming that. Visage provide a brief respite from the medley onslaught with this rather slight effort, but at least it is an original song. I didn't like the video much though - while interesting to see inside the Blitz Club, it just seemed designed to make the insufferable Steve Strange look like some demi-god being worshipped by the star-struck Blitz clientele. As I am not a fan of The Beach Boys, this particular medley was never going to do much for me. I suppose the various hits are melded together quite well, and the performance wasn't irritating, but you just wonder what the point of it was. Interesting to hear from Richard Skinner that Adrian Baker had just been on tour with the real Beach Boys - I think he does capture their sound pretty well.

    Richard himself was not on top form here, a garbled introduction being followed by his completely messing up the REO Speedwagon song title. His nervous glances at the camera may also help to explain why he was jettisoned from the regular roster soon after this, to make way for the return of Kid. Still, these faults aside he does a professional enough job, and provides one or two informative titbits.

    I just wanted to add my thanks to Angelo for all his hard work in recent weeks in keeping this blog up-to-date in the face of the avalanche of shows. The next month promises to be considerably quieter, and I think we will all be grateful for that!

    1. The blond guy on the right as Steve Strange enters Blitz is Rusty Egan, DJ at the club and member of Visage.

    2. it must be remembered that steve strange was actually viewed as some kind of demi-god, in that he held sway in deciding who was cool enough to be allowed into his achingly trendy club or not, mick jagger famously being one of many turned away. but like all megalomaniacs it went to strange's head, and as a result of believing he was invincible he made the fatal decision to open a far bigger club (a bit like hitler invading russia!) - the irony being that he had to let in the hoi polloi in order to make the place cost-effective, and thus compromised if not destroyed the the very concept of elitism that made him in the first place, and he crashed and burned very quickly as result. strange's ego and messiah complex no doubt made him many enemies as a result, who viewed his downfall with more than a hint of schadenfreude...

    3. You have to feel a bit sorry for the way Steve Strange ended up, on the dole, drug addicted, shoplifting and finding a small renaissance as a figure of fun on reality TV, where his now quivering hands were pressed into service to cut hair for our amusement.

    4. They do say hubris comes before nemesis, and I think this video does show SS at the apotheosis of the hubristic phase! Having said that, the subsequent unravelling of his life is a sad story.

    5. when it comes to describing steve strange, i don't the phrase "a nice guy" would likely come to mind. but to me he was a fascinating figure who had a great influence on popular culture of the early 80's and beyond. i recommend his autobiography to anyone currently watching these totp repeats...

  8. On the subject of the 60s and 70s medley craze on this show, it was sad to hear of the death a couple of days ago of Andy "Thunderclap" Newman who got to No.1 in 1969 with Something In the Air.

    This one hit wonder scored big with this hit which is still one of the all time classics of the late 60s, and well recognised by later generations. Another sad loss of one of pop music's finest legends.

    1. Last week the Talking Pictures channel showed a 1971 film called Not Tonight Darling that featured Thunderclap Newman playing in a bar.

    2. i'd hardly call a guy who had one hit single (even if it was a number one hit single) "one of pop music's finest legends"

    3. What I liked about Andy Newman was that he made absolutely no attempt to look like a pop star, he just sat there in his beard and hat and played the piano. I guess that can make him a legend in some people's eyes.

    4. Whether or not you regard Newman as a "legend", Something in the Air certainly ranks for me as one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time. Produced by Pete Townshend, of course, and while John "Speedy" Keen is the credited singer his voice does sound quite similar to Townshend's...

    5. Not Tonight Darling starred Luan Peters, who was frontwoman for 5000 Volts once upon a time, though it might not have been her voice we heard. In that film Thunderclap Newman don't even perform their big hit, nor the less well-known follow-up, it's a weird scene anyway where they seem to have been filmed separately from Luan as she looks on approvingly.

    6. I love 'Something In The Air'. That bit where the instrumental break ends and you get that rising note that leads back into the main body of the song is one of the finest moments in music ever, no question.

    7. Completely agree Noax, and as a tribute to Thunderclap, I've been listening all day to Something In The Air.

      I'm just surprised that people such as The Two Ronnies or Ali G never thought of doing a spoof of this title, referring to something in the air being a nasty smell that someone had let off after a good curry.

  9. The Sheena Easton video didn't seem to fit quite as much of her face in as it should have? I can't believe the MV was filmed in widescreen though, unless they just took it directly from the opening credits of the film itself?

    Shaky all in black, not very 80s. I don't know if it's a reference to Johnny Cash or not, who has nothing to do with the song to my knowledge. His recorded vocals have an energy and some passion that may lift him above those rock n roll groups he's succeeding, and I think accounts for some of this big success he's having.

  10. "They always say it's welcome to Top Of The Pops" - a meaningless message from Dickie Skinner and into The Vapours with Jimmy Jones or Wig Wam Bam as I prefer to call it. This isn't a patch on Turning Japanese but it has its charms even if the lyrics are incomprehensible (is it "soul, soul clones" or "soul soul clothes" they are singing in the chorus?). The leads singer has grown his hair into as nasty mullet while the guitarist is quite cool in his Lee Mavers bowl cut, sporting a sleeveless waistcoat worn with no shirt.

    Next up our Sheena floating in a sea of sperm searching for James Bond who was 53 at the time and old enough to know better. For me this was Sheen Easton's best single and a real coup being a Bond theme even if the film isn't up to much. The song was nominated for an Oscar although the lyrics are a bit meaningless.

    Shaky back with more audience participation. Regarding his dancing he only has a few cards in his pack but he plays them very well Have to say the crowd seem very happy.

    Oh goody it's AOR soft rock time, heavy metal for guys with permed hair. I hated this at the time but it seems quite palatable now. I saw some Japanese CDs by REO Speedwagon at a car boot sale last year and the seller wanted ridiculous prices for them. Nice short-but-sweet live clip.

    This ABBA single has a special place in my heart as reminds me of my first love.The perfect pop song with all the right ABBA ingredients. Not too sure about the Legs routine, I'd have gone for disco tights and flashing lights myself. It looks like they're practicing aerobics in Edwardian underclothes in a conservatory. As you do.

    Emperor Rosko is back albeit briefly but what a comedown for him reduced to introducing a naff 60s medley, one of about 6 medley hits in the chart at the moment. This was of course the first incarnation of Tight Fit, a group of sessioners fronted by actors/models, the second incarnation is perhaps more memorable and would have even greater success. But great to see Rosko again. While I hate this type of thing it was well done and hearing the old songs does bring a smile to your lips.

    Visage with the difficult third single. While I the first two hits I wasn't 100% behind this one. It didn't help that Steve Strange had one of those faces you wanted to slap (and I heard that a lot of people did slap it, hard) but this is a bit up its own back passage. The lyrics, such as they are, are delivered with no great style on Steve's part, it just sounds like he's reading the headline from a fashion mag-a-zoine - "news styles, new shapes, new roles", etc. And when you translate the chorus into English he's literally saying "Oo my face! Oo my face!". Nice to see The Blitz club in all its glory although I never went there (it pretended to be gay-friendly but wasn't really and was full of posers pretending to be gay for 5 minutes).

    More bandwagon medley-jumping with Adrian Baker and his Gidea Park version of The Beach Boys but this sounded better than I recall it being. Okay Mr Baker does have the hots for himself but the harmonies are good enough to rival the real thing although I'd have left out Good Vibrations myself as it doesn't quite fit.

    A good Top Ten this week and then The Specials still at number one - this was my favourite of the two performances with Terry banging the stage in time with the bass drum with a walking stick and Rhoda Dakkar both looking and sounding like a mad Yoko Ono screaming the aaah backing vocals. A shame they weren't allowed to do the two brilliant B-sides Why? and Friday Night and Saturday Morning, I'd have loved to have seen Terry Hall sing the line " Wish I had lipstick on my shirt, Instead of piss stains on my shoes" on Top Of The Pops. But you can't have everything.

    1. Bama, while Roger Moore was already 53 at the time of this Bond film and Sheena Easton's video, it must be remembered that Jimmy Saville was 55 and Benny Hill was 57. Roger Moore is still very much with us, and bless his soul, he's 88 now, and still very strong and humorous. A true legend!

  11. As Dexys would (and do) say - "This is part one, part two soon". Well now actually:

    Playout with yet another 60s medley and with Legs back again doing an unrehearsed dance with male members of the crowd. I think one of the guys was part of the line up dancing along to Green Door earlier but I feel a bit sorry for the guy in the cardigan, he can't dance and looks like his mate talked him into taking part and he wants to be somewhere else. I'd have felt the same .

    1. The beauty of this playout of Stars On 45 Vol 2 with Legs & Co, is that their love for dancing really came to the fore that night where they picked out some young men from the audience who probably couldn't believe their luck, and I'm pleased that none of them went over the top to tire out the girls, but that would have been something if it had happened, and I would have loved to see it. They just seemed so shy, and it just played into the hands (and legs) of the Leggers.

  12. Thanks AG for the link to the Two Ronnies ‘Crop of the Flops’ sketch. I haven’t seen this since it was broadcast and it’s a great pastiche, although I guess it would be Yewtreed now!

    Richard Skinner treats us to plenty of diverse music tonight in his usual relaxed style, albeit with a couple of slips!

    Vapors – Jimmie Jones – Well ‘Turning Japanese’ this ain’t. In fact I’ve got a treble CD of ‘Top of the Pops One Hit Wonders’ that featured that hit, so clearly the compilers didn’t regard no.44 as any sort of chart hit! I kept getting drawn to that ridiculous axe earring the lead singer was wearing. The Vapors were managed by John Weller btw (Paul’s Dad).

    Sheena Easton – For your Eyes only – There are good Bond themes and there is the theme to ‘Moonraker’. Sheena’s effort is definitely one of my favourites and she’s the only artist to actually appear in the title credits. It’s nice to see the video without the titles here. I kept thinking about the scene before when Blofeld gets scooped up by Bond’s helicopter and chucked down a large chimney.

    Shakin’ Stevens – Green Door – The crowd get nicely in place for dancing and swaying to this future number one in the same way as they did for ‘This Ole House’. Shaky was definitely on a roll.

    REO Speedwagon – Take it on the Run – Nice song from guitarist Gary Richrath who gets to play a wonderful solo here. We’re missing the first verse on this live performance video but at least they showed more than they did for ‘Keep on loving you’. The single was slightly edited from the album cut on ‘Hi Infidelity’.

    Abba – Lay all your love on me – Sheer class. What a track and a nice routine from Legs & Co. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an official video for this song so Legs & Co. were the next best thing.

    Tight Fit – Back to the 60s – I must have heard this so many times over the years and boy does it get an outing here! Nice portrayal of the various snatches of hits though.

    Visage – Visage – Video looks impressive as you’d expect from Steve Strange and Co. However, the song smacks of ‘third single from the album’ syndrome where actually there wasn’t much single material on the album in the first place (something the likes of Genesis frequently suffered from).

    Gidea Park – Beach Boy Gold – Another endless medley which, after Tight Fit, is slightly boring. Gidea Park is the station after Romford on the Liverpool Street / Southend line in case anyone wondered. Anyone know why they chose that name?

    Specials – Ghost Town – grows on me more every time I hear it again.

    Starsound – Stars on 45 vol.2 – I bet the guys plucked to dance with Legs & Co. couldn’t believe their luck and we get a fairly large chunk of this Abba medley. The odd song out here is of course ‘Bang a Boomerang’ which was never a hit in this country but must have been very familiar to the masses who bought ‘Abba’s Greatest Hits’ by the bucketload.

    p.s. highest new entry, ‘Happy Birthday’ by Stevie Wonder. No sign of it on this show!

    1. I lived a few stops from Gidea Park back in 1981 and remember thinking it was odd a band should be named after such a place. Can only assume Adrian Baker was born there.

    2. It was shown on 30 July edition

    3. One of the guys dancing with Legs is dressed in white shirt and tails like a Bullingdon Boy - is it as young David Cameron?


      The reason the Blofeld-alike was dropped into the chimney was a dig at the rival Bond movie Never Say Never Again, because they had the rights to the character and For Your Eyes Only didn't. No idea why Faux-feld offers Bond a delicatessen in stainless steel, though, doesn't sound very 007.

      Mind you, Sheena had a hit with her Bond tune, NSNA never troubled the pop charts.

    5. Lani Hall sung the NSNA theme. I never considered this a bona fide Bond film despite the casting of Connery.

  13. I won't be watching this episode for a day or two, but here's a small contribution.

    Firstly, that awkward Vapors lyric is "Jimmie Jones and his soul clones will get you". More on that soon.

    Secondly, yes, Adrian Baker is from the Gidea park area of the East London / Essex cusp.

    I’ll say it right now – on the whole, I can’t stand medleys and this stretch of TOTP will really test my patience. I’m surprised The Barron Knights didn’t jump on this particular bandwagon. The only medley I can think of that deserved to be in the cart was Bill Medley (you know, him out of The Righteous Brothers who duetted with Jennifer Warnes). Had Adrian Baker’s effort been quicker paced, would that have resulted in Giddier Park?

    The Vapors (same daft American spelling as Nike’s template for those crap new England kits) released six singles on United Artists and Liberty, with a flop before “Turning Japanese” and two non-charters between this and their previous top 50 smash. “Jimmie Jones” was produced by the wonderfully named Dave Tickle but its subject matter was far more sinister - Jimmie Jones founded the Peoples Temple cult which was responsible for a mass murder / suicide of 900 people. The Vapors packed up soon after, partly due to a seventh single, "Red Flag", being ditched by their label without any explanation.

    There were a few unusual James Bond theme artists, weren’t there? Like, for example, Garbage, Jack White and Alicia Keys, and that Chris Cornell out of Soundgarden!

    1. Thanks Artie for the back story to the Vapours' song, when you know the story behind a song it really helps sell it but I bet the viewing public didn't know any of this back then.

    2. Yes, thanks for the info re Jimmie Jones, Arthur. I must admit I rarely listen to lyrics, and you certainly wouldn't think to link this song to the Jonestown massacre after a casual listen. Having just read the lyrics online, however, I can now see the connection.

  14. Surprised at the lack of love for "Jimmy Jones", I liked it at the time (got a lot of radio play), and it's still easy on my ears now.

    I like "Visage" too, encapsulates New Romanticism lyrically and musically for me.

  15. vapors: musically this is at least two years out of date and instantly forgettable. the new romantic look is a bit offputting given that most of the band aren't physically suited to that kind of thing. the guitarist is the exception who looks quite cool (in a new wave way), but he's obviously spent far less time in the make-up chair than the rest. the bassist whith his slap, pouting demeanour and listless swaying from side to side actually reminds me of one of the models in robert palmer's legendary "addicted to love" video!

    sheena easton: sounding shriller than ever, sheena is certainly not for my ears only. fast forward time for me

    shakin' stevens: he got his first break playing elvis in a musical, but even though he obviously dyes his hair black, he just doesn't have the moody, sullen and sneering countenance or charisma of the king. the rot is already really starting to set in musically now, so another fast forward job

    reo speedwagon: just when i thought it couldn't get much worse, then this piece of dire american AOR pop up! singularly unappealing with it's banal tune and dentist-drill guitar solo, it's perhaps the worst thing i've seen on totp in the entire re-run! and they look shit as well

    abba/legs : hardly one of their best (and i'm not their greatest fan by any means), but blessed relief after the rubbish i've endured up to now. i can't say i've ever been a fan of victorian bloomers, so not my favourite legs moment either

    tight fit: sadly not "the lion sleeps tonight", but hopefully we'll get to see that camp classic soon. i only suffered this medley-of-banal-60's-hits-on-autopilot in the hope of catching emperor rosko in action, but the guy in the studio looked too young to actually be him

    visage: finally - something that actually represents 1981 as i remember it! or at least as i want to remember. not their finest moment, but after the tripe i've been exposed to so far i'm grateful in the extreme. as with their other singles, the most interesting bits happen when steve strange isn't opening his mouth. whenever i play the game of "name eponymous hit singles" (sadly something i've been known to do on several occasions, including on this blog), i always seem to overlook this one. strange's musical/business partner rusty egan is featured in the video in the blitz club scenes, but i wonder if the guy in the light grey suit and red tie is peter godwin of cult new romantic act metro?

    gidea park: i was never a fan of the beach boys (the mega-hype surrounding them meant they always promised more than they delivered in my view), so i was never going to get excited about this, no matter how competently done. i like the fact that art imitated life in that the guy responsible for it joined the actual group as a result. oh, and he has great hair!

    specials: making an effort to break the record for most people in a band on top of the pops, but despite roping in rhoda from the bodysnatchers for no good reason they still can't oust fiddlers dram!

    host dickie does his best on what is surely one of the worst shows so far - what a shame jim'll or dlt weren't in charge for this one!

  16. At first I thought The Vapors were singing about Jimmy Jones, the man who took 'Good Timin' to the top of the chart in the 60s, but I thought that was unlikely. Now that I know the story of who they really were singing about....well, I wish it were the other one!
    Oh, and the song - alright I s'pose.....

    The Sheena Easton song is just average for me, not the best Bond theme but certainly not the worst!

    The Shaky song is alright, but not as good as his last single. Goodness knows why it was such a big hit.

    Not overly keen on REO Speedwagon's either, their previous single being the only one of theirs that I like.

    Then things finally pick up with a great ABBA tune. No video of course, so it was always going to be Legs. I agree with almost everyone else though - not their finest routine.

    The Tight Fit medley is entertaining if not musically very good. I never could stand Rosko - one of the few Radio 1 shows I would avoid when I was a kid. His miming is awful too. I once had the misfortune to see one of the few TOTP that he presented when UK Gold were repeating the 70s ones - he talked such complete gibberish that he made Savile look like a paragon of common sense.

    Unlike most here it seems, I love 'Visage' - much better than the previous single. I also rather like the video, while recognising that it did, in the words of Alan Partridge, make him look like 'SUCH a big head'.

    Gidea Park - the opposite of Tight Fit. Musically quite well done, but really uninspiring.

    Starsound extended playout (yay!) - I too spotted the white tie and tails guy dancing with Rosie (lucky git!) - top hat presumably just out of shot. Some of the guys are barely bothering though, particularly the one with Patti. Are they mad?!

    1. Starsound playout - I think the Leggers eyed up through the whole show, who would be a soft touch in the studio audience, and must have discussed among themselves who to pick out, i.e., the shy ones, who would be unlikely to take advantage and dance the girls dizzy to tire them out. Now just imagine if that happened! It was a case of girl power here, or simply girls taking the lead for a change.

      The late night repeat had much more of the playout/dancing with Legs & Co, and was fantastic to end the show with such energy and spirit I thought.

  17. Pleased to say that a crisp version of Stars On 45 from the 7th May edition has just been pasted on Utube a couple of weeks ago. The version we saw on this blog from Neil B's copy was scrambled at the beginning from a VCR recording, but it seems this new posting is crisp and fresh and how it was in 1981!

  18. Another decent outing by Dickie Skinner, much better than most of the show, apart from cobbling REO Speedwagon’s song title up and calling those Vapors and Gidea Park songs hits or in the charts when they’re weren’t in the mugshots. Mind you, I was more interested in that vision in the green top and yellow ra ra skirt- definitely ‘ra ra’ in my opinion!

    The incredibly haired Dave Fenton was, and is again, a solicitor either side of his Vapors career. Shame “News At ten” missed out on coverage due to ‘that strike’ as I thought it was better than this admittedly decent effort. I sensed a slight rip-off of Supertramp’s “Logical Song” in that lyrical list of what Heaven is near the end of the song.

    Sheena’s James/ Brooke / Premium Bond theme simply reminded me of the Tiswas version ”For Your Pies Only” which went out live with the singer (John Gorman in drag?) getting loads of pie-in-the-mush action.

    Oh God, it’s Shaky with that bloody Elvis dance again. Almost makes me pine for Showaddywaddy. I did say almost.

    Never mind the awful REO Speedwagon guitar solo, that automated mic could have knocked the drummer out if he’d tilted his head at that precise moment.

    Legs & Co involved in a bit of pillar / pole dancing in that church setting? Hmmm. I liked the outfits and routine and I thought the extra coverage for Patti was heavenly (apart from that bloody stop-start screen effect).

    Tight Fit were so dreadful, I see they weren’t even given the usual courtesy of a mugshot. First time a record in a top 30 rundown didn’t get one?

    Visage – oh dear oh dear oh dear. No sympathy for Steve from me. If ever you wanted a classic example of style over substance, this was it.
    From memory, whenever I’ve travelled on a particular part of the tube network, the train usually fast forwards through Gidea Park. So did I.

    Again, lovely outfits for the Leggers in the outro. I take it that was the first time a TOTP dance troupe had strutted their stuff to both an act and then a medley of that act in the same show?

    1. roy wood of wizzard fame actually released a (somewhat john barry-inspired) instrumental track called "premium bond theme":