Friday, 1 April 2016

(Si Si) Je Suis Un Top of the Pops

It's not an April Fool ~ we really have reached the end of July 1981 already!

Why won't you show our video?

30/07/81 (hosted by Steve Wright)

(23) Duran Duran – “Girls On Film”

Getting the show underway was the follow up to the relative failure Careless Memories, but this tune which is famed for its outrageous video, became the band's first top ten hit when it made it to number 5.

(35) Kim Wilde – “Water On Glass”

The third and final single from her top three debut album, Water on Glass made it to number 11.

(12) Depeche Mode – “New Life”
Our theme tune now just one place below its far too low chart peak.

(36) Bill Wyman – “(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star”

He'd been on the 900th show as a guest, now here was one fifth of the Rolling Stones with a somewhat controversial song to say the least which made it to number 14.

(7) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – “Hooked On Classics”
This week's Legs & Co routine, in nothing much of course, to the latest medley, and another that peaked at number 2.

(45) The Undertones – “Julie Ocean”

Their penultimate chart hit, peaking at number 41. Nice jumpers.

(4) Stevie Wonder – “Happy Birthday” (video)

Peaked at number 2. And when we got bored of the video there was the audience and Legs & Co!

(3) Spandau Ballet – “Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)” (video)

Now at its chart peak. Sweaty.

(1) Shakin’ Stevens – “Green Door” (rpt from 23/07/81)

The first of four weeks at number one.

(15) The Jacksons - "Walk Right Now" (credits)

Still climbing the charts.

Next up is August 6th 1981, but it was hosted by Jimmy Savile. So the next edition on BBC4 will be the one from August 13th.


  1. Shown the day after the royal wedding

  2. downloaded from manorak earlier in the year before he departed from vimeo

    1. Perfect Darnall 42, I just downloaded this 6th Aug episode from your link on WeTransfer, and this an original copy in full, without the need to get the UK Gold version.

      Looking forward to the blog for this edition before this coming Thursday when BBC4 will be showing the 13th Aug edition.

    2. Yes, many thanks for this Darnall - have just successfully downloaded and watched.

    3. Just looked more closely at this, and it is in fact the UK Gold version of 6th Aug 1981, but still, thanks Darnall!

  3. I just love the way Steve Wright introduces Duran Duran as "this lot." Seemed like he also had the best bevy of beauties around him this week, especially when introducing Bill Wyman and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Royal Philhamornic/Hooked On Classics - a brilliant compilation which I think also involved Louis Clarke of ELO. I bought the whole Hooked On Classics CD compilation some years back which includes their whole work, and I must say that this is highly recommended for any music lovers, which includes this week's hit and many others. Can I just say that Lulu did a lovely wiggle at the end of the Legs & Co performance on this one. Lovely!

    The Undertones - last ever hit, and this did not even make the top 40. It's a case of goodbye and good night, as we draw the curtain on another one of British pop music's finest of finds on this week's show. I still preferred their last hit It's Going To Happen.

    Stevie Wonder - I must admit I didn't find this video very appealing, and it was a relief to see the studio audience and Legs & Co partying together in the TOTP studio while the video was playing. Good touch here.

    This is also the point in TOTP history where the party balloons became instilled as part of the show, which was to stay well into the 80s and for a few more years to come. Nice to see Steve Wright dancing with the studio audience at the end of the show, and reunited with his bevy of beauties. Yes indeed!

  4. "Je Suis Un Rock Star" was originally intended for Ian Dury but, for some reason, it never got passed to him by his entourage or he didn't want to record it.

  5. host: given that the programme finally showcases synth pop properly for a change, they really should have got someone like peter powell in to present this edition, rather than a guy who obviously has no interest in current trends either musically or sartorially. but i suppose at least steve realises he has a face for radio, and unlike some of his colleagues makes no attempts to ingratiate himself with the ladies in the audience, even though there's a blonde stunner standing right next to him after bill wyman's effort. was she bill's girlfriend perchance? no, probably a bit too long in the tooth for his liking!

    duran: their future was still very much in the balance at this point, having bombed with their second 45. but they obviously still had a great deal of self-belief despite that, although i thought this guitar-heavy track worse than their first two singles. roger taylor is as cool as ever, and namesake john is simply luscious despite (or maybe because of) allowing that floppy fringe to hang over his eyes

    kim wilde: her voice has obviously been double-tracked, but despite that stil sounds really weedy. the song's rubbish too with it's toytown synth sounds and ripping-off of the "stepping stones" chord sequence

    depeche mode : hoorah - someone actually pronounces their name without the extra "ay" at the end for once! feral face is now trying to look like a college professor, whilst carrot top goes from leather boy to pipe and slippers man. but whatever he wears, the latter is just not ever going to cut it visually as a pop star - what would most suit him are orange dungarees to match his hair, as he looks like someone you'd expect to find working at b&q. although this is still too poppy for my taste, i have to admit i like the fadeout at the end

    bill wyman: old bill always makes me laugh as he has "extra large head" syndrome where his bonce is out of all proportion to his body (debbie harry suffers from a similar affliction). but despite being a short-arse he still has to slouch to play his synth. he obviously can't carry a tune in a bucket, so although being known as "the quiet one" in the stones he must have had some ego to record and release this (and this wasn't even his first effort as he'd already put out a couple of solo albums). were the dropped "aitches" deliberate or did he actually talk that way? and is that robert palmer's beardie grizzly adams-alike on drums? given bill's status you would think he could have afforded another guy on keyboards to back him up rather than be filmed playing both that and bass. and notice how this grizzled veteran still watches where his fingers are going on the bass - despite miming! bill's 80 this year, so thanks to the kindness of mr cameron he'll now be able to watch the telly for free - despite his wealth!

    1. Wilberforce, I would have thought that the reason why TOTP part-timers like Steve Wright, and the following week Jimmy Saville were brought in on two consecutive weeks, is that we had now hit the school holidays/ summer holiday period, and I would expect the regulars like Powell and Co, were now having a well earned break and their summer holidays at this time, so it may explain why Powell was not doing this show.

    2. It was only 3 weeks since PP's last show, so I doubt he would have hosted this one anyway. Wrighty seems to have taken Tommy Vance's place on the roster at this point, as Tommy would not appear again in '81, while SW would pop up twice more before the end of the year.

    3. Bill Wyman's hairy drummer was/is Bruce Rowlands (ex-Grease Band), who was actually 5 years younger than Bill even though he looked 20 years older.

    4. Are you sure the drummer wasn't David Bellamy?

    5. The Radio 1 Roadshow might have been a reason for Wright 'then Savile.

  6. like probably all those bloody medley efforts, this is a two parter:

    RPO/legs: you can imagine record company executives sitting in boardrooms saying: "okay, we've had beatles medleys, we've had beach boys medleys, we've had 60's pop medleys, we've had disco medleys. what else can we chuck out to make hay whilst the sun shines? surprisingly we were spared rock n roll medleys (at least until jive bunny came along), but it's a shame that no one thought to do a punk one - that would have actually been quite interesting (although the thud-clap machine would have needed speeding up considerably). if i said new legger anita was growing on me then i'd be a liar - come back pauline, all is forgiven!

    undertones: a new jangly guitar direction for them, which may not have gone down too well with those more used to the thrashing of "my perfect cousin", etc. although a noble effort to escape pigeonholing it doesn't really work for me, but the fadeout at the end is quite good. with his freshly-washed mop, feargal is clearly already working on the unlikely pin-up image image he presented when he went solo a few years later. was julie ocean an actual person of that name? otherwise it seems pointless to use the word "ocean" as it bears no relevance to the rest of the lyrics

    stevie wonder: one that got played relentlessly on the radio at the time, but i'm sure that despite that i was one of many (in this country anyway) who never took the slightest notice of the lyrics and their political significance. i wonder (unintentional pun) just how many in that audience with their party hats and streamers knew or even cared what stevie was going on about? using music as a platform to push your political views is a real no-no as far as i'm concerned - however honorable your intentions. and i can't say i particularly care for the concept of creating public holidays on behalf of worthies (whatever their achievements) - what if someone doesn't have an affiliation with them and their views? do they go to work on that day instead?

    spandau: the video was filmed at le beat route (ho ho), which was then rivalling steve strange's blitz as the trendiest club in blighty. i can't say i liked the superimposed sound effects much though. and what was tony running towards or away from at the end?

    jacksons: our host stays in the crowd at the end - maybe because he's realised the striking blonde seen earlier is right next to him? but she gives a glance to the camera as if to say "what i am doing standing next to this git"?

    1. Spandau's video was not that good, and this type of punchy song suits itself more for studio/live performance than pop video budget.

      With regard to the 'striking blonde' as you put it Wilb, I did think the same when watching it this morning, and she would have been better standing next to me if she really thought of SW as a 'git' as you call it. However, I was only 13 in 1981, so could never put the offer in unfortunately.

  7. shaky shakerson2 April 2016 at 03:42

    Steve Wright in much-rehearsed opening gambit mode gets us going this week with Duran Duran's new one. This was the tune that really got the band motoring, and a decent enough studio romp as well although I never thought much of LeBon as a front man. He's an okay singer but his moves just look a tad ungainly. Let's face it - no one is ever going to write a song called 'Moves Like LeBon' are they? Bass player Taylor is in 'look how gorgeous I am' mode as he prepares to cement his place as the most beautiful man in pop - copyright Smash Hits.

    Steve Wright seems astonished that Kim Wilde is clocking up her third hit. Three! And her being a woman and all. It's a not-bad effort with a nice guitar motif, but the production is Supermodel thin. Oh, and Kim? Never EVER allow a cameraman to film you from below - only emphasises yourdouble chins darling.

    Guilty Pleasure time. I loved Je Suis Une Rock Star in 1981. I liked the little keyboard hook, the working-class vocals and the chorus. It hasn't. however, stood the test of time and the line 'They'll think your my daughter' is weirdly insightful in retrospect. He can't mime for toffee ol Bill, can he?

    Hooked On........ no I can't be bothered.

    Last week we had the Vapours' 'Jimmy Jones' which was both useless and a flop. This week the trick is repeated by the Undertones with 'Julie Ocean'. Lesson learnt here is; don't release a single that is someone's name. I don't recall this from the time and it's quite obvious why - no discernable tune and a meandering lyric which goes nowhere. And Fergal Sharkey! Up there in the top ten of irritating front men.

    Stevie Wonder gets the scissors and paste treatment. Presumably there was no promo for this and after a few concert moments and news clippings we resort to filming the studio audience and The Leggers in party spirit mood. This is a song which has lost its sheen over the following decades - being played far too much.

    The chart rundown changes again as, this week, we go from 20 down to 5 then 4 then the top three. Stop pissing about lads - get yourself a set formula and stick to it please.

    Scores then. Wrightie scores 6. He didn't do anything TOO terrible, but his put-on accent for the charts was annoying and he just looks ill at ease in front of the camera.

    5 for the show. Duran, Spandau and Bill Wyman being the pick. The Undertones are whatever the opposite of pick is.

  8. Why can't Steve Wright keep still when he's talking, he keeps moving his arm up and down, was he was being operated by strings?

    I must admit I never really liked Duran Duran dismissing them as too poncy, too posey, too clothes obsessed (even though Simon The Good was too fat to look cool in that Indiana Jones clobber), but they did do some belting singles and this was one of them. I love the line about "pulling Dolly by the hair" although I could do without Simon's tambourine antics.

    Kim Wilde - oh no Ricky's committing the cardinal sin of playing two instruments at the same time, the guitar and the moog synth, it never works. Lot's of visual tricks going in this weeks show including the intercut shots of Kim Wilde with water AND glass - no expense spared (said he, writing his comments like Mark Radcliffe would say them on TOTP2), it almost looks like a video. And then not one, but TWO Bill Wyman's, one pretending to play synth and one miming bass parts, no doubt making up for all the bass parts that were wiped off the Stones albums and re-recorded by Keith Richard(s), who's an average guitar player by the way. And it was a big two fingers to Mick Jagger as he was the first Stone to have a solo hit. This is an odd song with a few out-of-date references including flying by BEA who were absorbed into BA in 1972. Strangely Bill seemed to live out the lyrics of the song for real a few years later.

    Depeche Mode squeezed out of the early show - a new performance as it happens (are we still allowed to say that?), with the band proving that they have extensive wardrobes. Andy fletcher has succumbed to the new look dumping his leathers for pleated trousers and a little bow tie, while Vince Clarke has gone all Clark Kent wearing glasses to look intelligent. Not sure that it's working.

    Last time we had no less that 3 (count 'em) medleys and now we have a fourth in the shape of Hooded On Friggin' Classics, the first time classical music has bothered the Top 30 singe Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto in 1976. The poor Legs girls really don't know what to do and full marks for putting this together. I like the bit when they turn round, shake hands with each other and then bow, very funny.

    The first part of the chart. Dexys drop a few places but would go into the Top 20 next week. Poor Evelyn King drops without even being featured while other acts have been shown two or three times.

    The Undertones looking cool in cashmere like mini me Val Doonicans. This is a stripped down, slowed down version of a track from their Positive Touch album and it's totally and utterly brilliant. I remember seeing this at the time being totally mesmerised by it and rushing out to buy it the next day. Sadly it didn't get far in the chart.

    Straight through the Top 20 into the Top 10 and to number 5 and Stevie who's discovered hair beads and does his brill tribute to Martin Luther King. At one point he also wears a a little astrakhan smoking cap. They get bored with the video after two minutes and cut to the crowd dancing. The BBC are back their old see-what-you-say tactics - they hear the word "birthday" and what do they give the crowd, balloons, streamers and hats of course. That must have taken a huge stretch of the imagination. But where's the jelly and cake?

    1. Was that Evelyn "Champagne" King (as opposed to Evelyn "Champaign" King) missing out on being featured? She would have a big hit the next year if it's any compensation.

  9. Part 2:
    Next Spandex on video and it starts off okay but turns into a performance video with the band miming on a dingy stage at the Beat Route in Greek Street in Soho. A nice slice of white funk which I danced to many a time in various clubs but I never did manage to work out exactly what the song was about - "I feel the gaze against my skin", suggests it about looking good and being looked at and presumably the pressure of being up to date fashion wise.

    For some reason we then see a clip of The Specials (the last time we'll see them until Free Nelson Mandella I believe), so presumably they are only showing the Top 3 visually now and then a repeated Shaky. More party crowd dancing (dancing not walking right now) to The Jacksons on the playout.

    Not a bad show, but by this point the crowd should have been paid because they're putting as much into their dancing as Legs and Co are.

    1. It seems that on the 1981 repeats so far this year, that there's always more footage of the crowd dancing at the end of the show on the late-night repeat, than on the 7.30pm early evening cut.

      Nice touch by BBC4 on the late-night repeat, to not only show the full number of acts on the show, but also the complete studio-audience dancing to the end of the song and well after the end credits are complete.

    2. Yes, I always enjoy the extended bits at the end.

      I wonder if this would be a BBC4 exclusive - I can't imagine they played it to the very last balloon pop on it's original showing.

    3. I think you're right, cos depending on how tight the schedules were in 1981 to get onto the next programme, much like the current early showing at 7.30pm in these repeats runs, BBC1 at the time would be able to withdraw at any point after the credits completed.

      The great thing now, is that the late night repeat showing is on at a time when most people have gone to bed, and BBC4 has the luxury of having plenty more time, so it's interesting that we had to wait 35 years to see for example how last week's show continued with Starsound Stars on 45 Vol 2 with plenty more Legs & Co in heavenly white to the last balloon!

    4. Bama, that Spandau line is actally "I feel the graze against my skin".

  10. Durren Durren set things off with the tune that put them on the map popwise, slick, louche and a little naff if we're being honest. But they found a formula and stuck with it, more power to them.

    Another winner from Kim Wilde, and just in case you weren't sure what the song was called we get a visual representation of water on glass - ah, right, we get it now! At the moment I'm preferring Kim to Depeche Mode in the synthpop stakes.

    Speaking of the devil, here they are and once more demonstrating how difficult it is to dance while playing keyboards.

    Always felt there was something a bit "off" about Bill Wyman, and that was even before I started hearing the sleazy stories about him. Je Suis un Rock Star oddly reminds me of Jilted John, if John had gone on to be a megastar and was regaling us of his less that salubrious lifestyle.

    OK, last time I was complaining about all those medleys... but I now eat my words because I really like Hooked On Classics! Like Dory, I got that box set a few years ago, and while I don't listen to it regularly, it's good background music. Also, seeing Legs & Co dancing to it is very funny, they have a "what the hell, let's get on with it" attitude to the ridiculousness of what they're doing that I find admirable. There was a video, though, wasn't there? Or was it just a few clips thrown together for the BBC?

    The Undertones, trying to branch out but I'm not sure if quiet, soulful and moody suited them particularly. Did their mums knit them those jumpers? Feargal about to briefly conquer the pop charts, of course, not sure there's any love lost between him and the rest of the band, sadly.

    Talking of cobbled together clip fests, this Stevie Wonder video looked like something rustled up for the show rather than anything official. As for the song, probably heard it too many times, but I liked it at the time.

    Spandau Ballet, at the start I thought, ah, so this is where The Prodigy got the idea for their Smack My Bitch Up video, but then it went into a more traditional concert video, albeit staged for the cameras rather than spontaneous. Not sure what a better video would have been, but the song is the best part.

    Notice in this Shakey performance that one of the dancers in the line up, the girl with the long, blonde hair, is dancing more professionally than anyone else, even though she's just doing simple steps. A pro or an enthusiastic amateur? Also, is Behind the Green Door Shakey's favourite film, hence his choice of this to cover? Naughty old Shakey.

    1. I also noticed the girl dancer on Green door, I guess you mean the cute with one with the yellow frilly miniskirt. I admit watching her slinky moves rather than Shaky's predictable hustle.

      This generation of studio audience/dancers would have been born in the early 1960's and were now coming of age in 1981, and dressing s much better than what we saw on TOTP in the late 70's editions.

    2. Believe it or not, "Water On Glass" is apparently about suffering from tinnitus.

  11. Love the show, Steve! Seriously, I thought this was the best edition for a while, even if Wrighty himself looks no more comfortable in front of the camera after his year away from TOTP. As has already been noted, he jerks around incessantly in every link, and his attempts at humour sound too nervy and forced. Still, some fine music helps make up for all that. Duran Duran are back with their big breakthrough single, which remains one of their better efforts. Having largely dispensed with the New Romantic clobber, they also look reasonably cool here too. I don't suppose the video ever made it on to the show...

    Kim Wilde is also back with another good single, perhaps not as strong as her first two but with another catchy chorus. It is a bit odd (and irritating) how she starts missing words out at the end though, and her hair is also a bit of a mess here. After another welcome new performance by Depeche, dragging their equipment back to TV Centre for the third time, Bill Wyman treats us to his notorious solo hit. I actually don't mind this, as it has quite an appealing tongue-in-cheek quality, even if the "dad and daughter" lyrics are uncomfortably prophetic in hindsight! Weird how the BBC seem to have recorded two completely different performances here, one with Bill on synth and another on bass, and then melded them together - seems rather pointless to me.

    Thankfully just the one medley this week, though Hooked on Classics arguably works better than some of its pop counterparts, despite the ever annoying and seemingly obligatory beat laid all over it. I thought Legs performed an enjoyably free-form routine for this, and they all looked to be having a good time. Feargal Sharkey, by contrast, looked both awkward and uncomfortable on that high seat, but I rather liked Julie Ocean. It had a pleasingly haunting quality, and showed that The Undertones could do slower tunes as well as the more raucous stuff.

    It was a bizarre decision to count down from 20 to 5, and then spend the rest of the show going through the Top 4, but I suppose variety is the spice of life! I thought the Spandau video had a raw, claustrophobic quality to it that reflects the song quite well. Stevie's promo, by contrast, was dull as ditchwater and it's no great surprise that we switched over to Legs dancing with the audience and waving balloons around in the second half. I've never liked this song, as I always associate it with Disney, who used to play it over nauseating promotional footage of Mickey Mouse prancing around in Disney World. It's always felt to me like an overly American, overly showbizzy kind of song, though it can't be denied that it did help Stevie greatly in his successful campaign to have Martin Luther King's birthday made into a public holiday. Having done a decent job dancing to this, the audience continue to give a convincing impression of having fun bopping to The Jacksons during the playout. Good to see Wrighty joining in, though you get the impression dancing is not his forte...

    1. Forgot to mention, it was appropriate that Duran Duran were on this show, given that their number 1 fan Lady Di had got married the day before transmission! Odd actually that the Royal Wedding didn't merit a mention in this show - doubtless republicans were annoyed that Ghost Town didn't remain at the top of the charts for the big day...

    2. I'm pretty sure I noticed Steve visibly steeling himself for the first couple of seconds at the start, so maybe nerves played a part in his strange demeanour. OK, they probably did.

    3. I'm sure they were a big factor, and as you say he was visibly steeling himself before launching into his intro. I think SW has admitted in the past that he was never at ease on TV.

    4. other than making sure i saw or heard as little of that royal wedding crap as possible (which was a tall order ro put it mildly), i can't remember how i spent the day now - maybe i wanted to erase the horror of it from my mind? i do remember that a distant relative of mine went off swimming somewhere that day (presumably he had similar views on it to me) and ended up drowning!

    5. I went on holiday to the USSR in order to avoid the Royal Wedding :-)

    6. Good L-rd, it seems there are not many fans of Charles & Diana on this blog. All I can remember is that Ghost Town was No.1 in the three weeks leading up to the Royal Wedding and only got toppled by Shakin Stevens Green Door, a couple of days before the wedding itself, but certainly Ghost Town was effectively the real No.1 during the build up to it.

    7. On Royal Wedding day it was a special bank holiday and I can recall sitting on the bed with our lodger's girlfriend watching the ceremony on the TV (the telly was in their room, we didn't have one). We both got bored after a bit and watched the Michael Caine film Gambit on the other side.

    8. Sounds like a very accommodating lady on the bed. Did you not think of a better idea than watching Gambit??

    9. If I'd known Gambit was on I'd have watched that, but my sister wanted to see the wedding so I sat bored reading chapters of a Doctor Who Target novelisation instead.

    10. I'm pretty sure that it was a warm day. I was 9 therefore I went out on my bike I expect. I know I didn't see much of the wedding!

  12. Girls on Film has a funky sound to it and I like that better than the rather boring beat of Planet Earth. The lyrics too have to splurge out with some pace and energy.

    Kim Wilde with for me a much better song that the rather patchwork Chequered Love. It flows along nicely.

    Not a fan of The Undertones song, and in general I don't like them that much. I find you either love his voice a lot and like their songs or you don't and they are just ok.

    Wyman sings about being a rock star while singing a song which sounds like it's from the lightest end of the pop spectrum.

    I liked hearing Stevie Wonder, wanted to sing along to it. Obviously I haven't heard it too many times like some.

    1. Steveland's Happy Birthday seems to get rolled out for anyone's birthday now, regardless of the lyrics. Maybe now Happy Birthday To You doesn't have the royalties to be paid on it we'll hear it less.

    2. Did your local comercial radio station use the mainly instrumental B side version, for their birthday greetings segments on their breakfast shows?

      My local one did!

    3. that's a good idea - it removes all that inappropriate and inconvenient stuff about martin luther king! not that i'd ever be likely to be in this situation (unlike noax), but if i were to use this track for the purpose of giving radio listeners birthday greetings, what i would do is mix the vocal choruses with the instrumental verses on a sound editor, and then i could babble away over the latter. but as someone said here recently: the copyright has finally (and rightfully) been removed for "happy birthday to you", so radio stations should use that instead as they now won't have to pay any royalties!

    4. It's a pity Freeez never recorded Freeez a Jolly Good Fellow. Ahem.

    5. I don't think - fortunately - that there was an ever an expectation that I should play Stevie Wonder's 'Happy Birthday' for any listeners celebrations. The Altered Images song occasionally, I admit...

  13. Welcome return for me of Steve Wright sporting a badge ‘Yes it is’ which is, of course, the excellent B Side to the Beatles ‘Ticket to Ride’.

    Duran Duran – Girls on Film – Good job the boys could make it into the TOTP studio otherwise we’d have got Legs & Co for this as I’m sure the video would have been a ‘no-no’. This was the start of Simon and Co. becoming one of the hottest groups around and it still sounds good. The outfits and hairstyles have not aged so well!

    Kim Wilde – Water on Glass – definitely diminishing returns from Kim. Can’t get excited about this one at all.

    Depeche Mode – New Life – So it’s just ‘Depeche’ rather than ‘Depechez’ according to Steve. Another trip to town from Basildon for the boys to keep the flame burning. Maybe they should have re-released ‘Dreaming of Me’ after this as this trick worked well for Tears for Fears a couple of years later with ‘Pale Shelter’?

    Bill Wyman – Si Si etc. Hmmm. Two songs in the charts with the phrase ‘voulez vous’ but I was never sure what this was all about really. Two different studio takes merged into one from Bill, something I recall Showaddywaddy doing previously. As Wilberforce has remarked, the bearded drummer looked to me like the same drummer that Robert Palmer used on ‘Clues’.

    RPO – Hooked on Classics – I love classical music, but not this treatment of it! An ideal one for Legs & Co to strut their stuff to though, and yes Dory, that wiggle from Lulu!! The medley craze was in full swing in 1981.

    Undertones – Julie Ocean – Pretty insipid.

    Stevie Wonder – Happy Birthday – A week after storming into the charts Stevie’s perennial celebration gets a look in with its MLK themed video. Why do we get a bit of the audience dancing with Legs & Co in the ‘hooked on classics’ garb? Was there something in the video that the beeb didn’t want to show? Fourth no.2 hit for Stevie without ever hitting the top spot at this point in time and yes, played at so many birthday parties since without people realising the lyrical content, in the same way that Elton John’s ‘Cold as Christmas’ is not a Christmas song.

    Spandau Ballet – Chant no.1 – Looks very claustrophobic in that club the boys are playing in. Why the snatches of Lenin I wonder?

    Shakin’ Stevens – Green Door – I must confess that I’d completely forgotten the huge leap from no.22 to no.1 that Shaky achieved with this hit. Quite a jump; the performance on the previous week’s show that is repeated here, and is well worth seeing again if only for some of the studio audience dancing (remarked upon by others already). This performance must have really struck a chord with the record buying public.

    Jacksons – Walk right now – Dancing Steve gets two lovely blondes to boogie along to for quite some time as the pictures linger long after the credits have rolled. Hosts privilege I guess!

    Love the show Steve, and I also loved the Royal Wedding on TV the day before! The album soundtrack of that event would go on to top the album charts later in the year.

    p.s. note to THX – I still have a lot of my old Target Doctor Who novels in the loft. Some of the early ones before Terrance Dicks started his production line were superb works of writing – the Auton Invasion sticks in the mind particularly.

    1. Stephen, as this is the only appearance on TOTP of Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder on this 30th July show, I remember that at the time, that this video shown on TOTP was the only footage available and was the official video of the song.

      However, it is not on Utube disappointingly, in order to see which part of the video that was replaced by Legs & Co dancing with the audience, and so this video, along with Red Sovine and Capstick comes home, are considered lost and somewhat elusive, unless they can be found.

      I think Stevie Wonder may have confiscated his video from worldwide airing, and maybe is a bit embarrassed by the political messages in the video. It's somewhat strange that for a song that made it to No.2, and stayed in the top ten throughout August 1981, that the video is nowhere to be seen in 2016, and we no longer have access to it.

    2. I think the Happy Birthday video we saw isn't on YT because it wasn't official, it was thrown together by the BBC just for this episode.

  14. the "hooked on classics" thing reminds me of an album released shortly thereafter by the RPO's rivals the LSO called "a classic case of funk". it's an interesting concept, but the feel is much more like the stars on 45 sound than actual funk grooves:

    1. My favourite LSO 'pop' offering is the album 'Classic Rock'. Some wonderful orchestral interpretations of the likes of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Life on Mars' and, best of all, 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'.

    2. Louis Clarke of ELO was instrumental in coming up with the RPO Hooked on Classics while having time off between the Xanadu album and the following ELO album Time.

      Indeed in this week's chart at No.40 is the return of ELO with Hold On Tight and new album, after 8 months since their last Xanadu release called Don't Walk Away for Xmas 1980.

      It seems Louis Clarke may have been released from any future ELO albums after Xanadu, and hence while ELO working join their new album Time, Louis must have been free to do the Hooked on Classics with the RPO. I would have thought that it could not be possible to be in both camps, so perhaps his time was up with ELO after Xanadu.

  15. thanks to the arrival of duran duran on the totp scene, i have finally dug out the john taylor autobiography i've had hanging around for a couple of years, and there are a couple of items of interest in it:

    1 - the character in "barbarella" was actually called "durand-durand" - note the extra d's on the end and the hyphen. something i certainly never knew of

    2 - he confirms that by the early 80's anyone appearing on the show went through the facade of pretending to re-record their single in the beeb's limited studios the day before the show was filmed, to satisfy musicians union demands. what happened was that after an hour or so of setting up, the label rep would take the MU rep out for a liquid lunch whilst the band carried on "recording", with the "slightly-pissed" MU guy returning just in time to hear and approve the "final mix" of that day's labours (that in reality was the mix for the actual record!)

    1. Durand-Durand was played by Milo O'Shea who I think showed up in some band promotion, possibly a concert video. Duran Duran recorded a song called Electric Barbarella later on, which wasn't a big hit.

    2. XTC recorded a B side Somnambulist during one of these TOTP sessions, as Andy Partridge didn't want to waste the time in the studio!

  16. They needed to give Steve Wright some Valium before this show to stop all those jerky movements. Maybe chloroform would have been better.

    Shame we never got to hear Evelyn King with this hit or indeed one of her previous chart entries “Shame” which, from memory, sold 250,000 twelve-inch singles but made no higher than number 39 despite spending 23 weeks in the top 75.

    One of Duran Duran’s better songs in my opinion but I could never warm to them, especially Slappable Le Bon.

    Those still life pics of a watery Kim Wilde did nothing for the production. Mind you, I did like the way Kim went ‘bub bub’ to herself to keep in time during the awkward chorus instrumental breaks.

    Depeche Mode go golf club techno with their outfits – and yet again the harmonies and end-of-song modulation get chopped!

    Bill – why, man? See what I did there? Surely, with his looks, the drummer should have backed the Bellamy Brothers.

    Dear God, not more medley boom clap! And why weren’t Legs & Co wearing classical outfits to match the song instead of sparkly swimsuits... hang on, cut that last sentence! Plenty of “Can Can” style whoops by the gals who clearly enjoyed themselves.

    “Julie Ocean” was a re-recorded monolith of the original 90-second version. I’ve never seen such anger and motion on a Dave Allen stool before.

    I can’t stand that Stevie Wonder track, so I fast forwarded only to get a screen full of Three Notes Hadley’s sweaty face. Yuck! I’m glad Visage’s video didn’t have similar daft background noises – imagine the braying and back-slapping we’d have been subjected to!

  17. I forgot to mention - Steve Wright referred to Bill Wyman as the quiet one in the Rolling Stones, which got me thinking...

    1) I was always told you have to watch out for the quiet ones.

    2) Surely Charlie Watts was just as quiet, if not quieter?

    1. despite being somewhat older than the rest and hardly having the looks or manner of a rock god, "the quiet one" had a reputation for alledgedly shagging more women than the rest of the stones put together...

  18. Hey Angelo, any chance of posting up the 6th Aug TOTP by tomorrow, as we're only a few days from BBC4 showing 13th Aug edition, and it would be nice to have some clear space/days between the two shows, so that we are not bombarded by two shows in one day on the blog.

  19. Hey, as mentioned on here recently, Don Letts just played Reginald Bosanquet's disco record Dance With Me on his 6 Music show. It was even worse than I remembered, but well done Don on such eclecticism, don't know any other "serious" music show that would play stuff like that.

    1. thanks to the wonder of youtube i was able to listen to this effort by reginald bosenquet(was his surname pronounced with a hard "et" at the end, or the french way? i can't remember now) for the first time. and yes, it is astonishingly awful - well, reggie's contribution anyway. i thought he was a toff (his dad invented the googly you know - reggie's delivery is of a similar nature here!), but on this he sounds like some kind of lout. rather amusingly and ironically given this newshound had a rep as a boozehound, at one point he splutters "you're in a pub, a cafe, a club, then move on 'cause you've had enough"!

      talking of so-bad-they're-good records (or just bad ones), there is a monthly disco in manchester called "absolute shite" (poster boys include vanilla ice and pat sharp) that i'm tempted to go to just for the sheer hell of it (and i know it would be hell!). but sadly they're much more likely to play the well-known stuff rather than the obscure SBTG "classics"...

    2. It was pronounced Bosanqu-ay, the French way. Private Eye renamed him Reginald Booze-at-Ten.

    3. thanks thx. another newsreaders who featured on vinyl were richard baker (who presented and/or narrated on various classical music releases) and angela rippon (who among other things featured on the "shape up and dance vol. 2" LP that cashed in on the aerobics/keep fit craze of the early 80's). anna ford was active on the folk scene before getting into the media industry, but i don't think she ever released any recordings

  20. Ol' wobbly head is back then. Shame, really. Bates is bad enough!

    I'm a big Duran Duran fan - saw them in concert last year and they were great. Never been overly bothered about 'Girls On Film' though, and this isn't the best performance of it.

    The Kim Wilde song is pretty crap and she seems to have overdone the bleach a bit for this performance as well.

    Although I know it's not in any way cool to do so, I liked the Bill Wyman song then and I still do.

    And from one song featured on one of my Christmas presents - 'Chart Hits 81' on double cassette - to another, 'Hooked On Classics'. Another one that I have an admiration for even though I know it's naff (as you know, I don't use that phrase that begins with 'guilty')

    After Bill Wyman's Showaddywaddy tribute with his '2 performances in one', here's another with The Undertones having different coloured jumpers. That's about the most exciting thing, as the song's a bit dull. And Feargal Sharkey playing pocket billiards throughout even when doing the angry bit was really offputting.

    And that's almost it, Stevie Wonder's rather crap if worthy song and some stuff we've seen before. At least we get an extended dance off again.