Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wired For Top of the Pops

We have a more sedate pace of Top of the Pops 1981 for the next few weeks whilst Young Musician of the Year takes over the Friday slot, which is perhaps just as well because we are already at the end of August!

You can't catch me and my Walkman!


27/08/81 (hosted by Richard Skinner)

(18) Startrax – “Startrax Club Disco”

A somewhat embarrassed looking Bee Gees tribute band kick us off this week with a medley which was now at its one hit wonder peak.

(27) Cliff Richard – “Wired For Sound” (video)

Cliff gets his slightly unsteady skates on and takes this BA Robertson/Alan Tarney composition to number 4.

(2) Soft Cell – “Tainted Love”

They just had to wait one more week to reach number one. But edited out of tonight's 7.30 showing.

(26) The Nolans – “Chemistry”

The sisters' penultimate top 20 hit which peaked at 15. But also edited out of the 7.30 slot.

(28) The Rolling Stones – “Start Me Up” (video)

Bill Wyman, who was still in the top 20, goes back to his day job to help the Stones reach the top ten for the final time with Start Me Up which made it to number 7.

(5) ELO – “Hold On Tight”

Legs & Co looking very summery for this week's routine to another band having their final top ten hit, Hold On Tight went up one more place.

(19) Ultravox – “The Thin Wall”

Another one of the bands of 1981, this was their third of four top twenty hits in 1981, The Thin Wall peaking at 14.

(12) Genesis – “Abacab”
Phil goes back to his day job on the drums to help Genesis to their third top ten hit, when this one reached number 9.

(1) Aneka – “Japanese Boy” 

The only week at number one for Aneka's only hit, but she is joined here by geisha girl Legs & Co twirling their parasols.

(29) Modern Romance – “Everybody Salsa” (audience dancing/credits)

Climbing aboard the New Romantic bandwagon here's Modern Romance with their breakthrough hit which peaked at number 12.


Next week then we reach September 3rd 1981 with Peter Powell.

71 comments:

  1. On the night we lost another megastar to 2016, it's nice to return to 1981, or it is in theory once we get another flippin' medley out of the way. The bubble machine made me think of Ro-Man in Robot Monster, which is considerably more entertaining.

    Ah, this is more like it, all credit to Cliff he could have easily put out a medley himself but has stuck with new material to this day. Wired for Sound is a fantastic pop song, one of the best he ever recorded, seriously catchy and melodic, and the spectacularly naff video is the icing on the cake. I doubt he gave Linda Blair sleepless nights, but this is one of the best singles of this year, video notwithstanding.

    Soft Cell with little Marc dressed as Mr. T for some reason.

    I haven't heard this Nolans track for, ooh, thirty-five years I'd say, and it's a jaunty little number, light as a feather but nice enough. Wouldn't like to see their talcum powder bill after getting into those outfits.

    This Stones video reminded me of Mount Rushmore with all those closeups of the band's craggy phizogs. As for the song, more tuneful than a lot of their 80s stuff, it bobs along well.

    ELO with Legs & Co really going for it, they must have been exhausted after this but they were back later on nevertheless. Makes a change from floaty dancing I suppose.

    Ultravox with an ode to cowboy builders in the construction trade, at least I think that's what it was about. Sounds like an early techno dance track from some angles, but Midge's bunnet spoils the futuristic effect somewhat.

    Genesis, now if Phil had only learned to place his microphone a little lower he wouldn't have had to strain to reach it. The tune was sort of muscular pop rock, not the worst thing they ever did but not exactly the best either.

    Finally, someone's noticed from last time that Aneka was not particularly animated, so Legs & Co have been drafted in to spice things up. Because she's so tall in comparison we are yet again reminded how tiny the dancers were. And so we wave goodbye to a true one hit wonder, i.e. we wonder how she had that one hit.

    She did join in with the dancing at the end, so more power to her. Although that was a conga, not a salsa. A friend of mine was musing the other day that Modern Romance might have released the first UK rap record (not this one). I had trouble countering this argument.

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    1. In the case of Cliff Richard, I would agree that this was a great single, and considering he had a long layoff of almost a year since the Xanadu soundtrack and that incredible duet with Olivia Newton John called 'Suddenly in Oct/Nov 1980, it was time to get his skates on (no pun intended here) to resume his solo career, and Wired For Sound really hit the note here, with the excellent roller skating video.

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    2. I haven’t seen the show yet but I assume Midge Ure was wearing tight trousers – I had to look up ‘bunnet’ on Google and it’s Glaswegian slang for the bell end! Ironically, he’d been in a relationship with Hazel O’Connor around this time and I remember a record paper interview with Hazel after they’d split where she said the biggest drawback was that there wasn’t much to draw back!

      Chart pedant alert for which I’ll apologise – I liked the Aneka joke, but technically she wasn’t a one-hit wonder as the follow-up “Little Lady” (which we’re spared) made a soaraway number 50. In that respect, Aneka had exactly the same UK chart career as the Goombay Dance Band, who made number 50 with “Sun Of Jamaica”. Mind you, they’re both eclipsed by Eurovision winner Nicole, who managed the proud achievement of two UK chart hits which peaked at the very top (“A Little Peace”) and the very bottom (“Give Me More Time”, a solitary week at number 75). Where’s my coat?

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    3. Bunnet might well be slang for bell end, but most people in the West of Scotland (and the rest of Scotland) mean a flat cap when they say it (!).

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    4. Oooh dear! Sorry about that misinterpretation. You can tell I'm not Scottish! :-D

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    5. That's all right, we got a good anecdote out of it! Although I'm not sure about your Google skills, when I looked up bunnet it said it was a hat.

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    6. Cheers Arthur for reminding me of 'Little Lady'!

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    7. Dory - Cliff had been in the charts with A Little in Love earlier in '81.

      Arthur - Midge was wearing the very opposite of tight trousers in this edition. They looked more like Oxford Bags to me...

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    8. Aneka is what I call a 'one and a half hit wonder'. There were plenty of others.

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    9. The only other Anneka I know of is Anneka Rice who ironically has the right surname for a Japanese boy.

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    10. Anneke Wills played Doctor Who companion Polly in the 60s.

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  2. host: dickie does his friendly-but-thorough thing as well as ever. and he doesn't let us down in the mild oo-er missus puns stakes either. i note he has a proclivity for putting the emphasis on the adjectives rather than nouns in song titles (the THIN wall, "GREEN door"), and whilst he's technically correct it does sound a bit weird

    startrax: not only do they rip-off starsounds' name, they also rip-off the "original" intro bit as well. the bassist and main singer acts like one of those stand-ins on the peter powell/ba robertson pilot edition, but at least he looks a bit more the part than the rest of the balding beardie brigade accompanying him. and just what was the purpose of mr satin shirt 'n' tache other than being a proto-bez?

    cliff: strangely enough no one at the time seem bothered at the prospect of a guy in his 40's trying to make out he's a teenager with his finger on the pulse of the latest technology. all his co-stars are young enough to be his kids! not that he's ever had any kids of course...

    soft cell: the director seems to have run out of ideas what to do with them as they use the same tricks as last time. david ball has dropped the gum-chewing but seems rather self-conscious as a result. whilst clean-cut pop stars either side of them on the show sport skin-tight shiny strides, ironically in contrast king of seediness marc almond wears a very conservative suit

    nolans: i love the outfits, but i prefer the "charlie's angels" haircuts of yore to the new trevor sorbie angular ones. one of the others gets a chance to do a bit of lead vocal for a change, but surprisingly it's the new kid on the block rather than the two older ones. and this may seem in poor taste, but all that slap on colleen's youthful and innocent face can't help but remind me of the notorious "mini-pops" tv series that of course was soon to make its debut. i don't remember this at all, but at times it sounds a bit like a speeded-up version of "ladies night". and rather shamefully as far as (ex) funkers kool & co are concerned, i'd much rather listen to this than dross like "jones vs jones" any day of the week! and not for the first time in a nolans song there's some modulation going on

    stones: like "ace of spades", this has now become an iconic rock track that belies its relatively modest chart placing at the time. it's always been a favourite of mine, and i thought considering the advanced age of the practitioners it sounded very cool and contemporary back then. of course it turns out that it was actually recorded several years earlier and then rescued from the archives and buffed-up when the stones were short of material for their latest album! jagger and ron wood still look practically the same now as they did then (in fact they looked the same 10 years earlier), whilst charlie watts looks younger than he did in the 1960's! i read that years later microsoft paid millions to use the track as start-up music on their computers (i did my own edit for my first-ever pc, but mick & keef never got a penny out of me!)

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    1. With Startrax Club Disco, I must admit I preferred the Legs & Co performance a couple of weeks earlier on the Simon Bates edition, instead of seeing the group in the studio this week, where I make a similar conclusion to Wilberforce here.

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    2. I thought the Startrax trio were meant to be a trio like the Bee Gees, the balding guy was meant to be Maurice, the lead singer Barry. The Robin one though wasn't as similar, thinnish though maybe at least.

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  3. probably like the startrax single and every other medley effort, this is a two-parter:

    ultravox: i liked much of the "vienna" album very much at the time, but this follow-up blew that away in my opinion with its mixture of robotic synths and drum machine counteracted by funk-like guitar chops, even though i had no idea what it was about (and with bollocks - or should that be bullocks?- like "they shuffle with a bovine grace" that's hardly surprising). and they look really stylish here too with their 1940's matinee idols image. i actually went to see them live around this time (i think they opened the show with this) and bought a t-shirt with their "rage in eden" album on the front afterwards that i consequently wore frequently for several years. but i've never actually listened to said album, as after this apogee everything else they did was rubbish as they became midge ure and his backing band, with his fucking horrible dentist-drill guitar taking over from the synths!

    genesis: not a good idea for phil to ensconce himself behind the drum kit, thus leaving the nerdy mike rutherford and preppy tony banks as the main visual focus. perhaps not surprisingly i think this so-so effort originated from a jam session rather than someone painstakingly working at a piano or guitar on their own. in fact the reason it's called "abacab" is because that was the original form of the "song" before they added lyrics (i.e. part A followed by part B, etc), and presumably they got so used to referring to it in that manner that it stuck?

    aneka: not even the presence of legs & co could sweeten this drivel in any way. and the fact that she looks like joyce grenfell doesn't help either

    modern romance: this is of course as much authentically afro-cuban as aneka's song was authentically japanese. and to make things really bizarre people are dancing to this holding placards of samurai warriors aloft! the (cod) latin spin-off from the new romantic scene was now gathering momentum, although the annointed figureheads of that movement blue rondo a la turk were usurped commercially by this bunch of chancers that had previously been plastic punks the leyton buzzards! however i feel a bit sorry for the drummer, who gets his mugshot in the chart rundown but had already been replaced and thus denied his 15 minutes of fame by the time the band got to appear in the studio!

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    1. Modern Romance was one of the best new bands in 1981, and their brand of happy dancing and carnival, salsa, party, balloons and all, were one of my best memories of 1981.

      There was no video for Everybody Salsa, as in 1981 it was quite common that bands had to prove themselves with a couple of hits first, before being given a video budget, (which was also the case with Soft Cell and Human League), and in the case of Modern Romance it was to come later in the year with Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey, which was another humdinger of a dance tune.

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    2. Dory - the original Human League did a video for the excellent Empire State Human in 1979, though sadly the single never got higher than 62 in the chart. YouTube link below:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apnRojgtmXs

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    3. Vienna is more a melody ballad whereas this one I think is much more about the energy of the beat. Vienna is no doubt overplayed, but it is catchy.

      Everybody Salsa does have a salsa beat in the background, but the thudding disco beat over the top drowns it out. Not a great tune though the energy carries it perhaps.

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  4. Two observation of Legs & Co this week:

    1. Where was Patti, and was she on holiday this week, as there were only 5 Leggers on ELO and Aneka? On Japanese Boy, I thought Anita looked the best this week with her dark blue Japanese dress towards the back.

    2. Legs & Co must have done more dances/routines to Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) then any other bands over their 5 years on our screens between 1976-1981.
    I say this because even though the ELO video was shown a couple of weeks earlier on TOTP, and was clearly available by this time, Legs just couldn't resist another dance with Jeff Lynne & Co it seemed on Hold On Tight, a song title that I'm sure many men in the studio audience and watching on television would agree to when it comes to Legs & Co's appeal by 1981, especially is this was Legs & Co's last ever routine/dance to ELO.

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    1. I think Patti was away for a whole month at this time for some reason.

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    2. It could have been because the week before, Anita completely upstaged her on Rainy Night In Georgia as lead Leg, and was slowly but surely taking the lead brunette position away from Patti, and there was not much between them on looks. Any other theories?

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  5. shaky shakerson22 April 2016 at 01:54

    Richard Skinner is host this week and well done to him for maintaining his enthusiasm throughout what is a pretty dire line up. And enthusiasm is not a word that can be thrown at Startrax's singer who looks as though he would rather be anywhere else than here.

    Soft Cell. Dave Ball has to stand with his legs ludicrously far apart to get down low enough to plinky-plonk on his keyboard. Why didn't they just higher it?

    Don't have any recollection of The Nolans' song, which isn't surprising because it is singularly lacking any kind of memorable tune or riff. Talking of which . . . hello to one of THE best opening riffs by anyone anywhere from any time. Start Me Up is just brilliant. And Keef is just so fricking cool! Loved that. Highlight of the week for me.

    The Leggers up next looking like they have had one too many sugary snacks. A very hyper performance and possibly too frenetic for Hold On Tight. Nice leg kicks though.

    Ultravox take a decent song, run it through a Kraftwerkalike computer programme and promptly ruin it. And what the bejesus has Majure come dressed up as this week? I started to lose interest half way through.

    Genesis take their first steps down Crappy Song Avenue from which they have very rarely returned. At best this is an album track. A poor track. On a not-very-good album.

    Somehow Aneka has managed to wangle her way to the very top which gives us another chance to see The Leggers. Is it just me or do some of the girls look better as brunettes?

    And we finish with Modern Romance imploring everybody to salsa, which of course, this being 1981, no one knows how to do.

    Scores. Skinner cops for a 6 - gaining points for the aforementioned enthusiasm but dropping points for the disjointed chart countdown.

    The show itself gets 5 - and that's mainly thanks to Start Me Up and the Leggers' wigs.

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    1. This was Genesis's first release for a year, as in between we had the solo project from Phil Collins with the Face Value album and three mediocre releases from it in early 1981.

      Suffice to say that 1981 was an interesting year of self-evaluation for Collins, but by returning to Genesis for the Abacab album by Aug 1981, Phil was in a much better place, as this new release was tons better than the Collins solo singles from Face Value. Welcome back to Genesis Phil.

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    2. I agree that the dance to ELO did feel rushed, for instance the running to the front in the first section.

      But Chemistry does have a snappy melody to the chorus, the rest is more style than catchy though.

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  6. This show (mostly) cheered me up on my first day back after a nasty bout of gastroenteritis - I'll spare you the details on that one.

    The first song was almost enough to send me back into a fugue as I don't think we deserved to hear that dross again, particularly when performed so amazingly underwhelmingly.

    Fortunately we then get Cliff's best ever song, a touch of Alan Tarney genius. I actually like the video, and presumably for some of the shots (unless they were using a HUGE camera track) then there must have been a cameraman on skates too potentially? Whatever, it stuck in the memory then and still does now.

    The Nolans track is OK, but Colleen is a bit too squeaky for my liking. It's another one that was on Chart Hits 81 so I know it quite well!

    The Stones track is good but I've heard it far too much on the radio now.

    An extremely lively Legs routine to ELO, enjoyable BUT 1) Rosie's hair now looks awful and 2) Could they have spent a bit more than tuppence on that set?

    That Ultravox song is one that I always forget that I know, until it gets to the chorus. That probably tells you what you need to know!

    I actually like 'Abacab', it's not doing anything particularly innovative or exciting but it's a good tune nonetheless.

    Then on to Aneka which was more interesting this time thanks to the staging, and Modern Romance who I love because of (not despite) their cheesiness!

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    1. I think Rosie's crimping addiction had descended to the point that an intervention was in order.

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  7. The oldies had most of the best stuff in this week's show!

    Interesting how both Bill Wyman and Phil Collins appeared with their bands after recent solo stuff (very recent in the case of Bill Wyman). Nice to see Phil bashing the drums after his last rather maudlin recent solo single!

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  8. The oldies had most of the best stuff in this week's show!

    Interesting how both Bill Wyman and Phil Collins appeared with their bands after recent solo stuff (very recent in the case of Bill Wyman). Nice to see Phil bashing the drums after his last rather maudlin recent solo single!

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  9. I thought this episode featured some great music with just a couple of clunkers and I do like Richard Skinner’s presentation style.

    Startrax – Club Disco – This was one of the clunkers. Why did they record it? Please no more medleys!!

    Cliff Richard – Wired for Sound – The second single of 1981 playing tribute to the (then new) Walkman after ‘Skateaway’ by Dire Straits. Another song from the prolific pen of Mr Alan Tarney and Cliff looks oh so trendy zooming around with his young pals.

    Soft Cell – Tainted Love – Yes I’ve heard it umpteen dozen times but it still sounds good. Slightly more restrained choice of attire from Mr Almond here.

    Nolans – Chemistry – I was studying A Level Chemisty at the time and this experiment from the girls failed the acid test for me. Not a patch on their previous singles although I liked the outfits.

    Rolling Stones – Start me up – For me the archetypical Stones sound. The lads seem to be really enjoying sending themselves up in this video with Jagger, Richards and Wood hamming up to the camera whilst Wyman and Watts look on in amused bewilderment. Give me this rather than that ‘Si Si’ effort from Bill any day. Great song and probably their last great single.

    ELO – Hold on tight – I didn’t remember seeing the video for this from a couple of weeks ago but I do recall this energetic Legs & Co routine. A great record to dance to so I’m not surprised that this was chosen for the girls rather than another showing of the excellent video. What I am surprised at is that in the (Jeff Lynne’s) ELO concert this week (which was really enjoyable), this song was not played (indeed nothing off the ‘Time’ album was played).

    Ultravox – The Thin Wall – I loved Ultravox at the time but I felt that this single was a little uncommercial. The second single off the ‘Rage in Eden’ album, ‘The Voice’ would have made a much better first release. Here Midge and the boys tuck into performing with Warren giving an occasional bash on the electronic drum.

    Genesis – Abacab – This was the first Genesis output after Phil’s solo excursion and his influence was clearly felt on the album of the same name with the track ‘No Reply at all’ (not released as a single over here) featuring Earth, Wind and Fire horns as well as ‘Paperlate’ which would see the light of day as part of the ‘3x3’ EP in 1982. As for ‘Abacab’ itself; in its extended format it became a staple of the bands live set and having stood on the sacred old turf of Wembley in 1987 and heard it blasted out it seems a little strange to see the band playing it in the much less grand surroundings of the TOTP studio. Here Phil makes a worthy effort of singing and drumming (OK he’s miming) whilst Tony’s restrained keyboard playing belies the massive influence he had on the band.

    Aneka – Japanese Boy – Thankfully just a single week at number one. The other clunker.

    Modern Romance – Everybody Salsa – Modern Romance used to go down a bundle at parties around 1981/82 and this playout features somebody having persuaded the audience to “come on come on and do the locomotion”.

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    1. i was present at the genesis wembley gig in 1987 - i had worked in an office there a couple of years earlier when stadium gigs became the vogue, and i wanted to experience that for myself and considered genesis the best pick of those popular enough to perform there as i liked some of the mid-to-late 70's stuff when phil first took over as the singer. perhaps fortunately for me (if not for long-term diehards) they concentrated on their later stuff rather than the gabriel era that i've never been acquainted with. i don't remember "abacab" but thought perhaps the best moment was the extended "domino" medley. paul young was the support act and i was actually close enough to the stage at that point to see him properly. but by the time genesis came on it got so claustrophobic that in the end i just retreated to a point where the band were nothing more than matchstick men, and had to watch the giant screens either side of the stage to see what was going on. which sort-of defeated the whole point of being there really. it was also noticable that it was very much a "family" event which i felt a bit uncomfortable with. and i also thought it was somewhat bizarre when they did a rock 'n' roll medley at the end of the show... which tony banks was also clearly uncomfortable with! so although i didn't regret going, i certainly never had the urge to do again in the future...

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    2. Wilberforce - nice recollections. I recall people throwing plastic bottles during Paul Young's spot and him telling people that they'd stop playing if it continued. It stopped.

      The medley highlight I think you are referring to is perhaps the 'In the Cage / Slippermen / in that quiet earth / Afterglow' piece. This was always a sublime moment with the climax of 'Afterglow' being a real high. Sadly this didn't make the official DVD as apparently they had to change the tapes during this.

      The rock n'roll medley lasted several years in the live set being part of the extended 'Turn it on again' encore. Snippets of 'In the midnight hour' and 'Everybody needs somebody to love' etc. were included. Tony Banks must have been OK with this as it was played on a number of tours.

      Anyway, sorry guys for the Genesis diversion. I'll get back on (TOTP) topic next time!

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    3. I liked this performance of Japanese Boy, much livlier than before.

      But I agree that The Voice is a more memorable melody than the song there, it's got some interesting energy at least but not an obvious first single.

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    4. Wired for Sound starts off like it's about the walkman, but then he sings of the needle on plastic and having music in the car. So it seems to be just about having music everywhere.

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    5. sct: as i remember it, the "domino" medley performed was as the one on the "invisible touch" LP i.e. "in the glow of the night"/"the last domino" (which was the only decent thing on said album by the way) - the latter later became a popular piece for the beeb to use as backing music on sports compilation clips. also, just to point out that it was paul young of "wherever i lay my hat" fame who was the support act at the genesis wembley gig - NOT the other paul young who was previously in sad cafe, and who ironically by this point was actually a member of genesis guitarist mike rutherford's spin-off band mike & the mechanics!

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    6. Wilberforce - yes the Domino medley was the two tracks you mention and yes, the best tracks on the 'Invisible Touch' album.

      Record Mirror thought differently at the time, and I quote; "Despite the air-conditioned MTV bland-out, they still can't resist letting you know that they're actually a bit intellectual. So we get 'Domino', a tenuous, mini-concept, anti-nuclear linking of 'In the glow of the night' and 'The last Domino'. The latter being one of those dramatically over-arranged rock songs which peg out in the middle for an 'atmospheric', 'ambient' insert".

      No accounting for taste I guess.

      ..and sorry guys, still off topic!

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    7. sct, presumably you still have that copy of "record mirror" in your possession? i was an avid collector of that and most of the other pop papers and magazines from the late 70's to the late 90's (firstly "RM", "sounds" and "NME", then "smash hits" and "number one", and lastly "Q" and its competitors). sadly though i had to ditch them about 15 years ago (ironically just before they started to become highly collectable) as i was forced to store them in my parents' loft, and they complained about them being a fire hazard!

      and one more thing aout that gig: i remember phil collins (who of course is a trained actor) being a master showman, with the massive crowd in the palm of his hand - at one point i'm sure he did the old "let's separate the audience in two to sing/do different things" routine... by the way sct (and anyone else reading): i'm not apologising for the diversion that's been created here - for me this blog is not only about strolling down memory lane with the totp shows, but to reminisce on popular culture as a whole from "the good old days"...

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    8. Wilberforce - well I'm all for interesting reminiscent diversions. As with any diversion, people can choose to take it or not!

      Anyway, regarding Record Mirror, I bought and read it every week for a number of years, but arghhh!!!! no, I didn't keep the copies due to storage constraints. What I did do, is cut out and keep certain reviews for albums that I liked and purchased, and stored the cutting with that album. When I replaced the vinyl with a CD later in life, the cutting migrated to the CD where it still resides. This is the case for every Genesis album from 'Duke'. Some reviews just stuck in the mind, my favourites being these two singles:-

      Steve Hackett, Hope I don't wake. Seconded.

      ...and one we'll be seeing on TOTP in the not too distant future..

      Classix Noveaux, Is it a dream? No, it's a bloody nightmare.

      The review for ELO's 'Time' incidentally was appalling, and I even cut out and kept the resulting letters that RM receieved complaining about it the following week!

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    9. classix nouveaux were like modern romance i.e. shameless bandwagon-jumpers of the new romantic scene. like the latter they had the look and the haircuts, but not the sound. however, fortunately unlike the latter they didn't trouble the charts too much!

      i too cut out and kept various things from the weekly inkie music rags, a few (such as the NME "savage pencil" cartoon strips that took the piss out of yoof movements that were more concerned with fashion than music) that i still have tucked away somewhere. but i also once kept a clip folder/scrapbook full of things relating to the new romantic scene for many years, until eventually giving it away to a guy i briefly played in a band with that was associated with short-lived "romo" (new romantic revival) scene that the music press tried and failed to hype in the mid-90's! how i wish i had that to hand now...

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    10. sorry - i should have said: classix nouveux had the look and the haircuts (apart from singer sal solo, who didn't actually have any hair!)

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    11. I once bought as pile of old Record Mirrors at as garage sale for £1. Bargain! I still have them somewhere.

      And I remember my favourite ever review which was for Pat Benetar's single "Stop Using Sex As a Weapon", it simply said: "Piss off hypocrite".

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  10. I must say it is something of a relief to be back to one show a week, even if only temporarily - the onslaught of shows recently was overwhelming on some occasions!

    Not a bad instalment this week, though the untelegenic Startrax mob get things off to a distinctly unappealing start. This is another medley act who should not have been allowed anywhere near the studio, and you got the impression watching them that they wished the same! Thankfully things then perk up as Cliff unleashes one of his best singles, good enough to excuse that hilariously naff video. As if the sight of Cliff rollerskating and getting down wiv da kidz wasn't ludicrous enough, the bit where he skates up to the camera holding his hands in the air is actually rather creepy...

    Having been pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of their earlier hits, The Nolans disappointed me this time. Chemistry sounded very thin and unmemorable, and the girls' costumes appeared to be made out of bin liners. At least they are easier on the eye than the Stones - Mick was only 38 at the time but looks about 60! Still, Start Me Up does drive along nicely and is the last Stones song of any real worth.

    Good to see Legs being given such an energetic routine this week, though the set did look spectacularly cheap and nasty - I agree with the commenters above that Rosie should have thrown her crimpers in the bin. I can't remember ever hearing The Thin Wall before, but it's a good tune with some inventive synth work, even if Midge's huge Hovis cap and baggy trousers are a bit of a distraction! During his years of solo success, the singles Phil Collins released with Genesis were almost invariably better than his own, and that holds true with Abacab, a good rocking tune with some nice flourishes of driving guitar. Not sure it was a good idea for Phil to get behind the drum kit for this performance though, as singing drummers always look very undignified.

    Legs were virtually unrecognisable in their Geisha guise behind Aneka, but they certainly helped to make this a colourful and memorable performance. Nice to see Aneka join in the conga at the end - even if nobody in the audience can salsa, Michael Hurll does a pretty good job of creating a carnival atmosphere in the studio to bring the show to a pleasing conclusion.

    Richard Skinner fans, beware - he won't appear regularly on the show again now until 1983. He does his usual competent job here, though he appears to be cued in late to his first link and still occasionally looks like a nervous woodland creature when facing the camera. I also didn't get his comment after the Soft Cell performance about seeing the eyes behind the glasses, though his dig at Midge's "golfer" look was quite amusing...

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  11. I was at Saturday's Elo concert & it was the dogs doo dahs!

    Anyone notice during the Startrax performance, the big screen got fed up with showing shots from the studio & faded to the TOTP logo near the end?

    Now got 4 Totps to transfer to Dvd, including editing out any sign of Savile !

    As far as I'm concerned Dlt wasnt as bad as Savile, so he stays!

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  12. I was at Saturday's Elo concert & it was the dogs doo dahs!

    Anyone notice during the Startrax performance, the big screen got fed up with showing shots from the studio & faded to the TOTP logo near the end?

    Now got 4 Totps to transfer to Dvd, including editing out any sign of Savile !

    As far as I'm concerned Dlt wasnt as bad as Savile, so he stays!

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  13. Soft cell tainted love was a old northern soul favourite back in the 70s the b side was where did our love go a Motown cover and year late the will cover a nother northern soul oldie judy street what

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    1. Also tainted love became the biggest best top selling hit of 1981 outselling Queen David Bowie Adam and the Ants the Specials John Lennon Shakin Stevens Bucks Fizz The Police The Human League Roxy Music Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson

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    2. i could never stand northern soul, which was perhaps why "tainted love" was far from my favourite soft cell track. in the late 70's i frequented a club night where i boogied on down to the funk and disco sounds. but then inevitably at some point the dj would play some northern soul shite to appease a small crowd of fans that used to hang around on the edge of the room waiting. so that was my cue to make haste to the bar and pray it would soon be over!

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    3. Soft Cell also did Torch, a duet with Cindy Ecstasy, which was a tribute to the Northern soul club in Hunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.
      Hearing that in the clubs in 1982 used to send a shiver up my spine.

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    4. bama - you've sufficiently whetted my appetite on 'Torch' and I've been forced to seek it out on YT. What a TOTP performance from Marc! Cindy dances in the background for most of the song until her vocal entry at the climax. Wonderful song and for me the best Soft Cell release.

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    5. Check out the extended 12 inch version on YouTube - it's even better with a spoken word middle bit with Cindy who sings a bit more as well.

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    6. bama - wow you're not kidding! Great version, thanks for the tip off. I never bothered with the 12" of this single as it doesn't advertise on the sleeve that it's extended (as is the B side). A point made on the 12" version of 45cat:-

      http://www.45worlds.com/12single/record/bzs912

      I also seem to to recall another TOTP appearance with no Cindy where Marc looks around in bewilderment when her vocal commences. I may be wrong; we'll find out soon enough when the repeats get to May 1982. Until then we've got 'Bedsitter' and 'Say hello wave goodbye' to come first.

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    7. I recently saw the 'Bedsitter' video on Vintage TV a few days ago, and this is my favourite one because of its true-to-life story of a young man trying to cope with a single life renting a crummy room, and the vision of the hot and cold water taps with no mixer, left a chilling effect of how difficult things must have been for a young lonely man at the turn of the 70s.

      How many sinks to we see nowadays with a separate hot and cold water tap? Hardly any, well in the South anyway.

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    8. dory, you talk as if separate hot & cold water taps went out with smallpox! i've still got separate taps in both my kitchen and bathroom sinks (and bath too). but then again i live in a rented one bedroom-flat oop north!

      i came across the 12" version of "torch" an an 80's compilation cd a few years back, and i agree that it's great: not just cindy ecstacy's cute contribution (she was co-called because she was their drug supplier!), but also the extended flugelhorn solo

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    9. I don't think I'd ever heard of 'ecstacy' in terms of drugs until years later. Did it exist in the early 80s?

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    10. That's a good point. The drug MDMA had existed since 1912 but not the name ecstacy which wasn't in common usage until the late 1980s. The band XTC were thought to be named after it but they denied that.

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  14. I remember this one, with Aneka getting involved in the end credits dancing (being holiday time and watching it in black & white on a 5 inch screen may have had a bearing on it). Probably not the only time this happened but she must have been the first.

    Who were Startrax? This one really did look like a BBC bod approaching a local pub band and saying, "Hey! Want to be on telly? All you have to do is mime to this Bee Gees medley..."

    Cliff's song contains the line "cassette in my pocket" - well it certainly wasn't in the machine. You slipped up there, Mr. Director.

    The rest of the show contained some good music but we're now seeing the beginnings of the audience noise and balloons which typified the Hurll era, of which I'm not a fan.

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  15. The end definitely had a party feel with the last two songs, some will like it and some may not.

    With Aneka it's a mix of the more exotic sound and the chugging dance beat. The odd 'boom boom' in it too which reminded me of those classic disco songs that put that in to represent a heart beat. I liked the parasols more than the lanterns before, maybe could have done with shorter closeups as that slowed the visuals down.

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  16. Startrax Club Disco - this was truly abysmal, even worse to look at than to hear. The guy with the tache had zero stage presence and I didn't even notice the keyboard player until right at the end. At first I though they all had really bad dandruff before I realised it was confetti. It's hard to believe this got in the charts on the strength of this performance.

    Ah Wired For Sound. I wonder how many times they had to rehearse the sequences of Cliff with the other skaters, especially the bit for the chorus where he skates towards the camera with a nervous look - a health and safetty nightmare! Sadly they fade it before the coda - "I like tall speakers and I like wall speakers but most of all I like LOUD speakers!".

    Soft Cell at number 2, blimey! I'm not entirely sure that Marc is wearing his own jacket here, it looks like the producer has given him his jacket to wear to cover up Marc's campness, all that gold lame and chunky jewelry. Roll forward ten years and they did a similar thing with Lana Peloy who did the vocals for Gary Clail's 'Human Nature', he was wearing a glittery woman's top and was clearly forced to cover up by wearing a nasty blazer which looked like it was the floor manager's.

    The Nolans, I have no recollection of this at all. I should imagine the Nolan girls were sweating quite a bit in all that tight wet look PVC.

    It's funny how we all thought The Stones were the old men of rock even back then but Jagger was only about 37. which seems young now. A fairly straightforward performance video with Jagger strutting around like a demented chicken proving that Michael Jackson has nothing to worry about in the dancing stakes. I like the faces Bill and Charlie are pulling, wonder what they were really thinking?

    The Legs routine for Hold On Tight looked a bit hurried as though they were originally going to do something else and had to change it at the last minute but its pretty frantic in outfits made from fringed tablecloths. I feel out of breath just watching it.

    The Charts - I always think it's sad when a former number one falls to number 30 in this case The Specials' Ghost Town which represented the last gasp for Two Tone. No less than four former, current or past number ones in the Top 30 this week, 5 if you count Chant No 1.

    Ultravox adopt the Great Gatsby look, not sure it's working. Billy Currie still looks at the camera, the other keyboardist still looks like actor Phillip Jackson and the special effects are turned up to 11. This is a bit thin but it sounds pretty good 35 years later but we only remember them for Vienna now.

    I remember Abacab at the time and hating it greatly and hating Genesis but I've got over that now and it sounds pretty good in a proggy way, I like the Hold Your Head Up style organ and Mike Rutherford's falsetto call-and-response chorus. It's just as shame they look like three Open University lecturers.

    And then the Top Ten, oh no hang on its the Top Eleven, what a nuisance. How angry/scary does Marc Almond look in tat picture in, something must have upset hm, probably having to wear someone else's jacket.

    Oh no its frigging Anneka at number one - cue Legs in Anna May Wong outfits, the audience with Chinese lanterns, kites and ribbons on sticks. I like the two chopsticks in the hair but the song is dreadful. I can't listen to this again.

    And play out with Modern Romance so we still have the Cinese props but now doing the salsa by way of a conga. Confused, I know I am. But this is the first time in years that I've seen the number one artist taking part in the dancing at the end. Fantastic!

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    1. "The other keyboardist (in Ultravox) looks like actor Phillip Jackson".

      Blimey, you're right. His name was Chris Cross (real name Christopher Allen) btw.

      Not to be confused with the other Christopher 'Arthurs theme (best that you can do)' Cross.

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    2. jagger may have been a geriatric in 1981 pop terms, but he was still enviously and even painfully thin!

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    3. by chance i was watching the "a day out" episode of "porridge" on dvd last week, and one of fletcher's ditch-digging companions was a hippy inmate nicknamed "dylan". i looked the actor up on imdb afterwards, and it was the same philip jackson mentioned above! by the way, i get him mixed up with fellow actor neil dudgeon...

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    4. i remember lana pellay (aka alan pillay) as a gender-switching comic actor who appeared in more than one of the excellent "comic strip" shows of the 80's that featured rick mayall, nigel planer, robbie coltrane, french & saunders, etc

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    5. The T.A.M.I. Show is a fantastic 1960s concert movie for many reasons, but one of them is that Mick Jagger tries to out-dance James Brown in it. You can imagine how that goes.

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  17. It seems no-one has talked about the death of Billy Paul on Sunday at the age of 81. He was the singer on Me & Mrs Jones:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWOTdt9Bovk

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    1. Billy also sang a re-worded version of "Let 'Em In" and found himself having to rap the sound clips of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X himself in the TOTP studio, as seen way back in this re-run.

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  18. Three weeks at no.1 in the States over Christmas 1972 for Billy (borm Paul Williams). RIP

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    1. It charted a little later in the UK with a peak of No.12 in February 1973. I was only 5 then, and suffice to say that I was not yet into chart music, but years later you would always hear this in the love songs radio hours and so forth, and was a very famous hit well into the next generation.

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  19. Sorry I'm late. Here goes!

    Another decent offering from Dickie Skinner, though I missed the post- and pre- song chart positions and he still looked a bit nervous. As for mentioning the cream of the crop and Startrax in the same breath, dear oh dear! Dreadful medley featuring a load of no-marks dragged in off the street and an 80’s footballer in a red shirt.

    If ever a song and, er, film, shout ‘of its age’ they belong to Cliff’s outing. Mention of AM and FM in the chorus – it’s all digital round these parts now! Nice subliminal advertising for Patch Records on Cliff’s tour jacket – he had some link to the label but I don’t know how much. I watched the easy looking roller skating with envy, as my balance is rubbish and I can’t ride a bike, skate or ski.

    Hark at you with all that bling, Marc Almond! And look at multi-talented David Ball on keyboards and percussion!

    I can imagine Quincy Jones doing “Chemistry” in the style of “Razzmatazz” or “Ai No Corrida”. The Nolans in slinky PVC? Who’d have thought or, er, imagined?

    What was Bill Wyman doing at 13:54 in the programme? Did he have an itchy side nose, was he licking his bass holding finger, or was that a crafty pick?

    I take it Jeff Lynne’s new look was too scary for a second showing, so we get a frenetic routine from Legs & Co with the shortest and tightest outfit reserved for the best figure, ruined by Rosie’s crap crimping. Interesting final pose there by the gals.

    “The Thin Wall” was utterly forgettable. Had Midge Ure not trimmed his pencil ‘tache symmetrically? What a bunnet!

    I wonder how many taxi firms called themselves Abacabs after that Genesis jam session?

    And so we say sayonara to Aneka’s wig and chopsticks, but fair play to her jigging about to the outro tune. You never got that with Shakin’ Stevens. Eat that, you Elvis clone!

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    1. re: the nolans performing in their tight-fitting and hot and sweaty pvc outfits - i can't help but wonder what their dressing room must have smelled like afterwards...!

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  20. If you thought the Nolans in PVC was surreal then you have yet to experience
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WLR4bhLjic

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    1. It's a little odd as to why The Nolans would do a cover of The Smiths

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    2. dory, it's known as irony! i think we can all can go to our graves safe in the knowledge that pretentious arse morrissey would never cover a nolans' song. with regard to this late-80's lineup: presumably linda has left to embark on her acting career, with older sister anne returning to fill the void. and colleen still hasn't ballooned into a porker yet!

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