Thursday, 24 March 2016

No Top of the Pops No Cry

July 9th 1981 marks the 900th edition of Top of the Pops, a live show featuring the four original hosts and many special guests, and the beginning of the Yellow Pearl era. A landmark show if ever there was one. But frustratingly and devastatingly for BBC4 it was hosted by Jimmy Savile and so it can't be broadcast. So a huge thanks here to Darnall42 for making it available on Vimeo. Obviously do not click the link if you want to avoid Jimmy Savile ~

There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Jona Lewie

09/07/81 (900th edition) (hosted by Jimmy Savile, Alan Freeman, David Jacobs & Pete Murray)

(16) Kirsty MacColl – “There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis”

Mr 'Thin Lizzy' is thanked for writing the new theme tune and Kirsty MacColl gets the new Top of the Pops era underway with a song that peaked at number 14. We then get a trip down memory lane with some clips from the 1960's:
The Supremes – “Baby Love” (clip from 07/10/64)
Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – “Little Children” (clip from 26/02/64)
The Dave Clark Five – “Bits & Pieces” (clip from 26/02/64)
The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” / “Twist and Shout” (live clips)

(12) Randy Crawford – “You Might Need Somebody”

A new performance from Randy follows with a song that went up one place higher. This is followed by a whole lotta clips from the 70's (and 80's so far) accompanied to "Pop Musik" by M. Pete Murray then briefly interviews (the still quite young looking) Mary Hopkin and Sandie Shaw before introducing ~

(10) Tom Tom Club – “Wordy Rappinghood”

A particularly energetic Legs & Co routine ~ they made it into the new era, just.

(9) Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman No Cry” (live clip)

David Jacobs introduces the song that charted after Bob's death a few weeks earlier, peaking at number 8. Followed by a short interview with Alan Clark & Tony Hicks of the Hollies.

(14) Motorhead – “Motorhead (Live)” (video)

Became the band's third and final top ten hit when it made number 6. Then its (soon to have a solo hit) Bill Wyman's turn to be interviewed and a clip is shown of his well known band:
The Rolling Stones – “The Last Time” (clip from 04/03/65)

(6) Imagination – “Body Talk”

A third studio performance of Body Talk and this time the boys bring along their own harem.
Alan Freeman then gives us the chart rundown from the very first Top of the Pops and then we discover that the new top ten rundown no longer features snippets from the songs. Finally, Adam Ant introduces the new number one....

(1) The Specials – “Ghost Town”

And before our very eyes The Specials break up and the Fun Boy Three are born. This edition really did ring in the new.

(4) Starsound – “Stars On 45 Volume 2” (Legs & Co/credits)
A quick change then for Legs & Co (not that they had too much to change out of or into) for a routine to the follow up to Stars on 45, which also made it to number 2.

Next up is the 16th July 1981 hosted by Peter Powell.


  1. A brilliant episode. Many thanks for loading it.
    Question: was that Billy Bremner on guitar for Kirsty?

    1. Yes from Rockpile I do think it was :-)

  2. Kirsty MacColl kicks things off with a flying start, not counting the new titles which are the best since the early 70s, and maybe the best they ever had.

    Then the very familiar 60s clips, because that's about all that survives from that decade of shows.

    Randy next, what a pro, singing live on a live show in front of 20 million viewers if Jim'll is to be believed. Then a compilation that reminds me of the old Mary Whitehouse Experience sketch about Dad's Army... "He's dead... he's dead... he's dead..."

    Tom Tom Club, great quirk pop from a really good album, and plenty of opportunities for Legs & Co to act out the conversational lyrics.

    Bob Marley, he's been co-opted by the hipster fraternity for so long it's difficult to remember the impact he first had. What was the film where one guy thought No Woman No Cry was a positive song because Bob meant that without a woman you weren't going to have any reason to be upset?

    Motorhead, another top single from then, sort of their Hey Hey We're The Monkees. Video's pretty bog standard, mind you.

    Yeah, Bill Wyman looks totally different (!). Not wearing shades will do that.

    Hey now, Imagination, something wrong with Legs & Co? Who were these lounging interlopers? They didn't even get a glass of champers and a carnation each.

    Jerry barely facing the audience for the Specials' grand finale, I notice. Brilliant miming, though. Anyone reminded of that joke on Father Ted with the club night?

    Starsound copy and paste ABBA to end on. It didn't quite seem like a new era with all the old team on it, but it was getting there. I'm presuming Peter Powell will be more like it.

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    2. I distinctly remember this episode of TOTP because of the Imagination studio performance of Bodytalk, and felt that the girls on stage with them made a nice alternative offering to Legs & Co, and the fit harem here must have made Legs & co feel like getting on stage with them. Nothing like a bit of competition for looking this good on stage, eh girls?

    3. THX, I remember an episode of "Phoenix Nights" where Peter Kay's wheelchair-bound working men's club owning character Brian Potter gains a girlfriend who then dumps him as she turns out to be a DHSS 'spy' checking he's not fiddling the benefit scheme. When telling his compere mate Jerry about the split, a heartbroken Brian tries unconvincingly to suggest her leaving hasn't affected him by uttering "No woman, no cry".

    4. He must have seen the same film! Think it was 80s or 90s.

    5. Found it! The movie was a Japanese/American comedy from 1988 called Tokyo Pop. Shown three times on the BBC in the 90s, so I must have seen it there. The trailer on YT looks charming, and that's how I remember it. Probably never to be seen again, though.

  3. i loved watching "the mary whitehouse experience" (i remember the "he's dead... he's dead" sketch well), but sadly it seems that (probably due to rob newman being up his own artistic arse) it's unlikely to ever get a dvd release. i remember martin shaw doing the same thing with regard to "the professionals" - only relenting when informed he was denying his ex-co star gordon jackson's widow some much-needed royalties to pay the rent! sadly i don't think that will happen here as all of newman's colleagues (unlike the man himself who very much exiled himself from the mainstream after his heyday of "pop star comic", and resolutely remains on the edges) have since done very well for themselves in the entertainment business

    1. Rob Newman's recent Radio 4 series was excellent, funny and thought provoking. He's doing OK, but I've no idea if he's vetoed any MWE DVD release. Fist of Fun had enough trouble as it was, and it wasn't Lee and Herring being the problem.

  4. "The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” / “She Loves You” (live clips)"
    ..not She Loves You, but Twist and Shout. Pete Murray still with us of course, and looking good here. Yes, Billy Bremner (not the footballer!) with Kirsty.

    1. I noticed that that JS referred to this Beatles track as 'film', and still by the middle of 1981 the term 'video' had still not been coined for a music video by anyone, as all the Radio 1 DJ's were still introducing videos on the show by calling them 'film'.

      We will watch closely on these repeat runs to see when the term 'video' will be coined for the first time. Another suspense-filled moment to come no doubt in the history of TOTP.

    2. Pretty sure I'd heard the term used by then. Two instances were during the furore over Duran Duran's Girls on Film, and during the lead up to the original MTV channel being launched.

    3. Those instances were not as early as July 1981 though.

    4. Yes you are right it was Twist and Shout ~ well all those Beatles songs sounded the same didn't they really :-)

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  6. The four DJs on this 900th show were all of similar age, born between 1925-1927, and Pete Murray OBE is still with us at the age of 90 G-d bless him, while the other three departed our world in recent years.

    I would say that the TOTP own video (I mean 'film') for M's Pop Musik went on too long, at nearly 4 minutes, and could have been swapped for another hit on this week's chart, or possibly given Legs & Co a main line up for Starsound Stars on 45 Vol 2 at No.4 this week, rather than the measly short clip at the end credits where only about a minute of Starsound/Legs & Co was shown.

    Also on this show, Kirsty MaCcoll and Randy crawford wearing lovely dresses. In the case of Randy, it was almost a dress, but not quite. Jimmy saville stayed seated by the video screen in the background of Kirsty Maccoll throughout the song.

    Other things of note on this show - Tom Tom Club I felt sounded very much like Funky Town by Lipps Inc. the previous summer in 1980. Motorhead were singing about themselves as "Motorhead" was the main lyric in the song, and nice to see Lemmy advertising Girlschool on his T-Shirt in the video for the Motorhead EP.

  7. A great same that the first new style show isn't being shown on BBC4 because to coincide with the celebratory edition it has new titles, a new theme tune and a party atmosphere like never before - well not since the early 70s at any rate. But as well as the audience being all-dancing and surrounding the acts we also have dancers dressed up in costume (two Elvises), people in party hats and balloons (yep fuckin' balloons - woop-de-do).

    Kirsty M is a fantastic start to the new look shows and better than the last performance, we can hear the music this time including the a huh-huh backing vocals supplied by the guys. Curiously the two Elvises (the fat one and the Return to-Slender one) are dancing along but don't look that bothered about the song.

    Nice to see the old clips. Of course we can see these at any time now thanks to Youtube, etc, but back then it was genuinely exciting to see old clips of past shows. However I'm not sure if all these clips are from TOTP of course because most of the shows were wiped by that time. Recently I found an old film/TV industry magazine from 1970 that has ad in for Weircliffe Bulk Tape Erasers in it with a photo of a young woman grinning while she wiped over tapes with ease. Damn you Weircliffe and your evil erasers.

    A new performance from Randy C but it's the same stodgy backing by numbers. This was the third she had appeared surely there must be other acts going up t'chart that they could have featured.

    Nice to see Pete Murray, David Jacobs and Fluff Freeman, but JS still not letting them get a word in edgeways. The scary thing is David Jacobs was the same age I am now!

    The Legs girls interpret the Tom Tom Club in their own style. This type of dancing was perhaps beginnig to look a bit tired by this point and it's no wonder they were dropped later in the year although were the group who replaced them that different?

    I heard the original studio version of No Woman No Cry for the first time a while ago and similarly to Peter Frampton's Show You The Way To Go its odd how a live version was that much better and became the chart hit.

    Two of The Hollies sit there like dummies while Jimmy talks for them, to them and about them at the same time. And Macca sent a shitty little cake. Big deal. Wonder how much he charged them? I notice the tiny little cake morphed into a giant cake (with candles) by the end, I expect they chucked Macca's in the bin where it belonged.

    Motorhead doing Motorhead on video looking good but it's hard to see (or hear) why this was the weeks highest new entry.

    Jimmy interviews Bill Wyman and gets him to promise to read out the top Ten but of course it doesn't happen and I don't expect he got a copy of the clip they showed. Of course Jimmy and Bill share an interest, I just can't think what it is.

    Imagination back for a third bite of the cherry, camping it up big time (and do you know i think they might be miming) but their crazy antics weren't quite good enough to push the song to the top spot.

    Poor Fluff barely has time to read out his 1965 Top 20 before Jimmy takes over with the latest Top Ten. And then Adam Ant attired in a see-thru blouse introduces The specials - all 11 of 'em (12 if you count the skeleton) crammed onto a tiny stage, hardly befitting of the number one group. Still a great performance and seeing this still sends a shiver up my neck. Sad to see bassist Horace waving goodbye at the end, he clearly knew this was the last time we'd ever see them.

    Legs back again dancing to Stars On 45 vol 2 (great title!) - the ones with the ABBA songs although personally I preferred the other side with the medley of 60s hits which would have been more appropriate for this landmark show. I think the tall blond bloke in the background is supposed to be a Rod Stewart looky-likey but he looks more like Les McQueen from Creme Brulee.

    "It's a shit business"...

    1. Ah, you denigrate the Fab Macca Thumbsaloft baking, but ask yourself, what would he have been most likely to include as his secret ingredient?

    2. wild honey? it's funny how the richest man in pop has a reputation as a tightwad. other alledged rock superstar skinflints are mick jagger and rod stewart

    3. I've seen all of those b/w clips (except the Beatles one) on various compilation shows, and they are definitely from TOTP. It is a minor miracle that they survive at all, really.

      Re Macca's cake, I don't know why he bothered, given that he hardly ever appeared on the show in person anyway!

    4. Actually it should have been Jane Asher who made the cake, not Linda McCartney. She would have sent some Quorn burgers or nut cutlets.

  8. A landmark show in so many ways, and a great shame BBC4 couldn't repeat it. As the first TOTP theme I was ever exposed to, Yellow Pearl is the one that I always associate the most with the show, and I still think it's a fantastic bit of music that was a perfect choice for this exciting new era in British pop. The flying disc record sequence also brings back memories of early childhood, notably Mum coming in from her part-time Thursday evening cleaning job while Dad and I were watching the TV.

    While Jim'll is often accused of being on autopilot by this stage in his TOTP career, his enthusiasm here couldn't be faulted, doubtless helped by the special occasion and the live transmission. Indeed, like the PP live show on 7 May, everything unfolded extremely slickly, and the compilation of past TOTP images was really quite sophisticated for the time, making judicious use of Quantel. The b/w clips must also have been exciting to see at the time, as it was so rare to get the opportunity to view archive footage back then, even though in the years since we have probably all seen these clips a million times. Jim'll craftily implies that the clips are from the first episode, which they are not - the earliest, featuring the Dave Clark Five, is from show 8.

    It was a nice touch too to bring back the other original presenters, though it does heighten the sense of deep regret that so little footage from the 60s remains to us - I do wish someone would hurry up and invent a time machine so that we could go back and watch those shows on their first transmission! Sadly, Pete, David and Fluff all make a bit of a hash of their links, Pete coming over as far too lascivious when introducing Legs (to the visible disapproval of Mary Hopkin and Sandie Shaw), David introducing Bob Marley without seeming to know who he was, let alone that he had just died, and Fluff talking about looking to the future when leading into the current Top 10 - surely you meant the present, Fluff? Happily the celebrity interviews were fairly unembarrassing, though Jim'll did seem intent on making himself appear like he was best mates with The Hollies and Bill Wyman...

    With so much else going on, the music feels a bit incidental to this edition, but both Kirsty and Randy deliver good new performances. The latter, though saddled again with the Orchestra, delivers another superb live vocal and seems to be enjoying herself enormously. The same applies to Imagination, who reach new heights of extravagance with their golden harem. However, this appearance is still nowhere near as suggestive as their debut. Legs are marginally more dressed than the week before, and deliver a quirky routine to a quirky but fun record - some good miming on display from the girls too.

    The only other new songs are confined to very dull videos. I've always found No Woman No Cry tedious, so why it was thought the most appropriate tribute to Bob is beyond me! Motorhead, meanwhile, sing about themselves while in standard performance mode. Not my cup of tea, but they certainly made a little go a long way...

    1. I was going to make a comment about the Specials, along the lines that they do quite a good job here of concealing the fact that they were splitting up as soon as the show ended, but Bama has just pointed out on another thread that they actually split about a month after this. Another rock myth duly skewered, but this is still a memorable performance with which to end their TOTP career.

  9. shaky shakerson26 March 2016 at 12:30

    This episode was a source of great annoyance to me back on original transmission. As a 19 year old locked into the current music, it riled me that so much of the running time was 'wasted' on old stuff. I mean it was even in black and white f'God's sake. By the time we were edging to the half way point we had had just Kirsty and Randy from the present day. Surely that's it for memory lane now? Nope - a near five minute visual montage of past performances over M's Pop Music is up next. I get the whole celebration thing but surely there were better ways to do it?

    For what it's worth the remaining songs - draped in and around assorted 'interviews' and flashbacks - were ok.

    The Leggers doing their bit to the quirky Wordy Rappinghood, Bob Marley with the excellent No Woman No Cry (live)and The Specials at number 1 and in the studio (for the last time?).

    As usual Motorhead turn it up to 11, but the song aint the best.

    So, the show scores a 4 whilst the presenters collar a record-breaking 20. Although there were 5 of them, so 4 a piece.

  10. This was a seriously great edition of the show and what a shame BBC4 won’t let the masses see it. Huge thanks to Darnall42 for loading it – you guys are stars!

    JS thanks Mr Lynott for writing the new theme which had already appeared on his solo album ‘Solo in Soho’ and had been released as a single spending three weeks on the chart reaching at no.56 in March. It would return and reach no.14 later in the year after the exposure as TOTP’s theme tune, but the single would be slightly remixed on reissue, although with the same catalogue number.

    Kirsty MacColl – There’s a Guy works down the Chip Shop swears he’s Elvis – One of the better Elvis lookalikes I’ve seen is in the crowd for this. Kirsty looks fetching in her rainbow frock and has brought her massed guitarists back, along with Mr. Rockpile who sports a different guitar this time.

    Enjoyed the 60s clips, shame there were not more….

    Randy Crawford – You might need somebody – New performance from Randy, still sounds pretty good and ends better this time.

    M – Pop Muzik – Clips collage. Wow! Somebody must have really spent considerable time on a labour of love digging these out. Really enjoyed seeing them and wish I could name all the artists. Such a shame that it’s effectively locked in the vaults.

    Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood – Don’t recall the song, but another one tailor made for Legs and Co. who put on a good show for the masses watching. I loved the way they kept going at the end!

    Bob Marley – No Woman, no cry – I’m not really a Marley fan at all but thought I would give this a listen right through; really quite repetitive this song. Nice to see the wonderful David Jacobs introducing this – Juke Box Jury before Dr Who on Saturdays is one of my earliest TV memories.

    Motorhead – Motorhead – In the same week as Visage entered the charts with ‘Visage’ (at no.39) we get another name checked song. Better than some of their other efforts I thought. The band must have had a huge following at this point in time to jump in at no.14.

    Imagination – Body Talk – Again? Yawn. The boys turn up for another hammed up rendition, this time accompanied by some ladies.

    The late Alan Freeman was another of my favourite DJs, and what a treat it was looking at the fabulous first TOTP top 10 from January 1964. One song caught my eye; at no.7 was the Singing Nun with ‘Dominique’ (sung in French). This catchy one hit wonder topped the US charts over Christmas 1963 whilst we had the Beatles here. At no.11 was a track I had never heard of before – ‘Maria Elena’ by los Indios Tabajaros. I checked it out on YT and it’s a very soothing traditional Brazilian instrumental by the duo Natalicio and Antenor Lima. Another one hit wonder needless to say.

    Specials – Ghost Town – Hmmm, very cramped on that stage. I’m liking this song the more I hear it this time around. I also like Katie Melua’s song of the same name.

    Stars on Abba playout – Not as convincing as the Beatles impersonations.

    I do miss the snatches of the top10 hits that we had been seeing although I know they reappeared at some point. JS gives us another random chart reading with some entries in the top30 just mentioning the group name whilst others get both group and song title. At least we’re a couple of weeks away from ‘RIO’ Speedwagon re-entering the top30 with ‘Take it on the Run’.

    1. The poor old Singing Nun was ruined by fame, she left the nunnery, became a lesbian and committed suicide eventually. There was a documentary about her on the radio a while ago and it made for sad listening.

    2. there was an amusing section in "the guinness book of hit singles" book where the singing nun was listed inbetween the singing dogs (categorised as "canine vocal group") and the singing sheep (categorised as "computer-generated sheep noises")

    3. Foreign hits are always pretty rare here, most things I suppose weren't released here as it was known that most songs wouldn't be played or bought if not in English. Julio Iglesias gets a big hit later in 81 at least, and a good one in my estimation.

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  12. Thanks to Darnall 42 for this contraband.

    Now then. Jim’ll was like an excited chimp, Murray certainly didn’t give a mint condition performance, Jacobs looked crackers and Freeman fluffed his lines.

    Better hair and better gear for Kirsty, but those pesky cowboy hats were still there. Dagnabbit.

    That Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas clip was also from TOTP number 8.

    Another top live vocal by Veronica Crawford, and she really seemed pleased to be there, what with her content skippety-skip at the end.

    Did “Wordy Rappinghood” contain the first French lyrics in a hit since “Sunday Girl”? Stop singing, Lulu – now look, you’ve started Anita off!

    Ah, the slow dance version of Bob Marley’s hit, and he’s got a Smokie Robinson bumfluff 'tache to boot.

    If only Motorhead had released that title track on a self-titled album. They’d have been the first act with a UK hit single from a same named hit album, that title being the band’s name. We’ll just have to wait for Living In A Box then.

    Ah, Bill Wyman. When he was married to Mandy Smith, his son married her mum. Twister must have been fun round their place.

    Controversial, but there were two members of Imagination’s harem I’d have transferred in a straight swap with two of Legs & Co.

    So Linval’s also grown a “Smokie”. Prophetic to have a close up of the soon to be Fun Boy Three near the end of “Ghost Town”.

    Who was that curly haired giraffe entering screen left during the outro dance routine?

  13. I thought I'd save viewing this one until my birthday!

    It really is as if someone flicked a switch and suddenly TOTP is the show I really remember as a kid, even though it's just the theme tune and graphics that have changed!

    Not the best show musically, though I suppose it's appropriate that in true Pops style, there's a mixture - we get some country/pop, soul, heavy rock, ballad, rap (sort of), reggae and (it is 1981 after all) a medley. Plus 'Ghost Town' which in many ways defies categorisation!

    And the songs themselves were incidental to the interviews, old clips - the 60s ones would have been genuinely exciting then, and the 70s/80s one was incredibly well done - and old presenters. It's always nice to see Fluff, even though he seemed less with hit here than he did later on.

    It did look like they were burning cans of TOTP at the end rather than lighting candles on a cake. I will be doing the latter this evening I'm sure.....